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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 03, 2010

Front Page Photo By MARVIN DAVIS

Ketchikan: Barn Swallows
Juvenile barn swallows waiting to be fed.
Front Page Photo By MARVIN DAVIS


Southeast Alaska: Humpback cow and calf swim free after life-threatening entanglement - NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service received a report from fishermen last Tuesday that a mother and calf humpback whale had just gotten entangled in fishing gear off Point Baker in Sumner Strait, Southeast Alaska.

Humpback cow and calf swim free after life-threatening entanglement

Humpback cow and calf swim free after life-threatening entanglement
Photo courtesy NOAA

The fishers sighted the mother humpback whale and her calf only moments before the whales hit the gillnet and became entangled. It appeared that the animals punched through (made contact with) the belly of the net and were entangled in only webbing as opposed to any lines. Unfortunately, both animals were wrapped up in a significant amount of netting such that they were tethered together lying side-by-side and almost touching-a life threatening situation for both mammals. The entanglement was too complex for the fishermen to attempt to free the whales without endangering themselves.

The fishers assisted operations by monitoring the animals until an experienced whale disentanglement response team from NOAA's Protected Resources Division in Juneau arrived on scene to lend a hand. NOAA scientists worked with the local fishermen to further assess the situation in order to determine the best plan of action. - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

Alaska: Three Alaska Same-Sex Couples Challenge Discriminatory Tax Law -  Three Alaska same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit today challenging the state of Alaska's tax-assessment rules, which discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them equal access to a property tax exemption for senior citizens and disabled veterans. Those who qualify and who live with same-sex partners are only permitted, at most, half of the exemption available to opposite-sex married couples because they are treated as roommates rather than families.

Each couple is denied full access to a $150,000 property tax exemption available to similarly situated opposite-sex married couples. In a 2005 decision, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that a similar exclusion of committed same-sex couples ­ in that case from the family health care coverage afforded to married state workers ­ violated the state constitution's equal protection clause. But same-sex couples continue to be subjected to the discriminatory tax assessments. The couples, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, are asking that the Alaska courts declare this discriminatory law, too, to be unconstitutional.

"Alaska law is clear that denying committed same-sex couples the same rights as married opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional," said Tom Stenson of the ACLU of Alaska. "For senior couples and disabled vets, every bit of savings counts. These couples should not have to pay more taxes than other families." - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

Southeast Alaska: Deceased whale was not a juvenile humpback, NOAA says - Marine mammal scientists from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service took measurements Thursday and collected preliminary tissue samples from the carcass of a deceased whale discovered last Wednesday on the bow of a Juneau-bound cruise ship.

Initial observations indicated the whale was likely a juvenile humpback. NOAA's Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, Aleria Jensen, confirmed the whale was a humpback, but an adult rather than a juvenile.

Deceased whale was not a juvenile humpback, NOAA says

The carcass of a deceased whale is removed from the bow of a Juneau-bound cruise ship.
Photo courtesy NOAA

"The whale was larger than we originally thought," said Jensen. "It measured 43 feet long, indicating a fully grown female." An adult female humpback generally measures between 35 and 45 feet in length.

Thursday's operations focused on external observations and initial assessment. A team of about a dozen biologists and stranding network volunteers led by veterinarians from NOAA Fisheries and the Alaska Sea Life Center plan to focus on internal evidence Friday when they planned to perform a necropsy to learn more about how the whale died. - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

Alaska: Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Concludes - The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) met this past week at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska. The association consists of 19 state and 4 provincial agencies responsible for fish and wildlife management in the western states, Mexico, and Canada. This year's theme was Conservation Challenges and Opportunities Amidst Diverse Interests. Nearly 400 people attended the 5-day meeting

ADF&G Commissioner Denby Lloyd, outgoing president of the association expressed his satisfaction with this year's meeting. "Our visitors had a great experience. They saw glaciers, wildlife and Native heritage, and got a chance to eat real Alaskan delicacies. Several issues were brought to the forefront for open discussion among federal land managers and the western states, with sometimes competing responsibilities, in addressing fish and wildlife issues."

Commissioner Lloyd also commented on the importance of Alaska's membership and prominence in the organization stating that, "having everyone in the same room creates a rare opportunity for us to communicate and resolve issues with our partner agencies." - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010


Alaska Science: Study finds permafrost warming, monitoring improving - Permafrost warming continues throughout a wide swath of the Northern Hemisphere, according to a team of scientists assembled during the recent International Polar Year.

