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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

March 07, 2015

Coronation Island

Coronation Island
A 9 mile long by 5 mile wide t-shaped island that sits in the ocean west of Prince of Wales and south of Cape Decision.
Front Page Photo Courtesy NOAA & Alaska ShoreZone Program, 2012
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Southeast Alaska: 110 died when Star of Bengal grounded on Coronation Island By DAVE KIFFER - From just about every direction, Coronation Island is a foreboding place.

110 died when Star of Bengal grounded on Coronation Island

Star of Bengal under full sail.
Photo originally from the collection of Captain Harold D. Huycke
Photo courtesy Wikipedia commons

The 9 mile long by 5 mile wide t-shaped island sits in the ocean west of Prince of Wales and south of Cape Decision. It has several harbors but none of which are considered particularly good, according to the United States Coast Pilot, much of the shoreline is sea cliffs ranging from 300 to 1000 feet.

Generations of fishermen in the area have steered clear of the island in all but the most fair weather and although a lead mine operated on the island for nearly half a century, the entire island is now part of the Coronation Island Wilderness area. Coronation remains an isolated, generally empty locale, approximately 125 miles west of Ketchikan.

But more than a century ago, one of the greatest maritime disasters of the Northwest Coast happened on the rugged coast of Coronation Island. More than 100 people died when a square rigged three masted bark named the “Star of Bengal” went aground near Helm Point on the Southeastern end on Coronation Island.

The Star of Bengal was built in 1874 at the Belfast’s Harland and Wolff Shipyard in what is now Northern Ireland. Harland and Wolff was one of the great shipyards in the world and was also the builder of the Titanic in 1914.

The Star of Bengal had an iron hull, was 262 feet from stem to stern and had a gross tonnage of 1870. She was owned by J.P. Corry and Co. which was primarily involved in the building trade and as a result, the Star of Bengal frequently transported lumber and building supplies around the world.

According to the Bruzelius Info website on sailing ships, the Star spent much of the next 22 years under sail, completing more than two dozen significant voyages, ranging the globe for anywhere from 60 to 120 days. In the mid 1890s, she was purchased by a California company and spend most of the next decade in or around San Francisco.

In 1906, she was sold to the Alaska Packers Association, just in time to be involved in the San Francisco earthquake.

The Alaska Packers Association (APA) was the largest cannery operation in Alaska from the 1890s through the middle part of the 20th Century, operating as many as 31 canneries in the territory. The canned salmon industry was the largest industry in the state during those decades and accounted for nearly 80 percent of the territory’s tax revenue.

One way that the company used to economize costs in its far flung empire was being one of the last major seafaring operations to use “tall ships.” APA used the sailing ships to transport men, materials and product between its canneries and the market centers of Seattle and San Francisco.

The old sailing ships were much cheaper to maintain and operate than the new steam powered vessels and APA discovered they were very well suited to operations that usually involved sailing a ship north to a cannery with workers and materials and having the ship spend the season tied up to the dock and filled with tens of thousands of cases of canned salmon. - More...
Saturday AM - March 07, 2015



Southeast Alaska: New Tongass Forest Supervisor Announced - Beth Pendleton, Regional Forester of Alaska announced Earl Stewart is the new Tongass Forest Supervisor. Stewart replaces Forrest Cole, Forest Supervisor since 2003 who will retire after a 40-year career with the U.S. Forest Service.

“I am elated to have Earl serving here in Alaska,” said Pendleton. “Stewart is the perfect choice to lead the Tongass National Forest. He brings a wide range of experience and leadership to this position and has a great understanding of the unique relationships that communities have with their national forests which will suit Alaskans well.”

“I’m excited to join the Alaska Region and begin taking on the responsibilities as the Tongass Forest Supervisor,” said Stewart. “I welcome the opportunity to serve the 33 communities within the Tongass and work with the businesses, organizations and partners that provide services and adventures for a lifetime. I look to embrace our relations with Alaska Native Tribes and Alaskan Natives and personally get to know the dedicated Forest Service employees here in Alaska.”

