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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 01, 2012

THE DUTCH HARBOR WAR Burning buildings at Ft. Mears after first enemy attack on Dutch Harbor, 3 June 1942

Burning buildings at Ft. Mears after first enemy attack
on Dutch Harbor, June 03, 1942....
Historical Photo - Public Domain - Naval Historical Center
Photo Courtesy Department of the United States Navy

Ketchikan: In memory of KRBD pioneer Tom Miller by Maria Dudzak, KRBD - Veteran newsman Tom Miller has died. Miller worked for the Ketchikan Daily News for more than 20 years and was one of the original founders of KRBD radio. Miller passed away at his home early Monday morning. He was 63. - Listen to or read this story...

Ketchikan: Stedman: Could Southeast be support center for Arctic? by Ed Ronco, KCAW - Imagine Southeast Alaska as a support center for Arctic energy development. State Sen. Bert Stedman is hoping Sitka and Ketchikan can one day be just that. The Sitka Republican is co-chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. - Listen to or read this KCAW story...


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Alaska: THE DUTCH HARBOR WAR; Governor has proclaimed June 3, 2012, as Dutch Harbor Remembrance Day in Alaska - A Feature Article By JUNE ALLEN - It was the summer of 1942. America had been at war since just after the shocking Japanese sneak air attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, which temporarily crippled the U.S. Pacific fleet and killed 2,300 Americans. Ketchikan mourned one of those casualties, Navy Ensign Irvin Thompson, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Thompson. A graduate of Ketchikan High School, class of '35, Thompson was lost in the sinking of the battleship Oklahoma. His death, the first Alaskan serviceman casualty of World War II, brought home the reality of war to his little Tongass Narrows hometown of 4,700 people. The entire population of Alaska at the time was only 72,500!

Six months later, on a chilly summer morning seventy years ago this Sunday, on June 3, 1942, Japanese bombers from carriers in the North Pacific attacked an Alaska town! - Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island, home of a small naval facility. After that first news break, the U.S. military high command slapped an immediate blackout on any news of the ensuing war in Alaska. Postwar commentators remarked that America would surely have panicked had it known that the enemy had attacked American soil - and could envision the enemy continuing down the West Coast to major cities! That news blackout was the reason so few know about the Alaska theater of war.

The fog was dense in that first enemy attack on Dutch Harbor (as it often is), the seas rough, and only 17 of the enemy planes reached their targets. The others got lost in the Aleutian's incredibly thick murkiness, and some crashed into the sea. The Japanese planes returned the next day, June 4, and their bombs set oil tanks afire, damaged the hospital and a barracks ship. American casualties numbered 33 military and ten civilian dead, 64 wounded, and 11 U.S. planes (from Umnak Island) were lost.

Two days later, June 6, the enemy occupied Kiska and the following day troops invaded Attu, both of the islands located on the western end of the Aleutian Chain. They met no resistance from the small bands of surprised Aleuts, and a missionary family. They were sent to prisoner of war camps in Japan to spend the remainder of the war. The evacuation of the islands Aleut people followed, which removed them to locations in Southeastern Alaska - one of them the camp at Ketchikan's Wards Cove.

The year-long fighting that followed the enemy attack, invasion and occupation in Alaska stretched along a thousand-mile front that would be the site of the only World War II land battles on the North American continent! North America's attic door had been blasted open! The battle was hampered by the area's devilish weather that hampered activities on land and sea, for both sides.

Ketchikan's initial and slightly disorganized civil defense efforts in those first months of the war had smoothed into routine by the summer of 1942. Emergency defense plans were in place to fight fires. Business owners had barrels of sand hauled to rooftops to fight fires caused by incendiary bombs, and the experienced but aging volunteer firemen - beyond military service age - were prepared. Air raid drills were common, and many people took first aid classes. At Main School air raid evacuation drills ushered kids to the Schoenbar gold mine tunnel in Bear Valley. Air raid wardens patrolled the streets at night.

It was a time of blackout along the western shores of the United States from Alaska to San Diego, including Ketchikan. Blackout curtains or window shades were required after dark. The late Ted Ferry once told of building a blackout entrance to Ferry's food store on the curve of Water-Tongass Avenue, so that customers could come into and out of the store after dark without leaking any light. - More...
Friday - June 01, 2012

Ketchikan: Kevin Hansen Week 1 Leader in King Salmon Derby - The Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby wrapped up the first of three weekends of fishing last weekend, with Kevin Hansen leading the pack. Hansen’s 43.2 lb king was weighed in at the Clover Pass Resort weigh-in station at noon during the second day of the tournament.  He will now have to anxiously await results through two more weekends of fishing as more than 1,000 derby participants try to knock him out of first place.  Hansen’s fish could stay atop the leader board through the end of the derby, with winners in 2008 and 2010 landing fish smaller than the current leader.

