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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 06, 2009

Front Page Photo By ALICE LAMM

Tongass Narrows' Morning
Front Page Photo By ALICE LAMM



Fish Factor: Hearing on offshore energy development scheduled By LAINE WELCH - Alaskans have a rare chance next week to tell top decision makers that when it comes to the nation's "fish basket", oil and water don't mix.

New Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar is holding a day long hearing on offshore energy development on April 14 in Anchorage. Fishery advocates will urge him to reinstate a ban on offshore oil and gas sites that are smack dab in the middle of some of the world's richest fishing grounds - Bristol Bay and the eastern Bering Sea.

"This is the start of a very important education process with the new presidential administration, and there is a lot of work to do in conveying the importance of Alaska's fisheries," said Kelley Harrell, director of Friends of Bristol Bay.

Before leaving office, President Bush pulled protections that for more than 30 years had kept energy development off limits in the region's waters, home to the world's largest salmon runs, as well as Alaska pollock, crab, herring and halibut fisheries. The area is dubbed the nation's "fish basket" because it provides 40 percent of the total U.S. fish catch. Currently, a six million acre parcel including the prime fishing grounds is set for lease sales to oil and gas developers in 2011.

"There is such a direct overlap with the area proposed for leasing and marine habitat and fishing grounds - you couldn't design a worse place for drilling in terms of Alaska's fisheries," Harrell said.

The importance of the region's fisheries was overlooked in a report on offshore energy potential released last week by the U.S. Geological and Minerals Management Services, said Celeste Novak of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

"The report is fairly nebulous in terms of what the resource actually is in Bristol Bay, and what we could potentially lose were they to do oil and gas drilling," she said. AMCC will testify at the hearing to fill in those "fishery gaps," Novak added.

"For example, just one percent of the oil and two percent of the natural gas that this whole nation has to offer would come out of that area, compared to a multi-billion dollar sustainable, natural resource," Novak added.

Fishermen want Secy. Salazar to know that eco-risks extend well beyond drills and spills, said Dan Strickland, AMCC fisheries coordinator for Bristol Bay. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

Alaska: ALASKA SUPREME COURT ADOPTS "BRIGHT-LINE RULE" THAT SPARES WORKERS SUBSTANTIAL ARBITRATION COSTS IN EMPLOYMENT ACTIONS - In a victory for workers who seek to vindicate their rights under the Alaska Wage and Hour Act (AWHA), the Alaska Supreme Court held Friday that employers may not require their employees to arbitrate their wage and hour claims unless the employer is willing to pay all of the costs of arbitration. Public Justice was co-counsel for Larry Gibson, the employee plaintiff in this appeal, along with Alaska civil rights specialist Ken Legacki.

Public Justice urged the Court to adopt a "bright-line rule" that would outlaw employers from
imposing mandatory pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses where the employees would be required to pay significant arbitration costs to bring claims under the AWHA. The Court agreed with Public Justice that a "bright-line rule" is indeed necessary in AWHA cases because "substantial forum costs would run counter" to the AWHA's policies of deterring employers from violating the act and encouraging employees to take action to remedy violations.

"The Alaska Supreme Court's decision is an extremely important victory for employees who argue that they were denied their rights under basic wage and hour statutes," said Paul Bland, the Public Justice staff attorney who argued the appeal in the Alaska Supreme Court. "By recognizing a bright-line rule that employees may not be required to pay substantial arbitration costs, the Court ensures that employers will not be able to make it difficult or impossible for employees to protect their fundamental legal rights." - More....
Monday - April 06, 2009

Alaska: Sexually transmitted diseases infect thousands of Alaskans, state reports - Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to infect thousands of Alaskans and infect some residents at higher rates than others, according to two new reports from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

About 19 million new sexually transmitted infections are reported every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has designated April as STD Awareness Month.

In Alaska and nationwide, chlamydia cases have comprised the largest proportion of all reportable STDs. From 2000 through 2007, the most recent years for which national ranking data are available, Alaska has had the first- or second-highest chlamydia infection rate nationwide. In 2008, Alaska had a chlamydia rate of 718 cases per 100,000 people. Although gonorrhea is not as prevalent in Alaska as chlamydia, the health consequences are similar. There have been approximately 600 cases of gonorrhea in Alaska each year since 2002. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009


Alaska: Forest Service Lifts Deadline for Resource Advisory Committee Applications - The Alaska Region Forest Service lifted its March 31 deadline for Alaskans to apply for a position on one of the nine resource advisory committees set up under the 2008 Secure Rural Schools Act. The RACs advise the Forest Service on spending the Act's Title II funds for enhancing national forest system lands or lands adjacent to the forests.

