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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 15, 2012

Front Page Photo By SUSAN HOYT

They're Back
This bear was taking a stroll down by the road at
Ketchikan airport early Sunday morning
Front Page Photo By SUSAN HOYT


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Ketchikan: Gateway Aquatic Center Grand Opening Celebration Announced - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Parks and Recreation Department announced the Grand Opening Celebration for the new Gateway Aquatic Center will be held in June.

"We are ecstatic to see the completion of the Gateway Aquatic Center. Customers and staff alike have been anxiously anticipating this day. With the help of an Ad Hoc Committee and community support, we now have a quality aquatic center that will meet the needs of all ages. I hope everyone can come out and join us in the Grand Opening Celebration. It will be a fun day for all," said Wendy Miller, director of Parks and Recreation Department.

The new $23.5 million Gateway Aquatic Center will include: - More...
Tuesday - May 15, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Governor Parnell Signs Budget; Includes Priority Projects for Southeast Alaska - Monday, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (R) signed the FY2013 capital budget that he says continues his commitment to economic development across the state, and to save more surplus revenue for the future. The budget includes numerous projects for Southeast Alaska.

“Our priorities are jobs and economic opportunities for Alaskans,” Governor Parnell said. “Infrastructure development and energy projects will unlock more Alaskan success stories.”

The capital budget will fund many important transportation and infrastructure projects across the state.  

More than $1.6 billion was appropriated for highways, aviation, the Alaska Marine Highway, harbors, village safe water, and municipal water and sewer projects. The Roads to Resources initiative was also funded allowing work to continue on a road to Tanana, the Ambler District Road, a road to Umiat, and improvements on the Klondike Industrial Use Highway to Skagway.

Another $50 million was set aside in the Vessel Replacement Fund as a down payment on the second new ferry for the Alaska Marine Highway System.  

“Maintaining spending discipline, focusing on our constitutional priorities, investing in infrastructure to build economic opportunity, and saving for the future are vital components of the budget approved for the upcoming fiscal year,” Governor Parnell said. “I appreciate the detailed legislative work on the budget and legislators’ willingness to join me in limiting spending.”

The operating and capital budgets statewide now total $12.1 billion, including $7.9 billion in state general funds. Total state operating budget growth has been limited to 3.3 percent. The budget includes full funding for K-12 education, Medicaid, retirement system unfunded liability, debt service, and employee contracts. The capital budget totals $2.9 billion, including $1.9 billion in state general funds.

Highlights of capital projects in Southeast Alaska include: - More...
Tuesday - May 15, 2012

Alaska: It’s Official: Texting While Driving Is Illegal in Alaska - Legislation led by Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Representative Bill Thomas (R-Haines), Alaska’s strong anti-texting law is officially back on the books as of May 10, 2012. Last year, a number of judges questioned whether the law at the time covered texting while driving, but the new law is clear—it is illegal to text while driving in Alaska.

“The Legislature intended to ban dangerous conduct like texting while driving. Rather than wait for appeals, we’re sending a clear message to the public, now, that texting, and typing on personal and computer devices can cause death and serious injury. In an average text you drive the length of a football field before paying attention to driving. We don’t want cars to be moving weapons,” said Rep. Gara.

“This is a public safety issue. When people type or text while they’re driving, they are endangering people’s lives. That’s not acceptable,” said Rep. Thomas, the bill’s other prime sponsor.

The Department of Law has said for first time violators, the usual sentence has been a fine or community service, but no jail time. That is consistent with prosecutions before some courts called the law into question last year. - More...
Tuesday - May 15, 2012

Ketchikan: Patrick Branco Receives AHA Grassroots Award - PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center’s CEO and Chief Missions Officer Patrick J. Branco has been awarded the 2012 Grassroots Champion award by the American Hospital Association as nominated by the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA).

Patrick Branco Receives AHA Grassroots Award

Pictured (LtoR): Karen Perdue (ASHNHA CEO), Vicki Branco, Patrick Branco, and Rich Umbdenstock (President AHA)
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

This award recognizes the achievements of grassroots leaders who have worked over the previous year to effectively deliver their hospital’s mission to elected officials, broaden the base of community support for hospitals, and tirelessly advocate on behalf of patients, hospitals, and communities. Just one hospital leader from each state is recognized each year for their dedication to the hospital mission on both a local and national level.

“We depend upon strong local voices to help tell the story of hospitals as cornerstones of the communities they serve,” said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA president and CEO. “This award is a small token of our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of these individuals to improving health and health care in America.” - More...
Tuesday - May 15, 2012

Ketchikan: New medical practice opens in Ketchikan - A new solo medical practice, Cherish Health Clinic, has been established in Ketchikan by Carol Alley, MD.  Located at the offices of Creekside Family Health Clinic, Dr. Alley’s practice provides out-patient primary and acute care for adolescents and adult patients.  Dr. Alley recently retired from the US Public Health Service after twenty years of service.

“I love the art of medicine and the art of helping others,” says Dr. Alley.  “It is wonderful to finally have the flexibility of a private practice to do what I love.”

Dr. Alley emphasizes that the practice of medicine is only one part of improving patients’ health and that patient ownership of health maintenance is also key.  “Educating and motivating individuals regarding their health, in a safe and compassionate environment, is something I do well,” she says. “It is not until individuals become internally motivated to care about their health, to focus on the lifestyle changes that are within their control, that they take responsibility for their own well-being”, she notes. She points out that oftentimes it is the small, but significant, changes that a person makes in their lifestyle that improves their overall health. - More...
Tuesday - May 15, 2012

Alaska Science: Lone wolf's days of wandering are over By NED ROZELL - Thanks to information from a collar that communicated with satellites, a biologist has closed the book on the long journey of a male wolf that left its pack last one year ago and wandered thousands of miles through northern Alaska.

Lone wolf's days of wandering are over

Seth McMillan of the National Park Service recovers the body of a male wolf that roamed more than 2,000 miles in seven months. The wolf died of starvation; McMillan is pictured where he and John Burch found it beneath a spruce tree near the upper Kanuti River.
Photo courtesy John Burch.

When I last wrote about the wolf in August 2011, the silvery black creature was somewhere in the rolling tundra east of Deadhorse, having traveled more than 1,500 miles from its former home in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve on the Yukon River last summer. The wolf was on a journey of great risk/reward, said John Burch, a biologist who fitted it with a collar that transmitted GPS coordinates to satellites every few days.

Wolves from resident packs often kill “dispersing” wolves, such as the healthy 100-pound male from Yukon-Charley. But if the wolf on the move finds a territory in which the dominant male is dead, or if it finds another female on the move in country without a resident pack, it might form a new group, Burch said.

The big Yukon-Charley male seemed to have had some luck at the latter, at least for a while.

“He appeared to settle down for a bit on the North Slope,” Burch said. “I would guess he found a mate for a while. But they broke up for some reason and he headed south again.”

After a few weeks of stability in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, the wolf headed south as winter set in. It loped through a low mountain pass and padded down the Chandalar and upper Koyukuk river drainages. The wolf continued south to once again cross the Arctic Circle a few hundred miles west of where it last May passed the imaginary line going northward. - More...
Tuesday - May 15, 2012


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Update in Progress

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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