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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 03, 2008

Front Page Photo by Bill Meck

Thomas Basin
Front Page Photo by Bill Meck


Fish Factor: Busiest day for seafood sales, Laws' tells all , Clones coming, & Grant give aways By LAINE WELCH - This week will mark the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, a time of fasting and soul searching for hundreds of millions of Christians around the world.

Ash Wednesday is so called from the ritual of placing ashes from burned palm branches on the forehead as a sign of repentance. This custom has been universal since the year 1091. The ashes symbolize the religious statement "remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."

The word Lent derives from the Old English lencten, meaning spring. Many believers will give up favorite foods during Lent, especially meat, or they'll devote time to volunteering or charity work. The 40-day Lenten season, which this year runs from February 6 to March 23, dates back to the 4th century. Lent allows time for the faithful to prepare spiritually for Easter Sunday when, according to Christian belief, Christ returned from the dead.

In many countries, the day before Lent - called mardi gras or shrove Tuesday - has become a last fling before the start of the long fasting season. For centuries, it was customary to not eat meat during Lent, which is why some people call the festival carnival, Latin for 'farewell to meat.'

And what the peak holiday sales season from Thanksgiving to Christmas means to retailers, Lent means to the seafood industry. Food Services of America, for example, reports that Ash Wednesday is the busiest day of the year for frozen seafood sales, and the six weeks following is the top seafood selling season for the entire year.

While nearly all seafood enjoys a surge of interest during Lent, the most traditional items served are the so called "whitefish" species, such as cod, pollock, halibut and flounders.

But no matter what the seafood favorite, the six week Lenten season is good news for Alaska, which provides more than half of all the nation's wild caught seafood to U.S. restaurants and grocery markets.

'Laws' tells all

"Laws for the Sea" is a weekly publication that is a 'must have' for anyone watch-dogging fisheries issues that come before the Alaska legislature.

Now in its 14th year, 'Laws' began out of a "sense of frustration" and "a need for more timely news than the monthly trade magazines could provide," said Juneau-based writer and publisher Bob Tkacz.

"Trying to cover timely news in the course of a four month legislative session was impossible, and so I was kind of relegated to just writing stories about things that were over and done with. I realized that there are a lot of people in the seafood industry and elsewhere who are interested in fisheries legislation going through the capital building. So I went to a weekly schedule for 'Laws for the Sea' and it has proven to be productive and useful," Tkacz said.

Bob Tkacz was for years the lead correspondent for the former Alaska Fishermen's Journal and a longtime writer for the Petersburg Pilot. Another motivation for launching 'Laws for the Sea' he said was to help reporters in remote regions provide good long distance legislative coverage for their communities. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

Health: Deadly infections are racing ahead of antibiotics By SABIN RUSSELL - At a busy microbiology lab in San Francisco, bad bugs are brewing inside vials of human blood, or sprouting inside petri dishes, all in preparation for a battery of tests.

These tests will tell doctors at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center which kinds of bacteria are infecting their patients, and which antibiotics have the best chance to knock those infections down.

With disturbing regularity, the list of available options is short, and it is getting shorter.

Dr. Jeff Brooks has been director of the lab for 29 years, and has watched with a mixture of fascination and dread how bacteria once tamed by antibiotics evolve rapidly into forms that practically no drug can treat.

"These organisms are very small," he said, "but they are still smarter than we are."

Among the most alarming of these is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bug that used to be confined to vulnerable hospital patients, but now is infecting otherwise healthy people in schools, gymnasiums and the home.

As MRSA continues its natural evolution, even more drug-resistant strains are emerging. The most aggressive of these is one called USA300. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

Health: Debating the health risks of obesity By MAURA LERNER - Is the health risk from obesity being exaggerated?

Most medical experts would say no. But a provocative minority says yes.

This week, two prominent skeptics match wits with two obesity experts in a heated debate in the British Medical Journal.

Patrick Basham, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, and John Luik are both health policy experts at the conservative Democracy Institute. They argue that there's a lot less to the obesity epidemic than meets the eye.

Robert Jeffery, a professor at the University of Minnesota, and Nancy Sherwood, a researcher at HealthPartners, say that the skeptics are simply denying the obvious.

Who says yes?

Pointing to increased life expectancy and reductions in heart disease in recent years, Patrick Basham and John Luik, coauthors of "Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade," say scientists haven't proved obesity carries major health risks.

