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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 19, 2013

Front Page Photograph By JIM LEWIS

Winter's Little Surprise
This Anna’s Hummingbird was recently photographed in the 5th and Adams area. There were two there. Another was later seen in the Millar Street area. It is strange to see these beautiful hummingbirds still in Ketchikan in January.
Front Page Photograph By JIM LEWIS
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)


Ketchikan: Ketchikan Woman Arrested For Meth Distribution - The Ketchikan Police announced this week that a Ketchikan woman has been arrested for distribution of methamphetamine and for possession of a firearm during the distribution.

According to information provided by Lieutenant Joe White of the Ketchikan Police Department, the arrest of 29-year old Gennica Spear was the result of an undercover operation which involved multiple sales of narcotics to a confidential informant. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013


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Fish Factor: Final Push To Prevent Genetically Modified Fish By LAINE WELCH - Fishing groups, consumers and health organizations are launching a final push to prevent genetically modified fish from getting the nod for American dinner plates.

During the holidays the Food and Drug Administration issued its environmental assessment concluding that the fish, tweaked to grow at least three times faster than normal, will not have any significant impacts on the human environment and is unlikely to harm wild stocks. The FDA’s environmental green light is the last step before AquaBounty, the creators of so called Frankenfish, can send the mutant to markets. The public has until February 26 to send comments to the FDA.

Alaska Senators Begich and Murkowski have written to the FDA asking for a 60 day extension to the comment deadline, citing the holiday timing and new transitions in Congress. Senators from Washington, Oregon and Maryland also signed on to the comment extension request.  No word yet on if the request has been granted.

Meanwhile, Senator Begich said the agency is moving “full steam ahead with fine-tuning its Frankenfish regulations,” and he is not optimistic that public opinion will sway the federal ok.     

Indeed. Late last year the federal government   awarded a coveted $500,000 research grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to  AquaBounty when the company disclosed it could run out of cash early this year. Over the past 16 years, Aqua Bounty has spent $67 million to genetically tweak its “AquaAdvantage” Atlantic salmon and navigate the permitting processes. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

Ketchikan: US Forest Service Announces Rural Schools Funding Details - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that over $323 million will be paid to 41 states and Puerto Rico in two distributions to support local schools and roads as part of the Congressional one-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

The actual amount of each state's payment is determined by a number of factors written into the law, including how many counties or boroughs ultimately decide to share in that payment.

Since 1908, the Forest Service has shared with states 25 percent of gross receipts from timber sales, grazing, minerals, recreation, and other land use fees on national forests to benefit public schools and public roads in the counties or boroughs in which the forests are situated.

With 21,956,783 acres of national forest in Alaska, the state will receive $15.5 million of the $323 million paid nationwide or $0.71 per acre. The amount per acreage for Alaska is low compared to the amounts received by other states such as Pennsylvania which has 513,316 acres of national forest with that state's average payment per acre at $6.83. The lowest payment per acre of $0.31 is paid to Illinois.

For Southeast Alaska communities, the 25% Payment, Secure Rural Schools Act State Payment or covered state’s transition payment (title I and title III, not title II), and special acts payments as applicable are as follows: - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

Alaska: New study shows decline in homicide, suicide rates in Alaska - A new study released by the Division of Public Health shows the rates of violence-related deaths involving homicide and suicide in the state of Alaska have decreased 11 percent and 2 percent, respectively, over the 2007 to 2011 reporting period. This is compared to the 2004 to 2008 reporting period. Public health experts say this drop is the result of an increase in violence prevention and other mental health programs supported by the Division of Public Health.

While homicide and suicide rates are down, the new report indicates a 5 percent rise in the overall average of violent deaths in the state. This is primarily due to increased incidents of undetermined intent, including sudden unexplained infant death or other circumstances where a cause of death could not be explained.

Alaska is one of 18 states participating in the National Violent Death Reporting System. The Alaska Violent Death Reporting System, a state-based surveillance system, creates an anonymous, centralized database of information from various sources about each violent death incident and suicide with death certificates, police reports and medical examiner reports. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

Alaska: Draft Rule to Reintroduce Wood Bison in Alaska; Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Reclassification of Wood Bison from “Endangered” to “Threatened” - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that it will propose to release wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in Alaska, in support of an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) plan, in an effort to establish a wild population of this native wildlife species to Alaska. Potential introduction sites include Minto Flats, the lower Innoko, Yukon River area, and Yukon Flats.

