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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 04, 2013

Front Page Photo By MONICA SCOTT

Sunrise Silhouette
Pictured is the M/V Columbia at the Ketchikan Ship & Drydock.
Front Page Photo By MONICA SCOTT ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)



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Alaska: Alaska's First Legislature Met 100 Years Ago Today By JUNE ALLEN - One hundred years ago today, the First Alaska Legislature convened in Juneau.

The 23 members of Alaska'a first territorial legislature assembled in the Elks Lodge Hall in Juneau, March 1913.
Photo courtesy of Alaska State Library

On March 04, 1913, duly-elected lawmakers from all parts of Alaska assembled in Juneau to represent their constituents in Alaska's legislature. In 1913, after Congress had granted territorial status to the erstwhile federal district the year before, 23 men from every corner of Alaska traveled to the newly-proclaimed capital for the very first legislative session of the new territory.

Attainment of territorial status in 1912 meant that Alaskans could chose legislators and thus begin, if gradually, the journey toward a degreee of self-determination for the vast and rich country.

There was grumbling, then as now, by some of the newly-elected legislators from the Interior, Southcentral, and Western Alaska about Juneau's geographical location as capital. Among the grumblers in 1913 were some of those who would have to make late-winter trips by dog sled to an ice-free salt water port to catch a ship for the legislature's planned early March opening.

In 1913, Alaskans were still basking in the afterglow of the gold rush that had started in the neighboring Klondike in 1898. The "name Alaska was synonymous with gold." There were those who thought the capital should be close to the action - but bustling northern mainland communities founded on gold strikes more often than not faded into ghost towns.

So, there were reasons for Juneau's becoming the seat of government in 1900. Sitka had been the Russian headquarters and remained the seat of government after the Alaska purchase from Russia in 1867. However, by the time of the gold boom at the end of the 19th century, Sitka, off the main track to the mining districts, had declined in population, influence and accommodations.

Juneau, on the other hand, was more solidly anchored, an established and busy mining town. Mining was a major part of the early 20th century economy in Alaska. Also, in those early years, Southeastern boasted communications superiority: Mail turn-around with Washington D.C., that could take many months in the more northern reaches of the territory, took only a matter of weeks from Juneau. And, most Southeastern towns such as Wrangell and Ketchikan were, in terms of the economic times, economically stable.

Legislators in 1913 represented Nome, Ruby, Fairbanks, Seward, Valdez, Skagway, Douglas, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan. However, some of the mainland towns from which 1913 legislators hailed are today only memories or simply waystops, former mining communities like Fox, Knik, Iditarod and Candle. Another was the town of Katalla, all but forgotten today but worthy of mention. Represented in 1913 by R.D.Gray, Katalla was a small boom town on the Gulf of Alaska 110 miles southeast of Valdez. Oil was struck there in 1902 and an oil refinery operated there until 1933, when it was destroyed by fire. - More...
Monday AM - March 04, 2013

Fish Factor: State salmon managers are projecting higher catch By LAINE WELCH - More wild salmon from Alaska will make its way to world markets this year if forecasts hold true for the 2013 season.

State salmon managers are projecting a total catch of nearly 179 million fish this year, 30 percent higher than the 2012 harvest of 127 million salmon. Pushing the higher catch is a robust return of pink salmon that could yield a harvest of 118 million fish, 73% higher than last summer’s harvest of 68 million humpies.

The catch breakdown for other salmon species is 110,000 Chinook in areas outside Southeast Alaska; for sockeye salmon, the big money fish, a harvest of 34.3 million reds is projected, down just one percent from last year. For coho salmon, a catch of 3.9 million is just slightly higher, and a chum catch of 22.7 million is an increase of one percent.

In terms of total harvests last year, Southeast Alaska led all other regions at nearly 37 million salmon landed, followed by Prince William Sound at about 35 million. Bristol Bay placed third with a catch of just over 22 million salmon. Kodiak placed fourth topping 20 million salmon and Upper Cook Inlet was a distant fifth for salmon catches at about 4 million fish.

For total salmon value in 2012, Southeast came out on top for the second year running at $153.2 million; Bristol Bay ranked second at $121 million; and Prince William Sound was third with a total salmon value of nearly $111 million. That was followed by Kodiak at $46.5 million;  Cook Inlet  at $36.2 million;    Alaska Peninsula/Aleutians at $17.5 million; C hignik at $13.8 million; Yukon at $3.1 million;  Kuskokwim at $2 million;  Norton Sound at $759,000 and Kotzebue with a total salmon value of $568,000. 

Some salmon sales soar

Much of Alaska’s salmon pack gets sold long after fishermen hang up their nets. The state Department of Revenue’s Tax Division tracks sales throughout the year by region for canned, frozen/fresh fish and salmon roe.

Sales from September through December of 2012 show big gains for some products compared to the prior year. Canned sockeye salmon, for example, wholesaled for more than $193 per case of talls in 2012, an increase of more than $12 from 2011. For canned pinks, a case of talls topped $103 last year, up more than $15.  

Roe prices really surged for all salmon, especially for the most popular roe species: pinks and chums. For pink salmon, over 5.5 million pounds of roe fetched nearly $12 per pound, compared to about $8.50 in 2011. For chums, over 3.2 million pounds were sold from September through December at $18.76 a pound, an increase of $5 dollars a pound. - More...
Monday AM - March 04, 2013

Alaska: State Resolves Fast Vehicle Ferry Litigation - The State of Alaska and the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) announced Friday the settlement of litigation involving the fast vehicle ferry vessels Fairweather and Chenega. The litigation has been pending for three years and was set for trial on April 8. The parties have reached a settlement that will benefit Alaskans, Alaskan communities, businesses that rely on the state’s marine highway system, and travelers to and from the state.

