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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 19, 2011


"The One That Got Away"
Pictured to the lower right is one lucky herring that got away from this humpback that was recently bubble feeding in the Clover Pass area.


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2011 Permanent Fund Dividend is $1,174 - Governor Sean Parnell today announced that 647,549 eligible Alaskans will receive a 2011 Permanent Fund Dividend in the amount of $1,174. According to the Department of Revenue, 676,000 Alaskans applied for the 2011 Dividend. This represents a one percent increase over 2010 applications.

The first dividends will be paid on October 6 when approximately 535,000 applicants will receive a direct deposit into their bank account, and 93,000 will be mailed a check. Paper checks will be mailed on October 6 from Juneau. The actual delivery date will vary by applicant location. - More...
Tuesday - September 20, 2011

Ketchikan: Commissioner Selects Ketchikan Shipyard to Finish Design, Submit Initial Bid for New Alaska Class Ferry – Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Marc Luiken announced today that Alaska Ship & Drydock, the operator of the state-owned Ketchikan Shipyard, was selected as the construction manager/general contractor for the new Alaska Class Ferry.

ASD will work with ADOT&PF to finish the design of the ship along with Elliott Bay Design Group, the state’s architect and engineering contractor. Once the design is complete, ASD will be given the first opportunity to negotiate a contract for construction of the vessel.

"By participating in the design, ASD will have thorough knowledge of the vessel and what it will take to construct it,” Commissioner Luiken said. “ASD can then submit a bid to build the vessel. This puts ASD in a partnership with the state, an arrangement that should limit costly change orders and cost overruns. The new process fulfills our responsibility to maximize the value of public funds while providing an opportunity for economic development and jobs in Alaska.”

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) in a prepared statement said, “I appreciate the action by the Alaska Department of Transportation selecting an Alaska company to construct the first Alaska Class ferry."

Begich said, “I visited the shipyard and met with its workers when I visited Ketchikan last spring.  They have a very talented workforce. I told them the state should build the Alaska Class Ferry right there. It is clear that whoever builds the first vessel will be in a great position to win contracts for future vessels. Today’s announcement will help keep year-round, high-paying jobs for Alaskans." - More...
Monday - September 19, 2011

Fish Factor: Fisheries sees increase in federal dollars By LAINE WELCH - Fisheries are on the receiving end of federal dollars, instead of the other way around. As Congressional lawmakers slash budgets in D.C., money for all-important fishery stock assessments was actually increased from $51 million to $67 million for the next fiscal year, the amount requested by President Obama.

The money was included as part of a Commerce, Justice and Science (CSJ) subcommittee appropriations bill that passed in a bipartisan vote late last week. Despite the fisheries increase, the bill is $600 million below the amount in FY2011 and $5 billion below the President’s request, said Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, a CJS subcommittee member.  

“The overall appropriations account is dramatically reduced, so the fact that we were able to increase our fisheries dollars is really quite significant.  I was very pleased,” Murkowski said in a phone interview from her Senate office.

One big NOAA budget item that was zeroed out drew sighs of relief from Alaska’s two Senators – ocean zoning, or ‘marine spatial planning.’  The plan, which would affect all users and uses, on and beneath the oceans, was listed as a priority in the President’s national ocean policy, with a price tag of $60 million.             

“It made no sense to me for this administration to request funding to move forward with this.  The concept was a bad idea from the get go and unwanted by Alaskans,” said Murkowski, who insisted that the federal funding be removed. - More...
Monday - September 19, 2011

Alaska: The one percent economy, the decade in review - Alaska’s economy of the past decade was without large booms, busts, or any def ning economic event - yet it was still unique reports the latest issue of Alaska Economic Trends which is published by the Alaska Department of Labor. The 2000–2010 decade was the slowest period of employment growth since statehood, and probably the least dramatic.

The one percent economy, the decade in review

Some referred to it as the “one percent economy” because that’s about as much as it grew each year.

Despite the lackluster economic performance, it might have been one of the more balanced decades, as nearly every industry contributed to the expansion. For example:

• The fishing industry began to recover from the lows of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
• Employment in the oil industry grew significantly.
• Oil revenues and federal expenditures both more than doubled.
• A third of the state’s currently operating large mines opened, along with other major mineral exploration and development.
• The number of summer visitors climbed from 1.2 million in 2001 to 1.5 million in 2010.
• International air cargo volume increased by a third.

One exception to the growth trend was the timber industry, which continued to shrink during most of the past decade.

High, unprecedented prices for commodities such as oil, minerals, and fi sh spurred production for many of the above industries. - Read the story behind a slow decade, click here to download the 24 page Alaska Economic Trends magazine.
Monday - September 19, 2011

Alaska: State Files Preliminary Injunction Motion to Prevent Ferry Service Disruption – The State Attorney General’s office filed a motion Saturday on behalf of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF), Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), with the Superior Court for the State of Alaska, First Judicial District in Juneau for a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit over the Fast Vehicle Ferry (FVF) engines.

