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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Steller's Jay
This Stellar's Jay enjoys pecking on the photographer's window for attention. They are common in Southeast and Southcoastal Alaska. Steller's jays are bold, inquisitive, intelligent and noisy. They are excellent mimics with a large repertoire. They can imitate other birds, as well as other creatures, like cats, dogs and squirrels.
Front Page Photo By CAROLYN CHAPMAN ©2014
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Fish Factor: Upward trend of permits continues - Alaska salmon permits in many fisheries have tripled in value since 2002 and the upward trend continues.

An overview of April listings by four brokers shows that Bristol Bay drift net permits are valued at nearly $134,000 by the State, and listed for sale at $150,000 to $170,000. That compares to $90,000 this past January.

At Southeast Alaska, seine permits are the priciest in the state at over $300,000. That’s an increase of fifty grand since January.

The asking price for Prince William Sound seine cards exceeds $200,000 compared to the $140,000 range a year ago. After being stalled in the mid $30,000 range for years, Kodiak seine permits are showing a steady uptick, now listing at $55,000 to over $80,000. Chignik permits are moving up from the $225,000 range; at Area M/Alaska Peninsula, drift permits were listed at $100.000, up from $90K. At Cook Inlet, drift permits were listed at $100,000, up from $75,000 less than a year ago.
Looking at IFQs (Individual Fishing Quotas) – halibut shares have hit a $50 asking price at Southeast Alaska, the only place where halibut catches have increased in the past two years. (Offers are in the $45 range.)

For the Central Gulf, the asking prices for halibut IFQs range from $28 to $42 a pound and $16 to $20 in the Western Gulf. That’s an increase of about $6 dollars in both Gulf regions since January.

Conversely, the prices for shares of sablefish (black cod) show a big drop in price from a year ago. Asking prices in Southeast of $22 to just over $30 are down from $28 to $34 per pound; likewise Central Gulf sablefish shares are priced at $15 to $30, down from the same prices as Southeast.

The decline is likely due to a big drop in dock prices for sablefish over the past two years (after reaching a high of $9/lb for large fish), and a 25% drop in the value of the yen in Japan where the bulk of Alaska’s sablefish is sold, said Andy Wink, lead seafood analyst with the McDowell Group in Juneau.

Get growing!

A new Alaska Mariculture Initiative has a mission to create a plan “to grow a billion dollar industry within 30 years.” That would about double the annual dockside value of all Alaska seafood landings combined.

The ambitious project will be bankrolled by a $216,812 federal grant to the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, one of 10 award recipients out of a pool of 250 as part of NOAA Fisheries’ national mariculture expansion policy.

“We see it as a real opportunity that has been kind of struggling in Alaska,” said AFDF director Julie Decker, adding that the project will “broaden the concept of mariculture.”

“We’re not just talking about shellfish farming or aquatic plants, but also enhancement and restoration. It’s a three legged stool,” she said. “When you start looking at the industry from that point of view, it’s a much broader impact and involves many different sets of stakeholders. - More...
Monday PM - April 21, 2014


Southeast Alaska: AP&T Files FERC Preliminary Permit for West Creek Hydro Project Near Skagway - Alaska Power & Telephone announced today that it has filed a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) preliminary permit application for the West Creek Hydropower project. The proposed 25 MW project would be located on West Creek, a tributary of the Taiya River, near the City of Skagway in southeast Alaska.

The West Creek project would provide a new supply of clean, renewable energy to the communities of Skagway and Haines, reducing dependency on diesel-fired generation, and ensuring a supply of affordable renewable energy for future community and economic growth. Energy surpluses not used by the community could be used to power cruise ships berthing in Haines and Skagway, and help meet the growing energy needs of Canada’s neighboring Yukon Territory.

Alaska Power & Telephone (AP&T) is an employee-owned business founded in Skagway in 1957. AP&T provides regulated electrical service to the Skagway/Haines region, as well as to other rural communities in Alaska.

AP&T has significant hydropower development experience, having licensed and developed four hydropower projects in Alaska since the mid-1990s. These new projects have helped AP&T’s service areas transition from 90% dependency on costly diesel fuel, to 75% clean, renewable energy. Hydropower projects developed by AP&T include Kasidaya Creek and South Fork, as well as Black Bear Lake and Goat Lake – the first two certified Low Impact Hydropower projects in the State of Alaska.

