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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 02, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By GREG BLACK

Unuk River
The Unuk River is a glacial system in Alaska and the Canadian province of British Columbia. It flows from the Coast Mountains southwest to Behm Canal, northeast of Ketchikan, approximately 45 air miles from downtown Ketchikan. The river has supported runs of Chinook salmon averaging about 5,500 large (essentially 28” and greater in length) for the past couple of decades. According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, this stock, like others in Alaska, has recently experienced a decline in productivity.
Front Page Feature Photo By GREG BLACK ©2018

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Ketchkan: 2017 Year in Review - Wet Summer Set Local Tongues Wagging in 2017 By DAVE KIFFER - Another year in Ketchikan where “weather” was the big story. At least that’s what everyone was talking about. The summer weather that is.

Ketchikan’s summer seemed like it was one of the most dismal ever. Rain, rain, rain. Turned out we weren’t imagining it.

June, July and August were wetter than any time other summer in recorded history, topping the previous drizzle-a-thon of 1967. Nearly 50 inches of rain were recorded in those three months, topping the previous high by nearly half a foot. Of note, in June there were only two sunny days and in July only six. August started off with 8 sunny days, but immediately turned bad the rest of the month and featured the remnants of a tropical typhoon dropping nearly eight inches of rain two plus days.

The good news was that all four holidays – Memorial Day, 4th of July, Blueberry Festival and Labor Day – were sunny for the first time in …. forever.

Oddly enough, the deluginal summer was followed by an unusually dry fall and early winter.

One day, Dec. 11, was actually the warmest Dec. 11 on record with a high of 58. Fortunately, it cooled off in time for Christmas and Ketchikan had a slight dusting of snow making for a rare White Christmas. The snow stayed on the ground until New Year's Day as the temperature dipped well below freezing and local lakes froze up enough to provide for some ice skating, if one could survive the sheet ice on the roads to the lakes.

In other 2017 news, in January local mariners worked together to rescue a humpback whale that had become tangled in a steel cable in Nutkwa Inlet on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. Employees of Alaska Commercial Divers and Olson Marine were involved in the rescue of the 35-foot whale.

The first baby of 2017 was a boy, Jacko Reyes Scudero, born to Gerardo Reyes and Giovanna Scudero at 11:38 PM on January 5. He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces.

In January, the Edgewater Inn became part of the Clarion/Rodeway Inn chain. In February, a new hotel, a Ketchikan “My Place” opened across from the Vigor Shipyard. In the summer, the renovation of the Bayside Hotel was completed and it opened as part of the Inn at Creek Street operation.

Zach Willard was sentenced to 18 years in prison following his guilty manslaughter plea in the 2015 death of Wayne Nathan.

Dry weather and cold temperatures lasting from mid December 2016 through mid January limited hydro usage and put Ketchikan on diesel generators for several weeks. It was the first time in five years that cold winter weather had been a significant issue, according to Ketchikan Public Utilities officials.

Former Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly member Agnes Moran was named the new executive director of Women in Safe Homes (WISH).

Two former Ketchikan residents, sisters Laurie Carroll-Bakk, 36, and Brooke Gilpin, 26, were killed in a car accident in January in Wasilla.

A fire on the top floor of the Tongass Towers killed longtime Ketchikan resident Weston Davis, 49, in January.

Early in January, Ketchikan Indian Corporation purchased 34 acres of logged land near Mud Bight. Officials say the land may be used for housing in the future.

Heavy northerly winds, up to 75 mph, struck Knudsen Cove early in February, damaging docks and several boats.

Lee Gray was hired to be the new Tongass Historical Museum Director and Patricia Tully came on board as the new Ketchikan Public Library Director in January. Gray resigned two months later and a search for her replacement began. Longtime museum curator Anita Maxwell was named museum director in July.

Four people were elected to positions on the Ketchikan Indian Corporation Tribal Council. The new members are Irene Dundas, Melissa Johnson, Norman Skan and Gianna Flannery.

After months of controversy, the Alaska Mental Health Lands Trust announced that it is temporarily backing away from a proposal to log its land on Deer Mountain. The trust cited efforts in Congress to approve a land swap with the Forest Service for other lands. An agreement was eventually reached later in the year to transfer the Mental Health land on Deer Mountain for other lands on Prince Of Wales, ending a two decade controversy.

A local sports highlight occurred in January as the Kayhi boys basketball team swept defending state champion Juneau twice in Ketchikan.

