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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 02, 2013

Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER

Orca Pod
Photographed while traveling the Tongass Narrows are six members of this Orca pod. Visable are adults and juveniles. The killer whale, also referred to as the orca whale or orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family.
Killer whales are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species.
Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)


Southeast Alaska: Counting Wolves on Prince of Wales By Riley Woodford, ADF&G - Prince of Wales is home to wolves and state wildlife biologists are trying to learn how many wolves roam the dense rainforests of the island. A new method is showing promise - and it works in the dark, without the wolves even knowing they've been "counted". - Read this ADFG article....


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Alaska: NEA-Alaska says Dunleavy misrepresents poll data; Dunleavy Says Majority of Alaskans Support School Choice Amendment - The National Education Association- Alaska disagrees with the poll results released by Senator Mike Dunleavy (R-Mat-Su Valley) last week reporting a majority of Alaskans support the School Choice Amendment. NEA-Alaska expressed several concerns regarding the accuracy of the poll conducted by the Ditman Group.

"I have listened to the majority of the testimony on HJR1 and SJR9," stated NEA-Alaska President Ron Fuhrer. "Overwhelmingly Alaskans have said they are not interested in changing the constitution, which would allow public monies to be diverted from public schools. Providing misleading information to the public hurts our students. They deserve an honest debate about the impacts of SJR9, vouchers and any other legislation, such as tax credits, that could erode educational opportunities for the majority of students (94%) in the state who attend public schools."

“These numbers show a majority of Alaskans support our efforts to expand the public education system,” said Senator Dunleavy last week.  “Our opponents will tell you they haven’t heard anyone support school choice.  This poll shows when you ask everyday Alaskans, not special interest groups, you will find Alaskans from many walks of life support parents being able to make smart choices on behalf of their children.”

The Dittman poll is a push poll at best says the NEA-Alaska with the wording of the questions leading the respondent to the answer desired, making the results less than objective. For example question 38 asks, "Student graduation and test scores in Alaska consistently rank among the lowest in the nation, despite significant increases in overall state funding for education during the past decade. Given that fact, in your opinion should the state insist on demonstrated student performance improvements in our schools before increasing the state K through 12 education funding formula, or should student performance not be used to determine education funding?" - More...
Tuesday - April 02, 2013

Fish Factor: Crafting a plan to reduce bycatch by trawlers By LAINE WELCH - A new plan is being crafted by federal managers for Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries that will reduce bycatch by trawlers, and it will very likely result in a catch share plan. Now is the time for fishing residents to make sure the new program protects their access to local resources and sustains, instead of drains, their coastal communities.

Currently, the plan includes trawlers in the Central Gulf and both trawl and pot cod gear in the Western Gulf.

“Catch share programs certainly can benefit the long term viability of the resource in a fishing community, but only if they are designed right and the long term health of the resource, the community and genuine bycatch reduction measures are built in up front,” said Theresa Peterson of Kodiak, a spokesperson for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) and a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Advisory panel. 

Peterson added that it is really tough to add in community protections after a privatization plan hits the water.

“We’ve all learned lessons from past programs, such as the rapid consolidation of ownership, reduced opportunities for crew and captains and shore support workers, the increased costs of entering into a fishery and the potential for absentee ownership and quota leasing,” she said.

Using the same privatization model as with Alaska halibut, sablefish and Bering Sea crab will serve to shrink fishing communities that depend on groundfish, insisted Seth Macinko, a fisheries professor at the University of Rhode Island who has spent decades studying catch share programs around the world. At a recent meeting with Kodiak City and Borough officials, he stressed the importance of being involved from the beginning. - More...
Tuesday - April 02, 2013

Alaska Science: Monitoring Alaska's volcanoes for 25 years - Twenty-five years of monitoring and studying Alaska’s volcanoes by the Alaska Volcano Observatory have improved global understanding of how volcanoes work and how to live safely with volcanic eruptions. Timely warnings from AVO throughout its 25-year history have helped reduce the impact of erupting volcanoes, protecting lives, property, and economic well-being.

Monitoring Alaska's volcanoes for 25 years

Ascending eruption cloud from Redoubt Volcano as viewed to the west from the Kenai Peninsula on April 21, 1990. The mushroom-shaped plume rose from avalanches of hot debris (pyroclastic flows) that cascaded down the north flank of the volcano. A smaller, white steam plume rises from the summit crater.
Photo by R. Clucas, courtesy of AVO/USGS

On April 1, the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, marked its 25th anniversary.

“Since 1988, AVO has responded to over 70 eruptive events from Alaska’s 52 historically active volcanoes,” said John Power, USGS geophysicist and scientist-in-charge of AVO. “Many of these eruptions affected local and international air traffic, oil production, the fishing industry, municipalities, businesses, and citizens.”

