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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

January 17, 2015

Front Page Photograph By CINDY BALZER

Moon Rising Over Deer Mountain
This recent moon rise scene was captured on Dec. 28th.
Front Page Photograph By CINDY BALZER ©2015
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

Ketchikan: Inmate at Ketchikan Correctional Center dies 2 days after suicide attempt By Devin Kelly, Alaska Dispatch News - A 20-year-old inmate at Ketchikan Correctional Center died at an Anchorage hospital Saturday, two days after attempting to hang himself in his cell, Alaska State Troopers said. - Read this Alaska Dispatch News story...


Ketchikan: The Ketchikan Borough Assembly will hold a regular meeting on Monday, January 19th in the Assembly Chambers (White Cliff building). The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm. To download the agenda and information packets, click here...

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WHETHER OR NOT THE WEATHER RECORDS ARE ACCURATE, KETCHIKAN HAS HAD SOME SPECTACULAR WEATHER OVER THE YEARS By DAVE KIFFER - When it gets a little wetter, or colder, or hotter than usual, Ketchikan residents immediately head to the historical records.

24 inches of snow was measured at 1:00 pm Sunday, December 28, 2008, 12 miles north of Ketchikan...
File Photo and Measurements by MIKE HOUTS ©2008

Was that 5 inch rainfall the other day a record breaker?

How about those temps in the mid 80s that one hot week in August?

We like to compare. But even more so, we like to feel like we have just made it through a significant weather event that we can now post about all over the social media!

Unfortunately, when you search the weather statistics from the National Weather Service you tend to find that in most cases, the significant weather was happening in Ketchikan a century ago. Today’s weather “events” generally don’t measure up to the temperatures and rainfall of Ketchikan in the 1910s.

Which always leads to a little concern over just how "accurate" those readings were back in the days when Ketchikan was little more than a couple of docks and a handful of houses.

After all, rain gauges and thermometers circa 1910 were a little less precise than they are today. And it leaves one to wonder just how precise those historical readings were. Was it really that hot? Was it really that wet? No one is around to answer how the locals measured those things in 1915.

But, as far as NWS is concerned they are the gospel of Ketchikan weather.

Yes, Ketchikan's most cherished weather superlative did occur in 1949 when more than 202 inches of rain was recorded and, one hopes, that number can be trusted.

But what about the all-time coldest temperature of Minus 8 degrees that was recorded on January 24, 1916?

The day before, January 23, it was minus 7 degrees. The day before that, minus 5. How do we know there wasn't a thermometer error? Or that a weather watcher didn’t decide it was too cold to go outside and just “guestimated” the chill.

The second greatest Ketchikan "cold snap" was a year and a week later in January of 1917, when Ketchikan had three straight days in the minus 3-5 range.

Since then the coldest recorded day was January 19, 2012, in which a reliable minus 2 was recorded.

Other than a couple of minus 1 days in 1964, that has been it for below zero temps in the First City, according to the National Weather Service. It makes one wonder if the mercury being used in 1916 and 1917 was past its expiration date! - More....
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015


Fish Factor:
Facing tough sockeye salmon market; marketers ramping up $1 million global media blitz By LAINE WELCH - Alaska seafood marketers are ramping up promotions and bankrolling a $1 global million media blitz to counteract a tough sockeye salmon market.

Sockeyes are by far the most valuable salmon catch, often worth two-thirds of the value of Alaska’s entire salmon fishery. But last summer’s unexpected surge of reds left lots of inventory in freezers, and record US imports of competing farmed salmon from Chile and Norway combined with the prospect of another big run at Bristol Bay make for a sockeye sales squeeze.

Alaska’s approach will be patterned after the $1 million canned pink salmon campaign when the record catch in 2013 plugged that market, said Tyson Fick, Communications Director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing institute.

“We’re targeting in particular the UK, Japan and Canada with canned sockeye, and domestically with retailers to the tune of 6,000-7,000 individual stores to run sockeye promotions through the spring, as well as a joint promotion with Chateau St. Michele that will reach another 10,000 or so stores,” Fick said. “And then in food service we’re working through Sysco with a Lenten promotion that will run from February through April, specific to frozen sockeyes.”

The campaign also will advertise in overseas media, and as with pink salmon, work directly with retailers and distributors to move product and “move the needle on awareness. “

“We look to take advantage of some of the larger food trends – knowing where your food comes from, local seafood, clean waters, things like that,” Fick said.
It’s a good strategy, but he admits there are many factors over which the industry has no control.

“Currency exchanges, international global politics and what not. But the whole idea of this marketing operation is to buffer that and to at all times have a preference for Alaska out there,” Fick said. Referring to the pink campaign that has kept sales steady, he added: “All of the data coming back indicates it’s working pretty well.” - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015


Alaska Science:
The demise of Scotch Cap lighthouse By NED ROZELL - In spring of 1946, five men stationed at the Scotch Cap lighthouse had reasons to be happy. World War II was over. They had survived. Their lonely Coast Guard assignment on Unimak Island would be over in a few months.

