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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Photograph by JIM LEWIS

In the Saxman area yesterday, this whale was putting on a show bubble feeding before being photographed lobtailing.
Photograph by JIM LEWIS


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Southeast Alaska:
Forest Service OKs Exploration at Woewodski and Bokan Mountain by Helicopter – The Forest Service on Monday approved permits for exploration drilling at a rare earth elements prospect at Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island, and at another mining prospect on Woewodski Island. Because both mining claims are located in the Tongass National Forest and affected by the roadless rule, drilling and other equipment will have to be flown in by helicopter.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said yesterday in a prepared statement, “I remain committed to repealing roadless requirements for the Tongass, but in the interim, I welcome the Forest Service’s efforts to find a compromise that allows responsible development to proceed,” Murkowski said. “The ability to develop our domestic supplies of critical minerals is important both to our national security and to the economy of Alaska.”

Murkowski has repeatedly had to prod the current administration into making timely permitting decisions on projects within the Tongass.

“The administration continues to slow walk permit applications in the Tongass,” Murkowski said. “While these latest permits are a welcome step forward, I remain concerned that as long as the roadless rule remains in place that it will keep dozens of other potential renewable energy and mineral projects from ever being considered.”

Murkowski has had to make similar interventions to jump start the permitting process on the Greens Creek Mine and the Blue Lake and Whitman Lake hydro projects in the Tongass.

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) also commented on the USDA’s approval of exploration permits in inventoried roadless areas for the Bokan and Woewodski projects. “While I continue to disagree with the basic premise of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, I appreciate the U.S. Forest Service Alaska Region’s attention to the needs of mining exploration and the important role mining plays in Southeast Alaska’s economy,” said Sen. Begich. “The action by the Forest Service is critical to moving these projects forward and helping to create some badly needed jobs in the region.  In particular, I look forward to learning more about the Bokan project firsthand during my visit later this week. - More...
Wednesday - August 03, 2011

Alaska: Begich Calls for Congress to Reconvene & Reauthorize FAA - Since midnight on July 23, 2011, after the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a clean short-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 79 Alaskans have been told not to report to work and some funding for Alaska airport projects has been put on hold due to a partial shutdown of the FAA. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today wrote a letter to Senate and House leadership calling for Congress to return from the August recess to pass a clean FAA extension and end the shutdown.

“As the respective leaders of the House and the Senate, I implore you to call Congress back into session to pass a clean extension of the FAA and end the shutdown,” Sen. Begich writes. “As the debt limit crisis just demonstrated, Americans are tired of the gridlock and partisanship in Washington.  It is Congress’s job to put Americans back to work, not create further unemployment.”

Sen. Begich has advocated for a comprehensive authorization of the FAA for months. The last comprehensive authorization of the FAA expired in 2007 and congress has passed 20 short-term extensions of the FAA since then.

“I’ve spoken with furloughed Alaskans who have been told not to show up to work and I share their outrage and disgust,” said Sen. Begich. “Aviation is an integral part of life in Alaska and any limitations to the FAA’s ability to fulfill its mission harms our state. This shutdown has been caused by the same political games that almost pushed our economy over the cliff yesterday and they have to stop now.” - More...
Wednesday - August 03, 2011

Alaska: Report Advocates Directional Drilling Pilot Program in ANWR – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today commended a new report by the group Securing America's Energy Future (SAFE) calling for a real-world test of directional drilling techniques to tap into the estimated 10.4 million barrels of oil contained in the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“This is a concept that I have long offered as a reasonable alternative to those who oppose conventional development of the 1002 Area,” Murkowski said. “While I still favor responsible production within the coastal plain, this compromise allows us to access much of the resource without the same environmental risk, making it a commonsense solution that everyone should be able to embrace.”

In 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which designated the 1002 area of ANWR for oil and gas exploration. Despite promising information from exploratory drilling and seismic data, as well as strong industry interest, the federal government has kept the entire area off limits to development. 

