Articles written by Mary Koppes

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  • Residents voice concerns about land exchange

    Mary Koppes|Nov 3, 2016

    Over 20 people assembled at the SONS last Thursday evening for a presentation and Q&A with representatives of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office (TLO). The representatives stressed their desire for a land exchange to pass via federal legislation as it would allow the Trust to bypass logging on contentious land in Petersburg and Ketchikan. Residents who attended were more concerned about what would happen if the land exchange does not go through and the TLO moves forward with plans to log areas in close proximity to residences on Mitkof...

  • U.S. House Rep challenger visits Petersburg

    Mary Koppes|Nov 3, 2016

    U.S. House Representative candidate Steve Lindbeck made his first visit to Little Norway last Friday to meet with residents and try to convince local voters to cast their ballots in his favor. Lindbeck is a newcomer to politics. He retired a year ago after working, most recently, for 8.5 years as the general manager for Alaska Public Media based in Anchorage. "I'm not a career politician by any means. But I have been in public service my whole career and so it feels like a natural thing," he...

  • Students and staff work on dress code

    Mary Koppes|Oct 27, 2016

    A group of students at Petersburg High School have proposed wording changes to the school’s dress code policy related to yoga pants and leggings. Principal Rick Dormer presented the proposal to the school board at its Oct. 11 meeting alongside staff’s suggested changes to the policy. “Most of the young ladies in the high school came forward and talked about that our dress code may be a little archaic and that people are wearing leggings and that it can be a professional type of outfit or dress code,” said Dormer at the board meeting. Those s... Full story

  • Battle over Borough land sale continues in meeting

    Mary Koppes|Oct 27, 2016

    The Planning and Zoning Commission spent a significant amount of time at their Oct. 25 meeting on the issue of the Borough’s proposed land sale of Lot 10 in the 900 block of Sandy Beach Road. Votes to vacate a portion of a public easement on the property and to rezone it from public use to single-family residential both failed, largely because several on the commission had concerns about the sale itself which has drawn criticism from many local residents. Though the land sale has already been approved by the Assembly, commissioner Dave K... Full story

  • Proposed PIA trail goes back to drawing board

    Mary Koppes|Oct 27, 2016

    Susan Harai, engineer for Petersburg Indian Association (PIA), informed the Planning Commission at their Tuesday meeting that a previously proposed trail to connect the Severson subdivision to the fire station was found to be unviable, aside from a 1,400 foot portion that would connect Possum to Queen Street via a raised boardwalk. The trail was part of PIA's long-range transportation plan which includes more portions of trails in neighborhoods in town to supplement the variety of trails built...

  • Oktoberfest celebrates 40 years of community

    Mary Koppes|Oct 27, 2016

    The community gym was bustling for the better part of Saturday as over 50 food, art and craft vendors set up booths and sold their wares at the 40th annual Oktoberfest Art Share. The event is coordinated by the Muskeg Maleriers and this year Jean Curry, Sally Dwyer and Polly Koeneman were the lead organizers. "It went well," Curry said. "It was busy almost the entire time." Shoppers had access to everything from pottery and jewelry to beeswax candles and handcrafted textiles. As tradition goes,...

  • Lady Vikings go 4-1 in Klawock seeding tourney

    Mary Koppes|Oct 27, 2016

    Petersburg’s volleyball team traveled to Klawock last Wednesday, facing off against six 2A teams in three days as part of the first regional seeding tournament of the season. Head Coach Jaime Cabral said despite some players dealing with injuries and the long, busy weekend, “the weekend was a good one.” Fresh off the ferry, both Petersburg and Wrangell teams had just 15 minutes to warm up before beginning their first game. Petersburg won in four sets, losing just the second set to the Lady Wolves. The Lady Vikings handily won games again...

  • This year's $2,072 PFD is highest ever

    Mary Koppes|Sep 24, 2015

    This year's Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) will be $2,072. That's the highest on record not adjusting for inflation, though qualified residents received a $2,069 PFD in 2008 alongside a $1,200 resource rebate. Qualified residents who applied for direct deposit of the funds and were in eligible status by Sept. 18, 2015 will receive their PFD on Oct. 1. Checks will be mailed out the same day. Last year over $1.1 billion was paid out to almost 599,000 Alaskans. If there's a similar number of PFD... Full story

  • SEC to push for independent marine transportation board

    Mary Koppes|Sep 24, 2015

    Following their annual meeting last week in Prince Rupert, the Southeast Conference (SEC) will be going back to their transportation lobbying roots. The organization was formed in 1958 to lobby for a regional transportation system—now known as the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS)—and members are coming together once again to address needed changes to that system. A resolution was passed at last week’s meeting to restore the Transportation Board of the SEC, which will push during the upcoming legislative session to change the Marine Trans...

