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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Front Page Photo By KEN ARRIOLA

Rainy Day Fishing
This black bear didn't mind Friday's heavy rain, nor did the photographer. This bear was photographed in the Ward Cove area.
Front Page Photo By KEN ARRIOLA ©2014
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

Southeast Alaska:
DOT to start herbicide spraying in Southeast
by Elizabeth Jenkins, KFSK - The Alaska Department of Transportation plans to spray herbicides on Prince of Wales Island. It will be the first time the DOT has applied herbicides in southeast Alaska since the state eliminated public review requirements in 2013. This has some community members and environmental groups worried about chemicals leaching into nearby habitat. - Read or listen to this kfsk news story...

Southeast Alaska: DOT postponed herbicide spraying until Spring 2015 - KRBD reported Thursday on FaceBook that the DOT told KRBD the plans to spray in September were postponed because the department couldn’t get an environmental analyst on site before fall weather would prevent spraying. It likely will be rescheduled for spring of 2015.

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Southeast Alaska:
Court to Reconsider Decision on Roadless Areas of Tongass National Forest - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today announced that it would rehear a case challenging the Tongass exemption from the Roadless Rule, a landmark conservation rule adopted in 2001 to protect nearly 60 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from new road building and logging. The court granted a rehearing “en banc,” which means that the court will reconsider the case before a new 11-judge panel.

Court to Reconsider Decision on Roadless Areas of Tongass National Forest

The Tongass, occupying most of Southeast Alaska, is the nation’s largest national forest.

This case originated in 2009 when a diverse coalition of Alaska Native, tourism industry, and environmental organizations, represented by attorneys from Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, challenged the Bush Administration’s 2003 rule “temporarily” exempting the Tongass from the Roadless Rule. The Tongass — occupying most of Southeast Alaska — is the nation’s largest and wildest national forest. In 2011, a federal judge in Alaska ruled in the coalition’s favor, vacating the Tongass exemption and reinstating the Roadless Rule’s application to the Tongass. The State of Alaska then appealed this decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a 3-judge panel earlier this year reversed the Alaska judge’s opinion by a 2–1 split vote. Today’s order granting the “en banc” rehearing renders the earlier opinion ineffective.

The court has scheduled oral arguments to be presented before the 11-judge panel in Pasadena, California, the week of Dec. 15, 2014. - More...
Friday PM - August 29, 2014

Ketchikan: Ketchikan & Craig Workshops to Aid People with Chronic Disease - People with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression or arthritis can sometimes feel their health is out of control. A team at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, with resources from the State of Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, is sponsoring a free, 6-week Living Well Alaska workshop designed to help anyone with an ongoing health condition.

The program, created by Stanford University, is based on the latest research and has helped thousands of people throughout the United States live happier and healthier lives. Participants learn how to better manage diet and exercise, fatigue, medications and other issues that come with their disease.

Living Well Alaska workshops are being offered across the state and the PeaceHealth Innovation Team will be leading workshops in both Ketchikan and Craig. In Ketchikan, the workshop begins Thursday, September 11, from 2:30-5:00 p.m. In Craig, the workshop begins Tuesday, September 30, from 2:30- 5:00 p.m. Those who wish to participate can register online or by calling Michele Cornwall at 228-8140 who can also answer questions about the classes. While the class is free, space is limited so early registration is encouraged.

As part of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Innovation Grant program, the PeaceHealth Innovation team is focusing on coordinating care for people with chronic illness and educating patients and the community about paths to better health. By offering a variety of disease management services and hands-on wellness support to individuals in our community, they are making a difference one person at a time. - More...
Friday PM - August 28, 2014


Fish Factor:
Seafood gauntlet thrown downBy LAINE WELCH - If Russia won’t buy seafood from the US, we won’t buy seafood from them.

That’s the gauntlet being thrown down by Alaska’s Congressional Delegation to retaliate against Russia’s yearlong ban on food products from the US and several nations.

In a letter to President Obama spurred on by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Delegation wrote: “Our purpose here is to ask that your Administration respond to the Russian action with a two-step process. First, we ask that you use all diplomatic means available to persuade the Russians to immediately rescind the seafood import ban. Second, if Russia fails to comply, we ask that a ban be imposed on Russian seafood imports to the United States.”

