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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 01, 2012

Front Page Photo By JACY PIERSON

POW: Pelagic Cormorant
Front Page Photo By JACY PIERSON

Ketchikan: Former mayor pleads guilty in child porn case by Deanna Garrison, KRBD - Former Ketchikan Mayor Jack Shay pled guilty to seven counts of possession of child pornography Monday in Ketchikan Superior Court. Shay accepted a plea deal with the state, in which prosecutors agreed to drop 84 additional possession of child pornography charges. - Read or listen to this KRBD story...


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Fish Factor: Fishery managers poised to take action By LAINE WELCH - It has taken a quarter of a century, but fishery managers are finally poised  to take action to reduce the five million pounds of halibut taken as bycatch in Gulf of Alaska (GOA) fisheries. Industry watchers are hoping that public comments will sway them to make the largest cuts under consideration. 

Currently, 2,300 metric tons of halibut bycatch is allowed in the GOA groundfish fisheries. That is further broken down to 2,000mt for the trawl sector and 300mt for hook and line fisheries, primarily the cod fleet. Those are the two fisheries that have the highest amounts of halibut bycatch.

At its June meeting in Kodiak, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) will vote to cut the Gulf “prohibited species” bycatch limits by five, 10 or 15 percent.

“These are fairly small cuts at this juncture but it’s a first step to continually reducing halibut bycatch,” said Theresa Peterson of Kodiak, who is a member of the Council’s Advisory Panel.

 “It has been 25 years since the bycatch limits were established and they have remained relatively unchanged since then,” she added.  “In this same time period the commercial halibut catch in the Gulf has been reduced 63%.  There are a large number of people that depend on that resource and these cuts have had and will continue to have dramatic effects on our fisheries and businesses and community economies.”

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, which manages the halibut fisheries, estimates that each pound of bycatch results in lost yield ranging from .9 pounds  to 1.1 pounds, depending on the region.   This means one pound of halibut caught as bycatch results in 1.5-1.7 lbs. of lost spawning biomass, according to the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC).  Because the IPHC manages the halibut fisheries based on the biomass of the halibut stock, bycatch has a direct impact on all halibut harvesters.

Sport fishermen also are feeling the pinch.  The annual bycatch total  exceeds the combined harvest level for the sport halibut fisheries in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska, which together totaled over 4.4 million pounds in 2010. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Tribe continues to express grave concerns over management of the Sitka Sound Sac Roe Fishery - For many years the Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) said they have expressed grave concerns over the management of the Sitka Sound Sac Roe Fishery and its impact on the resource, the ecosystem and the subsistence harvest. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) said this year’s dismal return of herring to spawn in the Sound proves their concerns were well founded.

Representing more than 4,000 Tribal Citizens, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) said they have repeatedly questioned the accuracy of the outdated Age Structural Analyses (ASA) model used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to estimate the biomass of the Sitka Sound herring stock. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska said the liberal post season estimate by fishery managers of 94,000 tons of spawning biomass is significantly short of the 144,000 tons predicted by the model.

The gross failure of the Age Structural Analyses (ASA) model to accurately predict Sitka Sound’s herring biomass combined with the inability of fishery managers to recognize this failure in-season may have significantly compromised the health of this stock said the Sitka Tribe of Alaska in a news release. Quoting the news release, the only factor preventing Alaska Department of Fish and Game and commercial fishers from harvesting the flawed 2012 GHL of 57,658,000 pounds was the lack of processing capacity which slowed the fishery. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 201

Southeast Alaska: New IFA General Manager - The Inter-Island Ferry Authority board of directors today appointed City of Craig mayor Dennis Watson general manager of the independent ferry operation, announced IFA board chairman Harvey McDonald of Thorne Bay. The position was formerly held by Bruce Jones, who retired in January.

Watson served on the IFA board from 2004 until February of this year when he resigned, upon his appointment as acting general manager. He was chairman during his last 6 years on the board. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

Ketchikan: USDA to Hold Collaboration Meeting with Alaska Tribal Governments in Ketchikan; 10 Federal Agencies to Bring Information on Rural Programs and Services - USDA-Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today announced the third in a series of Tribal Collaboration Meetings will take place on Friday, May 4th at the Ketchikan Indian Community in Ketchikan. Leadership from several federal agencies will meet with elected leaders from Alaska tribal governments in the Southern Southeast region. The meetings are in response to a memorandum signed by President Obama directing federal agencies to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials.

The USDA-led meetings entail face-to-face collaborations with tribal leaders to share information on federal programs and services for rural Alaska, and discuss relevant topics for their communities. The meetings will be held in designated local communities throughout the various regions of Alaska.