The primary volcano hazard in Alaska is airborne ash that endangers aircraft flying the busy North Pacific air routes connecting North America and Asia. The hazard played out dramatically on December 15, 1989 when a wide-body passenger jet encountered an ash cloud from Redoubt Volcano and lost power in all four engines over the Talkeetna Mountains. Fortunately, after more than 4 harrowing minutes of descent, engines were restarted and the plane landed safely in Anchorage. This near-tragedy prompted renewed international efforts to more effectively address the hazards of airborne volcanic ash.

In addition to endangering aircraft, volcanoes near population centers can pose significant hazards to infrastructure and communities from ash fall, lahars, and other rapidly flowing mixtures of hot rock fragments, fluids, and gases. - More...
Tuesday - April 02, 2013

Alaska Science: Alaska mosquitoes spreading malaria in birds By NED ROZELL - Thousands of Alaska mosquitoes are now on sabbatical at the University of California, Davis. They are not pestering suntanned Californians. Researchers are analyzing their tiny corpses to see if the parasites that cause malaria are inside them.

Alaska mosquitoes spreading malaria in birds

A black-capped chickadee captured and then released in Anchorage, where mosquitoes have infected some local birds with a parasite that causes malaria.
Photo by R. Sehgal

During the last two summers, Ravinder Sehgal and his colleagues captured those mosquitoes in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Coldfoot. The San Francisco State University disease ecologist is part of a team that discovered malaria in several year-round resident birds in both Fairbanks and Anchorage (but not in Coldfoot) in 2011 and 2012. Because the malaria showed up in Alaska black-capped chickadees that don’t migrate, it proves that an Alaska mosquito was responsible for transmitting the tiny malaria parasite by sucking blood from an infected bird (probably a migrant) and pushing its infected proboscis into a local chickadee.

Sehgal’s collaborator, Anton Cornel from UC Davis, collected bags full of mosquitoes with a carbon-dioxide trap because the research team wants to find out which of Alaska’s mosquitoes is able to transfer the parasite.

“We still don’t know which mosquito is transmitting it,” Sehgal said.

The five types of parasites that cause malaria in humans don’t infect birds, and the dozens of kinds of avian malaria parasites don’t infect humans. - More...
Tuesday - April 02, 2013


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letter RE: Federal government ammo hording By Mike Harpold - Al, for once I agree with Don Young; given training requirements, 590 rounds per officer is pretty reasonable. As you know, I am retired after a 35-year federal law enforcement career, and my wife is still on the job with DHS's Office of Customs and Border Protection. She has to qualify with her firearm on a quarterly basis. - More...
Saturday AM - March 30, 2013

letter Education Funding: Borough Reserves By Agnes Moran - A recurring theme during my terms on the Borough Assembly has been the misguided notion that the Borough's General Fund Reserves were built at the expense of school funding. The implication being that reserves are not necessary and that reserves grew by cutting local funding to our schools. Neither assertion is correct. - More...
Saturday AM - March 30, 2013

letter School Funding By Amanda Mitchell - A ‘budget’ is a wish list without factual numbers. Plus, giving money to an administration for a general fund does not guarantee that a class which needs the funds will get it later. However, raising taxes and taking funds away from the citizens and businesses guarantees a decrease in quality of life in a community. This affects everyone including the students if not directly then indirectly. I am sure that many students don’t want to go to school so that they may one day have someone taking their earnings for ‘predictions’ and ‘wish lists.’ - More...
Saturday AM - March 30, 2013

letter STATE OF “ECONOMIC” EMERGENCY By David G. Hanger - The first adult step to civil war in this country has been taken by the most fascist state governor in the history of the United States, Rick Snyder of Michigan, a cretin who despises and is out to destroy representative democracy in this country.  It just isn’t efficient enough. - More...
Saturday AM - March 30, 2013

letter A dissenting view on wars with false causes By Alfred Ray Waddell - Looking back on the ten year anniversary of the Iraq war, many of us can remember the silence in the media before this war started; this was a disservice to those Americans who were willing to stand up and say that they wanted their sons and daughters that are taught to fight to be put in the right fights and the right causes. These voices were smothered out by the neocons that believed the Bush administration was right to invade Iraq.  No real challenge came from the News media against going into Iraq before the attack. In fact, the neocons were given a free hand; and the faint voices that spoke out against the war were kept off the front pages and judged by many as unpatriotic. - More...
Saturday AM - March 30, 2013

letter Media Has Loose Lips By Donald A. Moskowitz - On March 27, 2013 the ABC-TV Nightly News broadcast information concerning the new head of the CIA clandestine unit. - More...
Saturday AM - March 30, 2013

letter Taxation By Anthony Gasbarro - It is not a Democratic or Republican, liberal or conservative type issue.  Federal taxation is an issue that all Americans deal with daily.   There is a bill in Congress, HR25, the FairTax bill that eliminates taxes on income and replaces it with a tax on consumption of new goods and services. - More...
Saturday AM - March 30, 2013

