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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 22, 2011

Front Page Photo by FREDA EDGARS

Mountain Goat Visits Ketchikan
This mountain goat was sighted first on the North Tongass Highway around the Carlanna Creek bridge. As the photographer approached, the goat spooked and actually crossed the creek utilizing the pedestrian bridge then went down the creek bank to the Tongass Narrows. The photographer is from Prince Rupert, B.C.
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Fish Factor:
Salmon catch will be in top 20% of harvests since statehood By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s salmon season is on the home stretch and the catch will be far afield from early expectations of 203 million fish. 

“We’re going to definitely be short.  Pinks, chums and sockeyes all are going to be under forecast,” said Geron Bruce, deputy director of ADF&G’s commercial fisheries division.

For sockeye salmon, the big money fish, that’s due to a disappointing take of 20 million sockeyes at Bristol Bay, eight million shy of projections. 

Elsewhere, sockeye catches topped the forecasts  at Chignik, Cook Inlet and Copper River and Kodiak was average, but combined, they don’t  make up for the shortage at Bristol Bay. State managers predicted a total sockeye catch this year of 45 million reds.

Chum runs to most Gulf regions also are smaller than anticipated, especially at Southeast and Prince William Sound.

“We’re going to be short on the chums,” Bruce said. The forecast called for an Alaska harvest of 20 million chums.  

“We’ve had some nice chum returns to the AYK region (Arctic Yukon Kuskokwim), and they’ve had better fishing there than for a long time.  And they’re enjoying better prices like everyone else. So that’s really a plus,” he added.

Blame those hard to predict pinks for causing the season’s biggest shortfall.   The forecast called for a catch of 133 million pinks this, but it’s only half way there.  Bruce said good catches are still coming from Southeast, but it is kind of pokey in other regions.

“Southeast may come close to the forecast of 55 million pinks, but I think we will be lucky to get that,” Bruce said. “Prince William Sound was at 25 million, and they might make up some ground towards 38 million pinks. Kodiak’s catch is likely to end up around 20 million, about 8 million below forecast.” Bruce added.

So what might the tally be for Alaska’s 2011 salmon season?  Lots of pinks and cohos remain to be counted, but the best ‘guess-timate’ is 160-165 million fish.

“Still, It still will rank in the top 20% of Alaska’s salmon harvests since statehood,” Bruce said.  “And there’s been pretty good distribution all around the fishing regions. Not like last year when it was really concentrated in Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound and other areas really had subpar seasons.”

By August 19 the Alaska salmon count stood at 372,000 Chinook, 12.8 million chums, 1.7 million coho, 94.7 million pinks and 39.6 million sockeye salmon – for a total of just over 149 million fish.

SOS is a go

The state Supreme Court has ruled that residents in the Lake and Peninsula Borough can vote on a ballot initiative that could derail the Pebble Mine. The Save Our Salmon measure would add language to the Borough’s permitting code to protect its lands from ‘significant adverse impacts on salmon habitat.’     

Pebble backers filed two lawsuits to try and halt the measure. Earlier this month, the State of Alaska aligned itself with Pebble in court to stop the vote, saying it would set a precedent and threaten other development.

That did not sit well with residents from the region - when they got wind of it. 

“The Bristol Bay Native Corporation was certainly disappointed that Gov. Parnell and  Attorney General John Burns were involved in this initiative at the borough level, and we asked them to withdraw their amicus curiae, or friend of the court briefing, in the Lake and Peninsula borough,” said Jason Metrokin,  President and CEO of BBNC, which has nearly 9,000 shareholders. - More...
Monday - August 22, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Gregory honored for youth suicide prevention work - Megan Gregory recently was selected as a 2011 National Indian Health Service Behavioral Health Achievement Award recipient and was honored for Outstanding Youth Leadership in Suicide Prevention. She received her award on Aug. 3 at the Indian Health Service/Bureau of Indian Affairs/Bureau of Indian Education/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Action Summit for Suicide Prevention in Scottsdale, Ariz. Gregory is an employee of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

Gregory honored for youth suicide prevention work

SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Community Project Assistant Megan Gregory, who recently received a national award for youth leadership in suicide prevention. Gregory is based in Juneau, but she grew up in Kake.

Gregory, 24, is a Juneau-based community project assistant for the SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program. As part of her work with the program, Gregory is a member of the “1 is 2 Many” Southeast Alaska regional suicide prevention task force. She also is heavily involved in launching a new Youth Ambassadors teen suicide prevention program for high school juniors around Southeast Alaska (a program sponsored by SEARHC and 1 is 2 Many). In addition to her work with SEARHC, Gregory just completed her term as the youth representative for the Central Council of the Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. It was through Central Council that Gregory first became a member of 1 is 2 Many (a role she continues with SEARHC). She also served as the first youth advisor to the Sealaska Inc. board of directors.

“It is an immense honor to win this award, and I am very humbled that I was considered knowing that there are many others who are working for youth across the country,” Gregory said. “As a young Native woman from the town of Kake, I have a vision to make the world a better place for all youth. It is a remarkable experience to see that vision become a reality more and more as the days pass. I look forward to continuing my work with the youth, the elders and everyone in between. I encourage everyone to dream big, because the world needs you and together we can make a difference.” - More...
Monday - August 22, 2011

Ketchikan: Fast Ferry Fairweather Sailings Canceled, Repair Underway – The Alaska Marine Highway System’s fast vehicle ferry Fairweather has canceled sailings Monday, August 22nd through Friday, September 2nd due to a pinhole discovered in one of the water jet vanes of the port-outboard water jet. The hole was discovered on the evening of August 18th while the Fairweather was at the dock in Juneau.

Fairweather sailings were initially canceled through last weekend as various repair options were examined. The cancellations have now been extended through September 2nd due to the need to dry dock the vessel in Ketchikan to complete the necessary repairs. A tentative return to service is expected on Saturday, September 3rd.

Repair plans for the Fairweather include removing the water jet and damaged component to inspect for additional or hidden damage, then welding the damaged area to return it to its original dimensions. - More...
Monday - August 22, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom PurcellTom Purcell: An Experience to Avoid - I wonder what the Great Depression was really like.

All we really know about it comes from old news reports and what our older family members told us.

My father's parents must have had a great time dating during the "Roaring '20s." They married in 1929 -- one month before the stock market collapsed.

My grandfather was lucky, though. He had a good job, working directly for the Mellon family as an accountant.

He helped feed and clothe his sisters' children during the hardest times, though he would die in 1937 from strep throat (penicillin was not yet available).

He had seven sisters -- five survived into adulthood -- and they had some 15 children among them.

Those children, my father's cousins, played in their grandmother's basement most Saturday evenings, as their parents played cards and drank homemade hooch above them.

More than one family was living at Grandma Purcell's then. The adults surely worried about paying their bills, but the children had no idea the Great Depression was on.

Some 20 years ago, long after Grandma Purcell had passed on and her house had been sold, I joined some of her grandchildren to tour the old place.

They were in their 60s and 70s then -- only a few are still with us -- and they showed me around the basement where they whiled away so many wonderful Saturdays.

I've been lucky to talk to many older folks over the years who've related their memories of the Depression years. Many told me that as kids, they had no idea they were poor. - More...
Monday - August 22, 2011



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

letter What could go wrong? By A. M. Johnson - Returning from an out of town trip and reading the Ketchikan Daily News issues during that absence, a sequence of items regarding Federal intrusion raise continued concern with the Federal Government agencies over riding States Rights. - More...
Monday - August 22, 2011

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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