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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 04, 2009

Front Page Photo by MARIE-JEANNE CADLE

Ketchikan Creek
Front Page Photo by MARIE-JEANNE CADLE


Southeast Alaska: AMMENDMENT WOULD RESTORE TONGASS FUNDING - U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Monday introduced an amendment to the omnibus spending bill to reinstate funding for the Tongass Timber Fund in the Department of Agriculture's annual budget.

In 1980, Congress passed legislation that set aside 5.4 million acres of new wilderness in the Tongass National Forest under the Alaska Native Indian Lands Claim Act (ANILCA). In exchange for the wilderness designation, Congress directed the Secretary of Agriculture to provide up to $40 million to support a timber sale program in the Tongass National Forest and to provide 450 million board feet of timber for sale annually.

"Congress made a long-term commitment to Southeast Alaska to support the timber industry and now it doesn't want to live up to its end of the bargain," Murkowski said. "This funding is vital for the survival of Southeast communities."

While the program has never been fully implemented - the current U.S. Forest Service timber plan for the Tongass calls for the sale of just 100 million board feet - Congress has consistently provided $4 million to $5 million a year for the Timber Products program to prepare and sell timber from the Tongass National Forest. Until the House passed H.R. 1105 this past week, that is.

"I am concerned that this Congress is on the verge of stripping the $5 million in the Tongass Timber Fund without even having a conversation about it," Murkowski said. "Funding for the Tongass has been approved by this body for the last 15 years, and now in the blink of an eye, in a conference with no input from the Alaska delegation, the Appropriations Committee stripped these important funds from the bill." - More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009

Alaska: Concerns Expressed Over Postal Rate Increases; Prices to Change on May 11 - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin today urged the postmaster general not to increase parcel post and bypass mail rates. In a letter to Postmaster General John Potter, Governor Palin outlined her concerns regarding the rate increases that are to be enacted on May 11.

"Alaska has more than 258 airports serving as the primary mode of transportation, and the only means of access for more than 160 remote and isolated communities, wrote Palin in the letter to Potter. " Our rural residents have been besieged by a poor subsistence harvest and high energy prices compounded by an exceptionally cold winter. Although it may not be the intent, the new 4th class mail rate structure will raise the already high cost of living further and effectively cripple the already fragile bypass mail system."

Palin wrote, "Residents of the most remote parts of our state are struggling with high fuel prices and the ability to provide food for their families. This postal rate increase has an exponentially greater impact on Alaskans than those in other states due to the reliance of Alaskans on the bypass mail system for food and supplies. Please take this into account before making any final decision on increasing parcel post rates that are utilized under the essential bypass mail system."

The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service approved new prices for mailing services, including a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp to 44 cents. Prices for mailing services are reviewed annually and adjusted each May. The new prices will go into effect Monday, May 11. - More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009

Alaska: Fairweather's fleet return delayed - The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) fast ferry Fairweather's return to service has been delayed and is tentatively rescheduled to resume service in Southeast Alaska on or about June 7 according to Capt. John Falvey, AMHS' general manager.

"Fairweather has been undergoing a complete and comprehensive engine overhaul during its Capital Improvement Project," Falvey said. "The problem we've encountered is a lack of available, necessary parts from the manufacturer in Germany."

Falvey explained that the engines used in the Fairweather are not widely used worldwide. That scarce use means that, in most instances, there is a very long lead time to acquire the parts, because the company doesn't have them in stock, so the company has to manufacture them.

"We are working to resolve the issue of scheduling service for Southeast Alaska, particularly Sitka," said Falvey.

The M/V Fairweather, a fast ferry catamaran in the Alaska Marine Highway System, was built by Derecktor Shipyards in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2003 and 2004, and began service on June 8, 2004. It is powered by four diesel engines and water jets for a service speed of 32 knots which is only matched in the ferry system by its younger sister ship, the M/V Chenega. - More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009

Alaska: Researchers bring soy biodiesel for cold weather testing - A team of scientists, researchers, soybean farmers and truckers will be in Alaska March 5-10 for cold weather testing of soy biodiesel. The Indiana Soybean Alliance has partnered with the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences to road test Permaflo Biodiesel at northern latitudes.

