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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 15, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Seals at Herring Cove - photographed Sunday.
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

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Jan. - Feb. 2011
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Troopers Arrest Ketchikan Teen in Stabbing Death - Alaska State Trooopers arrested a Ketchikan teen Monday night for allegedly stabbing a man to death Saturday. Devin Rossiter, 18, is behind bars at the Ketchikan Correctional Center on a charge of second-degree murder.

Saturday at approximately 7:22 pm, the Alaska State Troopers responded to a report of a medical emergency at Vallenar View Trailer Park approximately 11 miles north of Ketchikan, which resulted in the death of local resident 45-year-old Nick Stachelrodt. - More...
Tuesday - March 15, 2011

Alaska: State Monitors Damaged Japanese Reactor Situation; No Immediate or Anticipated Threat in Alaska - The Alaska Departments of Military and Veterans Affairs and Health and Social Services continue to monitor the evolving situation in Japan following Friday's earthquake. According to the latest information available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) there is no immediate, or anticipated, threat of radiation exposure in Alaska.

According to scientists with the agency there doesn't seem to be any damage that could be severe enough to release energy sufficient to get radioactive material high enough in the atmosphere that it could transport on a global scale. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

Alaska: Gas prices continue to rise in Alaska - Average retail gasoline prices in Alaska have risen 6.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.87 per gallon Sunday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.53 per gallon, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Alaska during the past week, prices Sunday were 48.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 29.0 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 40.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 74.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

Alaska: Murkowski Questions Attorney General Holder on Failure to Prosecute Bill Allen and Vows to Continue to Pursue the Issue – During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Justice's budget last Thursday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) questioned Attorney General Eric Holder on the Department of Justice’s failure to prosecute imprisoned former Veco CEO Bill Allen on federal charges of allegedly transporting a minor across state lines with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

On August 21, 2010, the Anchorage Daily News reported that “top officials of the U.S. Department of Justice vetoed the prosecution of Allen for transporting Paula Roberds, formerly of Goodnews Bay, from Seattle to Anchorage for illicit purposes while she was a minor.” Media accounts indicate that Allen’s relationship with Roberds began when the woman was age 15. Sergeant Kevin Vandergriff of the Anchorage Police Department told the Daily News that law enforcement as well as career prosecutors in the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section recommended that the United States seek an indictment of Allen on the charges but were overruled by officials atop the Criminal Division.

In response to that article, Murkowski sent a letter to Attorney General Holder asking him to look into why the Justice Department declined to prosecute Allen.  The Justice Department responded with a letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welsh, stating that it is the Justice Department’s policy not to disclose why or why not a case is prosecuted. - More...
Thuesday AM - March 15, 2011

Alaska: State Files Suit over Habitat DesignationThe State of Alaska filed suit last week against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) over what the State says is the USFWS' unprecedented, expansive designation of critical habitat for polar bears, which have been listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In a separate suit, the state is also challenging the May 2008 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list polar bears as threatened.

State Files Suit over Habitat Designation

Polar Bear
Photo was taken along the Beaufort Sea Coastline of Alaska, October 2006.
By Susanne Miller, USFWS

The State of Alaska says the designation of 187,157 square miles of critical habitat for the polar bear, an area larger than 48 of the 50 states, is unnecessary in that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself acknowledges that the designation will not provide substantial protection for the animals.

In November 2010, the United States Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated more than 187,000 square miles of barrier islands, on-shore denning areas, and offshore sea-ice as critical habitat for the threatened polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. The areas included in the critical habitat designation do encompass areas where oil and gas exploration activities are known to occur.

On October 29, 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to designate approximately 200,541 square miles as critical habitat for the polar bear. The final rule reduced this designation to 187,157 square miles, a reduction due mostly to corrections designed to accurately reflect the U.S. boundary for proposed sea ice habitat.

When the final designation of the polar bear critical habitat was announced, Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks said, "This critical habitat designation enables us to work with federal partners to ensure their actions within its boundaries do not harm polar bear populations." He said, “Nevertheless, the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change. We will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species.”

In its lawsuit, the State of Alaska also contends that the USFWS disregarded federal law by including geographical areas in the designation in which there is little or no evidence of physical or biological features that are essential to conservation of polar bears. For example, Norton Sound is included as critical sea ice habitat even though the mapping does not show the area even within the range of polar bears. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011



Alaska Science: A shelter for sea ice in a warmer world By NED ROZELL - With the top of the world leaning back toward the sun, warmth is returning to the far north, where scientists observed in January and February 2011 new record lows in the extent of the giant jigsaw puzzle of sea ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean.

