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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Front Page Photo By STEVE SPEIGHTS

Navy's Hawkeye
The all-weather E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning and battle management aircraft has served as the "eyes" of the U.S. Navy fleet for more than 30 years. The E-2C is a carrier-based twin engine, five crewmember, high-wing turboprop aircraft with a 24-foot diameter radar rotodome attached to the upper fuselage. The Hawkeye provides all-weather airborne early warning, airborne battle management and command and control functions for the Carrier Strike Group and Joint Force Commander. This photograph was taken on Friday, August 15th, when the Hawkeye made a brief landing and takeoff at the Ketchikan airport.
Front Page Photo By STEVE SPEIGHTS ©2014
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

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Ketchikan’s Fluid Economy: Alaska’s gateway city, from mining and timber to fishing and tourism By CONOR BELL - Alaska’s southernmost city has its roots in the bank of a stream the Tlingits called “Kitschkin.”

Ketchikan’s Fluid Economy: Alaska’s gateway city, from mining and timber to fishing and tourism

Ketchikan Creek runs along Ketchikan's historic Creek Street, a boardwalk on pilings.
Photo courtesy

In the late 19th century, white settlers explored the southern part of the Southeast panhandle in search of a place to harvest salmon. They found the mountainous land undesirable until they discovered the mild sloping beach surrounding the Kitschkin stream, where the Tlingits had established a summer fish camp.

The settlers purchased land from the Tlingits and built a salmon saltery along the banks of the water body, which became known as Fish Creek and then Ketchikan Creek, based on the original name. This initial business lasted just a few years, but multiple canneries and salteries soon began operating, giving rise to the town now known as Ketchikan.

Mining in the early days

Mining became dominant in the area during the Alaska Gold Rush, and Ketchikan was many pros- pectors’ first stop on their trip north. The town also served as a supply center for mines operating in the surrounding area and on Prince of Wales Is- land, mines that produced some gold but primarily focused on copper. By 1900, the town had grown to approximately 800 people.

When the stock market and copper prices tumbled in 1907, area mines closed. Fishing helped compen- sate for the loss of jobs, and more canneries were built in the years that followed as a market devel- oped for shipping frozen salmon and halibut. Logging also gained prominence and became the economy’s driving force for most of the 20th century.

Timber rises, then fades

Until the early 1900s, a few small logging companies provided lumber locally, but the majority of lumber the town used was shipped in.

Ketchikan Spruce Mills opened in 1903, nearly filling local demand for lumber and remaining in operation until 1983.

Ketchikan Pulp Company opened in 1954, processing lumber harvested from the Tongass Na- tional Forest. In 1989, the pulp mill was the state’s seventh-largest private employer, and it was consistently one of the 20 largest private employers through the mid-1990s.

With the timber industry flourishing, Ketchikan’s population peaked in 1995 at approximately 14,800 people.

The tide began to turn in 1990, when the Tongass Timber Reform Act ended annual federal support of up to $40 million to the Alaska timber industry.

The mill, which had been cited for violating air and water emission laws and paid several million dollars in penalties, was closed in 1997 partly because it needed hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental renovations. The company continued logging on Forest Service land for two more years.

Ketchikan’s total employment fell by 12 percent between 1995 and 1998, and its population dropped by 700 — to 14,100 with the pulp mill’s closure. This downward trend continued until 2004, when the population reached a low of 13,200.

Since then, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s population has risen to 13,900, which includes the city’s population of 8,300, the nearby Native village of Saxman with 411 people, a census- designated place called Loring with a population of three, and 5,129 who live outside of any defined city or CDP.

Lower wages but higher incomes

Ketchikan’s average annual wage in 2013 was $42,767, considerably below the statewide aver- age of $51,033. The average wage doesn’t paint a complete picture, though, as it doesn’t include fish harvesting income or account for people working multiple jobs.

For example, if a person spends the summer work- ing in retail and the rest of the year working for the school district, wages at each employer would be counted separately, effectively lowering the average wage. Many jobs in the borough are seasonal, such as those in tourism and seafood processing.

Personal income is a closer estimate of how much the average resident makes in a year, as it includes not just wages from a job but all the money a person takes in, such as investment income and transfer payments (for example, Social Security, retirement, and public assistance). It also factors in income from multiple jobs and self-employment, including fish harvesting. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014


Southeast Alaska:
20 years ago, 'Banishment' was in the news By DAVE KIFFER - Twenty years ago this summer, Tlingits from Southern Southeast were at the center of a world-wide media frenzy after a Washington Superior Court Judge chose to agree that two young men were to be “banished” into the wilderness as the penalty for beating a pizza delivery man.

