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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 09, 2010

Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES

As viewed from Grant Street...
Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES


Alaska: Alaska Moves to Overturn Offshore Drilling Moratorium - The State of Alaska today filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior in U.S. District Court in Alaska to overturn the federal moratorium on offshore drilling in Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The suit seeks to block the moratorium on the grounds that the Obama administration violated federal law and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

Alaska is arguing that the Department of the Interior acted arbitrarily and capriciously and violated federal law by (1) failing to consult with state officials; (2) neglecting to properly consider the significant economic impact of a drilling moratorium; and (3) failing to issue a written decision explaining the basis for the moratorium.

"Development of Alaska's OCS resources is of critical importance to Alaska's future and the economic and security interests of the United States," Governor Parnell said. "We are taking this action to ensure that the federal government abides by applicable federal law, including its legal responsibility to make the OCS available for expeditious and orderly development."

"Federal law requires consultation with affected states and a consideration of how an agency action will impact the economy," Attorney General Dan Sullivan said. "Here the Department of the Interior did not take these steps before it issued the moratorium. Moreover, the Department of the Interior acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it failed to issue a written decision explaining the grounds for ­ or the very fact of - the Alaska OCS moratorium. We are therefore seeking to overturn the moratorium on drilling in Alaska because the Obama administration's actions violated federal law and have harmed Alaska and its citizens."

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) supports the Governor's efforts to end the OCS moratorium. In a prepared statement Begich said, "As a strong advocate for the responsible development of Alaska's OCS resources in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, I will always work with Governor Parnell and Alaskans to set the federal government straight. It is my belief that the federal government should remove the moratorium on developing these resources."

Begich said, "I agree with the Governor's message that an overreaching ban does not reflect Alaska's unique conditions and fails to consider the impact on Alaska jobs and the Alaska economy. I will continue to work with the Governor, the State, and affected Alaskans to ensure a future for Alaska's oil and gas."

"The lack of consultation with Alaska in this process is an obvious oversight," said Senator Begich. "I will continue to fight for the voices of Alaskans to be heard. The ban fails to recognize the strict standards and practices in Alaska and the clear difference between high pressure deepwater exploration and Alaska's shallow water exploration." - More...
Thursday - September 09, 2010

 Volumn I: Ketchikan Economic  Indicators Summary 2010 40 pages (pdf)
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Volumn I: Ketchikan Economic
Indicators Summary 2010
40 pages (pdf)
Released 09/08/10

 Volumn II: Industry Profiles  Ketchikan Economic Indicators 2010
Click on the graphic to download & read
Volumn II: Industry Profiles
Ketchikan Economic Indicators 2010
79 pages (pdf)
Released 09/08/10

Alaska - National: Nationally, Lowest Traffic Fatalities in Six Decades - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released updated 2009 fatality and injury data showing that highway deaths nationally fell to 33,808 for the year, the lowest number since 1950. The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even while estimated vehicle miles traveled in 2009 increased by 0.2 percent over 2008 levels.

In addition, 2009 saw the lowest national fatality and injury rates ever recorded: 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2009, compared to 1.26 deaths for 2008.

Nationally, fatalities declined in all categories of vehicles including motorcycles, which saw fatalities fall by 850 from 2008, breaking an 11-year cycle of annual increases.

The total fatalities in Alaska rose 3.2 percent in 2009. According to the United States Department of Transportation, Alaska had a total of 62 fatalities in 2008 with 33% of those being alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. In 2009, Alaska had 64 highway deaths with 31% of those being alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. In Alaska, alcohol impaired driving fatalities declined by 4.8 percent in 2009.

The National Transportation Safety Administration reported four fatalities in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough from 2005 - 2009 with 50% being alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.

According to information provided on the Alaska Highway Safety Office's website, in 2005 there were 4,049 non-fatal injury traffic crashes and 66 fatal crashes on Alaska's trafficways. 2006 saw an increase of fatal crashes to 71 but also a decrease in non-fatal injury crashes to 3,345. In 2007 the non-fatal injury traffic crashes dropped to 3,071, but the traffic-related fatality count increased to 82, with 75 fatal crashes. In 2008 the traffic-related fatality count dropped to 62, with 55 fatal crashes. In 2009 the traffic-related fatality count remained steady with 64 fatalities in 59 fatal crashes.

As part of the U.S. Transportation Department's campaign to reduce traffic fatalities, Secretary LaHood will convene a National Distracted Driving Summit on Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. The Secretary will bring together leading transportation officials, safety advocates, law enforcement, industry representatives, researchers and victims affected by distraction-related crashes to address challenges and identify opportunities for national anti-distracted driving efforts. This follows the first summit Secretary LaHood held in the Fall of 2009 that sparked a national conversation about texting and talking on cell phones while driving. - More...
Thursday - September 09, 2010


Alaska Science: Cellphones as citizen-science tools By NED ROZELL - "Found Sea Otters Dead at 3851 Homer Spit Road . . . Right in front of oyster facility."

