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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 30, 2012

Front Page Photo By Mike Smith

Rock Climbing
A Sitka Black-tailed deer climbing the rocks above the bypass
Front Page Photo By Mike Smith


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Southeast Alaska: Oversight Hearing on DOT's Preliminary Southeast Area Transportation Plan - The Alaska Senate Transportation Committee is holding an oversight hearing on the Alaska Department of Transportation 2012 Southeast Area Transportation Plan (SATP) on Tuesday, April 3 at 1 pm.

 The 2012 SATP outlined several alternative directions the region's transportation system could take in coming years.

Baseline Alternative 1 – Maintain the Existing System
Alternative 2 – Ferry Fleet Capacity Management
Alternative 3 – Maximize Use of Existing Roads
Alternative 4 – Alaska Class Ferries
Alternative 5 – Highway Route 7
Alternative 6 – No Action

Of the proposed Alternatives, "Alternative 5", recommends discontinuing all long distance ferries and replacing them with new roads, new ferry terminals, and corresponding shuttle ferries.

Alternative 5 in the SATP recommends discontinuing the Bellingham run, the Cross Gulf run to Prince William Sound, the Lynn Canal run (the three most profitable runs to the Alaska Marine Highway System), and numerous other runs in the region.  It also proposes the construction of numerous new roads, including a road across Kupreanof Island, another across Baranof Island, and of course, a road up the east side of Lynn Canal. Each of these new roads would require new ferry terminals and corresponding shuttle ferries. DOT has suggested that this new network of roads and shuttle ferries will not only save the state money, but also be more convenient for travelers.

All the preliminary transportation alternatives and comparision of the alternatives are available to the public online and can be downloaded. - More...
Friday - March 30, 2012

Alaska: March 31 Deadline to Apply for 2012 PFD – The March 31st deadline to apply for the 2012 PFD is approaching.  If you are an Alaskan who has not yet filed a 2012 PFD application – apply today!  It is important to note that the deadline is on a Saturday this year, and PFD offices are not open on the weekends.  Those who wait until the 31st to file will need to file online, or make sure mailed applications are postmarked no later than March 31st.

PFD Division Manager Dan DeBartolo encourages applicants to file online, “The online application looks and performs better than ever!” Online applications must be completed before midnight, March 31st, 2012, Alaska Time. - More...
Friday - March 30, 2012

Alaska: Begich, Cantwell Call for Emergency Tsunami Debris Research; Senators from Alaska and Washington Urge Federal Government to Act, After Japanese Fishing Boat Found off Canadian Coast – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called for a clear federal action plan to address the tsunami debris off the Pacific Coast, following the discovery last week of a tsunami-swept Japanese fishing vessel off the coast of Canada.

In a letter sent today to President Obama, the Senators called on him to allocate emergency resources to mobilize researchers at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help track and respond to tsunami debris. Expediting NSF grants would help Washington and Alaska coastal communities get more specific estimates of what might hit their shores – and when.

Since the Japanese fishing vessel was discovered one week ago – the first major tsunami debris expected to make landfall – U.S. officials have learned that larger debris could reach U.S. shorelines sooner than expected. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is updating its trajectory models to account for objects that move faster from wind, like boats, but more data and better science is needed to track and respond to approaching tsunami debris.

“We need more data and better science to track and respond to tsunami debris already approaching our coasts,” said Cantwell, member and former chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. “Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Washington state depend on our healthy marine ecosystems and coastal communities. We can’t wait until tsunami debris washes ashore. We need to have an aggressive plan on how we’re going to deal with it.” - More...
Friday - March 30, 2012

Ketchikan: Ten Students Compete at Poetry Out Loud State Finals - From a competitive field of more than 5,400 students across the state, Aryeh Lax from Steller Secondary School in Anchorage received the title of 2012 Poetry Out Loud Alaska State Champion at the state finals held in the Juneau Arts & Culture Center on March 27. The first runner-up was Chaya Pike from Sitka High School.

Lax will receive an award of $200 and an all- expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. His school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. First runner-up Pike will receive $100, with $200 for her school library. Third place went to Whitney Winders from Wasilla’s Colony High School.

The other finalists were Jessica Andersen from Unalaska City School; Reilly Clarke from Lathrop High School, Fairbanks; Jesse Klejka from Bethel Regional High School; Darien Southall from Frank A. Degnan High School, Unalakleet; Brittni Tully-Dapcevich from Revilla Alternative High School, Ketchikan; and Ruby Walden from Tok School.

