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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 31, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY MOODY

From A Distance...
The world looks blue... and the ocean meets the stream...
Blank Island,  Dall Head and in the distance Cape Chacon taken from the top of Deer Mountain.
Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY MOODY ©2017


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Ketchikan: A Halloween Journey through Many Lands By SANDRA KINZER - "Chocolate for you, chocolate for you," says Willy Wonka as the judges pass through colorful streamers and enter a hallway filled with huge paper candies and flowers. "Welcome to the Chocolate Factory, where the strawberries taste like strawberries, and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.

A Halloween Journey through Many Lands

Judges Rita Menzies, Roxanne Abajian and Bett Union-Jakubek: Board members Community Connections
Photo courtesy Community Connections

The judges, Bett Union-Jakubek, Rita Menzies, and Roxanne Abajian are board members of the local nonprofit Community Connections, an organization that provides services to individuals who need support to live independently within their community. Staff members divided into teams this Halloween for a competition - the challenge, who could create the best theme, including costumes, decorations, treats, and entertainment for the judges.

"I got a golden ticket!", exclaims one of the judges.

They arrived Halloween morning for their journey into several fantasy lands, starting with the Land of the Golden Ticket, created by the Senior and Disability Services team. Team members were dressed as Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, and other characters from the iconic movie. The program director even had an oompa loompa costume.

"Come visit our Fizzy Room!". Lela, as Violet, ushered the judges into a blue-lighted room filled with bubbles, soon to be the organization's sensory room.

Downstairs in the Children's Mental Health department, the judges waded through yellow and red balloons, exclaiming at the emojis pinned up on walls and dangling from the ceiling.

Children's Mental Health Program Director Bill Swift narrowed his eyes as they approached - he was an angry emoji, dressed as a pirate.

After making a few notes on their clipboards, the team of judges visited the Early Learning Program, with staff members dress in track suits and black paper taped on the walls to simulate a running track. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017

Ketchikan: Injured Hunter Rescued - The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad was contacted by the Alaska State Troopers Monday at 6:45 PM after a SPOT Beacon activation in the Dude Mountain area was reported. A check of the KVRS SPOT tracking system found the beacon was not registered to KVRS; however, investigation led to speaking with a family member who reported two goat hunters had the beacon and confirmed they had planned a day hunt in the Brown Mountain and Dude Mountain areas and had not returned home.

According to a news release issued by the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, at 7:41 PM, a cell phone contact was established with the missing hunters who advised that one in the party had fallen in steep terrain near Dude Mountain and had injured his ankle. The injured hunter was identified by the Alaska State Troopers as Harold Zurlo, age 36 of Ketchikan.

The steep terrain prevented Zurlo from getting down to his partner but Zurlo was in voice contact with his partner. Zurlo advised the injury to his ankle prevented him from standing and he was at the top of a cliff and unable to move back up the mountain. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017

Missing 2008 Plane Found, Remains Recovered

August 09, 2008, Cessna 182E, tail #N935OX, and its two passengers went missing in the area of Young Lake on Admiralty Island.
Photo Date: 10/28/17
Photo Courtesy Alaska State Troopers

Southeast Alaska: Missing 2008 Plane Found, Remains Recovered - Alaska State Troopers in Juneau received a report from a local hunter last Wednesday that he had located the wreckage of a missing 2008 airplane on Admiralty Island approximately 1.5 mile from Young Lake.

On August 09, 2008, the United States Coast Guard had reported an overdue Cessna 182E, tail #N935OX, in the area of Young Lake on Admiralty Island.  A 10 day search of the area was conducted by Juneau Mountain Rescue, Civil Air Patrol, the Army National Guard, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and USCG before search efforts were suspended.  - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017

Ketchikan: Body recently discovered in Carlanna Lake area - After receiving information on October 24, 2017 that a missing person was last seen in the Carlanna Lake Dam area, the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad and Alaska State Troopers and the Ketchikan Police conducted a search of the area on October 25, 2017.

The Ketchikan Police Department Dive, the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad and the AST had no success on the 25th. Another search of the area was conducted on October 26th by the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad and their K-9 team resulting in the discovery of a female body located about a quarter mile downstream from the Carlanna Lake Dam at approximately 11:55 last Thursday morning.