Study finds permafrost warming, monitoring improving

UAF professor of geophysics Vladimir Romanovsky, left, shares information with a group at a permafrost observatory at Imnaviat Creek on Alaska's North Slope.
Photo by Sergei Marchenko

Their extensive findings, published in the April-June 2010 edition of Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, describe the thermal state of high-latitude permafrost during the International Polar Year, 2007-2009. Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor with the snow, ice and permafrost group at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, is the lead author of the paper, which also details the significant expansion of Northern Hemisphere permafrost monitoring.

"This paper is actually pretty unique," Romanovsky said, "because it's the first time such a large geographical area has been involved in one paper."

During the International Polar Year, Romanovsky and his colleagues launched a field campaign to improve the existing permafrost-monitoring network. The permafrost thermal state is monitored with borehole sensors, which gather data from holes drilled deep into the permafrost. The researchers established nearly 300 borehole sites that serve as permafrost observatories across the polar and sub-polar regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Their work more than doubled the size of the previously existing network - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

Alaska Science: Rain curses, graces Alaska landscape By NED ROZELL - Rain. At this point in the brief Alaska summer, you may not be its greatest fan, especially if you live in Eagle, where rain has twice within a month eaten your road connection to the rest of North America. And rain may have annoyed you if you were playing softball during the record hour last week when 1.15 inches fell at Fairbanks International Airport. And you may have cursed the sky if you were installing a roof in Anchorage on the August day in 1997 when almost three inches of rain fell.

Perhaps we judge liquid precipitation a bit harshly at times. Rain is, after all, the free distribution of a substance infinitely more valuable than gold. And, even in the Southeast's Little Port Walter - where residents endure 80 days each year with precipitation amounts greater than one inch, most of it in the form of rain - we still don't have it too bad.

Consider Mount Waialeale in Hawaii, where it rains more than an inch every single day. Or Cherrapunji, India, which experienced more than 1,000 inches of rain from August 1860 to August 1861.

As for daily deluges, it's hard to beat Reunion Island, located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. During the 24 hours from March 15 to 16, 1952, the black sands of the island absorbed 74 inches of rain. And it was impossible to keep the picnic lunches dry in Unionville, Maryland, during the minute on July 4, 1956 when 1.23 inches of rain burst from the sky. - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010


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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696.

letterUSCIS Office in Ketchikan By Betty Constuble - I so agree with Mr. Jose Garcia's letter. We very much need a USCIS office in Ketchikan. - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

letterRE: The Whitecliff Factor By Penny Eubanks - As the Plaza Manager at the time of the RFP (request for proposal) for the Borough offices, I noted right off the get go the apparent slants. I found it quite interesting to remember that in September of 2007, I believe it was, The Ketchikan Daily News reported on Dawson's purchase of Whitecliff building. In that article, Dawson himself noted that they were planning to remodel the building for Borough offices. Mind you, this was PRIOR to the January 2008 date that the Borough actually put the RFP out! Oh by the way - Dawson did not pay the $50K downpayment until the VERY day the RFP went out for public bid!!! Does something stink here? (Who is taking another bite out of whose apple?!) - More..
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

letterDetailing WITH Insurance By Nelson Hays - I have had several people ask me if the letter Terry Miles posted last week about a detail job gone wrong was AT my shop, and I want to clarify - IT WASN'T ME! The description of the business as a "detail" shop with a young owner made many people suspect me, but I assure you it was another company. - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

letterBike Safety By Marie- Jeanne Cadle - I would like to respectfully request that bike riders signal when coming up on walkers or more slow moving riders, perhaps even telling them on which side they will pass. I am excited to see more and more bike riders out and about, but riders need to remember they are almost silent and are usually moving much faster than those they are passing. - More...
Tuesday - August 03, 2010

