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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 02, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jim Lewis

Mountain Point Humbpack Whale
When beginning to dive, the humpback whales often lift their flukes (tail) out of the water. This humpback whale was photographed around the Mountain Point area this past weekend. Contact Jim Lewis at to purchase this photo.
Front Page Photo by Jim Lewis


Special Advisory Election
Tuesday - April 3, 2007

The State of Alaska will be holding a Special Statewide Advisory Vote on a single issue on Tuesday, April 3rd. The Ballot language asks one question.

Question: Shall the legislature adopt a proposed amendment to the state constitution to be considered by the voters at the 2008 general election that would prohibit the state, or a municipality or other subdivision of the state, from providing employment benefits to same-sex partners of public employees and to same-sex partners of public employee retirees?

Information is on the State of Alaska Division of Elections web site (click here).

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Fish Factor: Election, appointments, blogs, fish watch & more... By LAINE WELCH - Twenty two Bristol Bay salmon fishermen are vying for seven seats on the region's new Regional Seafood Development Association, which many claim will "give fishermen control over their destiny." The region's approximately 1,000 set netters voted against participating in the new association, at least for now.

Ballots were mailed in February to 1,865 driftnet permit holders, who voted last year to pay a one percent tax on their sockeye catches to fund the RSDA.

"It comes out to about three cents per fish," said interim director Bob Waldrop.

The tax, which was deducted from driftnet catches starting last year, could provide up to $800,000 for the RSDA. The money can be used to boost fish quality, develop or improve infrastructure, and enhance research and marketing. The RSDA's, which were authorized by the Alaska legislature two years ago, can also be used to leverage state and federal grants or other funding opportunities.

"It's all about control and self direction," Waldrop said.

Bristol Bay sockeye accounts for almost one third of the value of Alaska's total salmon catch. Ballots by the driftnet fleet must be postmarked by April 7 - the election results will be tallied by an Anchorage accounting firm and announced by April 30th.

Bristol Bay is only the second Alaska region to embrace the RSDA concept, following the lead of Prince William Sound/Copper River salmon fishermen. Their first one percent tax assessment yielded about $200,000, which the RSDA used in part for a first time fall Copper River coho salmon promotion in west and east coast markets in the Lower 48. A vote last year by Southeast Alaska harvesters narrowly rejected an RSDA, which would have represented 61 fisheries under the Rainforest Wild label. Organizers there say they will try again.

Another important deadline is drawing close for other fishing regions - as part of its annual meeting cycle, the state Board of Fisheries is calling for proposed changes to fisheries at Cook Inlet, Kodiak and Chignik, as well as for king and Tanner crab fisheries in all regions, except for Southeast and Yakutat. Deadline to submit a proposal is Tuesday, April 10 .

On a related note: Governor Palin on Friday announced the appointments of Howard Delo of Big Lake and Vince Webster of King Salmon to the Fish Board.

Webster is currently the Lake and Peninsula School District Facilities and Maintenance Director, and for 15 years has served on the Naknek/Kvichak Fish and Game Advisory Committee. He fills the seat of Robert Heyano of Bristol Bay.

Delo is a retired Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game biologist and fish culturist, and chairs the Mat-Su Valley Fish and Game Advisory Committee. Delo fills the seat of Art Nelson of Anchorage. Both appointees must be approved by the Alaska legislature before they can take their seats at the end of June.The seven member Fish Board oversees subsistence, personal use, sport and commercial fisheries in state waters.

Fish blog

All's fair in the world of web logs, or blogs, where people can inform or rant with anonymous postings on any subject. A new blog at the Anchorage Daily News called the Highliner targets one of the state's most colorful and fractious industries - commercial fishing. It is hosted by Wesley Loy who has been covering the fish beat for the ADN since 1999.

"Commercial fishing is regarded as one of the more complicated, tedious beats at the Daily News. I also cover the oil and gas industry, which is really the big money maker in Alaska, but I find it to be a really simple industry compared to the fishing world," Loy said in a phone interview. - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007


Alaska: Ignition Interlock License for Alcohol Offenders Passes House - The Alaska House of Representatives on Friday unanimously passed legislation to toughen state driving laws for alcohol-related offenders, changing the type of limited driver's license they can apply for from strictly limited to an ignition interlock limited license.

Currently, a person convicted of driving under the influence has been able to get a limited driver's license from the Division of Motor Vehicles so that they can continue to drive and to earn a living. The limitation currently placed on a license focuses primarily on where a person can drive. House Bill 19 shifts the emphasis from where a person can drive to how a person can drive by changing the type of limited license available to an offender from the traditional limited license to an ignition interlock limited license.

The bill, HB 19, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), requires the offender to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on the vehicle they intend to drive. The device analyzes the person's blood alcohol content (BAC) and prevents the car from being started if the person's BAC is above a set level. - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007

Alaska: State boosts prevention in Medicaid dental care for adults - Beginning April 2007 adults enrolled in Medicaid will have coverage for preventive and restorative dental care, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced Friday.

