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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 30, 2009

Front Page Photo by CINDY BALZER

Ward Lake: Trumpeter Swan
Front Page Photo by CINDY BALZER


Fish Factor: Alaska's 2009 salmon harvest is projected to increase By LAINE WELCH - Reduced supplies of salmon from other regions could benefit Alaskan producers this year.

Catches along the Pacific Coast will once again be down drastically due to dismal salmon returns to major rivers. Pacific fishery managers will decide in early April just how slim the pickings will be for West Coast salmon fishermen. Low salmon catches also are projected for British Columbia, and the supply of farmed salmon imports also will be down significantly. According to market analyst Ken Talley, production of farmed Atlantic salmon from Chile, the #1 importer to the U.S., could fall 25-50 percent. That's due primarily to a deadly virus that has plagued Chilean fish pens for more than a year.

Meanwhile, Alaska's 2009 salmon harvest is projected to increase by 20 percent to 175 million fish. Much of the increase will be driven by lower-valued pinks and chums, which have taken on new importance in the marketplace in today's tough economy.

The wholesale market for Alaska salmon was very strong last year, due to reduced volume. The statewide catch topped 709 million pounds, down nearly 34 percent from the previous year. Alaska processors put up almost 288 million pounds of fresh and frozen salmon products last year, a drop of 22 percent from 2007.
The total ex-vessel value (dockside) of Alaska's salmon catch gained only 1.8 percent last year. But the average ex-vessel price jumped almost 32 percent from 2007, Talley said, to 58 cents a pound, the highest value in recent memory. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

Alaska: PRESIDENT SIGNS OMNIBUS PUBLIC LANDS MANAGEMENT ACT - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today attended the White House ceremony of President Obama's signing of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146).

"This legislation preserves important public lands for future generations without unnecessarily blocking our ability to tap our natural resources," Murkowski said. "It's a good example of how we in Congress can find success through hard work and bipartisanship."

The package, which Murkowski championed and helped guide through the Senate, designates more than 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states and more than 1,000 miles of national wild and scenic rivers. The bipartisan bill, which was supported by a broad coalition of sportsmen and outdoor groups, contains more than 160 public lands bills, including several provisions of significance to Alaska.

"This package is hugely beneficial to individual communities, especially in western states where the federal government owns so much of the land," Murkowski said.

Murkowski helped add language to the package protecting access to hunting, fishing, trapping and recreational shooting on public lands. The language also reaffirms the right of states to manage fish and wildlife populations, as well as hunting, trapping and fishing activities on public lands. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

National: Thousands of medically unfit big-rig drivers on road, Scripps finds By LEE BOWMAN - Investigations by E.W. Scripps television stations have found that tens of thousands of big-rig operators remain on the road, despite medical conditions that should disqualify them.

But it will be nearly three years before federal and state safety officials -- pulling over buses and trucks for roadside inspections -- can quickly verify that operators are medically fit to drive.

And even when a national database of medical certificates is up and running in 2012, police and regulators may not be sure that a legitimate medical examination has been done or that drivers have told examiners the truth about their medical history.

Scripps reporters earlier this month found several instances where medically unfit drivers had caused fatal crashes. The driver in one fatal Ohio crash had 27 different prescription drugs in his cab, although none were detected in his blood. His medical certificate had expired just a week earlier.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2007 that truck drivers' heart attacks or other physical impairments were responsible for some 4,000 serious truck crashes from April 2001 through December 2003, while another 5,000 were caused by drivers falling asleep. Researchers estimate that more than 28 percent of all truckers suffer from sleep apnea to some degree. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

Health: When we're not as young as we feel By LEE BOWMAN - There was a time when the signs of aging were pretty obvious. The hair got grayer or goner, the middle got wider and the pace grew slower. Middle age started in the 30s, old age in the 60s.

Today, of course, we know the biology of aging is much less cut and dried. Sure, 50 is the new 40, etc. There are seemingly an endless array of biological markers, from lung capacity to blood pressure and beyond, that can rate some of us far younger than our years, others of us years older than we actually are.

