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: Whooping Cough on the rise; Alaska experiencing an increase in reported cases - Nationwide the country is experiencing the worst epidemic of pertussis (whooping cough) in more than 50 years. 18,000 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly twice as many as reported last year. Pertussis is a highly communicable, vaccine preventable respiratory disease.

Alaska State Epidemiology reports that, like much of the country, Alaska is experiencing an increase in reported cases of pertussis due to the increase in the disease and increased identification of cases. However, the rate of the disease at the end of March 2012 was almost the same as last year; 14 cases reported in the state compared to 12 cases during the same time period in 2011. That trend is unlikely to continue.

“We have gotten a health advisory from the Alaska Public Health Network,” said Bev Crum, the manager of the Emergency Department at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. “Washington State has seen a huge spike in their infection numbers and with so much travel between the states; we can expect a similar jump."

“Although most children are protected against pertussis by vaccination during childhood, immunity wanes over time, leaving adolescents and adults susceptible,” said Crum, “it is important for all adults to have current immunizations, especially those around infants, who are pregnant or in healthcare.”

A vaccination has been available since 2005 for adolescents and adults to protect against pertussis. Vaccinations are available locally in clinics for both adults and children. Children can also receive vaccinations at the public health clinic.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that gets its name from a distinctive nagging cough or severe coughing spells. It can be spread very easily from person to person. It is spread by close contacts primarily through respiratory droplets or by direct contact. The infection begins with a 1–2 week onset stage characterized by a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and a mild cough that gradually becomes more severe. The cough develops into a series of violent coughs which may lead to difficulty breathing or sleeping. This is often followed by spitting up clear, thick mucus or vomiting.

Pertussis can cause severe illness and death, primarily among infants less than 6 months old who are also at the highest risk for the disease. Nine babies have died from the disease this year in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC recommends pregnant women be vaccinated so their babies are born with some immunity. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

Fish Factor: Tiny oysters already growing at OceansAlaska By LAINE WELCH -  The OceansAlaska Marine Science Center has barely opened its doors and tiny oysters are already growing out at the new floating facility at George Inlet in Ketchikan. The 28 acre site was granted to the non-profit by the state and Ketchikan borough in 2006.

Tiny oysters already growing at OceansAlaska

OceansAlaska Marine Science Center: Ketchikan, Alaska
Photo Courtesy OceansAlaska

The Center houses the first home grown source of oyster ‘seed’ for Alaska growers, and aims to be the go to place for mariculture research and training.  There are 29 shellfish farms producing in Alaska so far in Southcentral and Southeast regions. The main crop is oysters, with sales valued at about a half million dollars last year. (No shellfish farm applicants have ever come from Westward regions of Alaska, said Cynthia Pring-Ham, state mariculture coordinator.) 

“I could sell all the oysters I could possibly produce and could double sales tomorrow with just a couple of phone calls, especially in New York. There is a lack of production throughout the country,” said Tom Henderson, Oceans Alaska mariculture director, and a long time oyster farmer near Kake.

Henderson said the Center will begin working on geoduck mariculture projects and ‘then get into other things, among them seaweeds.’

Seaweed is the second largest aquaculture industry in the world, second only to fresh water fish.  Kelp is a multibillion dollar industry in Japan, and Henderson wants to work with the  traditional, local black seaweed which he said  tastes better than the Japanese nori, popular in sushi rolls. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

Ketchikan: Fishing vessel's voyage terminated for safety violations - A Ketchikan Coast Guard Station law enforcement team directed the operator of a commercial fishing vessel to return to port after several safety violations were discovered on board last week.

Station crewmembers escorted the lone fisherman aboard the 24-foot fishing vessel Brynn Tamara, to port in Metlakatla after it was discovered that he did not have required safety gear including cold water immersion suits, emergency flares, a life ring, a sound producing device and fire extinguishers on board.

