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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 17, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

White River: Beaver
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS


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: Real-Time Vessel Tracking Now Available on Web – The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has launched a redesigned and updated website featuring real-time vessel tracking.

Nine of the eleven ferries in the AMHS fleet have been outfitted with satellite tracking hardware making it possible to view and track the location of each vessel in real time from the Alaska Marine Highway website at The two fast ferries, Chenega and Fairweather, are expected to be equipped with satellite communication equipment in the coming year.

Visitors to the new website will find the System Map on the main navigation page under the “Plan a Trip” tab. The tracking application makes it easy to search for vessels by name using a dropdown menu at the top of the page, and vessel icons can be clicked to reveal details about each ship. Available information includes navigation status, location, course, speed, destination, estimated time of arrival, and time of last update. Locating and learning about Alaska communities served by the Marine Highway is also made easy with images, terminal locations, and demographic information available for each city served. - More...
Wednesday - August 17, 2011

Ketchikan: Electric Baseboard Heater Causes Fire Damage - City of Ketchikan Fire Chief Frank Share said the Ketchikan firefighters were busy Wednesday afternoon.

The first call came in to 911 dispatchers at 2:14 PM with a caller reporting “smoke and flames coming from the third floor windows” at 1650 Tongass Avenue, the Trident bunkhouse.  First arriving units were on the scene in less than two minutes.  When firefighters arrived, all of the occupants were safely outside and smoke was showing from the third floor. 

Firefighters extinguished the fire quickly. Due to properly operating sprinklers and a short response time the fire at the Trident bunkhouse was contained to the room of origin and damage was minimal to the structure.

The cause of the fire was a dresser too close to the electric baseboard heat radiator.  17 Ketchikan Fire Department members responded along with mutual aid provided by North and South Tongass Volunteer Fire Departments. - More...
Wednesday - August 17, 2011

Ketchikan: Mine drilling to go forward in Roadless – U.S. Forest Service Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton said mining geotechnical and exploration drilling projects in inventoried roadless areas on Prince of Wales Island and Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska have been approved to go forward.

Both projects either have had NEPA analysis completed or are close to completion of the required analysis.

Pendleton said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on Wednesday approved geotechnical and exploration drilling in inventoried roadless areas for the Greens Creek Mine and the Niblack Mine exploration projects. “This approval will allow Greens Creek to continue the expansion of its tailings site and Niblack to continue its exploration,” said Pendleton.

 “In each case, helicopters will transport the drilling rigs, no roads will be constructed or reconstructed and site reclamation will be completed after drilling operations are done. Both projects will create new mining jobs in Southeast Alaska,” added Pendleton.

In a prepared statement, U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said, “I appreciate the U.S. Forest Service moving these projects forward.  The Niblack permit is critical for completion of this year’s exploration plan, while the permit for Greens Creek will provide data needed for the proposed tailings expansion project."

“Mining exploration and enhancement of existing mine operations help to create and keep a significant number of jobs in the area.  I am particularly grateful that Undersecretary Sherman and Chief Tidwell have been receptive to my support of these projects in Southeast Alaska," said Begich. - More...
Wednesday - August 17, 2011

Ketchikan: Watch Out for Home Repair ScamsThe Ketchikan Police Department is warning the community to be cautious concerning home repair scams which may be on the rise in the area. 

Some of the warning signs to watch out for are:  
• unsolicited offers to do work on your home;
• being asked to pay for the future job "up front" or
• being asked to pay cash;
• the contractor won't give you references or the references cannot be located; or
• you cannot verify the contractor's business address. - More...
Wednesday - August 17, 2011

Alaska: Pacific Walruses Studied as Sea Ice Melts - USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.