In conjunction with their preliminary permit application, AP&T provided a letter to the Municipality of Skagway, clarifying their intent to partner and work closely with the municipality and the community, so that West Creek can be developed in a manner which is consistent with stakeholder expectations and community development plans. AP&T President and CEO Robert Grimm explained: “AP&T is proud to have served the Skagway community for over 50 years, working closely with local government and community stakeholders during good times and bad. We believe the West Creek project is an important new chapter in our ongoing efforts to support Skagway’s continued community and economic development, and look forwards to working closely with the Municipality on this new project so that we can maximize the environmental, social, and economic benefits of this project for the community.” - More...
Monday PM - April 21, 2014


Alaska: NOAA releases Arctic Action Plan - NOAA explained how it will concentrate scientific, service, and stewardship efforts in the Arctic when it released its first ever Arctic Vision and Strategy. Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, made the announcement during a keynote address to the Aspen Institute in Washington on April 16th. However, the plan was released today.

"The Arctic is at once a majestic, harsh, and fragile environment. It’s the region where we are seeing the most rapid and dramatic changes in the climate. And these regional changes have global implications,” said Lubchenco in her speech last week. “NOAA’s Arctic plan builds on our research history in that region to prepare us for a changing Arctic that will affect our economic, environmental, and strategic interests. The time to refocus our efforts is now and strong local, regional and international partnerships are required if we are to succeed.”

NOAA identified the Arctic as one of its priority areas in its 2010-2017 Strategic Plan and 2010 annual guidance memorandum, which serve to focus the agency’s efforts on key objectives.

The NOAA Arctic Vision and Strategy lists six goals:

  • Forecast sea ice
  • Strengthen foundational science to understand and detect Arctic climate and ecosystem changes
  • Improve weather and water forecasts and warnings
  • Enhance international and national partnerships
  • Improve stewardship and management of ocean and coastal resources in the Arctic
  • Advance resilient and healthy Arctic communities and economies

These goals require coordination of all NOAA’s capabilities, including fisheries management, weather and sea forecasting, climate services, mapping and charting, oil spill readiness and response, observations by satellite, ship, and aircraft, and oceanic, atmospheric, and climate research.

This plan also contains an appendix listing more than 80 actions that NOAA will take in 2014 and 2015 to support Arctic-related missions and mandates and to further the scientific understanding of the region.

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) was both pleased and concerned following the release today of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Arctic Action Plan.

In a prepared statement Begich said, “I am glad the administration continues to plan for changes in the Arctic—but we need more than just plans sitting on a shelf. Without a serious commitment of resources, the U.S. will find itself unprepared for growing activity in the Arctic.” - More...
Monday - April 21, 2014.


Columns - Commentary

TOM PURCELL: We Want Politicians to Lie - Get this: The U.S. Supreme Court is about to decide whether false accusations and mudslinging during political campaigns are illegal.

As it goes, during the 2010 election in Ohio, an anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony List, sought to launch a billboard campaign that accused then-Rep. Steven Driehaus, a Democrat, of supporting taxpayer-funded abortion — because he backed ObamaCare.

But an Ohio law that makes it illegal to knowingly or recklessly make false statements about an opponent during an election killed the ad. The billboard owner, worried about getting sued, declined to run it.

After the election, the Susan B. Anthony List challenged the Ohio law as unconstitutional — that it infringed on the group's First Amendment right to free speech. The Supreme Court will decide the case soon, and I surely hope the Ohio law is overturned.

Though a strong argument can be made that ObamaCare will ultimately cause private insurance funds to finance abortion, here's what is also true: False statements and lies are the bread and butter of American politics. - More...
Monday PM - April 21, 2014

JEFF LUND: Finding words for two cookies - I’m tempted to use the word strange, but that doesn’t cut it.

When I read books or magazines in which the protagonist or narrator suffers the physical and emotional battery of cancer, I get a weird feeling. It’s almost been six years since cancer took my dad so it’s not fresh or raw, but it’s still there.

It’s a soup of nouns and modifiers. It’s sad without being depressing because it’s a fact - not a flat, bland one, but not fanged and vicious either. Like my brain has everything placed on the shelf, but is still tinkering with the organization.

After he died I was supposed to remember, but not too much. Don’t hang on, but at the same time don’t let go. It was a nice way of saying, “you’ve got to figure it out for yourself.”

