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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 24, 2013

Funnel Cloud Observed North of Ketchikan
Tuesday at dusk, a rare funnel cloud was photographed around 16.5 miles north of Ketchikan. The photographer said the funnel cloud changed in size before finally dissipating. Cold-air funnel clouds (vortices) are usually short-lived and generally much weaker than the vortices produced by supercells. Although cold-air funnels rarely make ground contact, they may touch down briefly and become weak tornadoes or waterspouts. If a funnel cloud touches the ground, it is called a tornado (over land) or a waterspout (over the water). Alaska is the least tornado-prone state in the country, ranking 50th.
Front Page Photo by KATHY ANDRESEN©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)



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Ketchikan: Twenty-seven University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Students to Graduate - The 2013 commencement ceremony for University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Ketchikan students will be held Saturday, May 4 at 3:00 PM at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. The public is invited to attend.

This year’s commencement keynote speaker is Elizabeth Nelson, Artistic Director for First City Players and 2012 Distinguished Woman of the Year. UAS Chancellor John Pugh, UAS Ketchikan Interim Campus Director Priscilla Schulte, and University of Alaska Board of Regents members Dale Anderson of Juneau, Fuller Cowell of Big Lake, and Mari Freitag, student regent originally from Ketchikan, will bestow degrees at the ceremony.

Twenty-seven University of Alaska Southeast students are receiving degrees this spring. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 24, 2013

Southeast Alaska:

Alaska: Rabies detected in new area of state; People are asked to report abnormal wildlife behavior near Chandalar and the Mat-Su Region - A wolf killed in late March this year after it closely approached a trapper around the Chandalar Lakes area has tested positive for rabies. Rabies had not previously been documented in this area south of the Brooks Range.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is asking the public to report any wolves, wolverines, foxes or other wildlife acting abnormally to the nearest ADF&G office, and by sending an email to Animals with rabies might be fearless in approaching people, attack inanimate moving objects, or be unable to run or move normally, said Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, wildlife veterinarian with the department.

The department would like to collect a sample of tissue from the head of any wolf, wolverine, fox or coyote taken in the Chandalar Lakes or Fortymile area to determine whether this was an isolated incident or an actual outbreak of rabies. Heads must have been frozen and can be brought to the Fairbanks ADF&G office where a sample can be taken without damaging the skull.

In addition, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Section of Epidemiology will be expanding the range of its lay vaccinator program as a result of this incident.

Lay vaccinators are not veterinarians, but trained civilians who are permitted to vaccinate dogs and cats to protect pets and humans in areas where rabies has been documented. Given the detection of rabies in the Chandalar area and taking into account the potential range of wolves, the program will be expanded to cover most villages in the Yukon-Koyukuk census area to achieve an approximately 100-mile buffer from the Chandalar area.

“There is always a risk of rabies when you have direct contact with rabid wildlife, but the greater risk is that domestic pets will bring rabies into the home,” said Dr. Robert Gerlach, state veterinarian with the Department of Environmental Conservation. “State regulations require vaccinating dogs, cats and ferrets for rabies, and this is a timely reminder to make sure your pet is up-to-date.” - More...
Wednesday PM - April 24, 2013

Newly Implemented System Helps to Enhance Patient Safety at Ketchikan Medical Center - In an effort to further enhance patient safety, Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC) will become the first hospital in the PeaceHealth system and the fourth facility in Alaska to implement the SurgiCount Safety-Sponge® in its Operating and Delivery Rooms. The SurgiCount system provides a proven solution to prevent one of the most common surgical errors, retained medical devices. Without the system, sponges get left inside one patient in every 6,000 surgeries in the US.

Newly Implemented System Helps to Enhance Patient Safety at Ketchikan Medical Center

The SurgiCount system provides a proven solution to prevent one of the most common surgical errors, retained medical devices.
Photo, Courtesy SurgiCount Medical.

“We want that number to be zero,” said Patrick Branco, CEO of Ketchikan Medical Center. “By using this system, we intend to eliminate the chance of this happening to even one of our patients.”

One early adopter of this technology was the Mayo Clinic Health Systems who installed the SurgiCount system in its Rochester clinic in 2009. Since then more than one million sponges have been scanned and not one sponge has been left behind.

Here’s how the system works: - More...
Wednesday PM - April 24, 2013

Alaska: Alaska's First Lady Announces Volunteers of the Year – First Lady Sandy Parnell announced Tuesday the recipients of the First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards. The recipients were chosen by an executive committee of Alaskan community members.

