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July 08, 2008

SURVIVING THE BIGGEST WAVE EVER 50 Years Ago, 1,700 Foot Wave Devastated Lituya Bay

50 Years Ago, 1,700 Foot Wave Devastated Lituya Bay

Southeast Alaska Earthquake. Scar at the head of Lituya Bay and wave damage on the north shore, from southwest of Gilbert Inlet to La Chaussee spit. August 9, 1958.
Photos form a panorama.
Photograph courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

 Ketchikan: Four Arrested in Ketchikan in U.S. Marshal's Operation FALCON - The U.S. Marshals, in coordination with 25 other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies conducted a six day enforcement operation in Alaska from June 23 to June 28. Operation FALCON, standing for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally, targeted violent felons, gang members, and sex offenders. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008


Southeast Alaska: SURVIVING THE BIGGEST WAVE EVER; 50 Years Ago, 1,700 Foot Wave Devastated Lituya Bay A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - Alaska is a land of geological superlatives: Big mountains, vast spaces, huge earthquakes.

So it would stand to reason that an event that happened exactly 50 years ago on July 9th is also the largest of its kind ever recorded.

On July 9, 1958, the largest wave in modern history occurred in Lituya Bay, on the northern Southeast Alaska coast about halfway between Cape Spencer and Yakutat.

Initially, the wave - generated by a landslide that itself was generated by a massive earthquake that shook the region for more than a thousand miles up and down the coast - reached a height of more than 1,700 feet. It was still nearly 100 feet high when it reached the mouth of the bay seven miles later.

In its path were three small trolling boats taking advantage of the fact that Lituya Bay was the closest anchorage to the lucrative Fairweather fishing grounds offshore.

In fact, Lituya Bay is the only secure anchorage along more than 100 miles of Gulf of Alaska coast from just north of Cape Spencer to Yakutat. The entrance to Lituya Bay is extremely dangerous, and should only be attempted is short (10 to 20 minute) periods of slack water, according to the United States Coast Pilot book series.

Despite that challenge, the bay is often the refuge of choice when the weather gets bad along the coast.

Interestingly enough, the weather on July 9, 1958 was not the reason that three fishing vessels chose to anchor up in Lituya Bay.

According to one of the surviving fishermen, Howard Ulrich, it was a sunny day and the waters around the mouth of the bay were calm.

"Fishing had been poor on that memorable ninth day of July and I pulled my gear and headed the Edrie for Lituya Bay early in the evening," Ulrich told the Alaska Sportsman Magazine in an article for its October, 1958 issue. "all was was a quiet and peaceful anchorage."

Two other boats joined the Edrie inside the bay, that night, the Badger and the Sunmore. But they chose an anchorage on the other side of the bay from the Edrie. When the wave came, two crews would survive and one crew would not.

A History of Big Waves

The unusual geology of Lituya Bay has lent itself to several large waves in the last 150 years.

The seven mile long, two mile wide bay has two large glaciers and several large mountains rising steeply from tidewater. It is only a few miles as the crow flies from tidewater to high mountains like Crillion (12,726 feet) and Fairweather (15,300 feet) making it a popular staging area for climbers. In fact, two groups of Canadian climbers narrowly missed being in the bay the night of July 9th. Had they been camped at tidewater as planned, the wave's death toll would have more than 20 rather than only two. - More...
Tuesday - July 08, 2008

Alaska: Public/Private Gasline Venture Announced; Pursues In-State Gasline for Alaskans - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced Monday the formation of a public/private partnership among the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA), ENSTAR Natural Gas Company, and the State of Alaska that will build the first phase of a bullet line to bring Alaska gas to Alaskans within the next five years.

The development venture will unlock the natural gas potential in Alaska through the synergy that exists among ENSTAR, ANGDA, and the State, the Governor said. ENSTAR is a proven operator; ANGDA can provide public financing; and the State of Alaska has the ability to expedite the project and potentially to ensure lower transportation rates (or tariffs) on an in-state pipeline.

"While we have publicly been focusing our efforts on AGIA and our overland gas route to Canada and the Lower 48, we have also been working on an in-state gasline that can swiftly address the needs of Interior and Southcentral Alaskans while we continue our progress on AGIA," Governor Palin said.

