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Daily Sitka Sentinel Newspaper Archives Jun 8 2015, Page 1

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Daily Sitka Sentinel (Newspaper) - June 8, 2015, Sitka, Alaska 75 Cents Volume 76 No. 108 Sitka, Alaska Monday, June 8, 2015 6 Pages 7 Daily A h om S e - own e d i n ews t p a p e r s e k r v i n g S i t a k a s i n c e 1 9 4 S 0 • ww e w. s i t k a s n e n t i n e l . c om t / sitk i asenti n nel el 5 Years Sentinel Special Triple Crown Winner is golden Partly 54 º / 48 º Sunny Winds: NW 5- 10 MPH PAGE 2 Sitka Forecast for: June 9 - Wednesday, June 10 - Westerdam 7 a. m.- 3: 30 p. m. Crescent Harbor Total Passengers: 1,848 Halibut Bycatch Cut, And No One Is Happy Sitka’a Kalene Koelling tries to tag North Pole’s Karissa Ramos as she slides back to third base during the Alaska State Softball Championships at the South Davis Fields in Fairbanks on Friday. The Sitka girls won the state title. ( Photo by Erin Corneliussen, Fairbanks Daily News- Miner) FAIRBANKS ( AP) — State services like the pioneers’ home, the aerospace corporation and the agriculture division are among Alaska’s least important, according to participants in a budget conference held by Gov. Bill Walker. Those were the only three services identified as low priority Saturday dur ing the three- day conference at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, reports The Fairbanks Daily News- Miner ( http:// bit. ly/ 1F3bCTK ). Participants in the “ Building a Sustainable Future” event were asked to rank operations as critical, medium or low priority and review their current funding levels. Nearly every service was considered critical. “ That really tells you hard this is going to be,” said Department of Revenue Commissioner Randy Hoffbeck. “ People value the services government delivers and they’ve been delivered at very little cost.” He said the exercise generated $ 20 million worth of cuts. Conversation turned instead to how the state can continue funding the operations after oil prices plummeted. Just about every service of the Department of Health and Social Services was ranked as critical, aside from the Alaska Pioneers’ Homes, which participants said should serve more people. “ We’re one of the wealthiest states in the nation and what we might consider to be democratically desirable may not be politically possible,” said resident Bill Hall. “ But it’s only not politically possible if we aren’t willing to step up and say we’re willing to pay for something,” he continued. “ We’ve been getting a free ride, all of us here in this table, for a long time. We’re capable of paying for a lot more.” Hoffbeck presented about 30 different revenue options for people to consider, including income taxes, sales taxes, using the Permanent Fund as an endowment, reviewing oil and gas taxes and considering a state lottery. Cuts and fiscal restraint will be crit ical but cutting down to a sustainable budget will be impossible, said Hoffbeck. “ We get life, health and safety and support for life, health and safety and little more than that,” he said. “ That’s what we get for $ 2 billion. That’s a balanced budget.” “ To cut our way to a balanced budget, that is just not a reasonable expectation,” said Hoffbeck. Alaskans Rank 3 State Services As Low Priority OPEN HOUSE – Carol Odess, at left, listens to presentations in the Odess Theater during a dedication and open house ceremony for the Richard H. Allen Memorial Hall Sunday. Odess donated major funding and her time in the effort to restore the 1910 SJ campus centerpiece building. The theater, the main performance space for the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, bears the name of Carol and her late husband, Jack Odess. The couple forged a relationship with Sitka when they came here in 2003 on their way to vacation at the Baranof Wilderness Lodge. The completed theater will be the venue for Fine Arts Camp performances by faculty and students as the summer camps get under way this week. ( Sentinel Photo by James Poulson) By TOM HESSE Sentinel Staff Writer The Sitka High softball team didn’t let a lot of time pass between titles. One year removed from a run of four straight championships, the Wolves are again the best in the state after blowing through the competition in Fairbanks this past weekend. Sitka made short work of the three teams they played, winning each of the games via the run rule. “ Our girls peaked at the right time and that really was all it was,” said coach Jael McDarty. “ They were playing great when it counted and no one could touch them.” Sitka won the small schools title Saturday in consecutive blowout wins over Ketchikan. In the first game Elle