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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 08, 2008

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Early Morning Waterfront
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

AMHS Public Teleconference

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) announced Monday that it will hold Alaska Marine Highway System public teleconferences Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. concerning Southeast Alaska schedules. On Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. a second teleconference will be held regarding Southwest and Southcentral Alaska schedules.

To participate:   Call 1-800-315-6338, use the code 3902 # (pound)

For more information about AMHS' operating plan, proposed vessel deployment and weekly vessel pattern for the Summer 2008, click here.


Alaska: One Quarter of Expected 2008 PFD Applications Already Filed - The New Year started with a bang for the PFD Division. Alaskans flocked to the internet to apply online for their 2008 PFDs. The first day of the 2008 application period opened January 1, and by mid-day January 7 over one quarter of the expected 2008 PFD applications had been filed. The previous daily record of 25,083 online applications received, set on January 3rd, 2007, was fully eclipsed by the 35,121 online applications received on January 2, 2008.

At 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, 202 applicants were logged onto the PFD website and waiting to file. By 12:35 a.m., over 500 applications had been filed, and by 1:00 a.m. over 813 applications had been filed. As of January 4th, online applications passed the 100,000 mark, and by mid-day on January 7th, over 157,500 online applications had been filed. In 2007 the Division received 420,596 applications online, two thirds of the total 629,000 valid applications received for the 2007 PFD. The Division is hoping for at least 470,000 online filers this year and is expecting 630,000 valid applications. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 08, 2008

Fish Factor: Alaska's largest fisheries get underway in winter By LAINE WELCH - Because salmon is at the heart of Alaska's fisheries, many people regard summer as "the fishing season."

But it is at this time of year - the dead of winter - when Alaska's largest fisheries get underway. On January 1, boats using hook and line, pot and jig gear begin plying the icy waters of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea for cod, rockfish and other groundfish. Then on January 20th trawlers take to the seas to target Alaska pollock, the world's largest food fishery.

Late February or early March sees the start of the eight month halibut and sablefish (black cod) seasons. March also marks the start of Alaska's roe herring circuit, usually at Sitka Sound, followed by fisheries for several months all the way to Norton Sound.

And although wild king salmon are available nearly year round thanks to Southeast trollers, mid May marks the 'official' start and hoopla of Alaska's salmon season with the runs of kings and reds at Copper River. Salmon fisheries from Ketchikan to Kotzebue take center stage all summer and into the fall. That's followed by mid-October openers for Bering Sea crab fisheries. And so it goes. Close to 5 billion pounds of fish and shellfish cross Alaska's docks each year, valued at over $1 one billion.

Tanner crab, too - As the winter snow crab fishery in the Bering Sea kicks into high gear, crabbers and processors last week compromised on a $1.58/lb base price, down four cents from the original asking price.

"Obviously, more will be paid when the crab is sold," said Greg White, negotiator for the crabbers' Inter Cooperative Exchange (ICE) which represents about 70% of the king and snow crab caught in the Bering Sea.

The 2008 snow crab quota is 63 million pounds, nearly double last year's catch.

"We think there was a better price to be had, but like the processors, we're eager to go fishing and get the crab caught," White said. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 08, 2008

Alaska: Oil leases cited as reason for delay on polar bear listing By JANE KAY - Environmental groups fear that political meddling and a rush to sell oil leases in Arctic waters are behind the Bush administration's announcement that it will miss a legal deadline to determine whether to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

Federal law requires U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a final decision on protections for the white furry marine mammal by Wednesday, a year from when the agency first proposed that it be considered a threatened species.

Climate scientists predict that floating polar ice will disappear by midcentury, leaving the bear without food and habitat. Two-thirds of the population could disappear by 2050, scientists say.

The polar bear has become a symbol of how dramatic planetary changes threaten the homes of both humans and wildlife.

In announcing the delay of up to a month, Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall said Monday that the agency needs more time to finish its work on the decision. He said new U.S. Geological Survey studies on the size of the polar bear population and sea ice trends required an extended public comment period. The agency already has considered 670,000 comments on the listing.

