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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 01, 2010

Front Page Photo by KURT KAMHOLZ

Loring: Black Bear
Front Page Photo by KURT KAMHOLZ

Ketchikan: EMBREE LEADS KETCHIKAN'S DERBY AFTER FIRST WEEKEND - Not only did Jessie Embree enter the first fish of the 63rd Annual Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby, her 39.3 lb king held the top spot through the finish of the first weekend of the three weekend event. Embree logged her entry in at the Mountain Point weigh-in station at 10:41 a.m. Saturday morning, and then watched as 914 other anglers tried to push her out of the top spot through the rest of the Memorial Day weekend.


Jessie Embree poses with her family and her 39.3 lb king which holds the top spot for the first derby weekend.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby

Embree's king was one of 255 kings turned in during opening weekend, 19 more fish than were logged in during opening weekend of the 2009 derby. In order to claim more than $10,000 in cash awarded to the angler that turns in the largest king Embree will need a little luck on her side ­ no derby winner has ever been under 40 pounds.

The 2009 derby saw Mark Tolfeldt jump ahead with a 44.0 king weighed in during the first weekend, only to be knocked into second place by Dan McQueen's 44.2 lb king on the last day of the derby.

Sunny skies cooperated for some nice weather, although some anglers complained at weigh-in stations about the wind. Both Clover Pass Resort and Knudson Cove Marina reported some day two rental cancelations because of choppy water during day one. - More...
Tuesday - June 01, 2010

Fish Factor: Gubernatorial candidates talk fish in famed fisheries debate By LAINE WELCH - "I can't get no respect," was a famous go-to line for comedian Don Rickles. Candidates for governor gave their take on how Alaska's seafood industry can get more respect at Kodiak's famed fisheries debate last Friday, an election year tradition for two decades.

Since 1990, the Chamber of Commerce event has attracted 100 percent participation by candidates running for Alaska governor and for seats in Congress. The hook is that the two hour is broadcast live to over 330 Alaska communities via public radio, as well as before a live Kodiak audience. There is only one catch. The candidates are limited to a single topic - Alaska's seafood industry.

Miraculously, gubernatorial candidates Berkowitz, French, Parnell, Poe, Samuels and Walker all made it to the island just as it became shrouded in fog. The mood on stage at Kodiak's world class auditorium was congenial and the "goobers" were clearly prepared and ready to talk fish.

Underscoring the debate was their recognition that Alaska's seafood industry is the state's biggest employer, and it generates $6 billion to state coffers, second only to Big Oil. But despite its economic and cultural importance, the industry doesn't seem to "get no respect" from policy makers. Here is a sampler of the candidates' thoughts:

Governor Sean Parnell (R): "It's a fact of life that the fishing industry is underappreciated. In part, I think it's because the population centers are not commercial fishing communities. I think we can change that through better awarenessTo me it is all about jobs and familiesWe have promoted and increased funding for seafood marketing and for research at fish and game. We are going to continue to fight the federal government's overreaching...The bottom line is to continue to work to build a sustainable fishery and thriving coastal communitiesRespect comes from who we are as a people, and whether we have those jobs and families taken care of."

Bob Poe (D): "It is true that the fishing industry does not get the respect it deserves. I think the reason is because you are widely distributed across the state. You're busy working, not hanging out in the benches in Juneau lobbying legislators. I think the legislators from fishing areas do a pretty good job, but they have to confront Anchorage and Fairbanks and other non fishing areas. It's often we hear about paying taxes in Alaska, and I think we all know deep down that we have it pretty good here. But the one group that does pay taxes and really does pay their own way is fishing You can't open a commercial fishery unless the funding is there to do the stock assessments."

Ethan Berkowitz (D): "Fishing is all about people. I think those who go to sea are some of the bravest people I knowWe need to convey to Alaskans who don't understand how much effort goes into putting food on our tables, and money in the state coffers. We've got to make sure more Alaskans understand what it means to put your life at risk just to put food on someone else's table." - More...
Tuesday - June 01, 2010

Alaska: USDA Re-Delegates Authority to Forest Service to Approve Personal Use Timber Collection in Alaska National Forests - U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a decision memo last week re-delegating authority to the Forest Service to issue free personal use permits for timber in inventoried roadless areas to Alaska settlers, miners, residents and prospectors.

