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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 07, 2013

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Ward Cove: Black Bear
A sunny, warm day Monday -- perfect weather for this black bear to enjoy.
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
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Ketchikan: Forest Service celebrates historic Marine Highway partnership - When Faith Duncan stepped aboard the Malaspina last week, she continued a tradition of helping travelers understand the scenery, wildlife, and communities along their way. Duncan is the interpretive and conservation education program manager for the Tongass National Forest.

On this 50th anniversary sailing, she will also be talking about the 47-year history of the Forest Service partnership with the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), a partnership that continues today.

It was early in the summer of 1963 when the USDA Forest Service was first invited to provide informational services aboard the new ferry, MV Malaspina. D. Robert Hakala, a visitor information specialist, and the interpretation and education chief, Jack Culbreath, began a program that involved customer service, visitor contact, and educational programs for riders of the ferries.

“We have been invited to participate in some of the 50th anniversary events and are very excited about meeting the riders going around Revillagigedo Island and in the Tracy Arm sailing out of Juneau,” says Duncan.

Traditionally, interpreters have staffed information desks, given informational programs, helped ferry riders spot wildlife, and directed them to areas of interest on shore.

This season, the Tongass National Forest continues the tradition, aboard the MV Matanuska, from Juneau to Prince Rupert and back twice a week. The program is slimmer than in the past due to budgetary limitations, but the 47-year partnership is alive and well. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 06, 2013

Alaska - National: Study Reports Suicide Rates Increased Among Middle-aged Adults - Suicide deaths have surpassed deaths from motor vehicle crashes in recent years in the United States. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides. Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen substantially since 1999, according to a report in May's CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Suicide rates among those aged 35 to 64 increased in all states with statistically significant increases occurring in 39 states.

"Suicide is a tragedy that is far too common," said CDC Director Tom Frieden , M.D., M.P.H. "The stories we hear of those who are impacted by suicide are very difficult. This report highlights the need to expand our knowledge of risk factors so we can build on prevention programs that prevent suicide."

CDC investigated suicide trends among U.S. adults aged 35 to 64 by sex and other demographic characteristics, state of residence, and mechanism of injury from 1999 to 2010, using data available through CDC's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Annual suicide rates for this age group increased 28 percent over this period (from 13.7 suicides per 100,000 people in 1999 to 17.6 per 100,000 in 2010), with particularly high increases among non-Hispanic whites and American Indians and /Alaska Natives. Increases in suicide rates among males and females were also observed from suicides involving hanging/suffocation, poisoning, and firearms. The suicide rates for those aged 10 to 34 and those aged 65 years and older did not change significantly during this period, the report said.

"The findings in this report suggest it is important for suicide prevention strategies to address the types of stressors that middle-aged Americans might be facing and that can contribute to suicide risk," said Linda C. Degutis , Dr.P.H., M.S.N., director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013

Second Alaska Wolf Tests Positive for Rabies – A second wolf taken in the Chandalar Lake area north of Fairbanks has tested positive for rabies.

The wolf was taken on March 15, 2013 along the north fork of the Chandalar River, northwest of Chandalar Lake. The wolf was caught in a trap and the trapper described it as not responding normally, dull and unaware.

The Alaska State Virology Laboratory in Fairbanks confirmed the results of the ADF&G testing last Wednesday that the wolf was infected with rabies.

The trapper was not directly exposed to the disease from the wolf, but his dogs were. The carcass was fed raw to his dogs while they were camping on the trap line. The dogs are now at his home in Fairbanks, and are thought to be current on rabies vaccinations, but will be given booster shots and put under a quarantine as directed by the State Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Gerlach.

“It’s very dangerous to feed raw carcasses of wildlife, especially carnivores, to pets,” said Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, Wildlife Veterinarian for ADF&G. “Pets can not only become infected, they can then transmit diseases and parasites to their owners, rabies, tularemia and echinococcus being the most serious.” - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013

Alaska: Aggressive Kasilof Brown Bear Tests Negative for Rabies - A brown bear killed by Alaska State Troopers on the Kasilof River’s north beach following reports of an attack and other aggressive behavior has tested negative for rabies.

