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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 03, 2012

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Tongass Narrows: Orcas
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Ketchikan: Derby Days: Fishing the Dream Feature Courtesy The Ketchikan Museums Newsletter - Congratulations to Kevin Hansen, winner of the 2012 Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby. With a winning salmon weighing 43.2 lb., he is part of a long line of derby winners stretching back more than 50 years.

Derby Days: Fishing the Dream

Ketchikan King Salmon Derby Awards Ceremony during the 1951 derby.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Museums Newsletter

The Ketchikan King Salmon Derby has been an important part of Ketchikan’s identity as a sport fishing destination since 1944. That year, the now-defunct Alaska Sports and Wildlife Club organized the first king salmon derby, which lasted from May to September. The winner was Homan McLane, with a 44 lb. king. By 1948 the grand prize was a whopping $500 for the winning salmon. (SitNews Editor's Note: In today's dollars that would be equal to $4,767.95.)

In 1949, the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce became a sponsor of the derby. With a larger grand prize of $1,500 ((SitNews Editor's Note: In today's dollars $14,484.14) and $3,000 in additional prizes, the Chamber aimed to lure tourists from around the nation with the promise of big fish and big prizes. Full-page Ketchikan newspaper advertisements for the derby encouraged anglers to “help your hometown attract tourists and publicity.” Vacation tour packages to Ketchikan by ship and plane included derby fishing as part of the itinerary, and tourism brochures on the derby told visiting anglers everything they needed to know about fishing the derby, including information on hotels, licenses, and where to rent boats. Derby marketing peaked in 1953 with a short film, which boasted “25 minutes of action and beauty” as anglers fought for their prize catches in the last frontier.

As participation grew far and wide, so did the prizes and prize money. The grand prize in in 1950 was $5,000 in cash (SitNews Editor's Note: In today's dollars $47,679.46), and the first, second and third prizes were more than you could shake a salmon rod at: first prize was a 1950 4-door deluxe Chevrolet sedan; second prize was a 12 cubic foot freezer; and the third prize winner got a new 14-foot mahogany plywood skiff with a 5-horsepower Evinrude outboard. Fresh-off-the-assembly-line cars soon replaced cash as the grand prize, and roundtrip tickets to Hawaii via Pan American airlines later replaced the cars. In 1956, when Milton Fox landed the largest derby salmon ever caught, his 79 lb. king earned him a choice of roundtrip tickets to Hawaii or Mexico, plus $500 cash. - More...
Tuesday - July 03, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Tsunami debris surveys underway but will cleanup funding arrive in time? - Today the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation (MCAF) released the results of their tsunami debris monitoring program.  Further monitoring efforts are underway but additional funding is necessary to conduct cleanup activities. 

Tsunami debris surveys underway but will cleanup funding arrive in time?

Japanese glass ball tested for radiation on Port San Antonio beach, near Craig.
Photo courtesy MCAF

Debris suspected to be from the tsunami was reported in Washington State in December 2011.  In response, in January 2012, the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation (MCAF) established a monitoring program to detect the presence of debris on Alaska’s shoreline and to test suspected pieces for radiation.  The program used experienced marine debris cleanup contactors in Sitka, Craig, Yakutat, and Kodiak.

As described in the newly released report, Results of the 2012 MCAF Japanese Tsunami Monitoring Program; buoys, large pieces of Styrofoam and liquid containers used for fuel were found along the shores. Experienced contactors recognized much of this was not typical debris. Near Sitka 1,600 pounds of mostly Styrofoam tsunami debris was identified from eight beaches. Styrofoam was also the biggest problem in Yakutat with 95 blocks and 52 floats identified. This was followed by the large black “oyster floats” (48 identified).

Using hand-held Geiger counters, monitors found no radiation contamination. This is consistent with expectations since the Fukushima meltdown occurred after the water had receded. - More...
Tuesday - July 03, 2012

Alaska Science: 100 years since the big one By NED ROZELL - On June 6, 1912, if you happened to be sitting on a log outside your cabin near Fairbanks, Juneau or Dawson City, you would have heard an explosion.