Just this morning mom recounted the decade-old plans for the house. They’d remodel one room per year, sell and retire to Tucson. Dad liked it down there.
That’s when mom stopped and the unsaid rest of the story happened in our minds. We were quiet but not sad. Reflective, but not pensive. Something. Then we continued talking about other things without hiccup. - More...
Monday PM - April 21, 2014


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letter Let the public vote on minimum wage By Betsy Chivers - Fellow Alaskans, please urge all senators to oppose HB 384, the minimum wage bill! I’m pleased that the legislature has finally looked at the salary of a full-time minimum wage worker and realized that a person living on $16,120 lives in poverty. However, low-wage workers have been disregarded for so long that they have a right to be wary when the legislature all of a sudden sees the light and embraces an increase to the indecently low minimum wage. Is their intention just to snatch this issue off the ballot? I believe so. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 22, 2014

letter RE: Annoying sign holders By David Jensen - The "sign holders" had less to do with me as an individual who believes that ending a human life for convenience is "Murder" than Marie Zellmer's letter that called anyone that does not agree with her opinion "Idiots". I would like to apologize to the organizers and participants of the "Forty Days For Life" demonstration if I didn't make this fact abundantly clear in my first letter. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 22, 2014

letter Completeing an anti-abortion thought By Marie Zellmer - I have refrained from using names in my postings, to be sensitive to other people's lives, but I must say one last thing to Rob Holston. I believe that anyone who would post the insensitive and horrible things you have posted needs to see a councilor. I am speaking not about his cause, because everyone has the right to believe what they want, and if he wants to think abortion is murder, that is his right. What I have an issue with is how he is presenting his beliefs. I mean wanting to chop up living, breathing puppies is a bad sign. Calling me a murderer, who is duped by the medical profession and science means that something does need to be addressed, but not by me. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 22, 2014

letter Proposed law to legalize Marijuana By Marvin Seibert - Once again another state, namely Alaska will vote on the opportunity to play Russian roulette with 2 bullets in the chamber instead of one. I have always heard the argument that Alcohol is more addictive than Marijuana, even if that was true do we really need another legal way to get stoned and check out of a useful life in society? - More...
Tuesday AM - April 22, 2014

letter Ball fields By Susan Dornblaser - Mr. Lanham, I have walked at North Point Higgins and Weiss fields and the trail to Coast Guard beach for 7 years now every morning before or at daybreak. Ardie and I kept all the feces and ball players disgusting refuse picked up for a minimum of 5 years. You have noticed the excess feces but that is a very limited amount of refuse left out there. I clean up duck heads and duck bodies with duck tape on them out of the field also. No one will ever teach the geese to pick up after themselves. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 22, 2014

letter Ketchikan's north end dogs By Paul Alberts - I was set aback by this letter as I read one complain about dog crap so much. Spend a little more time with your family and push spay and neutering (or pay to help someone's pet) instead of spending all of your time on some dumb hunting dog stuff. No mention of actually hunting with your dogs or family. what a waste of time and money for one's family. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 22, 2014

letter Minimum Wage: Let the People Have a Voice By Daniel Repasky - We, the Citizens of Alaska, by initiative have made the effort to see a modest minimum wage increase placed on the ballot for Voters to decide in election. We believe it that important. It’s not often that the people express their desire for a change in law by petition although this year seems to be a banner year, what with SB21, the Marijuana Initiative, and minimum wage all headed for a vote of the people. AO-37 was another such issue. Over 20,000 voters made the effort to change a bad law. The Assembly majority in Anchorage and Mayor Sullivan did everything it could to frustrate Anchorage’s votes (at taxpayer expense) and successfully delayed this vote until November. Our hope is that those 20,000 voters who signed the initiative/referendum will remember this and vote accordingly whenever Mayor Sullivan’s name appears on a ballot. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter Shopping dogs... By Dixie Rhodes - After reading the letter sent in by Laura Attwood, I decided to put in my own two cents. I've noticed a trend recently for people to bring their small dogs into grocery stores while they shop. I know that there are certified therapy dogs and service dogs in Ketchikan. I understand that there are people that need the help that therapy / service dogs provide. I have no problem with that. My problem is when I see people inside a grocery store with their puppy or small breed dog. Clearly, these are not service or therapy dogs. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter North End Dog Owners By Joseph Lanham - I love dogs by choice. I think you would be hard pressed to find more than a hand full of people that spend more time training and working with their dog than I do. I am commanded by God to love their owners ☺. This is more difficult. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter Alaska Fair Project By Michael Goodner - My name is Michael Goodner, and I am a third grader from Anselmo-Merna School in Merna, NE. I am nine years old. My class is having a States Fair and I have drawn your state to research. - More...
Wednesdsay AM - April 16, 2014

letter For the birds By Victoria McDonald - After years of picking up dead birds that have broken their necks after hitting my windows, I might have found something that will prevent their deaths. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter Prohibitions on same-sex marriage are inconsistent with freedom, justice, liberty and equality By Hollis French - Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These simple words, found in the Declaration of Independence, helped forge the ideals embedded in the United States Constitution -- a constitution that is the envy of the free world. Why? Because it stands as the finest example of humanity's commitment to freedom and equality. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

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