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New PeaceHealth Ketchikan Building Celebrated With Ribbon Cutting - With a capacity crowd in attendance, the new addition to the PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center was celebrated Saturday with a ribbon cutting ceremony, a community barbecue, along with tours of the new space. Although the ribbon cutting was yesterday, the move-in date is set for later this summer.

The Cessnuns and the Johnsons cut the ribbon
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

Community Board Chair Julie Sande emceed the event. She spoke about growing up in Southeast and her commitment to the area. City Mayor Lew Williams echoed Sande's comments about loving the community and talked about how expanding healthcare services would help the community strengthen and diversify its ecomony.

PeaceHealth Ketchikan's Chief Administrative Officer Ken Tonjes reflected on the long road from the project’s beginning to completion: a federal grant that broke the ice, state money that started the planning process and the City vote for a $43 million dollar bond that made the plan a reality.

Joe Williams, a member of the Ketchikan Medical Center's Foundation Board, accepted a drum from Ketchikan Indian Community President Irene Dundas who also played and sang to celebrate the occasion.

Michael and Marna Cessun and Dr. David Johnson and his wife Jenny Johnson cut the ribbon.

Pat Branco, Chief Executive Officer from 2002-2013 when PeaceHealth Ketchikan was known as Ketchikan General Hospital, was also in attendance with his wife Vicki Branco to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new building, a project Branco helped spearhead.

In Branco's fourteen years at the helm, Ketchikan General Hospital received numerous awards including being cited as one of America’s Top 50 Health Systems by Modern Health magazine; a traveling nurses' website named KGH the best place to work; the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services gave five star ratings to Long Term Care; and KGH was honored for the highest quality measures in the state determined by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Branco was also Chair of Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNA).

The Brancos were also in Ketchikan to unveil a panel Friday that honors their generous donations to the Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation. The panel, in the hall near the Lab waiting area, focuses on their love for their family.

The text, written by Pat Branco, shows his humorous side. He describes himself and his wife Vicki as a couple of empty nesters who thought they would settle quietly into Ketchikan only to be joined by their two sons and their families. Their duo increasing to 12.

“Being here is like a family reunion,” Branco told one well-wisher, “the past is swept away and we celebrate being together. This feels like home and the people here like family”

The panel includes a sad story too. There were tears when Foundation Director Matt Eisenhower spoke about the Brancos' son Michael who died of esophageal cancer in 2015. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016

The names on the walls; 29 Ketchikan facilities have been named after prominent people, families By DAVE KIFFER - One of the ways that a community honors its important people is by naming buildings and facilities after them.

That allows the person's accomplishments to outlive them. Unfortunately, over time, we sometimes forgot who the buildings and facilities were named after. With that in mind, here are the stories of some of the people behind the names of Ketchikan's public facilities and buildings.

Norman R. Walker Field(s) - A former mayor of Ketchikan and a state legislator who was instrumental in the passage of the Alaska Civil Rights Act of 1946. Walker also donated the land on which the fields were built in the late 1930s when old tide flat ball fields in Thomas Basin were dredged to create the Thomas Basin boat harbor.

Esther Shea Field - The new turf soccer/football field at Fawn Mountain School was named in honor of the long time Native educator and matriarch of the Tongass Tribe.

Tom Friesen Field - The Valley Park ball field was named in honor of the long time Ketchikan City Councilman, sports announcer, coach and promoter of youth sports.

Bill Weiss Field(s) - The softball fields near Point Higgins Elementary School were named after a longtime promoter of youth sports in the community. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016

Alaska: Governor Walker Announces Mid-Term Cabinet Changes - Governor Bill Walker accepted the resignation of Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards who said he is stepping down to focus on his family and announced the appointment of Andy Mack as the Alaska Department of Natural Resources' Commissioner last Thursday.

“With great reluctance, I have accepted Craig’s resignation,” Governor Walker said. “When I appointed Craig in December 2014 as Attorney General, I knew Alaskans would benefit from his deep respect for the law and his vast knowledge of finance. As the state’s top attorney, work has pulled him away from his 3-year-old son, and I am grateful for the sacrifices he and his family have made in service to Alaska. Given Craig’s knowledge of gasline issues, I’m certain the state will continue to benefit from his oil and gas expertise as we push toward completion of a project.” - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016

Alaska: Recent grounding of fuel tanker off Alaska’s coast highlights need for Arctic Safety - Friday a Norwegian flagged chemical tanker, the Champion Ebony, ran aground on Nunivak Island, 135 miles west of Bethel in the Bering Sea. The ship was loaded with 14.2 million gallons of fuel products, but no polluting agents appear to have leaked from the tanker.

