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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 13, 2007

Front Page Photo by Rhonda Bolling

Great Blue Heron
Front Page Photo by Rhonda Bolling

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U.S. News
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Alaska: Coast Guardsman Recognized For Heroics in Harrowing Bering Sea Rescue By KURT FREDRICKSON - The Bering Sea is perhaps one of the most unforgiving, harsh and dangerous places in the world and although the risk is high, many mariners depend on it for their livelihood. But in the dark winter months, when things can quickly go from bad to worse, they rely on the Coast Guard to be there. For one Coast Guardsman, his lifesaving actions in the midst of a brutal winter storm, earned him a prestigious award and public recognition for heroic achievement. The award recounts his actions as an individual, but the rescue, like so many others, displays the elements inherent in all Coast Guardsmen willing to put their lives on the line so others may live, exposes the teamwork necessary to accomplish the mission and reveals the often unseen and true reward of saving lives at sea.

Coast Guardsman Recognized For Heroics

Petty Officer 1st Class Wil Milam, an aviation survival technician at Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, received the Coast Guard Foundation Award for Heroism during a dinner in New York City in October.
Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Fredrickson

On Feb. 9, 2007 the 378-foot Coast Guard Cutter Mellon was moored in Dutch Harbor, Alaska on its Bering Sea mid patrol break. Petty Officer 1st Class Wil Milam, two pilots and a flight mechanic were deployed from Air Station Kodiak to man an HH-65B Dolphin helicopter stationed aboard the cutter for its several week patrol of the Bering. As an aviation survival technician, better known as a rescue swimmer, Milam was a key part of a four person rescue team deployed seemingly to the ends of the earth.

At 11:22 p.m., Coast Guard Rescue Coordination center Juneau received an unlocated first alert signal from a 406 emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to the 42-foot fishing vessel Illusion. The Coast Guard attempted to plot the vessels possible location by contacting family members of the crew and the harbor master in Dutch Harbor. Reports indicated that the Illusion was most likely fishing somewhere in Makushin Bay near Unalaska Island. At 12:01 a.m., the location was verified by the receipt of a second emergency signal.

With nothing more than a point on a map, the small red helicopter took off into the darkness. With turbulent winds of 40 to 50 mph and gusts in excess of 60, low clouds, horizontal rain and visibility of one-quarter of a mile, the danger for Milam and his crewmembers had already begun. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 13, 2007

Metlakatla: Metlakatla Volunteer Fire Department Receives $83,833 Firefighter Assistance Grant From FEMA - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $83,833 in an Assistance-to-Firefighters Grant (AFG) to the Metlakatla Volunteer Fire Department in Southeast Alaska.

Nationally, the fiscal year (FY) 2007 AFG awards, which will be distributed in phases, will ultimately provide over $490 million to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations throughout the country.

"The recent wildfires in California have shown the passionate dedication that comes from America's firefighters," said U.S. Fire Administrator Greg Cade. "FEMA is proud to be associated with the efforts of providing support to America's first responders in helping them save lives and property." - More...
Tuesday AM - November 13, 2007

Science - Technology: Brilliant comet stuns observers By DAVID PERLMAN - A weird glow is visible in the night sky right now, and astronomers don't know what to make of it.

It's an obscure and very faint comet that suddenly blazed into astonishing brilliance and is growing larger but dimmer -- and while it's still clearly visible all night long, astronomers are puzzling over the unexpected outburst.

"It's really bizarre," said Joseph Miller, a University of California Santa Cruz astronomer and former director of the Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton near San Jose. "That thing started out only a few miles in diameter, and suddenly it expanded at a thousand miles an hour until it was as big as the Earth within only a couple of days."

With a decent pair of binoculars -- or even with unaided eyes -- anyone can see the comet right now as a tiny, fuzzy, white object in the northern sky -- wherever fog doesn't obscure the sight. It lies just inside the constellation Perseus, below the more familiar constellation Cassiopeia and due east of Polaris, the North Star.

It's called Comet 17P/Holmes and was discovered in 1892 by the British astronomer Edwin Holmes, who spotted it as it appeared to explode in what Holmes thought was an outburst of gas. It faded, then exploded once more and finally appeared to die into permanent dimness.

