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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 04, 2010

Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT

2009 Draws To An End With Double Blue Moon
With a New Year's Eve double blue moon, 2009 went out with an lunar bang. A Double Blue Moon is a situation that only takes place about four times a century and occurs when two Blue Moons occur in the same year-- the second is known as a Double Blue Moon. The last time this happened was in 1999. According to NASA, a double blue moon will not happen again until 2018. This photograph was taken December 31, 2009 as the double blue moon began to rise over Ketchikan.
Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT


Ketchikan: First Baby of 2010 - Ketchikan's first baby of the new year has arrived! Paisley Grace Cranford was born shortly before 1:00 am Monday, January 04, 2010 at Ketchikan General Hospital. She weighed eight pounds, four ounces, and is 20.5 inches.

First Baby of 2010

First Baby of 2010
Photo courtesy KGH

Her proud parents are Roxanne Rifenburg and Billy Cranford of Ketchikan. The baby and her family received a welcoming basket of gifts donated by people at Ketchikan General Hospital. - More...
Monday - January 04, 2010

Alaska: Governor Directs Legal Review and Policy Analysis of Health Care Legislation - Alaska Governor Sean Parnell on Friday directed Alaska's attorney general and the Department of Law to review health care legislation being considered by Congress. The governor has also requested the commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services and the director of state/federal relations to update the state's previous policy analysis of pending health care legislation.

"Forcing citizens to purchase health insurance is not only bad policy, it may raise serious legal and constitutional issues," Governor Parnell said. "I am also concerned over the federal government's imposition of long-term and inequitable Medicaid burdens on the states and the ambiguous treatment of the state's health insurance plan for employees under federal legislation."

The State of Alaska has joined a growing number of states in expressing concern about legal and constitutional issues with the Senate bill, which is still under consideration in Congress. The House and Senate will try to resolve the differences between their respective bills when Congress returns in January. - More...
Monday - January 04, 2010

Fish Factor: 2009 retrospective By LAINE WELCH - As we look back at Alaska's seafood industry over the past year, consider this: 62% of our nation's seafood landings come from Alaska, as does 96% of all U.S. wild salmon. Globally, Alaska ranks ninth in the world in terms of seafood production. The seafood industry is second only to Big Oil in revenues it generates to state coffers, and it provides more Alaska jobs than oil/gas, mining, tourism and timber combined. Alaska's abundant and sustainable fishery resources are the envy of all other seafood producers, and its fishery management is regarded as a model around the world.

Here are more fishing notables from 2009, in no particular order, followed by my annual 'picks and pans':

The 2009 salmon harvest of 162 million fish was the 11th best catch since statehood. Pinks pulled a big no show in Prince William Sound.

The global recession tamped down all fish prices; cod prices got especially clobbered when lines of credit dried up.

Fishery advocates swarmed visiting Obama officials to urge them to reinstate a ban on offshore oil and gas lease sites located in six million acres of the nation's "fish basket" - Bristol Bay and the eastern Bering Sea.

More local salmon made it onto school lunch trays in Alaska. Alaska pollock was added to the USDA food commodities program.

Three-quarters of the dockside value of Alaska's fisheries continued to go to non-residents.

Halibut prices fell from the $5/lb range of recent years by more than one dollar. Catch limits continued to decline, awaiting entry of new recruits into the fishery. Likewise, the pollock catch was cut to one of the lowest levels in decades.

Bristol Bay had one of its best red salmon runs ever; fishermen were again put on trip limits by overwhelmed processors.

The first item made from genetically modified animal materials was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Next to get the nod is likely to be Atlantic salmon, which grow twice as fast as normal. No labeling is required alerting consumers that foods are genetically altered.

Exxon finally sent checks to 'oiled' plaintiffs 20 years after the big spill in Prince William Sound. Most checks were cut by more than half after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the punitive damages award was excessive. - More...
Monday - January 04, 2010


Alaska: 2010 PFD On-line Application Bugs Addressed - The Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) division has received reports of some applicants having technical difficulties while using the 2010 PFD on-line application process, particularly in regards to the Pick.Click.Give (PCG) charitable contribution option. These problems have been addressed, and remedies are being explored for those applicants impacted by the problems.

