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KFSK looks back on 2022

KFSK station. (Photograph by Rachel Cassandra)

Because the yr attracts to an in depth, it’s a time to look again on a chock-full 2022. Right here’s a overview of the yr’s occasions in Petersburg. 

It was a really snowy January in and round Petersburg. Municipal employees spent days and nights shifting toes of snow from roadways. Buildings at the Petersburg School District sustained $245,000 in damages from heavy snowloads on roof tops. College was closed on the center and excessive faculties throughout the first week of January whereas dozens of volunteers helped shovel the snow. Leaks on the faculties continued into February however some areas needed to wait till the summer season months to be mounted. 

Petersburg Excessive College was coated in toes of snow and ice in early January. (Photograph by Angela Denning/KFSK)

The small group of Whale Pass on nothern Prince of Wales Island was trying to recover from unexpected heavy snowfall. The group bought 100 inches of snow in December, which broken some buildings in January. 

Petersburg Borough’s mask mandate ended in January. The native regulation required face coverings in indoor public areas and had been in place since early November. 

Additionally in January, ATVs and other all purpose vehicles became legal to drive on any street with a speed limit of under 45 miles an hour. The state regulation took impact in January. Native governments have been allowed to decide out however Petersburg’s meeting didn’t. Police chief Jim Kerr mentioned that ATVs wanted to be registered and insured and can be handled like different automobiles.

In February, the first Séet Ká Festival took place in Petersburg. The competition was devoted to cultural consciousness and uplifting Indigenous residents. It featured  a number of workshops with artists and tradition bearers from across the area. 

(L-R) Avery Herrman-Sakamoto, Kanik Corinne James, and Daxkilatch / Sheeyik Kolene James drum on the Séet Ká Competition in Petersburg, Feb. 14. (Photograph by Angela Denning/KFSK)

In March, the Petersburg School District ended its requirement for mask wearing. The college district eased into loosening mitigation measures. They stopped contact tracing for college kids and workers in January. In February, they began a system of masking that loosened it when instances have been low.

Petersburg’s borough assembly approved pay increases and incentive payments for police officers and dispatchers. The modifications have been meant to maintain staff already on the drive and appeal to others to fill jobs in a short-staffed division. New hires would additionally get a $2500 incentive recruitment cost.

SEARHC leadership met with Petersburg Medical Center to discuss the future of local healthcare.The CEO of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Well being Consortium mentioned his group was open to speaking about any position in the way forward for Petersburg’s well being care. He mentioned if SEARHC grew to become the native supplier it might purpose to match or improve well being care, nonetheless it might possible produce other jobs like IT, finance and human useful resource elsewhere. The 2 organizations mentioned they hoped to proceed speaking.

Vietnam Veterans and their families in Petersburg were honored at a special ceremony as a part of Vietnam Veterans Day. Alaska army dignitaries, household and buddies attended the occasion at the highschool gymnasium. 

In April, Petersburg’s harbor rates increased. Petersburg’s borough meeting permitted a 5 % improve to moorage charges in addition to hikes for lots of the different charges. It was the most recent in a sequence of charge hikes for borough companies. 

Children play exterior as a part of Kinder Skog, a state-licensed academic nature program in Petersburg. (Photograph courtesy of Kinder Skog)

Petersburg’s borough assembly approved the creation of a task force to look into child care and early education needs in the community. Youngster care suppliers and oldsters had requested the municipal authorities to take steps to assist with low wages and excessive turnover for employees and lack of obtainable spots for kids.

The commercial herring fishery in Sitka Sound wrapped up in April with its largest harvest on record. The Alaska Division of Fish and Sport estimates the catch totaled over 26,350 tons.

Additionally in April, Petersburg’s long-time secondary principal, Rick Dormer, announced he had taken a job at Ketchikan High School. He completed out the college yr in Petersburg earlier than shifting.

And the U.S. Coast Guard announced its cutter Anacapa was leaving Petersburg after 32 years. The vessel carried out fisheries regulation enforcement, rescues and patrols in Southeast Alaska. The Coast Guard deliberate to reassign the vessel after an overhaul. 

In Could, a younger Petersburg swimmer took gold on the Junior Olympics meet in Anchorage. Tori Miller finished first in the 50 butterfly within the 10 and below division. 

Junior Olympics swimmers from Petersburg: (Left – Proper) Logan Tow, Lexie Tow, Brooklyn Whitethorn, Lucia Worhatch, Tory Miller. The meet was held April 21-24 in Anchorage.(Photograph by Coach Scott Burt)

The Alaska Legislature approved $20 million in federal funding for a new Petersburg Medical and Public Health Center. That adopted $8 million in funding earlier within the yr within the federal omnibus invoice. A brand new medical heart campus has been estimated to value between $90 and $110 million. CEO Phil Hofstetter mentioned the funding can be used for the primary part of the venture, getting it shovel prepared.  That would come with a web site choice, an environmental research, and the entire planning and design.

And Petersburg met its new middle and high school principal, Ambler Moss, who visited city for the primary time. He’d been a principal within the Los Angeles and San Diego space, and had additionally been an educator in Guatemala, Myanmar and western Alaska.  

In June, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Pike arrived in Petersburg for fisheries and search and rescue patrols round Southeast. The 87-foot Pike was in-built 2005 and had been stationed in San Francisco.It changed the Anacapa.

