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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 20, 2013


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Alaska: Cruise Ship Waste Water Bill Goes To Governor; Regulations relaxed on cruise ship waste water discharge - By MARY KAUFFMAN - House Bill 80 is now headed to Governor Parnell for his signature after the measure passed the Senate on a 14-6 vote Tuesday.

Once signed by the Governor Parnell, who also introduced the bill, the measure will relax regulations on cruise ships, and will permit the vessels to use mixing zones when cruise ships release waste. Once signed, it strikes part of a 2006 citizens’ initiative that requied vessels to meet clean water standards at the point of discharge.

Minority Democrats in the Senate cited striking part of a citizens’ initiative requiring vessels to meet clean water standards at the point of discharge as a reason for opposing the bill during their floor speeches.

In 2006, Alaskans voted to enact legislation which said cruise ships “may not discharge untreated sewage, treated sewage, graywater or other wastewaters in a manner that violates any applicable effluent limits or standards under state or federal law, including Alaska Water Quality Standards governing pollution at the point of discharge.”

Parnell’s bill repeals the last clause of this law so that dumping of ‘partially’ treated sewage and wastewater in Alaska state waters (in areas labeled “mixing zones”) could be considered adequate “treatment.”

HB 80 passed the Alaska State House last week and received a final Senate vote yesterday. On February 13th, Senate Republicans rejected amendments which Alaska Democrats said would have protected state-designated fish and game refuges from dumping and which would have required public disclosure of where cruise ships are dumping partially treated sewage and wastewater. House Republicans also rejected a public right-to-know amendment and an amendment to protect fisheries, both of which were introduced by House Democrats.

Sen. Lyman Hoffman, a Democrat from Bethel, joined the Senate majority in approving the measure. The bill passed the House last week on similar party lines.

According to Senator Cathy Giessel’s (R- Anchorage) floor speech on Tuesday, HB 80 allows for a cruise ship effluent mixing zone to meet Alaska marine Water Quality Standards. She said these are the same mixing zones that allow municipal wastewater treatment plants, fish processors, and others to have mixing zones permitted through a public process.

Sen. Giessel speaking in support of HB 80 on the Senate floor said the bill is a result of years of research by two science-based advisory panels, two technology workshops that were held in Juneau, and by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Giessel said technology has significantly advanced the wastewater treatment systems that are required on large cruise ships with more than 250 lower berths in Alaska waters. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

Fish Factor: Alaska Salmon Markets Favorable By LAINE WELCH - In a word, the outlook for Alaska salmon markets this year is favorable. 

That’s the conclusion of Gunnar Knapp, fisheries economist at the University of Alaska/Anchorage in an overview of world markets to Alaska legislators.

Knapp cited three key factors for the short term outlook:  lower sockeye harvests, strong canned salmon markets with low inventories, and strengthening prices for farmed salmon. 

Lower harvests can boost prices, and Alaska wild salmon tends to follow the price trend for farmed salmon, which dominates global markets. Alaska’s 2012 harvest of nearly 124 million salmon was the lowest since 1998.

Farmed Atlantic salmon now accounts for two-thirds of world supply.  Alaska wild salmon accounts for less than one third of U.S. fresh and frozen salmon consumption.

Positive trends for Alaska show a steady increase in the value of pink salmon -- nearly two-thirds of Alaska pink  production was frozen in 2011 instead of going into lower value cans. That compares to less than 20 percent of pinks hitting the freezers in the late 1990s. 

Alaska also has diversified its markets,  with less salmon going to Japan, and more going to Europe and China, where it is reprocessed into portions and sent back to the US and other places for sale.  - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

Alaska: Alaska Permanent Fund reaches $45 billion - The Alaska Permanent Fund reached a new high water mark on February 19, closing for the first time with an unaudited value of $45.0 billion.

“Significant milestones in the Permanent Fund’s value provide us with the opportunity to stop and reflect on what has been a very successful public policy experiment,” said Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board Chair Bill Moran. “The total value is less important than the fact that the Fund’s investments have turned a non-renewable natural resource into a renewable financial resource.”

CEO Mike Burns added, “In July 2007, shortly before the beginning of the recent recession, the Fund first closed at $40 billion. Reaching $45 billion is a welcome sign the Fund has not only regained lost ground, but is growing again.” - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

KMC Auxiliary announces $45,000 in awards for the Medical Center and Clinics - In the Ketchikan Medical Center lobby, there is a small but very special gift shop. The shop has cards and baby gifts, jewelry and toys, sock, scarves and purses and it is staffed by an incredible team of volunteers from the KMC Auxiliary. These dedicated volunteers give their time to manage and staff the gift shop, so it always makes a tidy profit.

Each year the Auxiliary reinvests a significant portion of those profits into the Ketchikan Medical Center. At its annual meeting this past Saturday, February 16, the Auxiliary reviewed funding proposals from various department managers and staff. Ultimately, the Auxiliary decided on its largest ever single award of $26,000 for a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) — an IV method used for patients with difficult IV access or who require long term IV antibiotic or drug therapy. The request came from the PICC Team, which represents the group of nurses at KMC who are certified in PICC line insertion.

Patients will benefit from the new ultrasound technology that is best practice technique and current standard of care. “This unit will be a tremendous addition to our medical center,” said Tom Day, RN, clinical nurse lead for the project. “It will make IV insertion much easier on the patient and nurses will be able to position the IV with minimal delay.”

This portable unit will be used throughout the hospital as well as the Transitional Care Unit.

“Choosing to fund the request from the PICC Team made a lot of sense since it will benefit so many,” said Auxiliary President Carolyn Wilsie. “We had about $45,000 to allocate but we had almost $110,000 in requests. I wish we could have given to all the proposals. These are always difficult decisions.” - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

Ketchikan: UAS Ketchikan Announces Fall 2012 Honors List - University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan announced the students who have made the UAS Dean’s List for the Fall 2012 semester.

Making the Fall 2012 semester Dean’s Honors List are Starla Agoney, Tuffina Arnold, Meghan Evans, Sarah Hollimon, Jennifer Jones, Alexis McColley-Edwardson, Tara Miller, Amanda Newell, Larissa Otness, Tyler Renojo, Katelynn Ross, Chris Terry, Jeremiah Tucker, Teresa Varnell, Melissa Williams, Carena Wood and Nichole Yoder. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013


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letter Museum Expansion Project By Laurie Pool, Tongass Historical Society - Plans for a new or renovated museum have been talked about for years. The Centennial Building was built in 1967 and originally housed the Tongass Historical Society museum, and a federally funded exhibit about the purchase of Alaska. When the federal exhibit came down, the City’s library moved into the space left by the exhibit in 1968.  Almost immediately a need for more space was recognized.  In 1997 a concept design was completed for a new 27,000 s.f. museum to be added onto the Discovery Center.  In 2004 another 30,000 s.f. concept design was presented using the existing footprint of the Centennial Building, rising vertically. Both concepts would have included the famous Ellis Airlines Grumman Goose which the Tongass Historical Society owns and hopes to someday find a place to safely and properly display.  Despite best efforts, neither concept was pursued by the City. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

letter Passage of HB 80 by Alaska Senate By Michelle Ridgway - Despite the rush to move this bill, many legislators were developing a deeper understanding of the technological potential for ships to meet water quality criteria at the pipe and the scientific implications of not doing so. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

letter Helping Our Kake Neighbors By Bobbi Leichty - The motto for Alaska’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is, ‘Neighbor Helping Neighbor’ and in the past several weeks, I’ve been able to witness communities walking the walk, not just talking the talk. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

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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