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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 17, 2013

Front Page Photograph By DOUG BURKMAN

Saxman: Great Blue Heron
Front Page Photograph By DOUG BURKMAN
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Alaska: Governor's State of the State Address Presented to the 27th Alaska Legislature on Jan. 16, 2013

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Fish Factor:
Pricest Permit Values in Southeast By LAINE WELCH - There’s lots of movement in Alaska’s salmon permit markets, but sales of catch shares are in a stall.

Permit values are up and down depending on region, and interest reflects how the salmon runs have been coming in. for example At Bristol Bay, where sockeye runs for two years have been down and another lackluster season is expected this summer, salmon drift permit values have nosedived from a $165,000 high water mark in 2011 to around $90,000 now.  

“It’s hard to imagine they will go up a lot with a catch forecast of 16 to 17 million salmon this year,” said  Doug Bowen at Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

Likewise, drift permits at Alaska Peninsula fisheries (Area M) that topped  $150,000 in 2011 now are also priced around $90,000.  The value of Kodiak seine permits also has dropped to below $40,000.

“There has been just a general lack of interest in those permits and there are quite a few on the market and very few interested buyers,” Bowen said.  

On the upside, driven by robust sockeye returns in recent years, the value of drift permits at Cook Inlet is ticking upwards to the $80,000 range. A scan of broker sites shows Prince William Sound seine permits have dipped a bit to the $140,000 range.

The priciest card at the moment is at Southeast Alaska where salmon runs have been robust.   Seine permits “which have completely dried up with the announcement of another buyback round,” said Mike Painter at Permit Master, have topped $250,000 and $110,000 for driftnet permits. Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg has a Southeast seine permit listed at $306,000. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

Southeast Alaska: Emissions Rule Lowers Costs Associated with Diesel-Generator Emissions for Small Alaska Communities - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule for emissions standards for stationary internal combustion engines used in power generation.  In response to calls from Alaska utilities and a united Alaska Congressional delegation, the final rule specifically exempts diesel generation in Alaska not connected to the Railbelt energy grid.

In recognition of the challenges faced by Alaska utilities, the rule specifically references the “high energy costs, extreme weather conditions, lengthy travel times, inaccessibility, and very low population density.” Exempted utilities will be able to comply with management measures designed not to increase the already high costs of electricity in Southeast Alaska’s urban centers and rural Alaska at large.

Earlier drafts had a more narrow definition of rural Alaska that exempted many rural communities.  It would have exposed the Copper Valley and Valdez residents, who are reliant on smaller diesel generators, as well as the larger Southeast Alaska communities of Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau, which use diesel generation as a backup to hydropower plants, to higher costs. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

Alaska: STATE’S RIGHTS BILL PROTECTING ALASKANS’ RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS INTRODUCED - Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) introduced a bill on Wednesday defending Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights in light of President Barack Obama’s announced plans to curb gun violence.

“We began work on this bill before the President’s announcement today, and now I’m extremely glad we did. Twenty-three Executive Orders have been signed into law without a review from Americans’ elected representatives,” Chenault said.

Chenault said, “Tragedy is not a license for federal encroachment of constitutionally protected freedoms. We can all agree that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut was an absolute tragedy. But what we fundamentally disagree on is how you meet the challenge it presented. The President is using it to further his liberal agenda to try and disarm and disenfranchise law-abiding Americans from their enshrined Second Amendment rights. No one should be comfortable with that, regardless of where you sit on the issue." - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

Alaska: Salmon runs boom, go bust over centuries - Salmon runs are notoriously variable: strong one year, and weak the next. New research shows that the same may be true from one century to the next.

Scientists in the past 20 years have recognized that salmon stocks vary not only year to year, but also on decades-long time cycles. One example is the 30-year to 80-year booms and busts in salmon runs in Alaska and on the West Coast driven by the climate pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Now work led by University of Washington researchers reveals those decadal cycles may overlay even more important, centuries-long conditions, or regimes, that influence fish productivity. Cycles lasting up to 200 years were found while examining 500-year records of salmon abundance in Southwest Alaska. Natural variations in the abundance of spawning salmon are as large those due to human harvest.

"We've been able to reconstruct what salmon runs looked like before the start of commercial fishing. But rather than finding a flat baseline – some sort of long-term average run size – we've found that salmon runs fluctuated hugely, even before commercial fishing started. That these strong or weak periods could persist for sometimes hundreds of years means we need to reconsider what we think of as 'normal' for salmon stocks," said Lauren Rogers, who did this work while earning her doctorate in aquatic and fishery sciences at the UW and is now a post-doctoral researcher with the University of Oslo, Norway.

Rogers is the lead author of a paper on the findings in the Jan. 14 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

Alaska: Commercial Fisherman Indicted for PFD Fraud - An Anchorage Grand Jury indicted 53-year-old Jose Padron on four counts of Unsworn Falsification in the First Degree and one count of Theft in the Second Degree. The indictment stems from Padron’s alleged falsification of Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) applications between 2008 and 2011. Padron faces a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of $50,000 on each count if convicted. Sentencing is based on the judge’s view of the seriousness of the crime and the offender’s criminal history, if any. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

Alaska: Reuben Yost Appointed Alaska DOT&PF Deputy Commissioner – Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Pat Kemp announced Tuesday the appointment of Reuben Yost to deputy commissioner. He began his new role with the department yesterday.

As deputy commissioner, Yost will oversee the divisions of the Alaska Marine Highway System, Special Projects, Measurement Standards and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement. His office will be located in Juneau.

