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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 11, 2010

Front Page Photo by SCOTT KEMP

Loring: Hummingbird
This photo was taken with a macro lens only a few inches away from the bird.
Front Page Photo by SCOTT KEMP

Ketchikan & Alaska: April Weather Summary - Monthly April means were above average in the panhandle, north, Interior and the west, while temperatures averaged slightly below normal for the southwest.  Precipitation conditions for the month showed a pattern of wetter-than-normal conditions across most of Alaska and drier-than-normal conditions in the southeast.

Temperature was normal in Ketchikan, 43.3 degrees Fahrenheit.  The high and low temperatures were 60 on April 15 and 29 on April 9.  Precipitation totaled 4.75 inches, which is just under half of the April average of 9.57 inches.  There were a total of 24 days with precipitation during the month, and the highest one-day total was 1.32 inches on April 6.  Winds at Ketchikan International Airport averaged 7 mph, and the peak gust of 38 mph was recorded on April 1. - More...
Tuesday - May 11, 2010

Alaska: Forest Service Releases Report: Forest Health Conditions in Alaska - "Pull, mow, call and spray, to make invasives go away, go away!" the Denali Elementary first graders sang to the tune of the classic "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" song. These students were the first of many classrooms throughout Alaska to complete lessons from "Weed Wackers: A K-6 Educator's Guide to Invasive Plants of Alaska." Alaska's first Alaska-specific elementary curriculum on invasive plants was written by a mother-daughter team.

That information is from one of the sections of the new Forest Service report, "Forest Health Conditions in Alaska ­ 2009" published online yesterday at the Alaska Region website.

Each year the Forest Service's, Department of Agriculture, State & Private Forestry, Forest Health Protection (FHP) program -- together with Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry's Forest Health Protection Program -- conducts annual statewide aerial detection surveys across all land ownerships. - More...
Tuesday - May 11, 2010

Participants from the first meeting of the new Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force pose for a group photo on Thursday, April 29, at the Sheet'ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi in Sitka. Pictured are front row, left to right, John Martin, Sandy Wilson, Micalyne Kunz-McGhee, Ethel Lund, Libby Watanabe, Julie Abbott-Jones and Brenda Leask; middle row, Willard Jackson, Ramona Brooks, Rachel Moreno, Pauline Aluki Brower, Melody Price-Yonts, Wilbur Brown, Clara Gray, Sheryl McAllister, Susan Suarez and Lincoln Bean; and back row, Bill Martin, Sgt. Tim Birt, Jolene Edenshaw, Randy Gamble, Jan Hill, Michael Baines, Sarah Dybdahl, Rachael Kirby and Nels Lawson.
 Photo courtesy SEARHC

Southeast Alaska: Southeast suicide prevention task force holds first meeting - A new Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force met for the first time Thursday and Friday, April 29-30, at the Sheet'ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi in Sitka. The task force will develop a regional suicide prevention plan that can be taken back to each of the communities for implementation.

The task force is hosted by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Behavioral Health Division as part of the Alaska Youth Suicide Prevention Project. In addition to representatives from the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division, the task force features members from local and regional tribes, the Alaska State Troopers and local first responder groups, behavioral health providers, local governments, the Sealaska Heritage Institute, the Central Council of the Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, suicide survivors, the Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp and Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp.

"There were a lot of discussions about the problems that affect our communities today," SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Manager Wilbur Brown said. "We discussed what the group felt were gaps in services, and followed up with a discussion of what we could do to increase the protective factors in our communities. I felt this group did a lot of work in a short time and they were great representatives for their respective communities and cultures. We look forward to hearing feedback from the community at large and look forward to our next meeting in June. At the next meeting we plan to spend more time on action items to reduce suicide in our communities."

Since this was the first meeting, part of the agenda was dedicated to introductions and getting to know what's happening in local communities. There was discussion about Gatekeeper training to help smaller communities have residents learn suicide prevention/intervention skills, and a discussion about what happens when a suicide occurs in a community and what support networks are available to help survivors cope with the loss. Other discussions were about the high rates of suicide among recent veterans and youth, and how a loss of culture affects suicide rates. - More...
Tuesday - May 11, 2010

 Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: You Call Them Mechanicals, I Call Them Naps. - My enthusiastic fans - both of them - are concerned that I have been pretty easy on Alaska Airlines this winter.