Opening shot:

"Media claims about an epidemic ... often exceed the scientific evidence and mistakenly suggest an unjustified degree of certainty." - More...
Sunday - February 05, 2008


Science - Technology: If it only had a heart... By TOM ABATE - Can scientists program war-fighting robots to behave more ethically in battle than emotion-driven human soldiers? If so, what is the scientists' social responsibility for the destruction their inventions might wreak?

Stanford computer scientist Terry Winograd cautions that before academics take on such war-related research, they should ask themselves whether they support the goals and content of the studies. They should also ask whether they are free to publish their research, he says.

Another technology professor, Maarten van Veen of the Netherlands Defense Academy, echoed the sentiment, telling a group gathered at Stanford's Technology in Wartime conference last week: "We as computer professionals have a responsibility for what we make."

Organized by the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, the group of civilians, military, academics and human rights workers engaged the key question: "What should socially responsible computer professionals do in a time of high-tech warfare?" - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

Personal Finance: Tips to help you survive a recession By KATHLEEN PENDER - Face it. The odds of a recession have grown. What should you do to prepare?

"Two things you don't want to do is buy a second house and figure out how to sell the current one later or quit your job and figure out how to get another one later," says Jeff Lancaster, a principal with money management firm Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough.

Many experts say the housing and job markets are likely to get worse before they get better. That's because economic stimuli generally take six to 18 months to have an impact.

Recessions aren't officially recognized until months or years after they happen, but some economists say one has begun. David Rosenberg of Merrill Lynch notes in a report that the four factors the National Bureau of Economic Research uses to gauge recessions -- employment, real personal income, industrial production, and real manufacturing and retail sales -- all peaked in November or December, suggesting we entered a recession in January.

Rosenberg expects home prices will decline 15 percent in 2008 and 10 percent more in 2009. He predicts that unemployment -- which jumped to 5 percent in December from 4.7 percent in November -- will hit 5.75 percent by year end and 6 percent by early 2009.

Rosenberg is more bearish than most. A Bloomberg survey of 35 economists published Jan. 9 put the odds of a recession at 40 percent. But if you would rather be safe than sorry, here are some ways to batten down the hatches: - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008


Podcasting is a form of audio broadcasting on the Internet.

Listen to audio replays of public meetings any time, any where.

Podcast01/16/08 - Ketchikan City Council Special Meeting - Brokerage Services Proposals for the Sale of the Telecommunications Division - Falkenberg Capital Corporation and Alpina Capital, LLC -- 86.2 MB (1 hour 34 minutes)- Published 02/01/08

Podcast01/25/08 -Ketchikan Transportation Projects Update - The Assembly met in the City Council Chambers to listen to a Presentation by Malcolm Menzies Southeast Alaska Regional Director of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Mr. Menzies presented an update, took public comment and answered questions from the public on projects in the Ketchikan area -- addressing highways, the airport access, etc. -- 96MB (1hour 44 minutes) Published 02/02/08

Watch for more podcasts on SitNews.

Feb. 05, 2008
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Basic Rules

letter Price of Fuel By Chuck Moon - I know that I drive my wife nuts talking about the price of fuel, be it home heating oil, gas for the boat, or truck -- but here goes the rant. I myself am tired of seeing oil and natural gas produced within the state sent south to be refined then delivered back to us for double transit costs. Worse yet, we buy oil from countries who in turn use that very money to sponsor terrorism. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

letterMinimum wage effort launched By Sen. Kim Elton - Sometimes we mean well, but we mean well without oomph. So it is with the gap between the cost of living in Alaska and our stagnant Alaska minimum wage. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

letterTheme town By James J. Schenk - Ketchikan, maybe a true paradise? Have you been to the lower 48 states, for work or pleasure lately? I have and I do not take leaving my home in Ketchikan lightly. For years now wherever I have roamed and that has been substantial as a traveling I.B.E.W. wireman, my heart always has been with the little town I grew up in. Every clear evening wherever I am and no matter what is happening in my life if I find myself away from Ketchikan, I search the clear night sky for the big dipper. From southern Tennessee, to recently Maui Hawaii, I have found our state flag in the night sky, this has always given me hope that I will be able to return to my home in Ketchikan the one place on Earth that I Love. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

