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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

October 07, 2010

Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

Clover Pass: Bubble Feeding
Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH


Ketchikan: UAS Ketchikan Awarded $1.1 million in Grants - The University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan (UASK) has been awarded two grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education under the Alaska Native-Serving Institutions Program authorized under Title III, Part A of the Higher Education Act.

The first grant provides $662,500 over five-years for a student-centered project aimed at improving completion rates for Alaska Native and Rural Alaskan students enrolled in developmental and preparatory courses. UASK Assistant Professor of Mathematics Colleen Ianuzzi is the grant’s project director. The project will develop, pilot and monitor tutoring and technology support services within specific developmental university coursework to assist students enrolled in UASK classes which rely on technology for delivery. The goal of the project is to provide Learning Center services and technology support to students regardless of where they live. - More...
Thursday - October 07, 2010

Alaska: AMHS Releases 2011 Summer Schedule Early - The Alaska Marine Highway System announced today the early release of the 2011 summer sailing schedule, with sailings to the Southeast Alaska community of Gustavus for the first time in the system’s history.

“Adding Gustavus to next summer’s schedule provides an additional travel option to Gustavus and Glacier Bay National Park.” said Jim Beedle, Deputy Commissioner of Marine Operations at the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The ferry LeConte will provide service to and from Gustavus beginning in May and continuing through Aug. 31. The ferry Aurora will sail between Juneau and Gustavus Sept. 5, 7, 12 and 14. - More...
Thursday - October 07, 2010

Alaska: After Oct. 16: Extended UI Benefits Limited to 13 Weeks - A “High Unemployment Period” for the federally funded extended unemployment benefits program will expire in Alaska on Oct. 16 - after this date, extended benefits will be available for only 13 weeks instead of the previous 20.

The High Unemployment Period is defined in Alaska Statute as a three-month seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate of eight percent or more. Alaska’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.9 percent in June, and 7.7 in July and August. - More...
Thursday - October 07, 2010

Alaska: Begich Highlights Value of Social Security to Alaskans; New report shows 1 in 10 Alaskans receive benefits - With more than 71,000 Alaskans receiving benefits from Social Security, it’s never been more important to take actions to protect and preserve the program for current and future generations. That was the message from U.S. Sen. Mark Begich who released a new report Wednesday about the value of the program for Alaska.

Social Security Works for ALASKA is a report produced by Social Security Works, a coalition of more than 60 organizations. The report outlines the many positive impacts of the program on Alaska’s economy, providing nearly $1 billion each year to retired workers, women, children, the disabled and workers in transition.

“Some have proposed turning Social Security over to Wall Street. Or cutting it to somehow reduce the federal deficit,” Begich said. “I couldn’t disagree more strongly with either of these misguided ideas.”

Begich talked about the report at a news conference at the Anchorage Senior Center where he was joined by Pat Luby, Advocacy Director for AARP; Nikole Nelson, Executive Director of Alaska Legal Services; and some Alaskans who receive Social Security benefits.

“The best thing about Social Security is that you cannot outlive your benefit,” said Pat Luby, AARP Advocacy Director. “Social Security is a guaranteed source of income, unlike the stock market.”

Begich pointed out Social Security has not caused the federal deficit, and is paid for through dedicated taxes contributed by workers and their employers. In fact, the program has a $2.5 trillion surplus today, which is expected to grow to $4.2 trillion by 2025.

“For our state, Social Security makes a significant difference in the lives of working families, seniors, children, surviving spouses and the disabled,” Begich added.

According to the new report, Social Security:

• Lifts 22,000 Alaskan out of poverty, including 11,000 elderly Alaskans;

• Provides benefits to 1 in 10 women; keeping 7,000 Alaska women aged 65 and older out of poverty; - More...
Thursday - October 07, 2010


Alaska Science: Alaska landscape loses a body, gains a spirit By NED ROZELL - Keith Echelmeyer has died at age 56. The glaciologist, pilot, mountaineer and fighter for life passed away last Saturday, with his incomparable wife Susan Campbell by his side and chickadees at the feeder just outside his window.

Alaska landscape loses a body, gains a spirit

Keith Echelmeyer and Jon Miller relax on a two-month wilderness trip across northern Alaska.
Photo by Chris Larsen.