In a prepared statement Trout Unlimited’s Southeast Alaska project director Mark Kaelke said, “Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program, welcomes Earl Stewart as the new Tongass National Forest Supervisor. Trout Unlimited has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with the Forest Service on the Tongass and we look forward to continuing this relationship with Mr. Stewart. We are encouraged by Stewart’s background as a biologist and his experience leading collaborative restoration projects in other regions of the country that are well suited to meeting the unique needs of southeast Alaska."

“TU is committed and exited to work with Mr. Stewart and his team at the Forest Service to chart a new path forward that focuses on restoration, recreation, renewable energy and sustainable young-growth forest products,” Kaelke said.

The Tongass, America’s salmon forest, is one of the few places in the world where wild salmon and trout still thrive. The Tongass includes more than 15,700 miles of clean, undammed streams and 4,100 lakes and ponds that provide optimal spawning and rearing conditions for the region’s abundant wild salmon and trout. This vital and vibrant resource serves as the foundation for local cultures and communities. - More...
Saturday AM - March 07, 2015



Fish Factor: Almost $12 Million Cut for ADFG By LAINE WELCH - A nearly $12 million cut in state funds is on tap for the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game if state policy makers have their way. That was one early outcome of legislative House finance subcommittee meetings last week, as they wrapped up the first step in a budget process that will see cuts in agencies and programs almost across the board.

According to Juneau Resources Weekly, the ADF&G budget reductions cut across all divisions with sport fishing facing the most personnel losses at 12 seasonal jobs. The Division of Habitat could lose $400,000; commercial fishing programs are set to lose five positions and an additional $2 million in general fund support.

Other fisheries related items include a 40% cut in the $7.5 million the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute receives in state funds, double what Governor Walker had proposed.

The JRW said that members of the Dept. of Commerce, Community and Economic Development subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), voted to cut $2.8 million from the ASMI budget. The state’s lone marketing arm is largely funded by self-imposed fees from the seafood industry. The committee recommended that ASMI increase those fees to support its global marketing efforts.

Other cuts proposed by the same committee include $600,000 for a mapping project by the Marine Exchange of Alaska to identify vessel tracking gaps in the Gulf of Alaska, Western Alaska and the Arctic. Also removed was a $187,500 grant to the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association.

The lawmakers recommended eliminating the Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s fish tissue studies that assure consumers that Alaska’s seafood is safe to eat.

Also on the chopping block: the Alaska Farm to School program run by the Dept. of Natural Resources. The small program promotes local use of farm and seafood products in state schools. Rep. Pruitt, who also chairs the DNR finance committee, advised cutting the program’s $180,000 in the upcoming school year. - More...
Saturday AM - March 08, 2015



Southeast Alaska: BLM Alaska Signs Interim Sealaska Land Conveyance Deed - Friday, Sealaska received interim conveyance for final acreage promised under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). In a signing ceremony, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Director Bud Cribley signed the document on March 6, 2015.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Director Bud Cribley signed the document on Friday March 6, 2015.
Photo courtesy Sealaska

“BLM is pleased to be part of this significant milestone toward the completion of the Alaska Land Transfer Program for Sealaska,” stated BLM Alaska State Director Bud Cribley. “The Alaska Land Transfer Program is the work being done by BLM to survey and convey lands under ANCSA as well as the Native Allotment Act and Alaska Statehood Act. BLM anticipates it will take several years to survey Sealaska’s ANCSA lands. Once that is finished BLM will issue a patent to the land" - More...
Saturday AM - March 07, 2015

Alaska: UFA Publishes 2015 Edition of Alaska Community Fishing Fact Sheets, Introduces Seafood Industry Taxes & Fees - The statewide commercial fishing umbrella association United Fishermen of Alaska has released its updated set of seafood industry data sheets for major Alaska communities and boroughs. UFA is seeking to provide groups, members and the public with economic information about the seafood industry to illustrate the industry’s significance in their communities and throughout the state. New with this year's edition are summary fact sheets for the Nome and Wade Hampton Census Areas, a sheet for Oregon and California, and a new compilation of seafood industry taxes and fees paid to the state, boroughs, communities and federal agencies.

