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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 11, 2012

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Wilson's Warbler
Photographed at the Frog Ponds by Ward Lake
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS


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Fish Factor: ‘Ultimate Fishing Town' Annual Competition By LAINE WELCH - Several Alaska towns are vying for the title of ‘Ultimate Fishing Town’ which comes with a $25,000 check for local fishing projects.

The annual competition is sponsored by the World Fishing Network, “a 24/7 television network dedicated to all segments of fishing,” according to its website. WFN, which focuses on sport fishing, originally launched in 2005 and is now seen in more than 20 million North American households via cable, satellite and the Internet.

As of Friday, nine Alaska towns were among the hundreds of hopefuls on the leaderboard -- but they have a lot of catching up to do.

In the lead for the best fishing destination was Waddington NY (on the St. Lawrence River) with 18,645 votes.

Ranking #6 with 2,307 votes was Dillingham Alaska, touted as “The hub for Bristol Bay, nicknamed America’s fish basket, and home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run.”

““How could the wildest fishery in the world be losing to the east coast!?”  Dillingham artist and activist Apayo Moore told the Bristol Bay Times/Dutch Harbor Fisherman. “We deserve to be the ultimate fishing town because our life is fish, and we attract people from all over the globe to our world-renowned fishery.”

Coming in at #8 with 1,228 votes was Petersburg (Alaska’s Little Norway, king salmon and 300 pound halibut… home to the largest salmon ever caught at 126 pounds!) 

Other Alaska towns on the list include Igiugig with 41 votes. (Gateway to an angling paradise on the Kvichak River, which runs through town and feeds Bristol Bay);  Seward (Alaska starts here!) - 38 votes; and  Cordova (Home of Copper River salmon) - 10 votes.

Soldotna (Known for the world famous Kenai River, home to the world record king salmon ) - 7 votes;   Kodiak (Anywhere and everywhere, from 400 pound halibut to king crab and king salmon) - 3 votes:   Anchor Point   (The most western location of the North American highway system)  had two votes, as did Valdez (Absolutely the best salmon fishing there is!) 

Sitka - where “Everyone in town dresses like a fisherman and the biggest tourism sector is sport fishing. On a bad day you catch fish” – had one vote. - More...
Friday - May 11, 2012

Alaska: Alaska’s Fishing Industry: The universal relevance of a multi-billion dollar industry By PAULA DOBBYN - Tele Aadsen started out in Wasilla, spending her first few years in the strip mall town north of Anchorage later made famous by a certain former Alaska governor. But the Sitka troller and writer didn’t remain in Mat-Su for long. When Aadsen was a second grader, her parents, Ken and Val, built a sailboat in their Wasilla backyard, a construction project that eventually morphed into a job and a lifestyle for their daughter.

“My fishing career started in 1984 when I was seven,” Aadsen says. “After my parents finished the boat, they sailed it from Anchorage across the Gulf of Alaska without any clear idea of what was going to happen next."

As it turned out, the Aadsens found themselves in Sitka, one of Alaska’s busiest fishing ports located on the outer coast of Southeast’s scenic Inside Passage, surrounded by the lush Tongass National Forest. As the family moored their sailboat, Sitka’s docks were crawling with people offloading fish and others looking for deckhand jobs. The family instantly got caught up in the summer fishing frenzy that defines many coastal Alaska communities.

They decided to rig up the sailboat as a hand troller and try their hand at salmon fishing.

“After a couple of years it became obvious we weren’t going to earn a living that way,” Aadsen says.

In the fall of 1986, the Aadsens decided to get serious. They traveled to Port Townsend, Wash., and found a fiberglass hull. They traded a piece of land they owned in Petersburg for the hull, and went to work transforming it into a power troller. The family lived in “a broken-down motor home outside the boat barn,” and, later, in the Port Townsend boat yard, working 18-hour days to get the Willie Lee II built in time to fish the upcoming season.

“They didn’t know it was impossible for a couple to build a boat in nine months, so that’s what they did,” Aadsen says. “We fished the Willie Lee II that July and sold the sailboat.”

They fished together as a family for a few more years. But the bottom fell out of the Alaska wild salmon market in 1989 following the Exxon Valdez spill, and Ken decided to get out of the business. Val, however, saw a future in commercial fishing in Southeast Alaska and kept the boat. The couple split.

At the time, according to Aadsen, Val was one of the few female skippers in Southeast Alaska, and her only crewman was her daughter. They fished for nearly a decade together until a few years of poor returns, low prices and equipment costs took a financial toll. Her mother ended up selling their boat.

Aadsen took a break from fishing, got a master’s degree and did social work in Seattle for seven years. But, like many fishermen who get hooked on the lifestyle, Aadsen’s heart was on the water. She traded her social work job for a full-time career as a troller and a longliner in Southeast Alaska and hasn’t looked back since.

“I’m paying off my student loans with my fishing business,” says Aadsen, who is also writing a memoir while maintaining “Hooked,” her popular fishing blog. - More...
Friday - May 11, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Raindrops Keep Falling On Our Heads - My, my, my, didn’t we all get wet over the rainfall a few days ago.

