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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 12, 2010

Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER

'Fast Food'
This black bear chased a few fish around before giving up and heading to the hatchery and grabbing this one. The bear then disappeared with its 'fast food' catch into the woods.
Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER


Ketchikan: Seward was one of Alaska's First 'Tourists (A History of Alaska Tourism, Part One) A Feature Article by DAVE KIFFER - It can be argued that the first "tourist" to visit Alaska was the man who was most responsible for the purchase of the territory, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward.

Seward was one of Alaska's First 'Tourists (A History of Alaska Tourism, Part One)

[between ca. 1900 and 1923]
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Although many people had come to Alaska both before and after the 1867 purchase, nearly all had visited either for economic or scientific reasons. Few if any, had come simply to "see the elephant" to use a term popular with the few 19th century people wealthy enough to "travel."

Seward had retired from government service on March 5, 1869. Although he was nearly 70 and in generally poor health, he decided he wanted to spend his remaining years traveling and first on his list was a visit to the land that he had purchased for the United States in 1867.

"His friends were surprised and politely hinted that he could not endure the fatigue of a long journey," Frederic Bancroft wrote in his 1967 book: "The Life of William H. Seward." "Although physically a broken down old man, who could not get along without a valet, he seemed to be as unwilling as ever to recognize that anything was impossible for him."

In June of 1869, Seward started his journey to Alaska with a railroad trip across the country on then barely one-month-old transcontinental railroad. He saw buffalo and Indian camps and had a lengthy visit with Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. He then visited Sacramento and San Francisco.

Prominent Californian businessman Ben Holladay - the so-called Stagecoach King - arranged for Seward and his party to use one of his ships, the Active, for his voyage north.

"Some California friends were invited to join the original party and the Active started about the middle of July to visit 'Seward's Arctic Province," Bancroft wrote.

The ship visited Seattle and Victoria B.C. and then arrived in Sitka near the end of July. It was there that Seward became involved ­ informally ­ in negotiations with the Chilkat Indians. General Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to the imprisoned former head of the Confederacy, Jefferson F. Davis) had had "trouble" with the Chilkats, who now wanted to make peace, according to Bancroft.

Davis and his party, joined Seward and his crew to visit the Chilkats up Lynn Canal. By coincidence, there was a US government survey team also in the area to view a rare total eclipse of the sun. According to Bancroft, the party timed its visit with the Chilkats to coincide with the eclipse.

"When the shadow began to pass over the sun the Indians thought that it was caused by the instruments used by the 'Boston Men' as the (visitors) were called," Bancroft wrote. "Some of the Chilkats became greatly alarmed by the darkness and fell on their knees and prayed. When the shadow passed off they were relieved and thought the "Boston Men" were more wonderful than ever." - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010

Ketchikan: Coast Guard responds to vessel aground south of Ketchikan - Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan and Coast Guard Station Ketchikan crews continue to monitor the 47-foot pleasure craft Scrimshaw that was left aground by low tide in Annette Bay off of Annette Island south of Ketchikan Sunday.

Coast Guard responds to vessel aground south of Ketchikan

47-foot pleasure craft Scrimshaw
Photo courtesy of USCG Station Ketchikan

The Scrimshaw with two people aboard was at anchor in the bay when the retreating tide left the vessel aground. The grounding reportedly left several holes in the Scrimshaw and the boat was reported to be leaking diesel fuel Sunday. The vessel was reported to be carrying approximately 400 gallons of fuel.

Both people aboard the Scrimshaw were able to safely disembark the vessel.

A commercial salvage company was on scene Sunday and worked to patch the holes to stop the leaking fuel and prepare the boat for refloating at high tide. High tide in the area was between 1 and 2 p.m. Sunday.

However, salvage and response crews were unable to re-float the Scrimshaw. Coast Guard response crews from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan have placed sorbent containment boom around the vessel to minimize any environemntal impact from the approximately 400 gallons of fuel reported aboard. - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010

Ketchikan: Check ELT or EPIRB before flight or leaving the dock - A Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad (KVRS) unit reported a 121.5 signal in the Refuge Cove area on June 11th at 4:16 pm. The KVRS Direction Finding Team (DF) was dispatched and after a short search the signal was located on board an aircraft in the Refuge Cove area. The aircraft was in no distress, the owner was contacted and responded the aircraft to secure the ELT.

