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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 19, 2009

Front Page Photo Larry Jackson

Ribbon Cutting
The Ketchikan High School building construction class made their annual maintenance trip to a local forest service cabin. This year the class returned to Phoecina Bay on Gravina Island and replaced steps. The photo shows Eric Abel the cabin and trails leader doing the ribbon cutting on the new steps. The students in the photo are Joe Miller, Kyle Heaton, Micheal Fabrero, Jimmy Taylor, Chris Perry and Justin Brown.
Front Page Photo Larry Jackson


Ketchikan: Tongass announces new Admiralty Monument ranger - Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole has announced former Alaska Region employee Marti Marshall is returning to serve as the new Admiralty National Monument ranger. She replaces former ranger Kathy Rodriguez, who left last fall for a position in Montana.

jpg Marti Marshall

Marti Marshall
Photo courtesy USFS

"My heart has always been in Alaska," said Marshall. "I love the adventure, the people, and the landscape."

Marshall has spent the last four years as the Assistant Director of Recreation, Heritage, Wilderness, and Trails in the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service. Before that, she worked in the Regional Office in Juneau.

Born in Rochester, Michigan, Marshall earned a degree from Michigan State University in Public Administration and Social Science. Her sense of adventure and strong commitment to the agency's mission led her to a career in the Forest Service.

After starting with the agency as a firefighter in Fillmore, Utah, she worked several years in Oregon, first at the Columbia Gorge Ranger District, Oregon, as a seasonal backcountry ranger, and then she accepted a permanent job on the Mt. Hood National Forest in the early '80s.

She soon heard the call of Alaska, and moved to Juneau in 1986, where she worked on the Tongass for the next 14 years, two at the Juneau Ranger District and 12 years in Sitka at the Supervisor's Office. In 2000, Marshall moved into the Regional Office, where she quickly became the program leader for Wilderness, Trails and Special Uses Program Management. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 19, 2009

Alaska: Bill to Support School Choice, Bolster Charter Schools Becomes Law - On Friday, May 15, Governor Palin signed Senate Bill 57, a bill supporting school choice and doing away with the charter school penalty.

"It is so important Alaska's parents have opportunities to choose what's best for their children's education," Governor Palin said. "I appreciate the hard work of all the legislators who spearheaded these bills from introduction to final passage."

Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Senator Joe Thomas, provides a one-year grace period for charter schools and alternative schools experiencing a decline in enrollment that would make them ineligible for "separate school" status. The legislation also lowers the separate-school threshold for alternative schools from 200 to 175.

"Alaska has a serious problem with school achievement and high school graduation," said Senator Thomas. "One type of school is not best for all. Charter schools and alternative schools offer parents choice within the public school system."

Charter schools are public schools open to all children, free of charge. Charter schools must comply with state laws governing public schools, and they employee state-certified teachers who are employees of their local school district. Charter schools are managed by a parent-elected board of directors that determines the school's curriculum and teaching methods, within the guidelines of state statute.

"Prior to SB 57, charter schools with fewer than 150 students and alternative schools with fewer than 200 students were not funded as separate schools. Neighborhood public schools are always funded as separate schools, regardless of their enrollment," said Senator Joe Thomas. "The result was that charter schools with fewer than 150 students received 30% to 45% less state funding than neighborhood schools of the same size. SB 57 fixed the funding problem in an equitable, fiscally responsible manner," said Thomas.

Under the new law, charter schools with fewer than 150 students will be funded at the same per-student rate as neighborhood schools with 400 students. The law also contains a one-year, hold-harmless provision for charter schools and alternative schools that unexpectedly fall below the enrollment threshold for funding as a separate school, and are either in their first year of operation or were above the threshold the previous year.

