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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
july 26, 2009

Front page photo By MARY KURTH

Practice session
Saturday, a crewman on the Fireboat Harry Newell engages in a practice session on a warm, sunny day at Ward Cove.
Front page photo By MARY KURTH


Alaska: Parnell Sworn In as Governor - Sean Parnell was sworn in as Alaska's 10th governor on Sunday before a Fairbanks crowd estimated at more than 5,000. Parnell will complete the term of Governor Sarah Palin, who stepped down on Sunday.

Parnell Sworn In as Governor

(from right to left) Alaska's new Governor Sean Parnell addresses the crowd at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks with temporary substitute Lieutenant Governor Craig E. Campbell and his wife, Anne Marie.
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor

With the Riverboat Nenana as a backdrop, Parnell told the crowd that he won't be constrained by a short-term vision, but instead will focus on Alaska's future for this generation and the next.

Governor Parnell said, "Alaska has much to offer its people and our nation, and given today's economic climate, the stakes are high, time is of the essence and you have my commitment to work with you and for you to position our economy for growth and our children and families for opportunity." - More...
Sunday PM - July 26, 2009

Fish Factor: Dutch Harbor retains title as the nation's top fishing port By LAINE WELCH - For 20 years running, Dutch Harbor has retained the title as the nation's top fishing port. According to NOAA Fisheries' popular annual report, Alaska fishermen delivered 612.7 million pounds of fish and shellfish at Dutch Harbor last year, mostly Alaska pollock. The landings were down from 777 million pounds in 2007.

Ports in Virginia and Louisiana pushed Kodiak down a peg to fifth place with seafood landings at 251 million pounds, a drop from 320 million in 2007.

In terms of value of the catch, New Bedford, Mass. claimed the top spot for the 9th year running, topping $241 million at the docks, mostly due to pricey scallops. Dutch Harbor ranked second at $195 million (up from $126 million), and Kodiak held on to 3rd place with landings valued at $98.7 million (down from $126 million in 2007).- More....
Sunday - July 26, 2009

Ketchikan: BACK-TO-SCHOOL IMMUNIZATION CLINICS - The Ketchikan Public Health Center will be holding several Back-to-School immunization clinics during the month of August.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will need two medically-verified doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccination or a history of chickenpox disease recorded by a medical provider on the State of Alaska immunization exemption form in order to attend school.

All students attending Ketchikan High School or Revilla must have a current Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine. - More...
Sunday - July 26, 2009

Southeast Alaska: JUNEAU MEN INDICTED BY FEDERAL GRAND JURY FOR ILLEGAL HALIBUT SALES - United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced Friday that David Skrzynski and Jason Maroney, both of Juneau, Alaska, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on charges of violating the Lacey Act by selling halibut that was taken in violation of federal regulations.

The nine-count indictment names Skrzynski, 58, and Maroney, 38, as the sole defendants.

According to the nine-count indictment, Skrzynski, holds a valid Subsistence Halibut Registration Certificate (otherwise known as a "SHARC card"), which allows him to fish for halibut for subsistence purposes. However, federal regulations prohibit the commercial sale of subsistence halibut. Maroney was the owner of Doc Waters Pub in Juneau. The indictment alleges a continuing scheme from July 2005, to February 2008, where Skrzynski sold subsistence halibut to Maroney for resale in Doc Waters Pub. - More...
Sunday - July 26, 2009

National: Study of Achievement Gaps Shows Native Gains - A study of achievement gap patterns of American Indian and Alaska Native students in 26 states questions common stereotypes about lagging performance among Native students.

REL Northwest, operated by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, analyzed state achievement test scores in reading and math for AI/AN grade 8 students and their non-Native peers between 2003/2004 and 2006/2007. The results indicated that in many states serving large populations of Native students, American Indian and Alaska Native students experienced achievement gains along with their non-Native counterparts.

Although achievement gaps were generally found to persist, AI/AN students were narrowing those gaps. In some states, AI/AN students actually increased their lead over their non-Native peers.

