Coming to an End

2014 is coming to an end,  along with our fishing season on the Situk.  We still have no snow in Yakutat!  The State DOT started our airport snowpile following our 6 inch flurry that fell last month,  but alas,  we have nothing left of it.

The pathetic snowpile last week,  with three Alaska Air jets on the ground - fog in Juneau brought several days of extra planes into little ol' Yakutat

The pathetic snowpile last week, with three Alaska Air jets on the ground – fog in Juneau brought several days of extra planes into little ol’ Yakutat

That means we have wide open access to the Situk here at the end of December.  Not an unheard-of situation,  but for there to be absolutely zero snow…  With no snow and a near constant drizzle of rain,  we have wonderful river conditions right now for our “fall” steelhead season.  Just no one here to enjoy it!

Last week,  conditions were OK,  but not great.  Tyler and Elliott came down from Anchorage for just two days and the river was still flooded from our last heavy rain (received 5 inches in one day,  which brought the flows up to near 900 CFS).  Flows were dropping to a good level just as they were leaving.  OOPS!  They still landed a couple nice fish and one radioactive rainbow.  From the pictures,  it looks to me like one rainbow and two small steelhead.

Beautiful resident with striking color band

Beautiful resident with striking color band

Big resident,  or small steelhead...  Could be either

Big resident, or small steelhead… Could be either

Definitely steel

Definitely steel

We have a strange season this year.  The ditches around the airport are filled with as many spawning silvers as we had in September!  A fresh batch of chromers hit Tawah Creek for our late run,  which will continue to have fresh salmon into January.  Nothing like a fresh salmon for New Year’s dinner.

8 silvers carousing in the ditch in front of Situk Leasing

8 silvers carousing in the ditch in front of Situk Leasing

What a beautiful and pristine wilderness,  for wild salmon

What a beautiful and pristine wilderness, for wild salmon

We’re on the final stretch of the year and getting ready for our big fly shop inventory and then the nightmare of taxes for my 6 businesses.  With this warm winter,  I may even get my own butt out there to the river for some steelheading.  You never know,  it could happen!

December 18th Assembly Meeting

We have an important meeting tonight at the School Auditorium!

Meera Kohler,  CEO of the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative will be here to give a presentation about AVEC and whether Yakutat should consider joining the coop.  I’ll post my interview with Meera tomorrow.

Tonight,  we’ll have the introduction of Ordinance 14-582 (budget modification) and public hearing on Ordinance 14-581 (employee handbook).  Also for consideration will be Resolution 14-229 (landing craft sale).

Attachments are as follows:

Notice and Agenda, Manager’s Report and Minutes from Past Meetings

Ordinances and Resolutions

Budget Modification Documentation
The specific changes to the City budget,  as recommended by the City Manager

Capital Improvement Project List as submitted from P&Z
The list as approved by Planning and Zoning,  which the Assembly may modify,  before being submitted to the State legislators for funding consideration (The State of AK is $3 billion short due to the drop in oil prices and we do not expect to see ANY money this year for CIP)

Dec 15 work session INFO
Manager’s report and documents provided to Assembly at the Dec 15th budget work session including a letter to the assembly from a power plant employee

Personnel Policy-DRAFT#5
After many modifications,  this is the 5th revision of the document

Yakutat AVEC Slide Presentation
This is the PowerPoint presentation (in PDF) that Meera Kohler will be using during her visit

70 Years Ago Today

Today is the 70th anniversary of Major Glenn Miller’s disappearance over the English Channel.  The Norseman he was flying in took off from an airbase in England heading for Paris,  but was never seen or heard from again.

Glenn and his orchestra were a phenomenon unmatched in music.  He was the #1 act in 1939,  1940,  1941 and 1942.  Considering that time in musical history,  he was outperforming Bing,  Judy,  Frankie,  Louie,  Tommy Dorsey,  Benny Goodman,  Artie Shaw,  The Andrew Sisters and the rest of the long list of incredible greats of the era.  Then…  he walked away from his day job with sold-out concert halls booked and volunteered for the Army.  With no newly recorded music on the charts,  he still hit #8 in 1943,  while he organized his Air Force band and entertained troops.