While the worth of many of those measurements is still open to debate, it's becoming clear that the habits and experiences of our youth and young-adult lives have a major impact on what kind of shape we find ourselves in when we roll past 30 or 40. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

Health: CDC to create SIDS registry By THOMAS HARGROVE and LEE BOWMAN - The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a few months will launch a revolutionary surveillance program to study why nearly 5,000 babies die unexpectedly and mysteriously each year.

The health agency is inviting up to seven states to participate in a pilot study for a National Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Case Registry that will collect an unprecedented amount of information about these deaths.

Coroners and medical examiners attribute most of these deaths to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but child safety experts are becoming increasingly suspicious of this diagnosis.

"This will give us a better understanding of what actually is happening to these infants, whether or not they are really dying by accidental suffocation," said CDC epidemiologist Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza. "We are building and enhancing Child Death Review programs so that we can get complete population-based data." - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009


Business - Economy: Tax scams target unsuspecting senior citizens By JOSEPH ASCENZI - Senior citizens are being warned to be on the lookout for income tax scams aimed at them.

Older people often have more money and can often be intimidated into parting with it, particularly if they believe they're dealing with someone from the Internal Revenue Service or law enforcement, said Sharon Ludwig, spokeswoman for Home Instead Senior Care in Riverside, Calif., which provides non-medical care for seniors in their homes.

The most common income tax scam aimed at senior citizens involves someone posing as an IRS agent who says that, for a fee, the person being scammed can receive a higher tax refund.

After securing a "fee," the con artist requests financial information from the individual -- an account, credit card or Social Security number, for example -- that is said to be necessary to secure the higher refund.

The perpetrator of the financial fraud then uses that information for identity theft. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

Personal Finance: Net Worth: Tax questions, answers By KATHLEEN PENDER - With the April 15 tax deadline fast approaching, here are answers to some tax questions from readers.

Q: Is there anything in the stimulus act that will affect my 2008 tax return?

A: Very little. Almost everything in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed in February, affects tax years 2009 and beyond.

One exception: If you buy a new or existing house between Jan. 1 through Nov. 30 of this year, you could get a first-time home buyer credit equal to 10 percent of the purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000. You can claim this credit on either your 2008 or your 2009 federal tax return.

To qualify, the house must be your main house and you (and your spouse, if married) haven't owned another main home during the three-year period ending on purchase date. The credit phases out and eventually disappears if your adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000 (single) or $150,000 (married filing jointly). You do not have to repay this credit if you stay in the home for three years.

For a home you construct, the purchase date is the date you first occupy the home.

If you haven't filed your 2008 return and plan on buying a home soon, you can either file for an extension on your 2008 return (although you must pay any taxes due by April 15 or face a penalty) or file an amended 2008 return after you buy the house. You also could wait and claim the credit when you file your 2009 return next year.

Another exception: For some small businesses, changes in the net operating loss provisions could affect 2008 tax returns. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009


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Basic Rules

letter The Mayor Responds By Dave Kiffer - Dear Rodney, Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns.