Eligible adults will have coverage for dental services such as exams, cleanings, tooth restorations, crowns, root canals and dentures, up to an annual cap of $1,150 per person per state fiscal year. Previously only emergency dental care was available for adults enrolled in Medicaid.

"Promoting and protecting the health of Alaskans includes dental health," said Commissioner Karleen Jackson. "By emphasizing prevention for adult Medicaid recipients we will significantly reduce demand for more expensive emergency dental care, and improve the health of Alaskans."

It is estimated between 12,000 and 15,000 people will likely use the service, out of 41,000 adults enrolled in Medicaid. The number of people able to take advantage of the expanded benefits may be limited by the availability of dental providers around the state who are accepting new Medicaid clients, although the state is working with dentists to encourage participation. - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007 `

Alaska: ALASKA TOUR BOAT AGREES TO PAY $7,000 FOR ALLEGED HARASSMENT OF ENDANGERED HUMPBACK WHALES - It was announced today that on January 2, 2007, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charged the captain of the Juneu-based tour vessel AWESOME ORCA and Orca Enterprises, Inc., the vessel's owner, with a $9,000 Notice of Violation and Assessment for an alleged violation of the Endangered Species Act.

In a compromise settlement Orca Enterprises, Inc. agreed to pay $7,000 of the civil penalty with the remaining $2,000 suspended for a period of three years on the condition of no similar violations during the suspension period. - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007


Public Meetings

The Ketchikan Borough Assembly will hold a regular meeting in the City Council Chambers on Monday, April 02, 2007 at 5:30 pm.
Agenda and Information packets

The Ketchikan School Board will hold a special meeting on April 3, 2007, in the Ketchikan High School Library at 6:00 pm. Among items on the agenda is a motion to approve an agreement with Larry Eklund to serve an interim School Superintendent.
Download the Agenda and Information Packet (pdf)

Basic Rules

letter Maritime History By John Stewart - Monday
letter Ketchikan Underground By Rowan Henderson - Monday
letter Elected School Board's Decision By Bobbie McCreary - Monday
letterFancy paint jobs By Tony Alenskis - Monday
letter Time to move forward by Sharon Geldaker - Monday
letter Keep Tenakee beautiful By Meryl Chew - Monday
letter RE: Dogs, kids... and volunteering By Margaret Cloud - Monday
letter A Total Joke By Ken Levy - Monday
letter Bridge to Nowhere By Charlotte Tanner - Monday
letter Local government By Alaire Stanton - Sunday
letter Parents Should Know By Diana Chaudhary - Sunday
letter Superintendant's Firing By Dan Williamson - Sunday
letter Time to recall By Alisha Greenup - Sunday
letter Ketchikan's school board By Walt Bolling - Sunday
letter Bridge to nowhere By Ken Leland - Sunday
letter Correction By Dave Kiffer - Sunday
letter Superintendent Martin By Al Johnson - Sunday
letter Levy-Lewis . . . The Battle of the Rock! By Tony Gwynn - Sunday
letter Walter Reed Army Hospital is no Ketchikan General By Mark Neckameyer - Sunday
letter Dogs, kids... and volunteering By Scott Kline - Sunday
letter RE: Puppy Mills and Breeders By Margaret Cloud - Sunday
letter Breeding dogs By Erin Bellon - Sunday
letter Annette Island By Jeff White - Sunday
letterSuperintendent Martin By Amy T. Thompson - Friday AM
letter Tongass Forest Plan By Hannah Wilson - Friday AM
letter I'm voting 'no' April 3rd By Senator Kim Elton - Friday AM
letter"Yes" on April 3rd By Rep. John Coghill - Friday AM
letterStand up and take a bow By Judith Green - Friday AM
letter OPEN LETTER TO SITNEWS' READERS By Robert D. Warner - Thursday
letterSchool Board Recall, Where Do I Sign? By Karen Owings - Thursday
letter Thanks Ketchikan for your support By Sara Sivertsen - Thursday
letter Re: Dog Breeders By Margaret Cloud - Thursday
letter VA Hospitals, Health Care, Hillary... By Rebecca Clark - Thursday
letter Dog Breeding Letters By Kerry Watson - Thursday AM
letter Dogs & Breeders By Kevin Mackey - Thursday
letter Puppymills and Breeders By Maggie Garmle - Thursday
letterKetchikan School Superintendent By Bill Thomas Sr. - Wednesday
letter Ketchikan school board's lack of focus By Chas Edwardson - Wednesday
letter Open Letter to the Ketchikan School Board By Debra Azure - Wednesday
letter Family Night at Ketchikan Public Library, Children's Library By Christy Moss - Wednesday
letter Pet Food By Charlotte Glover - Wednesday
letter Sealaska: Voting No By Don Hoff, Jr. - Tuesday PM
letter Talk about propaganda! By Anita Hales- Tuesday PM
letter Finding animals... By CJ Hoggard- Tuesday PM
letter Military Hospitals, War and ... By Amber Leslie Williams Baldwin- Tuesday PM
letterDog Breeders By Kara Jeanne Blazier- Tuesday PM
letter The best dog... By Dain Ellis- Tuesday PM
letterAMHS Southern Gateway Shuttle Ferry Needs to be Operating in 2008 By Mike Round - Sunday AM
letterDog Breeders By Margaret Cloud - Sunday AM
letter Neckameyer is right on with his Islamofacisist remarks By Bob Harmon - Sunday AM
letterMore Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Jason Love: Stuff I Learned - The older I get, the more I believe that we should respect the elderly. But recently, after the column about questions for Saint Peter, my elders wondered aloud whether I or Johnny Cochrane would make it as far as the Pearly Gates.

