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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

July 25, 2015

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Ketchikan: Schulte Appointed Interim Provost - The University of Alaska Southeast announced yesterday the appointment of Ketchikan Campus Director Dr. Priscilla Schulte as UAS Interim Provost for the coming academic year. A search for a permanent Provost is slated to commence in August.

Schulte Appointed Interim Provost

Dr. Priscilla Schulte
SitNews File Photo

“I personally am very grateful for Dr. Schulte’s willingness to take on this assignment. I know that she will serve UAS well as Interim Provost. I also know that she will ensure that the good work of Ketchikan Campus faculty and staff will continue during the interim. I am committed to supporting her and Ketchikan personnel in fulfilling that expectation,” said Chancellor Rick Caulfield.

Dr. Schulte will begin her new assignment on August 9, 2015. According to a news release, she is expected to remain in the role through the 2015-2016 academic year "with a hope that a new provost will be on board in early summer 2016". - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015

Fish Factor: Sockeye salmon price disappointing By LAINE WELCH - Shock and dismay were heard from Bristol Bay fishermen when they finally got word last week that major buyers would pay 50 cents a pound for their sockeye salmon. That’s a throwback to the dock prices paid from 2002 through 2004, and compares to $1.20 advanced last year ($1.33 on average after price adjustments).

A late surge of reds produced catches of nearly 13 million in its final week, bringing the total by July 23 to 34.5 million fish. The fish were still trickling in, and state managers, who called the season an ‘anomaly,’ said the final tally will likely reach the projected harvest of 37.6 million sockeye salmon.

Fishermen were prepared for lower prices this summer, due to a plugged global market, sockeye holdovers from last summer’s big run, the continuing Russian embargo against U.S. seafood, and a strong dollar that makes it more expensive for foreign customers to buy U.S. salmon. Typically, 60-70 percent of Alaska’s seafood sales are in exports.

Going into the fishery, a disappointing base price of $.65 was bandied about – coming in $.15 below that was a demoralizing jolt.

“Shame on you (processors) for crippling the harvester side of the industry. This place is a company town!” said a fisherman on KDLG’s Open Line program. “I’m paying my crew less than they would make in a week down south,” and “Pay a guy what it’s worth,” said two others.

“This is a grim reality for all of us. Such wonderful protein for so little. So many fishermen cuckolded by this,” emailed a longtime fishermen.

“It’s not the processors’ fault. It’s the fault of the 2,500 permit holders for not getting together to set a price,” said another.

“Don’t jump to conclusions,” cautioned Norm Van Vactor, President/CEO of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation. Before that, he worked for decades in the local seafood industry as a general manager at Leader Creek and Peter Pan Seafoods. - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015


Southeast Alaska: Groups Petition for Emergency Action to Save Southeast Alaska Wolves - Environmental groups on Thursday asked three state and federal agencies to take decisive action to save what they say are the rapidly dwindling population of Alexander Archipelago wolves in the Prince of Wales Island area in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

Groups Petition for Emergency Action to Save Southeast Alaska Wolves

Photo courtesy ADF&G

The six organizations that submitted the letters to agencies are Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, The Boat Company, the Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

Following up on a June report by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game indicating that the wolf population in the area is alarmingly low, the environmental groups asked Alaska Fish and Game and the Federal Subsistence Board to cancel the area’s 2015-2016 trapping and hunting season. They also asked the U.S. Forest Service to suspend logging and road-building in its Big Thorne timber sale on Prince of Wales Island and to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement for the project to reconsider impacts to wolves.

“Alexander Archipelago wolves are an essential piece of what makes our little corner of Alaska so special,” said Hunter McIntosh, president of The Boat Company, an ecotourism company based in Southeast Alaska. “The opportunity to see these unique wolves in their old growth home draws people from all over the world. Killing off our wolves is bad business and bad stewardship.”

These groups assert the Alexander Archipelago wolves are a subspecies of gray wolves that den in the roots of old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported in 2014 found that protecting Alexander Archipelago wolves under the Endangered Species Act “may be warranted". The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether to list the wolves under the Act by the end of this year. In the 1990s Prince of Wales Island was home to about one-third of all Alexander Archipelago wolves before the island’s population declined. Wolves on the island are genetically distinct and geographically isolated from the rest of the subspecies say concerned environmental groups.

