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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 25, 2013

Front Page Photograph By SUSAN HOYT

Western Grebe
The Western Grebe is a species in the grebe family of water birds and is the largest North American Grebe. Folk names include "dabchick", "swan grebe" and "swan-necked grebe". The Western Grebe is a species in the grebe family of water birds and is the largest North American Grebe. Folk names include "dabchick", "swan grebe" and "swan-necked grebe". These are common, but local, wintering bird in southern Southeast Alaska.  Along the Ketchikan road-system there are large wintering flocks that are found annually in Clover Passage, and in Tongass Narrows (usually offshore around Totem Bight).  They winter regularly up to Wrangell and Petersburg and are rare north of there.  This species does not breed in Alaska so they only occur in numbers in the winter.
Front Page Photograph By SUSAN HOYT ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)


Ketchikan: First State Ferry Arrived 50 Years Ago By DAVE KIFFER - Fifty years ago today, transportation in Southeast Alaska changed dramatically.- January 23, 2013


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Ketchikan: Alaska's Population Increases - Ketchikan Gateway Borough's population has increased by 461 people since 2010, according the the Alaska Department of Labor. The population of the Ketchikan Borough is now estimated to be 13,938, with 8,291 of that number living in the City of Ketchikan (population increase 241 of the 461). In 2010, the Ketchikan Borough's population was estimated at 13,477 with 8,050 of that number living in the city.

Overall, most regions of Southeast Alaska showed growth in population. From 2010 to 2012, Prince of Wales' population increased by 212 people with an estimated population of 5,771. The City and Borough of Sitka's population increased by 203 people with an estimated population of 9,048. The City and Borough of Wrangell's population increased by 79 people with an estimated population of 2,448.

The largest population increase in Southeast Alaska was in Juneau with its population increasing by 1,557 people. Juneau's estimated total population is 32,832. Skagway (-7) and Yakutat (-40) were the only two areas in Southeast to show a population loss.

Statewide, Alaska’s population increased by 3.1 percent – or 22,067 people – from April 2010 to July 2012, based on population estimates released by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Alaska’s growth outpaced the United States as a whole, which grew 1.7 percent over the same period.

Of Alaska’s 29 boroughs and census areas, 26 grew between 2010 and 2012. The largest population increases were in the Municipality of Anchorage (7,016), Matanuska-Susitna Borough (4,806), Fairbanks North Star Borough (2,762), City and Borough of Juneau (1,557) and Kenai Peninsula Borough (1,356). - More...
Friday AM - January 23, 2013

Ketchikan: Poems in Place Project Celebrates Alaska's State Parks - The Poems in Place project is currently accepting poetry submissions for two state parks, the Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan and the Chena River State Recreation Area north of Fairbanks.

Alaska State Parks, the Alaska Center for the Book, and a steering committee of Alaskan writers and poets are collaborating on the Poems in Place statewide project to celebrate the natural beauty of Alaska’s state parks with poetry.

“Poetry that celebrates Alaska’s natural environment – whether it’s an alpine valley or a tidal cove – can have a positive, powerful impact on visitors and Alaska residents, as we’ve seen following the poetry installation at Beluga Point,” said Claire LeClair, deputy director of Alaska State Parks.

The goal of the Poems in Place Project is to install poems on permanent signs in state parks throughout Alaska in the coming years. The first in this series – the poem “What Whales and Infants Know,” by Kim Cornwall – was installed in 2011 at Beluga Point in Chugach State Park, with support from Homer writer Wendy Erd, Alaska State Parks, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013

Alaska Science: Bison Bob a big discovery on the North Slope By NED ROZELL - As she scraped cold dirt from the remains of an extinct bison, Pam Groves wrinkled her nose at a rotten-egg smell wafting from gristle that still clung to the animal’s bones. She lifted her head to scan the horizon, wary of bears that might be attracted to the flesh of a creature that gasped its last breath 40,000 years ago.

Bison Bob a big discovery on the North Slope

Dan Mann holds the skull of a steppe bison that died on Alaska’s North Slope more than 40,000 years ago. Mann and Pam Groves found the nearly complete skeleton of the bison while floating down a northern river last summer.
Photo by Pam Groves.

In the type of discovery they have dreamed about for years, Groves and Dan Mann, both researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in summer 2012 found in the thawing bank of a northern river almost the entire skeleton of a steppe bison that died during the last ice age. In adventurous work sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, Mann and Groves have been boating down lonely northern rivers for 15 years looking for scattered bones of ice age mammals, always hoping to find a complete skeleton or mummy of a mammoth, horse, or American lion. In mid-June, on a familiar stretch of river that flows northward on Alaska’s North Slope, they rounded a river bend and saw the skull of a large bison trapped against a willow shrub.

Groves described the scene: “We were paddling downriver, battling through a nasty squall of hail and wind, thinking about our camping spot about a mile downriver,” she said. “When the hail was just breaking up, we saw the upside-down skull with the lower jaw still attached. The teeth were really white. They stood out.”

