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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 07, 2008

Front Page Photograph by Dena Minicucci

Humpback Whale
This Humpback whale was photographed in the cove on the south end of Bugge Beach Sunday afternoon as it was feeding on a huge ball of herring.
Front Page Photograph by Dena Minicucci


Fish Factor: 'Graying of the Fleet' By LAINE WELCH - The 'graying of the fleet' has been at the forefront in meetings around Alaska, where stakeholders strategize ways to secure future generations of Alaskan fishermen.

Getting less attention is the drifting away of fishery scientists and managers due to retirement - and Alaska is having a heck of a time filling those ranks.

Nearly half of the state's area biologists will retire soon, said John Hilsinger, director of the commercial fisheries division.

"It's even higher for our division leadership group, which is all the regional supervisors, chief fishery scientists and directors. Eighty percent of those could retire now, or they will be eligible within five years," he said.

The commercial fisheries division now has 300 permanent full time staff and and a vacancy of 14%. "Some of these jobs will be filled, but that's a pretty high vacancy rate," he said, adding that the toughest jobs to fill are the more technical positions, such as biometricians and analyst programmers.

"We are still able to hire good people but it's definitely becoming more difficult. We have to recruit longer for fewer applicants. Sometimes we give up trying to fill a position after a year or two," Hilsinger said.

"If we don't have sufficient expertise, the natural tendency would be to be more conservative in management of the fisheries," ADF&G Commissioner Denby Lloyd said at a town meeting in Kodiak.

The workforce challenge is not unique to Fish and Game, points out Debbie Hart, coordinator of the Fish and Wildlife Careers for Alaskans program. - More...
Monday - April 07, 2008

Ketchikan: Taquan Receives Fifth Medallion Award Star - At a ceremony in the company's new facilities at the new Harbor Point Business Parkon Friday, Taquan Air was presented with the fifth and final star for having implemented the Medallion Foundation's nationally recognized safety culture award.

In making the presentation to Taquan president and CEO Brien Salazar, Medallion Foundation executive director Dennis Ward explained that the industry driven program is a step-by-step approach to aviation practices that includes process guidelines and specific training and courses for participating airlines. "The Medallion program confirms the company's commitment to safety and the professionalism of their employees", said Ward. With the receipt of the fifth star, Taquan is very close to receiving the coveted Medallion Shield Award. The only other carriers in the State of Alaska with the shield are Alaska Airlines, ERA Aviation, and Pen Air. Taquan would be the first FAA Part 135 operator in the state to achieve this accomplishment, according to Ward. - More...
Monday - April 07, 2008

Alaska: Marine Transportation Advisory Board Overwhelmingly Placed into Statute by House - The Alaska House of Representative has passed HB 294, a bill that establishes the Marine Transportation Advisory Board (MTAB) into statute. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Kodiak, also makes some subtle changes to the current board relationship to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (AKDOT&PF) and the composition of the board itself.

This legislation increases the board from nine members in a similar board as set forth in Administrative Order 233 to 11 members. It also directs that at least two members shall be from areas not directly served by the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). HB 294 also mandates that the transportation commissioner shall consult with the MTAB after one or more candidates have been considered for the position of director or deputy commissioner. While preparing and then submitting a strategic plan to DOT/PF for AMHS, this agency must confer with the MTAB in preparing a long-range plan. Another unique feature of the bill is that MTAB may establish volunteer regional advisory committees throughout the state.

"The marine highway has been transporting people, vehicles and other goods throughout Alaska since the mid-1960s," said Rep. Wilson. "A healthy System has given every one of our coastal communities the opportunity to expand the commerce of their region and provide a vital link for families, schools, and cultures to flourish. In the past few years though, the marine highway has suffered flu-like symptoms leading to several management changes and funding challenges that has ushered in an era of inconsistent service, broken down ferries, and financial uncertainty for numerous businesses around Southeast and Southwest Alaska.- More...
Monday - April 07, 2008

Alaska: House State Affairs Moves Anti-Real ID Act Bill; Measure Requires Legal Presence for an Alaska Driver's License - The Alaska House State Affairs Committee has unanimously passed Senate Bill (SB) 202 out of committee, a bill that would prohibit the state from spending funds solely for the purpose of implementing the federal "Real ID Act."

Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, said that while he had some concerns about SB 202, he was reassured by the bill's sponsor Sen. Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, that his bill would "absolutely have no impact" on legal presence bills like House Bill (HB) 3 or the good business practices of the DMV. HB 3 is Rep. Lynn's legal presence bill that requires legal presence for drivers' licenses and state ID cards. - More...
Monday - April 07, 2008


Alaska: Alaska Senate on a Savings Spree - Several major pieces of legislation moved through the Alaska Senate last week as it nears the end of the 2008 legislative session and historic deposits to the state's rainy day accounts were made.

Savings Spree - The Alaska Senate went on a big savings spree this session. The Senate made several deposits to the state's rainy day accounts, the Constitutional Budget Reserve and the Statutory Budget Reserve. The total amount of savings this session totals five billion dollars.

For every dollar spent this session another two dollars were saved:

  • $2.6 billion CBR deposit in the FY 08 supplemental budget
  • $1.0 billion Statutory Budget Reserve deposit in the FY 08 supplemental budget
  • $1.0 billion CBR deposit in the FY 09 operating budget
  • $400 million CBR deposit in the FY 08 capital budget

Capital Budget - The Senate passed a capital budget bill that will save, protect and build Alaska from Barrow to Ketchikan. Senate Bill 221, the state's FY 09 capital budget, funds a wide range of public safety, transportation and education projects in a fiscally responsible manner that still saves billions of dollars of the state's surplus oil revenue. - More...
Monday - April 07, 2008

Arts & Entertainment

Ketchikan: The Arts This Week - This week in Ketchikan, a Predator Management in Alaska presentations is an April Extra at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center on Tuesday, April 8th, at 7:00 pm. Last fall members of the Alaska Board of Game committed to informing the public about Alaska's intensive management law and the Department of Fish and Game's predator management program. Ron Somerville, former Board of Game member, will explain what predator management is and isn't, how it applies across the state, and some of the results. He will discuss different predator and prey species highlighting the legal, social, and biological reasons for predator control. Free and open to the public! Call 228-6220 for more info.
Friday Night Insights: Breeding Birds of Ketchikan. Andy Piston will give an overview of the Ketchikan breeding bird season and bird breeding biology on April 11. All images in the program will be of locally photographed birds and nests! Friday Night Insight programs begin at 7:00 pm at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, 50 Main Street, and are open to the public free of charge. Call 228-6220 for more info.
Ketchikan Community Concert Band's "Lightweight Concert: Beatles, Bugs and (P.D.Q.) Bach" A great performance for the whole family! Saturday, April 12th, 2008 at 7:04 pm, at Kayhi Auditorium. Disney music, Sgt. Pepper, and other fun noises! For more information, call McPherson Music at 225-8250. Tickets are $10 for Adults, Free for children under 18 years, available at McPherson Music, the Arts Council, Parnassus Books, through Band members, and at the door. - More...
Monday - April 07, 2007


Public Opinion Poll

The General Services Administration, landlord of the downtown Federal Building, plans to paint the structure this summer. Should GSA go with the original, historic white; or retain the "pink salmon" color?

Click here to
View Results

Poll Ended
April 04, 2008

Federal Building Poll

Federal Building
File Photo by Dick Kauffman

Ketchikan Federal Building Added to National Register of Historic Places - To some locals it is the "Big Pink."

The workers within its walls often call it the "Pepto (Bismo) Palace." - Read this archived story by DAVE KIFFER...


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Basic Rules

letterLet's make use of the veneer mill scrap logs By Margaret Cloud - There are some large piles of logs at the veneer mill that are not usable for veneer. Some of these logs have already been sold or given away for fire wood. This wood is really the community's wood as it is our money that has been used for years at the site. - More...
Monday - April 07, 2008

letter Easter Egg Hunt By Charlotte L. Glover - I know firsthand how much work go into making successful public events and I am glad that everyone enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt at Ward Lake coordinated by Angie Olson, but I have to express my disappointment at the mess that was left behind. - More...
Monday - April 07, 2008