The principle complaint regarding the PCG option is the apparent lack of a list of charities from which to choose to give. This issue is caused by a delay in displaying the list of charities. By statute, the list of charities available through the PCG program must first be listed in random order for each applicant. For the 2010 PFD on-line application, the list of charities can be searched and sorted either alphabetically or by region. Due to the tremendous traffic on the PFD system, the search and sort function has created delays. An applicant will see "[Loading]" for an extended period of time, and must be patient as the search is completed. Once the search is complete, an applicant may also be confused by an empty cell in place of the charity name. The applicant must click on the drop-down menu to display the list of charities. In addition, the search delay can be so long that the PCG process shuts down and the applicant's PFD is submitted before they have a chance to fulfill their intention of donating through the PCG program. The PFD division will ensure that all 2010 PFD applicants who want to participate in the PCG program have the opportunity to do so. The division is exploring the options available for those who already submitted a 2010 PFD application, and will announce the solution shortly.

In addition, some problems have been reported by 2010 PFD applicants using the e-signature feature of the on-line application process. These problems include adult applications being populated with information from the applicant's child, and error messages when submitting a child's application. The PFD division has been able to diagnose and remedy these problems. - More...
Monday - January 04, 2010

National & Alaska: The most dangerous activity: driving By ZACK McMILLIN - Of the tragic, avoidable deaths across the country, one cause stands out well beyond all others.

Some advocates call it America's great, unnoticed public health menace, and it can hit any household in any neighborhood, inner city or suburban, rich or poor, black or white. It is the leading cause of deaths among Americans ages 1 to 34, and is the leading cause of long-term disability for all.

Many Americans fear becoming a victim of crime, but statistics show we are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a vehicle accident than to be harmed at the hands of criminal attackers.

And yet today and tomorrow and the next day, parents will subject themselves and their children to its danger with little concern.

"People don't generally think of driving as a risky task," says Russ Rader, of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "They think that crashes happen to other people, not themselves. There is a researcher who calls it the illusory zone of immunity -- when we do things day after day that are routine, we don't think of them as being particularly dangerous.

"But of course the statistics show that getting behind the wheel of a car is probably the riskiest thing any of us do on any given day." - More...
Monday - January 04, 2010


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letterOfficer in our Schools - SAFETY FIRST By Roberta "Bobbie" McCreary - Thank you Chas for speaking out about our responsibility to support measures that protect our youth... we DO need to make our community safe for our youth and we DO need to take our community's rep down a few points (quite a few actually). What about our rep as the community in the US that has highest per capita prescriptions for the drug OxyContin? How do we stack up with meth labs, domestic violence, drop outs? Not so good, I'm told. - More...
Monday PM - January 04, 2010

letterRE: Obama Czars (Ooooh Please) By Evan Bolling - When I was in biology class, we would have "periodic" lab hours (lame pun, I know). I strolled into class one day, rather groggy but was immediately stimulated by the congested smell of formaldehyde, latex and VERY raw pork. "Heck Yes! We are going to be dissecting pig fetuses today!" I said out-loud. We picked and pried at all the little parts inside, and that is exactly what Al Johnson's article "Obama Czars" is in desperate need of, a painstaking dissection. - More...
Monday PM - January 04, 2010

letter Be a part of the Solution By Diana Chaudhary - You are right Teri J. Wilson.... there are a lot of serious problems in our community and it sounds like you have ideas on how to solve them. I would urge you and everyone else with concerns and ideas to come to the Community Conversation on January 12th to participate in a discussion that will address not only problems, but also what is currently being done or needs to be done to help solve those problems. - More...
Monday PM - January 04, 2010

letterVandalism By Lois Munch - A random act of meanness. The most polite way to describe the vandalism to my car on December 27 while it was parked by the Frog Pond on the old Ward Lake Road. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 30, 2009