As you noted, I can't answer all of your questions but I will try to respond to the ones that I can. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Mr. Dial's letter and a few of my own thoughts. By Derek Andrews - I think I have found the person I will write-in for mayor at the next election, if he is not going to run. Library project is wasteful in these economic times and that art should be funded by the private sector. The role of government should be to minimize expenses and focus those resources they do use to the greater good of the populous. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterRE: Time for some climate realism By J.A. Rasmussen - Kudo's to Rep. Gato for publishing his opinion about man-made global warming. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterNIGHTCRAWLERS By David G. Hanger - Escalation is wise only when you know you have a winning hand, so let this serve as warning to you AMHS employees who have been spying for your tax-cheating guru, Martin A. Kapp, that not only are you playing a very bad hand, you are also playing a very dumb one. If you want my address so you can get Marty Kapp to jump all over me with his threats of lawsuits, etc., rather than crawling around in the night and getting it wrong, you could simply ask. But no, just like your guru, you crawl around in the mud and hide from the light. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter RE: Cruise Ship Head Tax By Dustin Hofeling - In the words of Chris Barry: "Silly people." Now you see what happens when taxes are increased. The cruise ships are pulling vessels. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Problem Bus Driver By Bryan Oftedahl - This is for the fellow customers of Ketchikan's public transit system. Is it really just me or is there one bus driver in particular who never seems to care about us? I have seen this bus driver fly right past bus stops with people waiting to get on and out of the rain yet he doesn't even flinch. I've been on the Blue Line while he skips going up to Wal-Mart so I have to wait while he goes out to Totem Bight then get dropped off on Shoreline Dr. (so long as he doesn 't skip that one too) and walk through the freezing snow to get to Wal-Mart. I've sat on Green Line and witnessed him go right past three people standing at the Baranof/ Tower Rd. stop. One day a woman came running up to the bus when he was waiting to pull back into traffic from the Plaza stop and she knocked and I mentioned that somebody was knocking on the door but ignored me and the woman, he refused to sacrifice a couple of seconds to open the door. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterUAS Library Movies Questioned By Robert D. Warner - Recently I have noticed that the UAS Ketchikan Library is offering a series of "brown bag lunch" movies. The movies are scheduled from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the library.- More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Administration's Shotgun Approach To Economy - Part 1 of 3-The Stimulus By Donald A. Moskowitz - The recently enacted $787 billion economic stimulus plan designed to create jobs includes about $300 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses, which will not create jobs because companies are not hiring and consumers are saving their money, not making purchases they can postpone. The Commerce Department recently reported a U.S. savings rate of 5%, which is the highest since 1995. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterUp to here with...well I simply can't say. By Marina Keirn - In response to the "dog poop" concern: I too am disgusted with the various "piles" deposited around town. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Dog Droppings By Hal Smith - Thanks Carrie Mueller, someone is finally saying something about the dog poop on the sidewalks by the Mary Frances Building. - More...
Modnay - March 30, 2009

letter Re: A Trillion dollars By Rudy McGillvray - Dear Ken, and everyone else who doesn't know that a trillion dollars is not what you think it is. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Re: Thanks to Young Democrats By A. M. Johnson - My error, without the Mark Steyn column involved, my letter to the Editor regarding thanks to young Democrats for their assumption of future fiscal indebtedness was left off or out of my post.  - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterQuestions for the Mayor By Rodney Dial - Dear Mr. Kiffer, you seem like an intelligent and gifted writer, and a decent Mayor. However, I am at a loss to understand two of the beliefs you seem to govern by: 1. That it is never a good time for government to build or buy something, so it is always a good time to build or buy something, and 2. Your apparent belief that quality of a thing equals quantity of cash directed at it. - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letterGlobal Warming By Charlotte Tanner - Carl Gatto states " "Global warmers" also predict no more agriculture in California, and in ten years the oceans will be toxic and all life could die. And yet, we're halfway to the much-feared "doubling of CO2" in the atmosphere, and none of these disasters has even begun to appear". - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letter Shouldn't have voted for McCain By A. M. Johnson - Much to my dismay, prophecy's predicted have come true and I find myself in a rare position of having to concede that my vote for John McCain was in error. - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letterPalins By Frances Natkong - Excuse me, enough already about the Palin's, Bristol and Levi. There's more to worry about these days than whether or not they stay together or break up......sheeshhhhhhhhh. Give it a rest. I for one am so tired of hearing about this. - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letterBuffett Not Good Enough By Chris Elliott - Another ridiculous editorial in The Seattle Times. This one, Gates Foundation should open up, by Pablo Eisenberg, a senior fellow with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, was published March 17. Mr. Eisenberg states that while the Gates Foundation will increase its giving by an additional $500 million in 2009, it would be well-advised to have an enlarged board of four to eight additional members who are not part of the Gates family or their personal advisors and retainers to assure public accountability and because the decision-making process (deciding where the money goes) requires broad perspectives, a wealth of experience and interests beyond family concerns. Warren Buffett is a member of the Gates Foundation board. There's a guy we all know is clueless. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2009

