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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 16, 2012

Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER

A Great Day For Fishing
Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER


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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Conference Promotes Heritage Tourism - Heritage Tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the modern tourism industry as more and more visitors hope to learn what is unique about the destinations they visit.

With that in mind, the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, along with Historic Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Historic Commission are focusing on how Ketchikan can use its history and heritage to make it an even more popular destination for visitors.

Preserving and promoting Ketchikan's history and heritage is also a great benefit to residents as it preserves our past for future generations.

Ketchikan has the largest percentage of historic structures on any community in the state of Alaska and is uniquely placed to profit from the fact that much of its historic Downtown, Newtown, Stedman & Thomas areas look essentially as they did in the 1920s and 1930s when Ketchikan was the largest city in the territory of Alaska.

The conference will take place March 20-22 and features presentations by two nationally known experts in the field of Heritage Tourism, Judy Walden, a Colorado based industry consultant and promoter and Sarah Hansen, the Washington state coordinator of the national Main Street program.

Among the topics to be discussed are the economic promise of Heritage Tourism and success stories in other similar communities throughout the Northwest and West. Participants will also learn how to identify assets that can promote heritage tourism in both the communities and their businesses. - More...
Friday - March 16, 2012

Fish Factor: Pacific halibut fishery gets underway By LAINE WELCH - The Pacific halibut fishery gets underway on March 17 and if the dynamic of supply and demand holds true, there will be an upward push on prices.

The coast wide halibut catch was reduced by more than 18% this year to 33.5 million pounds, following a 19% cut to the catch last year. Alaska’s share of the harvest is 25.5 million pounds.  That will be shared by roughly 2,200 Alaska longliners who hold quota shares of the halibut catch.

While no buyers were talking fish prices prior to opening day, if last year’s market is any indication the first fresh halibut of the season will undoubtedly fetch over $6/lb at major ports.  The average price for halibut during the eight month fishery in 2011 was a whopping $6.61 a pound, an increase of $1.75/lb from the previous year.  In all, the  value of Alaska’s  halibut catch last year was $194 million at the docks.   

Trends in the halibut fishery reported by industry expert Ken Talley show that over the past three years, the highest halibut prices occur from September until the fishery closes in November.  Fishermen have learned to pace their deliveries to help maintain the high prices. Last year, 4.3 million pounds, on average, moved to market each month, down almost 21% from 2010. Talley said this year, the monthly volume of halibut going to market may average only 3.5 million pounds.

A big question on everyone’s mind is despite the shortfalls, how the market might start to push back against the increasingly high halibut prices. And fishermen worry that no matter how high the prices go, it won’t balance out against the continuing decreases in their halibut catches. - More...
Friday - March 16, 2012

Ketchikan: Biomass Boiler Installation Complete in Ketchikan Federal Building; High-efficiency system uses renewable timber waste to heat building - The U.S. General Services Administration announced this week that the installation of the first biomass boiler in a United States Federal Building is complete.  Outdated oil-fired steam boilers in the Ketchikan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse were replaced with a technologically advanced biomass boiler, which uses waste generated by the timber industry, a renewable energy supply.

Undertaken by the GSA, the $4.7 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Energy Improvement Project fully replaced the building’s heat generation, distribution, and automated control systems, along with other energy upgrades, including installation of the new biomass boiler system.  GSA replaced the building’s outdated, inefficient 1964 steam heating system with an energy efficient hydronic heating system that includes one biomass boiler and one high-efficiency oil-fired boiler that will serve as a back-up.  

During the first year of operation, GSA will run both the high-efficiency oil and biomass boiler to test the efficiency and effectiveness of biomass to heat the federal office building, and use that information to improve the efficiency of all GSA managed facilities.  By using both systems, GSA expects to reduce fuel oil consumption by at approximately 50 percent in the first year with potential for greater reductions after the first winter.  The Ketchikan Federal Building historically burned up to 9,000 gallons of fuel oil each year. - More...
Friday - March 16, 2012

Ketchikan: Alaska Timber Insurance Exchange Returns $1.0 Million to Alaskan Employers - The Board of Governors of the Alaska Timber Insurance Exchange (ATIE), a policyholder owned workers’ compensation insurance company, announced on February 29, 2012 that a $1.0 million dividend will be paid to its members on March 5, 2012. The dividend represents approximately 18% of ATIE’s 2011 direct premiums and will be allocated to each member based upon their safety performance and ownership level.

