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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Front Page Photograph By CINDY BALZAR

Herring Cove: Fall Fishing
This chubby mama bear along with her chubby cub were checking out Herring Cove over the weekend with dining in mind. Black bears, such as this sow, may weigh 20 percent more in the fall after putting on layers of fat prior to hibernation. According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game's website, an estimated 100,000 black bears live in Alaska.
Front Page Photograph By CINDY BALZAR
Select your favorite Photo of the Month. The photographer with the most likes for the month will receive $100. Only LIKES on SitNews' Facebook page will be counted. If you don't use FB, email your choice to the editor.
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Fish Factor: Second Largest Salmon Harvest in 2015, But Low Payout By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s 2015 salmon season produced the second largest harvest ever, but rock bottom prices yielded the lowest pay out to fishermen since 2006. That will cut into the tax base of coastal communities and state coffers, which collect fully half of all fish landing taxes.

Preliminary tallies from the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game show that the statewide salmon catch topped 263 million fish (the record is 273 million in 2013) with an exvessel (dockside) value at $414 million, a 28 percent decrease from last year. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27. 2015

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Planning Commission to Consider Local Regulation of Marjuana Businesses - In November 2014, voters approved Alaska State Ballot Measure 2, providing for the legalization of the production and sale of marijuana in Alaska.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly established the Marijuana Advisory Committee in March 2015, to discuss the community policy and regulatory approach for dealing with the implementation of State Ballot Measure 2. Since March 2015, the Ketchikan Marijuana Advisory Committee has held many public meetings and considered numerous options for local regulations of marijuana businesses in Ketchikan.

Based on the recommendations of the Marijuana Advisory Committee, on November 10, 2015, the local Planning Commission will be considering changes to the Borough Zoning Code (KGBC Title 18) which, if approved by the Borough Assembly, would regulate the commercial growth, manufacture, testing and sale of marijuana and marijuana products within the Ketchikan Borough.

The proposed ordinance would identify the areas in the Ketchikan Borough where marijuana businesses could be established, and would set permitted standards for those businesses. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

Ketchikan: Former Ketchikan Resident Pleads Guilty & Sentenced For Lacey Act Violation - Donald Ray Thornlow, a former resident of Ketchikan pled guilty in federal court in Juneau to violating the Lacey Act by commercially purchasing halibut that was caught for subsistence and sport purposes.

Thornlow, 66, pled guilty October 19, 2015, to a single count of a Lacey Act violation before United States Magistrate Judge Leslie Longenbaugh.

According to the information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, who prosecuted the case, from January 2012 to about December 2013, Thornlow, the owner and operator of the former Narrows Inn and Restaurant in Ketchikan took part in a continuing scheme of purchasing subsistence and sport caught halibut for resale in his restaurant, a violation of federal regulations.

Thornlow pled guilty to purchasing at least 997 pounds of illegally-caught halibut from three sources. According to information provided by the Department of Justice, Thornlow paid the three fishermen significantly less than he would have paid for legally-harvested halibut. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Thornlow will pay a $5,000 fine and be placed on probation for one year. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015


NPS-Alaska Finalizes Sport Hunting Regulations Drawing Concerns; Overrides State's Wildlife Management Role - The National Park Service published regulations Friday which restrict certain sport hunting practices in national preserves in Alaska. The regulations were published following what the NPR described as a "robust public process."

In Alaska, national preserves encompass about 20 million acres, and are managed by the National Park Service. Sport hunting in preserves was authorized by Congress when they were established in 1980.

Sport hunting in national preserves continues to be primarily regulated by the State of Alaska. The state-authorized practices being prohibited conflict with National Park Service law and policy. Units of the National Park System are managed for naturally-functioning ecosystems and processes. While sport hunting is allowed in national preserves in Alaska, NPS policies prohibit manipulating native predator populations, typically bears and wolves, to increase numbers of harvested species, such as caribou and moose.

Under the new federal regulations, which were proposed in 2014, most state-managed hunting practices and seasons are retained in the preserves. According to the National Park Service, these regulations do not restrict or limit subsistence hunting under federal subsistence rules on NPS-managed lands.

The new regulations make permanent several similar temporary restrictions which had been implemented annually for several years. The NPS received about 70,000 comments, and three petitions with a total of approximately 75,000 signatures, and collected input at 26 public meetings held across Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

Alaska: Gas Reserves Tax Bill Withdrawn From Special Session - After a breakthrough in Alaska LNG Project negotiations with ConocoPhillips and BP providing written assurances they will commit to a process to make available their share of Alaska’s North Slope gas to a future gas pipeline project, the Governor did not introduce a bill during this special session proposing a property tax on gas leases within the Prudhoe Bay and Point Thomson units. A gas commitment to an Alaska gas project will endure should either producer withdraw from the current AKLNG Project or the AKLNG Project fails to move ahead.

