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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Wednesday - Thursday
August 22-23, 2012

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Herring Cove: Fishing
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Southeast Alaska:
Icy Straits Lumber and Milling Co. expands in SE By PAULA DOBBYN - Wes Tyler of Hoonah works in an industry that has suffered heavy losses in recent years. Despite a sharp downturn in Alaska’s once-thriving timber industry that resulted in hundreds of lost jobs and mill closures, Tyler’s Icy Straits Lumber and Milling Co. is surviving and recently took steps to expand.

Icy Straits Lumber and Milling Co. expands in SE

Wes Tyler, owner of Icy Straits Lumber and Milling Co., stands in his sort yard next to a pile of old-growth logs from the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. Tyler operates a custom lumber and wood products company in Hoonah.

Located on a remote northeast corner of Chichagof Island, Tyler’s small sawmill and manufacturing facility employs about a dozen people. The company - which many consider a model for value-added timber processing in Alaska - opened a showroom this summer in Juneau.

Tyler sees the showroom as an opportunity to build his client base by reaching out to Juneau’s 30,000 or so residents and boosting sales of his custom old-growth wood products from the Tongass National Forest.

“A foothold in Juneau should open up new markets to us. People will get to see the products and get to know what we can offer,” Tyler said.

At this point, the showroom operates by appointment only. But Tyler hopes eventually to have it staffed during regular business hours. Located in an industrial park in Juneau, near Costco, the showroom is stocked with samples of Icy Straits Lumber products - items such as beams, crown molding, decking, siding, paneling, chairs, tables and mantles. Complete home and cabin packages are available.

Everything is made from Sitka spruce, Alaska yellow cedar, Western red cedar and Western hemlock grown in the Tongass National Forest. The trees that Tyler selects are typically massive and several hundred years in age. They produce lumber with a tight, clear grain and few knots, the type sought after by discerning contractors, carpenters, boat builders and wood aficionados with high-end tastes. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Frustrations with Chieftain and Canadian Agencies Lead to Calls for New Cleanup Plan For Tulsequah Chief Acid Mine Pollution - Concerns and frustration are growing on both sides of the border in response to Chieftain Metals’ closure in June of the water treatment plant at the Tulsequah Chief site. Chieftain Metals announced in June its intent to close the Interim Water Treatment Plant which was installed at the site in November 2011. The water treatment plant was constructed by Chieftain to address the historic environmental concerns of acid mine drainage from previous mine workings and was in full operational and commissioning mode from December 2011 until June 2012.

The Tulsequah Project is located in northwestern British Columbia on the Tulsequah River near its junction with the Taku River, approximately 62 miles south of the town of Atlin, British Columbia and approximately 40 miles northeast of Juneau, Alaska.

Some stakeholders are now urging Canadian agencies to investigate solutions to the acid mine drainage problem that are not dependent on the mining company or a developed mine project.

“The mine suffers from enormous technical, political and financial challenges,” said Chris Zimmer the Alaska Campaign Director for Rivers Without Borders. “Relying on mining companies and a developed mine for cleanup has failed, and calls for a better cleanup plan are increasing. Now is the time to end this threat to clean water and salmon in the Taku River and find a permanent solution that is not dependent on a mine or mining company. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2012

Southeast Alaska: USFWS Director Ashe to Attend Southeast Meetings on Sea Otters - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced today that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe will be visiting Southeast Alaska at her request, to discuss the impacts of sea otter predation on subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries in Southeast Alaska.

Murkowski said the goal of the stakeholder meetings is to resolve growing conflicts between USFWS enforcement officers and Alaska Native craftsman who use sea otters and other marine mammals in their traditional clothing and handicraft designs.

“I appreciate Director Ashe accommodating my request that he visit Southeast Alaska. I want him to hear directly from residents who are impacted by both the growing sea otter population and who struggle to understand the confusing laws surrounding the use of sea otter products,” Murkowski said. “I look forward to working with USFWS to come to a resolution that will benefit both the citizens of Southeast, as well as the animals that we are working to protect.”

While sea otters are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, Alaska Natives are allowed to harvest and use sea otters in their traditional clothing, artwork and handicrafts. However, recent enforcement activities by USFWS have raised local concerns over how the law is being interpreted in Southeast. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2012

Alaska: State of Alaska Sues to Regain Control of Elections - Tuesday, the State of Alaska sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging federal authority to require approval by the Department of Justice, known as “preclearance,” before the state can make any changes in state election laws and procedures.

The complaint contends that the preclearance requirement infringes on the state’s sovereignty and hampers its ability to run timely and efficient elections, referencing recent litigation that jeopardized this year’s elections.

