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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 03, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY BALZER

Mama bear and cub fishing near the bridge at Herring Cove
located south of Ketchikan. 
Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY BALZER ©2018

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Ketchikan: Gravina airport is 45 years old; Jet age came to Tongass Narrows in 1973, a promised bridge did not By DAVE KIFFER - Forty five years ago this weekend, the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina opened.

Gravina airport is 45 years old; Jet age came to Tongass Narrows in 1973, a promised bridge did not

Ketchikan International Airport
Photo Courtesy ADOT

The dedication of the airport on August 4th and 5th, 1973, ended a decade of intense effort to bring the community's airport from Annette Island 20 miles to the southwest

The Annette airport had been built during World War II and Ketchikan was connected to it by amphibians and floatplanes operated primarily by Ellis Airlines and then Alaska Coastal Ellis Airlines. 

In 1968, Alaska Coastal merged in Alaska Airlines and that airline provided the multiple daily flights that connected Ketchikan passengers with the northbound and southbound jets that were landing on Annette.

As early as the 1950s, the Ketchikan Chronicle and the Ketchikan Daily News advocated for a Ketchikan airport. Initial discussions centered around the only two patches of flat land nearby. Gravina Island, across Tongass Narrows from Ketchikan's West End, and the flat bench land near North Point Higgins, some 14 miles north of Ketchikan.

At one point, in 1955, the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce suggested that the Federal Government study the "feasibility" of filling in the Ketchikan side of the Narrows near Bar Harbor to create enough flat land for a landing strip, but that was quickly dismissed as being too expensive.

In 1965, the Alaska State Division of Aviation commissioned a study that determined it would be possible to build a runway in the Ketchikan area that would be big enough to handle the largest jets of the day. The Ketchikan Daily News advocated strongly for the Point Higgins site, but state officials chose the Gravina site for two reasons. One, the Point Higgins site would have no room for expansion and two, the Gravina site would be closer and more convenient. State officials also pointed to complaints in Juneau that the Mendenhall Valley airport there was an  "inconvenient" 15 miles away from downtown Juneau.

At a speech in Ketchikan in 1968, Gov. Walter Hickel acknowledged that access to Gravina would be an issue, but only until the state built a bridge across the Narrows to Gravina. Hickel told the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce that the Ketchikan bridge would be built as soon as the bridge connecting Sitka and its airport on Japonski Island was completed in 1971.

Land clearing on Gravina began in 1969 and the airport officially opened on August 4, 1973. The dedication ceremony drew just about everyone who was anyone at that point in Alaska.

Gov. William Egan gave the dedicatory address. Also in attendance were Alaska's two U.S. Senators, Ted Stevens and Mike Gravel, as well as Congressman Don Young. The Federal Government was represented by U.S. Secretary of Labor Peter Brennan, Federal Aviation Administration deputy administrator James Dow and Transportation Department Deputy Secretary Bob Monaghan. 

Borough Chairman Karl Steward spoke on behalf of the borough. Astronaut Stewart Roosa was also among the honored guests.

The first jets began arriving on August 3. There was also an "autograph" party at the Voyager Bookstore downtown featuring Alaska Sportsman publisher Emery Tobin and former Mayor Bob Ellis. Also on hand was Roy Jones, 80, who had flown the first plane into Ketchikan, the Northbird, in 1922. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018


Southeast Alaska:
State of Alaska, USDA Forest Service Begin Work on Alaska State-Specific Roadless Rule By MARY KAUFFMAN - The State of Alaska and the USDA Forest Service announced Thursday the signing of a memorandum of understanding to develop an Alaska state-specific roadless rule.

An Alaska state-specific roadless rule will determine which currently designated roadless areas would require a different management designation to further Alaska’s economic development or other needs, while still conserving roadless areas for generations to come.  

According to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service, the state-specific rule will amend the 2001 Roadless Rule, which prohibits road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting on certain National Forest System lands across the country. Currently, in Alaska, 67 percent of National Forest System lands are inventoried roadless areas. An additional 26 percent are designated Wilderness, where road construction is also prohibited.

In establishing this new rule, the USDA Forest Service is responding to Alaska’s petition for a full exemption from the 2001 Roadless Rule. The petition was accepted by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in April 2018, with the decision to pursue a state-specific roadless rule. National Forest System lands in Alaska that are designated Wilderness would be unaffected by this rulemaking.