"We want to highlight the versatility of Permaflo Biodiesel in two different cold climate applications, namely stationary power and transportation," said Megan Kuhn, communications director for Indiana Soybean Alliance. The team will fly from Indiana to Anchorage and drive vehicles powered with biodiesel to Fairbanks. Part of the crew will continue the drive to the Arctic Circle where they will camp with a generator that runs on biodiesel.

Permaflo Biodiesel is a unique formulation of biodiesel that is processed to significantly reduce the traditional problems of biodiesel performance in cold-weather conditions. The process changes the chemical composition of biodiesel to lower the cloud point temperature - the point when crystallization starts and the oil begins to appear clouded. The biodiesel is capable of working at temperatures down to minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit without gelling.  - More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009


Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: Fly, Fly, Fly Again - From the "If At First You Don't Succeed" Department: It was a stunningly beautiful morning in Juneau.

The snow had stopped, the sky was a deep glacier blue and you could see the Chilkat Mountains hovering on the horizon, many, many miles away.

It was a great day for flying. Or not.

We boarded Flight 64 well before 2 pm for the "milk run" to Petersburg, Wrangell and, finally home.

Normally, that flight is a bumpy adventure but this day there wasn't a hint of breeze in the air. There would be no extra Alaska Air-robics on this flight.

It was a full combi flight, meaning that we were all shoehorned into the back of the plane with the "cargo" up in "first class" but we've always known where passengers "sit" in the Alaska Air hierarchy. - More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009

REG HENRY: Etiquette for the economically enervated - As you know, the best minds in Washington, D.C., are working to fix the economy. That strongly suggests to me that the recession is going to be around for a while yet.

So how are we to behave in our reduced state of prosperity? What etiquette should we observe? To answer these questions, I am writing an important and timely book, "Good Manners That Poor You Can Afford." - More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009

PRESTON MACDOUGALL: Chemical Eye on Staging a Stimulus - At the risk of being labeled a "ham radio commentator", I want to return to the play metaphor that I used to interpret Barack Obama's Inaugural Address. That's because there's some serious "pork" in the economic recovery that he is trying to stage - and in some cases I'm all for it.

I'll have grounds
More relative than this - the play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King. - More...
Wedneseday - March 04, 2009

DALE McFEATTERS: When the Fed comes calling - Politicians like to ridicule Washington, D.C., as somehow different from what they insist on calling "the real America." And at one time it sort of was, not surprising in a place that for years was run by Congress.

But having to live by the constipated views on liquor and nightlife of old time Southern politicians was offset by a singular advantage: The national capital was basically recession-proof thanks to the federal government. - More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009


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FEb. - March 2009
Front Page Archives
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Basic Rules

letter Petition to the Ketchikan Borough Assembly and City Council By Mike Holman - A few days ago SitNews published a letter captioned "Taxes" written by Dustin Hofeling. At the end of his letter Mr. Hofeling wrote: "I've heard that there is a petition circulating around town which people are signing. The petition will be presented to the borough and city about our disgust at paying more taxes. Where is it? And where do I sign?" - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letterWISE INVESTMENT By David G. Hanger - The stock market has broken through the 8000 barrier, going south. Like the Nenana Ice Classic one can bet where ultimately it will fall, but net zero is not impossible. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letterLink to the mainland By Charles Schilli - The more I look at the topo maps of the land between Ketchikan and the Canadian border, the more I wonder if anyone advocatiing a link to the mainland can read a map. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letterOver the Horizon... Too late? By Ken Bylund - The ideal human trait is to look ahead and see whether we are going to eat or get eaten. We have shelter... good. Food and water, plentiful enough for our everyday needs. What is at risk is energy... electrical power - that magical helper we take for granted - it pumps water into your shelter to bathe, drink, cook, wash, and yes... flush the toilet. It enables the furnace, electric space heaters, stoves, washer, dryer, refrigeration, freezers, keeps the plumbing from freezing solid, the source that keeps us alive depends on hydroelectric reservoirs that are out of sight and [unfortunately] out of mind. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letterOnce Again Sam Tells It Like It Is! By Dan McQueen - I've been wondering when someone on the "Official" side would speak up. We the people who live on this "Rock" are TAXED OUT. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letterI have a nightmare. By Chris Elliott - The Seattle Times published an interesting editorial by E. J. Dionne Jr. on 3/3/09 entitled "Learning to share (some of) the wealth". Mr. Dionne opined: Politicians will say lots of things in the coming weeks, but they should be pushed relentlessly to address the bottom-line question: Do they believe that a fairer distribution of capitalism's bounty is essential to repairing a sick economy? Everything else is a subsidiary issue. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letterThank You By Joey Tillson - I would like to send out a huge "thank you" to Senator Kim Elton for all of his hard work, dedication and loyalty to the people of the state of Alaska. He has been a great motivator for change and has been the "watchdog" of our finances. - More...
Wednesday PM - Marhc 04, 2009