letterThe Whitecliff factor By Rodney Dial - Mr. Thompson, I agree with your letter and share your frustration with the way the Whitecliff project has progressed. Here is my take on the issue as I see it over the last several years: - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterStill want to know... Still no Answers. By Marilyn Blair - It's nice to see that a shareholder would take all that time to go to Cape Fox Corporation (CFC) and research years of archives to learn so much about my time with CFC and things that transpired during my time as a board member of Cape Fox. But, Eric, you give one board member way too much credit! You make it seem as if I brought all those proposals to the board when I didn't. LOL! Sorry, just couldn't help but find it all so humorous. Really, IF I was so powerful, believe me, all Cape Fox Shareholders would be rich right now! - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letter Service Ketchikan with USCIS Office By Jose S Garcia - It is lamentable to note that Legitimate Permanent Residents (LPRs) takes the cudgel in spending their own money to go to Juneau to avail of the applications for US Citizenship (N400). - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterAmnesty won't work: Secure our borders By Clarence E. Hill - Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterRE: Drainage (and the purpose of government); and bear stuff too By Vanessa Nowland - I bet if SitNews had a "like" button similar to Facebook's there would be a lot of "thumbs up" for Mr. Hofeling's opinion letter. I recall getting the exact same response from the city when we lived on Ketchikan Lakes Road. It wasn't until my husband fell on the glacier that covered our road, injuring his ribs and the ambulance almost took out a utility pole trying to get to us that they started paying any attention. - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterThankful By Joey Tillson - A while ago, I posted a letter on SitNews stressing the importance of community and how this is my home. The many events over the course of a year have put many of us all in stressful, hurtful times. But I will tell you and stress it again, what I love about this town is the sense of community you will NOT find anywhere else. No matter what walk of life each of us has stumbled into, we are still community. - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterSkate Park By Connie Williams - Is the Borough experiencing the same song and dance about a skate park as it did in 1997-1998? Lots of folks, talking to assembly members and parks and recreation staff about the importance of supporting the youth and giving them something to do. Government officials were hearing it in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. The problem I saw was you had many folks in favor of the project, but in reality, only a few, by comparison actually utilized the facility for what it was intended. - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterSitNews By Lou Ann Richardson - I just wanted to send out a couple thank you's. First to Sitnews editor Mary Kauffman for her dedication and committment to keeping Sitnews current and relevant. Thank you Mary, we know it's often challenging. Second, to the various photographers who take the time to find those special moments in this grand place and then share them with all of us here on Sitnews. I always look forward to seeing what the front page has in store from day to day. - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterRE: Bailey Bay Hot Springs By Linda Beaupre - In regards to Bailey Bay Hot Springs, my husband and I tried to hike up to the hot springs last summer. Unfortunately the trail we found was in a sorry state of disrepair. The rope crossing the creek was frayed and loose (and dangerous!) and a large landslide had taken out the entire trail right after the waterfall, ending our journey since we had no way of circumventing the landslide. Large parts of the trail was nothing more than mud pits. - More...
Saturday - July 31, 2010

