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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 12, 2008

Front Page Photo  by Ruth Hart

Ketchikan's March for Babies
Ketchikan's March for Babies (formerly known as March of Dimes) was held Saturday, May 10. The Ketchikan Harley Riders led the walkers out of the A & P parking lot where the event began. Participants braved the wind and light rain to join in the March for Babies. Participants walked - or rode - to celebrate babies and to support the March of Dimes' mission to help every baby be born healthy. Those present from the Ketchikan Harley Riders were Ron Balzer, Teri and Jack Dickey, Gabby Evans, Ruth and Dan Hart, Greg Hosley, and Brian Stewart. KHRA also presented a check for $500 to Renee Schofield who coordinated this annual event again this year.
Front Page Photo by Ruth Hart


Ketchikan: Ketchikan General Hospital and the City of Craig Agree to Healthcare Partnership - PeaceHealth and the City of Craig finalized an agreement last week for Ketchikan General Hospital to assume oversight and management of the Craig Clinic on Prince of Wales Island. It was announced that this agreement will enhance access to care while improving the overall level and quality of medical care for the residents of Prince of Wales Island. Craig is 60 air miles from Ketchikan.

Ketchikan General Hospital and the City of Craig Agree to Healthcare Partnership

Pat Branco, Ketchikan General Hospital CEO, and Jon Bolling, Craig City Administrator, signed the agreement Wednesday.
Photograph courtesy KGH

Jon Bolling, Craig City Administrator, and Pat Branco, Ketchikan General Hospital CEO, signed the agreement Wednesday which will take effect when the City of Craig completes the new, expanded, state-of-the-art medical center. The City will continue to own and maintain the facility. The current clinic will continue to offer its full range of healthcare services to the Craig community.

"The hospital has developed strong ties with neighboring island communities throughout Southeast Alaska," said KGH CEO Branco. "Our multi-specialty group practice and healthcare system is in a unique position to address the challenges faced by a rural Alaskan healthcare clinic in providing exceptional medicine and healing and compassionate care. The signing of the agreement demonstrates, in a very real way, the steadfast commitment PeaceHealth has had for over 80 years to the people of Southeast Alaska."

Last year, the City of Craig extended an invitation to PeaceHealth to discuss the possible partnership. Both the City of Craig and PeaceHealth spent significant time over the past year evaluating the feasibility of the potential partnership, and the positive effect it could bring to Prince of Wales Island.

Craig residents supported the agreement, describing the positive care experiences that they and their families had received as patients with the Ketchikan medical staff, as well as at KGH, New Horizons, and at PeaceHealth's St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, WA.

The Hospital approved the agreement in April, after careful consideration by the KGH Medical Group, the Executive Team, and Governing Board. Last week the Craig City Council, after a comprehensive public process, also approved the partnership, effective with the completion of the new Craig Medical Center, expected by January 2010. - More...
Monday - May 12, 2008

Gabby Evans of the Ketchikan Harley Riders Association presented a donation of $500 to Renee Schofield, coordinator of Ketchikan's March for Babies event.
Photo by Ruth Hart

Fish Factor: First spring kings pulled from Stikine River by LAINE WELCH - Salmon fishermen are already pulling the first spring kings from the Stikine River near Wrangell amidst little fan fare. All the headlines and hubbub await the 'official' start of Alaska's 2008 salmon season this week when reds and kings return to Copper River.

"All the guys are running around in their boats getting everything squared away. It's a very busy town this time of year," said Glenn Hollowell, Copper River fishery manager at the hub office in Cordova. More than 500 fishermen hold permits for the famous fishery, and a large portion of the fleet will be out on the water for the May 15 opener.

Early forecasts peg the Copper River king salmon catch at 45,000 fish, slightly higher than last year. That's not the case for the sockeye harvest, projected at 750,000. That compares to nearly two million reds last year, the 3rd largest harvest in 117 years.

As always, weather will play a role in the arrival of the season's heralded first fish. - More...
Monday - May 12, 2008

Alaska: Report explores Alaska's poor college completion rate - The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education has released a report entitled Making Alaska More Competitive by Preparing Citizens for College and Career.
The report contains Alaska's recent high school dropout rates related to ninth-graders, as well as the percentage who successfully complete a collegiate program of study within 150 percent of the regular time to complete.
These statistics show Alaska at the bottom in educational performance indicators in the nation. For every 50 ninth-graders, 31 graduate from high school, 14 go to college, nine return for their sophomore year, and only three receive a degree within six years.
The report was written by Dr. Ron Phipps of the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, D.C. In conjunction with the report's development, the commission partnered with the National College Access Network to survey various stakeholders to better understand the postsecondary access and success climate in Alaska.
The major findings of this research are: 1) a college-going culture does not exist in Alaska; and, 2) the relationship between Alaska's workforce needs and postsecondary education is not widely recognized. - More...
Monday - May 12, 2008

National: Concern grows over veterans suicide figures By JOHN KOOPMAN - The number of veterans who commit suicide is growing, and it is causing major concern among veterans groups and lawmakers. A recent report by CBS News, now supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, indicates that an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day nationwide.