Walruses spend most of their lives at sea, but haul out on sea ice and sometimes land to rest between feeding bouts. They can dive hundreds of feet to forage on the sea floor. However, when the sea ice recedes past the continental shelf into very deep waters of the Arctic Basin, the walruses haul out on land. The extent of sea ice has been less in recent summers, and walruses have been hauling out on beaches in Alaska and Russia in the past few years. Thus, radio-tracking the walruses’ movements in water and to and from land provides important insights into walrus movements and foraging behaviors in response to changing sea ice conditions. - More...
Wednesday - August 17, 2011

Alaska Science: A high-country Eden for sockeye salmon By NED ROZELL — In early August, a few months before this mossy valley will feel the sting of 40-below air, bright red salmon dart through a crystal clear pool amid fragrant green vegetation. The Gulkana Hatchery has a Garden-of-Eden feel, which is fitting since millions of sockeye salmon begin life here each year.

A high-country Eden for sockeye salmon

Red salmon gather at a Gulkana Hatchery fish weir that prevents them from going upstream on the east fork of the Gulkana River.
Photo by Ned Rozell.

"There are seven springs in the canyon," says Gary Martinek, manager of this salmon hatchery just off the Richardson Highway between Summit and Paxson lakes. "From summer to winter the water temperature only varies 3 degrees. This water is the key to the hatchery."

On most days of the summer, dozens of fishermen heading to the Copper River to scoop up salmon pass this cluster of small buildings tucked in a shallow valley, but few realize that many of the fish they will catch are born here. At the Gulkana Hatchery, a few people working for the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation raise a brood of up to 35 million red salmon each year and release them into the Gulkana River system.

"It's the largest sockeye hatchery in the world," Martinek says. "Two-hundred and sixty miles from the ocean."

Martinek, an employee here for more than three decades, has the exuberant tone of a proud father as he shows off long rows of more than 100 plastic fish totes filled with gravel and fertilized salmon eggs. The flowing springwater keeps the totes unfrozen on the coldest days of winter, allowing as many as 97 percent of those eggs to become young sockeye (red) salmon. In April and May, hatchery workers stock the tiny fish in Summit, Paxson, and Crosswind lakes. They accomplish the first two transfers by truck and hose, the latter by airdrop of about 10 million fish from a small plane. - More...
Wednesday - August 17, 2011



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letter Spending and Taxes By Samuel Bergeron - Chas Edwardson is right about our debt load; it's too high. We as a community need to keep in mind what we are doing as a whole; spending and borrowing at an alarming rate. We are losing population and yet we are building a fire station that is the same size as Fairbanks, Alaska, a city with 5 times the population as Ketchikan. We are putting a $700,000 piling and grade beam foundation under the new library because the site is not suitable for a conventional concrete footing foundation as planned. We are building a pool that is slated to cost 23 million dollars. All the while the City is contending because of our spending spree they want to increase our taxes to cover the cost of our debt load. We are facing increases in our water and electrical rates to boot. - More...
Tuesday - August 16, 2011

letter Fire Response Time By Chris Elliott - Dawn Luna says the reason she got most often for putting the fire station in the middle of town was to increase response time. I can only say, this isn't Chicago. This isn't even Juneau. I kid my friends who live on S. Point Higgins that it's like a trip to Peru for me to drive from my home near the high school. I have to pack snacks, schedule rest stops, etc. In reality, it takes me about 15-20 minutes to drive to S. Point Higgins. - More...
Tuesday - August 16, 2011

letter TSA By Patricia Burkman - Every time I hear a complaint about TSA, these people don't realize we are at war! You and I feel we should be exempt from being searched or be allowed that bottle of water because we know we would never harm anyone -- but how are the TSA to know? How are they? Our enemies will use any means to kill us and we can tell them how very easily by saying: We exempt people who are ___ (fill in the blank). How easy it would be for our enemies to send in a bomb or worse yet a chemical that will travel throughout the US by insuring that it is on a person that fit the exemption. And while it is unfortunate that millions of innocent people are inconvienced and sometimes embarassed we do it because that's what you have to do when war has been declared. And war was declared on us. - More...
Tuesday - August 16, 2011

