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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 12, 2007

The Alaska Sportsman

The Tenacious Emery Tobin
A Feature Story By Louise Brinck Harrington
The Alaska Sportsman in the old hospital building-1952.
Photograph Courtesy of Tongass Historical Society

Top Stories
U.S. News
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Ketchikan: The Tenacious Emery Tobin - A Feature Story LOUISE BRINCK HARRINGTON - You have to hand it to Emery Tobin: He was one tenacious guy.

It must have been in his blood, inherited from his father August Tobin. Back in 1898 August Tobin left his family-wife Emma and two children, Emery and Florence-in Boston and struck out for Alaska.

"He was going to find gold and get rich quick-in a year," Emery Tobin said of his father in a 1965 interview.

August Tobin, however, fell under the spell of the Arctic and "instead of spending a year in Alaska, my father spent the rest of his life."

After 20 years near Wiseman, Alaska, August Tobin gave up on gold, started working his way south, made it as far as Ketchikan, and could not bring himself to go farther. He did not want to leave Alaska.

So in 1920, at the age of 25, Emery Tobin met his dad in Ketchikan, at that time a bustling fishing village of about 2500. Both Emery and August found jobs at the New England Fish Company, Emery in the office and August in the cold storage plant. By 1921 they'd saved enough money to send for Emery's mother and sister. - More...
Monday AM - March 12, 2007


Alaska: Alaska scientists put on ice over polar bear talk By JANE KAY - The federal agency responsible for protecting Arctic polar bears has barred two Alaska scientists from speaking about polar bears, climate change or sea ice at international meetings in the next few weeks, a move that environmentalists say is censorship.

The rule was issued last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service but was made public this week. The federal government has proposed listing the polar bear as a threatened species, and the wildlife agency is receiving public comment on the proposal.

"It's a gag order," said Deborah Williams, a former high-level Interior Department official in Anchorage, Alaska, who received documents on Wednesday from Alaska scientists who chose to remain unnamed. The documents make the subjects of polar bears, climate change and sea ice off limits to all scientists who haven't been cleared to speak on the topics.

Two of the memos are copies of those prepared for Craig Perham and Janet E. Hohn, who are traveling to Russia and Norway this month and in April. The scientists "will not be speaking on or responding to these issues" of climate change, polar bears and sea ice, the memos say. Before any trip, such a memo must be sent to the administrator of the Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington. - More...
Monday AM - March 12, 2007


Fish Factor: First solar powered samon fishery soon to go into operation By LAINE WELCH - The first ever solar powered salmon fishery will be operating this summer at Lummi Island, home to the world's only remaining reefnet fishery. It's located at the northeast tip of the San Juan archipelago in Washington, near Bellingham.

Reefnetting is perhaps the oldest form of net fishing in the world. Called "the original and still the best in selective fishing" by the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, it was done centuries ago by Native Americans using cedar canoes and cedar nets. Although the boats are bigger now and winches are used to pull the nets, there isn't much difference in the fishing method to this day.

Instead of chasing the fish with motorized boats, reefnet fishermen create an elaborate array of lines and ribbons that form a funnel shaped reef. As the fish swim along, they are forced upwards and over into a large net suspended between two anchored barges.

"We stand on towers on each barge and watch for the fish. When a school comes over the net, we lift it up with electric winches and spill the fish into a live well filled with slush ice," explained Riley Starks of the Lummi Island Wild Coop.

The winches are powered by banks of six volt batteries, which must be ferried to shore for recharging. "For years we've talked about ways of rigging something up so we wouldn't have to bring thousands of pounds of batteries in every night," Starks said. The fishermen believe the sun will provide the solution.

The coop has partnered with Bellingham-based Alpha Energy to power the salmon fishery with solar panels. This spring Alpha Energy will donate and install the panels on three of the 11 barge/net operations (called "gears") that comprise the reefnet fleet. Starks estimated the panels cost $10,000 per gear, and said the coop will expand solar energy to the entire fishery. - More...
Monday AM - March 12, 2007

Alaska: State wants helicopters to rescue wolf-kill program By ALEX deMARBAN - With the state's wolf-kill program severely behind schedule - costly fuel and uncooperative weather have grounded many volunteer pilots and gunners - game managers want state helicopters to come to the rescue.

They need a decision from Gov. Sarah Palin to make it happen.

State biologists wanted at least 382 wolves killed before the snow melts. Snow allows pilots to track them.

But gunners have killed only 38 wolves so far this winter, said Matt Robus, wildlife conservation director.

March, with long daylight hours and ample snowfall, has proven to be one of the better killing months. But the clock is ticking, Board of Game members say. And if the state doesn't meet its goal, the four-year program could be set back. - More...
Monday AM - March 12, 2007

Hot Feats

Hot Feats!
Front Page Photo and
Photo Gallery by Carl Thompson

National: Government agencies less likely to grant information requests By THOMAS HARGROVE - Many government agencies have curtailed dramatically the amount of information they release to the public, raising new doubts that authorities are abiding by the landmark Freedom of Information Act.

The law, first signed on the Fourth of July 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson and amended several times, has resulted in some of history's most important disclosures of government error, oversight and abuse.

But in recent years, agencies have cut in half or more the number of requests that result in disclosure of information, according to a study of federal compliance records from 2000 to 2006 by Scripps Howard.