letterHR-45 COMMUNIST GUN CONTROL By Leonard Dobrzyn - One famous American put it as best as it can be... Why would you want to surrender or give back rights that your forefathers fought and shed blood to uphold and provide for you? Australia recently passed these similar measures. Rape is up, break in's are up, murder is up, and homes remain unprotected because a man cannot blow away some dirty low life druggie that breaks into his home to do him and his family harm! - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letter Lack of communication from Elected Officials By Chris Barry - Why must we continually wait for those that are supposed to be working for our best interest to inform us of bills that would harm our way of life? Why must the general public be the ones to bring these harmful bills to light? - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letterDogs in the Borough By Bethany Phippen - I remember reading awhile back about the dogs on North Point Higgins Road that were always running loose on the roads. I have the problem down on the south end of the island with neighbors putting their dogs out at all hours of the "dark" and leaving them on their decks to bark. I do not understand why nothing can be done about it. Just because we don't live in "the city", shouldn't mean that we don't receive the same law enforcement that everybody else does. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 04, 2009

letter Tax increase is not the answer By Samuel Bergeron - Each morning a young family with two young kids waits for the school bus. Some mornings the children have an uncooked Top Ramen noodles to eat for breakfast and say they are hungry. Obviously this is the best the parents can do for their children. The City Council is now considering raising the sales tax the parents of these children pay at the grocery store for food, on the rent they pay to their landlord, and on the clothes they buy at the thrift store. - More...
Monday - March 02, 2009

letterGun bill is going nowhere By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - Legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives reminds us that we must remain vigilant in the defense of our Second Amendment rights. Many in Fairbanks, and across the nation, have expressed great concern about the introduction of HR 45, The Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act, and I would like to address these concerns. - More...
Saturday - February 28, 2009

letterGun Control HR45 By Chris Barry - Here is a bill introduced to further force communism upon the citizens of the USofA. - More...
Saturday - February 28, 2009

letterInitiative process: Tackling an enormous problem By Rep. Kyle Johansen - HB 36, also known as the Open and Transparent Initiative Act, is an attempt to tackle an enormous problem we have here in Alaska: our initiative process is used as a way for special interests to maneuver around the lawmaking body to enact laws without regard for the public as a whole. The right to petition government belongs to the citizens of Alaska. It is imperative that the process be protected from abuse. HB 36 offers those safeguards. I am taking this opportunity to review the changes I believe need to happen to protect our initiative process. - More...
Saturday - February 28, 2009

letter More taxes to fix our streets?? By Chas Edwardson - We all know that taxes are necessary and that certain taxes are needed to maintain the town we live in. But it should not be the only answer our elected officials come up with every time there is a problem. Come up with an original idea for once. - More...
Thursday - February 26, 2009

letterTaxes By Dustin Hofeling - I've written in this forum many times about why local taxes should not be raised. Like many of the other contributors and readers here, I just don't have the time to go to the city or borough meetings to voice my opinions. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much about the looming tax increase. - More...
Tuesday - February 24, 2009

