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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 03, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Bohemian Waxwings
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

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Front Page Archives
Jan. - Feb. 2011
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30 31 01 02 03    

Alaska: Shell drops plan for Arctic offshore drilling; EPA’s Foot Dragging Costing Alaska Jobs - Shell Oil announced today that it's abandoning efforts to drill in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea and will push back offshore drilling in Alaska until after 2011. The announcement prompted Alaska's Governor and delegation to accuse the Obama administration of blocking access to large domestic supplies, disregarding Alaska's economy and killing jobs.

The company’s plans to drill in Arctic waters have long been under attack from environmental groups. After the BP oil spill, the Interior Department halted the oil giant’s plan to drill in 2010. In December, the Environmental Appeals Board remanded key air permits for Shell’s offshore oil and gas exploration activities back to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for further work. Today Shell Oil announced the cancellation of its 2011 summer drilling plans in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea because of the Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal to issue a key air permit,

“This is just another delay resulting from the federal government dragging its feet, killing jobs and making us even more reliant on oil from the Middle East and elsewhere,” Governor Sean Parnell said in a prepared statement. “As we can see in Egypt, the situation is very unstable. We have plenty of domestic oil, and there is no reason that a company that has received over 34 permits for this program can’t get a timely decision from EPA on air quality issues," said Parnell.

Parnell said, “It is unfathomable that a company can buy federal leases but can’t get onto them within five years. It’s also unfathomable that they cannot get an air permit after five years when they can get one in the Gulf of Mexico within months. And finally, it’s unfathomable that this federal administration can’t act on the opportunity for jobs and economic growth.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, blamed the Environmental Protection Agency. In a prepared statement Murkowski said, “The EPA’s refusal, or simple inability, to issue key permits in a timely fashion is indefensible. Shell has now invested roughly $4 billion and five years attempting to get the permits it needs, without success.”

Murkowksi said, "Alaska’s OCS contains potentially the largest undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves in the United States and will play a pivotal role in the future energy security of the country. Federal estimates put Alaska’s offshore energy potential at 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas."

“New supplies of oil are essential to keeping the trans-Alaska pipeline in operation,” Murkowski said. “While my home state stands ready to do its part to keep energy affordable and to right the economy, the federal government continues to stand in our way.”

The trans-Alaska pipeline carries roughly 13 percent of the United State’s domestic production, down from a high of 20 percent. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011


Ketchikan: Five Candidates Submit Applications for School Board Seat- Five individuals have filed applications with the Ketchikan School District for the open seat on the Board of Education.

The applicants will be interviewed by the School Board on Wednesday, February 9, 2011, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Borough Assembly Chambers.

The candidates are (in alphabetical order by last name):

Misty Dawn Archibald
Stephen Bradford
Rich Gray
Gregg McNeil
Glen Thompson - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

Southeast Alaska: SEARHC improves pain medication management program - The number of unintentional overdoses from opioid pain medications has skyrocketed in the United States, and the numbers of emergency room visits and deaths caused by pain medication misuse both have more than doubled over the past decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributes these increases “largely because of prescription opioid painkillers.” The number of unintentional deaths caused by prescription medications recently became the leading cause of accidental death for Americans ages 18-34, surpassing motor vehicle wrecks.

Due to these troubling statistics, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) will be adopting a consortium-wide pain management program that helps medical providers and patients find the best treatment plan possible for chronic pain. Treatment plans will include other types of healing in addition to pain relievers.

SEARHC is implementing the consortium-wide pain management program for several reasons, including the benefits and dangers of using some pain medications. More important, there may be non-medication treatment options available that have better long-term results. The pain program will also develop a consistent process for the entire consortium. Medical providers will be taught to use a thorough step-by-step method of assessing patients to help them determine the best medications, doses and treatments. This will enable providers to identify the best ways to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment, while also watching for signs the medication is used properly. A major element of the pain management program is patient education, helping the patient understand what is causing pain and why a certain treatment may be more effective over another. As part of the patient education, all non-cancer patients who receive pain medication will receive an Opioid Informed Consent agreement that details the patient safety opportunities and responsibilities while taking these medications. The pain management program should take effect by the summer of 2011. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011



Alaska: Federal Crab IFQ Loan Program Accepting Applications - The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is accepting  applications for the Crab Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) loan program, which was finalized in December 2010.  The Bering Sea Aleutian Island Crab IFQ loan program will allow crab captains and crew to borrow up to 80 percent of the cost of purchasing Crab quota shares, or refinance an existing IFQ loan.  It is available to all former and current crab skippers and crewmen who meet eligibility requirements.