The suicide figures among veterans have caught congressional attention. Two senators have demanded the resignation of Ira Katz, the VA official who wrote "Shh" at the top of the e-mail dealing with suicide attempts and disputed the statistics in public testimony while confirming them in internal documents. A House committee has scheduled a hearing on veterans' suicides this week.

Kerri Childress, a VA spokeswoman, said the department has more than 17,000 mental health workers and is hiring 3,700 more, making the VA the largest mental health provider in the nation. The VA has also created a veteran suicide hot line, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the agency has suicide prevention coordinators at each of its medical centers.

The VA has not disclosed what proportion of suicidal veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan. But testimony in a lawsuit -- brought by veterans groups seeking an order to force the VA to promptly screen and treat those at risk of suicide and set timetables for handling claims for medical benefits -- indicated there was evidence that returning troops are taking their own lives in greater numbers. Witnesses and plaintiffs said there has been a steady increase in the veterans' suicide rate since 2001, and a comparatively high rate among veterans ages 20 to 24. The suit was heard by federal District Court Judge Samuel Conti, who has yet to make a ruling. - More...
Monday - May 12, 2008


Arts, Entertainment, Events

Ketchikan: Third Annual Beach Combers Show Winners Announced - The Plaza held its third annual Beach Combers Show on May 3rd. The show had two separate categories in which items could be entered: Best Beach Find and Best Art Made From Beach Finds. Six items were entered in the "Best Beach Find" category and there were thirteen entries in the "Best Art from Beach Find" category. First, second & third place winners for each category were selected by the Peoples' Choice Votes made during the show.

Third Annual Beach Combers Show Winners Announced

Daniel Klose's Carved Beach Combers discovery was awarded first place in the Best Beach Finds category.
Photo courtesy The Plaza

Daniel Klose who had 41 votes for his Carved Beach Comber's discovery was awarded first place in the Best Beach Finds' category. The Klose family was enjoying a day on the beach at Stone Rock on Prince of Wales Island. They started a fire and young Daniel was looking for fire wood amongst the drift. A small portion of wood was sticking from the sand and he pulled it up to throw on the fire and discovered his find. - More...
Monday - May 12, 2008

Ketchikan: JAZZ NIGHT CONCERT TUESDAY - The eighth annual Jerry Galley Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert is scheduled for Tuesday evening, May 13th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Kayhi Auditorium. Music will range from ballads, rock, swing and Latin tunes performed by four bands and the Kayhi Jazz Choir.

The Discovery Jazz Club will open the program with "Poco Loco", a Latin piece, followed by "Ballad for Jeri", with alto saxophone soloist Brittany Thompson. A Count Basie swing tune titled "Jumpin' at the Woodside", is next and the band will close with "Old Time Rock and Roll". - More...
Monday - May 12, 2008

Ketchikan: KETCHIKAN COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND PRESENTS "TODAY IS A GIFT" - The theme for this year's community band spring concert is derived from an African proverb: "Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift." This is also the title of one of the selections in the program dedicated to Rosa Parks in honor of her historic stand for equality in the 1950's. The piece is scored for brass and percussion instruments with singing and chanting "Zah-Ray-Se-Toh-Ta-No" - "Today is the Gift." It is a truly unique, exciting and inspirational piece.