Kevin Hansen & his 43.2 lb king

This is the 65th annual king salmon derby, with an event held each year since 1949 with the exception of 1974.  From 1949 In 1976 (excluding 74) both “derby days” and a seasonal derby were held.  “Derby Days” mimicked the current event, with fishing dates generally coinciding with Memorial Day weekend and subsequent weekends.  The seasonal derby lasted through the entire summer.  Since 1977, only one local derby has been held.  

Should Hansen hold on to his top spot through the final two weekends of the derby, he would claim the derby’s $10,000 cash grand prize.  Over $85,000 in cash and prizes are available to the grand prize winner, 30 ladder place holders on the adult ladder, 10 ladder place holders on the youth ladder, and a handful of special prizes including men’s and women’s hidden weights, biggest fish from a skiff, and biggest fish by a permanent license holder.  

Hansen was one of 894 anglers that checked out during week one.  197 kings were weighed in over the three-day weekend, just barely more than half of the 384 weighed in during week one of the 2011 derby.  

Ava Widmeyer lead the youth prize ladder (under 16 years old) with a 23.6 lb king,  caught on Monday and weighed in at the Bar Harbor weigh station. - More...
Friday - June 01, 2012

Alaska: Hawadax Island: A Name Restored in Alaska’s Aleutians; A Historically Accurate Unangan Replacement for ‘Rat Island’ - The historic name of an island in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands has been officially restored. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names made the name change official earlier this month after a petition from the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association to restore the Native name “Hawadax” to the island.

Hawadax Island: A Name Restored in Alaska’s Aleutians; A Historically Accurate Unangan Replacement for ‘Rat Island’

Hawadax Island
Photo by Steve Ebbert, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (APIA), led by President/CEO Dimitri Philemonof, wishes to express appreciation to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names for approving the change of name.

“We are also grateful to the three conservation partners of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and Island Conservation whose cooperative efforts led the island restoration that eradicated the infestation of the rats on Hawadax Island. Furthermore, I wish to recognize APIA’s environmental and safety program manager, Ms. Karen Pletnikoff who first expressed the desire to return the island to its historical name and led the effort to submit the petition,” he said. - More...
Friday - June 01, 2012

Ketchikan: Drug Transaction Leads to Grow Operation - Thursday morning at approximately 11:30, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs (SEACAD) task force received a report of possible drug activity between a 24 year-old man from Ketchikan and a vehicle registered out of Metlakatla.

SEACAD located the involved vehicle at at 3:45 pm Thursday at the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal in Ketchikan and contacted the vehicle's occupants. Investigation revealed that a 32 year-old woman and a 29 year-old man, both from Metlakatla, were illegally in possession of 14 grams of marijuana, which they had purchased from a 24 year-old man from Ketchikan.

The marijuana was seized and the two individuals were released from the scene. Around 5:00 pm, SEACAD, with the assistance of Alaska State Troopers, went to the last known residence of the 24 year-old man from Ketchikan to conduct further investigation. - More...
Friday - June 01, 2012


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letter Road conditions By Zig Ziegler - Anyone who drives, or at the least, rides in a vehicle in Ketchikan knows our roads are terrible. State highway, in-city or borough ignored doesn't matter. It is not possible to drive anywhere for any distance without endangering your vehicle, any passengers, or pedestrians unfortunate enough to be on the shore of one of the lakes we call puddles. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012

letter End Times By Rodney Dial - FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY! Just read two SitNews letters, one by Mayor Kiffer and the other by David Hanger that I actually agree with. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012

letter Proposed Seabridge mine By Terry Williams - I think most people in Canada would not want to see an environmental disaster by the development of the Seabridge KSM mine. I also believe that the mine won't be developed if the Provence of B.C. does not ensure that reasonable protections are in place. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012

letter There's gold in them hills! By A.M. Johnson - Good to hear Victoria is still in residents. As one looks around the community it is hard to recognize anybody as a permanent resident. There are a few of us old barnacles still hanging on after the timber industry was successfully eliminated from the economic pie. Seems Victoria was involved with that issue as well. I can't recall if Victoria was or remains a member of the local environmental league, seems that was the case, could be mistaken and if so, charge it to old age. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012

letter Mining question By Duane Hill - I would like to present a serious question that has puzzled me for a while. - More...
Tuesday - May 29

letter RE: Progressive Activism By David G. Hanger - To me the most interesting aspect of what Jim Guenther wrote is how two simple paragraphs could expose so much rabidity; for in reading all of the letters written in response what is most notable is that none of the respondents disagreed that the Republican Party does in fact endorse all of the points of view Mr. Guenther cited. They just damned him for observing and stating that fact. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012

letter RE: Educational Equipment By Chris Elliott - It's a bit disingenuous for Mr. Powell to say that students "get wind of the cuts, no matter what we do." - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012

