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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 22, 2011

Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT

Sitka Black-tailed Deer
Photographed in the Cambria area.
Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT

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Early morning fire destroys home, dreams - It is undetermined exactly how or when the devastating early morning fire started that burned Vivian Phillips' Pennock Island home to the ground on March 5th.

Early morning fire destroys home, dreams

Vivian Phillips' Pennock Island home burns to the ground - March 5th.
Photo by Larry (Jack) Suiter

Awakened by the sound of glass breaking and seeing a "ton of smoke and flames", in an effort to save herself, Phillips pushed out her bedroom window screen, grabbed a blanked, and escaped from her burning home. Recalling that she cried as she lay in the snow with only the blanket for warmth, she called for her cat and dog. Phillips then walked through the frozen snow barefoot to make it over to another Pennock Island home owned by Katy & Larry Suiter around 5:00 am. Afterwards, Phillips reported she couldn't feel her feet for 6-8 hours because they were so numb from the freezing walk for help.

Katy Suiter said her husband Larry (called Jack by the family) threw on his clothes and ran immediately over to Phillips' burning home to see if he could pull anything out, but all he managed was a cooler and two kayaks that were in the shed next to the house. The shed eventually burned up as well.

The United States Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers and the City of Ketchikan fire boat all responded. Katy Suiter said all those who responded were so very nice to Phillips and she was checked out by the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to make sure she wasn't in need of hospitalization. Phillips suffered a couple of blisters on the tips of her fingers, but other than that she was unharmed physically. - More...
Tuesday - March 22, 2011

Ketchikan: Search for missing snowboarder suspended - Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad (KVRS) officials suspended the search as of 3:30 pm Sunday for a 35 year old snowboarder Michael Madden missing on Deer Mountain after investing days in the search

The search, started Saturday March 12th, involved 28 KVRS members including two KVRS dog teams , the Alaska State Troopers, and three members of SEADOGS of Juneau, and many members of the community who supported efforts by supplying food and other support. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

Ketchikan: Faulty electrical equipment cause of house fire - The Ketchikan Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire at 3442 Baranof Avenue this morning. According to Acting Fire Chief Frank Share, first arriving crews reported smoke showing from a two story residential house.  Fire crews were informed all residents were out of the house.

Share said a total of 15 Ketchikan Fire Department personnel responded at 5:16 AM to the call assisted by crews from the North and South Tongass Fire Departments. Fire crews quickly brought the blaze under control. - More...
Saturday - March 19, 2011

Alaska: March 31 Deadline to Apply for 2011 PFD Fast Approaching - The March 31st deadline to apply for the 2011 PFD is just around the corner.  If you are an Alaskan who has not yet filed a 2011 PFD application – apply today.

Online applications must be completed before midnight, March 31st, Alaska Standard Time (AST). - More...
Saturday - March 19, 2011

Fish Factor: Roe herring fishery set to get underway By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s most lucrative roe herring fishery is set to get underway any day at Sitka Sound, starting a circuit that each year swims its way all the way to Nome.  The herring are valued for their eggs, and harvesters get paid according to the amount of roe in the fish.

The Sitka Sound harvest could approach 19,500 thousand tons for the fishery’s 50 permit holders. Last year after price adjustments they got $690 per ton for their catches, making the fishery worth over $12 million at the docks, far more than halibut or black cod. 

The Bristol Bay roe herring fishery at Togiak was worth about $4 million to seiners and setnetters in 2010, and over $2 million at Kodiak. 

But virtually all of the roe herring goes to one buyer: Japan. In fact, Japan is Alaska’s #1 customer for all its seafood; Japan imports more seafood than any other nation in the world.

The northeast coast of Japan hardest hit by the horrific quake and tsunami is home to the bulk of Japan’s seafood industry, for both fishing and processing - especially roe products. 

“You have to look at this on a species specific leve,” said John Sackton, editor of  “And for us we have black cod, crab, herring roe, salmon roe, Bristol Bay salmon, pollock and cod.  The real question is what’s happening in those species, and to what extent have the Japanese been driving the market. - More...
Saturday - March 19, 2011

Alaska: State continues monitoring for radiation from Japan’s nuclear plant crisis; Still no immediate or anticipated threat in Alaska — additional monitors being installed - Scientists working in the state of Alaska Public Health Laboratory in Anchorage continue to monitor levels of radiation in Alaska. To date, there have been no levels detected above normal background range.

Three radiation monitoring stations, located in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, sample the air throughout the day. These stations have been in place for the past three years. The Juneau monitor is currently being upgraded. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is installing additional monitoring sites in Dutch Harbor and Nome this week. The Dutch Harbor monitor is working and EPA officials are on site. The Nome monitor is on site and EPA officials are en route to assist in installation. Results from the additional monitors should be available as early as the week of March 21. - More...
Saturday - March 19, 2011



Alaska: ComputerCOP Software to Combat Online Child Predation Distributed - In an effort to help parents protect their children on the internet, the Department of Public Safety utilized federal grant funds to purchase and distribute the ComputerCOP software package to every school, public library, and police agency in Alaska.

