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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 19, 2011

Front Page Photo by DEWIE HAMILTON

Indian Paintbrush on Dude Mountain
Front Page Photo by DEWIE HAMILTON


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Southeast Alaska
: DISENTANGLED HUMPBACK CALF FREED NEAR JUNEAU - Somewhere in the waters of Southeast Alaska, a humpback calf swims freely alongside its relieved mother - thanks to a long day of efforts on Thursday by a Juneau-based NOAA Fisheries large whale disentanglement team.


Humpback whale calf entangled in buoy.
Photo: John Moran, NOAA Fisheries permit #932-1905

The entanglement was first reported Wednesday morning by a charter fishing vessel near Halibut Cove in Lynn Canal.

"We received a report of a calf entangled in line with a trailing buoy traveling with its mother at a rapid clip, about 5 knots," said Kate Savage, NOAA marine mammal specialist and veterinarian. "They maintained that speed throughout the disentanglement operation, which made things quite challenging."

A number of whale watching boats monitored the pair until the NOAA team arrived. Members of the team attached a transmitter to the calf as a safeguard against losing its location. They returned shortly later aboard the Auke Bay Lab's research boat, The Quest, to begin the disentanglement operation.

The process was a bit tricky, as the mother humpback was very protective of her calf, and kept trying to position herself between the rescuers and the calf. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

Alaska: Boats drop pots for Alaska king crab in the Bering Sea - Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fisheries got underway with this week’s start of the golden king crab season.  The fishery opens annually on August 15th and continues through March.

Golden king crab is one of Alaska’s most stable fisheries, producing about six million pounds each year for more than a decade. A fleet of just five to six boats fish for “goldens” in deep waters off the Aleutian Islands.

To keep track of the far away fishery, every vessel is required to carry a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) transceiver to mark where it is dropping crab pots.  VMS usage is required for all Alaska Bering Sea crab boats under the crab catch share program. Since 1988 the vessels also have carried onboard observers to collect scientific data and monitor the crab catch.   

It makes it virtually impossible for crabbers to cheat, and they don’t want to anyway, said Jake Jacobsen, a veteran Bering Sea crabber and director of the Inter-Cooperative Exchange, a harvester group.

“The consequences are such,” Jacobsen added, “that even if someone were so inclined; it is too big of a risk compared to any potential gain.” - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

Alaska: “Orange Goo” in Alaska’s Kivalina village is fungal spores - NOAA reported Thursday that the “orange goo” that washed ashore earlier this month in the remote Eskimo village of Kivalina along Alaska’s northwest coast is fungal spores, not microscopic eggs as preliminary analysis indicated.

Scientists at the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Auke Bay Laboratories announced last week that the substance was biological in nature, rather than oil or pollution as originally thought by concerned residents of Kivalina. Per standard scientific procedure, samples were sent to NOAA’s Analytical Response Team for a more thorough and detailed analysis and verification process.

At NOAA’s National Ocean Service Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, based in Charleston, S.C., a team of scientists highly-specialized and equipped to analyze microbiologic phenomena such as this determined that the substance is consistent with spores from a fungi that cause rust, a disease that infects only plants causing a rust-like appearance on leaves and stems. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

Alaska: Man Indicted For Stealing $4.3 Million In Cash from Key Bank - Acting United States Attorney Kevin Feldis announced this week that an Anchorage man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage for stealing approximately $4.3 million in cash belonging to Key Bank.

The one-count indictment names Gerardo Adan Cazarez Valenzuela, also known as "Gary Cazarez", 26, a resident of Anchorage, as the sole defendant.

The indictment alleges that Valenzuela, a cash vault services manager for Key Bank, stole the money on July 29, 2011.

Valenzuela was arrested by Mexican authorities on August 2, 2011, in Sonoita, Sonora, Mexico, when a random search of his luggage at a checkpoint revealed that his bags contained nearly $3.8 million in cash, firearms and ammunition. Valenzuela remains in custody in Mexico, and procedures will be initiated to have him returned to Alaska to face the criminal charges. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

Ketchikan: Summer Reading Club Ends; Winners AnnouncedThe 2011 Summer Reading Club “Reading Takes You Places” ended Saturday, August 13th with a swim party for over 50 patrons at the Mike Smithers Pool.

With 462 participants (a 12 percent increase over last summer) and over 2,000 reading hours logged, thirty prize winners were drawn at random from readers coupons each week and grand prizes included Glenn Cousins (CD Player), Jalina Williams (Digital Camera), Elizabeth Knight (DVD Player), Joey Dorgan (Geocaching Kit), Sterling Nagy (backpack and headlamp), Bryce Mattson (NOOK Reader) and Shakim Bauer (IPod and Speakers). - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Neighbors - I wrote a couple of years ago about my old neighborhood on First Avenue between Jefferson and Madison. It was about how things change in Ketchikan, even though to some of us the pace seems only slightly less glacial than continental drift.

So I probably should note the recent passing of two people from those early years in the “West End.”

The boy who was once my best friend, Jeff Tinney, died in Montana in July.

He was only 51 and I have no idea what happened, I suspect it wasn’t good.

Jeff and his family lived at the other end of the block from me. Their old house is one of the few that remains as it was 40 years ago. His father was the harbor master and also owned Harbor Hardware on Stedman Street for a while. His mother was one of those endlessly entertaining women whom the grownups called “brassy” in those days.

Through much of grade school Jeff and I hung around together, playing sports, getting up to no good, avoiding the long arm of the law and the even longer arms of our parents. It was a good and typical childhood in the West End.

Then when we got into Junior High (no “Middle School” for us!) we drifted apart. Neither of us were really that good at sports and I drifted toward music and he drifted toward woodshop and auto mechanics. In high school, I have almost no memory of him, but that is partly because we were in different grades and there seemed to be less intra-gradal socializing them. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011



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

letter Southeast Alaska Wolves By Butch Olmstead - The recent article in Sitnews about some of our environmental groups again attempting to classify our wolves here in Southeast Alaska as endangered is of concern to me. We all know that these wolves are here as a result of the availability of food. I have seen them swimming from the mainland of Alaska to our islands in search of food and new territory. If there is any difference at all in the specie it's because these wolves are hybrids, having bred with our domestic dogs on occasion. Our Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky dogs and others are very capable of survival in the wild and have inbred with these so called phony hybrid Alexander Archipelago wolves, rare indeed, what a crock. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

letter Economy, taxes By Angelo Martin - What are you folks surprised about? When the pulp mill announced they were closing, I was a borough Assembly member. They said utilities, rent taxes would go up. Your town is run by the city manager, the council is advised by him and the council abides by his advice. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

letter MV Wickersham By Jack Kinney - The Wickersham was a Beautiful Lady of the Sea. I enjoyed being on the bridge and conversing with Captain Ken Florian. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

letter TSA By Louise Clark - Yes, Patricia Burkman I realize we have wars going in several countries which by the way were never declared by Congress. As I understand our constitution gives only Congress the power to officially declare wars but just who is paying attention to our constitution any more? - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

letter Thanks By Marlene Steiner - I would like to say thank you to Chris Elliott for the comment on the Deer Mtn. Apts. Yes the Bawden Street will get painted. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

letter RE: Question By Rosemary Nelson - Regarding to Chris Elliott's question, my understanding of why the fire truck will accompany the ambulance is so that there is extra personnel to help if need be. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011

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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