Verena Gill was thrilled when this message appeared on her iPhone on a recent Saturday afternoon; it was the first use of a new iPhone application that allows people to report a beached marine mammal.

Gill, a biologist who studies sea otters and other marine mammals in her job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, helped develop the free iPhone application. It allows anyone with an iPhone to report stranded whales, walruses, seals, sea lions and sea otters.

People with the application on their cellphones can take photos of the dead or live animals and write a short description of the scene. The photo records the latitude and longitude of the animal, and the application sends an email to a network of biologists, veterinarians and others who scramble into action to recover the animal or examine it at the site. That team includes people from National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, and volunteers throughout coastal Alaska. - More...
Thursday - September 09, 2010

Columns - Commentary

DALE MCFEATTERS: Highway deaths at nearly 50-year low - The strenuous efforts the nation has made in highway safety are paying off.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said that in 2009 traffic deaths fell to 33,808, down almost 10 percent from the year before. It was the fewest deaths since 1950, a particularly dramatic figure when you consider that the country's population was less than half of what it is today.

In another key measure of safety, the deaths per 100 million miles fell to a record low, down to 1.13 deaths from 1.26 the year before. And that was even as the number of miles driven per year increased slightly.

Experts attributed the decline, part of a long-term pattern, to safer cars -- air bags, including the growing use of side air bags; antilock brakes; electronic stability controls; and warning devices for distracted drivers. - More...
Thursday - September 09, 2010


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letter RE: Praising KGH; A Double Standard? By Karl Richey, MD - Eileen, the kindest reply I can give to your letter is, "Sour grapes!" Neither you, nor Teri J. Wilson, should need to be reminded that we live on an island, & that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. - More...
Thursday PM - September 09, 2010

letterRE: A Double Standard By Vicki Campbell - As an employee of Ketchikan General Hospital and as a member of this community ,I am truly appalled at the letter written by Eileen Small regarding our hospital and its staff. We are lucky to have a medical facility of this calibar in S.E. Alaska. - More...
Thursday PM - September 09, 2010

letterRoad construction By Shannon Smith - I DO NOT share the sentiment of the last two people who sang the praises of the construction work being done on our roads. - More...
Thursday PM - September 09, 2010

letterSomething smells funny By Robert McRoberts - Recently I've been seeing some strange doings at the city that I do not understand. Our economics are solely seasonal now. Building new homes has slowed dramatically, but yet a new friggin library, a luxury item, is a top priority project. - More..
Thursday PM - September 09, 2010

letterWard Cove Pending Sale By Rob Holston - For many of the past ten years I was told by the Borough that Ward Cove was needed to anchor the forest products industry for the sake of our economic future. This was back when the Borough loaned large sums from the federal $25,000,000 post KPC shutdown fund. 8-9 & 10 years ago I was arguing that Loggerville deserved a piece of the pie while the Roy Eckert administration said those tidelands were needed for log storage for the saw mill and veneer mill. After Gateway Forest Products folded I thought I had another window of opportunity to purchase land. But this time the entire site was sold to Jerry Jenkins for the veneer mill and a variety of other ventures, such as electrical generation, bottled water, hotels, etc. I did take the opportunity afforded by the KGB / Renaissance sales agreement to enter into a long-term lease with option to purchase with Jenkins. This purchase opportunity was thwarted when Jenkins went belly up and the mill was gutted. I assume that with the sale of veneer site or 29 acres to AMHS that the KGB is no longer insistent that the property be used for wood products production. It is probably safe to say that the KGB felt very comfortable in selling to the state because the sale basically guarantees that quality jobs will be maintained and created in an industry that is in no way controversial. I agree. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 8, 2010

letterAN OPEN LETTER TO MARTA POORE: "Praising KGH" By Teri J. Wilson - With derision I read Marta Poore's Letter to the Editor "Praising KGH" (Ketchikan Daily News, September 4, 2010). For those who are not familiar with you, you neglected to state that you are employed by Southeast OB-GYN Clinic, which is owned by Ketchikan General Hospital/Peace Health. Therefore, I am not surprised that you had such a pleasant time during your ordeal of a broken wrist. You stated that you "came into surgery the next day and felt greeted by friends." Of course you were, these "friends" are your co-workers. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 8, 2010

letterRoad Construction By David Hull - I would like to echo the comments by Al Johnson on the road construction crew working on the North Tongass Highway project, especially the flaggers. We have had several occasions to pass through the construction area on our way to an emergency call and the people with the stop signs got us through every time with very little wait time. I'll be they would have been willing to kick a car to get it move if the occasion called for it. The operators were always willing to immediately stop what they were doing to let us pass.- More...
Tuesday - September 07, 2010