The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC) heard early and often that Alaskans living in Arctic coastal villages were concerned about the possibility of a hazardous spill in Arctic waters and about the lack of resources to adequately respond.

The AAPC’s recommendation 1A is to “Facilitate the development of Arctic port systems in the Bering Strait region to support export, response and regional development.” - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016


Research will map risk of invasive aquatic weeds in Alaska By LAUREN FRISCH - Waterbodies all over Alaska are at risk for being inhabited by elodea, an invasive waterweed that can interfere with salmon spawning and deplete lake nutrients. New research aims to inform resource managers about the costs and benefits of managing elodea, and prioritize areas that are most at risk for invasion.

Research will map risk of invasive aquatic weeds in Alaska

Elodea is dense in the Chena Slough in Fairbanks.
Photo from the Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District.

Tobias Schwörer, a researcher at the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research, is leading a project to identify where elodea is likely to spread and to evaluate future management options. Schwörer is also pursuing a PhD at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management.

Schwörer first considered the effect of elodea on salmon to assess possible economic consequences for Alaska’s salmon fisheries. Now, he is working with floatplane pilots across the state to better map out potential elodea outbreaks and evaluate high-risk locations. This information will be useful to managers and decision-makers looking to determine how to minimize the spread of elodea and evaluate the highest priority spots to eradicate the species.

“Toby’s research will help us identify locations where pilots are landing more frequently, and that should translate into an enhanced ability to understand where elodea is going to spread next,” said Joe Little, Schwörer’s adviser and an associate professor of economics at UAF.

Elodea was originally introduced into Alaska as an aquarium plant. The weed is rugged and can easily spread and outcompete native plants. Elodea grows in dense mats along lakeshores, in sandy habitats where salmon like to spawn. Spawning can be impaired as the density of elodea increases, because elodea can decrease oxygen supply for fish and crowd out fish habitats. On the other hand, elodea can increase productivity in a waterbody and serve as a nursery for juvenile salmon, which may benefit salmon populations. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016

Summer solstice doesn't mean maximum warmth

Summer solstice is not often the warmest part of Alaska’s summer.
Photo by Ned Rozell

Alaska Science: Summer solstice doesn't mean maximum warmth By NED ROZELL - A person might think that since we get our maximum sunlight on the summer solstice (on or about June 21), we should also get our peak warmth then. The sun’s calling the shots, right?

Not entirely, said former Alaskan Martha Shulski, author of "The Climate of Alaska" and now climatologist for the state of Nebraska.

“Alaska is warmest a few weeks after the solstice,” she said.

A lag exists between the peak of solar energy input and the warmth we feel. It’s a phenomenon that also shows up in winter or when people’s pipes mysteriously freeze in May.

“You see (the lag) in a lot of different places,” Shulski said.

Temperatures peak several weeks after we get the most sunlight because the ground absorbs energy from the sun and releases it to the air. This longwave radiation from the earth increases after summer solstice because the ground is slow to release the potent solstice-time energy. The day the heat emitted by the surface starts decreasing is usually the day we start feeling cooler temperatures.

The seasonal lag in temperatures is similar to one that happens every day in summer, Shulski said, when our thermometers don’t hit their maximums until a few hours after we receive our peak sunlight. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016


Columns - Commentary

JEFF LUND: Flight Problems - I could say, “I had a bad feeling…” but the truth is, it was only after I revisited the memory that I edited my emotions at the time.

An objective observation would be that I objected to what I observed, but didn’t have a premonition.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what system an airline adopts, it’s wrong. Board by row, section it doesn’t matter, it’s still slow. People don’t step into the rows, people mess up the numbers, whatever. Go by group and people like the dude in front of me ignore it. Seriously guy, I can plainly see the “Group 3” on your ticket. If you’re going to wiggle your way through the chaos of Group 2 passengers bottlenecking like salmon waiting their turn on a fish ladder, you’d at least hide your ticket, right? Guy worked his way to the front, then called up the three other people in his party to steal all the overhead bin space and he was a Group 3er! There should be consequences to detour others, because if I have to stuff my pack under my seat because a cheater stole my overhead bin space, I will…do nothing about it.

