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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 13, 2012

Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Pictured in this recent photograph of downtown Ketchikan: the new Ketchikan Fire Department building, the federal building, and Deer Mountain in the background.
Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON


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Ketchikan: Two rescued after plane crash - Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders coordinated the rescue of two people after their plane crashed between Niblack, located on Prince of Wales, and Ketchikan Tuesday morning.

The watchstanders were notified at 11:17 a.m. that a DHC-2 Beaver airplane and crew were one hour overdue, which corresponded with a report of an emergency locator transmitter signal from a nearby aircraft. - More...
Tuesday - March 13, 2012

Fish Factor: Alaska's fish hatcheries By LAINE WELCH - Home grown salmon are Alaska’s largest crop – but don’t ever refer to it as farming. Whereas farmed fish are crammed into closed pens or cages until they’re ready for market, Alaska salmon begin their lives in one of 35 hatcheries and are released as fingerlings to the sea.  When the fish return home, they make up a huge part of Alaska’s total salmon catch. 

The state’s annual report on its fisheries enhancement programs show that last year, hatchery returns and harvests were down by more than half from 2010, when a record 77 million hatchery salmon were caught when returning to their home hatcheries. That added up to a whopping 49% of Alaska’s total salmon catch valued at $168 million, or 34% of the fishery’s dockside value.  

By comparison, last year 33 million hatchery salmon, or 20% of the state harvest, were caught by commercial fishermen. The 2011 catch rang in at $109 million – 18% of the total dockside value.  

Statewide the hatchery program is credited for contributing 53% of the chums, 26% of coho, 21% of pinks, 16% of Chinook and 6% of sockeye salmon to the 2011commercial harvest.

 Prince William Sound is Alaska’s largest   region for hatchery production, accounting for 73% of the Sound’s salmon catch last summer. The breakdown of hatchery contributions was   84% chums, 75% pinks, and 50% of both sockeye and coho salmon. Combined, the salmon were valued at $59 million, 57% of the value of the PWS fishery.

Southeast ranks second for hatchery production, which accounted for 10% of the Panhandle’s salmon catch:  75% chums, 29% coho, 22% Chinook, 13% sockeye and 1% of the pinks.   The Southeast hatchery catch was valued at $43 million, 21% of the commercial fishery’s value. 

Kodiak’s hatcheries accounted for 7% of the region’s total salmon catch:    37% of the chums, 34% of cohos, 21% of the sockeye and 4% of the pinks.   Hatchery fish contributed $6 million to the Kodiak fishery, 14% of the total value.  

At Cook Inlet, 2% of the total sockeye catch came from hatcheries, valued at just under $1 million, or 2% of the dockside value.

In 2011 hatchery operators collected nearly 2 billion eggs and released over 1.5 billion juvenile fish.  This year more than 54 million hatchery produced salmon are projected to return to Alaska.

Ironically, Alaska spends $20 million each year on fish feed for its 35 salmon hatcheries - feed made primarily from anchovies from South America. At the same time, the tons of fish feed produced by Alaska seafood companies is sold to aquaculture operations in Asia. - More...
Tuesday - March 13, 2012

Alaska: Begich, Johanns Lead Opposition to Fee Increase for General Aviation; Higher fees could jeopardize safety, senators say . - U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) are leading the fight against the Obama Administration’s proposal in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget to establish a $100 user fee on certain General Aviation (GA) users.

Begich and Johanns, co-founders of the Senate’s General Aviation Caucus, have sent a letter to President Obama, signed by 26 other Senators, including U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), outlining their concerns and asking the Administration to drop the proposed fee increase.

“The Administration’s proposal would bypass the existing per-gallon system and create a new bureaucratic regime within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to collect a new user fee. We believe the per-gallon tax assessed on aviation gasoline and jet fuel is the most efficient and effective way to generate revenue from aviation users,” the Senators state in their letter.

The letter also outlines concern that a new user fee like the one proposed by the Administration could create a disincentive for pilots and aircraft to use air traffic control services or fly in controlled airspace.

“Controlled airspace exists around virtually every public use airport regardless of whether there is an air traffic control facility present. By discouraging ATC use, this proposal may inadvertently create a less safe aviation environment. - More...
Tuesday - March 13, 2012

Alaska Science: More news on bird noses By NED ROZELL - After reading a recent column about whales’ ability to smell, a few people wanted to know more about the same sense in birds.

"Every bird that’s been studied has a sense of smell,” said Julie Hagelin, a biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who has pondered that overlooked ability in birds for years.

Hagelin’s is a small but expanding field that has changed how some people interpret bird behavior. Biologists have focused for a long time on flashy feathers (which seem to show the importance of a bird’s vision) and pretty songs (which probably indicate that hearing is also a big part of a bird’s world). But Hagelin finds the topic of bird scent fascinating, because so little is known about birds sniffing their way through life.

More news on bird noses

Tundra swans like these Southwest Alaska hatchlings and other birds might be using their noses to process more of their worlds than biologists previously thought.
Photo by Craig Ely

Smelling might be quite significant for some birds, according to Paul Ehrlich, David Dobkin and Darryl Wheye, co-authors of the Birder’s Handbook: - More...
Tuesday - March 13, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Don’t Worry, Be (fifth) Happy - Are you feeling happy about being in Alaska?

That’s a probably a trick question this time of year. But, in general, you are happier about being here than you would be in 45 other states!

