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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 16, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Pine Grosbeaks
These Pine Grosbeaks were photographed on Gravina Island Tuesday. There was a flock of about 20. The female Pine Grosbeak's photo is on the left, the male Pine Grosbeak's photo is on the right.
Front Page Photos by JIM LEWIS

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Alaska: Native Rights Leader Turns 102; Dr. Soboleff  was longtime preacher, teacher and broadcaster By DAVE KIFFER - On February 16 of each year, Alaskans pause to remember the great leaders in the fight for Alaskan Native Civil Rights, specifically Elizabeth Peratrovich and the other great leaders of the past.

Native Rights Leader Turns 102; Dr. Soboleff  was longtime preacher, teacher and broadcaster

Dr. Walter Soboleff
October 2008
Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Yet, one of the longtime promoters of Native rights and culture is still among us.

Last November, Dr. Walter Soboleff turned 102.

Dr. Soboleff was born in Killisnoo on Admiralty Island on Nov. 14, 1908. His mother, Anna Hunter Soboleff was Tlingit and his father,  Alexander “Sasha” Soboleff was Russian and German. His grandfather, John Soboleff, was an Orthodox priest who moved from San Francisco to Killisnoo in the early 1890s.

Dr. Soboleff’s father died when he was 12 and his mother remarried. He spent some of his early years in nearby Angoon besides Killisnoo. At eight years old, he began attending the Russian Orthodox School in Sitka, according to “Haa Kusteeyi, Tlingit Life Stories” by Nora and Richard Dauenhauer. He was the only the Tlingit at the school among a large group of Aleuts.

He also served as an Altar boy at St. Michael’s Cathedral.

“The robes were too big for me, I’d fall down,” he told the Dauenhauers. “”My Dog Salmon aunts used to get a kick out of it.”

In a 2009 interview with the Juneau Empire, Soboleff noted that he had many role models growing up.

"I really admired the Gettysburg Address and would recite it in Tlingit," he  told the Empire. "Abraham Lincoln was one of my heroes. It's a great speech, a gem, he just put the words together so wonderful."

Soboleff also noted that his father was an early role model as were Booker T. Washington, Rudyard Kipling and Tlingit Rev. George Benson who translated the Bible into Tlingit.

"He could open the Bible and make a free translation of English into the Tlingit language," Soboleff said. "And he could do it so beautifully."

From the fifth grade through high school, Dr. Soboleff attended Sheldon Jackson School in Sitka. It was there that he converted to the Presbyterian Church. Soboleff said the main reason for his conversion was that he spoke English and the Orthodox services, in Russian, were difficult to understand and less meaningful to him.  Soboleff also remembers translating for the visiting doctors during the Flu epidemic of 1918. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 16, 2011


Alaska: Committee Marks Up FAA Reauthorization; Key provisions For Alaska Included - The U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a legislative mark-up this morning of H.R. 658, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011.  H.R. 658 is long-term legislation that will set policies and priorities for the nation’s aviation system, and create jobs through infrastructure improvements.  

Congressman Don Young (R-AK) worked with Chairman Mica to ensure these key provisions for Alaska were included in this reauthorization:

  • the continuation of three dimensional mapping in Alaska
  • the continued funding of Essential Air Service in Alaska and Hawaii
  • an exemption from compliance with the regulations regarding the transportation within the State of Alaska of cylinders of compressed oxygen or other oxidizing gases aboard aircraft

 “Aviation is an incredibly important industry to Alaska, a state densely populated with pilots,” said Rep. Young.  “An issue we face time and time again in Alaska is across-the-board rulemaking that does not take into account the special geographical and infrastructure needs of our state.  I thank Chairman Mica for his willingness to understand these issues and for working with me to make things right for Alaskans.  

 “Receiving basic goods is not the same in the villages of Alaska as it is in most areas of the Lower 48.  Alaska is one-fifth the size of the United States, with a road system smaller than Rhode Island’s.  Most communities are completely isolated and can only receive necessities and medical care via air service.  An airplane in Alaska is equivalent to a car, truck, or train elsewhere.  Essential Air Service is essential for a reason; it’s a means of survival and it is very important to our state. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 16, 2011

Alaska: Man Shot after Firing at Troopers – Vance Hopkins Barrett Jr., 53, of Palmer was seriously wounded last Thursday night after troopers in the Mat-Su Valley responded to a gun call. At approximately 10:15 on Thursday evening a 911 call reported that a suicidal man had a firearm and had already sustained one non-life threatening gunshot wound. It was also determined that family members at the location were in fear for their own safety.

