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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 22, 2011

Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Herring Cove: Black Bear
This swimming black bear was photograph Thursday evening in its natural feeding habitat while fishing for salmon.
Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON


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Best efforts to help bear with plastic jug over head unsuccessfulKetchikan Police dispatch received a call Thursday afternoon regarding a black bear with a plastic jug on his head in the area of the Salvation Army on Stedman Street. Officers responded to the call, but were unable to locate the bear at that time.

At approximately 2:13 PM dispatch received a second call for the same bear in the area of Peterson Street and Park Avenue. Officers responded and located the bear and attempted to contain it. The bear still had the plastic jug on his head and had become increasingly disorientated. At one point, the bear climbed from a 12-foot retaining wall unto the roof of a home on Park Avenue. The animal eventually made it back to the retaining wall and continued to walk along the length of it.

According to information provided by Ketchikan Chief of Police Ed Talik, the Ketchikan Fire Department responded with a ladder truck and helped position an officer near the bear with a tranquilizer gun. The bear began to move toward where officers were posted to contain the bear which resulted in the officers using lethal force. - More...
Friday - July 22, 2011

Alaska: Begich Says FAA Shutdown Will Negatively Impact Alaska; Warns of public safety concerns; Alaska impacts significant - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today expressed disappointment and concern as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will begin a partial shutdown at midnight because the U.S. House of Representatives took no action today to extend the agency’s operating authority. Begich said the partial shutdown could have immediate, negative impacts in Alaska.

The last comprehensive authorization of the FAA expired in 2007.  Congress has passed 20 routine short-term extensions of the FAA’s funding authority while trying to reach agreement on a multi-year reauthorization.  The FAA bill sets aviation policies and authorizes funding for things like air traffic controllers, building runways, and the “NextGen” modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system from radar to a more accurate satellite tracking system.  

“The House is essentially playing chicken with one of the most important agencies of the federal government,” Begich said. “This is irresponsible to say the least and poses public safety risks at its worst.” - More...
Friday - July 22, 2011

Alaska: DEC Issues Warning on Fraudulent Food Establishment Inspectors - The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Food Safety and Sanitation Program issued a warning this week to food establishment owners and operators advising them to be wary of callers misrepresenting themselves as DEC food inspectors.

The caller will ask to schedule an inspection at the establishment and will relay instructions to pay for the inspection. DEC does not charge for inspections or ask for confidential information over the phone to schedule inspections. Any enforcement actions are administered during the inspection or in writing following an inspection. Officials conducting restaurant inspections will have proper photo identification and credentials from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Food Service owners and operators are advised not to provide sensitive or confidential information over the telephone and to immediately report suspicious or fraudulent calls to local law enforcement officials. Owners and operators may also contact the Food Safety and Sanitation Program office at 907-269-7501 to confirm the identity of the inspector. - More...
Friday - July 22, 2011

Alaska: EPA Releases Two More Draft Air Permits for Alaska Drilling & Public Comment - Today, the EPA released two additional draft air quality permits for Shell Oil Company and ConocoPhillips Company exploratory oil drilling operations in the Alaska Arctic Outer Continental Shelf. This process will allow the public and other key stakeholders to provide important input and feedback on air permits needed for the drill rigs and supporting fleets of icebreakers, oil spill response vessels, and supply ships operations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas beginning in the 2012 and 2013 drilling seasons.

Today’s news comes just a day after the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee approved a bill that includes Sen. Begich’s legislative  language creating an Arctic OCS coordinator who would work to streamline and promote permitting of oil and gas development in federal waters off Alaska’s Arctic.

Regarding the news, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) is pleased with the progress. Begich said in a prepared statement,  “Just two weeks after the EPA issued permits for Shell Oil’s Frontier Discoverer, this is a sign of further progress toward oil and gas exploration in Alaska’s Arctic.

Begich said, “I’ve repeatedly asked the Obama Administration to put words into action when the President has stated he supports further oil and gas exploration in Alaska. I believe the EPA moving multiple permits forward for public comment in a short amount of time shows that support is real, and there is a recognition Alaska is key to more domestic oil and gas production."

