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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 09, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Majestic Eagles
The Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that. As you can see, these regal birds aren’t really bald, but their white-feathered heads gleam in contrast to their chocolate-brown body and wings.
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Southeast Alaska:
Repairs to Berth III Underway After Cruise Ship Allision By MARY KAUFFMAN - The consulting firm of Moffatt & Nichol was hired by the City of Ketchikan to perform the inspection and damage assessment of Ketchikan's Berth III facility which was damaged on June 3, 2016, by the allision of Celebrity Cruises' ship the Celebrity Infinity with the pier.

Emergency Repairs to Berth III Underway After Cruise Ship Allision

Celebrity Infinity allision on Friday with Berth III - Photo clip courtesy YouTube video by Maria Harvey

According to information provided by the City of Ketchikan, engineers from Moffatt & Nichol and sub-consultant Alaska Commercial Divers inspected the facility on June 4th and June 5th along with City staff and contractors Pool Engineering and Turnagain Construction. Pool Engineering also performed some preliminary work on the evening of June 3rd to stabilize several damaged elements of the facility.

In a news release, the City said the engineers completed the inspection, drafted the required scope of work and provided that information to both contractors on June 5th with a request to provided a proposed cost and schedule for completing the repairs. The repair proposals were reviewed with the engineers on June 6th and the Ketchikan City Manager elected to award a repair contract to Turnagain Marine Construction in the amount of $928,580 under the provisions of Section 3.12.035(d)(5) of the Municipal Code regarding public improvements on an emergency basis.

Work began on June 7th. The contract includes a requirement for the facility to be repaired and usable no later than July 5, 2016, which is four weeks for the date the work commenced.

Until the Berth III facility is fully repaired it is expected that ships scheduled to moor there will be directed to one of the other three berths if available and to lighter passengers to the vicinity of Berth III and/or Berth IV if possible when no other berths are available.  

After additional discussions, and given that the Berth III tendering float will be within the construction zone and therefore not accessible for use by the public, the following will be the schedule for lightering until repairs are completed.   On Fridays, when Berth I is available in the morning, the Norwegian Pearl will offload passengers at Berth I between 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.; the vessel will then anchor out and lighter passengers from and to Casey Moran Harbor beneath Sockeye Sam’s.  On days where there are two ships at anchor, one ship will lighter to and from Casey Moran Harbor beneath Sockeye Sam’s, the other ship will lighter to and from the Berth IV South Float.

Additionally, when there is a ship at anchor, they may have the option of docking at an available Berth after earlier ships depart. City staff also intends to offer Casey Moran Harbor for charter boat operators to load and unload passengers in a cooperative effort with the ship’s tenders.

Coast Guard investigators from Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan were called to the scene Friday after the Celebrity Infinity allided with Berth III.

Watchstanders at the Sector Juneau command center were alerted of the accident by the ship's pilot Friday afternoon. No injuries or pollution were reported as a result of the allision.

"The Coast Guard is grateful no one was injured as a result of this accident," said Lt. Dianna Robinson, command duty officer at Sector Juneau. "Our personnel are working to determine the cause of this accident and will work with local partners to ensure the continued safety of those using the cruise ship docks." - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

Ketchikan: Woman Rescued After 80 Foot Fall - An 18-year old female was injured when she fell off a Brown Mountain trail Monday. A 21 year old female contacted the Alaska State Troopers reporting she was hiking with two friends (a 21 year old male and an 18 year old female) in the Brown Mountain area when the 18 year old girl slipped and fell over the side of the mountain and came to rest on a small ledge some 80 feet below.

The 21 year old female hiker reported to the AST at approximately 2:30 PM, that she left the 21 year old male behind to stay with the injured girl while she went to get help. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

Alaska: Senate Passes Bill to Cap Permanent Fund Dividend at $1,000 By MARY KAUFFMAN - With an unaudited fund market value of $54 billion as of June 8th, the Alaska Senate voted on Monday night to "protect the dividend" by placing a $1,000 cap on Permanent Fund Dividends paid out to eligible Alaska residents.

Senate Bill SB128, passed with a vote of 14 to 5 with Senator Huggins excused. Voting in favor of capping the Permanent Fund were Senators Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), Anna MacKinnon (R-Anchorage), Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage), Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), Donny Olson (D-Nome), Bert Stedman (R-Sitka ,Ketchikan), Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak), Click Bishop (R-Fairbanks), John Coghill (R-North Pole), Mia Costello (R-Anchorage), Dennis Egan (D-Juneau), Cathy Giesse (R-Anchorage)l, Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage). Voting against were Senators Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak) , Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla), Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage), Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage).