letter Forest Service Roads By Mike Moyer - We need to remind the U.S. Forest Service that when the people of the Territory of Alaska made the decision to become the State of Alaska the Federal Government agreed with us to maintain cabins in the Tongass National Forest for the use of Alaskans in their traditional use of their surrounding wilderness. Now the Feds are slowly and quietly closing cabins and tearing them down because they say they can't afford to deal with their maintenance. They are violating a promise made to the people of Alaska. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

letterKeep Ketchikan Clean By Marie-Jeanne Cadle - I remember growing up in Washington state with litter all along the highways and roadways. I also remember Washington's 'Keep Washington Green' campaign and how successful it was. Granted nothing is perfect and some people will always be thoughtless or selfish and will continue to litter without regard or respect for anyone other than themselves, but overall the 'Keep Washington Green' campaign was a success. It reminded us of what should have been common sense: take pride in where you live and respect others by keeping the state clean and we will all benefit. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

letter Ferry System By Stephen Smeltzer - I'm not sure what all the controversy over the ferry system is all about. The ferry's were set up as a highway between the larger towns especially for Southeast. They were fun to ride in the 60's and 70's, and had some of the best food in their dining rooms. While doing sports at Kayhi, we took several ferry trips to other towns for meets, and the basketball players flew. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

letter Super Tuesday: Think before you vote By Mike Isaac - In any normal Republican primary Mitt Romney would win or he would be tied up at this point in the game with the only other Republican Ron Paul. But this is not a normal year, the ruling class and media are pushing hard for John McCain a man who is more liberal than Hillery Clinton. Then there is this Huckabee guy from Hope, Arkansas who wants to give illegal aliens tax dollars to pay for college, and seems to be in this race at this point for the purpose of keeping a Mormon out of the White House. - More...
Sunday - February 03, 2008

letter OBSENE MANAGEMENT By Bill Vanderpol - In the last ten years the fishing quotas for commercial and sport fishing has declined significantly. We are told that this is necessary because of the decline in the amount of fish in southeast Alaska. Anybody who has been fishing knows this is true and now we go further and fish longer for one third the fish. - More...
Thursday PM - January 31, 2008

letterOpen Letter: Road Closure Comments to USFS By Bev Davies - Thank you for the opportunity to make comments regarding the USFS administrative decision to close 200 miles of the 300 miles of logging roads in the Ketchikan area leaving only 100 miles open to high clearance vehicles and OHV's (off-highway vehicles). Why 200 miles and who made that decision, why not 50, 25 or none? Ketchikan is a unique community with a population of 13,000 taxpayers and another 900,000 plus frequenting in the summer months. Being on an island with no bridge or road access to any other community, and very few roads in the developed area of Ketchikan, these logging roads represent a much needed outlet for hiking, hunting, berry picking, bark gathering, mountain biking, motorcycling, ATV use, jogging, bird watching, bear viewing, picture taking, lake and stream fishing, access to beaches and ridges to view the vistas of this beautiful state, by both locals and visitors alike. - More...
Thursday PM - January 31, 2008

letterKPU Phone Division By Steve Rosendin - Because I know many of those involved, I have been trying to stay updated with the progress the City of Ketchikan has made in its attempts to sell the KPU phone division. Either directly or indirectly, this is a matter that will affect everyone in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - January 31, 2008

letterVote! By Karen Ramsey - There sure hasn't been much in the local Ketchikan media about Alaska's upcoming Super Tuesday primary election. This year's Presidential race is historic and interesting. I'm all fired up about it and anxious to get in my vote for Barack Obama. He's well-educated, charismatic, communicates well, and carries himself with aplomb. He may be relatively new to the political arena, but so was Abraham Lincoln when he ran for President. - More...
Thursday PM - January 31, 2008

letterSafer Driving By Richard J. Galvin - I agree, and Mr. Gatti's street is not the only one that is having this problem. Millar Street up off Dunton Street is the same way and it's funny that we have a local police officer's family that lives up there. But on the other hand, if our local public servants were to sit at KPU or at the port and harbors' office and radar the traffic that travels at high rates of speed through there instead of being at local social establishments, we may see a increase of safer driving. - More...
Thursday PM - January 31, 2008

letterSpeeding Frenzy By Mark Gatti - I invite you all to Woodland Avenue International Raceway! This one way stretch of narrow roadway has established itself as one of the more popular in town. You can enter from Park Avenue, but it is best to approach from the direction of town..... that way you can get more juice as you enter the front stretch. Now you can really turn the afterburners on as you make your way for for the sweeping right hander (this is especially appealing to those looking for a little power drifting in the snow and ice). - More...
Wednesday PM - January 30, 2008

letter Salvaging the Status Quo By Gregory Vickrey - In the political arena, it has become commonplace to proclaim victory and success after salvaging the status quo. The Reagan Administration brought this tactic to the fore, and the apparatus was further refined during the Clinton years. - More...
Tuesday - January 29, 2008

letter ROD SPOILS WILD By David Beebe - The recent Record of Decision (ROD) for the court-ordered Amendment to the Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) has been signed by Regional Forester, Dennis Bschor.