According to a press release issued by Chief Joseph White, the Ketchikan Police Department was notified to conduct the extrication of the body. Due to the difficult location of the body, a helicopter was utilized to remove the deceased. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31,2017

Southeast Alaska:
Alaska Boater Beware: Vessel documentation fraud lurks online By Petty Officer 1st Class BILL COLCLOUGH - Websites offering documentation renewal services for a fee is a new scam that is targeting boat owners looking to save a little time online, but it's costing them hundreds of dollars.

Alaska Boater Beware: Vessel documentation fraud lurks online

Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Wallin examines fishing vessel documents during a fishing vessel inspection in Cordova, USCG File photo 2015
U.S. Coast Guard photo

These websites lure boaters with the appearance and convenience of an official government website, but, just because a site looks like the Coast Guard and works like the Coast Guard, that does not mean it’s the Coast Guard. Boaters using these websites can end up spending three times the standard fee, and Coast Guard boarding officers will not accept their vessel’s documentation as valid.       

Why? The U.S. Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center, located in Falling Waters, West Virginia, is the only authorized entity to issue Certificates of Documentation required for vessels engaged in commercial trade and optional for vessels weighing five or more net tons engaged in recreational use and activities.

The NVDC is aware there are commercial entities that offer to manage the certification and renewal process on behalf of vessel owners for a fee. The Coast Guard does not endorse any of these companies, and the companies do not operate on behalf of the Coast Guard in any way. The services they provide are legal, but the certificates issued are not deemed in compliance.

Any fees charged beyond the $26 renewal fee or other agreements offered by such companies are in no way associated with the NVDC certification process. In addition, these companies are not authorized to issue any form of documentation, including travel letters and/or permits that authorize operation of any vessel.

“These are legitimate companies similar to the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] that have satellite offices open on the weekends and after hours. They’ll give you your tags, but it’s going to cost you twice as much because you’re paying for their service,” said Russell Hazlett, commercial fishing vessel examiner for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “These companies are not issuing the certificate, but rather, they are the middleman who charges a fee for processing the paperwork on your behalf.”

According to Hazlett, many fishermen in Alaska sign up with a company to handle their annual documentation and end up paying hundreds of dollars. They often realize too late they are not dealing directly with the Coast Guard. 

During dockside safety examinations, Hazlett provides operators with a copy of the marine safety advisory bulletin sent by the NVDC May 16, 2017, which advises vessel operators to be aware of third party service providers.

”Just this year alone I have come across probably eight people who have fallen victim to it,” said Hazlett. “I have warned them: When you go to renew your documentation, just be aware there is another company that provides that service.” - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017


Southeast Alaska - Canada:
U.S. and Canadian Scientists Explore Major Undersea Earthquake Fault - An international team of scientists just finished probing the depths of the Pacific Ocean offshore of Alaska and British Columbia, to better understand the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault. During the past century, the 700-mile-long fault has generated at least half a dozen major earthquakes, and future shocks threaten coastal communities in both the United States and Canada.

U.S. and Canadian Scientists Explore Major Undersea Earthquake Fault

Scientists prepare to lower a piston corer off Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, to sample seafloor sediment near the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault.This information will help them assess future threats to coastal communities in the U.S. and Canada.
Credit: James Conrad, USGS

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, joined by colleagues from Natural Resources Canada, the University of Calgary, and the Sitka Sound Science Center in Alaska, spent 20 days at sea aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship, “John P. Tully.” The expedition covered more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the southern Haida Gwaii islands in British Columbia to Cross Sound near Juneau, Alaska. They were looking for clues to the future of a fault often compared to a more famous one in California.

“We can think of this fault system as the San Andreas of the north,” said Danny Brothers, a USGS research geophysicist. “It appears to be the fastest moving continent-ocean strike-slip fault in the world.” Speedy faults like the Queen Charlotte can trigger earthquakes and tsunamis more frequently than slower faults.

