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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 06, 2013

Front Page Photo by MARTY WEST-WHITE

First Baby of 2013
The First Baby of 2013 born in Ketchikan arrived at the PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center early Friday morning. Baby Ricardo Xuuya Johnson, 7lbs 14 oz., 20 inches, was born at 03:51 am on 1/4/13. His proud parents are Brianne Goheen and Travis Johnson of Klawock. The nurse standing is Susan Walsh RN.
Front Page Photo by Lauralynn Williams RN ©2013
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center
(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


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Special City Council Meeting to Consider Centennial Building Assessment & Tongass Historical Museum Expansion Project By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Ketchikan City Council has scheduled a special meeting to review the results of the City funded Centennial Building Assessment Project and the Foraker Group funded Tongass Historical Museum Expansion Project.

The special public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 10th at 7:00 pm at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. According to a memo written by Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon, the meeting will be videotaped for rebroadcast on KPU CommVision at a later date. Regarding GCI's Ketchikan cable subscribers, there was no mention made as to if this public meeting video will be available to the GCI service for rebroadcast.

Foraker Group Project Manager Martha Schoenthal and Museum Director Michael Naab will make a presentation to the City Council regarding the work that has been undertaken over the last several months and the recommendations regarding the Centennial Building the and Tongass Historical Museum that have resulted from the planning efforts.

The Ketchikan Public Library once shared the Centennial Building with the Tongass Historical Museum. The longest continuously operating library in Alaska, the Ketchikan Public Library recently moved into its newly constructed 16,250 square foot building located on Copper Ridge Lane.

Amylon said that while the estimated cost for the Tongass Historical Museum to expand into the Centennial Building is likely higher than the City Council may have anticipated, he said it is important to note that a significant portion of the capital investment is the result of necessary upgrades to the existing mechanical, electrical, roofing and thermal efficiency systems; compliance with state building and fire codes; ADA requirements; and updating site amenities and interior finishes to allow the Museum to function better within the expanded space. Amylon noted that many of these expenditures would have been needed in the next several years if the Ketchikan Library and Museum had continued to share space within the Centennial Building. - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013

Fish Factor: Alaska’s salmon catch topped 100 million fish for 25th year in a row By LAINE WELCH - Prince William Sound topped all other Alaska regions for salmon catches last year – but not by much.

Fishermen in the Sound squeaked by their colleagues in the Panhandle by just 44 fish to get the #1 ranking for the 2012 season.   The tally:   34,390,000 salmon crossed the docks at PWS compared to 34,346,000 for Southeast.

For the second year running, Southeast Alaska beat out Bristol Bay for the most valuable salmon catch.  According to preliminary numbers from the state, Southeast landings totaled $153 million at the docks, compared to $121 million at Bristol Bay. 

Bristol Bay can still lay claim to being home to Alaska’s most valuable salmon fishery by far: sockeye, valued at $117 million.   Alaska’s second most valuable salmon catch in 2012 was chums in Southeast worth about $83 million ex-vessel.

Prince William Sound ranked third for salmon value at $111 million; Kodiak was number 4 with a salmon season worth  $46 million.  Cook Inlet’s fishery rang in at $36 million; at the Alaska Peninsula the value was $17.5 million, $2 million for the Kuskokwim, just  over $3 million at the Yukon, and the 2012 salmon season brought in less than $1 million to fishermen at Norton Sound and Kotzebue.

In all, 124 million salmon were caught in Alaska in 2012, the smallest volume since 1997, but third largest by value ($505 million) since 1992. It also marked the 25th year in a row that Alaska’s salmon catch topped 100 million fish. - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013

Southeast Alaska: Board of Game Meetings to be Held in Sitka, January 10-15, 2013 - The Alaska Board of Game will convene the Southeast Region meeting on January 11-15, 2013, in Sitka, Alaska at Harrigan Centennial Hall, located at 330 Harbor Drive. The board will consider over 40 proposals regarding hunting and trapping regulations for the Southeast region as well as other topics. Prior to this Southeast region meeting, the board will hold a one-day work session on January 10th at the same location for the purpose of hearing various reports and to address board business. Both meetings are open to the public. Public testimony will be taken during the Southeast Region meeting only.