The unprovoked attack on the afternoon of April 28th, resulted in minor injuries to a Kenai resident and subsequent reports of the bear’s unusual actions prior to the attack – including accounts of it lashing out at a telephone pole in one instance and a moving pickup truck in another – prompted Soldotna Wildlife Biologist Jeff Selinger to collect the bear’s head and spine for rabies testing.

The bear’s skull and spine were further examined by Alaska Department of Fish and Game Veterinarian Kimberlee Beckmen. She discovered that the bear, a sow estimated to have been about 20 years old, was blind in its right eye and may have been visually impaired in its left eye as well. The cornea of the bear’s right eye was ruptured as part of an old injury, Beckmen said. The cornea of the left eye was clouded, suggesting possible impairment, though to what extent is unknown. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013

Fish Factor: Alaska’s 2013 First Runs of Reds & Kings By LAINE WELCH - It might still feel like winter in some parts of the state but Alaska’s 2013 salmon season will officially get underway on May 16, when the first runs of reds and kings are scheduled to arrive at Copper River.  

The season’s first fish will attract the usual media hoopla – helicopters whisking salmon from the fishing grounds to awaiting planes, ready to fly them to eager restaurateurs and retailers in Seattle and other regions.  New among the salmon groupies will be two Texas chefs who will fish for Copper River salmon themselves, then stop over at the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau before heading home to host a VIP dinner featuring the salmon/beer duo.   The Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association and Alaskan Brewing Company  partnered to bring two famous Alaska products  to the Lone Star state.

Copper River’s projected catch of 1.3 million sockeye and 19,800 Chinook  this summer will be part of  an Alaska season total pegged at 179 million salmon, 30 percent higher than the 2012 harvest.

Pushing this year’s higher forecast is a bumper run of pink salmon that could yield a 73% higher   take of 118 million fish.  The projected catch breakdown for other salmon species is  34.3 million sockeye, down one percent;  for coho salmon, a slightly higher catch of 3.9 million, and a chum catch of 23 million, a one percent  increase. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013

Columns - Commentary

JOE GUZZARDI: Senate to Rush Immigration Bill Before Unsuspecting Americans Wake Up - This week Congress will reconvene and the Senate Judiciary Committee will hustle off to mark up the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744. Since Congress left town, the bad news bill grew from 844 to 867-pages.

Critics have spent the congressional lull analyzing the bill's pitfalls and preparing amendments to submit by 5:00 P.M. Tuesday. Not surprisingly, the committee hasn't indicated a willingness to delay the mark up even though the bill is now denser and less comprehensible than ever. S. 744 alarmingly includes an average 1.14 waivers and/or exemptions per page, more even than the Affordable Healthcare Act which, by comparison, contained 0.78 waivers on each page.

