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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 26, 2009

Herring Cove: Black Bear Reflections
Front Page Photo by CINDY BALZER


Alaska: Prince of Wales Timber Sale Decision Signed - The Supervisor for the Tongass National Forest has signed and released a Record of Decision (ROD) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for timber sales on the Thorne Bay Ranger District, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. The announcement was made Thursday.

The ROD for the Logjam FEIS, signed by Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole, explains and details the Selected Alternative (Alternative 5) from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. These sales will support the Forest's 2008 Forest Plan Amendment and an Adaptive Management Strategy designed to meet the capacity of local mills to process timber in Southeast Alaska. The sales are entirely located in the roaded land base of the forest.

The Selected Alternative will harvest timber over several years from about 3,400 acres of commercial forest land to produce 73 million board feet (MMBF) of sawlog and utility timber volume. The entire EIS project area covers a little more than 56,000 acres. The planned harvest will use a variety of methods designed to protect natural resources while economically harvesting the renewable timber resource. Logging systems will be mostly ground-based, with some helicopter logging involved. No Inventoried Roadless Areas will be entered with the implementation of the projects.

The Decision also authorizes the construction of five miles of National Forest System (NFS) roads, and an additional 22 miles of temporary roads. There are about 125 miles of NFS roads and another 46 miles of decommissioned temporary roads within the project area.

Quoting a Forest Service news release, the Logjam Timber Sales are a vital element of the local island economy and the Tongass' efforts to transition into a young-growth management strategy. Currently the Forest is working to develop enough timber under contract, with additional timber in planned sales, to supply local mill operators and the local wood products industry for the next 15 to 20 years. The Tongass will then transition its timber program to one that relies more on young growth timber from past harvest areas.

The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council said in a news release, despite the fact that this area is more valuable for wildlife, hunting, fishing and recreational needs, SEACC along with other conservation groups offered a "Conservation Alternative " to help the Forest Service and area timber operators meet their timber needs.

"Alternatives ranged from cutting no action to cutting 75 million board feet. Conservation groups came up with an alternative just under 40 million board feet that would create jobs and preserve wildlife corridors. So we're disappointed and a bit dismayed that the Forest Service would propose an unnecessarily high 72 million board feet alternative that cuts into one of the primary wildlife corridors on Prince of Wales," said Lindsey Ketchel, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. "It shows they want to continue business as usual on the Tongass."

Cole explained that his decision was made based upon several factors that include: - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009

Alaska: Fifteenth Ethics Complaint Dismissed - The 15th ethics complaint filed against Governor Palin or one of her staff has been dismissed. The complaint, filed by Andree McLeod against Anchorage Office Director Kris Perry, alleged Perry used her official position for personal gain by traveling with the governor on three occasions.

The complaint was filed even after Perry obtained an opinion from her ethics supervisor, Linda Perez. In the opinion, dated September 28, 2008, Perez concluded, "By officially staffing the governor, you will be providing a more efficient means for direct communication between the state and the governor. It is in the best interest of the state at this time to have a state employee provide that staff function to ensure that information is provided timely to the governor and any decisions, questions or directions relayed back to the state."

"It is outrageous to file an ethics complaint against a state employee who sought and obtained ethics guidance in advance," Mike Nizich, the governor's chief of staff, said. "This is not about ethics. This is not about holding the governor or state employees accountable. This is pure harassment." - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009

Fish Factor: $50 million in stimulus funds for fish feed By LAINE WELCH - The U.S. is about to spend $50 million in stimulus money on fish food to help fish farmers hit by a 50% increase in feed prices last year. According to the Associated Press, the money could "provide algae to nourish clam and oyster larvae along the Pacific coast, fill the bellies of tilapia in Arizona and feed catfish, trout and game fish in the Midwest and South."

Supporters say the money will help preserve jobs in areas hard hit by the recession and lacking other industries.

No mention of where the farmed fish feed will come from - currently, most is generated from the catches of species like Peruvian anchovies or menhaden. Using ground up wild fish to feed farmed fish is a practice that is quickly falling out of favor.

Let's hope that the feed purchasers will "go green" and "buy American" by sourcing some of that fish food from Alaska!

Each year Alaska's fisheries produce an estimated 1.25 million metric tons of "industrial wastes" from fish processing operations across the state, much of which is turned into meals and oils for aquaculture operations.

"It's the largest volume in North America," said Dr. Peter Bechtel, a USDA research leader at the Univ. of Alaska/Fairbanks.

