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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 14, 2009

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Yellow Headed Blackbird
This Yellow Headed Blackbird was photographed in August. It is reported to be the second known sighting in the Ketchikan area.
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS jlewis[at]


Ketchikan: Disney Wonder Bound For Alaska In 2011 - For the first-time ever, Disney Cruise Line will offer Alaskan cruises during a four month season of seven-night sailings aboard the Disney Wonder in the summer 2011. Disney Wonder will depart out of Vancouver, B.C., calling on popular ports such as Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau.

The first-ever Disney cruise to Alaska will depart on May 3 with the last cruise of the season scheduled for Aug. 30.

In a prepared statement Congressman Don Young said, "I am very excited to see that Disney will be coming to Alaska. "This has been a rough year for our economy and in turn for Alaskan tourism. This show of confidence will be a tremendous boost to our state at a time when we need it most and I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a long-lasting partnership for Alaska and Disney." - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

Ketchikan: Local University Faculty Participates in Updating National Welding Curriculum - The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) has recently recognized UAS Ketchikan faculty member, Steve Brandow, for his contributions in revising and updating the national welding curriculum which supports the American Welding Society's (AWS) standards and guidelines. Specifically, the revisions support the publishing of the fourth edition of Welding Level One, a trainee guide.

Brandow has dedicated time to this project for the last 18 months. He was one of a variety of experts who participated in this nation-wide project and the only representative west of the Rockies. Brandow has taught welding at UAS Ketchikan for twelve years. He is an AWS Certified Welding Educator and AWS Certified Welder. He served a 4 year apprenticeship at Ketchikan Pulp Mill and worked construction for 23 years, including 15 years with his own welding business. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

Prince of Wales: Educational Support Center Continues Services on Prince of Wales - Althought there have been rumors of the imminent closing of the UAS Ketchikan Educational Support Center on Prince of Wales, these rumors are incorrect. The center will continue to operate and serve students. UAS Ketchikan stated in a news release that it will continue service to Prince of Wales distance students through the UAS Ketchikan Educational Support Center. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

Juneau: Forest Service issues decision for Juneau, Admiralty motorized vehicle use plan - The U.S. Forest Service has made a decision on the Juneau Ranger District (JRD) and Admiralty National Monument (ANM) Access Travel Management (ATM) Plan.

Juneau District Ranger Pete Griffin and Admiralty National Monument Ranger Marti Marshall this week issued a Decision Notice (DN) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)-summarizing the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project, documenting the selection of Alternative 2, and explaining the basis for the decision.

The Selected Alternative designates roads and trails that are open to public motor vehicles. It also documents the closure of remaining routes and areas to motorized subsistence access under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

Alaska: State Encourages Instruction During School Closures - Alaska Education Commissioner Larry LeDoux signed an emergency regulation that provides an incentive for school districts to offer instruction during emergency closures.

The regulation, signed September 1, took effect immediately and expires on December 29, 2009, by which point the State Board of Education & Early Development will have had time to consider making the regulation permanent through the usual public regulatory process.

The regulation was signed as an emergency measure because there could be lengthy school closures during the H1N1 flu pandemic. However, the regulation applies to any cause of emergency closure, such as blizzards, fires and floods.

Essentially, the regulation sets criteria by which school closures can be counted as days in session. Per state law, public schools must be in session for at least 180 days a school year.

When districts close schools for a day or two for an emergency, they often can make up the days by adjusting their calendar. For example, to make up for a snow closure, districts might cancel a teacher training day or add a day to the school year. But when districts have long closures, such as for a week or two, it may be hard to make up those days by adjusting the calendar.

Alaska education commissioners have the authority to waive the statutory requirement of 180 days in session, but they rarely do so, instead directing districts to make up days lost to emergency closures. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

Alaska: State Archives Reopened to the Public - The Alaska State Archives in Juneau reopened to the public last week after being closed to the public since August 17, when rainwater entered the building through the roof during repairs.

Approximately 1,000 boxes of documents, as well as some audiotapes, maps and blueprints, were subjected to water in varying degrees. No permanent damage to the materials, which range from territorial days to the present, has been detected to date.

As of September 4, approximately 900 boxes' worth of materials have been dried and re-boxed. Of the remaining 100 boxes' worth of materials, 85 are nearly dry and 15 are being kept in a frozen condition until they can be worked on. Freezing the documents prevents mold from forming on them.

"I haven't seen anything yet that would not be usable for research in the future," State Archivist Glenn Cook said. "I haven't seen anything that was lost in the process." - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009


Columns - Commentary

TOM PURCELL: An Over "FED" Mind - I don't recall exactly when it began but I wish it would stop: I think about the federal government all the time now.

There is no way to avoid it.

Every time I turn on the tube, President Obama is on -- or there are people talking about what he is trying to do.

Every time I go to a cookout or party, the conversation always turns to politics and worries about what our political class is trying to do.

Every time I do anything -- fill up at a gas station or flush a commode -- the federal government is shadowing me; its policies affect everything from the price of gasoline to how much water a commode can use.

