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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 12, 2010

Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT

Thomas Basin
Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT


Ketchikan: Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Huge Tongass Timber Sale; Rep. Young Expresses Disgust Over Logjam Lawsuit - Three environmental groups sued the Forest Service in Federal District Court in Anchorage Monday, challenging the Logjam timber sale project on Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The plaintiffs - Tongass Conservation Society, Greenpeace, and Cascadia Wildlands - are asking the court to cancel the 3,422 acre timber project on Prince of Wales Island. The project would log 73 million board feet of timber and build 22 miles of new roads.

The project area is 60 miles northwest of Ketchikan, Alaska, near the community of Coffman Cove on Prince of Wales Island. The project area encompasses over 56,000 acres but the record of decision only allows timber harvest on up to 3,400 acres within the area. It is projected that timber harvest from these units will provide between 251 and 356 jobs over the life of the project.

The lawsuit claims the Forest Service grossly failed to consider the project's impacts on deer, wolves, and salmon. It asks the court to vacate the agency's decision to proceed with the project, including the project's recently offered Diesel Timber Sale.

In a prepared statement, Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) said, "The ink is barely dry on the final offering and already these groups are chomping at the bit to destroy production and prosperity,"

Young said, "Over the last few decades I have watched the timber industry go from 15,000 jobs to nothing. Big corporations are already gone, and now we are fighting over this minute timber sale which will keep a small family owned mill in business. Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case with these extremists, fundraising goals come before the good of the people. These groups are disgraceful and will stop at nothing to ensure that Alaska remains a playground for the wealthy."

Young said, "This sale is already in a roaded area, lessening any environmental impact. Additionally, the Alaska Forest Association offered to compromise on the area, and to find an agreement that would make all parties happy, but these groups are not interested in any sort of compromise, and not interested in the well-being of the local people." Young said, "Somehow these individuals have become indifferent to the best interests of their fellow man, and that's sad. I will work to do whatever I can to ensure that this project continues on as intended, and to ensure that Alaskans are able to work, and provide for themselves and their families."

Much of Prince of Wales Island, including the Logjam area, has been heavily logged and roaded already say the plaintiffs - Tongass Conservation Society, Greenpeace, and Cascadia Wildlands.

"The Forest Service has not honestly confronted the project's impacts to deer and salmon," said Carol Cairnes, President of the Ketchikan-based Tongass Conservation Society. "I explored these groves this fall, and the forest they want to cut is largely the buffers that have previously been left. Those buffers are a must for wildlife, both for habitat and as migration corridors. Without this old-growth, the deer have little shelter in the winter. Then the wolves are short on prey, and people are short on subsistence meat." - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

Sitka: Cold Case Units Get Indictment in 22-year-old Apparent Murder - Cold case units in the Alaska State Troopers and the Department of Law announced that a grand jury in Sitka returned an indictment Friday in the disappearance of a Sitka man in 1988.

Jane Limm, also known as Jane Coville and Jane Reth, has been charged with first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in the case of her husband, Scott Coville, whose body has never been found. Coville disappeared in April 1988.

"DNA forensic science technology was instrumental in verifying what investigators believe to be the exact location where Coville is alleged to have been murdered," said Rick Svobodny, deputy attorney general.

Coville and Limm were married in Sitka in late 1987 and were living together at the time of his disappearance. - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

Alaska: NOAA sets application period for sport charter halibut fishing permits - Sport charter halibut fishing operators in Southeast Alaska and the central Gulf of Alaska must apply for a permit to operate in the new limited license program between February 4 and April 5, 2010.

"This is a one-time opportunity to apply for sport charter halibut permits," said Doug Mecum, Acting Administrator of NOAA Fisheries' Alaska Region. "The dates are important. If you don't apply between February 4 and April 5 this year, you won't get a permit, even if you qualify otherwise."

The new limited access program will limit the number of operators in the sport charter halibut fisheries in International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (the central Gulf of Alaska). - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

Alaska: Governor Calls for Two-Year Motor Fuel Tax Suspension - Governor Sean Parnell today transmitted legislation to suspend the motor fuel tax for two years. The suspension would apply to gasoline, diesel, marine fuel and aviation fuel.

