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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 28, 2010

Front Page Photo By RICK COLLINS

King Salmon Delight
Max Collins (10 yrs old) of Ketchikan shows off his big catch.
Front Page Photo By RICK COLLINS


Ketchikan: ACLU and Keene & Currall Challenge State Violation of Medical Privacy; Hundreds of Ketchikan Women's Medical Records Improperly Seized and Read (SitNews) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska Foundation ("ACLU") along with the Ketchikan law firm of Keene & Currall are serving the State of Alaska, Department of Law, and the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing with a lawsuit seeking court protection for the private medical information of hundreds of Ketchikan women.

The lawsuit arises out of a January 2010 raid conducted by the Department of Law, and assisted by the Ketchikan Police Department, on a Ketchikan-based medical care provider. The state seized approximately 400 whole patient files.

During the raid, the medical records of Ketchikan residents were alleged to have been read. These files contained information on women's private medical matters, including ob-gyn issues, reports of sexual abuse, and testing for sexually transmitted infections. The ACLU has received multiple reports that - following the raid - several women were ridiculed with comments concerning their private medical history.

Tom Stenson, attorney with the ACLU, stated: "There is almost no regulation of what law enforcement agencies may do with your medical information once they seize it. There are now women in Ketchikan who are afraid to have honest conversations with their doctors because they're afraid the government could take their records and find out what was reported."

While the lawsuit does not contest the authority of the Department of Law to investigate allegations of criminal activity ­ even in a health care context ­ in this instance the ACLU contends the State set out to seize more information than authorized in the search warrant, and took more files than necessary to prove any case.

Jeffrey Mittman, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska Foundation, told SitNews today that seizure of all the records was "grossly violative" of patients' privacy rights. Such an invasion of patients' rights should never happen again. -More...
Monday - June 28, 2010

Ketchikan: Record high temperatures across Southeast Alaska in May - May brought above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation across most of Alaska, and record high temperatures were recorded across the Southeast. As an exception, temperatures were slightly below-normal above the Arctic Circle, although the area reported above normal precipitation for
the month.

The average May temperature in Ketchikan was 50.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.6 F above normal. A high of 77 F was recorded on May 28. On May 14, the month's low of 35 F occurred. Precipitation during the month was measured at 2.12 inches, only 24 percent of normal for the month. The highest one-day total was 1.21 inches on May 12. - More...
Monday - June 28, 2010

Ketchikan: SoleStice Shoe Auction Huge Success - The fourth annual SoleStice Shoe Auction on June 19 raised over $40,000 for the Ketchikan General Hospital Foundation. Over 230 people flocked to the sold out event at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. According to KGH Foundation Director Gretchen Klein, the proceeds will go to the "2010 Gift of Healing" Project, a Minimally Invasive Surgical Suite.

SoleStice Shoe Auction Huge Success

The fourth annual SoleStice Shoe Auction on June 19 raised over $40,000 for the Ketchikan General Hospital Foundation.
Photo courtesy KGH

"This fun fantastic evening with endless shoe buying opportunities has been generously sponsored for four years by GCI. Many thanks go to this corporate sponsor and to our own local GCI hero, Miguel Torres," said Georgianna Zimmerle, Co-Chair of the SoleStice Event.

Hand-painted clogs, designer handbags, gladiator sandals, boots, and lots of high heels were among the live auction items offered up by auctioneer Terry Smith in 24 lots of shoes, accessories, and artwork. A silent auction offered bidding opportunities on hundreds of pairs of shoes and accessories. Handbags, scarves, and gently used adult shoes and new children's shoes were also available at "The Boutique" managed by artist Diane Naab.

"We had something for everyone," said Sherrie Slick, Co-Chair of the SoleStice Event, "everything from athletic shoes to evening slippers. Emcees Cathy LeCompte and Miguel Torres kept the evening lively and interesting." The unsold shoes and accessories will be available for purchase at a later date that will be advertised.

