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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 19, 2010

Front Page Photo by SCOTT KEMP

Ketchikan Waterfront
To view this as a Ketchikan Panoramic Photo click here.
Front Page Photo by SCOTT KEMP


Ketchikan: Ketchikan Speaks Out: "Enough is Enough - A Community Conversation" By BOBBIE MCCREARY - It's not just about talkingit's about coming together to make a difference in our community. 300 citizens came together on January 12th at the Ted Ferry Civic Center to express their concerns about the problems our community is facing from drugs, suicides, domestic violence, drop-outs, homelessness, social and economic issues. The facilitator, Cathy LeCompte, extolled, "We need to work together. Everybody needs to be involved in our city. It not us, then who?

Ketchikan Speaks Out: "Enough is Enough - A Community Conversation"

Ketchikan Speaks Out
Photograph by Bobbie McCreary©
Photograph courtesy Ketchikan Youth Initiatives

Clearly participants were most concerned about our youth and their future in our community with discussions about parenting, mentoring, dropouts, schools drugs and suicides, youth related topics in general. Starting it off, Jim Eakes read a letter from "Snapper" Carson, "when I was a young person we had many opportunities and places to go. We had no TV. We had, of course, no computers, 2 radio stations, 2 papers, 2 theatres, a bowling alley, a roller rink and a teen center open all the time, dances at the Eagles and Elks every weekend, wished we had a swimming pool. I wish we could do more for teens in this community. Youth are our most valuable asset." Many comments were made about the value of mentoring, or adults volunteering in the schools, supporting youth organizations such as Boys and Girls Club (who is looking for an affordable place); Ketchikan Youth Initiatives (KYI); PATCHWorks; making a place for our youth to go, to have something constructive to do. Joann Flora, director of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, quoted research from her organization documenting the successful results of young people who have had adult mentors and reminded all that her organization matches kids ages 6 to 17, also high schoolers with elementary students. Some urged teacher, school officials, judges, probation officers to back up parents who are trying to discipline kids and asked if a dress code would help; also raising the mandatory school attendance age to 18 to reduce early dropouts (we currently have a 33% drop out rate.) Several speakers rose to speak about the challenges they had faced and overcome during their lives offering to speak with and encourage our youth. KYI commented about their newest endeavors to redevelop the old water warehouse into a Youth Community Center and support the construction of a covered skatepark by the Borough.

The next message was loud and clear. What are we doing to prevent drugs coming into and being sold and consumed in our community? What is the deal if parents or youth can identify the dealers but nothing is happening to them? Many supported trained drug dogs, more drug cops, better use of CrimeStoppers, and support to the police when you observe, are suspicious about or hear of something. Comments were made about overprescribing drugs, especially as a "fix" for anxiety and depression-this results in waves of impact with parents so out of it they cannot care for their children. Several spoke up calling for the justice system to respond, not just to protect our youth but all citizens. Zig Ziegler, who assisted the facilitator by organizing the note cards submitted from the participants, said, "the police are overwhelmed and working as hard as they can. If you have a child who is an abuser, let the cops and the school know. If someone is hurting or a potential suicide victim, help them. It is OK to stick your neck out if you feel worried about their safety. It takes a community to raise a child." - More...
Tuesday - January 19, 2010

Ketchikan: New District Ranger in Ketchikan Announced - The Tongass National Forest announced the new ranger for the Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District, Jeff DeFreest. Currently a manager for the Forest Service's economic stimulus projects based in Alaska, DeFreest will be starting as District Ranger in mid-February 2010.

As an engineering geologist, DeFreest first started with the Forest Service in 1990, working on road construction and design as well as fire crews in Oregon. A subsequent move took him to Utah managing coal, oil, gas, and other resources before coming to Alaska in 2001.

DeFreest's work in Alaska has focused primarily on permitting and administration for minerals development on the Tongass, including the Greens Creek Mine and the Kensington Mine. He has also worked on detail assignments as district ranger for the Thorne Bay and Admiralty Island National Monument Ranger Districts on the Tongass.

Since June 2009, DeFreest has been coordinating the Forest Service projects funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009. - More...
Tuesday - January 19, 2010

Ketchikan: IFA Celebrates 8 Years of POW Island Service - The Inter-Island Ferry Authority inaugurated daily passenger/vehicle ferry service between Ketchikan and Hollis on January 15, 2002 with the newly launched M/V Prince of Wales. In the 8 years through January 15, 2010 the IFA has transported 436,294 passengers and 106,574 vehicles on 3,525 round-trips between Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island, stated IFA general Manager Bruce Jones.

With the exception of 2008, operating revenues have increased each year on the Ketchikan-Hollis run, according to Jones. Revenue totaled $2,977,018 in 2009. We operated two daily round-trips during the peak summer months in 2008, resulting in more revenue but higher operating costs, he said.

