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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Thursday - Friday
August 05-06, 2010

Carlanna Lake Area: Mountain Goat
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS


Southeast Alaska: Whale likely deceased before cruise ship strike, NOAA says - The humpback whale discovered last Wednesday draped across the bulbous bow of the Sapphire Princess was likely deceased before it was struck by the cruise ship, says NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service.

Princess Cruises notified the Coast Guard and NOAA Fisheries of the incident, which had likely occurred overnight while the vessel was underway in Chatham Strait. The Sapphire Princess was in Tracy Arm en route to Juneau at the time of the discovery. The whale was removed from the bow of the ship near the end of Douglas Island by a tugboat, towed to shore, and secured for necropsy.

The team of responders - including staff from NOAA Fisheries, the Alaska Sea Life Center and volunteers - performing the necropsy.

The team of responders - including staff from NOAA Fisheries, the Alaska Sea Life Center and volunteers - performed the necropsy Friday. Preliminary results released today are not definitive. It could be several months before final results are available.

Scientists found that this was a complex case, as evidence indicated that several events had likely transpired by the time the whale was found on the bow of the cruise ship. Lead veterinarian Dr. Pam Tuomi from the Alaska Sea Life Center and NOAA Fisheries veterinarian Dr. Kate Savage agreed that the most likely scenario may have involved three different events:

  • A missing pectoral fin points to an initial boat strike in which a propeller likely amputated the flipper, which then caused debilitation and/or death;
  • This may have been followed by killer whale scavenging, as a large portion of the ventral pleats in the lower jaw was missing (an area of the body typically targeted by killer whales);
  • Eventual entrapment by the Sapphire Princess vessel likely followed this, when the ship's bow came in contact with the floating carcass.

The team recovered one of the whale's eyes, which can be used to age the animal. They also collected other samples for further analysis, including skin, muscle, blubber, liver, kidney, ovaries, stomach contents, parasites, urine, and feces, which will be sent to various labs for contaminant analysis, genetics, and indications of exposure to toxins like harmful algal blooms. - More...
Thursday - August 05, 2010

Alaska: Eight Drinking Water Systems in Alaska are in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act - Eight Alaskan drinking water systems, including Craig and Klawock in southeast Alaska, are being ordered to conduct water sampling required to protect human health, or face potential fines for violations of federal drinking water laws, according to compliance orders issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The systems violated the Safe Drinking Water Act and the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. These systems did not complete required sampling and/or did not submit a summary report to the EPA that was due on July 1.

"These systems are tasked with delivering safe, clean water to the customers they serve," said Marie Jennings, manager of the Drinking Water Program for EPA's Region 10. "EPA's goal is for these systems to get up to speed to ensure their water is safe."

EPA has ordered the systems to conduct the required sampling and complete their report. The sampling will identify locations in the distribution system where disinfection byproducts are the highest, and the report will establish these locations as regular monitoring sites.

Chlorine disinfection byproducts can form in drinking water distribution systems. At high levels, they can harm human health. As required by federal laws, these eight systems already conduct regular monitoring for disinfection byproducts. However, the current monitoring locations may no longer be where the highest levels of disinfection byproducts are found. If this is the case, customers in some parts of the distribution system could be unknowingly drinking water that contains harmful levels of disinfection byproducts. This sampling will help ensure that future monitoring efforts will be effective at detecting any unsafe levels of disinfection byproducts in the system. - More...
Thursday - August 05, 2010

Ketchikan: DOT&PF Announces Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Open House - The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Civil Rights Office is hosting informational open houses in Juneau and Ketchikan for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

DOT&PF promotes opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to participate in federally funded highway and aviation projects through the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

"This informational event provides a great opportunity for minority and women-owned businesses to learn how they can participate in state DOT&PF projects," said Jon Dunham, DOT&PF's Civil Rights Office Manager. - More...
Thursday - August 05, 2010

Southeast Alaska: High fire risk accompanies hot, dry weather - Record high temperatures, dry weather and fire can be a risky combination. Fire officials on the Tongass National Forest are asking that all area residents, campers, hunters, and day users to the national forest be cautious with any fire.

