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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 25, 2011

Front Page Photo By MIKE SMITH

The Magnificent Trumpeter Swan
Front Page Photo By MIKE SMITH


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Fish Factor: Deadly fish virus detected; Officials say "no reason to panic" By LAINE WELCH - State officials say there is “no reason to panic” and that Alaska salmon are “relatively safe” from a deadly fish virus that has appeared for the first time in Pacific waters. 

“I would say the risk right now for Alaska salmon is low,” said Dr. Ted Meyers, a fish pathologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Meyers added that the state is “sort of in a holding pattern,” awaiting more information.

The West Coast fishing industry was stunned last week when Canadian scientists at Simon Fraser University detected Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) in two wild sockeye smolts at Rivers Inlet in northern British Columbia.  ISA is harmless to humans, but it is the single most feared virus in the fish industry. 

The highly contagious virus can quickly kill tens of millions of fish confined in net pens, as happened with Chile’s multi-billion dollar farmed salmon industry in 2007.  Fish farms in Norway and Scotland also have suffered lethal ISA outbreaks. The big unknown is how vulnerable wild Pacific salmon and also herring might be. 

Virus experts called the news “alarming” but cautioned that the tests results do not indicate how wide-ranging the virus is, and the results have not been confirmed by additional testing.

“Anytime ISA is present, there is potential for an outbreak,” said Jim Winton, a microbiologist at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center in Washington.  “The virus has great potential to mutate, which raises concerns about its impact on wild salmon.”

Neighboring U.S. senators want answers fast. Senators Murkowski and Begich of Alaska and Cantwell of Washington state have already asked Congress to require federal agencies to assess the ISA virus risks to Pacific fish and report back in six months. - More...
October 25, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Gillnetters Target Up-Market Salmon; Juneau partnership supplies high-end buyers with Alaska delicacy By PAULA DOBBYN - When Kirk Hardcastle thinks of wild salmon, he see strawberries and champagne grapes: delicacies requiring special treatment.

“They’re just as fragile,” said Hardcastle, a Juneau gillnetter who grew up in California’s wine country and married into an Alaska fishing family.  “If you have 10 or 12 people handling a strawberry from the time it’s picked until the time it winds up on your plate, what do you get? A bruised strawberry.”

For Hardcastle, salmon’s the same. After navigating thousands of miles through fresh and salt water over the course of years to finally spawn in their natal streams, these athletic, nutrient-rich fish should be treated extremely carefully when hauled aboard and processed.

“These fish deserve to be honored,” he said.

It’s with that passion and respect for wild salmon that Hardcastle and his wife, Heather, together with her parents and two close friends, have built a successful artisan seafood company. The couple can be described as meticulous about how they handle their catch. Some might say fanatical.

As co-owners of Taku River Reds (TRR,) a direct-market seafood business based in Juneau, the Hardcastles are setting new standards for the gillnet-caught salmon they sell, mainly to high-end restaurants and markets in the Lower 48 and Hawaii.

“We freak out if we see someone handling our fish by the tail,” said Heather, a second-generation fisherman who was born and raised in Alaska’s rain-soaked capital.

Picking up a salmon by the tail forces blood back into the body cavity which leads to faster decomposition and that smelly fish odor, according to Heather.

The Hardcastle operation is more than just about delicate handling. It’s a business ethic that ensures every step of the salmon’s ocean-to-table journey results in a product that commands top dollar and yields superior taste.

“The quality is the best that I’ve been able to find in the market. Not only the way it looks at first glance, but the flavor and the shelf life. It’s beyond anything I’ve seen,” said seafood industry expert Tom Worthington, a partner of San Francisco-based Monterey Fish Market.

Intravenous Pressure Bleeding

Taku River salmon appear perfect, of course, when pulled from the water. But unless proper steps are taken immediately, the quality can quickly deteriorate. TRR crew members not only clean and ice the fish as soon as they’re hauled aboard but they go one step father. Every sockeye, coho and king caught and handled by TRR under goes intravenous pressure bleeding. It’s akin to the embalming process used to preserve bodies except no preservatives or chemicals ever go anywhere near these highly prized salmon. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

Ketchikan: No one injured in Friday morning fire - Ketchikan firefighters were busy Friday morning responding to a call reporting "smoke and flames coming form the windows and a person trapped inside".

The first call came in to 911 dispatchers at 10:18 AM with first arriving units on the scene in less than four minutes.  According to Frank Share, Chief of the Ketchikan Fire Department, when firefighters arrived, all of the occupants were accounted for and safely outside with heavy smoke showing from the eaves and windows. 

Firefighters extinguished the fire quickly said Chief Share. Due to a short response time the fire was contained to the mud room, part of the living room and 1 bedroom. Share said approximately 20% of the structure was damaged. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011 

Ketchikan: Fox recognized for dedication & service – Members of the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary are mourning the passing of member Russell Fox who served in the Coast Guard Auxiliaty for 16 years. 

“Mr. Fox served proudly as a volunteer for 16 years in the Ketchikan Auxiliary dovetly earning several qualifications that directly benefited Ketchikan” said Flotilla Commander Ed Fry.  "His dedication to volounteering should serve as a model to others that are looking for a way to support our community in education and maritime programming."