The efforts by ATIE’s members to maintain safe workplaces have been a significant part of its continued success. Almost $14 million in dividends have been paid to its members over the last ten years with the period being marked by improved loss frequency. - More...
Friday - March 16, 2012

Ketchikan: Gift Shop at Ketchikan Medical Center a Money Making Machine - Through the hard work and generosity of the volunteer Auxiliary, tens of thousands of dollars are donated from Gift Shop proceeds to the Ketchikan Medical Center each year.

This year was no different. Over $45,000 was awarded to eleven departments. "We had a good year in the shop," said Carolyn Wilsie, President of the Auxiliary. "Each year we give the profits back to the hospital. It's gratifying to see our hard work benefit the community like this. The hard part is deciding between the projects. There is always an unmet need but we do our best."

The awards were determined at the Auxiliary Annual Meeting held on January 15th from applications sent by Medial Center department managers. Projects funded this year range from $600 microscopes for the Prince of Wales and Women's Health clinics to a $10,000 transducer for the ultrasound unit in the Imaging Department. - More...
Friday - March 16, 2012

Alaska Science: Searching for secrets within the Alaska sled dog By NED ROZELL - Mike Davis lives in Oklahoma, but he travels to Alaska all the time to work with our greatest athletes.

Alaska sled dogs like this one can adapt on the fly to extreme exercise.
Photo by Ned Rozell

“I’m up here about once a month, about half around Anchorage and half around Fairbanks,” the Oklahoma State University veterinarian and exercise physiologist said on the phone from Wasilla. “If I could settle on a single address, I could get a Permanent Fund Dividend.”

Davis was in Wasilla for the start of the Iditarod. There, he cheered on Aliy Zirkle, Martin Buser, Jake Berkowitz, Rick Swenson and other mushers who have over the years entrusted Davis to take blood and muscle samples from their dogs. His goal is to discover the magic within a sled dog that allows it to keep going and going. While we humans tend to fade after exercising just a few hours, sled dogs are somehow able to avoid that crash.

“Dogs will go from using their reserves to not in 48 hours,” Davis said. “They gain fitness that fast. Their response is to change their metabolism so they don’t use up their reserves anymore.”

Finding the trigger to that change is Davis’s big question. He is funded in part by the U.S. Army Research Office Division of Life Sciences, which is interested in improved performance of human beings.

Musher Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers, runner-up to Dallas Seavey in the 2012 Iditarod, again showcased an amazing ability of sled dogs - a majority of dogs that pulled her from Willow to Nome in 2012 were the same dogs that raced her husband Allen Moore to second place in the Yukon Quest less than three weeks earlier. - More...
Friday - March 16, 2012


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letter Alaska Marine Highway Not Listening By Bill Brown - I read the letter about the ferrys and I agree but who do we talk to? How do the residents of Alaska voice our opinion? - More...
Saturday - March 17, 2012

letter Uncle Ernie By Rob Holston - I offer this letter as a salute to my uncle Ernie Weaver who recently passed away at age 87. Right up front you need to know that Ernie lived most of his life as a veteran. He served in the Korean war and it was there at the front lines he became left handed for the rest of his life. The story I recall as a young boy was that he was struck by friendly fire because he was so close to the enemy lines. I don’t know if uncle Ernie suffered from post traumatic stress disorder or not. That diagnosis was not given back then but he always seemed to be a happy and productive member of his community. - More...
Saturday - March 17, 2012

letter Heart of Klawock By A. M. Johnson - The editorial in the Ketchikan Daily News 3-15-12 regarding the outstanding act of sportsmanship and community pride reflected in the unselfish act by Klawock of honoring Yakutat's dedication to one of their fallen young community members and future leader is truly a class act. - More...
Saturday - March 17, 2012

letter Exported Fuel Contributing To Gasoline Price Increases By Donald A. Moskowitz - The increase in gasoline prices is not attributable to worldwide supply problems.  Threats by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz are partly responsible for the increased prices, but another culprit is our oil industry. - More...
Saturday - March 17, 2012

letter RE: All in One By Charlotte Tanner - Mr. Dornblaser's idea for the USS Enterprise is fabulous. It solves so many problems in one fell swoop it is almost unbelievable. I hope the powers that be will give it serious consideration. I, myself, have been thinking of the problem a bridge presents to the passageway of Cruise ships and don't see why a hoist can't be constructed to lift them over the bridge, or in this case, over the scuttled USS Enterprise. - More...
Saturday - March 17, 2012

letter RE: Parking??? By Chris Elliott - REALLY??? I pay $50/mo. for a parking space near the Centennial Lot because with the 2-hour maximum limit per day, I was getting too many tickets. Tickets have been given, believe me. - More...
Saturday - March 17, 2012

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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