letter Ketchikan Roads By Harry Howard - I would like to express my extreme displeasure and disappointment in which ever government entity should be using our tax dollars to maintain the roadways on this island. I have lived in Ketchikan for only 3 years, but I have seen some roads get completely ignored and some get paved, repaved, and repaved again. I really can't make heads or tails of how the road maintenance is ranked with importance. I originally thought it was tourist based, but looking at what gets paved, that is wrong. - More...
Monday - August 15, 2011

letter What a surprise" Let's raise taxes! By Charles Edwardson- A public library that was running into cost overruns even before the voters decided we needed one, a fire station with a blank check, a pool, a recreation center roof vetoed in the capital budget but tore the roof off any way, deferred maintenance year after year of our basic infrastructure (actually should be the priority of a city government) to enable us to pay the bond issue debt load -- it goes on and on. The reckless fiscal decisions the City of Ketchikan has made is now catching up with us. And the only thing our city manager - who lead us into many of these ill advised financial decisions - can come up with is (golly ge wiz ) I think you all might have to raise taxes. The others who sit on the council supposedly guiding our city, can only come up with... hey let's sell the only profitable thing we got going (phone division). - More...
Monday - August 15, 2011

letter New City of Ketchikan Fire Station By Dawn Luna - I to had wondered why they chose to put the new Ketchikan fire station there. I wondered why they hadn't decided to put the new library there instead and the new fire station up on the hill. The response I got the most was, response time to an emergency call, especially in the winter time. So I sit and ponder Chris Elliott's letter and think to myself, how will the response time be during tourist season? I get a picture in my mind of complete chaos, tourist running everywhere, cars backed up, tourist vehicles trying to find room to pull over to let the emergency response vehicles by (especially the Amphibious Duck Tour Vehicles), and the firetrucks still trying to fight their way through the tourist season traffic. - More...
Monday - August 15, 2011

letter Blame? By Joey Garcia - I have expressed and admired KPU's Technician group. These people have relentlessly serviced callers even in the rain and late in the evenings. I fully admire their job performance. - More...
Monday - August 15, 2011

letter Fiscal guide By A.M. Johnson - With the recent Congressional vote to increase our National Debt Limit and the appointment of a "Super Committee" consisting of six Senators and six Representatives to address a trifling cut of one and half Trillion dollars from a now, 17 Trillion debt limit, the following five sentences, sent to each of our Alaska Congressional representatives, have a profound impact. - More...
Thursday - August 11, 2011

letter Boat dead in the water! By Kenneth G. Reese - On August 9th a friend & I had a trip to Yes Bay planned to subsistence fish for sockeye salmon. We prepared the day before. We had all our gear ready toped off the fuel tank and planed to leave Knudsen Cove by 9:30 am. We got off to a good start beautiful day, but by the time we reached southern Neets Bay the motor died?? WE soon found out that our gas was siphoned the night before!! So here we are sitting drifting. What to do?? - More...
Thursday - August 11, 2011

letter Deer Mt. Apts. By Chris Elliott - Kudos to the owners of the Deer Mountain Apartments for the paint job. Just finish up the Bawden Street side, and your building will be beautiful. - More...
Thursday - August 11, 2011

letter Customer Service By Robert Fruehan - Over the years it seems that i have had my fair share of situations in which I felt I or a member of my family was treated with less than professional courtesy by Alaska Airlines' representatives whether they be Stewardesses or people at the gate. With that being said, there are many of them who are super great but the fact is, you remember the ones who treat you poorly far easier than the latter. - More...
Thursday - August 11, 2011

letter Art Bailly's Letter on TSA By Charlotee Tanner - I agree with everything Mr. Bailly has to say, and also would like to point out to Mr. Bailly that TSA's authority extends to Ferry systems, Railways, and the Highway system. I read recently they were discussing exercising this authority in those areas in the near future. - More...
Thursday - August 11, 2011

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