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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 07, 2011

Ward Lake Reflections
Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT


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Southeast Alaska
: 40 Years ago, 111 died in Alaska Airlines Crash Near Juneau; Company blamed faulty locator beacons, NTSB unable to come up specific crash ‘cause.’ A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER - Forty years ago on September 4, 1971, the unthinkable happened to Alaska Airlines.

A 727 jet with at least 111 passengers, crashed in the Chilkat Mountains on final approach into Juneau. There were no survivors.

At the time, it was the deadliest crash in U.S. Aviation history.

Flight 1866 had originated in Anchorage with stops in Cordova and Yakutat. After Juneau it as scheduled to fly to Sitka and Seattle.

The crash occurred because the jet “received” the wrong location information and was too low to clear the final mountains in the southern part of Glacier Bay as it approached Juneau.

The final NTSB report didn’t list a specific reason the jet had wrong information. It implied that crew members possibly have misread the cockpit information or inadvertently dialed in the wrong reception.

Some former Alaska Airlines employees believe that a freak atmospheric condition caused the jet to receive the wrong information. They say that later tests confirmed the possibility the jet responded correctly to incorrect information, but by then the investigation was closed and the cause of the crash remained officially “undetermined.”

At any rate, the federal government later changed the way jets receive their location and altitude information heading into Juneau, which is considered one of the most challenging airports to fly into and out of in the country because of the large mountains that ring the community and the often inclement weather that requires pilots to rely, frequently, on their instrument landing systems.

By all accounts, Flight 1866 was a routine flight and its passenger list was a cross section of Alaskans - most from Anchorage - and three dozen passengers from other states as well as Japan. The largest single group on board were 13 students  heading for either Sheldon Jackson College or Mount Edgecomb board school. Several people were returning to Juneau after a successful moose hunt up north and a half dozen moose heads were part of the cargo.

According to a September 5, 1971 story in the Seattle Post Intelligencer the jet was being flown by an experienced crew, Capt. Richard Adams of Portland Oregon had been with Alaska Airlines since 1955. First officer, Leonard Beach of Seattle, who was at the controls when the plane crashed, had been with Alaska Airlines for five years as had flight engineer James Carlson of Seattle. Beach’s wife Cathy was a stewardess on the ill-fated flight. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

Southeast Alaska: In Alaska, a Beautiful Stream is FUBAR No More By PAULA DOBBYN, Courtesy of Indian Country Media Network - It was so damaged by logging they had taken to calling it Fubar Creek. Fubar, or more properly FUBAR, is an acronym; if you’re a stream in Alaska and you’ve been nicknamed Fubar, suffice it to say you are not in good shape at all.

In Alaska, a Beautiful Stream is FUBAR No More

An August 25 creek renaming ceremony brought tribal, conservation and Forest Service representatives together on the bank of what is now known as Gandlaay Haanaa, or Beautiful Creek. Pictured from left: Francisco Sanchez, Craig District Ranger, U.S. Forest Service; Viola Burgess, Hydaburg Cooperative Association; James Williams, Klawock Cooperative Association; Beth Pendleton, Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service; Anthony Christianson, Mayor Hydaburg; Harris Sherman, Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, USDA; John Huestis, Craig Tribal Association; Richard Peterson, Organized Village of Kasaan.
Photo by John Sisk, The Nature Conservancy

But after an extensive rehabilitation project and a tribal renaming ceremony in late August, Fubar is now known as Gandláay Háanaa, or Beautiful Stream, in the Haida language.

“It still looks pretty bad in some places, but they’re working on it,” said Viola Burgess, a Haida elder and tribal leader who presided over the renaming ceremony. “At least the fish have come back. That’s the most important thing.”

Burgess, president of the Hydaburg Cooperative Association, a tribal council, was referring to old stumps and slash along the riverbanks that serve as a reminder of logging that took place decades ago.