The memo specified that free use should only occur in inventoried roadless areas on the Tongass and Chugach national forests when the public's needs cannot be met in the roaded land base. It also specified, "When personal use timber is collected from inventoried roadless areas, it shall be done in a manner that maximizes the protection of roadless character, wildlife habitat, recreation, and other values associated with roadless areas."

Last fall Vilsack reserved the right to approve any timber harvest in inventoried roadless areas of the nation's national forests. This included personal use timber harvest in Alaska. Personal use timber harvest in Alaska is legally mandated by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. - More...
Tuesday _ June 01, 2010

Alaska: State Sues Federal Agency for Blocking Caribou Preservation Plan - The State of Alaska filed suit last week against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for blocking a proposed predator control action on Unimak Island intended to preserve a caribou herd that is on the brink of dying out.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, asserts that the federal agency has violated the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of Alaska.

Among numerous actions aimed at preventing the state from carrying out its plan to preserve the herd, federal officials on May 24 threatened immediate criminal prosecution of any state employees who would "trespass" within the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, which covers almost all of Unimak Island.

The state seeks a preliminary injunction allowing the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in June to remove seven wolves, the number determined by biologists as necessary to merely maintain the caribou herd in its current depleted condition while the lawsuit proceeds.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service erected obstacle after obstacle over a period of five months to prevent us from carrying out the state constitutional mandate to manage our resources for the maximum benefit of our people," said Governor Sean Parnell. "It's part of a pattern in which federal agencies are usurping state prerogatives, potentially constricting our future, and they're doing it while violating their own rules and regulations, as well as their prior agreements with us."

Unimak Island, the eastern-most in the Aleutian chain, is home to the nation's only naturally occurring insular caribou herd. The herd numbered 1,260 in 2002, but has shrunk to about 400 animals. In addition to the two-thirds decline in overall population, the bull-to-cow ratio is now about 5-to-100, the lowest level ever recorded in Alaska, leaving about 20 bulls on the island. - More...
Tuedsay - June 01, 2010

TOM PURCELL: On Fixer-Uppers - If only more Americans had bought fixer-uppers.

Maybe I better explain.

My first house was in need of major renovations. Boy, did my father and I suffer when we improved the bathroom.

The project started well enough. We tore down the old wall tile and put up wallpaper and a tub surround. We repainted, then put down a new floor. All we had to do to was reinstall the commode.

The bolts that had secured the toilet to the floor had both broken. The hardware-store guy sold me a kit to reattach them.

My father spent an hour reattaching the bolts. But as we attempted to fish the bolts through the commode's bolt holes, we discovered they were too short.

"Son of a ... !" said my father.

"The idiots gave us the wrong bolts!" I said.

I raced to the hardware store and bought longer bolts. My father spent another hour getting them in place. We were finally able to reattach the commode.

But another problem arose: the wax goop that seals the commode to the sewage pipe wasn't thick enough to seal anything.

"Son of a ... !!" said my father.

"The idiots gave us the wrong goop!" I said.

After another visit to the hardware store, our third attempt to secure the toilet succeeded. But we needed to reattach the water fittings. - More...
Tuesday - June 01, 2010

Columns - Commentary

BILL MAXWELL: A handbook for making a difference in your community - Once in a while, I discover a book that makes a difference. I recently read such a gem, Paul Loeb's "Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times." Loeb recently spoke with me by telephone from his home in Seattle.

"Soul" is the result of 35 years of Loeb's work examining the psychology of social involvement. It shows how ordinary citizens can do extraordinary things by making their voices heard and by making their actions count in a time when apparent hopelessness is all around. "Soul" examines how people get involved in larger community issues for social change, and it shows what stops people from getting involved and what makes them give up.