If a ban is imposed, the letter said, “It is critical that U.S. trade officials implement it in a way which tracks and covers all Russian-origin products throughout the distribution chain, including those that are re-processed and or transshipped through third countries. This is the only way the ban will be truly effective and will achieve the intended goal of protecting U.S. interests.”

For Alaska, the Russian seafood ban adds up to a loss of 20 million pounds of seafood sales valued at $60 million, mostly salmon roe and pollock surimi. But the US bite back would be far more hurtful for Russia.

“A complete ban would upend the king crab market,” said market expert John Sackton. “Last year the US imported more than $220 million dollars worth of king crab and snow crab from Russia. In fact, nearly 90% of the king crab eaten by Americans comes from Russia,” he said.

This year, imports of Russian king crab to the US were 50% higher through June than in 2013, at 12.5 million lbs. (That compares to Alaska’s catch of about eight million pounds.) The US also imported 63 million pounds of frozen pollock blocks and 70 million pounds of frozen salmon blocks and fillets of Russian products, after reprocessing in China. - More...
Friday - August 29, 2014


Alaska Boaters Urged to Be Safe Labor Day Weekend - The Coast Guard is urging Alaska boaters to use extra caution and to ensure they have the safety equipment they need while out on the water this Labor Day weekend.

"Labor Day weekend marks the end of the summer boating season and is when we should prepare ourselves for the unpredictable weather patterns in Alaska,” said Lieutenant Tom Pauser of the 17th Coast Guard District Prevention Division.

Lieutenant Pauser said, “Be prepared to spend extra time anchored up or ashore if a storm blows in. File a float plan with friends or family and always carry a means of communication; preferably a marine type VHF radio. Always be sure to wear your lifejacket or keep it readily available and as a reminder, all those 13 years and under on a recreational boat within the State of Alaska must wear a lifejacket at all times when in an open boat or above decks on a cabin boat. Let’s make this a safe and enjoyable weekend for you and your passengers and boat safe!"

With an anticipated increase in the number of recreational boating activities, boaters need to take proper safety precautions and remain vigilant using these recommended safety tips:

Wear your life jacket! Statistics show that almost nine out of ten boating fatality victims did not wear their lifejacket, and more than 80 percent of boaters who drowned were not wearing their life jackets. In an emergency there might not be enough time to find a life jacket, so having a proper fitting life jacket in good condition, readily available, or wearing one at all times, may save lives.

Check the local weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change rapidly, especially in the state of Alaska, so mariners planning on getting underway should keep a watchful eye on the forecast conditions. Forecasts can be checked by visiting the National Weather Service website at

Make sure a friend or relative knows your float plan. A float plan states where you are going, how many people are aboard, vessel description, details of your destination(s) and what time you expect to arrive and return. If you are delayed for some reason, make sure you let someone know. - More...
Friday PM - August 29, 2014


Sweet Feat: How hummingbirds evolved sweet taste detection By ELIZABETH COONEY - Everything about hummingbirds is rapid. An iridescent blur to the human eye, their movements can be captured with clarity only by high-speed video.

Sweet Feat: How hummingbirds evolved sweet taste detection

Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna) in the Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Image: Maude Baldwin

Slowed down on replay, their wings thrum like helicopter blades as they hover near food. Their hearts beat 20 times a second and their tongues dart 17 times a second to slurp from a feeding station.

It takes only three licks of their forked, tube-like tongues to reject water when they expect nectar. They pull their beaks back, shake their heads and spit out the tasteless liquid. They also are not fooled by the sugar substitute that sweetens most diet cola.

These hummingbirds look mad.

The birds’ preference for sweetness is plain, but only now can scientists explain the complex biology behind their taste for sugar. Their discovery required an international team of scientists, fieldwork in the California mountains and at Harvard University’s Concord Field Station, plus collaborations from Harvard labs on both sides of the Charles River.

Now, in a paper published in Science, the scientists show how hummingbirds’ ability to detect sweetness evolved from an ancestral savory taste receptor that is mostly tuned to flavors in amino acids. Feasting on nectar and the occasional insect, the tiny birds expanded throughout North and South America, numbering more than 300 species over the 40 to 72 million years since they branched off from their closest relative, the swift.

