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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 22, 2008

Front Page Photo By LINDA WILLIAMS

Overlooking Upper George Inlet
Front Page Photo By LINDA WILLIAMS



Fish Factor: Alaska's premier king crab fishery underway October 15th By LAINE WELCH - Fall signals the start of Alaska's premier king crab fishery at Bristol Bay, and reduced supplies mean crabbers are betting on higher prices.

Fishery managers will announce the catch quotas for king and snow crab at the end of September, but they indicated last week that the harvests levels will remain about the same as last season.

"The news after the (state and federal) crab plan team meeting in Seattle is that whatever changes take place in opilio (snow crab) and red king crab quotas for the coming year, they are likely to be minor," said market expert John Sackton of

If predictions hold true, that means catches would be in the ballpark of roughly 20 million pounds of red kings and 63 million pounds of snow crab for the 2008/09 season. There will be no blue king crab fishery at St. Matthew Island, despite earlier indications that it would open for the first time in a decade.

Meanwhile, the basic economic tenet of supply and demand will be the big price driver for crab lovers. U.S. buyers are tightening their belts due to the sluggish economy, but that's not the case for Alaska's #1 customer: Japan. Market analyst Ken Talley of Seafood Trend said demand for Alaska king crab is strong in Japan, and that should be reflected in higher prices.

Through June, imports of frozen crab into Japan had fallen 27% from the previous year to 9.3 million pounds. That pushed up wholesale prices by 41.5% per pound on average compared to last year, Talley said. If the king crab supply remains down in the Russian Far East fisheries this fall (which traditionally imports 90% of its king crab to Japan), Japan could be an aggressive buyer of Alaskan king crab.

In the U.S. retail sales are key to the king crab market, and with reduced supplies, prices have increased over the last year by nearly 40% for imported product. Talley said some major U.S. buyers may forego king crab until after the prime holiday sales season when prices may soften. The U.S. market wants king crab, but will only pay so much for it - and American buyers can expect stiff competition from both Japan and Europe.

Last year Bering Sea (Bristol Bay) crabbers averaged about $4.45 a pound for red king crab. Alaska competes with Russia and Norway in world king crab markets, and fishermen there also are negotiating for higher prices this year. Alaska's fishery gets underway on October 15th. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

National: Candidates struggle to keep pace with change in Iraq By MATTHEW B. STANNARD - A year ago, the Iraq war was a sure bet to dominate the 2008 presidential campaign.

Gen. David Petraeus, admitting frustration at the war's slow progress, predicted that the size of the U.S. force in Iraq would remain largely unchanged for the foreseeable future. American troops were dying at a rate of two or three a day. And one-third of voters said in a Gallup poll that Iraq would be the determining issue in who they'd vote for in November.

Against that backdrop, the two future presidential nominees couldn't have been further apart. Sen. Barack Obama was calling for an immediate troop withdrawal; Sen. John McCain was warning that a date for withdrawal would be "a date for surrender."

What a difference a year makes.

Today, Iraq is quieter, a turn that most experts attribute to the increase in troop strength and a renunciation of violence by U.S.-paid Sunni militias and rogue Shiite groups. Just eight American troops were killed in action in Iraq in July, the lowest level since the war began, and just 12 were killed in August. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

National: Honey, they shrunk the snack chips - but not prices By SHELLEY SHELTON - If you're able to tear through a bag of chips, a package of cookies or a carton of ice cream a lot faster than you used to, it's probably not just your eating habits.

You might also have noticed that you're emptying the coffee canister and the orange juice jug sooner than you did a year ago.

Those five items came in smaller package sizes -- around a serving's worth -- than they did last year, and all had a higher average price, the Arizona Daily Star found in its annual grocery survey.

Such trends come and go over time, said Chris Waldrop, director of the Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

This time around, packaging changes probably began six to nine months ago, Waldrop said: "What you're seeing is a result of increased commodity prices overall."

At a time when company costs are increasing, manufacturers have two choices: They can raise prices outright -- "which is the most clear way to do it, but it's the one consumers identify very quickly," Waldrop said - or they can change the amount of food consumers get per package. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008


Newsmaker Interviews

Bill Steigerwald: Greed Is Not Good -- Interview with MSNBC's Erin Burnett - Erin Burnett of CNBC is not just another frequently appearing pretty TV face in the world of big-time business reporting. The anchor of CNBC's "Street Signs" (2-3 p.m.) and co-anchor of "Squawk on the Street" (9-11 a.m.), Burnett is a former investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs and a former vice president at Citigroup. She's also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a regular contributor to NBC network news shows and "Morning Joe" on MSNBC.