“Collaboration with Alaska’s 229 federally recognized tribes in their local areas is a considerable undertaking, but we feel this is the best way to understand the needs of Native communities. It presents an opportunity to seek their advice and provide answers to their questions on federal programs and services,” said Nordlund. “It’s our hope to strengthen the government-to-government relationship between tribal leaders and the federal government; provide an overview, by topic, of certain federal programs that have an effect on tribes; and engage in constructive dialogue, respond to questions and solicit ideas regarding federal programs,” added Nordlund. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

Ketchikan: Ketchikan 5th and 6th Graders Sample College Life - Ketchikan 5th and 6th graders from Point Higgins Elementary and Holy Name Catholic School are busy gearing up for their May 7th visit to the University of Alaska Southeast 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. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

Ketchikan: Four Southeast Teachers Win BP Awards for Excellence - Four Southeast teachers have been named BP Teachers of Excellence. They are: Mark O’Brien, who teaches 5th grade at Houghtaling Elementary School in Ketchikan; Jo Dahl, who teaches grades 9 through 12 at the Johnson Youth Center in Juneau; Michael Mahoney, who teaches grades 9 through 12 at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka; and Tom McKenna, who teaches 4th grade at Harborview Elementary School in Juneau.

Ketchikan resident Mark O’Brien is among more than 30 Alaska teachers honored as a 2012 BP Teacher of Excellence. The BP Teachers of Excellence program expanded this year and opened to all Alaska school districts. The program recognizes Alaska teachers for their dedication to teaching and for inspiring students. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

Alaska: Couple Indicted for PFD Fraud - Anchorage resident Brian Faatiliga, age 31, was indicted by a Juneau grand jury on 4 felony counts of scheme to defraud, unsworn falsification in the first degree, and theft in the first degree.  The same Juneau grand jury indicted his spouse, Vaealemasina Faatiliga, on four felony counts of theft in the second degree and unsworn falsification in the first degree.  

According to the indictment, Brian and Vaealemasina Faatiliga and their six children allegedly were living and receiving benefits in Hawaii between November 2007 and August 2008.  The Faatiligas are alleged to have failed to disclose that absence on the 2008 and 2009 Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) applications they filed for themselves and their children, with the result that the Faatiligas received and cashed or deposited a total of $36,592.00 in Permanent Fund Dividend checks for 2008 and 2009 that they were not eligible to receive. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: The Little Ship That Could, Almost. - I don’t know about you, but I was kinda sad when the Coast Guard cutter Anacapa trained its 50 mm cannon on the Ryou-Un Maru and sank it a few weeks ago.

After all, that peristent litttle ship had sailed some 4,000 miles across the pacific with nary a helping sailor’s hand and was finally getting close to land in the Alexander Archipelago.

No GPS, no LORAN, not even a working engine. And what do we do? Deem it a hazard to navigation and sink it!

Sure I understand the “law of the sea” and that if an iceberg can sink the Titanic and a moron can sink the Costa Concordia, then a 164-foot steel fishing boat floating aimlessly in the Gulf of Alaska could cause some damage to another ship.

Although in all likelihood, a giant tanker or an ocean going tug and barge would probably have crushed and spit out the remains of the Ryou-Un Maru just like a Marine Highway fast ferry spits out ocean debris.

Hmm, maybe that was a bad analogy.

At any rate, we could have welcomed the Ryou-Un Maru just like our Prince Rupert cousins welcomed the Kazu Maru 25 years ago.

Of course, the Kazu Maru had more things going for it.

For one thing it was way cuter.

A twenty-some-foot -wooden Japanese coastal fishing boat certainly tugs on all our “lost kitten” heartstrings. It’s graceful, it’s small, it’s wood!

It certainly appeals to us more than a big steel deep-water boat that was destined for the scrap yard anyway.

Then there is the irony that the Kazu Maru was from Prince Rupert’s official sister city, Owase.

And of course, the tragedy of its owner, Kazukio Sakamoto, going out for a day’s fishing and never coming back. His boat left to drift until it reached the Queen Charlotte Islands 18 months later. After being repaired, it went on display in Rupert’s Pacific Mariners Memorial Park, where it remains a quarter century later.