letterKetchikan's Port Ranking By Linda Koons Auger - Congratulations to our commercial fishing fleet and processors for the Port of Ketchikan's ranking of #15 in Landings & 18th in Values. (See, Sit News September 03, 2010 issue of the Fish Factor By LAINE WELCH.) With Ketchikan's early beginnings at the base of Ketchikan Creek, it should be evident, now more than ever, that this industry is essential for the economic well-being of our community. It's long-term viability is possible (in part) by to the State's Constitutional mandate to manage Alaska's fisheries for sustainability. With increasing demand for wild Alaska seafood in the marketplace comes the opportunity for growth. To our benefit, some of our local processors currently staff and operate year-round. - More...
Tuesday - September 07, 2010

letterThank You Senator Murkowski By Scott Cragun - I want to post a note of thanks to Senator Lisa Murkowski and thank her for her time served representing the State of Alaska, and particularly to thank her for not being a "puppet" to the party and having the courage to cross party lines when she thought it best served the people of Alaska. - More...
Tuesday - September 07, 2010

letterChurch and State: What was By A.M.Johnson - All of us who have been educated in our public schools over the past 50 plus years and present day,have been taught the separation of church and state. It has been driven home that there is no common relationship between the two. Now in the current venue of public debate, the schism between religions has become wider. In the Village Square Judo-Christian religions are being viewed in even more disparaging terms. - More...
Tuesday - September 07, 2010

letterChloramine in our drnking water By Sharon Nobilio - I have read many letters by citizens concerned about the hazards of chloramination of Ketchikan's drinking water, but none suggest how we can prevent Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU) from forging ahead with this treatment. - More...
Tuesday - September 07, 2010

Tuesday - September 07, 2010

letterMore positive than negative By Charles Edwardson - For the woman who did not like my word friggin, I have had many more positive responses than negative about my 'no new library of any kind' opinion. - More...
Tuesday - September 07, 2010

letterCongratulations to Joe Miller by Ken Bylund - My hat's off to you, Joe, best of luck; enough honest effort will bring this once great ship of state back into safe waters. Only hope you can be strong in the face of bribery [aka compromise and arbitrary justice]. These seem to be the primary tools in Washington. Best advice -- buy a copy of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, by Ayn Rand, read it again, or better, get the Audible read by Anna Fields... refresh that keen memory as to what we are. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 01. 2001

letter Road Construction By Al Johnson - Sitting in the traffic during our North Tongass Highwasy re-construction reminded me that I wanted and am now, writing to say how much I appreciate the work ethic of the Secon construction company, crew and subcontractors is during this construction effort. The professionalism of the equipment operators is fascinating to watch, the daily dispatch of road debris is outstanding.Daily progress reflects rapacity towards the job completion. - More...
Monday PM - August 30, 2010

letterGaanax adi Lands Are Not Yours By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - I was born and raised in Ketchikan; I have sat on the City Council/Vice Mayor, O.S.H.A. Review Board member/Chairman, I.R.A. Councils, etc. I have been writing opinion letters on Land Claims for Ketchikan. - More...
Monday PM - August 30, 2010

letterMiller is DEPLORABLE By Stacey Stone - Miller had a campaign full of lies and now he is likening a United States Senator to a prostitute. Who is this man and who in the heck in their right mind can consciously vote for him? - More...
Monday PM - august 30, 2010

letterWrong By Susan Round - Perhaps Mr. Edward's attitude toward libraries and literacy, and those who share it, have much to do with children not meeting "standards". Ever consider that? I wholeheartedly and enthusiasticly support the new library. I raised two children in this community. They spent a considerable amount of their childhood in the public library and they both exceeded the "standards" by any measure. - More...
Monday PM - august 30, 2010

letterThank you voters By Diane Naab - The members of ABC: A Better Choice are pleased with the voter turnout concerning the library site location. We thank those in the community who took the time to vote. - More...
Monday PM - August 30, 2010

letterRaven's Way program thanks Sitka merchants for their support By Rebecca Howe - Over the course of the year, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Yéil Jeeyáx Raven's Way adolescent residential substance abuse treatment center receives support from several organizations in Sitka. Raven's Way would like to thank five Sitka businesses for their support. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2010

letterIn response to Library By Aprill Gass - This is the first time I have written to Sitnews, I was happy to see Mr. Edwardson point out the lack of educational progress we have seen in this community and the new library. I agree that we have many important issues facing us, the library seems to be one we could put on hold for the time being given the economic climate of our town. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2010

letterVoting Haida Corp. By Frances C. Natkong - If anyone on Haida Corporation Board of Directors approaches you asking you to vote for ANYONE please give me a call at 907-209-9447. Board members are not supposed to be campaigning, it is against policy. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2010

letterAppreciation for Volunteers By Judith Green - KUDOS to all those who volunteer to sit at the polling places. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2010

letterEconomy By Robert Freedland - Our economy is of great concern to me. We have 9.5% unemployed and many other who have lost hope about finding a job, and we do not have a unified approach to dealing with this problem. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2010

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