Station crewmembers boarded the vessel around 7 p.m. last Tuesday more than 20 miles east of Metlakatla during a random safety check. The Coast Guard has the responsibility to ensure the safety of all mariners on Alaska’s waterways and at-sea inspections are an essential tool towards ensuring safety. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

Alaska: Voter Registration Deadline is Sunday, July 29th – Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who oversees state elections, reminds Alaskans they have one week left to register to vote in the August 28 Primary election. July 29 is the deadline to register to vote, to update voter registration, or to change political party affiliation for voting in the Primary election.

“Voting is a fundamental American right,” Lt. Gov. Treadwell said. “Protect and exercise your freedom by registering today.”

“Don’t wait to register or make a change to your registration. Changes made after July 29th, including party affiliation changes, will not be effective for the August 28th Primary,” said Elections Director Gail Fenumiai. The party affiliation on a voter’s record on July 29th will determine which political party ballot the voter is eligible to receive and vote during the Primary election. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Sections of Alaska's roadway prohibit political campaign signs - Another political campaign season is approaching and there is frequently a proliferation of political message signs being placed in or near State highway rights-of-way. These are sections of State roadway where political campaign signs are prohibited. Each election cycle, signs that find their way into State rights-of-way must be removed as mandated by Alaska and federal law.

In many instances, candidates and their volunteers may not realize where rights-of-way are located. In other situations, sign placement or clusters of signs near busy roadways or intersections are considered traffic hazards because they diminish a driver’s sight distance.

Knowing that campaign advertising is highly important, and expensive, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has provided these sign posting guidelines. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012


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letter Drinking Burned Garbage By Shelley Stallings - Thank you Kathy Doyle. I continue to be amazed when I see people burning garbage. This form of air pollution is bad enough by itself, but when you add the fact that almost all of us outside of the city limits drink water which is collected from our roofs, it becomes really scary. As you noted there are many synthetic chemicals in much of the garbage that is burned. This ends up on our roofs, then into our cisterns. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter Voter Turn out By Ken Lewis - 7% turn out is sad, so here is my dumb solution. Alaskans get oil revenue money. If you want your Permanent Fund check, Vote. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter RE: Too Many Lifeguards By Kevin Gadsey - I am responding to Ms. Teal's question about having too many lifeguards at the pool. She must have come to the old Smithers Pool when the newly-hired lifeguards were training side-by-side with the experienced lifeguards. At the Smithers Pool, they usually had 3-4 guards for both pools combined. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter RE: "Too Many Lifeguards" By Larissa Otness - I am in shock that someone would question the amount of lifeguards and they're importance to the safety of our children. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter Ketchikan Gas Prices By Mike Wilson - Just a friendly note to let people know that the gas prices at Lighthouse Tesoro are 30 cents cheaper per gallon than what I observed yesterday in town. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter Mail-borne Ballots By Hunter Davis - As long as the elections office can verify that the ballot was filled out and mailed by the registered voter it was addressed to, fine. But there is a reason I do not use my street address for mailings. I've watched people walk by my steps and look in the box. - More...
Tuesday - July 17, 2012

letter Peace & Tranquility? By Richard Rold - I live in an area in the Ketchikan Borough that is very beautiful, and once was peaceful, and quiet; that is why I moved here from town in the first place. Over the years the peacefulness, & the quiet, has gradually subsided; now it can be anything but peaceful. - More...
Tuesday - July 17, 2012

letter Burning Garbage By Kathy Doyle - To the people of Mile 10-11 North Tongass: Here it is a lovely warm summer night when it is so nice to open the windows and have a nice breath of fresh air. Instead you start to cough, cough, choke, gag on some one's disgusting trash smoke coming into your home. - More...
Tuesday - July 17, 2012

letter 19th Nervous Breakdown By Chris Elliott - I'm not an expert on the healthcare law. Who is? After reading Mr. Spence's letter, I did a tiny bit of research. When the House passed the legislation sent to them by the Senate, the vote was 219 for and 212 against. 34 Democrats voted with all the Republicans. That's a pretty darn close vote for legislation that affects so many Americans and is such a big percentage of our economy. A recent Rasmussen poll (July 13-14) indicates that 52% of Americans favor repeal of the law and 42% oppose repeal. Again, pretty close. This is a VERY controversial issue. - More...
Tuesday - July 17, 2012