A 2008 study for the Anchorage-based Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) by Dr. Anthony Bimbo estimates Alaska's average fishmeal production at 217,000 tons from 2000-2007; there is no data available on production of salmon meal, and it is not known how much is sold domestically. Assuming a 5 year average price, Alaskan produced fish meal could have reached a value up to $170 million. Bimbo said it is difficult to quantify Alaska fish oil and meal production, because fisheries are divided between state and federal jurisdictions, and there are different databases.

Ironically, Alaska spends $20 million each year on fish feed for its 35 salmon hatcheries - feed that comes from South America. At the same time, the tons of fish feed produced by Alaska seafood companies is sold to aquaculture operations in Asia. - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009


Alaska Science: Scientists discover track of soaring prehistoric creature By NED ROZELL - While hiking a hillside in Denali National Park last July, Steve Hasiotis bent down and picked up a rock. Its curious shape, like a plaster cast of a giant bird track, made him ponder the rock for a second before handing it to Tony Fiorillo. Fiorillo looked at it and confirmed they had found a missing piece of Alaska during the time of the dinosaurs.

Scientists discover track of soaring prehistoric creature

A pterosaur, like the one that left a track in Denali National Park, glides through the air about 70 million years ago. This image is cropped from a larger illustration by Karen Carr.

"I said, 'This looks like a pterosaur handprint,'" said Fiorillo, of the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. "Because we knew they'd never been found before (in Alaska), we were pretty excited."

A pterosaur was a winged creature closely related to both crocodiles and dinosaurs. Seventy million years ago, it soared over Alaska like a giant albatross, casting a wide shadow beneath its 25-foot wingspan. The recent discovery by Hasiotis, Fiorillo, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, and Susie Tomsich is the first record of a pterosaur from Alaska. The state has become a rich ground for paleontologists in the last few decades, with massive bone deposits off the Colville River and recent discoveries in Denali National Park.

"The North Slope is cool, but the thing that's missing from the North Slope is that there's this great niche we know nothing about," Fiorillo said from Dallas recently. "In Denali, for the first time, we have an idea of what was in the air (70 million years ago)."

Fiorillo, Hasiotis (from the University of Kansas), Kobayashi (from Hokkaido University Museum), and Tomsich (from the University of Alaska Fairbanks) co-authored a paper on the Denali pterosaur that appeared in a recent issue of the journal Palaios.

The creature that left the impression of its hand off the Denali Park road was perhaps about 35 pounds, and glided over waterways with the occasional flap of its hang-glider wings. The pterosaur might have been a fish-eater, due to the large number of fish fossils found in Denali National Park, Fiorillo said.

"It might have cruised over the top of the water like a bald eagle, or maybe a pelican," he said. "There's no modern analogue for these animals."

The landscape of Interior Alaska 70 million years ago was a flat floodplain with many small river channels, some lakes, fern fronds, Equisetum stems, and sequoia-type trees. Except for some of the evergreen species, the vegetation wasn't a whole lot different than today. Fiorillo said that if you were to look out your window, say in Fairbanks, the ancient landscape would look a lot like it does right now. - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009


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Basic Rules

If you submit a letter and it is not published, please contact editor@sitnews.us
The SitNews' mailbox is not receiving some letters.

letterSpend, Spend, Spend By Samuel Bergeron - The majority of elected officials on the City Council and Borough Assembly seem to be thinking of more ways to indenture the fewer and fewer taxing units (that's you and me), while at the same time exporting our economy to outside contractors and vendors. The recent construction contracts for Berths 3 and 4, and the design of the Way-finding signs are just a few examples of this process. - More...
Saturday - June 27, 2009

letter Health care bill unworkable, unaffordable By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - Americans are looking to Congress and the White House to see whether lawmakers and the president will deliver on their promises to reform our health care system. As a member of the Senate committee considering comprehensive health care reform legislation, I am committed to working with both my Republican and Democratic colleagues. - More...
Saturday - June 27, 2009

letter Is Oceans Alaska going to put you and me out of business while using our tax dollars? By Rob Holston - John Sund indicates that Oceans Alaska will depend on revenue from the visitor industry their first year of operation by selling shore excursions i.e. tours of the aquarium facility to 122,000 tourists! This number will increase to 150,000 visitors per summer season according to the Oceans Alaska business plan. - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009

letterRe: Out of Sight By Frances H. Field - Ms. Price is not the only one who has had an issue with airport parking tickets at Ketchikan airport. On June 23rd at approximately 7:15 PM I was on an outgoing plane with 6 heavy bags, a car seat, a 2 year old, and I am 5 months pregnant. My 65 year old mother, pulled up to the loading zone right in front of the revolving doors to allow me to move the bags and my daughter through the doors and then she was going to go park in short term. My mother came out of the car to assist me after my 2 year old tripped and nearly got smashed in the revolving door. My mother got my daughter through the door and immediately returned to her car to find an officer writing her a $50 ticket. - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009