“It is important that Alaska act like the owner state it is,” Governor Walker said. “The reserves tax proposal is appropriate leverage for Alaska in response to a situation where known, producible gas could be withheld from a state project because it does not meet the commercial strategy of a particular producer. I am pleased BP and ConocoPhillips have now demonstrated their commitment to make their gas available for an Alaska project.” - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

Alaska: Impact of TransCanada Buyout Evaluated - The Alaska Senate Finance Committee heard testimony today from a trio of financial firms on the implications to the state of a potential decision to buy out TransCanada’s interest in the Alaska LNG Project.

The presentation addressed the financial impact of a decision to buyout TransCanada’s interest on the state’s financial position, credit rating, and borrowing capacity.

“Our duty as members of the finance committee is to consider options for project financing, the various costs we must consider when evaluating this proposal, and the benefits and potential negative impacts the state could face as a result of the decisions we make,” said Senate Finance Committee Co-chair Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River). - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015



Alaska Science: Japan’s torpedo-like submarine rusts into an Alaska island By NED ROZELL - On a damp island far out in the Aleutian chain, a secret weapon of Japan’s World War II Navy sinks into the sod. A Type-A midget submarine the shape of a killer whale was one of six the Japanese carried to Kiska Island in 1942.

Japan’s torpedo-like submarine rusts into an Alaska island

Biologist Jeff Williams near a midget submarine on Kiska Island in the far western Aleutians in 2004.
Photo by Ned Rozell

Debra Corbett, an archaeologist who spent five weeks on Kiska last year, has imagined the plight of elite Japanese seamen assigned to operate the subs. Two men squeezed into the ship, which historians compared to torpedoes that could fire smaller torpedoes at ships from point-blank range.

“I don’t know if you’re claustrophobic, but I couldn’t imagine a worse job,” Corbett said.

Corbett and graduate student Richard Galloway have highlighted the Kiska midget sub on their blog for the Aleutian Island Research Group, a collection of scientists who share ideas about a unique place on Earth. Corbett, now operating a consulting business, retired in 2013 from her position as archaeologist with the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the keepers of the Aleutians based in Homer.

While looking for prehistoric sites on Kiska, of which there are many, archaeologists bump into reminders of the Japanese presence on Kiska during World War II. The 78-foot submarine lies in the long grass off Kiska Harbor. It rests at the site of a base complete with rails to move the subs into and out of the ocean and a few sheds to shelter them.

The sub is like an unprotected museum piece into which infrequent visitors can wedge themselves amid the shards of rusted metal. They can imagine what it must have been like to be the pilot or navigator, only one of whom was able to stand in the sub at any moment.

“This was not the suicide sub, but it was not known for a high survivability for the occupants, either,” Galloway said. “The Japanese were more willing to give their life for the sake of the emperor than most U.S. troops were. This tiny sub is a good symbol of that.” - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015


Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: More tales from the Road - A couple of weeks ago one of my friends, noted "Gee, you haven't had any fraught-filled traveling stories lately."

And she was right. A couple of years ago it seemed like every time I left the friendly confines of Our Fair Salmon City I would return with a pretty interesting tale of woe.

Many of these “adventures” revolved around "fun times" with our state airline, the one my mother always called "Elastic Air."

It got so bad - an endless round of entertaining anecdotes that threatened to get me slapped on a no fly list - that at one point a local member of the airlines advisory board pulled me aside and gave the direct line to the president of the airlines with a request that any time I had any "concerns" I should call him directly before venting on SITNEWS. Ah, the power of the written word.

At the time, I was more amused than anything, I wasn't trying to trash "Elastic," I was just relating what I thought were pretty funny stories. I guess "funny" is in the eye of the beholder.

Anyway, my most recent trip north and back has gifted me with a couple of stories.
- More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Can The Experts Rescue Halloween? - According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans will spend $6.9 billion on Halloween this year. To the untrained observer, that sounds as if the autumn celebration will be around forever; but I am concerned for the long-term health of the holiday.

So I have assembled a group of experts to offer their advice for keeping All Hallows' Eve relevant and vibrant. (Be forewarned that some personal prejudices and agendas may creep into the discussion.)

Mark: I think before Americans answer life-changing questions such as "Trick or treat?", they should do some soul-searching and ask themselves, "How would the Founding Fathers answer that?" And not just the ones who took a slanted view because they had wooden teeth that got all gummed up with candy.

