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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 02, 2011

Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

Mother Nature's Bird Bath
This Golden-crowned Sparrow was photographed in the Herring Cove area while delighting in a dip in Mother Nature's bird bath .
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

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$91 million work program underway to prepare Pebble Project for permitting in 2012 - Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. announced today that the Pebble Limited Partnership Board of Directors has approved program expenditures of US $91 million in 2011, with the objective of completing a Prefeasibility Study for the Pebble Project located in southwest Alaska in 2012, and to initiate permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

"Upon reaching commercial production, Pebble would become one of the world's leading producers of copper, gold and molybdenum as well as a tremendous driver of economic wealth and opportunity in Alaska and the United States," said Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ron Thiessen.

"Given its national and global importance, the Pebble Partnership has been very deliberate, methodical and patient in designing a project that will meet and exceed the exacting environmental regulations and permitting requirements in Alaska, while delivering superior returns for shareholders. I'm pleased to report that this project design process is nearing important milestones and that PLP intends to enter the permitting phase towards the end of 2012. " - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011

Alaska: Senior Benefits Bill Signed by Governor - Governor Sean Parnell today signed legislation extending the Alaska Senior Benefits Program. The program provides monthly cash assistance to state residents age 65 years or older whose household income does not exceed 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for Alaska. House Bill 16, sponsored by Representative Mike Hawker, extends the program to June 30, 2015.

“The Alaska Senior Benefits Program continues important assistance to thousands of Alaska seniors,” Governor Parnell said. “I appreciate legislators approving the extension.”

The bill received unanimous support in the Legislature.

"The Alaska Senior Benefits Payment Program provides real comfort and financial stability to older Alaskans who most need it," said Representative Hawker. "My colleagues and I recognize the value of our seniors, and want them to have peace of mind knowing these benefit payments will continue to offset high costs of living."

Alaska lawmakers first approved a new monthly cash benefit program for elders 65 and older on limited incomes in June 2007, with the Senior Benefits Program starting Aug. 1, 2007.

Three benefit amounts from $125 to $250 are offered, based on gross annual income (before any deductions are taken for taxes, Medicare premiums, etc.). Assets, such as savings accounts, are not considered. Income limits are tied to the Federal Poverty guideline for Alaska and updated annually. - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011

Alaska: Scientist mixes fish guts and sawdust to create energy By NANCY TARNAI - When one of Alaska’s largest seafood processors was fined $1.9 million for discharging fish waste into the ocean last month, Universtiy of Alaska Fairbanks assistant professor Andy Soria watched the media coverage closely and shook his head.

Scientist mixes fish guts and sawdust to create energy

Andy Soria stands shows some of the components of his research on using fish waste as fuel.
UAF photo by Todd Paris

His experiments could benefit fish processors by turning salmon waste into fuel.

“In Alaska alone, there are 100,000 metric tons of salmon wastes dispersed into the ocean each year,” Soria said. The waste is so massive that it can’t decompose into fish food. “There are underground mountains of fish waste.”

Soria has been experimenting with mixing fish waste and the sawdust of coastal alder or black spruce to create pellets. The mixture of fish and sawdust is compressed and placed inside a gasifier to produce a natural gas equivalent.

The pellets can accommodate up to 25 percent wet fish slurry and still retain heating value. The ideal proportion of salmon fish slurry - a mixture of guts, heads, tails and viscera with a moisture content of 70 percent - is 20 percent of the total pellet.

“In practice, reducing 20 percent, or 20,000 metric tons, of wastes that are dumped into the ocean is a very positive thing,” Soria said.

The pellets smell like a fresh fishy river, Soria said, not like rotting fish. “It looks like wood and smells like fish.” - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011

Alaska Science: Northern Canada glaciers melting fast By NED ROZELL - The glaciers and ice fields of Canada’s far-north islands have lost enough water over the last few summers to fill three-quarters of Illiamna Lake, Alaska’s largest. This news comes just a few years after typical melting from the same region would have only filled one quarter of the same lake each year.

