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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 02, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Pennock Island
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

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Southeast Alaska: Cost of Juneau Access Project Skyrockets; Increase Cost Reflects National Trend - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has released the 2007 Annual Financial Plan Update for the Juneau Access Improvements Project. The update mirrors the national trend that construction for all aspects of transportation: airports, ferries and roads, has skyrocketed in the last few years.

Construction costs nationwide have been soaring since 2004 and Alaska sees even higher increases. In Alaska, earthwork has increased by as much as 55% and the asphalt mix used on roads has increased 85% since 2004. The cost of steel used to build bridges and ferries has gone up nationally 100% during that same time period.

The inflation of construction costs is reflected in the increase in the cost of Juneau Access. The initial estimated cost, completed in 2005, was $258 million. The new cost is $350 million in 2007 dollars, plus an estimated 4% annual inflation to the year of construction for each stage.

The Juneau Access selected action consists of a 50.8 mile extension of Glacier Highway from Echo Cove to just north of the Katzehin River and includes construction of a ferry terminal and shuttle ferries that will operate between Haines, Katzehin and Skagway. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

Southeast Alaska: HOVERBARGE PROPOSAL HITS WALL OF CRITICISM - The plan to use hoverbarges, "amphitracs," and shallow draft tugs to access the Tulsequah Chief mine in the Taku River watershed in Southeast Alaska has received resounding criticism from regulatory agencies in Canada and Alaska, the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) and the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN). According to a news release from Rivers Without Borders, new information shows Redcorp's hoverbarge proposal poses clear threats to fish and wildlife in the Taku, while the company's technical analysis understates these risks and is full of significant information gaps.

"The Taku is Southeast Alaska's most important salmon river and is no place for a junior Canadian mining company to experiment with risky, untried technologies," said Chris Zimmer of Rivers Without Borders. "The company's proposal is full of holes and doesn't demonstrate they can protect fish or wildlife. The reactions the company is getting on its plan reflect that."

The US Department of the Interior, Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and TRTFN recently submitted to the British Columbia government a wide range of concerns regarding potential threats to salmon, wildlife and their habitats from the hoverbarge plan and noted significant gaps in Redcorp's technical analyses. These are in addition to critical memos written by Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) biologists in May. The US EPA is expected to submit comments soon and they are expected to also be critical said Zimmer. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

Alaska: Divers find new species in Aleutians - There are unknown creatures lurking under the windswept islands of the Aleutians, according to a team of scientific divers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Divers find new species in Aleutians

A new species of sea anemone was found near Amchitka Island in the Aleutian Chain during a two-year scientific dive survey of the region.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Jewett

This summer, while completing the second phase of a two-year broad scientific survey of the waters around the Aleutian Islands, scientists have discovered what may be three new marine organisms. This year's dives surveyed the western region of the Aleutians, from Attu to Amlia Island, while last year's assessment covered the eastern region.

During the dives, two potentially new species of sea anemones have been discovered. Stephen Jewett, a professor of marine biology and the dive leader on the expedition, says that these are "walking" or "swimming" anemones because they move across the seafloor as they feed. While most sea anemones are anchored to the seabed, a "swimming" anemone can detach and drift with ocean currents. The size of these anemones ranges from the size of a softball to the size of a basketball.

Another new species is a kelp or brown algae that scientists have named the "Golden V Kelp" or Aureophycus aleuticus. According to Mandy Lindeberg, an algae expert with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and a member of the expedition, the kelp may represent a new genus, or even family, of the seaweed. Up to ten feet long, the kelp was discovered near thermal vents in the region of the Islands of the Four Mountains.

"Since the underwater world of the Aleutian Islands has been studied so little, new species are being discovered, even today," said Jewett. He adds that even more new species may be revealed as samples collected during the dives continue to be analyzed.

The organisms were found while surveying more than 1000 miles of rarely-explored coastline, from Attu to the Tigalda Islands. Logging more than 300 hours underwater, the divers collected hundreds of water, biological and chemical samples during 440 dives. Armed with underwater cameras and video cameras, the divers took hundreds of photographs and dozens of short movies of the creatures that inhabit the coast of the Aleutians. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007


Alaska: Study reveals lakes a major source of prehistoric methane - A team of scientists led by a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has identified a new likely source of a spike in atmospheric methane coming out of the North during the end of the last ice age.

