Articles from the July 23, 2020 edition


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  • Final emergency ordinance vote deferred

    Brian Varela|Jul 23, 2020

    The Petersburg Borough Assembly voted on Monday to postpone the third reading of the civil emergency provisions ordinance to Sept. 21 with a public hearing to be held before the final reading. Ordinance #2020-19 updates language in the civil emergency provisions of municipal code to reflect the conception of the Petersburg Borough. Additionally, the ordinance adds language that isn't present in the municipal code that establishes actions the borough manager or incident commander can take during...

  • Petersburg on track for wettest summer

    Brian Varela|Jul 23, 2020

    Petersburg is currently experiencing its fourth wettest summer, with the potential of becoming the wettest summer on record, according to data from the National Weather Service in Juneau. From June 1 through July 18, Petersburg had 12.42 inches of rain. According to NWS data, Petersburg had 15.74 inches of rain in 1945, which set the record for the highest amount of rainfall in one summer. In June, Petersburg experienced 7.55 inches of rain, according to NWS data. It was the rainiest June since...

  • Zero active cases of Covid-19 in town

    Brian Varela|Jul 23, 2020

    There have been zero active cases of COVID-19 in town since Thursday, July 16 when the Petersburg Borough and Petersburg Medical Center first announced that all cases of the virus have since recovered. "It's a nice place to be," said Borough Incident Commander Karl Hagerman at the COVID-19 community update on Friday, July 17. "That's a nice number. Zero active cases is the perfect number for Petersburg." Hagerman confirmed on Friday that cases of COVID-19 that were reported locally, from both...

  • SEAPA issues intent to award bid for submarine cable

    Brian Varela|Jul 23, 2020

    The Southeast Alaska Power Agency Board of Directors has awarded a bid for the replacement of a damaged submarine cable to Sumitomo, a Japanese firm, according to Board Chairman Bob Lynn. Lynn updated the Petersburg Borough Assembly on the project at their meeting on Monday. SEAPA received three bids for the project, and while Sumitomo’s bid wasn’t the lowest, the company has made a name for itself in the United States. Lynn said the project is expected to cost somewhere between $9 and $11 mil...

  • Borough Clerk: May, June meetings valid

    Brian Varela|Jul 23, 2020

    After the expiration of an emergency ordinance on April 30 that allowed the borough assembly to set a quorum telephonically, the assembly continued to hold remote meetings throughout May and June, but the action taken during those meetings is valid, said Borough Clerk Debbie Thompson in an interview with the Pilot on July 8. Although the assembly didn't extend emergency ordinance 2020-07 to allow them to continue meeting telephonically, they did extend emergency ordinance 2020-08 on May 18. The...

  • Assembly approves in-person voting

    Bert Stedman|Jul 23, 2020

    The borough assembly voted in favor of having an in-person municipal election this fall at their assembly meeting on Monday, instead of an election held entirely by mail. Borough Clerk Debbie Thompson said the borough is taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the election. It will be held in the community gym to allow for greater space between voters. New polling stations were purchased that can be disinfected after every use. Personal protective equipment was also...

  • Some AK cities decline to mandate masks amid virus

    Jul 23, 2020

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The largest city in Alaska has mandated residents wear masks in public to limit the spread of COVID-19, but several other cities and boroughs declined to follow suit, arguing the mandates weren’t needed, would be difficult to enforce or were illegal. Anchorage, Cordova, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Seward, Unalaska and Valdez were the only large cities to require masks in all public indoor spaces, including stores and restaurants, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The Northwest Arctic Borough was the only borough to do so....

  • Police report

    Jul 23, 2020

    July 15 — A welfare check was conducted on a resident at Northwind Apartments. A disturbance at the ball field was reported to authorities. Authorities responded to a report of an intoxicated individual at a location on N. Nordic Dr. July 16 — Extra patrols were requested at the ball field. Authorities responded to a disturbance at an undisclosed location. Trespassing was reported at the Sons of Norway hall. A dangerous driver was seen on Surf St. July 17 — Suspicious activity was observed at South Boat Harbor. Walter Szarek was charged with mi...

  • Clarification

    Jul 23, 2020

    In the Police Report of the July 9, 2020 issue of the Petersburg Pilot, Oliver Christensen was reported as having been arrested on charges of driving under the influence due to incomplete information the Pilot received from the Petersburg Police Department. It was Christen Oliver Christensen who was arrested on July 4, not Oliver Christensen....

  • Google removes Alaska trooper ad in 'misunderstanding'

    Jul 23, 2020

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Department of Public Safety accused Google of censorship for canceling a recruitment advertisement for state troopers considered to be political, but the tech giant said it was a miscommunication. The pay-per-click advertisement shows civil unrest, talks about how Alaska is different and features Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who makes an appeal for people to come to Alaska to become a trooper. A pay-per-click advertisement is an ad where advertisers pay every time someone clicks it. The one-minute video was s...

