Articles written by Kyle Clayton


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  • Federal grant will help determine if a squid fishery can work in Southeast

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News Haines|Aug 2, 2023

    Which came first, the magister squid fishery or the magister squid market? A Juneau charter fishing operator was recently awarded a $230,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to find out, and fishermen might soon have a chance to diversify in the face of declining fish stocks and high barriers to entry in other markets. "It's the chicken and the egg. Do you start researching how to catch them or if there's a market?" said Richard Yamada, who has dedicated the past...

  • Stolen money from Haines Senior Center windowsill unfolds at pot shop

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News|Mar 15, 2023

    Haines police have connected a suspect to a Senior Center break-in after locating stolen tightly folded, pyramid-shaped $2 bills that had decorated a windowsill and were later spent at the local pot shop. "They busted out the window, ransacked the office and took all the donation money, plus the money that was in my drawer," said Senior Center manager Cari O'Daniel. She said the burglar stole between $300 to $400, personal checks, and 21 of the $2 bills folded into pyramid shapes that decorated...

  • Entomologists searching to learn more about bumblebees in Alaska

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News|Sep 7, 2022

    A couple armed with bug nets wading through roadside fireweed were searching for bumblebees in the Chilkat Valley north of Haines earlier this month as part of a research effort to see if the Western Bumblebee’s range includes Alaska. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists are considering proposing that the species be added to the endangered species list. “It’s disappeared over a big chunk of its former range which stretched from California out to some of the western states and all the way up into British Columbia at about 55 degrees north...

  • Ukrainian refugee flees to Haines to live with daughter

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News|Apr 20, 2022

    Of the more than 4.8 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country since Russia's invasion started in late February, one, an 82-year-old woman from Odessa, is now living in the Upper Chilkat Valley with no return ticket home. Alla Blazhko-Getman is living with her daughter and son-in-law, Natalia and Hans Baertle, at 26 Mile Haines Highway. Natalia Baertle, a former high school teacher in Ukraine who moved to Alaska in 2010 after marrying, said she attempted to fly her mother out of...

  • Juneau charter operator thinks squid may be eating young salmon

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News|Feb 23, 2022

    A Juneau-based fishing charter and lodge owner has a hunch that a viable commercial squid fishery could exist in Southeast. Richard Yamada, who's been operating fishing charters for 40 years, has been looking for ways to reduce the damage to his business as king salmon numbers decline. He speculates that an influx of magister squid in the northern Inside Passage might be one factor affecting salmon survival. About 15 years ago. while fishing for rockfish, he and his clients caught a magister...

  • Disney music video features Klukwan songwriter

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News - Haines|Jan 6, 2022

    Klukwan resident and Diné (Navajo) artist Clara Natonabah wrote and sang a Navajo song that was featured in a Disney Junior Shake Your Tale with Chip 'N Dale music video. The song, titled "Hózhóogoo Dahwiit'áál" (We Will Sing in Beauty), was released on YouTube and appears in the cartoon where the popular Disney cartoon characters dance to Natonabah's song. Natonabah was chosen by Disney to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November. "I was asked to participate for this mini...

  • Siri saves Haines man trapped under icy woodpile

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News|Jan 21, 2021

    HAINES – Mark Kelly, 50, manager of the Funny Farm lodge north of Haines relied on a weak Wi-Fi signal and his iPhone’s Siri voice command app to call for help after he was buried and pinned underneath a pile of snow, ice and firewood on Jan. 4. Kelly was listening to a podcast and collecting firewood to feed the boiler of the lodge on Mosquito Lake Road, 30 miles north of Haines, at around 11:30 p.m. Several feet of ice and snow had collected on the woodpile to the point that a cornice had developed. Kelly, a former heliski guide who has bee...

  • Anchorage retiree remembers kindness and repays Haines

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News|Jan 7, 2021

    Wally Smith, 83, a retired industrial arts teacher in Anchorage, donated $1,000 to Haines disaster relief efforts last month because he “had a kindness to repay to those who were kind to me” during a trip to the Southeast community in 1964. Smith was responding to the Dec. 2 mudslide that killed two people, damaged homes and stunned the Lynn Canal community. Back in 1964, Smith was on his way to the Haines ferry terminal bound for the Lower 48, where he would attend graduate school in Colorado. While driving through Canada, a fellow tea...