Located on fog-shrouded Prince of Wales Island in the southernmost reaches of Alaska, Fubar Creek snakes through traditional Haida territory within the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is a coastal temperate rain forest of nearly 17 million acres, about the size of West Virginia. More than 5,000 salmon-bearing rivers and streams course through the forest, providing fives species of Pacific wild salmon, the primary food source for the Haida tribe. The Haida—a tribe of Northwest Coast Indians with ancestral ties to southern Southeast Alaska, British Columbia and the Queen Charlotte Islands—have lived on Prince of Wales for thousands of years, relying heavily on streams like Fubar for salmon, trout, char and other fish. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

Saxman: Saxman Homework Club – Back for 2011-2012 School Year!– Saxman’s highly popular Homework Club is back for the 2011-2012 school year.  The program provides a safe, supervised, culturally supportive environment in which kids can get help completing homework assignments, engage in social activities, and enjoy healthy snacks – for free!The program is available at the Saxman Community Center (2841 South Tongass Highway) on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 3pm to 6pm, beginning on September 6th.

Children of all ages and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to stop by after school, or take the bus directly to the Saxman Community Center.  The program is open to participants from Saxman as well as from Ketchikan.

Funding for the program is provided by the City of Saxman, the Crossett Fund and the Douglas-Dornan Fund.   Volunteer involvement also plays a key role in the program’s success; parents, guardians, teachers, and teens are encouraged to get involved. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Rain on the Brain - The other day, a friend asked me when her daughter, who is thinking about an outdoor wedding in Ketchikan, should schedule it.

Natch, she asked me because she knows I obsess over local weather stats and have an encyclopedic knowledge of just how dreadful the weather has been in Ketchikan for the past century.

Yes, I know I should have replied “she wants an outdoor wedding in Ketchikan, is she out of her mind?????????”

But, no, I just answered “July 15th.”

I often get asked by people about when the best time to visit Ketchikan is. These folks think that in Ketchikan there is a “dry” season and they would like to be here then. It’s a reasonable approach. Except in Ketchikan, the “dry” season is any time less than three inches is falling per 24 hours.

So, the answer is always, well, it can rain heavily any day of the year so you have just pick a date and hope.

Except for July 15.

How do I know?

If you peruse the NOAA historical weather stats as I do several times a day (yes, I need a better hobby), you will discover an interesting tidbit. There is only one date in Ketchikan’s history in which it has never, absolutely never, rained more than one inch of rain since weather stats started around 1910. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 07, 2011



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letter Open letter to Southeast Islanders By Ed “Mongo” Fry - If you are reading this, chances you are witnessing some economic effects right here locally from poor local community planning and leadership without fiscal responsibility to big spending items that are in progress.  There are many “for sale” signs posted on our island and some of those are properties are in foreclosure. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

letter Swede Risland By John McDermott - I was reading the SitNews page about Ketchikan's legendary logger, the late Arvid "Swede" Risland. As a longtime friend of Swede's, I can vouch for the comments about Swede's legendary generosity - he truly was 'the real deal.' There have been many comments about his reputation for great physical strength as well, but few specifics have been mentioned. So, I'll relate one of my many personal experiences with Swede. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

letter Ketchikan's Public Library Disaster, Chapter Three By Robert Warner - Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Ketchikan City Council had the courage to represent the taxpayers instead of the special interests?  Here is their golden opportunity.  They can exercise their authority and reject this  gravel pit and former garbage dump as the site of a new library.  This site never had any merits and many detriments for constructing a new library. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

letter SAY WHAT? By David G. Hanger - Perspective is handy in understanding folks with a hatred of all things government.  In both instances they are what they hate; lifetime low- to middle-level government employees who only went sideways in their chosen careers.  These folks have little to no experience of the private sector, and now spend their time wandering down to the mailbox to pick up their government retirement and social security checks.  In the meantime they want all of you to forfeit highways and food stamps, and, of course, everything in between. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

letter Open Letter: Renewable energy challenge By Ed “Mongo” Fry - As a resident and taxpaying citizen (both local and federal), it is quite concerning that renewable energy programs made available by and through federal grants cannot be funded because of the obscurity of hiding behind regulation and not adhering to law nor the best interests of the environmentally conscious property owner. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

