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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 27, 2010

Front Page Photo by DEWIE HAMILTON

Ward Lake: Drake Mallards
Front Page Photo by DEWIE HAMILTON


Fish Factor: Southeast Alaskans Investing in Future Generations By LAINE WELCH - Sitka is doing something that a lot of fishing communities spend a lot of time talking about - investing directly in future generations of both fishermen and fish.

Through a newly formed Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, Sitkans are able to invest in independent, community-based fishermen who are committed to conservation, and reward them through the marketplace. Funding comes from the Oak Foundation, an international philanthropic organization.

"It has three components," explained Linda Behnken, director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association (ALFA). "We want to help finance local fishermen to be the next generation of halibut and sablefish quota share holders, and provide a favorable exit opportunity for people who have quota shares now. We want the next generations to participate in taking care of the resource to make sure it is sustainably protected. And then we want to market that fish to places where people support that conservation ethic, and believe in the communities and the people who catch the fish."

The Trust funds ALFA's Fishermen's Conservation Network, which aims to create cleaner, lower impact fisheries by combining science with fishermen's knowledge of marine habitats.
Right now, for example, fishermen are working together to generate three dimensional bathymetric maps that identify "bycatch hotspots" for rockfish. That is being combined with survey data and other habitat information from fishery managers.

"Then it is given it back to the fishermen in a way that protects the confidentiality of their sets (where they are fishing), but shows areas that are consistently high in rockfish bycatch," Behnken explained.

The fishermen also are working with scientists to record acoustic data from sperm whales that rob halibut and sablefish from their hooks. Quantifying these removals strengthens fishery assessments and ensures that harvest limits accurately reflect fish abundance.

The market arm of the fishermen's network is called Alaskans Own Seafood, which claims to combine "the best in business with the best in conservation."

"We are in the early stages of working out the details for customers to pre-order locally caught fish. We want to work though our local processors so it strengthens the community as a whole, as well as local fishermen," Behnken said. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

Alaska: Fairbanks reindeer birth makes agricultural history - Thursday's birth of a 10-pound male reindeer calf at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm made worldwide agricultural history: It marks the culmination of the first documented successful pregnancy of a reindeer by artificial insemination using frozen-and-thawed semen.

Lightning, a female reindeer at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm, rests with her newborn calf on Thursday, April 22 at the farm on the UAF campus.
Photo by PJ Soden

The calf appeared at 3 p.m. on April 22, as University of Alaska Fairbanks Reindeer Research Program herdsman Rob Aikman worked nearby. He noticed the calf's mother, a 2 1/2-year-old named Lightning, was having difficulty and went to assist. As he tugged on the calf, he noticed its heart was beating but that the calf was not breathing. After Aikman performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the calf was fine.

In September, seven females were artificially inseminated with frozen semen shipped from Canada. Once in Fairbanks, it was thawed and a veterinarian performed the necessary technique. Six pregnancies did not take.

"This is a first and it's a small step," said Milan Shipka, an animal scientist at the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, which runs the Reindeer Research Program. "We will work to get the bugs out so it will become a tool for reindeer producers." - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

Southeast Alaska: Craig Resident Sentenced On Felony Charges Involving Illegal Take and Sale of Sea Otters - United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that Douglas Linn Smith, a resident of Craig, Alaska, was sentenced to one year in federal prison after pleading guilty to two felony charges of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and a single violation of the Lacey Act.

Smith, age 31, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John W. Sedwick. Smith pled guilty to the two counts in February 2009. In connection with the guilty plea, Assistant United States Attorney Steve Skrocki advised the court that Smith was involved in a conspiracy to illegally take, transport, sell, and attempt to sell illegally killed sea otters on the open market. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

Alaska: Proposed Polar Bear Deterrence Guidelines Published - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced Friday proposed deterrence guidelines that may be safely used to deter a polar bear without seriously injuring or causing the death of the animal. The deterrence guidelines would, if approved, be voluntary and are intended to reduce occurrences of interactions between bears and humans in manners safe for both. They provide clear guidance for minimizing incidental encounters with polar bears, but will not change the legal status quo for any activities in Alaska.

The proposed deterrence guidelines include 2 levels: - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010


Arts & Entertainment

Ketchikan: Jazz Night, April 29th- Jazz Night, The Jerry Galley Memorial Scholarship Concert will take place on Thursday, April 29th at 7:00 p.m. in the Kayhi Auditorium. Soundwaves, the Kayhi Jazz Band, Discovery and Windjammers will perform a variety of selections including jazz, blues, funk, ballad and rock styles. Donations for the high school scholarship will be accepted at the door.