Northern Canada glaciers melting fast

A tidewater glacier calving into Hayes Fiord, on Ellesmere Island in Canada’s Arctic.
Photo by Gabriel Wolken.

“It was a massive increase between these two periods (2004 – 2006 and the record warmth of 2007 – 2009),” said glaciologist Gabriel Wolken, coauthor of a new paper in which scientists claim that glacial ice of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago contributes more to sea-level rise than any regional group of ice outside Greenland or Antarctica.

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is a group of 94 islands east of Greenland with a land area the size of Alaska. The glaciers and ice fields of the islands cover an area about the size of New York.

Wolken, who works for the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, is one of nine authors on a paper that appeared recently in the journal Nature. Alex Gardner of the University of Michigan is the lead author. Wolken and Gardner both spent weeks in Canada’s extreme north measuring the ice when they worked at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

During their fieldwork in the northern melt season — which can be as short as just a few days in July or as long as the months of May through mid-August, depending on elevation and which way the glaciers face — the researchers experienced one of the warmest summers on record in 2008.

“It got to 58 degrees Fahrenheit one day on Devon Island,” Wolken said. “That really made for some hazardous conditions in the field, with big slush flows. On days like that, you sort of get the direct picture of what’s happening there in terms of sea-level rise.” - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011


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letter Request for help with research on Unangan at Ward Lake in WWII By Rachel Mason - I am writing to request information and suggestions from knowledgeable Ketchikan residents. Lost Villages of the Aleutians is a National Park Service project documenting the history of four villages that disappeared during World War II. In 1942, the residents of three tiny Aleutian villages, Makushin, Kashega, and Biorka, were among those who were brought by boat to stay near Ketchikan at the Ward Lake CCC camp. Some of them died and were buried in the Ketchikan cemetery. After the war, their numbers further diminished by illness and attrition, the residents of those villages were not permitted to return to their homes. Instead, they were resettled in other Unangan (Aleut) communities. - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011

letter Jerry Galley Memorial Scholarship Concert By Judith Green - Ketchikan music members did it again! Another evening of great talent giving to the community so much energy - so much wonderful music. - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011

letter The Proposed Library By Ken Leland - My God! I can't believe the proposed new Library design. It looks more to me like a place to store Airliners, not books. With those high ceilings it will take a massive heating system to keep that place warm enough for anyone's comfort. Just the cost of fuel oil or electrical power would be enough to heat the entire Plaza. - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011

letter Coast Guard Waste By Trygve Westergard - Surplus stuff is supposed to be put on GSA to be sold off. But many people don't want to deal with the trouble of doing it. - More...
Monday - May 02, 2011

letter Sealaska to take over Redoubt Falls? By Florian Sever - Sealaska Corporation is due to receive yet another allotment of land, separate and apart from the land that Sealaska is trying to get through the Sealaska Lands Bill. Sealaska has asked the BLM for 11 acres of land surrounding the falls where Lake Redoubt drains into Redoubt Bay, near Sitka.  The falls are a popular site for subsistence fishing for sockeye salmon.  Many people in Sitka rely on this fishery for a part of their livelihood.  I question what Sealaska shareholders have to gain from the proposed conveyance of 11 acres of Forest Service land at Redoubt Falls into private Sealaska Corporation hands. - More...
Thursday - April 28, 2011

letter Coast Guard Waste: Blame GSA By Scott Willis - In response to Linda Heiser's post: I could not agree more. The reason the USCG and other Federal Agencies can not donate stuff to local charities is very complicated and to explain "why" would require volumes and volumes of books on the matter. - More...
Thursday - April 28, 2011

letter Government Waste By Joe Grady - I agree with prior letters concerning government waste. When I was in the U.S. Army I was astounded by the waste that would go one. - More...
Thursday - April 28, 2011

letterCoast Guard waste By Walt Hoefer - The Coast Guard has been doing this for many years. When we lived in Metlakatla (teachers) back in 1959, we observed the Coast Guard burning boxes of meat and other grocery products at the dump. When we questioned this they said a new shipment had come in and there was no room to store it. We asked why not give it to the Tsimshean indian community. "Against the law" they said. - More...
Thursday - April 28, 2011