"I can't tell you how we're leaning one way or another. We're going to be diligent about following the science," Hall said.

The bear is the first species that the agency has considered protecting because of threats posed by global warming. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 08, 2008

Alaska: Alaska astrophysicist raises odds of Mars asteroid strike By GEORGE BRYSON - The odds are it will miss. Still, there's a huge asteroid -- a massive rock about 160 feet long -- hurtling toward Mars.

Two weeks ago, NASA scientists said the chances it would collide with the Red Planet were 1 in 75. Now they say it's 1 in 28, and astronomers and physicists are beginning to take notice.

As they do, the scientists can credit Andrew Puckett, a 30-year-old astrophysicist conducting post-doctoral research at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Working on his own during Christmas break, Puckett discovered archival data that allowed NASA to refine its forecast on what's now being called "Asteroid 2007 WD5."

"When I submitted the information, all I knew was that I was changing the (projected) orbit," Puckett said in a telephone interview .

"I was sure I would also change the impact odds, but I had no idea whether it would go up or down. So the fact that it went up -- and became a big story -- is just really exciting for me."

It might become exciting for a lot of other people as well, says UAA physics and astronomy professor Travis Rector, who supervises Puckett's research -- if the asteroid actually hits Mars. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 08, 2008


Alaska: Governor's North Pacific Fishery Management Council Nominee Approved by Secretary of Commerce - Governor Sarah Palin announced Monday that her top nominee to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has been approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. Robert "Ed" Dersham has been appointed to fill the remainder of the term of former council member Ed Rasmuson, who resigned January 1, 2008.

Dersham lives in Anchor Point and is a 23-year charter boat operator in Lower Cook Inlet. He served on the Alaska Board of Fisheries for more than eight years, including three years as chair and two years as vice-chair. He was involved in developing and chairing the joint protocol committee for coordination between the Board of Fisheries and the North Pacific Council. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Oregon and is retired from a career as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 08, 2008

Arts & Entertainment

Ketchikan: Arts & Entertainment This Week - This week in Ketchikan the January Folk Dance Sweet Second Saturdays Contra, Square and Circle Dance will be held at the USCG Base "Crow's Nest" on Saturday, January 12th at 7:00 pm. Come out and kick up those heels! No Dance Experience or Partner required. Live Music by Paddy's Leather Breeches. All are welcome! $5 donations encouraged for those over 16.

Teen Advisory Group will meet in the adult library at 6:30 pm on January 8th. TAG also hosts "Create Art in the Afternoon" from 1-3 pm on January 12th. This is a drop-in program appropriate for all ages. Call Kelly Johnson at the library for more information: 225-0370.

"Ketchikan Joins the Geocashing Craze!" Friday Night Insight. The University of Alaska Southeast has a state of the art Geographical Information Systems (GIS) lab that can be used by public and private organizations for training and workshops. Amy Russel is the GIS Coordinator for the University and she will explain how businesses can benefit from location data that are geographically referenced to demographic data on January 11th at 7:00 pm. Friday Night Insight Programs are open to the public and are free of charge from 7:00-8:00 pm at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Call 228-6220 for more info.

Auction and Dance Fundraiser for Michael Beech. Saturday, January 12, at the Eagles Hall on Creek Street, join the fun! Doors open at 7:30 pm, Live Auction starts at 8:00 pm. There will be Original Art and other fabulous things of wonder up for bidding. Dancing will follow, with DJ's Ratfish Ray vs. Ronnie M. No Host Bar, Donations accepted at the door. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 08, 2008


Public Meetings

arrowKetchikan School Board: Regular Meeting - January 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm in the City Council Chambers.
Download the Agenda and Information Packet 1 (pdf)
Download Information Packet 2 (pdf)