"Alaska's seafood industry brings millions to the state in fishing and processing revenues and employs thousands of Alaskans in the major fishing ports every year, including communities such as Anchorage”, said UFA President Jerry McCune. “We are pleased to once again provide our Alaska statewide fact sheet that details out the importance of the seafood industry to the state”, said Executive Director Julianne Curry. “We have also produced a brand new tax and fee sheet that points out the $250 million in taxes and fees paid by the seafood industry on an annual basis. Due to the wide range of state and federal agencies involved in fisheries, it is challenging to understand the many different positive impacts and revenues that Alaska's fisheries provide throughout the state and beyond. UFA’s fact sheets help consolidate this information and make it easy to understand.” - More...
Saturday AM - March 08, 2015


By Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
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Saturday, update in progress.

letter Careful Consideration Is Needed By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Getting our state’s fiscal house in order by establishing a sustainable operations budget plan should be the Alaska State House of Representatives main priority for this legislative session. It’s in the best long-term interests of all Alaskans that the Legislature significantly reduce our 3.5 billion dollar deficit while supporting programs that spur economic growth. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 04, 2015

letter Political Correctness in play By A. M. Johnson - Please to hear that I have stated the most racist statement heard. The more vocal Political Correctness crowd across the Nation will be hurt and sadden to learn their trumpeted bellowing has been overshadowed by a single Alaskan. No apology coming! - More...
Wednesday AM - March 04, 2015

letter Words of Senator McCain By A. M. Johnson - One has to wonder if Senator John McCain has second thoughts regarding his flowery endorsement of then candidate Obama quoted within Mr. Harpold's espial of 2-25-14. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 04, 2015