“We will continue to work with the people of Alaska, the state government, industry, tribes and Alaska native corporations to maintain the health and vibrancy of our National Forests,” said Secretary Perdue. “The national forests in Alaska should be working forests for all industries.”

According to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service, the Forest Service and state will work closely together, as the Forest Service did with Colorado and Idaho to develop their state-specific roadless rules.  An important part of this process will be working with stakeholders from across the region to inform development of this state-specific rule. 

“The State of Alaska is ready to begin this work. I am confident that state and federal officials will be responsive to input from local residents every step of the way and that together we will account for the diverse needs of people who live, work, and recreate in the forest,” Governor Bill Walker said of the project.

Secretary Perdue aims to sign a final Alaska Roadless Rule within the next 18 months according to the Forest Service. The preparation process will involve National Environmental Policy Act environmental review and disclosures, gathering public feedback, conducting public outreach, and consultation with Alaskan Tribes and Native Corporations.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowksi (R-AK) said in a prepared statement, “As I have said many times before, the Roadless Rule has never made sense in Alaska. I welcome today’s announcement, which will help put us on a path to ensure the Tongass is once again a working forest and a multiple use forest for all who live in southeast.” Murkowski said, “I thank Secretary Perdue for recognizing the need for economic relief in these communities, and look forward to continuing to work with the administration, state officials, Sen. Sullivan, and Congressman Young to see this process through to the finish line.”

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) also commented in a prepared statement saying, “I welcome this first step to set forest management and the economy of Southeast Alaska back on track.” - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018


Fish Factor: Year of the Salmon By LAINE WELCH - Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Wild Salmon Day on August 10, but plans also are underway for a much bigger celebration: the International Year of the Salmon  set to officially begin in 2019.

The theme is “Salmon and people in a changing world” and a key focus will be a winter salmon study in the deepest regions of the Gulf of Alaska.

Both are sponsored in part by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission  (NPAFC), which for 25 years has promoted research collaboration among scientists in its five member countries – Canada, Russian, Japan, Korea and the U.S.

“The main inspiration for development of this project is our awareness of the challenges salmon meet in the open ocean related to the climate and in the coastal areas,” said Dr. Vladimir Radchenko, commission director and one of the world’s leading salmon scientists. 

A primary goal of Year of the Salmon is to get more people involved in protecting salmon and “coastal societies.” The aim of the Gulf project, Radchenko said, is to better understand the ocean phase of the salmon life cycle. Doing so would improve knowledge to help forecast salmon abundance and carrying capacity of the North Pacific. 

Researchers have some fragmented understanding of salmon distribution in the deep Gulf area from several surveys starting in the late 1980s. But the surveys were small and the results contradictory, Radchenko said. The project set for next winter will be done with trawl gear and cover a vast area in international waters, 200 miles from shore.

“During the winter, all salmon species migrate off shore and we have compared patterns of distribution seen in previous surveys and found that the main spots of salmon aggregation should be located beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone in February and March,” Radchenko explained.

He added: “It will be a deep survey at about 72 trawl stations and include oceanographic testing of temperature and concentrations of all physical and chemical elements as well as plankton cages so we will have information on the whole ecosystem. We also will take scale samples to determine the salmon origins.”

Based on the survey results Radchenko said researchers “may conclude the current state of the salmon stocks which spend the winter in the Gulf of Alaska.” 

He said scientists in all countries believe that major salmon stocks are facing challenges from the impacts of climate change, especially in southern areas of the North Pacific where warming water circulation patterns are wreaking havoc with salmon food sources. 

 “The warming could make some ocean waters unsuitable for salmon.  It is one of the biggest climate changes problems evident now, maybe more important than ocean acidification” he added.

The 2019 winter survey will include scientists from all member countries and is set to be the first of many, depending on funds.  - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018

Ketchikan: Ketchikan partners celebrate World Breastfeeding Week - It is said that breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to her baby that lasts a lifetime.

During World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, caregivers from PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, Janai Meyer Nutrition & Lactation, LLC; Ketchikan Public Health; and the Early Learning Program are teaming up to make sure moms are supported as they meet the needs of their little ones.