Sure, I know we live in a republic. I know we must pay attention and actively direct the actions of our politicians. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

FLOYD & MARY BETH BROWN: Trillions in Debt will Make America Poorer - How much is a trillion dollars? Mathematically it would be expressed with this simple equation: A trillion dollars = $1,000,000,000,000.

It takes 12 zeroes to the left of the decimal point to make a trillion. Or in other words, a trillion is a million million dollars.

Time magazine tried to put it in perspective this way: "When trying to comprehend a trillion-dollar deficit, you might calculate how much money that represents per person in the U.S. One trillion dollars divided by 300 million Americans comes out to $3,333. Then you search for a useful comparison. A convenient -- though perhaps unsettling -- comparison is to the amount of credit-card debt carried by the average person in this country. That figure is $3,245."

We find it hard to wrap our minds around such a large number. President Barack Obama doesn't share this affliction. He is pushing the U.S. Senate to raise the U.S. debt ceiling beyond $12.1 trillion. This year's deficit alone is set to surpass $1.8 trillion.

Just four months ago on May 14, 2009, Obama warned, "We can't keep on just borrowing from China, we have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children's future with more and more debt." He went so far as to say the budget deficit is "unsustainable," that day in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

DALE MCFEATTERS: Obama should back up tough talk on Wall Street - The Associated Press account of the president's lecture to Wall Street begins:" "President Barack Obama sternly warned against returning to reckless and unchecked behavior that had threatened the nation with a second Great Depression."

Or else what?

A year ago was the nadir of the financial meltdown. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. So did Washington Mutual. There was the fire sale of Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. The massive bailout of AIG. The government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As Obama noted, $5 trillion of American household wealth evaporated in just three months.

The outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration vowed never again. We had learned our lesson.

Yet few of the promised financial reforms are in place. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- which was supposed to be designed to protect borrowers against hidden fees, surprise penalties and deceptive language -- is still a problem. International agreement on new capital requirements is not expected before the end of 2010 and the new rules are not expected to go into effect until two years later. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009


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If you submit a letter and it is not published, please contact or call 254-1948.

letterResponse to "Enough" By Rebecca Clark - I couldn't agree with Mr. Ziegler more! Drugs, murder and suicide seem to be a big problem; EVERYWHERE! It seems more threatening when it is closer to home. "Gatekeepers" is a suicide prevention coalition that had their open house last night. I encourage those in our community who want to be proactive in the fight against these monstrosities(both physical and spiritual) to attend upcoming invitations. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

letterKetchikan Youth By Sara Skan - After reading and agreeing with Public Nuisance by Harry Howard, it got me thinking. Yes, there are quite a bit of Ketchikan youth that is disrespectful, destructive amongst other things. However, there is also a side of our beautiful town's youth that is worth encouraging. Three of my four children are enrolled in the Ketchikan school district, on many occasions my oldest has spoken with me about the things that are said and done on the bus, the way the "older kids talk" It makes me nervous to send her off! She is learning things that she shouldn't know at her age, things their father and I should be discussing with them at what we feel is the appropriate time. As a parent I also know that I am responsible for teaching my children to have good judgment and knowing the difference between right and wrong. Having respect and compassion for their elders and one another. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

letterWorried By Rebecca Simpson - I am a concerned citizen of Ketchikan and worried about the children and young adults in our area. There is so many actions being taken by the young people in our area. With all the drug and alcohol use in this town, WHY isn't drug & alcohol awareness being taught to our students? - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

letter RE: Too many suicides and attempts By Charlanne Heath - While I realize that this forum is intended to spout your own point of view to a community, Kristenia Johnson's letter is a typical one-sided point of view. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

letter Mental Health Stigma By Jan Cadero - This letter is in response to Mykayla Martin's letter regarding too many suicides or attempts. Mykayla, it is really sad that you at the young age of 17, have a strong opinion regarding suicide. And it is a tragic thing that anyone should have to deal with, but you should not say it is an easy way out. - More...
Monday - September 14, 2009

letterHealthcare reform By Dale Albertson - In reading Dale McFeatters' oped on Healthcare reform I was inclined to ignore this issue. However, truth always wins out. Revisit the "speech" on this matter to the joint session. It is empty of fact or substance, full of rhetoric and grandstanding. There is plenty of denial on issues dear to the citizens but empty of sources to back up those denials, just denial, oh, and threats against any who oppose the "reforms". Here is just one "fact" relative to peoples concerns: In an article by Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent, The Washington Examiner, entitled: "Health care reform means more power for the IRS", he claims that the IRS would become the main agency charged with determining if you have "acceptable" health insurance. This article inspired Herman Cain, "The Herman Cain Show" to do some research. He found the following little tidbit: "It's Division A, Title IV on pages 167-215 called Amendments to IRS Code of 1986. The expanded powers of the IRS in H.R. 3200 would empower the IRS to require taxpayers to show proof of health insurance coverage, collect fines on individuals and employers who did not have adequate proof of health insurance and determine whether your health insurance was a government approved plan." - More...
Monday - September14, 2009