Ever since then, Comet Holmes has been laying low -- so faint that no one paid any attention to it while larger, far brighter comets like Halley, Hyakutake, Kohoutek and Hale-Bopp put on their shows in recent years to the delight of stargazers everywhere. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 13, 2007


Arts & Entertainment  

Ketchikan: "Ghost Sea" by Ferenc Mate A Book Review by MARY GUSS - You can't miss with this book -- it has a compelling mixture of mystery, Native culture and sailing adventure going for it, with romance and characters thrown in. The Native culture that figures prominently in the story is the Kwakiutl Nation of Canada. When I put down "Ghost Sea" I headed immediatly to Wickipedia, histories and mythologies of the Kwakiutl and anthologies of Native culture to see if what I had just finished reading could really be true. It was. Fact is every bit as wonderful as fiction here. I learned about the Kwakiutls' rich and fascinating culture and mythology (though at the time the story takes place it is in conflict with the government busily trying to put a stop to the expressions of that culture -- particularly the potlatches). For that eye-opening education alone the book is well worth the reading.

But there is much more. The main character identifies himself on business cards as ""Captain S.V. Dugger.The ketch Terrence Jordan. Denman Street Docks. Coastal transport. Anything. Anywhere" -- sort of a latter-day Palladin. He sails out of Vancouver, BC, and the time is the early 1920's. Things are still rather wild on the British Columbia coast and, being on a small sailing vessel, Dugger and his steady companion Nello are very close to that wildness. Dugger is a person with a past; one who relates far better to those on the margins of society or entirely beyond it -- and aren't those are the most interesting characters to read about anyway? - More...
Tuesday AM - November 13, 2007

Ketchikan: Arts This Week - This week in Ketchikan there will be a Save-The-Goose project presentation. An update on the restoration of Ketchikan's own Grumman Goose N88821 will be held on Tuesday, November 13th, 7pm ant the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Photos, Anecdotes, and Future Plans for the Plane will be presented by Don 'Bucky' Dawson. Admission is FREE and all are Welcome.

Family Night at the Library. The AEYC (Association for the Education of Young Children) and the public library presents Family Night beginning at 5:30pm on Thursday, November 15th. Come to the library for food, fun, and free books. Space is limited so free tickets must be picked up in advance at the library. The theme for this month is Fire Safety with a guest speaker from the fire department. Call 225-0370 for more information.

"Photographing Wildflowers of Alaska, the Yukon, and British Columbia." Local Photographer MJ Cadle is WILD about flowers! Mary Jane will feature a slideshow of flowers she photographed in Southeast Alaska and surrounding northern areas on Friday, November 16th at 7:00pm at the Discovery Center. She will discuss equipment and techniques for capturing close up photos in adverse conditions. She will be on hand to sign her new 2008 calendar. For more information, call 228-6220.

correctionThe Monthly Grind. On Saturday, November 17th, come to Saxman Tribal House at 7pm for entertainment and dessert. Tickets are $5 for Adults, and $1 for Children, if you bring a dessert, get a full refund at the door. This month's grind is hosted by Anakin, Obi Wan, and Padme, and features other fabulous local talent. May the Force be with you! - More...
Tuesday AM - November 13, 2007



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Basic Rules

letter Year round business in Ketchikan By Marie-Jeanne Cadle - I just returned from a pleasant weekend in Sitka. One of the most enjoyable things about my trip was the many stores and galleries open and catering to locals even in the winter. Sitka's year round population is about 4000 people less then Ketchikan yet it manages to maintain a vibrant downtown core with a much larger variety of stores catering to the local population than we have here in Ketchikan. Yet we have more people. - More...
Monday AM - November 12, 2007

letterSetting the Record Straight By Meredith M. Kenny - Alaskan Congressman Don Young has proudly served his constituents in the great state of Alaska for the last 35 years. As Alaskans had honored him with seniority in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 2001 to 2007 he was given the privilege of serving the American people as the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In doing so, he became responsible for taking the lead in penning the comprehensive Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act ­ A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). - More...
Monday AM - November 12, 2007

letter Stop the blame game By Michelle Fry - This is in response to "If you really want to save the bears" by Denise Jausoro. While I do understand and sympathize with your situation I have to side with the bear on this one. - More...
Monday AM - November 12, 2007

letter Airport By Rebecca L. Simpson - Recently family members/friends had to spend the night here in Ketchikan because of mechanical problems with Alaska Airlines. - More...
Monday AM - November 12, 2007

