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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 30, 2007

1927: When Ketchikan was the Largest City in Alaska

1927: When Ketchikan was the Largest City in Alaska
80 year old article catches Ketchikan's boom time

Ketchikan Waterfront
Photograph courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Ketchikan: 1927: When Ketchikan was the Largest City in Alaska; 80 year old article catches Ketchikan's boom time A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - Even in 1927, Ketchikan was thought of by other Alaskan communities as a "suburb" of Seattle.

The epithet was somewhat tongue in cheek, and yet an article in the April, 1927 Alaska Magazine (no relation to the current Alaska magazine) noted that Ketchikan - then Alaska's largest city - was seen by many in The Last Frontier as a "way station" to the "great outside."

"When one has resided in the interior and westward parts of Alaska where the present weekly mail service is still regarded as a luxury, and the airplane service still looked upon as a marvelous thing, it is rather exhilarating to stand in one's hotel window in Ketchikan and look down upon the dark forest of masts in the basin, and watch the myriad of lights of craft large and small moving up and down the roadstead," wrote article author John Edward Meals for the magazine that focused on economy and history and was then published monthly in Juneau.

Meals noted - with the frequently florid and often overstated prose that was the norm in the journalism of the era - that looking at those boats one realized that one could hop one and be in Prince Rupert in six hours. There one could catch a train and be in Chicago in three days.

"To an old sourdough, it is all something like the thrill a spiritualist gets when the table moves," Meals wrote. "Something of the thrill that tunnel men get when the heading is about to break through and they hear voices from the other side of the mountain."

To use a more recent vernacular, in 1927, the bustling metropolis of more than 6,000 people that was Ketchikan was Bush Alaska's "interface" with the outside world.

Meals was particularly impressed with Ketchikan's internal transportation options.

"Ketchikan has no street cars as of yet, and her taxi drivers seem to be careful, considerate gentlemen who charge very reasonably for their services and, despite the general hustle and hurry and rather narrow streets have really few accidents with their fine big cars," Meals wrote.

Ketchikan's newspaper (the Chronicle) and the local radio (KGBU?) were also signaled out as examples of "big city" media.

"Of course, other Alaskan cities have newspapers and eight page ones too, but somehow the divorces and the shootings and holdups seem to come egregiously hot off the platter down here," Meals wrote. "There is radio here too. No one really understands what a miracle this thing is unless he has tuned in his little receiving set in a lonely camp in the wilderness and evoked eerie, heavily music from a symphony 5,000 miles away, music that comes out of the sky in strange contrast with the soughing of wind through the black spruce." - More...
Monday - April 30, 2007


Fish Factor: Official Salmon Season, Poll Peek and Mermaid Day By LAINE WELCH - Alaska's 2007 salmon season officially gets underway in May and major processors say they can handle the projected salmon runs, with a few possible exceptions.

For the past seven years state fishery managers have conducted a preseason survey of salmon processing capacity to determine where shortages might occur. Capacity is defined as a combination of the physical processing capacity and the intent of buyers and processors to purchase and process salmon. Major processors (those who bought more than 100,000 pounds of salmon during the past two years) are asked to report by April 13 the maximum amount of fish in pounds, or numbers of fish, they intend to purchase and process during the salmon season.

This year 70 processors received the survey, down from 81 last year, and 63 responded to the survey, down from 81 processors in 2006. The information they provide helps managers plan for the expected returns of salmon in each region, and may also be considered by the governor in determining whether foreign vessels should be allowed to help process salmon overages.

At a glance, processors in the Alaska Peninsula region said they plan to employ the same number of tenders as last year, and purchase salmon from roughly the same number of fishermen.

In Cook Inlet, processors said they will employ fewer tenders and they expect to purchase salmon from fewer harvesters. In Bristol Bay, Prince William Sound, Southeast/Yakutat and Kodiak, processors plan to increase their tender fleets and purchase salmon from an increased number of fishermen.

As in prior years, the AYK region (Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim) will have the least processing capacity, especially for chum salmon. The 2007 survey also indicates reduced capacity for processing Chinook and pink salmon, although smaller buyers may make up some of the shortfall for Chinook.