The motion for injunction seeks to protect the state against the prolonged loss of use of the two fast ferries due to engine degradation. The motion asks the court to order the defendants to take all necessary actions to prevent a disruption in service caused by the engine erosion problems, even before a final court determination is made over legal responsibility for the engine degradation.

ADOT&PF purchased the FVF Fairweather and the FVF Chenega from Derecktor Shipyards Connecticut in 2004 and 2005 respectively. ADOT&PF contends in the lawsuit that the engines were warranted to last 25 years and 100,000 operating hours. The engines developed an erosion problem that significantly reduced their operating life. The defendants in the suit have previously attempted repairs, but ADOT&PF believes that these efforts have not properly remedied the problem. - More...
Monday - September 19, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom PurcellTOM PURCELL: We Are Innovative Masters - While searching the Internet last week, I stumbled upon a Google Archives article that made me chuckle.

The article ran in the St. Petersburg Times on Jan. 7, 1992. It touted the introduction of a video phone, from the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., that allowed consumers to send and receive video and voice calls.

"The 6-pound phone contains a built-in camera and tiny video screen and is about the size of a phone-answering machine," said the article.

And it only cost $1,500!

That was 19 years ago, prehistoric times where technology is concerned. - More...
Monday - September 19, 2011



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letter The Mahoney Lake and Whitman Lake Hydroelectric projects, how can we bring them online? By Sam Bergeron - Those of us who live in Ketchikan and get our power from Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU) belong in the two dam pool, owned and operated by: Southeast Alaska Power Association (SEAPA). We are required to buy our power from SEAPA before we use any other source of power, including our own. - More...
Monday AM - September 19, 2011

letter Closing: PATCHWorks By Bobbie McCreary - I'm sure I join many others in our community in applauding the efforts that PATHWorks, their volunteers and a "slim" staff (of two part-timers) accomplished during the time that organization evolved from a community process addressing the health of this community to current times. - More...
Monday AM - September 19, 2011

letter Thank You Ketchikan By Sara Schroeder - Since I left Ketchikan in 2006, I have moved residences at least once every year, and that leaves a lot of packing and unpacking. Today I was sorting through some old papers and I found the news article from a few weeks following my transplant in 2005. I could go into to various stories about how thankful I am, how I am doing, what my future holds, etc. but I will keep it simple and just want to say, Thank You Ketchikan. - More...
Monday AM - September 19, 2011

letter Bullying at Morning Bus Stops By Amber Anderson - Kids are easy targets to bullying if adult supervision is lacking at bus stops. Elementary children are being bullied in the morning at both bus stops in front of the Ketchikan Rec Center. I have a group of kids telling me that a boy across the street is verbally abusing them. The language is very offensive from what the young ladies are reporting to me. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Pro Bergeron for Ketchikan City Council By Randy Kienbaum - I'd like to show my support for Sam Bergeron and thank him for responding so quickly to the e-mail I sent to him. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Hickel's Vision Inspired Norway Policy Tour By Bill Walker - Governor Walter Hickel founded the Institute of the North which organized last week's Norway Policy Tour. Hickel long advocated that AIaska, as owner of its natural resources, must take control of its resource development for the benefit of all Alaskans. I was privileged to participate with the legislators and community leaders from Kotzebue, Nome, Bethel, Dillingham, Southeast, Kenai, Kodiak, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Anchorage who met with ambassadors and top level government and industry officials to learn about the Norway "model" of government-owned and developed oil and gas resources. Having traveled with Governor Hickel to China in 2008, I know he would have been the first to enlist for the Norway trip keeping lock step with us on even on the eighteen hour days visiting industry headquarters and facilities across Norway. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Wolf rant got it wrong By Marty Bergoffen & Larry Edwards - Andy Rauwolf's Sept. 12 Viewpoint Commentary, criticizing our effort to ensure the Alexander Archipelago wolf's safety from extinction, relies on supposed facts that are simply wrong. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Closing Message from PATCHWorks By Dawn Rauwolf for the PATCHWorks Board - Since the early 1990's, PATCHWorks has been a voice in sharing the value and lessons of the 40  Developmental Assets.  Many in the community have been impacted by the asset message over the years.  PATCHWorks started as a group of committed community members interested in improving the overall health and wellness of Ketchikan.  All of the efforts to encourage parents, teachers, and community members to reach and support our youth have made a positive difference.  - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter RE: Statement on Hotel Reimbursement By Scott R. Davis - Senator Stedman, thank you for your letter to Sitnews regarding the Hotel Reimbursement. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Vote for a plan not a statement of what "we need By Ed "Mongo" Fry - After reading the Ketchikan Daily News with the forum that was hosted with the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and the candidates that were present, it is "status quo" for the Ketchikan Borough Assembly, again.  No new news there other than bombastic statements of, "we need".  If you happen to search past candidate speeches and statements, it is the platform of the majority, "we need".  Unacceptable in my book and Ketchikan deserves better. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter RE: Sitnews By Bobbie McCreary - Sam, I agree wholeheartedly with your tribute to Mary Kauffman (and Dick before her). - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

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

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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.

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