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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 16, 2008

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Thomas Basin
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson


Alaska: Governor Unveils Plan to Return Surplus to Resource Owners -  Thursday Alaska Governor Sarah Palin unveiled a short-term energy plan to address the skyrocketing costs of energy in Alaska. The package includes two parts ­ returning surplus funds through a grant to all electric utilities to reduce ratepayer bills and an Energy Debit Card for the next 12 months.

"Alaskans are feeling the pinch of high energy costs," Governor Palin said. "The state treasury is swelling, while family checkbooks are evaporating. The right thing to do is to return surplus monies to the resource owners through energy relief. Instead of going to Washington, D.C. for relief, Alaskans should be independent enough to take care of this energy problem ourselves."

Since coming into office, the Palin Administration has been focused on long-term solutions to Alaska's energy crunch. In some of Alaska's communities, consumers are faced with the nation's highest energy costs. In 2007, a comprehensive energy supply inventory was initiated to identify alternatives to high-cost energy supplies.

Earlier this spring, Steve Haagenson was appointed as the State's Energy Coordinator. In his capacity as the Executive Director of the Alaska Energy Authority, he is developing a statewide plan to reduce costs, promote conservation and secure long-term supply solutions for each part of the state. Results of that work are expected by year-end 2008.

"For instance, in Bush Alaska, the best solutions to high diesel prices are to use less and find alternatives," Governor Palin said. "We cannot lose sight of the need for these long-term fixes, but as crude oil prices continue to set daily records, Alaska's families, communities and businesses cannot afford to wait."

Returning surplus funds through grants to electric utilities will result in a 60 percent reduction for all ratepayers. The benefit will flow to homeowners, renters, schools, governments and businesses. A review by the Department of Law has indicated that there should be no federal income tax consequence since the grants act to offset the revenue collected by the utilities themselves.

In addition, there will be conservation incentives for the utilities. For every 1 percent reduction in 2008 kilowatt hour sales from 2007 sales, the state will make a year-end contribution for capital energy projects to the utility. - More...
Friday - May 16, 2008

Alaska: AMHS revises ferry Columbia's return to service date - In order to meet U.S. Coast Guard safety standards and receive a certificate of inspection (COI) from Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Portland, Oregon officials, the motor vessel Columbia will remain out of the Alaska Marine Highway System service until May 21 according to the system's general manager.

"We're in complete partnership with the Coast Guard and the shipyard workers to have a lightweight survey finished and receive the required COI before Columbia sets sail to Alaska with passengers and vehicles," said Capt. John Falvey, General Manager, AMHS. The required Coast Guard deadweight testing is designed to determine the ship's lightweight condition. Prior to commencing the test, all personnel and portable equipment and machinery must be removed from Columbia. After the testing is completed, the vessel is reloaded. - More...
Friday - May 16, 2008

Fish Factor: Fishing communities hurting from high fuel costs By LAINE WELCH - A petition is circulating through Alaska's fishing communities in hopes of catching some breaks at the fuel pump. The price of diesel fuel has topped $5 a gallon in several Alaska ports and in many cases, the price of fish is simply not enough to cover the costs of tying loose.

"We want to get people's attention around the country that this is a very serious concern," said Kathy Hansen, director of the Southeast Alaska Fishermen's Alliance.

Hansen discovered a bill introduced four years ago by U.S. Representative Tom Allen of Maine that would give a temporary tax credit to small businesses, farmers and fishermen to offset high fuel costs. The bill - H.R. 2133 ­ has languished, Hansen said, but Alaska fishermen hope the industry' efforts might breathe some new life into it.

Sara Stoner, a Petersburg fisherman, penned the petition to Congress that asks for an emergency tax credit, "or any other measure you can enact to offset the high cost of fuel and get us untied from the dock and out fishing."

"From the smallest little fishermen to the biggest boats, everyone is suffering. I'm just 24 and my husband and I are just starting our business," Stoner said. "It's really hard to make all the payments and we're really struggling. So are a lot of other people."

Stoner had gathered nearly 300 signatures in one day last week by taking the petition directly to the docks and downtown businesses.

"I think no matter how many emails or other things you send over the internet, some fishermen just don't go there," she said.

The tax relief petition is circulating among fishing groups across the country. Kathy Hansen said the petitions will be collected through May 22 by United Fishermen of Alaska in Juneau, and then sent to Congress.

Lawmakers are hearing the cries for help, but special breaks for fishermen aren't likely, said Arne Fuglvog, legislative assistant for fisheries, transportation and natural resources at Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office.

