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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 14, 2012

Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER

Eagle Reflection
Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER


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Alaska: FISCAL YEAR 2013 K-12 EDUCATION PLAN ANNOUNCED - The leaders of the Alaska House Majority Caucus earlier today unveiled the Caucus’ Fiscal Year 2013 K-12 education funding plan. The package encompasses both major budget bills and three individual bills into a new omnibus bill that highlights the members’ commitment to its guiding principles of providing excellent schools and workforce development and fiscal restraint.

“The carefully-crafted package put together and approved by our membership showcases our commitment to both strive for accountability while also recognizing the importance of continuing to outpace inflation and smartly assess ways we can help districts ensure that as much of the foundation formula money as possible can make it into the classroom,” House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “Our Finance co-chairs performed a nimble balancing act that should leave all parties satisfied with the proposed results.”

The across-the-board plan incorporates specific pieces within Senate Bill 182, the capital budget and the operating budget. The new omnibus SB 182 includes: - More...
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012

Alaska: NOAA seeks public input on a new observer program structure for Alaska fisheries - NOAA Fisheries Service is accepting public comment on the agency’s new proposal to change the observer program for federal groundfish and halibut fisheries off Alaska.

The proposed rule was filed with the Federal Register Friday. Once published, a 60-day comment period will open up for members of the public to provide input.

Observers are trained biologists who collect information while aboard vessels and at shore-side plants during commercial fisheries. They record information such as the amount of fishing gear set and the location, how much and what kinds of fish are caught, information on prohibited species caught, interactions with protected species like marine mammals, and detailed biological information on the species encountered.

Fisheries managers, scientists and policymakers, use the collected information, which is critical to sustainable management of Alaska’s multi-million dollar fisheries industry.

NOAA put the current observer program in place in 1991. The industry-funded program has worked well, but there are some elements that need improvement. 

Owners of small vessels pay observer costs that are disproportionately high relative to their gross earnings. Vessel owners with no observer coverage requirements do not contribute to the cost of observer coverage, though they benefit from management based on the observer-data collected. Vessel owners and operators who are not required to have 100-percent of their operations observed choose when to carry observers, which may not accurately represent their overall fishing behavior. Vessels less than 60 feet in overall length and vessels fishing for halibut are exempt. - More....
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012

Alaska: Coast Guard mourns loss of 2 shipmates, FBI leading investigation - The Coast Guard Investigative Service continues to work with FBI, Alaska State Troopers and the Kodiak Police Department to investigate the shooting deaths of two Coast Guard employees that occurred Thursday at Coast Guard Communication Station Kodiak.

The Coast Guard has been informed by the FBI that they are treating this investigation as a double homicide. There is no evidence to suggest these deaths are the result of a murder suicide. No arrests have been made and all Kodiak residents are advised to continue to use reasonable safety precautions and to report any suspicious activity to their local law enforcement agency.

The victims have been identified as Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins, an electronics technician, and Richard Belisle, a civilian employee and retired Coast Guard chief petty officer. - More...
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012

Ketchikan: Alaska Nurses Association Labor Program ratifies new contract with Providence Alaska Medical Center - The Alaska Nurses Association Labor Program has successfully negotiated and ratified a new three-year contract with the Anchorage-based Providence Alaska Medical Center, which was signed by both parties in late March.

“Nurses play a critical role in the medical field and we’re happy we were able to negotiate and ratify this new three-year contract,” said Donna Phillips, Alaska Nurses Association labor council chair. “Quality patient care is our mantra, and a secure employment relationship with the hospital is key to ensuring that our nurses can continue to deliver the high standard of care for which Providence Alaska Medical Center is known.”

The association’s labor program will be negotiating agreements with Ketchikan General Hospital (PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center) and Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna later this year, where it also has bargaining units.

The new contract provides represented nurses a 5.25-16.43 percent wage increase over three years while addressing several workplace issues, including: - More...
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012

Ketchikan: IT’S OFFICIALLY FLU ‘SNEEZE-UN’ - It’s now official. It’s Flu ‘sneeze-un’. Several cases of influenza and f u-like illnesses have been reported locally and an analysis of influenza surveillance data by PeaceHealth Infectious Disease Physicians and the PeaceHealth Infection Prevention Team has determined that active infl uenza season in our area has begun.

How do you know if it’s really the flu or just a cold? Sneezing does happen sometimes with the flu but it’s more common with colds. Other differences are: - More....
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy earn national award for Harris River project - The Tongass National Forest Craig Ranger District and partner The Nature Conservancy were recently selected for a prestigious Rise to the Future Award for Collaborative/Integrated Aquatic Stewardship. The award recognizes the large-scale Harris River watershed restoration project, completed in 2011, which improved salmon and wildlife habitat on Prince of Wales Island.