SAFE is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to reducing America’s dependence on oil. The SAFE report states:

“The existence of the Point Thompson project so close to the 1002 Area provides an opportunity for the industry to use extended reach drilling to develop ANWR oil without establishing a surface presence in ANWR itself and without necessarily adding substantially to the existing industry footprint on state lands. In a recent Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, a representative from Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources suggested that extended reach drilling from Point Thompson into the 1002 Area could have a major impact on production.” - More...
Wednesday - August 03, 2011

Alaska Science: Study of a dying glacier By NED ROZELL - Yakutat Glacier, near the Alaska town of the same name and flowing from the mountains near the Canada border, calves into a lake as deep as an ocean bay. The icefield that feeds Yakutat is large enough to cover the five boroughs of New York City. Despite its bulk, the glacier is doomed unless we experience a drastic change in climate.

Study of a dying glacier

Glaciologists say Yakutat Glacier is melting so fast that a few of its lobes will separate from the main ice mass, maybe within a year.
Photo by Sam Herreid.

Barbara Truessel has been on deathwatch for this interesting glacier for the past few years. The graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute has witnessed Yakutat’s fade in the short time it takes to earn a college degree.

“It’s dramatically falling apart,” Truessel said.

Truessel and her advisor, Martin Truffer, along with glaciologists Chris Larsen and Roman Motyka, recently witnessed the fragmenting of the glacier’s massive tongue, which coats part of Harlequin Lake.

“The breakup of the floating tongue started last year,” Truessel said. “Huge tabular icebergs were floating away from the glacier. We were just lucky to be there to see that.”

The glaciologists say the glacier is melting so fast that a few of its lobes will separate from the main ice mass, maybe within a year. Truffer said Yakutat, one of the fastest changing bodies of ice in Alaska, would soon become at least three glaciers. - More...
Wednesday - August 03, 2011



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

letter Ketchikan Performing Arts Center By Lallette Kistler - The Ketchikan Performing Arts Center is becoming a reality!  We are now in the heat of the Capital Campaign phase of the Performing Arts Center project. - More...
Wednesday - August 03, 2011

letter New Fire Station By Chris Elliott - While I'm thankful for the jobs associated with the construction of the new fire station, I've got to say, it's a real eyesore. The closer it comes to completion, the more it becomes obvious that it is not a visually attractive addition to the downtown. The limited "view" we had from Whale Park is now completely obliterated. The building looms over you as you drive by it. - More...
Wednesday - August 03, 2011

letter Our freedom to travel usa Taken away by TSA By Art Bailly - The Transportation Security Administration needs reform. For those unfamiliar with their track record, here are some of the more recent controversial things the TSA has done: A 95 year old woman was supposedly required to remove her adult diaper before being cleared for flying in June; In May, an 8 month old child was patted down; A traveler was twice left covered in his own urine, in March and July, when the TSA agents performing the pat-down ignored the man's warning about his ostomy bag; In April, a 6 year old was patted down; Last November, a man with no interest in either of the 2 security screening options decided not to fly and then before he could leave the airport, was told that he still had to submit to screening or face an $11,000 fine. - More...
Wednesday - August 03, 2011

letter Open Letter: Where the federal budget cuts should come from By Michael Spence - Where the cuts should come from: 1.Defense budget private contractors. The DOD budget is a stuffed pig. In Alaska alone there are millions of dollars being siphoned out of public funds to private for-profit companies doing work that used to be done by uniformed service people. The recent fallacy that those tasks are done for less money by private contractors doesn't wash. No generals or admirals are being paid the bonuses and salaries paid to execs in private enterprise. Blackwater, Halliburton, and others are examples in other states and other countries. There is at least 300 billion dollars a year in this category alone. - More...
Monday - August 01, 2011

letter What will the States do? By A. M. Johnson - What will the States do should the Federal Government default? - More...
Monday - August 01, 2011

letter Cultural-Commercial Complex Project of 2004 By Wieslaw Czajkowski - Writing a letter to your Sit News seems to be futile, for no one else than your editorial staff read it but officials of the Alaska Departmewnt of Transportation (DOT), which over decades feeds hungry votes politicians with their Environmentyal Impact Statements (EIS), albeit not ordinaries. The latter are left with promises of solving the lack of access of Ketchikans to the Ketchikan International Airport other than by ferries. - More...
Monday - August 01, 2011

letterThe real reason By Rodney Dial - A.M. Johnson’s letter regarding how a borough change to a home-rule government will lead to consolidation is my concern as well.  I have spent my free time over the last few weeks trying to determine the “real reason” some elected officials are pushing to change our form of government.- More...
Friday - July 29, 2011

