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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 09, 2013

Front Page Photo by MARK O'BRIEN

Kids' Night Out
Houghtaling Elementary had a "Kids' Night Out" operated by PATH (Parents and Teachers of Houghtaling) on Friday night, April 19. The school engaged students with various science and kid-centered activities. Pictured is PATH president, Lori Nagy, in the process of encasing sixth-grader, Elizabeth Porter-Barnes, in a huge bubble during a science activity in Mark O'Brien's classroom.
Front Page Photo by MARK O'BRIEN ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)



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Ketchikan: Tour Guides Tour Misty Fiords - The U.S. Forest Service Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District and Allen Marine Tours partnered to provide the annual Outfitter and Guide and Tour Operator Training. The St. Nona took 60 tour operator and guides serving Ketchikan-area visitors to the Misty Fiords National Monument Wilderness.

Lorelei Haukness (Recreation Planner) and Melissa Cady (Wildlife Biologist) identified Misty Fiords birds on the deck of Allen Marine Tours St. Nona
Photo Courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Forest Service specialists shared their expertise and answered questions. Lorelei Haukness gave an overview of the Misty Fiords National Monument Wilderness. Sheila Spores provided tips for identifying common trees and understanding forest ecology. Ron Medel discussed salmon and the Tongass National Forest. Jim Baichtal spoke on the geology and glaciology of Misty Fiords. Melissa Cady covered Southeast Alaska bird identification and gave tips on conducting bird walks.

“This training is an important part of our annual education outreach because most people that visit the Tongass National Forest do so with a guide,” said Lorelei Haukness, Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District Recreation Planner. “The Forest Service considers tour operators our partners in helping us share information about the amazing cultural and natural resources on the Tongass National Forest. This type of information enriches visitor experiences and increases awareness of, and appreciation of, these resources.” - More...
Thursday - May 09, 2013

Ketchikan: 8th Grade Career Fair Set for Thursday, May 16 - For the fifth year in a row, over 150 eighth-grade students from Ketchikan and Craig will spend next Thursday meeting professionals and learning about interesting careers here in Ketchikan. 

There will be 5 different stations set up at Schoenbar and 5 more at the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Tech Center. Students will have a half hour in each session, which will include a hands-on activity. Some of the activities include mining for gold, donning a survival suit, running a television camera, driving a boat and controlling the spread of germs. 

The organizations that will be presenting include Ketchikan Police and Fire Departments, Alaska State Troopers, United States Coast Guard, Ketchikan Public Utilities, Vigor Inc., UAS Ketchikan Marine Transportation, Mining, Nursing, and UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Marine Advisory Program. - More...
Thursday _ May 09, 2013

Alaska: Powerhouse Bristol Bay, Alaska salmon fishery produces $1.5 billion in value By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Bristol Bay, Alaska commercial salmon fishery is the world's most valuable wild salmon fishery and in total produces an astounding annual value of $1.5 billion, according to a new report, "The Economic Importance of the Bristol Bay Salmon Industry."

The fishery supports a significant number of jobs in the four West Coast states, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, and the total value of Bristol Bay salmon product exports in 2010 was about $370 million, accounting for nearly 20% of the total value of all US seafood exports. Written by researchers at the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research, the report marks the first time the full value and impact of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery has been measured.

The report was released during a phone conference on May 9 that included Deadliest Catch Captain Johnathan Hillstrand , who said: "For everyone who counts on the salmon industry to make a living, the Pebble project is the Deadliest Mine. The only people who want this mine don't live in Alaska or even the United States. They're foreign mining companies that want to sell gold and copper to the Chinese."

The report comes at the same time the EPA is conducting a comment period of its revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, a scientific report that shows that digging up the proposed Pebble mine will destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and up to 4,800 acres of wetlands in the best case scenario, without potential leaks or a catastrophic failure.

"There are few issues that are more black and white than protecting Bristol Bay. EPA's draft assessment and this economic impact study both confirm that the proposed Pebble mine would be bad for fish and bad for fishermen. With 3,000 Washington state jobs at stake, we can't afford the ecological or economic risk," said Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington.

Following the April 26th release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised Bristol Bay assessment, U. S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said in a prepared statement, “The EPA was asked some tough questions by Alaskans and their own hand-picked peer review panel about how large scale development might affect the rich salmon resources of Bristol Bay. While I remain opposed to a pre-emptive veto of this or any other project, an open, public process that answers Alaskans’ questions and puts better science on the table is a good thing. I look forward to reviewing this assessment and hope it answers questions about whether this project can meet the high hurdle of developing a large-scale mine while protecting our renewable resources.”

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also responded to the Environmental Protection Agency’s release on April 26th of a revised watershed assessment of Alaska’s Bristol Bay region.

“My review of the full document is still underway, but in the meantime I want to reiterate what I have said in the past. Attempts to prejudge any mining project before the full details of that proposal are submitted to the EPA for review is unacceptable. The permitting process exists for a reason and a federal agency can no more ignore the established process than can an applicant,” Murkowski said. - More...
Thursday - May 09, 2013

Alaska: BLM Proposal For State To Pay For Legacy Well Clean-Up, “Dead On Arrival” - In response to calls from U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a draft plan Wednesday for the cleanup of decades-old exploration wells drilled by the federal government in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

“After repeated requests, the BLM has finally released a plan to address the ongoing environmental pollution occurring within the NPR-A. That’s a step in the right direction, but I’m concerned that the agency appears to have unilaterally decided that more than half of the wells don’t require remediation. That’s not the federal government’s decision to make – that’s up to the state of Alaska,” Murkowski said.

From 1944 to 1981, the federal government drilled 136 exploratory wells in the NPR-A, and then abandoned them. Quoting a news release from U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), only 16 of the 136 wells have been properly plugged, and seven of those were taken care of by the North Slope Borough, not by BLM, which is responsible for the wells. The remaining 120 wells are in various conditions of non-compliance with state law. The drill sites, many of which are contaminated by wood, metal, plastic, glass and concrete debris are also littered with rusting barrels once filled with contaminants.

“While BLM argues it lacks the money to adequately address its responsibilities in Alaska, it continues to seek increased funding for other priorities,” Murkowski said. “My priority is seeing that the federal government fulfills its obligations to Alaska first.”

“Let me be clear, these wells were drilled by the federal government, so the cleanup is solely the responsibility of the federal government,” Murkowski said. “I expect the federal government to live up to the same high environmental standards that it holds private oil companies to – Alaskans won’t tolerate a double standard.”

Wednesday, Murkowski called a proposal to make Alaska pay for the cleanup of the federal wells “dead on arrival.” She reminded federal officials that the federal government has earned $9.4 billion from oil and natural gas leasing in Alaska, while the legacy wells have remained an issue. 

Murkowski vowed to continue to work with BLM to address the legacy wells and other Alaska priorities, in her role as the ranking member of both the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) reinforced his stance also that he will not tolerate Bureau of Land Management plans to use Alaska state revenues to pay for National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A) legacy well clean-up as proposed in President Obama’s current budget plan.

“There is no way that Alaska is picking up the bill for the NPR-A legacy wells,” said Begich after meeting with Bud Cribley, BLM’s Alaska region director.  "To me, this budget proposal cooked up in Washington is just a gimmick and I told them as much.”

Drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) by private sector companies was also a main topic of discussion.  Begich pressed BLM to create the NPR-A working group as soon as possible.  The working group entity was announced when BLM released their NPR-A Plan earlier this year and is intended to ensure that the people of the region have a voice the development of the NPR-A. - More...
Thursday - May 09, 2013


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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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