Articles from the May 9, 2024 edition

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  • Assembly considers transient room tax increase

    Olivia Rose|May 9, 2024

    Assembly members voted on the proposed FY25 borough budget for the first time on Monday, as well as two additional ordinances related to revenue — unanimously passing all of them in their first readings. Alongside the first draft of the next Petersburg Borough budget for fiscal year 25 (FY25), two ordinances regarding the borough’s transient room tax were introduced. One clarifies the uses of the fund, and the other would raise the 4% TRT rate to 7%. Transient room tax is essentially a “bed tax” paid by patrons of hotels and lodges. “This i...

  • Editorial: Bringing home awards for local news

    Orin Pierson|May 9, 2024

    The Petersburg Pilot received quite a bit of recognition at last month’s Alaska Press Club conference in Anchorage. The press club’s annual contest is a valuable opportunity for our newsroom to take stock of the past year’s efforts, and it helps us get some external feedback from experts in the field. Contest entries are submitted by most of the journalists in Alaska working in print, radio, television, and web. And our state is blessed with a lot of top notch local news being produced across the state, so competition is often pretty tight... Full story

  • Captain Dan Bird earns statewide Fire Service Leadership Award

    May 9, 2024

    On Monday, Assistant State Fire Marshal Mark Brauneis traveled to Petersburg to announce that Captain Daniel Bird of Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department is the recipient of the 2023 Ken Akerley Fire Service Leadership Award. Recipients of this statewide award are nominated by their peers from among Alaska's 8,000 firefighters. The criteria to be deserving of this award, Brauneis said, the candidate "must exhibit an extraordinary commitment to leading in their fire department and earning the tru...

  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa decommissioned after 34 years

    Olivia Rose|May 9, 2024

    "I want to thank the crew serving today, and all who served aboard Anacapa over these many years, for their dedication and service to our country," said Rear Admiral Charles Fosse, commander of United States Coast Guard District 13, during the decommissioning ceremony for USCG cutter Anacapa on April 26 in Port Angeles, Washington. Commissioned in 1990, Anacapa spent 32 of its 34 years homeported in Petersburg, and the last two years in Port Angeles. The 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter carried a... Full story

  • Yesterday's News: News from 25-50-75-100 years ago

    May 9, 2024

    May 9, 1924 – When asked about the shortage of bait at Petersburg for halibut fishermen, Earl N. Ohmer said, “The shortage of bait is due to the fact that there is at present no plant here in which to freeze the bait, or to keep it frozen. What is needed is a cold storage plant.” Mr. Ohmer knows whereof he speaks. He is a member of the firm Alaska Glacier Seafood Company, which packs and ships shrimp meat. He is a buyer and shipper of salmon and halibut and other varieties of fish, a member of the City Council, Chamber of Commerce, and knows...

  • Forest Service wants to hear community priorities for Tongass management

    Olivia Rose|May 9, 2024

    The USDA Forest Service is starting the process of revising the Tongass National Forest Land Management Plan, which will shape local and regional management for years to come. Over the past 27 years since the Forest Plan was developed, the land and lifestyle in Southeast Alaska has changed significantly. As a result, the Forest Service is seeking input from the public to ensure that the revised plan reflects the evolving needs and concerns of the community. The current Forest Plan was developed... Full story

  • To the Editor

    May 9, 2024

    PMEA supports the teachers union To the Editor: We, the members of the Petersburg Municipal Employees Association Union (PMEA), support the Associated Teachers of Petersburg Union (ATP). As fellow public servants and advocates for quality education, we recognize the vital role that teachers and staff play in shaping the future of our community. We stand firmly behind the ATP in their current ongoing negotiations for a fair and equitable labor agreement. We believe that investing in our teachers is an investment in the future of Petersburg....

  • In final judgment, judge blocks Alaska correspondence provisions, keeps current rules through June

    Andrew Kitchenman|May 9, 2024

    An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Thursday put on hold through the end of the school year a ruling invalidating two provisions of state law governing correspondence education. Judge Adolf Zeman issued a hold, known as a “stay,” requested by plaintiffs on a ruling he made in April, that found the state violated the Alaska Constitution by providing public funding for private schools through its allotment program. The hold will remain in effect through June 30. Along with the hold, Zeman issued a final judgment on the two provisions, ena... Full story

  • Police report

    May 9, 2024

    May 2 – An officer provided transport to the Petersburg Medical Center (PMC). Haftor Gjerde was cited for driving without a valid driver’s license. A driver issued a warning for failure to stop at a stop sign. An officer conducted a welfare check. Officers responding to a report of suspicious activity determined it was non-criminal. Officers responded to suspicious activity and there is an on-going investigation. An officer secured the open door to a business. Officers conducted extra patrols. An officer assisted a citizen. An officer fou...

  • Mud Dump fee waived for new PMC facility project

    Ola Richards|May 9, 2024

    All mud dump fees for the new hospital project will be waived. Although the fees would have amounted to about $186,000 in revenue for the borough, the Petersburg Borough Assembly unanimously approved the request to waive the fees because it will be an in-kind contribution, which can help PMC secure additional funding for the project, and improvements made by work on the project is saving the borough about $160,000 in expenses. At the assembly meeting on Monday, assembly member Thomas Fine-Walsh...