Retiring doctor David Johnson was named the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. Johnson retired after 40 years in Ketchikan. The chamber also saluted Marble Construction (business of the year), Trevor Sande (entrepreneur of the year), Bella Posey (youth leader of the year) and Russell Anderson (community service).

Two Metlakatla men, Troy Smart and Timothy Staples disappeared during a late-night skiff ride from Mountain Point to Annette Island. Searchers found their boat and some supplies.

The Samson tug Mariner ran aground on Rosa Reef in February, the barge it was towing north also ran aground. There was an oil spill of approximately 1,200 gallons and no injuries. Less than two weeks later a different tug towing the same barge ran aground on Mariposa Reef near Port Protection. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2018

Ketchikan: Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary acquires Juneau zip line operator - Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, LLC announced today that it has acquired longtime Juneau zip line operator, Alaska Zipline Adventures, LLC. The addition strengthens the respected reputation of Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary as a first-rate visitor experience company, which already owns and operates several other tours, including three zip line courses through its company, Alaska Canopy Adventures. 

“Our goal has always been to provide Alaska visitors and locals with a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience and we are confident that ARS will pick up where we left off,” said Davy and Gin Anderson, owners of Alaska Zipline Adventures, LLC. “It has been a joy operating this business and sharing the excitement of zip line adventures with others. We’re very grateful to our customers and to ARS for its commitment to continue the fun culture that we’ve established at Alaska Zipline Adventures.”

There are no major changes planned for Alaska Zipline Adventures this upcoming summer season. Favorite amenities at Alaska Zipline Adventures, such as its tree house platforms, axe-throwing experience and relaxing lodge, will continue to be offered.  - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2018


Southeast Alaska: Old Fish Trap Stake Replica to be Carved by David Boxley - Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture are collaborating on a project to replicate an old fish trap stake collected in Wrangell in the early 1900s by an ethnographer and later acquired by the museum.

Old Fish Trap Stake Replica to be Carved by David Boxley

Photo of the fish trap stake
Courtesy of the Burke Museum

The replica of the stake, which depicts the ancient Tlingit story Aak’wtaatseen (“Alive in the Eddy” in Tlingit), also known as Shanyaak’utlaax (“Salmon Boy” in Tlingit), will be carved by master Tsimshian artist David A. Boxley and featured in the institute’s new exhibit, Aan Ytx’u Sani (“People of the Land” in Tlingit), scheduled to open May 1, 2018. Aan Ytx’u Sani will include exhibits on ingenious, ancient, indigenous inventions, such as fish traps and halibut hooks, that were essential to the survival of the people. The stake, which is thought to have been made from spruce and was part of an old fish trap found on the Stikine River, was meant to show respect to the salmon and to draw them in.

“Alaska Natives depended on salmon for survival and fishermen commonly carved animals into their traps and halibut hooks to show respect to the fish and to beckon them to give their lives,” said SHI President Rosita Worl. “In part, we hope to teach visitors to the exhibit about our core cultural values, including Haa Aaní (“Our Land” in Tlingit), which teaches respect for all things and that everything has a spirit.”

Boxley will begin work on the replica, which will be made of red cedar, on Jan. 6 at the Burke Museum in Seattle during a Northwest Coast Carving Demonstration. After the exhibit, the replica will be added to the institute’s collections.

The original stake was collected circa 1905 by George T. Emmons, an ethnographic photographer and lieutenant in the U.S. Navy who documented and collected Native objects in Southeast Alaska from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The Burke Museum acquired the stake in 1909.

The stake depicts a boy inside a salmon and is based on the story Aak’wtaatseen (“Alive in the Eddy”), which is also known as Salmon Boy. The story teaches about respect for the Salmon People, on whom humans depended for their survival. In the story, the title character - a Tlingit boy - violates this value when he flings away a dried piece of salmon with mold on the end given to him by his mother. His disrespect offends the Salmon People, who sweep him into the water and into their world. The boy later returns to his village as a salmon, and after he is caught by his parents, he transforms back into a human. As a human, he teaches people how to properly treat salmon based on what he learned during his time living with the Salmon People. His teachings ensured the salmon would return each year for the benefit of future generations. The stake was incorporated into the trap to symbolize these teachings and to show respect to the salmon. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2018


Columns - Commentary


TOM PURCELL: Why My Father Shuns Social Media - My father is behind the curve on social media, but I think he is onto something.

