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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 03, 2011


Clover Pass: A Whale of a 'Tale'


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Alaska Files Brief Supporting Property Rights - The State of Alaska filed a brief yesterday supporting the right of property owners to have access to the courts for meaningful judicial review of arbitrary federal compliance orders. The state filed the brief with the U.S. Supreme Court at the direction of Governor Sean Parnell and Attorney General John Burns. Several other states from all parts of the country signed onto the brief with Alaska.

The brief supports Mike and Chantell Sackett of Idaho. The Sacketts were ordered to halt construction of their home after the EPA claimed the 0.63 acre lot was a wetland subject to EPA’s regulation under the Clean Water Act. When the Sacketts tried to get a court to review whether the EPA had jurisdiction, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the case wouldn’t be ripe for judicial review until after the Sacketts restored their lot to its original condition and after the Sacketts sought permitting under the Clean Water Act through a long and expensive process.

Governor Parnell asserts that the Ninth Circuit’s position that the EPA can wield such unchecked power is wrong. It leaves those who receive compliance orders coerced into complying with federal orders because if they don’t comply, they face severe criminal and civil penalties. - More...
Saturday - October 01, 2011

Fish Factor: Alaska Halibut & Sablefish Prices High By LAINE WELCH - Prices for Alaska halibut are so high they are in the nose bleed area, but buyers continue to compete for all they can get.

Halibut prices are usually broken into three weight categories:  10-20 pounds, 20-40 pounds and “40 ups.”  At Kodiak, the fish was fetching $6.55, $7.05 and $7.40 a pound.  Southeast halibut prices were reported at $6.80, $7.15 and $7.40 per pound. And at Homer, the nation’s leading port for halibut landings,   prices were $6.75, $7.30 and $7.50 a pound.

The principle of supply and demand has come into play to push up prices, explained a major buyer in the Panhandle.  The amount of halibut available for harvest from Pacific Northwest fisheries has steadily trended downwards, from 60 million pounds in 2002 to 30 million pounds this year. (And that reflects a decrease of 10 million pounds since 2010.)

“Competition is fierce to get boats to deliver fish,” said a major Southeast processor. “We used to make 5% margins with halibut, now it is 1%-2% and we just hope to get our labor costs covered.”

Most of the halibut goes out fresh to white table cloth restaurants in the U.S. and even though prices are through the roof, the fish is still in demand.

 “Alaska halibut is pretty well known now and people really want it,” said Tuck Bonney, assistant manager at Alaska Pacific Seafoods in Kodiak. “There’s been some pushback by buyers, but most are scrambling to get all they can. We’ll just have to see how high the price can go before they stop buying.”

Prices for sablefish (black cod) are even higher, and again, supplies are slim. Processors said they “could get whatever we asked for that fish.” - More...
Saturday - October 01, 2011

Ketchikan: Ketchikan to Host Shellfish Events in October – Alaska shellfish growers, harvesters, regulators and aficionados will be gathering in Ketchikan late in October for four days of meetings and educational opportunities, capped by the second annual Alaska Shellfish Festival at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

The series of shellfish-related events actually will start Oct. 26 with a meeting of the OceansAlaska Industry Advisory Committee.

On Oct. 27 will be a day-long shellfish aquaculture educational opportunity sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Sea Grant Aquaculture Program. - More...
Saturday - October 01, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Craig Man Sentenced In Federal Court For Violations Of The Marine Mammal Protection Act – A Craig man was sentenced in federal court in Juneau to two years of probation, ordered to pay a $2,500 fine, and is prohibited from hunting, possessing, and/or transporting marine mammals during his period of probation.Karen L. Loeffler, U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska, announced that on September 21, 2011, Richard H. Yates, 53, a resident of Craig, Alaska, pled guilty before, and was sentenced by, Magistrate Judge Leslie C. Longenbaugh for his conviction of illegal sale of wildlife pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).

During court proceedings, Yates, an Alaska Native, admitted that on March 16, 2011, he agreed to sell to an undercover agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), a non-Alaska Native, a raw and tanned sea otter pelts for $1,350. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Alaska Natives may take sea otters (Enhydra Lutris) and sell their pelts to non-Alaska Natives if they are made into a Native handicraft which substantially alters the pelt. After this sale, the defendant agreed to sell an additional 28 sea otter pelts for $5,600 to the undercover agent, and ultimately provided eight additional tanned pelts for sale. - More..
Saturday - October 01, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Big Changes Afoot for Juneau Landfill, Trash & Recycling Programs - Alaska Pacific Environmental Services (operating as Arrow Refuse) will not be renewing its disposal contract with the Capitol Disposal landfill (operated by Waste Management, Inc.), meaning that most residential and commercial solid waste will be headed for a destination outside of Juneau. In addition, Alaska Pacific plans to increase diversion rates and boost recycling within the city by offering residents an affordable, convenient curbside recycling service.  

