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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 15, 2011

Front Page Photo By JACY PIERSON

POW: Humpback Lobtailing
Lobtailing is the act of a whale lifting its flukes out of the water and then bringing them down onto the surface of the water hard and fast in order to make a loud slap. This humpback tail-slapped approximately 20 times.

Front Page Photo By JACY PIERSON

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Hastings Visits National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska; Unveils Draft Legislation to Create Jobs and Increase Energy Production – House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings unveiled recently a discussion draft of The National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, a bill to cut through bureaucratic red tape and unlock the full potential of energy resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).  As part of the American Energy Initiative, this legislation will create new jobs, support current energy jobs in Alaska, and help lower energy costs by ensuring NPR-A resources are developed and transported in a timely and efficient manner.  Chairman Hastings was in Alaska last week for an Alaskan energy tour, including the NPR-A, with Governor Sean Parnell and Rep. Don Young. 

Hastings Visits National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Governor Parnell joined Rep. Hastings for an Alaskan energy tour, including the NPR-A. iwht Rep. Don Young on Thursday, June 9, 2011
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor

The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a legislative hearing on the bill on Thursday, June 16th.

The NPR-A was specifically designated as a petroleum reserve for the nation in 1923 and again in 1981 when stewardship was passed from the Navy to the Department of the Interior.  According to recent estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey, there are over 2.7 billion barrels of oil and 114.36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the NPR-A.  

President Obama in his weekly address on May 14th called for annual lease sales in the NPR-A.  However, NPR-A lease sales alone will have little impact if bureaucratic delays continue to hamper for years the construction of necessary roads, bridges and pipelines needed to transport the energy out of the Reserve once it is produced.  For example, ConocoPhillips has been waiting since 2008 for a permit to build a bridge and pipeline over a river in the NPR-A in order to transport oil and natural gas out of a ready-to-produce field and into the Trans Alaskan Pipeline System (TAPS). - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011

Alaska: Bill Reforming CCFs for Fishermen Introduced; 1976 Program Has Accomplished Its Goal, But Needs To Evolve – Senators Lisa Murkowski and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) today introduced a bill that gives commercial fisherman – in Alaska, Oregon and those nationwide – added flexibility when it comes to funds they’ve set aside for renovations or new construction of their fishing boats.

“Right now, the way this fishery finance program works is that we penalize fishermen in the wallet just as they’re trying to retire,” said Murkowski, the lead Republican sponsor of the bill.  “By making a necessary change to existing law, we’re giving them a one-time opportunity to leave the program and not be forced to spend money unnecessarily.”

“There was a time when CCF accounts were an integral part of building the modern and efficient fleet of fishing vessels the U.S. needed to compete with foreign fishing outfits,” Wyden said. “But the program’s success has actually made it less necessary and the money that is sitting idle in CCF accounts is money that can be better used to start new businesses or create jobs. This bill will make it so that fishermen aren’t penalized for withdrawing that money, which could be better used elsewhere.” - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011

correctionKetchikan: UAS Ketchikan 2011 Honors Lists Announced - The University of Alaska Southeast announced the names of the students making the UAS Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists for the Spring 2011 Semester.

Chancellor's Honor List:

Jane Blasingame, Aniela Drozdowska and Forest Haven made the Spring 2011 semester Chancellor’s List. A student must be admitted to a program, earn a 4.00 grade point average, and complete at least 12 credit hours during the semester to make the Chancellor’s Honor List. - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011

Ketchikan: Local Trails Heavily Impacted by Fall Storms - Strong storms during October 2010 caused extensive blowdown on remote hiking trails across the Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District. Trails in Misty Fiords National Monument Wilderness were most heavily affected and trail crews will begin clearing work in mid-June.

All trails on the Ketchikan road system have been cleared and are accessible to foot traffic. Due to the severity of the blowdown, crews will be unable to clear all remote trails this summer. - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011

Alaska Science: Rogue glacier again getting people's attention By NED ROZELL - With the return of summer, many natural cycles have resumed up north - visiting birds have invaded tundra and forest, salmon torpedo in loose formation up rivers, and Hubbard Glacier again threatens to pinch off a fiord.

Rogue glacier again getting people's attention

Hubbard Glacier’s advance toward Gilbert Point near Yakutat, as seen by glaciologist Chris Larsen on May 30, 2011.
Photo by Chris Larsen

The giant glacier, located where the Southeast panhandle meets the rest of Alaska, advances toward Gilbert Point every year at about this time. In 1986 and 2002, the ice rammed the point with sufficient strength to turn Russell Fiord into Russell Lake; the lake endured for four months in 1986 before the ice dam broke.