letter RE: GRADE SCHOOL POPULARITY CULTS By Kelli Carlin-Auger - I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, I feel the need to respond to Mr. David Hanger in general. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012

letter GRADE SCHOOL POPULARITY CULTS By David G. Hanger - Congratulations Ketchikan.   Your number one politician of the last four decades is now a convicted life-long pedophile.  How embarrassing.  Rather than anger (at whom?), some serious soul-searching is in order.  I do not myself forget the fact that Andrea Jacobsen was falsely accusing the Talleys, young Ken Liljekvist, and any number of other innocent people of various forms of child abuse they never thought of committing; and the late Dick Callentine was howling that Ketchikan is the child abuse capital of the universe; and many innocents were terribly victimized and impoverished. - More...
Thursday - May 24, 2012

letter Re: Educational Equipment By Mike Carney - In response to Mr. Powel's comments about videos, I watched a video on the Ketchikan School District's web site last week that was called "GONEPLAY" and if this is what they teach at our high school, I would like a refund on my taxes. - More...
Thursday - May 24, 2012

letter Ketchikan Gymnastics By Gerald Scarzella - It has been a pleasure to sit on the Ketchikan Gymnastics Board for the past few months. There have been some exciting changes in regards to the gymnastics club. There is a new and exciting summer program for all children interested in gymnastics. We have a new manager, Calli, and she has been working on a summer schedule that should accommodate anyone interested in participating. - More...
Thursday - May 24, 2012

letter Massive mine planned on the Unuk; Economies of Scale Create the Greatest Damage By Victoria McDonald - The proposed KSM mine on a tributary of the Unuk River could give rise to one of the largest gold-copper mines in the world. If Seabridge's project is permitted, Alaskan waters within Misty Fjords will be threatened by millions of gallons of heavy metals laden acid drainage. King, coho and sockeye salmon that rely on the Unuk River will be forced to find new spawning areas, in addition to steelhead, cutthroat, char, and other species of fish and wildlife. - More...
Thursday - May 24, 2012

letter Canoe Journey By Vivian Mork - I am writing this in hopes that someone will be able to help us there in Ketchikan. We have a 38 ft. canoe in Ketchikan that needs to get to Kake via the ferry on May 26th .In order to put it on the ferry we need a boat trailer for it. Our original way of shipping it to Kake fell through at the last minute. Now we are in a race against time to get this canoe to Kake. We only need to borrow it for the shipping to Kake and we will send the trailer right back on the 30th. Does anyone have a boat trailer we can borrow or rent? - More...
Thursday - May 24, 2012

letter Lands Bill: Push is still on By Gretchen Goldstein - If you do not receive a Corporation newsletter, you may think that Sealaska’s land-grab Bill, S 881/HR 1408, has died a merciful death.  Attacked by local, State and Federal land managers, Alaska Natives, private hunting, caving and environmental groups, and Southeast residents facing the loss of their living in the name of job creation, one might hope that our elected official would abandon the outdated proposal. - More...
Thursday - May 24, 2012

letter No Cut in Ketchikan's Educational Funding By Dave Kiffer - I must correct some incorrect information that was recently published in a letter on your website. First of all, the Borough is absolutely not proposing a cut in "local" funding for the school district. - More...
Monday - May 21, 2012

letter Re: Educational Equipment By Agnes Moran - In response to Mr. Powell's assertion "The video is a reminder to all what the most important item is in your child's classroom... the teacher." - More...
Monday - May 21, 2012

letter XKKF Activtities By Lisa Lang - The XKKF (Xaadas Kil_Kuyaas Foundation) or "Precious Haida Words Foundation" is the 501(C)(3) public non-profit in Hydaburg, Alaska. My name is Lisa Lang, my Xaada name is Ka'illjuus. I am the Executive Director for the XKKF. Our Board of Directors volunteer and provide their expertise to assist in developing a sustainable non-profit for the future benefit of our culture. - More...
.Monday - May 21, 2012

letter China’s Expansionist Policies By Donald A. Moskowitz - The U.S. Defense Department believes China will soon have anti-ship missiles with a range of 1000 miles, B-6 bombers armed with long range cruise missiles, aircraft carriers, 75 surface navy ships, 60 submarines and missile boats.  These forces will enable China to project its influence in the Asia Pacific region. - More...
Monday - May 21, 2012