The scientists worked remotely through thousands of feet of water. Their tools included seismic-reflection surveys that use sound to reveal rock layers beneath the seafloor, piston cores that bring up the top several meters of ocean sediment for further scrutiny, and cameras with powerful lights dragged just above the seabed. The researchers plan to spend years analyzing their newly collected data to help regional residents, businesses, and governments prepare for the future.

“Development of large-scale infrastructure, such as ports and [liquefied natural gas] plants in British Columbia and Alaska, need the best possible information on earthquake and tsunami risk,” said Vaughn Barrie, a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, “and this collaborative project provides answers to many of these questions.”

As with many scientific expeditions, the researchers uncovered more than they planned. “We’ve discovered some incredible features,” said Jamie Conrad, a USGS geologist, “such as methane seeps and chemosynthetic communities, large submarine landslides, offset seabed morphology from fault motion, and volcanic edifices.” - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017


Columns - Commentary



DAVE KIFFER: Boo Who? Boo You! - It's that scary time of the year!

No, it's not tax time.

Although the scariest Halloween costume I ever wore was as "Someone Who Could Raise Your Taxes (elected official)!"

No, it's that "wonderful" time of the year when - because life in general isn't scary enough - we make of up things to be worried about.  And no, I am not talking about private email servers or Russian election interference. I am talking about Halloween.

Seems logical enough. Let's all dress up in creepy costumes and run around seeing who can collect the most atomic sugar bombs!

Speaking of which, when did wearing costumes become such an "adult" thing to do?

I sure don't remember my parents getting all decked out. 

Oh yeah, there was always one family on every block that went a little overboard with the decorations and maybe the Dad put on a Frankenstein (more likely Herman Munster) mask to scare the kiddies at the door.

So far this year, I have turned down about half a dozen invites to "grownup" costume parties. Fine, I get the idea that grownups should have some fun too.- More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017


GLENN MOLLETTE: How to Know If You Are Alive -  We applaud people who feel like doing something.   

In an age where so many people spend so much time sitting or who are doing nothing let's celebrate the people who are doing something. Celebrate their living.

I've always been blessed with energy. Energy is a good asset. As a young adult growing up I wanted to be in the middle of whatever was going on.  I always enjoyed playing sports, swimming in the lake or creek, riding a bicycle for miles or being in the middle of the dance floor. I've always enjoyed movement. Trust me, I can sit for three hours and read, meditate and write and actually tremendously enjoy it. There is something beautiful about life between two and five 0'clock in the morning when you can be more creative than you've ever imagined. Try it sometime. It's quiet and you can hear God a little better.

 For years I would occasionally go to the local Shake N' Steak restaurant at about two and write until five in the morning. I was only one of two or three people in that place at that hour. They would pour coffee and pour coffee for me while I wrote myself into almost oblivion some nights. I wrote a lot of stuff that didn't amount to a hill of beans as some of us country folks might say. However, I enjoyed it at the moment and a lot of books came out of those early morning sessions of writing. I've heard from people around the world that have read some of my books and they've told me about how much they enjoyed them. Thus, such compliments are my reward. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017

jpg Political Cartoon: The Great Pumpkin President

Political Cartoon: The Great Pumpkin President
By R.J. Matson, CagleCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Opinion - Letter

Ketchikan School District's educational performance By A. M. Johnson - In an effort to continue the awareness of Ketchikan School District's educational performance, the following data has been mined from the state's report. The two segments of the report are given below for personal review on a statewide basis.

One has to realize in reviewing the data the state as a whole pretty much has failed to meet the educational goals desired, measured by a test the State has deemed a reasonable process to measure that progress. - More..
Friday PM - October 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Honor All Veterans By Donald Moskowitz - On this upcoming Veterans Day our families wish to remember all of our veterans, including our family members who served in all of the major wars from the Gulf War to Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, the Spanish American War and the Civil War.

We are disappointed with the removal of statues of Confederate generals, and thereby contributing to rewriting U.S. history.  We believe these statues were placed to commemorate the service of some brilliant military minds and they were not meant to be racist.  About 150 Confederate generals graduated from West Point and served during the Civil War. - More...
Friday PM - October 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Say what... Byron "unhinged" perhaps? By Trevor Shaw - Before I get started, although I serve as the President of the Ketchikan School Board, I am speaking on behalf of myself as a private citizen and not as a representative of the Ketchikan School District.

