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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 09, 2013

Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Carlanna Lake Panorama
Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN ©2013
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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Man Sentenced to 36 Months in Federal Prison for Drug Conspiracy- U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler announced yesterday that a Ketchikan resident was sentenced in Juneau to federal prison for drug conspiracy.

Travis E. Straight, 38, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess to 36 months in prison for his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, who prosecuted the case, the charges arose from a joint investigation including the DEA, Port of Seattle Police Department and the Ketchikan Police Department involving the importation of heroin into Ketchikan, Alaska, using commercial package delivery services.

In May 2012, Straight arranged with co-conspirators in Washington to use a commercial package delivery service to send 405 grams of heroin to Ketchikan, Alaska, for subsequent distribution. Straight paid for the drugs using drug proceeds and admitted the heroin was intended to be sold to others. - More...
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013

Southeast Alaska: Nine Southeast Communities Oppose Revised Sealaska Bill - Nine communities in southeast Alaska said they oppose a bill by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to allow an Alaska Native-owned corporation to acquire some 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest, arguing the bill could threaten their livelihoods. A February letter from the nine communities have asked the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee, Ron Wyden, to kill "special interest legislation" for Sealaska Corporation.

Calling the bill introduced by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski “unfair and morally repugnant,” the towns pointed out that the bill would “create a new injustice against us” in the name of righting a wrong against them that was settled in 1971 when ANCSA passed.

The towns pointed out to Wyden in a letter two weeks ago, that the best solution is for BLM to finalize Sealaska?s designation of land in 2008 which was put on ice.

History shows federal cases dating to the 1940s holding that compensation for aboriginal land could only be for lands actually occupied and courts and judges who conducted extensive testimony finding that actually occupied lands only existed “around Native villages as they were in 1907, according to the letter.

“Instead of taking land around their villages, Sealaska wants to take land around our villages. Where is the fairness or justice in that said Myla Poelstra, the postmistress of Edna Bay.

“We relied on law that was 77 years in the making . Now Sealaska wants Congress to rewrite the law. Our towns are having none of that, “Poelstra said.

“A solution already exists making this bill unnecessary”, Poelstra noted. That solution lies in Congress killing this bill once and for all and allowing BLM to transfer title to the lands around their own villages - More...
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013

Fish Factor: U.S. Fisheries Economics By LAINE WELCH - The just released “Fisheries Economics of the U.S.” by NOAA Fisheries covers the commercial and recreational fishing industries from 2002-2011 and is loaded with descriptive seafood industry stats by region.  

The report, sixth in a series, tracks the economic impacts, price trends; payroll and annual receipt information for fishing-related businesses, from the dock to dinner plates.  The impacts also are reported in terms of employment, sales and value-added impacts.

Some highlights:  Commercial fishermen in the U.S. harvested 9.9 billion pounds of fish/ shellfish in 2011, earning $5.3 billion for their catch.  Pacific salmon ($618 million) followed by sea scallops ($585 million), shrimp ($536 million), and American lobster ($423 million) contributed most to total U.S. revenue.

In terms of poundage, Pollock (2.8 billion pounds), menhaden (1.9 billion), and Pacific salmon (780 million) comprised over half of total pounds landed in 2011.

Prices per pound for seven of the key species were above the average annual price for the decade. When comparing 2011 dock prices to 2002, and accounting for inflation, the largest changes occurred in Atka mackerel (378% increase), salmon (114% increase), Pacific halibut (109% increase), and sablefish  (80% increase). 

Of the top ten key species, sea scallops paid the highest price per pound in 2011 ($9.9), followed by Pacific halibut ($4.98), and sablefish ($4.56). Pollock was the lowest at $0.13

For Alaska, the seafood industry generated $4.7 billion in sales impacts, $2 billion in income and over 63,000 jobs in 2011.Seafood processing and dealer operations contributed 26% to in-state sales for Alaskan businesses, with over $1.2 billion generated in 2011.

Over 286,000 recreational anglers spent nearly 811,000 days fishing in Alaska in 2011, with 56% of them non-residents. Pacific halibut was the most caught fish, with approximately 705 taken in 2011. Coho salmon and razor clam also were caught in large numbers at 474,000 and 436,000, respectively. - More...
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013

Science: Comet PANSTARRS Rises to the Occasion Mid-March - Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy in the celestial smorgasbord of objects in the nighttime sky. Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years. That said, there may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year.