"We were hoping for enough response to our initial announcement to fill our memberships," said Ray Massey from the Alaska Region's public affairs office. "The original March 31 deadline obviously didn't give Alaskans enough time to learn about the RACs and make an application. We'd like the public to learn more about the RAC duties and responsibilities outlined on the national website, and then apply to their local Forest Service district ranger for a position."

Any Alaskan may apply for membership on any of the nine committees. RACs will be functioning in Yakutat, Petersburg/Wrangell, Ketchikan, Prince of Wales Island, Sitka, Juneau, Icy Straits/Lynn Canal, Prince William Sound, and Kenai Peninsula/Anchorage. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

Southeast Alaska: DOT&PF announces first stimulus project bid opening - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) announced the successful March 26 bid opening for the replacement of the Gustavus Causeway, the first ADOT&PF economic stimulus project to be advertised in Alaska.

The project will construct a 1,300-foot long, two-lane causeway with a sidewalk for improved pedestrian safety.

The facility will provide multi-modal roll-on/roll-off capability via a pontoon-supported, tidally-operated transfer bridge (with ramp and apron). The dock will allow access for current common carrier barge lines, petroleum barges, as well as transport and sightseeing vessels.

The project is the result of the combined effort of DOT&PF, the City of Gustavus and the National Park Service with funding procured by all three parties from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

"The project will provide jobs and stimulate the economy during the construction period," said DOT&PF Commissioner Leo von Scheben. "However, I am confident that this safe, environmentally responsible and modern dock will provide long term economic opportunities."

Locally, this project will provide on-site employment for about 30 workers from the pile-buck, pile-buck welder, heavy equipment operator, surveyor, electrician and laborer trades and crafts during the estimated one-to-one and a half years of on-site. Neighboring communities will see employment for up to 15 workers during extraction, hauling, barging and placement of the approximately 40,000 cubic yards of embankment and armor rock for the inter-tidal staging area embankment. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009


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Feb, March, April 2009
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08 09 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
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Basic Rules

letter It's More Than Just The Head Tax By Shauna Lee - I have read all the letters recently regarding the head tax, and whether it has an effect on a ships decisions to re-locate their vessels to other ports. I believe that people are missing the larger picture on issues that face the cruise industry. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letterOn track for a greener, cleaner, and brighter future in Southeast Alaska By Lindsey Ketchel - The recent sunshine is just one thing for Southeast Alaskans to smile about. In the past few weeks, both the Alaska Legislature and U.S. Congress have taken bipartisan actions that will boost the Southeast Alaska economy and steer our region towards a greener, cleaner, brighter and more sustainable future. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letterANCSA PROMISES By Diane Hoisington - I was born, and lived in Southeast Alaska. My parents, were also born, and lived in Southeast Alaska. Now both my mother and father are both gone. Let's admit. there comes a time (the last 38 years have been a long time) to end the wait for the Southeast Alaskan Settlements Act which was promised to the Alaska Natives. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letterTimber Industry Retooling By Evan Hjerpe - Sen. Murkowski's press release advocating her Southeast Alaska Timber Industry Retooling and Restructuring Act ( Murkowski Proposes Southeast Initiative to Aid Regional Economy, 4/2) misrepresents many facts, leaving me concerned that her bill may miss the mark. The Murkowski press release incorrectly attributes the decline of the timber industry in Southeast Alaska to a litany of federal forest policy changes. In fact, the decline of the timber industry is due to a number of market-driven factors and a long history of unsustainable high-grading of the biggest and best trees. The timber industry in Southeast Alaska has always been affected by inherent competitive disadvantages. Because of rugged terrain and distance from markets, logging, manufacturing, and transportation costs have always been high. Southeast Alaska's forests are also dominated by tree species with lower value in timber markets, which means higher lumber production and processing costs. These factors, and the collapse of the lumber export market to Japan in the 1980s, have caused the decline of Southeast Alaska's timber industry. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letterResponse to Mr. Currall By Dan Ortiz - I do indeed stand corrected in the light of the U.S. Justice Department's decision to remove the judgement against former Senator Ted Stevens. An independent jury did find our former longtime and effective Senator guilty of all charges against him, but evidently with faulty presented evidence. Being that the Justice Department was being headed by a President Bush appointee and going on the assumption that their duties require them to act in a non-partisan manner regardless, I had no reason to believe that justice was not done at the time. However it's apparent, that wasn't the case. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letterPalin and White Cliff By Chas Edwardson - I literally (no joke) laughed out loud all by myself drinking coffee in my kitchen at 5am after reading the "Palin opens new White cliff School article " (Ketchikan Daily news article dated March 31 2009). I waited to write this comment until today April 2 2009 to see if it was as funny as the first time I read it --"it was". - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letterRe: UAS library movies questioned By Donita O'Dell - I am a full-time student at UAS, and although I also work full-time and therefore do not get to participate in any day-time recreational activities on campus, I have a hard time understanding Mr. Warner's concern about brown-bag lunch movies once in a while. The truth is that most students could use more breaks from the never-ending cycle of studying, researching, writing, and tests -- not a moratorium on the occasional fun activity. The library is the perfect location on a very small campus for just such an activity. And, should a student need peace and quiet to study at that particular time, the Learning Center offers just such an environment a mere five steps from the Library. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letterOutrageous spending By Jon Boyd - Obama keeps throwing our money away. Who does he think he is? America is in a recession. We need to be saving money, not spending it. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letter Shouldn't Alaskans get deals too? By Kimberly Morton - It's been a while since we have taken a vacation off of the rock. I always seem to browse the internet to find a special that Alaska Air might have, sometimes the extra few dollars saved on a ticket can mean a nice break away from island life. - More...
Monday - April 06, 2009