Now, with that out of the way, I want to start by saying that I understand the general direction that the Lt. Governor is coming from. We do need a fiscal solution for our state. That said, I don't agree whatsoever with his rhetoric or ideological approach. His thought process of needing a new broad-based tax or "Alaska will become a colony" is severely misguided and nothing short of fear mongering. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2017

Opinion - Letter

If We Are To Succeed As A State, Alaska Can Never Go Back By Lt. Governor Byron Mallott - We need to have a serious conversation about our fiscal crisis.

Over the last 3 years, the Legislature has drawn down over $14 billion of Alaska’s financial reserves. With oil prices expected to stay essentially where they are, we won’t get that money back any time soon. We are down to the last of those reserves – barely $2.5 billion – as we go into the 2018 Legislature and the budget we must present to Alaskans. Governor Walker has called the legislature into special session multiple times over the last two years to pass a complete plan. The plan he presented – a complete plan – would have allowed us to close that gap in the first Legislature of his service. Instead, we find ourselves on the precipice of disaster. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2017

Opinion - Letter

AMHS - profitability By Laura Plenert - The AMHS is top management and overpaid staff HEAVY. It will never be profitable "as is". This is a picture perfect example of what is wrong with Government being in charge of a business that would be better as a private enterprise.

I have watched for years as the AMHS "system has CUT routes and services aboard their vessels. And yet they still cannot make themselves profitable. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Slashing education budgets is short-sighted By David Lovell - The legislature is now considering several reasonable revenue-raising options.  The alternative to a thoughtful revenue increase is to further cut spending and wreak further damage on the University of Alaska.  Slashing education budgets is an extremely short-sighted way to solve fiscal issues.  We're in this mess because for too long, public services have depended on revenue from unstable markets for things like fish and oil that we take out of our land and waters to ship out of the state. The only way out of it is to grow our human resources and attract employers who need highly skilled workers.  New businesses, bringing new jobs, would also be generated by graduates with the confidence and skills nurtured in college. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Firewood Warning By Cheryl Henley- I have driven by a place with large rounds of yellow cedar that had a sign for sale. I called the number, and ordered a cord of firewood, split and delivered for $250.00 cash. I was so happy to get it, and then ordered 2 more cords. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Uranium scandel By A. M. Johnson - I am compelled to offer an apology for the number of submissions by myself in recent weeks. The news cycle is providing the gist for the thinking which results in frustrations over open traitorous actions by high level placed politicians who are trampling the trust placed on their positions. Must like the current scandal among Hollywood elites, these political elites are allowed to skate free from crimes and high misdemeanors. Those frustrations are compelled to be stated. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter

AMHS Needs Forward Funding By Rob Holston - I certainly agree with Rep Ortiz re forward funding….. but see a larger problem…… OVERPRICED FARES! AMHS used to be the economical way to get to the lower 48…. no longer. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 18, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Taxes By Lance Clark - So let me get this straight, Mr. Ortiz says we're 2.4 billion dollars short and that's why we need new taxes. If my math serves me right, and correct me if I'm wrong, that's about $4800 for every person in the state figuring there is around a half of million people in Alaska. This doesn't count the money the state is already taking in just how much more they want. We have a spending problem, not an income problem. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 18, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Time to Cut the Fat By A. M. Johnson - Representative Ortiz has been very active in keeping the folks advised of upcoming subject matter regarding the budget shortfall gap. Never too much information and seeking more has been his byword. I thank him for the efforts. Often he and I serve as contrarians to ideas each present. While we pretty much are on opposite on most subjects government or social, there are moments we seem to agree. It all takes place in a gentlemanly process to which we are both pleased. - More....
Wednesday PM - October 18, 2017