Comet PANSTARRS Rises to the Occasion Mid-March

Close-up of comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS
as seen from Mount Dale, Western Australia.
Image credit: Astronomy Education Services/Gingin Observatory

"You might have heard of a comet ISON, which may become a spectacular naked-eye comet later this fall," said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NASA's NEOWISE mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and self-described cosmic icy dirtball fan. "But if you have the right conditions you don't have to wait for ISON. Within a few days, comet PANSTARRS will be making its appearance in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere just after twilight."

Discovered in June 2011, comet 2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) bears the name of the telescopic survey that discovered it -- the less than mellifluous sounding "Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System" which sits atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii.

Since its discovery a year-and-a-half ago, observing comet PANSTARRS has been the exclusive dominion of comet aficionados in the Southern Hemisphere, but that is about to change. As the comet continues its well-understood and safe passage through the inner-solar system, its celestial splendor will be lost to those in the Southern Hemisphere, but found by those up north.

"There is a catch to viewing comet PANSTARRS," said Mainzer. "This one is not that bright and is going to be low on the western horizon, so you'll need a relatively unobstructed view to the southwest at twilight and, of course, some good comet-watching weather."

Well, there is one more issue -- the time of day, or night, to view it.

"Look too early and the sky will be too bright," said Rachel Stevenson, a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at JPL. "Look too late, the comet will be too low and obstructed by the horizon. This comet has a relatively small window." - More...
Satuarday - March 09, 2013

Science: More asteroids skim past Earth - Moving at 26,000 miles per hour, a giant space rock as big as a city block shot relatively close by the Earth earlier Saturday. This was the latest in a series of visiting celestial objects including an asteroid the size of a bus that exploded over Russia last month, injuring 1,500.

Discovered just six days ago, the 460-foot long Asteroid 2013 ET posed little threat as it passed about 600,000 miles from Earth at 11:30 a.m. AST. The enormous piece of space debris passed just 2.5 lunar distances from planet Earth.

Some astronomers have compared its size to that of a city block, others a football pitch. Its dimensions were widely given as 460 feet long and 210 feet wide. A professional American football field is 360 feet by 160 feet, which would make this asteroid 100 feet longer than a football field, and 50 feet wider, should it live up to the projected calculations.

Asteroid 2013 ET was first detected on March 3 by the Catalina Sky Survey based at the University of Arizona, and approached the planet less than a week after it first hit astronomers’ radars. If the asteroid had hit earth, it could have destroyed a small city.

It was not be quite bright enough to view through standard personal binoculars or small ‘backyard’ telescopes, but was visible using larger, professional devices in observatorie.

This asteroid was the second in one day, and the third this week. Earlier on Saturday, at 5:57 a.m. Moscow time (09:57 GMT), a smaller asteroid passed even closer to Earth. The 2013 EC20, between 9 and 40 feet, came within some 106,000 miles – even closer than the moon. The asteroid on Monday’s, named 2013 EC, flew within 230,000 miles of the planet. Its range fell just inside the moon’s orbit. It was also smaller, at 33 feet wide.

On Sunday, Asteroid 2013 EN 20 will fly about 279,000 miles from Earth. Both were discovered just three days ago. - More...
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013


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letter Education Funding Cap By Agnes Moran - I currently serve on the Borough Assembly, but the views expressed here are my personal views and do not represent any official position of the Borough Assembly. - More....
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013

letter Defend Alaskans’ Right to Vote By Mike Wenstrup - Today, voting rights are under assault by political partisans whose agenda is threatened by a healthy democracy.  Thirty-eight years after passage of the Voting Rights Act and 143 years after passage of the 15th Amendment, Mead Treadwell and Bob Lynn have joined Republican state legislators and gubernatorial administrations from around the country in an assault on voting rights.  They are motivated by a belief that widespread participation in our democracy results in Democrats winning elections.  This Republican-led national assault on our democracy would be particularly devastating in Alaska. - More...
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013

letter Open Letter: Revised Sealaska Lands Bill By Jeffrey Sbonek - I have lived in Port Protection Alaska, a rural, isolated community on the north end of Prince of Wales Island for the past 37 years. Seeing Sen. Murkowski s and Sealaska s recent press announcement of the new Sealaska proposed legislation I see that it is a reiteration of the same lies of their past legislative attempts. Lies in a perverted attempt to sway congressional and public support. - More...
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013