Quality of Care for Elders By Eileen Small - This is an interesting topic and one that I have some experience with. My mom is 95 -- nearly deaf and blind and unable to walk very far or on her own. She has a Medicaid waver and since she signed up with Community Connections she is getting her respite care through them. It is important to understand that a "not for profit" organization is simply a tax status -- it does not mean that they are not billing for everything they do, billing highly and making a profit. - More...
Thursday - April 03, 2008

letter Refuge Cove By Mark Hanzlik - Thank you Leslie Engler for cleaning up Refuge Cove. The broken glass on all the local beaches has bothered me for quite a while, but it always seemed like there was too much of it to bother trying to clean up. - More...
Thursday - April 03, 2008

letter Egg Hunt at Ward Lake By Joey Tillson - I just want to express my gratitude for the Egg Hunt at Ward Lake this year. Both my older and younger daughter enjoyed themselves and the weather could not have been better (except maybe a bit warmer). I want to thank everyone who made this possible so we could have a memorable Easter with the community and nature! - More...
Thursday - April 03, 2008

letterKVRS Rocks! By Melissa Ausman -On Sunday March 23, around dinner time, a young girl went missing in the woods behind Bear Valley. This area leads to mile after mile of dense dark forested land. She had played behind the house for years, without ever a problem. Not this night. After looking and calling for her to no avail, her dad called the State Troopers and Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad. When I came upon the scene, it was scary. A great deal of people had gathered, walkie talkies and flashlights in hand. Search dog ready to roll. They were all gathered around the KVRS mobile unit. It's a large panel type van, filled with computers, gps systems and more. On top of this van is mounted two large poles with bright bright lights on top. People were searching under cars, between houses, before getting their search instructions and heading off into the woods. Every minute seemed so long. After several hours, YEAH!! she was found, safe and sound, although cold and scared she put up a brave front. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 01, 2008

letter Bristol Bay is burned out By Cindy Roque - When a lightbulb is burned out in our homes, we change it - and things are bright once again. I'm afraid some of the brightness of Bristol Bay has burned out and it's all in the face of the economic & energy crisis that has silently sneaked up upon us and is holding us captive. Our communities are blowing away in the cold wind around us as life long residents of Bristol Bay are migrating out of the Bay. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 01, 2008

letter Alaska Marine Highway By Elma Schiel - Our family of eight (included three generations) visited Alaska in May-June of 2003. We traveled by plane, train and ferry. We had a fantastic experience and hope someday to be able to return. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 01, 2008

letterSeward's Purchase of Alaska By Rudy McGillvray - I just love correcting writers. The "Purchase of Alaska" was NOT for the territory itself. Russia didn't OWN Alaska: what they sold was "Rights of Governance" to the United States, and no one, except an educated few understand that point. What Russia had in Alaska was colonies, (some of them stil exist today), and she sold us the right to govern those colonies for the 7.2 million dollars the U.S. paid for them. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 01, 2008

letter Federal Building By Barbara Morgan - I am glad that the Federal Building is going to be painted again as it now looks like a spawned out salmon. However, I do not really like either the original white or salmon pink options. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 01, 2008

letter Teens & Alcohol By Brenda (Zwieg) Benson - This is about my nephew -- a good kid from a good family that made a bad decision one night. We are also parents and are involved through Girl Scouts and other oraganizations with kids in our own community. We would like his story to be a learning tool so other teens will think twice before drinking. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 01, 2008

letterRE: Various Medical Economics Responses By Joel Galli - I'm glad to see there are those out there with a pulse and who actually care about some of the real issues in the upcoming elections and I'm pleased to be a part of the healthy debate here on SitNews. If you missed the premise of this response, I encourage you to read Mr. Harmon's and Mr. Neckameyer's March 15 opinion responses to one I wrote not long ago regarding universal health care. The scope of issues has since grown and I will now respond to all of the items raised by these two gentlemen. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 01, 2008

letter Ketchikan Youth Initiative Scores Big! By Nancy Coggins - When recently talking on the phone with an older female family friend in North Carolina, she was complaining about the teenagers who are into drugs and other destructive behavioral activities. So I told her about the Ketchikan Youth Initiative (KYI) and its goal to renovate a vacant building [the Water Warehouse (WW)] to benefit teenagers. In this plan, the teenagers would be its leaders, and we adults, their mentors. Our aim, I explained, is to provide a safe place for teenagers not only to hang out but also to get a chance to run a small business like an ice cream or a gift shop. The whole idea gave her a lot of hope for America's teenagers. - More...
Sunday - March 30, 2008

letterSqueezin' out a big bucket o' savings By Sen. Kim Elton - As we begin, I agree it is not irrational to believe giving a lot of money to politicians is like giving a credit card to your teen before they head to Vegas on a class trip. - More...
Sunday - March 30, 2008

letter School budget process By Charles Edwardson - I guess my last rambling letter missed the mark appealing to the public to attend and comment on the Ketchikan school budget process. Only one guy commented and apparently the budget is perfect so none of us has any room to complain. Good job school board and borough budget committee. You have passed a perfect budget that needs no public comment or participation. The public trusts you completely and has no qualms about how things are running. Microsoft could take some pointers from this budget committee and the school board. - More...
Sunday - March 30

