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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 19, 2013


Prawn Fever
Theodore Escalante with his first prawns.
Front Page Photo By ALONSO ESCALANTE ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)


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. - More...
Friday - March 15, 2013


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Alaska: Orphaned Polar Bear Cub Delivered to The Alaska Zoo - A polar bear cub has been rescued after its mother was killed and has been provided a temporary home at the Alaska State Zoo.

Orphaned Polar Bear Cub Delivered to The Alaska Zoo

Polar bear cub“Kali”
Photo By John Gomes/Alaska Zoo

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today they received word that a female polar bear had been taken near Point Lay, Alaska on March 12th. The adult female was accompanied by a cub, which was recovered and transferred first to the community of Point Lay, and then to the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management (DWM).

A health evaluation by the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management reported the cub to be a young male weighing approximately 18.4 pounds and estimated to be 3-4 months of age.

The Alaska Zoo, located in Anchorage, was requested to arrange the transportation from Barrow and to provide for preliminary care and management of the cub. The cub is currently being held for observation at the Alaska Zoo, and appears to be responding well.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they appreciate the many partners, including the people of Point Lay, the North Slope Borough, Alaska Airlines, the North Slope Borough Police Department, and the Alaska Zoo for their efforts in recovering, transporting, and caring for this young cub.

The people of Point Lay would like the cub to be named “Kali” (pronounced cully) which is the Inupiat name for Point Lay. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

Southeast Alaska: DNA Study Clarifies How Polar Bears & Brown Bears Are Related - At the end of the last ice age, a population of polar bears was stranded by the receding ice on a few islands in southeastern Alaska. Male brown bears swam across to the islands from the Alaskan mainland and mated with female polar bears, eventually transforming the polar bear population into brown bears.

Evidence for this surprising scenario emerged from a new genetic study of polar bears and brown bears led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The findings, published March 14 in PLOS Genetics, upend prevailing ideas about the evolutionary history of the two species, which are closely related and known to produce fertile hybrids.

Previous studies suggested that past hybridization had resulted in all polar bears having genes that came from brown bears. But the new study indicates that episodes of gene flow between the two species occurred only in isolated populations and did not affect the larger polar bear population, which remains free of brown bear genes.

At the center of the confusion is a population of brown bears that live on Alaska's Admiralty, Baranof, and Chicagof Islands, known as the ABC Islands. These bears--clearly brown bears in appearance and behavior--have striking genetic similarities to polar bears.

DNA Study Clarifies How Polar Bears & Brown Bears Are Related

ABC Brown Bear
Photo courtesy USFWS

"This population of brown bears stood out as being really weird genetically, and there's been a long controversy about their relationship to polar bears. We can now explain it, and instead of the convoluted history some have proposed, it's a very simple story," said coauthor Beth Shapiro, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz.

Shapiro and her colleagues analyzed genome-wide DNA sequence data from seven polar bears, an ABC Islands brown bear, a mainland Alaskan brown bear, and a black bear. The study also included genetic data from other bears that was recently published by other researchers. Shapiro's team found that polar bears are a remarkably homogeneous species with no evidence of brown bear ancestry, whereas the ABC Islands brown bears show clear evidence of polar bear ancestry.

A key finding is that the polar bear ancestry of ABC Islands brown bears is conspicuously enriched in the maternally inherited X chromosome. About 6.5 percent of the X chromosomes of the ABC Islands bears came recently from polar bears, compared to about 1 percent of the rest of their genome. This means that the ABC Islands brown bears share more DNA with polar bear females than they do with polar bear males, Shapiro said. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

Alaska: 1st Airship in 90 Years Flies to Alaska This Summer; Could Modern Day Airships Present an Opportunity for Resource Development in Alaska? - Skyship Services Inc., the Type Certificate holders and operators of the Skyship 600 series airships, is planning an extended trip this summer that will take them to the far North – and be the first airship to visit Alaska since the 1920’s. The airship plans to be in Anchorage around July 4, 2013 and return to the lower 48 in September.

1st Airship in 90 Years Flies to Alaska This Summer; Could Modern Day Airships Present an Opportunity for Resource Development in Alaska?

Skyship 600
Photo courtesy Skyship Services, Inc.

The Skyship 600 is the largest certified non-rigid airship currently in operation, and is 200 feet long and carries up to 15 people at a time. This modern airship has thrust-vectoring engines and, like a Harrier jump jet, can take off and land from vertically. Cruise speed is about 40 mph and it can cruise along for 18 hours at a time.

Why take an airship to Alaska? Because Alaska needs airships.   Alaska has limited road systems and the state is very dependent on aviation to meet a variety of needs. The Skyship can take part in aerial surveys, maritime patrols, wildlife observation, and environmental monitoring.

Airships are outstanding platforms for aerial surveys due to their slow speed and low altitude. There is little vibration in the gondola, and the flight is smooth and controlled. Surveys flown from airships have been shown to offer higher resolution and higher accuracy than aircraft or helicopters. Airships do not bank (or roll) in turns, keeping their sensors pointed at the ground all the time. Viewers have seen the stability and consistency of aerial coverage of sporting events from airships – there is a reason why TV producers like airships.

“Alaska’s limited road system in turn limits the ability to efficiently survey our resource rich lands,” said Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) who is the Co-Chair of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission. “It makes perfect sense for Alaska to have an airship to open up access to opportunities in resource development that will help secure Alaska’s financial future.” - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013


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letter LET’S STOP BEING NUMBER ONE By Diane Gubatayao - Reliable statistics tell us that two out of three Alaskan women will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetimes. Alaska leads the nation in this statistic; we are a sad number one. Here in Ketchikan it is estimated that there are two DV cases a day on average and one major sexual assault a month. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

letter The Cost of Education in Ketchikan By John Harrington - I have been following the education funding discussions here and in the public meetings. I usually try to avoid getting in the middle of these discussions, but I felt that some factual information might be useful. And we ought to look at all the information. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

letter Re: How much the district spends per student By Agnes Moran - Per ordinance 1630-A, found on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough website, the school District's FY2013 funding authority (budget) was $40,425,914 for 2165 students or approximately $18,672 per student. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

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

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