May 15, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Category: Letters to the Editor
Created on Friday, 15 May 2020 16:15
Hits: 735

Port Protection Water

Dear Editor: The Department of Environmental Conservation may be unable to decide how much damage the Pebble Mine will cause, but they are hot on the case of water in Port Protection.

Our village has a grand total of 32 water service hookups. It seems our water, which we test monthly, does not meet some government standard, so we either must spend $3 million-plus, to build a 100% unwanted chlorination plant, or else have our wonderful water system destroyed, and go back to drinking untreated muskeg water from our local creeks. The resultant sanitation hazards (no flush toilets, no hand-washing, no bathing), general health hazards, and fire hazards – these are not the concerns of DEC.

I have lived in Port Protection for 42 years, and have never been sick from drinking our fabulous, unchlorinated water. What are we paying the people who work for the government to do? Sometimes federal regulations need human interpretations. Message to DEC: protecting the fish is important. Depriving a remote village of its water is criminal.

Gretchen Goldstein, Port Protection


School Principals

Dear Editor: In politics, waiting until 5 p.m. on a Friday to share a large amount of information that you don’t want the general public to pay attention to is called a “news dump.” It’s done this way because journalists and the public rarely have the resources to dig deep over a weekend and it’s old news by Monday.

Sitka Schools Superintendent Mary Wegner has pulled a news dump on all of us, heading out the door and leaving a mess with her intention to demote or fire three building-level administrators and moving a fourth into a new building.

She blames this action on the schools’ achievement gap, though she celebrated the narrowing of that same gap six weeks ago in her resignation letter.

Soon-to-be-former Superintendent Wegner is creating instability, uncertainty, and chaos for our students at a time when they are experiencing plenty of uncertainty and chaos already. When we should be looking to our schools as a haven of relative normalcy for our stressed children, Dr. Wegner is muddying the waters right before skipping town.

I encourage anyone concerned about this to send a quick note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Stephen Courtright, Sitka


Recall Dunleavy Petition

Dear Editor: I am writing to urge Sitkans to sign the Recall Dunleavy petition to put this issue on the ballot for all voters to decide. Perhaps you read the news that the Alaska Supreme Court has given the final go ahead for the Recall Dunleavy group to collect the 71,252 signatures needed to put a Recall on the statewide ballot. 

This is exciting news and I want to encourage every Alaska voter who has not yet signed a recall petition this spring to take action to sign. You may think you have signed already but if you haven’t signed a petition since February 2020 we need your signature! The final petition signature round is totally separate from the initial application round.

We have collected over 30,000 signatures even with the limitations imposed by Covid19 social distancing. There are quite a few people in Sitka who signed the initial application last summer that were unable to sign the final petition this spring before we had to stop group gatherings in March. 

You must sign this latest round to have your voice heard, but it is easy to do. Go to to request a signature page be sent to you. The Governor continues to undermine Alaskans with his funding cuts to the ferry, to education, his attack on the judiciary and the rule of law. Do not let the pandemic keep you from expecting a Governor who keeps his word, follows the State Constitution, and values all citizens. 

Tory O’Connell Curran, Sitka


Science Standards

Dear Editor: We, members of Sitka’s Citizens’ Climate Lobby, would like to express our enormous appreciation and accolades to the Sitka School District’s recent adoption of the state of Alaska’s new science standards. NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, are based on the most current research of the day, including climate change, both teaching about it and what can be done to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Our children who are currently in grades K-12 will be key players in understanding climate change. They will need to be critical thinkers and be the change-makers in vitally important decisions, as we move forward.

We understand that it is a process as a new curriculum is being chosen. We want to encourage a speedy, efficient process…Time is of the essence and a critical factor for the health of our earth. To quote an SSD science teacher, “All of earth systems are interconnected; change in one could impact another.”

Thank you to the SSD School Board, administrators, and teachers for their focus on this critically important issue.

 Toby Campbell and 

Judy Kearns-Steffen

for Sitka’s Citizens’ Climate Lobby


Heroin Overdose

Dear Editor: Recent information from the State Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention has indicated heroin coming into the State of Alaska has resulted in several overdoses in Juneau. The heroin may be laced with fentanyl, a much stronger opioid, and may make its way to other Southeast Alaska Communities.

Local prevention and treatment providers are encouraging harm reduction strategies such as not using alone, having Narcan available, and calling 911 if an OD occurs. If you know of someone at risk of a potential overdose, please make sure you have an opioid reversal (NARCAN) kit available and communicate with them the increased risk of heroin use at this time.

Local residents may access NARCAN kits free of charge from the following locations: Harry Race and Whites Pharmacies, SEARHC Pharmacy, Sitka Counseling, Public Health Office and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Social Services Department.

Treatment for substance misuse is available and recovery is possible.

For more information contact me Loyd Platson at Sitka Counseling (747-3636 Ext. 226) or Denise Ewing at Sitka Public Health Office (907-747-3255)


Loyd Platson, Sitka