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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Tuesday & Wednesday
February 08 & 09, 2012

Front Page Photo By MARCUS GARZA

New Path Dancers in Thunder
The Tsimshian dance group, New Path Dancers in Thunder, at the recent Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council's 26th annual Wearable Arts Show
Artist: Kathy Flora; Model/Feathers: Marcie Pungowiyi ; New Path Dancers lead by Kevin Ts'ikyaanu Clevenger, Starlene Rose Clevenger, Harvey James, Natasha Kapralova, Christine Calhan, Clark Stosich (not shown).
Front Page Photo By MARCUS GARZA


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Ketchikan: Fire Aboard M/V Malaspina Causes Damage - The Ketchikan Fire department received a call Tuesday at 12:02 PM reporting smoke coming from the Marine Vessel Malaspina which is currently in layup at the Ketchikan-basked Alaska Ship and Drydock.  First arriving units were on the scene in less than three minutes according to information released by Ketchikan Fire Chief Frank Share.  - More...
Wednesday - February 8, 2012

Ketchikan: Vigor Industrial to Acquire Alaska Ship & Drydock; Combination to Further Strengthen Maritime Industry and Jobs in Alaska and Across the Pacific Northwest - Shipbuilding, ship repair and maritime jobs in Alaska have an even brighter future as Alaska Ship and Drydock Inc. (ASD) and Vigor Industrial today jointly announced their intent to make the Ketchikan-based Alaska Ship and Drydock a Vigor company.

ASD intends to transition its business and assets to Vigor pending approval of the transfer of ownership by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), the owner of the Ketchikan Shipyard where ASD is based. The private companies hope to finalize their agreement on or before March 1st.

ASD would operate the Ketchikan Shipyard (KSY) as the Alaska Ship & Drydock LLC subsidiary, in continuation of its thirty year AIDEA operating agreements. ASD employees and customers will notice little change in day-to-day operations, said ASD owner Randy Johnson, a Ketchikan resident who has directed operations at KSY since 1994. Johnson will continue with the company, becoming ASD Vice Chairman.

“The purchase of ASD by Vigor will increase the capacity and competitiveness of the Ketchikan Shipyard in many ways, positioning Ketchikan and the State of Alaska to not only continue our high level of service to existing customers, but to significantly participate in exciting new markets emerging in the North Pacific and Arctic Oceans,” Johnson said.

Vigor Industrial currently owns and operates leading maritime services in the Pacific Northwest at facilities from Portland through Puget Sound.

“We see a tremendous opportunity here to work with Alaska residents to grow maritime jobs and industry from Oregon to the Arctic,” said Frank Foti, Vigor Industrial owner and CEO.

Vigor owns the 60-acre Swan Island shipyard in Portland, the historic Harbor Island yard in Seattle as well as operations in Tacoma, Everett, Bremerton and Port Angeles. Vigor customers include commercial fishing and cargo fleets, barge and workboat owners, oil transportation companies, Washington State Ferries, the Alaska Marine Highway System and alternative energy developers. Vigor, which purchased the Todd Pacific Shipyards in February 2011, also maintains and renovates U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and other vessels and U.S. Coast Guard assets including the icebreakers USCGC Healy, Polar Star and Polar Sea. - More...
Tuesday - February 07, 2012

Alaska: Alaska's antiquated tax systems reviewed - The Senate Resources Committee is reviewing efforts to streamline and better understand Alaska’s tax systems.

Our state’s tax systems are complex said Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) in his recent Legislative Update Newletter. In addition to oil and gas taxes which provide the vast majority of state income, there are numerous other revenue programs that the state government administers. The Alaska Department of Revenue (DOR) administers 22 tax programs using 17 different tax management systems. These programs range from corporate income taxes to levies on alcoholic beverages, car rentals, and fish processing, collectively accounting for nearly $5 billion in state revenue. It’s crucial that state government be able to collect and account for these public funds, and the Senate has taken the lead in making sure our state’s finance systems are responsive said Stedman.

Stedman noted that recently the Legislature received a report it funded stating that Alaska’s tax systems have a lot of room for improvement. The report clearly documents that the tax systems being used by the state consist of multiple databases stretched beyond their intended use. The arrangement is highly inefficient, burdensome for taxpayers, and inhibits the timely collection of necessary tax data. - More...
Tuesday - February 07, 2012

Alaska: Alaska Announces Settlement with Debt Collector NCO Financial Systems – The State of Alaska has joined 18 other states in reaching a settlement with debt collector NCO Financial Systems, Inc. (NCOF) resolving allegations of deceptive and unfair debt collection practices.

In the settlement, NCOF agrees to:

• Comply with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, and all applicable state laws.

• For debts reported to the credit reporting agencies, notify the credit reporting agencies within 30 calendar days of (1) any verbal or written consumer dispute or (2) receiving the results of an investigation into the accuracy or completeness of previously reported information.