On Saturday, August 4 at the Blueberry Arts festival, a Parents’ Pit Stop is available to provide a comfortable space for breastfeeding mothers as well as a place for parents to do a little dirty work, like changing diapers. This private space will be located just inside the lower Main Street entrance of the State Building, second booth on the right.

According to local lactation specialist Janai Meyer, RD, LD, IBCLC, there are many benefits to breastfeeding, for both moms and babies.

“Breast milk is almost like a medicine” said Meyer. “It helps stave off infections. That’s why I always say, ‘Some breast milk is better than none.’” - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018


jpg Mary Lynne Dahl

MONEY MATTERS: INVESTING GLOBALLY: RISKS AND REWARDS By MARY LYNNE DAHL, CFP® - A key to secure investing includes having a diversified portfolio that is specifically allocated to differing investment types and sectors of the economy, a truth often referred to as not “putting all of your eggs in one basket.” One of the ways to diversify is by country or geographic region instead of just in the US economy. You may think that investing in the stocks and bonds of another country is extremely risky and limit your investments to the US as a result, but if you do that, you are overlooking the fact that when compared with the EU, Asia and the rest of the world, the US market is no longer the biggest market on earth. Ignoring foreign markets does limit the choices and opportunities for investment, so many investors take this into consideration and want to invest globally, not just locally.

The EU, Asia and Southeast Asia are very large global forces for commerce and offer many investment opportunities for serious investors. The rewards are sometimes significant, particularly when the economy of a country is growing. There are also risks, however. As an investor, it pays to be aware of the risks and weigh them against the potential rewards, as much as is possible.

Reducing risks begins with having a plan that has been crafted for the individual investor or organization in mind. This is also the starting point for the rewards that are possible with global investing. When one country is in recession, another may be experiencing solid growth. The poor returns or losses in one country can be offset by gains in another country. A carefully crafted financial plan and investment strategy will produce better long term investment returns while also managing the risks of investing by identifying and minimizing the potential rewards and the risks on a case by case basis for the specific goals and objectives of an investor.

With these basic concepts in mind, what are some of the risks associated with investing globally rather than just in the US? - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018


DANNY TYREE: Will You Survive National Garage Sale Day? - I have browsed umpteen garage and yard sales over the years and used to help my mother display her collectibles in her neighborhood's miles-long event. But I did not realize that Saturday, August 11 is this year's National Garage Sale Day until I read it via "U.S. News & World Report."

Given the current political climate, National Garage Sale Day could be unprecedentedly controversial this year. Just Google "garage sale." In addition to tips for shoppers and sellers, you'll find numerous dueling examples of both "I love garage sales" and "I hate garage sales." The only thing that could make things more incendiary this year is lawn signs such as "With each purchase, an adorable free kitten, named after a distinguished Confederate general."

Still, controversial or not, when we participate in garage sales we are subconsciously paying tribute to our intrepid hunter-gatherer ancestors. As a further homage to their legacy, if you purchase that used electric blender without testing it first, you may also discover FIRE.

People who have never hosted a garage sale don't realize the stress involved. For instance, you have to put a few dents into those stationary bikes and yoga mats, so no one realizes what a slob you are. ("That rowing machine looks like it has been idle since it was used to dump tea into Boston Harbor.")

Savvy shoppers can tell a mediocre garage sale from an outstanding one. Run-of-the-mill garage sale organizers are tickled to see shoppers get into a tug-of-war over a prized item. Organizers who strive for excellence will offer even more entertainment value, perhaps a log-rolling contest or giant slalom to settle such conflicts. ("I would duel you at dawn, sir â€' but that's when I have to be at the 'Absolutely no early birds' garage sale.") - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Midterms 2018 Twister

Political Cartoon: Midterms 2018 Twister
By Dave Granlund ©2018,
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Treadwell for Governor By John E. Nelson - I am writing in support of Republican Mead Treadwell for Governor. As a former ferry system engineer, and Port Engineer for the Alaska Marine Highway System, one compelling reason I have for supporting Mead Treadwell is his steadfast conviction to ensure that the state has a ferry system that works. Support industries like the shipyard and vendors who assist in the maintenance and repair of the vessels are to be encouraged for their value added role both in Ketchikan and for the rest of the state. The ferry system as a whole operates for the benefit of all Alaskans, and fulfills a vital role as one of many important modes of transportation connecting southeastern and southcentral communities. This commitment is secured under a Treadwell Administration.