In early December 1944,  France was secure and we were up against the Siegfried Line.  Glenn was flying to Paris ahead of his band to make arrangements for concerts in some of the advance bases.  He boarded the plane and they took off into the fog.  With the sudden disappearance (without a trace) of the most popular and famous performer,  wild speculation surround that disappearance has persisted for 70 years.  Everything from his plane being shot down by the Luftwaffe – to Miller being a spy who was captured – and then in 2000,  a wartime RAF logbook appeared that may explain the disappearance…  There was a LOT of confusion at the time of the disappearance,  with the Battle of the Bulge hitting at the same time.  No one knew what was going on.  Tomorrow is the 70th of Germany’s last major offensive of the war,  after all…

Flight Engineer Derek Thurman wrote in his logbook that after a flight of 138 Lancaster bombers aborted their mission due to weather,  they dumped their load of bombs over the channel (since they couldn’t return to land with a full bomb load).  According to Thurman’s logbook (which sold at auction in 2000 and came to light),  three members if his flight crew reported seeing a small aircraft below the bombers and that it would have been brought down by the hail of jettisoned bombs.  Nothing conclusive,  but it was 70 years ago today that the Lancasters dropped their ordinance over a small plane over the channel…

Enjoy Chattanooga Choo Choo as featured in the movie Sun Valley Serenade – the first certified million-selling record.

Yakutat Airport radio is playing nothing but Glenn today and the Millers here (no relation that I know of) will probably be watching the Glenn Miller Story (1953) tonight.

“In the Mood” is the still the 9th biggest hit song ever and the Glenn Miller Orchestra is still the 3rd biggest charting act ever.

RV Life Strikes Again!

Bob Ellsberg visited Yakutat last sockeye season and on the last day of their trip,  they headed out to find Pike Lake.  They almost missed it,  as I seem to be good at sending people out on a death march in search of missing lakes…

I didn’t realize they unfamiliar with the intricacies of getting Whitesocks to bite…  Or not to bite,  as the case may be…  OOPS!  We have all had our delightful experiences with these dreaded bugs.  My bad!

Here is the link to the article…

And here are some more photos from my last trip in there…  Some of these are repeats,  but some aren’t…

Tanis has one on,  Chris is still trying

Tanis has one on, Chris is still trying

Frog and "knowing" eyes

Frog and “knowing” eyes

Cute little guy

Cute little guy

My frog is DEEP down behind many rows of teeth

My frog is DEEP down behind many rows of teeth

Bent Bamboo

Bent Bamboo

A typical snake-like Pike

A typical snake-like Pike

Keep your hands and feet away from the front end

Keep your hands and feet away from the sharp end

The outlet creek

The outlet creek

December 4th Assembly Meeting – A Full Plate

Tomorrow night is our next Assembly Meeting.  We have a lot to discuss and cover,  now that the new assemblymen have taken their seats.  Here are the regular attachments:

#1 Notice and Agenda Dec 4

#2 Manager’s Report and Others

#3 ORD 14-581 Employee Personnel Policy Manual

#4 Landfill DEC Inspection Results

#6 Governor CIP Request Letter

I don’t have a working scanner,  so I can’t attach the resolutions under consideration.  RES 14-226 and RES 14-227 involve adding the new assemblymen to the signatory list for the city’s bank accounts.

RES 14-228 is a resolution that we see every year “certifying” that the municipality “did suffer significant effects during the program base year from fisheries business activity that occurred within the FMA 16: Yakutat Fisheries Management Area”.  Of course “significant effects” could be a good thing…  Just not this year.

RES 14-229 designates the Borough owned landing craft for sale and designating the terms of sale.

ORD 14-581 is NOT being introduced this meeting.  It is a draft employee handbook for city/borough employees.