Take the example of Virginia Tech student Angie De Soto, who was the poster child for apathy. She was so uninvolved in events around her that she spent the night of the 2004 election chugalugging instead of voting. Later, after becoming outraged over assaults on the environment, she became interested in global climate change and created a groundbreaking environmental sustainability plan.

We are taught that a successful democracy needs an educated electorate. Loeb takes it a step further, suggesting that more than education is needed.

"In the personal realm, most Americans are thoughtful, caring, generous," he writes. "We do our best by family and friends. At times we'll even stop to help another driver stranded by a roadside breakdown, or give some spare change to a stranger. But too often, a wall separates each of us from the world outside, and from others who have likewise taken refuge in their own private sanctuaries -- what we call the gated community of the heart.

"We've all but forgotten that public participation is the very soul of democratic citizenship, and that it can profoundly enrich our lives."

Loeb contends that many people do not get involved in causes and issues because they believe that they must be experts or must be as eloquent as Gandhi or the Rev. Martin Luther King. He points out that Gandhi himself said that engagement does not require perfection. Early in his career as a lawyer and long before he became famous, Gandhi was so shy that he could not utter a sentence when he argued for his clients in court. He lost all of his cases. After Gandhi discovered the right causes and got engaged, he found his voice, and, well, the rest is history. - More...
Tuesday - June 01, 2010


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696.

letterCommander-In-Chief Went AWOL By Donald A. Moskowitz - As a Navy veteran, I am appalled President Obama, our Commander-In-Chief, did not lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2010. Instead, he went on vacation. - More...
Tuesday PM - June 01, 2010

letterLibrary Location By Chris Elliott - It would be interesting to know what the community's reaction was when the new high school was built at the top of that huge hill "out the road" (Fourth & Madison). -More...
Tuesday PM - June 01, 2010

letterGulf Oil Spill By A.M.Johnson - Just a thought. Do you suppose that Cletus and Barney, a couple of rednecks, hold the solution to cleaning up the oil spill? - More...
Tuesday PM - June 01, 2010

letterSlow moving vehicles By Kim Morton - Just wanted to post a rant about the slow moving eclectic golf carts that I have ran into out south and now out by Wal-Mart. I am pretty sure these cars need to stay in town and seeing them driving down the road when it's supposed to be 50 mph is frustrating to say the least. - More...
Tuesday PM - June 01, 2010

letterIllegal Immigration Healthcare Costs Affect YOU! By Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. - The national spotlight is on Arizona for doing what the Federal government and previous Governor Napolitano refused to do: rein in an invasion of illegal aliens bankrupting our state (Arizona). At an August 2009 healthcare Town Hall in Phoenix, legislators said that more than half of Arizona's 4 billion dollar budget deficit was the result of paying for three areas of services to illegal immigrants: education, healthcare, and incarceration. - More...
Tuesday PM - June 01, 2010

letterOil Spills as an Opportunity... By Donald Lee Struthers - What an opportunity. With the April 2010 oil spill situation in the Gulf of Mexico comes several opportunities. - More...
Friday - May 28, 2010

letterDungeness By Chris Snyder - There is something very telling in Mr. Gossman's letters regarding the summer dungie fishery. Apparently he thinks that a crab cares WHICH user group harvests him. This simply is not the case. A crab is a fairly simple critter. He doesn't have the ability to look around at the boat deck he is on and say "sure am glad I got caught by this sport fisherman, or retired visitor, or whomever instead of", gasp!, "someone trying to make a living". - More...
Friday - May 28, 2010

letterLocation of Library By Rita Leighton - I understand the library needs more room - but wouldn't it be much simpler to just move the museum out to a different location - possibly somewhere next to the cruise ship docks? There is a vacant lot between the Federal Building & the Logging Show, and that would give the library room to expand in its current, convenient location. - More...
Friday - May 28, 2010

letterFY2011 Capital Budget By Senator Bert Stedman - Governor Parnell has indicated that he intends to veto a significant number of projects in this year's Capital Budget. That would be a mistake. - More...
Wednesday - May 26, 2010