“We believe in equal rights and do everything we can to help Alaskan voters vote,” said Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell. “But doing that job is hindered—not helped—by federal micromanagement.” - More...
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2012

Columns - Commentary

DOUG PATTON: If I Ran a Super PAC - At one time or another, most people have fantasized about what they would do if they were rich. I'm talking what we used to call filthy rich. I know what I would do. I would start a Super PAC. I would fund it myself, write the ads, make the media buys, and drive liberals crazy. It would be so much fun.

I would start with Mitt Romney's taxes. The Obama campaign points out that Romney pays a lower percentage rate than does his running mate, Paul Ryan. The premise of the argument is faulty, of course, but conservatives don't seem to know how to stop the other side from defining the issue.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger first ran for governor of California, he tapped billionaire Warren Buffett to advise him on economic issues. Buffett proceeded to tell the media that he paid more than $14,000 in property taxes annually on his primary residence in Omaha, which was valued at $500,000, while paying less than $2,000 a year on his $2.4 million home in Laguna Beach, California. It was Buffet's belief that the California model, not Nebraska's, was the flawed one.

This attitude is at the heart of the current debate over Mitt Romney's tax bill. My fantasy Super PAC ad would ask several questions: Where is it written that government always has to grow? If a wealthy person pays a lower rate than someone making less, why is it logical to assume that the rich guy's taxes should be raised? Why not lower the taxes of the person with a more modest income? Of what benefit is it to Paul Ryan — or any of us — to raise Mitt Romney's taxes? You want to help me out? Lower my taxes! - More...
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2012

WILL DURST: The Bold Choice - With the election slipping away like a handful of mercury on a turbocharged merry-go-round, Mitt Romney managed to change the conversation from unreleased tax returns and foreign misadventures by plucking Paul Ryan out of the Wisconsin wilds to be his running mate. "Romney-Ryan." Short, alliterative and one syllable more conservative than "Obama-Biden."

The situation appeared so desperate the choice couldn't wait until after closing ceremonies of the Olympics, forcing the House Budget Committee chairman to share the weekend spotlight with enough English pop stars to clear out the hairspray aisle at seven Boots drug stores. The Republican Congressman may be famous for his P90x work-out regimen, but the Spice Girls have much better legs. And they're way older.

Ryan was universally hailed as a bold choice. Yeah, well, maybe, but bold is not always synonymous with good. Whiskey for breakfast is a bold choice. Spun glass underwear is bold. Forehead dragon tattoos. Passing an 18-wheeler on a blind curve doing 80 in the rain. Incredibly bold. Not necessarily smart. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2012


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Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter Re: Irregularities in Ketchikan's fiscal forecast By Agnes Moran - The Aquatic Center and the replacement generator are the two items of concern to Mr. Plute that lie in purview of the Borough. Unfortunately, Mr. Plute's letter contains many inaccuracies regarding these two projects and I would like to address those here. - More...
Thursday AM - August 23, 2012

letter One More Day - Construction Yard Sale - Saturday August 25th;
Thank you Ketchikan!
By Amanda Hein - “Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.” Lao Tzu .... If you put this in the context of Ketchikan Youth Initiatives (KYI), it would be a perfect fit. KYI is continuing that perseverance for the teenagers of our community. Their plan of action is to create a long overdue youth center. It’s a wonderful project that will definitely change Ketchikan and the lives of teenagers residing here. - More...
Thursday AM - August 23, 2012

letter Coastal Zone Management: Vote "Yes" By R.K. Rice - Since the Supreme Court decided that Corporations are people with even more rights than an individual, as they can donate unlimited money, while we as individuals are limited, I find it more difficult to separate glossy spin from the truth. - More...
Thursday AM - August 23, 2012

letter Shameful By Laura Plenert - Jack Shay's "performance" in court on Monday was shameful and disgusting. Entertainer til the end. - More...
Thursday AM - August 23, 2012 

letter Tough Questions By Guy Archibald - If the Ketchikan Gateway Borough (KGB) Assembly is to protect the long term interests of its citizens, they need to ask tough questions before agreeing to locate an ore processing facility within KGB.  They need to ensure that the promises made by the mine are enforceable and will protect the community far into the future.  Unfortunately, mines have a history of making grand promises in the early stages and then abandoning them after closure or when market conditions change. - More...
Tuesday - August 21, 2012