letterTIME FOR SOME CLIMATE REALISM By Rep. Carl Gatto - We try to stay informed, read the newspapers, watch the news on TV, and still we missed a major event that affects our future and our pocketbooks. 700 scientists, economists, and public policy experts from 20 countries met in New York City in early March of this year. They concluded that global warming, if it is occurring at all, is probably natural rather than man-made. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2009

letterDog poop on the sidewalks - GROSS!!! By Carrie Mueller - I would like to confront dog owners in downtown Ketchikan. Since I never actually see them when it counts, I will hopefully reach all of you inconsiderate, so called "dog owners" here. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2009

letter A Trillion Dollars By Ken Leland - A Trillion Dollars is a Million Million Dollars.Imagine all the wealth of a million Millionaires confiscated by the government and handed out by Congress to spend however they want. - More...
Tuesday - March 17, 2009

letterLetters of Support for EPA Assessment By Kenneth Carpenter - Our nonprofit received as a donation the 347 Bawden Street property. As you all know, this was your former hospital and was built with asbestos in the building. The asbestos has hampered the development of the property for several owners. The first step in rehabilitating this property is to remove the asbestos. Remodeling or demolition legally requires abatement, which is removal of the asbestos and other hazards such as lead. Your health is our #1 priority with this project, the health of the future sites occupants is our second, and meeting the best needs of the community is our third. Our immediate goal is abatement, however assessment must take place first. For nearly a year we have been working with the EPA to achieve this goal. Currently the EPA is evaluating our request for Site Assessment of the building. Abatement funding is dependent on assessment, and assessment funding is based on community support. All they need is a letter of support for our project from your City Mayor, KGB Mayor, Tribal Council or Governor in order for assessment and abatement to begin. I wrote to all of your elected government leaders and they all have not responded to date. - More...
Monday - March 16, 2009

letter Trillion-Buck Rogers of the 21st Century By Al Johnson - As a senior citizen looking at the fiscal shenanigans being fostered on the American Public by the uncertified holder of the Office of President, my frustration on how this reckless future debt will be paid was antagonizing. - More...
Monday - March 16, 2009

letterUnderstanding Million, Billion, and Trillion By Charlotte Tanner - We read about how billions, and trillions are being thrown around as "bail-outs", etc. I have never had one inkling what these figures actually meant. They are much too large for my mind to grasp, so I did some googling. This one website had these neat definitions, they kind of give me a feeling for what our government is promising various corporations, and other entities. WOW! - More...
Monday - March 16, 2009

letterPEPPERMINT PATTIES By David G. Hanger - On a nice, sunny day a rich man goes for a walk down a sandy beach. The wind gusts suddenly, and up ahead are three children; a middle class child, an upper middle class child, and a lower middle class child; who in the course of playing five feet off the shore have fallen over a shelf into deep water and are drowning. Noticing that the gusting wind has chilled him a bit, the rich man turns and goes home to get a sweater. Once home he gives his dog a bone, just for being such a good, good boy. The three children, of course, drowned. - More...
Thursday - March 12, 2009

letter Native Oratory Contest: THANK YOU! By Cara Wallace - Thank you to everyone who made Ketchikan's first Native Oratory Contest (held on February 16) a success! The Native Oratory Contest was a contemporary way of celebrating Alaska Native peoples' oral traditions. Oral traditions tell us who we are and where we come from, they connect us to our ancestors, affirm our relationships with one another, and help us navigate the future. One of Alaska's most famous orators was Elizabeth Peratrovich, who spoke with conviction, honesty, poise and eloquence when she addressed the territorial legislature to advocate for our collective civil rights. It was especially fitting that we celebrated the exchange of Native knowledge, ideas and history on the same day Alaska honors Elizabeth Peratrovich's legacy. - More...
Wednesday - March 11, 2009

letter Southeast 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

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