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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 30, 2012

Front Page Photograph by SHARYL HALL

When Pigs Fly
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Front Page Photograph by SHARYL HALL ©2012
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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Nurses Bargaining Unit reaches contract agreement with PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center - The Ketchikan Nurses Bargaining Unit, part of the Alaska Nurses Association Labor Program, recently completed contract negotiations and reached a new agreement with PeaceHealth Ketchikan MedicalCenter administration. Rank-and-file members of the association in Ketchikan ratified the agreement in a vote that took place on Monday, Oct. 15. Quoting an October 30th news release, the two-year agreement guarantees two separate wage increases as well as scheduling changes that will better ensure patient safety. - More..
Tuesday - October 30, 2012


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Ketchikan: 7.7 magnitude quake grabs Ketchikan's attention By Mary Kauffman, SitNews - Aftershocks appear to have ceased Monday evening following the major 7.7 magnitude earthquake that shook the Queen Charlotte Islands Saturday evening at 7:04 PM Alaska Standard Time. This was Canada's strongest earthquake in more than 60 years to hit the same area. The event was approximately 170 miles south southwest of Ketchikan. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the initial quake was centered 123 miles south-southwest of Prince Rupert, Canada at a depth of 6.2 miles.

7.7 magnitude quake grabs Ketchikan's attention

The red circles show the location of the initial 7.7, and the 7.7 and 7.1 aftershocks on Queen Charlotte Island Saturday evening. Yellow circles show aftershocks of 4.0 to 5.9.

The Queen Charlotte Islands, which are also known by their official indigenous name of Haida Gwaii, comprise about 150 islands located north of Canada's Vancouver Island. With a total population of about 5,000, the Haida people make up about 45 percent of the population.

Within seconds of each other, the initial 7.7 followed by aftershocks of 7.7 and a 7.1, the attention of folks in Ketchikan was grabbed as windows shook, chimes jingled and homes creaked. - More...
Tuesday - October 30, 2012

Fish Factor: Sea Otters & Arctic Focus of Alaska's Top Fishing Group; Shellfish Growers To Meet In Ketchikan; & More... By LAINE WELCH - Sea otters and the Arctic are two focal points for Alaska’s top fishing group at both state and federal policy levels.

United Fishermen of Alaska is the nation’s largest industry trade group representing nearly 40 organizations. At its recent annual meeting UFA outlined several of its policy watches prior to the legislative session; the group also gave out awards and made a job offer.

UFA is working closely with state and federal overseers to craft a management plan for exploding populations of sea otters in Southeast Alaska. The mammals, which were reintroduced to the region in the 1950s,  are feasting on fishermen’s shellfish catches and completely wiping out stocks in prime areas. Sea otters are protected under the Endangered Species Act and may only be hunted by Alaska Natives for traditional uses.

“I think there are opportunities for Alaska Natives to more readily use sea otters in their art, and there also is the need for a management plan,” said UFA executive director Mark Vinsel. “One thing that is lacking in the US policy is consideration for exploding species. That is a situation that all parties see happening here with sea otters in Southeast Alaska.”

UFA also is closely tracking new rules and provisions being debated by Congress within the 2010 Coast Guard Reauthorization Act.   UFA also backs development of a deep water port in the Arctic and increased presence by the USCG at ‘high latitude’ regions.

“As more commerce is going on up north, the Arctic and North Pacific is the place to be.  We need the Coast Guard there to help with enforcement and response capabilities,” Vinsel said.

The fishing group also maintains an ongoing dialog with Alaska mining interests.

 “UFA has had a long standing position against Pebble Mine, and we also currently are in opposition to the Chuitna Mine’s plan to basically obliterate a salmon stream,” Vinsel said. He pointed to the Kensington Mine near Juneau as an example of good communication benefiting  both industries. - More...
Tuesday - October 30, 2012

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Health Occupation Students Recognize Their "Guardian Angel" - Ketchikan High School's Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) honored PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center CEO Patrick Branco as their “Guardian Angel” on Monday, October 22.

Ketchikan High School Health Occupation Students and PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center CEO Patrick Branco
Photo courtesy PKMC

Branco, who has presented scores of Guardian Angel awards to caregivers at Ketchikan Medical Center, was touched to receive his first Guardian Angel award from this group of students who are so near to his heart. Branco along with Lanetta Lundberg, vice president of culture and people, both act as sponsors for the group, taking an active role in its fundraising and arranging for job shadowing opportunities at the hospital and clinics. - More...
Tuesday - October 30, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Conservation Group Hosts Diverse Audience At Community Forest Collaborative Workshop - The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council recently hosted a community forest collaborative workshop in Hoonah, focusing on community engagement and opportunities to improve ecological health and enhance economic conditions on northeast Chichagof. The workshop, paid for in part by the National Forest Foundation, is part of an ongoing effort between the US Forest Service, the Hoonah Indian Association, the City of Hoonah, small business owners and contractors in Hoonah, Icy Straits Lumber and Milling, and SEACC.