letter Supporting Agnes Moran By Hannah Ramiskey - Our representative to the State House must have the moral fiber, common sense, good judgment, and intelligence to allow her to sift through the mountains of information and opinions to find the best solution for our community.  She has to really know our community and its needs.  For me, Agnes Moran is the best choice for the House of Representatives.  She volunteers for her church, the Humane Society, provides meals for the Lord’s Table which benefits the less fortunate, donates her time in several schools, and still has the energy to work hard for our community on the Borough Assembly. - More...
Tuesday - August 21, 2012

letter Thank you! By Vicki Harsha - My son, Nick Martin, was recently involved in a jet boat accident on the Stikine River in Wrangell, Alaska. Twelve hours after the accident he called to tell me he was on the way to the hospital in Wrangell and asked if I would let the Ketchikan Indian Community know that he would be going to the emergency room for treatment. He assured me he was fine and that he just needed some stitches in his forehead and possibly his finger. - More...
Tuesday - August 21, 2012

letter Irregularities in Ketchikan's Fiscal Forecast By Ed Plute - Currently the City of Ketchikan is $158 million in debt according to the 2012 annual budget. Established here are just a few examples of financial irresponsibilities that need to addressed and not behind closed doors. - More...
Tuesday - August 21, 2012

letter Cabin elimination By A. M. Johnson - Will the results of the public comments regarding the removal of various cabins from the Tongass National Forest reflect a corresponding reduction in the excessive number of U.S.Forest Service employees in the respective areas? - More...
Tuesday - August 21, 2012

letter Coastal Zone Management By Tom Schulz, Mary Schulz, Tina Singer, David A Smith, Joni P Koerner, Judith McQuerry, Mary Dowling & Joann Flora - It is not hard to understand why the oil companies and other big money business types are fighting so hard against restoring Alaska's coastal management program. They prefer to shut locals out and just let the federal government call the shots, because they have the wherewithal to influence federal decisions. Mere citizens do not - unless we vote to restore coastal management on August 28. - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012

letter "Yes" on Ballot Measure 2 By Bob Claus - Tom Boutin, a forester and logging engineer with over 40 years of experience, recently wrote an op-ed opposing Ballot Measure 2, the Coastal Zone Management proposal. - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012

letter Ballot Measure 2: Bait and Switch By Debra Heston - I have heard that the ballot initiative for re-establishing the coastal management program has been promoted as protecting local property rights.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  It is hard to believe that Alaskans would support the measure if they had read the fine print... which not everyone does. - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012

letter Coastal Zone Management: Yes on Ballot Measure 2 By Mary G. Schulz, Tom Schulz, Melissa A Miller, Tina Demmert, David A Smith, Joni P. Koerner, Judith McQuerry, Mary Dowling & Joann Flora - The coastal management program ballot initiative is a pro-growth, pro-development measure. Better yet, it's a smart growth initiative. For 34 years, Alaska's coastal management program allowed key players, (including you and I through our chosen representatives) to sit down together and plan the best way to make new projects happen. It didn't slow things down; it facilitated development by avoiding lawsuits and other costly logjams. When we work together to find locally acceptable courses of action, we can settle disputes before they become huge legal problems. - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012

letter "No" on Ballot Measure 2 By Debra Heston - Everyone knows that there are special interests that would like nothing more than to rape and pillage Alaska's natural resources, and steamroller the local opposition.  Until now, they have been kept in check.  Parts of the fine print in ballot initiative #2 read like a laundry list of grievances the state has had about all the tactics Alaskans use when they don't want to shut up and do as they are told... and counters for each of them.  I am sure that there are executives who would trade their viagra to see this thing pass, it could be everything they ever dreamed of.  If there is collusion between the state and the proposed board, then they will have one hell of a blank check to do whatever they want.  The only ones restricted by this are Alaskans and their local governments.  There is even a provision on pg. 10 lines 6-11 for overturning local elections! - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012 

letter Privatizing Mr Ryan By Michael Spence - Paul Ryan's overtures about cutting costs on Medicare and Social Security for middle aged people who have paid into both for many years make me wonder if he will follow in the footsteps of the last GOP vice presidential candidate, who was elected to serve in one capacity and before it was done, ran for another office. - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012

letter RE: Girl Scouts on Alaska Air Flight By Esther Rhodes - Thank you Susan for such a nice letter you submitted regarding the girls who were returning to Ketchikan on your flight. - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012

letter TOO MANY LIFEGUARDS... By Tracey Horne Scadden - I read with interest MS.Teal's concern regarding too many lifeguards. When I lifeguarded back in the early 70's I couldn't tell you how many guards we had. But living here in Utah I counted the other day at a outdoor pool about the same size as your new one, they had at least 7 that I could visualize, there might have been more. - More...
Monday PM - August 20, 2012

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