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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 12, 2015

Front Page Photograph by CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON

Thomas Basin
Front Page Photograph by CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON ©2015
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Alaska Pilots Experiencing Benefits of Weather Cameras ; Technicians installed the 221st and final weather camera on Prince of Wales Island - As winter weather whips the nation’s northern-most state, pilots now have access to a fully deployed Alaska Weather Camera Program to help them determine when and where it’s safe to fly.

Alaska Pilots Experiencing Benefits of Weather Cameras

The most remote camera site is in the tidal zone of the Behm Canal in the Misty Fiords National Monument. It is located approximately 52 water-miles from the nearest harbor at Ketchikan. (This is a photo of one of the many ocean inlets in Misty Fjords, not a photograph of the weather camera's location.)
Photo courtesy

The program, which the Federal Aviation Administration completed ahead of time and on budget, improves safety and efficiency by providing pilots with near real-time, visual weather information. It includes a recently updated website that enhances navigational planning on an interactive map with easily accessible images and other weather data products.

“The completion of this program marks another milestone in our continuing commitment to aviation safety in Alaska,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “These cameras are critical in making sure that people in Alaska can get to their destination as safely as possible.”

The pictures have been critical in helping pilots in Alaska make better safety decisions. The program also helps aircraft operators save fuel by eliminating situations where pilots take off only to find they have to return due to bad weather.

More than three-quarters of Alaskan communities have no access to highways or roads and depend on aviation for access to food, mail, jobs, schools, medical services and travel. For these communities, small aircraft are essential to everyday life.

The program began in 1999. The FAA installed the 100th weather camera at Quinahak in May 2009 and the 150th at Talkeetna in 2011. Technicians installed the 221st and final weather camera in September 2014 at Harris River on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

Alaska: Governor will drop his Point Thomson public interest lawsuit - Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I) announced Wednesday during a House Resources committee hearing he will drop his public interest litigant lawsuit on Point Thomson once he submits legislation on Friday to ensure the state Constitution and state laws are never again violated in negotiations to develop Alaska’s natural resources.

Members of the House Resources committee had asked that someone from Walker's Administration testify on the Point Thomson lawsuit that Walker brought several years ago as a public interest litigant. Rather than send someone from his administration, Governor Walker spoke directly to the committee to "set the record straight".



Walker explained why he brought his public interest lawsuit in 2005. He said, "In 1975 and 1977, the first wells were drilled at Point Thomson. Since then, we have known that the Point Thomson area is rich in oil and gas. Point Thomson is one of Alaska’s natural resource crown jewels."

Governor will drop his Point Thomson public interest lawsuit

Governor Walker, Wednesday, during a press availability on Point Thomson Decision.
Video clip photo courtesy Office of the Governor

Walker said in his testimony to the committee, "The field contains trillions of cubic feet of natural gas reserves, and hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and condensate. It’s a resource that is worth billions of dollars to the state and means thousands of jobs to Alaskans."

That wealth has been kept from the market and from Alaskans for decades, said Walker.

Walker presented some numbers and a history of how that happened.

He said the Point Thomson unit is 93-thousand acres of land which contains 38 leases. Richfield Oil, Humble Oil and BP acquired the very first oil and gas leases in Point Thomson in 1965. Twelve years later, Exxon discovered very substantial oil and gas in the main Point Thomson reservoir.

In 1977, the state approved ExxonMobil as the unit operator. For 22 years, Exxon presented 22 individual plans of development –one each year—for the Point Thomson unit. Yet, no development occurred testified Walker.

"So in 2005, as the state was evaluating yet another Plan of Development - the 23rd POD - I brought a lawsuit against the state on behalf of citizen taxpayers. The relief sought was for the state to at least hold a public hearing on why the state should or should not grant yet another POD when no development had taken place at Point Thomson since 1983," said Walker. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

Alaska: Murkowski and Sullivan Fight Unilateral Land and Water Blocks by Executive Use of Antiquities Act - - Wednesday, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act legislation that would prohibit any White House from unilaterally designating national monuments on federal lands and waters under a century-old measure called the Antiquities Act without Congressional approval and the approval of affected state’s legislatures.

