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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 07, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Ketchikan: Night Lights
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

BC Coal Mine Plan Irks Ketchikan Residents By Deanna Garrison, KRBD - A Canadian mining company is hoping to launch a major gold mine near the headwaters of a tributary of the Unuk River, which flows into Behm Canal near Ketchikan. Toronto-based Seabridge Gold says the KSM deposit is one of the largest in the world, second only to the proposed Pebble Mine in Western Alaska. Seabridge unveiled its development plan during a public meeting in Ketchikan last (Wednesday) night before a crowd of skeptical residents. - Listen to this story...


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Alaska: Three killer whales loitering in fresh water 30 miles up river near Dillingham - Marine mammal scientists from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service said today they have received numerous reports of three killer whales that are lingering in the Nushagak River.

Three killer whales loitering in fresh water 30 miles up river near Dillingham

Photo taken Oct. 4 on the Nushagak River south of Ekwok, Alaska,
Photographer Jon Sharp -- used with permission

The whales were last reported below the split of East and West channel of the Nushagak, downriver from Ekwok, AK, and about 30 miles upriver. The killer whales have been lingering in the river for about three weeks, and are likely experiencing fresh-water stress from being outside of their normal habitat.

 Local residents in the Dillingham vicinity report frequent sightings of killer whales in the tidal waters of the Nushagak River every fall, or every other fall. NOAA Biologist Barbara Mahoney said killer whales have not been documented above tidal influence in the Nushagak River. This is the first known report of killer whales this far up the Nushagak River; and the first report in Alaska where killer whales have traveled and stayed for a prolonged period of time in a fresh water river. - More...
Friday - October 07, 2011

Alaska: Bill to Ban Synthetic Cocaine To Be Introduced; Law would ban extremely dangerous ‘Bath Salts’ in Alaska - Senator Kevin Meyer is planning to introduce legislation during the upcoming Session that would ban compounds used to make synthetic cocaine.  The compounds contain mephedrone and methylenedioxpyrovalerone, or MDPV, and are currently being sold legally in gas stations, tobacco shops and other businesses statewide as bath salts, plant food, incense, potpourri, insect repellant and dietary supplements.

Senator Meyer is working in conjunction with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who introduced an ordinance this week to criminalize the compounds.   They are known to produce a high similar to methamphetamine and cocaine, but have been found to be ten times as dangerous.   Symptoms include paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, suicidal behavior and violence.   Use of the drugs can also cause chest pains and increase blood pressure.

“These are drugs and are making people very sick, suicidal and very, very, violent,” said Senator Meyer.   “That’s why we need to take action as soon as possible.”

“These products pose a real threat to our community’s health, as well as to our public safety personnel who are dealing with individuals under the influence of these dangerous drugs,” said Mayor Sullivan.  “Locally, we’ve seen an explosion in growth in the number of people using bath salts, and we need to act locally now to reverse that trend.”

Through July of 2011, poison control centers around the nation received more than 4,137 calls for bath salts, compared with 298 in all of 2010. - More...
Friday - October 07, 2011

Alaska Science: The freezing of Alaska By NED ROZELL - Beneath a sky of stars and hazy aurora, the heat of an October day shimmers upward. The next morning, leaves, moss and tundra plants are woven into a carpet of white frost; a skin of ice creeps over the surface of lakes. Alaska is freezing once again, responding to the planet’s nod away from the sun and signaling one of the biggest changes of the year.

The freezing of Alaska

Rime frost on a twig off Alaska’s Elliot Highway in October
Photo by Ned Rozell

Northern plants in these parts are standing at the ready, prepared for a long season of doing nothing. Deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, some of them gambling to retain their solar panels a few days longer than others. In a bipolar cycle of life, northern trees are shutting down the frenetic photosynthesis and growth of summer.

Most every migratory songbird has for the final time leapt from the branches here, though some wayward juncos will linger at great peril. The only migrants still passing overhead are the large-bodied swans. Those symbols of quiet grace are passing over in formations that resemble arrowheads arcing toward warm air.

Though a few cold-hardened spiders still creep along the forest floor, winged insects have vacated Alaska airspace. Mosquitoes have mostly died, leaving their eggs, now hard in puddles, as proof they once were here. Some adult mosquitoes stopped flying a month ago and are now clinging to leaves on the forest floor, where life remains on hold. Yellowjackets and wood frogs are employing the same strategy; their wait-it-out world near the ground surface will become a much more survivable place with the addition of snow, which captures the heat of the ground — the rich deposit of the sun’s summer energy that cool air is now withdrawing. That faint, ever-escaping warmth will enable the tiny creatures to avoid the killing air that is just ahead. They have evolved to survive cold, but not 40 degrees below zero. - More...
Friday - October 07, 2011

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Bop It, Pop! - The other day, my son Liam and his best friend Gabe were playing a little plastic game called “I’ll Dog.”

At least that’s what I saw when I picked it up later to look at it. Liam corrected me, and he noted I was holding it upside down.

“It’s called ‘Bop It, Dad.’”

“Bop It Dad is a funny name for a game,” I replied.

He rolled his eyes and sighed, which is the way most of our conversations end these days.

And he is not even a teen yet. Some people say that 10 year olds are officially called “tweens.”

Not that I know what a “tween” is. Tween what? The Devil and Deep Blue Sea? A rock and hard place?

Sounds too much like a “twain.” And as a 10 year old, Liam is clearly “marking twain.” Without the fence white washing, of course.

Yes, I digress.

Anyway, about this danged toy.

It has the shockingly unusual ability to make children do things.

Without any guilt or threat involved!

It simply gives a command and the child rushes to complete it before time is “up” in a couple of seconds.


I mean, does the 10 year kid that you are in charge of do that when you ask him or her to do something?

For that matter, does the 37 year old kid or 55 year old kid that you are in charge of do that?

I didn’t think so. But more on that later.

Here’s how it works. - More...
Friday - October 07, 2011


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

letter Crosswalks By Suzan Thompson - In response to Art Bailly's letter: if someone in the city's administration told him that $50,000 was too much to spend to put a crosswalk light at the intersection of Carlanna and Baranof, then it seems that a monetary value has been assigned to the life of each child who needs to cross there, and it is not high. - More...
Friday PM - October 07, 2011

letter RE: Cruise Line Customer Service By Tom LeCompte - Regarding Mr Bailly's letter about the operations on the port. I have worked on the docks and also for the KVB over the last 15 years. I am not aware of any off-the-ship businesses owned by any cruise line. Could you perhaps be more specific as to who own what? I think you are mis-informed. - More...
Friday PM - October 07, 2011

letter Pirate Fishing Vessel By Olney Webb - This vessel is a hazmat bomb. Fuel oil, lube oil, refrigeration chemicals. - More...
Friday PM - October 05, 2011

letter Fishing Fleet By Angelo Martin - Why isn't someone pursuing the fishing fleet that's based in Seattle to move to Ketchikan? It's a perfect fit. Do as much as you have done to pursue the cruise ship industry, maybe even give free berthing to lure the fishing fleet. - More...
Wednesday - October 05, 2011

letter RE: Cruise Line Customer Service By Art Bailly - In response to Ms. Gates' letter, here's how I see it. - More...
Wednesday - October 05, 2011

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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