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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 16, 2012

Ketchikan's First Baby of 2012

Ketchikan's First Baby of 2012
Elizabeth Johnson gave birth to Kyle Izaak Jasinski, Ketchikan's first baby of the year on January 1 at 3:13 PM. He weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Kyle has two brothers, a sister and a half sister. Also in the photo are Mary Ellen Purschwitz RN; Lois Rapisardi, Certified Nurse Midwife; and, Lauralynn Williams RN, manager of New Beginnings Birthing Center.
Front Page Photo Courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center


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Ketchikan: KIC Annual Tribal Election Today - Polls Close at 8:00 PM - Today may be a holiday for some but Ketchikan Indian Community staff and members will be occupied with their annual Tribal Council election.  Voting takes place from 9:00am until 8:00pm at the Plaza Mall.  There are eight candidates for Tribal Council and three nominees for the Advisory Health Board.  

Candidates running for re-election on the Tribal Council are incumbents Donna Frank, Rob Sanderson and Merle Hawkins.  Hawkins was appointed to a vacant seat mid-year 2011.  Other candidates for Tribal Council include Cheryl Haven, James Llanos, Sr., Delores Cook, Delores Churchill and Elroy C. Edenshaw.  Those elected will serve a two year term on the Tribal Council. 

KIC members requested the Advisory Health Board return to popular vote and those candidates running include Martha Johnson, Cecelia Johnson and Delma Inman.  Four seats will be filled including two for a two year term and two for a one year term.   - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

Southeast Alaska: SCHOLAR DONATES ARCHIVES ON HYDABURG, HAIDA - An anthropologist who studied the City of Hydaburg and the Haida history and culture there has donated his field work and doctoral papers to Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI).


Dan Vaughan, Ph.D., spent a decade working in Hydaburg on Prince of Wales Island as a cultural anthropologist for the University of Washington from 1974 to 1984. During that time, he also did work on his dissertation, which was a study of the Haida people in Hydaburg reaching back two-hundred years.

The collection has important research value because it documents decisions people in Hydaburg have made over the last century, said SHI’s Archivist and Collections Manager Zachary Jones.

“These are administrative, political, and even cultural decisions,” Jones said. “There’s a great deal of genealogical data as well, which may well serve people interested in learning more about their family history from Hydaburg or just the general history and culture of the people from Hydaburg.” - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

Alaska: Alaskan youth outline priorities for state’s future; Social well-being, affordable energy among top concerns - A group of 55 motivated young people gathered last week in Juneau for the 2012 Conference of Young Alaskans and issued their highest priorities in five subject areas: Energy and power, natural resources and environment, Ilakuyulluta (living harmoniously with oneself and others) and economic resilience and fiscal policy.

Delegates examined issues and set priorities in working groups and then came together as a whole to deliberate and vote on their top 10 priorities in five categories.

"These are the most important issues to young Alaskans today," said Terin Porter, COYA 2012 steering committee co-chair. "If people hope to understand our youths' approach to dealing with issues facing our state, look no further. This is the freshest and boldest platform for hearing these voices." - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

Fish Factor: 40 years ago Alaska pioneered the use of sonar to track salmon runs By LAINE WELCH - Most people don’t know that 40 years ago Alaska pioneered the use of sonar to track salmon runs, or that state fishery managers operate 15 sonar sites on 13 rivers from Southeast to the Yukon.

The goal of making Alaskans more aware of one of Alaska’s most important fish counting tools has been accomplished with the launch of new web based project that lets visitors see three types of sonar in action.  

The site explains that traditional tools such as weirs and counting towers can be used to count salmon in clear, narrow streams, but not in wide, turbid rivers.

“To gauge salmon runs we can’t see, we have taken a lesson from one of Mother Nature’s fish finding experts. In glacial silt laden bays and rivers, beluga whales find salmon by emitting high pitched calls and listening for returning echoes. Similarly, we have adopted sonar as a tool to detect salmon not by sight, but by sound,” it explains.

Sometimes conditions are so harsh, the equipment can’t operate properly, such as at the Pilot Station site on the Yukon River. 

“It is a mile wide and you almost have to imagine sand dunes changing in a wind storm on the bottom,” said Debby Burwen, a research biologist with Fish and Game’s sport fish division in Anchorage who helped spearhead the project.  “But that is where they need to count the salmon because they are trying to ensure that enough fish escape to Canada.  In order to do that, they have to know how many fish are coming into the river.”

Burwen said people also don’t realize that managers never depend solely on sonar information, especially on the more complicated rivers, like the Yukon and the Kenai.

 “But the public doesn’t know that. So when we do have a problem, say on the Yukon, they look askance at all sonar,” she said. “They think that once again the sonar is broken, and Fish and Game doesn’t know what it is doing.”