Four traditional folk songs of Americana are included in Aaron Copland's "Old American Songs." They are "All The Little Horses," "Simple Gifts," "The Golden Willow Tree" and "Ching-A-Ring-Chaw." - More...
Monday - May 12, 2008

Ketchikan: Totem-to-Totem Race Results (click here)
Monday - May 12, 2008


Public Meetings

The Board of Education of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District will meet in regular session on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, in the Ketchikan City Council chambers. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.
Download the agenda and information packet


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Basic Rules

letter KPU sale By Edward Brown - If you work or plan to work in telecommunications get ready for change. As a customer, worker, boss or owner you had better expect change. Ketchikan's smaller utilities will probably change hands as larger corporations continue to look for new acquisitions. - More...
Monday PM - May 12, 2008

letter KPU Telecommunications By Rhonda Scott - Regarding Mr. Person's comments, wouldn't it be great if you could believe everything you read? Wow, what a concept that would be. Thanks so much for pointing readers to the rebuttal from City Management. Obviously current Employees who have come forward out of concern for the way the Utility is operating must have another agenda...... way to slam the Union too. - More...
Monday PM - May 12, 2008

letter Fuel prices By Roland Monsen - Prices are rumored to go up today in Naknek, gas up $0.91 and diesel up $1.41. That puts gas at about $5.29 a gallon and rising. - More...
Monday PM - May 12, 2008

letterRE: KPU telecommunications By Scott Willis - I don't care to name "names" in a public forum as this Mr Person, but I assure you that my information comes directly from the boasting of the managers' mouths bragging about the "golden parachute" they will enjoy from the sale of the Telecommunications Division. Clearly this boastful action directly from the "horse's mouth" made me quite sick to think a man would be willing to sell out his own people that he works with day in and day out. I'm not one to make waves, or enter the political arena but I can no longer sit by the sideline and watch as misrepresentations are made, copious amounts of taxpayer money is wasted, and blatant abuse of government position is flaunted. Bottom line Mr. Person is that I know first hand as it was boastfully and shamefully presented in a public address to Telecommunication workers and I was present in the room. I will gladly tell you who these men are that plan to sell Ketchikan's "golden goose" to the wolves. I appealed to the City Council to take action and investigate. Not to take my word on this issue, but let the facts and truth in Telecommunication accounts payable records tell the story where the extra money is flowing out so quickly. Sam Bergeron suggested the Council investigate into the matter, but was quickly silenced and the motion was suppressed! Why is that? If there is nothing to hide then checking a book for errors is just good business practice, right? If there is nothing to hide, why would anyone be against this audit? - More...
Thursday PM - May 08, 2008

letterCommercial herring management By Michael Baines - I read the article by Andy Rauwolf: "An expose on the history and controversy surrounding commercial herring management in Southeast Alaskan fisheries (excluding Sitka Sound)." I was very interested because the state and fishermen seem intent on wiping out the Sitka Sound herring stocks. The state and fishermen are fond of saying that the herring biomass here is in fabulous condition and healthy as it has ever been. That is the farthest from the truth that they can possibly get. The schools were the smallest they have ever been that anybody here can remember, and the spawn was short in duration and area as well. - More...
Thursday PM - May 08, 2008

letter A Huge Thank You to Gateway Staff By Dee McLellan - I received a huge, beautiful bouquet of flowers last week from the CSP Department staff at Gateway. These flowers came to me with appreciation, support and a big thank you. I want you all to know your thoughtfulness and generosity are so very appreciated and cherished. - More...
Thursday PM - May 08, 2008

letterUnfulfilled Public Information Request By Kathleen Svenson - You are probably aware the Ketchikan-Kanayama Student Exchange Program is funded by both the Borough and the City of Ketchikan. As a publicly-funded body, the program is required to share their By-Laws, Policies & Procedures, Meeting Minutes, Articles of Incorporation, etc., etc. with anyone who asks. But they don't. - More...
Thursday PM - May 08, 2008

letter White Cliff not another Schoenbar By Lance Mertz - Reading comments about the White Cliff lease from Dawson Construction by the Borough makes me wonder if the people writing and complaining are discussing the same lease arrangement that I have read about and discussed with Borough staff. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 06, 2008

letter Herring Stocks and Mining By Michael Moyer - In response to Mr. Harris and his opinions concerning the decline of the Pacific Herring as a result of the release of hatchery fish, I find it strange that someone who has lived in Southeast Alaska for 60 years would have such little knowledge of the life cycle of these fishes and of the history of man's wide ranging impacts upon them. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 06, 2008

letterKPU Telecommunications By Dave Person - It appears that the web site address I provided concerning the city report on KPU telecommunications and union activities does not work properly. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 06, 2008

letterRight and Left Wings By Charlotte Tanner - I would like to point out to both Right and Left Wingers that it takes two wings to fly. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 06, 2008

letterTHANK YOU By Jerry Cegelske- I would like to say "Thank you" to the groups that cleaned up along N. Tongass on the 19th of April. The highway looks nice in the areas they cleaned. - More...
Sunday - May 04, 2008

