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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 23, 2009

Front page photo By MIKE SMITH

Sitka Black-tailed Deer
Front page photo By MIKE SMITH


Alaska: Details of Recovery Act Trails and Facilities Projects on Tongass and Chugach National Forests Announced - Alaska Regional Forester Denny Bschor today announced the details of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects for Alaska trails and facilities worth over $17 million. Secretary Tom Vilsack announced July 21, 2009, that 191 trail and facility projects had been funded at more than $274 million on national forest sytem lands in 32 states.

"The Recovery Act projects are central to creating jobs and building a better, stronger economy in the future," said Secretary Vilsack. "These projects exemplify President Obama's commitment to sustainability, reducing our environmental footprint, and increasing energy efficiency, which will benefit the 178 million people who visit the national forests each year, while generating additional tourism and stimulating local economies."

According to Bschor, nearly $5 million of the economic recovery funds are going to the Region's three major visitor's centers in Ketchikan, Juneau, Portage to perform needed maintenance, upgrade parking and trails around the centers, and upgrade and improve interpretive displays and educational audio visual productions. The portion of the Iditarod National Historic Trail running through the Chugach National Forest received $3.25 million to improve 26 miles of trail and install five snow machine bridges and replace the pedestrian bridge over Winner Gorge near Girdwood.

In addition, over a $1 million will be spent to improve 12 miles of trails in the Admiralty and Misty Fiords monuments. Those improvements will include replacing footbridges and resurfacing trails. Over $800,000 will be used to imrove Spencer and Grandview stops on the Forest Service/Alaska Railroad Whistle Stop route south of Girdwood. Other trail work will be completed in Cordova, Petersburg, Sitka and Wrangell. - More...
Thursday - July 23, 2009

Alaska: New Minimum Wage Begins - Alaska's new minimum wage goes into effect tomorrow (July 24th), giving workers in the state an increase in the minimum wage for the first time in more than six years. The increase is the result of the passage this spring of Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law two weeks ago.

"This raise is long-overdue for our lowest paid workers," said Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), a prime sponsor of SB 1. "Especially in the current economy, people need to make a decent living for themselves and their families."

Alaska's minimum wage will increase from $7.15 an hour to 50 cents above the federal minimum wage (or $7.75) on January 1, 2010. Alaska's minimum wage was last raised in January 2003. Had it kept pace with inflation, it would be about $8.46 today.

"Alaska's cost of living is one of the highest in the nation," said Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage), a co-prime sponsor of SB1. "Our minimum wage should at least keep pace with other states. Currently, it is lower than 19 other states." - More...
Thursday - July 23, 2009

Alaska: Parnell Seeks to End Leaks of Confidential Information - LLieutenant Governor Sean Parnell today asked Attorney General Dan Sullivan to provide recommendations on how to prevent leaks of confidential information in ethics probes.

Parnell's request comes after the leak of an investigator's confidential and preliminary report related to an ethics complaint filed against Governor Sarah Palin was leaked to the Associated Press.

"These leaks must stop," Parnell said. "If we allow public officials to be tried and convicted in the press through abuse of the legal process, then the Executive Branch is at risk. The rule of law is threatened."

Parnell said that leaking the investigator's preliminary report is just like walking into a courthouse, lifting some notes from the jurors' break room and publishing them before all the evidence is in and before a verdict is reached. - More...
Thursday - July 23, 2009

Alaska: Bob Poe first Democrat to file for Governor - Candidate for Governor Bob Poe on Wednesday officially filed for the Office of Governor of Alaska, becoming the first Democrat to do so.

Bob Poe first Democrat to file for Governor

Bob Poe first Democrat to file for Governor

"At this critical moment in Alaska's history, we need a Governor focused on Alaska's future, a Governor who has a proven track record to get the job done, and one who will fulfill their commitment to Alaskans. It's time for a leader who holds the future of Alaska and Alaskans first and foremost, has the skills and experience to move the state forward, and who can bring Alaskans together to get things done," Poe said. "In my public and private careers I've shown I can do that."

Poe, who has served Alaska in leadership positions under four Governors including three Democrats and one Republican, filed a Declaration of Candidacy with the Division of Elections' Anchorage office.

