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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 23, 2010

Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

Sitka Black-tailed Deer
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS


Ketchikan: Ketchikan Pilot Killed In Crash - A Ketchikan pilot was killed in a float plane crash north of Ketchikan Friday morning. Josh Murdock, 38, was the sole occupant in a 1959 DeHavilland Beaver owned by Pacific Airways of Ketchikan that crashed at about 7:30 a.m.

Ketchikan Pilot Killed In Crash

Josh Murdock, 38, was the sole occupant in a 1959 DeHavilland Beaver owned by Pacific Airways of Ketchikan that crashed at about 7:30 a.m. this morning.
Photo courtesy ADPS

Alaska State Troopers, North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard and officers from the Ketchikan Police Department responded and located the plane.

Witnesses reported the plane clipped some trees, causing the plane to lose its right wing before crashing. The plane was found on a grassy knoll off of the Tongass Highway in the Ward Cove area. The plane was en route from Ketchikan to Thorne Bay when it crashed on the property of the old Ketchikan Pulp Mill's grassy knoll about seven miles north of Ketchikan.

The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and State Medical Examiner's Office have been notified of the death. The NTSB will take over the investigation to determine the cause of the crash. - More...
Friday - July 23, 2010

Ketchikan: Ketchikan man arrested on child pornography charges - Alaska State Troopers responded to a report Wednesday evening of a hidden camera that was discovered wired into a teenager's room at a residence on Strawberry Road, which transmitted to a video recorder in a separate part of the house.

When confronted by the complainant about the hidden camera, Jose Diorec III, age 35 of Ketchikan, reportedly grabbed the video cassette, destroyed it, and threw the film into the woods. Troopers responded, and a subsequent investigation led to Diorec's arrest for possession of child pornography and tampering with physical evidence. - More...
Friday - July 23, 2010

Fish Factor: World's biggest red salmon fishery wraps up By LAINE WELCH - Fishermen are happy as they wrap up the world's biggest red salmon fishery at Bristol Bay. Even though the catch of 28 million sockeye salmon came up a bit short, they will get a better payday than they've had in over two decades.

All major processors are paying a base price of 95 cents a pound for sockeyes, compared to 70 cents last year. It's the best base price since1988 when Bristol Bay reds fetched $2.11 a pound. (The lowest price was 42 cents in 2001.) With bonuses for chilled and bled fish, this year's final price for many fishermen could top $1.20 a pound.

Fewer sockeyes all 'round has buyers scrambling for fish this summer, and the Alaska Wild brand is increasingly in demand by U.S. and foreign markets. Bristol Bay fishermen also got a boost from three more competitors that specialize in fresh salmon markets: Leader Creek, Snow Pac and Copper River Seafoods.

Early estimates peg the value of the Bristol Bay sockeye fishery at roughly $170 million at the docks, an increase of over $40 million from last year. The Bristol Bay sockeye salmon catch provides two-thirds of the total value of Alaska's statewide, all species salmon harvest.

tLandings tested

Tender vessels from Southeast to Western Alaska are field testing electronic reporting of all salmon deliveries this summer, called tLandings.

"Most deliveries of salmon occur onboard tenders, and that is where most fish tickets are completed. It's an ideal situation to do electronic reporting," said Gail Smith, electronic landings program coordinator for ADF&G. Between 600-700 tender vessels operate in Alaska each year.

tLandings are the latest in a series of interagency reporting programs that include the state, federal government and the International Pacific Halibut Commission. eLandings have been used in Alaska since 2002, and are required in halibut, sablefish, Bering Sea crab and all groundfish fisheries.

"tLandings for salmon is a voluntary program, and we never envision it will be mandatory," Smith emphasized.

In a "proof of concept" project this summer, 22 tenders are field testing a new application that computes the number of fish delivered, the weights, running totals of different species, and then prints out a fish ticket and tally sheet. The tenders are operating at Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Sitka and the Kuskokwim region.

All that is required is a laptop computer, an inexpensive laser printer, a magnetic strip reader for identification, and a thumb drive (also called jump drives or zip drives), that is provided for free by ADF&G. - More...
Saturday - July 24, 2010


Southeast Alaska: Wilderness Ranger Unveils Secrets of the Alaskan Fiords Story and photos TIM LYDON - When I first arrived in the fiords in the early '90s, I jealously guarded their secrets, fearful that publicizing the place would lead to overcrowding and lost wildness. But I feel differently today. In fact, I now wish more people knew about this special place.

A low tide in May leaves ice bergs stranded on a mud flat in Tracy Arm.
Photo by Tim Lydon

Each spring, I make my first trip of the year to the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness, usually in late April or May. Depending on the weather, it's a two- or three-hour skiff ride about 50 miles from downtown Juneau, past the scenic openings of Taku Inlet, Taku Harbor, Limestone and Snettisham.

With each mile, I grow eager to see how Tracy and Endicott Arms have survived the long winter.

