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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 18, 2013

Front Page Photo By JEFF OWINGS

Deer Mountain
Most of Ketchikan's snowfall this winter has been at higher altitudes. The photographer captured this image of Ketchikan and snowy Deer Mountain while aboard the IFA ferry as it pulled away.
Front Page Photo By JEFF OWINGS ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)



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Southeast Alaska: Trout Unlimited Distances Itself From New Sealaska Lands Bill; Trout Unlimited Sets the Record Straight - A conservation group this weekend said it does not support a plan by Alaska's delegation to allow an Alaska Native-owned corporation to acquire roughly 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest for logging, energy and tourism development.

Saturday, Trout Unlimited, the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, announced that contrary to a misleading media release issued by Sealaska Corporation, it does not support newly introduced legislation that would carve some 70,000 acres from the Tongass National Forest and transfer it to the Juneau-based corporation. Trout Unlimited also never requested inclusion of 94,000 acres of conservation lands in the bill, as stated by Sealaska.

The legislation, known as the Sealaska bill, is sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and aims to settle land claims by Sealaska , a regional Native corporation representing shareholders with ties to Southeast Alaska. Trout Unlimited does not dispute that Sealaska is owed land under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971, “But the inference by Sealaska that they have bought our support of this legislation with a tiny amount of conservation lands is false,” said Tim Bristol, Manager of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program. “It appears as though their executives are trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes by implying they have buy-in from Trout Unlimited” said Bristol.

In contrast, Trout Unlimited is working to build support for its “Tongass 77” proposal which seeks permanent legislative protection for 77 high-value salmon and trout watersheds from  across the Tongass. The 77 watersheds included in the proposal span 1.9 million acres of the Tongass. They represent a subset of the most biologically productive places for salmon and trout that currently lack watershed-scale protection. If enacted, the Tongass 77 legislation would help lock in a self-sustaining fisheries resource that employs about one in 10 people in Southeast Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

Southeast Alaska: 14-Year Old in Custody in Kake Homicide Case - After an intensive 10 day investigation into the death of 13 year-old Mackenzie Howard of Kake, Alaska on February 5th, a suspect in this investigation has been identified. A 14 year-old male from the community of Kake has been placed in custody by the Alaska State Troopers and has been transported to a Department of Juvenile Justice holding facility in Ketchikan.

Because the suspect is a juvenile his name and charges that are pending against him cannot be released.

Just before midnight on February 5, 2013 Alaska State Troopers received report of a possible homicide in Kake, Alaska. The body of the young girl was discovered in an arctic entry way at the Presbyterian Memorial Church. The girl was identified as 13 year-old Mackenzie Howard of Kake. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

Southeast Alaska: Southeast Conference Hosts Mid-Session Summit; Summit to celebrate AMHS’s 50th anniversary and Build Stronger Regional Leadership - From February 25th through 28th, Southeast Conference will host its annual Mid-Session event at Centennial Hall in Juneau. According to Shelly Wright, Executive Director of Southeast Conference, this year is particularly exciting because it marks the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). 

“Our ferry system is critically important to our regional economic interconnectivity,” explained Wright.  “Southeast Conference began with a group of regional leaders advocating for the ferry system. So the fact that we are here, celebrating AMHS’s 50th birthday at a Southeast Conference event is incredibly exciting and important," said Wright. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

Alaska: Unauthorized eavesdropping allegation made by UAF - Alaska’s largest statewide commercial fishing trade association announced it is beginning the process to request Alaska authorities to investigate what they say was unauthorized eavesdropping of their United Fishermen of Alaska private teleconference by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association's office.

According to UFA Interim President Bruce Wallace, on January 17, 2013 the United Fishermen of Alaska, representing 34 member organizations, held a private teleconference. In addition to 25 UFA Board members, UFA alleges an individual or individuals at the offices of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) was also on the line during the private teleconference.

This allegation was later confirmed by the teleconference vendor, who provided a phone log, which included a phone number registered to the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) office. KRSA is not affiliated with UFA in any way. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

Alaska Science: Alaska bucks the global temperature trend By NED ROZELL - This just in: 2012 was the coldest year of the new century in Fairbanks, and the second coldest here in the last 40 years.

Fairbanks isn’t the only chilly place in Alaska. Average temperatures at 19 of 20 long-term National Weather Service stations displayed a cooling trend from 2000 to 2010, according a recent study written up by Gerd Wendler, Blake Moore and Lian Chen of the Alaska Climate Research Center.

The rest of the world has not been going Alaska’s way. For the 36th consecutive year, the yearly global temperature in 2012 was warmer than average. That temperature, calculated from satellite data by researchers with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was about 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (Fairbanks’s was 24.1 degrees F).