This was the third 121.5 activation in as many weeks. Jerry Kiffer of KVRS advises the recent rash of calls for the DF crew are normal and seem to go in cycles.

KVRS has for years tracked ELT, EPIRB, and stuck microphone signals in the Ketchikan are and would like to remind all owners of 121.5 emergency beacons, that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is no longer monitoring the satellite system, that has for years been the primary notification for emergency services like KVRS. - More...
Monday - JUly 12, 2010

Ketchikan: Hospital Seeks Volunteers - Ketchikan General Hospital is looking for a few good volunteers.

With a long history of serving, volunteers at KGH are a remarkable group of people said KGH volunteer coordinator Marty West. They help with the "No One Dies Alone" program, Auxiliary Gift Shop, Hospice, Pastoral Care, and New Horizons Long
Term Care Unit.

"One of the most visible volunteer roles is working at the Gift Shop run by the Auxiliary," said volunteer Carolyn Wilse. "We raise money for special hospital purchases. Last year we donated more than $52,000 from Gift Shop sales that purchased wheelchairs, a new birthing bed, and items for Med/Surg, New Horizons, Speech Theraphy, and more." - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010


Fish Factor: Early salmon prices at levels not seen in two decades By LAINE WELCH - 'Uncertainty' and 'high prices' are the terms that best sum up Alaska's salmon season so far. There's lots of fishing left to go, but runs to most regions are late and low. That has buyers scrambling to fill orders from eager customers, especially for scanty sockeye salmon. The demand has boosted early prices to levels not seen in two decades.

Reports from Kodiak peg the average base sockeye price to fishermen at $1.49 a pound, up from $1.11 last year. (The base price does not include bonuses for iced fish, dock deliveries, etc.) Lots of boats had departed from disappointing sockeye catches at Copper River for more plentiful reds at Prince William Sound, where gillnetters were getting $2.25 a pound. Copper River sockeye prices were holding at $2.00/lb, but catches there of 300,000 reds were down by half.

Southeast Alaska gillnetters were also getting two bucks for their sockeye salmon, an increase of 75-cents a pound from last season.

The talk on the dock for the world's biggest sockeye salmon fishery at Bristol Bay has fishermen hoping to get close to $1.00/lb, compared to 70-cents last year. Peter Pan and its fleet agreed on a base price of 95 cents for reds. Many are skeptical that the Bristol Bay sockeye harvest this summer will reach the projected 31 million fish.

Market watcher Ken Talley said that vacuum-packed, frozen sockeye fillets from at least one major Alaska salmon processor is wholesaling for $7/lb compared to "the more normal" $5.50/lb, and fresh sockeye "are now in the $9.50/lb. range."

Alaska wild salmon is so in demand that Western Alaska

fishermen also are getting a better shake with fish prices. Kuskokwim sockeyes are fetching over $1.00/lb, double last year. Kusko chums are averaging 25 cents, up a dime; and 70 cents for chums from the Yukon (called keta salmon), an increase of 20 cents.

"Demand is strong for all our Yukon salmon and we're having no trouble getting it to market," said Jack Schultheis, manager of Kwik'Pak Fisheries at Emmonak.

At Kodiak, chums were averaging 49 cents a pound, up 11 cents. Southeast Alaska gillnetters were getting 65-70 cents for their chum salmon, compared to 51 cents in 2009.

Alaska's projected salmon catch for 2010 is 137 million fish, down 15% from last year. The decrease stems from an expected shortfall in pink salmon returns. The 2009Alaska salmon harvest was valued at $370 million at the docks ­ two-thirds of the total value each year comes from sockeye salmon. - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696.

