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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 19, 2012

Front Page Photo By JACY PIERSON

POW: Sitka Black-tailed Fawn
The photographer did not disturb this fawn as it was quietly waiting for its mother's return, the photographer quickly moved along the trail. Be an ethical wildlife photographer and follow the "wildlife viewing ethics" guidelines provided by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
Front Page Photo By JACY PIERSON


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Ketchikan: Long Lasting Pilot Bread Has a Long History A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER Pilot Bread, which is also known as hardtack or seabiscuit, may be one of the staples of village life in Alaska, but its history – or the history of a hard baked, long lasting biscuit made mostly of flour and water – goes back thousands of years.

Long Lasting Pilot Bread Has a Long History

Ketchikan's First Annual International Pilot Bread Festival: Trivia contestants and Ketchikan Gateway Borough's Mayor and trivia buff Dave Kiffer . Merle Hawkins (center) was the winner of Ketchikan's Pilot Bread Trivia Contest. The prize was donated by Madison Hardware.
Photo courtesy International Pilot Bread Festival, Photographer Unknown

The first written reference to a type of hardtack is from during the reign of Ramesses II during the Egyptian campaigns against what where known as the Sea Peoples. During this period, some 1300 years before the time of Christ, sailors in the Egyptian navy carried with them a flat, hard loaf of millet bread called dhourra cake.

Since the Chinese had been using millet to make a similar cake for at least a thousand years prior to this, it is entirely possible that early Chinese navies or armies had also been eating a form of millet cake, but there is no historical record of it.

A millennium after the Egyptians, the Romans were known to carry a biscuit called “buccellum” on their marches to expand their empire.

The next time that “hardtack” shows up in the historical record is during the Crusades, when famed English King Richard I, or Richard the Lionhearted, was reported by contemporary accounts to favor "biskit of muslin," which was a mixed grain compound of barley, rye and bean flour, and took it with him on the Third Crusades (1189-1192) according to the Official History of the British Navy.

Some form of the apparently indestructible, long lasting biscuits continued to be used, primarily for military campaigns over the next several centuries.

The name hardtack itself comes from the British Navy which began outfitting its ships with rations of hardtack in the 1500s. Tack was the sailor term for food.

By 1588, the ration was one pound of hardtack a day for each sailor, who often dipped it hot liquid before eating, both to soften it and to drive out any bugs.

In addition to eating the hardtack, the sailors used them for other purposes, including a form of IOU in which the sailor would write on the biscuit like a check. They were also used as gambling chips in the card games that took place below decks. - More...
Monday - June 19, 2012

Ketchikan: SCIENTISTS KICK-OFF FIRST NOAA-LED SURVEY OF SOUTHEAST ALASKA BEACHES FOR TSUNAMI DEBRIS By Mary Kauffman, SitNews - A team of five NOAA scientists will kick off the first NOAA-led survey of Southeast Alaska beaches for Japan tsunami debris. The team will be leaving from Ketchikan Friday aboard the charter vessel Sumdum.

Over the 10-day cruise, the team will survey specific beaches of Southeast Alaska from Dixon Entrance to Cape Spencer, covering approximately 78 kilometers of shoreline across 889 kilometers of outside coast.

“We doubt that the peak of tsunami debris has arrived, so this is a preliminary assessment to get an idea of the scope of what is arriving here right now,” said NOAA’s Jeep Rice from the Auke Bay Lab in Juneau. “We are also keeping a sharp lookout to see if there is anything chemically or physically dangerous that needs immediate action. This scouting trip will help inform future cleanup efforts.”

Rice said other locations further north and west in Alaska will be surveyed later this summer to include a wide swath of Alaska coastline all the way out to Adak. All human-related marine debris will be enumerated and cataloged so scientists can assess their spatial and temporal distribution. Tsunami debris surveys will be conducted periodically throughout the next couple years.

On May 17, 2012, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) chaired a subcommittee hearing that included testimony from the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The goal of of the hearing was to get answers to federal government plans for responding to tsunami debris fouling the shorelines of Alaska and the West Coast. The hearing included testimony from David M. Kennedy, Assistant Administrator, NOAA’s National Ocean Service; and Rear Admiral Cari Thomas, Director of Response Policy for the U.S. Coast Guard.

“There’s three billion pounds of mostly plastic trash which will flood into our inter-tidal ecosystems and the leading edge of this tide is already here,” Begich said in his opening statement at the May 17th hearing.

Last month's hearing was scheduled by Begich in response to marine debris from last year’s tragic tsunami in northern Japan which swept an estimated five million tons of debris out to sea. It is estimated 70 percent sank off shore, leaving up to 1.5 million tons (3 billion pounds) of debris still afloat. - More...
Monday - June 19, 2012

Fish Factor: High tech buoys soon to measure ocean acidity levels By LAINE WELCH - Thanks to a nearly $3 million show of support  from the state,  high tech buoys will soon be measuring ocean acidity levels year ‘round,  and Alaska fishermen will play an important role in the research.

Basic chemistry proves that ocean waters are becoming more corrosive and it is happening faster in colder waters. The acidity, caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions,   can prevent shells from forming on crabs or oysters and tiny shrimplike organisms essential to fish diets. 

Alaska’s monitoring project will allow scientists to develop a “sensitivity index” for the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and the Arctic and key species in the regions.

“By doing that we will get an idea of which regions are the most vulnerable,” explained Dr. Jeremy Mathis, a chemical oceanographer and director of the Ocean Acidification Research Center at the University of Alaska/Fairbanks.  “After that, we will be able to start modeling out some scenarios using our ocean observations combined with subsistence and economic data -- where if there was a disruption in a certain species, we could quantify those costs.”