The M/V Stikine was added to the IFA fleet in May, 2006. This vessel is basically the same design as the Prince of Wales, which is certified for 160 passengers. Engineering changes on the Stikine provide certification for 190 passengers and operational enhancements. The Stikine inaugurated Coffman Cove-Wrangell-Petersburg seasonal service in the summer of 2006. This route was suspended after the 2008 season because hoped for state funding was not available. - More...
Tuesday - January 19, 2010


Fish Factor: Fishermen participate in life-saving project By LAINE WELCH - Alaska fishermen have embraced a project that will result in many saved lives.

Over the past year, more than 200 Alaska fishermen field-tested personal flotation devices (PFDs) as part of a life-saving project by federal safety specialists. Fatalities from falls overboard are the leading cause of fishing deaths. But fishermen resist wearing PFDs and a goal is to find out why.

"Since 1990 there have been 83 commercial fishermen who have died from falls overboard. None was wearing a PFD. Many were in minutes of being rescued when they lost strength and drowned. In those cases it very clearly could have been prevented with a PFD ," said Devin Lucas, project leader with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

The project targeted trawl, longline, crabbers and salmon fisheries, and randomly assigned six new styles of PFDs to fishermen in Dutch Harbor, King Salmon, Kodiak, Homer, Seward and Bristol Bay. Each wore the PFD while working for 30 days and then rated it on comfort, how hot or cumbersome they were, and any modifications they might suggest.

Jennifer Lincoln, head of the NIOSH Commercial Fishing Safety Research and Design program, said she was amazed at the response by fishermen.

"Eighty nine percent of the guys who tested the PFDs returned their forms ­ that is almost unheard of. You'd expect 30-40% would be a respectable response rate. Fishermen really gave us the information we were asking," Lincoln said.

The PFD team also interviewed 400 other harvesters to get their attitudes, knowledge and beliefs about PFDs, and their perceived risk of falling overboard.

"It's so important to find something that the guys can work in because it's their uniform, it's their work gear," Lincoln said. "It's got to be comfortable and practical for the conditions. And what might be suitable for a salmon seiner in the summer might not be best for a Bering Sea crabber in the winter. So I can see how one PFD will not satisfy every person in every situation where they should be wearing one."

The favorite PFD selected by Alaska fishermen?

"The one that rated the highest was the Mustang inflatable PFD," said Lincoln. "The guys rated it to be very light weight, not too tight, not bulky, it was easy to put on, easy to clean, - it was rated quite high."

Only three of the 200 fishermen reported that any of the inflatable PFDs accidentally inflated, which also was a key part of the project.

The NIOSH team is compiling a full report on the PFD project and will provide all of the responses and data to gear manufacturers.

"It would seem that they would want to get as much information from the customer as possible. And the guys gave a lot of constructive criticism about how they would like a particular PFD modified to make it more comfortable," Lincoln said. "Whether it be it was slipping off their shoulders and they would like a strap in the middle, kind of like a back pack, or sometimes they wanted foam to be removable so that they didn't have to replace the whole thing. They were very innovative."

Along with a full report, the NIOSH team is compiling short PFD information guides for each of Alaska's fisheries.

A gear spokesman at Kodiak Marine Supply said the most important consideration by customers is that a PFD is big enough to fit comfortably. He said that there is definitely more awareness among Alaska fishermen that PFDs save lives. - More...
Tuesday - January 19, 2010


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letterEqual Access Denied Sport Fishermen and Subsistence Users. By Lloyd Gossman - Equal Access to Fishery Resources is being denied to Alaska's Sport Fisherman and Subsistence users. An Alaska Board of Fish (BOF) recent poor decision in restarting a Summer Dungeness Crab fishery that had been closed for nearly 25 years demonstrates the need for change in many of the processes by which we manage our resources. Commercial fishing Dungeness crab in the summer when they are molting, reproducing, and of low quality has wasted millions of pounds of the resource and is damaging the resource forever. This is not a sustained yield method of management. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 19, 2010

letterHealth Committee By Norman Arriola - We are sorry our decision to limit Organized Village of Saxman (OVS) participation in the health committee to one person has offended you. Ketchikan Indian Community (KIC) is required by law to follow the KIC Charter and Constitution and KIC Tribal Council decisions must comply with these documents. In this case we realized the past makeup of the health committee did not comply with the intent of our governing documents and needed to be changed to ensure the make up of the KIC health committee more correctly represented the KIC membership. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 19, 2010