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Front Page Archives
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Basic Rules

letterMarty West's Response To Library Issue By Linda Koons Auger - I believe that the City of Ketchikan owns property off of Forest Avenue (new extension to the north of the Third Avenue Bypass), adjacent to the property of George Lybrand. Why isn't this property being considered for the new location of the Library? - More...
Tuesday PM - January 08, 2008

letter As firefighters and EMTs... By Jim Hill - December 15th has always been an important date in my life. On December 15, 1980 the West Valley City Fire Department began providing services to a newly formed community in Utah. A few months later I became a member of that department and after a few thousand emergency calls and 21 or so years later, I retired. I left West Valley to accept a position with the Ketchikan Fire Department in Ketchikan, Alaska. Little did I know that the December 15th anniversary date would one day be associated with the needless death of children. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letter Library Location By Marty West - The city owns the land where the new library is set to be built. The present library space will be used to expand the museum. Plans include elevator access from the parking lot below. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letter Sprinklers in the home once more... By David Hull - There has been a bit of misinformation put out there on residential sprinkler systems. First, the sprinkler requirement is not for all new homes, only those where the department cannot get an engine closer than 150 feet. Don't want a sprinkler system in your new home? Build your driveway so the fire department can get an engine within 150 of your door. Done Deal! - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letter Her Light Was So Bright By Lois Munch - Bright, bubbly, beautiful...and kind. Beautiful inside and out, and genuinely compassionate of humans and critters alike, Kelly Nausid touched many during her short life. Her ever present smile was infectious, and she was just plain fun to be around. Her zest for life was equally obvious when she waited tables at Salmon Falls during college summers or when encountered on the street. Even the briefest conversation was delightful. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letterLibrary Area Bus Stop Seating By Charlotte L. Glover - I can certainly understand how people would want a dry area with seating to wait for the bus in front of the library. The city is looking for new seating that would allow a person to wait comfortably for a bus without being so spacious as to provide sleeping space. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letter Replace Library Bus Stop Benches (Please?) By Carol Baines - Someone mentioned the word "bullies" in regard to people complaining that the bus stop benches at the library were removed. I think the bullies are the ones who decided to take harsh action -- without fair warning -- by removing the benches and thereby punishing everyone. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letter Snow driving By Patrick Branco - I wanted to responded to the story by Jessica Peavey called "A Little Snowy Advice for Drivers". Her story reminded me of something my father always used to say "There are only two kinds of drivers, the ones who drive too slow when you are behind them and the idiots who drive too fast". Sadly, few of us are perfect drivers. Dangerous conditions require prudence. Is it prudent to go out on the road, in the dark, in a vehicle poorly suited to the conditions? We each should decide whether a trip to Walmart is worth it. Does the driver of a big SUV with studded tires and 4 wheel drive have the right to pressure less capable vehicles to go behind their safety parameters and driving ability? Clearly not. The law requires that if you have a line of 5 or more vehicles behind you and you are driving under the posted limit, you should safely pull over and allow them to pass. This does not mean that you should bury yourself in a snow bank or inch over onto what barely passes for a shoulder on most of our roads. It means safely. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letter Snow Advice By Kimberly Morton - I would like to say sorry to Jessica and the other drivers out there that have real concerns about the snow and the bad behavior that some drivers have towards them. Though it needs to be known that if you are driving a vehicle with children in it that can't pull out from the side of the road, then it is unsafe for you to be on the road. It amazes me that we live in such a small town and that some people without snow tires or four wheel drive decide to drive anyway. They end up getting stuck and causing many more traffic problems than the drivers that are using their "middle finger". With all the accidents that can happen if your car is not able to get around in the snow, then call a friend and let those that are ready and prepared for the snow do the driving. I have ridden with many people that get scared or nervous during snowy conditions and they are usually the ones that are not prepared. This can lead to serious accidents and even death. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

letter Road Rage, Intimidation, Women By Carol Christoffel - Ladies, I am sorry to learn of someone attempting to harass you while driving. I believe that this happens more to females than to males, as a male feels "comfortable" shouting at a young woman, or older woman alone. Often the "mad macho" drivers pick on women because they know that if they did it to another guy they might just be looking at a fist down their throat! "This ties in to the idea of the male superiority vs a respectful treatment of women. Unfortunately there are too many macho drivers out there these days. - More...
Monday AM - January 07, 2008

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