letter Mind Control II by Ken Bylund - Another concerned American here, not shocked; puzzled, certainly. About the motive of that small minority of smart people using Schopenhauer's - Art of Controversy, to Interrupt, Break, Divert attention away from American's instinct to continue as the longest surviving nation of productive, imaginative, and well mannered people in history? Look to the reason why we are respected by them who would like us 'heads on stakes' dead. Could it be because we have a standing army of a hundred million armed citizens, who are not criminals, respecting legitimate law, and have the means to defend themselves? The main complaint by wanna-be aristocracy, at home or abroad, seems to be that we the people are not willing to embrace the European model of ever increasing dependency on and acceptance of Government Control. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 27, 2013

letter Open Letter: Federal government ammo hording By A.M. Johnson - The following response is made to Representative Don Young to a response he made to me requiring the vastly large ammo purchases by various Federal agencies. As reported by various news outlets, the amounts of weapons and ammunition purchased by our leading Federal agencies other than military, have been viewed as exceeding normal requirements. In one report several Iraq wars ammo consumption would be required to consume the amounts purchased and on order in 2012-13 alone. This is a disconcerting development heightened by the decreasing trust of our Federal Government and its actions promoted by the current administration. To that degree, I submitted a letter of this concern to Representative Don Young. Excerpts from his response begged for the return response to his attention. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 27, 2013

letter “Createmonth” By Bob Pickrell - This is a notice to my family, friends, and the rest of the world.  This year I will celebrate my “Createmonth” in December.  My September birth days are gone forever! - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

letter Kayhi Needs a Tlingit Class By Peter Stanton - I would like to make a serious, concrete suggestion for Ketchikan High School: Get a Tlingit class. It could be just one period, but Kayhi needs a class teaching the Tlingit language. - More...
Monday PM - March 25, 2013

letter Open Letter: Proposed changes to oil taxes By Bella Hammond, Chancy Croft, Jay Kerttula, Katie Hurley, Sam Cotten, John Sund, Jim Whitaker, Mike Miller, Ethan Berkowitz, Harry Crawford, Eric Croft & David Gottstein - The legislature is contemplating tax changes which would forgo tens of billions of dollars of revenue.  SB 21 would replace a progressive tax structure with a flat tax, while substantially changing which oil fields are eligible for tax credits.  It would eliminate legislative language designed to promote industry competition.  These are major policy changes, and would affect Alaska’s business climate and state budgets for decades. - More...
Thursday - March 21, 2013

letter Mind Control By Norbert Chaudhary - As a concerned American, I am shocked that my constitutional right to own many firearms is now in jeopardy. It seems the liberal media and Obama have scared people into thinking that guns are a problem. And now they want to change things. Can you believe that? Just who does this Obama think he is? - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter The Income Tax – An Open Door to Corruption By Frank C. Kuchar - History has repeatedly demonstrated when a people and their leaders lose their virtue, freedom perishes.  It has recently come to light that Senator Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey allegedly sponsored and promoted legislation that would benefit a major donor to his political campaign.  The legislation in question would have granted special tax credits and grants to a company in which his donor had invested heavily. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter Time for a FairTax By Ward Atcher - Everyone, just imagine getting your whole paycheck [no federal income or FICA deductions] every pay period; and, you decide how much federal tax you pay and when? FairTax does this for all of us.   It’s much simpler and fairer than the 77,000 page federal income tax code it replaces.  FairTax eliminates the IRS. - More... 
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter Pass FairTax HR25 By Beverly Martin - Keeping a flat tax flat is like eating chocolates – you can’t stop with just one. Income tax started as a flat tax but legislators can’t keep their hands off your goodies. The more chocolates you make, the more they take. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter RE: End Abortions, Get A Vasectomy By Marie Zellmer - I have tried to stay out of this conversation for the longest time, but I would like to add something that has been on my mind and has become disturbing for me. Mr. Holston has forgotten something very important... he is not a woman. If I said that all men should have vasectomies to prevent getting women pregnant because of the "inconvenience" of paying for child care, or the "inconvenience" of having too much testosterone, I doubt that he would like the word as much. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter LET’S STOP BEING NUMBER ONE By Diane Gubatayao - Reliable statistics tell us that two out of three Alaskan women will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetimes. Alaska leads the nation in this statistic; we are a sad number one. Here in Ketchikan it is estimated that there are two DV cases a day on average and one major sexual assault a month. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

letter The Cost of Education in Ketchikan By John Harrington - I have been following the education funding discussions here and in the public meetings. I usually try to avoid getting in the middle of these discussions, but I felt that some factual information might be useful. And we ought to look at all the information. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

letter Re: How much the district spends per student By Agnes Moran - Per ordinance 1630-A, found on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough website, the school District's FY2013 funding authority (budget) was $40,425,914 for 2165 students or approximately $18,672 per student. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

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