You see, my father was born in 1933. He was a paperboy in the days when paperboys stood on city corners and shouted "Extra!"

In his home, the newspaper still is king. He has two delivered daily. He reads every inch of both. He does the crossword puzzles in both, too - with a pencil. 

(Note to people under 30: A pencil is a small, yellow stick that leaves a mark when its tip is pressed against paper.)

My father knows that people can do crossword puzzles on their computers and smartphones, but the idea is nutty to him. Only an idiot would bring electronic equipment into the bathroom.

To be sure, my father has shunned the communications marvels of modern times. He uses my mother's smartphone - but only to avoid long-distance charges. I showed him how to use her phone to text family members, but he gave up on that fast. 

(Note to people over 50: texting is when you press both thumbs against a smartphone keypad to bastardize the English language.)

I bought him a Kindle for Christmas a few years ago and created an email account for him. He gave it a try but quickly lost interest in emailing anyone.

I showed him how to search the web to locate people and businesses. He gave that a try, too, but still prefers to use the White Pages or Yellow Pages. 

(Note to people under 40: The White and Yellow Pages are thick directories of people and businesses that are left at your door once a year.)

He loves to read, so I showed him how to download ebooks, but he still prefers paper-bound books. 

(Note to people under 20: A paper-bound book is a compact device in which words are printed on several pieces of paper; the paper is glued to a spine.) - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Public Lands

Political Cartoon: Public Lands
By Pat Bagley ©2018, Salt Lake Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Acknowlegement By A. M. Johnson - Often, this writer takes Senator Murkowski to task for the many ill sponsored and contrary positions on subjects felt should reflect conservative Republican ideals. Yet, on the rare occasion she, like finding the preverbal pony in the manure pile, she participates in a good result. The ANWR opening is such rare action. - More...
Sunday PM - December 31, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

It's a sin to tell a lieBy Dan Weber - Never in the history of the world has it been easier and faster to find out what is happening in virtually every city on the face of the earth.  Nor, has there been a time when news reporting has been so erratic and unreliable. - More...
Sunday PM - December 31, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

New Tax Bill By Norbert Chaudhary - I would like to thank Senator Lisa Murkowski for the wisdom, foresight and the unwavering loyalty she has shown standing with President Trump in his quest to Make America Great Again! Our Dear Leader is the most honest, humble and God fearing President this nation has ever been blessed with.  - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

THE DUCHESS LIES AGAIN By David G Hanger - The Duchess of the Duchy of Murkowski, once referred to as Alaska, one Lisa Oil-louski Murkowski, wants you to chortle your shorts over this massive tax ripoff Donnie Two Scoops just signed off on. It’s the Christmas present that is going to save you and all of Alaska from fiscal and economic disaster. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Historic Opportunities for Alaska in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - This holiday season, Alaskans can have a renewed sense of hope for good jobs, larger paychecks, stronger growth, and enduring prosperity. The reason why is today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes two historic opportunities for our state.

The first - and perhaps most unexpected, at the start of this year - is the opening of the 1002 Area within the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Set aside by Congress in 1980, Alaskans never gave up on its incredible potential for energy development, and our longstanding efforts finally succeeded this week. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Alaska Marine Highway thoughts By A. M. Johnson - Some interesting community member thoughts have been brought to my attention and worthy I believe, of public discussion. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 19, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Violence Prevention By Agnes Moran - Alaska leads the nation in per capita incidence of sexual assault and domestic violence. Unfortunately, as the recent headlines in the Ketchikan Daily News indicate, Ketchikan is not exempt from these statistics. Women in Safe Homes (WISH) is working to eliminate violence in our community through community partnerships and primary prevention and education programs. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

President Trump should sign ANWR legislation to boost Alaska’s economy, nation’s energy dominance By Gail Phillips - Alaskans are on the verge of seeing the oil-rich coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) opened to leasing for the first time – a three-decades-long quest that was, until now, stifled by environmental it and the blocking-and-tackling tactics of Democrats in Washington, DC. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

AMHS PROBLEMS PLAGUE SOUTHEAST ALASKA COMMUNITIES By Mary Lynne Dahl - My husband and I are frequent customers of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. We have been sailing on the Ketchikan – Prince Rupert run about 6 round trips per year for 16 years, mostly in winter. We have become very familiar with many of the boats and crew over these years. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

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