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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 07, 2010

Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES

Cloud Watching
This wave-like cloud was photographed south of Ketchikan on Monday.
Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES


Southeast Alaska: Ketchikan & Sitka to host marine refrigeration workshops open to commercial fishermen - Properly chilled fish is the first step toward delivering superior Alaska seafood to world markets. Consumers demand quality and fishermen can be rewarded with higher prices for the extra care.

For fishermen who want to learn more about modern onboard refrigeration systems, help is on the way in the form of refrigeration workshops sponsored by Integrated Marine Systems/Wescold, the University of Alaska Southeast Office of Continuing Education, and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program.

Workshops on how to maintain, troubleshoot and better understand onboard refrigeration equipment will be offered in Ketchikan and Sitka later this month. Additional topics include refrigeration theory, system winterization, controller programming, refrigeration safety, and system sizing. A refrigerated seawater system will be used for hands-on training activities at each location. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

Alaska: State Seeks Intervention in Cook Inlet Salmon Dispute - The Alaska Department of Law has moved to intervene in federal litigation to ensure that the State of Alaska can continue to manage its fishing resources.

The lawsuit, by the United Cook Inlet Drift Association against U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, was filed in U.S. District Court on March 18. It seeks to have the federal government take over management of Cook Inlet's salmon fisheries through regulations that would trump the state's rules.

Specifically, the plaintiffs -- non-resident and resident commercial gill net fishermen -- want the federal government to limit the resident-only personal-use salmon fisheries in Cook Inlet in order to make more salmon available to commercial fishermen.

The group had unsuccessfully petitioned Secretary Locke for adoption of emergency federal rules to regulate salmon fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet, on the grounds that the State of Alaska's management is inconsistent with the federal Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries and Conservation Act of 1976.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, acting on Secretary Locke's behalf, concluded that the drift association had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies in the state, as required by the federal fishery management plan, and that the salmon fishery does not occur "predominately within" the waters from three miles to 200 miles offshore, as the act requires for federal fisheries regulations to preempt state management. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

Alaska: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Relates to Elevated Fire Deaths in Alaska - Fire Statistics gathered in Alaska for the last five years show that fire fatalities occurring in March, April and May were mainly caused by careless smoking. Almost 100% of these fires showed that alcohol or drug use was a contributing factor.

All evidence points to the fact that people who abuse alcohol and other drugs are a growing high-risk fire group. Alcohol-impaired fire fatalities exhibit an age pattern that is quite the opposite of other fire fatality patterns in that the very young and old are not the higher risk. It is also noted that smoking combined with alcohol use, creates an even greater risk for fire injuries and fatalities. Studies have shown that more than half of all alcohol-impaired fire deaths were the result of fires caused by careless smoking. The United States Fire Administration reports that smokers consume more alcohol than do non-smokers, heavy drinking tends to be associated with heavy smoking, and a large majority of alcoholics are smokers.

"Most people are aware that smoking is bad for the health of the smoker and for the health of people around the smoker, but one of the dangers that people often forget is the relationship between smoking and the potential for fire, especially when combined with alcohol," says Mahlon Greene, Public Education Coordinator for the Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety. "Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in Alaska and causes about 1,000 deaths each year in North America, and over $400 million in dollar loss," he adds. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

Personal Finance: How the health bill affects families By KATHLEEN PENDER - Individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 will pay for a good chunk of health care reform through higher Medicare taxes on their earnings and a new Medicare tax on investment income such as dividends, interest and capital gains.

The Medicare tax increases start in 2013. The $200,000 and $250,000 thresholds are not indexed for inflation, so they eventually could reach into the middle class.

The two new Medicare taxes are estimated to raise about $210 billion over 10 years, which accounts for 48 percent of the new tax revenue associated with the act, according to accounting firm Deloitte.

Other parts of the two health care bills signed into law last month will affect people at all income levels. Starting next year, for example, people can no longer use their flexible spending accounts to buy over-the-counter drugs.

Here's a closer look at these and other provisions affecting individual taxpayers, and how much revenue they are expected to raise over 10 years.

-- Higher Medicare tax on earned income: Today, employees pay 1.45 percent of their wages for Medicare tax. The employer pays an additional 1.45 percent of employee wages. Self-employed people pay the employer and the employee's share, or 2.9 percent, of their self-employment income. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010


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letterTea Party Protest? By A.M.Johnson - As April 15th draws near, I ask if the local Tea Party group will have a "Tea Party" protest at the usual haunt of Jefferson and Tongass? I read of many such events being planned and publicized across America now to encourage interested citizens to participate. As frustrated as I am towards the direction our Country is taking under this administration, I would welcome a local opportunity to share with like thinking Americans. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterThe Sealaska Lands Bill, S.881: A Problem with a Solution By Steve Lewis - Senator Murkowski's Sealaska Lands Bill, S.881, presents a problem to residents of SE Alaska. Few would suggest that Sealaska should not receive the lands due it under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), but there are many who feel that the current bill will cause serious damage to karstlands and the underlying caves, create permanent rifts among Southeast Alaskans, and provide Sealaska with more than it was due under ANCSA. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterSealaska Landless By Vernon Grant - As a Sealaska landless shareholder, this is my perspective on this landless issue. First of all if we let the government slide on the promise to fulfill the ANCSA that they have signed and left unresolved to be out voted by communities that have not been awaiting the passed 40 years for this land issue to be finalized, this will be a blow too our own state and give way to a mind set that they can get away with not upholding any and all promises made too any sect or bill. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterIce Skating Rink and Dog Park By Tony Gwynn - I'm pretty sure that most people in Ketchikan would love to have an indoor ice rink and an indoor/outdoor dog park. Myself included. So I say this next part with all due respect. If you are passionate about an indoor ice rink or dog park then take the necessary steps to create those two very worthwhile dreams!!! But please don't steal the hard work and vision of the proposed Ward Cove indoor recreation facility. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterRoy McPherson By Jason Alderson - Way to go Roy!! Some of my favorite memories are going into McPherson Music as a teenager and looking at the drums! Even though I had long hair, jeans with holes in them and a leather jacket (it was the 80's!!) Roy and Tina always treated me with respect and worked with me so that I could purchase the drums I wanted. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterKPU TELEPHONE SALE: VOTE NO By Pete Ellis - So it is sort of like voting to sell your birthright and the right to choose services to be offered and their cost. A contrary vote is for the unknown. A yes vote results in an inability to provide further input as to any sales analysis, other than the limited opportunity to appear before the Council and urge their rejection or further negotiation of a sale proposal. Voting NO guarantees continued control and input. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010


