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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 08, 2018

Over $30,000 in projects funded by Gift Shop Volunteers

Over $30,000 in projects funded by Gift Shop Volunteers
Pictured: Carolyn Wilsie and Matt Eisenhower
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Medical Center

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Ketchikan: Over $30,000 in projects funded by Gift Shop Volunteers - The Gift Shop in the Ketchikan Medical Center Lobby “is a wonderful example of the PeaceHealth mission in action,” said Matt Eisenhower, Director of the Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation.

The Foundation oversees the operation but it’s the volunteers who staff the little shop that are the heart and soul of the enterprise. Carolyn Wilsie has been there since the start, when the gift shop was not much more like a closet.

“In the years since,” Wilsie said at the annual Gift Shop luncheon Saturday, "we've given over $600,000 in grants from Gift Shop proceeds to PeaceHealth here in Ketchikan and on Prince of Wales."

“We were so pleased when we first had enough money to donate. After several years of operation, we were able to buy two new wheelchairs in 2000,” said Wilsie.

In the years since they’ve funded an array of requests from a few hundred dollars for new toys for the Child Development Center to tens of thousands for major equipment purchase. - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018

Ketchikan: Teens Traveled to Juneau for Week of Civic Engagement - Last week, 26 teen community leaders from across the state traveled to Juneau to participate in the annual Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) Civics & Conservation Summit.

The annual Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) Civics & Conservation Summit is a youth leadership training that brings teens from diverse regions of the state together to build skills in civic action, issue analysis, advocacy and statewide leadership through high-impact civic engagement lessons. 

Ketchikan teens Laura Sherrill and Talisa McKinley were two in a group of 26 youth delegates, representing 11 urban and rural Alaska communities, participating in the annual summit. Teen delegates focused on talking to their legislators about several bills, including House Bill 173 on climate change, House Bill 199 on salmon habitat protection, and House Bill 277 on net neutrality and internet access.

Sherrill is a sophomore and the captain of her school’s NOSB team, and focusing her passions on climate change and ocean warming.

McKinley comes from a military family and values highly her home, her community of Ketchikan and her environment. Quoting a news release, this love has pushed her to engage with her representatives in Juneau.

The AYEA youth leaders delivered a support letter signed by over 200 teens from around the state to Rep. Stutes at their annual AYEA salmon picnic outside the Capitol on Friday, March 9. The teens hail from communities around Alaska – from Barrow to Ketchikan and Dutch Harbor to the Interior. Half of them are Alaska Native and almost all the youths come from rural communities that directly rely upon salmon for food, culture, income and recreation. - More....
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018

Alaska: Independent Investigation of Workplace Safety at Alaska Psychiatric Institute Requested - Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson has requested an independent investigation into workplace safety at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API).

Under the supervision of Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, Anchorage attorney Bill Evans has been hired to independently investigate complaints of workplace safety made by API employees and how those complaints have been previously handled by API management. Mr. Evans will investigate whether API employees are comfortable bringing their concerns forward to hospital administrators as they occur and what unnecessary obstacles might exist to report complaints.

“The safety of our employees and patients is a top priority for API,” said DHSS Commissioner Valerie Davidson. “We are working with the Department of Law and Bill Evans to ensure our employees feel safe on the job. I thank the dedicated staff at API who brought these concerns forward. Your voice is critical to ensuring a safe environment for both staff and patients.” - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018


Old Scams are New Again with Personalization - The Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Attorney General’s Office warns Alaska that scam phone calls are on the rise in Alaska, and they come with a new, personalized slant. Several victims have reported being taken for thousands of dollars in recent weeks by scammers who have taken old scams to a whole new level.

An Alaskan lost $4,000 to scammer claiming to be her grandson being held in jail. The grandparent scam has been around for several years, with a scammer calling claiming to be a grandchild or other relative who needs money fast. The grandparent is instructed to wire money or to buy gift cards and read the numbers to the person on the phone in order to get a relative in “trouble” out of jail or home from another country. Later, the grandparent discovers that the grandchild was never in trouble at all. By that time, the money is gone.

The new twist on the scam is that the grandparent in Alaska needed her grandson to be a pallbearer at a family funeral. The scammer used information easily available online to personalize the scam, calling at a critical time when the victim was likely to upset and easily confused or tricked into acting without checking. Any Alaskan receiving a call that a relative is in trouble should immediately hang up and call known numbers to check in with family before sending money.

An Alaska was recently tricked into giving money to a scammer falsely claiming to have kidnapped a family member. The key to this and many other scams is the ability of the fraudsters to “spoof” numbers on caller id’s with computer software. This made the number look like the call was coming from the “kidnapped” family member’s phone, convincing the victim that the story was true. After emptying banks accounts to pay for ransom, it turned out that the family member was safe all along.

The Better Business Bureau has warned that the Nigerian bank account scam has recently been personalized using information about professionals easily obtained online. The scam comes in the form of a letter or email that the victim is being issued a large check on a foreign bank account and if they will cash the check and submit a portion of the money back by wire, they can keep some percentage for themselves. The check is phony, so the victim is wiring his or her own money away and will not get it back. 

