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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 26, 2013

Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Panorama Reflections
The small cove near the underpass at the Ketchikan
International Airport on Gravina Island.
Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
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Ketchikan: Alaska Territorial Guard members to be honored in Ketchikan - Five Alaska Territorial Guard heroes will be honored in Ketchikan next week and will be given their official U.S. Army honorable discharge certificates, nearly 70 years after their admirable service in defending Alaska during World War II.

Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, and Verdie Bowen, director of the Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs, will present the Alaska Territorial Guard Service Medal and honorable discharge certificates on March 5th to Henry Neligan, Craig ATG unit; Ralph Devenny, Wrangell ATG unit; Victor Klose, Ketchikan ATG unit; and brothers John and Willard Reese, both with the Ketchikan ATG unit. The event will take place from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m at Ketchikan Indian Community Meals and Wheels Center located at 615 Stedman Street.

 Neligan is 100 years old and will celebrate his 101st birthday in May. He is the oldest living Alaska Territorial Guard veteran who will have received his honorable discharge certificate.

The Alaska Territorial Guard was formed during World War II all across the territory of Alaska to defend against foreign enemies. From 1942-1947, more than 6,400 Alaskans volunteered and answered the call to protect our land and nation. These brave men and women did not go through basic military training, but they still faithfully guarded their assigned territory with little equipment and no pay until the ATG was disbanded in 1947.

The late Sen. Ted Stevens, of Alaska, worked tirelessly to get the Alaska Territorial Guard the recognition and benefits they earned. In 2000, service in the Alaska Territorial Guard was given federal recognition as Public Law 106-259 and under Title 38 – Veterans Benefits in the U.S. Code. This allowed our ATG veterans to receive all benefits afforded those who served on active duty. ATG members now hold veteran status and can apply for U.S Army honorable discharges. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

Ketchikan: 6th Grader Recognized for Heroic Efforts By MARY KAUFFMAN - By proclamation, Ketchikan Borough Mayor Dave Kiffer recognized 6th grade student Griffin Effenberger who recently came to the aid of a choking student. Effenberger was recognized for his heroic efforts during a meeting of the Borough Assembly Monday evening.

On February 6th, while walking down the hall at Fawn Mountain Elementary School after eating lunch, Effenberger took it upon himself to come to the aid of a fellow student when he noticed a fellow student who appeared to be choking on a carrot.

Effenberger first tried to give the student a smack on the back and when that didn't work, Effenberger employed the Heimlich maneuver successfully dislodging the carrot from the grateful classmate. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

Southeast Alaska: Bill Reintroduced to Repeal Tongass Roadless Rule; Begich Says Southeast Alaskans need more jobs, not more federal rules - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) re-introduced legislation today to repeal the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.  The rule applies to the Tongass National Forest, forcing management by a “one-size fits all” federal rule rather than the locally driven 2008 Tongass Land Management Plan.

“It’s past time to eliminate this cookie cutter federal regulation that is stifling the Southeast Alaska economy,” said Senator Begich. “Southeast communities and small businesses need options to strengthen the region’s economy through responsible resource development like potential mining projects on Prince of Wales Island as well as economic timber sales.”

“Unemployment in the rural portions of Southeast Alaska currently averages more than 15%,” said Begich. “Energy costs in those communities without hydropower are too high as well. Instead of adding options, the roadless rule takes them away. The residents of Southeast Alaska don’t need more rules from Washington. They need more jobs and economic diversification.” - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

Alaska Science: Southwest Alaska challenging for travel, shelter By NED ROZELL - Outside the Fly By Café, the ravens are flying backwards. At least they appear to be, as a powerful wind suspends them in time and space.

A brewing ground blizzard in this Southwest Alaska hub is making it difficult for Jack Hébert to get to Atmautluak, a village of less than 300 people here on the flats of the Kuskokwim River Delta. Hébert, president and founder of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, is travelling to Atmautluak because members of the village’s tribal council called him for advice. The villagers want to both build their own homes and set up their own construction company.

Hébert, along with Aaron Cooke, an architectural designer with the center, want to partner with the people of Atmautluak as they have assisted others in places like Anaktuvuk Pass, Quinhagak, Crooked Creek and Point Lay. In Anaktuvuk, center staffers helped design and build low-cost, fuel-sipping, semi-subterranean houses that meshed with the country and the lifestyles of the locals. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Making a 'Spectacle' of Myself - Geezerdom arrived on February 8, 2013.