His death from a brain tumor was not a surprise, but his enduring it for eight years was.

Keith did some impressive science in his two decades at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He figured out baffling complexities of ice streams in Antarctica, worked on the fastest flowing glacier in the world in Greenland years before it became big news, and outfitted his single-engine Piper PA-12 with a laser rangefinding system that allowed his team to measure staggering ice loss on Alaska glaciers.

In 2002, after Keith flew his plane from Fairbanks to Yakutat for a conference he helped organize, he suffered violent seizures and was medevaced to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. There, he learned he had a brain tumor.

Keith, with the help of Susan and a team of doctors from the Fairbanks area and Duke University, fought that tumor for eight years. In that time, he still managed to do things he should not have been able to do, such as walk, ski, and go on two-week backpacking trips in his beloved Brooks Range. Susan was with him for the small victories and the crushing setbacks. In the end, she turned their home into a place of light, with a constant stream of friends and an uplifting air of gratitude. People often left their home with the unexpected sensation of feeling happy.

Here are some reflections from a small sample of Keith's friends, some who were also his colleagues: - More...
Thursday _ October 07, 2010


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

letter Threat to A Valuable Beach By Eric Muench - We all need to be aware of a threat to a valued and historically used area known as Coast Guard Beach. It is the longest stretch of sandy beach close to the Ketchikan road system. The land is owned by The State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources, so it belongs to us all. - More...
Thursday - October 07, 2010

letterWhat's another $17.5 million By Charles Edwardson - Your vote does count even here. In Ketchikan less than 1,500 people decided to put the rest of us in debt for 17.5 million dollars. I can't express my disappointment enough. - More...
Thursday - October 07, 2010

letterVague statements and catchy sound bites By Tony Hann - Before selecting which City and Borough candidates to vote for, please take a few moments to find out what their overall political philosophy is. - More...
Monday - October 04, 2010

letterRE: NO MORE BONDS UNTIL WE PAY THE OLD ONES OFF By Cindi Davis - Chas, when are you going to run for office? You will have my vote! Your common sense approach is just what we in Ketchikan as well as in the state and federal government. It is a basic principle that anyone coming out of the Great Depression or the WWII era would agree with: YOU DON'T SPEND MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE. - More...
Monday - October 04, 2010

letterSigns By Mary and Tom Schulz - Even though a "Vote for Joe Miller" sign has been attached on a tree in front of our property at the intersection of Pine and Forest Ave, we do not support him. A member of the Joe Miller campaign committee stated that it is their right to put the sign in that place on the tree because it is on the right of way. - More...
Monday - October 04, 2010

letterQuestions for Mr. Miller and his supporters By Vicki Harsha - To the supporters of Joe Miller's campaign, can you respond to these questions? I have asked the campaign directly, but was told: "Thank you for contacting the Joe Miller for US Senate Campaign. Joe's goal is to respond to your message promptly but due to his busy travel schedule, your patience and understanding is appreciated." - More...
Monday - October 04, 2010

letterNew Sidewalk in NewTown By Alan R.(Rudy) McGillvray -Isn't this interesting, Newtown is getting new sidewalks, wider, better marked, etc. But folks, have you looked at the power poles along Water St? The city obviously has enough money for new sidewalks but nothing for moving the power poles a little distance in or out of the traffic pattern. Has anyone but me noticed? - More...
Sunday PM - October 03, 2010

letterNO MORE BONDS UNTIL WE PAY THE OLD ONES OFF By Charles Edwardson - I am not in any way shape or form against libraries, fire stations. or fixing our sewer systems, any more than I am against a new ipod, a new car, new boat, some new tools, all of which would improve my life and enable me to keep up with the times, so let's just save the shocked indignation, I simply cannot afford those items. - More...
Sunday PM - October 03, 2010

letterTerm Limits/Age Limits By Virginia E. Atkinson - For too long there has been politicians dying while still serving in office, whether i'ts Local, State or Federal, it's getting ridiculous that our Senators, Reps, etc dying in office when they ought to have stepped down twenty years ago and let the younger generation take over and pick up where they left off. Why stay in office for 30 or 40 years when they could be staying home and enjoy being home with family and friends, spending time with grandkids and let the younger generation take over what needs to be done in Washington. - More...
Sunday PM - October 03, 2010

letter KIC ALWAYS BEEN HERE BUT COMING ON STRONGER By Charles Edwardson - HOW about something other than the library.

