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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 01, 2011

Front Page Photo by KEN ARRIOLA

Ketchikan's Night Lights
... as viewed from a snowy ridge on Deer Mountain overlooking Ketchikan. The daytime temperature on Deer Mt. was 22F and 12F at night. Pictured: Downtown Ketchikan, Bear Valley, Third Ave Bypass, Westend, harbor lights, shipyard and airport runway lights.
Front Page Photo by KEN ARRIOLA

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Fish Factor: Southeast Alaska longliners take biggest hit By LAINE WELCH - As anticipated, there will be a lot less Pacific halibut crossing the docks this year.

On Friday the International Pacific Halibut Commission, which oversees fisheries in the U.S. and Canada, reduced the 2011 coast-wide catch limit by 19 percent to 41 million pounds. Alaska’s share of the catch will be 32.5 million pounds, down from 40 million last year.

“Of course, they cited the ongoing concern with the decline in the size at age and declining catch rates coast wide. There’s a lot of fish out there, they just don’t seem to be growing and recruiting into the fishery,” said Doug Bowen with Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

“The commissioners commented that the halibut are the smallest size at age in the history of the fishery,” he added during a phone call from the annual meeting.  

There are lots of theories as to why the fish are growing so slowly.

Most point to competition for food from the abundance of small halibut, as well as voracious arrowtooth flounder, which blanket the Gulf seafloor. More predation by burgeoning cod and pollock stocks might also be a factor.

Southeast Alaska longliners will take the biggest hit - a 47% cut to just 2.3 million pounds. For the biggest fishing hole in the Central Gulf, the catch is slashed 28% to just over 14 million pounds. Halibut catches in the Western Gulf will decrease from 10 million 7.5 million pounds. Only fishing areas along the Aleutians and Bering Sea will see slight increases. 

In other actions, the IPHC imposed a 37 inch size limit on the sport charter sector in Southeast Alaska, which has exceeded its catch limit every year since 2004.  Commissioners said the size limit may be lifted when catch shares go into effect next year.

The proposals to allow filleted halibut aboard charter vessels or house boats went down in flames due to enforcement concerns.  The IPCH plans to begin a project focusing on reducing halibut bycatch in other fisheries to get an accurate accounting of all removals.   Due to expressed concerns over its perceived ‘ad hoc’ management style, the commission will do a review of its own performance over the coming year.    

Doug Bowen said it was a tough meeting, but there was general agreement that the health of the halibut stocks comes first. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 01, 2011


Alaska: Committee Announces Earmark Moratorium; Alaska's Senators Disappointed - United States Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye, (D-HI) today announced that the Committee will implement a moratorium on earmarks for the current session of Congress. This amounts to a 2 year moratorium, as it will apply to both the FY 2011 and FY 2012 bills.

In response to the announcement, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski R-Alaska) said in a prepared statement, “I am disappointed in the decision to impose a two-year earmark moratorium. The Constitution clearly gives Congress the power of the purse and a moratorium on congressional earmarks will not reduce federal spending or the deficit by one cent. We are in essence abdicating our constitutional duties, giving cabinet departments and federal agencies the sole power, authority and ability to target and spend taxpayers’ money." 

Murkowski said, “While I will honor Sen. Inouye’s request not to submit earmark requests to the committee, it is still important for me to know the needs of Alaska. The best way to get that information is directly from individual Alaskans, so it will be my policy to continue to solicit that information from towns and communities across the state."

“Many of the funding sources we rely on in Alaska are formula-driven, not specific earmarks, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will be working hard to ensure that Alaska’s interests are protected and that the state continues to benefit from federally funded programs," said Murkowski. 

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) doesn't agree with the ban on earmarks. In a prepared statement Begich said, “While I agree we need to look at every possible step to cut the deficit, I don’t agree with the decision to impose a two-year ban on earmarks. As I have said many times before, Alaska is a young state with many needs, and we deserve our fair share of federal funding to develop our resources and our infrastructure."

Begich said, “I will continue to take appropriations requests from Alaskans, and look for every available avenue to fight for Alaska’s unique needs, including competitive grant opportunities and authorizing bills through my seats on the Armed Services, Veterans, Commerce, and Homeland Security Committees."

“This decision by the Appropriations Chairman means it will be even more important for all of us to seriously consider what we really need, and then be creative when it comes to finding ways to fund the priorities of Alaska’s communities," said Begich.- More...
Tuesday PM - February 01, 2011



Ketchikan & Southeast Alaska: Senator Stedman Hires 2011 Session Staff; New Aide Joins Stedman Staff - Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) announced his staff for the 2011 legislative session. New hire Kimberly VanWyhe joins existing staff members Miles Baker, Darwin Peterson, Weston Eiler, and Julie Isom.

Kimberly VanWyhe was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. Prior to her joining the staff, she interned for Congressman Don Young and tracked Alaska issues for several advocacy groups in Washington D.C.  She also worked on political campaigns for both Senator Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski.

“I’m happy to welcome Kim to Juneau,” remarked Senator Stedman. “She’s a bright young professional with a solid political background that will be a great addition to our staff.”

This session Senator Stedman serves as Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.  He will also serve as Vice-Chair of the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee, and hold seats on the Resources Committee, Rules Committee, Legislative Council, and continues as Vice-Chair of the Alaska Northern Waters Task Force.

