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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 09, 2009

Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT

Winter Eagle
Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT


Alaska: Facing hard times, South Carolina shrimpers look to Alaska for help; Alaska fishermen and business experts share secrets to success - While Americans consume ever-increasing quantities of imported farmed shrimp, shrimp fishermen in places like South Carolina - who have for generations relied on wild shrimp harvests - are finding themselves locked out of markets and undercut in price.

"Shrimpers all over the country have felt the same financial strain from cheaper shrimp imports that fishermen here in Alaska have felt from farmed salmon coming into the country," said Glenn Haight, fisheries business specialist with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program.

But Alaska fishermen have fought back. And some are winning. The solution, they say, is becoming more knowledgeable and efficient business people. Some have taken this to an extreme, diving into direct marketing as a way to stay in business. Such fishermen catch, process, market and sell their catch directly to tightly held lists of clients that include local restaurants, food services, and individuals. This Alaskan approach can work elsewhere, they say, even in places like South Carolina.

Later this month, six shrimp fishermen from South Carolina will come to Alaska to take part in a unique exchange with Alaska fishermen, biologists, and fisheries business experts. The March 18-22 event in Juneau and Petersburg is aimed at showing South Carolina fishermen how Alaska's fisheries work, and sharing with them strategies to improve their bottom line. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

National: Texan's letter to the IRS touches nerve around nation By AMANDA WARNER - It began as a joke, a way to let off a little steam -- now "Dear IRS" has infiltrated the nation's newspapers, Internet blogs and Web sites, and it continues to spread.

Once tax season hit, Ed Barnett was feeling sour. After simmering for a few weeks, he poured his frustrations into a letter to the Wichita Falls (Texas) Times Record News, which was published Feb. 6.

In it, the Wichita Falls native and former Times Record News staffer apologized to the Internal Revenue Service for his inability to pay income taxes this year.

After listing several dozen reasons why -- he's already paid cigarette, dog license and social security tax, to name a few -- he asked for the same treatment Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel of New York, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Barney Frank of Massachusetts, ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D. and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner received: "no penalties and no interest."

"I don't think people realize all the taxes we pay every day," Barnett said. "The letter wasn't meant to be a public service, but I think people are tired of the irresponsibility of Congress." - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

National: Former Staff Member in U.S. House of Representatives Indicted on Corruption Charges - A grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a three-count indictment today charging a former staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives with corruption offenses, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division announced. Fraser C. Verrusio, 39, was charged by the grand jury with conspiring to accept an illegal gratuity, accepting an illegal gratuity, and making a false statement in failing to report his receipt of gifts from a lobbyist and the lobbyist's client on his 2003 financial disclosure form.

According to the indictment, during the relevant times, Verrusio worked as the policy director under Republican Rep. Don Young when the Alaska congressman chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.. The indictment names Todd Boulanger and James Hirni, who were lobbyists working for an equipment rental company interested in inserting three amendments into a Federal Highway Bill, as Verrusio's co-conspirators. The indictment also names Trevor Blackann, who worked as a legislative assistant to a U.S. senator, as a co-conspirator. According to the indictment, the committee for which Verrusio worked had responsibility for the Federal Highway Bill in the House of Representatives. Similarly, the indictment states that the senator for whom Blackann worked served on a committee with responsibility for the Federal Highway Bill in the Senate. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

Outdoors: Winter weekend at the Naha By MICHAEL YOUNGBLOOD - I had been watching the weather for what seemed like months, waiting for a good weekend to go out on the boat and stay out for a few days. As the long President's Day weekend approached I could not believe that the forecast just kept getting better and better. My wife and I, the boat, and our 3 dogs were definitely ready to get out of town for a few days.

We had a very pleasant run from Bar Harbor in town, past Ward Cove, Pond Reef, Point Higgins, Clover Pass, and eventually into the Loring area. Sometimes the first section of this trip can be a little rough, but not on this trip. I had prepared a couple of crab pots, and we dropped them out in front of Loring. I had originally hoped to get out to Marguerite Bay in Traitor's Cove, where the crabbing is usually better, but my experience from previous winter trips there told me that the dock would probably be iced up pretty tightly. I found out from friends that the USFS dock there was indeed totally iced up that weekend, so we made the right decision.

The Naha dock was empty as we approached, but just a few minutes before we got there a small runabout zoomed past us. They went up into the raceway a little ways and then came back to the dock. They only stayed a short while and so after they left we had the dock to ourselves for the long weekend.

The trail was treacherous in spots with ice and snow. I had misplaced my ice cleats and so only had regular hiking boots. The hiking staff helped a lot. We all had to be very careful on the trail, especially in places with steep drop offs on one side or the other. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009


Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: What Happens in Coach - It all started with a Digeplayer.