This legislative action followed the recent Aleutians Marine Sanctuary nomination, submitted just before Christmas , that put Alaska’s coastal communities and fishing industry on high alert and concerned about the impact designating 550,000 square nautical miles of federal waters north and south of the Aleutian Islands from commercial activity would have on their way of life and opportunities for economic development.



The Aleutians Marine Sanctuary was proposed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and several Alaska and national marine conservation organizations on Dec. 22nd. The nomination of the area as a marine sanctuary was rejected by NOAA on Jan. 26th as being insufficient for not reflecting “community interests” or “support from the federal and state agencies listed as potential management partners.”

After receiving the letter of rejection from NOAA, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said the only path to obtain permanent federal protection for Alaska waters may be designation of the region as a national monument by President Obama using his powers under the Antiquities Act. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

Alaska: Express your opinions on daylight saving time - Tuesday, members of the Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee moved Senate Bill 6 out of committee, which would repeal daylight saving time in Alaska. SB6, sponsored by Senator Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River), would allow Alaska to stay on standard time throughout the year.

“I introduced this bill after hearing a number of concerns from constituents, fellow Alaskans, and various groups that would like to repeal daylight saving time in Alaska and I would like to hear from more Alaskans around the state,” said Senator MacKinnon.

Alaskans are being asked to complete an online survey expressing their opinions on daylight saving time. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Southeast Alaska Guides Organization Names New Executive Director - The Southeast Alaska Guides Organization (SEAGO) recently named Ryan Makinster as Executive Director. Makinster brings more than 16 years of non-profit administration, public relations, communications, and government relations experience to SEAGO.

His primary responsibilities will include member relations, industry education and advocacy, and managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. He will also be responsible for communications, development and government relations.

Prior to joining the SEAGO, Makinster served as Chief of Staff to Representative Mia Costello. He has also worked as Communications and Events Director for the Alaska Chamber and Communications Director for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. Before that, he spent 5 years as a legislative aide in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate.

“I believe this is a great chance for me to help grow the organization and promote a sustainable industry that benefits not only Southeast communities but all of Alaska,” says Makinster. He goes on to say, “By working together with all stakeholders we can promote tourism, economic development and an industry that works to benefit local communities while protecting the resource on which it depends.” Makinster is an avid sport fisherman and is looking forward to spending some additional time in Southeast during the summer. "When I heard that fishing in Southeast was one of the perks of the job it definitely cemented my interest in the position."
- More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015


Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom Purcell
TOM PURCELL: Valentine's Day Advice for Wary Women - With Valentine's Day upon us, female readers are again pummeling me with questions on how to woo the modern male.

Dear Tom: I am as particular about the body washes, vitamin-enriched lotions and shower gels as any lady, but my boyfriend has taken such concerns to ridiculous levels. He has dozens of bottles in his shower and tells me he needs every one of them to achieve the optimum fragrance. I fear he cares more for his shower gels than he does me. — Shower Gels

Dear Shower Gels: It is true that your boyfriend's obsession with shower gels is a relatively new phenomenon. In prior generations, when men were much less self-absorbed in superficial things, men measured themselves not so much by how they smelled, but by how they lived and acted. But maybe your boyfriend's obsession with himself is partly related to his feelings for you. Maybe he only wants to achieve the optimum fragrance because that's what he thinks you want. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

jpg Danny Tyree
DANNY TYREE: Valentine's Day: No 'Tipping' Allowed - The internet is really wasted on me and wife Melissa around Valentine's Day.

If you do a news search for "Valentine's Day," there are tips, hints, reminders, suggestions, pointers and guilt trips aplenty — but none that really mesh with our lifestyle.