20 years ago, 'Banishment' was in the news

The Klawock Mountains
Courtesy the City of Klawock

The Judge’s decision in August of 1994, set off over a year of controversy that finally ended when the “banishment” was declared a failure and the teenagers were remanded to finish their sentences in Washington state jails.

In August of 1993, Simon Roberts and Adrian Guthrie, two cousins who had been raised in Klawock, were visiting family in Everett, Washington. According to testimony at their later trial, they decided to rob a pizza delivery man. During the robbery, delivery man Timothy Whittlesey was severely beaten with a baseball bat.

Both boys were quickly apprehended and eventually decided to plead guilty to the crime, even though they faced mandatory prison terms of between three and five and a half years.

Enter Rudy James, a Southeast Native activist who was living in the Seattle area. James, saying he represented the Kuye di’ Kuiu Kwaan tribal court in Klawock, petitioned Superior Court Judge James Allendoerfer to consider “banishment” as an alternative to the jail sentence. James told Allendoerfer that banishment was a traditional Tlingit form of justice.

When Allendoerfer agreed, on July 14, to consider the alternative punishment, controversy ensued. The Assistant Deputy Prosecutor for Snohomish County, Michael Magee, filed a counter motion opposing the potential banishment.

“It seems in reality that the defendants are simply being released to their respective grandparents for the next 18 months,” Magee wrote to the court in late July. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014


Fish Factor: Ban is a direct hit to Alaska seafood exports By LAINE WELCH - Seafood is by far Alaska’s top export and as it heads overseas, global politics play a big role in making sales sink or swim. That dynamic took center stage last week when Russia banned imports of foods for one year from the US, Canada, Europe, Norway and Australia in retaliation for sanctions imposed due to its aggressive actions in Ukraine.

It is a direct hit to Alaska, which last year exported nearly 20 million pounds of seafood to Russia, valued at more than $60 million. The primary product it hurts is pink and chum salmon roe; Russia is also a growing market for Alaska pollock surimi.

“After Japan, Russia is our largest market for salmon roe,” explained Alexa Tonkovich, International Program Director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). “Japan takes about $125 million worth of salmon roe and Russian takes about $46 million (over seven million pounds). The next closest market is China at $20 million.

And if you don’t have diversified markets for a product, you’re in a less powerful negotiating position and that impacts pricing.”

Also in play - the ban on Norwegian salmon means thousands of tons fish destined for Russia is displaced and has to find a home somewhere.

“And that is either the EU, the US, or possibly China or Brazil,” Tonkovich said, “and that impacts pricing for salmon overall.”

Russia is Norway’s third biggest salmon buyer - exports of farmed Atlantics in 2013 approached 300,000 tons, valued at $1.1 billion.

Russia’s ban also takes a bite out of Alaska pollock surimi exports, valued at over $8 million in 2013. But that market is much more diversified than Alaska’s salmon roe.

“There are good markets in Japan and Europe, and we see potential in Brazil for surimi products. So that may be a bit easier to absorb. The salmon roe is a pretty significant volume so I see a greater impact for salmon than for pollock.” Tonkovich said.

Frozen pink salmon also will be affected, said John Sackton.

“In 2013, virtually no frozen pinks were sold to Russia, but in 2014 that jumped from less than $250,000 to $3.3 million,” Sackton said.

Even before the ban, the troubled political climate had ASMI’s international team planning new and expanding market opportunities for Alaska seafood. At this point, Tonkovich said uncertainty rules the day.

“There is a bit of stress in the seafood industry right now,” she said. “Things are in limbo and it is hard to know how it will play out over time.” - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014


Columns - Commentary

RON PAUL: US Sanctions on Russia May Sink the Dollar - The US government's decision to apply more sanctions on Russia is a grave mistake and will only escalate an already tense situation, ultimately harming the US economy itself. While the effect of sanctions on the dollar may not be appreciated in the short term, in the long run these sanctions are just another step toward the dollar's eventual demise as the world's reserve currency.

Not only is the US sanctioning Russian banks and companies, but it also is trying to strong-arm European banks into enacting harsh sanctions against Russia as well. Given the amount of business that European banks do with Russia, European sanctions could hurt Europe at least as much as Russia.