For 14 years, I've spent most of my summers in this area. It's where I work as a ranger for the Forest Service, where I spend some of my free time - kayaking, camping or just relaxing - and when family comes to Juneau, it's the first place I take them. - More...
Saturday - July 24, 2010

Southeast Alaska: New life springs forth as summer warms Alaska's wilderness Story and photos TIM LYDON - For 30 minutes I've been squinting through binoculars at a tremendously pregnant harbor seal.

I'm perched on a ledge about 400 feet above an ice-choked Tracy Arm, and the seal is lying on a berg in the middle of the fjord. She's more than a mile away, but I'm guessing that her constant repositioning means she's in labor.

Then it happens. The ice berg turns red, and when the mother shifts again I see she is no longer alone. A tiny pup lies beside her. The mother cranes her neck to touch noses with her newborn, imprinting its scent.

The news spreads fast. Within a couple minutes, two big bald eagles descend on the berg with outstretched wings. Four ravens quickly arrive, and a couple gulls circle above. The birds jockey for fresh afterbirth, but the mother keeps them at bay with repeated charges. Each time the birds hop backward, she urges her pup toward the far end of the berg. Eventually, she shoves the pup into the icy water, then slips off the berg herself. Mom and pup surface a moment later, then swim away together.

Each June, pregnant harbor seals travel to the ends of Tracy and Endicott Arms Wilderness Area to give birth. Between 500 and 1,000 seals gather in each arm, about a third of them mothers-to-be. By mid-June, the fiords echo with the raspy calls of newborn pups. They shadow their mothers for about three weeks, spending long hours nursing atop flat bergs. - More...
Saturday - July 24, 2010

 Pat Hagiwara dies at 91; Former Resident Was Member of Most Decorated Military Unit in World War II

Former Ketchikan resident Pat Kazuo Hagiwara, 91, died June 24 in Seattle.

OBITUARY: Pat Hagiwara dies at 91; Former Resident Was Member of Most Decorated Military Unit in World War II By DAVE KIFFER - Hagiwara was born and raised in Ketchikan and served in the military in World War II. Like all local Japanese American residents he was swept up in the controversy over the World War internment of Japanese American citizens.

Hagiwara was born on March 7, 1919, the second son of local bakery owners Frank and Shima Hagiwara.

According to an oral history at the Alaska State Museum that Hagiwara sat for in 1990, his father Chokichi "Frank" Hagiwara and two friends left Seattle, Washington, in 1909, hoping to "make a fortune" in Alaska. They intended to earn money in Ketchikan before continuing to interior Alaska but Frank Hagiwara decided to stay in Ketchikan.

In 1916, Frank Hagiwara returned to Japan for an arranged marriage to Shima Kitagawa, a school teacher. Frank and Shima had four children in Ketchikan.

In the oral history, Pat Hagiwara noted that his family lived "modestly, kept a minimum amount of Japanese culture" in their home, and worked "many hours every day in the family bakery" from 1919 to 1942 when they were evacuated during the war.

Hagiwara also noted that he had both "hakujin" (Caucasian) and Japanese friends in Ketchikan, adding that discrimination was not a problem until World War II broke out.

In a letter to the Ketchikan Museum in 2000, Hagiwara sent along some youth baseball photos from his early years. He apologized for not being able to identify all the children in the photos.

"It has been nearly 70 years since I last saw most of them and, today, you might say my memory of sandlot baseball is not very good," Hagiwara wrote in 2000. "I still remember while I was in the 4th grade, I was a pitcher and we won a trophy that year and our coach was Clarence "Kelly" Foss (of the Kayhi class of 1931). I see Kelly (as I did this year) at our annual Ketchikan Reunion Picnic held at Edmonds City Park on the 4th Sunday in July."

Hagiwara graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1936 and worked in his family's bakery, the Alaska Home Bakery, on Stedman Street, until 1940. - More...
Saturday - July 24, 2010


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

Update in Progress.

letter Wrong one fired! By Hugh T. Wilson Jr. - I was a State Certified Police Officer for the town of Metlakatla for approximately 5 years. I served the people of the community of Metlakatla to the best of my ability and I never complained. I was fired June 9, 2010 by Chief of Police Nick Yliniemi in the driveway of my home for reasons I'm still trying to figure out. Now after overcoming adversity, working hard and putting the people that deserved it behind bars, I now have to figure out how I'm supposed to support and take care of my family of 4 with one (maybe 2) on the way. - More...
Monday - July 19, 2010

letterGlad for our black bears By Judith Green - OK Ketchikan, aren't we glad for our black bear population? Gives us lots of opportunity for photos and stories, along with eye to eye viewing. I never get tired of yet another picture of these grand creatures with whom we share a love for local-wild salmon and fresh off the bush vitamin packed berries. - More...
Monday - July 19, 2010

letterSkate park By Vicky Campo - I want to know when our kids are going to get their skate park. Everything I hear is that there is always a reason why it isn't being pursued. My son is a skate boarder and he is also involved in a lot of Ketchikan's activities including High School. He is involved in basketball, football, and baseball. These kids are always being told that can't skateboard anywhere in Ketchikan besides the rec center, with the talent they have the rec center only allows so much for them. - More...
Monday - July 19, 2010

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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