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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 13, 2010

Front Page Photo by LISA THOMPSON

Patrol Vessel Enforcer
Home Port for the Patrol Vessel Enforcer is Ketchikan, Alaska. The Alaska Department of Public Safety's effort in the patrol and enforcement of Alaska's waters is entrusted to the Marine Enforcement Section (MES) with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. Assigned to MES, as well as other posts from Ketchikan to Kotzebue, are 17 vessels that range in size from 25 to 156 feet. Numerous other smaller skiffs augment patrol and boarding operations either independently or in support of the MES.
Front Page Photo by LISA THOMPSON


Alaska: Department of Law Reaches Agreement with Cruise Industry; Lawsuit Resolved Contingent upon Legislative Action - The Alaska Department of Law announced today that an agreement has been reached with the Alaska Cruise Association (ACA) to resolve a lawsuit against the state if Alaska's passenger excise tax is reduced.

Attorney General Dan Sullivan and ACA President John Binkley signed the settlement, stipulating that a specific reduction in the tax paid by cruise ship passengers in Alaska would result in the dismissal of the association's lawsuit. The agreement also states that the nine member cruise lines of the ACA share "the mutual goal of increasing future ship deployments to Alaska," and each line, as well as the state, "will work to achieve that mutual goal."

Legislation submitted by Governor Sean Parnell, House Bill 422 and Senate Bill 311, would reduce the tax and provide a sustainable funding mechanism for tourism marketing. If the legislation is passed, and within two weeks of the governor signing it into law, the agreement calls for the state and the ACA to take action to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, so that it could not be brought again. Each side would pay its own costs.

"This completes one important element of the negotiations I began with cruise industry officials in Miami," Governor Parnell said. "The administration and the ACA are united in the goal of making Alaska a more attractive destination for the cruise lines, increasing ship deployments and giving passengers more incentive to spend money on shore-side purchases and excursions. I encourage legislators to move swiftly to pass the bill."

The governor noted that Alaska visitation numbers, which had steadily increased for many years, dropped in 2009 and are projected to decline further this summer. Including both cruise and independent traffic, there will be an estimated 260,000 fewer visitors than in 2008, a loss of $400 million in visitor-generated spending and as many as 5,000 lost jobs. - More...
Tuesday - April 13, 2010

Alaska: DOT&PF Reminds Motorists to Remove Studded Tires - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) reminds motorists the studded tire season is about to end. Studded tires must be removed by April 15 in communities south of 60 degrees latitude.

The 60 degree latitude line crosses Alaska south of Ninilchik and north of Happy Valley and just north of Yakutat in Southeast Alaska. Communities subject to the April 15 deadline include Anchor Point, Homer, Kodiak and Southeast Alaska.

"Driving with studded tires contributes to deterioration of our highways, and their use must be strictly enforced to the legal season," said DOT&PF Commissioner Leo von Scheben. - More...
Tuesday - April 13, 2010

Alaska: Man Sentenced Following Extensive AWT Investigation - The Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT) witnessed a successful conclusion last week to a lengthy multi-agency investigation. Charles E. Vandergaw received his sentence in a Palmer court after accepting a plea deal from the state. Vandergaw was convicted on charges of Intentionally Feeding Game. The plea deal requires that he pay the state $20,000 and serve three years of probation. He also received a suspended jail sentence of 180 days. The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Department of Fish & Game.

The Alaska Wildlife Troopers investigation revealed that Vandergaw fed bears on an almost daily basis at his remote cabin near Skwentna. Firecracker Films, Ltd., a foreign film company located in England, paid Vandergaw and Carla Garrod over $75,000.00 to create a documentary film in 2008. Troopers documented that Vandergaw, Garrod and Terry Cartee purchased over 7,350 pounds of dog food and 844 pounds of cookies during the summer of 2008 for the purpose of feeding bears which allowed Firecracker Films, Ltd. to make its documentary.

Alaska law has prohibited the intentional feeding of game, including bears, since 1985. The offense of intentional feeding of game was prosecuted as a non-criminal violation prior to 2008. Vandergaw was previously cited for feeding game in 2002 and again in 2008 for feeding bears in 2007.

Vandergaw was warned in 2008 that the State law prohibiting the intentional feeding of bears was reclassified as a class A misdemeanor offense. Vandergaw was further put on notice that the State intended to seek a search warrant if evidence suggested he was still feeding bears at his remote cabin. - More...
Tuesday - April 13, 2010

National: IRS expects about ten million people to file for tax extension - The IRS Tax extension form 2010 for those late filers of U.S. federal tax has been made available to users. All taxpayers can grab the form 4868 from the IRS website which allows a tax extension form 2010 to be downloaded instantly.

