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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 19, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Pile Driving
Water flows over the top of a piling in a photo taken of
pile driving work on the new cruise ship dock Friday.
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


Fish Factor: Distribution, abundance and behavior of fish stock changing - By LAINE WELCH - Global warming is changing the distribution, abundance and behavior of important fish stocks, and it is occurring faster at northern latitudes. In recent years, fishermen and researchers have reported that Bering Sea boats must search farther north for pollock, and snow crab stocks are also on a steady march to colder waters.

The North Pacific and Arctic oceans are especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming, because cold water absorbs carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions more readily. That has prompted Alaska fishery managers to expand protections for Arctic waters, even before potential problems arise.

Last October, the North Pacific Council tasked its staff to prepare a discussion paper on options for expanding protections for resources of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. In December, the panel agreed to put in motion plans to develop a strategy that would potentially close Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait, and/or waters north of Point Hope, to commercial fishing until a fishery management plan is in place for any species not already covered under an existing plan.

Because warmer waters are also reducing the number of smaller organisms that make up much of the marine food web, the plan could expand to include resources like krill and other forage species, said Dave Benton, a former North Pacific Fishery Management Council chairman and now director of the Marine Conservation Alliance.

"It's very unique for a management entity to actually say 'let's not do anything until we have a plan in place'," Benton said.

Such forward thinking tops the list of world conservationists, said Brad Warren of Seattle-based Natural Resources Consultants, and author of a new report called 'Conserving Alaska's Oceans.'

"If you look at what conservation advocates want most in world fisheries, it is precaution. This is a good example of it," Warren said.

The North Pacific Council oversees management of fisheries in federal waters from three to 200 miles offshore, an area that encompasses 900,000 square miles. The NPFMC is scheduled to take up the issue of Arctic waters next month in Anchorage.

Offshore fish farm entrepreneurs

The U.S. has an $8 billion seafood trade deficit, and imports 80 percent of the seafood that Americans consume, mostly from foreign aquaculture operations. The Bush Administration wants to turn that around and recently unveiled a revamped plan that moves offshore fish farming closer to reality.

Congress is expected to pass laws that would allow companies to get 20 year permits to sink fish cages in federal waters, but without many of the rules on size, season and harvest methods that apply to other commercial fishermen. - More...
Monday AM - March 19, 2007


Alaska: Alaska's delegation at loggerheads with Bush over cuts By KEVIN DIAZ - Karen Coffey, a teacher's aide in the Bering Strait School District, flies to Anchorage each semester at government expense to supplement her online education classes at Alaska Pacific University.

She is one of 62 Native Alaskan educators in the district who have been working on college degrees through a federal program that is now on the chopping block in Washington.

"If I didn't get to meet my professors," she says, "I'd just be an outsider. There would be no personal connection."

The Alaska Native Education Program is part of a $100 million package of proposed budget cuts that have put the Alaska congressional delegation at loggerheads with the Bush administration.

The budget fight comes as Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young are pushing plans to fine-tune the way native and rural Alaska school districts meet the testing mandates of Bush's signature No Child Left Behind law, which Congress must renew this year amid widespread criticism from lawmakers in both parties.

The common thread: Rural Alaska schools need more money and less interference from Washington.

"It worries me greatly to represent a place that is not understood, apparently, by this administration," Sen. Ted Stevens told Education Secretary Margaret Spellings this week. "I look at what's been done and I can't believe that such a meat ax would be placed on the education budget for Alaska and Hawaii."

Most of the Alaska programs zeroed out in the White House education budget for next year target the state's native population. The $34 million Native Education Program that funds the college courses of school aides like Coffey is the biggest of the lot. A $12 million higher education program for Alaska and Hawaiian Natives also faces elimination, as does a $3 million program that fosters learning through cultural and historical organizations.

Some observers say that Alaska's lawmakers have a good chance of restoring much - if not all - of the federal education money slated for cuts.

"The proposed cuts to rural and native education are very upsetting to the state," said John Katz, who heads up the Alaska governor's office in Washington. "But it may well be that Congress rewrites the education portion of the president's budget."

Young and Stevens, veterans of decades of congressional budget wrangling, say they intend to do just that. But unlike in recent years, they will be working as Republicans in a Congress led by Democrats who are under pressure to trim back earmarks for local and special interest programs. - More...
Monday AM - March 19, 2007

Ketchikan is full of great volunteers.
Pictured are: Joe Reeves, Norman Arriola, and Willard Jackson who are ANB (Alaska Native Brotherhood) brothers for Camp #14. They are the volunteers who keep the organization going and help keep our community thriving.


Camp #14 is also blessed with volunteer Thurston Ketah who has expertise in selling raffle tickets.
Front Page Photographs by Cecelia Johnson

International: International Summit Tackles Challenge of Aging Populations;
Global implications of aging include economic and national security
By CHERYL PELLERIN - U.S. officials and international experts came together March 15 at the U.S. State Department to discuss and begin to plan for a situation that until now has not received much attention from governments around the world - the aging of the world's populations.

