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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 05, 2013
Saturday AM

Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

Tongass Sunrise
Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

Southeast Alaska: 7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes off coast of Southeast Alaska By MARY KAUFFMAN - Two 7.7 earthquakes shook the islands of Southeast Alaska just before midnight Friday at 11:58 pm within seconds of each other. Residents of Ketchikan reported feeling both quakes. There were no initial reports of damage but the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said shortly after midnight that a "tsunami with significant widespread inundation of land is expected."

The 7.7 magnitude quake struck at a depth of 6 miles about 63 miles west of the Prince of Wales town of Craig, and about 124 miles west of Ketchikan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The two quakes were later reported as one and the magnitude was later downgraded by the U.S. Geological Survey from 7.7 to 7.5. - More...
Saturday AM - January 05, 2013


Ketchikan: Ketchikan Police Report

Ketchikan: Shootin' Leads to Arrest of Ketchikan Woman - The Ketchikan-based Alaska State Troopers and Ketchikan Police responded to a report of a barricaded woman discharging a firearm inside a Saxman home a few minutes past mid-night early Monday morning. Troopers and the Ketchikan Police set up a perimeter around the home while attempting to establish negotiations with the woman inside who was identified as 23-year-old Jessica Dewitt of Saxman. - More...
Wednesday - January 02, 2012

Coffman Cove: Cost to Repair Gunshot Damage to Electric System Over $10,000 - Alaska Power & Telephone reported to the Klawock Alaska State Troopers the discovery that an electric transformer had been shot by a high powered rifle near the community of Coffman Cove. - More...
Wednesday - January 02, 2012


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Alaska: Thor-oughly lovable - A German shepherd mix named Thor is smiling today, and that is a very big deal since it's the first time he's been able to open his mouth in at least six months.

Thor-oughly lovable

Thor at SeaTac airport with Teresa Downing
Photo courtesy Alaska Airlines

Thor, who hails from Fairbanks, Alaska, won the hearts of Alaska Airlines employees and scores of other fans after he traveled last week on an a flight from Fairbanks to Sacramento, Calif., for some much-needed oral surgery.

Thor, who has an avid Facebook following through the page of the Arctic German Shepherd Rescue's group, underwent surgery for a locked jaw on Friday at a veterinary hospital in Sacramento. Just one day after the surgery, his caretakers posted photos of Thor with an apparent grin on his face, eating from a dog dish and carrying a tennis ball, even while a surgical scar crossed his muzzle.

Those basic dog activities and panting and licking had not been possible before. The condition was probably caused by severe abuse, according to the veterinarian who performed the surgery. The vet also removed several abscessed teeth.

Thor's path to salvation started when Teresa Downing, his foster mom, saw an ad on Craigslist about a month ago stating Thor and his sister would be left at the local pound if no one came to get them ASAP in Wasilla, Alaska. Downing drove 600 miles to pick up the siblings. Thor was starving at only 46 pounds even though he is a one-year-old full-grown shepherd.

Downing believes he survived by pushing bits of food into his mouth with his paw. She has since nursed him to a healthy 76 pounds.

With the help of Carol Falcetta, the director of the Arctic German Shepherd Rescue group, Downing searched for a surgeon who could help Thor and found Dr. Robert Runyan of the VCA Animal Hospital in Rancho Cordova. Runyan had been in the local news for saving the life of Bodie, a Sacramento K9 officer, who was shot in the jaw and leg while on duty earlier this year.

Runyan agreed to perform the surgery at a fraction of the normal cost if the group could get Thor to Sacramento. The group raised $5,500 for his travel and surgery expenses through Facebook.

Falcetta then contacted Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines' regional vice president for the state of Alaska, to see if the airline could help. After a Fairbanks veterinarian advised it would be dangerous for Thor to fly in the cargo hold, Romano and Tim Thompson, manager of public affairs in Alaska, waived the normal ban on large, non-service dogs in the cabin for the two-leg flight to Sacramento. They also waived the normal pet fees.