Facebook postings. Twitters. Stories in the newspaper. Even in the state news. Much gnashing of teeth and grumbling back and forth in public.

As if it never rains here.


More than nine inches in two days. Back in the day, I’m sure my great grandparents would have called that a persistent drizzle.

Still, for us modern livers and lovers of the easy life, it seemed like a lot.

Not as much as October 30 and 31st of 1972, when we got 11.38 inches in two days.

Or October 18 and 19th of 1964 when we got 11.30 inches in two days.

Or that wonderful deluge on November 18 and 19th of 1917 when we got more than a foot of rain in two days, 13.8 inches to be exact.

All told the national weather service reports that the 9+ inches of rain we got on that halcyon Sunday and Monday in early May was “only” the 19th wettest two day recording period in Ketchikan’s history.

Significant, but neither epic nor biblical. No arks yet, even though it continues to rain.

Actually we’d probably try to build a couple of arks, but the wood’s just too wet to cut. And I seem to have misplaced my cubit measuring stick.

When I was a little kid, I asked my Dad if the clouds ever ran out of water. He said he didn’t know because he was only 47.

Natch, I digress And, of course, this recent “light watering” pails comparison to Oct 11, 1977 when 8.71 inches of rain was recorded. In one day.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t here then. I was in Southern California in my first semester of college. But I took some rain with me. My first six months in Los Angeles coincided with the breaking of a 10 year drought. Some 20 inches of rain fell that winter. Enough to cause landslides and actually put water in the Los Angeles River!

So you could say that I am a “rainmaker” in the true Ketchikan tradition! Except, that when I left it should have gotten better here. Sorry, but 8.71 inches of rain in a single day does not constitute better.

So what was it like that day when the heavens opened at just about twice the rate of rainfall we just saw on either of those two recent dreadful days?

I am so glad you asked. - More...
Friday - May 11, 2012


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter RE: Progressive Activism By Dave Henderson - Let me first say that I believe in individual rights and particularly those protected by the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment that protects everyone's right to speak their piece. However, I also think that a person has an obligation to know what they are talking about before they open their mouth. Running off at the mouth before checking your facts or doing the research necessary to ensure that you know what you are talking about is the worst kind of activism, is irresponsible, the kind of thing that has started more conflicts, and is totally unnecessary if one truly believes that truth should always prevail. - More...
Friday - May 11, 2012

letter Term Limits 2012 By Raymond Austin - In 2009 shareholders voted to establish Sealaska Term Limits for the Sealaska Board of Directors, over 6000 shareholders voted to support Term Limits, but there were not enough votes to pass this. In 2011, a mere corporate technicality invalidated the shareholder resolution effort for the 2011 shareholder ballot. This year, shareholders will once again unite to pass the Term Limits resolution. The Sealaska paper proxies are scheduled to be in the mail by May 11, 2012 and the Term Limits resolution will be placed before shareholders. - More...
Friday - May 11, 2012

letter High fives and other crimes By A. M. Johnson - For the days following the removal of Mayor Jack Shay's official Ketchikan Borough photo and the ensuing aftermath I have pondered on the lack of reactions of civic members of the Ketchikan community. I wonder if the honor and moral obligations of civic leaders are being excused without prejudice by peers. I wonder what lessons on principles are being cast aside. I wonder. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 09, 2012

letter Education Funding Confusion By Allegra Machado - I attended the Borough Assembly Meeting Monday night regarding local Education Funding. There seemed to be confusion amongst Assembly Members about Senate Bill 182 and its intended use. I heard the term " taxpayer relief" used rather loosely in reference to its purpose. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 09, 2012

letter RE: Progressive Activism By Kevin Hufford - Jim Guenther's letter titled "Progressive Activism" is a masterpiece of uninformed, brainwashed and delusional thinking devoid of fact or truth. Sitnews should show more civic responsibility and professionalism by not printing such rambling garbage. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 09, 2012

letter RE: Progressive activism By Bill Ayers - The Progressive Activism letter by Jim Guenther seems to exhude the type of hate-mongoring that permeates the media today. It does not state an undeniable fact, but instead takes a snippet of a viewpoint and states it as a fact pointed towards a specific section of society. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 09, 2012

letter RE: Progressive activism By James Dornblaser - First let me say “blessed be the opinionated, for they are true time savers”. No time need be wasted gathering facts, applying logic, or providing proof of your statements; just jump to a conclusion! - More...
Wednesday PM - May 09, 2012

letter RE: Progressive Activism By A.M.Johnson - Aaaa, the political season has hit Sitnews, well tit for tat, I say. While I profess that I am not as clever as some, I do recognize the written word that profoundly champions my personality and would offer those in my stead. Being an adopted child, the discussion on the subject of abortion has greater meaning. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 09, 2012

letter RE: Progressive Activism By Chris Barry - In response to Jim Guenther's recent letter and his claim to fame as a "retired teacher" and his views on the GOP, I can only hope that those that were taught by him did not listen to his incompetent babblings. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 09, 2012

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

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