“Reuben has extensive knowledge of Alaska transportation issues,” said Kemp. “He has been involved with regional transportation plans, rural aviation, design and construction of capital projects, maintenance and operations of state owned assets, and supervising the environmental analysis for numerous highways, airports, state ferries, ferry terminals and harbors. The department will benefit greatly from his expertise.” - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

Alaska Science: Alaska forests in transition By NED ROZELL - In almost every patch of boreal forest in Interior Alaska that Glenn Juday has studied since the 1980s, at least one quarter (and as many as one-half) of the aspen, white spruce and birch trees are dead.

“These are mature forest stands that were established 120 to 200 years ago,” said Juday, a professor of forest ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. “Big holes have appeared in the stands.”

At his Dec. 7, 2012 presentation during the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union held in San Francisco, Juday spoke of a “biome shift” now underway in Alaska — the boreal forest is suffering in the Interior and flourishing in western Alaska. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013


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letter Ketchikan GAS CO-OP By William Tatsuda - I would be willing to negotiate a lease of Gas At Last to a local Gas Co-op. However, I suggest Co-op organizers study the situation thoroughly before committing. You would have to find a wholesale supplier locally or figure out how to transport fuel to Ketchikan and deliver it to the station. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

letter RE: Ketchikan Gas Co-OP By Paul Jarvi - Thank you Mr. Ellis for providing us with a positive answer to the problem Mr. Hanger proposed. He did not have solutions, only blame. I can see car and truck drivers and boat operators getting behind this idea. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

letter The FairTax By Wilton Jere Tidwell - Since 1999, every session of congress has had a bill introduced that would cancel all the petty Federal Taxes we Americans have been punished with. With Federal State and Local taxes, I paid out a minimum of 63% of all my income to one taxing body or another. That was the ones I wrote checks for, but does not include the hidden tax of about 25% that manufacturers have added into the products they sell and sales taxes, gasoline taxes and other taxes and tolls. It is estimated that we are only able to spend 25% of our gross incomes as we need goods and services to survive. the IRS spends one of seven dollars sent to the IRS, doing what they do. That would raise tax revenues about 14% if the IRS disappeared and along with the evaders tax revenues could go up as much as 35% without the current taxpayers adding any more to their tax load. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

letter Gun Control By George Smith - I agree with Dr McGee, as I have seen countries that have gun contol over the people that should have guns to protect themselves and their families from the criminal element. - More...
Thursday AM - January 17, 2013

letter Museum Expansion By Sam Bergeron - Rodney Dial is right to be incensed by the latest proposal to expand and completely renovate the Museum located in the Centennial building, site of the old downtown Ketchikan library. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 15, 2013

letter CBS-SE Service By Sandra Rusin McCray - My name is Sandra Rusin McCray and I am the Regional Sales Manager for CBS-SE. I've had several calls since Friday, January 11th asking me about the technical difficulties that KPU CommVision is having with the local CBS-SE Affiliate. Here is the best explanation that I can offer: - More...
Tuesday AM - January 15, 2013

letter AMERICANS NEED GUNS By Dr. R.D. McGee - If politicians think gun control is the answer to our violence problem, think again. Actually, every citizen should be educated in gun use and safety. If the feds control the use of personal firearms, only the bad guys will have the power to do what they want. We have historical evidence from around the world that gun confiscation (example-Nazi Germany) leads to bad things. We also have an excellent example, Switzerland, how every citizen having guns and using them responsibly is a good thing. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 15, 2013

letter Gas price and Co-Op By Phil McElroy - I agree with the co-op idea. It worked during the 70's for groceries when they were getting out of line. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 15, 2013

letter Fair Tax By Beverly Martin - Poverty should never be the goal of a government tax structure yet our income tax is designed to keep working people poor. Hidden corporate taxes raise the wholesale cost of goods and services while the 7.65 percent payroll tax ensures less take-home pay for buying goods and services. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 15, 2013

letter Museum By Rodney Dial - Those of you who follow my letters know that I mentioned YEARS AGO that approval of the new Library would lead to tax increases and an immediate, subsequent request by local government to expand the Museum. - More...
Saturday AM - January 12, 2013

letter IT IS NOT INEPTNESS OR INCOMPETENCE, THE IRS IS STEALING FROM YOU By David G. Hanger, EA, MBA - By 1989 the Internal Revenue Service had closed virtually all of its field offices in Alaska, concentrating everything in Anchorage with an adjunct in Fairbanks. Travel budgets for IRS employees were virtually eliminated, too, so by the early 1990s almost all audits in the state of Alaska were done by telephone and fax machine. It was a system that worked because there was some IRS employee in Anchorage available via phone to us folks in the bush who would deal with our problem. Then in 2007 we got a new IRS commissioner and considerable transition in the Anchorage office, more or less simultaneously. One Sue Matters took over in Anchorage what used to be called “Problems Resolution,” put up a sign saying “Walk-ins welcome,” and turned off the telephone. So Anchorage is serviced, and the rest of us have been dumped into a large black hole. - More...
Saturday AM - January 12, 2013

letter God Given 2nd Amendment By A. M. Johnson - The following has been sent to both Senator Stedman and Representative Wilson: Fellow Alaskans, I have been advised that our representatives are very very very busy. It may not be important to address the threat of having our personal firearms affected by Federal legislation. To the best of my knowledge, the U.S Constitution afforded the States the supreme amount of control. Alaska should enforce its sovereignty here and NOW. - More...
Saturday AM - January 12, 2013

letter Gas Prices By Carl Thompson - I think Peter Ellis has a great idea. A co-op might be just the thing to bring back competition to the gas market here in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday AM - January 10, 2013

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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