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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 10, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By HEIDI EKSTRAND

Willow's First Book Sale
Boxes of books and, in this case, a baby, were hauled out from The Plaza this weekend as part of the annual Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library book sale Oct. 7-9. Destiny Sanders set her daughter, Willow, in a cardboard box and packed books around her as they shopped together. The book sale is the main fundraiser each year for the Friends of the Library, which helps fund special programs at the library, including the Summer Reading program for kids. The book sale depends upon dozens of volunteers who help store and transport books, and conduct the sale. At 10-and-a-half-months old, this was Willow's first book sale.
Front Page Feature Photo By HEIDI EKSTRAND

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Southeast Alaska: Bottom Fell Out of Alaska Urchin Market By LAINE WELCH - Divers could pull up millions of pounds of sea urchins from Alaska waters each October, but the fishery draws little interest. The urchins are valued for their uni, or roe, used widely in sushi rolls and Asian dishes.

Southeast Alaska Urchin Harvest Down

Red sea urchin
Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Southeast Alaska allows for a three million pound red urchin take, down from seven million pounds in the 1990s when 150 divers would be on the grounds. The actual harvest today is closer to 300,000 pounds taken by five to 10 divers, said Phil Doherty, director of the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association in Ketchikan. It was quality problems, otters and a huge dump of Russian roe over the past decade pretty much did the local fishery in.

“There was a problem in extracting the roe and packaging it up and getting it over to the markets,” Doherty explained. “It’s a fresh product and by the time it arrived in Japan, they weren’t real happy with the quality of the roe.”

The softball sized red urchins pay between 35 to 55 cents at the docks. Green sea urchins found around Kodiak Island pay well over $1 a pound, but no fishery has occurred there for 15 years.

Harvests peaked in 1988 at around 150,000 pounds taken by a dozen boats, then tapered off to just 27,000 pounds by the late 1990s, said Nat Nichols, area manager at Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Kodiak. He agrees that the bottom fell out of the Alaska uni market. - More...
Monday PM - October 10, 2016

Ketchikan: PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center receives “Chasing Zero” award - PeaceHealth Ketchikan on Friday, October 7th, was named a “Chasing Zero” award winner during Mountain-Pacific’s Fall Patient Safety Conference in Anchorage. The awards were presented to ten Alaskan hospitals that demonstrated a commitment to providing high-quality patient care.

All recipients had to go at least 45 days without two of three Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) or reach 90 days or more without one of three HAIs. The three HAIs measured were catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central-line associated blood stream infections, and Clostridium difficile infections. Every winner surpassed the award measurements and went at least 120 days or more without an infection for one or more HAIs.

“Mountain-Pacific has worked with these exemplary hospitals for many years, and no matter how large or small or urban or rural, it is always amazing to watch the hard work that goes into creating high quality health care that ultimately creates a safer and healthier environment for the patient,” said Sharon Scudder, Mountain-Pacific Alaska director. “Health care landscapes are changing, and with the presence of highly infectious diseases affecting our communities and with increased government mandates in reporting, we applaud these hospitals for providing the highest quality of hospital care in Alaska. It most likely rivals or exceeds care you would find throughout the United States.” - More...
Monday PM - October 10, 2016

Fish Factor: U.S. Senate candidates facing off in popular fisheries debate By LAINE WELCH - Fish on! The lure of reaching a statewide radio audience has once again attracted a full slate of political hopefuls to Kodiak for its popular fisheries debate.

On Wednesday, October 12, five candidates for U.S. Senate will travel to the nation’s #2 fishing port to share their knowledge and ideas on a single topic: Alaska’s seafood industry.

“It’s a great service to Kodiak, to our fishing communities and to Alaska in general,” said Trevor Brown, director of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, host of the event. “Fishing is the state’s largest private sector employer. I think the candidates realize the importance of the fishing industry and that its viability is very important to Alaska.”

Since 1990 the Kodiak debates have been an election year tradition for candidates vying both for Alaska governor and Congress, and have always gotten 100 percent participation.


Candidates facing off this go around include Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, Joe Miller on the Libertarian ticket, Democrat Ray Metcalf and Margaret Stock and Breck Craig, both who are running as Independents.

Debate moderator is Alaska Senator Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak); panelists posing questions are Julie Matweyou of Alaska Sea Grant, Julie Bonney, director of the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank, and Jeff Stephen, director of the United Fishermen’s Marketing Association.