  • Freeze it, dry it, can it:

    Mary Koppes|Sep 24, 2015

    Preserving the local bounty harvested from the sea or the land, from the wild or from one's garden, is a great way to ensure you eat well over the winter months when markedly less is growing and the waters grow less enticing for a day out fishing. Much knowledge-from smoking salmon to canning berry jellies and jams-is passed on through friends and family who treasure and guard their secret recipes. For those wanting to try their hand at food preservation, there's another resource available to...

  • Nostalgia meets efficiency in Knight's design

    Mary Koppes and Orin Pierson|Sep 24, 2015

    Upon entering Casey Knight's newly built home, visitors are greeted with a flood of natural light entering from a wall of west-facing windows and a sense of spaciousness created by high vaulted ceilings. The design of the space follows and allows for the uninhibited flow of Knight's daily routine, with the master bedroom and bath, kitchen, dining room and laundry all available on the main floor. In an upstairs loft used as a sitting area and library, the same wall of west-facing windows frames...

  • Beyond cats and dogs:

    Mary Koppes|Sep 24, 2015

    Many are familiar with the image of a homeowner being greeted by their dog's wagging tail or their feline's purr upon arriving home, but increasingly people are being greeted by feathered friends as well. Laying hens, and the occasional rooster, have become increasingly popular in Petersburg in recent years. They straddle the line between pets and livestock, providing fresh eggs to their owners but also entertainment, companionship and life lessons. Despite having a tiny backyard, the Case...

  • Locals express frustration with Kake Road project development

    Mary Koppes|Sep 17, 2015

    About 15 Petersburg and Kupreanof residents attended a meeting last Thursday night to hear about and voice their opinions on recent developments on the Kake Access road project. Meeting attendees listened to presentations by ADOT's Andy Hughes, Seth English-Young from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and two consultants working on the project who explained developments with the project's purpose and need statement and a screening process developed to evaluate 21 transportation... Full story

  • Assembly apprised of liability coverage, gaps for harbor use

    Mary Koppes|Sep 17, 2015

    Sue Erickson of Petersburg-Wrangell Insurance gave an overview of the Borough’s liability insurance coverage at Thursday’s regular Assembly meeting. The Borough’s insurance has been provided by Alaska Public Entities Insurance for over a decade. There’s a $240,000 premium for its liability coverage, 11 percent of which goes to cover workers’ compensation. The premium has only increased $11,000 in the past six years, which Erickson characterized as “fantastic” and attributed to both claims handling and safety efforts by the Borough. Eric... Full story

  • Brazilian exchange student experiences life in small-town Alaska

    Mary Koppes|Sep 17, 2015

    Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil-the largest city in the Americas with a population of almost 12 million-Carolina Macluf is settling into life in small town Alaska as this year's in-bound Rotary exchange student. Macluf chose Petersburg as the location for her one-year exchange because she wanted to practice English and see somewhere different. "I just think I want a different place," she said, adding that several other out-bound exchange students from her area chose to study in one of...

  • Resolution to address 'Roadless' ruling fails to get needed Assembly support

    Mary Koppes|Sep 17, 2015

    Three concerned Petersburg and Kupreanof residents spoke out against a resolution being considered as part of last Thursday’s Borough Assembly agenda. Though three Assembly members—Mayor Mark Jensen, Bob Lynn, Nancy Strand—voted in fav or of the resolution, four votes were needed for it to pass. The resolution would have called for the governor to petition for an appeal of the Ninth Circuit court’s late July ruling which overturned the Tongass National Forest’s exemption to the Roadless Rule. The Wrangell Borough and Ketchikan Gateway B...

  • Cemetery fee increase advances; Assembly considers accessible fishing dock project

    Mary Koppes|Sep 17, 2015

    The Borough Assembly voted unanimously to approve new columbarium fees and increases to other cemetery fees as part of an ordinance passed on its first reading last Thursday. The ordinance includes language changes to reflect Borough incorporation and to establish fees to place an urn in one of the 320 burials niches of a new columbarium erected at the cemetery last month. The new proposed fee for urn placement is $175, with an additional $75 charge for placements occurring on weekends or holidays. The proposed fee for burials—opening and c...