Separate schools are funded at a higher level, over $500,000, to accommodate the additional expenses involved. A charter school that had enrollment drop below 150 students, or an alternative school with an enrollment decrease to below 175 students, would receive 95 percent of the funding formula provided to a separate school for one year. This would allow that school an opportunity to make arrangements to increase enrollment, integrate with another school or close. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 19, 2009


Newsmaker Interviews

BILL STEIGERWALD: Good Luck on Sweeping Health Care Reform Mr President - Saying that America's semi-private, semi-public health care system needs a complete overhaul, President Obama last week challenged Congress to send him a health care reform bill he can sign by the end of the year. The president said that a new health care system would have to meet three strict criteria, however: it'd have to lower costs, allow patients to choose their own doctors and provide affordable, quality care to everyone.

To get an expert's reaction to the president's ambitious dream, on Wednesday, May 13, I called economist Regina Herzlinger of Harvard Business School. Herzlinger, dubbed the "Godmother" of consumer-driven health care by Money magazine, is widely regarded in Washington and elsewhere for her innovative research in health care and for writing books like her latest, "Who Killed Health Care?" (2007).

Q: President Obama said our health care system needs a complete overhaul because it is broken and because families, businesses and governments can no longer afford it. Is this an accurate assessment of our health care system ­ broken and unaffordable?

A: Yes and no. We have of course wonderful doctors and wonderful hospitals. For example, the transplant center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is world class. And Thomas Starzl, who started it, is a genius, a great man. Many people would not be alive today if it were not for him and for the hospital's courage in backing him.

And of course we have this great technology that the U.S. leads the world on, which is called "personalized medicine," which is essentially figuring out the linkage between mutated genes and genetic diseases, and it promises to actually cure these diseases rather than palliate them. I believe this is a technological innovation that is as profound as the Industrial Revolution, in terms of its impact on the welfare and productivity of human beings.

However, President Obama is absolutely right ­ the costs are unaffordable and they are unaffordable in the following ways: First of all, we pay 70 percent (more) than other developed countries as a percentage of GDP for health care.

Secondly, because we have an employer-based system, our employers have to pack these outside costs into their goods and services in a globalized economy. Their foreign competitors pay 70 percent less and usually the employers don't pay anything at all. It is a broad-based tax system that pays for health care or individuals pay for it themselves. So in a globally competitive world, our business sector is really like it is going into the arena and it has got a huge layer of fat that the other guys do not have.

The last thing that is bad about our health care system, cost-wise, is that most of the uninsured work, but they work for small companies or are independent contractors and they don't have health insurance because it is so expensive to buy as an individual. If a company buys it on your behalf, they can use your pre-tax income to buy it. But if you buy it within a small company for yourself, you can only use after-tax income.

These small companies are the engine of growth in the U.S. And a lot of people do not work for these businesses only because the business doesn't offer health insurance. So as a matter of public policy, it is a gross distortion of the allocation of labor. It stops people from going to where they would create the most for the GDP just because of the way we pay for health care. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 19, 2009


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Basic Rules

RE: Foster Care in Alaska By Cherry Ferry - Way to go, Mr. Jackson! I applaud you for putting the harsh reality of "Greed" out there. It's very sad times we live in, even though as Americans - we are spoiled and have many opportunities. But, the fact remains - it is very hard for those of us who haven't had the luxury of a somewhat decent childhood to make a better life for ourselves. And, the people who never have experienced such don't get it. You have to live it to really understand it. Compassion and genuine caring out of the kindness of the heart is becoming a lost act in today's society. It does have a lot to do with money. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 19, 2009

letterKPU TELEPHONE DIVISION SALE By Sharon J. Wolfe - I am writing to voice my opinion on this matter because I feel I have to as a concerned citizen. I base my opinion on inside knowledge as a small community member, as well as observance of recent public meetings and information gained from many employees that I know. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 19, 2009

letter Congratulations! By Frances Natkong - Congratulations, Anna Frisby! You more than deserve the award for 2009 Health Aide of the Year! You do so much for the people of Hydaburg. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 19, 2009

letter DO I HAVE TO SECEDE, TOO? By David G. Hanger - Mr. Bylund, I don't need you to tell me the U.S. military is an equal opportunity employer; I have three honorable discharges. Nor do I mind being called a liberal, but to an extent that may be faulty labeling. Certainly in this instance I am definitely taking the conservative point of view. I am standing in defense of flag and country against boneheads who want to secede, have a civil war, and kill all those disagree with them. Folks apparently like you, Mr. Bylund. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 19, 2009

letterLetter of Resignation By Samuel Bergeron - To the Mayor and City Council and citizens of Ketchikan,