The software should foster and initiate communication between parents and children regarding the positive and negative uses for the internet. This program is easy to use, and allows parents to monitor and manage images, information, and emails that have been downloaded on their home computer.

The intent is for schools and public libraries to put copies of this software program into their resource library and make it available to check out by parents. In addition, law enforcement agencies throughout the state have received copies of the program for their community policing programs. - More...
Saturday - March 19, 2011

Alaska: Warmer Arctic could disrupt animal-disease balance - Climate change in the Arctic could change the balance of power between humans, animals and the germs or pathogens that make them both sick, according to a paper by University of Alaska Fairbanks microbiologist Karsten Hueffer.

Hueffer, an assistant professor at the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, published his findings in a recent issue of the online journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica.

“Interestingly, people and animals can reach a point of equilibrium in which the pathogens that affect them do not cause a lot of disease,” said Hueffer, who studies zoonotics, infectious diseases that spread between humans and animals. “Day length and temperature are thought to play a significant role in regulating this equilibrium.”

The rates of predicted climate change for the Arctic could spell disaster for this longstanding host-pathogen balance. A warmer Arctic could increase survival of organisms that carry disease and decrease survival of the animals they infect – including animals used as subsistence food by people living in the Arctic. - More...
Saturday - March 19, 2011



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

letter Disappointed By Katy Suiter - In the early morning hours of March 5, 2011, my neighbor’s Pennock Island home burned to the ground. She lost everything but her life, her cat and a blanket - absolutely everything. The only evidence a house existed there are a few piling that held up the outer part of the large deck, and a small pile of ash blanketed with scorched metal roofing. I understand it was quite a sight from the Ketchikan side of the channel, and we had many calls from concerned friends who were worried about us. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter Homeless in Ketchikan By Kristen Gilliard - I am looking at the apartments and duplexes that are available in Ketchikan for housing. It seems that the going rate for a 2-bedroom is anywhere from $900.00 - $1500.00 a month. These do NOT include electricity, heat or hot water. AM I MISSING SOMETHING? I cannot believe that the rent rates continue to grow yet the broken window & maggot infested carpeted units are not being looked at. I read that with the census: Ketchikan is allotted additional funding: BET YOU THAT I DON'T SEE 1 PENNY OF HELP! - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letterAttack on Women's Rights By Laura Allen - Mr. Holston's recent letter (published March 7th) vilifying a woman's right to choose as upheld by the highest legal authority in this country, the Supreme Court, is faulty for many reasons. I will highlight a couple. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter Thank you By Jeremy Brown- Our family would like to thank and honor the Ketchikan General Hospital and the ICU staff for their recent treatment of our son James Beau.  Ketchikan must be proud to have such a quality facility and staff. Coming from the Dallas area with hospitals that are on the cutting edge, it was reassuring to see Dr. Rice conferring with Bellingham’s ICU via their online network. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011 

letter Thank you By Inge Kummant - We had a special event at Ketchikan High School on March 10, and I’d like to let the community know about it and thank those involved.  First City Players presented their wonderful production of Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” at an assembly for the high school students. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2001

letter NPR funding/States Rights By A. M. Johnson - The following letter has been submitted to both Senator Murkowske and Representative Young. I find no use to address Senator Begich with this issue. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter Tsunami Warning Sirens By Dan McQueen - It seems to me that since we live pretty much at sealeval here in Ketchikan, and most all signs point to more and maybe a lot closer and even bigger earthquakes, we need a better alarm system than the Weather Channel and the TV period! - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter Food handler cards By George Tipton - Every employee that handles food must have one within 30 days of being hired or  prior to employment in Anchorage. This can be a Deli employee, cook, food prep employee and basically any person handling food to be served to the Public.   Before the card is issued you must take a test and pass it as well as paying the $10 per person.  In addition, a supervisory restaurant employee must have a Serve Safe Certificate, which is obtained by attending an 8 hour class instructed by a trained CHARR instructor.  I keep a copy of all certificates for my employees as part of their Personnel file so in case they do not have it with them that day, it is still on location.  I also keep a tickler file so we know when they need to renew their food handlers or TAMS cards or their Serve Safe Certificates.  ADEC performs periodic inspections and this is one of the areas they check and score an establishment on. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter Food Handler's Cards By Falene Reeve - It is my understanding that anyone who helps to produce a food or beverage must obtain a card. This would include bartenders and baristas. I come into contact with many folks working in the industry who are unaware of needing to have one. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter Jails and Nursing homes By A.M. Johnson - I could not resist sending this in for consideration as a letter of frustration over the Congressional kabuki dance with the budget and debt. Somethings are out of balance and this little ditty surely points out two. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter KPU, Keep it! By Jason Mitchell - Please don't sell Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU), as residents of Ketchikan, we have all had to deal with businesses out of town, whether it's your credit cards, or your mortgage, or a plethora of other things. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

letter Where do the profits go? By Michael McColley - I wrote a letter recently asking questions about Ketchikan Public Utilities. I did not get an answer. - More...
Monday - March 21, 2011

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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