Fox is survived by his wife and partner in the Auxiliary Mrs. Doris Fox. Fry said, "They were a team that gave back unselfishly. As we greive with her, we are saddened because he will be truly missed by us." - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

Ketchikan: IFA Traffic Increases - Both passenger and vehicle traffic between Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island increased over the same period last year during the first 15 days of October,  reports Inter-Island Ferry Authority general Manager Bruce Jones.

During this period 2,239 passengers traveled between Ketchikan and Hollis, and 382 vehicles were carried, a 6% increase in both categories. Year to date revenues, which include fuel surcharges, are 7% ahead of 2010, stated Jones. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011


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letter Covered area for cruise ship staff By Mike Dooley - I agree with Jill Gates. Let's keep in mind the cruise lines pay a fee to dock in Ketchikan. Cruise ship passengers also pay a head tax, and sales tax on tours and purchases. It is my understanding the head tax revenues have to be used for cruise ship related expenses and improvements. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter Open Letter to KGB: Fiscal tethering account charges By Edmund J. Fry, III - As a matter of public records, I would like to inquire some fiscal analysis of the current sludge fee program.  There are 2 questions that I would like to have answered and they are: - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter Whale Watching By Seth Gross - I live in Portland Oregon but lived in Ketchikan for several years during the 90's and I still visit regularly. I am a huge fan of the KPU Ketchikan web cams and look at them at least once a day. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter Airport Parking - more KGB overreach By Chris Barry - According to the Airport management recently regarding snow removal and winter upkeep in the airport parking lots on the town side, the parking lots are not in the lease with the state and therefore, not the KGB's responsibility to maintain. Yet, somehow they feel obligated to patrol the lots (both short and long term parking) writing tickets, collecting fines and booting peoples' vehicle. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter RE: Septic System Boondoggle By Don Borders - I am in complete agreement with Mr. Stallings and Mr. Fry. A larger, intrusive, wasteful local government competing with private companies is just wrong. Their, Ketchikan Gateway Borough council, actions are competing with the private sector and being a government function very inefficient and a waste our taxpayer dollars. Other operations within the Borough are privatized; a Local sanitation company has a fee-based collection operation. So why not include the septic systems dealing with the pumped sludge. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Political humor By A.M.Johnson - During these times of political moments, this perhaps, is a outstanding addition to the political speak depicting the current debate. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Baby Bear By Deborah Hayden - AWWWWWW! Wasn't he cute, the baby bear running through Tatsuda's produce section? Oh, boy, it's great he was on national news and put Ketchikan into the national spotlight for something other than Nowhere status. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Perspective By James Schenk - With all the negatives that affect our lives everyday it is sometimes hard to keep things in perspective. Well I am not here to preach but only to suggest something again you have heard before. This is your life, one person in life can make a difference in anything we wish to pursue, even if you do not see immmediate results everything we do affects people around us. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Septic System Boondoggle By Shelley Stallings - I am in complete agreement with Mr. Fry about the waste of money and resources our current septic system policy imposes upon Ketchikan home owners. This one size fits all doesn't fit all, probably only 'fits' 10% or less of home owners. The frequency of pumping needed for any specific septic system varies widely from 1 to 2 years at the high end to possibly 15-20 years on the low end. Being a single occupant home owner who monitors carefully what is being put into my septic tank, I estimate I have easily paid thousands of dollars MORE than required to keep my system operating efficiently since this wasteful program has been in place. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2011

letter RE: Anti-American Funeral Picketers By Sam Barnard - As a former Alaskan resident and Ketchikan resident, I can assure you Mr. Moskowitz that this group of misfits are being handled. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2011

letter Pioneers' Home By Donald Charles - The Charles family would like thank everyone at the Ketchikan Pioneers' Home for the care of our mother, Patricia. - More...
Saturday AM - October 15, 2011

letter Update: Morning Bus Stops By Amber Anderson - Ketchikan never ceases to amaze me. The community is very strong and alive here in Ketchikan. People in this community take matters to heart, make a difference and change for the good in our community. - More...
Saturday AM - October 15, 2011

letter Open Letter to KGB: Septic system By Edmund J. Fry, III - I am in receipt of a second notice to pump my septic system from Shoreline Services. - More...
Saturday AM - October 15, 2011

letter Clarification By Art Bailly - Just to clear a few things up. Mr. LeCompte, please go back and re-read my first post on this. To clarify your accusation of me not telling the truth and sounding like Sarah Palin, what I meant by' it doesn t matter' is that it was 6 years ago and I don't remember which cruise line company had the last spot open on the dock and don't remember the number of spots they had. My point was that the cruise ships have more than we do and we need to reserve more spots on the docks for locals to do business. The city said that there are only a certain number (I don't remember what that number is) of spaces on the docks and the only one left was taken by the cruise ships. Not a lie, just don't remember which cruise ship has it and the majority of them. - More...
Saturday AM - October 15, 2011

letter RE: Cruise ships and crossing guards By A. M. Johnson - I resent Tom LaCompt's inclusion, in my opinion, the slander of Sarah Palin's name into his rebuttal. The ability to debate successfully is the ability to focus on the issue. When one's position appears weak and the defense lacks purpose, name calling or besmirching of one's reputation becomes a fall back position in an attempt to deflect from acknowledgement of a that weak position. - More...
Saturday AM - October 15, 2011

letter Alaska is asleep at the switch on natural gas By  Bill Walker - I am perplexed by the lack of industry acknowledgement of Alaska’s vast resources of natural gas. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 12, 2011

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