"It is time to bring together the tremendous resources we have in this state to build an in-state gasline that delivers an affordable and reliable supply of natural gas to Southcentral and Interior Alaskans, targeting delivery within the next five years. This project will also be designed to spur exploration and development of new natural gas resources within the Cook Inlet and Copper River basins, and provide a long-term supply of natural gas for Southcentral and Interior Alaska."

The in-state gas pipeline project could move approximately 460 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcf/d), about twice Alaskans' current daily gas use, and could see gas flowing as early as 2013 to residential and commercial customers.

"This development venture is about moving forward with the energy and spirit of Alaskans to provide energy relief for Alaskans," said Governor Palin. "There is no greater priority for me at this moment than the energy crisis now going on in homes and businesses throughout our state. We have been working diligently on implementing a statewide energy plan to put Alaskans first, and this development project is a critical component of that plan."

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) offered praise Monday for Governor Sarah Palin's in-state natural gas pipeline proposal and pledged his full backing of the project.

"The Governor's in-state gasline proposal has my full support. This is absolutely critical to our future economy. If Alaskans work together, we can expect delivery of this affordable energy source in what is really a very short timeframe," said Senator Stevens. "The concept of a public-private partnership will get this project from the drawing board to construction quickly and efficiently. I will write a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday asking them to assess and speed up any permitting that may be required for construction of this pipeline." - More...
Tuesday - July 08, 2008


Alaska Science: Is there a link between diabetes and latitude? By NED ROZELL - Diabetes seems to afflict more northerners than those living near the equator, making some researchers think exposure to sunlight plays a role in the disease.

Is there a link between diabetes and latitude?

Alaska's low sun angle most of the year-here at the extreme in Fairbanks on winter solstice-means our skin doesn't have much chance to convert sunlight to vitamin D3.
Photo by Ned Rozell

In a new study, scientists at the University of California, San Diego found that cases of type I diabetes, in which the body doesn't make enough insulin, increase with latitude. They recommended children one and older who live about 30 degrees from the equator receive supplemental vitamin D3 during the winter to reduce their risk of childhood diabetes. The California researchers include Sharif Mohr and Cedric Garland, and their study appeared in the online version of the journal Diabetologia. - More...
Tuesday - July 08, 2008

National: Obama, McCain duel over economy By CARLA MARINUCCI - It's the summer of the headache-inducing gas prices, the scary home mortgage crisis and rising food costs -- a world of hurt that has brought both the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns this week to the same prime location on the campaign trail: "economy, economy, economy."

A key strategy for both on the big issue of the day: Blame the other guy.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, planned a major address on the economy earlier this week in North Carolina, titled "An Agenda for Middle-Class Success." - More...
Tuesday - July 08, 2008

National: Student's bid to sell vote on eBay gets charge - The rules were simple enough, Max Sanders wrote on the online auction posting.

The 19-year-old University of Minnesota student was undecided in the presidential election. So for a minimum of $10, he'd vote for whomever you liked. Or, if you so chose, for no one at all.

He'd even go so far as to photograph himself in the voting booth with his ballot. On May 28, he put his vote up for bid. - More...
Tuesday - July 08, 2008


News Brief

M/V Stikine Out of Service

The Inter-Island Ferry Authority has taken the M/V Stikine out of service to make repairs to the vessel's steering system.

This will result in the cancellation of Tuesday afternoon's Ketchikan-Hollis run and Wednesday morning's Hollis-Ketchikan service.

It is anticipated that replacement parts will be installed in time for the Stikine to resume its Ketchikan-Hollis scheduled run Wednesday afternoon - July 9th.

Public Meetings

AGIA HEARINGS: Tuesday - July 8th at the Ted Ferry Civic Center, Ketchikan, AK

1:00 - 4:00 pm - TransCanada presentation & committee discussion

5:00 - 7:00 pm - Public Testimony

The Board of Education of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, 2008, in the Ketchikan City Council chambers.
Agenda - Information Packets PDF