100 years since the big one

100 years since the big one

There was no way to know the boom came from hundreds of miles away, or that it was the starting gun for the largest volcanic eruption of the 1900s. Nor would you imagine that in the next three days, a mountain would collapse upon itself, or that ash and hot gases would explode from the ground six miles from that mountain, creating a landscape of hot ash and 500-foot geysers of steam.

The Novarupta-Katmai eruption of 1912 was hard to imagine then just as it is now, 100 years since it happened. Here are a few things that set the eruption apart, plucked from columns I’ve written and a new U.S. Geological Survey book on the eruption by Wes Hildreth and Judy Fierstein: - More...
Tuesday - July 03, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom PurcellTOM PURCELL: Flushing away our freedom - My toilets are turning me into my father.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, there were few greater worries than the plumbing. This was mostly because plumbers were expensive and many families had only one income.

My father, always looking for a bargain, purchased the cheapest toilet he could find for the powder room he finished in the basement. It never did work right.

For starters, it was absurdly small - as though it had been designed for miniature people. It didn't take more than a few pieces of tissue to clog it. My father was soon spending much of his spare time unplugging it - and pleading with us not to use it.

Inevitably, however, somebody would use it, it would clog, my mother would rush to shut off the valve, and my father would grumble to her, "For godssakes, Betty, why can't they use the upstairs commodes?"

Still, that old toilet was lots better than the new toilets I have installed in a couple of rental units I own - and now, like my father before me, the plumbing is one of my greatest sources of worry.

That worry is caused by federal action taken in the early 1990s. - More...
Tuesday - July 03, 2012


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letter Harbor Bond Election By Eric Muench - I was glad to see the harbor bond proposition pass in last Tuesday's vote, especially since I had to go through the trouble of casting my yes vote fourteen times. It is empowering to have such influence on the outcome and still have thirteen other people beside myself responsible for repaying the bond debt. For that I thank the 93% of city voters who allowed us 7% to make the decision for them. Maybe in the next election, if the 93% oblige by staying away again, I might be able to organize a pressure group to show up at the polls and swing the vote to my preference. - More...
Friday - June 29, 2012

letter The seven percent voter turnout By Michael Spence - The recent 7 percent voter turnout for the bond election in Ketchikan illustrates the problem of the restrictive voting process in Alaska. Other states, for example Washington, send postal ballots to all registered voters. By receiving a ballot in the mail, a registered voter is able to cast his/her vote without jeopardizing job and or travel obligations. Alaska in particular has a large proportion of registered voters who work away from town (fishing, transportation industry, etc). Absentee ballots are not the answer either, (as is evidenced by this recent turnout), because they are often sent out late by the state/borough, and are hence received late by the election authorities. - More...
Friday - June 29, 2012

letter Gunalcheesh (Thank you) By Harvey Shields - The Cape Fox Dancers of the Saanya Quan Clan wishes to thank ALL OF YOU from the Ketchikan/Saxman area that contributed, helped, encouraged and supported the Cape Fox Dancers in their endeavor to attend Celebration 2012.  We were able to attend because of your generosity and support. - More...
Friday - June 29, 2012

letter Double Headed Plants By Chris Rose - I've seen this on my property with other plants; not often. - More...
Friday - June 25, 2012

letter Executive Orders? By Margaret Cloud - I was wondering about all the Executive Orders mentioned by Al so I did a quick internet search.  It appears that President Obama would have been a bit young to have signed Executive Order 10997 and according to government reports it was signed by President Kennedy in 1962. - More...
Friday - June 29, 2012

letter American voter is the problem, grow up and stop blaming those you elect By Erik Hovden -Congress is not the biggest problem America faces. That clearly would be the sheep who vote for Republicans or Democrats. They are two sides of the "Big Goverment, Tax and spend party" and you're not invited, but you do get the bill. - More...
Friday - June 29, 2012