“Alexander Archipelago wolves are one-of-a-kind, and once they’re gone, they’re not coming back,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We have to protect the few remaining wolves on Prince of Wales Island right now, or they’ll be gone before the government can even decide whether they need Endangered Species Act protection.” - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015


Southeast Alaska: Mount Polley remembrance ceremony on Stikine River - One year after Canada’s worst mining disaster – the August 4, 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam collapse in British Columbia – Alaska Natives and First Nations will mark the tragic event with a ceremony in Wrangell to bless the Stikine River, a major transboundary salmon near a newly opened Canadian mine, Red Chris. Red Chris is one of several mines that B.C. is planning to build or reopen in salmon-producing watersheds that drain into Southeast Alaska.

Mount Polley remembrance ceremony on Stikine River

Lower Stikine River
Photograph courtesy US Forest Service

The Wrangell Cooperative Association, a federally recognized tribe, will host the event on August 2. It will take place on Chief Shakes Island in the heart of Wrangell harbor, just south of the mouth of the Stikine. A procession through downtown Wrangell will kick off the day’s activities starting at 1 p.m. A blessing of local waters in front of the historic Tribal House will follow, along with traditional songs from tribal members, and remarks by guest speakers, including Iskut First Nation spokesperson Oscar Dennis, and Mining Team Coordinator Jacinda Mack, who witnessed the Mount Polley disaster first-hand.

A working dinner will follow the ceremony, allowing tribal and government officials, conservation organizations, and concerned community members the opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, and strategize next steps for working together.

“I hope the August 2nd ceremony highlights how concerned people are on both sides of the border about the major risks to the Stikine River and other transboundary rivers from large-scale and risky mine developments in British Columbia,” said Dennis. “I look forward to meeting those in Wrangell who have joined the fight to protect our watersheds.” - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015


Alaska: Historic Iditarod, Flat gold rush townsites saved from recent wildland fires – By the time the 2016 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race rolls around in March, the blackened landscape around the historic gold rush town of Iditarod will be covered in white.

Historic Iditarod, Flat gold rush townsites saved from recent wildland fires

Historic Iditarod, Flat gold rush townsites saved from fire
Photo courtesy BLM Alaska Fire Service

Mushers won’t be able to tell how close a wildfire came to wiping out the checkpoint that bears the race’s name and marks the halfway point in the famed 1,000-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome.

But on June 21, the 104,183-acre Iditarod River Fire nearly destroyed what is left of the historic site. The fire, started by lightning on June 20, was moving toward the townsite when the Division of Forestry’s McGrath Area Fire Management Office deployed a load of eight smokejumpers from the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska Fire Service to the area by helicopter.

The smokejumpers immediately went to work, conducting burnout operations linking ponds and river channels surrounding the town. The burnouts robbed the larger fire of fuel, and successfully halted the fire less than a mile from the townsite.

The smokejumpers spent the next three days conducting burnouts and doing site protection around structures, including two buildings that serve as headquarters for race personnel and mushers during the race. The end result is that all the buildings were saved and now stand in an island of green surrounded by miles of charred tundra.

“Thankfully those buildings are still intact,” said Iditarod executive director Stan Hooley. “I saw aerial photographs of the burn and it’s apparent to me they did a remarkable job to protect that area.”

The Iditarod Trail Committee built one of the structures that was saved and refurbished another that the race now uses, Hooley said. Had the buildings been destroyed, it would have meant rebuilding or using tents to house race staff and mushers.

“It’s not like any of the other communities or villages the race passes through, where there might be another building we can use,” Hooley said. One of the most remote checkpoints of the race, Iditarod is located in a vast, roadless area 90 miles southwest of McGrath. “It would have put us in a bit of a box in terms of having to rebuild.” - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015


Orphaned harbor seal pup on beach in Douglas, Alaska.
Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries Alaska


Southeast Alaska: SEAL PUP RESCUED- An orphaned harbor seal pup is in stable condition at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) in Seward, after being picked up from a Douglas Island beach earlier this week.

When NOAA Fisheries marine mammal experts received a call late Monday morning from two Douglas residents that there was a lone seal pup on the beach near Lawson Creek, they responded immediately.

"We arrived on the scene within minutes, and found the pup was in poor condition," said Sadie Wright, wildlife biologist for NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office. "She was lethargic and -thin, and had multiple wounds on her face and upper body, likely from predator attacks."

