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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 28, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Clover Pass area: Breaching Humpback
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS


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Southeast Alaska:
Further Review Announced for Halibut Catch Sharing Plan - After conducting a preliminary review of thousands of public comments received on the proposed rule to implement a halibut catch sharing plan (CSP) in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska, NOAA Fisheries has announced a delay in the implementation of the plan.

According to the announcement by NOAA Fisheries, the public comment process elicited comments that raised a number of policy and technical issues which may require additional input from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council before NOAA Fisheries can proceed to a final rule. Specifically, numerous commenters raised concerns about:

1. the evaluation of the management implications at lower levels of abundance;
2. economic impacts of the CSP under all levels of potential combined catch levels; and
3. methods for calculating the average weight for guided angler fish that may be leased from commercial IFQ operators and the specific means for tracking and reporting guided angler fish.

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said in a prepared statement, “Announcement of a delay in the implementation of the halibut catch sharing plan will please some Alaskans and disappoint others but in the end there’s a lot more work to be done on this longstanding, divisive issue and some tough decisions to be made in the interim."

Begich said, “In my comments to NOAA Administrator Lubchenco, I said the public raised some legitimate issues which need further consideration.  This includes the adequacy of economic analysis of the impact of the rulemaking, a general concern I have raised about other NOAA actions.  I also share concerns about the fairness of the formula which would set the charter halibut quota below the sector’s previously set Guideline Harvest Levels."

“On complex resource management issues such as this, I rely on the appropriate regulatory bodies like the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to weigh the scientific data, impacts on the various user groups and communities, comments of the public and other relevant information," said Begich.  "I support ongoing work by the Council to examine management options during times of low halibut abundance, the efforts by charter operators to explore pooling options to allow more flexibility within their sector, and the needs for more biological research to better understand the current low abundance and diminished size of the halibut," he said.

 Sen. Begich said, “Both the commercial and charter halibut sectors are important to Alaskans and the state’s economy.  Years of divisiveness between these sectors need to be resolved with a plan which fairly sets allocations, clarifies the rules, addresses each sector’s unique needs, and allows flexibility for changing times.  I hope the continued review of this important matter will lead to development of a plan which is fair to all users and works to grow Alaska’s economy and ensure the sustainability of our halibut stocks.” - More...
Wednesday PM - September 28, 2011

Southeast Alaska: NOAA Ship Rainier returns to Alaska to conduct sea floor surveys in support of safe navigation - NOAA Ship Rainier has begun a month long survey of the sea floor near Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island as part of a multi-year effort to update nautical charts for the area. In addition to supporting marine navigation, data acquired by the 231-foot hydrographic survey vessel will also support marine ecosystem studies and improve inundation models for areas vulnerable to tsunamis.

NOAA Ship Rainier returns to Alaska to conduct sea floor surveys in support of safe navigation

NOAA Ship Rainier.
Photo courtesy NOAA

“We are pleased to return to Alaska to continue these important surveys, which will ensure the safe navigation of mariners who rely on the area’s waters for fishing, cargo delivery and recreational uses,” said NOAA Corps Capt. Donald Haines, commanding officer of NOAA Ship Rainier and the ship’s chief scientist.

NOAA’s survey effort in the area began in 2006 with the Gulf of Esquilbel and has continued south over recent years. Rainier’s sophisticated sonar systems enable precise measurement of ocean depth and the creation of 3-D digital terrain models of the sea floor that reveals details about the underwater landscape and potential hazards to navigation. The first surveys of the area took place in the early 1900s. Depths were acquired with lead lines, a method that was accurate at the point of the sounding, but lacked information about the surrounding area.

Commissioned in 1968, Rainier is one of three ships in the NOAA fleet that conduct hydrographic surveys in support of the nautical charting mission of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. Rainier last visited the area in 2009 before undergoing a year-long, $13.1-million major repair period during which the ship was outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment to conduct its survey missions with even greater efficiency and accuracy.

Equipped with five 29-foot survey boats and high precision sonar and positioning equipment, Rainier is one of the most productive survey platforms of its type in the world. Rainier’s crew of 50 is comprised of NOAA Corps officers and civilian wage mariners, both licensed and unlicensed. The ship typically operates eight to nine months of the year in the coastal waters of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 28, 2011

Alaska Science: In the company of moose for 32 years By NED ROZELL - On a late autumn day, as naked stems of dwarf birch nod away from a warm breeze, a distant flash of antler reveals the object of our search.

In the company of moose for 32 years

Most bull males don’t live beyond the age of 13 in Denali National Park and Preserve, according to Vic Van Ballenberghe.
Alaska Division of Tourism photo.