A new twist was added this year called "Fund-A-Need." Kendall Sawa, 2010 Gift of Healing Campaign Chair, and Emcee Miguel Torres called upon audience members to support the "Gift of Healing". Bidders raised their bid cards to donate cash amounts from $5,000 to $10 and within minutes $20,000 was collected from our generous philanthropists.- More...
Monday - June 28, 2010


Southeast Alaska: Governor Parnell Gives Alaska Timber Mills a Boost - Governor Sean Parnell today signed House Bill 162, legislation establishing a Southeast State Forest to manage more acres for timber harvest. The new state forest will create new job opportunities.

This forest, covering 25,291 acres, is the third in the Alaska State Forest System and the first addition since the Tanana Valley State Forest in 1983.

"This bill will create jobs in Southeast Alaska and provide small businesses with more economic opportunity," Governor Parnell said. "This is the first step in our strategy to revitalize the timber industry and expand wood energy in Southeast Alaska." - More...
Monday - June 28, 2010

Fish Factor: Bristol Bay catch tops 1 million fish By MAGGIE WALL - As of June 25, Bristol Bay sockeye salmon catch totals exceeded 1 million fish. The actual number almost looked faked given its numerical configuration 1-2-3-4. The total catch as reported on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Commercial Fisheries page for June 25 was 1,234,405.

ADF&G is forecasting a total sockeye salmon run of nearly 40 million fish with a commercial harvest of nearly 32 million.

ADF&G has an in-season salmon report on the web that allows you to check any of its monitored areas and see just how many of which kind of fish have been caught. The easiest way to find it is to Google "in season Alaska salmon summary." You can pick the fishery you want to track from the page that comes up. (If you are reading this on-line the actual link is here.)

Ahead of the season opening Coast Guard crews conducted more that 250 courtesy dockside vessel examinations. The Coast Guard estimates that its crews inspected one in five of the anticipated 1,100 vessels fishing the Bristol Bay region.

These pre-season vessel inspections are common for many Alaska fisheries. They have been credited with saving lives.

The extremely cold water temperatures combined with quickly changing weather condition and long distances to shore or rescue make for a deadly combination. The dockside examinations ensure fishermen have the best chance they can to beat the odd against them.

The focus of the inspections is education and safety, not prosecution.

"We don't issue fines or other penalties for any problems we discover," said Lt. j.g Anne Besser, CG Sector Anchorage prevention officer. "We focus on safety concerns such as flairs, fire extinguishers and navigational charts, lights and signals." - More...
Monday - June 28, 2010


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

letterNo Friend of the Taxpayers By Sam Bergeron - The City Council is no friend of Ketchikan's taxpayers. - More...
Monday PM - jUne 28, 2010

letterBill Walker for Governor By Andy Rauwolf - Bill Walker is the only candidate with a plan and the know how to bring low cost energy to every corner of the state. This is the crucial element that will allow our businesses to grow and develop. With a thriving economy and continued revenues from an in-state gas pipeline flowing into the state coffers Alaska will be a model for the rest of the nation, and our children will finally have a future right here instead of being forced to seek jobs elsewhere. - More...
Monday PM - June 28, 2010

letterS. 881: Sealaska Bill By Bob Claus - Last week, the U.S. Senate Energy Committee passed 26 bills out of the committee. Senate Bill 881, the Sealaska Bill, was not in this big group of lands bills. - More...
Monday PM - JUne 28, 2010

letterOil Spill Compensation Act of 2010 By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - We're entering the third month of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the 22nd year since the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef. In the Gulf of Mexico, as much as 3 million barrels of crude have already spilled from the blown-out well, and in Prince William Sound there is still oil hiding under rocky beaches. - More...
Thursday - June 24, 2010

letterKetchikan Gateway Borough economic loan proposal. By A.M.Johnson - After reading the economic loan proposal on an Economical Development Loan program on the borough website, I am convinced that the concept of the borough staff and Assembly being in a decision position to loan money is not a healthy concept. - More...
Thursday - JUne 24, 2010

letterThe Case for Burying S 881 By Alan Stein - Two of America's most open and transparent Senators are on a campaign to keep legislation they wrote and cosponsered behind closed doors. - More...
Thursday - June 24, 2010

letterBill Walker has the plan By Ann Graham Radford - We recently attended the funeral of Governor Wally Hickel. It was a wonderful tribute to a great Alaskan. Wally loved Ketchikan and we returned the affection - we were the only District in Alaska where Wally won every election he ever entered, even the write-in! - More...
Thursday - June 24, 2010