Proposals scheduled for the Southeast region meeting have been submitted by the Department of Fish and Game, local fish and game advisory committees, and the general public seeking adjustments to hunting and trapping regulations in the Southeast region (Game Management Units [GMU] 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Issues to be addressed by the board include hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits, methods and means, and restricted areas. Proposals to be considered by the board are available at the meeting website. In addition, the board will consider proposals for the annual reauthorization of antlerless moose hunts and resident tag fee exemptions for brown bear in Units 18, 22, 23, and 26. - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013

Alaska: Alaska's iconic Columbia Glacier Expected to Stop Retreating in 2020, Says Study - The wild and dramatic cascade of ice into the ocean from Alaska's Columbia Glacier, an iconic glacier featured in the documentary "Chasing Ice" and one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, will cease around 2020, according to a study by the University of Colorado Boulder.

A computer model predicts the retreat of the Columbia Glacier will stop when the glacier reaches a new stable position -- roughly 15 miles upstream from the stable position it occupied prior to the 1980s. The team, headed by lead author William Colgan of the CU-Boulder headquartered Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, published its results today in The Cryosphere, an open access publication of the European Geophysical Union.

The Columbia Glacier is a large (425 square miles), multi-branched glacier in south-central Alaska that flows mostly south out of the Chugach Mountains to its tidewater terminus in Prince William Sound.

Warming air temperatures have triggered an increase in the Columbia Glacier's rate of iceberg calving, whereby large pieces of ice detach from the glacier and float into the ocean, according to Colgan. "Presently, the Columbia Glacier is calving about 2 cubic miles of icebergs into the ocean each year -- that is over five times more freshwater than the entire state of Alaska uses annually," he said. "It is astounding to watch." - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013

Alaska: NOAA RELEASES NEW COOK INLET BELUGA ABUNDANCE ESTIMATE BASED ON ANNUAL SURVEY - Scientists from NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center announced this week that the 2012 abundance estimate for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale population is 312 animals, a small, but not scientifically significant increase over last year.

The populations have been as low as 278 whales and as high as 366 during the past decade. The overall population trend for the past 10 years for Cook Inlet beluga whales shows them not recovering and still in decline at an annual average rate of 0.6 percent, indicating these whales are still in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.

For scientists, the year-to-year changes in population estimates are less important than the long-term trend. Estimates can vary from year to year based on different sighting or survey conditions, weather, or changes in beluga behavior or distribution.

Scientists say this year's survey did have one unusual finding: whales venturing into relatively new waters. - More...
Sunday - January 06, 2013

Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: SHAKEN (BUT) NOT STIRRED - About 15 years ago, I read a horrifying factoid in an old geology textbook.

Yes. I know you are absolutely stunned to hear that a “hip, happening” kind of guy like me has spent any time with a geology textbook. Especially since – at the time - I was a good 10 years past the need to know any geology at all in order to pass any sort of college geology class.

Get over it.

I am always interested in how our own home, our womb, our earth is always trying to kill us.

Lava flows, avalanches, earthquakes, you name it. As if we humans weren’t already stupid enough to put ourselves in harm’s way seven or eight times a day, mother earth is gunning for us just about every time we step outside the cozy confines of our abodes.

And even when we stay in those cozy confines, there are still tornados, tsunamis and falling trees to come in and get us.

But I digress.

Anyway, I was perusing a chapter on plate tectonics because if there is one thing I love it’s a little “continental drift.”

Besides being a wonderful metaphor for many situations (local government meetings for example), continental drift is one of the slowest moving happenings on earth.

It is slower than those drivers who go through town at 18 mph. It is slower than a grandma grocery shopping. Heck, it is even slower than something that doesn’t move at all. Like Congress.

Continental drift is what moves the continents hither and yon. Large masses of land – henceforth continents – drifting around at less than an inch a year. But still moving forward as inevitably as Congressional pay raises (I’m only mentioning Congress here because one of my loyal readers chastised me last column for not taking on the “Fiscal Cliff”. Time to make it at least appear that I am concerned with events happening outside Our Fair Salmon City!)

So what did I read that scared the begeezus out of me? - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013


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letter Planning Comm. Meeting Tues 1/8 6PM By Robert K. Rice - This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Ketchikan Borough Planning Commission. I am encouraging everyone with concerns regarding this use of the land near our library, radio station, recreation center, swimming pool, ball fields, fish hatchery, and many homes and apartments, to attend the planning commission meeting to voice your concerns.There are much less disruptive places to site this facility. Thanks to Amanda Mitchell and Duke Swink for bringing this to our attention. - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013

letter Alaska is headed for an ice age By Marvin Seibert - I know climate change facts just stand in the way of the people who consider Al Gore a Messiah in this area but I feel the truth can always be best shown in the light of day, not a DVD of made up half-truths. - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013

letter RE: RIPOFF By Pete Ellis - The following quote from a Hanger commentary certainly deals with the problem but fails to suggest a solution: - More...
Sunday AM - January 06, 2013

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

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