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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 23, 2011

Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT

Breaching Humpback Whale
Clover Pass area: A breach or a lunge is a leap out of the water also known as cresting.
Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT


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Fish Factor:
Mariculture could be the next big job and economic booster; Ketchikan-based Oceans Alaska Marine Science Center aims to be state's go to place for research & development By LAINE WELCH - With 33,000 miles of coastline, mariculture could be the next big job and economic booster for remote Alaska regions.  The Oceans Alaska Marine Science Center at Ketchikan aims to be the state’s go to place for mariculture research and development for farmers wanting to grow oysters, mussels, scallops, seaweeds and pricey geoduck clams.

Armed with a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the US Dept. of Agriculture, the Center will provide training for small and emerging growers, both on farms sites and at the floating center soon to be anchored at George Inlet.  

 “There are many different components for those starting out or trying to expand, and people are looking to Oceans Alaska to provide hands on training, business training, the biological side of it,” said David Mitchel, Center director. “It is more comprehensive than just a simple apprentice training program where you put people out on a farm.”

There are 75 permitted shellfish farms in Alaska, up from 69 in 2009, with 27 making sales so far – 15 in South central and 12 in Southeast. The main crop is oysters, with sales valued at $417,000 last year. Most of that was produced by the 13 farmers of  the Kachemak Shellfish Growers Cooperative with sales of $300,000.

“I could sell all the oysters I could possibly produce and double sales tomorrow with just a couple of phone calls. There is a lack of production throughout the country,” said Tom Henderson, Oceans Alaska mariculture director who also has an oyster farm near Kake. 

When the Center officially opens its doors next month, he said they will begin focusing on growing other products right away.

“We will definitely be working with geoducks immediately, and then getting into other things, particularly seaweed,” Henderson said. 

Seaweed is the second largest aquaculture industry in the world, second only to fresh water fish.   Kelp, for example, is a multibillion dollar industry in Japan , and Henderson wants to work with the  traditional, local black seaweed which he says tastes better than nori, popular in sushi rolls

Economists believe expanding mariculture just in Southeast Alaska could easily increase the industry’s revenues over time from $7 million to more than $100 million a year. And why not? Australia produces 80 million oysters a year worth $40 million.  And New Zealand’s government funded mussel industry went from $15 million to well over $100 million in 20 years. - More...
Friday - September 23, 2011

Alaska: Senators Disagree On ‘No Child Left Behind’ Waiver Offer – At a White House press conference today, President Obama offered states the chance to apply for a waiver from “No Child Left Behind” requirements for 100% proficiency by 2014.  Those waivers will be granted if the states impose new policies – long advocated by the Obama administration – for “college and career ready” standards, limiting school accountability for taxpayer dollars to only the lowest-performing, new teacher evaluation systems, and making sure state regulations match his Administration’s expectations.

U.S. Senator Murkowski (R-AK) today challenged the Department of Education’s waiver process for states to opt out of some provisions of the “No Child Left Behind Act” – reminding the administration they do not have the authority to do so, unilaterally. “I’m disappointed that President Obama’s solution to his predecessor’s top-down, one-size-fits-all policy is his own top-down, one-size fits all policy.”

Murkowski said.  “I share the frustrations of Alaskans and Americans who see the flaws in ‘No Child Left Behind’ and the shortcomings of the Adequate Yearly Progress approach, especially given Alaska’s unique challenges” added Murkowski.  “But you cannot bypass Congress when you are changing education policy.  This waiver deal will exchange a set of one-size-fits-all rules with rules Secretary Duncan likes.  In case he has forgotten, he is the Secretary of Education, not the Superintendent of Alaska.” 

However U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) is urging the State of Alaska to apply for a waiver to what he describes as the burdensome and broken No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Begich is continuing a push for an education policy that respects the uniqueness and variety of Alaska’s classrooms.

Begich’s call is made in a letter to Gov. Sean Parnell and follows an announcement today by President Obama that the U.S. Department of Education will be issuing waivers from key provisions of the NCLB Act in exchange for state-led education reform plans.

“I encourage the State of Alaska to embrace our diverse classrooms and empower our communities to educate their kids by developing an education plan that returns local control and recognizes the unique needs of Alaska’s classrooms, students and teachers,” Begich said. “The one size fits all No Child Left Behind Act doesn’t fit Alaska’s classrooms and ignores the differences between an XTRATUF clad classroom in Ketchikan and a sandal clad classroom in Florida.” - More...
Friday - September 23, 2011 

Ketchikan: Local Landmark at a Crossroads; Town Meeting Planned to Discuss Fate of Historic Yates Building
Wednesday, September 28, 7:00 PM
– The Arthur Yates Memorial Hospital building next to St. John’s Episcopal Church has been a Ketchikan landmark since 1905.  It has served as Ketchikan’s first full-fledged hospital, St. John’s clergy house, headquarters for Alaska Sportsman magazine, Chamber of Commerce offices, and Seamen’s Center.  Now it is at a crossroads.  The Parish of St. John’s has no funds to rehabilitate and maintain the building, and is considering demolition of the structure. 

Local Landmark at a Crossroads; Town Meeting Planned to Discuss Fate of Historic Yates Building Wednesday, September 28, 7:00 PM 

The Yates Building in the 1950s.
Photo courtesy of Ketchikan Museums

Historic Ketchikan, the Ketchikan Historic Commission, and the Tongass Historical Society have joined with interested community members in requesting that the Parish delay any action while viable alternatives to demolition can be explored.  Church officials have responded that they are open to exploring ways to preserve and reuse this important part of Ketchikan’s history – provided that they can be accomplished at no cost to the Parish. - More...
Friday - September 23, 2011

Alaska: NOAA releases results of 2011 Bering Sea Groundfish Survey -  How much fish and crab can be sustainably caught by fishers in the Bering Sea next year?

 The annual process to set total allowable catch levels for various groundfish and crab species in the Bering Sea took a big step forward this week, when NOAA scientists from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center completed calculating the initial biomass estimates from the 2011 eastern Bering Sea survey.

Groundfish and crab scientists from the AFSC completed the 30th in a series of standardized annual bottom trawl surveys of the eastern Bering Sea continental shelf this past summer aboard the chartered fishing vessels Aldebaran and Alaska Knight. The vessels bottom trawled at 376 stations over a survey area of 144,600 square nautical miles, finishing the survey August 4, 2011. The science crew processed and recorded the catch from each trawl catch by identifying, sorting, and weighing all the different crab and groundfish species and then measuring samples of each species. - More... 
Friday - September 23, 2011



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Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter An Open Letter to SitNews Readers: Whitman Lake Hydroelectric - Proposition 2 By Lew Williams On Behalf of the Ketchikan City Council - On October 4th, 2011, Proposition 2 will ask voters to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, regarding authorizing the City to issue up to $15 million dollars in bonds to finance construction of a new hydroelectric facility.  The Ketchikan City Council recommends a ‘Yes’ vote. - More... 
Wednesday - September 21, 2011

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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