“We write these wonderful reports and we communicate with other scientists, but if your user groups don’t know what you’re doing, what good is it.” - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Texting in a Winter Wonderland - Twas a couple of days after Christmas, snow was on the ground and…..

Well, all was pretty silent in the neighborhoods on the hills above town.

Once upon a time, there would have been dozens of youngsters trying out their Christmas toys.

Sleds, toboggans or even that old piece of plastic visqueen from the garage. All of that would be accompanied, of course, with the shrieking and shouting of kids having fun in the snow. Certainly a rare, but always welcome sound in Ketchikan.

This year, no dice.

Now, to be honest, it wasn’t a big snowfall, only a couple of inches at most, and it didn’t last much longer than the early afternoon. But time was, in those days of yore,  that would have been enough to bring out “Ketchikan: The Next Generation” in droves.

This year it didn’t. And to be honest that much bigger snow back before Thanksgiving didn’t exactly draw the kiddies out much either.

I guess they are just too attached to their virtual worlds. Probably playing the snowball fight app on their brand new IPads.

But first a confession.

This year we got Liam a Nook and Santa brought me an IPad. I Just wanted you to know that we also have met the enemy and it is us! Of course, we started down the slippery – if not snowy – slope last year when Liam got a Wii system. I have already noticed that he prefers to play games on his Madden12 rather than watch an actual football game on the TV. That of course drives me crazy because my idea of a lovely interactive afternoon involves chips, soda, the couch and whatever game is on. - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter Boat Tax By Scott Cragun - Why is it that after 5 years I am being billed for a tax on a skiff that I sold 4 weeks after I bought it? It seems amazing to me that the "KGB" would send this invoice calling for 5 years of past due interest on a bill that I have never received previously and demand interest on a billing that seems to be illegal. - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

letter Now it is Left to Us to Complete His Mission By Sen. Lisa Murkowski - I would like to take a moment with you to salute the life and teachings of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. on what would be his 83rd birthday. - More...
MOnday - January 16, 2012

letter RE: AMHS By Charlotte Tanner - I agree completely with Captain Art Johnson. I used to ride the ferries down to Seattle (at that time) frequently. I rarely do so anymore due to the cost. I would rather go to Prince Rupert and drive as it is cheaper and takes the same amount of time. - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

letter RE: AMHS FERRY By Don Husler - I also think the Alaska Ferry System is making a huge mistake. If we are going to build day boat then we should be building day boats. Similar to the Aurora, Keep it under 1600 tons. We are never going to get rid of a mainline ferry. But a 350' ferry is not our answer. - More..
Monday - January 16, 2012

letter Re: Von Ryan's Express by Ken Bylund - "But you are what you hate?" Poor man, so much hate. Your ideas would sound so much more reasonable if you left out words like; serial killer, piss-ant, terrorist, dumber than a rock, greased down pipsqueak, crap, self-deceiving fool, cheap bastard, wienermobile driver, dufus, cretin, contemporary monster, and then inserting an affinity to Adolf Hitler... does this really work for you? - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

letter Raven’s Way program thanks Sitka for its support By Rebecca Howe - Over the course of a year, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Yéil Jeeyáx Raven's Way adolescent residential substance abuse treatment center receives support from several organizations and individuals in Sitka. Raven's Way thanks those who have provided this support and helped our students be successful. - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

letter Cruise Ship Safety By Donald A. Moskowitz - As a former naval officer; officer-of-the deck underway, independent and formation steaming; and qualified marine navigator and instructor, I have questions concerning the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy. - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

letter What Happened to the American Dream? By Cecilia Rice - 2012 will be one of the most important election years in the history of our country.  We have accepted the pitiful performance of our political representatives far too long.  Congress’ approval rate is now 10%.  It is the most dysfunctional Congress since the civil war. - More...
Monday - January 16, 2012

letter Alaska Marine Highway System By Capt. Art Johnson - I'm writing this, because of my concern for the direction that the Alaska Marine Highway System is taking. I'm a resident of Ketchikan and strongly support the idea of building any new ferries in the Ketchikan Shipyard. However, I think it is a mistake to build the 350 foot Alaska Class Ferries (TAKU size) without staterooms. Apparently, the no stateroom idea is being driven by the day boat concept and zone system of operation. This would probably provide for a vessel running between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, another between Ketchikan and Petersburg and then from Petersburg to Juneau and finally from Juneau to Skagway. - More...
Wednesday - January 11, 2012

letter If you are sick of Washington politics... By Irving B. Welchons III - We have a do nothing congress because we have a do nothing citizenry. In 2010 less than 38 percent of eligible voters voted.  In that election 88 percent of incumbents were reelected. Most American voters don’t vote and those that do keep electing the same people.  Perhaps the reason people don’t vote is that they feel they must pick the lesser of two evils.  You could give voters a better choice. - More...
Wednesday - January 11, 2012

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