The scam is back after scammers found fresh success by emailing nurses that the check was issued because a foreign prince, dignitary or rich person received excellent care in a health care facility and wanted to reward a caregiver. Alaskan caregivers and other professionals are warned not to fall for a phony “reward” check. - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018


Volcanoes and Eelgrass Transform Salmon Habitat - Nearshore habitat for young salmon and other wildlife is slowly disappearing in Chignik, Alaska. A new NOAA Fisheries study is the first to quantify shallowing of the seafloor in the area, and to identify its likely cause: the combined forces of volcanoes and eelgrass.

Chignik lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, surrounded by active volcanoes. Large runs of sockeye salmon spawn in Chignik lakes. Eelgrass beds in the bays serve as nurseries where young salmon feed and acclimate to saltwater. Three Chignik communities depend heavily on commercial and subsistence salmon fishing. [Chignik is two hundred and fifty miles southwest of Kodiak.]

Loss of inshore habitat is of great concern to natural resource managers and the people who harvest resources supported by these ecosystems. The shallowing of Chignik waters may have a significant, long-term impact on the local salmon run, as well as other fish, birds, and animals that feed and shelter there. Findings from the new study will help managers and communities understand the vulnerability of these areas so they can respond proactively.

The new findings emerged from a project, led by Alaska Fisheries Science Center biologist Mark Zimmermann, to create fish habitat maps based on old hydrographic maps called smooth sheets. While analyzing smooth sheets of the Chignik area, which was charted in the 1920s and 1990s, Zimmermann discovered an unexpected story.

“The smooth sheets included notes on things that happened during the charting survey cruises -- equipment problems, weather, red tides, marine mammal observations -- all kinds of interesting things that describe local conditions. When I went through the 1990s smooth sheets, I started finding notes about seafloor shallowing in Chignik. I thought, that is really strange. There was no explanation as to why it might be happening. I got curious -- I wanted to see if there really was a measurable change, if we could measure it, what was causing it.”

By comparing and analyzing the smooth sheets from the 1920s and 1990s surveys, Zimmermann quantified shallowing of the seafloor in five of six bays in the Chignik region.

“It was interesting to follow up on the little anecdotes in the old reports and find out, yeah, those guys were exactly right,” Zimmermann says. - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018



jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: And You Thought It Was Just 'Catitude' - You can tell it's a slow news week when people start circulating stories about how - if they were just a little bigger - our house cats would kill us.

Actually, it's an old story that seems to get rediscovered every so often and passed around on the internet until it shows up on your screen like it's brand new, because, given everyone's modern short attention spans, it is.

Speaking of which, that is one of the great joys of getting older, everything old is truly new again. 

I have reached the stage where I can hear great old stories about the past and not realize I have heard them before!

I have also reached the stage where I can tell great stories about the past and not realize I have told them before!!

Probably in the past 20 minutes.

You see, I recently passed a landmark birthday.  - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018

JEFF LUND: Face (most of) your fears - It is important to face your fears, otherwise there will be no growth and you’ll end up a subordinate character, stuck in a life with no action and no plot. 

As important as it is to face fears, it is important to face one, admit it didn’t work, and have one that is totally irrational. 

I am scared of heights, so I went sky diving. It only provided me the clarity to see that it is man-made heights that terrify me, or being around people who will do the fake push joke that has never been funny. Ever. To physically jostle someone who is already emotionally compromised is wrong. 

My irrational fear started as an innocuous thought that has now taken root and spread into full-fledged absurdity. Ever since I was showing my buddy how to get into a kayak and rolled it, I’ve known kayaking wasn’t for me. My unintentional research into the physics of drowning in a foot of water did not prevent me from shedding the wet clothes and powering on because it was a beautiful day and the Canoe Point waterfall south of Craig is pretty sweet. But the wind picked up, the tide was against us, and I was ridiculously sore the next day.  - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Republicans Try to Stop Trump Tariffs

Political Cartoon: Republicans Try to Stop Trump Tariffs
By RJ Matson ©2018, Portland, ME
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

There are no easy answers By Amanda Mitchell - I do get the concerns about guns, but I don’t believe guns are the only thing that can cause harm to others in society. If I remember my history correctly, governments have posed a significant risk to life as well. Does this mean all governments are bad or that we should get rid of all governments? Of course not! 

However, it does seem we need to address the problem of school shootings. Maybe we should raise the age to purchase firearms as it does follow the logic that if a disturbed teenager is unable to purchase a gun, then such a gut-wrenching school shooting will never take place again. While we are at it, we should raise the age of murdering someone to 21 as well. Oh, wait! That’s right! Murder is already illegal, yet that didn’t stop the young adult from killing and harming others. It should be pointed out that raising the age to purchase guns only targets law-abiding citizens, to begin with, and, if someone lacks self-control and has the intent to kill or harm someone, there are other ways to follow through with the evil in his/her heart regardless of our law. - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Treating the dignity deficit By Sen. Pete Kelly - Here’s the question: should Alaskans who receive Medicaid be required to work or volunteer as a condition of their benefits? - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Sorry but the NRA is wrong By Michael Spence - Quoting Mr LaPierre in his most recent red-faced, impassioned speech regarding the Parkland School shooting: .. "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun." - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A Preventable Shooting Tragedy By Donald Moskowitz - The Parkland, FL shooter had a history of violent behavior. Police were called to his house many times, but they did not arrest him because the school board had an agreement with the police not to arrest any students.. The FBI received a viable tip indicating he wanted to shoot up a school, but the lead was not pursued. - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Take guns from criminal gang bangers By John Suter - On HB 75 the legislature should also add felon criminal gang bangers to the list that the government takes away their guns because they are a danger to themselves and the community at large.  We would have a lot less crime then.  - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Staff Training By A.M. Johnson - For the public that wishes to read current articles regarding the arming of school personnel.