Brad: Bah! What we need is new bone-chilling, spooky sound effects records — like a businessman handing his child the keys to a family-owned business, or someone somewhere pinning on a military insignia or a high-powered toilet being flushed or... - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Processed Meat

Political Cartoon: Processed Meat
By Adam Zyglis ©2015, The Buffalo News
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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letter Ketchikan, A Wonderful city in which to live. By Mary Schulz - When the new parking area next to the Tongass schools and baseball field was restructured, I noticed a dangerous flaw with the pedestrian configuration and possible hazard for young people playing ball and attending the schools. I contacted Superintendent, Robert Boyle, with my concern. The next day he viewed the situation along with appropriate borough staff and called to let me know they saw the potential problem and would begin work to fix it. He later sent a copy of the bid proposal to remedy the problem to me. Last week Mr. Boyle called to let me know the walkway was fixed and enhanced as they saw other issues with the walkway. It looks safe for all now. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Ketchikan Varsity Volleyball Team By John & Mindy Lloyd - I wanted to let the school district and parents know my husband and I had the pleasure of housing most of the team and coach. I can not express how wonderful your daughters are. They were so respectful and did their homework.. Wow right! Naomi is a great coach, she kept the girls on schedule and on track and still added some fun for them. I can't be more grateful. I miss home very much and to have the pleasure to do this for family (Ketchikan) brings me home every-time and warms my heart so much. I wanted to let you parents know they were in great hands and thank you for such wonderful young Ladies and you should be very proud!! - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Permanent Fund By Norma Lankerd - My thoughts on the Permanent Fund is the question should be put out to the public and ask them if they would prefer a one-time pay out, let it be good for up to 10 years. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Shareholders never voted to adopt discretionary voting By Dominic Salvato - "Sealaska shareholders have voted in favor of discretionary voting six times. While we appreciate the interest Central Council Delegates have in Sealaska governance, it is the Sealaska shareholders that our board must continue to look to for guidance on this important shareholder rights." Joe Nelson Chairman of the board of Sealaska Corporation. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Re: Wanted, Your Opinion By Ken Bylund - Rodney Dial outlined a detailed and smart alternative to an Alaskan State income tax that will certainly meet opposition from State Legislature for not being invented there, and every Chamber of Commerce in Alaska for being hazardous to their cash registers. - More...
Friday AM - October 23, 2015

letter Obliviously Sailing Into Danger By Donald A. Moskowitz - As a former naval officer who was an officer of the deck underway, navigator, and meteorology officer, and on track for ship command, I am appalled by the decision of the Captain of the El Faro container ship to head into a ferocious storm at sea.
The Captain departed Jacksonville, FL on September 29, 2015 on a southeasterly course for San Juan, PR. This course took the ship on a track near the Bahama Islands and straight into the storm. At the time of sailing the storm was designated a tropical storm with winds of around 45 or 50 knots and seas running about 20 or 25 feet. Soon after the ship left port the storm intensified to hurricane strength, and the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning, which the El Faro should have received, forecasting winds of 125 knots and seas of 40 to 50 feet. - More...
Friday AM - October 23, 2015

letter Avoid the Frenzy - Enroll in Health Coverage Early By Susan Johnson - Many people find the frenzied pace of November and December a bit overwhelming. School concerts, parent-teacher conferences, holiday parties and events, shopping, work deadlines, inclement weather, family visits, travel, additional church and community activities, and other events can leave individuals and families stretched thin and exhausted. If you pick up a winter cold or the flu during this period, it’s even worse. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 20, 2015

letter RE: Wanted, Your Opinion By Rodney Dial - Representative Dan Ortiz, since you are asking for local input regarding state taxes; like you, last legislative session I watched the presentation of Mr. Teal, State Legislative Fiscal Analyst regarding the State deficit. I feel it is important for you to communicate to your constituents that even a whopping 10% State Income tax would only generate 100 million annually, or approximately 1/30th of the current budget deficit. The primary reason being that according to the State Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development only about 300 thousand of the State's 750 thousand residents are considered gainfully employed. Further, approximately 47% of those gainfully employed pay no Federal Income taxes and under the proposed State income tax legislation would pay no State income taxes if instituted. In essence this means that an State Income tax would be paid by roughly 180 thousand, of the 750 thousand population base. - More...
Sunday PM - October 18, 2015

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Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council - Leftover Cuties

Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council -- Stories at Latitude Fifty-Six

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First Bank - Ketchikan, Alaska

Steelhead Electerical LLC - Ketchikan, Alaska

Affordable Construction, Bob Edwards - Ketchikan, Alaska

Sourdough Tactical - Ward Creek Industrial - Ketchikan, Alaska

Great Western Service - Bear Valley Apartments - Ketchikan, Alaska

Rendezvous Senior Day Services, Inc. - Ketchikan, Alaska

C&D Storage - Ketchikan, Alaska

Woodside Village Apartments - Ketchikan, Alaska

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The Home Office - The Local Paper; Ketchikan, Alaska

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