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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 25, 2012

Front Page Photo By LES HARRINGTON, Ketchikan

Lower Silvis Lake
Photographed on June 21, 2012
Front Page Photo By LES HARRINGTON, Ketchikan


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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Medical Center Receives Innovation Grant - PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center (PHKMC) has been awarded a three-year $3.1 million Health Care Innovation Challenge Grant from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to assist in advancing our patient care coordination to improve health maintenance and chronic disease outcomes for our patients in southern Southeast Alaska. Out of approximately 3,000 applications, 107 awards were granted nation-wide. PHKMC was the only grant awardee in Alaska. The program will initially focus on high-risk patients with diabetes, congestive heart failure and other preventative conditions. A key component of the grant project will be to create a Medical Office Assistant (MOA) education program ensuring that this critical workforce is available both today and into the future for our patients.

“This grant is the largest single grant received by PHKMC and will increase access by putting in place a model of care that will reduce the barriers that keep our patients from achieving optimum health outcomes,” says Pat Branco, PHKMC CEO.

The Health Care Innovation Challenge Grant Program’s focus is to fund new models of service delivery and payment improvements that hold the promise of delivering the three-part aim of better health, better health care, and lower costs through improved quality for Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees. Successful applicants were required to have models that could be rapidly developed or deployed, demonstrate impact within 6 months, and result in savings to Medicare/Medicaid/CHIP within two to three years.

The grant project is planned to span three years. Grant funding in Year 1 will be $1,056,660. Depending on CMS’s availability of funds in the HC Innovation Grant Challenge program, PHKMC would receive another $1 million in Year 2 and again in Year 3 for this project. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

Fish Factor: Search On For New Fish Leader By LAINE WELCH - The search is on for a new executive director at United Fishermen of Alaska. After five years at the helm Mark Vinsel is shifting to a new role as chief administrator, the position he was originally hired for 12 years ago. UFA is the nation’s largest commercial fishing trade group representing 37 different fishing groups and businesses

Part of the reason for this change is that over the past five years there has been a big proliferation in the number of agencies and issues that have the potential to affect a wide range of fisheries,” Vinsel said.

“Things like EPA discharge requirements, national ocean policies, new Coast Guard regs coming into place for fishing vessel safety … the the devil is in the details, and we have to pay a lot of attention so that we end up with things that make sense for fishermen in Alaska.”

Vinsel said the UFA position will be advertised at the end of summer so more fishermen have a chance to apply.

“The more someone knows about fisheries, the better equipped they are to handle the UFA job,” he said.

Vinsel said UFA is closely tracking national and state issues that affect Alaska’s seafood industry, with a close eye on resource development. UFA also heads up a relief mission for fishing communities hurt by disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, UFA raised over $380,000 to assist Japanese fishing communities hurt by last year’s tsunami. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

Alaska Science: Dinosaurs in the Wrangell Mountains By NED ROZELL - The more Tony Fiorillo explores Alaska, the more dinosaur tracks he finds on its lonely ridgetops. The latest examples are the stone footprints of two different dinosaurs near the tiny settlement of Chisana in the Wrangell Mountains.

Dinosaurs in the Wrangell Mountains

From left, Yoshi Kobayashi, Tony Fiorillo and Tom Adams in the Wrangell Mountains near where they discovered dinosaur tracks.
Photo courtesy Tony Fiorillo.

Fiorillo, a dinosaur hunter with the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, recently wrote of the foot impressions of a large plant-eater and small meat-eater in the science journal Cretaceous Research. Fiorillo is a yearly summer visitor to Alaska who seems to discover something exciting on every trip.

His latest published find is based on his travel to the Wrangells in 2008 with Thomas Adams of San Antonio College, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of Hokkaido University and Linda Stromquist of the National Park Service. Fiorillo had read about prehistoric plant fossils that others found in a streambed near Chisana. That type of vegetation in other places sometimes leads to dinosaur fossils.

“That was the year there was no summer,” Fiorillo remembered of the rainy, cool 2008. “But for 12 days in the Wrangells, we had unbelievable weather. It may be the most beautiful field experience I’ve ever had.”