So yeah, the ridiculousness of the boarding made us late leaving Seattle, then we sat on the tarmac because one of the runways broke, or was being repair or whatever. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal, because I had a 70-minute layover in Charlotte before my flight to New Bern to meet up with my brother and begin the 18-day road trip that will conclude July 2 in Sacramento with two buddies from Ketchikan. Leaving half an hour late is no big deal on such a long flight. You can make it up, and we had, until fifteen minutes from landing when a thunderstorm closed the airport. We started circling. Just as it was about to open, we were at the front of the line ready to land from the south, but when the airport opened, it did so from the opposite direction which put us 40th for a north approach. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Brexit and the Stock Market Crash

Editorial Cartoon: Brexit and the Stock Market Crash
By Daryl Cagle ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter RE: Public restrooms on docks closed too early By Douglas J. Thompson - Regarding the letter from Mr. Phil Borngraeber published recently in Sitnews: We have ten harbor employees and probably more with their 'summer help'. They are costing Ketchikan's taxpayer between ninety and one hundred forty thousand dollars per year each. We pay for a multitude of vehicles for them and all expenses. The department is supposedly run by Corporan under Amylon. Somewhere along the way as I have pointed out before they have decided they no longer need to work to collect their salary. Case in point is Mr. Borngraeber letter showing they once again "contract out" the most simple menial tasks that they themselves should be doing. It is ridiculous that cleaning Harbor Department bathrooms is approved for contracting out. With the overstaffing it should easily be handled and could even be done with 1/3 of the employees currently employed to no discernible benefit in that bloated department. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016

letter Gov Walker's 5th Special Session By Marvin Seibert - We are now in the grips of Governor Walker's calling for a 5th special session. Special sessions were not instituted till the governor of a state gets his way. Taxes being considered will have a devastating effect on the people who can afford it the least. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

letter Public restrooms on docks closed too early By Phil L. Borngraeber - Just in the last two weeks I have been among the many local folks riding, walking, taking the kids or dogs out for relaxation and exercise. But wait, no matter how great the weather is, don't plan on using the restrooms at dock 4 or 2 after the ships have left. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

letter Please abide by leash laws By Mishele Rhein - In light of summer and the added outdoor activities at the local beaches, I would like to encourage the locals and our numerous summer guests to abide by the leash laws. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy watching my dogs run, play and dig with abandon on the sandy beaches as well, but doing so on a leash. Being a dog owner, I understand the need to get out and exercise man’s best friend, but to be honest, I am growing weary of being assaulted by “friendly” dogs when the owner is truly no where to be seen. I am not sure what’s worse, missing dog owners or oblivious dog owners. The latter being the friendly passers by greeting you a wonderful afternoon while their dog is running circles around you and your now distracted leashed dog. Everyone tends to think their dog is “amiable enough” and “its no problem.” Even though my exuberant animals feel the need to greet everyone, everyone does not feel the need to greet them. Just tonight I went for a walk and was greeted (whether I wanted to be or not) by no less than three dogs before I even got to the beach. One of which had a leash trailing but no person holding the other end and the fourth dog came to investigate upon exit and felt the need to walk us part way home. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

letter The 1967 Fairbanks' Flood By John Calhoun - I was living in the Northward building at the time of the 1967 Fairbanks' flood. We were able to get power from a building across the street by a long cord hooked up to an electrical panel to provide emergency lighting in the halls and stairwells. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

letter Good Sportsmanship! By Mimi Eddy - My grandson is 9 years old and I was at his baseball game this Saturday (11th). His team-the red one (Matt Caskey coach or helping coach) showed excellent sportsmanship. They were encouraging each other - some of the boys are in their first year of batting from a peer pitcher so are nervous. Their teammates are talking and encouraging them in their play. - More...
Thursday AM - June 16, 2016

letter Don't miss this entertainment! By Kerry Watson - Want a good laugh?! Don't miss this weekend's play "The Complete Unabridged Works of William Shakespeare." I know, I know. Shakespeare can be a bit daunting. Hah, fear not! - More...
Thursday AM - June 16, 2016

letter Focus on Men’s Health and Safety in June By Susan Johnson - In June, we celebrate Father’s Day, Men’s Health Month, and National Safety Month. These separate observances have a common theme — we can use them as an opportunity to focus on the health of the men in our lives. - More...
Thursday AM - June 16, 2016

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