Please sign our petition to reduce the default speed limit to 20 mph in Sitka neighborhoods

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An online petition has been launched to make 20 mph the default speed limit in Sitka neighborhoods to improve safety. Please sign the petition, so we can take the results to the Sitka Assembly and whichever commissions need to act on this.

Recently the states of Washington and Oregon changed their laws to allow communities to reduce the speed limits in residential neighborhoods to 20 mph for safety reasons. This is part of an international campaign called “20 is Plenty” trying to make neighborhood streets safer for pedestrians. The 20 is Plenty campaign also has been integrated into the “Vision Zero” programs in many states, including New York, Washington, and Oregon, to eliminate pedestrian and cycling deaths.

In Sitka, many of our residential neighborhoods have higher speed limits. For example, Marine Street is all residential except for one church but the speed limit is 25 mph and many cars drive faster on this street where lots of kids play (there is a playground a block away). Slowing down speeds in our neighborhoods helps make it safer for kids and elders, especially since some neighborhoods have no sidewalks.

Also, if someone gets hit by a car at 20 mph they are more likely to survive than if they get hit at 25 mph or higher speeds. The odds of death in a car-pedestrian collision are 5 percent for 20 mph, compared to 45 percent for 30 mph and 85 percent for 40 mph. Sitka already has a 15 mph speed limit on Katlian Street, so why not make the default speed limit for residential neighborhoods 20 mph. This link has more information about why 20 is plenty.

SEARHC to kick off community-wide ‘Walk For The Health Of It’ on Saturday, June 27

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The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is hosting a five-week “Walk for the Health of It” event June 27 through July 31.

The community-wide event aims at encouraging all Sitkans to improve their health by walking at least 150 minutes a week. That’s just 20 to 30 minutes a day.

The kick-off event is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, in the front parking lot of S’áxt’ Hít Mount Edgecumbe Hospital. SEARHC physical therapist, Gio Villanueva will lead the opening stretch, and the first 100 participants will receive a free water bottle.

According the American Heart Association, out of countless physical activities, walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all. Research also has shown the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity, enhance mental well-being, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer, and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Participation in “Walk For The Health Of It” is easy. Registration can be completed online at searhc.org/walk-for-the-health-of-it or by using a paper form. Forms are available at Mount Edgecumbe Hospital or the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center where participants may also pick up a walking card to track daily walking activity. Walking may be tracked in minutes, steps or distance.

Each Friday completed walking cards are to be turned in at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center or Mount Edgecumbe Hospital. Those cards then will be entered into a drawing for a fun prize.

For more information, please contact Lesa Way at 966-8804 or lesa.way@searhc.org.

St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church to host summer Scripture Walks in the Park at Sitka National Historical Park

Rev. Julie Platson, the new priest in charge at St. Peter's By The Sea Episcopal Church, sprinkles holy water during a recent blessing service at St. Peter's Fellowship Farm. She and her church will lead a series of scripture walks this summer at Sitka National Historical Park.

Rev. Julie Platson, the new priest in charge at St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church, sprinkles holy water during a recent blessing service at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm. She and her church will lead a series of scripture walks this summer at Sitka National Historical Park.

St Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church invites the community to join it on Monday evenings for Scripture Walks in the Park. The group will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, from June 29 through Aug. 24, at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor’s Center.

“It was just an idea I came up with for a  summer offering. I thought it made sense to combine a casual walk with the beauty of God’s creation here in Sitka,” said Rev. Julie Platson, the new priest in charge at St. Peter’s.

Two of the walks, on July 27 and Aug. 17, are geared for families and they will end at the church (611 Lincoln Street) for a potluck dinner.

Also, don’t forget to get a Park Prescriptions card at the park’s visitor center to log your walks in the park, so you can have a chance to win quarterly prizes for each completed card.

For more info, please call the church at 747-3977 or email stpetersbytheseak@gmail.com.