Below are direct quotes from three of the four provided sources. Two quotes are not know as supporters of conservative thinking on most anything including firearms, however they do quote statements a bit more accurately than the author of the Taking the Law into your Own Hands is not an "Individual Freedom" would have you believing. One would ask the author of the letter to the editor to provide a bit more specifics on the basis for opinions offered as Fact. - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

This in not my father's NRA By Michael Spence - He was a combat veteran, an expert marksman, and a lifelong member of the NRA. When I was 12 he took me and my brother out to the sand dunes to practice shooting at tin cans. Before shooting, we learned from him how to carry, clean, and handle a .22 rifle, a shotgun, and a .45 automatic pistol. The rules he taught were ones right out of the NRA manual:

Always carry and store the gun with a safety on.
Never leave a loaded gun unattended.
Never point a gun at another person. - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gun control By Rex Barber - Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted amongst men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. THAT WHEN EVER GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE TO THESE ENDS IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH AND INSTITUTE NEW GOVERNMENT. - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Taking the Law into your Own Hands is not an "Individual Freedom" By Michael Spence - Once again the CEO of the NRA, Mr LaPierre, has taken the podium to expound on the rights of individuals to take the law into their own hands. In doing so he reveals again his huge misunderstanding of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which does not entitle anyone to do so. - More...
Friday AM - February 23 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gillam crash By John Tippets - I greatly enjoyed reading and appreciated Dave's article about the Gillam crash of 75 years ago. 

Yes, the men were extremely careful in stretching out the food items they had; cutting Sardines into five parts (or four after Harold left) and breaking candy bars into the small squares for one piece for each, each a day.  - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

KEA Seeks School District Funding to the Cap By Dan Bockhorst - The Ketchikan Education Association is calling for the Borough to fund our school district to the cap. Here are some points to consider:

1. The Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District (KGBSD) has a current-year operating budget of $44,115,565. Additionally, payments for school debt service add $3,510,233, and another $400,000 has been budgeted for school capital improvements this year. Those figures total $48,025,798. With a student population of 2,287, the total equals $20,999 for each student served by the KGBSD. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gun Violence By Rob B. Holston, Jr. - First let me say I own guns. I killed two deer this fall. I enjoy eating venison. I don’t pretend to have one silver bullet to solve the problem of gun violence in America today, but perhaps several bronze bullets. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

King Salmon Fishery By Angelo Martin - I have followed the King Salmon Fishery and see that it is in trouble, low counts of wild stock. I took special intrest with the King Salmon program that SSRA was implementing, I was on the board of directors of SSRAA. I FOUGH HARD TO KEEP THE PROGRAM GOING EVEN GOT volunteer of the year twice for the work in the King Salmon Fishery. Before I left it was in fairly good shape because of the hatchery program.l loved it. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A Strong Ferry System is Part of a Stronger Alaska By Gov. Bill Walker & Lt. Gov. Bryon Mallott - For more than 50 years, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has served as a critical transportation link among Alaska’s coastal communities to Anchorage and to the Lower 48 and Canada. The marine highway system is a socio-economic lifeline for many of the 33 Alaska communities it serves, the majority of which are not connected to Alaska’s road system. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

THE FOUR Ps OF GOOD LOCAL GOVERNANCE By David G. Hanger - The four Ps of good local governance are power, plumbing, parking, and potholes. The first three are desirable in relative abundance; the fourth, potholes, none at all is optimal. Historically, with power and plumbing the City’s rep is so-so; plenty of power but plenty of power outages, too; with plumbing both in and out problems of potable water and problems with pollution that cause periodic health problems. But parking and potholes are our main concerns today. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Abortion By Robert B. Holston Jr. - Robert K. Rice claims to be a “realist” and then spouts sophomoric platitudes about a great grandpa choosing NOT to have an abortion.  How “realistic”. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Infrastructure Package Must Include Permitting Reform By U. S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and Terry O’Sullivan - While pundits debate the merits of various infrastructure proposals, the very real problem of permitting reform has been overlooked. Almost four in 10 of our country’s bridges are at least 50 years old. More than 50,000 of those bridges were structurally deficient in 2016. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States—and in some places, like in Alaska, there are entire communities that don’t even have access to tap water and a flushed toilet. Much of our energy grid is at full capacity, one out of every five miles of highway pavement is in poor condition, our ports need to be modernized and deepened, and many of our schools are crumbling. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018

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