At the same time the US expects cooperation from European banks, it is also prosecuting those same banks and fining them billions of dollars for violating existing US sanctions. It is not difficult to imagine that European banks will increasingly become fed up with having to act as the US government's unpaid policemen, while having to pay billions of dollars in fines every time they engage in business that Washington doesn't like.

European banks are already cutting ties with American citizens and businesses due to the stringent compliance required by recently-passed laws such as FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). In the IRS's quest to suck in as much tax dollars as possible from around the world, the agency has made Americans into the pariahs of the international financial system. As the burdens the US government places on European banks grow heavier, it should be expected that more and more European banks will reduce their exposure to the United States and to the dollar, eventually leaving the US isolated. Attempting to isolate Russia, the US actually isolates itself.

Another effect of sanctions is that Russia will grow closer to its BRICS (Brazil/ Russia/India/ China/ South Africa) allies. These countries count over 40 percent of the world's population, have a combined economic output almost equal to the US and EU, and have significant natural resources at their disposal. Russia is one of the world's largest oil producers and supplies Europe with a large percent of its natural gas. Brazil has the second-largest industrial sector in the Americas and is the world's largest exporter of ethanol. China is rich in mineral resources and is the world's largest food producer. Already Russia and China are signing agreements to conduct their bilateral trade with their own national currencies rather than with the dollar, a trend which, if it spreads, will continue to erode the dollar's position in international trade. Perhaps more importantly, China, Russia, and South Africa together produce nearly 40 percent of the world's gold, which could play a role if the BRICS countries decide to establish a gold-backed currency to challenge the dollar. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

jpg Political Cartoon: Warrior Cops

Political Cartoon: Warrior Cops
By Pat Bagley©, Salt Lake Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Alaska's Fisheries By Mead Treadwell - Imagine this: two of Alaska’s GOP candidates for US Senate have virtually no experience with Alaska’s commercial fisheries! They have skipped debates – like the one traditionally scheduled during Kodiak Crabfest – where questions have been asked and answered statewide on fisheries every election for decades. Just this week, one candidate skipped a statewide television debate beamed to 26 rural radio and TV stations, most of which are on Alaska’s coast. - More...
Tuesday - August 19, 2014

Vote for Agnes Moran By Kathleen Yarr - Please vote for Agnes Moran for State House, District 36. Agnes is diligent in her research of womlocal issues and has a broader knowledge and understanding of issues specific to District 36 (Ketchikan, Wrangel, Hydaburg and Metlakatla) than any of the other three candidates. As a two-term borough assembly member, she has the most governmental experience and has often taken a lot of flack for her well-researched positions on various issues, but she also listens to her constituents, and will change her mind when presented with new information that warrants it Agnes is not concerned with being popular; she's concerned with doing what's best for us. Not one to sugarcoat things, Agnes is willing to make the tough calls when needed. - More...
Monday - August 18, 2014

