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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 23, 2012

Front Page Photo by MELINA GLOVER

Topsy Turvy
Aliyah Glover and Monica Hutchison pose with an adorable topsy turvy snowman.
Front Page Photo by MELINA GLOVER


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Alaska: Reports: States Spend Billions on Economic Development Subsidies that Don’t Require Job Creation or Decent Wages; Alaska rated among the worst - Despite the fact that many economic development deals fall short on job creation or other benefits, states nationwide are inconsistent in how they monitor, verify and enforce the terms of job subsidies. Many states fail to verify that companies receiving subsidies are meeting commitments, and many more have weak penalty policies for addressing non-compliance.

These are the findings of Money-Back Guarantees for Taxpayers: Clawbacks and Other Enforcement Safeguards in State Economic Development Subsidy Programs, a study published by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center in Washington, DC.

"It is not enough for states to have good job-creation and other performance requirements on paper in their subsidy programs; they must also enforce them diligently and consistently," said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy.

"Strong standards and strong enforcement are inseparable in making sure subsidy programs are not mere corporate giveaways," added Philip Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report.

Using a scoring system covering performance standards and enforcement, Money-Back Guarantees rated 238 programs in 50 states and the District of Columbia on a scale of 0 to 100. The states with the lowest averages are the District of Columbia (4/100) and Alaska (19/100).

According to the Good Jobs First website, it is unclear how much Alaska spends in total on its economic development programs – Alaska focuses on the state’s dominant petroleum, mining and fishing industries – but the amount seems to be substantial for the fourth least populated state. For example, nearly $550 million in credits were claimed under the Clear and Equitable Share/Oil and Gas Production Tax Credit program in 2009 alone. The Development Finance Program had a loan balance of $364 million in 2009.

Alaska has also spent heavily on a handful of dubious pet development projects quoting Good Jobs First. The state invested more than $200 million in the Healy Clean Coal Project, which was ultimately shut down. In 1997, the state’s Industrial Development and Export Authority agreed to help finance the $125 million Alaska Seafood International processing plant, which also failed.

Two of the four Alaska programs looked at by Good Jobs First provided some online recipient disclosure: the Film Industry Tax Credit and the Development Finance Program. According to Good Jobs First, taxpayers are still in perpetual darkness on recipients of Commercial Fishing Revolving Loans and and the incredibly expensive Clear and Equitable Share/ Oil and Gas Production Tax Credits.

In December 2011, another report from Good Jobs First revealed that states nationwide spend billions on Economic Development Subsidies that don’t require job creation or decent wages -- spending billions of dollars per year on corporate tax credits, cash grants and other economic development subsidies that often require little if any job creation and lack wage and benefit standards covering workers at subsidized companies. These were the key findings of Money for Something: Job Creation and Job Quality Standards in State Economic Development Subsidy Programs, a 51-state “report card” study published by Good Jobs First. The District of Columbia, Alaska and Wyoming were rated the worst. - More...
Monday PM - January 23, 2012

Fish Factor: Fishing boat first in Alaska By LAINE WELCH - Alaska Ship and Dry Dock (ASD) in Ketchikan is set to build its first big fishing boat – a 136 foot, all steel catcher processor for Alaska Longline Company of Petersburg.  The company operates three vessels in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska targeting sablefish, cod and turbot. 

ASD began building ships 12 years ago and has constructed several ferries and an Exxon fuel barge.   Now, the ship yard is courting the commercial fishing fleets in the Bering Sea.

“We’ve really never had the capacity to build modern steel vessels in the state of Alaska, so those fleets have always turned to yards in the Pacific Northwest, said Doug Ward, ASD Director of Development,   - More...
Saturday - January 21, 2012

Ketchikan: STIKINE PROVIDING ALTERNATE SERVICE TO METLAKATLA - The Inter-Island Ferry Authority ferry STIKINE is currently providing alternate service between Ketchikan and Metlakatla while the M/V LITUYA undergoes annual maintenance at Alaska Ship & Drydock.

This is scheduled during the STIKINE's layover on its daily roundtrip run between Prince of Wales Island and Ketchikan. On Thursday and Friday service to Annette Island was cancelled because of sea ice up to 8 inches thick in the Metlakatla ferry slip. Ice conditions were reported by the Metlakatla police department. - More...
Saturday - January 21, 2012

Alaska: Alaska Supreme Court Reduces Judgment by $50 Million - A unanimous Alaska Supreme Court decided Friday in the State v. Carlson case to cut approximately $50 million from a judgment awarded to nonresident commercial fishermen who had filed a class action lawsuit against the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.

In so doing, the court overturned one of its own earlier decisions in the case, which had ordered the state to pay the interest rate that applies to delinquent taxes - 11 percent compounded quarterly. In Friday’s decision, the court substituted the standard prejudgment interest rate for court judgments. - More...
Saturday - January 21, 2012

Ketchikan: KETCHIKAN STATE PARKS CITIZEN ADVISORY BOARD RECRUITING NEW MEMBERS - Applications are being accepted for volunteer positions on the Ketchikan State Parks Citizen Advisory Board. The board advises state park staff on a variety of issues effecting the management of state parks in the Ketchikan area. The board promotes the protection of the resources in the park areas and sites; including scenery, vegetation, wildlife, waters, historic & cultural features, wilderness character and outdoor recreational opportunities in Totem Bight State Historical Park, Settler's Cove State Recreation Site, Refuge Cove State Recreation Site, Grindall Island Public Use Cabin-State Marine Park, Black Sands Beach & Blank Islands State Marine Park and other state marine parks in the Ketchikan Area. - More...
Saturday - January 21, 2012

Alaska: Alaska Northern Waters Task Force Submits Recommendations; Task Force proposes key changes to Arctic policy, infrastructure, and resource development - The Alaska Northern Waters Task Force (ANWTF) released its preliminary report recommending improvements to state and federal Arctic policy yesterday. The Legislature established the task force in 2010 to address increased interest in the Arctic and elevate government and stakeholder participation in Arctic issues.