letterBack to old tricks. By Glen Thompson - I haven't written Sitnews in a while but the issue is simply too important to let slip by. When I was elected to the Assembly, the Borough finances were in shambles. We had less than $1 million in General Fund reserves, we had a Schoenbar project that was in serious trouble and under water by several million dollars. Thank heaven we had a Land Trust Fund with a few million savings in it that we could borrow to fill the gap. Had the Legislature not come through and reimbursed us to the tune of $6 million, we would be in a fine pickle still! Our mill rate was approaching 7 and we were having trouble funding basic services and schools. - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterDrainage (and the purpose of government) By Dustin Hofeling - Living in a rain forest, drainage is a problem we all have to face sooner or later. I live on Deer Mountain Court, which is a road that has been forever plagued by drainage problems. I plan to put to fix the drainage issue on my property - what home owner wouldn't want to do this? But it will do no good unless the city fixes the drainage issue on the street that they built and paved. - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterBailey Bay Hot Springs Should Remain Public By Mike Sallee - Many of the people in the Ketchikan area have enjoyed Bailey Bay Hot Springs - known to some as Shelokum Hot Springs.  It is a picturesque and remote hot springs nestled next to excellent trout fishing on Lake Shelokum, just north of Bell Island Hot Springs. - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterWhat Happened to our SkatePark? By Bobbie McCreary - Monday night I appeared in front of the Borough Assembly during public comments. I passed out a letter from Taira Wilhelm (Kayhi grad 2008) along with the recent Sitnews letters. I explained I would take only a little of their time as this was a special meeting to address the White Cliff building. I explained that day as I left the Youth Center building project on Park Avenue and drove up Schoenbar towards the bypass I passed by Walker Field. I looked at the fenced lot with a truck and a few pieces of miscellaneous equipment in it and said (out loud, actually!) WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO OUR SKATEPARK? - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterSupport Bill Walker for Governor By Radford, Harrington, Fultz, Carson, Radford, Bakk, Cooke - We listened to gubernatorial candidate Samuels on the radio this week. Ralph talked about the decline of oil output, which provides 90% of our State income, but we didn't hear any plan to replenish this lost revenue. He would like to see more oil drilling in Alaska. Wouldn't we all, but does anyone seriously think we can count on that to pay for our State government in the near future? He mentioned cutting State spending, but we are talking about 90% of our income disappearing! He supports a natural gas bullet line which he says will provide cheap energy to Alaskans, but the figures all show that a gasline carrying only the small amount Alaskans would use would be far too expensive to provide low cost fuel. Also, there are no permits, rights of way or environmental studies done for a bullet line, which puts construction ten years in the future. - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterAlaska Lifeline: Walker for Governor By Barb Lander - Reality Check! Think oil and gas issued aren t important to us in SE Alaska? Oil production is approaching a critical low that will mark the end of the pipelines viability. No oil flowing through the pipeline no oil revenue. The massive cuts in services AND new taxes needed to keep this vast state even barely functioning are staggering. Alaskan life as we know it is about over! - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterFaces of the Sea By Judith Green - We in South East communities are used to artists giving us photos, drawings, paintings, and writings based on the culture of this great land. - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterJapanese Knotweed By Jane Collins - I have had this awful weed behind my shoe shop here in Northampton, UK for the last 4-5 years if not longer. It will NOT go away, despite everything I try to do. We are now using a powerful chemical that my husband uses on his farm to see if does the trick so it is just a matter of waiting to see the result. - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letterJapanese Knotweed Removal By Samantha Quinn - I was reading the letters regarding the Japanese knotweed problem some are having and found this information on Wikipedia.com on it's removal. I hope this helps! - More...
Wednesday - July 28, 2010

letter RE: Cape Fox Corp. Lack of Respect for Shareholders By Eric Trout - TO CAPE FOX SHAREHOLDERS: Marilyn Blair's letter is just another attempt to twist the issues while protecting her real personal interests. We all know there are two types of politicians, the ones who tell the truth and fight for what's right, the other politicians who twist the issues to benefit their own personal interests. Marilyn has been in the Cape Fox Board room for over 15 years I would say she has a history and experience in twisting issues. - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letterWater Street Sidewalks By Chris Elliott - We have a one-way tunnel with a road going the other way around it. Now we have parallel sidewalks on Water Street. - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letterSkateboard Park By Norm Noggle - I would like to second Vicky's suggestion to develop a skateboard park in Ketchikan. I agree that the existing half pipe at the rec center is very limited in developing skateboard riding skills. I would suggest that if there are a solid number of kids who want a qulaity skateboard park, then they need to organize (with adult assistance) and begin identifying the assets and barriers involved in the development of such a site. Some of the concerns that need to be addressed include: - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letterRe: Skate Park By Keith Woodard - Although I haven't really followed the skate park issue, I can sympathize with you Vicky. I know what it was like growing up as a bored teenager in this town with seemingly little to do. And I'm really saddened that as much community spirit this town has and as much as people would like to help the youth here, there still hasn't been a new skate park built among other things. - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letterRE: Skate park By Lexie Jones - I'm a 24-year-old who thinks we shouldn't always be looking for handouts! - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letterDoing Business without insurance By Terry Miles - Recently, I took my motorcycle, that happens to be a custom chopper into a local "Detail" shop here in the Ketchikan area, to have it cleaned and detailed. The bike is worth about $75k... it's a custom.  - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letterConcerned about Japanese Knotweed By Melinda Stewart - Browsing Sitnews this morning I saw the letter posted on Rotary Beach. Reading the description and looking at pictures online of knotweed, it is EXACTLY what I have growing in my yard!! - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letter Goodbye, Don & Lois Kralis By Bill Sullivan - I was saddened to read of the passing of Don and Lois Kralis. They will be missed. - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

letterAdhere To Immigration Laws By Donald A. Moskowitz - The federal government, working with the border states, should provide the personnel and resources to secure our borders. - More...
Monday - July 26, 2010

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