“The hunters would love to see him,” Vic Van Ballenberghe says as he pulls his pickup to the side of the park road and grabs his binoculars. “He’s a trophy bull.”

The giant moose strolls over a brownish slope that waits for snow. The creature pauses at times, steering with massive antlers one of the cows that orbit him.

“He’s got seven with him,” Van Ballenberghe says of a group of blondish female moose.

The sight of eight moose is a treat for me, Van Ballenberghe’s guest for the day, but the 67-year old biologist has stood close enough to smell the musk of these moose every spring and fall since 1980. That’s the year he first visited the park and knew he had found the perfect place to study the behavior of this iconic large mammal.

He noted how the Denali Park road cuts right through great moose habitat, enabling him to drive within hiking distance to observe them. He saw plenty of moose along the road in 1980, animals that weren’t spooked by people. The bulls were large there, too, in part because the park’s ban on hunting. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 28, 2011



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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter REMEMBERING PATCHWorks By Diane Gubatayao - Over fifteen years ago a great many citizens of Ketchikan participated in a planning process led by Ketchikan Public Health. The key question was what builds a healthy community? Their response was not the customary prevent heart disease or prevent cancer. Their response was truly visionary:  if we want to build a healthy community, we need to invest in healthy youth. But how? Don Mitchel, a school counselor at the time, learned about a new model called “developmental assets” designed by Search Institute based upon a comprehensive review of fifty years of research on youth development.  The concept of developmental assets is so seemingly simple:  if a young person possesses 30 or more of the 40 assets in his or her  life, the chances of that young person avoiding serious risk behaviors such as substance abuse or gangs is greatly increased. Extensive ongoing studies by Search Institute and other researchers on diverse student populations confirm this positive outcome. - More...
Thursday AM - September 29, 2011

letter Disgusted with the federal government By Walter Norum - I am so disgusted with the performance of the federal government, that I want to get all of them out of office. I am not going to get into what they are doing wrong because it would take hours. The purpose of this letter is a possible solution to the problem. In November of 2012, when we vote, let's NOT vote for an incumbent. Let's get all of these people out and start with new people. If we had a 50 or 60% voter turnout, (I would like to see more), and not a single incumbent had been elected, we would be sending a tremendous message to the world. The American people are taking back their country. - More...
Thursday AM - September 29, 2011

letter RE: School Spirit By Amy Bowman - I am writing in response to Charlene Thomas' letter about School Spirit. At this moment I feel very frustrated that her letter would be published with out checking facts. I'm thrilled that Ms. Thomas is in support of wanting more School Spirit because I have been working towards this for several years! At the same time I'm doing my best to word this response very carefully so that I do not offend anyone involved with the School as well as School athletics. - More...
Wednesday - September 28, 2011

letter RE: Bullying at Morning Bus Stops By Vanessa Ohlson - Bullying is a matter reportable to the police. The fact there are witnesses and verbal accounts from other children a case can be made. This young man is in need of some intervention before he escalates and seriously injures another child. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2011

letter School Spirit By Charlene Thomas - I recently attended a Kayhi Kings football game at Fawn Mountain and I was completely taken aback when I was told that Kayhi cheerleaders don't attend the football games. Apparently, they don't cheer if the weather is too cold? Thunder Mountain's cheer squad was in attendance and they didn't put on warmer clothing until the game was half over! - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2011

letter Yes Prop 2: Whitman Lake Hydroelectric Project By Sam Bergeron - Please join me and the City Council in voting yes on the much need Whitman Lake Hydroelectric project. During my time on the City Council I pushed hard for this project and my support for The Whitman Lake project has not diminished. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2011

letter Entitlement Programs We can do Without By Michael Spence - Five entitlements the American taxpayers can do without: 1.The Entitlement of large corporations and labor unions to buy public policy through unlimited political contributions, leaving most Americans out of the political process. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2011

letter The Library By Ken Leland - Here we go again. First they designed a massive open aircraft hanger sized structure that will cost a mint to heat, now they say the fill is not strong enough and the bedrock is uneven so they will have to drive pilings or float a heavy base under it to support it. Not to mention the size of the property originally sought but abandoned for a smaller site, (read parking) plus pedestrian accessibility. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2011

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

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Stories in the News
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Ketchikan, Alaska

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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

KGB Mayor (2)
Assembly (7)
Updated 09/29/11
School Board (4)
Updated 09/29/11
City Council (4)
Updated 09/09/11
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Post your question(s) for the candidates as a group and read the responses from the candidates.

Candidates are encouraged to participate and address the questions of their 'future' constituents.
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