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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 09, 2012

Front Page Photo By SUSAN HOYT

In their new nest south of Ketchikan, both eagles are together in the nest with only one visible in this photograph.
Front Page Photo By SUSAN HOYT


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Feature: Founder of Prince Rupert died on the Titanic 100 years ago By DAVE KIFFER - A century ago, Charles Melville Hays had big plans for the tiny city of Prince Rupert.

jpg Founder of Prince Rupert died on the Titanic 100 years ago

Charles Melville Hays
Public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.

Rupert was Hay’s baby, a community that the Canadian railroad titan saw as someday being as important as Seattle and Vancouver. He had chosen Kaien Island on the northwestern coast of British Columbia for the terminus of the second Canadian trans-continental railway because it was several days sailing closer to Asia.

In 1906, he sent work crews to begin carving the community out of the wilderness. (see “Prince Rupert: Hay’s Orphan Looks To The Future,”  SITNEWS, February 28, 2007)

Then, on April 10, 1912, he boarded the Titanic.

Like several other important Canadian railroad pioneers, Charles Melville Hays was actually American, born on May 16, 1856 in Rock Island, Illinois and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri. When he was 17 he went to work for the Missouri Pacific Railway and by 1884 he was working his way up in the hierarchy of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway. He became general manager of the entire line in 1889.

In 1895, American financier J.P. Morgan recommended Hays for the job of leading the Grand Trunk Railway, a Canadian-American company that was financed largely by British investors. Ironically, among Morgan’s other business interests was the International Mercantile Marine Company, which later controlled the White Star Line, the owners of the Titanic.

With the board of directors of the Grand Trunk living mostly in London, it was decided that General Manager L.J. Sergeant should move to England to advise the board on railroad matters and Hays was asked to fill the position of day-to-day management of the line back in Canada.

Gavin Murphy, who wrote a brief history of Hays for the Historical Society of Ottawa in 1992, quoted the Railway Gazette as noting that Hays was “very self-possessed, seldom showing irritation or anger and his capacity for work seemed unlimited.”

Hays was also described as stocky, with a neat beard and keen eyes and called “the Little American.”

Hays moved to Montreal to manage the line.

“His experience and contacts with American railways helped Grand Trunk sign advantageous agreements with connecting roads in the USA,” Murphy wrote, adding that Hays also built grain facilities in Montreal and Maine to boost shipping on the line.

Hays left the Grand Trunk in 1901 to become the president of the Southern Pacific Railway, but returned only a few months later with increased job duties at Grand Trunk. By 1902, he had turned a half million dollar operating loss on his arrival to a $1 million surplus.

In 1903, he led the line into its most significant expansion; one that would be considered highly controversial a decade later when Grand Trunk suffered financial reverses and eventually went bankrupt.

Nearly 30 years before, the Canadian Government had tried to convince the Grand Trunk to undertake Canada’s first cross-country line and the company had deferred. That line was eventually built to Vancouver by the Canadian Pacific.

Now in 1903, Grand Trunk – at Hays’ urging – decided the time was right for a second line to the coast. This one would follow a northern route. Initially, Hays chose the Pacific terminus to be Port Simpson, an established community just south of the Alaskan border. But preliminary engineering studies came up with a better site. Kaien Island, to the south, which had one of the best deep water ports along the entire coast. The new location would be 500 miles closer to Asia than Seattle and Vancouver. - More...
Monday - April 09, 2012

Alaska: Polar Bears in Alaska Observed with Patchy Hair Loss and other Skin Lesions - In the past two weeks, 9 polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea region near Barrow were observed with alopecia, or loss of fur, and other skin lesions. The animals were otherwise healthy in appearance and behavior. The cause and significance of the observed lesions are unknown. Alopecia has been reported in both wild and captive animals in the past. U.S. Geological Survey scientists have collected blood and tissues samples from afflicted polar bears to investigate the cause of the symptoms and determine whether there is any relationship between the symptoms observed in polar bears and those reported for arctic pinnipeds from the same geographical region earlier this year.

Evidence of alopecia and other skin lesions may be difficult to see unless the bear can be observed closely. In the polar bears that USGS has observed to date, the most common areas affected include the muzzle and face, eyes, ears and neck. The bear in the photo has hair loss and oozing sores on the left side of its neck. The bear was captured by USGS scientists using the immobilizing drug Telazol.
Photo courtesy USGS

Research scientists with the USGS made the observations at the start of their 2012 field-work season. USGS observes polar bears annually in the southern Beaufort Sea region as part of a long-term research program. This bear population ranges from Barrow in Alaska east to the Tuktoyuktuk region of Canada.