During the first decade of the 2000s, Alaska bucked the global warming trend, though the temperature variations were so slight you might not have noticed. Except during winter, when most of the cooling occurred. One example was the frigid January of 2012. How could you forget it in Bettles, where the average temperature was an all-time low of minus 35.6 degrees F? That’s a chilly month. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

Science: Climate Change Impacts to U.S. Coasts - According to a new technical report, the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of U.S. coastal communities' social, economic and natural systems.

The report, Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment, authored by leading scientists and experts, emphasizes the need for increased coordination and planning to ensure U.S. coastal communities are resilient against the effects of climate change.

The recently released report examines and describes climate change impacts on coastal ecosystems and human economies and communities, as well as the kinds of scientific data, planning tools and resources that coastal communities and resource managers need to help them adapt to these changes.

A key finding in the report is that all U.S. coasts are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as sea-level rise, erosion, storms and flooding, especially in the more populated low-lying parts of the U.S. coast along the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, northern Alaska, Hawaii, and island territories. Another finding indicated the financial risks associated with both private and public hazard insurance are expected to increase dramatically. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

Columns - Commentary

Doug PattonDOUG PATTON: Gun Violence Victims Not the Only Ones Who "Deserve a Vote" - Barack Obama can spin a lie into what sounds like something akin to the truth better than anyone in politics has done in my lifetime - and that's saying something because it's starting to be quite a long time. His State of the Union speech was Exhibit A.

"They deserve a vote," he intoned during the obligatory gun control portion of his speech. "They deserve a vote," he repeated, just in case you missed it the first time. "Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence — they deserve a simple vote."

Really? On what? Something! We simply must vote on something! As right-wing rocker Ted Nugent succinctly told a reporter who asked him if we shouldn't do something, "Well, if your child is drowning, I could throw her a cinderblock. That would be doing something. It would just be the wrong thing." This perfectly describes the whole debate over the issue of gun violence. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

jpg Danny TyreeDANNY TRYEE: Voluntary Retirement: Can You Take A Hint? - With an editorial titled "Pope Sets Example For Other Aging Leaders," USA Today tried laying a major guilt trip on the nation's authority figures.

Despite using disclaimers such as "There is no magic age for retirement," the newspaper clearly wants to shame prominent people into voluntarily giving up the reins of power.

True, the nation has no shortage of councilmen, chefs, truckers, mechanics, animal trainers, evangelists, journalists and attorneys who might conceivably become a danger to themselves or to others; but critics like to pick on the extreme cases. Like the overburdened doctor who absentmindedly left a tiny sponge sewn up near a patient's pancreas. Granted, the doctor was a PODIATRIST, but... - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013


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letter Open Letter: Stop Cruise Ship Pollution Bill HB 80 By Steve Shrum - For over two decades I have observed cruise ship wastewater discharges, residues and effects in the Ketchikan area by boat and airplane and have concluded that NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO LOOSEN REGULATIONS ON THE CRUISESHIP WASTE WATER DISCHARGE PERMITS. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

letter Protect our Fish By Victoria McDonald - If you're a fisherman, sport, commercial or subsistence, it's important to maintain our nearby streams and rivers. Salmon depend on clean water and each stream is important to maintain genetic diversity. However, one nearby river is under a long range threat; the Unuk, essential for king salmon spawning habitat. Seabridge, a Canadian firm, is pushing ahead with plans for a mine to be located in British Columbia, with a rock storage facility that will drain into a tributary of the Unuk. - More...
Monday PM - february 18, 2013

letter Sealaska bill By Dominic Salvato - What Sealaska calls, "continuation of economic development", is at the terrible cost of native communities, their socioeconomic vitality and their cultural identities and traditions according to decades of peer reviewed research by ethnologists, sociologists, and anthropologists studying the role of ANCSA's corporate model in southeast Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

letter Tax Professionals By Joel Jackson - Many of my fellow islanders are thinking about options available for completing their federal income tax return. If you don't prepare your own, then I would encourage you to choose a tax professional. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

letter On Abortion By Robert Holston - Mr. Oftedahl makes some interesting points in his recent letter on abortion. Unfortunately for him and those who share his unfortunate opinion, their position neglects the validity of sophomore biology and basic forensic science. Unfortunately the opinion that abortion ends a life before it has a chance to begin exhibits scientific ignorance and is blatantly axiomatic. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

letter Obama Sending Arms to Egypt By Donald A. Moskowitz - President Obama is providing 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, which brings its total to 260; and 200 M1A1 Abrams tanks, bringing its total to 1,200.  These arms are offensive weapons which could be used against Israel or resold to other Arab countries or organizations for use against Israel. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

