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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

March 15, 2013

Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Murphy's Landing Sunset
A Panorama Photograph...
Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)


Ketchikan: KPU TO OPERATE BAILEY DIESEL GENERATION - Due to low lake levels for Ketchikan Public Utilities hydro generation, KPU announced today it will be necessary to operate Bailey diesels on a 24 hour basis beginning Monday, March 18th. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

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Ketchikan: State of the Art Skateboard Park Becomes A Reality By AMANDA HEIN & MARY KAUFFMAN - The dream of a skateboard park in Ketchikan is becoming a reality. Years in the planning, "The Shane Howard White Skateboard Park" will be a state of the art park that will be enjoyed by many for years to come said Bob Fultz, President of Ketchikan Youth Initiatives.

State of the Art Skateboard Park Becomes A Reality

Graphic of the proposed design of “The Shane Howard White Skateboard Park"
Image courtesy KYI

Ground-breaking is planned for June with “The Shane Howard White Skateboard Park" to be completed by September 2013 said Bobbie McCreary of Ketchikan Youth Initiatives.

In January, the Ketchikan Borough Assembly granted $150,000 to Ketchikan Youth Initiatives to develop a professionally built concrete skate park.  There were two dozen members of the community present at that assembly meeting who stood up in support of the Ketchikan Borough Assembly approving the proposed arrangement to grant property and funding to Ketchikan Youth Initiatives to develop a concrete skate park.  Many spoke to the assembly in favor of building a Ketchikan skate park.  One man in his thirties speaking to the Assembly said he was in high school when he first started collecting signatures in support of a skateboard project which gave some background in how long the discussion about building a skateboard park had been ongoing.

The Borough Assembly also granted Ketchikan Youth Initiatives a parcel of land to build a 6,200 square foot concrete skate park. Presented three options on how the skate park could be laid out, option one was granted which creates a parcel bordered by Park Avenue, Schoenbar Road, and the underground culvert. This option will maintain just enough distance from the edge of the culvert to enable work on it.  If the culvert must eventually be opened, the centerline could be shifted closer to the school and leave the skate park undisturbed. This option allows KYI to complete the first phase of the skate park with an option for first right of refusal on additional land in this parcel for future expansion of the skateboard park as additional funding is secured.  Currently, there is not committed funding for any future expansions. First to be addressed before any future expansion is building a free standing roof over the concrete park.

Years in the planning, President of Ketchikan Youth Initiatives Bob Fultz said, "So many people have been involved and volunteered their time with Ketchikan Youth Initiatives on this project sharing the vision of a park that benefits all classes and is open to everyone to test their skills and to experience the thrills that they go after."   Fultz said a few names that come to mind are Taira Wilhelm, Ty Rettke, founding President of KYI, other KYI Board members and the granddaddy of local skaters, Pete Halvorsen.  "We’ve had Americorps VISTA workers too and students in all grades and schools getting the word out and gathering names of supporters as well as numerous moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and sisters, who have inquired about this project while KYI was set up at the Plaza or the Blueberry Arts Festival."

Ketchikan Youth Initiative has been involved in the skateboard park advocacy since 2006.  Much research was done about other skate parks across Alaska and visits made to several.  By January of 2013, there was sufficient funding in excess of $225,000 that had already been committed to build the concrete park and begin the funding of a roof to cover it. 

Among the many in the community who have backed this project over the years are Al and Shirley White who donated very generously toward the project with a request to name the park after their grandson, Shane White.

According to Bobbie McCreary, Shirley White spoke with Ketchikan Youth Initiative years ago about her desire to build a skate park in Ketchikan in honor of her grandson who died "too young".  When it became likely that Ketchikan Youth Initiatives would be able to develop the skate park, the group connected with the Whites who pledged a minimum of $75,000 if Ketchikan Youth Initiative could grant them naming rights to honor their grandson Shane White. - More...
Friday - March 15, 2013

Kate Cessnun named to “Forty Under 40”- There are at least forty reasons why Kate Cessnun is on the Alaska Journal of Commerce “Top Forty Under 40” list.

Kate Cessnun “Top Forty Under 40”

Kate Cessnun
“Top Forty Under 40”

Cessnun, the Clinic Dietitian and Manager of Nutrition Services at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC), has an impressive list of credentials and activities.

“We are so pleased Kate returned to her hometown,” said Patrick Branco, CEO of KMC, “I am especially thankful she joined the team at Ketchikan Medical Center. It’s wonderful, and no surprise, the Alaska Journal of Commerce chose to honor her. With her academic and proven successes along with her involvement in community projects, she exemplifies the best of her generation of Alaskans.”

Cessnun graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2010 with a double major in Biological Sciences and English and a minor in Women’s Studies. She recently graduated from a combined master’s degree and dietetic internship program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a Master of Science in Public Health degree in Human Nutrition. This program only accepts six people annually and included rotations at Johns Hopkins hospital.

During her time at UAF she worked for the Center for Alaska Native Health Research, working with the Nutrition Core Team on a project aimed at developing an intervention to address childhood obesity in the YK Delta.

In the past year at Ketchikan Medical Center, Cessnun has been working to advance many projects, including increasing outpatient nutrition counseling, serving as part of a Community Health Needs Assessment team, joining the medical center’s Palliative Care team, and assisting with a feasibility study on providing dialysis in Ketchikan. - More...
Friday - March 15, 2013

Fish Factor: Increased Surveys of Halibut Stock Planned By LAINE WELCH - Halibut scientists plan to expand the yearly Pacific stock assessments by 30% next summer, adding 390 survey stations to the existing 1,300 already in use from Oregon to the Bering Sea.