letter KRBD budget cuts By Deb Turnbull - I am asking for your help today in lieu of the proposed 59% budget cuts to public broadcasting. We view these cuts as excessive and disproportionate causing significant harm to our system. We know KRBD plays an important role keeping our community informed, educated and entertained. I ask that you place a call today to your legislator and ask where they stand on the 59% cut… a $2.5million cut – that would deeply impact all the stations in the state. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter Ketchikan Recorder's Office Closure By Chris Elliott - The Legislature is very seriously considering closing the Ketchikan Recorder's Office. This is where deeds and other documents are recorded for the Ketchikan Recording District, the Wrangell Recording District, and the Petersburg Recording District. If the office closes, we will be forced to mail documents to Juneau for recordation. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter Come On, Not Again With Library Funding! By Terri Jirschele - I have never personally used the "library-on-the-cliff", and I don't plan on starting! In this digital age I, like so many other people, read electronic books. I can't remember the last time I held, let alone, actually opened, and read a printed book. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter RE: Powers Act By Laurin Boyer - Read Marc Kaiwi's comments with interest and would like to point out that unlike living under a dictator or emperor, our allegiance is given to the constitution which allows for the removal of a President if the conditions seem to warrant as well as the freedom to express our opinions of the country and its leaders as both you and Mr. Johnson have done. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter Respect and Legal Pot By James Schenk - Respect, kind of the first rule in life to follow, to coexist with our fellow Human beings. With the Legalization of Marijuana now here, the number one rule to follow should be Respect! Be respectful first to your self, if you are unable to function as you would expect when using this substance do not do anything to put yourself, nor anyone else in danger. Respect the wishes and health of your family, like cigarettes and other smoke producing products, the best use is away from those who have no desire, nor should be around it, find a quite place outside your home or with no access to minors, no one who does not use pot deserves to be subjected to second hand smoke, or the actions of those not responsible enough respect the space of those who do not use pot. - More...- More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter Changes are way overdue By Guy Lane -Since moving to POW Island it's not hard to see why some small towns just don't go anywhere. First I moved to Coffman Cove where my family was sold an undisclosed buried logging camp dump by the City Administrator which resulted in a lengthy lawsuit with the Defendants paying my family a settlement of $65,000. After the settlement was made, several past and present Coffman Cove Council members and or their associates can't just seem to leave my family alone and continue to harass and slander my family and business which will result in a new lawsuit being filed against them in the near future. My family was threatened and stalked for not wanting to be the proud owners of an undisclosed buried logging camp dump that contained hazardous materials and has since been designated as an illegal hazardous waste dump by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter RE: War Powers act By Marc Kaiwi - ... Stand the Muslim President down NOW! This is the most racist statement I've heard since the 1960's! I'd ask you Mr. Johnson is it that you just don't like Muslims or is it that you simply object to a black President? Might I remind you that Mr. Barack Obama is currently the President of the United Sates of America, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and voted into Office twice by the American people via democratic vote! - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter RE: War Powers Act By Mike Harpold - Al, this is what the man we both voted for in 2008, Senator John McCain, had to say about then candidate Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Minnesota in 2008: - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter Daylight Savings Time Change By Mike Bethel - Where does the fact that we lose two hours in the evenings if we stop using daylight savings time come from? Metlakatla is not using daylight savings time and they are currently on the same time as Seattle. They gain an hour in the evening, not lose two. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter RE: Culprit of wealth division By Stephen C. Eldridge - Paul Livingston starts off with a class warfare appeal, “The CULPRIT of wealth division is our federal tax code.” I see, in the besotted mind of a Socialist, the Tax Code CREATES “unfair” distribution of wealth TO the rich. Socialists have no concept initially that the wealthy EARN their wealth, legally. Socialists are blinded by their class hatred of the rich and thus cannot process the long known fact that the rich pay most all of the federal income tax, but that would not matter anyway because in their minds, the rich will NEVER pay their “Fair Share” of taxes, no matter how much they pay. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter Ward Creek Trail, Again By Eric Muench - A threat to Ward Creek Trail has receded for now but the risk is still there. The Ward Cove Group proposal to purchase and fully develop the Borough s 297 acres out the Revilla Road, including residential development of Ward Creek Trail in Tract B, has been withdrawn. That is good news, but we cannot let the matter rest there. A new proposal could be made at any time by anyone for any Borough vacant land. It would then be considered and possibly negotiated and approved by the Manager and Mayor and Assembly members. These people are not pushovers; they had serious concerns about the recent proposal, but it would have been better if the proposer had known beforehand what the intents and limits of the Borough s RFP were. It had been too open-ended. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Shenanigans By David Nees - Jay Hammond must be rolling in his grave at the current shenanigans in Juneau. In his first term as Senator, the young Jay Hammond sought a way to protect Education and Fish and Game commissioners from political cleansing by the then new Republican administration. Sen. Hammond devised and passed a clever way to balance the system: An appointed board for fish management, another appointed board for game management, and an appointed Board of Education. The governor could not have more than four persons from his party on any of the boards. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Do you hate SE Alaskan Children? By Ken Lewis - Gosh I hope the title caught your eye. Senator Anna MacKinnon wants you to think eliminating daylight savings time is good for you. She obviously either hates SE families or she thinks the northern communities (WANTS) are so valuable to us in SE, we are willing to eliminate yet another hour of afternoon daylight for recreation and basic sight for safety. If her ignorant bill should pass, the diference between a kid in Ketchikan prior to 1983 and her version of efficient use of daylight will be two less hours of after school, after work, after diner natural daylight. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Hole In The Wall Dock Upgrade By Gail Jackson - The fishermen and hunters haul tons of gear up and down the docks, people that live off the grid haul their supplies up and down the docks. The dock is a working, surviving access to the Alaska waters and marine highway. The dock needs to accommodate those that us it. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter RE: Ketchikan gas prices By Ken Arriola - Mr. Weaver, we here in K-Town are quite accustom to rolling over and being content with subsidising big business be it fuel, food, housing, utilities, labor, shipping or transportation. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter War Powers act By A. M. Johnson - Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, enough screwing around with this Muslim President! On the war powers authorization stand firm, damn firm on terms which better include eliminating Terms of engagement - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter RE: Feral Cats By Laura Plenert - What is missing here is the fact that the feral population - if neutered or spayed will eventually collapse because they can no longer breed. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Culprit of wealth division By Paul Livingston - The culprit of wealth division is our federal tax code. The tax code has over 74,000 pages with $1.2 trillion in deductions, tax breaks, loop holes, etc. that go up in value with wealth and income. This is the buy and sell tax code game played by special interests, lobbyists and politicians. Do you think winners and losers are being picker? Do you think our present tax code leads to wealth division? Plus it divides us into classes. It has regressive taxes on jobs. The tax code is based on production (income, savings and investment). Production is what creates jobs, a higher standard of living and wealth for the country. Why punish good behavior? - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

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