Effective 5-18-09, I reluctantly resign my seat on the Ketchikan City Council. I do so with a heavy heart. When I left on work assignment in Kazakhstan, I was supposed to be working in the large metropolitan areas that had good high speed internet service. Due to a change in my work assignment, I will not be able to continue participating without impacting my work. My current assignment is in a location that does not have internet and is remote. I said before I left that if it became impractical for me to continue to participate, I would resign. The circumstance has arisen that makes it impossible for me to continue. - More...
Monday - May 18, 2009

letterThe Boys and Girls Club has a new home. By Chris Corrao - After months of searching the Boys & Girls Club has now opened in our new location 645 Jackson Street (more commonly known as the National Guard Armory). - More...
Monday - May 18, 2009

letterCruise Ship Tax By Vic and Judi Vreeland - On September 13, 2006, you published our letter concerning the cruise ship tax. We were opposed to it and said; - More...
Monday - May 18, 2009

letter Last Knot on the Rope to progress. By Don Borders - While Ketchikan stands sliding on the slippery slope, fixated with both hands firmly grasping the last stop, it has its back to the deep waters. The cruise lines dropped one of its ships visiting our little town, while adding one more to Anchorage. Sure, they cited the cost of oil to run the ships, but in thought, it must take more fuel to get the added ship visit to Anchorage. The fact two of our local governments chose to spend the cruise ship passengers' tax on stuff not adhering to the imposed head tax guidelines must have been their problem. That is one aspect of the last knot. - More...
Sunday - May 17, 2009

letterOpen Letter: Dungeness crab fishery By Rep. Kyle Johansen & Rep. Bill Thomas - We are very concerned with the decision by the Board of Fish (Board) to open the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Districts 1 and 2 of Registration Area A from June 15 to August 15 (summer season). - More...
Sunday - May 17, 2009

letter Foster Care in Alaska By Lisa Bezenek - I certainly hope the state will look into this information Mr. Jackson presented, and somehow have Mr. Jackson's college fund be funded from that large amount of money per month. What a great thing for him to come to the public with information most people hide from or just ignore. - More...
Sunday - May 17, 2009

letterRental costs in Ketchikan By Heather Wills - Let me tell you about us. I stay at home during the week and waitress on the weekends and he works full time at the hospital and is going to school for Nursing. I consider us to be very good renters. We have two small children, no pets, we don't smoke or stay out late, don't play loud music, always pay our rent on time and take very good care of our little apartment. - More...
Sunday - May 17, 2009

letterTongass National Forest By Charlotte Tanner - Mr. Stump you are indeed an articulate, and well written person. - More...
Sunday - May 17, 2009

letter Appeasement Jeopardizes National Security By Donald A. Moskowitz - President Obama is making mistakes impacting our foreign policy. - More...
Sunday - May 17, 2009

letter RE: Foster Care in Alaska By Charlene Burns - I am sorry that Mr. Jackson has been hurt by this news of the mass amounts of money that is being used in some facets of our foster care system. I would be just as devastated as you are if I had found out similar news about my caregivers.  - More...
Thursday - May 14, 2009

letterRE: Foster Care in Alaska By Melissa Muller - I have lived and worked with the youth, in Ketchikan, for the past eight years. Treating their mental health. At RYC, some of the kids come in because they are having difficulty navigating adolescence with their families. These kids are placed at RYC by their parents. - More...
Thursday - May 14, 2009