• Provide notice to consumers about their debt collection rights under federal and state law.

• Monitor compliance, including training and monitoring its representatives and independent contractors, creating written policies and procedures for handling consumer complaints, and submitting compliance reports to the states every 6 months for 18 months.

NCOF has agreed to pay $575,000 to the states for consumer protection enforcement and education efforts. The State of Alaska’s share is $26,562. - More...
Tuesday - February 07, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Jason StanfordJASON STANFORD: Holding Colleges Accountable on Affordability - For parents trying to save so their kids can go to college—and I'm one of them—Barack Obama's latest State of the Union was the Emancipation Proclamation. Americans now owe more on their college loans than on their credit cards, and the price of a higher education is rising twice as fast as inflation.

Going to a state college was once a middle-class entitlement, but now that degree is a luxury item. Students used to be able to pay their way through school with a part-time job. Now students are graduating with more debt than if they'd bought a new Mercedes Benz. The only way someone can work their way through school nowadays is by installing a stripper pole in their dorm room.

Midway through his State of the Union, Obama finally said, "Enough." The president waved a bunch of carrots—doubling work-study programs and making low-interest Perkins loans more available—before bringing out the stick. If colleges don't get more affordable, then their students might have a harder time getting federal financial aid.

"Of course, it's not enough for us to increase student aid," said Obama. "We can't just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we'll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down."

Perhaps not shockingly, a key House Republican called the president a "dictator." Really.

"The president is saying that people can't afford to go to college anymore, and that just simply is not true," said Rep. Virginia Foxx, the North Carolina Republican who is chairwoman of the House Higher Education subcommittee. "Tuition is too high at most schools, but it isn't the job of the federal government to punish those schools. It's very arbitrary, and the president sounds like a dictator." - More...
Tuesday - February 07, 2012


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letter Boat Tax By Glen Thompson - The boat tax (like sales and real property taxes) is levied by both the City of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.  The two bodies agreed several years ago to try to have coordination between the taxes levied so that the administration would be consistent on an area-wide basis. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 08, 2012

letter Thank you Ketchikan By Travis Taylor - My family moved up here to Alaska nearly 5 years ago. Since then I have been involved in many things such as basketball, football, baseball, and wrestling. At first I was very new to the idea of having to raise large amounts of money just to go play sports, but quickly realized how expensive it is to travel. I have had a great experience up here with sports and this town. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 08, 2012

letter Giving Grind for Peratovich Family was a great success!!! Thank you! By Sally & John Burch - Saturday's Mardi Gras Giving Grind was awesome! - More...
Wednesday AM - February 08, 2012

letter Ketchikan School Board Budget Cuts By Emilee Johnson - I am writing to you today to address my concern about the decision to cut AP classes as well as the band, art and culinary programs to account for the possible budget cuts. I am currently a college student and can speak from a personal level on how important these components are to students futures as well as the academic standing of the school. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 08, 2012

letter Open Letter: SB 121 By Cherry Rice - Governor Parnell, I hope you will reconsider your position on Senate Bill 121. SB 121 is not a going back to the old defined benefit system. Instead, SB 121 is a compromise that provides retirement security. Retirement security is extremely important to bring the best and brightest people to the state.This will be at no additional cost to the state or other employers. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 08, 2012

letter Serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career By Billy D. Clifford - Many of us have received email and comments from our friends about excellent ideas to repair our broken Congress. For example: - More..
Wednesday AM - February 08, 2012

letter Newt's Court Proposals Dangerous By George Kiser - Newt Gingrich apparently thinks the Founding Fathers made a terrible mistake when they established an independent court system.  Under his proposals, judges would please the President, Congress, and the public -- or suffer the consequences.  Presidents could ignore court decisions they dislike. Congress could haul judges before it to explain their decisions and jail non-compliant judges, and unpopular judges could be fired and their courts abolished. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 08, 2012

