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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 25, 2011

Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Naha Bay Sunset
Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON


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Spanish Explored Alaska in late 1700s; Left numerous place names including Malaspina and Caamano A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER -  Nearly all Alaskans are aware that the first Europeans to come to the “Great Land” were the Russians in the 1740s. And most Alaskans also know that English explorers such as James Cook and George Vancouver began mapping large expanses of coastal Alaska in the 1770s.

So how is it that so many of the familiar place names in Alaska, particularly in Southern Southeast, are Spanish?

Ketchikan residents live on Revillagigedo Island. Their airport is on Gravina Island. The Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline ends in Valdez. Just down the coast is the community of Cordova. One of Alaska’s greatest glaciers is named Malaspina. West of Prince of Wales Island, there are numerous islands with Spanish names.

There are two reasons. First, there were a series of Spanish voyages to Alaska in the late 1700s, but even just as important, the early English explorers were not averse with either keeping the names the Spanish had originally given many landmarks and also adding to the Alaskan map the names of Spaniards they liked or respected.

Within a year of Columbus’ first voyage to the New World in 1492, Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas in which they divided up the New World into “spheres of influence.” The line was roughly half way between the Portuguese Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa and the newly discovered Caribbean islands of Cuba and Hispanola.

East of the line was Portuguese “territory,” west belonged to Spain. Of course, countries like Russia, France, the Netherlands and England were not part of the treaty, but that mattered little to Spain and Portugal. Eventually Brazil would be a Portuguese colony and much of the rest of south and central America would belong – at least for the time being – to Spain.

Meanwhile, northern European countries like France, England and the Netherlands would begin to colonize North America. And Russia would begin to look east across the north Pacific to what would eventually be called Alaska.

In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa first glimpsed the Pacific Ocean from the hills of Panama. Naturally, he immediately claimed all the land that bordered it for Spain. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

Fish Factor: Public input sought on sustainable management of halibut stock By LAINE WELCH - The public is being asked to weigh in on an innovative new catch sharing plan that for the first time would allow transfers of halibut quota between commercial and charter operators in Southeast Alaska and the Central Gulf of Alaska.  The plan, under the direction of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, would allocate each year’s halibut catch limits between the two sectors.

“The Council saw it as a way to provide some compensated way of transferring between the two,” said Rachel Baker, a fisheries specialist with NOAA Fisheries in Juneau. “We don’t know how many people will use it or what the lease prices will be. That all remains to be seen.  But it will be authorized by the plan if it is approved.”

Currently, the commercial and charter halibut fisheries operate under different management programs. The commercial fishery has been managed under an IFQ program since 1995. Since 2003 the charter sector has been managed using harvest guidelines, which give operators a number of fish they can catch per guided angler per day, but it does not ensure the overall catch stays within a defined limit.

The over-riding problem is that annual stock assessments indicate the exploitable biomass of halibut has declined coast wide by approximately 50% over the past decade, according to the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Commercial catches have been on a downward spiral in recent years, especially in Southeast Alaska where the 2011 harvest is a mere 2.3 million pounds, down by 47% from last year. For the Central Gulf, a harvest of 14 million pounds is a drop of 28%.

At the same time, the Southeast Alaska charter sector has exceeded the guideline harvest level every year since 2003, and by nearly 60% last year. The charter catch in the Central Gulf topped the harvest guideline by an average of about 3 percent from 2004-2007; from 2008 through 2010, the harvest has ranged from about 7.5% - 24% below the guideline.

Baker said under the new plan the commercial IFQ program itself will not change, other than it will authorize temporary transfers of catch shares between the two sectors, dubbed Guided Angler Fish (GAF), for a fishing season. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

Alaska: Teens Participating in Outdoor Leadership School Suffer Bear Attack near Chulitna - Early Sunday morning a group of teenagers participating in an outdoor survival skills and leadership program were rescued after being attack by a brown bear with a cub near Chulitna.

According to a statement from the Alaska State Troopers, on Saturday at approximately 9:30 p.m., the Alaska State Troopers in Talkeetna received a report from the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) that a Personal Locator Beacon (PLC) device was activated in a location approximately 34 miles east of mile 143 of the Parks Highway, near Chulitna.

The Personal Locator Beacon (PLC) was one assigned to a team of seven students from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The group, along with other teens and instructors, had been in the wilderness for approximately one month learning survival skills. The teens were given a Personal Locator Beacon (PLC) and instructed not to use it unless a member of their group faced a medical emergency or other emergency situation. Helocopter 1 was launched from Fairbanks by the Alaska State Troopers to investigate the nature of the emergency.

Helo 1, with a pilot and trooper aboard, located the teens at 2:45 am Sunday in a tent where the Personal Locator Beacon (PLC) signal was transmitting. The group stated they were attack by a brown bear with a cub. Two of the teens sustained serious life threatening injuries, two suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries and the remaining three suffered minor injuries or had exposure-related issues. Troopers contacted RCC for assistance and it dispatched a helo with PJs to the scene.

It was determined that the two teens with the most critical injuries could not safely be transported by Helo 1. Due to the nature of their injuries, transport could only be safely done by an aircraft designed for medical transport with crew that had proper medical training. A trooper remained on scene with those two teens and a third that was determined to be the least in need of medical attention. The trooper provided protection for the teens and tended to their needs as best he could until Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) arrived approximately four hours later. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011



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

letter Large structures By Paul Jarvi - Thank your lucky stars Mr. Harris that the Alaska Ship and Dry Dock Company is doing business in our town. I am sorry for the obstruction of your view because of the new buliding. I am over joyed with the jobs that the new building is and will generate in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter The Lord’s Table By Charlotte DeVere Hunt - On behalf of The Lord’s Table, I would like to publicly thank Don and Pam Thornlow of The Narrows Inn.   On July 3, The Narrows hosted a pig roast with all the trimmings.    All the proceeds were to benefit to The Lord’s Table. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter RE: King Salmon derby by Alan Skidmore - With all due respect Mr. McQueen... NOT!!! Read the derby rules, no snaggy waggy allowed, although it would be hard to tell but, for the most part people are honest. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter Green thinking or hydrocarbons By Ed Fry - As we know, Alaska is well advertised rich in resources.  The mass media is making it well known that renewable energy is a short term cure for our addiction to fossil fuels.  So begs the question that in order to re-tool our workforce in green technologies, introduction of new educational programming needs to be developed and implemented through a structured certification program; when will we see this programming at the university level? - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter Block Iran on the Arabian Peninsula By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Iraqi Shiites have increased their attacks on American troops in Iraq.  June saw 14 U.S. soldiers killed, which is the highest death toll since 2008. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

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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