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letterVote "YES" to look for a buyer By Patti Fay Hickox - Voting yes [on Tuesday, April 6th] only means the city can look for a buyer for telecommunications. Ketchikan KPU cannot complete against GCI, AT&T etc. in the telecommunications business. We would need to buy massive equipment to keep up. This would suck out all the money and some day we will have to sell because GCI etc. has a lot more money to build these connections. We cannot keep up with these big outfits. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letter Monty Hall and City Hall By Michael McNally - Sitnews readers of a certain age will remember a once popular game show, called Let's Make a Deal. The classic gimmick of the show was that contestants, having obtained a prize of moderate value, would be offered a chance to trade their prize in, sight unseen, for what was behind door number three. The trick was, only the show s host, Monty Hall, knew what was behind door number three and while it could be a valuable prize the contestants also ran the risk of losing what they had. It was an excellent gimmick for a game show, but it is a poor way to conduct public policy. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterNew terminals in Metlakatla, Part 2 By Steven G. Booth - I would hope that the M/V Lituya would be home ported in Ketchikan unless and until appropriate security infrastructure is available in Annette Bay with the scenario of dismantling the Chester Bay Terminal. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterSealaska Bill, S.881 By Bob Claus - I thank Arne Fuglvog of Senator Murkowski's office for traveling to Edna Bay and meeting with the residents there. I was glad to have been able to attend as well, and was impressed by the measured tone and thoughtful responses opposing the Sealaska land selections on Kosciusko Island from everyone who spoke. 100% of the community attended the meeting and opposed S.881. I also heard a great amount of hope and optimism for the future of Edna Bay and our other small communities surrounded by the Tongass National Forest so long as they continue to have community input through the forest planning processes. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letter S.881 is not the solution for Southeast Alaska By Sandy Powers - Community hearings on Senate Bill 881/HR 2099 held in Edna Bay and Point Baker/Port Protection last week reconfirmed that a majority of Southeast Alaskans are opposed to this bill that would give 80,000-some acres of public-owned, roaded National Forest land to Sealaska Corporation. There was unanimous opposition from these three communities, with residents from age 13 to 82 speaking passionately of how their lives and futures would be forever adversely changed by this legislation. Hearings in other communities throughout Southeast were held earlier in the month. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterTaxpayers asked again to bail out a Corporation By Judy Magnuson - Why is the taxpayer again being asked to bail out a corporation? Why are small communities, the public, and businesses that depend upon public lands for their livelihood and recreation being asked to give it up for a private corporation? Sealaska's Vice President spoke in Ketchikan on March 31st , stating the Corporations need for S-881 to pass quickly, because they only have two years of timber harvest lands left. Whose fault is that? - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterRoy McPherson By Doug Edwards - Thank you for the excellent article about Roy's induction into the Alaska School Activities Association Hall of Fame. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterFawn Mountain Track and Field By Miguel Torres - I remember arriving in Ketchikan during the summer 0f '06 and looking forward to the upcoming Kayhi football season. Having lived in Texas for many years and enjoying quite a few Friday night football games, I inquired into the Ketchikan football tradition. I was referred to Blaine Ashcraft, high school football and commissioner to the Ketchikan football youth league.  - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterPerformance Scholarships Will Help to Improve our Schools By Larry LeDoux - The Governor's Performance Scholarship proposal would award substantial postsecondary scholarships to Alaska students who take a challenging curriculum in high school and meet thresholds for performance on grades and tests. The scholarships would be used at Alaska institutions, both technical and academic. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterHoly Name By Brandon Fast - I think more people should go to Holy Name Catholic School. At Holy Name we have a bully free environment and small class sizes. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterHealth Reform By Jim Kempsell - Lamentably, Socratic form of debate (actually listening to an opponent, recognizing they may have some valid points) is virtually non-existent in this age of sound bites and "gotcha". - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterCommunity By Joey Tillson - The other day I had lunch with an out of town friend. Her and I had gone to school together in Juneau for many years and for 29 years of my life, I lived in Juneau but was born in Ketchikan. It was wonderful to catch up with her and discuss how our lives had changed and progressed. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

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Ketchikan, Alaska

In Memory of SitNews' first editor,
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Final Certified Canvass Results
of 04/06/10 ballot

Proposition No. 1
Telecommunications Sale
YES 388
NO 375

Proposition No.2
Rate Stabilization Fund
YES 527
NO 218

Percentage of Turnout

Download the 04/07/10 Final Results pdf

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