They suggested indeed that our accommodations might be a little hotter. Think Arizona in August.

It happens that I've been writing another list: "Stuff I Learned While I Was Alive." Perhaps they'll run it in hell's newspaper, The Devil's Advocate, which presently contains nothing but "Family Circus."

Satan doesn't take the paper anyway. His Cabinet is too busy strategizing the corruption of human souls...

"Sir, we're just not reaching them. Only a small percentage of people own vinyl records, and hardly anyone thinks to play them backwards."

The truth is that nobody can say what hell is like. All we know is that it will somehow involve the Nextel phone chirp.

Incidentally, it was "The Devil's Dictionary," a collection of smart-aleck-isms by Ambrose Bierce, that started me down this primrose path. I wrote my first one on the back cover:

"Altruism is when our selfishness benefits someone else." - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007

Dan K. Thomasson: Democrats' irresponsible plan to end war - This town has always been full of bad ideas, but none worse than congressional Democrats' determination to impose a firm date for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Even if there were enough votes in both houses to override a presidential veto of the funding bill in which this nonsense is included - and there aren't - such a mandate is ridiculously irresponsible.

In the end, after the political charade has played out, the troops will get their funds because no lawmaker wants to be accused of denying them. But the inevitable delay has the potential of truly harming those carrying out our military mission. Telling the beleaguered Iraqi government and its enemies that there is a definite date when all support and security for it will end merely compounds the major mistakes already made in this war. Furthermore, it forces the Iraqi leaders to begin looking at political alliances that are not only threatening to American interests but also could result in a widening of the violence. For instance, the power vacuum in the entire region likely would be filled by Iran.

All this has been argued along the way as lawmakers still friendly to President Bush have tried to convince Democratic leaders that there are other ways of sending an anti-war message to the White House. But the Democrats are increasingly in a confrontational mood. They firmly believe their tiny majority for the first time in 12 years resulted from voter angst over Iraq and Afghanistan and that their fragile control of the Congress would be fleeting if they ignored that. - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007

Preston McDougall: Chemical Eye on Red Ink Rising - When I think about Georgia O'Keeffe, I think pink. Pink flowers, pink shells, and the pink hues that graced the Western slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico at sunset - framed by a picture perfect window in my family's previous home.

That was then, this is now, and the negative image of institutional red ink is tinting memories from the Land of Enchantment. News stories have been splashed across papers from Nashville to New York, so you may have read about plans for Fisk University to sell Georgia O'Keeffe's "Radiator Building - Night, New York" for $7 million. Fisk president, Hazel O'Leary, says that this is necessary in order to replenish the university's endowment, which has been depleted in recent years to cover the university's operating costs.

Fisk became the proud owners of this valuable piece of modern American art when the painter herself donated it as part of an art collection that her dying husband, photographer and art collector Alfred Stieglitz, had said he hoped would benefit Nashville's historically black Fisk University. - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007

Tom Purcell: Foreclosed: Common Sense - "Let me get this straight. One reason for the default on mortgages is that many people who should never have qualified for a loan got approved anyhow?"

"For starters."

"You're going to have to explain."

"Well, it all dates back to 9/11. We'd already been in a recession when the terrorists attacked. To keep the economy from going into a free fall, then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates."

"Yes, I remember."

"People were suddenly able to afford houses they couldn't afford before. Home sales began to shoot up. As demand for housing rose, so did housing values."

"Go on."

"As housing values climbed, homeowners saw their equity climb. Others decided owning a home was the way to easy wealth, so they began to buy, too." - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007

John M. Crisp: Global warming is in the spotlight - Global warming is hot. Here's a sampling from last week:

The April 2007 "Atlantic Monthly" carries two adjacent articles on global warming. The cover story "Hot Prospects," by Gregg Easterbrook, accepts the idea that global warming is both real and inevitable, whether anthropogenic or not. Easterbrook suggests that it's time for some careful thinking about who will be the winners and the losers in a warmer world.

After all, environmental warmth is a good thing and civilization has tended to flourish during the world's warmer periods. As a more temperate climate moves toward the globe's higher latitudes, the current equatorial hot band around the earth will become insufferable. In compensation, currently frigid regions will blossom, and the primary beneficiaries will be in the Northern Hemisphere: Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia, and Scandinavia.

In fact, Easterbrook reports that Canada has increased its greenhouse-gas output more than most other nations in recent years, implying facetiously, I think, that those "wily Canadians" have a master plan to develop the kind of prosperity previously enjoyed by countries in the lower latitudes. - More...
Monday - April 02, 2007

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