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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 27, 2012

Front Page Photo By EVAN WICK

Moser Bay: Sitka Black-tailed Fawn
ADF&G's "Wildlife Viewing Ethics"
Front Page Photo By EVAN WICK


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Ketchikan: Harbor Bond Approved With 7% Voter Turnout By Mary Kauffman, SitNews - With 7% of registered City of Ketchikan voters turning out Tuesday, Harbor Bond Proposition 1 was approved. 350 turned out to vote with 247 voting yes, approving the bond.

Yesterday's approval of Proposition 1 by the voters authorizes the City of Ketchikan to issue bonds for a maximum of $5 Million over a period of several years. The authority to issue bonds is required in order for the City of Ketchikan to apply for and receive grant funding from several sources, especially the State’s 50/50 Harbor Grant program. The City’s goal is to issue only the minimum necessary bonds needed for any project, planning to never reach the $5 Million level. In the Proposition proposal, the City stated that this bond measure is not intended to be a "blank check".

The State of Alaska was the former owner of Ketchikan’s harbors which were constructed in the 60’s and 70’s. The State passed ownership of the harbors to the City of Ketchikan over the past 6 to 8 years. By the time the City received ownership from the State, the harbors were all at end-of-life and in need of upgrading and maintenance to retain their usefulness.

The State of Alaska did provide the City of Ketchikan with $7.8 Million to make the most necessary repairs and improvements and the Ports & Harbor department was able to use those funds to make over $11 Million in improvements when matched with several grants.

However, about $10 Million in improvements and maintenance projects were identified by Ports and Harbors that were still in need to be performed to keep the harbors safe and in good repair.

Although these bonds will be general obligation bonds, the City intends to repay the bonds from harbor user fees and raw fish tax revenues, not property taxes. This will impact only those who use the moorage facilities, including year-round pleasure and commercial vessels as well as transient moorage users. There will be no impact on launch ramp user fees. The increase in moorage fees would be 7% for each $1 Million raised. That would mean that whenever the first $1Million in bonds is issued several years from now the moorage fee for a 24 foot vessel would increase from $46 per month to $49.22 per month. - More...
Wednesday - June 27, 2012

Alaska: Alaska’s New Electoral Map Receives Federal Preclearance – Today the U.S. Department of Justice approved Alaska’s new electoral map for use in the 2012 elections.  

“Receiving federal approval today ensures that the state will be able to hold a normal, timely election,” said Gail Fenumiai, the director of the Alaska Division of Elections. “Because we have been doing advance preparations using the map while waiting for federal approval, we are ready to start sending out special absentee ballots on schedule this Friday.”

The statewide primary election is scheduled for August 28. - More...
Wednesday - June 27, 2012

Ketchikan: Dedication & Open House Scheduled for New Fire Station By Mary Kauffman, SitNews - The City of Ketchikan will officially dedicate its new fire station – Fire Station No. 1 – on Tuesday, July 3rd. The new fire station is said to be a state-of-the-art facility that will meet the future needs of Ketchikan's community and will support the training needs of Ketchikan firefighters. This new station will help ensure that Ketchikan residents receive the highest quality of emergency response.

Dedication & Open House Scheduled for New Fire Station

Fire Station No. 1
Photographed during construction March 2012
Photograph by Carl Thompson ©2012

“This station is a real example of Ketchikan’s commitment to community service and the public safety,” said Mayor Lew Williams III. “We are grateful to the community and the work of Senator Bert Stedman for giving us a facility that will truly meet the needs of our professional firefighters in service to the community."

Fire Chief Frank Share added, “We thank the community for its investment in ensuring the safety of both our citizens and visitors. It is our goal to be good stewards of this building that has been provided by the community, and we look forward to maintaining it and serving the public for many years.”

Opened in May 2012, Fire Station No. 1 is a vital component of the City of Ketchikan Fire Department's system and was designed for an estimated life span of 75 years. Fire Station No. 1 has greater capacity for emergency response equipment and on-site training and a sustainable design. The station is located at 70 Bawden Street in downtown Ketchikan.

The station is fully staffed with 15 firefighters/EMTs over three shifts supplemented by a force of 25 volunteer firefighter/EMTs. Station One also houses the administrative staff consisting of the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Marshal and the Administrative Assistant.

The station has four equipment bays and is home to Engine 1, Ladder 1, Medic 11, Dive Rescue 1, and the Hazmat Trailer. This is the first Ketchikan station to have bi-fold doors, which are said to be easy to maintain, faster to open and can easily be manually operated. The doors also are large enough to accommodate emergency vehicles of standard size, ultimately saving the community money in that equipment no longer must be special ordered, as had been required in the previous fire station. - More....
Wednesday - June 27, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Deliverance From Space Mountain - I got a sign from God the other day.

I know, everyone is always sitting around waiting for a sign. It has taken me 53 years, but I can unequivocally say I got a sign.

It was on Space Mountain at Disneyland.

No, I am not saying that riding Space Mountain is a religious experience.

Far from it.

To me it is clearly one of Dante’s circles of hell.

I’ve never been a big fan of roller coasters. I usually exit them wanting to purge whatever I have eaten in the last year and generally feeling like I have been used as a floor mat in a flamenco dance studio.

One of my earliest memories is of being in the first seat on a roller coaster in Santa Cruz. My older brother thought it would be a hoot to tell the operator to put me and my somewhat older sister and our father in the front seat.

That was really fun. At least until I blacked out going down the first long drop. The legendary newspaper columnist Herb Caen once called the Santa Cruz Giant Dipper “one long scream.” Mine was apparently pretty short that day.

At least, I guess, with most outdoor roller coasters you have the “million dollar view” to appreciate, assuming that your eyeballs don’t go flying off into space if you crack open your eyelids for a millisecond.

The Giant Dipper is now a pretty tame coaster, I gather.  There are roller coasters, that besides going forwards, go backwards, do corkscrews and even go upside down. I can assure you that those activities clearly exceed my personal design capacity.

At any rate, if you are outdoors, you are screaming in liters of fresh air as you whiz around. So there is an element of healthiness even as you cause your heart to explode. Even in Southern California.

Space Mountain is totally enclosed and dark. Very-very-very dark. Except for the flashing lights that make you feel as though you are being pulled over by every trooper in the universe. - More...
Wednesday - June 27, 2012


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

Update in progress

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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