• Information sheet about Scripture Walks in the Park 2015

Sitka National Historical Park adds downtown Russian-American history walk to its offerings

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SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignThe Sitka National Historical Park offers a series of short hikes within the park detailing Sitka’s history and culture. Now the park is expanding its offerings with a free Russian-American history downtown walking tour starting this week.

These tours will give participants a chance to learn more about Sitka’s Russian heritage and its role as the administrative capital of Russian America. Tours will begin at the Russian Bishop’s House and end on top of Castle Hill. Stops along the way will include St. Michael’s Cathedral, Building 29 (Log Cache Gift Shop), and the Russian blockhouse.

The first downtown Russian-American history walks will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17, and at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18. The hike is about a half mile and takes about an hour. Weekly schedules for these walks will be posted around town, at the park, on the park website, and in the Daily Sitka Sentinel.

For more information, contact the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center at 747-0110.

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State parks closure prompts National Trails Day maintenance by Sitka Trail Works

Mosquito Cove Trail photo by Matt Goff of SitkaTrails.org

Mosquito Cove Trail photo by Matt Goff of SitkaTrails.org

SitkaTrailWorksLogoDo you ever visit Halibut Point Recreation Area, Mosquito Cove Trail, the Forest and Muskeg Trail, Old Sitka, Castle Hill or Fort Rousseau? These are Sitka’s Alaska State Parks and their future is threatened.

Proposed budget cuts this year zero out all support for the Sitka parks in the Alaska State Parks system, and local state park ranger Nick True will be moved out of Sitka. In addition, the plan is to close the local Alaska State Parks office, and eliminate the part-time staff and campground hosts who help maintain these sites.

Sitka will still have state parks, but there will be no garbage pick-up, bear control, reservations for picnic sites, trail maintenance, or brush control.

ntd_2013_copyright2_rgb-1024x1019As part of the American Hiking Society’s 23rd annual National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6, Sitka Trail Works will host a trail maintenance event at the Mosquito Cove Trail. This volunteer work party will be led by the Sitka Trail Works board of directors.

All volunteers are encouraged to meet at the Mosquito Cove Trailhead at 9:15 a.m. (the trailhead is located seven miles from downtown Sitka on Halibut Point Road and is three-quarters of a mile beyond the ferry terminal, past Starrigavan Campground). The Mosquito Cove Trail is part of the Old Sitka State Historical Park.

“National Trails Day encourages Americans to connect with local outdoor clubs, businesses, community groups, and parks and recreation departments, as well as federal land managing agencies, to experience, appreciate, and share the natural places we cherish,” Sitka Trail Works said.

Sitka National Historical Park to host National Trails Day events on Saturday, June 6

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SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignFun for the whole family will be the focus when the Sitka National Historical Park hosts its annual National Trails Day events on Saturday, June 6.

Fun family activities range from scavenger hunts to a toddler hike, allowing families to explore and enjoy the recreational opportunities offered by the park’s trails. In addition, the park also will offer its regular Totem Walk, which explores the stories and legends on the Totem Loop Trail. You can find a detailed schedule at this link.

Sitka National Historical Park’s
National Trails Day Event Schedule

  • Toddler Hiking Group and Picnic, 10:30 a.m. to noon — Join us for a hike along the park’s trails with your toddler. A ranger will join the group and help toddlers complete a scavenger hunt while hiking through the park. Following the hike, at 11:30 a.m., join other families for a beach picnic. Participants are encouraged to bring their own picnicking supplies and refreshments. Please RSVP for the group hike by calling the park’s visitor center at 747-0110.
  • National Trails Day Trail Scavenger Hunt, 2-3 p.m. — How well do you know Sitka National Historical Park’s trails? Find out during the National Trails Day scavenger hunt. This event, designed for school-aged children and their families provides opportunities for participants to discover various park resources. Participants will earn a Junior Ranger sticker at the conclusion of the scavenger hunt.
  • Totem Walk, 2-3 p.m. — The Totem Walk tells the stories and legends of the totem poles on the Totem Loop Trail, focusing on the common totem figures, the origins of the 1903 John Brady collection, carving methods, and the Alaska Native culture of Southeast Alaska. This guided walk is approximately one mile, and lasts about one hour.
  • Ice Cream Social, 3 p.m. — Following the scavenger hunt, enjoy some refreshing ice cream on the seaside porch of the park’s visitor center.

ntd_2013_copyright2_rgb-1024x1019National Trails Day is a nationwide annual event from the American Hiking Society that celebrates the vast recreational opportunities on America’s trails. Please note that this is a family activity and all children must be supervised.