The workshop focused on opportunities for ongoing sustainable ecosystem service work, including locally suitable timber sales, thinning, road and bridge maintenance, recreation, renewable energy, berry harvesting, guiding, and fish passage improvements. Potential contracts on both public and private land were presented to local businesses, contractors, tribal representatives, and loggers. Forest Service contracting officers and a Sealaska representative spoke about the size, scope, and composition of such contractual work opportunities on their respective lands, and advised local operators on ways to be competitive in the bidding process. - More...
Tuesday - October 30, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: We all survived the GREAT TSUNAMI ALERT OF 2012! - Nothing like a relentless wave of tsunami warnings to liven up a calm Saturday night in Our Fair Salmon City. For those of you on Mars for the past couple of days, Ketchikan experienced one of its rare “noticeable” earthquakes Saturday night. A large quake (7.7) off the southern Haida Gwaii (nee Queen Charlotte Islands) 200+ miles to the southwards caused plants to swing and couches to bounce a bit here.

For comparison sake it was the largest Canadian earthquake since 1949. Definitely noteworthy and our thoughts go out to Haida Gwaii coastal cousins.

First a confession. I didn’t notice it. We were sitting around digesting dinner when Charlotte mentioned that the house was shaking. Liam also noted that the couch moved a bit. I grumbled down the stairs to check on the washing machine which was on spin cycle, but it was NOT bouncing maniacally around as it is occasionally wont to do.

Natch, I thought my family members were just being oversensitive. If I am not rolling my eyes at my family members, I am not having a good time. Of course, I was wrong.

A few minutes later, the TV started making those obnoxious mechanical grinding noises (robotic cat in a blender?) that signal an emergency broadcasting alert. Only this time it wasn’t actually a test. It was an honest to God tsunami warning.

Not a watch, not an alert, but a real live warning. And it was a pretty dire one as far as those go, indicating that a wave was “imminent.” But then it took the edge off a little by noting that the “imminent” wave could be expected to arrive in Southern Southeast Alaska in about an hour and 40 minutes or so.

All in all, that was pretty civil of the civil defense folks. Your world is ending, but you have about 100 minutes to sort things out. You can get your affairs in order, you can gorge yourself on some last meal peanut butter cups. Heckfire, you can even seek high ground if you are so inclined. - More...
Tuesday - October 30, 2012


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letter RE: "We all survived the GREAT TSUNAMI ALERT OF 2012!" By Brad Maushart - In response to Dave Kiffer's column... weather, seismology, sports betting and many other things in this world are not an exact science. A variable of 1 degree, to one foot to one missed tackle can mean the difference between rain or snow, devastating tsunami or one inch wave or even a big payout or disappointment. If they were exact sciences, anyone could succeed at those jobs and I would most likely be replaced by a better speaker and definitely by someone who looks better. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Critics of Timber Task Force Recommendations By Owen Graham - Recent critics of the Governor’s Timber Task Force recommendations claim that the establishment of a State Forest from portions of the Tongass would remove federal protections for salmon streams and would hurt fishermen, hunters, tourism operators and others. Those criticisms are unfounded. Both State and Federal land are required to maintain a minimum of a 100-foot salmon stream buffer and the State Forest Practices Act was designed specifically to protect salmon habitat. The Forest Service and the State Division of Forestry have both done a good job of managing timber harvesting without harming stream habitat. In fact, the salmon returns in Southern Southeast Alaska have doubled over the last 50 years, even in the most heavily logged watersheds. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Albert Kookesh for Senate, District Q By Richard J. Peterson - I write this letter in support of Senator Albert Kookesh and his bid for the newly combined District Q. I have known Senator Kookesh for many years and have worked closely with him in my prior role as Mayor of Kasaan, now Council Member, and currently as Tribal President for the Organized Village of Kasaan and lastly as the President of the Southeast Island School District. It is not in any of these capacities that I endorse Senator Kookesh, however it is with these experiences that I draw upon to gauge the effectiveness, dedication, and determination of which Senator Kookesh has served his constituents. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Matt Olsen for State Rep. District 33 By Mike Wisnewski - I'm glad Matt Olsen is running for state representative from our area. I've known Matt since he was a pre-schooler and I taught him in school here. He genuinely likes people, listens to people, and hears what they say. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Voting No On Ballot Measure 1: The Constitution Shouldn't Be Messed With By Les Gara - How thrilled are you about the prospects that extremists would re-write our Constitution? I don’t know about you, but that would be, well, pretty schmucky.

Ballot Measure 1 shows up every 10 years to ask if you want a “Constitutional Convention” to re-write our State Constitution. This week I had dinner with a state Founding Father, Vic Fischer, who helped write the constitution. He and his Convention peer, Republican Jack Coghill, think letting people into the Constitution to push their pet peeves is a bad idea, especially in times when extremists on either side have pet peeves they want in the Constitution. The Constitution should be a regal document, not one with extremist ideas in it. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Obama’s Failed Economic Policies By Donald A. Moskowitz - More people gave up looking for work in September causing the U. S. unemployment rate to dip to 7.8%.  The unemployment rate has hovered over 8% during Obama’s entire term up until last month.  The President promised a 5.6% unemployment rate by this time in his administration. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Oil tax issue: Oil companies want more money By Matt Olsen - Representative Les Gara's October 19, 2012 opinion piece in the Ketchikan Daily News summed up the oil tax issue well; the oil companies want more money. $2 billion more. For a company like Conoco-Phillips, this would be in addition to the more than $7.5 billion profit they made from Alaska's oil just last year. Is this right? I don't believe so. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

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