The Amendment was required to correct the failings of the Forest Service, violating the National Environmental Policy Act (on three counts), and one count of violating the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). - More...
Tuesday - January 29, 2008
letterGood News!!! By Rodney Dial - You may remember that in the days leading up to the Consolidation vote (November 06) the Save Ketchikan Group took on the Chamber of Commerce and local government to warn that if we consolidated our island would lose millions if the Commercial Passenger Vessel Tax ($50 per head, cruise ship tax) passed. - More...
Tuesday - January 29, 2008
letter Closing Forest Service Roads By Drew Mathews - Recently there has been a push by the USFS Ketchikan Ranger District to close some of the old and new logging roads in the Ketchikan area. As a user of these roads I am concerned that non-logging interests are being over looked. The USFS builds these roads for logging and once the logging has been done, they want to close them. I can understand that they do not want the expense of maintaining them, but these roads provide us use for berry picking, sightseeing, hunting, fishing and other activities. - More...
Tuesday - January 29, 2008
letter Trashing Ketchikan By Tom Ferry - The only way to catch the hillbilly trashers is to install a network of video cameras with motion detectors and infrared. There is a power source on every power pole and could send the video when triggered by motion to the Cegelske control lair which would record the hicks dumping their junk on a digital recorder. - More...
Tuesday - January 29, 2008
letterRoadside Trash By Dan McQueen - I don't know why in these areas of high dumping the Ketchikan Gateway Borough doesn't just put out a couple of big dumpsters. Seems like it would be worth a try. Who knows it might just work! - More...
Tuesday - January 29, 2008

letter TRASHING WILL NOT STOP ABSENT ENFORCEMENT By Pete Ellis - The continued pleas of Cegelske to stop trashing our highway areas go unanswered and unresolved. Needed is a strict and diligent enforcement effort with hidden camera monitors, well planned and co-ordinated patrols and much higher maximum fine levels to severely punish those who transgress. - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2008

letterAlaska Marine Highway By Mike Moyer - Our Governor and other South Central politicians are showing their true colors and their appointees at the AMHS are parroting their line. Now they are trying to make Alaskans think THEY are the only ones fiscally responsible. Does that mean that the public is irresponsible because we want a Marine Highway System that will provide inexpensive, efficient, safe, and FREQUENT public transportation between our communities and the lower 48? - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2008

letterWILL IT NEVER STOP By Jerry Cegelske - I don't know how you react when someone comes onto your property and dumps their trash for you to clean up, but it happens frequently in Ketchikan and it is often on property owned by the Borough. The landfill challenged individuals that are too selfish to take care of their trash want the taxpayers of the Borough to clean up after them, while putting people at risk with hazardous materials. - More...
Saturday - January 26, 2008

letter Proposed halibut charter fishing regulations By Ron Moyer - I would like to clarify some hidden issues related to Friday's article. Every lodge owner and most charter fishermen are opposed to this.

The board has two options available to them. The four fish annual limit which they are proposing will in reality put the majority of lodges in area 2C (Southeast) out of business within two years. A 50% reduction in our limits will send most anglers to British Columbia or further north in Alaska, anywhere but SE Alaska. Remember this limit only applies to area 2C. - More...
Saturday - January 26, 2008

letter Our Only Highway: The Alaska Marine Highway By Jerilyn Lester - Since coming to Southeast Alaska in 1984, I have seen the government of this state do some bone-head things; but to cut your nose off to spite your face by cutting one of the only ways we have to get to the lower 48 is really stupid!! I take that ferry - and to only have one of the most profitable runs on the Ferry system is really dumb. THIS IS THE HIGHWAY SYSTEM FOR THE ISLANDS OF THE SOUTHEAST OF ALASKA!!!! DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT?? - More...
Saturday - January 26, 2008

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