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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 09, 2008

Front Page Photo by Bill Meck

'Watching Over'
Front Page Photo by Bill Meck


Ketchikan: Airlift Northwest announces change in Ketchikan base operation - In a move designed to address increased operating costs, Airlift Northwest announced Thursday that it will no longer base one of its Lear jets in Ketchikan. Instead, patients needing air medical transport will be served by one of two Lear jets based in either Juneau or Seattle. The change will take place on April 30.

"We are taking this action primarily because of the steep increase in the cost of fuel and the need to dip into our cash reserves to finance replacement of aging aircraft," said Shelly Deering, Director of Alaska Clinical Operations. "As a nonprofit organization, we need to maintain adequate flight volume to cover these costs. In Ketchikan, that volume has not been enough to meet the cost of keeping the base open."

"We will continue to provide the specialty services that form the unique core of Airlift Northwest," she said. "That includes neonatal intensive care, high risk OB, two-pilot/two-nurse teams, and nurses with advanced certification and on-going training. Our level of expertise is among the highest possible in the air medical industry and comparable to a hospital intensive care unit." - More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008

Alaska: Harvest of 137 million salmon predicted for 2008 - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Thursday released its statewide forecast of the Alaskan commercial salmon harvest for the 2008 season. The total harvest of all species is projected to be approximately 137 million salmon, making the 2008 harvest the 18th largest harvest since 1960. The total harvest is expected to be comprised of an estimated contribution of 672,000 Chinook salmon, 47.1 million sockeye salmon, 4.4 million coho salmon, 66 million pink salmon, and 18.7 million chum salmon.

Both the two largest pink salmon producing areas in the state, Southeast Alaska and Prince William Sound, are expected to have modest returns in 2008 and are the reasons the total Alaskan pink salmon harvest could be the smallest harvest since 1992. A pink salmon harvest in Southeast Alaska of only 20 million fish, as forecast, is just 43% of the 1995 to 2004 average for the region. The forecast for the total Alaskan pink salmon harvest is about the same as the average statewide pink salmon harvest from 1960-2007.

In contrast to pink salmon, the sockeye and chum salmon harvests in the state are expected to be up in 2008. Bristol Bay is anticipating one of its larger sockeye harvests in recent years and a statewide sockeye salmon harvest of 47.1 million salmon would put the 2008 harvest in the top ten sockeye harvests since 1960. A potential statewide chum salmon harvest of 18.7 million fish also falls within the top ten chum harvests since statehood. - More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008

Fish Factor: Halibut season gets underway; Dock prices devalue salmon fishery, Pink salmon medevacs & more... By LAINE WELCH - Alaska halibut fishermen are likely to fetch high prices again as the season gets underway on March 8.

Longliners holding quota shares of the prized flatfish will haul in about 50 million pounds during the eight month season, a drop of two million pounds from last year.

Whether or not the start up prices will mimic last year's blow outs of well over $5 a pound in major ports remains to be seen, but it's a given they will be high.

"Solid prices generally aren't locked in until fishing deliveries are made. Prices will be good to start, but I would expect a rather steep backslide to the market by mid week," said a major Kodiak processor.

He added there is some reluctance by major buyers who "got stung fairly badly" on the high opening prices last year, when the halibut cost more than the market would absorb. There also is some inventory of frozen halibut in the nation's freezers.

"Buyers will scramble to get the fish they need and it will be expensive," predicted market watcher Ken Talley of Seafood Trend newsletter.

Halibut prices seldom dipped below $4/lb at major ports last year during the entire fishery, which ends in mid-November. In fact, $4 was the average halibut price paid last year to Alaska fishermen, up from $3.71 in 2006, according to Troie Zuniga who tracks the stats for NOAA Fisheries in Juneau.

The first month of the halibut season is usually the second lowest for landings, following November, Talley said. May, June and August were the top three months last year for halibut landings.

Most of the fish crossed the docks in Homer, which got 20 percent of all halibut deliveries last year. Kodiak placed second at 17 percent, followed by Seward, Sitka, Dutch Harbor and Juneau. Most of America's halibut by far comes from Alaska, with small amounts coming into the U.S. from British Columbia and China.

Dock prices devalue salmon fishery

When people talk about the value of Alaska's salmon fishery, they always base it on the "ex-vessel" value, meaning the prices paid to fishermen. But that "common discourse" chronically undervalues the salmon fishery," said market analyst Chris McDowell of the Juneau-based McDowell Group.