No, that's not quite true.

It all started with a 737 leaking oil on the tarmac.

They made us switch planes and our cross-country flight left an hour later than scheduled.

Then it all started with the Digeplayer.

I had followed the web site advice and reserved my copy early and paid my $10. It was supposed to be delivered to my seat after we attained cruising altitude.

I probably shouldn't have bothered.

The top tier of movies on the Digeplayer that month were "Babylon AD," "The Rocker" and "What Happens in Vegas." It was going to be a really long five-hour flight, even with the Digeplayer.

Anyway, the Digeplayer didn't arrive at my seat so I alerted the flight attendant.

"We're out," she said cheerfully. "We only had seven for this flight."

"But I reserved one," I continued. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

DAN K. THOMASSON: Good luck to Obama on medical costs - As the nation seems to be marching inexorably toward universal health care, did you ever wonder why medical costs have grown beyond all other goods and services? Why is it that this nation ranks only 20th in the quality of its care despite those 12 percent annual increases that have been routine since the advent of Medicare?

Obviously, there are no simple answers. Some experts blame the high cost of new technology, others charge the insurance companies and still more blame the doctors and more specifically the hospitals and the pharmaceutical manufacturers and the consumers themselves. The government (namely Congress) has played a major role. Actually, all must share the responsibility for a system that seems utterly immune to meaningful cost control let alone reduction. It is an enormously complex problem.

But Barack Obama has a plan to make things better. He wants to budget $632 billion to making sure all Americans have the best medicine in the world at a reasonable price, including those without insurance who currently must use the country's expensive emergency rooms as their only physician. He has enlisted all the often-warring segments of the industry to help in an effort that realistically could cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion.

Whatever the solution, one need only experience the bureaucratic horror of a medical emergency to understand at least a small part of the reason for the runaway growth of expenses. In this case a persistent splitting headache resulted in 14 hours of needless redundancy with a price tag attached to every one. Hospitals have turned the old Army "hurry up and wait" culture into an art form which some cost accountant with a green eyeshade breaks down and allocates to a fare-thee-well, ready to pass on the resulting costs to an insurance company. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009


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Feb. - March 2009
Front Page Archives
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Basic Rules

letterSoutheast CHAMPS scrounging for money By Charles Edwardson - I have written about the activities' fund in this publication more than a few times and as predicted I did not actively do anything about it, or think about it much until the time came when my kid needed support for her extracurricular activity. Guilty as charged and so is the school board. So I reached into my wallet and slapped down another thousand bucks as do many parents and faithful fans. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterKetchikan to Hyder link By Gary Benedict - Pete Cessnun and Ken Eichner told me years ago about a route up to LeDuc Glacier from around the Rudyard Bay area. At the start of the work on what was to become the Granduc Copper mine there was a road grubbed out from the Behm Canal to where there is now the head of an 11.5 tunnel that comes out at the Granduc mill site. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterLet's get real!! By Robert D. Warner - Recently there have been several letters to SitNews pushing this issue of building a hard link to the mainland. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterRe: Over the Horizon By Alan R. (Rudy) McGillvray - Well, as I said before, we have many more ridges that the wind blows across than we do lakes that drain into our inland waterways. Also, we have many more inland waterways that have a lot of tidal action. Both may be used to generate electricity, and in the case of wind-power, could be online before the permitting process for a new expensive dam is even read by the permitting authority. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter Financial crisis explained in simple terms By Al Johnson - There was a time when you couldn't find anybody that voted for Jimmy Carter. It seems to becoming that way for "Dear Leader". - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterAMHS Survey By Kristine Bellanich - Anyone interested in voicing their opinion about the AMHS, new Alaska class ferries, I urge you to take the survey. The state is trying to switch over all newer ferries brought online into 'daytime' ferries with no staterooms, sitting room only and what seems to be switching from kitchen/ cafeteria stlye to vending for meals. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter GUN BILL GOING NOWHERE By Donald Daugherty - I'm glad to see opposition to the gun bill. Americans have every right to bear arms to protect themselves. IF every law abiding citizen in the country were to turn their guns in, only the criminals would have them. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter Gun bill By Richard Lippart - I'm sorry to say that our country is coming to this, thanks to anti-gun people. But, I can say that as a service-member and avid hunter, if you dare think you can make me turn in my guns and wait for the local law enforcement, you're sadly mistaken. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter Economy By Robert McRoberts - Every one is losing their job. We have messed up our economy so bad. What happened? Being a contractor, I can see how we can not afford to hire help. I wish I could hire help but I hate the idea of putting so much money out to hire other people. I get so little in return. If they have an accident I end up paying. I lose by putting out so much for just the pride to be a employer. Maybe it's just a little guy theory, but if every one was responsible for their safety we would all work safer. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

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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