For the first time in history, people 65 years old and older soon will outnumber children under age 5, according to Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective, a report produced jointly by the State Department and the National Institute on Aging, an agency within the National Institutes of Health.

As people everywhere age, the prevalence of chronic disease increases, straining insurance, pensions and other social support systems. Governments in developed and developing nations are starting to realize that global aging can affect economic growth, labor forces, trade migration, international relations and national security.

To promote greater international dialogue on these challenges, the State Department hosted a Summit on Global Aging for diplomats and experts on aging, health and economic issues. - More...
Monday AM - March 19, 2007

jpg Jessica Clark

Jessica Clark Named
KGH Employee of the
Month for March
Photo courtesy KGH

Ketchikan: Clark Named KGH Employee of the Month for March - Jessica Clark, Professional in Human Resources Recruiter for Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH), was named Employee of the Month by a committee of her peers. Clark has been an employee of the hospital for 2.5 years.

A certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Clark had three years of hospital recruiting experience before coming to KGH and eight years experience working in the employment and training industry, including a position helping ex-prisoners prepare for and find employment opportunities.

Since coming to Ketchikan General Hospital she has established a community recruitment bonus program, inviting the involvement of the entire community in recruiting professionals needed to maintain health care services at a level unusual for a small, remote community. She also spends time with high school students, educating them about the advantages of choosing careers in health care.

"The most rewarding thing about this job," Clark stated, "is that I get to talk to people about things I sincerely believe in -- that Ketchikan and PeaceHealth are the very best places to live and work." - More...
Monday AM - March 19, 2007


Basic Rules

letter KANAYAMA BEGINNINGS By Bill Tatsuda - Monday AM
letterDowntown Sitka By Sarah Corporon - Monday AM
letter Looking for photo of an old boat (the "Famous") By Heidi Ekstrand - Monday AM
letter Gun Safety By Kerry Watson- Monday AM
letterGravina By Eric Tyson - Monday AM
letter EIS hearings in Saxman By Anita Hales - Monday AM
letter Defensive Driving in the Snow By Chris Elliott - Monday AM
letter Too many pit mixes in town By Tammy Sivertsen - Monday AM
letter Daylight Savings Time
By Ken Levy - Monday AM
letter Gravina Views By Robert McRoberts - Monday AM
letter AIRPORT SHUTTLE By Ken Levy - Monday AM
letter LIFE LESSONS By Jeff Wahl - Monday AM
letter Israel-Finding Peace with its Arab Neighbors By Tom Proebsting- Monday AM
letterMore Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: One Way To End Channel Surfing - A couple of recent news items caught my eye.

First, La-Z-Boy is facing a "difficult sales environment" and is slashing jobs and closing several manufacturing plants in order to cut losses estimated at some $10 million last year.

Okay. I can understand businesses losing money or even going bankrupt. That's the American way. Free enterprise means that if some company is doing well, then some other company is not.

Despite all this hooey about "growing" the economy and a "rising tax cut floats all boats" the reality is that the earth is one giant "zero sum" ecosystem. Somebody gains, somebody else loses.

But La-Z-Boy? If any company epitomizes all that is great about America it has to be the purveyor of overstuffed furniture that puts the "couch" in "couch potato."

If the place that has launched a thousand (spreading) hips is having tough time making a go of it, then the modern world is a cruel realm indeed. Especially in light of the fact that millions of baby boomers are now reaching their dotage and are suddenly learning that "passive" can be a good - and comfortable - thing. - More...
Monday AM - March 19, 2007

Jason Love: Sweets - I just ate pumpkin pie. Specifically, a pumpkin pie. How did we get dessert out of something so slimy and foul-tasting? Who stuck his hand into the pumpkin and thought, "Yes. Definitely. Pie."

Welcome to the wonderful world of sugar.

I'm a sugaholic. It starts at breakfast with Cookie Crisp, part of a nutritious breakfast when served with other, natural food. I also eat Dolly Madison donuts, which double as cereal if you pour milk over them.

How come we eat donuts for breakfast but not, say, cheesecake or cotton candy? I'll start the day with anything up to and including Toxic Waste-e-o's. Frosted.

The addiction began in grade school, when I discovered Fun Dips -- packets of sugar you eat with a spoon MADE OF CANDY. I bought Dinosour Eggs from the ice cream man, who circled the block like a pusher. I would chase him down the street behind that sign reading, "Slow Children." Maybe we wouldn't be slow if it weren't for all that junk food.

The ice cream man also peddled "fun-sized" candy bars, but if you ask me, fun size should be when you need a ladder to reach the top.

Speaking of which, my mom used to place the cookie jar on top of our fridge, where I couldn't reach it. I could, however, open the hallway closet and grab the step ladder. I still remember when, in a frenzy, I knocked the cookies off the fridge. - More...
Monday AM - March 19, 2007

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