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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

August 27, 2011
Front Page Photo by KEN ARRIOLA

City of the Rainforest
6AM Thursday - Pictured are Ketchikan's Bear Valley, the West End and Gravina Island...
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Fish Factor:
Field testing new technology By LAINE WELCH - Fish tags with iPhone technology are being used for the first time to track halibut migrations based on the earth’s magnetic field.  Cash rewards of $500 are being offered to get the tags back so scientists can see how well they work.

 “This year the technology that everyone has been talking about for a decade but hasn’t been able to miniaturize are tags that record magnetic field strength on three axes and have accelerometers and pitch and roll detectors. Those were the lynch pins– without being able to tell whether or not your tag is horizontal, you can’t really get the axis of the magnetism. The invention of the iPhone and its advancements made the pitch and roll detectors small enough to put in fish tags,” said Dr. Tim Loher, a biologist with the International Pacific Halibut Commission.     

 The IPHC oversees the health of the halibut stocks from California to British Columbia and the Bering Sea, and sets yearly catch limits for all fisheries. 

Loher said the iPhone has used “the rolling bead in the maze game” as an electronic component that  in real time is doing all the calculations  needed to horizontally calibrate a fish tag. 

“If you know the tag is horizontal you can get dip angle which is the angle at which the magnetism is entering the earth’s crust and that becomes steeper as you go to the poles.  That will hopefully give real time, daily positions on the fish and track them without any need for light, acoustics or communication with GPS satellites. All the information will be just be onboard when the fishermen catch them,” he explained.

To field test the new technology this summer, 30 halibut were double tagged both inside and out and released in the Central Gulf and Southeast Alaska regions.

“Almost all of the external tags either fall off or they will grow giant balls of fouling organisms and barnacles and mussels that eventually either kill the fish or screw up what the fish is doing. So what seems to work best is surgical implantation,” Loher said.

The implanted geomagnetic tags have memory and battery life that records data every 30 seconds for seven years, meaning they could provide migration data from fish ‘adolescence’ into their breeding years.   

If the geomagnetic field test works out, IPHC scientists aim to tag nearly 2,000 halibut  from Oregon to Attu and out to the US/ Russian border.  The goal is to build a better migration model to assist with fishery management.

“We’ve got a lot of migration issues and we are trying to set our quotas and determine exactly how to assess the stock,” Loher said. “We know the fish are moving inshore to feed in the summer and offshore to spawn in the winter, but we are having trouble getting refined estimates of movement by size, age and regulatory area.   Hopefully, this will help nail that down.” - More...
Saturday - August 27, 2011

Ketchikan - Statewide: Alaskan Growers School Targets Rural Alaska Natives - Donavan Kienenberger picked up a blue, three-gallon plastic tub and turned to his students, “OK guys. Let’s do worms.” The 11 participants in this year’s Alaskan Growers School gathered around Kienenberger for their class last week on composting with worms. Each participant used an electric drill to puncture ventilation holes in a tub and added torn newspaper, handfuls of soil and around 10 small red worms - the ingredients of a composting factory.

The students, who hail from Ketchikan to Fort Yukon, attended the recent two-week Alaskan Growers School in Fairbanks. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service coordinates the school, which aims to teach Alaska Natives skills to grow enough food for themselves and 10 other families. The school is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Project director Heidi Rader, tribes Extension educator at Tanana Chiefs Conference, said she hopes the school will help Alaska Natives in rural communities grow food to complement subsistence activities. “The goal is to introduce people to a variety of skills and maybe even start a business,” she said.

The school drew participants from Dillingham, Nikolai, Tetlin, Ruby, Aniak, Fort Yukon, Manokotak, Holy Cross, Ketchikan and North Pole. Some want to learn how to raise enough food for themselves and their extended families. Others are considering selling their produce.

Dale Gimple of Nikolai said he hopes to buy less from the village store, where 10-pound bags of potatoes cost more than $20. He also hopes to provide for a large extended family. Diane John of Tetlin gardened for the first time last year and raised enough to share with family members and elders. She doubled her garden space this year. She has two raised beds, a greenhouse and a potato patch. She’s learned a lot about gardening from the school, including how to build a better greenhouse and test her soil. - More...
Saturday - August 27, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Church, theater celebrate end of construction with grand opening –The Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and McPhetres Hall, which burned down tragically on March 12, 2006, has been rebuilt and will be hold a grand opening on September 4th to celebrate the end of construction.

"Although it has taken us a long time to raise enough funds, the new multi-use facility is substantially complete and ready to serve the Juneau community and SE Alaska performing arts groups," Michael Lukshin, Chairman of the Holy Trinity Church Council wrote in an email.

Parts of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, which is downtown Juneau’s newest performance space, community meeting area and church, have been in use for more than a year and a half. But other areas remained under construction until recently. Community members, many of whom have contributed to rebuilding, are invited to tour the church, theater and meeting rooms.

“We want to celebrate the end of construction and let people know we’re grateful for all their prayers and support, and we want to thank them,” said Michael Lukshin, who heads up the church’s vestry, or governing board.

The original Holy Trinity church stood at the corner of 4th and Gold Streets for more than 100 years until it burned in a March 12, 2006, arson fire. Insurance, grants and community contributions allowed it to be rebuilt to contemporary standards. - More...
Saturday - August 27, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: The Great Flood of 2011!!!!!! - “Global warming” or “Climate change” or whatever you want to call it is having a significant effect on Our Fair Salmon City!

No, the temps are certainly not warmer and the water levels are not rising very much.

Actually, the sad thing about all the global warming predictions is that we are in the middle of the one part of the world where all the climate change models show that things will get colder and wetter. You knew that was coming.

But as usual, I digress.

No, there has been a rapid increase in one thing.

Dire weather predictions!

In the past, the National Weather service has been pretty low key about predicting local weather. Occasionally, there would be a storm warning or two. Sometimes, they would caution us to be wary of high winds in “exposed areas” (as if any long-time resident would be caught dead “exposing” their areas in this climate).

But other than suggesting we check on our boats to make sure they don’t sink at the dock, there was little differentiation between a storm bringing two inches or eight inches of rain. Little concern unless sustained winds of 70 plus are expected. Then they warned people to secure their backyard trampolines.

Occasionally, there was a winter storm warning where they talked about a bit of snow and whiteout, but – don’t be alarmed – it’s not like we live in Shaktoolik or some such place. All snow washes away here, more sooner than later. - More...
Wednesday - August 24, 2011



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

Update in Progress

letter RE: What Could Go Wrong? By Ken Leland - Spot on, Mr. Johnson! The best example was the disaster on Fishery Management prior to statehood, which was spiraling into disaster. With statehood Alaska assumed control of fisheries and the industry ( which is one of the cornerstones of Alaska's economy) that has not only recovered, but expanded. - More...
Monday - August 24, 2011

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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