Opinion - Letter

POW Hunting regulation By Mike Carney - Thanks Charles Edwardson for being able to see what is taking place on POW. I hunted POW for years as did many others that do not anymore because of the silly hunting regulation that divide Ketchikan from POW. When the Fed's made the rule that kept Ketchikan residents off federal lands in different places on POW the problems started. All it did was make some legal hunters into none legal hunters. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: Tax Fairness By Lance Clark - I don’t think Ortiz, Walker, and company care about fairness.  They just want MORE money from anywhere they can find it, regardless of the implications down the road, or who they hurt along the way. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Special Session Survey By Rep. Dan Ortiz - On October 23rd, the legislature will convene for its third special session to discuss potential revenue sources. Below, I have outlined two options that I will most likely have the choice to vote on during that session. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE:Demand Tax Fairness By Jon Bolling - Mr. Dial's October 12, 2017 letter to SitNews merits a clarification. While it is true that some areas of Prince of Wales Island are not legally obligated to support local schools, the cities of Craig, Klawock, and Hydaburg are subject to the same required local contribution requirement to fund their schools as is the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Demand tax fairness By Rodney Dial - The recent letter by former Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst details the greatest economic threat our community will likely ever face. Citizens of all political persuasions should give it consideration. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Increasing Nonprofit Organization's Efffectiveness By Deborah Hayden - During September we heard often from candidates for borough Assembly that they wanted to increase the ability of nonprofit organizations to operate in a business-like manner or to be more self-sufficient. For the past three years, the Strengthening Nonprofits Collaborative has been engaged in projects that will enhance nonprofit operations in both these categories. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

WE ARE CONTINUING TO PROTECT ALASKA’S TRANSBOUNDARY WATERS By Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott - One of the best parts of my job, and one of the most challenging, is to keep working toward Alaska goals that are not easily and quickly achieved. Perhaps my role as an elder has given me patience in dealing with an ever-changing political landscape at the local, national, and international level. But that’s not to say I don’t get frustrated and impatient like you do when incremental movement seems agonizingly slow. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Are there more hunting restrictions on POW targeted on non residents? By Chas Edwardson - My name is Charles Edwardson a native born Ketchikan resident and also an Alaska native, there is no distinction of separation in my view, although both perspectives need to be understood. I am also a dual resident having a home on Prince of Wales and in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: Open Letter to the NFL players By Joe Ashcraft - The pushing of the false narrative that the NFL players are protesting the flag, the anthem, or the American military brings into question the motives of any individual doing so. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

It’s Past Time to Achieve Parity Regarding State Education Funding: An Open Letter to Representative Ortiz By Dan Bockhorst - On October 23, the Alaska Legislature will convene its 12th session during your 3 years in office (3 regular sessions plus 9 special sessions) – far more sessions than during any other three-year period in the State’s history. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

AMHS Needs Forward Funding By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The Alaska Marine Highway System needs forward funding. I don’t think I need to say it twice. If money is allocated to the AMHS for its future expenses, the AMHS can properly plan sailings which would: capture revenue from tourists (including those considering traveling with their RV’s or vehicles), allow businesses to send employees to neighboring islands, and provide more advance planning options for Alaskans. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

SB54: Essential step in addressing public safety By Jahna Lindemuth & Walt Monegan - Crime is on the rise. We’ve been hearing a lot from Alaskans about their cabins, cars, shops, and homes being broken into. People feel scared and that fear is warranted.  The crime statistics confirm what we have been hearing in all of our Alaska communities.   As Alaska’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Public Safety, public safety is our highest concern. We agree action is needed to protect Alaskans. Passing SB54 during the special session is an important first step in this direction. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

NO WORRIES THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL JUST GET YOU TO HEAVEN THAT MUCH SOONER By David G Hanger - Some five hundred eighty-six casualties, 58 dead by gunshot, hundreds upon hundreds wounded by one man’s gunfire, and, wow, did those first responders do one hell of a job. (It took how long to even figure out where the shots were coming from?) You may have to go clear back to World War I to find a single tactical engagement that cost 586 US casualties. And you definitely have to go back to the first day of the First Battle of the Somme to find so many casualties inflicted in so short a time; the Newfoundland regiment, and that was accomplished by trained soldiers with multiple weapons and weapons systems at their disposal. Time to change USA to FFZ, as in free-fire zone. . - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Open Letter to the NFL players By A. M. Johnson - Following is an anonymous letter, author unknown which should be printed in every newspaper across this great Nation. It will not be but it should. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

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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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