“Shell’s Kulluk oil and gas exploration work in the Beaufort Sea next year, and ConocoPhillips proposed exploration in the Chukchi in 2013, would both be enormous steps forward in terms of securing our country’s energy future, in addition to creating thousands of jobs in Alaska," said Begich. - More...
Friday - July 22, 2011

Alaska Science: The chaos behind the wall socket By NED ROZELL - An Alaska college professor was not surprised when the lights went out over the northern tier of the U.S. and southeast Canada about 10 years ago.

David Newman studies the workings of complex, chaotic systems as part of his research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He and three colleagues once wrote a paper about “cascading” power blackouts similar to the largest in the history of the world, which affected 50 million people on August 14, 2003.

Newman is a physics professor who uses a variety of computers to model gargantuan interconnected systems that fail catastrophically, including power transmission grids, intercity cars and trucks halted during traffic jams, and huge communications systems like the Internet, which can be disrupted by a single computer worm.- More...
Friday - July 22, 2011

Columns - Commentary

Bob CiminelBob Ciminel: Germany and Switzerland: Short-Sighted Political Decisions; Long-Term Penalties - Both Germany and Switzerland have chosen to abandon nuclear power in reaction to the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident.  This is an interesting reaction when you consider that neither country is susceptible to tsunamis, and that is what destroyed Fukushima-Daiichi, not the earthquake.

Four days after the events at Fukushima, Germany shut down seven of its older nuclear stations, essentially all those built before 1980.  The current plan is to have all units shut down and abandoned by 2020.  Nuclear power currently provides about 25% of Germany’s electricity needs, the rest being produced by fossil power plants and alternative/renewable energy projects (wind, solar, biomass) that are heavily subsidized because they are not profitable.  The government’s solution is to purchase nuclear-generated electricity from France, increase purchases of natural gas from Russia and build more money-losing alternate energy projects. - More...
Thursday - July 22, 2011

Bob CiminelBob Ciminel: Carrie, Have You Seen Better Days? - With the demise of the steel industry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the early 1980s, most of the mills were torn down and the land turned into high-priced real estate.  This was all riverfront property, and with man’s affinity for water, the land became a developer’s dream.  About the only things that were not removed were the railroad tracks.

One of the largest mills that fell to the scraper’s torch was the former Homestead Works, opened around 1881 and purchased by Andrew Carnegie in 1883.  Homestead gained notoriety in 1892 when striking steelworkers clashed with Pinkerton guards in a day-long battle that ended with at least 11 dead and scores injured.  The only structures left at Homestead are the pump house and water tank, which are the centerpieces of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. - More...
Friday - July 22, 2011



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

Update in Progress.

letter Alaska needs to get out from under AGIA By Bill Walker - Last week Dan Fauske, Executive Director of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, released the long-awaited report on the in-state bullet line. The Legislature and Mr. Fauske's team are to be commended for their good start. Unfortunately, the analysis was limited by the constraints of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA). - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011

letter Ketchikan By Greg Harris - When I look at Ketchikan sometimes it makes me wonder if the Planning and Zoning Committees are run by Laurel and Hardy. There is no other reasonable explanation for the way this town of Ketchikan is laid out. - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011

letter Recent major fire in Ketchikan By Ernie Mueller - In regards to the July 13 fire in Ketchikan, the American Red Cross provided assistance to the family of nine displaced by the fire. This assistance was provided through Katherine Wylie, a very busy disaster volunteer in Ketchikan. She made sure that the family had temporary lodging in a local hotel, and that they received financial assistance from the Red Cross for food, clothing, bedding and other needs. - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011

letter Ketchikan King Salmon Derby By Dan McQueen - I was just informed that one of the longest donating businesses to the King Salmon Derby may quit donating. I asked the owner I was talking to why they were that upset? His answer needs to be made public! - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011