Alaska’s fisheries are an important part of any sitting U.S. Senator’s oversight, as nearly 85 percent of the seafood poundage that crosses the Alaska docks comes from waters managed and funded by Congress and the federal government, meaning from three to 200 miles from shore.

The fisheries debate, set for October 12 from 7-9pm, at the Kodiak High School auditorium, will be broadcast and live streamed from host station KMXT/Kodiak and provided statewide via the Alaska Public Radio Network. Tune in at

Bad crab news

Bering Sea crabbers got the bad news they expected – low catch quotas and a canceled Tanner fishery for the 2016/17 season. State managers announced last week that the catch for Bristol Bay red king crab will be just shy of 8.5 million pounds, down 15 percent from last year.

For Bering Sea snow crab, the harvest limit was slashed nearly in half to 21.5 million pounds, the lowest catch in 45 years. Last year the total take was 40.6 million pounds, and it was nearly 68 million pounds the previous season.

An even bigger hit to the crab industry will come from the closure of the bairdi Tanner crab fishery, which had been growing steadily and produced 20 million pounds last season. Biologists said not enough female crabs were seen during summer surveys to reach a minimum threshold needed to open the fishery.

Crabbers believe the Tanners are still out there, but have relocated from the standard survey regions. The small blue king crab fishery at St. Matthew Island also was closed for the season.

“With the bairdi Tanner fishery closed and no opening at St. Matt’s and with the cut backs - whatever problems are causing poor recruitment of snow crab are impacting other crab species as well,” said market expert John Sackton. The Bering Sea crab fisheries open October 15. - More...
Monday PM - October 10, 2016


Ketchikan: Fire Crew Responds to Dryer Fire - The City of Ketchikan Fire Department dispatched Engine 1 and Medic 2 to a reported fire at the Highliner Laundromat Sunday afternoon just before 4:00PM. On arrival, crews found the first floor of the building full of smoke. Bystanders reported that a single dryer was on fire.

jpg Fire Crew Responds to Dryer Fire

Pictured: Firefighters Tracy Mettler, Andy Tighe and Jesse Austin.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Fire Department

Approximately 10 people were in the building at the time of the fire and all had evacuated safely prior to the fire crews' arrival. The crew extinguished the interior fire quickly using a fire extinguisher. Smoldering clothing was removed from a dryer and taken outside and extinguished using a hose line. Crews used the thermal imager camera to check for any additional hot spots - More...
Monday PM - October 10, 2016

Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Suffering from Election Stress Disorder - "Five more weeks before the election. I'm not sure I can survive that long."

"Ah, yes, you speak of an interesting phenomenon this election cycle, 'election stress disorder,' as some therapists refer to it. According to several news reports, our cantankerous election is causing increased irritability, heart palpitations and an inability to sleep in more than a quarter of American adults."

"You got that right. Trump has been saying nasty things for months. He says Hillary is a corrupt politician and should be in the slammer. Meanwhile, Hillary has accused Trump of being a racist, a sexist and unfit for the presidency."

"To be sure, this election has not been for the faint of heart. But its nastiness is being exacerbated by 24-hour news channels and social media. The vitriol among 'friends' on Facebook has reached a fever pitch. Strangers are arguing at restaurants and coffee shops. But Yahoo News offers some tips to deal with the problem."

"Go to the liquor store and stock up on hooch?"


"Actually, the first obvious step is to do what you can to limit your exposure to the noise. One therapist suggests that you turn off cable news and stop checking what your friends are posting on Facebook and Twitter. Go out and do some volunteer work."

"I've been doing volunteer work, all right. Me and the boys from the local pub have been removing unpleasant political signs from our neighbors' front yards."

"That's a bad idea. The right idea, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, is to exercise. It will release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and will help you sleep better. You need to get to the gym and do some cardio." - More...
Monday PM - October 10, 2016

jpg John L. Micek

JOHN L. MICEK: A Bruising, Surreal 90 Minutes Between Trump and Clinton - Donald Trump may not have inflicted any further damage on his badly listing presidential candidacy on Sunday night, but it's unlikely he expanded his base as the 2016 races into its final days.

In a surreal, often angry, 90-minute debate performance on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., Trump kneecapped running-mate Mike Pence, stepped up his personal attacks on Bill Clinton and threatened to jail Hillary Clinton if he's elected in November.