Alaska state agencies Poe has run include the Office of International Trade, the Energy Authority, and the Industrial Development Authority. He also served as Commissioner of Administration, Deputy Commissioner of Transportation, and as a Director in the Department of Environmental Conservation. - More...
Thursday - July 23, 2009

Alaska: Tongass NF Supervisor's Navy Timber Sale Decision Reversed - Alaska Regional Forester Denny Bschor reversed Tongass Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole's decision on the Navy Timber Sale scheduled for Etolin Island in Southeast Alaska. Bschor determined that the selected alternative in the record of decision had significant changes from those alternatives analyzed in detail in the final environmental impact statement. The magnitude of the changes made in the Navy ROD made it difficult to fully assess the environmental effects of those changes.

As a result of the reversal, the Tongass Forest Supevisor has been instructed to either: 1) select an alternative that was analyzed in detail in the draft environmental impact statement and FEIS or 2) supplement the DEIS to provide the detailed analysis for the selected alternative. Both options ensure that the public has had or will have an adquate opportunity to review and comment on the alternatives analyzed in detail.

The selected alternative would have allowed the harvest of approximately 72.8 million board feet of timber, the construction of about 8.1 miles of new national forest system road, 8.8 miles of temporary road, and the reconstruction of about 3.5 miles of existing road. - More...
Thursday - July 23, 2009


Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: Ketchikan Didn't Need to Be 30 Miles Long, Four Blocks Wide - I have the greatest respect for the founders of Ketchikan.

They came up here, survived the weather that we only grumble about in much worse conditions than we have to deal with - outdoor plumbing and no central heat, anyone?

They chopped and they dug and they blasted and they built a town - Our Fair Salmon City - that clings to the side of a hill.

And when that wasn't enough they filled and built pilings and managed to make a bigger town out of just about no flat land at all.

In fact, they created our lovely little "30 miles long, four blocks wide" community. And we are here because of them. God bless them.

But sometimes I can't help but wonder, out of all this wilderness, couldn't they have chosen a slightly better location?

No, I don't mean Cabo San Lucas or Waikiki - although October would be much more pleasant in both those climes.

But even in these here parts, I think there were probably better options. - More...
Monday - July 20, 2009

MARTIN SCHRAM: Pay vets' disability claims -- now - Today we are proposing a solution for stimulating America's slow-to-recover economy that can please Washington's left, center and right.

And it has the added virtue of patriotically doing what is right for those who have already done so much for us all.

The U.S. economy has responded more slowly than many predicted to the Obama stimulus plan. Unemployment has soared to a 25-year high. For months we heard about stimulus projects that were "shovel-ready." Now we know what the politicians were shoveling.

Today many experts say a second round of stimulus will be needed. Yet Republicans who opposed the first stimulus as too costly and too porky still prefer to do it with tax cuts. Perhaps we can do the job without more shovels or more tax cuts.

On July 13, The New York Times published a report by James Dao of front-page significance (never mind that it was way back on page A-10): The Department of Veterans Affairs' perpetual backlog of unprocessed claims of military veterans has soared to a high of 400,000. Six years ago, the VA's backlog of 253,000 was considered unacceptable. - More...
Monday - July 20, 2009

JAY AMBROSE: Health care? Nope, land shark - Someone's knocking at the door, the young woman inside the apartment asks who's there, and a pleasant voice replies, "flowers." The woman is suspicious, and is then told "plumber," and later "candy-gram."

It's really a shark -- a land shark that hangs out in urban areas, or at least in the old "Saturday Night Live" skits -- and it finally tricks the woman into thinking it's a dolphin. She opens the door and is devoured.

This was all very, very funny when the movie "Jaws" was a hot topic, but what's not so funny is the congressional version we've lately been seeing in Washington.