Upon arrival at the residence, troopers established a perimeter and initiated verbal communication with the suicidal male. The man came to the door brandishing a firearm and fired upon troopers. Multiple troopers returned fire and the man retreated inside the residence. No troopers were injured in the exchange of gunfire. The Southcentral Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) was activated to assist in getting the armed gunman safely into custody. Prior to SERT's arrival the man turned himself over to law enforcement without further incident.

Medical personnel were standing by at the scene and were able to transport the man to a local hospital after he surrendered. Barrett is currently at a local hospital receiving treatment for the injuries he sustained.

Palmer resident Vance Hopkins Barrett Jr. has been charged with two counts of Attempted Murder and three counts of Assault in the Third Degree. Barrett is currently hospitalized and under guard while he receives treatment for his injuries.

The troopers involved in the shooting in Palmer on Feb. 10, 2011 were: - More...
Wednesday PM - February 16, 2011



Alaska: Alaska State Refuges See Record Visitor Numbers for Golden Anniversary - People came in record numbers to Alaska’s state refuges in 2010. Well over one million visits were recorded. Destinations such as Anchorage's Potter Marsh and Fairbanks' Creamer’s Field reported from 12 to 17 percent more visits than in 2009.

“Seeing significant increases like this speaks to the viability and importance of our refuge programs,” said Joe Meehan, Lands and Refuge Manager for ADF&G. “It’s particularly rewarding and noteworthy because last year was our golden anniversary.”

Alaska’s state refuge program was initiated in 1960 when the Alaska State Legislature created the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary in Bristol Bay. Today there are 32 refuges, sanctuaries and critical habitat areas encompassing 3.2 million acres of valuable fish and wildlife habitat.

While the primary purpose of the state’s refuge program is to protect fish and wildlife habitats and their populations, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is actively improving and promoting access to these areas so the public can use them in a way that maintains their wildlife values. Whether it’s digging clams, watching or photographing wildlife, picking berries, catching fish, hunting moose or waterfowl, or simply recreating in a natural area, the public is enjoying, in ever increasing numbers, the many opportunities available in our state wildlife refuge system.

“These areas provide important subsistence, recreational and commercial opportunities for Alaskans and visitors and I’m glad people are making the most of these areas,” said Meehan. He also noted that the commercial uses of these areas pump millions of dollars annually into the state’s economies and can have significant economic benefits to local communities. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 16, 2010

Alaska: Alaska Board of Fisheries to Meet in Anchorage, February 20 – March 5 - The Alaska Board of Fisheries will meet February 20 through March 5, 2011 at the Egan Center in Anchorage to consider proposed regulatory changes to the Upper Cook Inlet Area fisheries.

Proposals have been submitted by the general public, fishing organizations, local fish and game advisory committees, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The board received over 200 proposals for consideration during this two-week public meeting. The Alaska Board of Fisheries addresses Upper Cook Inlet area subsistence, sport, commercial, and personal use fisheries once every three years.

Topics include fishing season dates, harvest and bag limits, methods and means, closed waters, and management plans for sockeye, coho, king salmon and other species. Areas include salt waters of Cook Inlet and associated freshwater drainages including the Kenai, Kasilof, and Susitna river drainages. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 16, 2011



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

letter Herring along the West Coast By Ernie Koepf - I am writing to echo the sentiments expressed by Jennifer Castle regarding mangement of herring stocks. Her depiction of a 12% harvest of herring reflect management policies along the entire West Coast. Here in California we harvest between five and ten percent of the estimated biomass. The Pacific Herring Model drafed by the PFMC states that 'overfishing ' does not occur unless the harvest ratio exceeds 25%. All herring fisheries along the West Coast are well under that mark, by far. There are documents from studies done in the Canadian fisheries from DFO that suggest that clupea harengus (pacific herring) are part of a larger 'megapopulation' that will oportunisticly choose the spawning habitat of that years returning brood stock. This is significant; DFO tagging studies have seen tagged herring stray up to 800 kilometers, essentially switching spawn site selection by a wide margin! - More...
Monday PM - February 14, 2011

letter Native fisheries By Randy Williams - Alaska Fisheries, Why, Why, Why, I have written several letters over the years bemoaning the fact that we the Alaska Natives have let the non-Indian run State governing agencies destroy our food source. I have often said our culture is based on our ability to preserve our food and prepare it like our grandparents and their parents have since we were of the people. Oh, how much we have lost. I have often said the Tribes in the lower forty eight do not face this same dilemma because they control and preserve their hunting and fishing rights. - More...
Monday PM - February 14, 2011

letter RE: Our Healthy Fisheries By Jim Bacon - I am writing to express my appreciation to Jennifer Castle for the excellent job she did outlining the issues concerning the West Behm Canal herring fishery.  I couldn't have said it better myself, so I won't try. - More...
Monday PM - February 14, 2011