Since 1998 the halibut surveys, which occur from June through October, have been conducted in a depth range of 20 to 275 fathoms where most of the fishing was taking place. But that’s been changing in recent years, said Claude Dykstra, Survey Manager for the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

“We’re seeing the catch coming out of the deeper areas, particularly out in Area 4, the Unalaska region, out through the Aleutians and on into the Bering Sea, and we’ve seen shallower water captures being pulled out of various areas as well. Those are probably more concentrated in waters of Area 2B (Washington and B.C.), and a little bit in the Central and Western Gulf.”

Dykstra said surveys in 2014 will be added in the zero to 20 fathom range and 275 to 400 fathom range starting next summer.  Fifteen stations also will be added at northern California.

“There is evidence of more fish coming out of that area than was previously understood. So we will be pushing south this year,” Dykstra said.   “It’s always exciting to see what is going to come up in an area you haven’t fished before.” 

The expanded stock assessments means at least five more boats are needed to help with the surveys, adding to the dozen already being used.  Dykstra said attracting fishing vessels poses a challenge.    

“Finding boats and a crew that are experienced in fixed gear is one challenge. A lot of the fleet is moving to snap gear and that is currently not standardized to our survey,” he explained. “Another challenge is that a lot of these guys diversify their operations to maximize their boat usage, and as they move off of their sablefish or halibut quota, they move into salmon fisheries in the summer. So there’s some competition there in getting the work.”

 Any commercial fishing vessels from 57 to 120 feet can apply for the job, but the skipper and crew must fish using standardized skates and longline gear.

Each charter region takes about three weeks of fishing and boats can bid for up to three survey regions, Dykstra said.  Vessels also get 10% of the halibut sales and 50% from any other fish retained and sold. Vessels bid for which of the 27 regions they want to survey, and typical payouts range from $70,000 to $120,000 depending on the survey regions. 

“It also provides an opportunity for boats struggling with the big halibut quota cuts to halibut   and gives them another few months of work. They can come back from year to year and their experience goes a long way in helping us with our data,” Dykstra said.

The 2013 halibut fishery begins March 23 with an Alaska catch limit of 23 million pounds. - More...
Friday - March 15, 2013


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letter North Korea's Threats By Ken Leland - I agree with Mr. Moskowitz' view about protection of our country. I mark it down as swagger on their part beyond insanity.Surely they know that any attack on this country would result in immediate response. Just one of our Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines has the capability to obliterate almost any country on earth with its 24 nuclear missile each with 3 independently targeted warheads, and we have more than one submarine so equipped. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter Education Funding Unfair Comparisons By Agnes Moran - As I pointed out previously (Education Funding Cap), the Cap is not a measure of the "quality" of education funding in a community, it is merely the upper boundary of a federal disparity limit. Similarly, it is incorrect to use the Cap as a direct comparison between communities as a gauge of the "value" a community places on education. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter How much the district spends per student By Dave Timmerman - There have been a couple of letters here to SitNews that have stated how much it costs to educate a student in Ketchikan. I was startled at both of the numbers stated so I had to look into it. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter "Misinformation" at Borough Meeting By Gerri Davis - At the March 4th Ketchikan Borough Assembly meeting, dozens of concerned parents, teachers, students, and citizens showed up wearing green shirts to show their support for adequate education funding. Seventeen of those people went up to the podium and gave public comment, asking the borough to increase their proposed $7.7 million contribution to the school district. This amount is $600,000 less than what the district received last year, and, if realized, would result in probable cuts at all levels to art, music, libraries, technical programs, and much more. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter Ketchikan's Own Sequestration! By Gene Peterson - We have all been subjected to the media's, and bureaucrat's lamentations on the chaos that a cut in the increase in federal spending is causing. The administration threatens cuts in Airport security, in Air Traffic control, and refusal to send a warship to the middle east. (Notice no threat concerning cutting the useless spending such as our bloated local Forest Service behemoth.) How can the country survive unless the federal government gets more money? So what if we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent. - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter Current Education Request Not About The Cap By Dave Timmerman - Mrs. Moran, I will reply as a citizen to your letter as this is how I feel about our elected assembly and dealing with the district, instead of stepping sideways and talking about the cap, let's talk about what the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Board of Education has asked for. They have not asked for the cap in the last several years. In fact, they have asked for 1 to 1.5 million less than the cap (depending on the year). - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter Join our voices in opposition to the latest Sealaska Lands Bill By Andrea Hernandez - I have attached a transcript of a radio commentary made by Point Baker and Port Protection residents.  This commentary was aired on KFSK Petersburg on March 12th and is archived on their website.  The commentary includes this link to the audio version, which we encourage your readers to listen to.  Please publish this in the Sitnews if possible.  - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter North Korea Threatens US By Donald A. Moskowitz - General Kang Pyo Yong of North Korea recently said "When we shell (the missiles), Washington, which is the stronghold of evils, will be engulfed in a sea of fire."  The North Korean National Defense Commission stated "In the new phase of our century-long struggle against the United States, we do not hide the fact that various satellites, long-range missiles that we will continue to launch and high-level nuclear tests we will conduct will target our sworn enemy, the United States." - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter RE: Abortion By Robert Holston - Regarding Linda Beaupre's letter, I am fully aware of the length of a full term pregnancy. Are you aware that most abortions occur after week 10? That is why I calculated 30 weeks of inconvenience. Most parents would jump into a freezing river to save their drowning child or run into a burning house to carry their child from an inferno death. When a pregnancy causes severe morning sickness or some other complication for the mother the easy out is to choose abortion. It is with 100% accuracy that I declare, choosing abortion kills the child. Choosing life saves the child. - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

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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