The pair landed their inflatable canoe at the base of the 60-foot bluff. Even before they stepped out in their rubber boots, Groves spotted other bones that told her this wasn’t an ordinary site. Though this ever-changing wall had yielded many bones over the years, those were scattered remains of ice-age creatures separated by meandering river action and the crumbling and re-forming of permafrost-cemented bluffs. Mann said their typical discoveries resemble “Pleistocene in a blender.” - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013

National: Senators Introduce Mental Health First Aid Bill; Begich, Blumenthal, Ayotte Bill To Improve Awareness and Care - A bipartisan coalition of Senators led by Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced legislation yesterday to expand mental health first aid training and increase the effectiveness of mental health care across America.  The bill is an expanded version of the bill introduced last year by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK).

Sens. Begich, Ayotte, Blumenthal, Jack Reed (D-RI),  Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) are original co-sponsors of the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013, which provides funding for training programs to help the public identify, understand, and address crisis situations safely. The bill also calls for protocols for initiating timely referrals to mental health services available in communities.

“The broad bipartisan support for this bill shows that politics have no place when it comes to keeping our families and communities safe and providing adequate support for those who may be experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Sen. Begich. “This bill makes smart investments to increase awareness and resources for mental health services in Alaska and across the country. I look forward to seeing it move forward in the Senate.” - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013

Alaska: New Microloans Expand Small Farm Finance Options; FSA to Help Beginning and Small Farmers - New and beginning farmers, growers, and ranchers in Alaska now have a new agricultural Microloan credit option to consider. As of Jan. 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is offering its customers a Microloan designed to help farmers with credit needs of $35,000 or less. The loan features a streamlined and simplified application and qualification process to fit the needs of new and smaller producers.

“We have heard from Alaskans that they want a simplified loan process. This innovative offering will be more customer-friendly than our larger, more traditional loan programs,” said Danny Consenstein, State Executive Director. “Alaskan producers seeking a smaller loan for start-up or operational needs now have a great new tool to consider.”

“For those selling at Farmers’ Markets or addressing food security in rural areas with hoop houses and greenhouses, this new Microloan might serve their needs perfectly,” Consenstein continued. “And the reduced paperwork will help expedite the process for everyone.” - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013


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letter Ketchikan Humane Society By Heather Muench - The Ketchikan Humane Society would like to thank our community for your generous support for our programs in 2012. We are a 501(c)3 non- profit. All of our members are unpaid volunteers and one hundred percent of the money we raise goes to the animals we rescue. In addition to our rescue work, we sponsor low-cost spay and neuter clinics throughout the year in an effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals euthanized every year in the communities of Southern Southeast Alaska. - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013

letter Thank You From the Ketchikan Homless Shelter By Gary Boatwright on Behalf of the Ketchikan Homeless Shelter Board of Directors - As the members of the Board of Directors of the Ketchikan Homeless Shelter, (PATH), we would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Ketchikan for their continued generosity to the homeless in our community. - More...
Friday - January 25, 2013 

letter CBS-SE TV Signal By Ed Cushing - My name is Ed Cushing. As the Division Manager, KPU Telecommunications, I am responsible for KPU CommVision’s technical operations. The purpose of this letter is to respond to Sandra Rusin McCray’s SITNEWS posts dated January 15th & 19th, 2013, regarding a recent temporary outage of CBS-SE (KUBD) on the KPU CommVision network. - More...
Friday - January 25, 2013

letter Review of the B.C.Hydro stream By A. M. Johnson - As a result of a submission on B.C Hydro and related earlier efforts, there has been some inquiry and comments. From the tone and depth of those perhaps a review with further gatherings is in order. - More...
Friday - January 25, 2013

letter New buildings a bit too big? By Marie Zellmer - I have been following the sentiments of people who believe that the new construction projects the City of Ketchikan has taken on are a bit overboard. I have to agree to some extent. - More...
Friday - January 25, 2013

letter Support Angie Taggart & Her Iditarod Dogs! By Hamilton Gelhar - This person, Margery Glickman, has a website that encourages people to send a letter of protest to people who support or sponsor the Iditarod. She operates this website out of the state of Florida. I, along with many other people have been receiving messages that have been copied from her website and pasted into an email. I have asked her to stop the emails and take me off the list. She has refused everybody's request. - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013

letter RE: Iditarod dogs By Paul Jarvi - Regarding Ms Glickman's letter, Sled Dogs are breed to run in the snow and pull a weight. If you have ever owned a Siberian Husky with blue eyes like I have you would know this as a matter of fact. These dogs are adapted to the cold, they have two types of fur to keep them warm in the winter and less warm in the summer. I go to Florida on business once a year and notice these dogs in misery being walked on Ms. Glickman's hot humid streets with their abundance of fur. - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013

letter Fair Tax By Roy T. Newsom - Congress claims they have to avoid going "over the cliff" financially while they continue to kick the can down the road.  What a joke.  Please publish my letter so your readers can become aware of the real solution to this financial crisis. - More...
Friday AM - January 25, 2013

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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