That was the day my first real pair of glasses arrived.

You see, I have always had what an early doctor called "fighter pilot" eyesight. Growing up it was around 20-16, which in some circles (especially those that involve maximum G forces) is considered better than 20-20.

Of course, I combined "fighter pilot eyesight" with "three-toed sloth" reflexes, which explains why I am not a Full Bird Colonel in the Air Force or leading some carrier group in the Pacific right now.

I've never been exactly sure what "fighter pilot" eyesight meant in the real world anyhow, but I have clearly always been able to pick out individual trees on far, far away mountains. I have also been able to detect suspicious ripples on the water a long, long way off. These are important life skills, I am sure, although I have yet to find a way to make out of those skills. I think I am two hundred years too late to do that.

Anyway, things have changed just a bit since I steamed past 50 a few years ago.

First of all, they started printing the instructions on electronics in a really, really, really small print type.

In order to save space someone clearly decided it would be more efficient to approach “fine print” from the perspective of seeing how many angels would fit on the head of a pin. It like those weird displays you see where someone claims to have written the Declaration of Independence on a grain of rice. Really? Why? Is that any more impressive or relevant than the Constitution on a potato chip? - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013


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letter Wrestling By Adam P. Minshall - Good day to all in the community.  My name is Adam P Minshall and I would like to thank all the hard working participants of the Kurt Kuehl Middle School Championship Wrestling event.  It's always a fun spectacle to watch these wrestling events in our area.  I feel that as a community in Southeast Alaska we have a group of amazing volunteers for our wrestling program.  Every time I go to the events it's a huge wrestling reunion, which really makes me appreciate all the hard work that our hardworking coaches put back in to our program.  It's a reflection of our town and coming togetherness for the kids in our area, and that's pretty important.  Wrestling builds a lot of character and I feel that most people that have wrestled or know a wrestler feel the same way.  It certainly is a unique sport that dates back to the days of the Greeks. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Stop The HIT On Small Business By Denny DeWitt and Dan Danner - Three years since its passage, the law that had promised to drive down costs and make health insurance more affordable for working families is proving a failure on all fronts. This is especially true when it comes to small businesses, their workers and the self-employed in Alaska.  - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter 40 Days For Life By Robert Holston - There are certainly many arguments that have been made as to why a woman has the right to an abortion.  Indeed, not the least of these is that it was argued before the highest court in the land and became law 40 years ago.  Pro-CHOICE is very AMERICAN.  We decide what to wear, what to drink, what to drive, what to smoke, what to do for work...... To choose, is a human right and very American.  As the local leader for the 40 Days For Life campaign, let me thank the volunteers for standing  on Tongass and on the principles of protecting the innocent.  I am familiar with the arguments that separate this nation along choice / life lines.  I will quote some of the common arguments and briefly state why they fail in the light of rational thought & present day science. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Life Begins at Conception By A.M. Johnson - In support of Ms Cathy Brauning’s  plea, I submit the following on abortion and life beginning at conception. As a simple common sense statement: If you’re pronounced dead when your heart stops beating……. why aren’t you pronounced alive when your heart starts beating? - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Mountain Point Boat Launch By John A. Beck - I read in the paper that the City of Ketchikan accepted ownership from the Sate for the property including the Mountain Point boat launch. - More...
Tueday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Keeping working people poor By Beverly A. Martin - Poverty should never be the goal of a governmental tax structure yet our income tax is designed to keep working people poor. Hidden corporate taxes raise the wholesale cost of goods and services while the 7.65 percent payroll tax ensures less take-home pay for buying goods and services. The FairTax HR25 ends the income tax and restores economic prosperity. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Help for “Made in America” companies By Patrick Meuleman - Alaska can be a tough place to do business. That is especially true in today’s global economy, where competition from imports makes the business climate even more difficult. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Support HR25 & A Fair Tax By Anthony Gasbarro - Our federal tax code is broken.  There are more than 2 changes to it every congressional day for 20 years.  It is so complicated that many IRS employees can’t explain it accurately.  It is 72,000 pages long.  A tax code that has fostered an industry, tax lobbyists, who outnumber DC elected officials 32 to 1.  The government picks winners and losers.  We’ve become so smart but we’ve lost common sense. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

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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