  • New food security project starting up in Wrangell

    Caleb Vierkant|Jul 23, 2020

    WRANGELL - "Concern" is a common theme in the COVID-19 pandemic. People are concerned about their health, their jobs, getting their kids back into school, and the economic prospects of their community, among other things. Wrangell resident Kassee Schlotzhauer wants to help ensure that getting enough to eat is not one such concern, through Wrangell's Subsistence Giving Project. "My family and me, we like to subsistence hunt, fish, gather for our family for the winters," she said. "This last year...

  • 7.8 Magnitude quake shakes Alaska Penninsula Tuesday night

    Jul 23, 2020

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A powerful earthquake off Alaska’s southern coast shook sparsely populated coastal communities late Tuesday and prompted some residents to briefly flee to higher ground because of tsunami fears. There were no immediate reports of damage in the Alaska Peninsula and the tsunami warning was canceled after the magnitude 7.8 quake offshore created a wave of a less than a foot (30 centimeters). The earthquake struck Tuesday at 10:12 p.m. local time and was centered in waters 65 miles (105 kilometers) south-southeast of the...

  • Petition seeks endangered species status for Alaska wolves

    Jul 23, 2020

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A conservation group has filed a petition seeking endangered species status for a subspecies of Alaska wolves. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 15 for the protections for Alexander Archipelago wolves, which live in southeast Alaska, CoastAlaska reported. “These wolves are being devastated by trapping and by clear cut logging of their forest home,’’ said Shaye Wolf, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “And they need some stronger...

  • Seafood is Alaska's top export, source of state's largest manufacturing base

    Laine Welch|Jul 23, 2020

    Most Alaskans are surprised to learn that seafood is by far Alaska’s top export, the source of the state’s largest manufacturing base and its #1 private employer. More surprising is that those simple to find facts are not included in the official trade sheet for Alaska provided by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The information on the USTR website, for example, incorrectly claims that petroleum and coal were Alaska’s top exports in 2018. But seafood has been state’s top export by far for decades. “Seafood comprises...

  • Corps to release review of Alaska mine project this week

    Jul 23, 2020

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to release its final environmental review of a proposed copper and gold mine near the headwaters of a major salmon fishery in southwest Alaska, a review a corps official says will inform a permit decision expected later this year. For years, the proposed Pebble Mine has been shrouded in controversy that release of the review expected Friday is unlikely to clear up. Some tribes, tribal groups, fishermen and others say the review has been rushed and is superficial. Tom Collier, CEO of t...

  • Cigarette butt cleanup

    Jul 23, 2020

    Liam Jackson shows off the cigarette butts he collected on July 16 as part of Petersburg Indian Association's Cigarette Butt Litter Cleanup. Jackson and other members of the community searched the downtown area, Petersburg Harbors, ball field and around the Petersburg Public Library for discarded cigarette butts....

  • Good hygiene, no social distancing

    Jul 23, 2020

    A buck on a Wrangell Narrows beach grooms itself on July 18, while a second buck pretends not to notice....

  • Letters to the Editor

    Jul 23, 2020

    Can't afford boondoggle To the Editor: Senator Stedman's diatribe defending his second road to nowhere is totally unpersuasive (Petersburg Pilot, July 2, 2020). His persistent opposition to public involvement smacks of a backroom deal gone wrong. But that does not matter. We simply cannot afford this boondoggle given Alaska's deficit spending and more pressing needs. This road was a last-minute addition to a capital budget done without adequate public hearings. True to form, Senator Stedman...

  • Editorial: Just lucky

    Ron Loesch Publisher|Jul 23, 2020

    2,132 Alaskans are reported infected with the Covid-19 virus along with 487 non-residents as of July 21. Petersburg has had zero active cases of COVID-19 since Thursday, July 17 according to Borough Incident Commander Karl Hagerman. We count ourselves among the lucky simply because we live on this isolated island. If we counted on elected officials for a long overdue permanent emergency ordinance, we'd be disappointed. The borough assembly by a vote of 4-3 decided to delay the final passage of...

  • Out for a walk

    Jul 23, 2020

    A family of bears forage for seaweed near Portage Bay on Kupreanof Island on July 17....

  • Sidewalk repair

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Lonely hunter

    Jul 23, 2020

    A lone wolf was seen chasing two deer at Blind Slough earlier this month. The deer were able to get away, but the wolf wandered around for a bit and stopped 35 feet in front of photographer Matt Gerrits to pose for some photos. It eventually walked away, slowly, and howled at Gerrits when it left....

  • Misty hike

    Jul 23, 2020

    The muskeg hole at the end of the Raven Trail is one of the highest points of the trail....

  • At the top

    Jul 23, 2020

    The end of the Raven Trail loops around a giant muskeg hole. To the right of the muskeg hole is a newly renovated section of the trail that features fresh gravel and concrete stairs....

  • Yesterday's News

    Jul 23, 2020

    July 23, 1920 The Petersburg City Council has decided to increase the present capacity of the light plant before the coming winter, the details to be decided at a later meeting when figures have been received from machinery houses. It was brought to the attention of the council that the present light plant is much too small to supply the present demand and that the engines are carrying a 25% overload at the present time, which will be greatly increased with the coming of winter. The finance committee reported that after going over the finances...

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