The IRS Tax deadline is set for April 15, 2010 and the IRS expects about ten million people to file the tax extension form for 2010. The form is needed so they will not be penalized for missing the April 15 deadline. Most U.S. citizens must file a tax return to the IRS by April 15 but for late filers and extension can be obtained. - More...
Tuesday - April 13, 2010


Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: Thanks for the Memories, Inga / Francine - One of the great things about moving to Ketchikan - or anywhere else in Alaska for that matter - is the fact that you can reinvent yourself if you really want.

Sure, there is always the point that "no matter where you go, there you are." But in Alaska there is a remarkable tolerance for accepting people at face value.

Here you can become what you say you are.

If you show up in town and tell everyone you are a "painter," for example, that's how people will refer to you indefinitely, no matter what your day job is.

You can be a musician, a sculptor, a former bank robber, a novelist (unpublished, of course). Pretty much whatever you say goes.

You can even tell wild tales about your life before KTN (you were Amelia Earhart's cabana boy, cool!) and we won't question it, or even call your references. We will play along indefinitely. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

MICHAEL REAGAN: Time to Pay the Piper? The First Hint of a European-Style VAT - Democrats in Washington haven't wanted to be terribly forthcoming as to how they intend to pay for the new health care entitlement program and other massive spending programs being passed. It seems our national debt ceiling is now raised every few months, and the federal deficit is higher than it's ever been -- exponentially so.

Well, we can now see why the liberal establishment hasn't wanted to address the issue head-on with the American people. At a private event the other evening, it has been reported that one of the Obama Administration's lead economic counselors, Paul Volcker, indicated the support for a Value-Added Tax (VAT) may be more achievable than in the past.

This statement does not surprise me in the least. You see, in order to fund the record spending of the federal government, hard-working families and small businesses are going to be required to foot more of the billit is that simple. After passage of a nearly $1 trillion health care bill, the Obama administration cannot longer deny this. The only question in my mind has been how much will our taxes be raised -- and when.

A VAT is a tax that is added to a good at each stage of the production process. So when a hypothetical widget's first component is put together a tax is added. That's just the start. At each further stage of assembly, development and distribution, a new tax is added, all the way through until final sale. Not surprisingly, VAT taxes are not borne wholly by the producers themselves. Rather those incremental taxes are passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696.

letterBoard of Fish Deceit and the Company Line. By Lloyd Gossman - The Board of Fish recently opened a commercial summer Dungeness crab fishery that had been closed for nearly 25 years because of the waste. They did this under the guise of needing to gather new data. The fishery is going into its second season and no attempt has been made to gather data. That is the deceit. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterKetchikan's "Special" Election? By Robert D. Warner - Will the Ketchikan City Council have the courage to recognize that last Tuesday's special election was not a clear mandate from city voters to sell KPU Telecommunications? Major questions about this issue remain. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterMr. McPherson to the AK High School Hall of Fame By Greg Buxton Jr. - How awesome to find out about Mr. McPherson getting the nod to the Alaska High School Hall of Fame! I was fortunate enough to be taught by him for the first time back in 1980. I was just learning to play the "drums" and had attended the Summer Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, AK. I was truly a novice then, and Mr. McPherson was extremely patient with me. He'd challenged us all to put in the time to improve no matter what abilities we had then. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterIs this fair? By Rob Holston - When Walmart showed interest in "invading" Ketchikan there was much concern and discussion. As in most small towns, the fear came mostly from small business owners who had invested their lives and quite possibly their homes and 80 hour work weeks into making their businesses successful. The fear of unfair competition was at the crux of the controversy. Walmart paid a fair market value for the property, pays property tax & charges sales tax. Walmart invested THEIR money. However, OceansAlaska uses tax payer's money, public funding, to invest in their mega-tourist-atraction. The government "gives" OceansAlaska 28 prime acres for the government subsidized cost of $1 (ONE) US dollar! - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letter S 881/ HR 2099, Response to Steve Lewis By Carol Cairnes - Steve Lewis's solution is to pass the problem on to other folks and keep this treacherous legislation alive. Value is not what is due Sealaska under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, land is. The value rests in what Sealaska makes of it. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterComing to you soon in a favorite waterway and anchorage near you! By Betsey Burdett - Did you know that there is a company that is applying with the State of Alaska to run an oyster farm and hardening beaches in and on the Tatoosh Islands? They are called Tatoosh Oysters, LLC and intend to put in floating docks, a floating caretaker cabin, and utilize beaches as a hardening area. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

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

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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