Gray threw a six- inning shutout, allowing three hits and no walks. By having Gray throw a complete game against Ketchikan in the early meeting Saturday, McCary was able to save Zoe Krupa for the championship game later that afternoon. SHS State Softball Title Makes It 5 Out of 6 “ Elle’s ability to go the distance against Ketchikan in that first game was huge for us. We were able to rest Zoe and have her available for the second game, and they had to throw tired arms,” McCarty said. Sitka won the early game 10- 0. Kyla Young drove in 4 runs, including on a home run in the sixth inning. Gray and Hailey Denkinger each drove in 3 runs on the game. After the loss, Ketchikan played Homer for a chance to face Sitka again. In the afternoon championship Sitka opened with 10 runs in the first three innings. Grey drove in Sid Riggs to break a 2- 2 deadlock in the second inning followed by a 2- run single by Young. In the third, Riggs hit a 2 RBI single with the bases loaded. Denkinger then added a double to score 2 more runs. Grey started the game on the mound but Krupa came in to pitch four innings, allowing 4 runs. In the fourth inning Ketchikan’s Martha Bullock and Jasmine Nedzwecky homered to shrink the margin to 10- 6. In the bottom of the fourth inning Sitka got 2 more runs back and then in the bottom of the fifth Kelcie Von - Scheerschmidt put the championship away with a 2- run single that triggered the 8- run rule after five innings. Sitka’s 14- 6 win was the most runs Sitka gave up in a single game for the tournament. In fact, Sitka outscored their opponents 43- 9 for the title. That success followed a regular season that ended with two conference losses to Ketchikan. McCarty said a big part of the championship run was getting the team’s individual pieces to move in sync. “ They stopped focusing on individual stats and individual recognition and realized that you can’t win the state championship without contributions from everyone on the roster,” McCarty said. “ The biggest change was just the fact that they started being a team. It took us so many conversations and practices to split apart some of the cliques and be who we needed to be to win.” McCarty added that the team’s hitting strength has been apparent all season but it wasn’t until this weekend that she felt like the defense rallied behind the pitchers. “ Fielding had been an issue for us this season. We’ve always had the bats up and down the lineup but this tournament we played great defense and we helped our pitchers out and that made the difference,” she said. Sitka downed Homer 9- 1 to open the tournament. Krupa struck out seven batters and allowed five hits in seven innings. The Wolves then beat North Pole 10- 2 to set up a meeting with Ketchikan Saturday. The softball state championship comes on the heels of Sitka’s state championship in girls basketball in March. Riggs, Gray, Denkinger, Young, Kalene Koelling, Krupa and Maraelia Romine were all on the state championship basketball roster. “ That’s a pretty cool way to end the By TOM HESSE Sentinel Staff Writer Bycatch limits for Bering Sea halibut are dropping but proponents of the cuts say it’s not enough to make a difference. The North Pacific Fishery Manage ment Council voted 6- 3 here Sunday to reduce the Prohibited Species Catch ( PSC) in the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands area by around 21 percent – less than half what proponents were calling for. The Amendment 80 trawl sector is taking the biggest hit at a 25 percent reduction, and overall the bycatch limit is dropping from 4,426 metric tons to 3,515. The new limit, to go into effect in 2016, is higher than this sector’s actual bycatch in 2014, which was 3,406 tons. Jeff Kauffman is a resident of St. Paul island, a community heavily de pendent on the directed halibut fish ery. Because of declines in exploitable biomass, directed fishermen have seen their halibut quotas drop, and Kauffman and other St. Paul representatives complained continued trawler bycatch levels could result in the Bering Sea di rected fishery being closed. “ Right now I’m just feeling incredibly emotional and disappointed,” Kauffman told the Sentinel after the council’s decision. Kauffman served on the NPFMC Advisory Panel, which had proposed steeper bycatch reductions prior to the management council’s decision. Jeff Farvour, a Sitka fisherman who also served on the advisory panel but speak ing as a fisherman, he said the decision did nothing for the immediate protec tion of Bering Sea halibut fishermen. “ The decision is meaningless. It prioritizes halibut bycatch over the historic halibut fisheries, prioritizes in dustrial corporate fisheries over Alaska halibut dependent fishing