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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 25, 2013

Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

Ketchikan Creek: Great Blue Heron
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)


Ketchikan: Ketchikan man sentenced for child rape - A Ketchikan Superior Court judge has sentenced a 37-year-old man to more than 50 years in prison for child rape. - Read this on the Anchorage Daily News ...


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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Man Found Dead - The body of 44 year old David J. Knapp of Ketchikan was located on the beach close to his residence by Alaska State Troopers. Knapp's body was partially submerged and tangled in an outfall line. Initial investigation by the Troopers led them to believe that Knapp was adjusting his outfall line and may have fallen onto the rocks and drowned.

The Alaska State Troopers received the 911 report of an apparent deceased male on the beach in Whisky Cove at 8:13 am. Alaska State Troopers were transported to the area by a United States Coast Guard safe boat from Station Ketchikan. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

Alaska: Native American Federal Contractors Dazed by Recent Report on an Increase in Direct Awards to Large Business & Attack on Alaska Natives - The recent report that no-bid contracts to large federal contractors increased by 9 billion dollars in 2012, and now Senator McCaskill's proposed budget resolution amendment to scale back federal contracting to Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), is a slap in the face to Indian Country, as well as all other small businesses says the Native American Federal Contractors Association.

The Association says Native American-owned federal contractors have been subject to some of the most intense scrutiny as compared to any other group of federal contractors in the last couple of years, with a specific focus on direct awards to these entities. As a result of this scrutiny, Section 811 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 was implemented, and Native American contractors have seen contract revenues from direct award procurements decline significantly. This has resulted in an enormous amount of dollars not flowing down to poor Native American communities who need it the most. The Native American Federal Contractors Association says Section 811, authored and sponsored by Senator McCaskill, shamefully singles out Native American federal contractors, by creating a $20 million threshold that triggers an extensive justification and approval process for direct awards above that threshold limit.

The Native American Federal Contractors Association says now Senator McCaskill attempts to further harm the Alaska Native community by illogically paring back ANC participation in the SBA 8(a) program through an amendment to the budget resolution. These kinds of measures, along with the recent report highlighting an increase in "no-bid" contracts to large federal contractors is evidence that the implementation of Section 811, and these undeserved and misguided attacks on Native American federal contracting, have frightened the procurement community, when it comes to direct award contracts, from handling Native American contractors the same as large contractors. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

Fish Factor: Not Much Excitement As Halibut Fishery Gets Underway By LAINE WELCH - It was unusually quiet along the waterfront as the halibut fishery got underway. 

Most of the first fish landed goes to Homer, Kodiak and Petersburg and processors there said there wasn’t “the usual chatter” and none said they had a feel for what’s going to happen yet with prices. Lots of halibut remains in the freezers and some major processors had reportedly unloaded the high priced fish at a loss.

In short, no one appeared very excited – catch limits have been slashed again this year, the fleet is unhappy about having onboard observers for the first time, and processors are not getting much interest from buyers. The term heard a lot is ‘halibut fatigue’ – the high prices for halibut has shrunk processors’ margins to next to nothing, and “it’s a fight to push the fish onto people and demand the prices they are having to pay” the processors said.  Halibut “is just not fun anymore, said a Petersburg company spokesman.

Last year’s prices started out at near $6.00 a pound for larger sized  fish in Homer and Kodiak, and at $7 a pound in Southeast. Within a few weeks prices dropped by 70 cents or more and then held fairly stable all season. 

 Alaska’s share of the halibut catch this year is 23 million pounds, down 2.5 million pounds from last year. Every region except for Southeast is again dealing with big cuts, and the outlook for at least the near future is bleak.  Meanwhile, the price to buy quota shares of halibut has reached $40 a pound in prime Alaska fishing regions. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

Ketchikan: Family Nurse Practitioner joins PeaceHealth Medical Group - Family Nurse Practitioner Donna Johnson has just joined the PeaceHealth Medical Group Family and Internal Medicine Clinic in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Family Nurse Practitioner joins PeaceHealth Medical Group

Family Nurse Practitioner joins PeaceHealth Medical Group
Photo courtesy PKMC

Johnson is not new to Alaska, but a recent returnee. After competing her master’s to become a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2006, she served as a Primary and Emergency Care provider in Yakutat.

Johnson began her medical career as a Medical Assistant in 1994, first putting her skills to use as a Labor and Delivery Assistant before transferring to Mercy West Family Practice & Urgent Care. In 2000, she completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa, and went to work as a Registered Nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During her time at the Mayo Clinic, she specialized in caring for critically ill patients in the Intensive Care Unit. With the knowledge she gained while caring for ICU patients, Johnson participated in an extensive program used to prepare nurses at the Mayo Clinic to better care for critically ill patients. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

Alaska: March 31 Deadline to Apply for 2013 PFD is Fast Approaching - The March 31st deadline to apply for the 2013 Permanent Fund Dividend is coming up fast! If you are an Alaskan resident who has not yet filed a 2013 PFD application – apply online today. It is important to note that the deadline is on a Sunday this year, and PFD offices are not open on the weekends.

