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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 10, 2007

Front Page Photo by Terri Jirschele

Minerva Mountain
Front Page Photo by Terri Jirschele

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


Ketchikan: Parents Contacted Regarding Latest Threat ; No plans to cancel School - Acting Ketchikan School Superintendent Evvy Barnes announced today that a threat was found at Schoenbar Middle School. According to the announcement, the administration immediately followed procedure and notified proper authorities by phone or email.

Schoenbar Building Principal Bob Hewitt worked with the Ketchikan Police Department to investigate the threat which contained two possible initials. Hewitt along with Dean of Students, Doug Nausid, contacted the parents of students matching the initials. They then met with those parents and their students in small groups to explain the situation and gather information. According to the announcement, parents expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the contact. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 10, 2007

Alaska: Suicide plagues Alaska Natives By ALEX deMARBAN - Despite two decades of effort by state and community leaders, Alaska Natives continue to kill themselves at alarming rates, a new study reports.

In fact, they seem to be committing suicide as often as they did in the late 1980s, when Native leadership, state officials and others acknowledged the crisis and vowed to solve the problem.

"It's a crisis, and if we don't start doing something really soon, it's only going to get worse," said Bill Martin, a Southeast Native and Alaska Statewide Suicide Prevention Council chairman.

Among other things, the study reports 58 of every 100,000 Natives killed themselves in 2004. That's the highest rate since 1986, according to state records on the council's Web site.

The rates were also high in 2005 - 52 per 100,000 - but improved in 2006 to 42 per 100,000. - More...
Tuesday - April 10, 2007

Alaska: New regulations for guided sport halibut fishing in SE Alaska proposed - The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed on April 6th new regulations in the Federal Register for guided sport halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska.

A public comment period on the proposed new regulations started today and ends April 23, 2007.

The proposed regulations would restrict the harvest of halibut by anglers fishing on a guided sport charter vessel in International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Area 2C in Southeast Alaska. The proposed regulations would change the current sport fishing bag limit of two halibut per day to require that at least one of the two fish taken in a day be no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm) long.- More...
Tuesday - April 10, 2007

Alaska: Alaska One Step Closer to Its Own Commemorative Quarter - The Alaska Commemorative Coin Commission is seeking your comments on the four final designs for the Alaska commemorative quarter.

The new state quarter is part of a 10-year program started by Congress in 1999. Coins are released every ten weeks in the order states were admitted to the union. Alaska was the 49th state admitted to the union in 1959. Hawaii followed shortly thereafter. The back side of each quarter honors that state. - More...
Tuesday - April 10, 2007


Fish Factor: Home grown fishes, Salmon sales slip, Funds for injured fishermen By LAINE WELCH - Don't ever refer to it as farming - but home grown fishes are the Alaska's largest agricultural crop. Instead, call it 'ocean ranching.'

Whereas farmed fish are grown in closed pens or cages until they're ready for market, Alaska fish ­ mostly salmon - are raised in hatcheries until they grow to fingerlings and are released to the sea. The fish feed and grow on the 'open range' until they return home to the 'ranch' to spawn.
Many Alaskans might be surprised that fish from hatcheries make up a huge portion of Alaska's annual salmon catches.

The state oversees operations at 30 privately run hatcheries, which raise a mix of all five Pacific salmon species. Two state-run hatcheries also produce steelhead and rainbow trout, arctic char and grayling for sport anglers. The state also oversees two federal Bureau of Indian affairs hatcheries as well as several streamside projects throughout Alaska.

According to the annual report on Alaska's salmon enhancement programs, nearly 1.5 billion baby salmon were released to the ocean last year, while 48 million returned to their home hatcheries.

Those fish accounted for about 20 percent of Alaska's total salmon catch last year - and at nearly $59 million, 21 percent of the harvest value.

Chums are by far the bumper crop for Alaska's hatcheries, making up 60 percent of fish production. For both pink and coho salmon, it's 20 percent, seven percent for kings and six percent for sockeye. - More...
Tuesday - April 10, 2007

Alaska: Alaska cruise industry buoys Seattle economy By JOHN GILLIE - Outside the north end of Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport ticket hall, a cavernous green-and-white-striped tent stands empty but ready for an annual human migration.

Beginning in early May, thousands of Alaska cruise ship passengers will turn the tent into a bazaar of activity three days a week as they rush to check in for their airline journeys home.

As recently as eight years ago, the number of cruise ship passengers beginning and ending their voyages in Seattle was a statistical trickle, just 6,615, hardly enough to justify a fair-weather temporary addition to the air terminal.

But in recent years that dribble has swelled to a torrent as changes in the cruise industry, in ship technology and international politics have put the Puget Sound area on the cruising map. - More...
Tuesday - April 10, 2007

Alaska: State Submits Polar Bear Comments to US Fish & Wildlife - In a letter written to Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin opposed the listing of polar bears as "threatened," while the State of Alaska submitted comments on deadline, compiled into four reports, to U.S. Fish & Wildlife expressing the same concerns.