letterRental Costs in Ketchikan By Maria Neufeldt - There have been several letters about "slumlords" in Ketchikan. Well I have the other side. Is my rent higher here than in Oregon? Of course. The cost of living is about 30% higher here overall than Portland. - More...
Thursday - May 14, 2009

letterCoastal Alaska Forest Regrowth By Keith Stump - In response to Charlotte Tanner's second request that I answer or otherwise enlighten her: "Over-mature forests" include "dead and decaying" trees, and healthy, growing trees. They are marked by a canopy populated by gray, dead wood, and distinguished from a "mature forest" by the substantial percentage of dead and dying trees and more technically by the comparative lack of increase or decrease in wood fiber. "Over mature" is a term used to describe a forest, not a tree. A standing tree can be dead or dying (i.e. decaying, rotting in part). A tree fallen and turning to rot on the forest floor is not an "over-mature tree," it's a dead tree, but it would possibly be in an over-mature forest. - More...
Thursday - May 14, 2009

letterRE: ON SECESSION By Eileen Small - A discussion of history is always a good thing in my opinion since, as they say, those who don't study history are destined to repeat it. Slavery was, infact, a great evil in the world. This includes wherever it existed in America in our past and in places where minorities (such as women) are enslaved today and where innocent civilians are tortured and beheaded for quasi religious reasons by Al Quaeda and the Taliban such as in Iraq and Afghanistan --- and where our current elected U.S. President and Congress seem to have HUGE issues in showing a little backbone when dealing with these oppressors. - More...
Thursday - May 14, 2009

letterRE: ON SECESSION By Jeremy Price - I am sick to death of secession being painted as such a dastardly act, when come to think of it, our nation was born from secession. - More...
Thursday - May 14, 2009

letterResponses to my letters By Charles Edwardson - For some reason some of my letters make it to this publication and some do not. I do not know if they are screened or not but it seems that some of my more polite letters make it on right away and some of the more sarcastic letters do not make it at all. In any case sarcasm is not a reason to discount the content of an opinion. - More...
Tuesday - May 12, 2009

letter The Theft of Taan ta Kwaan Lands in Ketchikan By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - The low tidelands around Ketchikan, Alaska belong to the Taan ta Kwaan (Sea Lion People), also known as the Tongass Tribe. Encroachment or theft of Native lands in Ketchikan actually started during the Alaska gold rush in the late 1880's with so-called mining claims like Venetia Lode and Schoenbar Lode. It was during this time that Alaska Natives were unable to make mining claims on their own lands, because they were not citizens of the United States. - More...
Monday PM - May 11, 2009

letterANOTHER CLIFF HANGER by Ken Bylund - Mr. Hanger, do you believe that defending your political religion with the fervor of Pope Gregory IX is persuasive, or productive? Many, especially non-partisans, non-believers [like me] have had enough of this religious inquisition rhetoric from all sides... leaves a bitter history, all this constant sniping, the compulsive disorder to shout down, accuse, and pitch divisive epithets; peculiar [as it is repulsive], is the tone, that hollow echo of past totalitarianism. My recommendation; provide logical, persuasive arguments for specific concepts, [scientific method] to be studied, tested, and proofed; resist all the blustery energy aimed at destroying the reputations of them who disagree with you [not very scientific]. Listen and think about what skeptics are saying, much of it is justifiable, offer reasonable, constructive alternatives. - More...
Monday PM - May 11, 2009

letterThank You By Julia Guthrie - My son Christopher R. Stacy was involved in a single car accident on South Tongass Highway on May 4th. My family would just like to thank the South Tongass Fire Department, the Alaska State Troopers, the Ketchikan General Hospital, Guardian Flight, Harbor Veiw Medical Center, our friends and family, and all the people of Ketchikan who offered their support to our family. - More...
Monday PM - May 11, 2009

letterFoster Care in Alaska By Mary Ida Henrikson - I must respond to Matt Jackson's letter. First it must have been devastating to learn that money was the motivation in your foster care. Your letter describing your conclusion is full of emotional pain and confusion. - More...
Monday PM - May 11, 2009