Draft Rule to Reintroduce Wood Bison in Alaska

Wood Bison
Photo Credit: Laura Whitehouse/USFWS

The draft rule by USFWS would allow the wood bison to be reintroduced as a “nonessential experimental population,” protecting the state from potential litigation under the ESA, and permitting the eventual hunting of the animals.

The wood bison is the largest native extant terrestrial mammal in North America. Average weight of mature bulls is about one ton (2,000 pounds). They have a large triangular head, a thin beard and rudimentary throat mane, their horns usually extend above the hair on their head, and the highest point of their hump is forward of their front legs. These physical characteristics distinguish them from the plains bison which is the subspecies that roamed the vast prairies of the continental United States.

Historically, the wood bison was found throughout Alaska and Canada. Today, seven free-ranging herds with approximately 4,000 animals are now only found in Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory, Canada. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

Ketchikan: Undergraduate Research Experiential & Creative Activities Award Winners Announced - The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) announced two UAS Ketchikan Campus award winners for the UAS Undergraduate Research, Experiential & Creative Activities (URECA) program.

Ghert Abbott will be researching “The Very Interesting Case of Jennie Lynch”; his faculty mentor is Dr. John Radzilowski, Assistant Professor of History. The project examines the intersection of Alaska territorial politics, native land rights and social reform in the early development of Ketchikan. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

Alaska Science: White River ash made its way across the globe By NED ROZELL - The White River Ash blasted from giant eruptions somewhere in today’s Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, drifted as far away as Ireland and Germany, said experts who attended the December 2012 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held in San Francisco.

White River ash made its way across the globe

Duane Froese of the University of Alberta in a forest of stumps smothered by the White River Ash around the year 843 AD. Froese is pictured in the Yukon Territory, close to the Alaska border and Natazhat Glacier in an area downwind of the great White River eruptions, which spewed from somewhere near Alaska’s Mount Churchill.
Photo courtesy of D. Froese.

Ash from the White River eruptions, possibly from 15,638-foot Mount Churchill or at least close to it, left an easy-to-see mark on eastern Alaska and northwestern Canada. Explorer Frederick Schwatka documented the ash in 1885 in his book “Along Alaska’s Great River.” People driving the Klondike Highway pass more than two feet of the whitish grit exposed in road cuts on their journey through the Yukon Territory.

“It was an enormous eruption,” said Britta Jensen of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

Columns - Commentary

jpg Will DurstWILL DURST: Knee-Deep in a Tattoo Boom - We may have witnessed a generational sea change the other night at the Golden Globe Awards. Talking about when creator, writer and breakthrough star of HBO's "Girls," Lena Dunham, teetered up to the stage on what appeared to be hockey skates sporting a minor array of tattoos leaking out of her ball gown in front of a world-wide audience. Fortunately her dress had been color designed to coordinate with copious amounts of blue ink.

And these weren't discreet little ankle hearts or some Chinese character supposedly representing "peace" but not actually translating to "screw you round-eye" either. These were big, bold tats. Peek-a-boo with the emphasis on the boo. One looked to be a two-house homage to the children's book heroine Eloise spanning the width of the actress' back. And on her upper right arm -- Ferdinand the Bull in his field of flowers. And those were just the visibles. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013


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letter Encouragement to Councilman Bergeron By A. M. Johnson - Exciting to hear Sam Bergeron's remarks on the various City of Ketchikan expenditures and forecast for future fiscal endeavors. It truly is breath of fresh air. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

letter CBS-SE TV Signal By Sandra Rusin McCray - More info regarding the CBS-SE feed for KPU CommVision. It is my understanding that KPU CommVision is now in receipt of the equipment that failed which resulted in KPU CommVision making the decision to bring in the CBS-KIRO signal from Washington State and taking down the CBS-SE signal. In doing this, KPU CommVision violated FCC laws. - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

letter Taxes By Amergo M. Cimino - I am in favor of the Fair Tax. It's time to shrink our Government, and get some accountability from these Politicians! We've had enough of "committees". Elected officials should do ALL of the governing, and not shift the labors to committees! - More...
Saturday AM - January 19, 2013

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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