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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 26, 2009

Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES

Bar Harbor
Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES


Ketchikan: Eight Candidates File for Open School Board Seat - Eight individuals have filed applications with the School District for the open seat on the Board of Education by the application deadline which was Wednesday, October 21.

The individuals will be interviewed by the School Board on Wednesday, October 28, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Borough Assembly Chambers.

The candidates to be considered for the one open seat on the board are (in alphabetical order):

Christopher Barry
Ralph Beardsworth
Trapper Bishop
Shona Hosley
Cat Ivie
Debbie Nicholas
David Timmerman
Carl Webb

Public input regarding the candidates will be accepted at the district office, in writing or via e-mail to There will also be time set aside for public comment specifically regarding the candidates at the October 28 Board meeting. - More...
Monday - October 26, 2009

Alaska: New Research Finds Alaskans Pay 41 Percent Higher Gas Prices - Research released Friday by Representatives Chris Tuck and Pete Petersen (both D-Anchorage) finds that Alaskans continue to pay sky high prices for gas at the pump. Tuck and Petersen showcased the findings at the Alaska Federation of Native Energy hearing Friday. They also urged support for their anti-price gouging bill (HB68), which will particularly help families struggling to make ends meet.

"There are families in Alaska living paycheck to paycheck. It would make a big difference to save a couple hundred bucks on gas, to free up that money for food or other necessities," said Tuck.

"While energy solutions for rural and urban areas vary greatly, cutting gas prices at the pump down to fair levels helps people in every community," said Petersen.

"Many possible energy solutions, like hydro, take time and money. This is something we can do right now for very little cost to the state," added Tuck.

"We should be paying fair prices for gas that's ours to begin with. Alaska produces more crude oil than any state but Texas, and far more crude oil per capita than any other state," continued Petersen.

Research findings include that as of October 20, 2009: - More...
Monday - October 26, 2009

Fish Factor: More restrictions for the fishing industry? By LAINE WELCH - Alaska's fishing industry will soon know if more restrictions might be imposed to protect sea lions in prime fishing grounds. In mid-November federal fishery scientists will unveil a draft biological opinion (BiOp) on proposed changes to existing rules for fishing fleets in portions of the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea.

When Western Alaska stocks of Steller sea lions were listed as a threatened species in 1990, it forced widespread restrictions on where and when boats could fish. Fleets were displaced from three to up to 20 miles from haul outs, rookeries or other critical habitat for sea lions. By law, managers were required to craft a plan to aid in the animals' recovery.

The BiOp will incorporate all new research from the past five years, said Doug DeMaster, director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Juneau.

"Overall, the numbers from 2000 to 2008 show there is not a strong trend, and in fact, there is the appearance of a sea lion increase. We're waiting for the 2009 census data to make sure we're interpreting that apparent increase correctly," DeMaster said. Based on 2004-2005 data, the total population of western Steller sea lions in Alaska is estimated to be approximately 45,000 animals.

"In terms of a BiOp, juvenile survival appears to be sufficiently high, as well as adult survival," he added.

"The factor that seems to be problematic right now is the reproductive rate of adult females at the age of sexual maturity. So it's the reproductive side of the equation that seems to be preventing recovery."

Scientists also are factoring in the role killer whales play in preventing sea lion recovery.

"I think most of us have thought for a long time that killer whales and predation is an important source of sea lion mortality," DeMaster said.

That theory gained more credence this month when a tagging study indicated that four out of five sea lions suffered sudden, traumatic deaths, most likely from killer whales. Since 2005 researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have partnered with the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward to implant lifelong tags in the body cavities of 27 captured and released sea lions. The tags ­ developed by Wildlife Computers of Redmond, Washington - record body temperature and other internal data. Team leader Markus Horning said researchers can tell if a sea lion died suddenly by its internal temperature changes and by the tag's immediate or delayed transmissions.