letter$414,000.00 plus $30,000.00 By Bob Jackson - The people I have talked with believe the council made a costly mistake in the decision to move KPU customer service out of its current location. - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterKPU Telecom Sale By Michael Naab - Reading the recent letters from Charles Edwardson and Rudy McGillvray, one might assume that the sale of KPU's Telecommunications Division is a foregone conclusion. Not so. Here are some facts: - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterDungeness Crab in Southeast Alaska By Jackie Tyson - Briefly, I was at the Petersburg Board of Fish (BoF) meeting. I spoke for the people of Whale Pass who wanted to keep the little bay in front of their town closed to commercial crabbers. My husband was trying to get a small area in the Wrangell Narrows by Petersburg closed to Dungeness because it's so depleted. We were shot down. It was not pretty. - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letter Foster Care in Alaska By Matt Jackson - Today, I learned what really makes the "youth treatment system" go 'round in Alaska. It's not love, it is not about the kids, and no one cares about us. It is the money. I won't go into the many grievances Residential Youth Care and foster care have committed against me. Rather, today I will only talk about the numbers.  - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterSpeed Limits By Libby Oaksmith - I have read the previous two letters and agree with both of them. In 2000, I wrote a letter to the Daily News asking drivers to please slow down. I too live in the same area as Jennifer, only right across from the ball park. - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterON SECESSION By David G. Hanger - Eileen Small would have us believe that there exists a binding contract between the state of Texas and the United States that allows Texas to secede from the United States if it so desires. That so-called contract language dates to 1845 and was voided and superseded by what is known as the American Civil War. You might have heard of it, Eileen. - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterOur children's children's Forest By James Schenk - I have been to the Maybeso experimental forest! For such a place to be chosen as an example of a good one, is beyond my belief. The alder after 60 years in the Maybeso is still profuse, the reprod which was never properly thinned makes human and animal passage difficult at best. The reasoning of destroying our forest for profit of corporations and publicly funded logging should be as dead as a spawned out salmon. - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterCoastal Alaska forest regrowth By Louise Clark - I feel an obligation to add my opinion to this discussion of old growth ugly versus new beautiful human managed forests because it is refreshing to know that man in his ultimate wisdom is better at this than God or mother nature.  - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterCoastal Alaska Forest Regrowth By Charlotte Tanner - Thank you Mr. Stump for your attempt at "enlightening" me. I tend to agree with you on your assessment of your grandmother, she is over mature. Just as a tree that has fallen and decayed on the forest floor for a few decades could be called over mature, but to call a standing tree "over mature" is rather pre mature in my humble opinion. - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterSidewalk congestion By Julie Grimmer - This morning at the tunnel, I witnessed two women get on their small electric wheelchair-type vehicles and zoom on to downtown, using the sidewalk. Now, these 2 were not handicapped in any way. I saw both of them walking around their vehicles prior to using them, stooping down, one even running down the street to get something. - More...
Saturday - May 09, 2009

letterSlumlords By Cecelia Johnson - On rent and landlords I really need to add my two cents. I am a homeowner but have been involved with social services which I was an advocate. - More...
Wednesday - May 06, 2009

letterCoastal Alaska Forest Regrowth By Keith Stump - Charlotte Tanner has requested me to enlighten her with locations of "better, greener, healthier forests" in Southeast Alaska. OK. First, check out Maybeso Valley on POW where the Maybeso Experimental Forest is located. It was used for experimental logging by the U.S. Forest Service when large-scale logging first began to provide the timber contracted to the two long-term (50 year) sales to the two pulp mills build in the 1950's (Ketchikan and then Sitka). To evaluate and better understand the effects of more significant harvesting of timber (particularly the effects on salmon streams),and the natural regrowth capabilities and processes in Southeast Alaska, over four miles of forests on both sides of the Maybeso Creek were clear-cut logged, and within that area a square mile (after being was first clear cut logged) had all remaining trees (down to just sprouts) removed. In that regrowth (or second generation forest), you will uniformly find an overall "greener" forest canopy (over sixty feet tall about ten or twenty years ago) without the grey dead tops of dead or dying trees found in the or climax forest that was there when the logging began. - More...
Wednesday - May 06, 2009