The State's opposition criticizes the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's analysis in four areas: 1) predictions of sea ice retreat related to climate change models; 2) existing regulatory mechanisms for conservation of polar bears; 3) criteria for listing, status, and trends of polar bears and their prey; and 4) unsubstantiated assumptions to support their petition and status assessment. The State's formal comments to the Service were conveyed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in a detailed letter accompanied by considerable corroborating evidence.

Governor Palin wrote a second letter to Secretary Kempthorne to re-emphasize Alaska's opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed listing of the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. - More...
Tuesday - April 10, 2007

Huge rockfish...

Dr. Chris Wilson of NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center holds a 38-inch ruler up to a giant shortraker rockfish caught in the Bering Sea near the Pribilof Islands.
Photo: Karna McKinney/NOAA Fisheries

Alaska: Fishermen donate huge rockfish specimen for NOAA research - NOAA researchers have turned their eyes, experience and microscopes on a rare specimen: a huge female shortraker rockfish, Sebastes borealis, donated for science by Michael Myers, a factory manager on Trident Seafood's catcher-processor Kodiak Enterprise.

The huge rockfish was one of about ten rockfish accidentally scooped up by fishermen in a net that brought in around 75 tons of pollock, Myers explained.

They caught the rockfish in mid-March when the Kodiak Enterprise was trawling at about 350 fathoms in the Pribilof Canyon at night just south of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. Catcher-processors in the Bering Sea are allowed to retain a small percentage of their targeted pollock catch weight in shortraker and rougheye rockfish which are sometimes caught accidentally in the large mid-water trawls.

Myers explained that the crew alerted him about the huge creature. He told them to freeze the big rockfish whole. - More...
Tuesday - April 10, 2007



The Ketchikan School Board will hold a regular meeting Wednesday, April 11th at 6:00 pm in the City Council Chambers. Among the items on the agenda is a citizen motion to reinstate Superintendent Harry Martin's employment contract. Also among the agenda items are a motion to approve contract terms for Interim Superintendent Larry Eklund, and a motion to approve a contract for Sam Nelson as Principal of Ketchikan High School.
Download the Agenda and Information Packets (pdf)

Basic Rules

letter Driving Team Announced! By Tom LeCompte - Tuesday PM
letterDon Young Guest of Honor at Pork Dinner By Carol Cairnes - Tuesday PM
letter Tongass Roads By Joan Hurliman - Tuesday PM
letter Swan Death over Easter By Terri-Lee Gould - Tuesday PM
letter In the interest of "facts" By Penny Marksheffel - Tuesday PM
letter Thanks Jim for your caring... By Anita Hall - Tuesday PM
letter A Bridge to Somewhere By John Maki - Tuesday PM
letter Trash By Rebecca Simpson - Tuesday PM
letter Bridge to Where? By Charlotte Tanner - Tuesday PM
letter Coming Home to Ketchikan By Aisha Marshall - Tuesday PM
letterFacts, not opinions By Joel Galli - Sunday PM
letter Tongass Coast Aquarium/ Oceans Alaska By Rob Holston - Sunday PM
letter School, etc By Alaire Stanton - Sunday PM
letterK-town in general By Richard Harney - Sunday PM
letter 70% of the community?
By Soren Wuerth - Sunday PM
letter Bridge to Somewhere!! By Forrest A. Mackie - Sunday PM
letter The Liberating Truth By George Miller - Sunday PM
letter Traduced By Chris Elliott - Sunday PM
letter Open Letter to Sitnews By Patti Fay Hickox- Sunday PM
letter Mutt Breeders By Vickie Hansen - Sunday PM
letter 70 percent of our population? By Kevin Mackey - Sunday PM
letter Elkins will be missed By David Hull - Thursday PM
letter Treatment of School Board President By Peter Bolling - Thursday PM
letter Proud of Superintendent Martin's Performance By Bill Thomas Sr. - Thursday PM
letter Never mind By Chris Elliott - Thursday PM
letter Ketchikan Underground By Evan Bolling - Thursday PM
letter More on Maturity and "K.U." By Peter Stanton - Thursday PM
letter Ketchikan Underground By Shane Johnson - Thursday PM
letter RE: "Fancy paint Jobs" By Scott Willis - Thursday PM
letter Dog breeding By Margaret Cloud - Thursday PM
letter Hooray for Purebred Dogs! By Vickie Hansen - Thursday PM
letter Puppy Mills By Kris Hansen - Thursday PM
letter Tongass Coast Aquarium/ Oceans Alaska By David G. Hanger - Wednesday PM
letter My gratitude to Mr. Martin By Cecelia Johnson - Wednesday PM
letter New School Superintendent By Mark Murdock - Wednesday PM
letter SE Alaska State Fair- Ketchikan Town Rep. Needed ASAP By Frances Field - Wednesday PM
letter Mature? By Jaime Zink - Wednesday PM
letter REC Center By Michelle Fry - Wednesday PM
letter Bored in Ketchikan? By Shari Fisher - Wednesday PM
letterThank you for your support By Tony and Sharyl Yeisley - Wednesday PM
letter RE: Breeders, Kids .......... Volunteering By Scott Kline - Wednesday PM
letter Dog Breeding Debate By Laurie Donati - Wednesday PM
letter Please Don't Attack Those You Don't Know By Kajla Bellon - Wednesday PM
letterMore Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Ketchikan: Unplugged - It was a sad scene at one of Ketchikan's more popular eateries one morning recently.