"Alaskans continue to pay some of the highest fuel prices in the nation," Governor Parnell said. "We need to ease the burden placed on our residents while we work to find long-term solutions to the high energy costs across our state."

The tax was suspended as part of an energy assistance bill in 2008, when Alaskans faced ballooning costs for both transportation and home heating fuels. The suspension lapsed in September 2009.- More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010


Fish Factor: Crew labor data; Cod goes green; Credit where it's due By LAINE WELCH - The project that aims to collect labor data on Alaska deckhands is on track to come before the legislature this session.

As self-employed workers, roughly 20,000 crewmembers have fallen through the cracks in terms of basic data that show their economic importance to the industry.

"You can't really estimate the total economic impact of commercial fishing unless you know something about the earnings and employment patterns for the crew members who are such an important part of the work force, and we don't have any of that information," said Geron Bruce, assistant director of the state commercial fisheries division.

"The people who work as crew members on fishing boats are probably one of the only groups of laborers in Alaska that are not counted in some way by the state," said Jan Conitz, project director for ADF&G.

Bruce and Conitz are among a multi-agency and industry team that have worked for more than a year to develop a labor data collection program for deckhands in every Alaska fishery. A private contractor, Wostmann & Associates of Juneau, completed a feasibility report on three data collection options last month.

"There are three separate documents outlining all that needs to be done with systems to make data reporting possible under three different options selected by our advisory committees last spring," Conitz said. "They compared the options and looked at the feasibility and cost of each one, with recommendations about how we might go forward in developing the system."

Crew data could be collected by modifying existing e-landing reports or fish tickets. Conitz said actual implementation will be more difficult than anticipated.

"This project is unique because it has to work with a number of existing systems and not overturn or rock the boat with any of them. It has to fit in and that's where some of the difficulties rise," she explained. "Our contractor has said many times that 'one size does not fit all' because there is so much diversity in Alaska's fisheries."

Conitz said the contractor also has identified a number of changes and modifications that will help with other fisheries data collection, and make it possible for systems to work together and more efficiently than they do now.

The stakeholder and agency advisors will meet this week to select a preferred option that will be presented to Alaska lawmakers. The governor's draft budget includes $250,000 for the data collection project.

The program must be authorized by the legislature. The agency and stakeholder advisory committees will meet this week to finalize their recommendations to Alaska lawmakers.

"I wouldn't say whether a crew data collection will be developed," Conitz said, "just when." - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

BBBS Match of the Month November:  RK Rice and Tanner

BBBS Match of the Month November:
RK Rice and Tanner

Photo courtesy BBBS


Ketchikan: Big Brothers Big Sisters Match of the Month: RK Rice and Tanner By Susan M. Jaqua - When I spoke to RK Rice about his match with his Little Brother, Tanner, he described a recent outing at Ward Lake. "It was an idyllic day; there were eagles flying and squirrels and all sorts of things to watch and both of us were just grateful for the time." When I asked Tanner about the day, he had a different perspective. "RK was running all over the place turning over stumps and looking under mushrooms for bugs and grubs. He found some; they were so disgusting, but then he showed me how to feed the fish with them. That was sort of interesting, but those bugs were just icky."

From day one, it seems like this pair were destined to be a match. When Big Brother RK Rice and his Little Brother, Tanner were matched in April of this year, it quickly became evident that this match was meant to be. Tanner and RK are both swimmers; RK is in the Master Swim Program and Tanner is a member of the Killer Whales; the pair live right across the creek from one another and Little Brother Tanner often crosses the creek to drop in on his Big Brother.

Big Brothers Big Sisters  Match of the Month December

Big Brothers Big Sisters
Match of the Month December
Mike Harpold and Tylar
Photo courtesy BBBS
But the most amazing thing ­ Tanner's grandmother, Mel1anie Isner, makes her grandson pumpkin pie all the time because "it's his favorite." Neither of them knew it was RK's favorite until he celebrated his birthday recently and out came a pumpkin pie in lieu of a birthday cake! Tanner has learned how to do 'regular guy things' with RK's help and support. They've worked on fixing Tanner's bike, gone fishing, hung out just doing stuff guys do. RK enjoys being a Big Brother. As he so aptly said, "It is a two way street; I get to see the world through a child's eyes again and it also keeps me from being a stodgy old fella." Tanner is appreciative of his Big Brother as well. He said of RK, "He's a person you can talk to and learn from." - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

Ketchikan: Big Brothers Big Sisters Match of the Month December: Mike Harpold and Tylar - January is National Mentoring Month a great time to celebrate our matches and encourage others to enroll. Little Brother Tylar has been matched with Big Brother Mike Harpold since 2003.