  • Christmas lights

    Kyle Clayton, Chilkat Valley News|Dec 17, 2020

    Local business 56 North decorated with Christmas lights and other decorations. As the holiday season nears, many businesses and homes have decorated to bring some cheer to the season....

  • Petersburg police make several meth busts

    Kyle Clayton|Jun 16, 2016

    PETERSBURG – Local, state and federal law enforcement made two arrests last week associated with the possession and distribution of methamphetamine. After the Petersburg Court issued a warrant June 6, police searched 214 North Nordic Drive Apt # 5 and found suspect Mao Sovanmony, 43, hiding in a closet. “In the closet where Mao was hiding, a knife was found, multiple baggies, a scale and more packaged suspected methamphetamine,” a criminal complaint states. “The total weight of methamphetamine recovered was approximately 60.00 grams. Officer...

  • Harbor video may help track meteor path over Petersburg

    Kyle CLayton and Ron Loesch|Dec 10, 2015

    PETERSBURG ­–­ Petersburg Harbor video surveillance footage may confirm a meteor did pass over Petersburg in the early morning hours of Sat., Nov. 21. Eyewitness reports placed the fireball at times ranging between 2:22 a.m. to 2:33 a.m. Petersburg Harbor video surveillance footage shows a bright flash of light lasting for two seconds on nearly all its camera feeds at 2:25 a.m. The Petersburg Public Library video camera also captured images of a bright flash of light at exactly the same time. Johnson Space Center NASA scientist Marc Fries poi...

  • NASA scientist cites evidence for meteor plummeting over Petersburg

    Kyle Clayton|Dec 3, 2015

    (Updated November 28, 2015 @ 2:35 p.m.) PETERSBURG – Amongst the rumors and speculation pulsing through Petersburg’s streets and social media news feeds last weekend, a Johnson Space Center NASA scientist points to data that suggests a falling meteor shook Mitkof Island last Saturday morning, which could mean many Petersburg residents woke up to the flash of a fireball and the blast of a sonic boom. John Havrilek witnessed what he described as a blinding streak of light and the sound of an explosion. “It was amazing,” Havrilek said. “I was...

  • UFA Board meets in Petersburg

    Kyle Clayton|Nov 5, 2015

    PETERSBURG – United Fisherman of Alaska members gathered in Petersburg last week when it conducted its 2015 Fall Board Meeting. Board members representing 35 Alaska commercial fishing organizations began their meeting Tuesday Oct. 27 where representatives of Governor Mallott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, University of Alaska Anchorage and other independent commercial fishing agencies gave presentations to the board. Much of the time was devoted to internal discussion regarding seafood industry taxes and fees and was not open to the p...

  • Canadian fisheries staff move fish across blockage in Stikine tributary

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 24, 2014

    Canadian officials are airlifting Chinook and sockeye salmon over a landslide that caused a barrier to salmon passage in the Tahltan River, a tributary of the Stikine. Steve Gotch, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) director for the Yukon and Northwestern British Columbia, said the landslide occurred about a half mile up the Tahltan on May 20. The river is roughly 120 miles upstream of the Stikine, but the salmon that swim up it provide harvests for Southeast Alaskan and Canadian commercial and...

  • No criminal charges yet filed against man injured by explosives

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 24, 2014

    PETERSBURG – A 59-year-old Petersburg man was injured Sunday afternoon in the borough rock quarry after handling what explosive experts have identified as Tovex — a commercial grade explosive typically used for blasting in quarries, mines and road construction. An individual called 911 around 1 p.m. reporting the injured man lying outside of the Petersburg Medical Center Emergency Room and informed dispatchers he could have been injured by dynamite, a Petersburg Police press release states. “The injured person was able to speak to staff at th...

  • Petersburg Assembly approves Thomas Bay Power Authority transfer

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 24, 2014

    PETERSBURG — The Petersburg Borough Assembly authorized Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht to sign off on the agreement between the Petersburg Borough, the City and Borough of Wrangell and the Thomas Bay Power Authority (TBPA) that transitions operation and maintenance of the Tyee Hydro Lake facility to Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA). The four bodies have been negotiating the agreement since last year when the Petersburg assembly voted not to fund its share of a portion of the TBPA budget labeled non-net billable—a bill Petersburg and Wra...