letter Mail In Ballots By Connie Williams - It is with a smile that I read the letters regarding the recent Ketchikan bond vote, and a whooping 7% return. How sad that such a small portion of the population was interested in what was being voted on, it should be in everyone's interest when it's going to cost you come property tax time. - More...
Tuesday - July 17, 2012

letter Too Many Life Guards? By Charlotte Tanner - I just had to respond to the letter asking if 4 life guards is too many at the small pool. - More...
Tuesday - July 17, 2012

letter Election Chaos Puts Ketchikan in Political Peril By John Harrington - The on-again, off-again State election district boundaries have created disarray and political danger particularly for Ketchikan. - More...
Saturday - July 14, 2012

letter Congress' Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown By Michael Spence - The most recent action of our US House of Representatives to repeal the Health Care Act reminds me of that Rolling Stones song about a spoiled adolescent who cannot reason: - More...
Saturday - July 14, 2012

letter Too many lifeguards? By Audiene Teal - I recently made a trip to our Ketchikan swimming pool with my family. We have children so we spent a lot of time in the kiddie pool so they could play and splash around. Now I know it is for our own safety to have lifeguards at the pool but there were four lifeguards that day at our little swimming pool. I felt it was in excess. - More...
Saturday - July 14, 2012

letter MAIL BALLOT THE ONLY CORRECT VOTING SOLUTION By Pete Ellis - Michael Spence has certainly "hit the nail on the head" in terms of local election needs and results.  The mail ballot is the only solution in terms of determining what the local voting residents really want. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

letter 4th of July Fireworks By Catherine Brown - Thank you to all those who put together the festivities for the 4th and especially the fireworks display. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

letter “Oh, you’re so negative” By David G. Hanger - There is something particularly juvenile about the attitude that you can judge some other person, “Oh, you’re so negative,” and thereby invalidate anything that person might say. In the article that you were criticizing so harshly I actually discussed that local inclination briefly. Thus my simple observation that your ignorance has precluded the possibility that you begin to comprehend the fact that everything you said is far more negative than anything I have said. It even has a word or label by which it is called: nullification. It’s the old slay the messenger game because you don’t have the guts to deal with the message. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

letter Thank You By Sandy James- The Ketchikan Seventh-day Adventist Church would like to thank the community for supporting our Fund Raiser for a Sound System.  Shamburgers (veggie burgers) and Homemade Pies were a HUGE success. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012 

letter Thank You & Before the fireworks start By Ken Parks - I was at the fireworks display this fourth and was suitably impressed by the display, not so much from the locals shooting off roman candles as it was over my kids and almost at them a couple of times. This ironically enthused my kids and they still had a great time... I wanted to thank the City of Ketchikan and their workers for a great display, making it a fun and enjoyable as well as memorable event for my family. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

letter Whale watching By HelgaOhmer Ohmer - On Saturday morning (June 30), I enjoyed watching a big pod of killer whales going down the channel. I counted at least 12. All the boaters got out of the way, enjoying them from the distance. But not so for the two tourist outfits who turned around to get closer than comfort just for the sake of picture taking clients! - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

letter Spins & Facts By Paul Jarvie - Charley, thank you for your information. As a concerned voter you have taught me to check the facts for myself. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

letter A patch to grind??? By Joey Garcia - Bill Meck "Road" caption in the Jun 25 issue sure has something to reckon with. I think you should not go far inside the hillsides of Ketchikan to wrangle up enough spirits of something like what Bill was pointing about. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

letter Comeuppances By A. M. Johnson - Hummm, It would appear that I have been corrected by readers. I accept the comeuppances. Yet, there is good from this. The fact that these executive orders produce the wrong sided intent is made apparent. Kennedy, Bush, Obama whom ever. The bottom line is many of these executive orders affects the Constitution's intent of guarding against over bearing government intrusion or violation of our freedoms and rights under the Bill of Rights and the Constitution itself. - More...
Monday - July 09, 2012

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