  • Icicle Seafoods sale cancelled

    Mary Koppes|Sep 10, 2015

    Icicle Seafoods owner Paine & Partners announced Sept. 4 that the sale of the company to buyers Dominion Catchers, LLC and Convergence Holdings, Inc. has been cancelled. The sale was anticipated to close in August and was announced in late June. Company representatives declined to comment further on the reasons for the cancellation. Some online industry sources have speculated that a provision in the American Fisheries Act which requires U.S. citizens to have 75 percent ownership and control of commercial fishing vessels 100 feet or greater in... Full story

  • Swan Lake roof bid awarded by SEAPA board

    Mary Koppes|Sep 10, 2015

    In a special meeting on July 7, board members of the Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA) met to discuss two items. The board voted to award a bid not to exceed $396,080 for the Swan Lake Powerhouse Roof Membrane Project to the Sitka-based company CBC Construction. The company was one of four that submitted bids, which ranged from $336,569 to $566,258. Petersburg Power and Light Superintendent Joe Nelson was the sole dissenting vote. He said he had reservations about the large spread of bid amounts and the design of the roof. “I think we s... Full story

  • Assembly to consider cemetery fee increases

    Mary Koppes|Sep 10, 2015

    An ordinance changing the language and fee structure of cemetery services will go before the Assembly at today’s regular meeting. The changes are both to reflect Borough incorporation and to establish fees to place an urn in one of the 320 burial niches of a new columbarium erected at the cemetery last month. The new proposed fee for urn placement is $175, with an additional $75 charge for placements occurring on weekends or holidays. The proposed fee for burials—opening and closing a grave—would be raised from $650 for an adult and $300 for a...

  • One arrested, three suspected, in conjunction with local psilocybin grow operation

    Mary Koppes|Sep 10, 2015

    Petersburg police have been investigating a local commercial psilocybin—hallucinogenic mushroom—grow operation. So far one of three suspects, 19-year-old Anthony Curtiss, has been arrested and indicted on charges related to the case. Curtiss was arrested on Aug. 28 on three felony charges. The first charge, Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the 1st Degree/Division IIA, relates to alleged delivery of the psilocybin to a minor who is at least three years younger than Curtiss. The minor in this case is an unnamed 15 year old. A fel...

  • Former PFI worker sentenced for disorderly conduct

    Mary Koppes|Sep 3, 2015

    Former PFI worker Mark Diega, 50, of Chula Vista, Calif., pled guilty to an amended, misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct on Aug. 28 at a proceeding before Superior Court Judge William Carey. He was sentenced to serve 10 days in jail and one year of probation. He is also banned from the PFI property and may not possess a firearm while in Petersburg, should he return. Diega initially faced a felony charge of Terroristic Threatening for an Aug. 8 incident where the former PFI worker attempted... Full story

  • Late August rains break records

    Mary Koppes|Sep 3, 2015

    Heavy rains last Friday and Saturday, August 28 and 29, broke precipitation records for those respective days, according to National Weather Service data. Residents braved a rainy Friday which saw 2.61 inches fall. Downpours on Saturday, however, brought that day's rain total to 3.55 inches. Those measurements are taken at the airport. Local resident Doug Welde also records rain measurements from his downtown home where he recorded just over 5 inches of rain on Saturday. The total rainfall for... Full story

  • Medical center shower room project progress with Paddle Battle funds

    Mary Koppes|Sep 3, 2015

    Construction on a new tub and shower room in the Long Term Care unit at Petersburg Medical Center will begin this month. “We’ve had our contractor and architect look at the project,” said Director of Nursing Jennifer Bryner. “We’re ordering the tile and hoping to get started in the next week or so.” The LTC unit is in the oldest wing of the hospital building and has seen wear and tear from years of daily use by residents. The project was bumped to the top of PMC’s capital projects list after the Division of Health Care Services, part of the A...

  • Voters to consider financial disclosure for a second time

    Mary Koppes|Aug 27, 2015

    The Petersburg Borough Assembly met on Thursday, Aug. 20, instead of their regularly Monday meeting, and took on a light agenda. An ordinance to create a local exemption to the state’s financial disclosure requirement for some public officials passed unanimously on its third and final reading, which will leave voters to make the final decision on the matter in the Oct. 6 Municipal Election. The financial disclosure requirement was put in place by the state to ensure that individuals do not use public service for personal financial gain. For man... Full story

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