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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 09, 2011

Front Page Photo by TERRI JIRSCHELE

Balancing Act
Missy has to be the first one on Pennock Island's beach. And she always is, thanks to her perfect launch-site.
Front Page Photo by TERRI JIRSCHELE


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Noatak prehistoric site contains new artifacts for Alaska - Archaeologist Scott Shirar expected to find boulders adorned with petroglyphs during his expedition to explore the previously discovered remains of three prehistoric lakefront dwellings in Northwest Alaska’s Noatak National Preserve this summer.

Noatak prehistoric site contains new artifacts for Alaska

Research archaeologist Scott Shirar holds one of the clay disks
Photo by Scott Shirar

When he and members of his team began small-scale excavations at two of the sites, they made a new discovery: four decorated clay disks that appear to be the first of their kind found in Alaska. - More...
Friday - September 09, 2011

Ketchikan: Tuesday's Fire Causes Major Damage – Ketchikan firefighters were busy Tuesday night.

Fire Chief Frank Share of the Ketchikan Fire Department said the first call came in to 911 dispatchers at 10:54 PM Tuesday with the caller reporting “heavy smoke in the area”.  When the Ketchikan Fire Department arrived on they reported that the fire appeared to be on upper Main or Front Street. The fire at that time had already breached the roof of 422 Water Street with the majority of the third floor of the building involved in fire. 422 Water Street is on the water side of the downtown tunnel.

Firefighters were informed that there may have been an occupant on the third floor; however, that person was found to have already moved out of the apartment and was accounted for. Due to the extent of the fire and the possibility of collapse, firefighters set up a defensive operation and used the ladder truck and master streams to contain the fire and protect exposures above the fire. - More...
Friday - September 09, 2011

Alaska: Economic development potential highlighted – An Air Cargo Summit convened earlier this month highlighted an Alaska commodity that is poised to bloom in international markets – peonies.

Rita Jo Shoultz, a Homer peony grower and member of the Alaska Peony Growers Association, told attendees that peonies grown in Alaska generally bloom when there are no other peonies available to the global market. The bloom period of late June into September makes it possible to supply these highly desirable flowers to markets when there is no direct competition, providing the potential for an expanding agricultural export industry in the state.

Her presentation drew a host of follow-up questions, as well as the interest of at least two air cargo companies who see potential for peonies to fill empty space on outbound cargo flights.

“This interest in peonies is fantastic,” Shoultz said. “Right now, there are more domestic buyers than growers in Alaska can service. But regular access to international cargo flights would be a huge boon to Alaska’s peony growers.”

There are currently 50 peony farms around the state. Shoultz said Gov. Parnell’s proposed revolving loan fund legislation, which includes a microloan program, could help new growers get started and existing growers to expand their operations to meet increasing demand. - More...
Friday - September 09, 2011

Alaska: Outreach Aims To Help Anglers Conserve Rockfish Through Avoidance, Proper Deepwater Release - New materials published by the Division of Sport Fish aim to help saltwater anglers and charter operators conserve Alaska’s rich rockfish stocks by increasing the survival of fish caught incidentally and released. The department has dedicated a new Web page to proper deepwater rockfish release at and has prepared an updated version of the popular informational pamphlet “Angler’s Guide to the Rockfishes of Alaska,” available from Alaska Sea Grant in the near future.

Outreach Aims To Help Anglers Conserve Rockfish Through Avoidance, Proper Deepwater Release

Fish that are released with inflated swim bladders, as pictured, cannot re-submerge and will die.
Photo courtesy ADF&G

About 45 percent of rockfish caught by anglers statewide are released, according to department estimates. Many of these fish are caught in relatively shallow water and can re-submerge, but those taken from deep water often cannot survive release. Rockfish caught in deep water often sustain injuries caused by rapid decompression and expansion of gases in the swim bladder. Fish that are released with inflated swim bladders cannot re-submerge and will die. The current effort follows completion of research by the department that suggests survival rates of up to 98 percent can be achieved when fish are released at the depth of capture. - More...
Friday - September 09, 2011

Alaska: Governor Orders Flags Lowered on Patriot Day- Governor Sean Parnell has ordered all flags (in accordance with Public Law 107-89) at public facilities be flown at half-staff throughout Alaska on Sunday, September 11, 2011, in observance of Patriot Day. Patriot Day was signed into law on December 18, 2001, as a day to remember those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on our country.

“Ten years ago, our nation was forever changed by the terrible events of September 11. While the images of that day remain stark and etched solidly in our memories, 9/11 reawakened our patriotic resolve. We have all heard of so many Americans who on that day vowed to do more with their lives - to make their lives count, to live more fully, and embrace their families more wholeheartedly. - More...
Friday - September 07, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Southeast Alaska State Forest Expanded - Legislation nearly doubling the size of the Southeast Alaska State Forest was signed by Governor Sean Parnell on Wednesday. Lands added to the state forest will continue to be open for multiple uses, including wildlife habitat and harvest, mining and recreational activities.

“Adding land to the Southeast State Forest will allow the Division of Forestry to manage the land to increase long-term timber supply for local processors and wood energy needs,’ Governor Parnell said. “This will provide much-need jobs in the thinning, harvest and milling stages of logging.” - More...
Friday - September 09, 2011

Alaska Science: Recovery after world's largest tundra fire raises questions By NED ROZELL - Four summers ago, Syndonia Bret-Harte stood outside at Toolik Lake, watching a wall of smoke creep toward the research station on Alaska’s North Slope. Soon after, smoke oozed over the cluster of buildings.

Recovery after world's largest tundra fire raises questions

The great Anaktuvuk River tundra fire of 2007.
Photo by Michelle Mack.

“It was a dense, choking fog,” Bret-Harte said.

The smoke looked, smelled and tasted like what Bret-Harte has experienced at her home in Fairbanks, but the far-north version was composed of vaporized tundra plants instead of black spruce and birch. The 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire, which burned an area the size of Cape Cod, is the largest fire ever recorded in tundra. It was the first wildfire in the area since slaves were shoving blocks in place to create the pyramids in Egypt (about 5,000 years ago).

Bret-Harte and others working at the research station knew they were witnessing something unusual — or maybe seeing the future. They found funding to study the burn, and time in their schedules to get their feet on the black ground. The group of scientists, led by Michelle Mack of the University of Florida, collaborated on a study published recently in the journal Nature. - More...
Friday - September 09, 2011



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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696

Update in Progress.

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 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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