letter KPU telecommunications By Dave Person - Mr. Scott Willis made some very serious accusations recently concerning Ketchikan City senior management and the telecommunications division. I for one am very interested to know his source for that information. Please inform us Mr. Willis how you "know" certain managers near retirement are going to sell out the city, and take the money and run. Please tell us who these managers are and who informed you of their actions. Please tell us exactly what money is involved and how these senior managers plan to run with it. Before anyone should accept your comments, they should demand verification rather than believe another unfounded "Ketchikan" urban myth. I can understand your concern as a union employee about Ketchikan selling the phone company because any buyers likely would not hire union help. They cannot afford to and remain competitive with GCI, ACS, or AT&T. I am sure you are concerned that your job will disappear, which is probably why you wrote the letter to SitNews. - More...
Sunday - May 04, 2008

letter Sale of KPU Telecom By James Schenk - In my professional opinion the administrators of the public trust company should be ashamed of themselves for this despicable action of even considering the elimination, or sale of many good paying public union jobs for their own gain. This is a disturbing trend in Ketchikan and the public needs to rise up and voice their displeasure with any decision like this that would adversely affect the stability of our great city.These carpetbaggers have been a part of Ketchikan since its inception, but there is absolutely no reason to stand on the sidelines and watch these people sell our children's future. The industry as a whole in the electrical field grows by leaps and bounds with the telecommunications field leading the way. - More...
Sunday - May 04, 2008

Sunday - May 04, 2008

letter Library and other offices By MJ Cadle - I would like to ask the city to re-open site selection for the library and to ask Joe Burns to offer the old hospital site as a potential location. This site has many positives going for it. It is downtown, it is located between 2 parking lots and could be built with additional parking either on the first level or on the top (challenging but do-able). The space could be 4 levels (not including parking) with floors for the city and borough offices. If the roof is not used for parking, it could be leased to private enterprise for a coffee stand with outdoor seating for those nice days or have a small green area for sitting. Access to Grant street parking achieved with a handicap accessible ramp and an elevator to all floors. The exterior design should be in keeping with the historic flavor of downtown just as downtown local business are required. - More...
Sunday - May 04, 2008

Sunday - May 04, 2008

letter Aleutian Ballad Tour By Patrick Johnston - I just wanted to say thanks to the crew of the Aleutian Ballad for there hospitality last Saturday. I took several children to the boat for the open house. The kids loved it! - More...
Sunday - May 04, 2008

letter RE: Right Wing Conspiracy By Walt Bolling - I've ccome to realize that those on the LEFT WING are in fact stupid , as I previously thought. - More...
Sunday - May 04, 2008

letter City Council and Borough Assembly: Listen to the public By Charles Edwardson - To the citizens of Ketchikan, everyone including myself has the responsibility to vote in our public officials, and to run for public office if we think we can do a better job. - More...
Wednesday - April 30, 2008

letter RE: KPU SALE AND LIQUIDATION By Scott Willis - So who owns KPU?

The City Of Ketchikan dba Ketchikan Public Utilities. It is the City registered voters that can sell or stop the transfer of KPU Telephone in an election.

How much money are we talking about? - More...
Tuesday - April 29, 2008

letter Keep Asking Questions By Al Johnson - Ms. Dahl raised continued concerns regarding the mill site. As a wood burner, I too have taken to watching the clean up. - More...
Tuesday - April 29, 2008

letterVeneer Mill "Maintenance" By Jerilyn Lester - I agree, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. How long are we going to put up with the KGB being soft where this mess is concerned? Although this is the same bunch that gave our emergency money to a group of men headed up by a man that never makes things work. This man had a logging company in the area and it went belly up after it wouldn't support his big salary. Again the venture went belly up when the very large salaries of the executives could not be supported. - More...
Tuesday - April 29, 2008

letterHELP WANTED By Bill Gass - One of the recurring themes in this forum has been the lack of recreational opportunities for young people in Ketchikan. Next week over 200 kids ranging from age 5 to 18 begin play in Ketchikan Little League and we are in need of umpires. Requirements include decent vision, selective hearing and a thick skin. Baseball knowledge is a plus. Compensation consists of a burger, fries, cold beverage and a heartfelt thank you. - More...
Tuesday - April 29, 2008

letterPresident Don Young By Peter Stanton - Browsing through the letters here I happened upon the idea that "What we need is someone like Don Young in the White House[.]" This idea truly struck me. It's amazing. A Don Young Presidency might be an unprecedented event in the history of these United States! - More...
Tuesday - April 29, 2008

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