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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 14, 2011

Front Page Photo by CARL THOMPSON

These humpbacks bubble feeding were recently
photographed in the Clover Pass area.
Front Page Photo by CARL THOMPSON


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The Sky is Falling As Satellite Drops In... Maybe on Ketchikan By MARY KAUFFMEN - A satellite the size of a school bus is about to fall from the sky and Ketchikan is in the possible re-entry zone.

The Sky is Falling As Satellite Drops In... Maybe on Ketchikan

This conceptual image shows the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, launched on Sept. 15, 1991, by the space shuttle Discovery.
Graphic courtesy NASA

NASA's UARS, Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere in late September, almost six years after the end of a productive scientific life. Although the spacecraft will break into pieces during re-entry, not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere.

It is too early to say exactly when UARS will re-enter and what geographic area may be affected; however, as of Sept. 8, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 152 miles by 171 miles with an inclination of 57 degrees.

Because the satellite's orbit is inclined 57 degrees to the equator, any surviving components of UARS will land within a zone between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south latitude -- which covers any area from Ketchikan, Alaska to southern Africa. It is impossible to pinpoint just where in that zone the debris will land, but NASA estimates the debris footprint will be about 500 miles long. - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011

Ketchikan: Early morning fire causes damage; Rabbit alerts familyTuesday morning, a resident of 142 Austin Street was awakened by her pet rabbit scratching her chest. Upon waking, she realized her house was full of smoke. She roused her daughter, and the two exited the house. 

The first call came in to 911 dispatchers at 4:09 a.m. and the caller reported “smoke and flames coming from the residence”.  Ketchikan Police officers arrived on scene and reported fire coming from the basement of the house and that all the occupants were outside and accounted for. 

The first fire crews arrived at 4:13 a.m. and observed heavy smoke and flames from the basement.  Attack lines were stretched to the home and the fire was brought under control quickly according to a news release from Captain Tracy Mettler, Ketchikan Fire Department.

Mettler reported the basement of the home suffered moderate damage from smoke, heat, and water.   There was light water damage to some areas of the main level and smoke damage throughout.  - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Alaska DOT&PF Seeks Public Input on Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) Southeast Region will host a series of public meetings in September and October to gather public input regarding alternatives to be considered for the update of the Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan (SATP).

The Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan (SATP) is a regional multimodal transportation plan that provides a framework for improving transportation connections between communities within the region. The plan looks at Southeast Alaska’s network of roads, ferries and airports, and at the operating and maintenance costs of the network.

The update to the 2004 plan will consider changes in Southeast Alaska’s industries, economy, population, and infrastructure, as well as current fiscal outlook and costs. This update began in 2008 when a Mission Statement and Goals were developed with public input. Most recently, ADOT&PF released a Scoping Report for the 2011-2012 SATP update, with six preliminary alternatives. - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011

POW: Richard McMaster hired to start POW eye clinic - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) recently hired optometrist Richard B. McMaster, OD, to start a new eye clinic on Prince of Wales Island.

Dr. McMaster comes to SEARHC from Lewiston, Mont., where he has been in private practice for 19 years. Dr. McMaster is in the process of selling his practice in Montana and SEARHC is in the process of renovating a permanent office for the new POW eye clinic. He will move to POW once he sells his practice. For now, Dr. McMaster will make one-week visits to POW about every month or two. Dr. McMaster will see his first POW patients on Sept. 19-23, when he will hold an eye clinic at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center (ARMC) in Klawock. He is in the process of scheduling additional POW clinics in November and December.

“We are excited to expand our eye care services on Prince of Wales Island,” said Dr. Pamela Steffes, S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Eye Clinic Manager, which had been sending optometrists to POW about eight weeks a year. “With Dr. McMaster at ARMC full time, our patients will have improved access to eye care and optical services, including emergency eye care previously unavailable on POW.” - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Medical Center Sponsoring Disaster Classes – September is National Preparedness Month and PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center is sponsoring a First Aid class and two seminars this week for the public to learn ways to help and to cope with a disaster. All are free and do not require registration beforehand.

“Children in Crisis: Behavioral Issues of Children in Crisis Events” will be Friday 3-5pm. “Crisis Standards of Care and Ethical Issues in Disasters” is also Friday from 7-9pm. Both sessions will be conducted by LeMay Hupp RN, MPH, Coordinator of Alaska Respond. The classes will be in the third floor conference room at the Medical Center, 3100 Tongass Avenue. Two free Continuing Education credits are available for each.