A shelter for sea ice in a warmer world

Sea ice north of Barrow.
Photo by Ned Rozell.

This reduction in size of the frozen platform habitat of polar bears and seals has a group of scientists thinking of the future. A few researchers have mapped an area they believe will be a “sea-ice refuge” if and when the rest of the summer ice goes away.

Sea ice may cling to the coasts of Canada’s northernmost islands and northern Greenland even if the North Pole has no ice during summers at the end of this century. Scientists presented this idea at a press conference held during the fall 2010 meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last December. They based their projection on computer models and their field observations.

Prevailing winds stack up sea ice along shorelines in northern Canada and Greenland in an area that also lies beyond the pull of powerful ocean currents.

“It’s the last place sea ice would be,” said Stephanie Pfirman of Columbia University, who wrote a paper on the “naturally formed sea ice refugium.”

This sliver remaining of a continent of ice has inspired researchers - including Anchorage polar bear specialists George Durner and Steve Amstrup, and seal specialist Brendan Kelly, formerly of Juneau - to look ahead to the end of this century. The following scenarios are possible, if not likely by 2100: shipping lanes are wide open during arctic summers, the oil and gas beneath the surface of the Arctic Ocean is tapped by drilling rigs, and polar bears and seals cling to a fragment of habitat.

Biologists, sea-ice specialists and computer modelers have collaborated to see what is needed to protect the last stand of summer sea ice. Any preservation scheme needs to involve several countries and the prediction of where the refuge sea ice is generated. It also requires researchers to think about the future, and about how to convince others to join them in doing so.

“Having a 100-year plan is new territory for resource managers,” said Kelly, who now works for the National Science Foundation as the deputy director of its Arctic Sciences Division in Arlington, Virginia. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011



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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696

letter PROUD OF OUR KAYHI KIDS By Karen Owings - I had the privilege of watching the Region V 3A/4A Tournament.  I want to say how proud I am of the Ketchikan High School students who travelled to Juneau to play or perform during this tournament; Kayhi Boys Basketball, Kayhi Lady Kings, Kayhi Cheerleaders, Kayhi Pep Club, K-Highlites Dance Team, Kayhi Pep Band and last but not least the K-Highlites Dance Team Prom Dates.  Competition is always fierce during the Region V Tournament, yet our students displayed impressive sportsmanship, great attitudes, respect and manners while in Juneau.  Regardless of the situation, our students continually demonstrated by their actions and words that they are terrific representatives of our community. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

letter Thank you By Craig Tucker - On March 7th, I suffered a heart attack. I would like to thank the staff at Ketchikan General Hospital's emergency room, ambulance, and Guardian Flight for the great job they did in helping me. Also, the doctors and nurses at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, WA, and of course the many friends, and family members of Ketchikan and surrounding areas. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

letter HOMELESS... No Wonder! By Kristen Gilliard - Homeless... It's NO WONDER the cost of living in Ketchikan is high! I am a single mother with 2 daughters 9 & 5. I have a good job and bring home $2000.00 net a month if I'm lucky! (No sick kids and losing days off work). How is ANYONE supposed to live in Ketchikan when RENT is over $1000.00 a month and that's not including heat, electricity, and other payments due. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

letter Praise for Fawn Mountain Elementary School By Lisa Noland - I would like to take this opportunity to say how deeply I appreciate the staff of Fawn Mountain Elementary School. All of the professional personnel that interact with my two sons at Fawn Mountain have been courteous, thorough and kind to them and to me throughout this school year. My sons are thriving and even excelling in some areas. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

letter New UAS Campus Director By Bobbie McCreary - I just read Robert Warner's posting and I am sorry he did not take the opportunity to sit in on the community meetings where we were able to talk with and interview the two candidates for the Campus Director position. These meetings were open to the public and a diverse group of citizens did attend. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

letter Ketchikan has a big heart By LeAnn Pickard - On Saturday, March 12th, I saw some pretty amazing things. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

letter Food Handler Safety Card By Natasha Campbell - Regarding Cynthia Moyer's comment about not having testing done to obtain this card, Anna even says to take the test online, which a few years back is what my older sister and I had to do in order to start work at a local restaurant. It is a quick test that covers the basics. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2011

letter Homelessness in Ketchikan By Lisa Scarborough - Homelessness in Ketchikan is becoming a bigger problem due to many factors such as the lack of full-time year round jobs which pay enough to cover rent, utilities and basic needs, high rent rates and lack of low-income housing. - More...
Friday PM - March 11, 2011