On June 14, Hubbard’s wall of ice was about 300 feet from Gilbert Point, according to a laser-measuring device set in place by scientists from the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab.

“Compared to last year, it looks way closer to Gilbert Point,” said Gordon Hamilton of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, who recently placed GPS devices on the upper glacier to help determine its flow. “When you fly through the gap in a helicopter, it looks really close.”

Chris Larsen of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute captured a few images of Hubbard’s advance while returning on a research flight to other area glaciers in late May. The ice front resembles a bulldozer blade rumbling toward a pile of gravel.

“It gets close many years at this time,” Larsen said. “This is closer than usual, but, on the other hand, there have been predictions made before about it closing off and it did not. When it does close, and if it stays closed, then that will be a very big deal and a real bummer for a lot of people.” - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011


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

letter Southeast Alaska’s Native people wait 40 years for return of their land By Rosita Worl - Over-regulation and anti-Native bias seem to touch every aspect of life for Native peoples in Southeast Alaska, from how our people make teddy bears to whether the U.S. will keep its promise to restore 85,000 acres of our homelands to us. - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011

letter Fisheries science is more complex than opponents of Sealaska land bill say By Douglas Martin - Restoring nearly 85,000 acres of Tongass National Forest land to the Sealaska Corporation, in accordance with the 40-year-old Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, won’t damage salmon runs. - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011

letter Sealaska Bill a Can of Worms By Rebecca Knight - Jaeleen Araujo, Sealaska vice-president and general counsel recently denied in a Juneau Empire op-ed piece that the other 11 regional corporations could use their proposed legislation as precedent to reopen land claims in Alaska. Sealaska is “perplexed” that this remains an issue. However, her comments in various public forums tell a different story. - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2011

letter Pellet Boilers? Pellet Heat? Public Buildings? Your Home? You Betcha By Samuel Bergeron - The design team on the public library wanted about $80,000 to do a feasibility study on the viability of biomass wood pellet heat. That's like doing feasibility study on using propane heat or electricity. Biomass wood pellet heat is an established technology that has been in use in major metropolitan cities throughout the world for over 30 years with a stellar track record of clean burning emissions, low cost fuel, and great systems reliability. You don't need a feasibility study to see if this is a proven technology, just do the math. - More...
Monday - June 13, 2011

letter Section 17(b) of ANCSA & Public Access By Florian Sever - I want to clear up a claim that Sealaska representatives always make when they address the issue of public acess, regarding public the 3,600 acres of prime anchorages, sockeye streams, cabin sites, and camping areas they want to make under the guise of Cultural, Sacred, Enterprise and other classifications, under the terms of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s, S. 730 “The Sealsaka Lands Bill”.- More...
Monday - June 13, 2011

letter Property Tax increase amount By Marty West - The Ketchikan Daily News was wrong. The increase was 0.1 mills ($10 per $100,000 of assessed property Value) not 1.0 mills ($100 per $100,000 as reported). - More...
Monday - June 13, 2011

letter KPU By Joey Garcia - I admire KPU's repair technicians in our verbal calls, mostly from residents of the Tongass Towers Condominium, because of tilling, loss of power if you subscribe to three services like telephone, Internet and cable. - More...
Monday - JUne 13, 2011

letterTaxes, round two By Rodney Dial - Council Member West indicated that the tax increase the Ketchikan City Council passed will result in a $25 increase for the owner of an average home. In my letter I reported that the tax increase would result in a $250.00 increase. - More...
Saturday - June 11, 2011

letter “Southeast Alaskan Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Job Protection Act.” By Jeff Sbonek - We heard Sealaska's Byron Mallott speaking before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources recent hearing on S-730 say, “We were here first”. This is plain and simply not true. DNA analysis of the 9600 year old  human remains found in “On Your Knees Cave” on north Prince of Wales Island SE Alaska 15 years ago, and of over 200 present day native volunteers of SE Alaska show no genetic link. It seems pretty clear that the Tlingits, Haidas and Tsimshians were not the first people of SE Alaska. The truth is that humans have been migrating since the beginning of humanity.  The man from “On Your Knees Cave” is ancestor to ALL of us. This land belongs to ALL of us. - More...
Saturday - June 11, 2011