I talked to Burnett by telephone at 3 p.m. Thursday as stocks were soaring on word that the federal government was going to create a special entity that would handle the huge real estate debt that has brought down major financial institutions and created a crisis on Wall Street:

Q: On a 1-to-10 scale, 10 being a meltdown, where are we right now?

A: It depends on who you ask. For many market players, this is a 9 or 10 event. You continue to see headlines discussing this as the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Some people would even say it's the worst crisis since 1907, so if you think about it that way, you have to say it's a 10. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Characters Wanted - I was surprised to read Tom Wetzel's obituary in the Ketchikan Daily News recently.

Ever since Wetzel went south with a serious illness more than a decade ago, there have been numerous rumors about him passing away. I just assumed that at least one of them was true.

I don't want to pretend that I knew Tom particularly well, because I didn't. But like many residents I was used to seeing him out and about.

You couldn't miss his 6'8" inch stature and his slow shuffling walk. He always had a big hat and he was usually smoking. Rain or shine, you would seem him walking everyday, seemingly from one of the town to the other and then back again.

You would also see him in the many of the local "establishments." Even in the darkened recesses of places like the Shamrock and the Marine, it was hard to miss his tall frame nodding along to the music or hunched over paper, sketching. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on Fool's Amethyst - Most chemists can't display samples of a compound that is named after them. So, in a way, I was a very fortunate wannabe chemist when I raided my piggy bank for a gleaming clump of pyrite - also known as fool's gold.

Pyrite is a common mineral that is a compound of reduced, or electron-rich, forms of iron and sulfur. About the only thing that it has in common with gold is its color, and even that requires some gullibility. As far as minerals go, gold is soft and malleable. Its beautiful luster is extremely uniform and resistant to corrosion. Pyrite is almost as hard as quartz (the principal component of common glass) and it naturally forms a multi-faceted structure, often with indelible striations in color. It is easily oxidized to rusty goo and sulfur dioxide gas, which you get a whiff of every time to strike a match. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008


Nation's Finances
National Debt Clock

National Election
November 4, 2008

arrowVoter's Survival Kit - The Smart Citizen's Guide to What the Politicians Won't Tell You
Public Agenda for Citizens -

Ketchikan Regular Election
October 07, 2008

For its 8th year, Sitnews will provide a free web page to all local 2008 candidates.

1) Local candidates are requested to provide background information, experience and qualifications for the public office for which they seek election.

2) Candidates are also requested to address in their statements important issues facing Ketchikan and how these issues could best be addressed.

Candidate's Statements will be published as received. Send your candidate's statement & photograph to

SitNews will provide an unedited public forum in order that citizens can ask questions of candidates as a group. Candidates are encouraged to participate in the public forum.

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September 2008
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Basic Rules

letterNo Blank Check. Ensure Fiscal Responsibility. By Paul Merrill - I am very worried about the proposed bailout of the financial services industry that will cost US taxpayers nearly a TRILLION dollars. I've spent all morning writing my elected officials and the chairmen of the House and Senate Finance Committees and I encourage you to do the same. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

letter Know Knowles = No Knowles and Mayor Whines Too By Edward Brown - I wrote awhile ago that former Gov. Tony Knowles should really take all the credit along with former President Bill Clinton for shutting down the only pulp mill left there In the 1st city and State of AK. Then their liberal media friends stained Ketchikan's reputation and Uncle Ted too by calling out the Gravina island bridge. They are so darned ethical. Really? They really want the credit for shutting down that bridge. Sarah's trying to get all the credit now. Boo hoo. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

letter Anti Alaska Mythbusters By Herb Small - In response to Mayor Weinstein regarding a group he has formed called "Alaska Mythbusters", I'd like to question the following: Besides Weinstein, Tony Knowles and three other people who belong to this esteemed group - who else belongs and why were they so secretive in their meeting that they didn't even bother to notify our local press prior to conferring with the national news media -- who I might add didn't seem to just jump on their story and print it on the front page of the NY Times. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

letterMcCain will increase taxes for the middle-class By Joan Beraldi - I am concerned about the lack of attention the media has focused on Senator McCain's tax proposals. Senator McCain has already stated he will increase taxes by taxing workers on their employer provided health care. This means that your gross taxable income will be increased by the value of your health care insurance. You will pay higher taxes because your taxable income will increase. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