letter Weatherization Assistance in Saxman, Ketchikan, Prince of Wales By Carrie James - Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority is accepting applications for the 2011 Weatherization Assistance Program Grant year. - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011

letter Ultra Run of one By Charles Edwardson - My name is Charles (Chas) Edwardson and I am representing only myself. No other groups, boards, corporations, assemblies, clubs, or committees are affiliated with this letter. - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011

letter RE: Thank you, Don Thornlow By Vanessa Nowland - I know where I'll be taking my business in the future. - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011

letter Thank you, Don Thornlow By T.J. Wilson - A recent severe house fire in Ketchikan displaced many individuals, mostly children. In an effort to assist these people, my daughter called the hotels in town for a room for one night since the fire completely destroyed their home and contents, and it happened in the afternoon. With the exception of Don Thornlow of The Narrows, every other hotel in town declined to donate a room for the night, and a couple of these owners, managers were rude about it. Don Thornlow did not have an empty room as they were fully booked, but he did say "If one was available it would yours." No one else did. - More...
Thursday - July 14, 2011

letter Building a Barn at a Local Gravel Pit By Robert D. Warner - Recently a citizen wrote to SITNEWS that the design for the new library looks like a "barn."  Ketchikan cannot solve its public library problems by simply building a "barn" at a semi isolated local gravel pit and dump site.  That's the easy part.  It is more of a challenge to build quality collections and assemble a library staff that knows what they are doing.  This important challenge reminds me of the definition of a library inscribed on a coffee cup in my collection. - More...
Thursday - July 14, 2011

letter Tongass Road Work By Laurie Sivertsen - Good grief, are we all immature?!? I'm talking about the cones for the road construction on Tongass Avenue, and the idiot(s) who find it fun to knock them over and run over them. - More...
Thursday - July 14, 2011

letter Home Rule By Ed Fry - Having followed a disappointed taxpayer threads, the checks that are going out for consulting economic development, it points to the direction of "stalemate" in innovative thinking.  So it makes me think of "the five ape theory." - More...
Thursday - July 14, 2011

letter Another tour incident By Christina Bush - We have enough tour vehicles on the road during the tour season, it seems to me that the popular land and sea tour bus/boat is a bit much considering drivers have proved difficulty seeing around their own vehicle. I have personally witnessed this specific tour bus/boat make mulitple close calls with parked cars and pedestrians in cross walks.
I have decided to post this letter because of a recent incident where a bus/boat bumped or cliped a child riding a bike causing minor injury. - More...
Thursday - July 14, 2011

letter"Home-Ruin" Government By A. M. Johnson - Regarding the move to Unify (cancel) consolidate (cancel) Home Rule the Ketchikan Gateway Borough: If you voted for Unification or Consolidation, then you will really want Home Rule. This is an end run to achieve the goal of Unification/ Consolidation. If you were opposed to Unification or Consolidation and voted against, you will not be happy with a Home Rule Borough. Even with the assurances that there no authority to propose a move towards the two offerings. Bet me!! - More...
Monday - July 11, 2011

letter Just Imagine By Tara Jollie - The nation’s June jobs report listed national unemployment at 9.2% with an estimate of 16.2% as the more realistic rate measure of American joblessness.  It went on to say the private sector created 18,000 new jobs in June; not nearly enough to claim a viable recovery from the recent recession.  I hate to be insensitive to the nation’s unemployed, but imagine a 9%, or even 16%, unemployment rate in rural Alaska.  We would be dancing in the streets. - More...
Monday - July 11, 2011

letter Ketchikan & Chloramine Disinfection By Susan K. Pickford - It is my understanding that Ketchikan will be converting to a chloramine disinfection system in the public drinking water.  I am the director of The Chloramine Information Center in Pennsylvania. I have been corresponding with Thomas and Kristine Bellanich, customers in your water district and submit this letter together with them.  I would ask that you consider this letter and the information attached to this email in educating your readers as to whether it is prudent to proceed with Chloramine in your water system.  I sent a similar letter to the mayor, council and water company manager prior to the July 7th meeting. - More...
Monday - July 11, 2011

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