The second meeting between Trump and Clinton was critical for the New York businessman, who spent last weekend watching as Republican politicians from across the spectrum deserted his candidacy in the wake of the release of a 2005 video in which he spoke of kissing and groping women.

Ahead in the polls nationwide and in most of the key battleground states, Clinton often struck an incumbent's tone. She repeated First Lady Michelle Obama's mantra that 'When they go low, we go high."

But that often seemed more a Platonic ideal than a matter of actual practice. - More...
Monday PM - October 10, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Post debate clinic

Editorial Cartoon: Post debate clinic
By Dave Granlund ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Transboundary Hearing By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The Alaska State Legislature's Special Committee on Fisheries will hold a hearing on transboundary mining and fishing concerns on October 12th in the Beltz Room at the Alaska Capitol Building in Juneau. We will be collecting comments and information from Alaskans concerned about the health of our watersheds, which begin in Canada and flow out into Southeast Alaska. - More...
Thursday PM - October -6, 2016

letter Public Radio By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Public radio is a lifeline for rural communities. It connects our community of islands here in Southeast, and our neighbors scattered across the far and wide villages of Northern Alaska. In many areas of Alaska public radio is the only means of issuing emergency alerts, public safety announcements, and relaying important community information. - More...
Thursday PM - October 06, 2016

letter Do our votes matter? By Ken Holmes - So as we vote today on local elections in Ketchikan, do they really matter? The propositions put on the ballets, we vote them down the they find away to do it anyway. Berth 4, ( built it anyway, we pay rent on it now)sales tax that was to be sunset tax for public safety (never went away), fix up the old library (built new one we can't afford). Now they are spending money on the museum ( the old library ). - More...
Tuesday - October 04, 2016

letter Vote for the fiscally responsible; No tax increases By Hannah Ramiskey - There should be a concern that a former Ketchikan school board member on the Ketchikan Borough Assembly, and one attempting to be on the Assembly, have an agenda that involves funneling more funds to the school district regardless of perilous financial times. - More...
Monday PM - October 03, 2016

letter DEER MOUNTAIN ALTERNATIVES and COMPROMISES By Rob Holston - Deer Mountain, dear to our hearts and our pocketbooks is now in threat of being logged? I don’t mean to sound like Bill Clinton but what do you mean by logged? Every year I tell thousands of tourists here about our timber industry or lack there-of as we cruise through Ward Cove and past Mud Bight. “Democrats like to save trees and Republicans like to cut them down and we can’t seem to find a sustainable compromise.” is what I tell them in a nut shell. May I suggest that for the purpose of “saving” Deer Mountain that we set aside our differences politically and focus on alternatives and compromises that are available. - More...
Monday PM - October 03, 2016

letter Activities Funding By Agnes Moran - In FY 2013 the Borough gave the Ketchikan School District a supplemental grant for $200,000 dedicated for Activities. The Borough gave the money as a grant because they wanted to ensure the funds were spent for Activities and did not disappear into the labyrinth known as the District's budget. The School District took umbrage at the grant because it was dedicated to Avtivities, but ultimately accepted it. The funds made their way into the Activities budget and under the watchful eyes of the Assembly were distributed equitably across the programs. - More...
Sunday PM - October 02, 2016

letter Vote, October 4th! By Amy T. Thompson - Wake up people! Do you want higher sales taxes and property taxes as high as 18% in the city? If our local taxes continue to rise people will leave, which will eventually result in a reduction of tax revenue. Consider the people living on a fixed or low income, barely able to pay their property tax bill now. Foreclosure will be their only option. For some, any increase in sales tax can result in less food on the table and it will certainly cause people to spend less in general. Increased taxes also produce the adverse effect of less money going into the donation coffers. Many of the social programs that certain candidates champion should be getting their funding from donations, not off the backs of the very people they are purporting to help. There is also the mantra being sung to the rooftops to buy local. Increased sales tax will just push more people to shop online. - More...
Sunday PM - October 02, 2016

letter Vote Keith Smith for Assembly By Deborah Hayden - We have a fine slate of candidates for Borough Assembly in this coming Tuesday's election. Keith Smith is one I recommend highly for your vote. Keith will bring to the Assembly his amazingly broad and deep experience in many aspects of our community. He has been Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. He has been a teacher, a counselor and a radio broadcaster. He has first-hand experience in Ketchikan's natural resource economy from having worked as a commercial fisherman, as a fisheries researcher and as a forestry contractor. - More...
Sunday PM - October 02, 2016