Those who wait until the 31st to file will need to file online as most post offices will be closed that day as well. Paper applications are also available at distribution sites throughout the state, but must be postmarked no later than March 31st to be considered timely. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

Alaska: Whistleblower Awarded $3.5 Million - A federal jury has awarded Anchorage resident, Paul Blakeslee , $3.5 million in a whistleblower retaliation case. Blakeslee had sued his former employer, Shaw Environment & Infrastructure, Inc., for wrongful termination after the company initiated a "reduction in force" one day after receiving a whistleblower letter from Blakeslee. Blakeslee had reported a potentially significant fraud on the United States military.

Shaw was a government contractor providing support services (facilities maintenance) on Fort Richardson and Fort Wainright through contracts in excess of $100-million. In 2008, Shaw's Alaska project manager, Richard Lantz , had created a private leasing company and was leasing nearly $2-million worth of equipment to the government through the Shaw contracts, in many cases without obtaining competitive bids. Blakeslee wrote a letter reporting this conflict to Shaw's CEO, James Bernhard at the company's headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The day after Shaw received this letter, it commenced a termination proceeding and fired Blakeslee.

The jury found Shaw violated the whistleblower protections of the Federal False Claims Act, a statute encouraging the reporting of fraud and abuse and protecting whistleblowers who identify possible government fraud. The jury also found Blakeslee, who was then 71 years old, was the subject of age discrimination and the subject of retaliation. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Happy (Not So) Healthy Holidays - You know it’s a small town when the Emergency Room staff at the hospital greets you by name.

Even smaller when they say “oh wow, Mr. Kiffer, it is a holiday?!?!”

Yep, my family likes to celebrate the holidays by visiting the ER!

Sure, it seems a little weird, whiling away the hours wearing silly little open back gowns and writhing occasionally in pain while waiting for the morphine drip to take effect. But you have your traditions and we have ours!

It goes back to my son’s early years. Once upon a time,  he had a few fevers and a longer succession of inner ear problems that required some visits to the ER.

And did those problems happen during the week when the doctors’ offices were open? Of course not.

The men in our family have a bad habit of ignoring aches and pains until they become too hard to ignore. That’s probably why a lot of them don’t make to the far side of 60. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013


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letter “Createmonth” By Bob Pickrell - This is a notice to my family, friends, and the rest of the world.  This year I will celebrate my “Createmonth” in December.  My September birth days are gone forever! - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

letter Kayhi Needs a Tlingit Class By Peter Stanton - I would like to make a serious, concrete suggestion for Ketchikan High School: Get a Tlingit class. It could be just one period, but Kayhi needs a class teaching the Tlingit language. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

letter Open Letter: Proposed changes to oil taxes By Bella Hammond, Chancy Croft, Jay Kerttula, Katie Hurley, Sam Cotten, John Sund, Jim Whitaker, Mike Miller, Ethan Berkowitz, Harry Crawford, Eric Croft & David Gottstein - The legislature is contemplating tax changes which would forgo tens of billions of dollars of revenue.  SB 21 would replace a progressive tax structure with a flat tax, while substantially changing which oil fields are eligible for tax credits.  It would eliminate legislative language designed to promote industry competition.  These are major policy changes, and would affect Alaska’s business climate and state budgets for decades. - More...
Thursday - March 21, 2013

letter Mind Control By Norbert Chaudhary - As a concerned American, I am shocked that my constitutional right to own many firearms is now in jeopardy. It seems the liberal media and Obama have scared people into thinking that guns are a problem. And now they want to change things. Can you believe that? Just who does this Obama think he is? - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter The Income Tax – An Open Door to Corruption By Frank C. Kuchar - History has repeatedly demonstrated when a people and their leaders lose their virtue, freedom perishes.  It has recently come to light that Senator Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey allegedly sponsored and promoted legislation that would benefit a major donor to his political campaign.  The legislation in question would have granted special tax credits and grants to a company in which his donor had invested heavily. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter Time for a FairTax By Ward Atcher - Everyone, just imagine getting your whole paycheck [no federal income or FICA deductions] every pay period; and, you decide how much federal tax you pay and when? FairTax does this for all of us.   It’s much simpler and fairer than the 77,000 page federal income tax code it replaces.  FairTax eliminates the IRS. - More... 
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter Pass FairTax HR25 By Beverly Martin - Keeping a flat tax flat is like eating chocolates – you can’t stop with just one. Income tax started as a flat tax but legislators can’t keep their hands off your goodies. The more chocolates you make, the more they take. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter RE: End Abortions, Get A Vasectomy By Marie Zellmer - I have tried to stay out of this conversation for the longest time, but I would like to add something that has been on my mind and has become disturbing for me. Mr. Holston has forgotten something very important... he is not a woman. If I said that all men should have vasectomies to prevent getting women pregnant because of the "inconvenience" of paying for child care, or the "inconvenience" of having too much testosterone, I doubt that he would like the word as much. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

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

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