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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 14, 2011

Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Colors of the Tongass
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Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

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HOUSE APPROVES FISCAL YEAR 2012 CAPITAL BUDGET; Pays for roads, schools, infrastructure, maintenance, erases debts; SB 46 funds projects & grants to boost state’s economy, leverage federal funds - The Alaska House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2012 Capital Budget Friday night, investing in schools, roads, airports, harbors, energy projects and other infrastructure programs across the state. The budget, Senate Bill 46, funds hundreds of projects and grants ranging from items as small as school equipment replacement to a $400 million transfer into an educational grant fund for scholarship and financial aid.

House Finance Committee Co-Chair Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak/Mat-Su, said the house placed a greater emphasis on infrastructure maintenance and development in its version of the capital spending bill.  “We have continued to build out the state through a series of anchor infrastructure projects, while balancing the need for regional parity and leveraging federal funds,” Stoltze said. “A lot of the press coverage has focused on the stalemate that brought us into special session. It is time to move past that and focus on the good that is in this bill. We’re paying down state debt service by $200 million, which will save the state nearly $14 million per year over the next two decades. That’s real savings and a compromise with the other body. With this budget we are continuing to try and combat the state’s high cost of living through energy relief, job opportunities and better infrastructure and services.

The House Finance Committee Substitute (HCS) for SB46 invests more than $700 million in surface transportation, $335 million in our airports, and more than $260 million on education. All told, those transportation and school projects make up 41 percent of the budget. Non-transportation projects account for $1.1 billion and include projects that will benefit every Alaskan, through AGIA reimbursement, in-state natural gas pipeline development, renewable energy, and Alaska Housing Finance Corporation weatherization funding.

“Our Finance Co-Chair and Committee did a yeoman’s job, taking more than six hours of public testimony and honoring the legislative and public process,” House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “They have crafted a bill that meets the desires of Alaskans from all regions while prioritizing aspects of our Caucus’s Guiding Principles: showing fiscal responsibility through debt retirement and transfers to savings accounts; promoting excellent schools and workforce development, access to affordable energy, responsible resources development, and safe and healthy communities. I believe our process resulted in a better bill, which still reflects the will and wishes of both the Senate and the governor.”

Representative Kyle Johansen (R- Ketchikan) who represents District 1, said the construction budget for District One included all projects funded in the Senate version and added the traditional discretionary appropriations from all 40 House members.  He said other statewide additions included monies for continuing weatherization programs, funding college scholarship programs and in-state gas-line work.

Johansen said, “I am very pleased with our overall success in convincing the House of Representatives of the importance of our District One projects, Southeast regional projects and statewide projects important to all Alaskans.  Our delegation worked closely, as usual, to advance and protect projects important to our constituents.  Many thanks to community members who helped lobby and support our efforts.”

House District 1 includes Ketchikan, Saxman, Hollis, Meyers Chuck, Thorne Bay, and Coffman Cove.

Johansen said the House District 1 Projects included in last night's House passed 2012 Capital Budget are:  - More...
Saturday - May 14, 2011

Fish Factor: Globally, salmon supplies down, demand extremely strong By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s salmon season officially begins on May 16 at Copper River and by all accounts, customers around the world are eager to gobble up as much salmon as they can get.

“The only sure thing is that there will be some surprises, but for most salmon species the market conditions should be as good as or better than last year,” said Gunnar Knapp, a fisheries economist at the University of Alaska/Anchorage. 

As a reminder – last year’s Alaska salmon catch of 171 million fish was valued at $534 million at the docks, the best showing in 18 years. State managers predict a catch of nearly 204 million salmon this year, which would be the fifth largest salmon harvest on record.  The boost stems from a projected pink catch topping 133 million fish, about 25% higher than last year. (Knapp cautions that might lower pink salmon prices somewhat if the harvest comes in on target.)

Globally, salmon supplies are down while demand is extremely strong, Knapp said.  

“And that includes farmed salmon,” he added. “But because there is a lot of preference for wild salmon in some markets, the outlook is really good, particularly in Europe and Japan, and even Russia.”

Knapp said currency exchange rates also are favorable for Alaska seafood sales to foreign customers. The U.S. dollar has been softening relative to other currencies, and that is good news for people selling to foreign countries, including Japan and Europe.

“The thing that is really driving the salmon demand is not so much the US market, although that is important, it is demand coming from overseas markets,” Knapp explained. 

Japan is Alaska’s largest seafood customer and Knapp said the devastation caused to that country’s fishing, processing and cold storage sectors by the recent earthquake and tsunami could have positive and negative aspects from a seafood trade perspective.

Japan is the largest chum salmon producer in the world  and with extensive damage to its production and processing potential, they will likely be looking elsewhere for chum salmon and roe to fill supply shortfalls. 

“For chums and to a certain extent sockeye we could see a strengthening in the market due to the damage that was done to our competitors in Japan,” Knapp said. - More...
Saturday - May 14, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDave Kiffer: Painting The Hill - Sometime in the next couple of weeks, a longstanding tradition will reoccur on “college hill.”