letterCoast Guard Waste By Linda Heiser - I agree with Mark Hoyt. Why not donate those items to a charity. They could have one of their volunteers repair the items for sale or sell "as is" to the public and use the funds to help pay for services provide to the homeless, pay the fuel bill at WISH for a month, provide a great meal at the Salvation Army. I am sure the wonderful people of Ketchikan could think of other ideas. - More...
Tuesday - April 26, 2011

letter Recycling / salvaging By Barbara Day - I often wonder why so many folks are upset when others are fortunate enough to have the talent and creativity to be able to recycle an item by utilizing it for something it was not manufactured for or by using components of a given item or items to make something useful from or repair it to be used for what it was intended. - More...
Tuesday - April 26, 2011

letter Encourage & Support Salvagers By Pam Thornlow - There is a small group of hardy Ketchikan residents who routinely salvage electronics, copper, brass, etc. from the Ketchikan Landfill. Recent changes in the rules are curtailing their activities and their access. It would seem to me that they provide a service in reducing the landfill waste and providing a benefit to the community by not only providing economical usable electronics that would otherwise have been dozed under but by bringing money back into the community by recycling copper, brass, etc..- More...
Saturday - April 23, 2011

letter Coast Guard Waste By Mark Hoyt - Are any of you aware of how many of our tax dollars the USCG wastes every year? I'm willing to bet that most of you never had any idea what the Coast Guard and other branches of the military do with your money. - More...
Saturday - April 23, 2011

letter Front Street Rebirth By Chris Elliott - Wow! As I drove by where the old Revilla Theatre was towards the tunnel this afternoon, I was amazed at the beautiful building being uncovered on the corner across from the Sourdough Bar. Many thanks to the developer who had the vision to restore it to its former glory. - More...
Saturday - April 23, 2011

letter Demise of Tlingit Natives is Religion By Don Hoff Jr. - If only Alaskan Native Tlingits in Southeast Alaska spent only half the time learning Tlingit culture, our traditions and our history, instead of wasting our time learning about Non-Native Gods and churches, we would know what Clan, Tribe and house we belong to. We would be better off in today's society. - More...
Saturday - April 23, 2011

letterKetchikan Indian Community By David Jensen - Ketchikan Indian Community is a unique organization. It is a tribe of Indians, not in the traditional sense but an IRA. The Tribe was established under The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 which was extended to Alaska in 1937. KIC was chartered and incorporated and the original constitution was approved by the Secretary of the Interior in 1941. - More...
Monday - April 18, 2011

letter SPECIAL NOT-SO-SPECIAL SESSION By Mike Doogan - I’ve been to two goat ropings and a county fair, but I ain’t seen nothing like this before. - More...
Monday - April 18, 2011

letter WHY BERTHOLF “MATTERS” TO ALASKA By Rear Admiral Christopher C. Colvin - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter BERTHOLF stopped into the State Capitol for a brief port visit earlier last week.  It was the first Alaskan port visit for this new class of ship that will become critically important to Alaska.  Symbolic of its importance, Governor Parnell went aboard and graciously thanked the crew for their service to Alaska and the Nation. - More...
Monday - April 18, 2011

letter BLING ..... BLING ...... By Joey Garcia - It is unfortunate, really, that my inquiries about imposing drug-test to employees to focus on the rampant use and distribution of these menacing drugs can be seen, or felt, within the ranks and files of some of Ketchikan's fish processing companies. - More...
Monday - April 18, 2011

letter RE:Southeast Alaska's timber By Alexis Schofield - Did you SERIOUSLY just say "Whites"? This country is pretty equal opportunity if you ask me, you shouldn't hold it against an entrepreneur for making money, no matter what their race may be. EVERY race has EVERY opportunity to cash in if they are so inclined to do so. - More...
Monday - April 18, 2011

letter Fair Treatment? By Jeff Orr - I am writing this letter the year I should have retired from the Airport Police in Ketchikan Alaska. 2011 - More...
Monday - April 18, 2011

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