letter Land Exchange By Lois Morgan - Thank you so much for your ongoing, open-eyed coverage of this issue, and special thanks for today's extensive installment. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter The Senate Hearings on the Sealaska Land Exchange Bill - A political cartoon by Jim Guenther - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Sealaska Term Limits 2012 By Wanda J Culp - Ray Austin's letter is well written and respectfully presented. The Sealaska Term Limit Resolution is a very important business decision for the owners of the Sealaska Corporation. If election reform is not passed in 2012, it will be status quo, business as usual for the select few as the beneficiaries. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter KTB Spring Gala Saturday Matinee By Debbie Azure - All of our extended family dropped everything on Saturday afternoon to attend our little ballerina's Spring Performance. We all dressed up, even uncles, bought flowers and watched all the darling kids dance on the big stage. The music was bright and fun, the costumes were cute or beautiful, depending on the age of the dancer and the performances were all we could hope for. I would recommend this fun afternoon to anyone looking for something fun to do. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter ATV Off-Road Trails By Jose Blanco - Upon receiving orders to Ketchikan I got excited being I consider myself an ATV off road, outdoors enthusiast. Since my arrival however I have spoken to both parks and wildlife and the State Troopers about legal places to ride. I checked out Whipple Creek and sadly was a bit disappointed by its size. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Educational equipment By Sean P. Powell - The following video was recently submitted for airing on KPU and was turned down as it was deemed too political. Since I don't believe that is a restriction here, I would like to humbly submit it for your perusal. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter School Funding By Rebecca L. King - I have concerns about the money being allocated to the school district by the borough assembly. At the proposed amount many programs may be in danger of being reduced or completely cut from schools including universal preschool, advanced placement courses, academic support courses, culinary arts, building construction, welding, child careers, business courses, art, and music. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Bill and Charles Huckins By Becky (Huckins) Hanson - Mr. Finch, the pictures posted with your letter are of Bill Huckins himself. Charles was Bill's father, not his brother, and it was Charles that was involved with the raising of the Islander. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Elephant in the Womb By Jim Guenther - As I have earlier stated, I don’t believe that governments, either state or federal, have the right to insert their legislative dogmas into the reproductive organs of American women.  I would have thought that Ron Paul-Republicans would agree with me on this point, but it seems otherwise. Since 2010, when the Tea Party backed, conservative Republicans won seats in many state and federal elections they have introduced over 916 bills related to limiting the reproductive rights of women. Nine hundred and sixteen! These bills defund Planned Parenthood, require abstinence only sex education, and make it illegal for private insurance companies to provide abortion compensation. Some even limit access to contraception!  Where is the logic in that? - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter The real problem By Irving B. Welchons III - The members of the U.S. House of Representatives have been working in Washington on 41 of the first 127 days of this year.  They are planning to be in session half of the remaining weeks.  How long would you keep your job if you worked like that? Even when they show up they fail to address the biggest problems facing the country.  It would take a 50% tax increase in order to balance the so called budget yet they are avoiding the problem while the debt grows by 1200 billion dollars per year.   - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Just sat there... By Sam Stouder - A few days ago I was sitting at a Ketchikan bus stop. The air was crisp and the day beautiful. I believe it was May day for it was a friend's birthday. Compared to the deary winter that has thankfully begun to pass; the ocean was bright and shining and the island hummed with the notes of spring. I was eating banana chips and ice cream, the crisp fruit slices perfect sized spoons for my tiny palm sized frozen treat. The day thus far had been rather enjoyable, then I saw her. Young, pretty, blonde, rather a tiny girl really; by the usual curvy Alaskan women I've become accustomed to. She was walking - no rushing down the opposite side walk. She was tightly gripping her purse glancing back behind her at the man who followed her at a determined pace. He scared me, that's the biggest thing I remember. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Progressive Activism By Jim Guenther - My recent credo of beliefs certainly raised some hackles on the necks of my right wing brethren. I supposed that it would have such an effect and anticipated a healthy debate in return. I appreciate those of you who offered some defense of your own opposing viewpoint and disregard those few others whose response degenerated to insults and patronization. Enough said about that. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter RE: Progressive Activism By Doug Barry - As has been well-expressed by others, "everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts". Unfortunately, and too often, both sides of many controversial issues seem to forget that adage or only partially apply it to suit their viewpoints. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Re: Progressive activism By Alethea Johnson - I believe that Mr. Guenther, a man who made his living as a teacher for decades in this small town is most likely a role model to hundreds of the young adults who live here. As a person who holds (or held) a position of authority in the classroom while dispensing both wisdom and grades, he is looked up to with respect. He has influence. So when a man in that position writes a letter to the editor, I believe it should be a well developed essay that contributes something meaningful to the public discourse on significant issues. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

letter Recess is for children By Billy D. Clifford - Members of the U.S. House of Representatives continue to get re-elected in spite of their inability to resolve our $15 trillion national debt - which they created. Yet Congress is taking a two-week recess! And when they get back in session, they will spend much of their time and energy preparing for the next election. Why do we continue to give jobs to these inept people? We need serious, responsible adults who will spend their time and energy on the real problems our country faces. Recess is for children. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2012

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