letter Flush this! Or... You’re eating what? By Dennis Simpson - So, having raised the fifth generation in my family in Ketchikan, we moved to the Seattle area.  Frequently, I miss all Ketchikan had to offer and still today the idea of paying for fish is unsettling.  However, I gladly do and only buy Alaskan and have since 1984 recommended to friends, associates, anyone who would listen, only Alaskan fish.  Now and then we even splurge and buy that ‘river’ salmon at $29.00 a pound.  So much for all that.  May as well eat Washington fish, even Puget Sound fish - -well, maybe. - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

letter FairTax replaces income tax and abolishes the IRS.By Ward Atcher - Over 200 years ago our Founders fought tyranny uniquely giving us a democratic republic.  It changed the World.  Americans held liberty steadfast for over a century until Feb. 3, 1913 when the 16th Amendment began trading away our God given Liberties wrested, by our Founders, from tyrants.  - More...
Monday PM - February 18, 2013

letter One Billion Rising By Diane Gubatayao - This February 14th marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day, a worldwide walk/dance out to raise awareness about violence against women. This year the theme is One Billion Rising which reflects the statistic that globally one in three women will be victims of physical or sexual assault in their lifetime. In Alaska, the number is almost double. Ketchikan is participating in this worldwide event to stand together against this injustice. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter RE: Borough Assembly Meetings By Bobbie McCreary - I appreciate the opportunity to bring issues and acknowledgements before the Ketchikan Borough Assembly at two different times per month. Will the "4 shorter" planning sessions be as easily available for this purpose? What time of day will they be held and will the Assembly expect public comments then? - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Education or lack there of. By A.M. Johnson - In response to both Ms.Pardes and Mr. Timmeman's subject of education, it is good to have positions presented for self discussion or public response. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter School funding By Paul Jarvi - MS Pardes, I agree with your ideas about funding, however there are more problems with our state schools than money. Former Governor Murkowski gutted the teacher retirement system. Alaska teachers do not pay into Social Security and if they have other careers that do pay to Social Security they will only get a fraction of what they have paid. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Life does begin at conception! By Cathy Brauning - It been 40 years since the Supreme Court ruled to legalize abortion. Could  nine men really  declare that  it was now legal to destroy another human‘s life?  Well, they did, and now I want to ask you “how has that worked out for us, as a nation and individuals?”  I was a teenager in the 60’s and saw first hand the beginning of a great moral decline in America. “Free love” was touted as the thing that would change our nation and free us from all the restrictions of our predecessors.  Well that mindset did change our nation, but not for the better.  The foundational unit of our society, the family, is rapidly disintegrating. And part of that process is due to legally being able to get rid of the product of our “free love.”  Nothing is ever free. Someone always pays for it.  And in this case it is not only the baby and mom, but our society as a whole. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Board of Fish Proposal 243; Adding Pacific Herring to the State’s Forage Fish Management Plan By Jeff Feldpausch - At its Statewide Finfish meeting in March, the Board of Fish (BoF) will consider the Board generated Proposal 243, which would add Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) to the State’s Forage Fish Management Plan (FFMP).  Pacific herring are currently the only forage fish species that is commercially harvested in the State of Alaska.  The State fails to acknowledge herring as a forage fish by not specifically listing them in its FFMP, however, the FFMP does list exemptions for all existing herring fisheries. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Open Letter To Gov. Parnell: High Gas Prices By David G. Hanger - I am asking you to do something about the extremely high prices we are paying for gasoline in southern Southeast Alaska. Prices have gone down across the nation and across Alaska since the spikes of last summer, but not here. The price here has not changed at all. We are being ripped off. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Chuck Hagel By Michael Mateer - Hagel serves on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world. The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Women of Distinction By Judith Green - What a beautiful night celebrating the contributions of 4 Women of Distinction in Ketchikan: - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter The New Entitlement Class By Michael Spence - For over a decade much of the federal budget debate among House of Representative conservatives, has referred to medicare and social security as a drag on the economy. The term entitlement is used sarcastically. What they are really saying is that Americans who have paid into Social Security and Medicare for their entire lives really are NOT entitled to receive anything in return. Led by Representative Paul Ryan, their budget reform proposals call for cutting such things as these entitlements for middle class Americans.. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Issues By Joey Garcia - The reverberations of the Sitnews' latest issue, it is quite annoying if we dissect these issues per se: John Kimmel's Cruise Ship Wastewater Legislation, the only pro among the cons. patting the back of cruise ships to have enough treatment before discharging them; Bruce Dixon's Dumping in Southeast Waters; Geord Kleinschmidt Drug Testing of contractors and their crews; Dave Timmerman as a citizen in the school board; and the tandem of David Haley and James Sullivan Dumping of contaminants as fecal coliform, ammonia and dissolved metals like copper, zinc, and nickel dropped in the Inside Passage waters. To all of these, its not only a cause for migraines, but probably Flu, and troubling for an average cruise ship to discharge 800 cubic meters which equals to 634 million gallons per season at par equivalent to 19 million bathtubs - WOW, our dear Sitnews Mary Kauffman, might well be commended to keep cool, I guess. - More... 
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Borough assembly meetings By Bill Rotecki - Your Ketchikan Borough Assembly is considering changing its meeting schedule from the first and third Monday of the month with one two day policy session per year to meeting every third week and 4 shorter policy sessions per year. - More...
Friday PM - February 08, 2013