communities – over those who depend on halibut for food and livelihood,” Farvour said. During deliberations, Council member Duncan Fields received applause after remarking on the vote to the decidedly pro- reduction crowd at Centennial Hall. Fields, who voted against the motion, attacked the decision to cut bycatch limits by only 21 percent, and said that while he understood concerns about bycatch limits hurting commercial trawlers, bigger cuts were needed. “ As a whole, Americans would clearly and without hesitation embrace the request of halibut fishermen from St. Paul and other Alaskan communities to maintain their directed halibut fishery by implementing a much larger reduction in BSAI halibut bycatch.” But it’s not just proponents of the cuts who are unhappy. Representatives from the Amendment 80 sector spoke extensively during public testimony about what impact the cuts would have. Many captains said that at 25 percent, some boats would have to stop fish ing. “ If we reach 25 percent, our vessel will most likely be tied to the dock,” Steve Doremus, a captain on the Amendment 80 trawler F/ V Cape Horn told the Council on Saturday. Continued on back page Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten, left, reads his statement about the necessity to protect the halibut resource in the Ber ing Sea. Cotten and other members of the North Pacific Fisheries Man agement Council lowered the allowable halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea, Sunday afternoon. ( Sentinel Photo by James Poulson) Continued on page 4 Assembly Faces Package of Economy Measures By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer Rate hikes, tax increases, propos als to cut funding for some nonprofits and a proposal to reorganize the Sitka Community Hospital Board are up for consideration at Tuesday’s regular Assembly meeting. An increased commitment to the Sitka schools and cutbacks in funding from the state and federal governments have left the city $ 1 million short of balancing the fiscal year 2016 budget. City Administrator Mark Gorman has proposed, as an item of new business, “ discussion/ direction/ decision” on a package of revenue items that will “ achieve a FY2016 balanced budget.” “ If the Assembly approves these operational reductions, there will be no need to pass additional revenue ordinance in the immediate future,” Gorman wrote in a memo to the Assembly. “ This will allow time for more deliberate and engaged conversations with the community about service levels, budget sustainability and the most appropriate revenue streams to support our current service levels.” The recommendations assume that the Assembly will give final approval to ordinances later on the agenda that would double the tobacco tax and raise the taxable amount of any single purchase to $ 3,000, which is double the current cap. His proposal would raise $ 300,000 – among other actions – by taking more out of the Sitka permanent fund than originally budgeted, cut $ 100,000 in grants to nonprofits, reduce library hours by eight hours a week, and cut the snow removal budget. The proposed cuts to nonprofits does not include the city’s contributions to SAFV, The Ride bus service, the Sitka Historical Society, the Senior Center and Sitka Economic Develop ment Association. “ If the financial picture improves during the 2016 budget year, the Assembly will have the opportunity to consider restoring some of these reductions,” Gorman said. The jam- packed agenda for Tuesday night also includes a public hearing on ordinances to increase monthly water and wastewater rates, by $ 3.54 and $ 2.48 respectively, and a ballot question to increase the property tax rate limit from six to seven mills. “ The City and Borough of Sitka Assembly intends to use the revenues gained from such an increased property tax millage rate to support the Sitka School District,” the purpose section of the ordinance states. The proposal relating to Sitka Community Hospital Board states that the present board would be dissolved, and a new one formed with five vot ing members. One would be appointed by the Assembly from the city’s senior staff ( no term limit), one with profes sional financial experience ( three- year term); and one with professional medical experience ( three- year term). The other two would be community members at large who would serve twoyear terms. Currently the Assembly appoints all members of the board but there are no special qualifications or term limits. “ The Assembly, through passage of this ordinance, has determined that Sitka Community Hospital will be better served by dissolving the existing board Continued on back page

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