The Ketchikan High School seniors – and others – will paint the hill. Actually, it used to happen on upper Madison, but when Kayhi was expanded in the early 1990s Upper Madison became upper Jefferson . No one really wanted to call it Upper Jefferson so they took to calling it College Hill because that’s where the main campus of UAS-K is.

In Ketchikan we like to illuminate the obvious.

So now they “paint” the hill shortly before graduation. Actually paint isn’t quite the right word, unless of course you consider what Jackson Pollock did as “painting.”

In truth, they graffiti it – or perhaps that is what they now call “tagging” in the Big City.

As usual, I digress.

Anyway, any time now some surreptitious group of students will “tag” the heck of out College Hill with an array of colors, statements, sayings, witticisms and whatever.

They do it every year.

And it’s been going on at least since the early 1970s.  I – of course – being an upstanding youngster never “tagged” Upper Madison in my day. But I did go to jail for “tagging” Upper Madison. More on that in a minute.

You see, some folks fail to see the creative burst of energy that painting the hill entails. They don’t appreciate that for 12 years we have been pounding into these kids’ heads that they have to work together. Then the minute the students work together to graffiti bomb the street, the grownups get all grumpy and complain about what a public nuisance it is.

Go figure.

Then these people actually complain to the local constabulary about said activities and the constabulary races out to college hill, swinging their truncheons, in an effort to stop aforementioned hooliganarial activities.

Or something like that.

Certainly the peacekeepers want to keep the public peace and they want to discourage general lawlessness in Our Fair Salmon City. But for the most part they don’t take an overally aggressive tack in tackling the Jackson Pollockization of College Hill. - More...
Saturday - May 14, 2011


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letter Education funding By Agnes Moran - I find it fascinating the controversy I've generated by simply asking the school district for detailed budget information in a consistent and comprehensive format. FY2011 funding for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District totaled $40,472,050 for 2,100 students. Everyone in this community has a right to question how their education dollars are being utilized and the school district has a legal responsibility to provide the information in a timely manner. - More...
Thursday - May 10, 2011

letter The rest of the story By Alan Bailey - I read with dismay a paraphrased sentence in the Ketchikan Daily News concerning my opposition to a line item 6045 in the Ketchikan Gateway budget which allocated $5750.00 for junk food, prepared food, soft drinks, hors d'erves,party goods, condiments, and a Christmas party for Borough employees with tax payer monies. It was reported by Mr. Miller that I was opposed to $2,000 food served to firefighters at meetings. That was not the whole story. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 10, 2011

letter Re: Inequities in the current system of funding our K-12 schools By Ed Brown - Love that these young people of Ketchikan are paying attention to the politics in our state. Giving away other people's money is a nation and world wide sport. On the backs of the blue collar folks these gold collared folks spend your tax money for you. This is only one of many reasons to throw these bums out of office from time to time. After awhile these smart folks think they are entitled to spend all your tax money on others needs. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 10, 2011

letter Concerned By Marcie Pungowiyi - I am writing because I am concerned that a Ketchikan trailer park may be possibly operating under questionable/ shady business practices. Earlier this year I was interested in purchasing a mobile home. I talked with several mobile home owners, who were selling. Both owners warned me that I would not get approved for parking space, that no one gets approved. I was concerned by the comments, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. With a good record, credit, & long term employment, I did not feel I had anything to worry about. I went to this local office 3-4 times during their office hours and there was no one there each time. When I did finally catch up to the manager, I filled out a credit check application & turned it in to the manager. I was informed that I had to fill out a separate credit check for each adult. These run $20 bucks each, which I did, but this bothered me because all of the information was on the application I had already filled out. The application asked for applicant & co-applicant. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 10, 2011

letter Inequities in the current system of funding our K-12 schools By Gary Wilken - I am writing to express my appreciation for the outstanding effort of a group of Ketchikan High students in producing a YouTube video describing the inequities in the current system of funding our K-12 schools.  Led by Mr. Sean Powell, teacher, these students ably tackled a complicated provision of our Foundation Formula.  This provision penalizes Alaskans living in "Organized Alaska" (i.e. boroughs) by requiring a local contribution to their schools while those in "Unorganized Alaska" are required to pay none, regardless of ability to pay.  In the video, which I encourage all taxpayers across the state to watch the students scratch their collective heads and ask "Why?" - More...
Friday PM - May 06, 2011

letter Where is the death certificate, Mr. President? By By Jimmie L. Foster - Osama bin Laden is dead. Of that, I have no doubt. To question this statement one would have to question the skill and bravery of the Navy SEALS and believe that the master terrorist who occasionally appeared in propaganda videos and audio recordings was capable of perpetually eluding all human and technological intelligence. - More...
Friday PM - May 06, 2011

letter The Great Alaska Cluster of 2011 By Tara Jollie - A budget showdown in the last days of this special session defines what Alaskans mean when we use the term cluster. I appreciate the power struggle the Senate is grappling with, but having checks and balances is a good thing. Having one or two people in the Administration making critical decisions that impact us all is not a good thing. This is a fight worth fighting. - More..
Friday - May 06, 2011

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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