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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 03, 2012

Front Page Photo By MIKE SMITH

Herring Cove: Black Bear
Front Page Photo By MIKE SMITH ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

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Permanent Fund flat for Fiscal Year 2012 - According to preliminary data released yesterday by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, the Permanent Fund’s investments returned 0.02 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, and closed with a value of $40.3 billion. This was up $193 million from the end of the prior year, and the Fund outperformed the composite benchmark return of -0.2 percent.

“It was a volatile year for the global stock markets, particularly overseas markets,” said Michael Burns, CEO. “Stocks make up about half of the Fund’s investments, so they had the largest impact on our performance. However the bond and real estate portfolios performed quite well over the course of the fiscal year, helping mitigate the poor performance from stocks and creating a positive return for the Permanent Fund.”

In the first quarter of the fiscal year stock markets were sharply down, feeling the drag of slow growth domestically and political and economic turmoil overseas. Markets then appeared to return to normal, rallying through the second and third quarters, especially in the U.S. But overseas markets were shaken by continuing woes and fell into double digit losses in the fourth quarter, creating a net negative return for the stock portfolio despite positive returns in the U.S. markets.

The Fund’s U.S. stock portfolio returned 2.3 percent. The non-U.S. portfolio returned -14.6 percent while the global portfolio returned -4.7 percent.

Continued concerns over the stability of Eurozone sovereign debt, along with slowing growth in emerging market countries drove investors to the U.S. As a result, U.S. bonds returned 7.8 percent. Compared to stocks, even non-U.S. bonds still seemed safe to investors by comparison, and the portfolio returned 6.5 percent. - More...
Friday - August 03, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Wreckage of small plane located, one fatality - The Coast Guard and Juneau Mountain Rescue located the wreckage of a missing small plane in Southeast Alaska Thursday.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a report of a white and teal Piper Cherokee from Air Excursions, LLC. overdue on a flight from Juneau to Gustavus at approximately 9:17 a.m. Thursday prompting a search of the region by a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka and a helicopter from Coastal Helicopters in Juneau. The pilot was reported to be the sole occupant aboard the air plane at the time of disappearance.

The Coastal helicopter located the wreckage at about 3 p.m. Thursday near Point Howard in the Tongass National Forest 23 miles west of Juneau. The Coast Guard rescue helicopter delivered a four-man Juneau Mountain Rescue team to the ground approximately one half mile from the crash site. Upon arrival to the crash site at about 4:24 p.m. they located the pilot of plane who they determined to be deceased. The pilot was identified today by the Alaska State Troopers as 56 yoa Kevin Murray of Washington. - More...
Friday - August 03, 2012

Alaska: Feds, State, UAF scientists team up for major marine ecosystem survey in Arctic seas - A team of marine scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, federal, and state agencies is heading to the Arctic to begin the first comprehensive oceanographic and fisheries survey of the Chukchi Sea. The first of two vessels being used for the survey will depart August 6 from Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

It’s the first survey that will sample all major components of the marine ecosystem at the same time throughout the U.S. waters of the northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea. It covers the entire eastern Chukchi Sea shelf, with sampling in offshore waters at least 50 feet deep from south of Hooper Bay to north of Barrow (61 to 73 degrees latitude). 

The primary purpose of the survey is to gather scientific data needed to avoid or mitigate effects of potential future offshore oil and gas development projects on arctic marine life. The information will provide the scientific underpinning to help guide future responsible economic development activities in the Arctic region, including possible transportation and fisheries opportunities. It will also help determine potential impacts of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems. 

Funding for the project comes from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, State of Alaska Coastal Impact Assistance Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

“We have scientists from UAF, NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game participating in this Arctic Ecosystem integrated survey,” said UAF’s Franz Mueter, lead scientist for the collaborative effort. “So it is a bit of a scientific dream team.”

Areas of particular interest to the team include: - More...
Friday - August 03, 2012

Alaska: Waiver Allows Freight Carrier to Convert Ships to LNG; But Alaska Consumers Still Face Major Cost Increases from ECA - A conditional Emission Control Areas waiver has been granted to Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE), allowing the shipping company to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a means of complying with new rules to reduce air pollution from ships. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Coast Guard announced the approval of the waiver today.

The waiver will give Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) four years to convert its two Alaska-bound ships to liquefied natural gas, instead of having to switch immediately to more costly fuel.

The waiver will enable TOTE to develop and convert its two ORCA-class vessels, already the “greenest” ships in the U.S. domestic fleet, to the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as their primary fuel source. The conversion will advance technology and accelerate the use of natural gas as a cleaner domestic energy source. The ORCA-class vessels ship between Tacoma and Anchorage.

“When the Orca class vessels were delivered in 2003, they were purpose-built to serve the Alaska market and exceeded all regulatory and environmental standards. Post LNG conversion, the Orca vessels will again set a new standard for environmental responsibility. These changes will provide benefits to the residents of Alaska well into the 21st century,” said John Parrott, President of TOTE.

To Totem Ocean Trailer Express’ knowledge, this will be the first conversion in the world of vessels of this type. In addition to exceeding the sulfur reduction goals of ECA by 95 percent, when the TOTE ships are converted, they will achieve significant emissions reductions in all other categories of emissions: particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxide (NOX) and carbon dioxide (CO2); making these ships among the cleanest in the world. More importantly, these broader benefits will continue to accrue and compound over the next thirty years or longer. The shore side LNG infrastructure that is to accompany TOTE’s plan may help other transportation industries in Puget Sound follow TOTE in converting to LNG. This could result in a significant increase in air quality throughout the Puget Sound region.