In the fiscal year 2010 budget, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) provided the NMFS loan authority to lend up to $8 million for the crab IFQ loan program. 

“I am pleased to see that the crab loan program is finally available for skippers and crewmen,” Murkowski said.  “They have been waiting a long time for this federal loan program that will assist them in purchasing crab quota shares.” - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

Columns - Commentary

Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Straight From The Marmot's Mouth - As an ardent consumer of the news, I was somewhat taken aback by the complete lack of media coverage over whether or not Alaska’s marmot saw its shadow on February 2.

About all I found was an article in the Juneau Empire about the natural history of the marmot (also called the woodchuck and the groundhog). But no details about our upcoming weather, unfortunately.

As you all know, our former Governor – Sarah Palin Superstar – declared February 2 to officially be Alaska Marmot Day in 2009. No more being concerned with Punxsutawney Phil or Buckeye Chuck or Grady the Groundhog for us. We would now have our own hairy rodent-like creature to drag out of its den, expose to camera flashes, and then stuff back in the ground to “enjoy” the rest of its hibernation.

Yet, sadly, we Alaskans apparently decided to let sleeping “land beavers” lie this year. There were no recorded instances of meteorological prognostication from our marmots. We have no idea whether or not we are going to have six more weeks of winter. - More...
Thursday - February 03, 2011



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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696

letter Lead by Example By Agnes Moran - Governor Parnell has been emphasizing three recurring themes in his recent speeches; pushing back on unfunded federal mandates, broken promises made at statehood and keeping taxes low to encourage economic growth. I agree with the governor that broken promises and unfunded mandates lead to higher taxes and have a dampening effect on the economy. I have seen first hand the damaging effect these have had on our local economy. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letterFeds Target Resident Sportfishermen By Clayton Moore - The alphabet soup is at it again.  NOAA, NMFS, IPHC, NPFMC, and the BOF through the new Charter Halibut Permit plan have made a direct challenge to our ability to fish for Halibut.  Under new rules, Alaska residents cannot legally share the costs to go halibut fishing without a CHP.  By the NOAA definition: - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter CHP's to hinder unguided sportfishing By Ryan McRobert - Charter Halibut Permits... Not just for charter operators. No matter who you side with, charter or commercial, or you simply like to get out and fish with friends, the new laws will affect you.  As of Feb. 1, 2011 charter operators must have onboard a CHP (charter halibut permit) now required by NOAA.  With much controversy about the permits being forced on the fleet, few saw what the wording would lead to. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter Herring in West Behm Canal By Scott Kemp - Thank you Andy Rauwolf, Snapper Carson & Mike Fleenor for your continuing information on the herring issues facing us in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter Enough is enough!! By Jodi Marrow - This is a first for me, and long time over due. I am Kyle Palmers Mother. I am trying to understand why my son is drowning in a political loop hole. Kyle did absolutely nothing wrong, my child was asleep when another young man walked into his apartment while he was sleeping on his couch and was shot in the face with a .280 caliber rifle. His situation is not something that you see everyday or something that anybody should ever see. I was a witness of this unimaginable scene. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter KIC Leadership By Kevin Kristovich - Good job to the KIC membership on changing the election process. Now, we need to get busy and make sure that politics does not play a game in the selection of officers for the Council. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter Support Green Bay!! By A.M. Johnson - With the upcoming Super Bowl this weekend the following observation that came to my attention seems timely and worthy of passing on to the general sports minded audience. Sometime the cheese can be binding! - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter Owned By Foreign Countries By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Obama Administration is spending our money at unprecedented levels and it is projected to continue for years into the future.  Our annual federal deficit is approaching $1.5 trillion and will probably hit $2 trillion before long. Our national debt is projected to go from $14 trillion now to $25 trillion in five to eight years. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter Mark Wheeler By Dave Kiffer - I'm working on a story about Ketchikan artist Mark Wheeler who died in December, but I didn't know him all that well, so I would love to hear any stories you care to share. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter Thank You By Traci Davis - We are very fortunate to have a wonderful bike/walk path out here at Mt. Point.... and I just wanted to thank the person(s) that during our snow and ice weather, has kept the path clear. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letter Mike Smithers Pool By James Kase - I use the pool almost every day. I use the weight room and the sauna after doing laps. I'd like to see this facility retained for use as a sports center. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011

letterRE: 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. - 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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