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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 14, 2008

Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

A Trio of Yellow Daffodils
Bright yellow daffodils are a powerful symbol of sunny spring days. This trio was photographed Tuesday. In the background is the Tongass Narrows and Ketchikan.
Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson


Alaska: Polar Bear Listed as Threatened; Disappointment & Concerns Voiced - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced its decision today to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne called Governor Sarah Palin this morning to inform her of the USFWS decision, and assured her that oil and gas developments are not to blame.

Polar bear and cubs.
Credit: Susanne Miller/USFWS

The state will work with the USFWS on the designation of critical habitat and development of any conservation actions that may be necessary to ensure the continued viability of the species.

While the state is disappointed with this decision, Governor Palin said, the state stands ready to assist the USFWS to ensure that polar bear populations remain viable for decades to come. "We offer the substantial expertise of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to assist in the protection of polar bears, and in minimizing negative impacts on the people of Alaska and on important activities elsewhere in the country," she said.

Alaskans take our public trust responsibilities for our resources very seriously, and we welcome the opportunity to work with the federal agencies to address the conservation needs of these magnificent animals," Governor Palin said. "We will continue to take the steps necessary to ensure that polar bears continue to thrive for generations to come."

The Governor expressed her hope that federal agencies will continue to provide for customary and traditional uses of polar bears. She also remains concerned that federal actions do not threaten the viable, productive and environmentally responsible oil and gas industry along Alaska's North Slope. Attorney General Talis Colberg will review the USFWS decision and the accompanying administrative record to determine whether there are significant defects that merit judicial scrutiny.

Senator Murkowski opposed the listing polar bear as a threatened species and said, "I can't express how extremely disappointed I am that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. I believe it is grossly premature, even with qualifications, to recommend this action based on highly variable climate change models and projected impacts of loss of summer sea ice on a currently healthy population."

Murkowski said, "Alaska's and most nations' polar bear stocks are at near modern record levels. A listing decision based purely on speculation about the future, lack of existing data, and in the absence of better research on bear prey species populations, sets a truly dangerous precedent for listings of a host of wildlife species." She said, "Such a decision threatens the integrity of the entire Act and could prove far worse for wildlife protection in the future." - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

Ketchikan: UAS GED Graduation Celebration - There will be a graduation celebration ceremony for students who have successfully completed their General Education Diploma (GED) testing at the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan during the 2006/2007 or 2007/2008 school year.

The celebration will be Saturday, May 17 at 2:00 PM at the University of Alaska Ketchikan Learning Center, located on the second floor of the Ziegler Building on the main campus, 2600 Seventh Avenue.

Over 60 students successfully completed testing for the GED in the last two years that UAS Ketchikan has been providing GED prep and testing services. Christie Willett is the GED instructor and is available September through May for students interested in seeking their GED. Ketchikan CHARR generously donates the cost of GED testing to first-time students taking their GED test. There is also no fee for the prep service provided by UAS Ketchikan. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

National: Sen. Murkowski calls for realistic energy plan - Although the Republican energy package was not approved by the Senate, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) pledged Tuesday to continue to fight for a sound energy policy, one that includes opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Republican package to expand domestic energy production and drive down energy prices included opening ANWR, speeding oil shale development, permitting offshore oil and gas lease revenue sharing and encouraging careful use of synthetic fuels made from coal.

"At this time of record oil prices we need a truly balanced energy policy," said Senator Murkowski. "We must expand our use of alternative and renewable energy and place greater emphasis on conservation. But it is also imperative that we increase our production of domestic fossil fuels so that they may act as a bridge to a point where new energy sources can meet our needs."