letterRemembering Mark Easterly By Gabreal Easterly - This isn't your normal complaint letter so it may not be of interest. This is to publicly thank my Father Mark Easterly for all the things he did for our family, his friends and Southeast Aviation. Dad worked a lot. In the mornings when I would hear the shower turn on at 5:00 a.m I knew this was the time to jump out of bed and grab a towel for him. I would sit on the toilet and we would talk about where he was going to fly BW (Bravo Whiskey) that day. Dad would say "Oh probably MET, Hollis, Thorn Bay, Craig, KCC, Waterfall, Misty, MET, Misty, and MET again." This was a typical day back in the incredibly busy logging days and I knew that when Dad got home I'd be fast asleep cause they flew from day break till dark in those days. But looking back now it was the most wonderful time I can ever remember for Ketchikan. Everyone had a job and all employers were looking for more good hard workers. This is what Alaska was built on, if you were a hard worker you could show up on a Sunday and be working full time on Monday morning. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 19, 2010

letterRE: Payback By Jim Rasmussen - Senator Begich's letter to Mr. Rauwolf must have been a mass-mailing since I received it too. I also had e-mailed the Senator a few days earlier and assumed the letter was a response to that. The disconnect from constituents and reality is truly astounding. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 19, 2010

letterPlea for Volunteers for Ketchikan Little League By Dave Timmerman - Hello everyone. It is with much hope that I write this letter. There has been very much talk within our community lately concerning how we can help our local youth. There are lots of avenues that we can take to actually lend that helping hand. The organization I represent is Ketchikan Little League. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 19, 2010

letterDogs Without Borders By Ken Lewis - I was absolutely furious with Mr. Border's mud slinging. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 19, 2010

letterRE: My Dog's Life By John Warnock - Lighten up people, Mr. Border's letter is a spoof!! - More...
Tuesday PM - January 19, 2010

letterOpen Letter to Sen. Begich: PAY BACK By Andy Rauwolf - Dear Senator Begich, Thank you for your letter explaining your vote for health care reform. A few weeks ago, I contacted your office expressing concerns that the House plan did not include any regulations for tort reform. Shortly thereafter, you appeared on national television and stated that "tort reform was tried and had failed in Alaska, and doctors had actually left the state because of tort reform." Which study came up with those statistics, and who funded the study? By then, you surely knew that since Texas instituted tort reforms, hospitals there reported 70% fewer lawsuits, doctors averaged a 21% reduction in premiums, Texas added 1,887 new physicians specifically as a result of lawsuit reform, billions of dollars were cut from defensive medicine spending, and 430,000 additional Texans have health insurance today as a direct result of liability reforms, all at no cost to Texan taxpayers! - More...
Friday - January 15, 2010

letter ENVIRONMENTALISTS, GIVE US A BREAK By Charles Edwardson - I live in Alaska and love southeast. I have lived in the Tongass National Forest all of my life. My mother is Haida and our family is from Hydaburg. I am 1/2 Alaskan native and the other half a native of Alaska (there is a slight difference). I have four daughters and a beautiful wife who was also born and raised here. We graduated from Ketchikan High School together, got together, and have built our life here in southeast. I own five or six acres on Prince of Wales Island and fished of the west coast of Prince of Wales Island for many years, and worked in the timber industry at the Ketchikan pulp mill in the off season and also the canneries around town prior to fishing. I now teach at the University of Alaska and run my own construction company in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterEnough is Enough By Rob Holston - I just returned home from the Enough is Enough meeting at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. An estimated 300 people were in attendance. Hats off to Cathy, Zig and the other organizers and participants. The only downer was finding out at the end that the city had NOT donated the Ted Ferry Civic Center for this important event. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letter"Enough is Enough" Meeting By Carol Baines - I wasn't at the "Enough is Enough" meeting Tuesday night regarding the high suicide rate and other problems in Ketchikan. - More..
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterExpand your horizons By Roberta Shields - Now, now Ms Richardson aren't you being "judgmental" regarding Mr. Borders and his hyperbole about his dog being a democrat. His thoughts on the subject were actually quite amusing and by the tone of your response must have hit a sensitive nerve. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterRepublicrats By Chris Barry - Just a reminder to all those republicrats out there, if you claim to be a democrat, then no matter what you say, you accept what the elected democrats are doing 100%. The same goes for Republicans. If you claim allegiance with a particular party, then you allow yourself to be lumped in with them and their political views. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterDemocrats By Don Borders - I could tell by the tone of Lou Ann Richardson's voice, written in her viewpoint reply, she was hurt when she "picked up" the brush and "painted on" her democratic shoes, she must have felt much pain when finished. I had tears of joy and then pain for her streaming down my face as I read her painfully emotional rebuttal. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterRE: Democrats By Stacey Stone - At first I was interested in what Ms. Richardson had to say about how she is hard-working and a democrat. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterNational 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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