  • Blind Slough hydroelectric powerhouse turns 100

    Olivia Rose|May 9, 2024

    Petersburg Municipal Power and Light invites the public to celebrate 100 years of hydropower in Petersburg by attending an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Blind Slough Powerhouse this Thursday, May 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. "As part of the Mayfest celebration, we're going to ... show the community the new plant," Utility Director Karl Hagerman told the Pilot. At the open house, visitors get to see the revitalized facility -complete with a new turbine and generator- and learn about the...

  • Viking Baseball win monumental home series

    Liam Demko|May 9, 2024

    Petersburg High School's baseball team achieved a program first last weekend as they picked up their first ever winning series against Ketchikan. Facing a team they hadn't won a game against in a decade, the series also served as the Vikings' first winning series of the season, making the weekend's achievements an even sweeter success. "All in all it was a really good outing, doing to them what they do to us quite often. It was nice to win the doubleheader, it's hard to do," said head coach Jim...

  • Viking track and field race towards Juneau meet

    Liam Demko|May 9, 2024

    Petersburg High School’s track team are off to the races this season as they prepare for their second meet in Juneau, with their first meet already under their belts. Many of the younger Viking athletes ran on a full track for the first time ever in Ketchikan on April 19 and 20, as the team competed in running, throwing, and jumping events across the two-day meet. “The athletes who have been around knew what to expect, but we have a fair amount of young athletes who haven’t really been around so they were a little bit nervous. Overall, I think...

  • Dozens in Petersburg cooperate to assemble 'world's largest puzzle'

    Orin Pierson|May 9, 2024

    In January, Petersburg resident Sondra Hurst learned that seniors at a retirement home in her hometown of Springville, Utah had worked together for three months to piece together the world's largest commercially available jigsaw puzzle. Hurst decided to round up helpers in Petersburg to try and do the same, and on Sunday, May 5, dozens of community members who took part in the effort gathered in the community gym to see the puzzle be completed. She recalled to the gathering how her husband had d...

  • Forest Service seeks public comment on fees for new cabins

    Larry Persily|May 9, 2024

    The U.S. Forest Service plans to build six new cabins and a new campground in Southeast Alaska and wants to hear from the public on proposed fees for the facilities. One of the new cabins, the Woodpecker Cabin, will be on Mitkof Island, accessible by road and a 300 ft trail, about 30 miles away from downtown Petersburg. The site features a south-facing view of Sumner Strait. It has a fish-bearing stream nearby, and is in close proximity to a marine boat launch. It is likely to be used...

  • Obituary

    May 9, 2024

    Irene June Nichols was born in Port Alexander, Alaska, to Anna and Arne Iversen on August 7, 1928. Her parents immigrated from Norway to fish out of Port Alexander and moved to Ketchikan when she was five. After graduating from Ketchikan High School Irene attended Pacific Lutheran College in Seattle, Washington, for a year before returning home to marry her high school sweetheart, Carl Anthony Manzoni, a bush pilot. They enjoyed ten happy years before Carl was tragically killed in a plane crash... Full story

  • Obituary

    May 9, 2024

    Berton James O'Neil was born August 19,1933, to Vernon Prosser O'Neil and Mildred Edna Fitch in Marysville, Washington. Soon after graduating from Marysville High School Bert joined the navy and served for four years based out of Kodiak, Alaska. After being discharged, he returned to Washington and started his career with General Telephone Company as a lineman in Everett. But ever since his navy days in Kodiak, Bert dreamed of returning to Alaska. He got the chance when a manager position... Full story

  • AMSEA's Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Training in Petersburg

    May 9, 2024

    The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) will offer a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Course in Petersburg on May 11, 2024 from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Petersburg Parks and Recreation Activity Room. The cost for the class is $125.00 for commercial fishermen and $225.00 for all others. Participants qualify for up to $95 off the purchase price of their next personal floatation device (PFD). Interested mariners may register online at or call (907) 747-3287. The class will cover cold-water survival skills; EPIRBs, si...

  • Alaska On-Board Crew Training in Petersburg June 1-3

    May 9, 2024

    Alaska On-Board Crewmember Training will take place June 1-3 in the John Hanson Sr Community Hall. The three-day workshop provides hands-on training for beginning commercial fishing crewmembers. Gain crew skills, learn marine safety, get an up-close look at commercial fishing boats and gear, and meet people in the industry. The program is led by Alaska Sea Grant, Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, and Alaska Marine Conservation Council. This workshop, limited to 15 participants, costs $50 and i...

  • Petersburg residents march for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Day

    Shelby Herbert, KFSK Radio|May 9, 2024

    Around 20 Petersburg residents marched downtown on May 5 in observance of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Day. It was a small affair, but marchers were determined to show up in support of Alaska's stolen relatives - rain or shine. It was a typical clammy spring afternoon in Petersburg. The fragmented rain showers and temperatures in the 40s had driven many in town indoors; but the seventeen people gathered under the awning of one of the local grocery stores were undeterred. They...