An in depth analysis made by the Daily Caller, a 24-hour news publication, found that the updated S.744 version which will give amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens, at least double legal immigration and, during its first decade, add 33 million green card workers to the labor force has 999 mentions of either "unless," "except," "exempt," "waiver," "discretion," "notwithstanding" or "may." These weasel words leave the door open for virtually any bureaucratic interpretation that could liberalize the bill's already too generous provisions. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
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letter SEAPA Study Is Needed By Sam Bergeron - SEAPA is unique in all of America. There really is nothing quite like it anywhere. SEAPA is a monopoly power generation and power distribution organization on a closed system that services three communities on three different islands in an archipelago in Southeast Alaska. It’s far and away a most unique situation in the hydro community that needs a consultant’s perspective to insure we are meeting the best interests' of the people we serve and represent. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter Congress Considers S.340.  An Alaska Big-Tree Old Growth Transfer to Private Corporation By Don Cornelius and Jack Gustafson - Legislation sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) would transfer approximately 70,000 acres of public land in scattered locations across Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to the Sealaska Corporation, primarily for extensive industrial scale clearcut logging other commercial development. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter Sealaska's Spin Fools No One By Don Hernandez -A recent Sitnews opinion piece by Sealaska vice president Rick Harris asserted their lands bill S.340 would not set a precedent reopening the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). His assertion however conflicts with Sealaska's own comments. Jaeleen Aruajo, Chief Counsel for Sealaska Corporation admitted as much before a US Senate committee in 2011 saying, "And I also would submit that if other regions have similar inequities or problems in their region then they should present those to Congress and have a similar public process that we are going through to have their issues, I guess, judged and identified and to determine if they have a right to have some congressional action as well." - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter BILL WALKER, ALASKAN TO THE CORE By Donna Walker - When my husband, Bill Walker, recently announced his intentions to seek the 2014 Republican gubernatorial nomination, I had the honor of giving this introduction for him. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter Crime Pays By Jim Shoemaker - I read with amazement in today’s paper about the possible plea deal for an person allegedly charged with 16 counts of Misapplication of Property and 17 counts of second degree theft and was close to a plea deal that would or could possibly be reduced to one count of misapplication of property. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter 2nd Amendment By Ken Leland - As to Mr. Johnson's observation, the second amendment was written to protect the citizen FROM the Government, not the other way around. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who observed that the Government should be afraid of the Citizens, not the Citizens afraid of the Government. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter Sealaska Shareholder Inequites By Joe Mehrkens - It is unfortunate that private corporations were made the primary vehicle to distribute the wealth to Alaska Natives under the ANCSA. Corporate board rooms and executive leadership are one of the least democratic institutions in Western society. So Mr. Salvato's documentation of gross inequities comes as no surprise. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter TROLLS & FRAUDSTERS (OH YAWN) By David G. Hanger- Having long since experienced the methods of internet trolls and fraudsters; I particularly remember the massive internet Ponzi schemes like Pips that I contributed to exposing some years back; when I take on a subject I know will be controversial, I always leave a few snares along the way to catch the trolls and the fraudsters as they come along; invariably exposing themselves for what they are.  - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter Where are the Value for Value appraisals By Joe Mehrkens - The Executive Vice President protests too much. If he was justified in the defense of S.340 as good science and good economics he would cite a value for value analysis for this anything but fair exchange. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter Radical socialistic views By Chris J. Herby - I like to read letters on SitNews but it is quite rare that I feel compelled to write one myself as I do now. I want to give a sincere thank-you to both Douglas and James Thompson for the direct and well written letters they wrote in response to the rambling, offensive, and factless letter about guns by David Hanger. - More...
Wednesday - May 08, 2013

letter RE: Of Guns and Museum Pieces By LCDR James Thompson USN - In response to Mr Hanger's previous letter, I could not help but retort. There are several points I would like to make. First of all as an Afghanistan War Veteran I find his assertion that he knows more about weapons as a member of the military than a civilian would, both snide and repugnant. I am active duty US Navy, and as a member of the US Navy Marksmanship Team and having shot at the national matches at Camp Perry Ohio, I can attest most of the best shots in the US are in fact civilian shooters. The fact that he is not aware of this showcases how ignorant he is of the facts. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013

letter Millions to Board Members & Managers By Dominic Salvato - Mr.Richard Harris's letter in favor of the Sealaska bill needs to be read between the lines. For almost 40 years Sealaska propaganda stated the corporation logged at sustainable rates. Now it's come to light that Sealaska wasn't logging at sustainable rates. This comes as a surprise to most shareholders, but there is a reason. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013

letter Observation By A. M. Johnson - Isn't it strange that after a bombing, everyone blames the bomber, but after a shooting, the problem is the gun! - More...
Tuesday AM - May 07, 2013

letter GSACC Propagates Urban Legends and Offers Uninformed Opinion on S.340, the “Southeast Alaska Native Lands Finalization and Jobs By Rick Harris - I read with great interest the April 25th “viewpoint” by David Beebe of the Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community (GSACC). - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013