Yes, I usually travel a fair amount this time of year and I usually have some fun stories to tell. But - oddly enough - this year most of my flights have been uneventful. No overheads to Whitehorse and no stories about battling stewardesses and air marshals over Digiplayers.

Sure, last year was a bit overdramatic on the airline front, and I did write enough columns to get a special visit from a representative from AK Air to make sure that I "understood" that if I ever had any "concerns" with our State Airline, I should call the CEO directly rather than "air" my unhappy thoughts on this little website down here in Our Fair Salmon City. Good luck with that!

Natch, after the last two flights, I finally have something to report!

I've had the pleasure of two afternoon siestas courtesy of Aerolineas De Alaska. Well, they call them "mechanicals" but I prefer to embroider them into something more pleasant.

For example you might find sitting in a hot, cramped waiting area with a hundred irritated, late and smelly other people as a problem. I see it as a lovely spa sauna visit. You say tomato, I say..... well, never mind. - More...
Tuesday - May 11, 2010

Fish Factor: Wild Yukon River salmon claim top honors By LAINE WELCH - And the Oscar goes toYukon River salmon!

The story of wild Yukon River salmon claimed top honors last week by the James Beard Foundation at a celebrity studded gala in New York City. Founded in 1986, the Foundation celebrates and nurtures America's culinary heritage and diversity.

The award - considered the Oscars of the food world - was in the media TV Show/On Location category as part of a PBS series called "Chefs A' Field." The segment titled "King of Alaska" featured nationally acclaimed restaurateur and chef Rick Moonen, and was filmed almost entirely in Emmonak. It was created by Heidi Hanson and Chris Warner of Warner-Hanson Television.

"This wasn't just a set up deal where the put up some back drops. The whole crew spent a week with the people on the lower Yukon," said Jack Schultheis, general manager of Kwik'pak Seafoods in Emmonak who helped coordinate the project.

The television segment was prompted by Moonen's interest in learning more about the culture and the people who produce what he calls the 'monarch of all fish.'

"I have yet to find something that has topped it in my life. It is the best fish I ever ate," Moonen says in the TV trailer, which features him and Emmonak fishermen catching and then cooking Yukon chum salmon.

Despite fishing closures for king salmon, Kwik'pak fishermen have been able to keep their high end markets happy with Yukon chums.

"We've been very fortunate with our chum salmon. It has been very well received and we have enough to keep our Yukon fish out on the market," Schultheis said. "The Yukon is a very powerful brand - of all the rivers to be on, it has helped raise the value of our fishery and we are very fortunate. Plus, we are able to say that it is the most nutritious salmon in the world."

In order to back up that claim, Kwik'Pak last year partnered with federal and independent testing labs to sample 35 fish from different salmon runs. The fat content averaged 16 percent, and the omega 3 oils topped four percent per 100 grams, three to four times higher than any other fish in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture database.

"I was shocked," said Dr. Evette Hackman, a nutritionist who reviewed the results for Kwik'pak. "I contacted the lab to make sure there hadn't been a mistake." - More...
Tuesday - May 11, 2010


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696.

letterOceansAlaska Update By David Mitchel - I would like to update the community on progress at OceansAlaska. OceansAlaska Marine Science Center is a community-based non-profit with a volunteer board of directors and a multidimensional focus on education, mariculture development, and the display of local marine species. The Marine Science Center is a way to provide investment in a sustainable, year-around industry, as well as advance our children's education and help Ketchikan become a more attractive place to visit and live. It is infrastructure for the entire community and helpful for growing our economy. - More...
Tuesday - May 11, 2010

letterRE: Something's Fishy Here By Dave Head - I am responding to a view of: Terri Anderson in which she blames environmentalists for 2 recent oil rig disasters. Is there any chance she is related to Sarah Palin? Because frankly I have never read such a load of nonesense in my life. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 11, 2010

letterRE: Something's Fishy Here By Peter Jacob - I would like to present this response to Terri Anderson's opinion letter, "Something's Fishy Here". There are three possible reasons for the coming to the conclusions that you did in your letter: - More...
Tuesday PM - May 11, 2010

letterDopey Mushers By John Suter - ITC has reported that two Iditarod mushers have tested positive on THC. ITC will not disclose the identities of the two dopey mushers. The reason for this is because they are in the good old boy net work receiving special privileges and double standards. You can take it to the bank, that if they were women, natives or other minorities who tested positive on their drug test, ITC would hang them out to dry. This is not the right way, but the white way. It is ITC's different strokes, for different folks. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 11, 2010