letter Redoubt Lake issue By Michael A. Baines - We are profoundly disappointed and frustrated that the trustees of the defunct Sheldon Jackson College have filed a notice to appeal a recent federal decision rejecting their claim to 160 acres by Redoubt Falls and surrounding areas near Sitka. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Vote Chere Klein for State House By Bill and Linda Auger - As small business owners, we believe that government should be working to support business . . . providing the infrastructure for those businesses to survive and thrive . . . instead of businesses working to support government. Chere Klein will bring that perspective to the House of Representatives in Juneau for District 36. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Vote for Patti Mackey By Katie Montgomery - I would like to encourage the voters of District 36 to Vote for Patti Mackey this Tuesday August 19. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Chere Klein for House By William and Wynn Hopkins - Were the Alaska House District 36 contest based on popularity, personal philosophy or great ideas, the voter could be in a quandary. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter I question Sealaska corporation spending $50,000 in the Governors race By Dana Leask-Ruaro - How can Sealaska represent that this $50,000 independent expenditure is in support of “Byron Mallott's efforts to work tirelessly on Alaska Native issues” when the Political Action Committee that this money was donated to (Mallott-One Alaska) used these funds for an anti-Parnell campaign? - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter “Yes” on Ballot Measure 1 By Lisa Weissler - On August 19th, Alaska voters will act as legislators. Through Ballot Measure 1, Alaskans have the power to repeal the law currently governing Alaska’s oil and gas production tax, known as Senate Bill 21. A “Yes” vote repeals the current tax and reinstates the system that was in effect from 2007 until 2013, known as Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES). Just as legislators need to be informed before they vote, so does the voting public. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Can Alaskans Be Conned Again? Vote Yes Ballot Measure 1 By Hal Gazaway - "Vote no” says if Prop one passes, the Big Three oil companies will leave Alaska. They report oil company contracts are on hold until August 20, 2014. Oil and service companies have advised their employees “on August 20th we will see how many pink slips we will have to give out.” This is an old tactic. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Listen To The Advice Of Senator Stedman. Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 1 By Dan Ortiz - The most important issue facing Alaskan voters who participate in the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, August 19th is Ballot Measure 1. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Lodging regulations for residents By Christina Martinez - In this day and age you think the residents of Ketchikan and the Outer Prince of Wales Borough would push for lodging regulations in Ketchikan. In the winter months the local residents from out of town are the bread and butter to an already dying economy - but in the summer it is worsened by the almost 100 percent increase in lodging rates. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Response to "My rights" By Judith Green - In response to Janalee's well thought out and well stated view, I am sorry I missed the Council Meeting. I did not attend any of the council meetings, and I do not know the details of this last meeting, yet I am saddened that any of our officials in our community would have left such a distaste (for this beautiful member/ citizen of our community) from a public hearing/ meeting. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter RE: Fed Up By Amanda Mitchell l - What you are going through does sound very frustrating. I would like to share our experience and I have some suggestions. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 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 AM- August 13, 2014

letter My rights are like "a child asking for candy" By Janalee Minnich Gage - Last Thursday night I attended the Ketchikan city council meeting regarding the integrated access to the new performing arts center, and it is hard to imagine how it is that after 24 years that we still have no concept of what ADA law is or about. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Thank You By Chere Klein - Thank you to Metlakatla Indian Community, Mayor Hudson & the entire Metlakatla community for being so welcoming to all the visitors at your Founder's Day celebration events & feasts. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Tax Increases By Greg Harris - I hope this finds you all healthy and happy as its been a couple years since I've been on the rock. After reading Mr. Dial's letter concerning tax increases proposed and passed I couldn't help myself, I just had to comment. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Fed Up! By Susan Cody - I have lived in my Ketchikan residence at the dead end of a city street for over 4 years. There are more than 10 trash cans near the front of my house for the residents that live in this area. For the past 3 summers I have drilled holes in all of the trash cans, paid for and installed reinforcements to keep the bears from spreading garbage. Although 3 of my neighbors are bear proofing and helping the situation, the majority of my neighbors don't. They simply do not take the 2 seconds to latch them. For the last couple summers I would just pick up all of the garbage, but this year I am fed up with it all. It seems as though they expect me to continue cleaning it up. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Chere Klein for District 36 By Peggy Wilson - I’d like to tell you why I am ENDORSING CHERE KLEIN for District 36 House of Representative; and why it’s important you vote for her August 19th over other candidates currently running. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 13, 2014

letter Vote for Klein By K.A. Swiger - I will be voting or Chere Klein on August 19th. I hope you do too. I have known Chere for many years, serving on chamber committees with her and have seen her many community involvements. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 13, 2014

letter Moran for State House By Steve Ortiz - I believe that southern southeast Alaska would be well served by electing Agnes Moran as its State Representative. Agnes brings multiple years of leadership, experience, and dedication to District 36. Her work history with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and previously Cisco Systems demonstrates that she produces innovative actions and an ability to solve difficult issues for large organizations. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Vote for Chere Klein By Renee Schofield - I'll be voting for Chere Klein. As a small biz owner, she understands the need for diversity, clarity and simplicity in laws that affect small businesses. That matters a great deal to me. As a small business owner, incorporated in Alaska, but working nationally, I need representation that will grow with me. I think Chere can do that. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter FairTax By Kathleen Perera - I agree with Wiley Brook's letter to you dated August 6, 2013. Our country was able to be financial stable for over half of its life WITHOUT the IRS and income tax. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter The Fair Tax By Pat Burkett - Wiley Brooks letter of August 6, 2014, is informative and timely. It is of interest to me that the writers of our Constitution rejected taxing income and believed that a tax on consumption was the proper way to fund government. Taxing consumption puts individuals in charge of their money and the amount of taxes they pay because there is no tax on spending for basic necessities due to the rebate provision of the Fair Tax. Therefore, it is discretionary spending that is taxed, and that spending is under our own, immediate control, not that of the IRS to take out before we ever get our paychecks. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Machinations, part II By Rodney Dial - I wasn’t going to write another letter again so soon, but couldn’t believe what happened between my last letter on June 24th and the Ketchikan City Council meeting on July 24th. - More...
Thursday - August 07, 2014