Surely you've seen the breathless suggestions of "getaways" to mountain bed-and-breakfasts or tropical resorts. In my family dynamic, "getaways" are more along the lines of "Get away from those cookies; they're for the school bake sale! Get away from that website; you don't know WHERE that woman has been!"

Numerous stories tout "making memories" on Valentine's Day. This will be our 28th Valentine's Day since we started dating, and those occasions sort of blur together. I know some couples have a freakish "Rain Man" talent for recalling every detail of every Valentine's Day, but I can live without ever-present images of moonlit walks and carriage rides. At my age, I just want to remember why I entered the kitchen carrying a toilet brush, a jumper cable and a Monopoly top hat. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Goodbye Daily Show

Political Cartoon: Goodbye Daily Show
By Steve Sack ©2015, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Feral cats, Tamed but outdoors By Jim Lewis - Should cats be treated any differently than dogs?? I don't think so at all. It is a problem around Ketchikan that should be dealt with instead of letting cats run free without a license. If my dog were running loose there would be a fine. If it were to bite somebody it would be impounded and a fee would be imposed. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

letter State of Alaska, Got Gas? By Tara Jollie - Sure do, in abundance. Oil too for that matter. It is a long and winding path that has led to the current state dilemma of (1) providing public services in the face of a crippling fiscal deficit, (2) reducing a bloated government, and (3) striking a balance in a state deeply divided on the political front. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

letter Ketchikan gas prices By Eric Weaver - I have lived in many parts of the state. Some of these place, have massive storage for fuel. ALL of them have cheaper fuel prices than Ketchikan! Here are a few very remote locations and their prices. - More...
Thursday AM - February 12, 2015

Naha Devastation By Mike Youngblood - July 1978 – that’s the first time I went to the Naha. Since that time I’ve gone there dozens of times, at all times of the year. I’ve been there on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, 4th of July, and everything in between. But never, until last weekend, had I seen it like this. - More...
Tuesday AM - February 10, 2015