Study reveals lakes a major source of prehistoric methane

UAF researcher Katey Walter lights a pocket of methane on a thermokarst lake in Siberia in March of 2007. Igniting the gas is a way to demonstrate, in the field, that it contains methane.
Photo by Sergey Zimov

Methane bubbling from arctic lakes could have been responsible for up to 87 percent of that methane spike, said UAF researcher Katey Walter, lead author of a report printed in the Oct. 26 issue of Science magazine. The findings could help scientists understand how current warming might affect atmospheric levels of methane, a gas that is thought to contribute to climate change.

"It tells us that this isn't just something that is ongoing now. It would have been a positive feedback to climate warming then, as it is today," said Walter. "We estimate that as much as 10 times the amount of methane that is currently in the atmosphere will come out of these lakes as permafrost thaws in the future. The timing of this emission is uncertain, but likely we are talking about a time frame of hundreds to thousands of years, if climate warming continues as projected."

Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica have shown that during the early Holocene Period--about 14,000 to 11,500 years ago--the levels of methane in the atmosphere rose significantly, Walter said. "They found that an unidentified northern source (of methane) appeared during that time." - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007



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Front Page Archives

Oct. - Nov. 2007

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Basic Rules

letter Thank you Rotary! By Shauna Lee - I just wanted to let Rotary know how much we enjoyed the Trunk or Treat event on Halloween. It was a very clever idea and a perfect solution to stay out of the wind and rain. Thankfully, we were lucky to have some great weather Wednesday night, but if it weren't the Rotary event would have been our only stop. With so many Ketchikan traditions falling by the wayside, it's nice to see something new come along that is a boost to city morale. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

letter Developer Jerry Jenkins By Darlene Ahlstedt - It is true that Jerry Jenkins was unsuccessful in his attempt to build an arena in Prospect Heights, Illinois. It is also true that he planned to rely on a municipal bond, rather than bring in his own capital. However, you should be aware that, while researching the feasibility of an arena, most of the City Council toured the Boise, Idaho facilities, with Jerry Jenkins. Afterward, we had lunch with several municipal officials, who answered many questions from our group. If no one in Boise recalls Jerry Jenkins being involved, they must have replaced all department heads in the past four years. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

letter Route #8 Students By Yeda Hicks - To all the wonderful and well behaved students on Route # 8, thank you for a great three months of trouble free driving. It is such a privilege and honor to transport you to and from school each day. I was looking for a way to show my appreciation and researched how much it would cost to take you and a few parents to Mexico during the winter break. OH MY GOD $$$$!!! So this is plan B. A simple thank you via SitNews. Give yourselves a pat on the back as well. Thank you again for making the daily drive to and from school such a pleasure. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

letter Time To Declare War Against Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) By Linda Kreider - This Veteran's Day, you will read about the heroes who fought for our country in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. You will hear about those who defended freedom during the Cold War and those who served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what you probably won't hear about is the war our veterans continue to wage right here at home: the war against ALS - the deadly disease that took the life of baseball legend Lou Gehrig and which is now striking veterans at nearly twice the rate as the general population. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

letter Common Courtesy By Scott R. Davis - Recently, common courtesy is absent in every day and professional life in Ketchikan. It brings to mind the lower 48 when one is trampled on the sidewalk by another passer-by or waiting for 10 minutes to cross the road or get out into traffic because the driver of all the cars are inconsiderate. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

letter Dangerous Pedestrians By Debra Pomeroy - With the weather now raining sideways and getting darker earlier, it makes it dangerous for drivers to see out the side windows of their vehicles - especially when you're at the 'turn' left only behind the Marine View trying to get on Tongass. You're constantly looking to the left so you can 'jump' into traffic quickly, since you can't turn right. My point is, this is dangerous because you have tenants from the Marine View who DO NOT use the crosswalks, and they just cross where ever they want. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2007

letter Landless By Michael Nelson - I agree with Vernon Grant and Aan Kadax Tseen. I worry that the Landless issue will one day just fade away, but I do want to at least challenge Sealaska to throw its significant weight and influence behind the landless issue the way that it did the descendant and leftout vote (my apologies to Sealaska's elders). - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

letter ANB-ANS By Cecelia Johnson - This year ANB-ANS Camp 14 had the opportunity to elect officers who will lead our camp and keep it going. - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

