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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 05, 2009

B/W Front Page Photo by STEVE RIPLEY

Lunch Creek
B/W Front Page Photo by STEVE RIPLEY


Alaska: Bush dog brought to Anchorage tests positive for rabies - The Municipality of Anchorage euthanized a husky-mix dog on March 1 after the dog, recently brought to Anchorage from the Bush, bit its Anchorage trainer on Feb. 27. The trainer and five other people who had close contact with the dog are receiving shots to prevent rabies.

Officials with the State Department of Health and Social Services, Section of Epidemiology received notification of the bite and contacted Anchorage Animal Control on Feb. 28. Three Animal Control officers responded to impound the animal that day. Testing by the state confirmed the dog had rabies.

The dog was rescued from a village in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, where other dogs were attacked by a fox in February. The dog showed no sign of having been bitten by the fox and so was spared when the other dogs involved were euthanized by the village safety officer. The dog arrived in Anchorage on Feb. 16.

Officials with the state, the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services, and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation have taken the proper precautions and safety measures in both the village and Anchorage area to ensure the safety of all staff and the general public. These measures included cleaning and disinfecting all areas where the dog had been held and investigating whether any other people or animals may have had contact with the dog. The investigation determined that the dog was kept confined or under its trainer's control since its arrival in Anchorage. - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009

Alaska: Want to Help Spend $3.6 Million to Benefit a National Forest? Apply to Join a RAC by March 31 - Alaska needs resource advisory committee members to advise the Forest Service on spending over $3 million under the 2008 Secure Rural Schools Act. This money represents up to 15 percent of the $21 million the Act provided to Alaska for roads and schools for this first year of the Act.

Under the Act, communities in unorganized areas and boroughs that receive Secure Rural Schools money must elect to use 15% of their allocation for one of two separate titles in the Act, or that 15% will revert to the
federal government.

Title III funds may only be used to carry out the Firewise Communities program, develop community wildfire protection plans, and reimburse for emergency services paid for by counties and performed on national forest
systems land.

Title II funds may be used for the protection, restoration, and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat, and other resource objectives consistent with the Secure Rural Schools Act on national forests. Those funds may also be used on non-federal land where projects would benefit the resources on national forests. Resource advisory committees (RAC) propose and monitor projects under Title II. - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009

Alaska: After 20 years, Exxon Valdez captain finally apologizes By WESLEY LOY - After two decades, the captain of the doomed oil tanker Exxon Valdez, is offering "a very heartfelt apology" to Alaskans for the disastrous 1989 oil spill in Prince William Sound.

The apology from reclusive Joe Hazelwood comes at the end of a new, 288-page book commemorating the 20th anniversary of the spill.

"I was the captain of a ship that ran aground and caused a horrendous amount of damage. I've got to be responsible for that," he says.

The book features 62 "personal stories" from people involved with the spill, including people aboard the tanker, Alaska politicians, cleanup workers, U.S. Coast Guard officers and to reporters who covered one of the state's biggest stories.

The piece de resistance is an interview with Hazelwood, who has not talked publicly since the shipwreck that sank his career as a tanker captain. - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009

Alaska: Christen Named to Alaska Supreme Court - Governor Sarah Palin selected Anchorage Superior Court Judge Morgan Christen to the Alaska Supreme Court. Christen is the 20th justice appointed to the Court.

"Alaska's Supreme Court bears the awesome responsibility of ensuring that our court system administers justice in firm accordance with the principles laid down in our state Constitution," said Governor Palin. "I have every confidence that Judge Christen has the experience, intellect, wisdom and character to be an outstanding Supreme Court justice."

Christen, 47, was born in Chehalis, Washington. After attending colleges in England, Switzerland, and the People's Republic of China, she received a bachelor's degree in international studies from the University of Washington in 1983, and a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California, in 1986. - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009

Alaska: CHANGE YOUR CLOCK, CHANGE YOUR BATTERIES, AUTOMATIC MONTHLY E-MAIL REMINDER AVAILABLE - Alaska State Fire Marshal David Tyler is reminding Alaskans to check the batteries in their smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms when they change their clock for Daylight Savings Time this Sunday. Tyler also reminds the public of a program that is available free of charge through The Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety. Alaskans can go to The Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety's web site at and click on a "smoke alarm reminder" link. On this site they can sign up for a free monthly e-mail reminder to check their smoke alarms.

Many homes have smoke and CO alarms with batteries that should be replaced at least twice annually. Daylight Savings Time can serve as a reminder to check smoke and CO alarms and change the batteries. With the development of long-life lithium battery powered alarms, the batteries have a life span of up to 10 years, so you may not need to replace this type of battery as often. The National Fire Protection Association suggests that 90% of American homes are equipped with smoke alarms but over 50% of them are not in working condition. "The key is to take a few minutes to check, test and clean your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are functioning properly, and what better time to do this than when you change your clock for Daylight Savings Time", Tyler said. - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009


Alaska: Invasion of the redlegged frogs By NED ROZELL - In the early 1980s, a schoolteacher in a Southeast Alaska logging camp ordered a few clusters of frog eggs from a biological supply company. The teacher and his students succeeded in rearing those eggs into tadpoles, and then frogs. They enjoyed the frogs until school ended, when they released the frogs into a nearby pond.

A redlegged frog.
Photo by Lance Lerum

From that act of seeming compassion came an invasion of Chichagof Island by redlegged frogs, a species Alaska hadn't hosted before. The frogs have spread over the southeast portion of the island, and seem to be doing quite well.

Though they appear harmless as they hop through the island's lowlands, the frogs could push out (by gobbling up) a native toad that makes its home on Chichagof Island. And that is the danger of exotics, said biologist Lance Lerum of the U.S. Forest Service in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Lerum spent more than a decade in Southeast Alaska before transferring to Oregon.

"My fear was that this introduced population will be another stressor to western toad viability," Lerum said over the phone from Klamath Falls. "In two years of field work, we found thousands of redlegged frogs, but we didn't find a single western toad in our study area."

During a more recent trip, though, Lerum and his coworkers found 150 adult male western toads at one breeding site on the island. They still exist, but the newfound success of the redlegged frog is perhaps a threat to young western toads. Frogs will eat almost anything smaller than themselves.

Even though its Latin name, Rana aurora, seems to fit its new niche in the state, the redlegged frog is a visitor biologists wish had never come riding up in a cardboard box. And the redlegged frog's spread over Chichagof Island may foreshadow a leap to other places in Southeast, facilitated not by their legs, but by people, especially little ones, who sometimes make temporary pets of frogs, take them home, then release them. Biologists can envision some frogs reaching different locales in Southeast via rides on the ferry.

Once a species is established and thriving, as is the redlegged frog, there is usually little we humans can do to reverse the process. In addition to out-competing or eating other animals, exotics can spread diseases new to an area. Introductions of non-native fish and game species are now illegal in Alaska, but prevention is the key, Lerum said.

"When (the release of the redlegged frogs) happened, it's what people did," he said. "But now there's a lot more awareness of the implications of 'bucket biology.'" - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009


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Feb. - March 2009
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Basic Rules

letter Another link to Mainland By Al Johnson - Charles Schill submitted the following while reviewing contour maps of our area. Excerpt quote: "There is no way in the world we are going to see a road through MFNMW. And the cost would be 1000 times the bridge to Gravina." - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009

letter Hanger: Wise Investment By Chris Elliott - Nothing undermines an argument more than outrageous claims: "There are no patriots among the rich; just whores." Like many clever phrases, this is more amusing than accurate. - More...
Thursday - March 05, 2009

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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