You are welcome to come for all or part of the event as we join thousands of other people across the country in celebrating the many trails that allow access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude, inspiration, and physical and mental health. In 2016, the National Park Service will celebrate its centennial, and you can celebrate by going to the FindYourPark.com website.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about the National Park Service at www.nps.gov. Learn more about Sitka National Historical Park at www.nps.gov/sitk or visit the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

SAIL turns Only Fools Run At Midnight fun run over to CoastAlaska and KCAW in Sitka

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Only Fools Run at Midnight SitkaSoutheast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL), the organization behind the much-loved costumed fun run fundraiser, Only Fools Run at Midnight, is passing the reins to CoastAlaska Inc. public media.

SAIL has organized the race to run simultaneously in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka for more than a decade. This year SAIL will help organize the 12th annual Only Fools Run At Midnight races with KTOO in Juneau, KCAW-Raven Radio in Sitka and KRBD in Ketchikan. Proceeds will be shared between the organizations during this transition year.

“It was a challenging decision for us. The race is so much fun and we love putting it on. Ultimately though, we decided that we wanted to focus our efforts and staff time on our mission: Inspiring personal independence for seniors and people with disabilities living in Southeast Alaska. We are excited to pass the torch to (CoastAlaska) public media and help with the transition this year,” said Joan O’Keefe, SAIL Executive Director.

SAIL is a Center for Independent Living and an Aging and Disability Resource Center serving people with disabilities of all ages and seniors throughout Southeast Alaska. SAIL has offices in Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka and Haines.

“We think this is a perfect fit for the public radio stations. The race will allow us to connect with our listeners and supporters through a fun and creative community event. We are thankful to the SAIL Board for choosing us and are looking forward to organizing the event,” said Mollie Kabler, Executive Director of CoastAlaska Inc.

“Raven Radio is happy to help sustain this healthy, creative community tradition!” said Ken Fate, Station Manager at KCAW-Raven Radio.

CoastAlaska supports and provides resources for public broadcasting organizations throughout the state. In Southeast, KCAW-Raven Radio, KTOO and KRBD are all members of the CoastAlaska family of stations.

The race will be held at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, in Juneau and Ketchikan, and at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, in Sitka. The Sitka race will start and finish at the Sitka Fire Hall, and there will be a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) fun run or one-mile walking course.

Registration materials are available at Old Harbor Books, First Bank, the SAIL office (514 Lake Street), and the KCAW-Raven Radio office in the Cable House. You also can pre-register online at the KCAW website, or by clicking this link (online pre-registration is the preferred method). Pre-registration ends on June 18, and day-of-race registration starts at 10:30 p.m. at the Sitka Fire Hall. The registration fee is $20 per person, and the first 100 to register receive a t-shirt. In addition to prizes for the fastest finishers, there will be prizes for the best costumes (including centipede costumes connecting five or more runners/walkers). Costume judging runs from 11-11:45 p.m.

For more information about the Sitka event, call the KCAW-Raven Radio main number at 747-5877 or email foolsrun@kcaw.org. If you are interested in donating to support the event, please contact Justin Shoman at CoastAlaska in Juneau at 1-907-463-6422 or justins@coastalaska.org.

If you would like more information about SAIL and the ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program, please contact Tristan Knutson-Lombardo in Juneau at 907-586-4920 or email at tlombardo@sailinc.org, or contact Dave Nuetzel or Bridget Kratz in the Sitka office at 747-6859.

• Sitka Only Fools Run At Midnight Registration Form 2015