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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 13, 2015

Topping Out ceremony marks Ketchikan Medical Center milestone

Topping Out ceremony marks Ketchikan Medical Center milestone
Front Page Photo Courtesy KMC ©2015
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Ketchikan:Alaska Supreme Court grants stay in boro lawsuit by Leila Kheiry, KRBD - The Alaska Supreme Court has granted the state’s motion for a stay pending appeal in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s lawsuit regarding education funding. - Read or listen to this KRBD story...

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Ketchikan: Topping Out ceremony marks Ketchikan Medical Center milestone - Construction of PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center’s new surgery and medical office building took an important symbolic step forward on Wednesday, when the final i-beam for the steel skeleton of the 4- story building was hoisted aloft amid cheers and applause. The Topping Out ceremony took on added meaning with the participation of PeaceHealth CEO Alan Yordy, who will be retiring in June.

“This vision of what we’re now seeing come to fruition began many years ago. Nothing of this scope and caliber can happen without everyone pulling together. In the early days of considering what could be done to make this vision work, Mayor Williams, the City Council and the community were extraordinarily helpful,” said Yordy during his comments. “Former Governor Parnell and state leaders protected money in the state budget and Lisa Murkowski made sure there was federal help along the way. But most importantly, the citizens of this community showed an extraordinary vote of confidence. For all of you who played a role; a deep and profound thank you.”

Layton representative Ryan Maguire explained the significance of the tree in the Topping Out ceremony, “In Scandinavia in 600 AD they would raise an evergreen to the top of their timber structures as an offering to the gods who dwell in the trees to say thank you for the materials that built the structure. Today, we raise the last steel i-beam to the highest point in the framing of the building. The evergreen tree is placed on the beam as a representation of life and growth.”

In addition to the Sitka Spruce tree, the American and State of Alaska flags were added to the beam as a symbol of patriotism and to recognize the critical role played by the State of Alaska by contributing to the project’s funding. Maguire also noted that the timing of the Topping Out puts the project right on schedule for a May 2016 completion. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015

Alaska: Officials to Test Tsunami Warning System in Alaska; Emergency Alert Activation Part of Tsunami Preparedness Week - NOAA’s National Weather Service, the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Alaska Broadcasters Association plan to conduct a test of the tsunami warning communications system on Wednesday, March 25 at approximately 10:15 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time.

The emergency test will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, local television and radio stations, and residents in some communities may hear warning sirens. To avoid any confusion with an actual alert the test will be canceled if there is excessive seismic activity within 24 hours prior to the test.

Many television systems are programmed to scroll a standard emergency alert text message and in some cases, the message may not contain the word “TEST.” An audio message will say that the message is only a test, but if the volume is turned down or otherwise unheard, viewers may not realize the message is a test. In addition, siren audio may not contain the word “TEST.” - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015

Alaska: 2015 charter and commercial halibut management measures announced - NOAA Fisheries is providing notice of the immediate effect of regulations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). The commercial IFQ halibut season opens Saturday, March 14, 2015.

At its annual meeting in January, the IPHC recommended to the governments of Canada and the United States catch limits for 2015 totaling 29,223,000 pounds.

The IPHC adopted area-specific catch limits for 2015 that were higher than 2014 in most of its management areas except Area 3B, where catch limits were reduced, and Areas 4B and 4CDE, where catch limits remained at the 2014 level.

In Area 2C (Southeast Alaska): - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015

jpg Tlingit Master Carver resurrects 74-year-old totem

Tlingit Master Carver resurrects 74-year-old totem
Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price removes the raven beak from the 74-year-old totem.
Photo by Laurie Craig



Southeast Alaska: Tlingit Master Carver resurrects 74-year-old totem - In a small U.S. Forest Service workshop in Juneau, a skilled Alaska Native artist is meticulously bringing a traditional artifact back to life.

Tlingit Master Carver resurrects 74-year-old totem

Historic photo of the Yax té (Big Dipper) totem taken in 1942.
United States Forest Service photo

Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price of Haines has begun the process of restoring the totem, which has overlooked the Auk Recreation Area near Juneau for more than 70 years.

In 1941, Frank St. Clair, a Tlingit from Hoonah, and two members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), originally carved the Yax té (Big Dipper) totem, which symbolizes a “place where a strong tribe flourished.” The Aak’w Kwáan, according to historical documents, were Tlingit people and among the first to settle in the Juneau area.

“I am glad to see this pole being restored and happy to hear that it will stand again at the Auk Village site where it was originally erected,” said Myra Gilliam, Forest Service archaeologist for Admiralty National Monument, Juneau and Yakutat Ranger Districts.