Once the needs were communicated, Fairbanks employees and flight crews jumped into action with service and compassion to make everything go smoothly, Romano said. "Johnny Carrillo (customer service agent) is the guy who checked in Thor and Teresa in Fairbanks and he was wonderful! I mean he was really wonderful," Falcetta wrote. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

Alaska: Arctic-class drillship grounded; Tow line attached Wednesday - Shell’s Arctic-class drillship, the Kulluk, grounded on the southeast shoreline of Sitkalidak Island, Alaska, at approximately 9 p.m. local time on December 31st, while under tow in heavy seas from Alaska to the U.S. port of Seattle. There has been no reported loss of life and no significant injuries as a result of this maritime transit incident.

Arctic-class drillship grounded; Tow line attached Wednesday

Waves crash over the conical drilling unit Kulluk where it sits aground on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island, Alaska, Jan. 1, 2013. A Unified Command, consisting of the Coast Guard, federal, state and local partners and industry representatives was established in response to the grounding.
Photo courtesy Unified Command

According to Capt. Paul Mehler III, Federal On-Scene Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, a safety tow system was safely put on the Kulluk Wednesday evening.

Friday, the tugboat Aiviq experienced multiple engine failures while towing the mobile drilling unit Kulluk. By Saturday the Kulluk under tow by the Aiviq and the Nanuq. However, according to Shell, the tow lines connecting the Aiviq and the response vessel Nanuq to the Kulluk separated Sunday during difficult weather conditions,

At approximately 12:45 a.m., Monday, Dec. 31, the Alert was able to secure the 400-foot line that was previously the tow line used by the Aiviq. The Alert successfully added tension to the line to test its ability to hold. Later in Monday morning, the Aiviq also restored its connection to the Kulluk.

The crew of the tug Alert was ordered to separate from the Kulluk at 8:15 pm Monday to maintain the safety of the nine crewmembers aboard the vessel. Later Monday it was reported the Kulluk was adrift four miles from the nearest point of land. The Unified Command reported that Kulluk grounded at approximately 9:00 p.m. Alaska time on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island.

Tuesday, a team of five salvage experts boarded the grounded drilling unit Kulluk to conduct a structural assessment to be used to finalize salvage plans, currently being developed by the Kulluk Tow Incident Unified Command. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

Alaska Science: Dramatic report card for the Arctic in 2012 By NED ROZELL - Northern sea ice is at its lowest extent since we’ve been able to see it from satellites. Greenland experienced its warmest summer in 170 years. Eight of 10 permafrost-monitoring sites in northern Alaska recorded their highest temperatures; the other two tied record highs.

Dramatic report card for the Arctic in 2012

2012 was a year of “astounding” change for much of the planet north of the Arctic Circle, said four experts at a press conference here at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, a five-day gathering of more than 20,000 scientists that ended Dec. 7, 2012.

While arctic-wide air temperatures during the year were unremarkable, the scientists said, other indicators showed extreme changes in the north, such as a record low Arctic-wide snow cover. Tundra and ocean absorbed more solar energy in 2012 than in previous years.

“Snow and ice aren’t just good reflectors, they’re great reflectors,” said Don Perovich of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “And that mirror is breaking.” - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

Alaska: Alaska & Majority of States Score Low On Health Emergency Preparedness - In the 10th annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, 35 states and Washington, D.C. scored a six or lower on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness.

The report, issued by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), found that while there has been significant progress toward improving public health preparedness over the past 10 years, particularly in core capabilities, there continue to be persistent gaps in the country's ability to respond to health emergencies, ranging from bioterrorist threats to serious disease outbreaks to extreme weather events.

In the report, Kansas and Montana scored lowest - three out of 10 - and Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin scored highest - eight out of 10. Alaska scored five out of 10.