A watershed-scale effort, the Harris River Restoration Project followed an integrated approach that restored river processes, salmon spawning, and rearing habitat on 11 miles of mainstem river and tributary habitat; and improved wildlife habitat and riparian functions on 500 acres of thinned upland and riparian area. The project also included eight miles of road stabilization to restore stream connections and reduce sediment input to streams, and an expanded trail system for fishing and hunting access and interpretive use. The project provided more than $2.3 million in local work contracts and will benefit commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing in the region. - More...
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Is This The Party To Whom I Am Speaking? - You all know how I hate cell phones.

I hate how they intrude on moments of quiet reflection.

I hate how they encourage people to take their attention off the road.

I hate how they make young people ignore the real world for all the bells and whistles and texts of hyper surreal space.

So, the fact that I am now carrying around my "cell" is a complete surrender to the exigencies of the modern world. I have simply grown tired of people saying they "couldn't get a hold of me" even though I have three different land lines with answering machines and so many different email addresses I have lost count.

Never mind the simple fact that 99 percent of the time that the cell phone rings, I won't be able to answer (leave a message, sweetheart!) because I am in a meeting or teaching a class or otherwise engaged with a real live, present, human being and I am not going to interrupt that.

Never mind the fact that, because I am otherwise engaged when you call, I will probably not have the answer to the burning question that is so danged important that you had to get a hold of me right BLEEPING now.

Never mind that I probably won't be able to physically figure which button to push before you hang up anyway.

Last week, I was in the middle of teaching a college class, when a cell phone began ringing. It wasn't even some spiffy "ring tone” like Ride of Valkyries or the Addams Family Theme. It was just ringing. So very, very, very Old School.

I looked around, waiting for the offending student to take care of it. The students just stared back at me. It was that time honored blank expression that says "no really, you must be just imagining it and don't bother asking ME about it because my lights may be on but really I'm not home."

I used to be great at that expression myself when I was student. It basically tells the teacher to not engage you because, well, just because.

Something along the lines of  “don’t try to teach a pig to fly because it won’t work and it only irritates the pig.” Do not engage. Do not even try to engage. It will only lead to significant irritation all around.

Sometimes, I still use that blank expression. You'd be surprised how often it comes in handy at Borough Assembly meetings.

But I digress.

Anyway, the muffled sound appeared to be coming from the left side of the room, so I looked that way. More blank stares. - More....
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012


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letter Boat trailers By Betty Constuble - Regarding the letter about boat trailers parked on Third Avenue, thank you - so well said. I live on Second Avenue and we have the same problem. We need to park in front of our homes but when people park their boat trailers there we cannot. It causes us a lot of trouble. - More...
Wedesday PM - April 11, 2012

letter Care About Ketchikan! NO Litter By Bobbie McCreary - CAN'T BEAT THIS. What do Earth Day, Clean up Week, Adopt-a-Highway have in common? Why, it's --Taking Pride in Ketchikan! Why do I hear people always talking about how trashy our town looks compared to Sitka and Las Vegas? -- Those are the two I just heard mentioned. WE HAVE AN ANSWER, READ ON. Does Ketchikan have more trash, more wind, less garbage cans, more bears and dogs, more fast food wrappers and bags, more cigarettes, more bottles and cans? We can pick up 20,000# of trash in an afternoon, as the high schools did last year, and the next day have litter back on the streets. The City has three full-time employees and the Borough has one working all summer long on public property which helps, but I still walk by a lot of cigarette butts and cans in the gutters and along sidewalks. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 11, 2012

letter Arctic Planning and Infrastructure Investment in Alaska By Bob Herron and Reggie Joule - In our last Arctic policy commentary, we discussed the importance of Arctic governance in preparing for the challenges and opportunities facing Alaska in regards to the changing Arctic. Today, we will focus on Arctic Planning & Infrastructure Investment. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 11, 2012

letter Parking By Amber Williams -Baldwin - The reason why they limit parking downtown is so workers don't park there. Shop owners want paying customers to be able to get to the stores to buy. The library has 2 hour parking so workers don't just use it as a parking lot. YES, real people do spend hours there a day I know some of them. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 11, 2012

letter Ketchikan Chooses Respect By Bobbie McCreary - Well said, Diane! I'm sorry I was unable to participate in the "Choose Respect" walk to show how important it is to have a safe environment for our children to grow up in. Many youth mention "home issues" as a factor in problems they have at school. The "Be the Change" group will be advocating for a community-wide Challenge Day workshop here in Ketchikan. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 11, 2012

letter USS Enterprise By Don Borders - I find the view point presented by Mr. Dornblaser absolutely admirable to the fact that his idea is very much “outside the box thinking” and the local opposition opposed it due to because  it was not theirs or inside the box thoughts, the small box folks can stay in their confining box. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 11, 2012

letter USS Enterprise By Marvin Seibert - I had to react to this ridulous notion of using the USS Enterprise for Gravina Access. Has anyone talked to Admiral James T. Kirk to make sure he is willing to give up his command of the Starship? What about the hazard of the residue left over by the dilithium crystals? Also would the United Federation of Planets agree to exempt this venture from the 'Prime Directive' of interfering with native life since the Enterprise would be in conflict with Salmons and migrating whales? - More...
Wednesday PM - April 11, 2012

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