Congress comes knocking and says, "stimulus package, low unemployment," proffering a long, hurry-up-and-pass-it, $800 billion bill no one has had time to read. From it, we get tons of pork. We get welfare-state extensions. We get no stimulation, but the highest jobless rate in a more than two decades. - More...
Monday - July 20, 2009


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Basic Rules

If you submit a letter and it is not published, please contact or call 254-1948. Your letter may not have been received.

letter Government competing with private business By Bill Nelson - I read with interest the Viewpoint titled OceansAlaska by Mike Dooley in particular the statement regarding why the exercise equipment was removed from the pool facility it was stated: "This is because the pool is supported by tax dollars, and private enterprise can't be expected to compete with that." Ketchikan can figure this out when our annoited Federal leader(s) cannot. For example the GM take over, the financial institution take overs and now a grab for the health care industry. Once private industry, that now or will compete with the federal government. - More...
Thursday PM - July 23, 2009

letter Bear problems to "Bear Valley" residents By Jennie Lawrence - I'm sure every single house in Bear Valley has had their garbage knocked down and strewn across their driveway or street. It's a constant problem and will never go away since the bears are so used to eating our garbage, it's easily accessible, and it's in their territory. - More...
Thursday PM - July 23, 2009

letter Re: Rude Behavior By A.M. Skidmore - Wow! Mr. Grant did I open up a can of worms or what?! I hope that you get some satisfaction from whatever comes of what happend to you in the store. I wish that I had the debating skills that the N.Y. graduate student has. - More...
Thursday PM - July 23, 2009

letterOceansAlaska By Mike Dooley - I agree with Rob Holston about OceansAlaska. Let's look at a similar situation. About 3 years ago the Mike Smithers swimming pool inherited an old cardio stair stepper from the rec. center. Many of us daily patrons of the pool used the machine. After about 3 months it suddenly disappeared. When asked, the staff simply said someone complained. After digging a bit deeper it turns out that the pool cannot add any new workout equipment that would compete with any private gym facilities. The old equipment that had been at the pool for 20-30 years is ok, but nothing new that would compete is allowed. This is because the pool is supported by tax dollars, and private enterprise can't be expected to compete with that. - More...
Wednesday AM - July 22, 2009

letterHealth Care Promises Broken By Connie Emmert - On Wednesday last week the article "It's Not An Option" in Investor's Business Daily was startling. - More...
Wednesday AM - July 22, 2009

letter911 System By Jon Hurley - I called 911 the other day because there was quite a lot of smoke and it looked like the Norquest bunkhouse was on fire and I was put to voice mail that said please call another number if you have an emergency. If I would have had a heart attack or other injury I can not write down another number and redial. - More...
Wednesday AM - July 22, 2009

letterPalin & other small things By Chris Elliott - If my friend Al Johnson is suggesting that "good" Republicans should not criticize Governor Palin, I have just one thing to say: Governor Palin is no Ronald Reagan. Whatever your party affiliation, it's time to stop holding your nose in the voting booth and start voting your conviction--regardless of the party. - More...
Tuesday - July 21, 2009

letterRe: Rude Behavior By Shieva Kleinschmidt - I must disagree with A. M. Skidmore's response to Vernon Grant's letter. Simply looking the other way in the face of racism is a way of enabling it. Given that we don't want a community where racist acts occur, we need to examine two issues: (i) how can we prevent people from endorsing (or continuing to endorse) racist ideologies? And (ii) given that some people are racist, how do we prevent them from acting on those beliefs? - More...
Tuesday - July 21, 2009

letterRE: Rude Behavior By Chris Barry - Mr. Grant, it is a shame that people like that are still in our community. What is even worse is that this person will get away with his actions and continue to treat others in the same manner. You can either ignore it and expect him to continue acting this way, or pursue further actions to ensure this man does not continue treating people this way. - More...
Tuesday - July 21, 2009

letter ASTRONAUTS By James Schenk - IN 1969 I WAS 10 YEARS OLD, A COMPLETE SPACE NERD. When the Apollo lander was headed for the surface of the moon, I was transfixed to the t.v. along with my brothers and sisters 40 years ago. We all watched with supreme pride in being AMERICANS and watching Armstrong take that first step onto the surface of the moon. We all cheered and hugged, I took pictures of the T.V. and my Family with the Astronauts walking on the moon, my heroes. - More...
Monday - July 20, 2009

letterRe: Rude Behavior By A.M. Skidmore - Don't worry about the person who was so rude to you Mr. Grant. He is obviously a very unhappy person. His rudeness and racism only goes to prove that he is so unhappy. Rather pity him, he will not last long in the retail trade. - More...
Monday - July 20, 2009