Basic Rules

letter What message are we sending? By Ken Montero - Monday AM
letter Bottom line... By Mark Gatti - Monday AM
letterGravina By Anita Hales - Monday AM
letter God Bless You Dick By Miguel Torres - Monday AM
letter "300" By Mark Neckameyer - Monday AM
letter 'Alaska scientists aim at offering climate services' By Pete Ellsworth - Monday AM
letter Disaster Plans Needed Now! By Sonia Streitmatter - Monday AM
letter New Daylight Savings Time By Ken Levy - Monday AM
letter Natural Gas, logging, roads and so on. By Robert McRoberts - Monday AM
letter Schoenbar incident By Rebecca Clark - Thursday PM
letterSchool Superintendent, Wrong Plan for Wednesday Morning By Reggie Reinhardt - Thursday PM
letter To the Manly Mark Neckameyer By Ken Lewis - Thursday PM
letter The Iraq War By Ken Levy - Thursday PM
letter Organ donation By David J. Undis - Thursday PM
letterOliver North By Neil Kinunen - Thursday PM
letter Our President By Sarah Harney - Thursday PM
letter Gravina logging road By Eric Tyson - Thursday AM
letter Schoenbar: A Reality Check By Shauna Lee - Wednesday PM
letter School should advise parents & police By Mike Ross - Wednesday PM
letter Trees are a renewable resource By Forrest Mackie - Wednesday PM
letter Thank you Dick. By Dave Kiffer - Wednesday PM
letterAl Gore! Are you Kidding me! By Scott Kline - Wednesday PM
letter AIRPORT SHUTTLE By Ken Levy - Wednesday PM
letter Job Well Done, Dick Kauffman By David Landis - Tuesday PM
letter Bostwick Bowl By Rob Sanderson Jr. - Tuesday PM
letter Shooting threat at Schoenbar? By Bob Grace - Tuesday PM
letter Gravina Viewpoint Appreciated By Gregory Vickery- Tuesday PM
letter Good-Bye Dick By Tom LeCompte- Tuesday PM
letter Gravina road By Scott Adler- Tuesday PM
letter Tribute to Dick Kauffman By Diane Gubatayao - Tuesday PM
letter Rest Peacefully Dick By Gretchen Klein - Tuesday PM
letter Forgotten Heroes By Ken Levy - Tuesday PM
letter Our loss By Cecelia Johnson - Tuesday PM
letter Goodbye Dick By Tamela McColley - Tuesday PM
letter Litter in Ketchikan & Organ Donation By Kathy Morris - Tuesday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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At many agencies, it's now a rare event when people get documents that have not been censored by bureaucrats. Instead, authorities increasingly tell the public they can't find the records that people want to see.

Scholars, journalists, historians and the general public have used the Freedom of Information Act for decades to learn how government works and what records it maintains about individual citizens. - More...
Monday AM - March 12, 2007

National: Boomer power holds sway at state, national levels By LISA HOFFMAN and SARAH McBroom - The torch of political power in America has now passed to the baby boom generation.

Of 6,100 elected state and national officials across the country, a slight but significant majority are members of that enormous population group, which largely came of age rebelling against the "establishment."

Now, they are it.

A Scripps analysis, the first such look at these demographics of power, found that more than 55 percent of America's current governors, state lawmakers, and congressional representatives and senators were born between 1946 and 1964, the era generally tagged as the baby-boom generation.

The total tally excludes about 10 percent of the officials nationwide because their birth dates were not found or were in dispute.

Even so, the percentage in office is certain to mushroom as more of the 78-million-strong boomers - the leading edge of whom only recently passed the 60-year-old mark - progresses through the peak years of political power.

The nation has already had two boomer presidents - Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - and the odds are substantial the next will be one, as well. Of the current 15 announced or expected 2008 presidential candidates, all but five sprang from the turbulent boomer era.

A foreshadowing of the growing dominance of the boomers in politics is already evident in America's statehouses.

By far, governors today have the most boomers in their ranks, with 74 percent of the 50 chief executives carrying the label, the Scripps analysis found. In the state capitals, 58 percent of state senate members are boomers, as are about 54 percent of lower house lawmakers.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, boomers decisively dominate the body with 62 percent of the 435 members. Only the U.S. Senate is not a boomer bastion, but likely will be soon, given their current 46 percent share of the 100 Senate seats.

Among the states, New Jersey is heaviest with boomer politicians, who account for 66 percent of the lawmakers studied. North Dakota (64 percent), and West Virginia, Rhode Island and Utah (all 63 percent) follow. The most boomer-free states are Idaho, Alabama and North Carolina, where boomers claim just 40 percent of the top political jobs.

As more boomers ascend in the fast-approaching future, they will bring with them the opportunity to make the sort of difference many promised in their youth when they vowed to change the world. But can the country expect a new brand of government as leaders from America's most affluent and best-educated generation take over more hallways of power?

The answers are not yet clear. Political scientists, sociologists and popular culture experts say that, while their potential influence is huge, the generation is now, as it always has been, an agglomeration of political and demographic differences.

Bush and Clinton, who share few views, are both boomers. So are GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, 60 and conservative, and Democratic contender Barack Obama, 46 and liberal. (Obama is even aiming to be the candidate of a "new generation," displaying more commonality with Generation X than with his own.)

Those who have studied the boomer generation the longest say it is all but impossible to predict the imprint they will leave on America's political domain.

"It's uncharted territory," said Carol Orsborn(cq), co-chairman of Fleishman-Hillard's groundbreaking FH Boom global marketing practice devoted solely to baby boomer research. "We don't know yet what this generation will do."

Paul Light, a professor at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, agreed.

"I think we're still short of a tipping point," said Light, who has studied the boomers' impact on government for more than 20 years. - More...
Monday AM - March 12, 2007

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