“It is an honor to continue this exceptional tradition that recognizes citizens who have given their time and talent to help others,” said First Lady Parnell. “Our state is blessed to have so many Alaskans dedicated to helping their communities, fellow citizens, and encouraging others in volunteerism.”

The First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards are awarded to those who engage in volunteer activities within Alaska, show remarkable personal commitment to long-term volunteer service, or have made a substantial impact on their community or the state.

The 2013 Volunteer of the Year recipients are: - More...
Wednesday PM - April 24, 2013

Southeast Alaska: 78th Annual Tribal Assembly Adjourns - Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) adjourned its 78th Annual Tribal Assembly on April 20, 2013 at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall in Juneau.

78th Annual Tribal Assembly Adjourns

Tribal citizen and Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Herb Didrickson. First Vice President Will Micklin presented Mr. Didrickson with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Photo courtesy Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska

Attending this year’s assembly were 124 of the 132 elected delegates who represent over 28,000 tribal citizens. The gathering provided an opportunity for direct communication between delegates who worked together aligning with this year’s theme, “Hold Each Other Up,” to address amendments to the Constitution, Rules of Election, and statutes (Title IV – CCTHITA Child and Family and VI – Tribal Courts). In addition to the proposed changes to the governing documents, delegates took action on 55 resolutions brought forward.

President Edward K. Thomas presented his State of the Tribe Address on Thursday, April 18th, informing on the status of the Tribal Trust Fund and providing updates on program administration, property management, political involvement, and challenges the Tribe faces with sequestration, indirect cost recovery and reduced funding. In addition, he reviewed statute changes and constitutional amendments proposed to keep up with the changing times. President Thomas also spoke about succession planning, as he will retire at the end of his term in 2014, and paid tribute to the late Clarence Jackson, past Central Council President. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 24, 2013

Ketchikan Arts & Entertainment: Ketchikan Community Concert Band's Spring Concert, April 28th - The Ketchikan Community Concert Band, directed by Roy McPherson will present their spring concert at 3:00 pm on Sunday, April 28th at the Ketchikan High School Auditorium.

The concert will open with "Alaska's Flag" to honor our great state. Sergei Prokofieff's "March, Op. 99" concert march was introduced in America in 1945 by Boston Symphony conductor, Sergei Koussevitsky. Girolamo Frescobaldi was the most eminent organist of the early 17th century, and his. "Toccata" was originally written for organ and transcribed for band in 1956.

The lyrical "Loch Lomond" arranged by Frank Ticheli, tells the story of  two soldiers who were imprisoned within England's Carlisle Castle. This piece was commissioned by the Stewarton Academy Senior Wind Ensemble, who premiered the work in Glasgow in 2002.

"To Be Fed By Ravens" by W. Francis McBeth starts out with a melancholy elegy and the second movement contains references to the "Texas Ranger Song", the "Mexican DeGuella" and "Green Grow the Lilacs". The title is taken from the book of I Kings: "...thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee - and the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook." Local artist, Evon Zerbetz has graciously allowed the use of her "Raven Talk" linocut from the new edition of the beloved children's classic Lucky Hares and Itchy Bears for the Ketchikan Community Concert Band's programs and posters. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 24, 2013


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letter Thanks!!! By Doreen Caffrey - Thank you very much to the high school young people who were picking up trash along Ketchikan's Stedman Street on Tuesday, April 23rd, in the morning. - More...
Thursday AM - April 25, 2013

letter GSACC unequivocally opposes S.340, the “Southeast Alaska Native Lands Finalization and Jobs Protection Act By David Beebe - The Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community (GSACC) is a regional grassroots conservation organization dedicated to the protection of healthy, fully functioning forests, lands and waters of Southeast Alaska. As such, GSACC unequivocally opposes S.340, the “Southeast Alaska Native Lands Finalization and Jobs Protection Act.” Our opposition is based in that S. 340, (1) sets an unnecessary and far reaching precedent throughout our State; (2) was never vetted through an open public process; (3) results in further sacrifice of vulnerable but productive fragmented watersheds; and, (4) yields little socioeconomic benefit beyond Sealaska Corporation’s coffers. - More...
Thursday AM - April 25, 2013

letter Pinwheels for Prevention By Diane Gubatayao - Perhaps you are curious about the silver and blue pinwheels spinning around at various locations around Ketchikan. Pinwheels, always a favorite toy with children, have become the new national symbol for child abuse prevention. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Pinwheels reflect the innocence and playfulness of childhood, and yet they represent the fragility and vulnerability of children. Just as you hold a pinwheel in your hands, you hold the protection of children in your hands. - More...
Monday PM - April 22, 2013