That's what the most recent Gallup/Healthways “Well Being” survey says. Every year it asks Americans how happy they are and then decides which state is the most content. The survey also uses stats about longevity, health and income to attempt to quantify these feelings.

For example, if you are long lived, healthy and wealthy, you tend to be happier. If you are not, well, you probably aren't answering the survey.

In general, it found this year that Americans are slightly less “happy” than they were last year. Of course, it probably doesn’t make most people very happy to hear that they “statistically” are less happy than they were the year before. We all like to be comparable. It is part of what makes us American. But it’s hard to optimistic when everyone around you is grumpier than last year.

The good news is: Alaska is the fifth happiest state in America.

No, they didn’t count the State of Inebriation, the State of Intoxication or the State of Confusion. Only those American states that have flags (freak flaggers need not apply) were tabulated. - More...
Tuesday - March 13, 2012


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letter Alaska Energy Authority's Energy Resource Plan By Paul Olson - The Southeast Integrated Resource Plan comment period ends March 19. The SEIRP lays out various scenarios for conversion to alternative sources of heat energy for the region. We believe the plan wrongly favors conversion to biomass sources of heat energy while ignoring or downplaying the effectiveness of other alternatives.   The plan calls for an 80% conversion from oil and electric heat across the region to wood pellet stoves and boilers.   It largely ignored the use of heat pumps as a highly effective and economical source of heat. - More...
Wednesday - March 14, 2012

letter Give Our Kids Options for Success By Senator Kevin Meyer - Alaska is making good strides towards improving our education system.  Over the last ten years we have increased standardized test scores in every area except fourth grade literacy. Schools across the state have lowered their dropout rates, and the graduation rate is consistently rising.   But there is more we need to do to make sure our children become successful adults, armed with the skills to get well-paying, rewarding jobs that can provide for their families and create a higher standard of living.  It is not acceptable to let even one child fail when there is something we could’ve done to prevent it.  - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Recycle, bridge, power supply, another tourist attraction, all in ONE By James Dornblaser - I just read a news article about the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. It is now on its last deployment & following this last trip, will be decommisioned & later scrapped. I think this a golden opportunity for Ketchikan to solve several problems while acting as the nation's poster community for 'recycling'. Bring the carrier to Ketchikan, position it across the Narrows from the present AMHS terminal to the airport. Scuttle it & modify each end so it will serve as a bridge. WAH-LAH instant bridge. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Looking for Special People to Help By David Hull - People of Ketchikan: The North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department takes our responsibility to the service area residents seriously. Our service area is protected by dedicated and committed emergency service responders who do their jobs when called upon, even at three o clock in the morning. Helping people is not an easy task. Our members do it willingly and often without recognition. Do you like a challenge? If any of this sounds interesting maybe we can help each other. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Disconnect between people and government By Glenn Gould - I have been hollering into the void for quite a while on the subject of the All Alaska Gasline. I was surprised and happy to read statements made by Senator Ted Stevens, just before his plane crashed, that showed he was on board with the project and a terminus in Nikiski. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Alaska Marine Highway By Jon Elloit - I see that the State always asks for input from the people, for things like schedule, Vessel Construction, New Alaska Class Vessel, etc. They ask this as if they really want our input, but we all have seen over the years as the people give their input, ideas, concerns... NOTHING / NO ONE cares. So why do they even ask our input? - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Alaska's comprehensive Arctic policy, challenge and opportunity By Reps. Reggie Joule, Bob Herron - In 2010, the state Legislature formed the Alaska Northern Waters Task Force (ANWTF), consisting of state legislators, leaders from Alaska communities, and representatives of key state and federal agencies.  These Alaskans were tasked with examining and reporting the issues surrounding the anticipated increase in shipping, resource exploration and extraction, commercial fisheries and tourism activities in Alaska’s Arctic region. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Parking??? By David Wylie - What has happened to the parking situation in Ketchikan's lower Centennial parking lot? You used to get a ticket or two if you didn't move in the two hour time limit and now it's starting to look like a junkyard. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Dying so others can vote By Billy D. Clifford - We send our brave young men and women to war in foreign countries so that those citizens will have the right to vote. But Americans do not exercise their right to vote here at home. Less than 38% of eligible voters turn out to vote in non-presidential national elections. Why? - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Bridge By Norma Lankerd - I have to agree with this person on a bridge, build one that way maybe Melakatla can also build one at the end of Annette Island and have the bridge connect to Gravina where they currently also have a road to no-where built. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Toll Bridge? I don't think so By Lance Mertz - Once in a while I check to see what is up in Ketchikan by looking at Sitnews. As usual it is full of this and that, but there was a letter this week that I had to respond to. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Bridge to Nowhere Retort By Don Hoff, Jr. aka Aan Kadax Tseen - The cost of a bridge to nowhere was at 415 million taxpayer dollars back 7 years ago. I would say to would be over 500 million dollars at today's cost. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter RE: Tournament By Chris Elliott - I think Mr. Edwardson is definitely on to something. When I was in high school (back in the Dark Ages), we took State four years in a row with John Brown leading the charge. When my daughter was playing, we beat Juneau and went on to State. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Southeast BASKETBALL Tournament By Charles Edwardson - I recently wrote a letter about southeast tournament, read my letter. and I never once said basketball tournament. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

letter Games By Norma Lankerd - I am totally disappointed, Metlakatla will not be able to play again in a 3A tournament. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 13, 2012

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