letterProposal to purchase property for Fire Station 7 By Ed Fry - In response to both Chief Hull and Mr. Dial, the questions that were asked were on target and appropriate; thank you Mr. Dial for calling the questions. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterBill Walker has an Alaskan Plan! By Barb Lander - Bill Walker, Republican gubernatorial candidate deserves your consideration. He is a lifelong Alaskan that like most real Alaskans has a broad and varied background. Most recently he has worked as a lawyer focusing primarily on oil and gas issues, but he has also done construction, worked as a laborer building the pipeline and had a stint commercial fishing. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterCity improvements By Casey Eberle - First of all let me say, that yes I am a new resident of Ketchikan. It seems that many in this town feel that unless you have been here for an extended period of time you aren't a "local", but I am here for the long haul, and there are several things about this town that I have noticed. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterS 881 By Judy Magnuson - We are still waiting to see the new revised S 881 bill, hopefully we will have enough time to adequately assess the new impacts of this legislation on the communities of Southeast. From what we have heard so far I feel that the new bill will not be any different than the last one, places will have been moved around effecting different communities more and others less, but the main objections to this bill will remain the same. Sealaska will still be given millions of dollars of infrastructure paid for at the taxpayers expense, in essence a bail -out of a private corporation by the taxpayers because of their own failure to properly utilize the land they were originally given. The second growth alone cost the taxpayers $10 million in thinning on the 20,721 acres of young growth, plus costs of roads, log transfer facilities, bridges, decades of maintenance, costs of planning, studies, loss of 184 acres with established long term research plots, and loss of 7,359 Geological Special Areas. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterProposal to purchase property for Fire Station 7 By Dave Hull - In reference to Mr. Rodney Dial's questions regarding the proposal to purchase property for Fire Station 7, he asks that I answer questions he poses in his letter to the editor. For the record, these are excellent questions that I am sure are being asked by many. I encourage others to call, write or stop by and talk. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letterLet Everyone Vote By Penny Hamlin Connelly - I have been a townie pretty much my whole life, taking for granted being able to vote on all issues concerning the city and the borough. Imagine my surprise when I moved out North a few years ago, went to vote, and discovered part of my election ballot was missing. I went into total Ketchikan Culture Shock. "What do you mean I don't get to vote on city issues?" Took me awhile to get over it, but I did. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letterLibrary By Mark Johnson - The Library has served us very well since it started way back when in 1901 now it's time for us to serve it well and build the new building. Now we'll get much of it paid for with matching funds that we will lose at the rate we are going and that is not going to get us anything. The current building is too small so moving to a new site is the only real option. The downtown site that was the main street school has been rejected twice already. There are problems with all the sites we could have a library on, not one of them is perfect and no place we choose to build can be, but we have a site picked and money in the bank as well as plans in the works. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letterS.881: Same Pig, Different Sunglasses and Wig By Sandy Powers - The proposed revisions of the rehashed Sealaska bill S.881 reflect but little difference from previous versions. Some of the selections of the high-value roaded timber got switched with other selections of high-value roaded timber. Parts of north POW were spared immediate impact but Edna Bay, Hollis, Thorne Bay and other areas were hit as hard or harder in return. Some brand new areas were added, such as two tidal energy sites and two geothermal sites. A hydroelectric site is still proposed for Josephine Lake. 190,000 acres of additional LUD-II style lockups on Kuiu, Prince of Wales, Kosciusko, Kupreanof and a couple other islands recommended by staffers, and no doubt SEACC are thrown in for good measure. How ironic - the very groups and politicians who call for transparency and public involvement now eagerly override those guiding principles when it serves their own personal interests. The revision claims new protection for karst, but the Forest Plan already identifies and protects karst. This politically motivated bill hatched up behind closed doors only panders to the special interests of a private corporation and foundation-funded green groups. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letter Re: Tax Payers Revelation By Peggy Green - I think Don Borders makes perfect sense in his article regarding the Library, and other Government offices. I too think that the Borough offices should utilize the Ward Cove property. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letter Federal Government Unprepared for Disasters By Donald A. Moskowitz - Our federal government under two administrations has dropped the ball with a major regional problem and unfortunately the Gulf oil spill debacle succeeded the hurricane Katrina debacle in the same region of the country. Where are FEMA and other government agencies when these problems occur? - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letter Re: A letter to North Tongass residents By Daylene Currier - I applaud Rodney Dial's ambition and his open-mindedness to this issue. So many people argue about what is right and wrong, and of course, theirs is the only opinion that ever matters. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letterA letter to North Tongass Residents By Rodney Dial - My wife and I work 2 jobs each, 7 days a week. We are trying to be responsible citizens providing for our families, and preparing for our future. It's a challenge to say the least when just providing simple things like braces for our children costs $800 per month. - More...
Tuesday - June 15, 2010