"That ex-vessel value only represents 40 percent of the total value of the salmon industry," he said. "It's the first wholesale price that presents the full picture." - More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008


Alaska: Links found between two ancient languages By GEORGE BRYSON - A panel of respected linguists who met in Anchorage recently is hailing new research that links the Old World language of Ket to the sprawling New World family of Na-Dene languages.

Other than Siberian Yupik, a regional Eskimo dialect that straddles the Bering Strait, a connection between North American and Asian language families had never before been demonstrated.

The research by University of Western Washington linguist Edward Vajda, who spent 10 years deciphering the Ket language, drew upon parallel work by three Alaskans -- Jeff Leer, Michael Krauss and James Kari, professors of linguistics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks -- who independently detailed patterns in Na-Dene languages.

Establishing that two such far-distant language groups are closely related is both demanding and rare in the exacting field of historical linguistics, according to participants who attended a language symposium at the annual meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association.

That Interior Indian languages spoken in North America are related to languages spoken in Asia has long been assumed, since other fields of science have widely concluded that the Americas weren't populated until ice age hunters migrated across a temporary land bridge from the old world to the new world 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. - More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008

National: Get groggy when the clock changes? So do cows By JONATHAN CURIEL - Doug Beretta, who runs an organic dairy farm in Santa Rosa, Calif., always welcomes the spring arrival of daylight-saving time. His cows, on the other hand, have a bigger problem with the switchover, which this year starts March 09.

"From our standpoint, it gives us an extra hour of daylight at night, so we're able to get more things done," says Beretta. "(But) for the first week or so, it's tough for the cows to adjust."

Sunday at 2 a.m., when clocks should be set forward one hour, marks the earliest time change since 1974. It's the second year in a row that daylight saving begins on the second Sunday in March instead of the first Sunday in April.

The extra hour of daylight will last until Nov. 2, which for Beretta will mean a more efficient farm. But for every spring change, Beretta adjusts the milking times for his cows by 30 minutes. Normally, his 300 cows are milked first at 2 a.m. With the time change, this normal time essentially becomes 3 a.m., so Beretta moves the morning milk time to 2:30 a.m. In the fall, when clocks are turned back an hour, the cows' adjustment is more difficult.

"When you move it back, those cows are holding that milk for an extra hour, so you can run into some health problems," he said.

Ideally, said Beretta, the government would stick to one time standard all year round. "I just wish it would stay set," he said. "It's cumbersome to get all your clocks changed. I wonder if it's worth all the hassle."- More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008



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Basic Rules

letterRE: Community's youth By Tyrell Rettke - This letter is in response to Eileen Small's letter recently (3/6 I believe) posted here on Sitnews. I have seen and heard the same frustration that she is presenting from many other people, as well as felt it myself. The old mantras that we like to throw out there (but which I will refrain from using) are tired and really don't help in these cases. What is needed is action. - More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008

letterRE: Democrat Veep Remarks By Joel Galli - Well, I really hate to interject myself into the seemingly private banter on the issue of the Democratic VP, but I feel I must address Mr. Neckameyer's very typical conservative responses to Liberal policies. - More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008

letterRE: Real America By David Ferrall - Just to let you know Mr. Harmon, I was born and raised in Ketchikan AK, ( 20+ years in SE Alaska). I also lived in Southern California for 6 years, and I'm very familiar with Mr. Neckameyer's neck of the woods, Orange County or land of the "Duke" as you seem to fawn all over it. I've also lived in other parts of this great country so I'm not sure if I could call myself a real "Brooklynite" but I do live in New York City. - More...
Sunday - March 09, 2008