letterUAS Ketchikan By Cameron Taylor - During high school, I never had any interest in going to college after graduating. It was at the end of my senior year that I decided last minute to attend UAS Ketchikan. I still believe that it was the best decision that I have made. - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009

letterReporting NNN By Heather Williams - Thank you to the Browns for their honest assessment of the "progressive" NNN (No News News), as I have been calling it for the last several years. I can get opinions anywhere but would LOVE to sit and watch a newscast which is FACTUAL in regard to ALL world news. - More...
Friday - June 26, 2009

letterKetchikan Pool Bond Vote By Doug Barry - Recent letters about K-town's bond proposal for a new pool caught my eye. Mr. Bylund's view seems extremely shortsided given the maritime location, industries and recreational activities that define the region. Dave Kiffer's letter has a more pragmatic angle and reminded me of my early years growing up in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - June 22, 2009

letterThe Mayor and Pool By Rodney Dial - I wasn't going to get into the pool drama until the Mayor (Kiffer) lambasted Mr. Bylund in the matter of what is important to this community. - More...
Monday - June 22, 2009

letter Out of sight By Laurie Price - I arrived at Ketchikan airport on the afternoon flight with my twenty month old grandson. Dropped my carry on bag with a friend who was also waiting for the luggage to arrive, and went to get my car which was parked in long term parking. - More...
Monday - June 22, 2009

letter From Bias to Adoration. By Tina Terry - Thanks for the Browns' excellent article, "From Bias to Adoration..." I, too, continue to marvel at the continuing breathtaking idiocy of the media's "useful idiots," which relentlessly keeps expanding instead of contracting. - More...
Monday - June 22, 2009

letterGas For The U.S. By Donald A. Moskowitz - I want to commend Governor Palin and her fellow Alaskans for passing The Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), which set the stage for Trans Canada and ExxonMobil to enter into an agreement for the construction of a natural gas pipeline. - More...
Monday - June 22, 2009

letter DNA Testing By Peter Bolling - Today the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Alaska's policy of not granting post-conviction DNA testing to inmates even if they are willing to pay for the tests. This is not a victory for Alaska or Alaskans.- More...
Friday - June 19, 2009

letter Re: Ketchikan Pool Bond Vote by Ken Bylund - Damage control? Obfuscation and angry mud slinging instead of apologizing for poor ethics when you discussed hiding the truth about how the pool bond would be paid, you actually considered telling the residents, it will be covered by a 1/2 cent recreational sales tax. Want the borough attorney to run for Mayor! Okay, how much, and for how long... no more dodging the truth, provide detailed numbers to the voters on this capital issue. - More...
Friday - June 19, 2009

letter Re: Ketchikan Pool Bond Vote By Dave Kiffer - I'm glad that Mr. Bylund considers himself an expert on the "general welfare" of this community. But either he wasn't here in the 1960s when I was growing up or he wasn't paying attention. - More...
Thursday - June 18, 2009

letterKake: Have your forest and eat it too? By Sarah Campen - Whether it's fish, game, serenity, or jobs, properly managed forests in Southeast Alaska can provide us what we need on many levels. In communities like Kake, struggling against high unemployment and high costs of living, meeting local needs with local resources just makes sense. That's exactly what Kake residents and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council proposed through the Kake Community Alternative to the upcoming Central Kupreanof timer sale. - More...
Thursday - June 18, 2009

letter KETCHIKAN POOL BOND VOTE by Ken Bylund - Thanking Mr. Damstedt, for Wednesday's, June 17th article in the Ketchikan Daily News titled, 'Pool bond vote moves forward'. If anyone missed it, more recommended reading! In the end, it appears everyone in the borough will be paying for a $23.5 million bond [loan] for the next thirty years. The cost [for us] will be $23,500,000 [23.5 million] + 15% contingency [~$3,500,000] -- double this in interest, ~ fifty million USD [$50,000,000] for a swimming pool that roughly 500 people out of the entire population of our borough... will enjoy. How does this meet any standard of providing for the general welfare of the community? - More...
Wednesday - June 17, 2009

letterLetting the public know By Eileen Small - I realize that the last Tea Party event came up rather suddenly and thus it was difficult to get any advance news coverage. Those of us involved in the Tea Party Patriot Move didn't want to be guilty of this error a second time. - More...
Wednesday - June 17, 2009