One of the hats I wear with great pride is a past Ketchikan Indian Community (here after KIC) Tribal councilman. - More...
Sunday PM - October 03, 2010

letter JOE MILLER & THOSE SUPPORTING HIM By David G. Hanger - He’s a nice enough looking fellow, this Joe Miller, and speaks with a rigid enthusiasm about the power he wants you to give him, but what he spews is a vicious ugliness that is completely divergent with the reality in this country today. This is not a recession, folks, this is a depression, and while you don’t see it in Ketchikan, or generally that much in Alaska, this is the hardest, most desperate economic time I have seen. There are old people in their 70s on street corners singing for their supper. Every rest stop is filled with beggars, children two to six, and adults of all ages. “Just Hungry,” the sign reads, and it is not a joke. And just so the racists amongst you get it, most of them are white people. More...
Sunday PM - October 03, 2010

letterAFFIRMATIVE LIBRARY VOTE By Pete Ellis - Be sure to vote YES on the bond proposition. A new library will present new horizons and a modern and up-to-date facility. The present library in the Centenial needs also to move in order to afford more space for the museum and its tourist attraction features. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letterRE: Unanswered Questions By Art Bailly - I agree with Ken Holmes 100%. Let's do some quick math. 40 hrs a week for 50 weeks = 2000 hours a year divided by $170,000 year salary = $85 an hour not including all the other benefits = Outrageous. You have got to be kidding me with all of the city's and borough's budget problems and increasing taxes we give someone a raise of this magnitude when other city employee's wages are frozen. Things that make you go Hmmm. Just one of many examples of items that should be brought to a vote by city residents before approved. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letterWriting-in Murkowski By Bill and Linda Auger - We attended the Meet and Greet for Joe Miller on Monday evening at the TFCC.  While Joe Miller's goal of getting federal lands into state hands sounds great, how does he plan on making that happen?  At the height of their power in Washington, D.C. with a Republican President in office, Senator Ted Stevens as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and attaining the rank of president pro tempore (third in rank in succession to the president), Senator Frank Murkowski and Representative Don Young both serving as Chairman of important Senate and House committees, could not make that happen. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30m 2010

letterJoe Miller By Sheila Gwizda - I realize that politics can be a nasty business and running for office, unfortunately, can get ugly. Sometimes when one candidate attacks another, it s not only necessary to defend a position or character, but sometimes to counter it with his or her own assault. But, I d like to share one interesting observation with you. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letterWhen making your voting choice By Lauran Woolery Patterson - It has been called to my attention that candidate Joe Miller has designated Alan Stein as his Southeast campaign advisor. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letterThank You By James Schenk - Thank you to everyone who posts positive information here, especially you Chaz, I am very proud to count you as a friend and asset to this community. I wish to encourage you to run for any office that may appeal to you so you can bring common sense and economic expertise to our local political offices that seem to lack these essential qualities, with a few exceptions such as our Fantastic Borough Mayor who was also raised here and understands this community and adds to its character every day. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letterLanguage of common sense By Ken Lewis - Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton & Donald A Moskowitz debate the need for multi languages and I can't help but laugh. Here is a quick true story, and funny as heck. My mom retired the President of a business, I will leave nameless. Decades prior to that she owned a medical admin service in California before it was bankrupt, taking dictation and all that silly stuff. She was the go-to administrator of a man who owned the first floor of South Bay Hospital in Southern Cal. That meant emergency room, Radiology and multi other sections. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letterIS KETCHIKAN A GHOST CITY? By Joey Garcia - Year end and year out, the Salmon Capital of the World, the Gateway City, resembles a city where the residents are deprived of the summer fun, except for the repair of the drainage systems and the refurbishing of paint along crosswalks and parking areas. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letter Enough already By Sue Ellen Smith - When will there be enough comments made about Ketchikan General Hospital? Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and usually those that do have one make it known to all that will listen. I think way too much is being said. But after some thought and looking at the comments made I figured I should put my two cents in. - More...
Thursday AM - September 30, 2010