letterPro Edwardson for City Council By Ginny Eiseman - I completely echo Mr. Edwardson's letter regarding the Mayor and the bridge. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008

letterPutting My Trust in McCain & Palin By Bill Hendricks - I see in the paper that "Mayor" Weinstein has gotten in bed with "Where's Tony" Knowles who got in bed with "Intern" Clinton and attacked Governor Palin. - More...
Thursday PM - September 18, 2008

letter Religion and Native Americans By Tim Giago - Like Don Hoff Jr., I was indoctrinated into Catholicism while held captive in an Indian mission boarding school for 11 years. - More...
Thursday PM - September 18, 2008

letterSharing of Faiths By Judy McCune - In response to Mr. Hoff's letter stating that the Natives need to get back to their own ways and not let other religions distract them from doing so -- I live in Western Washington and consort with many Natives of many tribes in a very beautiful way. I love the Native people with all of my heart. I am seeing that they are learning about their culture, enjoying their beliefs as well as afiliating with other religions. In fact, they invite me to join them in their Native Traditions. The sharing of our Faiths goes both ways. - More...
Thursday PM - September 18, 2008

letter Mayor Weinstein's Criticism of Gov. Palin By Mary Jansson - It is my opinion that Mayor Weinstein has done nothing positive for our City or for our State either. He sure was right there to condem our Alaska State Govenor, just to see his name in print I would suppose -- through the associated press. - More...
Thursday PM - September 18, 2008

letter Government money By Stephanie Sherva - Thanks Barb Lander for saying what I've felt for a long time now, but didn't how to say it. - More...
Thursday PM - September 18, 2008