"We're not under any closures," said Forest Fire Management Officer Troy Hagan, "but we are in a period of higher temperatures and dry weather in Southern Southeast Alaska, so
recreationists should be extra careful where fire is concerned." - More...
Thursday - August 05, 2010


Alaska Science: Jet streams, wet weather, and floods By NED ROZELL - In 1967 the Chena River spilled over its banks and flooded Fairbanks. For more than a week, the city core was underwater, and the town became a lake more than five miles wide. The flood forced thousands of people to leave the city and caused more than $180 million in damage to homes and businesses.

Jet streams, wet weather, and floods

A crane operator removes debris from the floodgates at the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project in August 2008.
Photo by Ned Rozell

Though a 1967-type flood will probably never happen again thanks to the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project, August continues to be the wettest month in Alaska's Interior. The jet stream is to blame.

Eric Stevens, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, describes the jet stream as a high-speed ribbon of air circling the globe. The jet stream whips around the planet at speeds that reach 100 mph, sometimes dragging weather systems with it.

In August, the jet stream shifts position; instead of belting Earth from west to east, it tilts northward. This shift leaves the Interior as vulnerable as a football quarterback with a linebacker rushing at him between two blockers. By carrying moist ocean air from the southwest, the jet stream slips past the obstacles of the Alaska Range and Kuskokwim Mountains. Most of the year, these natural barriers force moist air to rise, then wring out wetness on the ocean-facing sides of the mountains. During August, moist air rushes through the diagonal lane made by the Alaska Range and Kuskokwim Mountains, soaking the Interior after hitting the Tanana Hills and White Mountains. - More...
Thursday - August 05, 2010

Alaska: Superior Court Judge disallows 1000 additional Nelchina Tier 1 permits approved by Board of Game - In an emergency hearing Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman has disallowed the 1000 additional Nelchina Tier 1 permits that the Board of Game had approved and the Department of Fish and Game planned to issue beginning Friday. In July, the Alaska Board of Game had voted to nearly double the number of permits issued for the popular Nelchina caribou hunt. ...

According to a news release, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is researching its legal options at this time.

Meanwhile, Department of Fish & Game staff are preparing for the fall hunt.

"We're concentrating on a hunting season that will open August 10," said Regional Supervisor Bruce Dale. "Those who originally got a Tier 1 permit can still hunt, and the people who planned on taking part in the Community Harvest program can still hunt." - More...
Thursday - August 05, 2010


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

letterIt's a Matter of Money By Sam Bergeron - Today in the mall I ran across a friend who works for Ketchikan Public Utilities. He told me today he was disconnecting 30 electric customers who could not afford to pay their electric bills. 30. That's 30 families with no electricity. I may be stepping out on a limb here but I think these families can't afford any more taxes, fees and expenses other than keeping themselves fed with a roof over their heads. - More...
Friday - august 06, 2010

letterThe White Cliff Factor By Ed Fry - After reading Mr. Dial's posting I can see where we are spending much too much in a tax base that will not support White Cliff's uses, bottom line is it is really expensive per square foot; renting for 5 years to collect some data would have been a better option in today's economy. - More...
Friday - August 06, 2010

letterOut of the Box By A. M. Johnson - Having just returned from a out of town trip, an acquaintance, Snapper Carson, accosted me at the post office in support of candidate Walker for Governor. Snapper expounded on Mr. Walker's support for resource development and being out spoken on many subjects favored by Snapper and myself. He indicated that a "Great Debate" is to take place during the Blue Berry Festival and that the Chamber of Commerce is taking questions to be asked. I declined to accept his invitation to submit questions to the Chamber on the basis that (1) there is no Great Debate in political gatherings. (2)The Chamber while well intended,is charged with going along to get along so it would be doubtful that an "Out of the Box" question would see the light of the day. These political gatherings are "Position Poppycock" designed to not upset anybody and appear as middle of the road moderate. - More...
Friday - August 06, 2010

letterChloramine in City Water By Kristine Bellanich - From what I understand, beginning this month, Ketchikan Public Utilities will begin working towards adding chloramine to the city water supply. As an FYI to those who do not know what chloramine is, it is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. - More...
Friday - August 06, 2010

letterThe Library ... Again By Patrick Jirschele - I know, everyone is tired of hearing about the library, and I did take some cheap shots with my "Ten Best Reasons" letter. But there is still a lot of bad information being repeated by folks in decision making positions who should be more knowledgeable. - More...
Friday - August 06, 2010

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 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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