letter Sales Tax Increase By John Harrington - The City Council has begun the process to raise the sales tax. They are a first class city and as such they don't need a vote of the people to raise them. But they do provide the forum so that the citizens can be heard. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letterDIAL PERFORMING ARTS SUPPORT By Pete Ellis - It would appear that Rodney's recent remarks were, perhaps, of a far more positive nature than have been some of his previous expressions. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letter Is this the time? By Rich Elliott - Hopefully the fourteen individuals presently sitting on the Borough Assembly and the City Council either read the newspaper or watch the news on television. If they do, they probably can see that not only our nation s economy, but the entire global economy is in dire straits. Presently, it s in the toilet and possibly over the next couple of years, it could end up in the drain field.
- More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letter Open Letter: Alaska Marine Highway System By David G. Hanger - Dear Governor Palin: A substantial percentage of the employees of the Alaska Marine Highway System have been involved for the better part of ten years in a collective and systematic income tax fraud that has cost the U.S. Treasury millions of dollars in unpaid tax revenues. These employees had every reason to know that what they were doing was wrong, and they did it anyway. Rather than respecting the expertise and integrity of any number of Alaska accountants who told them the simple truth, they crawled into bed with an individual named Martin A. Kapp, a liar and crook who resides in southern California, who professed "magic" knowledge known only to him that permitted him to deduct on Federal income tax returns the cost of meals provided on board and paid for by the state of Alaska. Repeating that, expenses incurred and paid for by the state of Alaska were deducted on the individual tax returns of state employees. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letterKetchikan's property assessments By Chas Edwardson - I was talking to a friend of mine in church the other day and he was dazed, amazed, confused and not in a good way. And he is not alone in this. As many in Ketchikan have stared in awe at their borough's assessments and property tax statements, we marvel at the mysterious powers Ketchikan seems to have. We are in the midst of one of the nations worst recessions in our lifetime. In fact not many of the generation of a worse economic crisis are left to draw off of any sort of reference on how to handle such a serious economic down turn. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letterReinstate the death penalty By House Speaker Mike Chenault - [This week], the House Judiciary Committee will begin hearing legislation I have proposed to reinstate the death penalty in the State of Alaska. As we in the Legislature enter into what I suspect will be a lively and controversial debate, I want to take the opportunity to share my views on the matter with Alaskans who might not have a chance to listen to the hearings. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letterSnow dumped in the water By Joey Tillson - This is in response to dumping the snow in the water. It's unfortunate that we have litterbugs in this town that make it impossible for that to happen. Have you seen what our city plow-guys have had the wonderful opportunity of plowing along with the snow? Cigarette butts, cigarette boxes, drink containers, gum, gum wrappers, and other crud. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letter Bridge to Gravina Island By Edward Ness - I lived n Ketchikan for 25 years & Alaska for 62. I never could see a bridge to Gravina Island. There is no benefit to Ketchikan that I can see but it's too bad the money couldn't be used to subsidize the ferries for 50 years. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letterRoads & Bridges To Somewhere By Jerilyn Lester - Mr. McGillvray & Mr. Glenn, I have never said that bridges and roads to the mainland would not be beneficial and I am not sure that anyone for the bridge to Gravina and the airport was. The fact is that the bridge to Gravina and the airport has been promised to us for 30 years and it always seems to find the biggest opposition from people out of the state and those on the mainland. The fact that in my 25 years here the option that you propose has not been more than another pipe dream because it is no more favored than the bridge to the airport. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letterInstead of a bridge... By Steve Elliott - Instead of a bridge to a mainland highway, a road to a port & a port and road on the mainland side, then a non government vehicle ferry operating in the spring, summer, fall, & closed for the winter. Gate the road on both ends closed for the winter = no road clearing expense & we the people can come & go for minimal expense. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

letter Benny's From Heaven By Rob Holston - This letter is a response to Ernestine Henderson's letter RE: Benny's From Heaven. Insensitive? perhaps. Bigot? no way. - More...
Monday - February 23, 2009

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