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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 23, 2013

Front Page Photograph By DOUG BURKMAN

Ward Lake Reflections
Front Page Photograph By DOUG BURKMAN ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
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Ketchikan: First State Ferry Arrived 50 Years Ago By DAVE KIFFER - Fifty years ago today, transportation in Southeast Alaska changed dramatically.

First State Ferry Arrived 50 Years Ago

Alaska State Ferry Malaspina arriving at Ketchikan
Donor: Ketchikan Daily News,
Photograph Courtesy Ketchikan Museums

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Malaspina arrived in Ketchikan at 9 am inaugurating ferry service to the region.

Steamship travel had been Southeast Alaska’s main connection to the rest of the world since the days of Russian America, but improvements in air travel had cut into passenger ridership and regular passenger service had stopped in 1954.

Still, there was a need to greater “connectivity” and that led territorial and later state officials to envision a regular ferry service that would tie the communities of Southeast Alaska with each other and with the road systems in Haines and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

A private company had begun operating a ferry in Lynn Canal in 1949 between Juneau and Haines/Skagway. The private ferry soon ran into financial trouble and the service was taken over by the territorial government. Eventually a small ferry, the Chilkat, was built to provide the service.

By the end of the 1950s, other communities in Southeast were so interested in expanding the ferry service that they formed a group to promote the interests of the region. The Southeast Conference had representatives of all the communities in Southeast. Its first order of business, when it was founded in 1958, was to push for a marine highway to connect all the towns in the region.

When Alaska became a state in 1959, Southeast Conference gave the new government a big nudge to create the Alaska Marine Highway System. By the fall of 1963, the first “mainline” ferry, the Malaspina was ready to go.

Governor Bill Egan and other dignitaries were on board when the state took ownership of the first of the big “blue canoes” in late January.

The ferry was scheduled to leave Seattle 14 4:30 pm  on January 21st for its inaugural voyage north, but things didn’t go according to plan, according to the Associated Press.

“And like a young actress at a dress rehearsal, the lovely lady had her troubles on a short, slow speed voyage around Puget Sound.”

The AP Reported that the Malaspina was an hour late leaving the Puget Sound Bridge and Drydock dock and then suffered a cracked engine super-charger casing. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

Ketchikan: Idle No More March; One Arrested - The Idle No More grassroots protest movement that started in the province of Saskatchewan has stretched across Canada and is being joined by people in Alaska who are concerned about the threats to Alaskan waters and salmon from British Columbia’s aggressive industrial development plans.

Idle No More March; One Arrested

Idle No More March in Ketchikan
Photograph by Weston Davis ©2013

Although not the first Idle No More march to be held in Ketchikan, Sunday's march also demonstrated the participants' support of the Idle No More movement. Sunday's march held in downtown Ketchikan was more than just another show of solidarity with Indigenous activists in Canada it is an over-all movement to educate and revitalize Indigenous peoples through awareness and empowerment. Another goal of participants is to raise awareness about British Columbia’s major industrial development plans and drastic changes to Canadian environmental laws which the group says poses serious risks to salmon, water quality and traditional uses in the Southeast Alaska and Northwest British Columbia’s transboundary region. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Man Sentenced For Illegally Killing, Selling And Failing To Tag Marine Mammals - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced Friday in Anchorage that Sherman Roger Alexander, 58, a resident of Ketchikan, Alaska, pled guilty and was sentenced to three violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act for his role in the illegal taking of 87 sea otters, the failure to tag the hides as required, and for the illegal selling of marine mammal parts. Alexander was the fourth individual to be convicted and sentenced as a result of U.S. Fish and Wildlife undercover investigation into the illegal taking and selling of sea otters in Southeast Alaska.

As part of the proceedings in court, Alexander pled guilty to three charges involving the illegal take, sale and recording of unlawfully taken sea otters. Between April 23, 2008, and May 4, 2008, Alexander hunted sea otters with another person using that individual’s boat. The boat owner/driver herded sea otters to Alexander and, after the otters were killed assisted Alexander with their transport. Eighty-seven sea otters were killed during these hunts and Alexander unlawfully gave 14 sea otter skulls to the boat owner/driver after the hunts. Only Alaska Natives are allowed to take marine mammals and the charged hunting practice used by Alexander was illegal. As to the other violations, Alexander failed to record any of the 87 otters he killed, as required by the law. The approximate value of the illegally taken pelts is $30,000. As to the third count, Alexander admitted to selling a sea otter blanket from an illegally taken sea otter to an individual who was not an Alaska Native. The blanket also contained marine mammal parts that are illegal to sell to a non-Alaska native. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

Columns - Commentary

jpg Susan BrownSUSAN STAMPER BROWN: Obama's Definition of 'Liberty' - Oh, how far-removed we are from what now seems like the "innocent" Bill Clinton days when all we had to worry about was the various definitions of the word "is". And now, after watching President Obama's second term inaugural address, it is clear we have a president who calls into question the meaning of the word "liberty."

