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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 20, 2012

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Alaska: Energy Relief Plan Proposed to Help Alaska Families Cope with High Energy Prices - A bipartisan group of state senators from across Alaska introduced legislation last week to utilize a small portion of the state’s $3.7 billion surplus to provide Alaskans with relief from high energy costs.

Senate Bill 203 would provide Alaskans with immediate energy relief through fuel vouchers, and develops a program to help residents deal with high heating costs during the transition to more affordable energy supplies.

SB 203, if passed, would require the Alaska Department of Revenue to send a voucher to every adult Permanent Fund Dividend recipient in the fall of 2012, which can be redeemed at the fuel distributor of their choice for either 250 gallons of heating oil, an equivalent amount of natural gas, or 1,500 KWH of electricity.

The bill’s sponsors include Senators Joe Thomas and Joe Paskvan of Fairbanks, Senator Lyman Hoffman (Bethel), Senator Tom Wagoner (Kenai), Senator Johnny Ellis (Anchorage), Senator Donny Olson (Golovin), Hollis French (Anchorage), Albert Kookesh (Angoon), and Dennis Egan (Juneau).

The bill then calls for the state to evaluate several options for on-going energy relief and recommend a program that can be put into effect for 2013 and beyond.  The analysis and recommendation are due back to the legislature by October 1, 2012.  The program designed by the state must provide energy relief to Alaskans based on the local cost of home heating, taking into consideration the price of fuel and average temperature of the community. - More...
Monday - February 20, 2012

Fish Factor: Bankrolling ‘the best available science’ for fisheries By LAINE WELCH - It’s a mixed bag in America in terms of bankrolling ‘the best available science’ for our nation’s fisheries.

Based on the preliminary federal budget released last week, funds for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration went from $4.7 billion to $5.5 billion, an increase of about $750 million.

Within the NOAA budget, funding for the National Marine Fisheries Service comes in at $1 billion - a drop of $15 million from its actual budget for the last fiscal year. Out of NMFS’ FY13 budget, $174 million will fund science and management of US fisheries. NMFS oversees more than 80% of Alaska’s fisheries, which occur in federal waters from three to 200 miles from shore.

The largest increase in funding - $36 million - goes to a new line item called National Catch Share programs. Industry expert John Sackton of said the agency does not predict an increase in catch share programs over the next five years. Instead, most of the money will pay for implementation, observer coverage, monitoring and other start up costs.

“The rationale for catch shares,” Sackton said, “is that NOAA believes these programs are the best way to rebuild fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield, which would lead to a 54% increase in overall value of US fisheries, worth more than $2 billion at the docks.”

One red flag is that the cash for catch share programs comes from a transfer of $17 million from cooperative research programs. - More...
Monday - February 20, 2012

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Man Sentenced To Seven Years In Federal Prison For Being A Felon In Possession Of A Firearm - United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced recently that Steven Kyle Doran, a resident of Ketchikan, Alaska, was sentenced in federal court in Juneau to seven years for his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess imposed the sentence on Doran, 25.

According to information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, who prosecuted the case, Doran was a convicted felon who possessed a stolen semi-automatic Whalter P 38 handgun on his person inside a local store in Ketchikan. Doran pulled out the handgun and threatened an off-duty Alaska State Trooper, in response to the Trooper’s attempting to arrest Doran on outstanding state felony warrants. Doran had made previous threats to others that he would shoot law enforcement if they attempted to execute any warrants on him. Doran and the Trooper briefly struggled for the handgun. Duran was disarmed and subsequently taken into custody. The court also took into account Doran’s criminal history and his failure to satisfy the requirements of his prior probation when it imposed his seven year sentence. - More...
Monday - February 20, 2012

Alaska Science: When NASA visited Venetie By NED ROZELL - The cozy log structure smells of coffee, gasoline, and spruce logs burning in a stove made from a 55-gallon drum. Inside the building that serves as the Village Council headquarters for Venetie, Josh Bundick explains a new policy that rewards villagers who find spent rocket parts launched from north of Fairbanks.

NASA’s Tripp Ransone speaks with Venetie residents in the Village Council office. To his right are NASA’s Josh Bundick and Mark Bertram of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Photo by Ned Rozell

The Venetie men and women in the cabin look at one another when Bundick mentions that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is offering as much as $1,200 for the location of rocket parts. Dozens of these rocket stages remain in northern Alaska from aurora-studying missions launched during the last few decades from Poker Flat Research Range in Chatanika, about 30 miles north of Fairbanks. Burnt out rocket motors are not easy to see, especially in burned forest of the type that forms a patchwork quilt around Venetie.

“The end of a burned tree stump, that’s what it looks like from above,” Bundick says. “Looking for these rocket parts is like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

“Yes it is, says Venetie’s Ernest Erick, looking at a map of possible impact zones north and west of the village. “That’s a lot of country.” - More....
Monday - February 20, 2012