“Disaster First Aid” is Saturday from 9am-3pm at the Education Room at the Plaza Mall, Suite 201. LeMay Hupp will also conduct this class which will cover how to prioritize injuries, and anticipate and treat early-stage shock, control bleeding, splint and immobilize fractures, and sprains and joint injuries. - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011

Alaska: Lawmakers to Consider Changes to State Retirement System; New System Would Provide Choice to Public Employees - The Senate State Affairs Committee will meet in Anchorage tomorrow, September 15, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to consider a proposal to change the state’s pension plan for new public employees.  The meeting will take place in Room 220 of the Anchorage Legislative Information Office at 716 W 4th Avenue. 

Currently new employees do not earn a defined benefit after 20-30 years of employment as do employees hired before July 2006. Instead they and their employers make contributions to a 401(k)-style account, which can be accessed when the employee leaves public service.  Monthly or annual benefits of a particular size are not guaranteed, but vary according to how much the employee has contributed and how their investments have fared.

Under Senate Bill 121, sponsored by Senators Egan, Menard, Paskvan, Davis, Kookesh, Wielechowski, Ellis, Thomas, and French, teachers, troopers, firefighters and other public employees could choose between a traditional defined benefits plan and the newer defined contribution system. - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011

Alaska: NOAA reaches settlement with researchers for unpermitted take of a Steller sea lion - Members of a 2004 research expedition in Alaska have reached a settlement agreement with NOAA for the unpermitted take of a Steller sea lion, which is protected by the Endangered Species Act.

In August 2011, the Institute for Responsible Management/Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation II, Charles Powers and Joanna Burger entered into a settlement agreement with NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation, in which they admitted an incursion into a 3-nautical mile no-transit zone around the East Cape Rookery. While they denied the other charges, they waived their right to a hearing on three separate counts, including unlawful take of a Steller sea lion, and agreed to pay a penalty of $9,000. - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011

Alaska: Woman Sentenced In Federal Court For Stealing From A Tribal Organization – Acting United States Attorney Kevin Feldis announced this week that an Emmonak woman was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage to 12 months in prison for her conviction of stealing money from a tribal organization and ordered to pay restitution for the total amount stolen. Blanket was ordered to serve three years of supervised release after her prison term.

On September 9, 2011, Kathleen Blanket (now with a married name of Kathleen Lamont), 45, of Emmonak, Alaska, was sentenced by United States District Judge Timothy M. Burgess.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Aunnie Steward, who prosecuted the case, the following facts provided the basis for Blanket’s guilty plea: Blanket was the Tribal Administrator for the Chuloonawick Native Village (CNV) from 2004 to 2007, a tribal organization located in Emmonak, Alaska. - More...
Wednesday - September 14, 2011



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Basic Rules &
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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter Thank you By Dick, Judy, Rich, Barb and Traci Madden - The family of Michael Madden would like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended the Celebration of Life picnic for Michael at Ward Lake on Aug 25th. It was a fitting tribute to the outdoorsman that he was. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Alexander Archipelago Wolf By Andy Rauwolf - I wish to voice my strong support for the stand Butch Olmstead took in late August against the radical environmentalists’ latest scam regarding the so called “Alexander Archipelago Wolves.” His letter stemmed from a recent article entitled “Protection Sought Again for Rare Alaskan Wolf” in many recent publications. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Statement on Hotel Reimbursement By Sen. Bert Stedman - Recently, legislators from 13 western states gathered in Hawaii for the Council of State Governments’ Annual Conference.  My participation was highlighted in the press due to excessive hotel fees that were incurred inadvertently.  A reservations error with the hotel resulted in an expensive room I never requested. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter SitNews By Sam Bergeron - So often we take for granted the things we have without remembering where they’ve come from. SITNEWS is one of those things. Dick and Mary Kauffman founded this website in 1999 and have operated it since then. When Dick left us in 2007, Mary continued on with this important work. This is on top of caring for her house, the many animals she takes in and cares for plus doing the work of two people. This website is a marvel. It really is. It’s a free and open forum that has so many useful, interesting and thought provoking things in it that it gets many thousands of hits every day and is very influential in our community. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Sealaska Land Transfer Bill By Ralph Wells - For over two years I have followed the attempts by Rep. Young and Senator Murkowski to pass this controversial legislation.  I remain adamantly opposed to these bills, especially the provisions that would transfer acreage within designated wilderness areas to Sealaska corporation. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Sealaska Land Transfer Bill By Todd Heininger - This is an extremely controversial bill and should not be run through the House without debate and further review of the impact it will have on the residents of Sitka. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Sealaska Land Transfer Bill By Marlene Clarke - HB 1408, sponsored by Rep. Don Young, has been put on the suspension calendar in the House. This will allow the house to vote on it as if it is not controversial. Many communities in Southeast Alaska have spoken clearly that this bill would be devastating to their futures. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

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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Regular Election
October 04, 2011

For the 10th year, Sitnews will be providing a free web page to all local 2011 candidates.

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

• Candidates are also requested to provide a statement in which important issues facing the community are addressed and what each would like to achieve if elected. Candidates & Statements

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