During the winter of 2016-17 the State operating budget was debated, Treadwell’s opponent Mike Dunleavy had a key role. He ultimately opted to stifle the budgetary process from occurring even after many cuts to schools, healthcare, and state university system had been made. He proudly boasts this as a selling point for his campaign. This unfortunate situation set in motion a chain reaction of several conflating problems. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018  

jpg Letter / Opinion

State Legislation Affecting Our Seniors By Rep. Dan Ortiz - During session, the Alaska State Legislature passed multiple bills that affect our senior citizens. It is the duty of the legislature to protect and serve all citizens. In my time in office, I have made it a priority to try to protect the interests of our elders – those that helped to establish this great state.

The Senior Benefits Payment Program (formerly known as the Longevity Bonus created in 1972) passed during session and was signed into law by the governor earlier this summer. The Senior Benefits Program provides a modest monthly cash payment to low-income seniors to help pay for food, heating, electricity, transportation, and prescription medication. It aids nearly 12,000 Alaskans. It was originally expected to end in June of 2018, but will now continue until 2024.

Another bill affecting all people, including our older generations, is the ‘Smoke-Free Workplace’ bill. Our local AARP was in favor of passing the bill; it passed near the end of session and was signed into law earlier this month. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

IGNORE THE DISCUSSION OF HUMAN LIFE By Robert Holston - Would Lisa Murkowski have let drowning people perish if she was in one of the Titanic life boats and simply referred to those in the water bobbing about and begging for life as “bobbing somethings” instead of living humans? Lisa Murkowski was recently asked about the issue of Roe V Wade and the Supreme Court nominee. To paraphrase her response; “...she certainly does not want to turn back time in regard to a woman’s “reproductive rights".” I interpret that to mean “I want to be forward thinking, scientific, progressive and protecting women’s rights.”

Speaking as a “Guardian Ad-Litem” for the pre-born, I want to address the scientific advancements since the Supreme Court decision1973. At that time the Court did not know when human life began and stated such in the majority decision. They, like Planned Parenthood still does today, projected their institutional ignorance onto the general public by continuing to treat the human fetus as a blob of cells that is a “part of the woman” like a tumor or an oversized wart. As long as the public swallows this unscientific, backwards and antiquated reasoning the Lisa Murkowskis of this world will be able to make seemingly “culturally correct” statements about “women’s reproductive rights.” Those who do so are advertising their ignorance. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

SIMPLE ANSWERS BY A SIMPLE FOOL By David G Hanger - I have yet to see any study that indicates a state income tax would manage to collect as much as $1.2 billion from Alaskans. The studies I have seen and/or heard indicate an aggregate of $300 million to $500 million may be possible, so, Ghert Abbott, your $1.2 billion number is either one big lie, a deception, or a product of your ignorance. Before you blather such nonsense I would sincerely suggest you find out how much the Feds collect in income taxes from 740,000 Alaskans, at which point you might realize how totally whacked out your proposals are.

You are the classic example of a political aspirant doing exactly what your opposition wants you to do, to wit, to support an asinine proposition to increase taxes on individuals because your political opposition refuses to properly tax our oil production, thereby discrediting not only yourself but also the political party you represent. Since we may conceivably be within months of having every woman who has had an abortion since 1974 charged with murder and subjected to execution or life imprisonment (there is no statutory time limit on murder charges) because the evangelical fascists of America believe freedom of religion is something conferred to them but to no one else, and it is thus their obligation to tell every woman how to be, your incompetence is consequential because it reflects very negatively on the Party you claim to represent. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A letter of gratitude from Obvious Jazz. By Rob Holston - I wish to extend a great big “Thank you.” to all who participated in and donated to the 1st annual, Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Fund; “Frank Sinatra Tribute” event. A warm thanks to Dr. Karl and Maria Richey and Kim Henrickson for being wonderful hosts for the event at Creek Street Cabaret.

Next, thanks to all who attended. Your donations totaled over $1,100, all going to the Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Fund. Thanks to all who stood outside waiting for any seat to open up.... the crowd was wonderfully responsive. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018

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