letterOfficer in our schools By Charles Edwardson - Sometimes "maybe" I hit the wrong button and delete instead of send, but I sometimes send in letters that do not make this publication. I will be careful to SEND this one. I know it's not the sarcasm I mentioned in the"about section" that keeps my comments out of this publication.  - More...
Wednesday PM - December 30, 2009

letterPay raises and other things By A.M.Johnson - Seems a nerve was stuck!! If Mr. Kling were to once again read the piece on pay raises and other things it will become clearer for him and other like thinking souls. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 30, 2009

letterRE: Speak up (O.K.) By James J. Schenk - Thank you Chaz Edwardson for your intelligent response to a problem that may face a lot of people soon. The loss of any job in a community such as Ketchikan is a tragedy, believe me I know. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterPROPOSED SMOKING TAX By Teri J. Wilson - The following is an open letter to the Members and Mayor of Ketchikan Gateway Borough: With disgust I read the article in the newspaper of Monday, December 21, 2009, wherein the borough is considering a cigarette tax, the supposed reasons for this are to discourage underage smoking and to create a new revenue source. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterRE: Obama's Czars By Gail Calhoun - I appreciate Mr. Johnson's letter of Nov.30, 2009, which compiled the new leaders in Obama's circle. I feel like this list is very informative. It offers the reader background information, and anything that offers more clarity is needed, because too much is filtered out of the news that is available these days. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterBob Norton By Ken Leland - Like Neil Gray, I was also saddened to read of Bob Norton's passing. I knew that he gave a good fight until the end, yet was always upbeat despite his illness. I fondly remember those days at KTKN in the 80's when we worked at the radio station. He and Tom Allison used to collaborate on some very creative radio ads, and they always came to me as the station engineer to ask for my response. They always cracked me up! I will always remember his "Gramps" characterizations and some of the other zany pieces they put together. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letter RE: Pay raises, and other goodies By Mike Kling - Congress does not vote on COLAs. It is set by a fixed formula based on the CPI (comsumer price index). There was no increase in the 2009 CPI, therefore no COLA increase for 2010. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterWhite House Immersed In Pork Barrel By Donald A. Moskowitz - When President Obama was campaigning for President he made a solemn pledge he would eliminate or reduce earmarks. He broke that promise during the push to implement the new healthcare program. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterMake a difference By Carol Alley - Reach out, offer understanding, if you want to make a difference. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterKPU TELEPHONE SALE: SPEAK UP By Charles Edwardson - WHAT do the Ketchikan telephone division employees think?? Last year I ran for city council. I went to several forums with telephone division employees at these meetings. I asked about the sale of the division and none of them spoke up. I told them I would stand with them, but not for them. They would not express their likes or dislikes about the pending sale -- in confidence I was told they feared for their jobs. This made no sense what so ever to me. Grown men and women (THEORETICALLY) represented by some phantom union that supposedly protects their interests, scared to lose jobs?? Guess what guys,, you're going to anyway if the utility sells so what have you got to lose? (Speak Up) - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter RE: Stimulate not Obliterate By Don Borders - Rhonda Green is correct in the position she wrote about on Sitnews Viewpoint. When I came to this town, I had to pay large deposits on the Electric and Telephone service. Nevertheless, I was happy to get them as other communities in Southeast Alaska had neither. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterOpen Letter to Sen. Begich By Rodney Dial - Dear Senator Begich, I am writing you in this forum because you seem unwilling to respond to those who question your support of the health care reform bills. My question for you is this: Since you support the Senate Health Care Reform plan, which is designed to comply with the President's mandate that the reform be "deficit neutral" (if that is even possible), can we expect you to stand by ALL elements of this bill? Specifically, this legislation requires congress to cut Medicare by $480 Billion over the next ten years. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter Open letter to Sen. Begich By Jay Jones - Could Sen. Mark Begich please explain to me this part of the Health Care Bill you just voted for? "Section 3403 it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterAnother chance! By Al Johnson - Is it not the time for Senator Beigch to come to our local community's assistance? It would seem so. I believe all it would take would be the local Moderate/liberal Republicans jointly with the "Everything is free and all for Me" Democrats, in a bipartisan way, approach Senator Begich to make his vote for National Health Care worth something. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBridge to Nob Hill By Rhett Jackson - The article, Pelosi snares millions in earmarks for her area from defense bill By JOE GAROFOLI, contained a piece of data interesting to Ketchikanites: The earmarks include $54 million for a flood-control project that will raise two trestles used by the Napa Valley Wine Train. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterOur Community Spirit is Showing! By Bobbie McCreary - The Ketchikan City Council tackled the very difficult challenge of balancing their budget in tough economic times, with an uncertain future of tax revenues ahead. Beyond the wisdom of the council members, what impressed me was how the community stepped forward to give what they could to help. To help save jobs, employees offered to take furlough days without pay. To help protect the City's revenue, Kevin Gadsey withdrew his request for a donation of the rental fee at the Ted Ferry Civic Center for a SAIL event and offered his personal donation to cover this cost instead. This modeling of the community pulling together was really inspiring. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterCut equally or not at all By Beth Antonsen - This letter is written to encourage all of you to reconsider the recent cuts to the non-profits. It is commendable that you have decided to reinstate some of the non-profits to 90% of their budgets but there are still two vital agencies you have left at 50% in cuts. Please, if you are going to cut the agencies do it equally the same to all, including to the Visitor's Bureau. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBob Norton By Neil Gray - I was very saddened when I received the news of Bob Norton passing away Monday. Beginning back in the 1970's Bob and I not only were working partners on the air and in Kayhi Sports on KTKN Radio, but became good friends. I'll always remember the days Bob and I covered Kayhi Basketball and Senior League Baseball. He was an excellent color commentator (and filled in play by play when I lost my voice), but one of the best stats man I ever had. He delveloped into a very good play by play man as well. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterParenting podcast By Inge Kummant - As a teacher and the parent of a teen, I often have the challenges of parenting on my mind. If you are a parent, did you know that there is a podcast and radio show available online from the award-winning, well-established, tried and true Love and Logic Institute? - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterWhat happened with the Christmas Lights? By Terry Miles - As everyone might have noticed, the Christmas "Snowflake" Lights that we've enjoyed in the past that hang on the power poles along Tongass Ave. are, at best, let's say, "Random", this year. I was wondering why? In years past the decorations hung from at least every other power pole. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBeautiful lights By Laurie Hodne - For the family that lives on 2nd Ave that went to obvious extensive work in your light/music display for us to enjoy, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!! - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter Christmas Spirit By Ken Leland - As a long time Forest Park resident, I applaud your efforts and appreciate your obvious Christmas Spirit. I am disappointed that there is someone who would rather act as Scrooge and spoil it for you and all of us who appreciate your efforts. Please don't let this person or persons dampen your Christmas Spirit. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterPuppy scams By Kathy Brendible - I read the BBB article on puppy scams and I was also a part of that. After reading the article it sounds exactly like what happened to me just last Christmas. I also thought I was buying a bull dog from a breeder, but the exact same thing happened . They said to send money by Western Union and I did . They said that the puppy was going to be shipped and it never showed and I never got any information on the shipping. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Kristin Coffin - Mr. Reed, I completely agree with you! I have two dogs of my own, and have thoroughly enjoyed using the local dog parks in WA and OR while completing graduate school. One of my concerns regarding a move back to town is the lack of open, safe space for my dogs to run and play. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Kim Morton - The trail at D2 loop is the best place we have found for walking our dogs. You can hit the right side and walk for miles and miles, or go to the left and they have an open area that is usually free (but sometimes there are 4 wheelers in the area). It 's a great place because you can keep an eye on your dogs but it is sheltered in by the trees. Also we have never had any problems with people getting angry about off leash dogs because there is no rule against it. Hope to see you out there. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Chris Barry - Mr. Reed, it is nice to have a confirmation that there are some responsible pet owners in Ketchikan that have a desire to let their pets run loose without bothering others. I love being around dogs, and I've always enjoyed having dogs (currently I don't have one). I would support having a pet designated area such as a dog park for multiple reasons that I am sure many locals will agree with. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

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