letterGovernment Regulation By R.K. Rice - DEROY MURDOCK's column "Era of unlimited government arrives" stated "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business," President Calvin Coolidge told journalists in March 1929. - More...
Wednesday - May 26, 2010

letterTax Heroes By Michael Spence - I have read with great interest the stream of letters coming to Sitnews about our high taxes and how to avoid them. - More...
Monday - May 24, 2010

letterWhere are your taxes going? By Jean Griffin - Taxpayers, where are your dollars going? - More...
Monday - May 24, 2010

letterParking Carnival By George Miller - Can you hear the calliope music as the parking carnival gets underway? Do people working downtown set an alarm clock so they know when to trot about looking for a place to park, thus possible avoiding the inevitable ticket? Is it worth ten bucks to not miss a sale during the season, and just roll over and pay? - More...
Monday - May 24, 2010

letterGreat Library Site By Gay D. Peters - The best place to have the new library is Copper Ridge. I drive and it's almost impossible to find a parking space and now there will be plenty of spaces available. - More...
Monday - May 24, 2010

letterLibrary By Robert McRoberts - Over the last few years living in Ketchikan, I think our Borough government has been improving -- maybe from knowing and liking most all working there. With that said, I feel the city is just nuts. Why do we need this library? Where is your planing here? you have no place to build it, no thought at all in the area you select for the site. You get a good deal on the site, but what is the site? Have you dug holes yet? Yet that area is under development. It's going to have some kind of construction activity there for 30 years. Go ahead, put people out of work so you can have quiet. The only good thing I see about putting it there is the jail can let people check out books. - More...
Monday - May 24, 2010

letterDwindling Fish Stocks By Carol Baines - It's estimated that seven out of ten people on the planet depend on fish as their primary source of nutrition. According to the experts, at the rate the seas are being degraded due to over-fishing and pollution, in approximately 40 years there will be no more fish. This all spells trouble --- a catastrophe for our future generations, our children and grandchildren. Fish provide roughly 40 per cent of the protein consumed by nearly two-thirds of the world's population. For example, over a billion people throughout Asia depend on fish and seafood as their major source of animal protein. Here in Alaska we have enjoyed our salmon, halibut, red snapper, et al. and don't want to see the stocks diminish or be contaminated. - More...
Monday - May 24, 2010

letterRecent posts regarding pool By Zig Ziegler - I appreciate Sitnews and the forum it provides for healthy discussion of our community's issues. I truly appreciate it when there is disagreement amongst posts that remains civil and to the point, rather than a personal attack, while addressing different opinions. - More...
Friday - May 21, 2010

letterDo Not Participate By Lloyd Gossman - Please do not participate in the sale or purchase of Dungeness Crab caught by Commercial fisherman during the summer in Southeast Alaska. This fishery is scheduled to open June 15th, 2010. - More...
Thursday PM - May 20, 2010

letterRE: Dopey Mushers By Dale Albertson - Well all be! WOW! Would someone please inform John that users of "dope" of this sort does not produce hallucinations? Talk to almost all street cops John, they would much rather deal with a person influenced by THC, which is the active ingredient in Cannabis, than to deal with a drunk. The person on "pot" there I said it, just gets the munchies and wants to lay down and go to sleep. Drunks are seldom non-violent, cause many accidents and deaths annually. I have dealt with both types hundreds of times in my many careers going back to early 70's, and the results have never differed except for the amount of violence one person can perpetrate on another when drunk. I have never in my long career had to deal with a violent pot head. Oh, and no I am not nor have I ever been a user of pot. I have observed a person on pot function and be a contributing productive member of society, and am always amazed, having been fed the same falsehoods you seem to have latched onto. - More...
Thursday PM - May 20, 2010

letterRe: New Pool By Chris Barry - Poor silly people. Do you honestly believe that if something benefits you, that it benefits the community as a whole? You need to wake up. I have never said I oppose replacing the pool. I understand it is needed for many activities in this community and that the current facilities would be too costly to repair correctly. - More...
Thursday PM - May 20, 2010

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