letterPlease vote 'Yes' on City of Ketchikan Proposition 2 on October 5th. By Chief Jim Hill - Your 'Yes' vote - on October 5th - on "Prop 2" authorizes construction of a new downtown fire station. Prop 2 is on the ballot for very simple, yet critically important reasons. Essentially, the 'old' fire station ---built in 1943--- is too small, worn out, used up, and simply cannot meet the mission which the Ketchikan Fire Department (KFD) is required to perform. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterVote No on KGB Prop 3: EMS and Fire By Ed Fry - Having had the privilege to serve as a Firefighter and Paramedic for over 20 years and the honor to teach administrators how to plan resource allocation and needs assessment, I do not support Proposition 3 and will vote no. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterUnanswered Questions By Ken Holmes - People of Ketchikan I have a few unanswered questions. Is our City/KPU manager really worth more than 65% of the governors of the country who run their whole state? His wage is now over $170,000 a year. Check out the pay scale for the governors online. In my opinion, I don't think so. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterLibrary Bond Proposition By Heather Muench - Ketchikan's current library is cramped and doesn't meet ADA compliance. Despite this, it is heavily used by young and old, by rich and poor, including those without other literary resources. Monthly circulation is over 16,000. Many Ketchikan children developed a love of reading and learning from visits to the library. The community supports our library and its wonderful staff. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterSupport for Library Funding Vote By Heidi Ekstrand - Ketchikan voters voiced overwhelming support for a new library in the August special election by voting nearly 2-1 to allow the building to be built anywhere within the city limits. That vote cleared the way to purchase the recommended property on Copper Ridge at the top of the Third Avenue bypass. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterVote Alan Bailey for Ketchikan Assembly By Tom LeCompte - I am urging friends and citizens to vote for Alan Bailey on election day. Alan is a long time Ketchikanian with strong ideas about how things work around here, and some ideas on how to improve and streamline local processes. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterGo get em Sam! By James Schenk - Good Luck to Sam Bergeron on his run for the Ketchikan City Council. We need more people like Sam running for office in this town. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterLibrary By Charles Edwardson - I encourage people to save their news articles and pay a little attention to some recently published stories and advertisements. .Look back and compare related stories. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterRE: Language Diversity= Divisiveness By Donald A. Moskowitz - In response to a recent response to my letter by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton I wish to clarify for her the thrust of my letter. When I refer to a potential problem of immigrants having diverse language skills I am referring to those immigrants who do not learn English and who persist in only communicating in their native languages, whether it be Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, German or any other non-English language. These people not only impair their ability to assimilate but they could also hinder our overall communication system in this country. I stand by my argument that if a large segment of our population cannot communicate in English, our country will be weaker for it. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterPFD "sale" By Melissa O Bryan - I sent this letter to Alaska Airlines in regard to their PFD sale, how many others out there are tired of these so called "sales?" - More...
Tuesday AM - September 28, 2010

letterTuesday's Vote - October 5th, 2010 by Ken Bylund - Proposition 3: On the $800,000 being considered for the North Tongass Fire & EMS; it seems likely that more will be required to rehabilitate this industrial property after the initial purchase price that should be brought to the attention of the voters. This was an industrial facility supplying metals and associated chemicals; will there be additional funding required to rehabilitate the soil and modify the structures to accommodate the... what? What is this property to be used for? Water storage and... what? So the costs that are being estimated are ______ and what is the goal/benefits of this TBD total cost? - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2010

letterEmergency Services By Jonathan Agnew - During my time in Ketchikan, I've had ample time to watch the machinery of this city in action, and I am excited for Ketchikan's future based on what I've seen. - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2010

letterVote M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I By Stacey Stone - I am calling on you to fill in the bubble and write in Lisa Murkowski to continue serving us as senator in Washington. - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2010

letterJoe Miller By Paul Jarvi - How does a vote for Joe Miller help the citizens of Ketchikan Alaska? All I know about Mr. Miller is that he is a "Constitutional Conservative" whatever that is and that Sarah Palin endorsed him. Sarah is not a friend to Southeast Alaska. - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2010

letterWriting-in Lisa Murkowski By Frances C. Natkong - I'm sorry for those of you who will vote for Joe Miller, you and I will have to live with your vote. He's trying to get rid of social security, unemployment, and federal funding for Alaska. He DOES NOT have my vote. - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2010

letterVoters Should Be Closely Scrutinizing Senator Murkowski's Motives By Myla Poelstra - The recent shakeup in Alaska's political arena from the surprising results of our primary election are bringing some interesting pictures into focus and disturbing questions to mind. Senator Murkowski's obviously unexpected loss, and subsequent decision to pursue a write in campaign after promising to respect the will of the people of Alaska by showing her support for the Republican nominee, has caused many to question her judgment and integrity. - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2010

