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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 14, 2010

Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER

'Up A Tree'
A large male bear scared these two black bears up a tree in the Herring Cove area. The two eventually settled in for a snooze.
Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER


Alaska: Judge Orders Trial in Lawsuit Challenging the Proposed Pebble Mine's Exploration Permits; State, Pebble Developer Lose Bid to End Suit Without a Trial - On Monday, the judge in a landmark constitutional lawsuit challenging exploration and water use permits for the proposed Pebble Mine ordered a trial on five of the six claims in the case. The Court's decision means that the plaintiffs, Nunamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of the Land in Yup'ik.), an association of nine Bristol Bay village corporations; former First Lady Bella Hammond; former State constitutional delegate Victor Fisher; and Bristol Bay residents Ricky Delkittie, Sr. and Violet Willson have cleared the final hurdle to trial, which is scheduled for December 6, 2010.

"This decision means that the people whose rights and livelihoods are being jeopardized by intensive exploration activities at Pebble will have their day in court to show that the State has violated the Alaska Constitution," said Trustees for Alaska Attorney Nancy Wainwright, who represents the plaintiffs. "The State has issued permits behind closed doors without even looking at the harms to public resources. At last those harms will be addressed in court."

The State and Pebble Limited Partnership sought to avoid a trial by claiming that, as a matter of law, the State was not required to provide public notice or any kind of public interest analysis before issuing permits for Pebble exploration.

"We applaud the court's ruling," said Bobby Andrew, spokesman for Nunamta Aulukestai, the lead plaintiff in the case. "As subsistence users of the region, we know that exploration is having a serious impact on water, wildlife, and fish. We rely on these resources for survival, yet DNR continues to rubber stamp permits without public notice and without any analysis to justify these impacts. There needs to be a trial on that."

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric A. Aarseth held that "the most basic question in this case is whether the State was required to balance various constitutional interests when considering whether to issue the permits and do so in a transparent way."

He further held that provisions of Article VIII of Alaska's Constitution "in order to have any meaning at all, must be interpreted as containing independent constraints on State action." He concluded, in a 20-page decision, that the plaintiffs have "demonstrated that material issues of fact exist regarding its claims that the State did not comply with the provisions of Article VIII." The Court also ruled that the trial would focus only on the State's approval of Pebble exploration and water use, and not on hardrock mining exploration in other areas of the state.

The suit was filed in July 2009 against the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which issued the permits for exploration activities at Pebble for over two decades. According to a news release, the the permits for exploration were issued with no public notice and no findings with respect to impacts to the constitutionally protected public resources in the area. Mine developer Pebble Limited Partnership was allowed to intervene in the case to defend the permits. - More...
Wednesday - July 14, 2010

Southeast Alaska: Magic Happens at the Fair - What do North Carolina funk musicians Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, a mechanical bull, and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell have in common?

They're all slated to appear at the 42nd annual Southeast Alaska State Fair, held July 29 through Aug. 1 in Haines.

Parnell will serve as Grand Marshall for the fair's parade Saturday, July 31, staff in his office confirmed this week.

Headlining entertainers at the fair includes the six-member Booty Band, whose funky sound combines trombone, guitar, bongos, saxophone, bass and vocals; Trampled By Turtles, a hard-driving, bluegrass-inspired band from Duluth, Minnesota; Blue Scholars, a hip-hop duo from Seattle whose lyrics are at once personal, political and poetic; and solo guitar wizard Scott Huckabay.

NANDA, a troupe of four dancing, juggling, kung-fu acrobats from Washington state will perform a comedic, stunt-filled show. California Hula hoop artist Sprial, who has performed with the likes of India.Arie, Michael Franti and Spearhead, De La Soul, and the String Cheese Incident, will share her unique dance style, likely to inspire veteran and aspiring hula-hoopers.

Grammy-award winning Inuit musicians and storytellers Pamyua return to the fair's main stage, as does Washington blues diva Michelle Fournier. Both were popular with fairgoers in 2009.

Other local and regional acts include Ketchikan's own Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers; Sasquatch Prom Date, Nicole Edwards and Dave Haddock of Whitehorse; blues-rock and reggae band the Thundercats and alt-country-rock musicians DNR of Juneau; and Haines favorites Swing Set, the Pimentos, and the HI-DE-HOs, among others.

This year's contests include a regional talent show called "Southeast's Got Talent" on July 29. The grand prize winner receives $500 and qualifies for the statewide "Alaska's Got Talent" contest Sept. 6 at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. $250 will be provided for travel to Palmer. - More...
Wednesday - July 14, 2010


Columns - Commentary

JAY AMBROSE: Not knowing much about history can hurt - A Marist College poll indicates more than a quarter of Americans don't know our country gained its independence from Great Britain. Do you suppose, then, that these people are as worrisomely disconnected from our noble, still crucial national heritage as that other group that abuses it regularly, namely many top officials?

We don't need a poll to know about the officials. They give themselves away daily, not as adults who couldn't pass a grade school test on our beginnings, maybe, but as leaders who suffer from many of the deficiencies you'd expect from such ignorance.

Those who can't pass the test are in danger of being lousy citizens, of course. It's important to know how our ancestors defined tyranny, for instance, because that can have meaning for our discernment of it today. It matters whether or not someone bumps into the founders' premise that a government's just powers can derive only from the consent of the governed because the concept has meaning in the here and now.

If some don't know whom we fought in the Revolutionary War, how likely is it that they have heard the proposition that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? You wonder if they know anything about the drafting of the Constitution or the adoption of the Bill of Rights, if they have a firm, ready concept of the rule of law or respect for the idea of constitutional order. What do they suppose are the responsibilities of representatives in our republic? Do they know what a republic is? - More...
Wednesday -July 14, 2010

TOM PURCELL: The Case For Marriage - Ah, July, the wedding season. What a great time of the year to NOT marry.

So suggest Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison in the June 11 edition of Newsweek magazine.

The two young, urban women write that marriage no longer makes sense -- they cite an anthropologist who says humans are wired for a series of relationships over time.

They say that, thanks to the feminist movement, women no longer need husbands for financial security.

They say that divorce rates are high -- that with our life expectancy into the high 70s it is unrealistic to commit to one other person for life.

They cite all kinds of statistics and anecdotes to document why they believe marriage no longer works.

Of course they're looking at the institution of marriage from the vantage point of youth. When you get older, you realize most people are better off married.

Men who are single too long are a scourge on society. We take chances, eat badly, smoke too much and are far likelier than married men to wake in a pile of newspapers still clutching the bottle of tequila we began sipping from just before the party broke up. - More...
Wednesday - July 14, 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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