Soundwaves will open the program with a Latin piece entitled "Tiger of San Pedro" by John LaBarbera, composer and arranger for the Buddy Rich Band. Leslie Snodderly will be the featured tenor saxophonist on Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You". Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill's Latin piece, 'My Ship" will follow. Leslie's brother, Eddie Snodderly, a senior at Kayhi, is the featured trombone soloist on "Cerulean Blue", a beautiful ballad by Gregory Yasinitsky, composer and the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Washington State University in Pullman. The favorite "Steely Dan" funk piece, "Peg" will wrap up the Soundwaves portion of the show. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: Ends and Odds. - First the ends.

A friend from Outside emails me the other day.

"So Alaska is now giving money to dead people?"

Well, sort of.

As usual America continues to be fascinated with our little comings and goings up here. And yes, the state legislature just made it easier for "dead people" to collect their Permanent Fund Dividend checks.

Now, I do understand that the idea is for the "survivors" of the dead folks to collect the checks, assuming the dead person was still alive during the "qualifying" time period.

This makes perfect sense.

After I go, I naturally want my wife to be able to take my check and buy that gnarly four-wheeler she's always been pining to have. It's only fair. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

PRESTON MACDOUGALL: Chemical Eye on The Sound Conservancy - If it ebbs and flows like the Duck, and teems with diverse forms of aquatic life like the Duck, then it must be the Duck. Who questions National Geographic?

The February issue of National Geographic magazine features a spotlight on the Duck River, which flows through the rocky and rolling Central Basin of Middle Tennessee - at a speed that I have found quite suitable for canoes, which is how I imagine photographer David Liittschwager navigated the Duck.

Unlike some other magazines, nobody minds admitting that they read National Geographic mainly for the pictures. To graphically depict the diversity of life that is found in well-conserved environments, Liittschwager researched biodiversity around the world and selected four exemplary representatives of disparate environments; from a coral reef in French Polynesia, to a cloud forest in Costa Rica, to a mountainous park overlooking Cape Town, South Africa, to a freshwater river whose origins are within the broadcast range of Jazz89, Middle Tennessee Public Radio. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010


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

letterLet's get behind the aquarium By Larry Jackson - This letter is in response to the efforts of many in the tourist industry to thwart the aquarium's efforts to raise federal grant money.  Although I appreciate their concerns of public money being used in a quasi competitive endeavor I think their efforts are bit shortsighted.  - More...
Wednesday PM - April 28, 2010

letterOceans Alaska Submitted By Kirk Thomas for Various Ketchikan Businesses - We, the undersigned, are writing you this letter to state our strong opposition to Oceans Alaska (formerly known as the Tongass Aquarium) becoming a shore excursion tour operator for cruise passengers here in Ketchikan, Alaska. Oceans Alaska has promoted and represented itself as a research, education and shellfish mariculture facility and has successfully applied for and been granted public seed money for all of the progress they have made thus far. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 28, 2010

letterBetter management leads to lower taxes By Rodney Dial - Mr. Harrington, I am going to assume that your letter and assumption that taxes in Ketchikan would somehow be lower if we consolidated a simple attempt to goat me into writing a three page letter on why you are wrong. I will make that assumption because the only alternative is simply that you as a government official are attempting to mislead the public. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 28, 2010

letterOpen Letter to the Ketchikan Borough Assembly Members By Rodney Dial - You guys know that as soon as you raise the mill rate and increase property taxes I am going to write a rather long letter detailing why several of you lied to this community about being able to afford a 23.5 million dollar pool with no tax increase. Right? - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterPerserverance Trail Closure By Heather Muench - The Forest Service is planning to close the Perseverance Trail from May 15 to September 30 for trail reconstruction. While I support the much need trail work, I strongly object to the summer long closure. I agree the trail should be closed on days when helicopters will be moving material to and from the area; but not on other days. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letter HEAD TAX: VERY BAD CHOICE OF WORDS By Charles Edwardson - It has always bothered me -- the term HEAD TAX. It sounds like a hunting trip. It should be labeled what it is a PORT AND HARBOR TAX. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterTaxes By Sonia Streitmatter - Tourism is a double-edged sword. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterSealaska lands bill By Sarah Red-Laird - I still have a strong connection to Southeast Alaska, although I now live in Montana for school, through my friends and family that remain in the area, and through my crystal clear memories of all the years I spent there, especially those of my childhood on Prince of Wales Island.- More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterSealaska lands bill By Judy Magnuson - Senator Murkowski stated not too long ago that the government was the largest land owner in Alaska. I wish to correct that statement. The PUBLIC, not the government, is the largest land owner in Southeast Alaska. We the people, native and nonnative own these lands, we have full use of these lands for any use compatible with public use of these lands. This is not an aboriginal rights issue, it is simply the right of citizens and taxpayers who have added value through their tax dollars, time and energy through their efforts to support, preserve, participate and have a say in the management of public lands. We have the right to retain those lands that belong to us and have cost us dearly during the last 40 years. Public lands, heavily invested in should not be given away to a private corporation in order that only a few may profit from them. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterHigh taxes in Ketchikan By John Harrington - It is interesting that Mr. Rodney Dial is complaining about the high taxes in Ketchikan. Our taxes are indeed too high. Those tax rates are higher than most consolidated city/borough governments in Southeast Alaska. When a group of us were attempting to consolidate the two governments, Mr. Dial led the charge to stop it by claiming it would raise our taxes. We had determined quite the opposite in our calculations. But Mr. Dial prevailed in his anti-consolidation efforts and now have received what he tried to avoid, higher taxes. - More...
Friday PM - April 23, 2010