Most of all, it also had the great good fortune of evading the itchy trigger fingers of the Coast Guard (Canadian and American) and ran aground undetected. - More...
Tuesday - May 01. 2012


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letter Progressive activism By Jim Guenther - I don't believe that corporations are people. The GOP does. I don't believe that the government should assert itself into the reproductive organs of my wife, or my female children, or of any woman. The GOP does. I don't believe that the ability to afford health insurance should determine if a human being should be kept alive. The GOP does. I don't believe that dangerous mental patients should be allowed to carry concealed assault weapons. The GOP does. I don't believe that the wealthy should pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes than middle-income wage earners. The GOP does. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

letter Sunken cement barge By Tim Finch - Nine years after it was written, I enjoyed the story of Bill Huckins and the sunken cement barge.  I was searching around on line for info on Bill's Dad and came across June Allen's article.  The older Bill occasionally worked with my Grandfather, Henry Finch Jr., also a diver.  His Dad, Henry Sr. first located the SS Islander the year after it sunk, in 1902, but couldn't do much beyond that, given the +300 foot depth.  Henry Jr. also worked with the Islander expedition starting in 1929 but did not go back after the first year.  A good decision in hindsight. - More...
Tuesday - May 01, 2012

letter Concerns About Discovery Center By Tom LeCompte - I have great concerns about Ketchikan this Summer, specifically the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, (SEDC).This Alaska Public Lands Information Center is a natural history, native history, economic and recreation information clearinghouse for the Tongass National Forest. There are three other APLIC's in the state, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Tok. - More...
Thursday - April 26, 2012

letter We've Got Talent By Judith Green - 'The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood' was SO well done. BRAVO! to each of the students who participated - whether you had a speaking or non-speaking part, job well done! It was so much fun to see each of you so well poised and positioned - just enjoying. The match-up of participant to parts was very (evident)successful. (Yes, "I got that") - More...
Thursday - April 26, 2012

letter Thank you By Brandy Cotter - The Sebring family of Michigan and I wish to thank all involved in the care of our loved one. - More...
Thursday - April 26, 2012

letter Unprofessionalism By Jerry Klein - I was at the KIC health clinic Wednesday (04-25-12). I found the triage nurse to be very cold and uncaring. She refused to help me cause it was a little late in the day and she refused to refer me to the ER. - More...
Thursday - April 26, 2012

letter “Walk the Change” May 4th By Karen Eakes - I am writing on behalf of the Strengthening Cultural Unity (SCU) task force of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition.  This group has brought Challenge Day to Ketchikan secondary schools for the past three years and is currently working on plans and funding for the next school year. As a follow up to the Challenge Day events there have also been “Be the Change” student efforts at Schoenbar and at Kayhi. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter Girls on the Run 5K By Aftan Lynch- Saturday, April 28th, Girls on the Run will be hosting an untimed Spring 5K at Ward Lake at 10:30 am. Women in Safe Homes invites you to attend this event and run with or cheer on the participants. This season, over 35 girls are participating from three schools: Houghtaling, Point Higgins, and Fawn Mountain. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter Re: Boat Trailers By Ken Lewis - Supporting the local economy can be very frustrating, especially if you are a misunderstood parking space hog. Ode to the curbside sailors. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter Stop signs and crosswalks By Alan R. McGillvray - Well if there is one thing (or too many) that any city in the WORLD has it's STOP SIGNS. - More....
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter Good-bye Credit Card By A.M. Johnson - The following letter was sent to the mangement of Alaska Airlines regarding their credit card account managed by Bank of America. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter Inuit Drum Dancing By Carol Baines - Here in Southeast Alaska, we don't seem to get to see much of northern aspects of native culture. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter Second amendment attack by Congressional Socialist By A. M. Johnson - I recently sent the following letter to Alaska's Congressional Representative, Don Young. As I understand it, Senator Lisa Murkowski voted in favor of this legislation through SB 1813, legislation related to the highway construction funding. Her explanation to me was that the benefits of federal funding for construction including ferrys was too important. Yet, the content of the legislation included the following form of yet another effort to restrict and control the citizens of this Nation. RINO's such as Senator Murkowski are selling our Constitutional rights to the devil. While I am too old to suffer the consequences of this continued downward spiral to Socialism, my Grandchildren and worst, my Great Grandchildren, whom I am growing old with are the ultimate victims. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter The Closure of U.S. Oil Refineries By Donald A. Moskowitz - I recently wrote a letter on exported fuels by U.S. oil companies who reap higher prices paid overseas. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

letter RE: Care About Ketchikan By Judith Green - Bobby McCreary and KYI, ingenious idea! This does not attack nor condemn - just a great idea of support for our community. A way for anyone & everyone to have a part by their own choosing, not a guilt trip. - More...
Tuesday - April 24, 2012

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