letter Write-In Candidate Kevin Johnson Can Vote on Budgetary Items By Kevin Johnson - There was some incorrect information printed in 9/30/16 edition of the Ketchikan Daily News about my ability to vote on budgetary issues if elected to the school board. I have contacted the Ketchikan Daily News and provided them with the same information found in the KGBSD School Board By-laws under the section of "Conflict of Interest". I am only not able to vote on matters that pertain to my wife and her individual teaching contract. I also may not vote on financial matters in which I would directly profit. - More...
Sunday PM - October 02, 2016

letter You Get the Government You Don’t Vote For By Amy T. Thompson - When you consider that a measly 20% registered voter turnout is on the high end these days you really have to wonder if people even want to have any control over their lives. Folks constantly complain about the things that government is doing to their lives yet they sit at home on election day or say they don’t have time to vote. There are no real valid excuses for not voting! If you don’t have transportation then call a friend, ask a neighbor or take the FREE bus ride that the Borough offers. You can vote on your way to or from work or on your lunch break. If you don’t like lines or are leaving town you can cast your vote at the Borough Clerks office or even vote online. - More... Sunday PM - October 02, 2016

letter Evolving mariculture industry By Rep. Dan Ortiz - I recently attended Southeast Conference, where Julie Decker of Wrangell gave an insightful presentation on the Alaska Mariculture Task Force, and our evolving mariculture industry. This task force, funded by a NOAA grant, envisions a booming billion dollar mariculture industry in Southeast Alaska. - More...
Thursday PM - September 29, 2016

letter Stop Clinton and Trump By Donald Moskowitz - Recently, the New Hampshire Union Leader ran a front page editorial endorsing the Libertarian ticket of Johnson/Weld. Thank you for the foresight and intelligence to realize this is the only way a Fiscal Conservative can be elected President. - More...
Thursday PM - September 29, 2016

letter Have you read the amendments? By A. M. Johnson - You will recall recently a letter to Joe Miller was published in your good online news. In it it was alluded to that a follow up letter to Senator Murkowski would be sent to Mr. Miller via your services. - More...
Thursday PM - September 29, 2016

letter PFD Cuts Hurt But Changes Will Avoid Economic Disaster By Gov. Bill Walker - Alaskans will soon receive our annual dividend checks. This year's $1,022 check for every qualified resident will help Alaska families with things like winter fuel, food and clothes, holiday gifts and saving for college. These checks will boost local businesses and increase local tax revenues. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2016

letter Open Letter to Governor Walker: Transboundary mining concerns By Chris Chris Zimmer - The Statement of Cooperation (SOC) between the State of Alaska and Province of British Columbia is clearly not a comprehensive solution to transboundary mining concerns, nor was it intended to be. It must go hand in hand with federal engagement that can bring in the authority of the Boundary Waters Treaty, funds and expertise. The SOC is narrowly focused on notification and information sharing, is non-binding and unfunded, and therefore insufficient to address the issue comprehensively. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2016

letter Rodney Dial for Borough Assembly By Robert Luse - I have known Rodney Dial for several years. You couldn't ask for a more honest and caring person. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2016

letter Permanent Fund By Lance Clark - The Governor is keeping a little more than half our permanent fund! It's quite telling that he decided that he could spend our money better than we can, after all, we're merely servants and should be thankful for anything we get. - More...
Monday PM - September 26, 2016

letter Things are not “fine” as some would have you believe By Rodney Dial - So I thought I would give an update on how my attempt to become your next borough assembly member is going. - More...
Friday AM - September 23, 2016

letter Why I believe in Sheila Finkenbinder By Paula Spreter - After working for four governors and two legislators with the State of Alaska, I was privileged to retire and enjoy the life of travel in a truck and 5th wheel trailer. - More...
Friday AM - September 23, 2016

letter Rodney Dial for Assembly By Michelle Sanchez - I've lived in Ketchikan over 25 years. I've seen the bad and the good in our community, but I have to say the increasing costs of water, sewage, city taxes, and property taxes are UNACCEPTABLE. - More...
Friday AM - September 23, 2016

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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