letter The Importance of Integrated Access to the Performing Arts Center By Janalee Minnich Gage - I am concerned about Ketchikan's support quality integrated access to the performing arts center. I am an active member of the First City Players, which has been an integral part of my life even while I was out of town working for the past 10 years in public service. In many ways it is my refuge, my release and my savior. The arts keep me grounded and involved as a community member; it is my therapy. First City Players has always been about my ability not my disability. They have strived to be inclusive and have gone out of their way to provide a place for anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of the program. I think the City should want to support this. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Thanks with meaning! By A.M. Johnson - A couple of things on my mind that warrants following up on. The first is the line crew of the KPU who are installing new poles on North Tongass. I pass these fellows several times a day. What is most noticeable is the intense attitude of the crew. From the foreman and I suppose the safety watch on the operation to the full crew. There is no slack time. Everybody appears professional with no lost movements. I thank them for their diligent and safe work area that they provide for their selves and the driving public. Good job!! - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Four Friends By Garnet Dima - Four of my friends are running for the House District 36 seat. All four candidates vying for the House District 36 seat are truly wonderful people. They are longtime residents of Ketchikan who want nothing but the best for souther Southeast Alaska. Each of the candidates is smart and hardworking. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Moran for House District 36 By Bobbie McCreary - Vote for Moran, the best person to speak for Southeast. I have observed Ms. Moran's ability to speak with a strong voice for issues or projects she has carefully researched and determined appropriate for the Borough to support. She will make sure she is well informed and then will go to bat to lead the charge for what we need in Southeast. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter TWO OF THE 3 ALASKA REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR THE U.S. SENATE SUPPORT THE FairTax® By Wiley Brooks - An issue that deserves our attention has recently surfaced in the debates between the Republican Party candidates who hope to unseat Senator Mark Begich in the November 4 General Election. That issue is the 100 year old income tax system which can only be described as a ridiculous complex and intrusive mess. It is burdensome to tax filer, destructive to the economy and custom designed to invite political motivated abuse and corruption. It is broken beyond repair and the time has come to correct a 100 year old mistake. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Big business & Ketchikan's dock By Bob Brown - Big business is dictating the dock we load and unload , and the City of Ketchikan is going along with it. On July 29th, I brought my bus down for the tour that I was assigned to wait for. We must give our sellers time to sell enough before loading . I normally would have someone come out to back me but instead the Harbor Master came out and tells me I'm too big to be on the dock while Princess buses are there so was told to remove myself for a time while they get to bring more buses down. This has never happened before this year. WE had all been given a space no matter what. They argue that they should bring their buses down first and make us wait and then let us come on the dock. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter SB21: ?A Bad Deal for Alaska By Hal Gazaway & Barbara Gazaway - In the oil revenue debate we've heard and read misleading statements and distorted facts. As long time Alaska residents, business owners, and grandparents, we are very concerned about Alaska’s future economy. The “Vote No on Proposition One” group paints an “almost too good to be true” picture if SB21 prevails in August. The group repeatedly alludes to Alaska’s partnership with the oil companies, assuring us that this new deal (SB21) will result in more jobs as well as economic growth. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Prop 1 By Paul Hovik - Just say No to "Oiligarchy" - Vote Yes on 1! - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Women Legislators Weigh In On Oil Tax Referendum By Senator Lesil McGuire, Senator Anna Fairclough, Senator Cathy Giessel, Representative Mia Costello, Representative Lynn Gattis, Representative Lindsey Holmes, Representative Shelley Hughes, Representative Charisse Millett, Representative Lora Reinbold, Representative Peggy Wilson & Representative Tammie Wilson - The discussion around oil tax reform and Ballot Measure 1 has benefitted from many informed and passionate voices from across the state. As women who serve in the Legislature and who voted for the bill that created our new tax policy, we want to lend a unique perspective on why we voted to pass Senate Bill 21 and why we will vote NO on 1 this August. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

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