letter Governor Parnell Urged to Reconsider his Position on Pension By Barb Angaiak - I am very disappointed in Governor Parnell’s refusal to consider returning to a defined benefit pension plan for state employees. I strongly urge Governor Parnell to reconsider. The legislation SB 121 is not a return to the old defined benefit system. SB 121 is a compromise that creates less of a benefit but provides retirement security at no additional cost to the state or other employers. - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter Ketchikan School Board Cuts By Frances Gierard - I am an alumnus of Ketchikan High School and am now attending college in Seattle. I have heard that you are considering cutting some elective courses at Kayhi. I am hoping to change your mind otherwise. - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter Talk about cold! By Jeff Orr - I am not very happy with the State of Alaska Court system, nor the current Guardian for my adult brother who has down's syndrome. The AK court system sent a Court Visitor to do a report on his living conditions while he was living with my Mother, who adopted him over 42 years ago. In this report the Court Visitor bashed my two brothers who live in Ketchikan and excluded them from being able to apply for guardianship for our brother. What is worse is the Guardian decided to take our brother while my Mother is in the hospital! Talk about cold! - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter The Capuchin monkeys' Scam By Margaret Cloud - Someone has recently listed some capuchin monkeys. This ad is a scam. I responded to the ad to see what I would receive. Here is the reply: - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter Compact fluorescents (CFLs), LEDs, and halogens By Shelley Stallings - From wikipedia: In December 2007 (during the Bush Administration) , the federal government enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which contains maximum wattage requirements for all general service incandescent lamps producing from 310 2600 lumens of light.[38] However, these regulations never became law, as another section of the 2007 EISA bill overwrites them, and thus, current law, as specified in the U.S. Code, "does not relate to maximum wattage requirements."[39] - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter RE: In the Dark By Scott Cragun - Regarding A.M. Johnsons reply to my letter regarding incandescent light bulbs, I would like to point out that the production of the incandescent bulbs may have ceased in the USA but they continue to be produced in Japan and in Europe in wattages less than 100 and will/could be until 2014. These bulbs are also imported into the USA where it is legal to sell them until 2014. - More..
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter RE: Option for Public Employees By Chris Elliott - I know in my heart I'll regret commenting, but I just can't resist. Ms. Machado's two basic assumptions are questionable. One, that government recruits and retains the "best and brightest" by offering outstanding benefits & retirement plans and, two, that public employees deserve the best, most secure retirement because they give their best. - More...
Thursday AM - February 02, 2012

letter State of the Mess By A. M. Johnson - With all the nasty political advertisements and such, a lighter level of political satire is offered. In the Spirit of joining with Senator Murkowski in her recent effort to encourage by-partisanship during the "State of the Mess" campaign speech, I too will offer my suggestion we all can rally behind. As there is less than a year until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States. The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans. - More...
Thursday AM - February 02, 2012

letter City or Borough Tax By Scott Cragun - Mr. Thompson, is this a City of Ketchikan tax or a Ketchikan Borough tax? - More...
Thursday - February 02, 2012

letter In the Dark By A. M. Johnson - Regarding Scott Cragan's understanding of the status of the Incandescent bulbs. Message to Scott: All production of incandescent bulbs have ceased. The industry advised Congress following the extension date, that it made no difference as the production of incandescent light bulbs has ceased. - More...
Thursday AM - February 02, 2012

letter Re: Boat Tax By Glen Thompson - The Ketchikan Borough has repeatedly attempted to repeal this excise tax but the City has refused. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter Option for Public Employees By Allegra Machado - I urge all Alaskan Constituents and State Employees to write your Senator and Representative today and encourage them to stand up and actively support Senate Bill 121 and House Bill 236. This is the legislation that creates an option for TRS and PERS employees hired after 2006 to choose either a defined benefit or defined contributions retirement plan. - More..
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter IS THE TEA PARTY DEAD? By Ken Bylund - 193 AD: The Praetorians ran out upon the ramparts and in a loud voice proclaimed that the Roman world was to be disposed of to the best bidder by auction... It reached the ears of Didius Julianus who began to bid for "the purple" at the foot of the rampart. Edward Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire... now Romney is buying the purple. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter CFL Platform? By Scott Cragun - Mr. Borders, if it is true that the only light bulbs you can find at your "local" hardware store are the more energy efficient CFL (compact flourecent) type, this is a choice made by the store and/or its purchasing department. Incandescent light bulbs are not scheduled to be COMPLETELY phased out in the USA until January 2014, this process has started this year (2012) with the higher wattage bulbs then works it's way down to the lower wattage bulbs by 2014. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter Ketchikan Roads By April Whitton - Thank you Mark Hoyt for grating the roads and trying to keep up with the snow dumped on us. Robbie would have been proud. I to thank you. And kudos to the rest of the crew that are out there on the streets at all hours trying to make our roads safe for us to drive on. A big thank you also goes out to Curtis, Danny K, Dan M, Matt, Tad (That's what Robbie always called him), Bruce, Dana, Karl and all the guys in the back ground that keep the trucks and other equipment in running order. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter Deep Six Somali Pirates By Donald A. Moskowitz - The recent rescue of hostages in Somalia by a Navy Seal Team brings into focus the ongoing problem we have with the Somali pirates.  These pirates continue to wreak havoc on commercial shipping off the coast of Africa, and there are numerous ships and hostages currently being held by the pirates for ransom. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter PFD By Joey Garcia - Does the Alaska yearly PFD need an online-oversight commitee? Some Alaska residents comes in flock, mostly to a department store using their PFD checks or the purchase of things they have dreamt for years. I am not surprised that the present PFD online application contains additional questions in support to the query of having been absent from the State on a specified date that can be judged as fraud. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

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