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letter A FUTURE DISAPPOINTMENT AVERTED By Jerry Cegelske - A woman who just recently moved to Ketchikan stopped by the office and asked about volunteering to help clean up trash in our community.  I told her about some of the past projects that have been done on Revilla road, North and South Tongass, and within the City with the High School.  After talking for awhile, she left her name and a phone number after I explained that much of the work would start in April before the leaves were on the trees and brush. - More...
Monday PM - February 20, 2012

letter 'Just Another Routine Fright North' By Marshall H. Massengale - Although I'm a lower 48er, I always enjoy reading Dave Kiffer's columns his frequent digressions and occasional misspellings and other grammatical faux pas notwithstanding.  But it seems every so often, hizzoner the author takes a cut or two at the "hometown airline." - More...
Monday PM - February 20, 2012 

letter Old grunt squashing By David G. Hanger - In general terms, Mr. Bylund, you are correct.  It is considered bad form to compare anybody to Hitler.  But if someone is acting like a damned Hitlerian, I am not going to hesitate to point that out very succinctly.  About monsters I do not think one should be polite for even a nanosecond.  Depriving U.S. citizens of 1.5 billion man years of life I consider absolutely monstrous and insane.  Doing that by manipulating governmental policy is evil.  Congressman Paul Ryan wants to destroy the safety net completely, on the essential premise of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that those in need should perish out of hand as an inconvenience to the rest of us.  “Let parasites perish as they should.” - More...
Monday PM - February 20, 2012

letter The End of Liberty Is Here By Katheryn Burson - The NDAA passed without hearings, thereby cementing the U.S. as a police state giving law enforcement the right to detain and imprison us WITHOUT charges or due process.  Police brutality is being covered up by grabbing of citizen’s cell phones & cameras to prevent filming. - More.....
Monday PM - February 20, 2012

letter Nightmare in Coffman Cove By Guy Lane - My family & I moved to Coffman Cove from the Kenai Peninsula after Coffman Cove resident and City Council member Elaine Price agreed to sell property that was 75 feet from the salt water & 65 feet from a salmon stream and on the main paved road just as you enter Coffman Cove. We also rented a small trailer from Council member Elaine Price while we were to work on the property until spring.  We thought this was a dream come true, until we arrived in Coffman Cove with all of our personal goods, equipment and tools and ready to work. Upon starting to clear the land we discovered a massive industrial contaminated toxic dump with logging equipment, log trucks, pickups, large fuel tanks, boats, garbage, misc. debris and many 55 gallon barrels of petrolium products (some were damaged and empty and some were full, some were leaking). The ground smelled so bad that my family would not even go on it. - More...
Thursday AM - February 16, 2012

letter Environmental Baseline Document By Tim Bristol, Bob Waldrop, & Kimberly Williams - As leaders of Alaska-based organizations representing the interests of Bristol Bay residents, commercial fishermen, and sportsmen throughout the state, we are writing to provide some perspective on this week’s unveiling of an “Environmental Baseline Document” by the Pebble Limited Partnership in a series of presentations to agencies and government officials in Anchorage.  The general public, including the people of Bristol Bay have been excluded from attending or participating in the meetings but have been able to watch through an on-line web cast.   After objections were raised to this exclusion PLP staff decided to allow one representative from each Bristol Bay tribe to attend. As PLP moves to hold these "factual conversations" excluding the public and those interested in the Pebble debate doesn't help generate the needed discussion about protecting the headwaters of important salmon and other fresh water fish habitat. - More...
Thursday AM - February 16, 2012

letter Oxymoron By A.M.Johnson - The oxymoron for today 2-11-12,is the announcement by Candidate Romney proclaiming that he is the most conservative candidate, then appointed Senator Lisa Murkowski as a part of his Alaska Presidential effort. - More...
Thursday AM - February 16, 2012

letter Pinocchio Politics By C.C. Rice - I was appalled at the message White House Chief of Staff, Jacob Lew delivered about Obama care’s mandate of insurance coverage with respect to religious freedoms.  The spin he put on it about giving women choices, is simply more of their Pinocchio politics.  This is about the government over stepping its power and breaching the first amendment that prohibits the making of any law impeding the free exercise of religion. And when asked where the government had the right to do that, Mr. Lew said the administration granted itself the power in the Obama-care legislation…the one they “had to pass so they could see what was in it” (-Pelosi). - More...
Thursday AM - February 16, 2012

letter RE: Serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career. By Tyrell Rettke - Those are some decent ideas, but your contention that the current congress won't initiate them is correct as well. It will take the citizens stop voting in the same status qua to replace congress. Getting people to run is a hard thing. Having run for local office I can tell you that it can feel like getting beat up at times, and we play pretty nice here in Ketchikan most of the time. On a state level (To get into the US Congress), its a whole new level, and the money required is exponentially greater. Here in alaska with Less than a million voters, its not so bad, but still requires getting around the state a lot, and being able to campaign while not working (so having your living expenses covered.) This is part of the reason why we end up with the same type of people in office, wealthy people who have made something of themselves in business or otherwise (For better or worse). - More...
Saturday AM - February 11, 2012

letter Prince George By Tom Meikle - I recall clearly seeing the hulk of the poor Prince George under tow as the Adelaide made her way up to Prince Rupert; we were likely in narrow Grenville Channel, since we passed fairly close. One of my shipmates (name long gone) had been on the George during the burning, and was horrified to see his old ship in such horrible shape. He was badly upset, to say the least. - More...
Saturday AM - February 11, 2012

letter Support Our Teachers! By Cherry Rice - Our Ketchikan teachers need a fair contract. I am very concerned about the lack of support for our teachers in this community. The teachers are the ones who are educating the future for our country, state, and our town. Public education is essential and we need to support it. These people give tirelessly to our kids , even after their scheduled work day is long over. It is not unusual to go by any public school on weekends and see several cars in the lot. These are YOUR teachers at work for YOUR students. There is no harder job than a public school teacher’s. I am very proud of what they do. They never give up on a difficult student who may have given up on his or herself. The teachers are doing their best to turn all students into successful learners. - More...
Saturday AM - February 11, 2012

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

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