letter Major Environmental Groups Support Tongass Jewel as Wilderness; S.340 - The Sealaska Bill Destroys it By Davey Lubin - The Sealaska lands bill has been re-introduced in Congress as S. 340, and alarmingly, this misguided, highly controversial bill is scheduled for a hearing in Senate Natural Resources on April 25th. - More...
Monday PM - April 22, 2013

letter Transition to 2nd Growth Reality or Folly By Joe Mehrkens - Back in the heydays taxpayers paid a subsidy of $12,000-$36,000 per Tongass timber job. Based on more recent Forest Service accounting information, this subsidy has grown during the last decade to a staggering $224,000-$510,000/job a nearly 1,400% increase. How can this be? Simply, the Forest Service kept spending like the industry was in its heyday while the industry was in a persistent long-term decline. - More...
Monday PM - April 22, 2013

letter Herring a Forage Fish By Lawrence Snapper Carson - Spring brings the end of the winter doldrums and the interaction of the blooms of the ocean and the land. Mankind has survived and taken part in Southeast Alaska’s bounty for millenniums of time. The survival and the use of these resources has changed as mankind has moved from a subsistence life style to a greedy, politically managed, and commercially based utilization of herring. - More...
Monday PM - April 22, 2013

letter Sitka’s Herring Population is Stronger than Ever by Jake Ingman - Last week, Andy Rauwolf sent a letter to Sitnews full of panic and misinformation.  The first of many things that need to be corrected is his assumption that the closure of the herring fishery was because of a lack of herring in the area.  That is false; we didn’t catch our quota because of our responsible and sensible approach to this fishery, but first, let’s talk about herring spawn.  58 nm of spawn has been recorded for 2013.  Compare that to the first recorded year, 1964 and 19 nm, then ten years later, 1974 and 10 nm, and 1984 had 65 nm, and then 1994 and 58.1 nm of spawn.  The amount of spawn in the area is much stronger than 40 years ago when the sac roe fishery started.  All the locals who think that the herring run was so much stronger in their childhood because of what they remember seeing from their house window; the data proves that notion wrong.  It is stronger now, but the amount of sea traffic in Sitka is a factor, the population growth, sewage, and pollution has made other shorelines more attractive to the herring than the Sitka beaches.  Herring don’t spawn on the same spot, they aren’t like salmon returning to the same stream.  Mr. Rauwolf goes on to claim that the state management has failed to maintain the population since the sac roe fishery began in 1976.  Let’s check actual facts and numbers, instead of baseless fear tactics and see what the truth is…. - More...
Monday PM - April 22, 2013

letter The QUESTION IS WHY? By Bobbie McCreary - Thanks Marvin Hill, for coming out to take away the TWO vandalized Port-A-Potties out at the paintball field on Revilla Road.   WHY? when a well-meaning non-profit like Ketchikan Youth Initiatives places port-a-potties at the paintball field for ANYONE to use that comes to the paintball field or drives on to other beautiful recreational areas,  DOES SOMEONE BREAK THEM APART SO THEY ARE UNUSABLE? - More...
Thursday PM - April 18, 2013

letter RE: Warning! Is your money really going to the septic system or is it going downhill? By Mike Carney - First of all I would like to say I normally would not respond but this is so far off base I felt it needed a response. Mr. Plute needs to do his homework. The 6.2 to 7.2 is the City tax not the Borough. As for the $35,000 I dont know where he gets his information, but I run a department that sends people for travel and training every year and you could take my department and two others and never total $35,000 let alone for one person. - More...
Thursday PM - April 18, 2013

letter The Sealaska Bill Should Die By Rebecca Knight - Most SE Alaskans are united in opposition to S. 340 (formerly S. 881 & S. 730), the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act. These are real folks whose lives will be directly impacted including sport, commercial and subsistence fishermen as well as hunters, recreationists and the hundreds of residents of nine communities that will suffer the direct hit of this horrible, forest high-grading bill. - More...
Thursday PM - April 18, 2013

letter The Truth About the Herring By Terri Wenger Anderson - Please disregard the propaganda about the herring. I believe the gentleman that wrote this letter to get every environmentalist's panties in an uproar must be related to Al Gore. Maybe he is trying to get a federally funded grant to study herring, well being in Ketchikan is not going to help him. - More...
Thursday PM - April 18, 2013

letter China Hacking Into U.S. Computers* By Donald A. Moskowitz - Based on the activities of Chinese Army Unit 61398 Communist China continues to wage cyber warfare against the U.S. by hacking into the computers of U.S. corporations. - More...
Thursday PM - April 18, 2013

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