Scotch Cap Lighthouse, on the southwest shore of Unimak Island, before the giant wave of April 1, 1946.
Photo courtesy NOAA/NGDC, Coast Guard

But the lighthouse tenders would never return to their homes in the Lower 48. In the early morning of April 1, the earth ruptured deep within the Aleutian Trench 90 miles south. An immense block of ocean floor rose, tipping salt water across the North Pacific.

The earthquake was giant: at least magnitude 8.1. The tsunami that resulted killed 159 people in Hawaii, drowned a swimmer in Santa Cruz, banged up fishing boats in Chile and wrecked a hut on Antarctica. The curve of the Aleutians protected much of Alaska, but the five at Scotch Cap had no chance.

A 130-foot wave struck the lighthouse at 2:18 a.m, leaving nothing but the foundation of the reinforced concrete structure. Though scientists long thought the wave was due to the earthquake rupture, John Miller of the USGS in Denver recently showed a mountain of rocks on the sea floor that appears to be from a massive underwater landslide. That slide might have created the giant wave that hit the lighthouse.

The story of Coast Guardsmen Anthony Petit, Jack Colvin, Dewey Dykstra, Leonard Pickering and Paul Ness is nearing 70 years old and is spotty. Enduring online is a memo to his superiors written by Coast Guard electrician Hoban Sanford, who was stationed on Unimak to maintain a radio direction-finding system. - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Legislation Filed to Restore Public Comments for the State’s Pesticide Spraying Program - Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka) and Rep.Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) have pre-filed a bill to restore a public process to state pesticide spraying programs and add protections for fish habitat and drinking water. The bill is the result of grassroots efforts in Southeast Alaska where at least eight municipalities, including Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, and Haines, along with three tribes and the Prince of Wales Community Advisory Council, have passed resolutions or written letters asking for restoration of a public process or opposing pesticide use altogether.

This effort was mobilized in opposition to major revisions made in March 2013 to regulations governing pesticide spraying by state agencies, including the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The new regulations eliminated opportunities for public comment and allowed spraying to take place following nothing but DEC approval of a statewide general permit and notice in a local newspaper. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Kreiss-Tomkins and Ortiz, would restore many of the public protections removed by the 2013 regulatory change.

“The people and economy of Southeast Alaska revolve around our watersheds,” said Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins. “We believe the public deserves protections and a public process before pesticides are sprayed along public highways and in watersheds, and that’s why we’re introducing this legislation.” - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015


Southeast Alaska: Forest Service Pittance Payments for Schools & Roads Exposes Broken Promise to Alaska Says Murkowski - This week U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) criticized the U.S. Forest Service for its ongoing failure to actively manage Alaska’s national forest lands and for breaking a promise made to Alaska over a century ago to support public schools and roads in communities surrounded by tax-exempt federal property.

“The reversion to the old system of paying communities 25 percent of local timber receipts would be OK if the Forest Service followed prudent management practices and actually allowed trees to be harvested, but that hasn’t been the case for decades,” Murkowski said. “This is, unfortunately, a rude awaking for those communities who have been forced to rely on alternative assistance from the federal government to fund local services.”

Murkowski’s comments came Thursday after the Forest Service announced it would make payments under the Twenty-Five Percent Fund Act of 1908 to Tongass and Chugach National Forests’ communities worth a fraction of what they would have received under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination (SRS) Act, which expired last year after Congress failed to find a funding source.

“The SRS program, which was originally designed to be a temporary bridge for timber-dependent economies, had, in recent years, been extended by funding from the Senate and House finance committees. When that failed to happen last year, the true impact of the devastating decline in the Forest Service’s timber program became clear.” Murkowski said.

Under that 1908 law, states receive 25 percent of the receipts generated from activities on national forest lands in that state. The Forest Services’ anemic timber management policies mean that Alaska will receive $535,167 this year. By comparison, Alaska received more than $14 million in 2014 under the secure rural schools formula. - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

Southeast Alaska: U.S. Senators Re-Activating Southeast Office Network; Regional Staff in Process of Being Hired to Respond to Constituents - U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) announced this week their Ketchikan and Juneau offices will be reopening soon, with the two coordinating their efforts to share a full-time staffer in each location to keep costs down.

“Alaskans deserve to have their views heard and their needs responded to, but they also deserve to know that we are responsibly spending their tax dollars to do so,” said the Senators. “From social security to the U.S. Postal Service to the issues on the floor of the Senate, we have an open door policy for each and every Alaskan to share their viewpoint and we are pleased to be able to have those doors open in these two communities.” - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015