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Basic Rules

letter Do your part to lower demand for oil By Joy Barry - About two months ago I was feeling pretty dismal about the rising cost of oil. I lamented to my husband that soon he wouldn't be able to go to work anymore because he wouldn't have the gas money to get there! We would love to buy an all-electric car (a perfect option for Ketchikan where we can't drive very far anyway), but that is way out of our budget at the moment. We currently don't even have the funds to get a more fuel-efficient gasoline car. I was about to descend into despair when suddenly a bright light bulb appeared over my head. I recalled the energy crisis in the seventies when my dad traded in his motorcycle for a bicycle and began pedaling to work. He continued to use his bicycle as his main transportation for his entire career. I realized that there are other ways of getting around besides driving! After all, automobiles are a fairly recent invention when you consider the entire history of the world. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letter Your Stimulus Check By Jessica Peavey - While I fully agree that the system is backwards, it's still more money than we had before. I can't complain about that. It is unfortunate that the people who need this most, (low income/no income) will either never receive this money, or they will only get a minimum of what was expected. It's all based on what you do now(tax year 07), not what you have paid into the past. (unfortunately) The IRS counts EARNED income- things that you do to bring income into the home. In certain situations, they count UNearned income.(as long as you have some sort of EARNED income to go along with it) SSI, disability, social security, Veterans benifits, etc. are counted as UNearned income. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letterSURVIVING THE BIGGEST WAVE EVER By Jim Pound - Great story. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letter Response to 1st place Anderes Oil and Allstars By Scott Kline - In addition to all the boys that played, I would also like to point out that fiesty girl Brooke Simmons. The tournament games that I did get a chance to watch Brooke smacked a couple of home runs and threw some heat while on the mound. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letter WE NEED TO SAVE THE BEACH! By Kathleen Wiechelman - On Monday, July 7th, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly will consider two items relating to the Borough s proposed purchase of South Point Higgins Beach. Item 9e would put a bond issue before the voters of Ketchikan in October 2008, which, of course, may or may not pass. If it does pass, it would cost the people of Ketchikan $5,000 in attorneys fees, in addition to other related costs. Item 9d would take $400,000 from the Borough s land trust account towards the purchase of South Point Higgins Beach and leave the remaining nearly $800,000 of the purchase price mandated by the owner Alaska Mental Health Trust to be raised by community organization Ketchikan Beaches Association and its partner Southeast Alaska Land Trust. This option would give the citizens of Ketchikan a much better chance than the bond issue option of turning South Point Higgins Beach into a public park for the use of current residents, as well as future generations. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter Property Taxes: Fair or Unfair? By Jerilyn Lester - I agree with Mr. Warner. I agree with Mr. Warner. I think Ketchikan's elected officials just blew it when instead of cutting the mill rate they just inflated the appraisals for the houses. That not only makes it harder to make all our payments, it makes it just almost impossible to keep our heads above water with the price of gas and food. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter IBU TA contract proposal By Robert Rice - Governor's office: "We are committed to a long term vision for improving working conditions for state workers" Annette Kreitzer, commissioner. What a totally one sided, self serving press release. I guess you believe that omissions that present a totally slanted view is not just a rationalization for lying. These one sided half truth-lies are exactly why most people in this country consider our government to be completely untrustworthy. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter Congratulations to 1st Place KLL Andres Oil By Linda Hansen - I want to congratulate the Ketchikan Little League Andres Oil for taking 1st Place this year. Great job with all the teams. We are so proud of all the boys. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter EXXON VALDEZ PLAINTIFFS LOOK TO THE FUTURE By Rochelle van den Broek - If you are due to receive compensation in the Exxon Valdez case, would you rather give the tax man up to $35% of your settlement, or keep it yourself for later down the road? - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter It Takes Courage to Cut the Budget By Robert D. Warner - Many of us are suffering "sticker shock" as we receive our current billing for property taxes. This should remind us that it takes real courage and hard work for our elected leaders to cut spending and reduce our taxes or keep increases modest and reasonable. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter IBU members not the bad guys By Diane Charrier - Instead of making it sound like the IBU members are the bad guys by all the things they (the state) wanted to give us, maybe you should of dug deeper to report all the things the state was trying to take away from us. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter IBU Contract Not Ratified: One sided By Ronald C. Currit - Your article titled IBU Contract Not Ratified seems to be only one sided, it only says what was offered BUT it does not say what was being changed or taken away. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter Ketchikan's new community library can't wait By Heidi Ekstrand and Susan Fisher - If all the stacks of books in the Ketchikan Public Library were spread apart so a person in a wheelchair could get up the aisles, and upper shelves were removed for a safe height, we'd need double the present space just for what we have - nothing new. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter ANWR and NATURAL GAS By Mary Henrikson - This is a response to Marlowe Thompson and her frustrations over ANWR. I am confused by the standard statement that oil from ANWR won't get to market for 10 years. I worked on the The Trans Alaska Pipeline and it took a fraction of that time to build a pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. I can't help but feel technology has improved. I know oil companies must find and drill, but it sounds like they've a good idea where the oil is located and the Governor states the foot print will be the size of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). So the industrial layout will be smaller than Prudhoe, and if they tap into the trans-Alaska pipeline then it sounds like a 3-5 year project on the outside to the outside, and not nearly as intrusive. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letterOutrage! Private Profit on public Alaskan Lands By Norbert Chaudhary - I read today of the plan by AP&T (Alaska Power and Telephone) (NOT an Alaskan Company - it is based in Port Townsend,Washington) to build a dam on PUBLIC LANDS in Southeast Alaska in order to sell electicity for PRIVATE PROFIT to Canada. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letter Statehood Day By Alan R. McGillvray - When I was a young sprout, wasn't even interested in girls yet, my younger brother and I were over at Minnich's house on 3rd Ave. up by the High School, playing around, when we heard the sirens go off. So we all knew that the STATEHOOD vote was up in the Senate of the U.S.A. govt. and it finally went in our favor. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letter Gasline, Energy & Salmon By Rep. Mike Doogan - Hearings, we got hearings.