The state report also says processing capacity for chum salmon in the Southeast/Yakutat region presents a concern. "A processing capacity shortfall slightly above one million chum salmon is indicated by the survey," the report says, and it could be even more problematic "if the pink salmon return to Southeast is large and early."
The 2007Alaska salmon harvest is projected at 179 million fish, up from 142 million last year, which was the 15th largest catch in history.

The statewide pink salmon harvest is projected at 108 million, or 47 percent higher than last year. For chums, the forecast of 24.7 million fish is an increase of 15 percent. The projected sockeye catch of 40.8 million is a drop of two percent from the 2006 harvest. A Chinook catch of 789,000 would be about 28 percent higher, while projected coho catches of 4.7 million are 11 percent higher than last year. Historically, the actual harvests have varied widely from the forecasted returns. - More...
Monday - April 30, 2007


Public Meetings

KETCHIKAN BOROUGH LOGO CONTEST COMMITTEE: The Borough Logo Contest Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 12:00 p.m. in the Borough Conference Room, 344 Front Street, in order to discuss contest submissions. The public is invited to attend.

Basic Rules

letter Fiscally Responsible Goverment By Ed Fry - Monday PM
letter Apology By Carl C. Webb - Monday PM
letter Janelle Hamilton will be missed By Frances Natkong - Monday PM
letter Big Changes are Coming. By George Miller - Monday PM
letter Missing $200K By Hunter Davis - Monday PM
letter Does anyone remember... By James Gropper - Monday PM
letter Wilson Clinic and other names By Marcia Hilley - Monday PM
letter Re Immigration Reform By Mike Isaac - Monday PM
letterSerious questions about the missing $200,000 of Borough money By Mary Lynne Dahl - Friday
letter Immigration Reform? By John Maki - Friday
letter Re: Wilson Clinic By Dave Kiffer - Friday
letter Re: Roads on Gravina By Mike Sallee - Tuesday PM
letter"Wilson Clinic" By Janet Spear
letter Quick hits By Gregory Vickrey - Tuesday PM
letter Devaluing Milk, Bread, and Human Life... By Martha Leftwich
letter Info on Hays Surveys By Anita Hales - Tuesday PM
letterWhatever happened to...... By Virginia E. Atkinson - Tuesday PM
letter Civil discourse By Bill Thomas Sr. - Tuesday PM Sr. - Tuesday PM
letter In Regard to Civil Discourse By Vicki Harsha - Tuesday PM
letter RE: Politicians won't stand up to gun lobby By Thomas McDonald - Tuesday PM
letter RE: New America By Mike Isaac - Tuesday PM Sr.
letterWho Paid For The Gravina Road Poll? By Jerilyn Lester - Monday PM
letter Renewable energy fund beginning of political commitment By Sen. Johnny Ellis and Rep. Bill Thomas - Monday PM
letter RE: A new America By Ty Rettke - Monday PM
letter Civil, dignified? By Carl Thompson - Monday PM
letterResponse to Virgina Tech Shootings By Sara Schroeder - Monday PM
letter Civil discourse? By Jessica Mathews - Monday PM
letterOut of control spending By Ed Fry - Sunday
letter"Honesty and Character" By Al Johnson - Sunday
letter Perpetuate Tribes Not Corporations By Don Hoff Jr. - Sunday
letter KGB Budget Review By Glen Thompson - Saturday
letter Do we need a new Public Library? By Judith L. Anglin - Saturday
letter Civil discourse By Wendy Gierard - Saturday
letter Thanks for making Ketchikan better! even at the Rock Pit... By Bobbie McCreary - Saturday
letter Family Activities By Carl Webb - Saturday
letter Explanations? By Charlotte Tanner - Saturday
letterA new America By Mike Isaac - Saturday
letter Integrity? By Rick Krueger - Saturday
letter Virginia Tech Massacre By Gavin Piercy- Saturday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary  

Dave Kiffer: April IS the Cruelest Month! - I'm pretty sure that T.S. Eliot was not thinking of my adolescence when he penned "The Waste Land" but he wasn't far off.

April was always a bad month when I was in my teens.

For example, I was "broken up with" three straight Aprils in high school. Each year by the same young woman. But I guess that was more a case of "if you don't succeed, try, try (and fail) again."

When I got to college, my major long term relationship broke up in - you guessed it - April. Post college, I had two other significant relationships run aground in - drum roll please - April.