letterOld Growth Trees - worthless? By Shelley Stallings - About the only sentence in Mr. Dornblasers letter I can find any agreement with is the one which states that trees, like all living things, grow, mature, then die. After that it becomes more complicated and most of these issues have be hashed and re-hashed many times over in the media and at countless USFS public meetings. - More...
Wednesday - May 06, 2009

letterTake the Money By Rick Ferguson - I think our governor should get off her high horse and take the money. - More...
Wednesday - May 06, 2009

letterHELP SAVE OUR DUNGENESS!!!!! By Kimberly Peters - The Alaska Board of Fisheries has decided to open commercial Dungeness fishing in the Ketchikan area on June 15th, 2009. This just happens to be when the crabs are breeding and have soft shells, this hasn't been done since the 80's because they almost WIPED the species OUT!! - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

letter25 MPH speed limit neighborhoods By Michael Moyer - I will have to agree with Jennifer Tavares that there is no intelligent reason why the neighborhood streets of Ketchikan should have speed limits as high as 25 mph. I live on upper Water Street and I have witnessed near fatal accidents with pedestrians there including a child who was simply stepping out of his street side home directly into the path of an on-coming car. - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

letterRe: KPU (Telephone Division) By Alan R. (Rudy) McGillvray - It has never been incumbent upon the City Council to do anything in governing Ketchikan that would REALLY benefit its citizens and or customers. KPU Telephone Division is the only division in KPU that makes more money than it spends; that would be called, by any other name, PROFIT. KPU Telephone Div, is constantly called upon to give monies to the Electrical Division, if you read the minutes of City Council Meetings very carefully you will note that on occasion the Council is asked by the Managers of KPU to do so and they do. - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

letterRE: Enlightment By Jim Dornblaser - Ms. Tanner, I find your choice of words ironic. - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

letterHigh Rent?? By Sonia Streitmatter - I am a homeowner who currently has renters in my home. I'm fairly new to the game (just a few months), but I have to say if anyone thinks I am making money off the deal, they are just plain wrong. The rent covers the mortgage payment, the property manager's fee and the little bit extra goes to paying the increase in insurance from a homeowner's policy to a landlord's policy. If there is anything left, it will go towards a fund for repairs/alterations. - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

letterKetchikan Tea Party By Eileen Small - I thought Mr. Hanger's tirade against Ms. Emmert's letter in support of the nationwide tea parties to be a tad elitist and unjust--a characteristic which that writer shares with many of our currently elected officials and a fact that helped incite the grass root protests leading to the tea parties. I know I am not a racist but I can see unnecessary spending occur and I hate to see my kids and others' kids paying for debts occurred in this generation. Frankly, I hate to pay for it either and if I wanted to own Chrysler or GM I'd buy stock personally! I guess I can determine right from wrong. Why is the "race card" always played when someone disagrees with liberal politics? I think it is silly--sort of like grade schoolers calling each other baby- name-insults on a playground! I don't think Ms. Emmert is a racist either and I am certain of one more thing that neither she nor I are: WE AREN'T SOCIALISTS!!!  - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

letterIranian Nuclear Missile Threat By Donald A. Moskowitz - Iran tested the launch of a Scud missile from a ship in the Caspian Sea, which was designed to provide the capability of launching intermediate range missiles from cargo ships sitting off coastlines. Also, within a few years Iran will have long range missiles capable of striking North America. - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

letter Airline Travel Costs By Jerilyn Lester - I have to agree with Chas Edwardson on this one, if Alaska Airlines thought in terms of volume instead of gouging each individual that crossed the Narrows it would be better all around. - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009

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