"When we saw her condition we immediately coordinated with the Alaska SeaLife Center to transport her there for care," said Kate Savage, a veterinarian for NOAA Fisheries. "She was one of a number of seal pups very recently reported abandoned in Southeast. It’s unusual to get pup reports this late in the summer, but it’s been a very unusual marine mammal year in many respects." - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Rotary Clubs Install New Officers - July 1st began the new FY 2016-2017 Rotary year. In Ketchikan there are two vibrant Rotary clubs. Ketchikan Rotary Club was formed in 1925, the 2000th club chartered in Rotary, thus Rotary 2000. In 1987 several Rotary 2000 members decided interest in Rotary activities in Ketchikan had grown enough to merit the formation of a "breakfast club" - and First City Rotary was born. Women were also welcomed into Rotary that year.

Rotary 2000 and First City Rotary inducted woman leaders as Presidents this year. The Rotary Clubs of Ketchikan would like to present the Rotary International theme of the year to Ketchikan, “Be a Gift to the World”.

Rotary 2000 is looking forward to celebrating 90 years of service with a gala cruise planned on August 29th, along with a continued commitment to providing scholarships, conducting the well-attended trunk-or-treat Halloween event, supplying life jackets for the “kids don’t float” program and many other community service events.

First City Rotary is looking forward to revitalizing the Rotary Picnic Shelter at Ward Lake, Youth programs such as, RYLA (Regional Youth Leadership Awards), scholarships for higher education, literacy programs including Dictionaries for 3rd graders and support for Kayhi Interact Club. - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015


jpg Political Cartoon: The dark money shark

Political Cartoon: The dark money shark
By John Cole ©2015, The Scranton Times-Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Ketchikan's Proposed Tobacco Tax By Jim Tuttle - Really, City of Ketchikan and the Borough? You really need all of that extra money from your proposed tobacco tax? For what, really? I'm not a smoker and certainly not the smartest guy in town, but even I can smell a money grab when it's so obvious. A paltry 18% or so dedicated to address the supposed problem and the rest to go into the local coffers for who knows what, but no doubt to the benefit of the "visitors" that saturate our beloved little town every year. - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2015

letter Tenakee Logging Company By Owen Graham - Recently the Ketchikan Daily News & other sources printed an interesting article about a small logging and milling company in Tenakee Springs. Interesting because although the feel-good article rightly acknowledged the company’s hard work and entrepreneurial efforts, it also skipped over some important issues. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 22, 2015

letter The Smoker's Tax By Paul Jarvi - To the people drafting language for this Ketchikan tax, social engineering is not why you were elected. Stop this nonsense about a local tobacco tax this product is taxed enough. Governing on an 'us verses them' approach will end badly for everyone. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 22, 2015

letter Ketchikan's proposed cigarette tax By John Loyd - Why don't the lawmakers put an outrageous tax on Alcohol? This is stupid to put it on just cigarettes! I guess our Ketchikan lawmakers think it's more dangerous to get hit by someone smoking and driving a car than someone drinking and driving. I have never heard of someone getting hit by someone smoking and driving. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 22, 2015

letter Ketchikan tobacco tax By Pat Bethel - I came back from Nevada this winter where I paid $35.00 a carton for cigarettes. Native casino, so no fed tax. But still state tax. $75.00 for the same carton here. I like smoking. I dislike paying unfair taxes more. I quit smoking. - More...
Sunday PM - July 19, 2015

letter Time for peace By Garrett & Russell Collins - According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 16,121 homicides in the United States in 2013. More than 11,000 of those killings were caused by firearms. - More...
Sunday PM - July 19, 2015

letter First the smokes and then... By A. M. Johnson - A few personal stances and observations. I am a Christian. I am pro-life. I am in favor of the death penalty, and while we are speaking to criminal activity and gun laws, I am in favor of nationwide Conceal Carry allowed under interpretation of the second amendment. I am anti-gay marriage but could care less if two of the same-sex wish to copulate in any manner they wish. Get a room. They can have all the so called, Rights Mox-Nix to me. - More...
Thursday AM - July 16, 2015

letter Alaska leaders: Put your Xtratuffs on and walk your salmon talk By Malena Marvin - Walk up to most houses in rural Southeast Alaska, including ours, and the first thing you see is an impossibly long row of battered XtraTuff rubber boots. There are boots for the family, the friends who stopped by to chat, extras for the summer folks who came to visit or work as crew, and probably a pair or two with mysterious origins. Together, they tell a story of a certain way of life, one lived by the tidelines and on the water, and one defined by adventure and hard work outdoors. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2015

letter Tobacco Tax By Chris Elliott - Like a lot of controversial topics, being on the pro-side of a tobacco tax is much easier than being against it. Being pro-life is much easier than pro-choice. Being anti-death penalty, an environmentalist, anti-gun, pro gay marriage, a believer in climate change, and a hundred other current issues is just much easier to defend. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2015

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