Horning admitted that identifying the actual predators is a bit of guesswork, but said only a couple of species are known to prey on sea lions and are common in the region of Alaska where the five tags went off. He said in an OSU release that "if the proportion of sea lions killed by predation in this study was applied to population models, more than half of the female Steller sea lions would be consumed by predators before they have a chance to reproduce." - More...
Monday - October 26, 2009


Alaska: Coast Guard suspends search for Sitka Fisherman - The Coast Guard suspended its search at 1:44 p.m. Sunday for missing Sitka fisherman Michael Diverty who was presumed to have fallen overboard from his 32-foot fishing vessel the Miss Dee Dee. The fishing vessel was discovered grounded with the engines still running about 20 miles north of Sitka in Fish Bay Friday.

 Coast Guard suspends search for Sitka Fisherman

The Miss Dee Dee was discovered grounded with the engines still running Friday.
Photograph courtesy USCG

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka crews conducted four searches using MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters. The Coast Guard Cutter Naushon, a 110-foot patrol boat from Ketchikan, has been in the area searching since Saturday.  The fishing vessel Brant who found the Miss Dee Dee provided assistance with conducting land and water searches.

The crew of the Brant reported during their initial search that the life raft was still onboard the Miss Dee Dee and that there were no signs of missing life saving equipment.

Alaska State Troopers boarded the Miss Dee Dee in an effort to better understand the circumstances that led to Michael Diverty's going overboard.  Sitka Mountain Rescue also sent a team with a search dog to provide a shoreline search looking for any indication that Diverty had made it ashore.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center was notified of Diverty's disappearance at approximately 7:06 p.m. Friday and immediately launched a rescue helicopter to search the area.  Diverty was last seen leaving Sitka around noon Friday by the crew of the Brant and is believed to have fallen off his vessel sometime during the day north of Sitka. - More...
Monday - October 26, 2009

Arts & Entertainment

Ketchikan: This Week in Ketchikan... This week in Ketchikan it's Red Ribbon Week! Hang a red ribbon in your windows or doors to help raise awareness of drug abuse. Ketchikan, are you "Seeing Red"? This event is sponsored by Tongass Substance Screening.

Free Public Lecture- Ketchikan: Gateway to an Invasive-Free Future. Come to a free lecture at the Forest Service Discovery Center on Monday, October 26th at 7:00pm. The program features Gary Freitag, Marine Advisory Program Agent of the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, who presents: "Marine Invasive Species Sampling in Ketchikan, Alaska: A High Risk Area as the First Entry Point for Marine Traffic and Northerly Currents." Sarah Reichard, Associate Professor of the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington, who presents "Ecological Impacts of Knotweed, an Invasive Plant Threatening Southeast Alaska Resources." For more information on the program or the conference, Contact Elizabeth Bella at , or call 907-664-2118. - More...


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

letterWard Cove Park for Innovative Economic and Environmental Renewal (PIEER) By Alethea Johnson , Larry Jackson, Katie Jo Parrott, Wayne Weihing & Joanna Desanto - Twelve years after the closure of the Pulp Mill, Ketchikan is still grappling with how to handle Ward Cove. The Borough Assembly is poised to dispose of Ward Cove as quickly as possible and we understand their urgency. After all, we have been "sitting" on the property for a long time and it costs the Borough money every day to maintain it. One of the options under consideration is auctioning it off in pieces without any overall plan. But Ward Cove's greatest potential will not be realized by a scattershot approach to development. Rather, what would most benefit this community is a creative and comprehensive plan for the long term use of Ward Cove that encourages stewardship of the property. - More...
Friday - October 23, 2009

letterFire Safety Education By Liz Hook - I would like to send a thank you out to all the firefighters who donated their time to help run the Fire Safety Trailer this last month. I think it is wonderful that our local firefighters consider it to be their duty to teach fire safety education to all members of our community; not just the members who happen to live in their service area. - More...
Friday - October 23, 2009

letterCut Exports of Rare Earth Minerals By Sen. Lisa Murkowski - Clean energy technologies face a range of obstacles. The credit crunch has slowed capital investment, disputes have arisen over which lands are suitable for infrastructure, and the electric grid has sometimes proved incapable of handling new generation. Over the long run, however, our most difficult challenge may be our most fundamental: ensuring a stable supply of the raw materials needed to manufacture clean energy technologies in the first place. - More...
Friday - October 23, 2009