letter March for Babies By Janie Odgers - The March of Dimes March for Babies (WalkAmerica) has taken Ketchikan by storm! Over a long weekend ladies from around Ketchikan gathered at the Ted Ferry Civic Center for the annual Scrap-A-Thon organized by Heather Borch. They raised $3,520.00! - More...
Thursday PM - March 27, 2008

letter Bridge, No Bridge By Angela Garton - I just wanted to say a brief thank you to Dan Williams for expressing so clearly some common sense about that bridge. I have lived in Ketchikan for 22 out of my 23 years. My dad worked at the airport for many years so I spent quite a bit of time traveling on the ferries back and forth to visit dad's work. - More...
Thursday PM - March 27, 2008

letter School budget process By Charles Edwardson - I am afraid this letter will be too late for the budget comment period for the district on March 26, 2008, never the less I urge the people who have time to participate in this process to express your opinions. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 25, 2008

letter Rev. Wright's viewpoint of America is wrong By Patty Alsup - I consider Rev.Wright's speech just a speech & not a sermon. The speech did not address religious ideals it appears to promote only hate for white people & for America. If this is the type of speeches he promotes then it is no wonder the African American population can not forget Slavery or Racism! People need to remember that Slavery is an unfortunate history. But that is what it is .. "History"! A War was fought to also abolish Slavery... Slavery is not now. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 25, 2008

letterHillary's wild stories and ... Lies! By Mark Neckameyer - The crazy stories Hillary has been telling make no sense. We all have seen people with no "resume" make up tales of war heroism or athletic accomplishments but Hillary has had a stellar career; top corporate attorney, First Lady, U.S. Senator and more. So why the crazy tales? Here are a few examples; - More...
Tuesday PM - March 25, 2008

letter Thank you Ketchikan! By Angie Olson - I am so proud to call Ketchikan my home! My friends and I decided to put together a community Easter egg hunt out at Ward Lake, the support we received was amazing!! - More...
Monday PM - March 24, 2008

letter The Bridge By Chuck Saunders - The first time I ever heard of "the bridge" was when it hit national news due to the cost. Having visited Ketchikan several times now, I think I understand the need for "the bridge". - More...
Monday PM - March 24, 2008

letter Behavioral Health Services By Camielle Call - I am the most recent director of Gateway Center for Human Services, having tendered my resignation on or about March 1 of this year. It is important for me to clarify some issues associated with this position and with recent SitNews letters and the Ketchikan Daily News of March 8 - 9. - More...
Saturday - March 22, 2008

letter Infestation of Local Faith Groups By George Miller - There a several local churches downtown who could be listed as part of the 'infestation of non-profits' -- at least in the eyes of those who might belittle faith along with everything else. It is a proven fact, practiced by even the faithless rich, that generosity brings financial health -- and that the opposite is also true. Those who support groups that are doing good for our community are doing themselves a favor. - More...
Saturday - March 22, 2008

letter Petition to the MIC Council to apply Due Process By Steven G. Booth - A Petition to the MIC Council to apply Due Process states: We, the undersigned Members of the Metlakatla Indian Community (MIC), do hereby in signing this petition affirm that every Member should have a basic right to due process of MIC laws and procedures when faced with charges against us in MIC remedial forums. When MIC Council violated Mayor John A. Scudero, Jr. s due process rights on February 6, 2008, the Council set (or continued to set) a precedent for the type of treatment any Member can expect at all MIC remedial forums, including tribal government. - More...
Saturday - March 22, 2008

letter Non-Profits By Debra Pomeroy-Dundas - In response to Jay Jones' letter, I also have to protest with Ms. Antonsen! Not only is this non-profit agency, Community Connections, an asset to Ketchikan and the many people they help, they are part of the out lined communities, providing respite care and PCA services! They also employee people in other communities. - More...
Saturday - March 22, 2008

letter The Bridge By Forrest Mackie - I had a thought outside the box! I heard it said once that it would be cheaper to build an airport on this side that we could drive to than build a bridge. - More...
Saturday - March 22, 2008

letter Stimulus Loan By Judith Green - Thank you, RK Rice, for your thoughts about the Stimulus Loan which is being offered to citizens by our Federal Government. - More...
Saturday - March 22, 2008

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