Responding to the vote, Governor Bill Walker said in a prepared statement, “I thank members of the Senate for taking this important vote to put Alaska on the path for a sustainable future. We recognize the concern some have raised about the need for balance, which we have addressed through the remaining pieces of the New Sustainable Alaska Plan. Restructuring the Permanent Fund is the cornerstone of this plan, and a significant portion of it, but make no mistake—the work to put Alaska on a sustainable path is far from over. I applaud the Senate for taking this bold step.”

In a prepared statement, Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) said, "the Senate took the bold step to address our fiscal challenge. Our economy is faltering and the credit agencies are watching. This is one piece of a plan we have worked all year to accomplish. We made significant cuts and major reforms."

MacKinnon said, " SB 128 preserves Alaskans’ dividend while providing a sustainable revenue stream to fund those services Alaskans count on every day. This was an historic vote – one I was compelled to take – for Alaska’s future."

Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) also released a prepared statement. McGuire said, "A book on Alaska history would begin each chapter with one certain thing: the price per barrel of oil on average that year, multiplied by its volume. That equation has been the nucleus of our history. This bill stabilizes our budget by restructuring the permanent fund distribution to retain a meaningful dividend for every Alaskan, alongside revenue contributions to the general fund."

McGuire said, "This bill is a billion dollar solution to a billion dollar problem. It is the one step among all the options that have been proposed to our budget crisis that we cannot reject. The Senate is so proud to be a part of this meaningful step toward helping Alaskans control and define our own destiny. The permanent fund was created to share intergenerational opportunity and wealth, and this is the final moment to act."

Alaska House Finance has scheduled a hearing & teleconference for Tuesday, June 14, 2016 to address HB 245, the House version of SB 128. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016


Scientists Track Salmon on First Swim to Sea By CHRISTINE BALER - Right now, young Chinook salmon are leaving the rivers they were born in to begin life at sea.

Scientists Track Salmon on First Swim to Sea

Acoustically tagged and untagged juvenile Chinook salmon ready to be released from a net pen to begin their ocean migration.
Photo courtesy NOAA

The first year in the ocean is thought to be the most critical time in the life of a salmon, and largely decides how many will live and be available to harvest as adults or return to their natal rivers to spawn. Yet little is known about what salmon do during that critical first year at sea.

"We know when they leave the rivers, where they are caught, and when they return, but much of what happens in between is a mystery," says NOAA research biologist John Eiler of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Salmon are an important part of traditional subsistence lifestyles and support valuable commercial and recreational fisheries throughout Alaska. Other interactions with human activity are causes for concern. Salmon are caught incidentally as bycatch in other fisheries, including the Bering Sea walleye pollock fishery, one of the most valuable in the world. Concern that bycatch is contributing to the decline of salmon populations in Alaska has resulted in fishing restrictions and closures. These actions can have a major economic impact on local communities. Information on the movements of salmon and pollock can help minimize bycatch and better manage marine fisheries.

Understanding the migration patterns of salmon now is also important to establish baseline information, so that we can monitor the effects of a changing ocean environment on salmon and the people who depend on them.

This spring, salmon swimming to sea for the first time in Southeast Alaska will not go quietly. Tagged with acoustic transmitters, they will signal their location as they begin their migration.

The study, led by Eiler, is a cooperative project between NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Geological Survey. In April the team tagged 60 juvenile Chinook salmon with small acoustic transmitters. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: Still 2 Much Vice in K-town? - The 1920s were a great time to be in Ketchikan.

Or so I have been told, I wasn't here then.

Yes, there are days when “snap crackle pop” describes my joints more than my cereal. But I was not present for The Roaring Twenties in these here parts.

My mother used to pine on and on and on and on about all the canneries in operation and the booming local economy that briefly made K-town the largest community in the state during that decade.

But she was just a smolt in that decade so it all probably seemed a lot of fun.

I'm sure now we'd all be thrilled about "the smell of money" aka "the smell of fish stench" wafting throughout the community from the dozen plus canneries in operation. I gather residents avoided breathing in July and August in those days of yore.

I was here for the tail end of the 1950s and the 1960s, which was Ketchikan's second boom period and then the community just reeked of sawdust and tree stumps.