letterSupporting a New Pool By Vicki O'Brien - With the dearth of indoor recreation opportunities available in Ketchikan, I find it absolutely crazy that anyone would oppose the construction of a new Borough pool. We talk incessantly about how "there's nothing to do.." yet when the time come to construct a facility that everyone - EVERYONE - in the community can benefit from, there are actually opponents! Young, old, athletic, obese, able-bodied, disabled... there is not a segment of our community who could not benefit from a new pool. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 11, 2010

letterLand fill By Robert McRoberts - Recently there has been talk about letting S&S Construction dump waste in a borough land fill. Here's the deal guys, by doing this you tell many of us local contractors to bend over. If you're going to open up this area so it can be filled I think you had better take waste fill from every one of us. Make us get a key at the time we dump and lock up when done. We would be responsible for what we dump. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 11, 2010

letterCan't we work this out? In support of the Oceans Alaska Project By Jennifer Castle - I am a Mother with a preschool age child, I cannot tell you how much my son and other families enjoy the small aquarium tank outside the office in the mall. Seeing local sea creatures up close, and being able to ask questions and see them feed is a rare treat for adults and children alike. To me, this seems like just the beginnings of a wonderful relationship between Oceans Alaska and the people of Ketchikan. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterBorough property tax rate By Dave Kiffer - I was surprised to read, in a recent letter to SITNEWS, that the borough property tax rate will go up this year because of the replacement pool project. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterRe: Better management leads to lower taxes. By Ken Bylund - Mr. Dial... always refreshing to watch an effective observer criticize the devil; amazing how the majority of our species don't seem to notice as the current pack of predators skim ever increasing portions of our potential and freedom while they promote some feel-good give-away described as another crisis by our news creators; they and we have been mesmerized, ignoring that snakelike stealth of career politicians moving us toward absolute social fascism. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterSwimming Pool By Jon Hurley - I wish Mr. Dial would attend a swimmg meet with the wind blowing and the rain pouring down. I know that he would love to have the tar dripping on his head and the roof shaking. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterOpen Letter To Ketchikan City Council: Ketchikan Public Library Concerns By Robert D. Warner - The following are basic questions that I feel need to be answered prior to any decisions being made on the future location of the Ketchikan Public Library. This is an important long term decision. The community will have to live with it for many years to come. We must not be pressured into hasty decisions by special interest groups. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterTalent on Revilla Island By Judith Green - Never a disappointment is the music community on our island. We have great talent and not just talent, as my son reminded me, but we have people in Ktn who 'inspire' and encourage all ages and abilities to share that which they have and enjoy. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterThank You Ketchikan By Nicole Esau - Dear Ketchikan Residents, I have been living in Ketchikan for the last 5 1/2 years. I consider it my home. I recently was in a boating accident and spent 3 hours in the cold Gulf of Alaska on my way to fish herring and Salmon. I was traveling on the Northern Belle that went down quickly in the Gulf. It was a both horrifiy and life changing experience. I wanted to write because it was noted in several sources that I was from various places in the Northwest. I have been avoiding national media. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterKayhi and Revilla Class of 2010 Graduation Party By Ginny Clay - Dear Parents of Graduating Seniors, as you know every year the parents get together and throw a graduation party for the Seniors, this year is no exception. There are many fun and exciting things planned for a wonderful event at the Plaza Mall on the night of graduation. BUT we need your help! - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterWithdraw THE BILL By Alan Stein - The new article "Sealaska Logging in Tongass rainforest would imperil rare species" is a very good article with good illustrations. Great writer. - The new article "Sealaska Logging in Tongass rainforest would imperil rare species" is a very good article with good illustrations. Great writer. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterOpen Letter to President Obama: Sealaska Land Bills By Gretchen Goldstein - Dear President Obama, thank you for your muscle and perseverance in getting us some health care reform. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterSomething's Fishy Here By Terri Anderson - Just curious, I know a lot of people all over the country are starting to get a vibe, that maybe some or maybe a lot of our extreme environmentalists might be responsible for the two oil rig mishaps that have happened, with precision timing. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterRE: Trail Closure By Beth Doddridge - While I do understand the position this writer took I feel I must mention the many other trails that are available to the "public" she made reference to. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letter "Ozzy" White Persian Found By Kathy Armey - Our beloved Ozzy went missing April 17th from 12 Mile North Tongass. We did everything we could think of to bring Ozzy home. My husband, Doug got a call yesterday and Ozzy was found under a trailer home at 12 mile. He's in pretty good shape for being out in the elements for two weeks.He's skinny, but otherwise okay, just needs a good brushing out and a bath. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterGulf Oil Spill Response By Marie-Jeanne Cadle - Here is a number you can call if you are interested in volunteering or working on the gulf oil spill response. Right now they are taking names, skills, training and contact info. They do not have any info about housing, travel, compensation, etc. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterRE: Hope this resolves the issue. By Marilyn Catron - There is no need to asked to be excused for giving your opinion here Mr. Jarvi. Isn't that what it's all about? Viewpoints, Opinion Letters? - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 3010

