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Petersburg Pilot Homepage

Week of July 11, 2024

Ceremony welcomes Hutli totem pole to Sandy Beach

Orin Pierson

Representatives of Petersburg Indian Association (PIA) and the Hutli committee and members of the Séet Ká Kwáan Dancers welcomed the public to witness the unveiling of the story totem pole at Sandy Beach Park on July 5. The totem pole was created by Tlingit carver Fred Fulmer Sr., Saat-Kaa, of Everett, WA - commissioned by PIA for the Hutli project. "Hutli is a Tlingit work roughly translated to Thunderbird and the thundering sound of the wings," Brenda Louise told the sizeable crowd on hand...

Catholic Church takes first steps towards rebuilding

Liam Demko

The St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church applied for two conditional use permits during the Petersburg Borough Planning Commission's regular meeting on Tuesday. Spearheaded by Juneau architect Rich Conneen - who attended the meeting remotely - both permits were approved by the Planning Commission, giving the church approval to construct a church in the same single-family residential lot it previously occupied, as well as allowing use of the parking lot at 306 N 3rd St. for required...

Petersburg Borough develops tiny home designs in hopes of easing housing market

Hannah Flor

Petersburg has a tight housing market - last year a survey found the town would need an additional 300 homes in the next decade. But a new local program aims to make it easier for people to add small homes, also known as Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, to their property. The Borough of Petersburg has developed detailed, pre-permitted blueprints that are available to residents free of charge. Community Development Director Liz Cabrera said she hopes it provides people with affordable, doable...

Ordinance on future sales tax exemption changes fails in final reading

Orin Pierson

Ordinance 2024-11 — to place before voters an amendment to the borough charter to remove the requirement of voter ratification for future changes to sales tax exemptions — failed in its final reading at the July 1 assembly meeting. Borough Finance Director Jody Tow explained during the prior assembly meeting that, if passed, this change would be helpful during times of unknown state revenues to free up the assembly to act more flexibly and quickly to resolve budgetary issues. Petersburg is...

Transformer blows in downtown sidewalk vault, causes brief power outage in Petersburg

Orin Pierson

A power outage affected downtown Petersburg on Wed., July 10 from around 10:30 a.m. until around noon. The outage was caused by a transformer failing in its vault located in the sidewalk on Excel Street near the Hammer & Wikan Hardware store, Petersburg Utility Director Karl Hagerman told the Pilot. Smoke was observed coming out of the sidewalk vault after the transformer's failure, causing some concern to bystanders. The power went out when the transformer fault tripped the breaker for the...

Pedal/Paddle Battle aims to raise $24,000 to support local education and medical employees

Aiden Luhr

The Pedal/Paddle battle will be returning for its 10th year in Petersburg, Alaska. After raising $20,400 for education in 2023, the Petersburg Medical Center is aiming higher this time. "Our goal this year is $24,000 because it's 2024, we're shooting big," Community Wellness Manager Julie Walker said. In 2023, PMC gave out four scholarships, three to Petersburg High School graduates and one to a PMC nursing student. However, there's more to these scholarships. "We can offer a lot of money to...

Oregon State University researchers bring Petersburg's seventh grade students to LeConte Glacier

Aiden Luhr

Located midway down the Southeast panhandle is LeConte Glacier. Since the 1980s, Petersburg has sent high school students to LeConte Glacier to measure how it has shifted over time. The late Paul Bowen conducted the first survey in 1983 and it has been a community-driven science study since. On June 14, 2024, a group of 7th-grade students got to go out to LeConte Glacier with Oregon State University scientists. This was somewhat of a rare occurrence as Glaciologist Erin Pettit and Oceanographer...

Gov. Dunleavy vetoes millions intended to solve Alaska's federal education funding equity dispute

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed the funds state legislators set aside to settle a dispute between Alaska’s education officials and their federal counterparts over whether the state spent pandemic relief equitably. State legislators included $11.89 million in the operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year to allow the state to comply with the federal government’s grant requirements and recover its good standing under federal guidelines. Dunleavy vetoed that money because it is unclear...