"Our goal in this litigation has always been to ensure Alaska's residents have reliable ferry service," said Attorney General Michael Geraghty. "This settlement accomplishes that goal."

The State sued the German engine manufacturer MTU, along with its U.S. affiliate Tognum America, and Robert E. Derecktor, Inc., the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the ferries, in 2010 based on recurrent problems with the vessels’ diesel engines. In February 2012, Derecktor declared bankruptcy, which delayed the lawsuit and eventually left the MTU entities as the lone defendants. Throughout the litigation process, the State and MTU continued discussions in an attempt to resolve the dispute. As a result, the State and MTU arrived at an agreement, whereby MTU will replace the vessels’ engines at no expense to the State.

“AMHS looks forward to installation of the new engines, which will greatly improve the reliability of the fast ferries Chenega and Fairweather,” said AMHS General Manager Captain John Falvey.

The settlement involves several components including: - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2013


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letter Rights By Amanda Mitchell - Government has a purpose and it is to protect our liberty and freedom. As our government has evolved into providing for us, more and more of our ‘rights’ have been defined and controlled by others. Some see this as equality. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2013

letter The inconvenient pregnancy By Linda Beaupre - Mr Holston, it was with amusement that I read your recent ranting about a woman's right to choose (please note the word woman, not man). - More..
Thursday PM - February 28, 2013

letter Wrestling By Adam P. Minshall - Good day to all in the community.  My name is Adam P Minshall and I would like to thank all the hard working participants of the Kurt Kuehl Middle School Championship Wrestling event.  It's always a fun spectacle to watch these wrestling events in our area.  I feel that as a community in Southeast Alaska we have a group of amazing volunteers for our wrestling program.  Every time I go to the events it's a huge wrestling reunion, which really makes me appreciate all the hard work that our hardworking coaches put back in to our program.  It's a reflection of our town and coming togetherness for the kids in our area, and that's pretty important.  Wrestling builds a lot of character and I feel that most people that have wrestled or know a wrestler feel the same way.  It certainly is a unique sport that dates back to the days of the Greeks. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Stop The HIT On Small Business By Denny DeWitt and Dan Danner - Three years since its passage, the law that had promised to drive down costs and make health insurance more affordable for working families is proving a failure on all fronts. This is especially true when it comes to small businesses, their workers and the self-employed in Alaska.  - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter 40 Days For Life By Robert Holston - There are certainly many arguments that have been made as to why a woman has the right to an abortion.  Indeed, not the least of these is that it was argued before the highest court in the land and became law 40 years ago.  Pro-CHOICE is very AMERICAN.  We decide what to wear, what to drink, what to drive, what to smoke, what to do for work...... To choose, is a human right and very American.  As the local leader for the 40 Days For Life campaign, let me thank the volunteers for standing  on Tongass and on the principles of protecting the innocent.  I am familiar with the arguments that separate this nation along choice / life lines.  I will quote some of the common arguments and briefly state why they fail in the light of rational thought & present day science. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Life Begins at Conception By A.M. Johnson - In support of Ms Cathy Brauning’s  plea, I submit the following on abortion and life beginning at conception. As a simple common sense statement: If you’re pronounced dead when your heart stops beating……. why aren’t you pronounced alive when your heart starts beating? - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Mountain Point Boat Launch By John A. Beck - I read in the paper that the City of Ketchikan accepted ownership from the Sate for the property including the Mountain Point boat launch. - More...
Tueday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Keeping working people poor By Beverly A. Martin - Poverty should never be the goal of a governmental tax structure yet our income tax is designed to keep working people poor. Hidden corporate taxes raise the wholesale cost of goods and services while the 7.65 percent payroll tax ensures less take-home pay for buying goods and services. The FairTax HR25 ends the income tax and restores economic prosperity. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Help for “Made in America” companies By Patrick Meuleman - Alaska can be a tough place to do business. That is especially true in today’s global economy, where competition from imports makes the business climate even more difficult. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Support HR25 & A Fair Tax By Anthony Gasbarro - Our federal tax code is broken.  There are more than 2 changes to it every congressional day for 20 years.  It is so complicated that many IRS employees can’t explain it accurately.  It is 72,000 pages long.  A tax code that has fostered an industry, tax lobbyists, who outnumber DC elected officials 32 to 1.  The government picks winners and losers.  We’ve become so smart but we’ve lost common sense. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013

letter Museum Expansion Project By Laurie Pool, Tongass Historical Society - Plans for a new or renovated museum have been talked about for years. The Centennial Building was built in 1967 and originally housed the Tongass Historical Society museum, and a federally funded exhibit about the purchase of Alaska. When the federal exhibit came down, the City’s library moved into the space left by the exhibit in 1968.  Almost immediately a need for more space was recognized.  In 1997 a concept design was completed for a new 27,000 s.f. museum to be added onto the Discovery Center.  In 2004 another 30,000 s.f. concept design was presented using the existing footprint of the Centennial Building, rising vertically. Both concepts would have included the famous Ellis Airlines Grumman Goose which the Tongass Historical Society owns and hopes to someday find a place to safely and properly display.  Despite best efforts, neither concept was pursued by the City. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

letter Passage of HB 80 by Alaska Senate By Michelle Ridgway - Despite the rush to move this bill, many legislators were developing a deeper understanding of the technological potential for ships to meet water quality criteria at the pipe and the scientific implications of not doing so. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

letter Helping Our Kake Neighbors By Bobbi Leichty - The motto for Alaska’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is, ‘Neighbor Helping Neighbor’ and in the past several weeks, I’ve been able to witness communities walking the walk, not just talking the talk. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2013

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