letterLibrary Site By Suzan Thompson - Being old enough to remember when the downtown core was a thriving, vibrant business and residential district, and having a lot of nostalgia for the days when there were about fifty little mom-and-pop businesses down there which were open all year long, I was one of those people who really wanted to see the library stay downtown. However, after having been to almost all the meetings where the location of the library was a topic of discussion, and having listened to all the public comment and all the pros and cons, even I am finally convinced that the Copper Ridge site is the better choice. - More...
Tuesday - June 15, 2010

letterTax Payers' Revelation By Don Borders - The current outcome of the various state primaries for political seats have reflected the voices of the people concerned with the excess big government spending by electing conservative primary candidates. Elections this fall are going to be an eye-opener for the current elect. - More...
Thursday - June 10, 2010

letterYES! The Public Library Should Stay Downtown By Robert D. Warner - Three cheers to the grass roots folks responsible for the petition drive to keep the Ketchikan Public Library in the downtown core area. It just makes good sense that a public vote on the issue would be the first step in deciding possible locations for the public library. I find it most unfortunate that this critical step was never taken or encouraged by city and library managers. As a result, significant funds have been spent and public frustration aroused with little accomplished. We are very fortunate that this group moved forward to ask city residents where they would like to locate their public library. - More...
Thursday - June 10, 2010

letterSummer Dungeness fishery By Mike Moyer - It's a serious issue that demands serious attention and we need to have the resource on our minds. Being a commercial fisherman is a good thing. I come from a commercial fishing family and am proud of that. - More...
Thursday - June 10, 2010

letterDemocracy Is Messy By Samuel Bergeron - Winston Churchill said "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried". I'm grateful I live in a country that allows its citizens to criticize and challenge its government. The decision to start a ballot initiative to require the City to build a future library on property it already owns and keep it in downtown Ketchikan was well considered by our group. We are made up of planners, builders, citizens, land developers, local business leaders, realtors and concerned community members of both the City and Borough. We are united in the concept that the library should be centrally located downtown so all of the public has convenient access. After all, it is a Public Library. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 09, 2010

letterLower property tax rate is good for all By Rodney Dial - On Tuesday as I was reading the paper you could have knocked me over with a feather after I saw that the Borough Assembly reduced the mill rate (they had been discussing raising it). As a frequent critic of local government I feel that it is only right to say "thank you". - More...
Wednesday PM - June 09, 2010

letterThank you By Becky Burnham - Thank you to the officers and volunteers who risked their lives to save our friends (and my bridesmaid), Stacie Cavner's, life, and the lives of all who could be saved in the plane. - More....
Wednesday PM - June 09, 2010

letterCapital Budget By Maj Gen Thomas H. Katkus - Alaska requires infrastructure to reach resources and improve the economy. Governor Sean Parnell created the Alaska Military Force Advocacy and Structure Team (AMFAST) to provide recommendations for cooperative projects that support and expand the military industry in our state. As chairman of the AMFAST, I am pleased to tell you that our short-term strategic plan has already yielded success! - More...
Wednesday PM - June 09, 2010

letterLibrary Location By Amanda Kiely and Drew Lindner - The purpose of a public library is to provide its patrons with resources, information, and materials. As of late, though, it seems this central objective has been completely lost in the debate over where to build our new library. - More...
Wednesday PM - JUne 09, 2010