Even these days I always issue a silent sigh of relief when an April passes without my long-suffering wife Charlotte serving me papers.

To be sure, not all my relationships have ended in April. When you have had as many end as I have over the years, the simple laws of probability deem that occasionally one may happen in another month. For example, I have found December, September and July to be pretty danged cruel in their own rights. But, as usual, I digress.

I think that part of the problem is that in Alaska we have a boom or bust mentality toward relationships. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007  

Star Parker: First debate of Democrats: Hillary loses - The first debate of the 2008 presidential campaign was an unimpressive affair.

Poor management of the event by MSNBC didn't help. Certainly, to try and be understanding, conducting a meaningful discussion with eight candidates, at least one of whom should not have even been up there, is not easy.

My guess would be that, simply as result of standing first in the lineup, and several aborted attempts by moderator Brian Williams to uniformly ask each candidate one quick question, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got more air time than anyone else.

If I were any Republican candidate, I'd be feeling good about my prospects after watching this field of Democrats. The views of the group were almost monotone in their uniformity and lack of freshness, originality and boldness.

Among this underwhelming crew, I think Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton distinguished herself as the clear loser.

I say this because I think the senator from New York was the only candidate whose inconsistencies were particularly glaring. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007

Dan K. Thomasson: Bush increasingly alone on war - I met an old friend and colleague on K Street the other day and she looked a bit weary. She told me that her son's tour in Iraq had been extended because of President Bush's surge and she expressed concern that his planned wedding although a year away might have to be postponed. Actually, the wedding worry was just a cover up for what really bothers her nearly every minute of every day - his safety.

She was too much a trouper not to present a facade of confidence about his welfare. Besides, it would be bad luck to even discuss it. Instead she talked about some of the interesting aspects of a foreign assignment that under any other circumstance would be a wonderfully educating experience in the cradle of civilization. She detailed some of the problems of accommodating more and more troops, including make shift sleeping arrangements and lack of equipment, an old story in this war.

"He had to lend his sidearm to his superior who didn't have one," she chuckled, shaking her head. "Did you know that the Iranians have disbursed new kinds of bombs that can pierce any armor?" She explained as though she were an old veteran herself, that "of course the more armor you put on, the slower the vehicle becomes, making it more vulnerable."

Then suddenly she stopped, looked at me and asked quietly, "Why is this president so stubborn?" In her tone was the unmistaken note of motherly despair, one that is now echoed by millions of other Americans who can see no end to or even reason for this debacle the president so glibly calls "winnable." There can be no victory, nearly every expert agrees, only continued chaos as long as American troops are present. - More..
Friday - April 27, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Bald, stubby and chubby: is that presidential material? - The 2008 presidential race has just started, but already it has the potential to be a victory for the common man, the balding, overweight, jowly common man, a large - but largely ignored - portion of the electorate.

Conservatives are flocking to the partially raised banner of Republican Fred Thompson, supposedly because he's solid on all their core issues. Some of us are hoping there are other reasons: He's bald. And jowly.

Fellow Republican Rudolph Giuliani is bald and, better yet, sometimes evinces what looks like a rudimentary comb-over. Democrat Al Gore, should he get in, has a growing bald spot.

Maybe these candidates will reverse a lamentable failing of American voters: They do not vote for bald candidates. You have to go back to Dwight Eisenhower to find a bald president, and he had to win World War II just to stand a chance. It did help, however, that his opponent both times was also bald. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841, to find a really bald president.

John Edwards has alienated many voters of a certain maturity, not for his $400 haircuts but because he has the hair to spend it on.

Also in the race are candidates who have a natural appeal to a large and, well, expanding voting bloc, those who are overweight or prone to it. Newt Gingrich, Bill Richardson, Gore are - pick your euphemism - stout, burly, chubby; in any case, they show a healthy fondness for the groceries, rather like most American males of their vintage. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007

Editorial: No more clocks in post offices - Tired of being told it takes too long to get to a service counter, the United States Postal Service has decided to remove all clocks from the walls of its 37,000 post offices. That'll solve the problem!

This is part of a growing disdain of customers in much of retailing that includes stores of all kinds removing their clocks and subjecting customers to headache-inducing, pounding rock music. - More....
Friday - April 27, 2007

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