letterPalin Resignation By Jerilyn Lester - I agree with Georgianna Zimmerle 150% and would go even farther to say that the worst thing that has happened to Southeast Alaska since the logging shut down was Governor (not for much longer) Palin. I have come out and called her a thief both in letters to SitNews and to her face in an email to her. She started the work and then delayed it for 2 years so that she didn't have to move to the Governor's mansion in Juneau. She has stolen the money for the bridge to our airport, refused to even consider an alternative and then helped to stop any road to the outside world from anywhere in Southeast. - More...
Friday PM - July 17, 2009

letter Palin, bridge and other small things By A. M. Johnson - A timely quote: "No one knows where the future will take Palin, not even the governor herself. Her reemergence on the national scene and the scathing response from so many of her party peers underscore one thing, however: Republicans may hold dear their memories of the late Ronald Reagan. But his famous 11th commandment -- "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican" -- was laid to rest a long time ago." - More...
Friday PM - July 17, 2009

letterPALIN RESIGNATION GOOD FOR SOUTHEAST ALASKA By Cindi Davis - Well said, Georgianna Zimmerle! What a well crafted and sensible letter. - More...
Friday PM - July 17, 2009

letter OceansAlaska By Rob Holston - What a great letter of support for OceansAlaska by Tor Jorgensen . I would agree with it all IF it were private enterprize money footing the bill for OceansAlaska. But it is not. Please address the crux of the issue, "Tax dollars putting private business out of business." - More...
Friday PM - July 17, 2009

letter It's Time for Prison Reform By Tom Proebsting - There are more than 2.3 million persons behind bars in the U.S. according to last year's statistics. Prisons cost taxpayers in excess of $55 billion annually. - More...
Friday PM - July 17, 2009

letter Rude Behavior By Vernon Grant - On 4th of July @ 12:15 PM as my friend and I walked about heading north, on the right side of the road, we stopped in at a seafood store where they sell processed seafoods.And in a teasing happy mood, I stopped in to see what kind of samples they had for the holiday celebrations.As I entered the establishment, I noticed a woman standing there waiting and I said, we just stopped into see what kind of samples you have for today's celebrations. And she said the manager will be out soon and we can see what's available. Within a minute a man came out from the back and he was in a good mood, and said"We have some 4th of July samples of smoked salmon candy"  and he walked ahead of me towards the coolers on the right side. I had tried it before and I mentioned to him that I did not like that type of fish. - More...
Friday PM - July 17, 2009

letterPALIN RESIGNATION GOOD FOR SOUTHEAST ALASKA By Georgianna Zimmerle - On July 3, 2009 I listened with astonishment and unreserved delight as Governor Sarah Palin announced to the world that she would not seek a second term as Governor of the State of Alaska. And if that wasn't enough, she will resign at the end of July surrendering her Governor's seat to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell in order to avoid the trappings of a "lame duck" governor. Her reasoning is about as silly as the rest of her rationale for abandoning, in mid-term, the highest elected office in Alaska. After a lengthy diatribe on the virtues of her two years in office, she launched into her many defensive excuses for walking away mid-term in a vain attempt to cloak the facts in pretty paper. It is laughable that she used a basketball analogy to describe her term and her resignation from the Office of Governor. She considers herself the "point guard" leading the team to success and passing off the ball for the sake of the team. I'm sorry but the starting point guard doesn't quit in the fourth quarter just because the game gets rough! She could just as easily avoid behaving like a "lame duck" Governor by simply doing her job. She could stay in the State and attend to State business instead of gallivanting off to spotlight functions across the country. She whined about the many ethics complaints occupying her time since her failed run for Vice-president. She need not address these "frivolous" ethics complaints if there is no validity to them. She is the one who chooses to spend time on them. She has staff that can tend to them while she works on State business. - More...
Sunday - July 12, 2009

letter Pools vs. Flotation Suits By Dan McQueen - I've been on the water all my life. Yes, I can swim. I earned my 1 mile merit badge in a lake in Eastern Washington. But even knowing how to dog-paddle ain't gonna save you in the North Pacific if you ain't wearing an exposure/life jacket suit at least. - More...
Sunday - July 12, 2009