letterMilitary support and Tanana Bridge project By Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus - The State of Alaska and the communities of Fairbanks and North Pole should join me in thanking Rep. Mike Kelly and Governor Sean Parnell for supporting the rail bridge over the Tanana River. This bridge is the first step in completing our rail connection to Fort Greely and to Canada. More importantly, it provides dependable year-round access to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. This training area is one of the largest in the country. Reliable access provides an exceptional opportunity to all branches of our military to exercise and train in a realistic and challenging environment without public disruption. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 09, 2010

letterDungie clarification By Chris Snyder - Apparently Mr. Moyer misunderstood the relevant gist of my letter. So, I repeat: "...if there are legitimate conservation issues, then by all means lets restrict crabbing--for everyone." That is not a question. It is a statement. - More...
Monday - June 07, 2010

letterCOURTESY By Cecelia Johnson - My family and I were out enjoying the sunny weather recently and took a drive out North. We stopped in a store to purchase a refreshing bottle of water and snacks. An unnamed store has a very rude clerk. This individual's whole persona exhibited ill manners! We need Mystery Shoppers. Another Northend store clerk was also very rude. I purchased an item and received a "look of disdain" with no thanks before I walked out! - More...
Monday - June 07, 2010

letterRE: Library Location By Pat Long - Kudos to Nathan Brooks for a well thoughtout and reasonable letter. - More...
Monday - June 07, 2010

letterLibrary Location: Ballot initiative By Chris J. Herby - It seems that here in Ketchikan there always needs to be a divisive issue to keep everyone from getting bored. This year's issue appears to be the location of the proposed new library. - More...
Friday - June 04, 2010

letterLibrary Location By Nathan Brooks - There are many generations of my family living in Ketchikan. There are always issues in any community which cause conflicts and differing opinions. However, Ketchikan is reaching a level of constant conflict which is making it difficult for me and mine to want to live here any longer. - More...
Friday - June 04, 2010

letter Ketchikan City Council and private business By Charles Edwardson - I would like to retract any statements about the Ketchikan City Council meddling and intervening in the private sector. I criticized them for meddling and intervening in a cab company's request to invest their own money to improve their own business, - More...
Friday - JUne 04, 2010

letterBill Walker for Governor By Lawrence "Snapper" Carson - As Alaskans we have a lot to be thankful and grateful for. What a beautiful place to work, play and live. Its stewardship should be of utmost importance to all us. We have the opportunity this year to elect a governor who has the interest and ability to make Alaska a better place for all Alaskans. His name is Bill Walker, he was born in Alaska and has worked and raised his family as a life long Alaskan. - More...
Friday - JUne 04, 2010

letterMemorial Day By Joel W Jackson - This past Monday my family and I had the honor of attending Ketchikan's Memorial Day services at our local cemetery. It is a tradition that my mother passed on to me and I have tried to pass on to my children. - More...
Friday - June 04, 2010

letterCrab Question By Mike Moyer - To answer Chris Snyder's' question: Yes there are legitimate concerns over the handling of crab by the commercial fleet during the summer months and increased mortality occurs during this time. It is known that simply handling crab causes stress and increases mortality. Handling crab during the summer months during molting and mating increases that mortality even more. The numbers of crab handled by commercial boats would obviously be greater than sport fishers because they are using more pots and trying to target more crab. - More...
Friday - JUne 04, 2010

letterReal Men By Al Johnson - My comment to Representative Ethan Berkowitz, "Real Men do not KILL Babies". - More...
Friday - June 04, 2010

letterRe: Dopey Mushers By Alan R. (Rudy) McGillvray - What a wonderful thing is propaganda. Mr. William R. Hearst launched a propaganda assault against hemp (marijuana by another name) because he could make paper more cheaply using wood pulp instead of hemp pulp. He and Harry Anslinger of the FDA, (a tool of a tax and spend rich Democrat, J.P. Morgan, who was Sec. of the Treasury at the time) saw a way to turn a whole class of people into criminals. So they all launced a propaganda campaign against Pot, hemp, marijuana, and managed to turn public opinion, against a mostly harmless substance, that did not even approach illegality or harmfullness of heroin, but through their propaganda campaign, managed to turn it into something even more powerful than heroin. Peoples' perception. - More...
Friday - June 04, 2010

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

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