"There's just this common assumption that Native American children perform well below other students; that belief is shared by some Native American educators, as well as non-Native ones," says Principal Investigator Steven Nelson. "But when you look at the patterns of states across the nation, you begin to get this picture that we are making progress: The academic achievement of Native American youth in reading and math is going up and it's going up substantially." - More...
Sunday - July 26, 2009


Alaska: Are Alaska's glaciers growing? By NED ROZELL - Recently, several people have contacted an editor at the daily newspaper in Fairbanks about Alaska glaciers. The editor reports that a few people claim that almost all of Alaska's glaciers are getting bigger.

Are Alaska's glaciers growing?

Hubbard Glacier, one of the few growing glaciers in Alaska, advances toward Gilbert Point north of Yakutat in summer 2009.
Photo by Bruce Molnia, USGS.

Glaciologists who have studied Alaska's ice for years say the opposite is true. A handful of Alaska glaciers are advancing and a few of those are getting bigger, but those are the exceptions. Most are getting smaller, fast.

Part of the confusion may come from recent news of glacier advances in places like Icy Bay, where masses of ice have spilled deeper into the bay than they have for years. But an advancing glacier might not be a growing glacier. Such is the case in Icy Bay, according to Chris Larsen of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute.

"Even though they are advancing, we have precise, recent laser data that shows the glaciers in Icy Bay have the greatest thinning rates of anywhere in Alaska," Larsen said.

For example, Guyot Glacier lost about 150 feet a year in elevation where it spills into the sea, Larsen said, and this has occurred the last three years. The steepness of the terrain at Guyot's snout causes the ice to flow very fast, which spurs it to advance quickly. Along the northern border of Guyot Glacier sits Yahtse Glacier. Larsen and his colleagues measured Yahtse and found that it shoved forward about 50 feet every day in June. Both Guyot and Yahtse are located in Icy Bay, about 70 miles northwest of Yakutat.

"Terminus advance, in this case, is not a sign of a healthy glacier," he said "Quite the opposite."

Martin Truffer, also of the Geophysical Institute, just returned to Fairbanks from Yakutat Glacier, which is fading near the town of Yakutat on Alaska's gulf coast. Scientists in Alaska have several dependable methods for measuring glaciers, among them laser-altimetry systems mounted in planes that fly over glaciers, as well as gravity-measuring systems deployed by satellites. These methods have helped researchers find that most of Alaska's glaciers are on the wane, despite a snowy and cold 2007-2008. - More...
Sunday - July 26, 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 Re: Dave Kiffer's 4 blocks wide column. By Mary Ida Henrikson - I understand one of the reasons our forepeople left Loring was the deep harbor issue. - More...
Sunday - July 26, 2009

letterThe bleak furture of the Republican party By Mike Issac - When Jon Huntsman (R) Governor of Utah won his second term in November there was already some talk of him running in 2008 in this part of the country. However back in May Obama made him Ambassador to China so that leaves Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckeebee and while we are at FOX News maybe Glenn Beck would like to try his hand at it. But with Sarah quitting her day job it not be looking good for her unless she runs for Lisa Murkowski's seat in 2010, then runs in 2016 if Huntmans or Romney can't beat the Messiah in 2012. - More...
Sunday - July 26, 2009

letterBears and Garbage By Eddy Hayne - When I was a young person growing up in Ketchikan in the early 60's, bears weren't a problem since the garbage dump was out past the ferry terminal a couple of miles out the road. After my family left in 1967, The dump was moved behind the city at the base of Deer Mt. I moved back to Ketchikan in 2001 and the bear problem moved to the downtown area. Then the city fathers started shipping the garbage out of town. Hmmm... The bears started moving their feeding areas to the town area. What a great solution huh? - More...
Sunday - July 26, 2009

letterA Solution to the Bear Problems By Julie Steiner - Bears are a real problem for everyone. Jennie Lawrence has a great idea for trying to keep the bears away from her garbage - only it doesn't work all of the time. I have tried both ammonia and bleach - sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. - More...
Sunday - July 26, 2009

letterGovernment 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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