US Coast Guard Vessel Cutter Pike. (Photograph by KFSK)

And after 21 years on the Petersburg Fireplace Division, Sandy Dixon retired.The borough spent months changing her because the Fireplace and EMS Director, lastly hiring native resident, Aaron Hankins within the fall.

In July, chum salmon filled the OBI Seafoods processing plant. Catches from a number of hatcheries have been delivered on the similar time. Cannery employees averaged 17-hour shifts to maintain up with a quantity they are saying they’ve by no means seen earlier than.

Petersburg’s Parks and Rec Department started up a triathlon club. The coaching consists of spin lessons, swim classes, group runs and bike rides. The membership held its first annual mini-triathlon in October made up of a 500 yard swim within the pool,10 mile bike experience on Mitkof Freeway and a 4 mile run.

The Dungeness crab fishery took a dive in both harvest and price. The summer season fishery closed two weeks early due to low numbers. Costs plummeted from about $4.20 a pound to about $2.80. 

In August, native police started writing tickets to residents who were ignoring garbage laws. Like most years, bears had been entering into trash. The borough began implementing its regulation that requires residents to make a “affordable effort” to safe rubbish. 

And the Petersburg Borough formed a housing task force. The group is tasked with on the lookout for options to a scarcity of obtainable dwelling area. Lack of housing was famous in Petersburg’s 2016 complete plan and it was cited because the number one workforce problem for Southeast businesses in a 2022 survey.

Two of Petersburg’s Borough Assembly members were unseated within the October election. Jeigh Stanton Gregor served on the meeting for 8.5 years and Tremblay for 3 years. The brand new meeting members are Donna Marsh and Scott Newman. Marsh mentioned she needed so as to add a conservative perspective to the meeting. And Scott Newman is a small enterprise proprietor who hopes to unite the group. Each disapproved of how the Borough responded to the COVID pandemic. October additionally noticed the creation of a Petersburg Borough housing job drive. 

Additionally in October, Petersburg resident Don Koenigs filed a lawsuit towards the Petersburg Borough and Clerk Debra Thompson relating to entry to Borough data. The Borough Meeting selected representation by means of an out of doors regulation agency for that lawsuit. The Borough will face a second lawsuit from Chief of Police James Kerr. Each lawsuits are at present in progress.

A Petersburg Landslide damages infrastructure. (Photograph by Jared Popp)

A landslide about 5 miles south of Petersburg triggered an influence outage on Halloween afternoon. The landslide despatched a stack of bushes and particles throughout Mitkof Freeway, the primary highway on the island. It took out one SEAPA pole and broken a second—impacting a number of utilities. The landslide took out energy strains, a phone line, and two fiber optic cables. Petersburg Energy and Mild labored with SEAPA workforce members across the clock to make repairs for thirty hours. They’d extra assist from Public Works and native building corporations.  

Petersburg noticed excessive in-person turnout for the midterm elections. Within the U.S. Senate race, Petersburg voters supported Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who in the end misplaced the race. Within the U.S. Consultant race, Petersburg largely supported incumbent Democrat Mary Peltola by a big margin, just like statewide outcomes. Within the Home District Two race, Petersburg selected Republican Kenny Karl Skaflestad over Unbiased Rebecca Himschoot. In the end, Himschoot gained that election and can characterize Petersburg and the remainder of district two in Juneau in January. 

In November, the Petersburg theater group The Mitkof Mummers brought audiences *over the rainbow and down the rabbit gap* with their manufacturing of ‘Dorothy in Wonderland.’ The play is a mashup with characters from each Alice and Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. It was their first full-audience present because the starting of COVID. 

Petersburg Excessive College noticed an increase of vaping this yr, which they mentioned as a group within the late fall. The college is responding by monitoring toilet breaks and putting in vape detectors in bogs. They revised their nicotine insurance policies with assist from the American Lung Affiliation and are planning to assist college students who’re caught vaping with dependancy schooling as a substitute of punishments when potential. 

Teen peer educator Jade, in a nonetheless from a nicotine schooling video in collaboration with RurAL CAP. (Screenshot courtesy of Charlie Ess)

November introduced early, high numbers of flu, covid, and RSV to Petersburg and its faculties. Many college students have been out sick. And so many academics have been sick that the elementary faculty had to cut 4 days of their after-school recess program on the finish of November. They are going to take into account restarting this system once more in March. 

In November and December, two swimmers within the Viking swim membership broke records. 10-year-old Tori Miller and 8-year-old Jackson Zweifel each broke swim data of their age lessons. Miller for butterfly and Zeifel for breast stroke. 

Petersburg wrestling additionally noticed major victories this yr on the state event in December. The workforce got here in first for Division two and senior Kyle Biggers was state champion for his weight class. 

Petersburg is getting a brand new electronic fingerprint machine. The machine guarantees to assist the city with regulation enforcement, hiring new staff, and the childcare disaster. It can scale back wait occasions for hiring employees. 

In late December, Petersburg’s Borough Meeting permitted $40,000 in funding to begin an early childhood educator incentive program. The funds have been requested by the borough’s Early Childhood Schooling Process Drive. The cash was already earmarked for the duty drive and got here from federal grant cash given to the borough for COVID aid. This system will give cash to early childhood educators persevering with their very own research.

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