letter A Threat To Ward Creek Trail By Eric Muench - Over the years extensive trail systems have been built in the Ward, Connell and Perseverance Lakes and Ward Creek and Salvage Road areas. Ward Creek Trail, in the heart of these, is now at risk. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter What should Ketchikan do about ‘feral’ cats? By Kim Whalen - This has been written in response to recent Borough Assembly and Animal Control discussions regarding solutions for ‘feral’ cats in our community. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter Astounding State of Alaska Pay Scale By A.M. Johnson - Interesting article in the Alaska Dispatch News this date (2-6-15) regarding pay schedule for deputy commissioners and other high level personnel. Would the common man ever be made aware of these astronomical pay scales in several categories had not this publication had the fortitude to bring them to light? - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter REMEMBERING PATCHWorks By Diane Gubatayao - Over fifteen years ago a great many citizens of Ketchikan participated in a planning process led by Ketchikan Public Health. The key question was what builds a healthy community? Their response was not the customary prevent heart disease or prevent cancer. Their response was truly visionary: if we want to build a healthy community, we need to invest in healthy youth. But how? - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter ONE BILLION RISING 2/14/15 By Janalee Minnich Gage - Ketchikan is an amazing community where amazing people come together regardless of how busy their daily lives are. The first time I heard of one billion rising, was last year. I went online and listened first to the song, and then I watched several videos from around the world where communities from the Philippines to Africa joined together for this 5-6 minute flash mob dance. I was drawn in simply because I was a student of dance throughout grade school and middle school and always felt this great freedom of expression, and happiness from it. I am older and slower today, and yet I am still drawn as I believe so many of us are to dance. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter GAS PRICE: THE EXTENT OF THE RIP-OFF THIS WEEK By David G Hanger  - Talked to the ex- on the phone a few days ago. The price of gasoline in San Antonio is now $1.60 a gallon and still falling. What that means is the price of gasoline dropped 40 cents a gallon in the first three weeks of January. In Arkansas the price is down to $1.56. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter RE: IRS Debacle By Stephen C, Eldridge - This letter is just one more example of FairTax® deception. The FairTax® does not cure excessive, foolish, un-Constitutional federal spending - that is a distinctly different problem from the tax system. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter Let’s win assault on Alaska together By U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan - Most of us remember where we were when we first learned of some momentous event that seemed briefly to freeze history in time. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter Break the Chain By Diane Gubatayao - What do one billion and 50% have in common? They both represent statistics about violence against women and girls. According to the World Health Organization, one third or one billion women and girls around the world experience either domestic or sexual violence in their lifetime. Here in Ketchikan, according to a survey conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, 1 out of 2 women over 18 years of age in Ketchikan have been victims of DV or SA in their lifetime. These are staggering numbers and very real. - More..
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter Inflated Gas Prices By Bobbie McCreary - Filled up last night in Lincoln, CA for $2.09. Since January 25th as I traveled through Nebraska and Minnesota and California, I have not seen a price higher than $2.49 anywhere, regardless of city or rural area. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter IRS debacle By Joe O'Hara - It just isn't fair! We work hard for our money. But the government takes a portion and allocates it to programs we could never justify. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter "Snake Oil” By Tom Dowdy - The National Association for Gun Rights has recently undertaken a campaign to smear hundreds of thousands of great patriots around the nation that are responding to the call of the founders to use the single most powerful tool given to us to save our nation. This group contemptibly refers to the lawful, orderly, and Constitutional process in Article V as “snake oil”. They invoke the names of men like James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, and refer to the date of the Philadelphia Convention as being 1789 (What ?). - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter THE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC), FACT, FAD, OR FANTASY? By David G Hanger, EA, MBA - While the extra fees from the formation of all these limited liability companies definitely adds considerably to my bankroll, the older ethics of my profession, to which I still adhere, specifies that I, as a licensed practitioner, must do no harm to my client’s financial position; thus professional responsibility alone warrants the caution that the LLC in most instances, by which I mean in excess of 98% of them, will not limit at all personal liability if something bad happens in a business operation. In other words for most of you it is just a waste of money and time, and that money could be better directed to one of the two things that actually can limit your personal liability: Insurance. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter Ketchikan gas prices By Bill Christensen - Wow, the beginning of this week gas in town was showing $3.43 per gallon at Safeway. Also there was an article in the news stating the reason for the gas prices dropping so slowly here is because of bulk storage. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter Keeping Ferry Bars Open By Michael Moyer - Who gave the State Ferry system the right to close the lounges on the ferries? The Alaska Marine Highway ferries are the property of the people of the State of Alaska. The people of the State of Alaska should be asked if THEY want the lounges closed. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter ANWR: Why not lock it up? By John Suter - The reason President Obama is locking up ANWR from oil development is because the state wouldn’t get anything from this development. The state is giving all of the money it would make from oil going through the pipeline this year and next year to the oil companies plus an additional 500 million dollars of cash from the state's savings account. The states motto is “Ask not what the oil companies can do for you, but what you can do for the oil companies”. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter Too many childish mistakes to be real. By Richard Davis - While the series is interesting, the Discovery Channel probably shouldn't try to pass the Browns off as anything other than what they really are. Greenhorns that have decided to try to make it in the wild. They make far far too many mistakes that could be fatal to have the experience they profess to have. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter RE: Off Leash is lethal By Marlene Steiner - I had accidentally hit a dog one time when I was out North of town. The dog was lucky because I had to stop for a school bus and when I started driving a dog darted right out in front me. I hit it on the back upper leg. I did stop and tried to find it to see if was ok but could not find it. I contacted the State Troopers about Leash Laws for North end and I was told there is a Leash Law for all of the Ketchikan area. I explained what had happened and was told the owner of the dog that was hit is in the wrong for letting it run lose. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

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