“We can communicate with stakeholders and policy makers using numbers instead of in terms of pH levels and saturate rates,” he added.

Mathis and his team will begin ordering and building the buoy equipment next month with deployment planned for March.  The fully loaded buoys each come at a price tag of about $300,000, or “roughly the price of one 10 day research cruise.”   The buoys will be located in Southeast, Resurrection Bay off Seward, Kodiak, and the Bering Sea.

 “That buoy sits about 100 miles west of Bristol Bay, right in the middle of the big crab fishery. So between those four sites we are able to monitor where the stakeholders and the fisheries are, and ultimately we will be able to answer some of those ecosystem questions,” Mathis said.

The OA research center will contract with fishermen and vessels for buoy deployments and maintenance, as well as for collecting water samples to expand the ocean chemistry data base. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012


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letter Federal PILT Payment By Agnes Moran - As a taxpayer and Ketchikan Borough Assembly member, I welcome the recent $1,038,263 federal payment in lieu of taxes to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough (see Alaska Communities See Increase in PILT Payments, SitNews, June 15). However, I wish to add some important context. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012

letter Obama: “private sector is doing fine” By Donald A. Moskowitz - In February 2009 President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus program was supposed to create 5 million new jobs and reduce unemployment below 8% by the end of 2010.  He missed both projections by wide margins. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012

letter THE BATTLE OF AGAFAGUMAS AND BILOXI JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL NOVEMBER 22, 1963 By David G. Hanger - Memories are funny things in two separate directions, the one, of course, often caricatured, is the exaggeration and embellishment about events long past, distortion that evolves quickly to abstraction, if not pure fantasy; then, too, there is the other, that of memories so deeply etched they are formative, and never forgotten.  These two vignettes are from my past, and are of the latter category, so deeply etched they cannot be forgotten.  Any quotes are verbatim; the events occurred specifically as described, and there is no intent whatsoever at exaggeration on my part. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012

letter Congress may be the nation's most serious problem By Irving B. Welchons III - This year the candidates for President will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising.  One telling us of the heroic things he has done and the other telling us of the miraculous things he will do. Almost everything President Obama takes credit for had to be passed by Congress.  The promises made by candidate Romney must be made law by Congress to be fulfilled. The President can only veto a law; he can not pass one. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012 

letter Is this how we show our gratitude? By Yolanda Sainz - How discouraging to learn that my longtime physician, Dr Vicky Malurkar is no longer employed at Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Health Clinic.  How is it possible I was seen by her last week and now she is gone? - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter Ketchikan city roads By B. E. Jacobson - Thank you Mr. Ziegler, your letter was long over due, but much appreciated. I'm furious over our North end roads. Every time I take my car out it is like driving an obstacle course. Our North end of town (Jackson St. Safeway,etc) has no lines at all on the road. When it rains (which is often) there are no lines to see at all. We just pray that we are in the right lane. - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter RE: Roads By Joey Garcia - I agree with Zig Ziegler regarding the bumpy or unattended roads. Somebody please clarify to me the proposed proposition by the City of Ketchikan in bonds to convert this into road rehabilitation. Or where are the revenues of the City? Why can't local residents, or old timers, simply enjoy our own roads? Does it mean to say that the City simply does a grandstanding on innovating our ports and left off some portions due to lack of funds? - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter Bibles at Kayhi By Riley Gass - Recently there was a group of people who were giving out free Bibles to students at lunch at Ketchikan High School. I would like to thank everyone who donated their time, money and resources to do this. - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter Ooligan fishing By Dennis Parsons - Thanks for the article on ooligan fishing. I found it while googling the fish while conceiving an interest in trying it as food. Reading about Lewis and Clark (Pioneering Naturalists, by Cutright) one of the explorers had said that the fish was his favorite for eating. - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter Notes on the Righteous Mind By Jim Guenther - According to Jonathan Haidt author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, humans are genetically hard wired to respond in intuitive ways when presented with moral questions. Sure our environment and social situations are reflected in our belief systems but he makes a strong argument, based on thousands of surveys, that intuition overrides reason for most of our responses concerning politics and religion; which, he contends, are nearly inseparable. Arguing for or against a political party’s’ ideals is much like telling a Christian that they are wrong about their choice of Gods. He divides the moral response into six general categories.  For example liberal Democrats hold Caring, or empathy for fellow man, highest in their hierarchy of criteria for stance making, while on the other side of the spectrum the conservative Republican favors platforms that hold to Fairness, the idea that one deserves what is given them. They also highly regard Loyalty, (remember Reagan’s’ eleventh commandment), Liberty, and Authority. Libertarians who participated in his study choose Liberty almost exclusively above all others and tended to put Caring in the least influential category. - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter RE: Progressive Activism By Ed Bush - "To assert that the Founding Fathers were a bunch of extreme Right wingers is really dumb. Edmund Burke, the great British conservative of the era, would certainly have told you otherwise; he would have preferred to hang them all. Establishing via revolution the only representative democracy on the planet at the time is about as progressive and as liberal as one can get." - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter Water additives? By Charlotte Poirier - I have concerns about the water additives (soda ashe, ammonia) that will be added to Ketchikan's water supplies -- it causes cancer. - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

letter SEARHC says thanks for successful men’s cancer retreat By Richelle Whitson - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is pleased to announce the successful completion of the second annual Southeast Men’s Prostate and Testicular Cancer Survivor Retreat on June 1-3 in Wrangell. We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to our sponsors: - More...
Friday - June 08, 2012

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