Well, maybe not the tree stumps. Most of the actual logging was pretty much out of sight and out of mind on Prince of Wales or the back side of Revilla. It is always easier to love the economic benefits of a clear cut when you don't have to look at it.

At any rate, I digress.

Just how much fun was Our Fair Salmon City in the 1920s?

Alaska's representative to Congress, Dan Sutherland, took to the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. to call Ketchikan the most "vice ridden city in Alaska, possibly the entire country."

"Wicked" was also the adjective describing Ketchikan in newspapers all over the county during those years. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Hillary & Bernie

Editorial Cartoon: Hillary & Bernie
By Steve Sack ©2016, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Path to a fiscally sustainable budget By Rep. Dan Ortiz - In the current budget that was approved by the majority of Alaskan Legislators, 430 million dollars is allocated for direct cash payouts to oil companies in the form of credits. The state’s obligation for this year’s credits is 750 million dollars. Thus, even if the State of Alaska pays out the allocated 430 million dollars, it will continue to be responsible for 320 million dollars additionally in future obligations. That 750 million dollars is the third biggest spending item in our state’s budget. Under SB 21, the state is obligated to pay 750 million dollars in oil tax credits in one year alone, while we are spending 221 million for our Department of Transportation, which runs and maintains our ferries, roads, and airports; the infrastructure that facilitates our economy. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter GOVERNOR, CAN WE HAVE THAT CUP OF COFFEE? By Richard J. Peterson - Are campaign promises empty promises that no one expects candidates to keep? Have we become that cynical? Running as the ‘Unity Team’ in 2014, Bill Walker and Byron Mallott promised to improve the State of Alaska’s tribal relations. Mr. Walker said he would rather work on communication and steer away from litigation on tribal issues. In fact, when Mr. Walker made his campaign pitch to a Western Alaska tribal group and when he spoke to members of his new Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council more recently, he said the State and Alaska tribes should stop suing each other and offered a better solution, “Let’s sit down and have a cup of coffee and talk things over.” - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter Part 11: OIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ, AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM By David G Hanger - Roundabout 227 years ago this group of guys we call the “Founding Fathers” got together and argued out a Constitution to establish something completely different than anything before. In the first instance a “nation,” the first in fact in the history of the world. Well may it be said that the Dutch can be credited as the first to truly advance the concepts of capitalism and free enterprise; that the Brits improved upon them; and only then did we establish mastery, but the beginning of “nation-“hood as opposed to empires and kingdoms and such, that belongs to us. All that came before is pretense compared to what this group of guys did. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter Democrats misuse racism against Trump By Rob Holston - Trump referred to an American judge of Mexican heritage as a “Mexican” and sited the judge’s rulings against Trump as being biased because he’s “Mexican.” Trump has used harsh and prudent language against illegal Mexican immigration and proposes a wall at the US - Mexican border. Now even some Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon of Democratic hate language calling his remarks racist. This is a prime example of a liberal press and stewards of political correctness over-reacting so as to nail Trump to the RACIST cross and hopefully cause an agonizing death to his bid for the White House. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter Don’t Let the Need for Health Insurance Stop You from Leaving By Susan Johnson - Domestic violence is found across all socioeconomic groups - in fact, more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. However, women are often economically dependent on their abusers and are less able to leave and more likely to return to abusive partners. Many women are dependent on their spouses for insurance coverage. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter Socialist Sanders Abandoning Israel By Donald Moskowitz - Socialist Sanders appointed two anti-Israel people to his platform drafting committee. Cornel West espouses anti-Israel views, and James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, has denounced Israel. Sanders also appointed Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, an anti-Israel Muslim, to his platform committee. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter Little Wee One By Robert B. Holston Jr. - The second a person is born they have FULL rights of citizenship and protection under the law. What about the time before that PERSON was born. I have written a poem that describes this reality in America today. Please consider it. - More..
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter Drive careful By Bill Hollywood - I have had to come to a stop twice so far this year for deer on the road and have seen four other groups of deer by the roads. Mostly two deer but up to five. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

letter Congratulations Graduates By Dan Ortiz - Congratulations to our 2016 high school and university graduates. You truly deserve to be proud of your achievement.

Alaska is an exciting location for ambitious graduates in the beginning chapters of their lives. It is the frontier of our country’s future. Jobs never before dreamed are being created right here. There are opportunities for new industry in Alaska, from the Arctic passage to rainforest ecotourism. Our tried and true fishing industry and its elements are oft-debated, but it is lively and reliable due to our excellent public management. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

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