letter Cruise Ship Wastewater Legislation By John Kimmel - I would just like to clarify some misunderstandings about the new cruise ship waste-water bills currently in the Legislature. Opponents have said that the Governor is "gutting" the 2006 Cruise ship initiative. That is far from the truth. Cruise ships in Alaska are NOT dumping raw sewage into state waters. The Cruise ships treat their waste-water to a higher standard than others that discharges into Alaska waters. - More...
Friday PM - February 08, 2013

letter RE: Who's Left With The Bill By Amanda Mitchell - I would recommend all of our town's people to look into the history of our bus barn and into who was making a huge profit and holding all the cards. We, our city, owned the property, but the building was owned by another. It was such a loose contract and, if we decided that we no longer liked the terms, we were stuck with it or we would have had to forfeit the property over to the company. This situation sounds similar. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Underfunding has crippled state’s education system By Joan Pardes - Like everything else in Alaska, the state’s education problem is big. Despite being one of the richest states in America (CNN News), Alaska has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country (U.S. Department of Education).  But more distressing than lagging behind the poorest states is the undisputable fact that education is not a priority for Alaska’s lawmakers. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter RE: Drug Testing By Michael Mateer - First I would like to say in defense of myself & my fellow drivers and equipment operators, we are paid well for what we do and we are hard working men and woman building a community. I find it rude and disrespectful that anyone would suggest that based on our rate of pay that we are are a bunch of drug users. I have lived in this town proudly for 12 years and have been involved in every Davis Bacon job since March 02. I HAVE HELD A CLASS A CDL FOR 30 YEARS accident free. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Repeal of citizens initiative on fast track By Norm Noggle - On the one hand we have a Congress and Governor who approve of $30 million to study the reasons for decline of the King Salmon, which I don't object.  If it takes $30 million to get some "proof" to understand the variety of ways humans have hurt the salmons life process, it's ok with me.  Who knows, it might even result in some positive changes, especially if it doesn't rub up against opposition from some big money interests.  And just maybe our local fisherman can increase their catch and provide more for their families. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Dumping in Southeast waters By Bruce Dixon - The recent legislation passed by the House allowing cruise liners to dump waste in Southeast waters is another example of poor stewardship to our beautiful State. How can we promote our pristine seafood and allow such devastation of natural resources in the same breath? Having worked as a deckhand and learned the value of the salmon species as well as the other sea creatures, it is a crime to dump raw sewage into the areas that we are eating from and swimming in on a frequent basis. Other industries are expected to and required by law to clean up after themselves and be good stewards to the environment and yet our lawmakers are allowing this travesty to occur. With the expulsion of these toxins we are inviting a slew of new health problems and bad press regarding the seafood industry. I cannot understand how one can bargain for the polluting and stripping of our resources in a way that could be avoided. Jobs are necessary but so is responsible stewardship of the ecosystem. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Hypocrite Thy Name is Democrat By Gene Peterson - Dear Mary Kauffman, I love Sitnews. It is always the first thing I read in the morning. But I have to take issue with one of your news stories: GOP bill would discharge cruiseship sewage in Alaska waters. When you use the Democrat's propaganda as news, there will be problems. It is like using PETA as a source of information on lamb chops, or the Ku Klux Klan on race. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter HB 80 By Robert Rice - Our representatives are supposedly in office to represent the will of the people who elected them. The voters of Alaska passed an initiative in 2006 to protect our pristine waters from the pollution from the cruise ships. The arrogance of Governor Parnell and the legislature to blatantly overturn the initiative that was voted in by the people is unbelievable. I would be very curious to see how much this self-serving, parasite's 'personal wealth increases from when he inherited the governorship of Alaska. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter CBS/KPU Solution and Thoughts By Jason Mitchell - Regarding CBS Southeast: All of this has been going back and forth, back and forth, with both sides blaming the other I recently took the time, to call both parties, and have close to an hour long phone conversation with both Ed Cushing, and some random guy who called me back when the local CBS lady couldn't help me, and said he was the owner. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

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