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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 04, 2011

Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

Crab Breakfast
This mink with its crab breakfast was photographed on Gravina Island.
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

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Southeast Alaska:
Court Stops Juneau Road Project, Ferry Options Not Properly Considered - Today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that put the brakes on Juneau’s half-billion dollar Juneau Road Project.

Court Stops Juneau Road Project, Ferry Options Not Properly Considered

Avalanche across the proposed project route.
Photo by Scott Logan
Alaska Transportation Priorities Project

“It is the right decision.  The Federal Highway Administration and the Forest Service failed to look at the most obvious alternative, which is to improve access to Juneau using existing ferries,” said Buck Lindekugel, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Grassroots Attorney.  “Why should we build an expensive and unnecessary road - which will still require a ferry connection - when improved ferry schedules, fares and other service could meet community needs?”

The project, being pushed by the State, would extend an existing dead-end road out of Juneau an additional 51 miles, along a steep, avalanche-prone section of the Lynn Canal fjord.  The road would end at a new ferry terminal near the Katzehin River 90 miles from Juneau.  Here travelers would transfer to a ferry to Haines or Skagway.  The price tag on this road has continually increased, last estimated by the Federal Highway Administration in 2009 at over 500 million taxpayer dollars.

The Court’s ruling makes it clear that improved ferry service between Juneau and Haines and Skagway must be considered, and that the reasons presented for not doing so were “arbitrary”.

 “Ferries are a safe and flexible means of connecting people throughout Southeast, and they are part of the fabric of our community,” said Lindsey Ketchel, SEACC Executive Director. “With the court decision behind us, it is time to put our transportation dollars into the common sense projects that matter most for our communities, such as the ferry system.”  

A recent report by the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project, “Easy to Start, Impossible to Finish: Alaska Spends Millions on Roads and Bridges Without Financial Plans to Complete the Projects”, outlines that in a time when Federal funds are declining, the State of Alaska  is dedicating millions of dollars to projects, like the Juneau Access project, that it does not have the financial means to complete.  The report is attached.  

“This decision takes a questionable megaproject off the books and allows the governor to focus on more viable transportation projects, like Alaska class ferries and maintaining roads in the population centers of Alaska,” said Jan Wrentmore, a Skagway businesswoman and chair of the Skagway Marine Access Commission. “This is a positive step forward that will benefit communities throughout our region.”

“The decision reaffirms the State’s obligation to seriously consider for the first time the one alternative that could improve access and save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars:  better ferry service in Lynn Canal with existing boats,” said Eric Jorgensen, an Earthjustice attorney in the case.

According to the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project, the proposed Juneau Access Road/Ferry project would consist of 51 miles of new road from Echo Cove approximately 40 miles north of Juneau to the undeveloped Katzehin River via the east side of Lynn Canal, a new ferry terminal at the river 90 miles from Juneau, and new shuttle ferries to travel to Skagway (pop. 865) and Haines (pop. 2,300 in the Borough). Currently a larger ferry serves these two communities operating from a terminal 13 miles from downtown Juneau. Because of concerns expressed by the National Park Service, in 2005 the Federal Highway Administration dropped its original plan to build a road from Juneau to Skagway and instead adopted the road/ferry combination. - More...
Wednesday - May 04, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Meningitis alert in Craig; Residents are encouraged to be aware of symptoms - Public health nurses in Craig have reported a confirmed case of bacterial meningococcal infection in a Craig teenager. The youth was hospitalized on Sunday, May 1, 2011, and has since improved due to rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Rapid response to the reported infection allowed SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) employees, state public health nurses, the Alaska Section of Epidemiology, and PeaceHealth employees to notify and treat more than 35 close contacts of the patient with a preventive course of antibiotics within 24 hours.

Symptoms of meningococcal infection include: fever, severe sudden headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, pain in the shoulders and back, and a red pinpoint rash. High fever and irritability are signs in a very young child. Symptoms may appear within one to 10 days, but usually appear within three to four days of exposure. - More...
Wednesday - May 04. 2011

Alaska: Governor Parnell Continues Challenge to Federal Health Care Mandates - The State of Alaska filed a court brief today opposing the federal government’s mandate that every Alaskan and American be required to purchase a certain product for health insurance, whether they want to or not, or face a penalty. The brief by the State of Alaska, 25 other states, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The brief supports Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling on the national health care reform law of 2009, which stated the individual mandate is unconstitutional for violating the Commerce Clause.

“This case is about the individual rights of citizens and the protections our country’s founders wrote into the Constitution to prevent the federal government from reaching into our lives, homes, and pocketbooks to exercise control,” Governor Parnell said. - More...
Wednesday - May 04, 2011 

Alaska: New health department reports show STDs still on the rise in Alaska; Alaska reports highest rate of chlamydia in nation, second highest rate of gonorrhea - Alaska ranks first and second in the nation for two sexually transmitted diseases, according to two bulletins issued Tuesday by the state Section of Epidemiology.

Alaska had the highest chlamydia rate in the country in 2010, and the second highest rate of gonorrhea. Alaska has consistently had the first or second highest rates of chlamydia since 2000. The Department of Health and Social Services noted a rapid increase in new cases of gonorrhea in most regions of the state in 2009.