A mother and her two kids were trying to get a breakfast meal, but the machine taking credit cards was down. The kids were fussing and the mother was irritated.

"Can you take a check?" she asked the counter person.

No, the restaurant no longer takes checks.

Ok, she said, I guess I can go to the ATM.

But most of the ATMs were down too. She was out of luck.

For about 15 hours that week, Ketchikan crashed back to the "Stone Age" of the communications world.

With both cell phone service and internet down because of a problem at Tolstoi Mountain on Prince of Wales, an awful lot of folks were left with the modern equivalent of two tin cans and a piece of string. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 11, 2007

Jason Love: Fishing with Dad - My dad came down the mountain -- Big Bear -- holding one commandment: Thou shalt go fishing. Dad is an old fisherman and I ... well, I carry Purell.

My dad thought I was a natural when he caught me, age three, plucking fish from the aquarium. He freaked out like I was eating them, when it was strictly catch and release.

Why, anyway, would I hunt for something that costs a dollar at McDonald's? And while we're asking questions, isn't "Filet-O-Fish" a little ambiguous? Filet o' what kind of fish? Goldfish? Gefilte fish?

McDonalds: Ask us no questions; we'll tell you no lies.(tm)

At least my dad didn't charter a boat. Fish aren't the brightest of God's creatures, yet we come on with radar, sonar, migration charts. Some fish just lose their nerve and jump in the boat as you pass. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 11, 2007

Preston McDougall: Chemical Eye on Giving Mules Their Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake, a Memphis-born pop superstar, was recently dissed by the State Senate in Nashville - apparently he is too sexy. If Idaho Gem were to make an appearance during Mule Day (April 12 - 15) in Columbia, Tennessee, I'm sure that he would receive a hero's welcome - from the mules at least, since he represents them getting their sexy back.

Mules, as you may know, are a hybrid species created by crossing a jack with a mare. Farmer Brown has 23 pairs of chromosomes, Sire Jack has 31, Dam Mare has 32, but, like all mules, Idaho Gem has 31 and a half pairs.

This odd number of chromosomes makes mules incapable of reproducing - the old-fashioned way. However, cloning provides a reproductive pathway for sterile animals, such as mules. Modern cloning technology made headlines in 1996 when Scottish scientists took the nucleus, which contains all 27 pairs of sheep chromosomes, from a mammary cell of a mature ewe, and inserted it into an evacuated egg cell from another ewe. The lamb went to full term, and was named Dolly in consideration of her origin, which was ramless. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 11, 2007

Bob Ciminel: Things I Don't Care About - I don't care how Anna Nicole Smith died or who fathered her daughter. I don't care what Sean Penn thinks about George Bush. I don't care that the Justice Department fired eight Federal prosecutors, just like I didn't care that Bill Clinton fired 92 of them. Heaven knows we can always find more lawyers!

I don't care what Al Gore thinks about global warming. In fact, I don't care about global warming. If we stopped global warming today, tomorrow the liberals would begin complaining about global cooling! Besides, if you listen to the enviro-wackos, all we have to do is elect a Democrat in 2008 and the globe will stop warming.

I don't care if Hillary Clinton wins the 2008 presidential election or that the Democrats control Congress. In the four years they have to totally screw up our government, judicial system, tax code, and war against terror, they will guarantee a Republican president and Congress for the rest of my lifetime. I will go into retirement comfortable in the knowledge that my grandchildren may have the opportunity to live in a world at peace, but if they don't, at least they will live in a country that can still kick butt in any part of the world that does not want world peace. Are you listening, Iran? - More...
Wednesday AM - April 11, 2007

Dan K. Thomasson: Trumpets sound for global warming - What's that old line: "The end of the world has been delayed indefinitely because of a shortage of trumpeters"? Well, there's an increasing number of them now. Hardly a day goes by when someone hasn't signed up to trumpet the Apocalypse, from Al Gore to international scientific panels and even the U.S. Supreme Court.

Whatever your feelings about global warming, the political realities of it are here to stay. If there was any doubt about that, the high court dispelled it with its narrow ruling that puts the Environmental Protection Agency on notice that claiming lack of authority to regulate greenhouse gases in auto emissions won't cut it.

Between the lines of the court's opinion is the recognition that "yes Virginia, there is a boogeyman" and it comes in the form of chemical elements that are trapping the heat of the Earth, an opinion that preceded by only a few days a long anticipated international report that 90 percent of the problem is manmade. For any agency or administration to ignore this issue in the face of such an overwhelming chorus of warnings is to flirt with political suicide. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 11, 2007

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