letterCape Fox Corp. Lack of Respect for Shareholders By Marilyn Blair - Once again the Cape Fox Board of Directors are showing their total lack of respect for the shareholders! They reschedule our annual shareholder meeting two days before its scheduled time and the only notification we get is a sign on the Saxman Community Hall and don't even get a reason why! Last year they rescheduled all the way into October and that was because of the audited finacial statements. - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010

letterLibrary By Peter Bolling - My wife and I are completing our one-year hiatus from Ketchikan while I took a sabbatical to attend school.  There are two Ketchikan institutions that we have missed the most:  the public library and KRBD. - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010

letterFarewell By Sean Powell - Without taking precious reader time, I wanted to say a fond farewell to my friend Don Kralis. As most of you probably know, Don and his wife Lois were killed in late June outside of Terrace, BC. There was a memorial service for him on July 2nd but I was unable to attend. I thought that a few kind words in a public forum might speed him happily on his way to the Great Beyond. - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010

letterTo those opposed to S 881 By Jean Bland - To Johnnie Laird and who ever else is and has taken money provided by SEALASKA; how many of you from these communities (Thorne Bay; Coffman Cove; Port Protection; Naukati; Whale Pass; Hollis) are still working for companies who are contracted by SEALASKA and being paid by them? - More...
Monday - July 12, 2010

letterLibrary Tax By Ed Marksheffel - For those outside of the City of Ketchikan please note on your Property Tax Statement, and I quote, "Nonareawide (Library)" and an amount you pay for it. I seem to recall a history lesson about a war and the statement 'Taxation without representation" was one of the causes. - More...
Thursday PM - July 08, 2010

letterS 881 Bill Still Misses Mark; Ignores Community and Small Business Concerns By Johnnie Laird - After many months of participation in the S 881 process, I continue to be disappointed in Senator's Murkowski's legislation that will go up before the Senate Natural Resources Committee by the end of this month. - More...
Thursday PM - July 08, 2010

letterMORE FUN AND GAMES AT UAS KETCHIKAN CAMPUS By Robert D. Warner - A recent announcement that the position of UAS Ketchikan Campus Director will be filled for the next year by a temporary troika of people is yet another blunder by the UAS Juneau based administration. This administration has dictated Ketchikan campus policy since 1987 when Ketchikan Community College was eliminated. When the local Campus Director announced her departure in early May, a search for a replacement could have promptly started. Such a search could be conducted efficiently and fairly in about three to four months. This schedule would have allowed one month for advertising, one month for screening applications, and a third month for interviews and hiring. Now we have a needless delay that will drag this process out for another year, perhaps longer! When the long overdue retirement of a UAS provost was finally announced in 2003, pending a replacement being hired, it took 7 years for UAS to hire that replacement. - More...
Thursday PM - July 08, 2010

letterTongass Tribe Land - Ketchikan By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - We are the lineal descendants of the Taan ta Kwaan means Sealion People or known as Tongass Tribe (hereinafter the "Tongass Tribe" or "Tribe"), a traditional and historical Alaskan Native Tribe in Ketchikan indisputably recognized by all Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes in Southeast Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 06, 2010

letterKetchikan's Rock Pit Library By Robert D. Warner - Some of us are rather tired of hearing about "Ketchikan's harassed public librarians." The last time I checked, many of them have been feeding quite heartily at the public trough. We are also tired of the continuing effort to hide our public library in an unsightly rock pit removed from the center of Ketchikan. This is both frustrating and discouraging. Why doesn't Ketchikan Public Library have professional leadership and courage to stop this misguided effort? It is fortunate that several folks like Mr. Bergeron are willing to speak out on this important issue. Shouldn't we be pleased that the public library would remain at the hub of a city center as it has for over 100 years? Why would we want to hide it at a unsightly rock pit? - More...
Tuesday PM - July 06, 2010

letterThe Ten Top Reasons to Put the Library in the Rock Pit at Copper Ridge By Patrick Jirschele - Number Ten: The librarians won't have to waste time waking up the bums because the drilling and blasting will make it impossible to sleep. That's right, it is an active rock pit! Look out for flying rocks. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 06, 2010

letterLibrary By Tom LeCompte - As much as I would've liked to see a gorgeous new library sitting on top of the hill downtown, it has been explained to me by KJ Harris that one of the main reasons to not have it there is the limited access and maneuvering room for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. That is the best explanation for not using that spot. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 06, 2010