"Poetry Out Loud is an all-out incredible event. The chance to absolutely immerse myself in these poems--to get inside them, and then try to communicate that connection to an audience--is challenging, enlightening, and transformative. I love that there's this kind of opportunity out there for teens," Lax said. - More...
Friday - March 30, 2012

Alaska Science: Explorer's magnetic measurements ring true By NED ROZELL - More than a century ago, Roald Amundsen and his crew were the first to sail through the Northwest Passage, along the way leaving footprints in Eagle, Nome, and Sitka. Pioneering that storied route was a dream of Amundsen’s since his boyhood in Norway, but he also performed enduring science on the three-year voyage of the Gjøa.

jpg Explorer's magnetic measurements ring true

A statue of Roald Amundsen in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, where he sailed the Gjøa in October 1906 at the conclusion of his journey through the Northwest Passage.
Photo by Ned Rozell

Amundsen, from Norway, was 30-years-old when, in the early 1900s, he envisioned and then executed this plan: “With a small vessel and a few companions, to penetrate into the regions around earth’s north magnetic pole, and by a series of accurate observations, extending over a period of two years, to relocate the pole observed by Sir James Ross in 1831.”

The north magnetic dip pole is the expression of Earth’s magnetic field where a compass needle points straight downward. Though Amundsen didn’t know it at the time, this point is a moving target, wandering miles each day due to electrical currents in the upper atmosphere associated with the aurora and the solar wind.

If the sea ice allowed him, Amundsen told a crowd assembled in London, he planned on continuing west from northern Canada “to sail through the Northwest Passage in its entire extent, this being a problem which for centuries has defied the most persistent efforts.”

Though the conquest of the Northwest Passage brought Amundsen worldwide fame, his devotion to science was real. Instead of blasting through the passage, he and his crew halted the Gjøa to spend the winter in a bay off King William Island in Canada’s arctic. - More...
Friday - March 30, 2012


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letter Carbon Neutrality of Biomass Energy By Eric Muench - This is a response to Paul Olson's criticism of the Southeast Integrated Resource Plan, in which he says that conversion to biomass energy would be harmful because, among other claims, it adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and is therefore not carbon-neutral . That is a misleading statement. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Funding for a Unuk River study By Victoria McDonald - Three years ago, in response to concerns about mine tailings damaging the Taku River, fishermen asked the Alaska legislature to fund a study documenting water quality on the river. The legislature appropriated $35,000.00 for a report on the Taku, with enough left over for a similar study on the Stikine. These reports have been extremely valuable when Alaska Dept of Fish & Game have worked with the Canadians on transboundary mining proposals. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Fund water quality monitoring on Stikine, Unuk, Taku By Tammi Meissner - I was born and raised in Wrangell, and I live here with my husband and two daughters. I am Tlingit and I practice traditional food gathering. My family has a cabin at the mouth of the Stikine River, the fastest free flowing navigable river in North America, where we often live and where we fish. This river is the source of salmon that my family relies on to sustain us year round, and is the source of salmon that contributes to our community s fishing economy. The Stikine is also an important spiritual and cultural resource. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter BOYCOTT ETCH A SKETCH By David G. Hanger - Pass this message forward via email, facebook, tweets & twitters, whatever.  Don’t buy a single Etch A Sketch; trash any of recent vintage that you have.  They are the product of slave labor. - More..
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter RE: USS Enterprise, Bridge By Peter Jacob - I'm writing this in response to James Dornblaser and Charlotte Tanner's proposal of using the USS Enterprise as a bridge to Gravina. - More...
Tuesday - March 27, 2012

letter USS Enterprise By Eric Riemer - So I'm pretty sure nobody has pointed out the complete ridiculousness of the idea to use an old aircraft carrier as a bridge to Gravina because the flaws are quite obvious if one spends even a few moments thinking about it, but after reading someone's positive response to the idea I cannot hold my tongue, so I beg your indulgence.. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Bridge By Mike McColley - I would like to see the bridge built. The job itself will help Ketchikan people benefit from carpenters laborers and all trades. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Nicholas’ Law By Nyna Fleury, Bessie Singleterry, Tim Booth, Loni Iingley-Mills, Chief Ely - We are looking for support in putting together a law that we can pass called Nicholas’ Law, where it would be against the law to be intoxicated while taking care of a underage child. Before we can take it to the legislators we need documentation from concerned parties. Police Officers, Social Services workers, Teachers, Daycare works, Parents (anyone) who can see a need in this law. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Parking, Trash By Lisa Krieger - It seems to be the parking has been an isue for some time now. I notice a lot of people parking in Handicapped zones and they don't seem to be ticketed. In fact, in front of my own place, a peron was taking up two spots, which left the person behind them, take up another spot, which led us to park a ways from our own home. We called Law Enforcement.. they came in the area, had a Cruiser check it out... WE thought something would become of it and straighten it out.. nope... they just looked at the parking situation and drove off! - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter RE: Parking By David Wylie - Ms. Elliot we are talking about 2 different parking areas. I am talking about the Lower Centennial Parking. The one under the library parking lot. Now I don't doubt that they are giving out parking tickets. I just don't understand why this lot has now slipped through the cracks. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

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