letter Sealaska Lands Bill By Joe Mehrkens - Senator Murkowski’s recent press release concerning the Sealaska bill (S.340) rationalizes her Tongass giveaway on basis that Sealaska Corp was treated unfairly under ANCSA.  Even more disturbing, she spins S.340 as not creating a precedent for another round of Native entitlements -- when it actually does.  Senator Murkowski glosses over the lopsided S340 trade that avoided value- for-value appraisals at all costs.  Simply stated, S.340 give Sealaska a blank check to the public’s resources outside the box -- a huge windfall for the Sealaska’s Boardroom, a huge loss to the rest of us, and a major precedent for the further rounds of ANCSA entitlements. - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013

letter Second Amendment By Douglas J. Thompson - I write in response to an argument most recently made by David Hanger concerning the right to bear arms.  Mr. Hanger displays a complete lack of the context and history in which the Second Amendment was formulated. - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013

letter RE: Of guns & museum pieces By Don Sivertsen - After reading David Hanger's letter dated April 30, Of guns and museum pieces, I simply have to respond!  First of all, Mr. Hanger does taxes for people - that tells me he's book-smart.  And that's not a bad thing... But it doesn't mean that he's generally smart.  Obviously, he's far from "people-smart."  His very insinuations make that quite plain! - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013 

letter A waste of money! By Paul G. Jaehnert - While millions of confiscated guns are currently being destroyed by federal, state and local governments, why can't many of these guns instead be expropriated for use by law enforcement agencies and/or the U.S. military? - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013

letter 50th Anniversary of AMHS - May 1 celebration By Judith Green - It is "may day" - a day to dance around the 'may' pole. Well, Ketchikan had its own "dance" today - around the decks of the Malaspina. What a wonderful afternoon was spent onboard, admiring once again, the grand lady of the SE coastline "Malaspina". The turn out of community members was a thrill - from the very young in strollers with mom and dad to the older generation, every age in between, and those who needed special assistance - and nary a complaint was heard. What I did overhear - many crew members exclaiming, with total awe, about the large crowd of people that just kept coming and coming. Many varied activities went ahead without a glitch - rain? so! we live in Ketchikan, the rain capitol. - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013

letter Sale of Post Office owned buildings By P.J. Travis - Reminds us of the Bellevue, WA, downtown Post Office Building sold in 2012 and now in negotiation to lease back. - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013

letter Open Letter: Religion and the Military By A. M. Johnson - Dear Senator Murkowski, Truly must have missed your phone call while you were visiting K-Town this week, tragic, we could have discussed many subjects that seemingly are not on your agenda. The following demands Senatorial action to address this insidious attack on our Judo-Christian religious foundation. Perhaps you are unaware. I am not surprised hence my duty to bring this to your attention and request a formal response. Curious people want to know. As habit, CC to Sitnews. - More...
Saturday AM - May 04, 2013

letter OF GUN NUTS AND MUSEUM PIECES By David G. Hanger - I have no idea what political calculus Senator Mark Begich has come up with to justify his recent performance with the question of background checks for gun purchases; the idea that it is too emotional a time, his words, is pathetic. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 30, 2013

letter RE: The Truth about the Herring By Sam Bergeron - Terri Wenger Anderson thinks if you call someone names their argument will be moot. Turns out the guy your bad mouthing has been sounding the clarion call to action on the commercial harvest of herring for quite some time. His points are fact based, well researched and absent of vitriol and name-calling; we should all strive to write as well. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 30, 2013

letter To Be Fed By Ravens By Judith Green - Our community has so much talent and strength to share - it is wonderful. Many groups of school age children in the arts and sports - we applaud their efforts and enjoy watching and listening as they perform. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 30, 2013

letter Ketchikan's water is more contaminated than you think! By Ed Plute - When consumed in drinking water HAA are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Links have been made between exposure to HAA concentrations above the maximum contaminent level and injury to the liver, kidney, eyes, nerves and the reproductive system. There is not a significant risk of HAAs in drinking water to be absorbed through skin. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 30, 2013

letter Post Office buildings for sale! By A. M. Johnson - Following is a letter submitted to Senator Murkowski regarding hanky panky going on within her Senate and nobody is asking questions. So I have. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 30, 2013

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