letter Roads By Bill Meck - As I was driving around town recently I decided to keep driving for a while to try and find a few of the good stretches of road system we have to be proud of. I came to several conclusions. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter ADA Accesible Park Avenue By Allegra Machado - I would love to see ADA Accessible curb ramps installed on the large section of sidewalk that runs along the creek on Park Avenue.  I walk that area of downtown regularly and have noticed many tourists and locals alike struggle with the high curbs on that section of sidewalk that is part of the Downtown Walking Tour Route.  The alternative route is to walk the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street which is very narrow and abruptly ends at the hill to Cape Fox; requiring pedestrians to have to jay walk across the street and have to step up almost a foot high to get back on the sidewalk along the creek. - More....
Monday - June 25, 2012 

letter Deformed Plants? By Amanda Mitchell - I live in the Bear Valley area. We have been noticing, the past few weeks, that some of the wild buttercups in our yard have extra petals. Not too concerning. However, today my children found a two-headed dandelion in the yard. We have never seen this before. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter RE:Congress is a problem but not 'The' problem By Charley Starr - The problem with politics is that it brings out a bunch of BS that just gets spread around the internet without anyone checking the facts. I am not a democrat, nor a strong supporter of the President. I like to think for myself and not blindly follow a political party. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter Let’s be Fast & Furious and dump Congress By Katheryn Burson - The Fast & Furious saga drama has dragged on for more than a year and a half.  Subpoenas have been ignored.  Congress has dragged its feet. - More...
Monday - June 25, 2012

letter Congress is a problem but not 'The' problem By A. M. Johnson - In response to Mr. Irving B Welchons' "Congress may be Nation's serious problem", I submit that the following epistle will dispel any notion that President Obama has found an apparent way to suspend the need for Congress or a Constitution. If Congress has a srious problem it is the lack of "Gonads" in not impeaching the sitting President for ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law.The following is not of my words, however I do support the content and agree with the conclusion. - More..
Wednesday - June 20, 2012

letter Ocean acidification By Mike Svenson - Laine Welch's fish report this week about ocean acidification was the usual environmental  talking point. She wants us fishermen to be all upset about this and blame coal plants, oil refineries, cars, etc. But in the summertime in Alaska there are probably at least 3000 diesel boats running around putting out smoke. - More...
Wednesday - June 20, 2012

letter AGAFAGUMAS ETC. By Chris Elliott - With the exception of the unnecessary last paragraph, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Hanger's trip down memory lane. - More...
Wednesday - June 20, 2012

letter Federal PILT Payment By Agnes Moran - As a taxpayer and Ketchikan Borough Assembly member, I welcome the recent $1,038,263 federal payment in lieu of taxes to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough (see Alaska Communities See Increase in PILT Payments, SitNews, June 15). However, I wish to add some important context. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012

letter Obama: “private sector is doing fine” By Donald A. Moskowitz - In February 2009 President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus program was supposed to create 5 million new jobs and reduce unemployment below 8% by the end of 2010.  He missed both projections by wide margins. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012

letter THE BATTLE OF AGAFAGUMAS AND BILOXI JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL NOVEMBER 22, 1963 By David G. Hanger - Memories are funny things in two separate directions, the one, of course, often caricatured, is the exaggeration and embellishment about events long past, distortion that evolves quickly to abstraction, if not pure fantasy; then, too, there is the other, that of memories so deeply etched they are formative, and never forgotten.  These two vignettes are from my past, and are of the latter category, so deeply etched they cannot be forgotten.  Any quotes are verbatim; the events occurred specifically as described, and there is no intent whatsoever at exaggeration on my part. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012

letter Congress may be the nation's most serious problem By Irving B. Welchons III - This year the candidates for President will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising.  One telling us of the heroic things he has done and the other telling us of the miraculous things he will do. Almost everything President Obama takes credit for had to be passed by Congress.  The promises made by candidate Romney must be made law by Congress to be fulfilled. The President can only veto a law; he can not pass one. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012 

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