letterKetchikan is becoming more expensive every day. By Rodney Dial - As our national tax day passes, a few things you may want to consider regarding the future of your family's finances. The following is an excerpt from a Newsweek article posted on 4/15/10 titled "Today is the best tax day of your life", by Robert J. Samuelson. Newsweek tends to be a liberal leaning publication and this is not conservative hype. - More...
Friday - April 23, 2010

letterThe times are a changing? By Reed Harding - As the country struggles in the turmoil of unprecedented healthcare reform by the current centrist administration many misguided individuals nash their terrible teeth and groan aloud "we don't want change". I awoke today and realized that I do not recognize my own country. Things have changed so much this past year I can't even point out what has actually changed. In fact, there could have been no change at all but that's not what everyone is saying so it must be a completely new country devoid of any principles and understanding that once existed. I can attest to the validity of the following piece as I wrote it rather than merely copying someone else's opinion. - More...
Friday - April 23, 2010

letterSealaska lands bill By U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski - In a letter concerning the Sealaska lands bill printed on April 14, an Edna Bay resident stated that it was "stunning" that Sealaska had already filed for lands to complete its entitlement under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), as if the matter of filing for lands meant that the current bill is not needed to complete rational land conveyances due Sealaska's 20,000 Alaska Native shareholders. That is not the case. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterOpen Letter to the KGB Mayor & Assembly By Johnnie Laird - Mayor Dave Kiffer and Ketchikan Assembly, I am disappointed that you passed a resolution in favor of the Legislation and didn't join in solidarity in opposition with Sitka, Port Protection, Point Baker, Edna Bay, Hollis, Whale Pass, Thorne Bay, Craig, Naukati, Kake, The US Department of the Agriculture, The US Department of the Interior and many others. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterMay is ALS Awareness Month: Let's STRIKE OUT ALS!! By Linda Kreider - May is ALS Awareness Month!! I will be representing Alaska for the 4th time since 2006, when this disease took my father away from me, my mother, brother and sister and the rest of our family. My sister-in-law, Teri Teal will be travelling with me this year for the 1st time! We leave Ketchikan on Friday, May 7 and will return May 12. We will meeting with our Senators and Representatives on Tuesday May 11. In the past few years, I have been able to have a State of Alaska Proclamation declaring May as ALS Awareness Month for the State of Alaska, and am hoping that we can get the City of Ketchikan, as well as the Ketchikan Gateway Borough to do the same!! - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterChanges By A. M. Johnson - As the Country watches the huge social changes imposed by the current liberal administration, many are and more are, becoming concerned as to the Nation holding together with civility. I can not attest to the validity of the following piece, however, even if it were not written by the person listed, it still tells well!! - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterTrails and drunks. By Patti Fay Hickox - Where are they going so fast? We only have about 30 miles of road. "What's the hurry, what is everybody hurrying for." Drivers do not stop for people in crosswalks. Remember when most of us walked and smiled and waved at the people going by in cars. People slowed down to wave at their neighbors. I came to Alaska to get out of the cities and a fast pace of life. Now Alaska is moving faster. Everybody going so fast they have no time for their neighbors. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterRe: Married Man's Trail By Laurie Hodne - It was funny timing when I sat down to look at the letters to the editor and the very same subject I was debating on writing about happened to be a "peeve" for someone else. I am not a frequent hiker on Married Man's Trail, but was there when I was searching for the Easter Treasure Hunt and was appalled by the trail and its lack of upkeep. Is that City property? - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterMarried Man's Trail and other stuff By Kara McElroy- Steele - Regarding Ms. Susan Coady's letter about Married Mans trail, I have two things to say. Back in the day (if you lived there for 25 yrs you should remember this), it was common place down on the Tongass dock, for homeless drunks to sit and sleep, behind it and in front of it (before it turned into Tourist Central!). You would also see them hangin out around the loop of bars all the way around the corner by Tom Sawyers. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterThanks from The Mainframe LAN Gaming Center By Ryan Avila - I would just like to thank everyone who came down and supported our business this weekend. We hope to continue providing a safe environment for the youth of Ketchikan so that they have a fun alternative to doing drugs and drinking (which is a large problem in Ketchikan). - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterHope this resolves the issue By Paul Jarvi - Ms. Catron, Please excuse me for stating an opinion. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

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