“The task force worked hard to identify what Alaska needs to meet the opportunities and challenges in the rapidly changing Arctic,” said Representative Reggie Joule (R-Kotzebue), the task force’s chairman. “As worldwide demand for natural resources brings increased attention to the Arctic, Alaska needs to capitalize on the potential economic benefits while providing for sustainable communities and the environment.”

The task force held 10 hearings throughout the state, including visits to Barrow, Nome, Bethel, Wales, Unalaska, Kotzebue, Wainwright, and Anchorage. Their work includes 21 recommendations to advance state leadership in Arctic policies related to marine transportation, national security, and resource development.

“It’s crucial for Alaska to recognize the strategic importance of its northern waters,” said Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), who served as vice chairman of the task force. “Changes in the Arctic will provide for new shipping routes and access to some of the richest oil and gas deposits in the Arctic. Alaska needs a better roadmap to achieve success in the Arctic and the task force’s work is a good step forward.” - More...
Saturday - January 21, 2012


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letter Let’s Work Together to Bend the Corrections Cost Curve; Substance Abuse Fuels Re-Incarceration and Drives Costs By Sen. Johnny Ellis - You may have seen a lot of news lately about the rising cost of Alaska’s corrections system.  We have to face the facts: Prisons are incredibly expensive - regardless of where or how they are built.  It’s time for us to start focusing on why we have had to build a new prison in the first place. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012 

letter Cold spell affects Ketchikan more than one-way By Don Borders - I recently traveled to one of the building supply stores, found others making the same trip, and gathered standing in front of the same isle containing the items I traveled to obtain. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012

letter RE: Boat Tax By Kim Peters - We also just recieved a tax bill from the Ketchikan borough on a boat that we just bought. It was a boat tax for $90.00. Most all of it was interest, but when we asked what this was for and why we had never recieved anything like this before for any other boats we have owned they replied that not everyone was being charged yet. Well, you can send me a bill when everyone gets a bill, why would you not charge everyone? This is ridiculous! I guess it's time to register your boats somewhere else. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012

letter Tongass Highway By Kay Taylor - In regards to the servicing of Ketchikan's Tongass highway..... the road crews do a very good job considering what they have to work with. If you don't have studded tires on your vehicle then you don't belong on an icy road. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012

letter Icy Roads By Ken Arriola - In defense of the AKDOT/PF highway crew, we recently witnessed the anomaly of a 5-6 inches snowfall from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, which in my opinion would have required a crew and equipment several times ours to meet the demand. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012

letter Ketchikan gas prices still high By Karen Ramsey - When are gas prices in Ketchikan going to fall in line with the drop everywhere else? Here we are still paying over $4.00 for a gallon of unleaded. Prices in Hawai have fallen under $4.00. Why does it seem as though every time the price of gas goes up, the prices here stay artificially high? Captive market that doesn't complain, that's why. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012

letter Shades of Robbie Whitton! By Mimi Eddy - To the KPU "grater man" on Baranof this morning around 8, thank you, thank you!  I haven't had service like that since Robbie was driving the grater! - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012 

letter State owns Columbia not Borough By Maureen Crosby - In reference to Joey Garcia's referencing the Columbia being tied up downtown and his comment: "Is the Borough de-commissioning this ferry just because it cannot make money when the safety of the AMHS passengers is the utmost care and concern for the City of Ketchikan's residents?" I believe the Columbia is owned by the State of Alaska - and not the Ketchikan Borough. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2012

letter Ice on North Tongass Higway By Deborah Hayden - AK DOT deserves much praise for plowing North Tongass Highway during and after the recent 16 inch snowfall. Now it would be great if the Department of Transportation would sand and de-ice the highway. It is a sheet ice on much of its surface. Many people have not put studded snow tires on their cars and trucks. It is very dangerous with these vehicles on the highway and no sand. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 18, 2012

letter Who Dropped The Ball? (Poor Road Conditions) By Lee Caskey - Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the general lack of maintenance in regards to snow/ice removal this year on the Tongass Highway? (North & South) It seems like every time the snow falls or the temperature drops, it's become common for the roads to become very difficult, if not dangerous for commuters. From ice control products not being laid out to waiting until the snow stops to run plows there doesn't seem to be enough being done lately. Personally I don't mind a little challenge while driving, but when we're talking about the safety of families, law-enforcement officers, emergency responders or utility crews there's no excuse for recent conditions. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 18, 2012

letter MSC 2nd Recertification of Alaska Salmon fishery By James Browning - AFDF has received letters from eight major primary salmon processors advising AFDF they are phasing out their financial support for the Marine Stewardship Council salmon certification program. Collectively these processors account for approximately 72% of the Alaska salmon harvest. They have given us notice they will support the MSC program for Alaska salmon only through October of 2012, when the current certificate expires. The eight processors include Trident Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Alaska General Seafoods, E & E Foods, Kwikpak Fisheries and North Pacific Seafoods. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 18, 2012

letter RE: AMHS By Joey Garcia - In the Jan 16th caption of Charlotte Tanner's re AHMS, I am intrigued having to consider that the cost of swinging out of Ketchikan to Seattle via Bellingham has been way too high and exorbitant. This includes the Alaska Airlines sort of monopoly without any choices whatsover. The only way out of Ketchikan, is to "sit down and shut up". - More...
Wednesday AM - January 18, 2012

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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