letter Open Letter: Proposed “enterprise” site on Martin Creek By Bonnie Demerjian - As a long time resident of Wrangell and author of a book on the Anan Creek Bear Observatory, I am concerned about the proposed “enterprise” site on Martin Creek near the observatory. Increased fishing pressure in the area may impact the well being of the bear population at Anan Creek. Not only is this important in itself, but the observatory is a prime tourist attraction for visitors to Wrangell. Wrangell has worked hard and continues to strive to diversify its economy with tourism being an important component of that effort. A lodge at Martin Creek may well divert visitors from Wrangell, who generally include a visit to Anan Creek in their plans and are transported their by local charter operators. - More...
Saturday - June 11, 2011

letter Thanks to the Naushon By Jerry Cegelske - For those of us who frequently get out on the water close to the Bar Harbor marina, we get to see some of the material that the wind and tides have deposited on the breakwater as well as the shoreline around the harbor.  For many, the area didn’t look bad as seen from the harbor or shore as the material was deposited on the windward side of the breakwater, but it was very visible from the water. - More...
Wednesday - June 08, 2011

letter E-Verify By Byron “Chilly” Whitesides - Friends and neighbors, recently I sent an open letter to Senator Bert Stedman and Representative Kyle Johansen to be published on Sitnews.  I have been contacting them recently this year, as there were political leaders attempting to pass a law in our state to require businesses to use E-Verify on employees and applicants to assure only legal workers were being employed (Supreme Court: AZ Can Require Employers to Verify Citizenship Status of Workers ) that the legislature had failed to pass this legislation, and found this news very distressing. - More...
Wednesday - June 08, 2011

letter Re: Ketchikan's Tax Burden By Marty West - The Council increased the property tax by 0.1 mills. Not by 1.0 mills. - More...
Wednesday - June 08, 2011

letter BE THE FIRST TO KNOW By Karl Amylon - The purpose of this memorandum is to remind citizens that by signing up for FlashAlert you will receive ‘real time’ text messages and/or email messages from the City of Ketchikan and/or KPU with up to date emergency information, news releases, power outages or other important information. - More...
Wednesday - June 08, 2011

letter Ketchikan's Tax Burden By Rodney Dial - I was optimistically hopeful that Ketchikan government spending was leveling off, and our elected officials were going to cool it on the insane spending over the last few years.  I truly thought… what else can they spend money on?... just about every group has received something, lately, and government spending has been increasing by millions per year even though our population has been declining. - More...
Monday - June 06, 2011

letter M/V Tongass Ranger By P.J. Travis - Now with the M/V Tongass Ranger declared "unsafe" who is going to monitor timber sales, mining, recreation cabins, mooring buoys, archaeology sites, etc.? - More...
Monday - June 06, 2011

letter E-Verify and Drug Enforcement Problems UNSOLVED... By Joey Garcia - I agree with Byron Whitesides on his topic of E-verify format. Not only that, why does the City of Ketchikan not comply with the drug test for new hires and old hands thereby corrupting other non-drug users/pushers to continue their trade within our city? I do not blame the Office of the Ketchikan City Mayor, but the office of the Gov. Parnell, referring to the response made by a certain Ms. Lien that the Office of the Governor has no jurisdiction in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - June 06, 2011

letter RE: 400 By Charles Mackey - David Hanger, Thank you for your letter "400". You are one of many vigilant individuals in the country yet one of few brave enough to speak out using the last little bit of freedom we truly have. The Freedom of Speech. - More...
Monday - June 06, 2011

letter RE: The 400 By Chris Elliott - The richest man in America according to Forbes magazine's 2010 annual list of the 400 richest Americans is Bill Gates. His fortune is estimated at $54 billion. - More...
Monday - June 06, 2011

letter THE 400 By David G. Hanger - According to CNN reports on February 20, 2011, four hundred individuals in this country now earn more than the combined earnings of half the people.   In other words 400 self-proclaimed living ‘gods’ earn more than 160 million Americans combined.  A few tens of thousands earn much of the rest.  ‘Earning’ is a relative term in this respect, for much of what is being “earned” is via deceit, graft, and corruption. - More...
Thursday PM - June 02, 2011  

letter 8th grade class of 2011 By Judith Green - The 8th grade class had their "Continuation Ceremony" tonight in their new school building auditorium - KAYHI. They move from being Knights to being Kings - as SBA president, Brendan Stanton, mentioned in his welcome to the new freshman class. - More...
Thursday PM- June 02, 2011

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