letter Head Tax By Suzan Thompson - Mr. Edwardson is correct in his assessment that Alaska's $50 head tax is being used by some of the cruise lines as an excuse to pull a few ships from the Alaska run in the next year or two, and that it has little meaning for the average tourist. Try checking out Click on Boards, and then under Ports of Call, click on Alaska. On about page 6, there are two threads dealing with this topic. Nearly all of the cruisers who responded to this topic clearly stated that a fifty-dollar tax had absolutely no effect on their decision to cruise or not cruise to Alaska. Several of them said they had no idea there even was a $50 tax. They are far more concerned about the rising cost of the airfare to get to their embarkation points in Seattle and Vancouver than they are about this fee. - More...
Thursday - April 02, 2009

letter Tour Ship Head Tax By Lloyd B Ruaro - I have worked for Holland America corporate office for 5 years. I believe that they are bluffing that a head tax deters people from booking a cruise to our great state. - More...
Thursday - April 02, 2009

letterHead Tax By Susan Hoyt - Silly people. Do you possibly think that maybe the cruise ships are pulling out because there is a decline in the amount of people traveling these days?(Due to the economy ) - More...
Thursday - April 02, 2009

letter Shotgun Approach To Economy--The Budget By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Obama Administration is throwing many hundreds of billions of dollars at a multitude of programs, hoping for economic success. It appears the thrust of the policies encompass Rahm Emanuel's philosophy of "not letting a crisis go to waste". - More...
Thursday - April 02, 2009

letter U.S. Drops Case Against Former Sen. Stevens By Nathaniel Currall - Mr. Ortiz may wish to reconsider his lesson to the community of Ketchikan about politics, law and "Loyalty" in light of recent events. - More..
Thursday - April 02, 2009

letterWE ARE THE GOVERNMENT By Jacquie Meck - Gosh, I guess some people realize that WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. We own it we pay for it .... out of every paycheck we make, and here in Ketchikan pretty much every service and product we buy and use. - More...
Thursday - April 02, 2009

letter Re: The Mayor Responds By Ken Bylund - Thank you for your response to Mr. Dial's, Questions for the Mayor, and clarification as to where you stand on these issues. I'm certain that everyone in this Borough would like to have that new library, a new heated swimming pool, and performing arts center [aka tourist restrooms], and skateboard park... etc., we really do. We want our citizens to enjoy all the pleasures of a prosperous and vibrant city/state. - More...
Tuesday - March 31, 2009