letter Tribes working together By Mike Shaffer - What an exceptional concept Terrance Booth, Sr. has. I think this may be the best idea I've heard in quite some time for economic development in SE Alaska. With some collaboration from other Tribes as he mentions this idea has much potential. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

letter Ketchikan Fire Dept By Jan Lemire - I totally agree with Darlene Breitkreutzabout the Ketchikan Fire Department. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

letter Challenge Issued to the Southeast Alaska Tribes to Work together By Terrance Henry Booth, Sr. - In the not too far distant past and noted in our tribal history of the Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian these tribes once traded and bartered with one another. How is this?  This writer’s late father, Ira C. Booth, of Metlakatla, Alaska did a partial tracing of the Tsimshian Trade Route in Southeast Alaska and found in Angoon, Alaska upon visiting that Tlingit Village verifying that they once did trade and barter with one another.  To this day among the Tlingit Dancers of Angoon are three Tsimshian Songs.  Prior to the singing of these songs their Dance Leader announces to the audience that their entrance songs came from the Tsimshian upon their visits to trade and barter.  The same in Yakutat, Alaska the Mt. St. Elias Tlingit Dancers for their entrance songs they too announce how they received the Tsimshian Songs.  They announce the Tsimshian came among them to trade and barter.  Far south located on the Olympic Peninsula, is the Makah Nation, they know of the Tsimshian and it is said by them that they traded and bartered with them and Tsimshian Canoes were either going south along the Pacific Coast or going back home going back north. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter New Fire Station By Darlene Breitkreutz - For the ladies asking questions and discussing the new fire station, I'm hoping I can shed a little light on this subject. Having just retired from the fire department after almost 24 years I can assure you that when I started my career there we were looking for a place to put the new fire station. It was a top priority for the then Chief Dave O'Sullivan. We could have purchased Ketchikan Welding for $1 million, we could have purchased Ireland Transfer on Stedman, we could have purchased the old McKay Marine property but the ideas kept getting shot down. So now, waiting until the last minute before the old fire station sinks into the ground and the roof caves in, they were limited to space available. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter Fire Trucks & Ambulances By Connie Williams - Chris Elliott has a valid question, and it should be answered.  I have never understood this practice, except that after moving to the lower 48, where this practice is also done, I’ve learned, at least down here, each personnel that responds get paid for a call out.  So, when a call comes in to 911, and the closest team responds, they send just about everyone on site, so that everyone gets call out pay, and you get about a $1,200.00 bill. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter Library Cost By Charlie Reynolds - Maybe we should re-consider this library plan. Do we really need an architectural wonder like this or would we be just as well served by a large warehouse style building with efficient air handling and heating in an area that does not have the problems found at Copper Ridge? - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter New Ketchikan Library By Eileen Small - Once in awhile one of my kids shares a truly creative idea.  My middle son, a self proclaimed “computer nerd” did just this the other day as he drove his Dad and I home from the airport after a month’s trip down south.  We passed the location of the city’s new public library.  My son stated:”What a waste of money!”  I asked why he felt that way.  He noted: “Because if you look at the entire population of Ketchikan, much less other cities, almost everyone gets their information from the internet.  Most people read books from Kindle or a like source.”  I thought this over and I think the kid is right.  While I have always loved the feel of a book in my hand, I admit that I find it quicker and cheaper to download my reading material to my PC or laptop using my Kindle app. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter Clean indoor air for Skagway By Amanda Roberts - Congratulations to Skagway for passing a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance during its special election on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter Economic disaster By Robert McRoberts - Yep, we are ruining the earth. We have destroyed everything in our path. Why are we teaching kids to recycle but not doing it ourselves? We ship our garbage to Washington and they sort it out and ship it to China so they can build garbage to send back. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter RE: We are here to help you By Ken Leland - Once again, Mr. Johnson, spot on! - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

letter Broadband: The Game Changer for Rural America By Rick Boucher - Can you imagine never having spoken with a family member on the telephone or having seen the President on your television screen? These technologies revolutionized our country during the 20th Century – but some Americans had to wait for them longer than others. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2011

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