letterRotary Beach By MJ Cadle - I was at Rotary Beach yesterday and noticed what I believe is Japanese knotweed beginning to take hold. For those of you who know knotweed, you know what a terrible thing this will be. For those of you who don t, think plants with large leaves that grow 15 feet high in one year and are so densely packed even grass finds it hard to grow between. There is an excellent example of what they are capable of doing as you go north around the sharp corner just before the first Sunset Drive turnoff. That dense growth on the right side is knotweed and only knotweed. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 06, 2010

letter I Oughta Be In Pictures By Daylene Currier - I just finished Dave Kiffer's article. Thanks! I really needed that laugh! I think I need to go back through my pictures now to see how many have been graced by your presence! - More...
Tuesday PM - July 06, 2010

letterLibrary Location By Suzan Thompson - An inaccessible rock pit? Would that be the one with the broad paved two-lane road sweeping past it? As opposed to an inaccessible cliff top requiring construction of an extremely expensive elevator, the realigning of two steep, narrow streets, and the elimination of the parking which local jurors depend on to keep from being loaded with overtime parking tickets as they do their civic duty down at the bottom of the hill? And that so that we can provide tourists with access to our library? - More...
Wednesday - June 30, 2010

letterPlace it here, or place it there! By Joseph T. Craig - Everyone has their idea of where the new library, fire station, museum , or other buildings should be placed. I would like to inject my thoughts as well. - More...
Wednesday - June 30, 2010

letterBorough loans By Angelo L. Martin - No , No , No. Have you not learned from past history? I was a Borough Assembly member when the mill closed and when we got the 25 million dollars as the economic disaster fund. I voted to give loans to the bowel factory, Veneer plant, etc. Only one word describes it -- DISASTER!! - More...
Wednesday - June 30, 2010

letterThank You By Ben Hastings - I am the father of a handicapped young lady that every one in Ketchikan knows - Lizzy. We just came from the dedication of Opportunity House on Caralina and I was totally impressed. - More...
Wednesday - June 30, 2010

letterNo Friend of the Taxpayers By Sam Bergeron - The City Council is no friend of Ketchikan's taxpayers. - More...
Monday PM - jUne 28, 2010

letterBill Walker for Governor By Andy Rauwolf - Bill Walker is the only candidate with a plan and the know how to bring low cost energy to every corner of the state. This is the crucial element that will allow our businesses to grow and develop. With a thriving economy and continued revenues from an in-state gas pipeline flowing into the state coffers Alaska will be a model for the rest of the nation, and our children will finally have a future right here instead of being forced to seek jobs elsewhere. - More...
Monday PM - June 28, 2010

letterS. 881: Sealaska Bill By Bob Claus - Last week, the U.S. Senate Energy Committee passed 26 bills out of the committee. Senate Bill 881, the Sealaska Bill, was not in this big group of lands bills. - More...
Monday PM - JUne 28, 2010

letterOil Spill Compensation Act of 2010 By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - We're entering the third month of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the 22nd year since the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef. In the Gulf of Mexico, as much as 3 million barrels of crude have already spilled from the blown-out well, and in Prince William Sound there is still oil hiding under rocky beaches. - More...
Thursday - June 24, 2010

letterKetchikan Gateway Borough economic loan proposal. By A.M.Johnson - After reading the economic loan proposal on an Economical Development Loan program on the borough website, I am convinced that the concept of the borough staff and Assembly being in a decision position to loan money is not a healthy concept. - More...
Thursday - JUne 24, 2010

letterThe Case for Burying S 881 By Alan Stein - Two of America's most open and transparent Senators are on a campaign to keep legislation they wrote and cosponsered behind closed doors. - More...
Thursday - June 24, 2010

letterBill Walker has the plan By Ann Graham Radford - We recently attended the funeral of Governor Wally Hickel. It was a wonderful tribute to a great Alaskan. Wally loved Ketchikan and we returned the affection - we were the only District in Alaska where Wally won every election he ever entered, even the write-in! - More...
Thursday - June 24, 2010