letter Ketchikan "Tea Party"? By Eileen Small - I have been hearing that many communities across the USA are planning "tea parties" to protest government spending, etc on "Tax Day" (April 15). - More...
Tuesday - March 31, 2009

letterTour ship head tax By Chas Edwardson - I doubt very highly that a fifty dollar head tax was a big factor in Princess Cruise's visitations or lack of. And now that they have made this public announcement about this (devastating tax), other cruise lines will make this claim to reinforce Princess' claims in an effort to put that fifty bucks back in their pockets. - More...
Tuesday - March 31, 2009

letterBig numbers By Mike Sallee - OK, I won't argue with Mr. McGillvray, but for the edification of the rest of those perusing this column, in America a billion is 1 followed by nine zeros, a trillion is 1 followed by twelve zeros. - More...
Tuesday - March 31, 2009

letter The Mayor Responds By Dave Kiffer - Dear Rodney, Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns.

As you noted, I can't answer all of your questions but I will try to respond to the ones that I can. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Mr. Dial's letter and a few of my own thoughts. By Derek Andrews - I think I have found the person I will write-in for mayor at the next election, if he is not going to run. Library project is wasteful in these economic times and that art should be funded by the private sector. The role of government should be to minimize expenses and focus those resources they do use to the greater good of the populous. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterRE: Time for some climate realism By J.A. Rasmussen - Kudo's to Rep. Gato for publishing his opinion about man-made global warming. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterNIGHTCRAWLERS By David G. Hanger - Escalation is wise only when you know you have a winning hand, so let this serve as warning to you AMHS employees who have been spying for your tax-cheating guru, Martin A. Kapp, that not only are you playing a very bad hand, you are also playing a very dumb one. If you want my address so you can get Marty Kapp to jump all over me with his threats of lawsuits, etc., rather than crawling around in the night and getting it wrong, you could simply ask. But no, just like your guru, you crawl around in the mud and hide from the light. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter RE: Cruise Ship Head Tax By Dustin Hofeling - In the words of Chris Barry: "Silly people." Now you see what happens when taxes are increased. The cruise ships are pulling vessels. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Problem Bus Driver By Bryan Oftedahl - This is for the fellow customers of Ketchikan's public transit system. Is it really just me or is there one bus driver in particular who never seems to care about us? I have seen this bus driver fly right past bus stops with people waiting to get on and out of the rain yet he doesn't even flinch. I've been on the Blue Line while he skips going up to Wal-Mart so I have to wait while he goes out to Totem Bight then get dropped off on Shoreline Dr. (so long as he doesn 't skip that one too) and walk through the freezing snow to get to Wal-Mart. I've sat on Green Line and witnessed him go right past three people standing at the Baranof/ Tower Rd. stop. One day a woman came running up to the bus when he was waiting to pull back into traffic from the Plaza stop and she knocked and I mentioned that somebody was knocking on the door but ignored me and the woman, he refused to sacrifice a couple of seconds to open the door. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterUAS Library Movies Questioned By Robert D. Warner - Recently I have noticed that the UAS Ketchikan Library is offering a series of "brown bag lunch" movies. The movies are scheduled from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the library.- More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Administration's Shotgun Approach To Economy - Part 1 of 3-The Stimulus By Donald A. Moskowitz - The recently enacted $787 billion economic stimulus plan designed to create jobs includes about $300 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses, which will not create jobs because companies are not hiring and consumers are saving their money, not making purchases they can postpone. The Commerce Department recently reported a U.S. savings rate of 5%, which is the highest since 1995. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letterUp to here with...well I simply can't say. By Marina Keirn - In response to the "dog poop" concern: I too am disgusted with the various "piles" deposited around town. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Dog Droppings By Hal Smith - Thanks Carrie Mueller, someone is finally saying something about the dog poop on the sidewalks by the Mary Frances Building. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Re: A Trillion dollars By Rudy McGillvray - Dear Ken, and everyone else who doesn't know that a trillion dollars is not what you think it is. - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

letter Re: Thanks to Young Democrats By A. M. Johnson - My error, without the Mark Steyn column involved, my letter to the Editor regarding thanks to young Democrats for their assumption of future fiscal indebtedness was left off or out of my post.  - More...
Monday - March 30, 2009

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