Friday AM - September 24, 2010

letterKGH and Peacehealth are awesome By Linda Kreider - I, too, am very happy and very proud to have KGH and Peacehealth as my healthcare providers. My family members, myself included, have had several surgeries at KGH. Each visit there has been great, the care and the treatment has been outstanding. I would not consider going "outside" if I can have the service performed here in my hometown. - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2010

letter Fire Stations By Stephanie Sherva - It's been a long time coming, but the city is finally getting a new Downtown Fire Station. Too bad it doesn't fit the locale. Downtown has spent tons of tax dollars making itself look "old" and now they want a red and gray, modern, all angled building in the center of Downtown. Didn't any one consider the surrounding area and all the time and money spent to impress the Tourist with the "old fishing and logging town" feel? Where was the Historical Commission when all this was in the planning stages? They have no problem getting the rest of Downtown into the historical mode. As long as the inside of the building meets all the requirements of the Fire Department, why can't the outside have an "old Ketchikan" look and feel? - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letter Open Letter to Ketchikan Police: School Zones By Amber Anderson - I wanted to express my appreciation for your presence in the Schoenbar school zone this morning (09/20/21). It was nice to see a lot of cars tapping their breaks and stopping for kids in the crosswalks. I've lived on this bend for 3 years and have been frustrated with the lack of concern for children walking to school and bus stops. My children and I have often been nearly hit by people in a rush and/or on their cell phones. This is not something I thought I had to worry about when we bought our home here. I was naive in thinking it would be a safe walk since we live in a school zone. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterVote on October 5th By Rodney Dial - As you vote on October 5th, I would ask that you look back to the spending over the last few years and consider our current fiscal condition: - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterAsking for your vote October 5th By Sam Bergeron - I'm in the race for council because we need people in there that know the value of a dollar and where those dollars come from. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterSupport Joe Miller By Liz Williams - I am unable to understand why it is wrong for Joe Miller to take out of state funds but okay for Sen. Lisa Murkowski to do so.  There is nothing illegal about the funding in either case.  While some of the funding for both Murkowski and Mr. Miller came from out of state, 100% of the votes came from Alaskans.  The majority of the voters in the Republican primary picked Joe Miller to represent them in the General election.  Republicans have a closed primary so that their members, not the members of the opposition, elect the representative who they believe will most closely represent their views in Congress.  - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterWrite-in Lisa Murkowski By Frances C. Natkong - Have you heard Joe Miller speak? Wake up, people, he's a male Sarah Palin! If he gets elected we, in Alaska, will be in deep you know what. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterMoonbattery By Richard Easbey - Mr. Hanger's latest rant, which is nothing more than a ham-handed attempt at character assassination directed at Joe Miller, is proof that being a liberal is the next best thing to having actual IDEAS. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterAlaskans - A Message to DC on Nov 2nd, 2010 by Ken Bylund - A quote by Anthony McAuliffe, on December 22, 1944 -- his official reply to General Von Luttwitz's demand that he surrender the 101st Airborne at Bastogne, aka, The Battle of the Bulge... "To the German Commander... Nuts! The American Commander." - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterSmall town politics again By Marcia Hilley - As a city taxpayer I am now going to help pay $100,000 plus because some City of Ketchikan administrators still have their panties in a wad because of an old lawsuit. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterLearning languages empowers us By Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD - In response to the letter submitted by Donald A. Moskowitz on September 15, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the U.S. is an English speaking country. - More....
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterProud of KGH By Donna Teal - Just a few lines about the excellent care given by all the staff at KGH. I have been a patient there several times and am still alive because of their wonderful talented care -- the first time in 1962 and several times since then. I also have had several family members healed there. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

letterKGH Praises By Charlene (Spurgeon) Burns - I'm not entirely sure how to approach this subject. A service provider does not deserve to be slammed because she simply expressed her praises for Ketchikan General Hospital. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2010

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