Bridge By Stephen Smeltzer - I see some folks have not given up on a bridge. The reason Juneau and Sitka didn't have a problem with a bridge, was because they don't have an international waterway running between Revilla and Gravina. Also they connected to DEVELOPED communities, or to an out of the way airport. How many airplanes do you think will end up being "caught" by this bridge, or how many tugs with tows will get hung up on this bridge? Seems this has happened in San Francisco, when a huge ship side swiped one of the Golden Gate bridge supports. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Dead Humpies By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - There is nothing like beating a dead humpy to death. There is not going to be a bridge to nowhere in Ketchikan, Alaska, move on with more important problems in Ketchikan. There are only 50 or so people that live on Gravina Island. Open more land for whom? Build a bridge on speculation? That is insane. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterTribute to a Great Lady, Helen Finney By Phyllis Yetka Hobson - Thank you Mr. Kiffer for the lovely thoughts of a lovely lady. Helen Finney was indeed the "Grand Dame" of Ketchikan. She was also one of my role models. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Annette Island Expansion By Philip Doherty - The United Fishermen of Alaska are opposing any expansion of the waters and fishing rights around Annette Island. UFA has just sent this letter to the Department of the Interior: - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterCommunity's youth By Eileen Small - I am so glad my kids are grown and graduated!!! I shipped my final "baby" home to college in Houston this past year. I dealt with all these same problems: what to do with young adults in a boring climate, Kay-Hi and the total fiasco that Revilla has become, all the "same-old-same-old" for YEARS. Personally, I never found anyone in a position to make a solution who actually gave a damn - from mayors to school board and so on. I don't really see that anyone elected in this town cares --- though it does look nice to say you do on a campaign poster when one is running for a position in local government, huh?!!! - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterHelen Finney By Jill Lukin - I am saddened to hear of Helen's passing, I met Helen years ago while I had my hair salon in Ketchikan. I always looked forward to Helen's next perm or haircut at the Salon to just get caught up on everyday events... and where she was off to on a new adventure. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Ketchikan school budget By Charles Edwardson - I received some very good feedback from my last letter, on the school activities budget. I was encouraged to approach the borough assembly and the budget committee and present my thoughts. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Bridge that won't Quit By Charlotte Tanner - All you people comparing this bridge from Revilla to Gravina, to bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge are ridiculous. When a person drives across the Golden Gate Bridge that person can keep on driving, all the way up to Alaska if they choose to do so. Now if you drive across a Bridge to Gravina I guess someday you may get farther than ex Governor Murkowski's property, and over to Clarence Strait, but that will take awhile. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Celebrating By Mark Neckameyer - I was just now watching TV showing "citizens" of Palestine romping and cheering in the streets, firing guns in the air celebrating that two of their extremist, going to heaven to get virgins, gunmen killed seven defenseless Israeli students. I know that not all extremists are Muslim but it sure seems like all Muslim nations, the adult men there anyway, can certainly be classed "extremist". - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Governor's May baby By John Suter - In a couple of months Governor Palin will have a baby girl. I understand that she is going to name her daughter Lyda Green Palin. With this act she will ask, now, can we all get along? - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Dog Park Needed By Kimberly Morton - My boyfriend and I have a pit bull and a pit bull mix in town. We love taking the dogs out to D1 loop and the beach by our house for the dogs to run. We spoil our dogs and they go to work with my boyfriend every day and are two of the most socialized dogs in town because we take them everywhere. The one problem I have found though is there is no "dog park" in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Clean Election Law By Megan Kearl - In a letter published March 3, Representative Gabrielle LeDoux voiced her support for a "Clean Election Law" for Alaska, stating that it could give candidates more time to discuss policy, free candidates from the constraints of money-driven elections, prevent candidates from becoming "indentured to special interest groups" who give contributions, and help "worthy" candidates enter the election process who wouldn't otherwise have the funding. While these are admirable goals, Alaskans will likely be disappointed with the actual results of Clean Elections. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterKETCHIKAN'S SMALL BOAT HARBORS By Bill Tatsuda - Tom Fisher's viewpoint in Sitnews on February 27, 2008 touched on some important issues concerning Ketchikan's small boat harbors. Now that the State of Alaska is no longer responsible for small boat harbors, what are we doing to develop and preserve our harbors? After the State's deferred harbor maintenance funds have been spent, how are we going to perform effective routine maintenance and put aside funds for major repairs and future improvements? We are facing a new paradigm, because we are now supposed to be responsible for our harbors. It can no longer be business as usual at the Harbor Department. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Magnitude of Ketchikan's education budget issues By DeAnn Turner - I wanted to provide Mr. Edwardson with some additional information regarding the KGBSD budget he commented on after the article in the KDN's. I participated in the KGBSD budget sessions. There were several notices in the newspaper announcing the dates the budget sessions were to be held and that they were open to the public. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Re: Ketchikan School Board: Come on guys! By Dave Lieben - Having served on the School Board for three years, I came to accept that we were often blamed for everything that happened in the school district, whether we had anything to do with it or not. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Exxon should accept responsibility By Louise Clark - When a huge corporation such as Exxon has the audacity to show such reckless disregard for our beautiful state, the people the environment, and the wildlife it is my firm belief that, that corporation must be banned from doing any kind of business in this state ever again. If that is not possible they should be banished for a minimum of 50 years and then they must show good faith of their responsibility before being allowed back again. After all they are not the only oil company around, furthermore, I think all the people in the United States should band together and demand corporate responsibility for their actions because an oil spill is not the only disaster that can happen and Exxon is trying to set an example whereby a large corporation is not responsible no matter what they do. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter RE: Oil rich Alaskans struggle to heat homes By Mike Isaac - Melissa O'Bryan nailed it! In two short paragraphs Ms. O'Bryan said so much about the direction the Republican party is going and the self serving people that have taken it over. Heating oil (diesel fuel) and crude oil prices are all going up and a check from the government won't change that but might help the senator get re-elected. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Bridge definitely needed By Sandra V. Browne - I fully agree the bridge is definitely needed. Mr. Hoff was not here the night that all the emergency equipment was called to the airport and had to sit on this side and wait for the airport ferry because it wasn't on our side. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Build the Bridge! By Vanessa Nowland - I've read all the opinions about a bridge being built in Ketchikan, and boy are there a lot of them! I have a few questions for the people out there that are so against it and refer to our bridge as the "Bridge to Nowhere" - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letterHelen Finney By Nellie Cleveland - For all of my life, I will consider myself and everyone who knew her to have had our lives been made more magical by Helen Finney. She was a friend indeed! - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter DOTPF dances out fantastic statistics By Sen. Kim Elton - The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is losing street cred faster than Idaho Senator Larry Craig. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Oil Rich Alaskans Struggle to Heat Homes By Melissa O'Bryan - It's refreshing to see how Alaskans are depicted in the media. This is a copy of a letter I sent to Senator Tom Wagoner, Kenai regarding his comments in an AP article. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Clean Elections By Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux - A Clean Election Law should be the linchpin of a new political climate in Alaska. We have weathered the storms of indictments, public distrust, and scandals. We have enacted comprehensive ethics reforms; are scrutinizing conflicts of interest in regards to who can vote and when; and even modified fund raising practices during session. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letterALL NATIVE CHAMPIONS By Marcia Brendible - The MAC Intermediates Are Intermediate Division ALL NATIVE CHAMPIONS! 5 games 5 wins! - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letterKetchikan School Board: Come on guys! By Charles Edwardson - I am writing to offer positive criticism again; I would like to see it as positive criticism. In my experience though this is virtually a non existent concept with all I have criticized. Whether it is the city council, borough assembly, KIC board, or now the Ketchikan school board. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Thanks By Marie- Jeanne Cadle - I want to say thanks to Deb & Hunter Davis for paying to neuter the dog I am fostering (He's adoptable - see SitNews classifieds). It's not cheap to care for and get shots, medical attention, etc for dogs you don't own and their financial asistance is greatly appreciated! - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letterDemocrat Veep Remarks By Mark Neckameyer - Ketchikan resident Noam Ploomb wonders if I will address his critique of my tongue in cheek recommendation of Fidel Castro to be the Democrat Veep and so I will. First of, it was clearly "tongue in cheek" as to be Vice President you have to be native born but I think I do have some logic and experience to share so here goes; - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Bridge needed By Forrest Mackie - Don Hoff is my friend, but why does live in Tennessee and tell us what we need and don't need. We do need the bridge for our future expansion and to move into the future. I don't think that Gravina is the proper place for the hardlink though. I don't remember Juneau or Sitka having this much trouble getting their bridge. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letterHigher moorage rates By Peg Travis - AMEN! Tom Fisher. We agree, higher moorage rates and less maintenance on harbor facilities, so where is the money going? - More..
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letter Memories of Helen Finney By Lynne Miller - Sweet memories of Helen permeate my kitchen here oh so many miles away from Ketchikan. I see Helen Finney's smiling face in that beautiful picture next to the notice of her passing published in the Ketchikan Daily News and I smile at all the sweet memories of times we shared together. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letterVP Candidate Suggestion By Robert D. Warner - The recent suggestion for a Democratic Vice Presidential candidate by Mark Neckameyer could likely be a significant improvement over the current ticket of Bush and Cheney, but who wouldn't be? My feeling is that historians will rate Bush and Cheney at the bottom of the list of respected administrations and certainly below the rankings of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letter"Thinking about the real America" By Bob Harmon - I am a retired Alaska school teacher but I have lived and visited and vacationed around our great nation and I wonder about Mr Ferrall's "Brooklyn" being the "real America". It is a dank, brokendown city populated from what I saw by new immigrants who move out to Long Island, New York, California or Florida as soon as they learn English and learn a trade. Even their only decent sports team bailed on them 50 years ago. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

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