“It’s a really nice example of how a species evolved at a molecular level to adopt a very complex phenotype,” said Stephen Liberles, HMS associate professor of cell biology. “A change in a single receptor can actually drive a change in behavior and, we propose, can contribute to species diversification.”

This sweet discovery all started with the chicken genome. Before scientists sequenced its genes, people assumed that chickens and all birds taste things the same way that mammals do: with sensory receptors for salty, sour, bitter, sweet and the more recently recognized umami taste, which comes from the Japanese word for savory. - More...
Friday PM - August 29, 2014

jpg Political Cartoon: Labor day

Political Cartoon: Labor day
By Bob Englehart ©2014, The Hartford Courant
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

Update in Progress

letter Young Growth Timber By Owen Graham - The Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment recently offered an opinion that the timber industry in Southeast Alaska should accept a forced transition to a young-growth timber economy. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter Vote Mitchell, Plute and Staples for City Council By Douglas Thompson - I feel quite strongly that Ketchikan sits on a precipice. We can either change toward responsible governance with fiscal responsibility or we can continue as usual to our imminent fiscal detriment. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter Happy campaigning, round two By A. M. Johnson- Wheeee, the first stage of the election cycle has passed. Exciting was it not? In speaking with other voters prior to and yet today, choices were not easy in some of the races. Many of us have known all three of the Republican House candidates and choosing was difficult. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter True Tongass ‘transition’ would increase local jobs per log cut By Malena Marvin - In its latest statement on the direction of the much-awaited Tongass transition, the Forest Service says the future is now for the Tongass National Forest. We couldn’t agree more, and we’re happy to see the agency working with local people to chart a course toward a more prosperous and sustainable future for Southeast Alaskan communities. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter KETCHIKAN, STAND UP AND SUPPORT EDUCATION FOR OUR YOUTH, ONE LOCAL GIRL AT A TIME! By Marc Kaiwi - In this crazy mixed up world of social media one true blessing has come to light. A simple click can truly change a life forever. A $15,000 scholarship sponsored by Blackboard Inc. has been proposed and the challenged accepted by a local Ketchikan girl. Please read her brief bio (as follows) and help to ensure that a brilliant young future is realized with one simple click of the mouse. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter Keep Burger King in the USA By James M. Benentt - The best government response to the "inversion" of Burger King with Canada's Tim Hortons Inc. for the purpose of avoiding US Taxes is the opposite of what you might think. Rather than club Burger King over the head with yet more tax avoidance rules, don't tax Burger King - or its ilk - at all. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter Reclaiming our country By Glen E Terrell - We are about to repeat the same thing we've been doing for decades; re-elect 90% of incumbents to a congress fewer than 10% of us think is doing an acceptable job. It might be laughable, but consequences of our collective behavior include continuing national decline. What are we doing wrong? How can we change it? - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter Flat Tax vs FairTax By Stephen C. Eldridge - I am a retired lifetime tax consulting professional (JD, LLM in Taxation, CPA, co-author of a 3 volume tax treatise, lecturer), with no financial stake in ANY tax system. This only a brief summary. - More....
Wedesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter FairTax Fanatacism By Philip L. Hinson - Some of us who have been fighting so hard and sacrificing so much for the FairTax for years are occasionally asked the question of why we keep at it. Another way of expressing that sentiment is the view that Congress will never relinquish the power that the current tax system provides them and that we should just accept that we are here to serve them, rather than vice versa. While that sort of resignation is certainly tempting at times, there is one reason that many of us labor on at what we all recognize is a marathon, rather than a sprint, with little to gain from it personally. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter Changes are needed By Toula Anagnostis - As a concerned citizen, I believe changes are needed to the federal structure in Washington D.C. Once the federal government started abusing its authority and ignoring the citizen’s concerns, we started losing our freedoms. Our only recourse is provided in Article V of the Constitution. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

letter The Constitution has the answer By Susan Valliant - “We the People of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice and insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”. (Constitution) We the people, united can make changes to our government. Think about proposing an Amendment to mandate Congress men/women to receive the same benefits as American Citizens such as, but not limited to, Medicare and Social Security benefits, all other benefits shall be nullified. Or, maybe a Fair Tax or Balance Budget Amendment may be proposed. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 27, 2014

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