Senate District A includes the Southeast communities of Ketchikan, Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, Pelican, Elfin Cove, Port Alexander, Saxman, Meyers Chuck, Thorne Bay, Coffman Cove and Hollis. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 01, 2011

Ketchikan & Statewide: High school ocean sciences experts to gather in Seward - The 14th annual Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl, also called the Tsunami Bowl, will be held in Seward this weekend, Feb. 4-6. The competition is hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Seward Marine Center.

Twenty teams from 15 high schools across Alaska, from Unalaska to Ketchikan, will compete in the Jeopardy-style quiz bowl. This year, teams from Dillingham, Sitka, Kotlik and Scammon Bay will compete for the first time.

The competition consists of two equally weighted parts: a tournament-style academic competition designed to challenge students' knowledge of ocean sciences; and a research project that has both written and public speaking components. This year, the research project focused on human responses to oceanic events. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 01, 2011



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letter RE: Kyle Johansen: Recalling the risks of abdication By Andrew Halcro - Like a modern day scene played out of the current Hollywood blockbuster “The Kings Speech,” Ketchikan Alaska has come face to face with their own royal dilemma.

In 1936, after just 327 controversial days on the throne, King Edward VIII abdicated his throne to be with Wallis Simpson, the woman he loved rather than be forced to be without her. “But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love,” Edward said in his farewell speech to a worldwide audience December 11, 1936.

Seventy five years later, meet not so King Kyle Johansen, an Alaska State House member from Ketchikan, who after only a few minutes upon becoming House Majority Leader shocked his colleagues and angered his constituents by abdicating his position to be with the woman he loved. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 01, 2011

letterTHE PLIGHT OF WEST BEHM CANAL By Andy Rauwolf, Snapper Carson & Mike Fleenor - In late March or early April, West Behm Canal is slated for a commercial herring sac roe fishery.  Conducting this fishery in these waters is a travesty and here’s why:  Throughout history the herring in West Behm Canal have provided essential nutrition for halibut, rockfish, marine mammals, a host of sea birds, and especially for the hoards of salmon that spawn in several wild river systems that drain into West Behm Canal.  In the mid 20th century, fishing lodges began springing up and the area became known as “the premier salmon fishing destination” in the world.  To enhance the fishing, a hatchery was added in Neets Bay.  Today it is estimated that between $18 million and $22 million dollars in revenue is generated from sport and commercial fishing from West Behm Canal. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter Before we sign Johansen recall petition... By Mike Cruise - Let it be understood that I am no fan of Rep. Johansen. When Kyle chose to run for the Alaska State House I felt that he was too inexperienced for the job. My apprehensions were reinforced by the fact that Kyle had signed on to run against Jim Elkins. Nobody that I am aware of disagreed with Jim Elkins more than I did, but he had earned his House Seat, cared deeply about Ketchikan and had done an honorable job and was respected in Juneau and through out the State. In my mind there was no good reason for Jim to have to fight for the nomination of his own party as he also battled for his life. I questioned the integrity of anyone who would take advantage of an individual in that cruel situation. I still do. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter Re: Mike Smithers Pool By Alethea Johnson - How can we form a good opinion without all of the facts? I think it would be helpful for the members of Borough staff who are knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of the Mike Smithers Pool building to meet with interested citizens and brainstorm ideas for its restoration and use as a recreational facility. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter Smithers pool By Ed Fry - What to do with the Smithers pool?  Let’s look at what we are spending so far.  The current aquatic project is contracted at $23.5 Million Dollars.  It would be nice if that number was concrete!  With cost over runs, I would bet that we will be more in the upward neighborhood of $27 Million if not higher after the keys are handed over. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter Recycling The Pool Building By Makenzie Demmert - There is a great solution to how we should recycle the pool building, that wouldn't be hard at all to remodel. I ve heard it a lot around town and completely agree that Ketchikan should have an indoor skate park. The old pool building would be PERFECT for this! It's in a great location, right next to the school and I know that a TON of kids would get use out of it! Fill up the pools and build some ramps. Then where the weight lifting area is, we could put arcade games (and maybe a snack bar) to generate more income. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter No guts to cut! By A. M. Johnson - Following is an example of what is wrong with Congress and the President. Nobody has the courage to do any actual cutting. They all -- Republicans, Democrats, Lisa, Begich, Young -- talk a good story on the campaign trail and then Bull S- - - the rest of the way. Tea Party elected are included. Nobody wants their ox gored. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter Upcoming Community Forum By Karen Eakes - Ketchikan cares about its young people. We want them to be healthy, safe and educated for a productive future. Those that choose to drop out of high school are often making a short-term decision that has long-term consequences for the individuals involved and for their communities. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter Annette Island & Ketchikan By Herman Kremkau - I remember my time on Annette Island and how pretty the country was. My work week and my weekends in Ketchikan and how friendly the locals were. Someday I hope to return and show my wife where I lived and worked. - More...
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

letter Problems with crab!! By Don Merriman - I have relatives who intend to visit Alaska this summer, while doing search for a friend who has lived in Alaska for many years I found an article he had written about the waste involved with Crab fisheries. Looks like you have a problem that Sara Palin should have taken care of while she was governor of Alaska. - More... 
Monday PM - January 31, 2011

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