letterSludge fee??? By Robert Bates - Maybe someone could enlighten me on the future benefits of paying this ridiculous quarterly sludge fee... I've been paying this fee for the last couple of years now, which doesn't even hold a candle to someone like my grandfather who has lived in the borough of Ketchikan since 1959. I know it's only 45 dollars every few months, but I see no reason for it. Sure you get a free pump out every couple of years, but my tank is not even close to being in need of one. - More...
Sunday - July 12, 2009

letterCapital move By Robert Stewart - I'm with Jackie Williams. Moving the capital from Juneau hurts all of Southeast Alaska, not just Juneau. We have voted against this move so many times it is ridiculous. - More...
Sunday - July 12, 2009

letterAK Airlines Fees By Kayla Edenshaw - I believe that it will change airfare prices for the better if Alaska Airlines had some competition. I have flown from Seattle to Nagasaki Japan for around $900 round trip. I have flown from Ketchikan to Seattle for almost the same price on some occasions. - More...
Sunday - July 12, 2009

letterEXXON Payments for Processors By Donald Kilbuck - I've done processor work, and that was before the (1989) Valdez Exxon Oil Spill. Although I have gotten a letter stating that I wouldn't get paid, I hear other stories that are far different. - More...
Sunday - July 12, 2009

letterCommunity Swimming Pool By Don Borders - I would like to comment on the process of building our community replacement swimming pool. I was raised in a town that lost many people on the Pacific Ocean waters due to them being unable to swim. That community is Reedsport Oregon, where the Umpqua River Bar which has a reputation for being one of the meanest unpredictable ones on the Oregon coast. After one winter after there were too many fishermen lost, the population raised the question why so many were losing their lives on the ocean waters? - More...
Thursday - July 09, 2009

letterFire Victims Thank Ketchikan By Shannon Guthrie - On June 13, 2009 our home caught fire. I was at the mall with my son and parents shopping at the Tongass furniture sale and definitely didn't expect anything like this to happen while I was out. We raced home to find several fire trucks, EMS personnel and an ambulance blocking the entire road. After watching my life burn to a crisp we felt hopeless. The place where my husband, son and I resided at for the last 2 years was gone. My Son's 1 year old Cocker spaniel was stuck in the house, his baby pictures, baby blankets toys, clothes... everything we knew was gone. We were lost and felt we had no where to turn. - More...
Thursday - July 09, 2009

letterOceansAlaska By Tor Jorgensen - I support OceansAlaska. I live and work in Ketchikan year around and have children who attend the local schools. I believe OceansAlaska would be a major benefit to our community. It will create jobs and a new seafood industry for Ketchikan. It will be a great resource for my kids and everyone in Ketchikan, especially in the winter, to learn about the ocean around us and get students involved in science and learning. The science center will make Ketchikan an attractive place for visitors (cruise, fishing lodges, B&Bs, ferry, yachts, etc) increasing their chances of visiting, returning, and staying longer and spending more money locally. It will help keep families and retirees (my parents) in our community, and help attract skilled workers. - More...
Thursday - July 09, 2009

letter4th of July Parade By Joann Flora - On behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters, I wish to extend our thanks to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce for entrusting our matches with the responsibility of judging this year's parade. Five matches worked diligently to assess and score according to the categories of Best Theme Interpretation, Most Creative, Most Patriotic, Best Performance, Most Entertaining, Best Appearance, and Best of Show. It was an honor and a privilege to be the first youth group selected to perform this important job. We really enjoyed having great seats for viewing the parade and the delicious lunch courtesy of Steamer's. Thanks to all who made this possible and congratulations to this year's winners! - More...
Thursday - July 09, 2009

letterJuneau is the Capitol of Alaska By Jackie Williams - The first thing I would like to see Governor Parnell do is to, move the capitol back to Juneau, live in the Governor's Mansion (hire the chef back as there would be folks IN RESIDENCE to cook for, do any interviews as Governor from the Governor's Mansion that is officially located in Juneau, SE Alaska, USA. - More...
Thursday - July 09, 2009
letterThe Prophetic 'tongue in cheek' Kiffer By Ed Brown - June 08, 2009, Monday then Dave Kiffer prophesied the following in his column: Ketchikan, Alaska - Press Release from the Office of the President of the United States of America: April 1, 2017 --- President Sarah Palin announced this morning a plan to locate America's newest maximum security "terrorist/enemy non-combantant" permanent holding facility in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday - July 09, 2009

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