letter More Humanists, Theologians, and Religious Philosophers Needed? By Robert Warner - The University of Alaska Southeast apparently believes that Ketchikan needs to train more humanists, theologians, and religious philosophers.  Is it strange, but I don't see any listings for employment in these areas according to the Alaska State Employment Service?  To hire a religious theologian from Texas seems to be another illogical decision of top administrators at UAS.  About a year ago, I attempted to ask why it would take a full year to make such a decision. To hire such a individual with little if any knowledge of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest makes little sense in my opinion. - More...
Friday PM - March 11, 2011

letter Wages & seasonal hiring practices By Joey Garcia - First of all I wanted to touch on the subject on the wage separation of the City of Ketchikan and the Borough concept in seasonal job budgetary functions and to learn better in order to keep my mouth shut I guess. - More...
Friday PM - March 11, 2011

letter Skate park By Shelley Stallings - The skate park is a great idea.  Thank you to Bobby McCreary, Bob Fultz, Craig Jackson & Steven Perro.  I am glad to hear progress is being made in providing positive activities for our young people. The location near Schoenbar School is excellent. - More...
Friday PM - March 11, 2011

letter KPU By Michael McColley - I can't figure out why they call Ketchikan Public Utilities publicly owned. What happens to dividends, is there a payout? Who does the audit? When was it last done? - More...
Friday PM - March 11, 2011

letter Food Handlers' Cards By Kim Harty - Regarding food handlers' cards, some people in Ketchikan do have these cards. - More...
Friday PM - March 11, 2011

letter Food Handler Permits By Cynthia Moyer - I'm just curious after reading the letter from Anna Tollfeldt regarding Food Handlers Permits. If all that is required to obtain a Food Handlers permit is to mail in $10.00 to the State of Alaska with no training or testing required, what is your point? - More...
Friday PM - March 11, 2011

letterHomeless in Ketchikan By Shannon Nelson - Regarding Homeless in Ketchikan, I have so many questions because I too would like to see this terrible situation talked about. Do you know that we have mothers with children without homes? It appears that the homeless here are not obvious, they aren't walking around with signs advertising their plight. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter CRUISE SHIP POWER ANALYSIS NEEDS By Pete Ellis - The Cruise Ship power opportunity in Thom Fischer article's commentary is certainly enlightening and appreciated so my compliments to him for the calculations and data. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letterOver Taxed By Scott Cragun - In response to the letter by Thom Fischer, you recommend that "Two solutions should be looked at". The first is to develop more hydropower energy,The second is to connect Southeast Alaska to the North American grid through BC, with the proposed AK/BC Intertie. - More...
Monday PM

letter Forest Service Proposed Budget By Bob Claus - On 3/3/11 Senator Murkowski, in a response to a proposed USFS budget, stated that “Folks in Southeast Alaska are skeptical and perhaps cynical about the promises made by the Forest Service.” - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Forest Service Proposal By A. M. Johnson - I recently sent this letter to Senator Murkowski regarding her review with the US Forest Service CEO Tom Tidwell, no friend to Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Fireworks By Mary Lynne Dahl - Just a quick thank you to Ken Arriola and his team of gusto folks who snowshoed up Deer Mountain last night to put on the best fireworks show I have seen in a long time. I really appreciate the effort at raising the money to do it, and the physical commitment required to haul all the gear and fireworks up the mountain, then put on that great show. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Food Safety/Food handler's card By Anna Tollfeldt - Recently, I have noticed the lack of food safety in Ketchikan. Most people I know who work or have worked in a food handling environment are NEVER required to get their food handler's card. In fact, I've found it pretty rare to come across someone working in a restaurant with a food handler's card in this town. I myself have previously worked in a restaurant and I was never required (it wasn't even mentioned!) to get my food handler's card nor were any of my coworkers. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Abortion debate By Rob Holston - The abortion debate is back on the front burner after released it’s horrifying ad campaign against the G.O.P. and “back alley abortions”.  As is typical with all “women’s rights” type organizations they fail to recognize that 51% of all babies aborted by Planned Parenthood and other “legal” organizations are women.  Who is protecting THEIR rights? - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter What a pain By Charles Edwardson - Regarding the stop light at the bottom of Jefferson, I don't know if this bothers anyone else and it might seem like petty stuff, but what a pain in the --- it is. - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

letter Hero of the day By Judith Green - We have a good neighbor in town - other than "state farm". I think we need to start a bulletin board for HERO OF THE DAY! - More...
Monday PM - March 07, 2011

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