letterRE: Dungeness Crab By Andy Guiliano - As a longtime California dungy fisherman, I couldn't agree more with Mr. Worhatch's commentary. West Coast Dungeness management has undergone very little change, and yet remains one of the few productive/profitable fisheries without severe regulatory issues. Inspite the absense of a "Commission", "Czar" or "Commitee", SSS (sex, size and season) has proved to be a remarkably effective way to manage dungeness. - More...
Monday PM - February 14, 20

letter Underage Smoking/ Adults who purchase them cigarettes By Vanessa Ohlson - To those adults (19 years and older- you know who you are!), please do not buy cigarettes for our youth. I have recently become aware that some of our youth are asking "adults" to purchase them cigarettes as they walk into a convenience store or supermarket. "Hey man will you buy me a pack of cigarettes? Here is $10.00 you can keep the change." Please don't do this? Please refuse to purchase cigarettes for our youth. Tell them NO! - More...
Monday PM - February 14, 2011

letter Our Gratitude By Norman and Charlotte Poirier - Thank You is not enough. Our gratitude to the Ketchikan Police Department Officers, the Firefighters and Building Inspector Thomas Joseph. You saved our home. You showed professionalism and care. God bless you all in what ever job you need to do. - More...
Monday PM - February 14, 2011

letter Our Healthy Fisheries By Jennifer Castle - I am concerned about the ominous language and false claims in the recent viewpoints that call to close West Behm Canal to herring fishing forever. - More...
Friday PM - February 11, 2011

letter West Behm Canal Herring: The Rest of the Story By Ron Porter - I am writing in response to Andy Rauwolf, Snapper Carson & Mike Fleenor's misguided, ill-informed opinions with no scientific data to support them concerning the West Behm Canal herring fishery. - More...
Friday - February 11, 2011

letter BUSH LITE: An Open Letter to the President of the United States By David G. Hanger - You give a good speech, Mr. President, sound on occasion like Martin Luther King morphing into JFK, on other occasions like Moses on the mount, but as President of the United States, at least to date, you suck. I say this to you not as one of your historical detractors, but rather as one of your avid supporters, and I admit I wonder at what I have been supporting. - More...
Friday - February 11, 2011

letter Dungeness Crab By Max Worhatch IV - While I do appreciate Lloyd Gossman's concern about the Dungeness stocks in southeast Alaska, I am appalled by his lack of knowledge on the subject. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in southeast is the most conservatively managed Dungeness fishery in the world. The coastal dungeness crab fishery in California, Oregon, and Washington starts every year on December first and runs through the thiry first of August. This nine month season is managed by size,sex and season. This means that fishermen only take male crab at the minimum size of 6.25 inches carapace width, during the months that are open. In southeast, we take crab with a minimum carapace width of 6.5 inches, for 60 days in the summer and 60 days in the fall, except for district two, which has a season from October first until Febuary twenty eighth. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 09, 2011

letterHalibut, Herring, Ooligan and Salmon By Don Hoff, Jr. - I have been reading the opinions in Sitnews with great interest. The day is going to come when there won't be any kind of fisheries in Southeast Alaska because of greed. I have to agree that the State of Alaska and Federal Government can't manage all Alaska's Nature Resources. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 09, 2011

letter RE: Herring in West Behm By Keith Stump - Well said, gentlemen. Once again, Federal (and international) mis-management of Alaska's resources threatens our economy and way of life. Unfortunately, the numbers are not in our favor. Just like herring are at the mercy of whales and international sea lions, Alaskans are at the mercy of Federal and international politics. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 09, 2011

letter Re: New Halibut Rules and Regs By Allan R. (Rudy) McGillvray - To Whom it may Concern, (which is all Americans)... these new rules being promulgated by NOAA, and their soupy brothers, strike me as being a "restraint of trade" in addition to being a restraint of friendship. That would fall under "Pursuit of Happiness" which is a God-given right -- not, given by the govt. The govt. who believes that its population needs governing and that its power to do so, rests with said govt. Not as our Constitution says, "The power of the govt. rests with the people, and is given by the people to the govt. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND! - More...
Wednesday PM - February 09, 2011

letter Event a poor choice for a poliitcal statement By A.M. Johnson - There are moments in community entrainment that are or should be political free. Being blindsided, even forewarned if that were the case, is not a welcoming aspect when one anticipates joining with other community members which one may not be politically aligned, yet the thread of a community being is when all join for the common purpose of sharing joy. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 09, 2011

letter Cell Phone Scam By Susan Hoyt - I am writing this to inform local residents and the elderly who have cell phones that you may find charges on your statement for something you didn't knowingly purchase. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 09, 2011

letterLead 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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