letterTolerance of others. By Charles Schilli - Mr Schenk, I have difficulty in finding anything hateful in Mr Johnson's post. What he is saying is, in fact, in line with many things I have run into as a live aboard. - More...
Friday - October 23, 2009

letterSimple Minded Labels By Charlotte Tanner - Thank you James Schenk. - More...
Friday - October 23, 2009

letterHaloacetic Acid By Peggy Ayers - In response to Kirk Amundson's letter regarding haloacetic acid; this link is very interesting and may provide some answers for him. -More...
Friday - October 23, 2009

letterOpen Letter: KPU By David G. Hanger - Upon further reflection I have concluded that our telephone conversation of last Thursday afternoon is so fascinating the whole town ought be in on it. Let us begin by pointing out that I called about the fact that you lied to GCI when they contacted you to transfer my account by claiming my ancillary phone numbers had been reassigned, when in fact you knew they had not been re-assigned; merely the beginning of the grotesque retaliatory tactics your company has engaged in. My call, after the concerned intervention of our mayor, was to reverse your previous nonsense of lying to GCI about my phone numbers, and to arrange for said numbers to be transferred to GCI. - More...
Tuesday - October 20, 2009

letterCongress, not the EPA, Should Lead Climate Battle By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - Congress is currently engaged in one of the most complex policy debates of our time -- how best to mitigate climate change without harming the economy. - More...
Tuesday - October 20, 2009

letterDrinking Water By Vanessa McElory Alderson - In response to Kirk Amundson's "Drinking Water" request, per a report on the U.S. Department of the Interior's website (they manage water in the western states), Haloacetic Acids may cause an increase in cancer. - More...
Tuesday - October 20, 2009

letterSimple minded Labels By James Schenk - I oppose the kind of hate you have so deliberately set out like most of your conservative ilk who have no manners and indeed, go out of your way to insult people with racial and mean attacks, as you have published here. - More...
Tuesday - October 20, 2009

letterConservative vs. Liberal By A.M. Johnson - Often there is debate on what differentiates a Conservative from a Liberal persona. the need has become paramount with the current political scene being played out by our current President and his Congress. - More...
Monday - October 19, 2009

letterFighting at bus stops By Kara (McElroy) Steele - My question to Karen Brown is WHY didn't you call 911 immediately seeing this all unfold??? That's where it apparently needs to start, then on to the parents about their children's behavior at the bus stop. Unfortunately this has been going on for sometime if they think they can do that openly around others. Next time call the police, and make sure they pursue on to the parents to start reeling in their kids. - More...
Monday - October 19, 2009

letterDisenrollment By Alice and Gene Sloan - If a family must move from their tribal area to find work, why must they be removed from the rolls? If a spouse chooses to live near their partner's family in a different community as many do, why should they be disenrolled/disenfranchised? In this vast world that is becoming smaller everyday with communicaton and travel, why must this type of action be taken? - More...
Monday - October 19, 2009