Forest Service Landscape Architect Linn Forrest designed the totem in the early 1940’s and it was the initial pole of his vision for a “Totem Park” in Juneau. However, his dream for an Auk Village “Totem Park” was never realized because World War II started and affected funding for the CCC program. Forrest also oversaw earlier totem pole restoration work at the Sitka National Historical Park in 1939 and helped design the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Over the years, heavy rains and insects began affecting the structural integrity of the Yax té totem, which was originally planted directly in the soil. The totem suffered the effects of stubborn woodpeckers and was also damaged by arsonists. A few years ago, the Forest Service took down the totem in the interest of public safety and placed it in storage. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015



Fish Factor: Print your licenses at home and go fishing! By LAINE WELCH - The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game’s revamped Online Store is the go to place for all fishing (and hunting) licenses and it now offers two new features.

“Fishermen, both sport and commercial, can now print their licenses at home. They can purchase it online, immediately print it and go out fishing,” said Michelle Kaelke, Financing and Licensing Supervisor for the department.

“They can buy it before they go out to the fishing grounds, or if they’re traveling from Seattle or wherever, they can have everything ready for when they head up to Alaska,” she added.

Another first: printing out multiple licenses.

“Now you can buy for your whole family in one transaction, with different options,” Kaelke explained. “One can have a fishing and a hunting license, or a commercial crew license, and one can just have a sport fish license or a big game tag.”

The print and go licenses will also be a huge plus for Alaska seafood processors.

“They will buy their crew member licenses and they’ve had to do it one at a time, or they mail us paper applications,” Kaelke said. “So now they can do it right from their office and print all their licenses and give them to their crew and off they go.”

All transactions are followed up by an email with licenses attached for future use or printings. The print at home procedure also is the same for sport fish guides and anglers, hunting, trapping, or getting king salmon or duck stamps.

The department knows people will appreciate the easy new system, Kaelke said, adding that she does too. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015

Alaska: Alaska House Passes FY'16 Operating Budget With $377 Million Reduction; Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Says Harms Kids, Seniors and the Neediest Alaskans - The Alaska House of Representatives early Friday morning passed a Fiscal Year 2016 statewide operating budget with a historic 10 percent reduction in unrestricted general funds. Faced with a $3.5 billion deficit, the Alaska House Finance Committee found $229 million in reductions to day-to-day agency operations, while prioritizing protecting the economy and core services. The nonpartisan Legislative Finance Division reports the 10 percent reduction as the largest in state history. The House also approved the FY2016 Mental Health budget.

“No one predicted the sharp drop in oil prices, nor the state losing more than 50 percent of expected revenue over the past few months. With that in mind, we had to adjust – prioritize needs versus wants and not shock the economy,” said House Finance Committee Co-Chair Mark Neuman, R-Su-Valley. “This budget reflects a careful look at what the core functions of government should be. The services Alaskans have come to expect will be preserved as best as we can, while this bill starts the discussion on what level of government services we can afford now and into the future.”

The House Finance Committee Substitute (CS) for the operating budget, House Bill 72, reduces the unrestricted general funds total agency operations budget by $376.9 million. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015



Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KIffer

DAVE KIFFER: Between the Rail Belt Devils and the Deep Blue Cs - The "Between Cs" season is always an interesting time in Our Fair Salmon City.

"Between Cs" is the handful of months between Christmas and Cruise Ships.

It marks the doldrums where little of interest seems to be happening in the First City. Sure, there is the high school basketball season to keep folks interested. And there are always a few drug arrests to fill up columns in the newspaper. But, in general, not much happens during the “Between Cs.”

Which, of course, is why something always happens.

When I was in the news biz we used to always look forward to February and March because we knew that some issue would always rise up out of Nowhere and captivate the public attention for a couple of months. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015


JOE GUZZARDI: Illegal Immigration Presents Problems For Social Security - An unsurprising report from the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General found the impossible - that 6.5 million people age 112 or older have active social security numbers. Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee called the SSA's ineptitude "incredible."

The OIG report was predictable because immigration experts have known for years that individuals who enter the country illegally depend on identity theft, and with impunity. Neither employers who benefit from their cheap labor nor the federal government which has condoned open borders for five decades has lifted a finger to end the hoax.

Indeed, OIG discovered that between 2008 and 2011, employers made 4,024 E-Verify inquiries from 3,873 social security numbers supposedly initiated by individuals born before June 16, 1901. But mandated E-Verify, the free, easy online program that employers can complete in just minutes, would help eliminate fraud and assure that employers hire either citizens or legal, work-authorized immigrants. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015

jpg Rick Jensen

RICK JENSEN: Middle Class Screwed Again - How would you like a free refund of your last three years' of taxes? A promise that you won't have to pay any possible back taxes or penalty? Would you have any objection if the IRS chooses not to ask for income verification?

No problem! But there's only one catch.

You must be living here illegally. Citizens need not apply.

IRS Commissioner Ira Koskinen recently confirmed this benefit of President Obama's executive amnesty to Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa. This means once President Obama signs off on social security numbers for illegal immigrants, they can claim three years of back taxes on income they may have never actually earned or reported. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Sunshine Week

Political Cartoon: Sunshine Week
By Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

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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