“It’s critical that our department works with patients, their sexual partners and health care providers to diagnose and treat these infections as soon as possible,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, state epidemiologist. “We have to control these epidemics.”

According to the bulletins published yesterday, 6,026 cases of chlamydia were reported to the section in 2010, a 13-percent increase over 2009. In 2010, 1,273 cases of gonorrhea were reported, representing a 23-percent increase in the gonorrhea infection rate over 2009. - More...
Wednesday - May 04, 2011

Ketchikan: Winter 2011-12 season proposed ferry schedule meetings - Proposed schedule patterns for the winter 2011-12 season have been placed on the Alaska Marine Highway System website for public review.

This is an opportunity for communities to review and comment on the proposed schedule in consideration of community events.

A teleconference to hear comments and consider adjustments is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. for Southeast Alaska schedules and 1:30 p.m. for Southwest and Southcentral Alaska schedules. The meeting will be held in Ketchikan at the Port Engineer’s waterfront office, 3713 Tongass Avenue for participants wishing to attend in person. - More...
Wednesday - May 04, 2011

Ketchikan: Ketchikan 5th and 6th Graders Sample College Life - Ketchikan 5th and 6th graders from Tongass School of Arts & Sciences and Ketchikan Charter School are busy gearing up for their May 10th visit to the UAS Ketchikan campus. The “I’m Going to College” program is their chance to learn how they can become college students – and to see first-hand what it will be like. The program inspires students, including those who may not have college-going role models, to recognize that education and training after high school is important and attainable.

This national program is made possible in Alaska through a partnership between the Northwest Education Loan Association (NELA) and the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) AlaskAdvantage Programs. It enables children to participate in a variety of exercises and activities. This includes a full-day event at a nearby college campus, sponsored with support from the host institution.

The participating students learn in their classroom about the benefits of a college education, college costs and financial aid, and the entire college process. The children learn how to prepare for college academically and how their interests can align with different career paths. On the day of the event, the students will be welcomed by university leadership, take a tour of the campus, and have lunch on campus. College faculty will present special age-appropriate classes with a hands-on focus. - More...
Wednesday - May 04, 2011


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

letter An Observation By Rod Landis - You know those provocative moments when you see or hear something that suddenly makes crystal-clear some previously elusive truth? I had one Tuesday morning. - More...
Thursday AM - May 05, 2011

letter Kralis concert By Wayne Kinunen - I was very fortunate to be in attendance at the 1st annual OrcaFool Don and Lois Kralis Memorial Concert Monday night at the Kayhi Auditorium. The Kayhi Jazz Band, Vocal Jazz Choir, Paddy's Leather Breeches, folkies Sean Powell and Mary Larsen, and the headbangers Buck Up Little Kamper put on a wonderful and emotional performance in honor of two fine people who left us in a tragic accident 11 months ago in British Columbia. - More...
Thursday AM - May 05, 2011

letter The Second Annual Ketchikan Clean Up By Jerry Cegelske - The Second Annual Ketchikan Clean Up began the morning of April 20, 2011 with Ketchikan being scoured by 550 students from Ketchikan and Revilla High schools.  To say the least, the results were remarkable!  Ketchikan looks much cleaner today- I hope it stays that way with the effort the students put into the clean up. - More...
Thursday AM - May 05, 2011

letter Japanese Connection - Koto Concert By Judith Green - There is something beautiful and calming about the Koto instrument - the fashion in which it is played by women in their cultural dress playing with such delicate, soft strokes. - More...
Thursday AM - May 05, 2011

letter SOME APPRECIATIVE SNOWMACHINERS By Jerry Cegelske - On March 31, I drove out on Revilla Road and found an electric range someone had dumped at 6.5 Mile. I noted it and was wondering how to get it removed. - More...
Thursday AM - May 05, 2011

letter CONTINUING A COAST GUARD TRADITION IN KETCHIKAN By Jerry Cegelske - The U. S. Coast Guard Electronics Support Detachment, Ketchikan, has established a tradition which everyone in Ketchikan should know about. - More...
Thursday - May 05, 2011

letter KCCB Spring Concert By Judith Green - Once again, for just $10 and students free, the audience was treated to live performance that was outstanding. I chose to live in Ketchikan. I was raised in a community of great renown for world wide recognition of an orchestra - graduated from a college close to NYC and performed with the chorus in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center - having access to any number of world known conductors with orchestras and bands and chorus. Yet ... I am absolutely thrilled each time I attend a live performance here in Ketchikan, this small island community that has a wealth of people who give their time and talent to learn and then to share - choral, band, dance, theater, painting, sculpting, writing and the list goes on. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 04, 2011

letter Need Comprehensive Energy Strategy By Donald A. Moskowitz - The increase in gasoline prices reflects the instability in the Middle East and attendant speculation in the oil markets.  We need to address the huge runup in oil prices with comprehensive policies designed to provide solutions to our energy consumption problems.  Unfortunately, past administrations have failed us. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 04, 2011

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

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