letterBoys & Girls Club By Chris Corrao - The Boys & Girls Club is now open with its new summer hours. The Club is open Monday - Thursday 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM at 645 Jackson Street (the National Guard Armory). - More...
Wednesday - June 17, 2009

letter THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO COME FORWARD TO SUPPORT OUR YOUTH. By Roberta "Bobbie" McCreary - A very BIG thank you to the following people WITHOUT WHICH we would not have had a really cool YOUTH ART AUCTION that earned nearly $1000 for our young artists. - More...
Monday PM - June 15, 2009

letterTHANK YOU! TO OUR COMMUNITY FROM THE HOT SHOTS PAINTBALL GROUP By Roberta "Bobbie" McCreary - WE cannot say enough to thank those who come forward to help our youth programs succeed. Last month, we benefitted from over a $1,000 of product and services donated to provide wood chips to make the paintball field safe for players. Thank you to Mike Stewart (First City Wood Haulers) and Wade King Trucking who showed up at 7am on a Sunday morning to deliver 14 loads of wood chips to the field. And to Merril Stulkin who brought his equipment out to the field and spread the chips. - More...
Monday PM - June 15, 2009

letterRegarding More AK Airlines Fees By LeiLani Lake - It may sound good Ms. Steiner to say that another airline coming to Ketchikan would resolve our airfare and additional luggage fee problems but it won't. Alaska Airlines is only one of many airlines that now charge to your first bag. Actually I believe it was American Airlines that started this trend. - More...
Monday PM - June 12, 2009

letterAn Educated and Experienced Description of the Life cycle of a Dungeness Crab* or Why They Should Not Be Fished in the Summer By Larry Painter - When I first came to S. E. Alaska in the late 60's we pot fished Dungeness Crab and Spot Prawns all year 'round. There was no closed season for either like there was for Salmon that I seined only in the summer and fall with openings regulated by Fish and Game. As I gained experience I noticed that Dungeness Crab started showing soft shells around late February. Through the summer they all go through a soft shell stage. Around September to October they are hard shelled and full of meat. At this time they are in prime condition! That's the time to start fishing! - More...
Friday - June 12, 2009

letterLogjam By Elaine Price - You need to hear and understand the story of two little boys in Coffman Cove. These two little boys are supported by a logger, a "faller" to be exact. His paychecks earned from the timber industry work he does provides for these two little boys and their mother.

These two little boys are vitally important to the future of Coffman Cove, to the future of the school here, and to the infrastructure, other jobs, and many businesses across Prince of Wales Island. How can two little boys from Coffman Cove be that important to a regional economy? - More...
Friday - June 12, 2009

letterSuislaw Forest By Michael Moyer - My comment is directed to Don Borders and all that may believe that just because the forests of Washington and Oregon have vegetation on the hills that all is well in the woods there. Not so. When my Great Grandfather worked in the woods of Washington they didn't use trucks to haul the logs out, they built railroads. They cut everything. They choked the creeks and dredged the rivers, dammed them up and then blew the dams so the logs would flood downstream. They messed up the hills and rivers so bad that even today the fish haven't come back and the original river channels are far from what they used to be. - More...
Friday - June 12, 2009

letterMore AK Airlines Fees By Julie Steiner - It's not bad enough that Alaska Airlines increases their fares for flying to an astronomical price, that they now have to charge each person a fee to take their bags with them? Effective July 15th, they are going to charge EVERYONE a fee of $15 for the first checked bag. And the fee for each additional bag keeps increasing. - More...
Friday - June 12, 2009

letter Akasofu's predictions By John Ziraldo - Thank you for publishing the article about Syun-Ichi Akasofu's predictions. The continuing lies by the IPCC about climate change, and the political will of the far left to use these lies to impoverish us makes it very critical that articles like these get published. - More...
Friday - June 12, 2009

letterTraffic, Ferries and Bridges, Oh My! By Marshall H. Massengale - I have been a regular SitNews visitor and Ketchikan watcher for the past nearly two years and have read any number of articles, comments, editorials, opinions, letters, and official documents concerning many of the borough's frequently discussed and debated transportation issues. These issues have included the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" debacle, vehicle traffic congestion, slow drivers, fast drivers, parking, ferry boats in and out of repair, and now the latest rant about a paddle wheel boat that kicks up a wake in the Narrows. - More...
Friday - June 12, 2009

letterCreate Jobs for Americans By Donald A. Moskowitz - A while ago I read that Bill Gates and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were planning on donating a total of $500 million to reduce the incidence of smoking in developing countries, especially China. I haven't seen any recent information on this subject, but I believe they made a commitment to this ridiculous project. - More...
Friday - June 12, 2009

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