letterAircraft Carriers In Jeopardy By Donald A. Moskowitz - An article in the Navy Times entitled "Strike group mission expands far beyond simple escort" has me concerned. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 04, 2010

letterLet's get behind the aquarium By Larry Jackson - This letter is in response to the efforts of many in the tourist industry to thwart the aquarium's efforts to raise federal grant money.  Although I appreciate their concerns of public money being used in a quasi competitive endeavor I think their efforts are bit shortsighted.  - More...
Wednesday PM - April 28, 2010

letterOceans Alaska Submitted By Kirk Thomas for Various Ketchikan Businesses - We, the undersigned, are writing you this letter to state our strong opposition to Oceans Alaska (formerly known as the Tongass Aquarium) becoming a shore excursion tour operator for cruise passengers here in Ketchikan, Alaska. Oceans Alaska has promoted and represented itself as a research, education and shellfish mariculture facility and has successfully applied for and been granted public seed money for all of the progress they have made thus far. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 28, 2010

letterBetter management leads to lower taxes By Rodney Dial - Mr. Harrington, I am going to assume that your letter and assumption that taxes in Ketchikan would somehow be lower if we consolidated a simple attempt to goat me into writing a three page letter on why you are wrong. I will make that assumption because the only alternative is simply that you as a government official are attempting to mislead the public. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 28, 2010

letterOpen Letter to the Ketchikan Borough Assembly Members By Rodney Dial - You guys know that as soon as you raise the mill rate and increase property taxes I am going to write a rather long letter detailing why several of you lied to this community about being able to afford a 23.5 million dollar pool with no tax increase. Right? - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterPerserverance Trail Closure By Heather Muench - The Forest Service is planning to close the Perseverance Trail from May 15 to September 30 for trail reconstruction. While I support the much need trail work, I strongly object to the summer long closure. I agree the trail should be closed on days when helicopters will be moving material to and from the area; but not on other days. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letter HEAD TAX: VERY BAD CHOICE OF WORDS By Charles Edwardson - It has always bothered me -- the term HEAD TAX. It sounds like a hunting trip. It should be labeled what it is a PORT AND HARBOR TAX. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterTaxes By Sonia Streitmatter - Tourism is a double-edged sword. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterSealaska lands bill By Sarah Red-Laird - I still have a strong connection to Southeast Alaska, although I now live in Montana for school, through my friends and family that remain in the area, and through my crystal clear memories of all the years I spent there, especially those of my childhood on Prince of Wales Island.- More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterSealaska lands bill By Judy Magnuson - Senator Murkowski stated not too long ago that the government was the largest land owner in Alaska. I wish to correct that statement. The PUBLIC, not the government, is the largest land owner in Southeast Alaska. We the people, native and nonnative own these lands, we have full use of these lands for any use compatible with public use of these lands. This is not an aboriginal rights issue, it is simply the right of citizens and taxpayers who have added value through their tax dollars, time and energy through their efforts to support, preserve, participate and have a say in the management of public lands. We have the right to retain those lands that belong to us and have cost us dearly during the last 40 years. Public lands, heavily invested in should not be given away to a private corporation in order that only a few may profit from them. - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010

letterHigh taxes in Ketchikan By John Harrington - It is interesting that Mr. Rodney Dial is complaining about the high taxes in Ketchikan. Our taxes are indeed too high. Those tax rates are higher than most consolidated city/borough governments in Southeast Alaska. When a group of us were attempting to consolidate the two governments, Mr. Dial led the charge to stop it by claiming it would raise our taxes. We had determined quite the opposite in our calculations. But Mr. Dial prevailed in his anti-consolidation efforts and now have received what he tried to avoid, higher taxes. - More...
Friday PM - April 23, 2010