U. S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said, “I commend TOTE for its innovative thinking and applaud EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard for having the flexibility to come to this agreement regarding the North American Emission Control Area (ECA)."

Begich said, “The permit will help protect Alaskans from increased shipping costs, expand the market for natural gas, and ultimately lead to even cleaner air than ECA requires.  TOTE’s project will be the first major use of LNG as a ship fuel in the United States, and others in the maritime industry are sure to follow the path that TOTE will be blazing. - More...
Friday - August 03, 2012


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letter Warning:  District 33 House Seat Not for Sale By Jim Shoemaker - Three GOP candidates – Agnes Moran, Patti Mackey, and Peggy Wilson – want to represent Ketchikan and Wrangell in the State House of Representatives. 

The latest reports filed by those three candidates with the Alaska Public Offices Commission tell a crucial tale of campaign financing and outside special interests.  Every voter in Ketchikan should take heed.  - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2012

letter Rights of Person's with Disabilities Treaty By Amanda Mitchell - The CRPD stands for The Convention of Rights of Person's with Disabilities. It is a treaty that is going to be voted on in the Senate to be ratified soon. I have done my own research and am horrified that we would even consider this. Basically, it is the same as The Convention on the Rights of a Child. However, it is giving the UN/government control over what is in the "best interests" of the disabled and disabled children. It supersedes any of our own fundamental rights like the right to self-govern, our laws and Constitution. And instead of "We the People" it gives further control over to government to do what "it" thinks is best. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2012

letter Too Many Lifeguards By Julie Yonker - I do not normally write any responses in the SitNews letters, I just read them. However, this time I want to make a comment. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2012

letter School 1957 vs. 2010 By A. M. Johnson - Too good not to submit for consumption! Here is a stark realization of how far we as a civilization have fallen!! We have deteriorated into a Nation of 'Wimps'. You read this stuff happening almost daily where once as in 1957, you grew up toughen to what life was going to present-Reality. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2012

letter Re: Voter Turnout By Joey Garcia - Regarding Ken Lewis' comments on voter turn-out, I simply disagree on his premise to somewhat disallow the PFD to non-voters. He should remember that PFD is not a right but a privilege given to Alaskans whether they answered NO in their PFD application but stayed outside Alaska for more than 180 days, an oversight for PFD to really check if the applicants are not committing fraud. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2012

letter Parrots will Prevail... then we starve. by Ken Bylund - Constructionism and Determinism is how our species organize our day to day survival strategy, and it works pretty good, but there are many a dangerous flaw; Friedrich Hayek saw it as The Fatal Conceit; Heinz Pagels' Cosmic Code, wrote about Albert Einstein's opposition to the New Quantum theory... his quip, "God doesn't play dice." Einstein was saying he believes in 'determinism', that 'probability' was abhorrent and that nature was 'put together with mathematical precision' and could be understood and predicted. It appears even Einstein could be wrong. - More...
Monday - July 30, 2012

letter Are we ever disappointed? By Judith Green - NO! We are never disappointed in any of the multitude of events on our island that give us beauty in talent. And so it was again this past week end - CLassics a'la Carte. High school students, recent Kayhi graduates, long time Ktn residents: ensembles, solos, duets: instrumental, vocal. For 2 hours we were engaged, in awe, amazed, enthralled - glad for the evening. Bravo to each one who shared with us just a little of their 'joy of music'. - More...
Monday - July 30, 2012

letter RE: Voter Turnout By Mark Stopha - I don't think Ken Lewis's idea of having to vote in order to receive a PFD is unfair or bad at all. In fact, I've had a similar idea, using the power of the PFD without spending any of it to improve things in Alaska. It would change getting a PFD from a right to a privledge - like hunting and fishing. - More...
Monday - July 30, 2012

letter Voter Turnout Solution By Brian Gray - Heck Ken Lewis, for a piece of that AK Perm Fund, I'd go back to "the homeland" to vote and pay my own way! Especially if only a marginally higher turnout was a result. - More...
Monday - July 30, 2012

letter NCAA Piling On Penn State By Donald A. Moskowitz - I am upset about the child abuse committed by Sandusky and the cover up by Paterno, Curley, Schulz and Spanier.  The lives of many young children have been adversely impacted by these men.- More...
Monday - July 30, 2012

letter Drinking Burned Garbage By Shelley Stallings - Thank you Kathy Doyle. I continue to be amazed when I see people burning garbage. This form of air pollution is bad enough by itself, but when you add the fact that almost all of us outside of the city limits drink water which is collected from our roofs, it becomes really scary. As you noted there are many synthetic chemicals in much of the garbage that is burned. This ends up on our roofs, then into our cisterns. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter Voter Turn out By Ken Lewis - 7% turn out is sad, so here is my dumb solution. Alaskans get oil revenue money. If you want your Permanent Fund check, Vote. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter RE: Too Many Lifeguards By Kevin Gadsey - I am responding to Ms. Teal's question about having too many lifeguards at the pool. She must have come to the old Smithers Pool when the newly-hired lifeguards were training side-by-side with the experienced lifeguards. At the Smithers Pool, they usually had 3-4 guards for both pools combined. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter RE: "Too Many Lifeguards" By Larissa Otness - I am in shock that someone would question the amount of lifeguards and they're importance to the safety of our children. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

letter Ketchikan Gas Prices By Mike Wilson - Just a friendly note to let people know that the gas prices at Lighthouse Tesoro are 30 cents cheaper per gallon than what I observed yesterday in town. - More...
Monday - July 23, 2012

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