letterProposal to purchase property for Fire Station 7 By Ed Fry - In response to both Chief Hull and Mr. Dial, the questions that were asked were on target and appropriate; thank you Mr. Dial for calling the questions. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterBill Walker has an Alaskan Plan! By Barb Lander - Bill Walker, Republican gubernatorial candidate deserves your consideration. He is a lifelong Alaskan that like most real Alaskans has a broad and varied background. Most recently he has worked as a lawyer focusing primarily on oil and gas issues, but he has also done construction, worked as a laborer building the pipeline and had a stint commercial fishing. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterCity improvements By Casey Eberle - First of all let me say, that yes I am a new resident of Ketchikan. It seems that many in this town feel that unless you have been here for an extended period of time you aren't a "local", but I am here for the long haul, and there are several things about this town that I have noticed. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterS 881 By Judy Magnuson - We are still waiting to see the new revised S 881 bill, hopefully we will have enough time to adequately assess the new impacts of this legislation on the communities of Southeast. From what we have heard so far I feel that the new bill will not be any different than the last one, places will have been moved around effecting different communities more and others less, but the main objections to this bill will remain the same. Sealaska will still be given millions of dollars of infrastructure paid for at the taxpayers expense, in essence a bail -out of a private corporation by the taxpayers because of their own failure to properly utilize the land they were originally given. The second growth alone cost the taxpayers $10 million in thinning on the 20,721 acres of young growth, plus costs of roads, log transfer facilities, bridges, decades of maintenance, costs of planning, studies, loss of 184 acres with established long term research plots, and loss of 7,359 Geological Special Areas. - More...
Monday - June 21, 2010

letterProposal to purchase property for Fire Station 7 By Dave Hull - In reference to Mr. Rodney Dial's questions regarding the proposal to purchase property for Fire Station 7, he asks that I answer questions he poses in his letter to the editor. For the record, these are excellent questions that I am sure are being asked by many. I encourage others to call, write or stop by and talk. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letterLet Everyone Vote By Penny Hamlin Connelly - I have been a townie pretty much my whole life, taking for granted being able to vote on all issues concerning the city and the borough. Imagine my surprise when I moved out North a few years ago, went to vote, and discovered part of my election ballot was missing. I went into total Ketchikan Culture Shock. "What do you mean I don't get to vote on city issues?" Took me awhile to get over it, but I did. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letterLibrary By Mark Johnson - The Library has served us very well since it started way back when in 1901 now it's time for us to serve it well and build the new building. Now we'll get much of it paid for with matching funds that we will lose at the rate we are going and that is not going to get us anything. The current building is too small so moving to a new site is the only real option. The downtown site that was the main street school has been rejected twice already. There are problems with all the sites we could have a library on, not one of them is perfect and no place we choose to build can be, but we have a site picked and money in the bank as well as plans in the works. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letterS.881: Same Pig, Different Sunglasses and Wig By Sandy Powers - The proposed revisions of the rehashed Sealaska bill S.881 reflect but little difference from previous versions. Some of the selections of the high-value roaded timber got switched with other selections of high-value roaded timber. Parts of north POW were spared immediate impact but Edna Bay, Hollis, Thorne Bay and other areas were hit as hard or harder in return. Some brand new areas were added, such as two tidal energy sites and two geothermal sites. A hydroelectric site is still proposed for Josephine Lake. 190,000 acres of additional LUD-II style lockups on Kuiu, Prince of Wales, Kosciusko, Kupreanof and a couple other islands recommended by staffers, and no doubt SEACC are thrown in for good measure. How ironic - the very groups and politicians who call for transparency and public involvement now eagerly override those guiding principles when it serves their own personal interests. The revision claims new protection for karst, but the Forest Plan already identifies and protects karst. This politically motivated bill hatched up behind closed doors only panders to the special interests of a private corporation and foundation-funded green groups. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letter Re: Tax Payers Revelation By Peggy Green - I think Don Borders makes perfect sense in his article regarding the Library, and other Government offices. I too think that the Borough offices should utilize the Ward Cove property. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letter Federal Government Unprepared for Disasters By Donald A. Moskowitz - Our federal government under two administrations has dropped the ball with a major regional problem and unfortunately the Gulf oil spill debacle succeeded the hurricane Katrina debacle in the same region of the country. Where are FEMA and other government agencies when these problems occur? - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

letter Re: A letter to North Tongass residents By Daylene Currier - I applaud Rodney Dial's ambition and his open-mindedness to this issue. So many people argue about what is right and wrong, and of course, theirs is the only opinion that ever matters. - More...
Thursday PM - June 17, 2010

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