The proposed legislation, which included the immediate opening of the Arctic coastal plain to oil and gas development, would allow state governors to petition to permit oil and gas leasing off the East and West Coasts in the Lower 48, while providing sharing of 37.5 percent of all federal Outer Continental Shelf revenues with all producing states and local jurisdictions. Another 12.5 percent would have gone to the Land and Water Conservation Fund for states to use to build parks. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

Science - Technology: Click on Microsoft's worldwide telescope to star gaze By DEBORAH GAGE - Computer users now can fly through the universe, viewing stars, planets and celestial bodies as an astronomer would, with Tuesday's introduction of the Worldwide Telescope by Microsoft.

The virtual service combines images and databases from every major telescope and astronomical organization in the world.

Microsoft says it is providing the resource for free in memory of Jim Gray, the Microsoft researcher who disappeared last year while sailing his boat to the Farallon Islands on a trip to scatter his mother's ashes. The project is an extension of Gray's work.

"I never imagined (the telescope) would be so beautiful," said Alexander Szalay, an astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University who worked with Gray on astronomy projects for more than a decade. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008


Columns - Commentary

Tom Purcell: Needed -- Will Rogers - As the presidential campaign moves along and Americans take to arguing around water coolers and dinner tables, we ought to embrace the wit and wisdom of Will Rogers:

"The short memory of voters is what keeps our politicians in office."

"We've got the best politicians that money can buy."

"A fool and his money are soon elected."

Rogers spoke these words during the Great Depression, but they're just as true today. With 24-hour news channels, our memories are shorter than ever. And in the mass-media age, the politician who can afford the most television advertisements often does win. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

Michael Reagan: To The Democrats, You're Just a Groupie - The big difference between Republicans and liberal Democrats is the way each party views people. Republicans see us as individuals and respect our God-given human dignity. To liberal Democrats, we're not individuals; we're members of a herd with all the dignity of a cow or pig dependent on its owner for daily rations of hay or slop.

Democrats see us as being white or as blacks or as straights or as gays, or as lesbians or as heterosexuals, or as rich or poor, or as Christians or as Jews or as Muslims, or as young or as old, as working or as retired, or as housewives or as career women.

They submerge us into pools that define us as members of groups instead of as what we are as God sees us, -- as any father sees his children -- each being different from one another, and each child being a separate and distinct individual with his or her own specific talents and abilities, and all deserving of his love. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

Dale McFeatters: Stop filling national gas tank, Congress says - Congress has taken an ineffectual step toward curbing gasoline prices. This week it directed President Bush to suspend filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That the gesture was pure public relations is evidence by the lopsided vote, 97-1 in the Senate and 385-25 in the House. (The lone dissenting senator is retiring this fall.)

President Bush opposed the legislation, but he's not running for reelection and the lawmakers are and they're under pressure to something, anything, about gasoline prices even it it's almost wholly symbolic, as this is.

During the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo, the government designated a network of salt caverns on the Gulf Coast as a strategic reserve. It currently holds just over 700 million barrels of oil -- about two months supply -- and is 97 percent full. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 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 In support of the Kanayama Exchange By Tony Hatano-Worrell - For 21 years, Ketchikan has had an outstanding international exchange program with Kanayama, located in Gero City in Japan.

Students and adults who have been privileged to be able to go to Kanayama realize that it is an honor, and not a right, to be able to do so. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

letter Thanks By Lisa Scarborough - Love INC would like to express their thanks and appreciation to all who donated non-perishable items through the Curves food drive and the Post Office food drive. This is a yearly blessing that Love INC is a participant of and we want everyone to know that we continue to serve those in need in our community through your generosity. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

letter Is Somebody trying to tell us something? By Mark Neckameyer - I cannot remember any brief time period when the entire Earth has suffered so many cataclysmic natural events as we see now. There are exploding volcanos in Chili and Sicily and new volcano problems in Hawaii, killer earthquakes in China, more killer tornados than ever in our mid-west, floods in the southern states, fires in Florida, earthquake clusters in Reno, the Missouri Valley is still drying out from Spring floods and there are biblical style famines popping up all over. - More...
Wednesday - May 14, 2008

letterKPU 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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