Observations last summer of unusual numbers of ringed seals hauled out on beaches along the Arctic coast of Alaska, and later on, of dead and dying seals with hair loss and skin sores, led to declaration of an Unusual Mortality Event by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on December 20, 2011. Based on observations of Pacific walruses with similar skin lesions at a coastal haulout in the same region during fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined the UME investigation. Most walruses exhibiting skin lesions appeared to be otherwise healthy, and whether the symptoms observed in the seals and walruses are related is unknown. Since the initial reports from northern Alaska, ice seals with similar symptoms have also been reported in adjacent regions of Canada and Russia and from the Bering Strait region. Despite extensive testing for a wide variety of well known infectious agents, the cause(s) of the observed condition in walruses and ice seals remains unknown. Advanced testing techniques for unidentified infectious agents is continuing as well as further testing for potential causes including man-made and natural biotoxins, radiation, contaminants, auto-immune diseases, nutritional, hormonal and environmental factors. - More...
Saturday - April 07, 2012


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letter Bar Harbor Boat Launch and 3rd Avenue By Shari Fisher - Summer is just around the corner and we all know what that means, time to put the boat in the water and go have fun. I have lived on the last block of the 3rd Avenue (nearest Bar Harbor) for most of my life and one thing really drives me nuts: People who launch their boat and then drive up 3rd Avenue and leave their boat trailer parked on the side of the street and then drive off. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter USS Enterprise as a bridge By Dee Armstrong - My husband was a commissioning crew member of this legendary ship. I just wanted to set the record straight - IF the ship was to be used for anything (that’s a BIG “if”), it would have NO nuclear elements, no reactors. It would be a shell. It is scheduled to be “gutted” of its propulsion system BEFORE it’s even decommissioned. That’s straight from the ship’s commanding officer and the Navy. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter KETCHIKAN CHOOSES RESPECT By Diane Gubatayao - Last Thursday, Ketchikan community members of all ages marched together to “choose respect”. We were one of over 122 communities throughout Alaska to stand up and demonstrate that we each have the power to end domestic violence and sexual assault. But it goes beyond these issues. Respect is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Whether it is a parent disciplining a child, or one adult resolving differences with another adult, or a teacher instructing students, or young people learning how to relate to one another, respect is at the center. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter Deployment By Brian K. and Julie A. Schum - Hello to our friends in Ketchikan, for those that remember us and may be interested I just wanted to pass along that our son, Seth K. Schum (K-Hi class of 2010) is being deployed with the 1st Marine division 1st combat engineering battalion to Afghanistan for 10 months next Thursday. His platoon will be quickly passing through Anchorage on the journey from Camp Pendleton CA. to begin combat patrols in Afghanistan. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter Carbon Neutrality of Biomass Energy By Eric Muench - This is a response to Paul Olson's criticism of the Southeast Integrated Resource Plan, in which he says that conversion to biomass energy would be harmful because, among other claims, it adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and is therefore not carbon-neutral . That is a misleading statement. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Funding for a Unuk River study By Victoria McDonald - Three years ago, in response to concerns about mine tailings damaging the Taku River, fishermen asked the Alaska legislature to fund a study documenting water quality on the river. The legislature appropriated $35,000.00 for a report on the Taku, with enough left over for a similar study on the Stikine. These reports have been extremely valuable when Alaska Dept of Fish & Game have worked with the Canadians on transboundary mining proposals. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Fund water quality monitoring on Stikine, Unuk, Taku By Tammi Meissner - I was born and raised in Wrangell, and I live here with my husband and two daughters. I am Tlingit and I practice traditional food gathering. My family has a cabin at the mouth of the Stikine River, the fastest free flowing navigable river in North America, where we often live and where we fish. This river is the source of salmon that my family relies on to sustain us year round, and is the source of salmon that contributes to our community s fishing economy. The Stikine is also an important spiritual and cultural resource. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter BOYCOTT ETCH A SKETCH By David G. Hanger - Pass this message forward via email, facebook, tweets & twitters, whatever.  Don’t buy a single Etch A Sketch; trash any of recent vintage that you have.  They are the product of slave labor. - More..
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter RE: USS Enterprise, Bridge By Peter Jacob - I'm writing this in response to James Dornblaser and Charlotte Tanner's proposal of using the USS Enterprise as a bridge to Gravina. - More...
Tuesday - March 27, 2012

letter USS Enterprise By Eric Riemer - So I'm pretty sure nobody has pointed out the complete ridiculousness of the idea to use an old aircraft carrier as a bridge to Gravina because the flaws are quite obvious if one spends even a few moments thinking about it, but after reading someone's positive response to the idea I cannot hold my tongue, so I beg your indulgence.. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Bridge By Mike McColley - I would like to see the bridge built. The job itself will help Ketchikan people benefit from carpenters laborers and all trades. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Nicholas’ Law By Nyna Fleury, Bessie Singleterry, Tim Booth, Loni Iingley-Mills, Chief Ely - We are looking for support in putting together a law that we can pass called Nicholas’ Law, where it would be against the law to be intoxicated while taking care of a underage child. Before we can take it to the legislators we need documentation from concerned parties. Police Officers, Social Services workers, Teachers, Daycare works, Parents (anyone) who can see a need in this law. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Parking, Trash By Lisa Krieger - It seems to be the parking has been an isue for some time now. I notice a lot of people parking in Handicapped zones and they don't seem to be ticketed. In fact, in front of my own place, a peron was taking up two spots, which left the person behind them, take up another spot, which led us to park a ways from our own home. We called Law Enforcement.. they came in the area, had a Cruiser check it out... WE thought something would become of it and straighten it out.. nope... they just looked at the parking situation and drove off! - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter RE: Parking By David Wylie - Ms. Elliot we are talking about 2 different parking areas. I am talking about the Lower Centennial Parking. The one under the library parking lot. Now I don't doubt that they are giving out parking tickets. I just don't understand why this lot has now slipped through the cracks. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

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