"Before I met Mike, my life was very different. I was shy, and didn't feel like I was good at anything. Over the course of our match (Almost 6 years!), Mike has really helped me find what I'm good at, and help me strengthen them. I feel like Mike is truly a friend, and someone I look up to. I know that our friendship will last a lifetime. There's not another person in the world I'd replace with Mike." - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010


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letter National Mentoring Month By Joann Flora - January is National Mentoring Month. This is a great time to look around and assess the needs for youth mentoring in our community. Kids need an average of five positive adult role models while they are growing up if they are to be prepared for adulthood. - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

letterDemocrats By Lou Ann Richardson - Wow, doesn't Mr. Borders paint all Democrats with an overwhelmingly broad brush. I guess in his world, if you're not like him, you're a dog. Mr. Borders, your dog isn't a Democrat, he's a dog. But, if in your world all Democrats are basically lazy, free-loading dogs, it indicates to we lifelong hardworking Democrats that you have little else in your life that's truly meaningful and helpful and instead, adhere to hateful, incendiary rantings and arrogant bigotry. - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

letterAudit/Investigation Needed at Public Library By Robert D. Warner - Recent letters to SITNEWS describe waste and careless spending of $1.4 million dollars for planning and blueprints by the public library. One letter called this spending "obscene." Isn't it time for the Mayor and City Council to launch a complete investigation as to why and how this money was squandered? Today, we do not even have funding to provide essential safety and security in our local high school. - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010

letter$$$$ if Kpu sells ????? By Brad Cota - Do the residents of Ketchikan get a dividend from the sale of KPU telephone? As a public utility, I do believe the owners are the residents of the city of Ketchikan. We're voting to sell or not to sell, but we're not voting on what happens to the money? Does anybody know where the money is going? - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010

letterMy Dog's life By Don Borders - My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants, 24/7/365. His meals are provided at no cost to him. He visits the doctor once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him. He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep. If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep. He receives these accommodations absolutely free. He is living like a king, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head; Holy Cow, my dog is a democrat! - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010

letterKPU Sale By John A. Beck - I am responding to the letter by Mr. Edwardson. The sale of KPU Telephone is a much discussed item around our breakroom table. My personal view, and I have stated this in front of the City Council, is how can a resident of the City vote on a sale if the price and the buyer is not disclosed. Let me sell your house but the price will surprize you. The whole thing stinks. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterFine qualities, yet NOT SUBJECT TO CONSIDERATION By Jose Garcia - The purpose of this letter is to react on how the HR Manager of the Ketchikan Borough composes letters to job applicants. It appeared to be vague and rather not within the norms of an equal rating good ethics, much more coming from the government employee as such. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterHigh school cop By Robert McRoberts - We've got to make up our mind about this. I've heard people say just having the cop car parked outside the school is a deterrent. I feel the students are use to the cop and they know how to avoid the cop now. What I would like to see is what has been accomplished by having a cop at the high school for the last few years. How much drugs have been confiscated and have the people that supplied the drugs been caught? This is where I feel we are wasting money if nothing is done. If we're not going to make life a living hell for the cooks and the dealers that supply the kids, we are wasting our time. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterMake a difference, Healthy Living! By Terri Bermudez - Recently I did a PSA radio ad, what I feel is a honest attempt to reach out to an addict, or someone who may still be suffering with Meth addiction. I learned the hard way, and believe me it does not need to end up like my situation did. Long story short, I was BAD. I sold drugs in this little town to SUPPORT MY METH habit. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterEvan Bolling's Rants By Richard Easbey - Time to get a new schtick Mr. Bolling. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterRE: Obamas Czars (Ooooh Please) By Bill Nelson - When I was in Biology class, Evan, we respected our teachers, classmates and the learning institution enough that we were not disruptive or trying to draw attention to ourselves. We were there to learn, Evan, can you say the same? - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letter Officer 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

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