Workforce shortages and inflation are key challenges for Alaska's small businesses, new survey says

Barbara Norton

Inflation, operating costs and workforce shortages are the most common challenges facing small businesses in Alaska, according to a new survey. The Alaska Small Business Development Center survey tracks small business growth in the state and projects future trends. This is the seventh annual report. Inflation was most frequently cited as the top issue facing Alaska’s small businesses. However, survey respondents identified inflation as an issue for businesses more broadly, rather than an... Full story

Senate president criticizes governor's veto of seafood marketing funds

alaska beacon

Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed $10 million in funding for the state agency charged with marketing Alaska seafood, with the message that he would “re-evaluate future funding needs after development of a marketing plan.” That doesn’t make sense to the state Senate president. “Waiting doesn’t help at all,” said Sen. Gary Stevens, from the commercial fishing hub of Kodiak. “It’s a very shortsighted view of the industry. Now is the time to help it out, not to just delay things,” Stevens... Full story

New seafood buyer with big plans starts small in Metlakatla

Anna Laffrey, Ketchikan Daily News

An emerging seafood company is preparing to purchase its first loads of pink and chum salmon from a handful of seine boats in Metlakatla this summer while also building a high-tech floating freezer barge at a Washington shipyard that the company plans to operate in Southeast Alaska next year. Circle Seafoods, which was founded by Pat Glaab, Charlie Campbell and Eren Shultz, is renting out a portion of the Metlakatla Indian Community’s Annette Island Packing Co. plant this year while starting...

Bearfest in Wrangell comes out of hibernation starting July 24

Mark C. Robinson

WRANGELL - Bearfest is returning for its 15th year on July 24 – 28. The annual event is dedicated to bears and the surrounding environment, where attendees can enjoy symposiums, cultural and educational activities, art and photo workshops, fine dining, marathons, a bear safety session and more. In two of the workshops, kids and families are invited to create bear-themed ornaments to decorate the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and smaller companion trees that will represent Alaska in Washington,...

The Full PDF of this week's Petersburg Pilot

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  • Rebecca Fisher wins gold at the 2024 Indigenous Summer Games

    Aiden Luhr

    Petersburg's Rebecca Fisher, a 17-year old competitor in Native Youth Olympics, brought home a gold medal this month from the 2024 Indigenous Summer Games in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. In addition to winning gold, Fisher also claimed two silver and two bronze medals. To qualify for the Summer Games in Canada, Fisher first competed at the Traditional Games in Juneau, Alaska. When Fisher found out she qualified, she thought she was being pranked. "I was getting ready for my...

  • Guest Editorial: State's 'what if' lawsuit doesn't much add up

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel publisher

    The state of Alaska, with all the legal wisdom of a political agenda and the flowing words of a high-priced law firm, has filed a claim against the federal government. Nothing new about that — the state has filed and signed onto more lawsuits against the national government in recent years than President Joe Biden has forgotten dates or former President Donald Trump has told lies. Nothing to be proud of in any of that. The state’s latest legal endeavor came July 2 in a dubious lawsuit — with a few errors and omissions for poor measure...

  • Obituary: Curtis D. Wallin January 14, 1972 - March 15, 2024

    Curtis D. Wallin passed away on March 15th, 2024 after losing his battle with Liver disease. He was born on January 14th, 1972 in Oregon City, Oregon to Charles Wallin and Eleanor "Elly" Wallin. He moved to Petersburg on April 13, 1979 with his mother Eleanor Hegar and his step-father Jerry Hegar. Curt lived in Petersburg and graduated from Petersburg High School in 1990. He moved to Ketchikan where he lived and worked as a mechanic and handyman, but his real passion was working in the Tourist... Full story

  • Police report

    July 3 – An officer conducted extra patrols. Petersburg Police Department (PPD) received a report of a lost iphone. An officer responded to a parking complaint on Gjoa Street, contacted the owner and the vehicle was moved. An officer conducted a welfare check on Chief John Lott Street. An officer received a report of online stalking. PPD received a report of an intoxicated person walking with a child and determined it was unfounded. An officer assisted with a lockout on South Nordic Drive. An officer educated juveniles on the importance of...

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