letter TEA PARTY Extremists?by Ken Bylund - Hello? TEA PARTY extremists... the same crowd who predicted this moment way ahead of them short-sighted monkeys in Washington who said... naw, everything's fine... we've got this; and the News Media, busy marginalizing Abe Lincoln's, 'for the people, of the people, by the people?' The rational few at the bottom of this pyramid scheme, the citizens who feed this money stream under penalty of imprisonment... have been told that they are extremists for questioning a government that has taken us to the brink. How far or how close is this Oligarchy... from Fascism? - More...
Friday - July 29, 2011

letter The Federal Budget Feasco! By James Dornblaser - I do not pretend to understand the whole of the US budget, but I understand when I am charged MASS, LARGE, GROSS more in taxes than the benefits I receive. To fuel my distaste for the bureaucrat & make me consider siding with the Tea Party, the media depicts Social Security as an "entitlement". - More...
Friday - July 29, 2011

letter Nation's Debt Crisis By Kimberly Peters - I watched the President's speech on Raising the Deficit Ceiling. What's the problem? Why can't the House and the Senate just realize that we are in serious trouble here and we need to cut spending now! - More...
Friday - July 29, 2011

letter Looking Ahead, Looking Back By Jan Bush and Ann James - As the Prince of Wales Island Marathon Committee starts meeting once again to plan the island’s May 2012 marathon, it is important that we look back and acknowledge those organizations that made the 2011 marathon such a wonderful success.  Many race improvements were realized because of the generous support of the organizations listed below.  - More...
Friday - July 29, 2011

letter Deaths on the Road Marc Luiken & Joe Masters - Over the past seven days there have been six traffic deaths on the Kenai Peninsula. Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those involved. Their lives will never be the same. As Commissioners, we receive death notifications which informs us of the basics of every traffic crash in Alaska. It is especially heartbreaking when a small child has died. This is a part of our job that we will never get used to. - More...
Friday - July 29, 2011

letter Snagging in the derby By Eric Tyson - In reply to Mr. Skidmore. You are misinformed sir. Snagging is allowed in the derby. The official rules state "Entries must be caught according to Alaska Sport fishing regulations." Alaska sport fishing regulations allow snagging. I have also been informed that at least one fish on the derby ladder was snagged, and he also received another prize for that fish. - More...
Wednesday - July 27, 2011

letter Diabolical Deficit Ceiling issues By A. M. Johnson - The current time is 11:00 AM local 7/26/11. I have just attempted to connect to Senator Lisa Murkowski's, Senator Begich's, and Representative Don Young's offices to send the following letter regarding the pending negotiation on the Debt Ceiling issue. Access is denied at this time. To what this denial is chargeable I have no idea. Either is it a planned "System Failure" due to the nature of the issue, or the system has been over loaded by public submission such as my own. - More...
Wednesday - July 27, 2011

letter Large structures By Paul Jarvi - Thank your lucky stars Mr. Harris that the Alaska Ship and Dry Dock Company is doing business in our town. I am sorry for the obstruction of your view because of the new buliding. I am over joyed with the jobs that the new building is and will generate in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter The Lord’s Table By Charlotte DeVere Hunt - On behalf of The Lord’s Table, I would like to publicly thank Don and Pam Thornlow of The Narrows Inn.   On July 3, The Narrows hosted a pig roast with all the trimmings.    All the proceeds were to benefit to The Lord’s Table. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter RE: King Salmon derby by Alan Skidmore - With all due respect Mr. McQueen... NOT!!! Read the derby rules, no snaggy waggy allowed, although it would be hard to tell but, for the most part people are honest. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter Green thinking or hydrocarbons By Ed Fry - As we know, Alaska is well advertised rich in resources.  The mass media is making it well known that renewable energy is a short term cure for our addiction to fossil fuels.  So begs the question that in order to re-tool our workforce in green technologies, introduction of new educational programming needs to be developed and implemented through a structured certification program; when will we see this programming at the university level? - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

letter Block Iran on the Arabian Peninsula By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Iraqi Shiites have increased their attacks on American troops in Iraq.  June saw 14 U.S. soldiers killed, which is the highest death toll since 2008. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011

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