“In keeping with the direction of the CBJ Solid Waste Strategy, we knew that upon the expiration of the landfill contract we had an obligation to tackle some of the longstanding challenges with solid waste management in our community,” said Glen Thompson, GM of Alaska Pacific in Juneau. “We felt that one of the best things that our company could do to proactively address these issues would be to stop disposing of the material locally and instead find an alternative solution that does not significantly impact rates.” - More...
Saturday - October 01, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: TERMINATION DUST, OR BUST - This is the time of year when people throughout Alaska start noticing signs of the oncoming winter.

Of course, in Our Fair Salmon City, we noticed winter was coming a while back.

July 4th to be exact, when forty-mile an hour winds and cold rain raked our 4th of July Parade!

That was a bit earlier than normal. Usually, we notice it starting to get colder and the leaves starting to fall in early August. That of course is the height of summer for most folks. In Ketchikan, we don’t have a height of summer. Ever.

But since we didn’t have August  this year (17 straight days of rain at one point), I guess Mother Nature started her alarm clock a wee bit early.

As usual, I digress.

In the more temperate parts of the state, like Fairbanks and the Brooks Range, you first get a hint of the coming of winter when “Termination Dust” arrives early in the fall. The first dustings of fresh snow make the higher mountains start to look like they could use a lather, rinse and repeat of zinc pyrithione.

Sure, we also get “Termination Dust” in Ketchikan, except that this year – as in most years – it will be hard to see it because the tops of the mountains have been smothered by rain clouds since late June.

That doesn’t mean that we haven’t had any visible “Termination Dust” in Ketchikan though.

For more than a decade, the sudden disappearance of our summer visitors and economy has acted as a sort of “Termination Dust.” It is as if, we suddenly got up one morning and found that “winter” had arrived and were buried in six feet of snow.

It is a man-made Termination Dust. It consists primarily of strapping tape and packing popcorn and, fortunately, it does not cover our streets. It arrives in a frantic storm, is put to use in thousands of boxes, gets loaded into dozens of U-hauls and disappears completely. Usually in about 24 to 36 hours. - More...
Saturday - October 01, 2011



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Front Page Archives
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letter Endangered Species By Don Borders - You might have noticed I wrote Species as plural, because there are actually two Southeast Alaska endangered species. One has recently gotten much attention in various publications and the other one has had very little concern by the environmental groups. Both have been able to disguise themselves and have gone into hiding. - More...
Monday - October 03, 2011

letter The Yates Building By Nicole Church - I would like to make the community aware of an opportunity that has recently presented itself. It appears that the Yates building, most recently known as the Seamen’s Center, can be saved from demolition. Restoration seems to be a possibility and at a reasonable cost. If a long term tenant, with a stable cash flow, and a mission that is acceptable to the Church were interested, it is believed by many that financing could be put together. But, it will take the work of Historic Ketchikan, the Ketchikan Historical Commission, the Tongass Historical Society, and the City Officials and Council along with a suitable tenant to make this happen. - More...
Monday - October 03, 2011

letter Challenge Day By Karen Eakes - Challenge Day is once again coming to Ketchikan! The Strengthening Cultural Unity taskforce of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition in partnership with the Ketchikan School District and School Board is bringing this nationally recognized event to Ketchikan for the third year. We are pleased with the very positive response that the community has given to this organization and appreciative of the generous financial assistance that we have received over the years. - More...
Monday - October 03, 2011

letter Open Letter: Cruise Line Customer Service By Jill Gates - As the cruise ship season wraps up for another year and with the upcoming elections, I would like to express a few concerns I have encountered working with the various Cruise Lines in my capacity of Dock Manager for The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show specifically issues that have come up over the last 5 years. - More...
Monday - October 03, 2011

letter Woman of Distinction: Fay Freeman By Anita Hales - This past weekend 5 Ketchikan women were honored for their contributions to the community.  I was honored to present 94 year old Fay Freeman. - More...
Monday - October 03, 2011

letter RE: School Spirit By Charlene Thomas - My letter was not intended to offend anyone or to place false information in the public spotlight. I was at the game - I didn't see one cheerleader with the exception of Thunder Mountain. If the Kayhi cheerleaders were there, where were they? I was on the sidelines with a pretty good view of the field. I didn't see the cheer squad take the field during half-time, or any other time for that matter. But, I did see several of the football players try to rally the crowd, and never one time did I hear a cheer from our side indicating we had cheerleaders present. - More...
Monday - October 03, 2011

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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