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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 27, 2009

Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

Whales in the Mist
Humpback whales blowing at Bond Bay.
Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH


Southeast Alaska: Net Recycling - Alaska's on-again, off-again, experiment with recycling worn-out fishing nets is on once more. CoastWise Alaska reports on how five coastal Alaska communities have jump-started net recycling efforts.

There are some 500 fishermen in the seaside Alaska community of Cordova, near Prince William Sound. Each of them uses their share of fishing nets made from nylon line and webbing. Eventually, these nets become damaged beyond repair, and they need to be thrown away. Through the years, various groups would collect and recycle them. But just as often, the nets would end up at the town's landfill.

Torie Baker lives in Cordova, where she is a salmon fisherman and extension agent with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program.

Baker said, "In Cordova, web recycling has been an on-again, off-again project, oh, for at least 20 years. And I think that's probably the case in many coastal communities. And usually what has been the big bugaboo for these kinds of programs to continue has been the basic economics of getting backhauls from these communities to primarily the Seattle area, and connecting up with the major recycling yards."

Cordova, together with Petersburg, Dillingham, Naknek and Kenai, are giving recycling another try, thanks to the Oregon-based Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. The commission received grants from the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The grants enabled local community groups to hire recycling coordinators. Fran Recht leads the recycling program for the commission. - More...
Tuesday - October 27, 2009

Southeast Alaska: SHI SPONSORES LECTURE SERIES FOR NATIVE AMERICAN MONTH - Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a noon lecture series in November in Juneau to celebrate Native American Month.

The brown-bag lunch series will focus on topics such as Native history and languages, Native art and the statehood movement.

"Native people have such a rich history in Alaska, but much of it is not taught in schools," said SHI President Rosita Worl. "We hope to highlight our history in November in honor of Native American Month."

Tlingit leader Byron Mallott will give a lecture on Monday, Nov. 2, on the development of Alaska Native corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the efforts by Alaska Natives to transform the corporations into "Native" institutions in the face of Congress' competing intent to assimilate Alaska Natives economically through profit-making corporations. Mallott is the former CEO and President of Sealaska Corporation and serves as a Fellow with the First Alaskans Institute. He is the clan leader of the Kwaashk'i Kwáan Clan of Yakutat.

Jeane Breinig will give a lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 4, on Southeast Native perspectives on statehood. Breinig is an associate professor of English at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her teaching and research areas include American Indian and Alaska Native literature, American literature, and American ethnic literature. Her publications include articles and books documenting Alaska Native oral histories. She is Haida, originally from Kasaan, TáasLáanas, Raven Brown Bear.

Jordan Lachler will give a lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 10, on Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian linguistic origins and relationships. Lachler is a linguist at Sealaska Heritage Institute who specializes in Haida. He is the editor of an upcoming Haida dictionary and phrasebook to be published by Sealaska Heritage Institute. - More...
Tuesday - October 27, 2009

Alaska Science: Journey into the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes By NED ROZELL - Almost 100 years after the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is still a moonscape of ash and volcanic rock, without a tree or shrub in sight. The valley, located on the Alaska Peninsula where the Aleutians hook on to mainland Alaska, is a silent reminder of the power and potential of Alaska's volcanoes.

Hikers traverse the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes on the Alaska Peninsula, walking on a sheet of ash and volcanic rock more than 500-feet-thick.
Photo by Ned Rozell.

I once visited the valley as one of a dozen people on a 10-day field trip with John Eichelberger, formerly of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, now with the United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program in Reston, Va. As we approached the valley the first day on a bus ride from Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park, the story of the 1912 Katmai eruption began to unfold.

A few miles before we reached the valley, we saw the skeletons of spruce trees, bone white and surrounded by green bushes. The trees have been standing dead since early June 1912, when falling ash killed them.

Getting off the bus and hiking into the valley, we left Alaska for another world. As we walked deeper into the valley on rounded rocks that felt like styrofoam balls, the willows disappeared, the sparrows stopped singing, and the mosquitoes vanished. A grizzly bear had pressed a few tracks into the valley floor, but we saw no other signs of life.

Botanist Robert Griggs named this desolate, beautiful place "The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes" when he visited here on a National Geographic expedition in 1916. At the time, four years after the eruption, steam poured from vents all over the valley. Because the thick blanket of ash and volcanic rock has cooled since then, the valley no longer steams, but the dramatic landforms still inspire the feelings of Griggs and his companions in 1916. "We were overawed," he wrote. - More...
Tuesday - October 27, 2009



Ketchikan: BBBS Match of the Month for September 2009 - A "Sparkling" Match By Susan M. Jaqua - Meet Holly and her Big Sister, Anita Reid, who is a Food and Beverage Manager at The Landing. Holly and Reid were matched on the 30th of December in 2008 and all the magic and sparkle of the season has continued throughout their match.

BBBS Match of the Month for September 2009 - A "Sparkling" Match

BBBS Match of the Month - September 2009: Big Sister Anita Reid and Little Sister Holly
Photo courtesy BBBS

As Reid explained, "The minute Holly sees me, she lights up like a Christmas tree. It is the most rewarding experience." - More...
Tuesday - October 27, 2009

Ketchikan: BBBS Match of the Month for August 2009 - A Gift of Time By Susan M. Jaqua By Susan M. Jaqua - Meet Lieutenant James Speckhart, a Safety Officer with the United States Coast Guard, and his little brother Kody, who starts junior high this fall.

 BBBS Match of the Month for August 2009 - A Gift of Time

BBBS Match of the Month - August 2009: Big Brother James Speckhart and Little Brother Kody
Photo courtesy BBBS

Speckhart has been in Ketchikan for eighteen months and is stationed here for a total of three years. Speckhart is a committed volunteer; he spends his free time both as a dedicated Big Brother and as a Unit Commissioner with the Boy Scouts.

Speckhart likes the family oriented mission of Big Brothers and appreciates the fact it promotes a personal relationship between a Big and Little. James and Kody had their first activity at the gym; they've expanded their repertoire to include Frisbee throwing, a hike up Fawn Mountain, as well as being involved in the monthly BBBS activities like Build a Bird House and Orienteering hosted by Leslie Swada, of the US Forest Service. Speckhart describes Kody as "well mannered and always up for doing something new." - More...
Tuesday - October 27, 2009


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

letterCongressional leadership By Shelley Stallings - Regarding Senator Murkowski's op-ed, if Congress would take a leadership role in solving climate change issues, the EPA would not have to step in and do your job for you. Congress, both Democrats & Republicans have "dragged their feet" for years in implementing the legislative changes we need to protect us from the affects of changes in the atmosphere brought on by rapidly increasing carbon emissions due to population increases and industrial expansion. For you to attempt to put the blame on the EPA is disingenuous at best. - More...
Tuesday - October 27, 2009

letterIn response to "Tolerance of Others" By Roxanne Abajian - Good Grief... Are you kidding me? - More...
Tuesday - October 27, 2009

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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