"In the past decade, there have been a series of significant health emergencies, including extreme weather events, a flu pandemic and foodborne outbreaks," said Jeffrey Levi , PhD, executive director of TFAH. "But, for some reason, as a country, we haven't learned that we need to bolster and maintain a consistent level of health emergency preparedness. Investments made after September 11th, the anthrax attacks and Hurricane Katrina led to dramatic improvements, but now budget cuts and complacency are the biggest threats we face." - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013


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letter KPU advisory board appointments By A.M. Johnson- It is noted that the Ketchikan Public Utilities is advertising for public citizens to apply for appointment to the Ketchikan Public Utilities advisory board. Good news! It was thought this board had been dissolved for lack of activity or interest. Now is a timely moment to resurrect the board or reinforce it with new blood. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

letter RIPOFF By David G. Hanger - The price for gasoline in Ketchikan is more than $1 per gallon over the national average and 80 cents per gallon over the state average; in Metlakatla those same numbers are more than $1.50 per gallon and at the state level $1.30 per gallon.  Either the wholesale distributors of gasoline in Ketchikan think they have an unlimited license to steal, or they are the most incompetent business managers in the state and in the nation.  This problem is chronic and persistent, and there are no excuses.  It is time to fire these people. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

letter Idle No More By Jennifer Boyd - I am very proud to say Metlakatla held a march today to stand with the First Nations of Canada. As all rallies and marches it was peaceful with our children and grandchildren marching with us. Chief Teresa has called for peaceful rallies. And I would like to add, no police were called out, no pictures were taken by the police. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

letter Jim Pinkerton & the Fireside Lounge By Betty Lee Lien Marl - Jim Pinkerton was an odd fellow and for sure no one knew of his childhood or his hardships. He was a very hard worker and smart as a whip. In 1962 my husband, Stan Marl, was killed in a hunting accident leaving me with 4 very young children. The town rallyed around me and my family. My mother, Anne Evensen, was a waitress at the Blue Fox Cafe. Jim always ate lunch there. One day he asked my mother what he could do for me. She didn't know what to tell him. A few hours later one of the employees from the cold storage wheeled in a hand truck with this enormous plastic bag, easily 25 pounds or more, of frozen halibut cheeks. He knew that I loved halibut cheeks and this was his way of helping me out. He was a very private person and when my mother called me and told me to come and get this huge bag of halibut cheeks I was dumb founded. Luckily I had just bought a freezer! It was a very compasionate thing for him to do. - More...
Wednesday - January 02, 2013

letter Gas Prices By Norma Lankerd - Again, FYI (Metlakatla's) gas prices were at $4.71 per gallon after the prices kept going down (So) I wouldn't complain and YAY we are finally down to $4.51 a gallon (SURE) would like to swap gas (fuel) prices with anyone. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

letter Concerning Rezoning Case 12-106 By Duke Swink - What kind of treatment plant will be in operation to treat the water used in this industry? Will the run off end up in Ketchikan Creek where there are salmon? Has anyone thought about this? ALL industrial sites have large amounts of waste water, and it is usually VERY polluted, and must be treated before it can be released into the surrounding areas. I didn't see a provision for a treatment plant. This could open you up to major lawsuits. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 02, 2013

letter RE: Tonka Timber Sale By Owen Graham - Last month Sitnews published a “Viewpoint” that complained about perceived fish and wildlife concerns with the Tonka timber sale. I did a little research and am happy to report that those concerns are unfounded. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter Rezoning our residential area to heavy industrial; Case 12-106 By Amanda Mitchell - I live in Bear Valley. I have some great neighbors, beautiful views and easy access to the new library, new pool, schools and recreational areas. It is that cozy place where city dwellers get a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some of Alaska’s nature while living in town. We should cherish our peaceful community along with our new pool and library as we have a lot invested in them. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter Need Armed School Security Officers By Donald A. Moskowitz - The recent tragedy at a Connecticut school shooting points out the need for stronger security measures to help prevent or mitigate loss of life at our schools. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter RE: Gun Laws By Amanda Mitchell - I want to thank Rodney Dial for writing his letter about the firearm debate. I think that it is very important to point out the troubles that China and other countries still have with violent acts of crime even with their gun bans. Plus, someone should point out that there have been lives saved because of guns. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter Ketchikan Gas Prices By Margaret Cloud - We need to have some site for listing the current gas prices. I did a search and found a number of sites that supposedly provide the lowest price in any given area but did not find a single one that provided the current Ketchikan prices and some did not list all of the stations. One had Safeway listed as the lowest price. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

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