letter RE: Regarding Abortion By Paul Jarvi - Mr. Nance, the Constitution does not mention the right to privacy, however you forgot about the Bill of Rights that James Madison and others added to the Constitution and grants citizens of the USA the right to privacy. - More...
Saturday PM - March 09, 2013

letter WHAT TO DO IF YOUR UNLICENSED TAX PREPARER SCREWS YOU By David G. Hanger, EA, MBA - It is pretty hard to miss these ads on TV, so I am sure most of you by now have seen the ongoing advertising wars between Turbotax and H&R Block being played out for your viewing pleasure since the first of the year.  H&R Block started with a group of rather bizarre dunderheads representing their so-called “tax professionals,” a pleasant enough, but odd looking gent in a yellow bow tie, a heavy set black guy with a somewhat stupefied and shocked look on his face, a little old lady who cackles as she brags about the 25,000 tax returns she has prepared (a near mathematical impossibility, I might add; my whole firm, for example, in more than 35 years has not prepared 25,000 income tax returns), and a glib, heavy set younger woman who smiles at us and declares that she has read all 900 pages (or is it 9000??) of something to do with Obamacare.  (To which my response would be, “and do you have a life??”  It is way too early to waste one-tenth that time reading regulatory language on that subject.) - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter SEPA's Swan Lake swan song? By A.M. Johnson - Thank you for recently posting a link to this article. "AP&T analysis suggests SEAPA buyout option" Wrangell Sentinel 2-21-13. Rest assured, during the recent posting by myself on the subject of the potential of connecting the SEAPA grid to the B.C.Hydro transmission line some 50 miles from the Tyee powerhouse, there was never an effort or desire to bring into the discussion the demise of SEAPA. However, given the presentation by Mr. Grimm of AP&T allowing for the expansion of generation services in a greater area of service, one has to opine that a renewed viewing of the potential value of including the option of the B.C connection for the purpose of importing low cost and consistent power sourcing as the development of the grid system Mr. Grimm visualizes come to fruition where excess power has a avenue for exporting to the lower 48 states. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Bristol Bay fishermen raise bar on salmon quality By Izetta Chambers - Having grown up in a fishing family in Bristol Bay, I have watched and taken part in the slow and sometimes painful journey to improve salmon quality. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Thank You By Donita O'Dell - Southeast Organization for Animals would like to extend a warm and hearty THANK YOU to the many people and organizations who helped make our February 23 low-cost vaccination clinic in Metlakatla a success, with 46 dogs and cats vaccinated. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013 

letter Regarding Abortion... By Lenard Nance - Freedom to choose what? In the arena of discussion regarding abortion I have heard and read a phrase that, like a hub in a wheel, seems to anchor all arguments that revolve around it ... "freedom of choice". What I rarely hear or read is a definitive answer to my question, "freedom to choose what?". - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Replace the Income Tax By Glen E. Terrell - The FairTax is an idea whose time has come.  The congress, both House and Senate, republicans and democrats, has demonstrated time after time, the inability to restrain itself with the public purse.  The congress simply can’t govern effectively as long as the income tax is in place.  Even the “fiscal crises” legislation passed by the current congress added $74 billion MORE to the deficit; all to favor special interest groups.  In order to save America, congress must be denied the instrument of its folly; the income tax.  A solution has been filed away in a drawer somewhere by the congress for over 10 years.  It’s called The FairTax. It’s neither a republican nor democrat idea but truly an American idea! - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter PAGE 341 By David G. Hanger - Along the way in my travels now and again I come across something interesting, and on this particular return journey I re-visited what is probably the most important book written about the American Civil War in the last 50 years.  By Charles Royster The Destructive War, 1991, is highly regarded by both historians and by academia.  It is an exceptional work. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter H.R.25: The Fair Tax Act By Roy T Newsom - The US House Ways and Means Committee has had H.R.25 The Fair Tax Act shelved for several years.  Your Representative needs to hear from the voters that passing this bill is the only real solution to the problems of our economy.  Every worker will receive their full paycheck with no payroll deductions for medicare, social security or income tax.  Businesses will not have to pay income taxes and can use that money to create more jobs. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Consumption tax By Patrick R. Burkett - The Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds will become insolvent within the next few years due to high payouts and low income. The Fair Tax, HR25, pending in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, would resolve this problem. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

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