It is incomprehensible that this former constitutional lawyer would argue during his speech that America has evolved to the extent "our founding documents" no longer require us to "define liberty in exactly the same way." But then again, it's not so far-fetched considering what he's done so far as well as the radicals he's wrapped his life around. Some in the mainstream media have pondered if compromising with Republicans will be part of his second term agenda, but based on his address, the short answer is "no." Put on your seatbelts; we're headed for four more years of divide and conquer politics. The carnage will be immense, considering the majority of Americans are not far-left radicals. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

jpg Tom PurcellTOM PURCELL: Where Common Ground Begins - "It's no wonder many Americans are uneasy about the way President Obama is growing our government and eroding our liberties. Aren't most Americans conservative?"

"That is correct. Every year, Gallup does a survey on political ideology and it generally finds that 40 percent of Americans describe themselves as conservative, whereas half as many describe themselves as liberal." - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

jpg Jason StanfordJASON STANFORD: Why are Guns Constitutionally Protected? - The 2nd Amendment guarantees the "right to bear arms," right? It's right there in the Constitution between the 1st Amendment, which gives people the right to annoy you, and the 3rd Amendment, which is probably very important. (I looked it up. It says soldiers can't crash on your couch without an act of congress.)

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya of "The Princess Bride," we keep using that phrase "the right to bear arms," but I do not think it means what we think it means. As we have a national conversation about guns, it might be nice to make sure we're all reading the same 2nd Amendment. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

jpg Susan BrownSUSAN STAMPER BROWN: Progressives' Ridiculous Gun Control Argument - Once again, Conservatives have latched onto the bait tossed out by Progressives in their never-ending campaign to grab guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens. Gun control is just one aspect of the Progressive agenda; in essence, they want control of everyone and everything any way they can.

Toward this end, they will tell you anything to get what they want. For example, they say they are multiculturalists, right up until election season when cultures become pawns to move around the political battlefield. All non-compliant free-thinkers are dealt with accordingly. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013


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letter Who will question the government's actions? By Amanda Mitchell - "Don’t bite the hand that feeds you." This simple phrase contains a profound nugget of wisdom, but that many are unaware of. Whoever you are dependent on has power over you and can control you. If you understand this concept, it is not hard to understand the dangers of collectivism. Collectivism pools the resources of many to be distributed by a few. It can wield great power and heavy responsibility. Because of this, most positions of authority attract many seeking personal gain and it scares away the majority of ordinary people. Collectivism, within a government, is not unlike a Ponzi Scheme except many are forced by mandate to give instead of being conned into it.  Collectivism takes choice, freedom and individualism out of the picture and it takes away your right to decide for yourself. Eventually, when an individual questions or tries to break away from the authority of those making the decisions on his/her behalf, those seeking to keep their power try to effectively hinder any opposition. One way is through labeling, symbolizing and dehumanizing. Our country has employed using terms such as "terrorist,” "mentally ill,” or “conspiracy theorist” and others on those brave enough to speak out. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

letter The Obama Appeasers By Donald A. Moskowitz - President Obama’s recent picks for Secretary of Defense-Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State-John Kerry call into question Obama’s judgment and wisdom and his ability to lead this country. - More...
Wednesday AM - January 23, 2013

letter Iditarod dog cruelties By Margery Glickman - Iditarod dogs suffer horrendous cruelty every day of their lives. Mushers have drowned, shot, bludgeoned and dragged many dogs to death. For example, Iditarod musher Dave Olesen drowned a litter of newborn puppies. Another musher got rid of unwanted puppies by tying them in a bag and tossing the bag in a creek. Mushers even have a saying about not breeding dogs unless they can drown them: “Those who cannot drown should not breed.” - More..
Wednesday - January 23, 2012

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

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