  • Thomas Bay Power Authority Commission terminates general manager

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 17, 2014

    The Thomas Bay Power Authority (TBPA) Commission terminated TBPA General Manager Michael Nicholls' contract with three months of severance pay after months of lack of communication from him to the commission. TBPA, the organization responsible for operation and maintenance of the Tyee Hydroelectric Plant that provides power to Petersburg and Wrangell, is undergoing negotiations to transfer its operations to Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA). Commission members hadn't been receiving...

  • New superintendent meets community, prepares for school year

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 17, 2014

    Incoming Wrangell School District Superintendent Patrick Mayer is busy meeting residents and preparing for his first school year when State mandated education standards will change the curriculum and teacher evaluations. “A big part of my job is getting to know the people in the community,” Mayer said. “There’s a lot of things to do always, but in particular our focus is going to be transitioning to Alaska’s new standards in language arts and math and to implement a new teacher evaluation system.” It’s a big task that requires a collaborative...

  • Assembly to spruce up downtown and advance marine service project

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 17, 2014

    The Wrangell Assembly approved bids for two projects at a special meeting last week. The assembly will use Commercial Passenger Vessel excise tax funds to purchase $22,340 worth of new park benches and waste receptacles that will be installed in town. “We’re are going to put them in the downtown area, mainly along Front Street, to match the theme of our older-style light poles,” said City and Borough of Wrangell Manager Jeff Jabusch. Graber Manufacturing out of Waunakee, Wis. bid the lowest, and the borough will receive the equipment from...

  • Grand jury indicts suspected heroin dealer

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 17, 2014

    PETERSBURG – A grand jury indicted Christafur Morrell, 19, for two out of the three charges Petersburg Police filed against him related to heroin distribution last week. Police seized around $75,000 worth of heroin last Thursday after arresting Morrell, of Des Moines, Wash., on multiple felony charges. The grand jury indicted Morrell with Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute and Possession of Heroin. The prosecuting attorney dropped the third charge: Maintaining a Dwelling Used for Distribution of a Controlled Substance. Police C...

  • New B&B opening in Wrangell

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 17, 2014

    Christie Jamieson and Bruce Jamieson are spending their summer opening Squawking Raven Bed & Breakfast. Christie Jamieson said she and her husband have been thinking about turning their home at 612 Zimovia Highway into a bed and breakfast for a few years now. "We've had an empty nest for four years," Christie Jamieson said. "The house just seems to get bigger. We had two spare bedrooms. It's a labor of love. We've been kicking the idea around for the past couple of years, and I can't believe...

  • Seine fishery closes harvest area

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 17, 2014

    The Southeast Seine fishery is performing as expected despite a closure last week, said Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) biologist Dan Gray. “As expected, we have a fairly low pink salmon forecast and it’s early yet in the development of that run, but it looks like what we thought,” Gray said. In the Hidden Falls terminal harvest area, the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association needs 180,000 chum salmon for brood stock. As of July 8, only 5,000 passed the barrier net and into a containment area. “Without that in place i...

  • Police seize large amount of heroin and suspected dealer

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 10, 2014

    PETERSBURG – Local, regional and federal law enforcement officers seized around $75,000 worth of heroin last Thursday after arresting Christafur Morrell, 19, of Des Moines, Wash. on multiple felony charges. Petersburg Police, Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs and the FBI arrested Morrell last Thursday in a local motel. Officers also seized around $6,000. Police charged Morrell with Possession of Heroin with intent to distribute, Possession of Heroin and Maintaining a Dwelling used for the d...

  • Wrangell business competes in regional contest

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 10, 2014

    A Wrangell business is a semi-finalist in a contest amongst Southeast Alaska entrepreneurs competing for a $40,000 award to grow and expand their business. Path to Prosperity (P2P), a partnership between the Haa Aani Community Development and The Nature Conservatory, was developed to support entrepreneurs and increase economic development in Southeast communities. Twenty-seven individuals applied for the 2014 contest, and Edens Marine Services was one business out of 12 that made it to the semi-finals. “Last year the competition was brand n...

  • TBPA Commission places employees on leave

    Kyle Clayton|Jul 3, 2014

    The Thomas Bay Power Authority (TBPA) Commission placed General Manager Michael Nicholls and Administrative Clerk Rhonda Christian on paid leave last Friday after a reported lack of communication from the TBPA office. TBPA, the organization responsible for operation and maintenance of the Tyee Hydroelectric Plant that provides power to Petersburg and Wrangell, is undergoing negotiations to transfer its operations to Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA). Commission members haven’t received financial information and haven’t approved a budget due...

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