"We're going to look at this and see what we can do," Fuglvog said. "But it's going to be difficult to do something just for the fishing industry, because so many industries are hurting from high fuel costs."

"Frankly, I think this should not just be a federal issue," he added. "It should be a state issue as well, and we should work together."

Fuglvog, a lifelong Petersburg resident, said he is hopeful the state's new energy plan will provide some relief, especially for Alaskans and fishermen in remote regions. - More...
Friday - May 16, 2008


Alaska Science: Life on ice, two miles thick By NED ROZELL - Fifty years ago, Charles Bentley and five other young men chugged across the ice of Antarctica in three tracked vehicles, exploring the mysterious white continent. In those days when frontiers existed on the planet, Bentley and his comrades saw a mountain range ahead of them that had Rocky-Mountain-size peaks with no names.

Charles Bentley at the South Pole in 1964.
Photo courtesy of Charles Bentley.

"We were the first ones to see almost all those mountains," Bentley said during a recent trip to Fairbanks. "We were traveling about 24 miles a day, and we thought each day, 'tomorrow, we'll get to the mountains.' But they were 200 miles away. It was quite a sight to watch these magnificent mountains gradually come up on the horizon." - More...
Friday - May 16, 2008

Alaska: Beating the Odds on the North Pacific - Five crewmembers died when the fishing vessel, Alaska Ranger, sank last March in the Bering Sea, a jolting reminder that mariners must be prepared for the worst.

A surviving crewmember of the Alaska Ranger told investigators that no one assigned to his life raft knew how to deploy it. Another crewmember died after falling out of a Coast Guard helicopter rescue basket. Problems with immersion suits may have contributed to other deaths. - More...
Friday - May 16, 2008

National: IRS playing catch up after error in rebate checks By CLAUDIA BUCK - Did the Internal Revenue Service forget your kids?

For hundreds of parents expecting a $300-per-child stimulus payment, the IRS could still owe you.

Because of computer glitches and taxpayer filing errors, as many as 350,000 tax-paying parents nationwide were shorted the $300-per-child payment they're due under the federal government's stimulus payment plan. - More...
Friday - May 16, 2008



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Basic Rules

letter A GRADUATION MESSAGE FROM YOUR ALASKA STATE TROOPERS By Captain Kurt Ludwig - This is graduation time for high school seniors in Southeast Alaska. Most teens enjoy parties and other get-togethers, especially around graduation. And while celebrating this time is appropriate and natural, there are often decisions made by some parents and teens that are cause for concern for the public's safety. - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

letter Getting Spammed! By Scott Willis - Are you getting UCE or Unsolicited Commercial Email, better known as SPAM? Well, if you are a KPU customer with a .KPUNET.NET email account, then maybe I can help you filter some of that out. Here's what you do: - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

letter Stop the secrecy By Thomas Ferry - Regarding the participant that was just kicked out of the Kanayama program, Mr. Worrell cites that some unthinkable negative things have been said about the program in retalliation. This child had supposedly broken some rules of commitment and safety set down by the controlling committee. I, like many others would like to know exactly what transpired to get this child kicked out. As people gossip and retell stories, the truth sometimes gets lost in translation on both sides. - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

letter There's Nothing to Do in Ketchikan? NOT! By Bobbie McCreary - Come out Sat nite to have FUN & support our Youth Try this on for size: Skateboard contests, capture the flag, paintball target range, pie eating contest, kids corner with face painting, balloon animals, go fish, BBQ dinner, and a theme based auction. Fun for the whole family. - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

letter THANK YOU By Mindy Lloyd - I want to thank the gentleman who contacted the Shelter (animal )after my dog was hit. I'm sorry that you were the one. But I thank you so much that I know how she passed. To let you know the wind blew our front door open and our little dogs got out. They do chase cars that's why we normally have them tied out or in our home. - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

letter Attention dog walkers By Julia Guthrie - I have lived on Alaska Avenue for about 7 years now. I would just like to say that I am really tired of dog walkers letting their animals use my front yard as a dumping stop. My children play in my yard. - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

letter What he's trying to say By James Greenberg - I have a couple of places to find an answer to your question, first go into your bible and read Luke 21:10-11 also Mark 13:8. Another scripture of interest is 2 Timothy 3:1-5, it shows how people will be during what the bible calls the last days. - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

letter Is Somebody trying to tell us something? By Charlotte Tanner - In reply to another one of Mark Neckameyer's wonderful letters, I can only reply that perhaps we are being told to be better Stewards of the Earth, as the Bible commands us.  - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2008

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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