letterBus stop problems By Carrie Mueller - I ride the bus to and from the library bus stop every day of the work week with my 4 1/2 month old son. I can't even count how many times we have had to stand in the wind and rain to get away from the homeless people that sleep there because they are smoking and coughing all over the place. I refuse to subject my infant son to the smoke and uncleanliness that they bring to the bus stop. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letter Professionalism/ Common Courtesy By Jim Lowell - Having just retired from the US Navy "SeaBees" in July 2007, I had been job hunting for 6 months prior, trying to make sure I had a job I could immediately start after retirement. Oh, I had my share of rejections, and even turned down a job back home in Ketchikan (now I regret it!!!) - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letter Landless By Vernon Grant - I agree, Sealaska has an announcement on their website: Bill to Fulfill ANCSA Land Entitlement Introduced in Congress. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letterSchoenbar Music Fundraiser By Doug Edwards - Last Friday night I had the privilege to attend the Schoenbar Music's dinner fundraiser. What a great time it was...good food and excellent entertainment. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 30, 2007

letter Bus Stop Benches By Paul Ripplinger - I can not believe someone would stoop to removing the benches from the bus stop at the library or any bus stop! Why don't you get rid of all bus stops! The only thing you did was make it more inconvenient for the people that need the benches! I may not have the right answer but removing the benches was far from being good. Drunks, homeless, and perverts will just find other places to camp out. (Other bus stops?) - More...
Tuesday AM - October 30, 2007

letter KETCHIKAN SKIING By Pete Ellis - As Craig Moen indicates there are ski areas on the island and, in even more ancient times, there were even more locations. At one time we had a ski area on the Perseverance Trail complete with a ski tow hauled in and set up with Frank Klepser having been the principal motivator for that endeavor. Long before that and near the top of Deer Mountain there was a ski lodge built by some earlier local pioneers who hauled the lodge material all the way up the mountain in order to take advantage of those slopes. Unfortunately it burned to the ground and was never re-built but it must have been a major undertaking and challenging source of winter recreation. The remains of the lodge are still visible in the summers when the snow has disappeared and in the area that now serves as a lookout over the channel prior to a climb on up to the top. I have never seen any pictures but presumably some exist and should be located. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Landless in Ketchikan By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - The Sealaska Corporation newsletter sent October, 2007. Southeast Alaska Lands Bill: Fulfillment of a Promise to Alaska Natives: Good for the Economies, Good for the Environment story. The U.S. Government owes Sealaska Corporation 85,000 acres of land to fulfill their obligation to Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). The act promised that the Native people of Southeast Alaska would gain ownership of productive, culturally significant lands. With that said. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Oil tax debate fault lines wide By Sen. Kim Elton - I've yet to see a multi-national oil and gas company operating in Alaska more interested in our bottom line than their bottom line. That's why I'm a bit of a skeptic when I hear them urge us: 1) to cut or freeze oil taxes right now; so 2) they'll invest more; with 3) the ephemeral promise state revenues bump up later. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Burman's Bears By Rhonda Bolling - I wholeheartedly agree with Penny and Marty's comments on the Burman Bears story. What a fun read! Thank you Heidi Ekstrand for submitting this for us all to read. I was actually very impressed with Dr. Burman's wit and creative knack for story-telling as well. I think Outdoor Life or Outdoor Sportsman (or another big magazine) should pick this story up. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Burman's Bears By Kim Murray -Excellent story by my old friend Heidi. I always enjoy the articles on Sitnews and it's even better when written by someone you know. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Being Alaskan Native, My Philsophy By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - This is my philosophy of life on being an Alaskan Native. Life is nothing but choices of whom you are and going to be. There are leaders, managers and followers. Real Native leaders are willing to take risks and cross the line on important issues that affect his or her family, clan and tribe. Managers usually won't take risks. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letterPolar Bears and Global Warming By Matt Reid - Polar bears are suffering from global warming although it is hard to see now.Steve Amstrup, a polar bear biologist is from Alaska, and probably does not want the light to show on his studies but they are shining bright and you should all read them - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Soap box By Amber Williams-Baldwin - Yes, young kids do stupid stuff. But who do you think they learned it from.. or lack of learning it from? I always like to think that kids reflect their parents. So you know the hot headed football player you hated, the pretty blonde who was always better then you complex etc... these are their kids! Or that's what I like to think anyway. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

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Ketchikan, Alaska

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The Borough Assembly on Monday night, Oct 15th considered a motion to begin foreclosure on RKG immediately. The Assembly voted 5-1 Monday evening to postpone the vote until November 5, 2007...
11/05/07 Agenda & Information Packets

Web Opinion Poll

Web polls are not scientific polls.


Should the Borough foreclose as quickly as possible on RKG/Jerry Jenkins if he does not pay the $9 million and back interest owed by November 4, 2007 as promised or should the Borough agree to give Renaissance Ketchikan Group/Jerry Jenkins more time, such as the January 4, 2008 target date recommended by the Borough attorney and Finance director?

Click here to VOTE

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