letterPalin and the "Bridge to Nowhere" By Barb Lander - To the many Ketchikan residents who are loudly aghast at Governor Palin's remarks concerning the Gravina access project, please remember that she is a politician. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Byron Whitesides' Letter By Sen. Bert Stedman - On August 17th, Mr. Byron Whitesides of Ketchikan posted a copy of a recent letter he sent to me regarding the resource rebate passed last month. Here is a copy of the response I sent to Mr. Whitesides today [September 09, 2008]. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Gas prices By Carl Webb - Take it from the Oilman. The fuel prices at the pumps are being controlled in this small town by Carrs/Safeway. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter RE: Church and State By Preston Clark, Jr - I feel that we do need a little faith when it comes to running a christian based republic. I do not believe that one person should force his/her own personnal beliefs on another when they can't have their own way. Ben Franklin, along with many of the founding fathers, once wrote to the Congress of the United States that they believe that the Bible should be taught in schools and urged Congress to make a wise judgement on deciding this idea during the early years of the US. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Re: Church and State By David Korkowski - Thank you Mr. Hanger for once again showing us the open-mindedness and tolerance of liberals and Democrats. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Demise of Tlingit Natives is Religion By Don Hoff Jr. - If only Alaskan Native Tlingits in Southeast Alaska spent only half the time learning Tlingit culture, our traditions and our history, instead of wasting our time learning about Non-Native Gods and churches. We would know what Clan, Tribe and house we belong to. We would be better off in today's society. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Ketchikan swimming pool By Shauna Lee - I completely agree with Zig regarding the Ketchikan swimming pool. My entire family has enjoyed the facility at one time or another and swimming is a fantastic all around past time on many levels. I fully support the improvement of a city pool. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Need for pools By Morgan Doubleday - Many thanks to my friend Zig Ziegler for the great pool comments for Ketchikan. I write this because we have a pool here in Sitka at the Hames Center, on Sheldon Jackson campus which has closed its doors. The property likely will be parceled out and the gym and pool facility are very important for Sitka and I'm not sure they see its true value. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Slamming social work and social workers? By Ralph Mirsky - While watching the Republican National Convention, I asked myself; why would the Republicans spend a whole night of their convention attacking ordinary people? - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Mayor shooting his mouth off By Charles Edwardson - First of all I am running for City Council. I am a general contractor past commercial fisherman, Pulp mill worker and heavy equipment operator and many other jobs in between. I have served on Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal council for four years, past vice president of the Ketchikan Home Builders Association,(SEABIA) current president of (SEABIA) Southeast Alaska Building Industry Association. I teach construction technology at UAS Ketchikan and helped establish the Ketchikan Construction Academy. I was recently chairman of the Citizens for a Positive Economy (now inactive) and am involved in various other organizations in Ketchikan. In my spare time I coach Dribblers League and have watched every single game of two, going on three, girls' play basketball from Dribblers through Schoenbar ,ultimately KAYHI. They all have done very well. My ten year old is following in her three sisters footsteps and is tearing up every sport she participates in (proud father obviously). - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Palin supports the Knik Arm Bridge to Nowhere By Joan Beraldi - Doesn't anyone remember that the Knik Arm Bridge was also the "Bridge to Nowhere?" The impression I got today while watching CNN was that Governor Palin forgets that the Knik Arm Bridge which links Anchorage to Wasilla via Pt. Mckenzie, was part of the congressional earmarks labeled with the imfamous saying. The photo on CNN showed Governor Palin holding up a t-shirt with "Nowhere Alaska 99901" imprinted on it. She definately wants to distance herself from the Knik Arm Bridge because the bridge will benefit Wasilla, and she is holding herself out to be against earmark funding to benefit local constituents. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Sarah Palin is a Politician By Lisa Noland - Sarah Palin is a politician that has a transparent desire to rise to the top at whatever cost. This means that if she needs to twist the facts in order to appeal to the majority of the voters, she is going to do it. She is beautiful to look at, and clearly a polished public speaker. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letterGutter Ads Get Us Nowhere By Christina Zettner - John McCain's "maverick" and "reform" image is proving to be nothing more than that: an image. The John McCain of 2000 denounced attack-and-run politics that smeared candidates and distorted facts. But now, his campaign is relying on those same tactics and has crossed the line with the latest television ad rolled out in battleground states. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Governor Palin By Marty West - Ketchikan will be the butt of jokes for years to come and a synonym for wasteful spending. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Remarks hurt Ketchikan By Michael McColley - Ketchikan Mayor Weinstein that will lose his next term as mayor because of his remarks about our Alaska governor. I didn't like any of the Mayor's remarks toward Gov. Palin, and I am sure those remarks will hurt Ketchikan's projects in the future.- More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Holding Palin's Feet to the Fire! By Jay Jones - Hurrah for Guv Tony and Mayor Bob for holding Sarahcudda's feet to the fire for flip-flopping, or at least changing her mind (don't cut her any slack because she's a woman!). - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter GO PALIN GO By Mike Isaac - I hope that when John McCain takes the helm on 1-20-09 that he pushes for things that are both good for the 300 Million people and not his old friends with their 8 figure incomes that pay their help $8 hr or just steps down after 24 hrs. McCain had no chance till he picked Sara Palin for VP. Some of the polls have Obama ahead by only 5% in NY, 7% in WA, 8% in CA and OR, MN is now tied. Those are states where he should be ahead by over 10%. OH and PA are also tied and MT and FL are looking red and all of this is thanks to Sara Palin. She has taken the lead away from the Messiah. Sara leads the Messiah 227 to 207 with most of the 104 toss ups turning red. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter RE: Racism, whatever the language is wrong! By Donita O'Dell - I agree completely with Ms. Cadle, and thought that I had written as much in my original letter. In the first two sentences I explained that I had a difficult time understanding what point Mr. Garcia was trying to make much of the time. (Like Ms. Cadle, I have experience interacting with ESL speakers/writers, but the letter was undecipherable in many parts.) The rest of my letter was nothing more and nothing less than a statement of the disgust I felt that such ethnically-based smears were printed, in clear violation of the editor's "rules." Since that apparently was not clear enough the first time around, I will say it again, hopefully more clearly: - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Obama; Too cruel to the handicapped to be President? By Mark Neckameyer - It is just so ironic. The Democrats who present themselves as being so "Feminist", belittle a woman, Governor Palin, for working while having children at home. Next while they claim to be the "protector of handicapped Americans", they run a ad to mock John McCain's war injuries that prevent him from using a computer keyboard. That's right, McCain can't comb his own hair or tie shoelaces. He lost some of the capabilities most people have while defending all of us in Viet Nam where the Viet Cong smashed his arms and hands trying to torture him into becoming a "turncoat" as his father was a top admiral. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter What to do? By Robert McRoberts - I am sure we all get caught up in our lives where we are to busy too care. I should have gotten in on the ballot to be the next mayor, but I am too busy to get involved. I would just like to give suggestions, just as we all should, unless you're just crying that someone did something. Just what does the Mayor get for pay? You cry about buying the guy a few meals. Why should a go-getter want to get involved? - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Go Palin! By Thomas Thrush - Mr Glenn, I am with you on the bridge, I agree 100 percent on the bridge. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

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