letter KIC Election October 19th: No to Proposition 2 By Axel & Kathleen Svenson - Get out and vote at the KIC Special election at the Mall Monday, 8 - 8! This election is crucial for all tribal members. The silence surrounding the election, and particularly the silence on Proposition 2, should speak volumes to you. This silence is a big red flag waving to all concerned. - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterWARD COVE FOCUS GROUP By Rob Holston - A group of local interested citizens met for nearly 2 hours on Oct. 13, 2009 at the offices of R&M Engineering to discuss Ward Cove. Trevor Sande provided maps of the pulp mill side of the cove with subdivision and roadway boundaries indicated. The subdivision plan had been previously prepared for a past owner of Ward Cove. - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterThank you all for a Successful Car Show By Laurel Bray - The Ketchikan Kruzers Car Club would like to extend a huge thank you to the Ketchikan Plaza for allowing us, along with the Ketchikan Harley Riders Association to have a car/bike show inside the Plaza on October 10th and 11th. To Judy and Dave Zenge and your Plaza staff, we can't thank you enough for helping us make this a successful show. Who would have thought 20 cars could fit inside the Plaza. We asked the public to vote for their favorite cars, by Saturday night we had a 3 way tie for all 3 places. We continued the voting on Sunday and the winners were: - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterKids at bus stops By Karen Brown - Every morning I take my foster grandson to the bus stop. We sit and wait until the bus leaves for Fawn Mountain. In the last few mornings we have watched children from the Houghtling Bus Stop. We have watched them fighting with each other. One morning, one little boy was being sat on while others were "tickling" him, rocks are thrown at kids and at other people's property. There are a lot of children here and some are rather small and can't fight back. My daughter went over and rescued the little boy who was being sat on, the day before or sometime last week she spoke to them about throwing rocks at each other and property. - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterDrinking water By Kirk Amundson - This is to ask a few questions -- what cancers does haloacetic acids cause??? How many years does this take to cause cancer??? Why are we spending 4.2 million if we don't know if this is going to fix the problem??? - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterFocus on the positive By Ivy Rose - I have tried really hard not to write any opinions on Sitnews and to say what is on my mind, but after reading so many of the letters written -- and granted the letters are just opinions -- it made me think. What if when we get put into situations that we don't like or agree with, we look at the situation as a whole? - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterAfghanistan Debacle On The Horizon? By Donald A. Moskowitz - President Obama is trying to decide our military strategy in Afghanistan. He is mulling over input from his civilian and military advisers, and members of Congress, but he cannot make a timely decision because of his lack of military and national security experience. His community organizing background is not very helpful in this situation. - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterRE: LAWYERS AND MEANINGFUL HEALTH CARE REFORM By Chris Elliott - Great letter! Between tort reform and making insurance companies compete across state lines, we'd have a winner! - More...
Saturday - October 17, 2009

letterLAWYERS AND MEANINGFUL HEALTH CARE REFORM By Andy Rauwolf - Thirty years ago my family doctor explained to me that one of the biggest reasons he had to charge so much for his services was because of the high cost of his malpractice insurance. Since that time this problem has only gotten worse. - More...
Tuesday - October 13, 2009

letter Noise Complaint? By Terri Wenger - Well today was a rough one and it's not over yet. We have had a car alarm going off for over 4 hours, and still going. There has been more than one complaint to the police department. A car alarm is loud and very irritating. Migraine Headache Style. But our police department can't do anything about it, why? I have a scanner and believe me the petty tattle telling that goes on and our police have to respond to is terrible in this town. This isn't petty, why can't you file a noise complaint on car alarms? Why do people use car alarms in this small town? - More...
Tuesday - October 13, 2009

letterRidiculous policies By Holly Finley - Oh Lordy don't get me started on how ridiculous KIC's policies are, perhaps they should take some notes from the Native hospital in Anchorage where I've had the pleasure of being taken care of completely by the doctors and staff. - More...
Tuesday - October 13, 2009

letter High Costs & Judgmental Medicine By Charles Moon - I am so sad that Mr. Parks feels the way he does about his medical care. The fact that he is alive and able to write his opinions means the system worked for him. I am sure Mr. Parks has a family and friends that love him. There is no price that can be put on a human life. I could have been his nurse at KGH or on the ambulance that saved his life. - More...
Tuesday - October 13, 2009

letterLittering By Dustin Hofeling - To the person(s) who sees fit to throw their McDonald's wrappers out their window on Ketchikan Lakes Road every single day - shame on you! How can you be so disrespectful of other people's property, the land, and our city? - More...
Tuesday - October 13, 2009

letterCustomer Service By Holly Finley - Poor and negligent customer service is on the rise. I understand we all have our days and your energy affects those around you, having said that, I'm not getting paid to shop at your store, however you are getting paid to provide a service. That is your purpose. If you are going to do a job, do it well. A smile and good manners goes a LONG way. - More...
Tuesday - October 13, 2009

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