letterTime to say "Enough" By Zig Ziegler - There is a huge problem in Ketchikan that appears to be the undercurrent to much of the criminal activity, suicides and social problems we are experiencing. That problem is drugs, specifically, meth and oxycontin. I would be willing to wager that drug use is directly linked to so much of what our community has been facing over the past few years. Is Ketchikan alone in this? Certainly not. Is that an excuse for not taking on this problem head on? Absolutely not. - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letter RE: Too many suicides and attempts By Kristenia Johnson - I am having a hard time believing that people in Ketchikan could solely blame a person for ending their own life.There are two (from what I understand) different suicides in a matter of a few months in Ketchikan and neither share two commonalities. - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letterKyle Palmer Had KIC insurance...but By Wayne Beaupre - Ketchikan Indian Corp has refused to cover Kyle Palmer, a 23 year member of Ketchikan Indian Corp because, they were not notified first. - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letterThey just don't get it By Jon Van Essen - I really find it hard to believe that the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly feels the need to spend $55K to supposedly inform us voters all the details on why we need a new community pool. - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letterMy Roof Thanks You! By Shauna Lee - I recently wrote a letter to Sitnews regarding my leaking roof and asked for ideas. I must say, Ketchikan didn't fail me. I had three phone calls and numerous letters with offers to help. I couldn't even get to them all so please know that to every one of you that called and wrote, I thank you so much!! - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letter Sea Otters By Mike Moyer - In response to Mr. Jean Bland's letter to me concerning the truth about Sea Otters, I can only say that if there are no shellfish around Craig, Klawock, or Hydaburg now, then how did people survive in the old days there before the Russians wiped out the Sea Otters? - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letterRE: Memorial Fund By Lisa McClould - Regarding the request from Deborah Harney, a child is a gift from God. - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letterObama Attempts School Intrusion By Donald A. Moskowitz - President Obama continues to hover over us like "Big Brother". Tuesday, September 8, 2009 his targeted audience was our impressionable school children. - More...
Thursday PM - September 10, 2009

letterPublic nuisance By Harry Howard - I have lived in Ketchikan for a little over a year now.  One thing I can say is that this town is full of unusual people, but I quickly felt at home and fit right in. I love the ability to walk everywhere, and do so many things outside while being close to home.  I try to encompass my son in everything that I do, and while doing so I teach him good morals, ethics, and respect for himself and others. I am military and since joining I represent my service well at all times. I have lived in 3 major cities, and Ketchikan children stand out from any place I have lived in. - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterLogjam: Give Peace a Chance By Lindsey Ketchel - The Tongass is the foundation of Southeast Alaska's culture, communities and economy, so we owe it to our fellow and future Southeast Alaskans to work together to keep all three thriving. - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterLost Priorities at UAS Ketchikan Campus By Robert Warner - The SITNEWS article of August 31, 2009 describing the hiring of a new college humanities faculty member sadly reflects the lost priorities of UAS Ketchikan Campus. With high unemployment and few opportunities for young people in our community, one would think that UAS Ketchikan would focus most funding and programs on training that helps students learn essential skills related to work and employment. Instead, the school seems to drift aimlessly into an arty dreamland called "the humanities." - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterMemorial Fund By Deborah Harney - Every mother loves her son, and as far as I know, only one mother in history had a perfect, blameless one. That being said, I hope that any funds generated by the Jared Azure Memorial Fund will be donated to Kyle Palmer to help pay his medical bills as he recovers in intensive care with no insurance.
- More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterDon Ross: Correction By Doug Barry - I wrote a note about Don Ross last week where I inadvertently said I was a passenger of his on a harrowing flight when he flew for Webber Air. I meant Ketchikan Air Service, which he owned with Mike Salazar and others. - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterHealth Care Reform We Can All Live With By Alan Emmert - "All Americans should have a health insurance plan that they can afford, own, and keep - that government can never take over or take away.  No American should be forced into a government-run system that limits their choices and rations their care." - Senator Jim DeMint - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterToo many suicides and attempts By Mykayla Martin - I know grief can be hard and sometimes you need someone to blame for such a tragedy but the only person responsible for a suicide is the person hurting them self. I feel this is the easy way out. There is always another or better option. Our community is so close and knowing the impact some of these kids had on it, they should have more than enough people to turn to for help and guidance, before resulting in death. You can't blame anyone other than the one hurting themselves. - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterRecreation Center By Inge Kummant - As the bad weather approaches, it is necessary once again for our young people to find safe and interesting indoor activities. - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letterSea Otters By Jean Bland - The Fish and Game planted Sea Otters on the south end of Hydaburg, out where we got our Abalone, Crab, Clams and other shell fish. We always got enough shell fish for the winter's supply, Now you go out there and there are NO SHELL FISH left out there. - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

letter Disappointed with Russia By Mark N. Katz - Russians, we know, have a long list of grievances against the West in general and America in particular. NATO expansion, intervention against Serbia, recognition of Kosovo, the plan to deploy an American ballistic missile defense system in Eastern Europe, and criticism of Russia for going to war with Georgia are just some of them. But has it ever occurred to Russians that Westerners - especially those who hoped for friendly relations with Russia after the Cold War - might be disappointed in Russia? Well, we are. And there are several reasons why. - More...
Tuesday - September 08, 2009

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