The CIP (Community Improvement Project) list was submitted for the governor’s budget.  The Planning and Zoning commission will be working on the legislature CIP list and submitting that to the assembly for consideration within the next month.  This Governor CIP was a rush to get something submitted and only lists the harbor project.  Speaking of P&Z,  there should be two new names offered for the Assembly to consider for that board.

City and Borough of Yakutat SAS 114 fy14 Audit Report

City and Borough of Yakutat 14 Audit Report

These two documents are the annual independent audit the Borough goes through every fiscal year.


VEEP_Yakatut City Projects_Narrative_110414


The VEEP grant (Village Energy Efficiency Program) documents





The Icy Bay land…  I remember a couple years ago a discussion when I was in the assembly audience about a possible land swap with State of Alaska Mental Health Trust.  This year,  Mental Health is moving forward with another round of logging at Icy Bay West.  They have contracted with Sealaska Corp to do their logging.  Sealaska in turn contacted the Borough to inquire about logging the Borough-owned land at Icy Bay.  This prompted me to inquire about the old land swap I remembered no details from…  Mental Health owns land on both sides of the road near Glacier Bear.  The idea here is to swap the remote undevelopable land the city owns in Icy Bay for the Mental Health land between town and the airport.  We may not be interested in this swap,  but it is good to have all the info and make an informed decision as to what benefits Yakutat the most.

Ltr DOT YAK 68386

This letter from State of AK DOT informs toe city that the state intends to resurface the runways again in the near future.


David Drumm is a member of the school board.  He is proposing several potential cost saving ideas for the school board and assembly to consider.  Some of these are ideas I have also supported,  along with a few new ones.

Well,  that is more than 100 pages of documents to read through before tomorrow night’s meeting…  See you at 7pm at the school auditorium.

Chris and Colorado

Obviously I have NOT been out fishing our fall steelhead run this year.  Last year,  Chris and I were out there quite a bit (Chris a lot more than me).  Without Chris here to drag my butt out of the hangar,  I have managed to settle in and avoid getting cold and wet and miserable.  Boy,  steelheading is a spectacular season when the conditions are right.  It can be unbelievably miserable when not.  Steelheaders are a unique breed.  They actually LOVE that misery…

Meanwhile,  Chris decided he wanted to visit his parents more than be miserable.  Weird,  huh?  He just sent me some photos from down in Colorado,  so here they are…  Willie is the guy who first dragged Chris up here to Yakutat several years ago,  so really Willie is to blame for throwing Chris’ life away…

Nice little trout...  we call this "bait" in Alaska

Nice little trout… we call this “bait” in Alaska

PB254038 PB254040 PB254045

Willie with a friend

Willie with a friend

Willie releasing the friend

Willie releasing the friend


Is that hooked in the armpit?

Is that hooked in the armpit?

Thank goodness I live in a warm climate like Alaska!  Colorado looks too cold for me!

Thank goodness I live in a warm climate like Alaska! Colorado looks too cold for me!

No pictures of Chris,  but we assume he is still alive and well.  Assume…

Yakutat’s Cancelled Sport Season – Basketball

Making big news around little ol’ Yakutat – the school has cancelled the boy’s basketball season because too many on the team failed to meet the grade requirements.  OOPS!

Lots of hand wringing and finger pointing and blame shifting,  but ultimately,  it is the responsibility of the student to do the work required to pass a class and the responsibility of the parent to actually parent their kids.  Not the teachers,  not the school board,  not the superintendent.  Kids first,  parents second.  You know,  all that personal responsibility crap our modern society doesn’t believe in anymore…

Here is an article about it in the Juneau Empire…

Basketball is the Great Sacred Cow in Yakutat.  Basketball should never be “the anchor” that keeps kids in school.  Getting an education should be the anchor.  But what do I know…  I love how we’re blaming money for the reason the program was cut this year.  The school board wouldn’t cut the sacred cow budget.  Instead,  the kids on the team made a choice not to take their education seriously.

Actions have consequences.  Learn from this.  Don’t try to blame others for what you failed to do.