Not long into the fieldwork, Fiorillo picked up a plate-size rock and held it up in the sunshine. He could see the impression of the middle toe of a three-toed dinosaur; by squinting at the rock as he turned it, he could make out a print pressed into the ground by a hefty creature that stomped past 70 million years ago. Close by, he recognized another print, the track of a smaller, zippy meat-eater. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

jpg MARY LYNN DAHLMoney Matters: Reaching Your Most Important Financial Goal: A Comfortable Retirement By MARY LYNN DAHL, Certified Financial Planner ™ -  How can you determine whether or not you will have a comfortable retirement? As practical as this question would seem to be, most people are not able to answer it clearly. This column offers an example that will illustrate the process of actually calculating the income that will provide that comfort, or not, depending on your situation. Knowing this information, in advance of retiring, is critical to reaching your financial goals, so read on and take note.

This is Case Study #1, Mr. and Mrs. Employed. - More....
Monday - June 25, 2012

TOM PURCELL: Failing the U.S. Citizenship Test - "It's not my fault I failed the test. It's a lot harder than it looks."

"Ah, yes, you speak of the U.S. citizenship test, which Newsweek recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to complete. Nearly 40 percent failed!"

"That's because the test is riddled with trick questions, if you ask me."

"The test is actually very straightforward. It is composed of 100 questions about government, rights, history and civics. Test-takers are presented with a random selection of 10 questions and must correctly answer six to pass."

"Yeah. Well, why don't we go through some of the questions? You'll understand why I failed it."

"OK, here goes. What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens?"

"The right to vote for the guy who promises to give you the most free stuff from the government that is paid for by your neighbors."

"Technically, that is not correct, but your answer is regrettably accurate these days. Let's try some questions about America's system of government. How many branches are there in our government?"

"Four: executive, judicial, legislative and the Federal Reserve run by that Bernanke guy who prints trillions in new money to pay the government's bills." - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012


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letter Roads By Bill Meck - As I was driving around town recently I decided to keep driving for a while to try and find a few of the good stretches of road system we have to be proud of. I came to several conclusions. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter ADA Accesible Park Avenue By Allegra Machado - I would love to see ADA Accessible curb ramps installed on the large section of sidewalk that runs along the creek on Park Avenue.  I walk that area of downtown regularly and have noticed many tourists and locals alike struggle with the high curbs on that section of sidewalk that is part of the Downtown Walking Tour Route.  The alternative route is to walk the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street which is very narrow and abruptly ends at the hill to Cape Fox; requiring pedestrians to have to jay walk across the street and have to step up almost a foot high to get back on the sidewalk along the creek. - More....
Monday - June 25, 2012 

letter Deformed Plants? By Amanda Mitchell - I live in the Bear Valley area. We have been noticing, the past few weeks, that some of the wild buttercups in our yard have extra petals. Not too concerning. However, today my children found a two-headed dandelion in the yard. We have never seen this before. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter RE:Congress is a problem but not 'The' problem By Charley Starr - The problem with politics is that it brings out a bunch of BS that just gets spread around the internet without anyone checking the facts. I am not a democrat, nor a strong supporter of the President. I like to think for myself and not blindly follow a political party. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter Let’s be Fast & Furious and dump Congress By Katheryn Burson - The Fast & Furious saga drama has dragged on for more than a year and a half.  Subpoenas have been ignored.  Congress has dragged its feet. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter Congress is a problem but not 'The' problem By A. M. Johnson - In response to Mr. Irving B Welchons' "Congress may be Nation's serious problem", I submit that the following epistle will dispel any notion that President Obama has found an apparent way to suspend the need for Congress or a Constitution. If Congress has a srious problem it is the lack of "Gonads" in not impeaching the sitting President for ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law.The following is not of my words, however I do support the content and agree with the conclusion. - More..
Wednesday - June 20, 2012

letter Ocean acidification By Mike Svenson - Laine Welch's fish report this week about ocean acidification was the usual environmental  talking point. She wants us fishermen to be all upset about this and blame coal plants, oil refineries, cars, etc. But in the summertime in Alaska there are probably at least 3000 diesel boats running around putting out smoke. - More...
Wednesday - June 20, 2012

letter AGAFAGUMAS ETC. By Chris Elliott - With the exception of the unnecessary last paragraph, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Hanger's trip down memory lane. - More...
Wednesday - June 20, 2012

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 

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