letterKetchikan is becoming more expensive every day. By Rodney Dial - As our national tax day passes, a few things you may want to consider regarding the future of your family's finances. The following is an excerpt from a Newsweek article posted on 4/15/10 titled "Today is the best tax day of your life", by Robert J. Samuelson. Newsweek tends to be a liberal leaning publication and this is not conservative hype. - More...
Friday - April 23, 2010

letterThe times are a changing? By Reed Harding - As the country struggles in the turmoil of unprecedented healthcare reform by the current centrist administration many misguided individuals nash their terrible teeth and groan aloud "we don't want change". I awoke today and realized that I do not recognize my own country. Things have changed so much this past year I can't even point out what has actually changed. In fact, there could have been no change at all but that's not what everyone is saying so it must be a completely new country devoid of any principles and understanding that once existed. I can attest to the validity of the following piece as I wrote it rather than merely copying someone else's opinion. - More...
Friday - April 23, 2010

letterSealaska lands bill By U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski - In a letter concerning the Sealaska lands bill printed on April 14, an Edna Bay resident stated that it was "stunning" that Sealaska had already filed for lands to complete its entitlement under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), as if the matter of filing for lands meant that the current bill is not needed to complete rational land conveyances due Sealaska's 20,000 Alaska Native shareholders. That is not the case. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterOpen Letter to the KGB Mayor & Assembly By Johnnie Laird - Mayor Dave Kiffer and Ketchikan Assembly, I am disappointed that you passed a resolution in favor of the Legislation and didn't join in solidarity in opposition with Sitka, Port Protection, Point Baker, Edna Bay, Hollis, Whale Pass, Thorne Bay, Craig, Naukati, Kake, The US Department of the Agriculture, The US Department of the Interior and many others. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterMay is ALS Awareness Month: Let's STRIKE OUT ALS!! By Linda Kreider - May is ALS Awareness Month!! I will be representing Alaska for the 4th time since 2006, when this disease took my father away from me, my mother, brother and sister and the rest of our family. My sister-in-law, Teri Teal will be travelling with me this year for the 1st time! We leave Ketchikan on Friday, May 7 and will return May 12. We will meeting with our Senators and Representatives on Tuesday May 11. In the past few years, I have been able to have a State of Alaska Proclamation declaring May as ALS Awareness Month for the State of Alaska, and am hoping that we can get the City of Ketchikan, as well as the Ketchikan Gateway Borough to do the same!! - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterChanges By A. M. Johnson - As the Country watches the huge social changes imposed by the current liberal administration, many are and more are, becoming concerned as to the Nation holding together with civility. I can not attest to the validity of the following piece, however, even if it were not written by the person listed, it still tells well!! - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterTrails and drunks. By Patti Fay Hickox - Where are they going so fast? We only have about 30 miles of road. "What's the hurry, what is everybody hurrying for." Drivers do not stop for people in crosswalks. Remember when most of us walked and smiled and waved at the people going by in cars. People slowed down to wave at their neighbors. I came to Alaska to get out of the cities and a fast pace of life. Now Alaska is moving faster. Everybody going so fast they have no time for their neighbors. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterRe: Married Man's Trail By Laurie Hodne - It was funny timing when I sat down to look at the letters to the editor and the very same subject I was debating on writing about happened to be a "peeve" for someone else. I am not a frequent hiker on Married Man's Trail, but was there when I was searching for the Easter Treasure Hunt and was appalled by the trail and its lack of upkeep. Is that City property? - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterMarried Man's Trail and other stuff By Kara McElroy- Steele - Regarding Ms. Susan Coady's letter about Married Mans trail, I have two things to say. Back in the day (if you lived there for 25 yrs you should remember this), it was common place down on the Tongass dock, for homeless drunks to sit and sleep, behind it and in front of it (before it turned into Tourist Central!). You would also see them hangin out around the loop of bars all the way around the corner by Tom Sawyers. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterThanks from The Mainframe LAN Gaming Center By Ryan Avila - I would just like to thank everyone who came down and supported our business this weekend. We hope to continue providing a safe environment for the youth of Ketchikan so that they have a fun alternative to doing drugs and drinking (which is a large problem in Ketchikan). - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

letterHope this resolves the issue By Paul Jarvi - Ms. Catron, Please excuse me for stating an opinion. - More...
Wednesday - April 21, 2010

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