The legislature held more hearings on Gov. Sarah Palin 's proposal to give TransCanada subsidiary TC Alaska a state license to build a gas pipeline from the North Slope. We met Tuesday afternoon in Palmer and Thursday afternoon in Soldotna, with public hearings on those evenings. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letterTrans Canada Pipeline By Ben Moffett - Way down here in New Mexico, where we have quite a bit of oil and gas too, we're pulling for Trans Canada Pipeline. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letter Open letter: Gravina Access Priorities, Public Spending for Roads By Michael C. Spence - In my informed opinion, as long as the road system and infrastructure of Ketchikan on the Revillagigedo Island is poorly maintained, with vast areas either unpaved or pothole-ridden, it is a travesty to spend any more public money on roads on Gravina Island. For example, Tongass Avenue near the main post office, Tongass Highway from Revilla Road to Refuge Cove are a mess. Revilla Road is unpaved over much of the area above Ward Lake recreation area, as is South Tongass Highway from mile 8 to the end of the road at Beaver Falls. Both of the latter roads are frequently used by local residents and visitors. There is inadequate pedestrian access throughout the road system in Ketchikan, and critically inadequate in the downtown area where thousands of tourists and residents alike are on the streets during the Summer. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letter Our Fuel for the Future By Gov. Sarah Palin - Summer is officially here. And during this time, we like to put the winter months behind us and focus on the longer and warmer days. But we are in the midst of an energy crisis across the nation and in Alaska. And the warmer summer months will only provide a brief respite from the colder months and the increasing need for fuel which lay ahead. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letterCustomer service By Cecelia Johnson - I recently had a pleasant surprise walking into a business downtown, "Crazy Wolf Studio." I felt like a celebrity and I was treated with respect. Why the surprise? I am a local resident. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letter Instead of a tale of two cities, we have two different tales of floating cities By Sen. Kim Elton - Cruise ship compliance with Alaska's environmental laws likely is okay if the question is "can they do lunch?" Ask more relevant questions, though, and compliance apparently is more difficult to assess. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letter Oil from ANWR/ gas price reduction By Marlowe Thompson - I have no expertise in the petroleum business. I am retired and trying to convince my U.S. Representative Democrat Mike Thompson (no relation) to change his view and vote to drill in ANWR. He stated in a letter to me that it would take too long, 10 years, to get oil to the Lower 48 and would only lower the gas price about 1.5 cents. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letterMoving Forward?? By Jerilyn Lester - It seems to me that Governor Palin is just intent on ripping Alaska off for all it is worth. First the Governor steals the money for the bridge promised to Ketchikan 30 years ago only to build another one across Knik Arm because it takes too long to drive around. Now the Governor is taking jobs and money out of the state and sending them to Canada. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

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