BY Adam Zyglis ©2015, The Buffalo News
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Ketchikan nurses need your help and support By Barbara Lander - Labor negotiations are not going well at PEACEHEALTH Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC) : Administration and nurses are at an impasse and will be meeting with a mediator on January 26, 1015. Our Nurses primary issue is concern for our patients: we want more than anything to deliver safe, high quality patient care. Factors that impact our ability to do this are: - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

letter Blaming oil tax reform for Alaska's current budget deficit is just plain wrong By Jim Jansen - Our budget deficit today is a result of low oil prices, low oil production and overspending, not oil tax reform. - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

letter A DART TOSSED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION By David G Hanger - I would say it’s a bit tone deaf, if not downright politically stupid, for our new governor to call for an increase in taxes on the oil companies, particularly when the primary problem most Alaskans are enduring with this bunch is insanely high prices for a gallon of gas at the pump. While I don’t disagree with the governor that his predecessor was completely sold out, bought and paid for, by the oil companies, the taxing of oil as it comes out of the ground is a long-term problem, and right now we have a short-term problem with our gasoline wholesalers stealing SE Alaskans blind. We are talking tens of millions of dollars, if not more, that is being illegally raked off by this filthy monopoly. All laws for robbery, burglary, and theft in the state of Alaska should be suspended and not enforced until this monopolistic crap is cleaned up. Why bust a bunch of small timers when you let the biggest thief of all steal from everyone day in and day out???! - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

letter Dumping on South Pt. Higgins By Jerry Cegelske - In the past few months I made several inspection trips to the ends of the road on North and South Tongass, as well as Revilla Road and South Point Higgins. I was rather proud of the people of Ketchikan because there was little dumping of solid waste along the roads compared to past years. Abandoned vehicles have been non-existent with people using the Borough voucher program or disposing of vehicles by private enterprise. - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

letter Republicans caving on Amnesty By A. M. Johnson - As to the rumors that Alaska's Rep. Don Young along with Establishment Republican House members are formulating a total cave-in to Obama on amnesty using the recent Paris attacks as a basis is just an excuse to cave on an issue that you Establishment members desire as an end result without admitting to it. - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

letter Response to the IRS' budget woes By Jim Donnell - An internal email to IRS employees was leaked to the press this week where a senior IRS official warned that their budget was slashed so deeply that refund checks would be delayed, that less that half of the people calling the IRS would reach a human being, and that there would be more identity theft. I'm sure the IRS's solution would be for the American taxpayer to pay more money to fund their effort to intimidate and harass us, have more people we could call that would give us the wrong answer to our tax questions and to expedite giving us back our own money that they have held for a year without paying us a single cent in interest. - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

letter Would Dr. King march today??? By Paul Livingston - Dr. King was a great civil rights leader. We still need his leadership. Our federal tax code infringes on our civil rights: Denial of due process, No trial by jury, Forced self-incrimination, Unreasonable search and seizure, Lack of privacy, Unequal treatment of citizens, Complex and ambiguous laws. Witness the IRS to see government tyranny. The tax code has enslaved us to loose our God given right to our production (income, savings, and investment). It is free people and markets, not laws and regulations that create a higher standard of living with lower costs and higher quality. - More...
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015

letter GET YOUR 1099s FILED By David G Hanger - Forms 1099 need to be sent to the recipients no later than January 31. There are a variety of Forms 1099, and this writing will be limited to discussing Form 1099MISC. This is the 1099 that is due if you paid someone what is termed ‘non-employee compensation.’ In other words if you paid someone without giving them a W2 as an employee of your company or firm, you need to file Form 1099 if the amount paid exceeds $600. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

letter Affordable Health Coverage: Just a Click or Call Away By Susan Johnson - This year, the most important resolution any of us can make and keep is to enroll in health insurance, and get the security and peace of mind that quality, affordable coverage brings with it. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

letter Alaska oil By John Suter - Why doesn't the state pump its own oil like Norway does and get all of the money for itself? If the state does not do this, then it is going to have to live with a small budget and have big cut backs in spending. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

letter Alaska State Income Tax By Walt Hoefer- Governor Walker has inherited one heck of a mess. He does have an option, though it won’t be popular. Bring back the Alaska State Income Tax. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

letter President Obama Went AWOL By Donald A. Moskowitz - On January 11, 2015 40 leaders from various countries and 1.3 million people participated in anti-terrorism events in Paris. President Obama was AWOL, and he was only represented by our ambassador to France. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

letter Why the 2nd amendment is NOT the most important. By Christian Peters - Not sure if this is something the founders debated when writing the Bill of Rights but it is interesting. First off, I love the 2nd amendment. I just love the 1st more, and being a gun owner myself, I still disagree with what I have heard many gun enthusiasts say and believe. That being, that the 2nd amendment is the most important and that it protects all of our other rights secured by our Constitutions throughout America. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

letter State Legislators Solemn Duty, to Protect Citizens from the Federal Leviathan By Tamara Colbert - This week, 42 state legislatures convene; 34 of them will be able to support and pass the biggest bill of their lifetime; an Article V single-subject Application calling for a Convention of the States proposing amendments to rein in the federal government. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

letter One Rebuttal to the Argument that a Convention of the States is a Constitutional Convention By Paul Hodson - One of the hottest issues being debated around the state legislatures is the push for an Article V “Convention for proposing Amendments”. Even the U.S. Congress is paying attention, as just this last week Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) successfully amended House Rules in regards to the system to track, count, and organize Article V applications to Congress. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 14, 2015

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