letterNever Give Up By Ryan Arata - I was diagnosed with ALS at the Duke University in Durham, NC about November 2005. My progression seems to be slower than some others. - More...
Monday AM - November 12, 2007

letter Almost done kickin' tires on a new oil tax By Sen. Kim Elton - Here we are, approaching the end of this special session, almost ready to drive a late model '07 off the lot after trading in our low-value '06 PPT Cruiser. - More...
Monday AM - November 12, 2007

letter Blessings of freedom and liberty are not free By Senator Ted Stevens - Veterans Day is a reminder that the blessings of freedom and liberty are not free but are paid for by the sacrifice and dedication of the courageous men and women in uniform who defend our nation. - More...
Sunday PM - November 11, 2007

letterRemember those who bravely serve By Congressman Don Young - This weekend, as we spend time with our family and friends let us remember those that have so bravely risked their lives, so that we may have the freedoms that we enjoy daily. Alaska is home to the highest amount of veterans, per capita, in this country, and I am very proud to humbly represent every one of them. Alaska is a state like no other that supports and respects its troops like no other. With five major military installations, we are home to countless military members and their families. - More...
Sunday PM - November 11, 2007

letter Remember the Sacrifices of Our Veterans and Their Families By Edward Brown - My family has many veterans. And we can thank all veterans today for their sacrifices. Our families' freedoms and our country's laws are supported by their efforts at home and abroad. - More...
Sunday PM - November 11, 2007

letter Invasive plant species By Victoria McDonald - Over the past few years in Ketchikan, I have noticed the explosive growth of a very beautiful plant ­ Japanese knotweed. I first encountered Japanese Knotweed when I walked around Lake Washington with a Seattle friend. She stated the plant had taken over the shores of the lake and was nearly impossible to get rid of. I thought this plant had not come north, but then I saw huge mounds of it on the side of the road in Ketchikan, north and south. Each summer the plant expands its range, pushing native plants, even salmonberries, out of the way. - More...
Friday AM - November 9, 2007

letterRealities locals have to face By Charles Edwardson - The jewelry stores are closed. The streets are clear (empty would be more accurate) and Ketchikan residents are few and far between (and it is not just because tour season is over). Locals do not frequent the downtown area for the most part. As I've worked on projects in downtown Ketchikan over the past decade this is a reality I have noticed. - More...
Friday AM - November 9, 2007

letterBoat Sinking at Ward Cove By Tony Alenskis - According to a recent news paper photo, the boat that sank in Ward Cove was seen listing to one side before it went to the bottom. I was wondering why the Harbor Master or Coast Guard did not put a pump onboard before it became an environmental issue. - More...
Friday AM - November 9, 2007

letter Thanks for finding my laptop By Kevin Gadsey - Some days I still question my move to Ketchikan - when I miss going to Wal-mart at 2 AM or having a good coffeehouse that stays open to midnight. I've never lived in a town this small before. Then there are days when I really enjoy the family-like atmosphere in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday AM - November 08, 2007

letter Bus Stop Benches at the Library By Ronald L. Arnce - I have two young step-daughters that catch the school bus in front of the library. Taking them there every morning and meeting them in the afternoon, I observed that often the shelter area was filled with people just loitering causing the school children to have to stand outside. I have also observed drinking and loud arguments between people using the shelter. - More...
Thursday AM - November 08, 2007

letterBears By Tom Carlin - I'm no fern fondler or anything but since I'm currently not in Ketchikan I read Sitnews to keep up with what's going on, and by the looks of it, it's BEARS. I live out north and we have our fair share of bears but we know that when the bears start coming out to bring our garbage cans in the garage and make sure not to leave anything outside that they would love to get their paws on. And we have no problems anymore. - More...
Thursday AM - November 08, 2007

letter Bears and Gators By Carolyn Simmons - We who live in Florida feel the same way about gators as you feel about the bears. Our nemesis is the many gators who live in the wild but are being forced out of their native land by developing encroachment of civilization. - More...
Thursday AM - November 08, 2007

letterNot the bears "fault" By Phil Round - Lock your doors. It's not the bears "fault." - More...
Thursday AM - November 08, 2007

letter Courtesy By Lisa Noland - I would agree with Scott Davis that being treated in on off-handed, careless manner when dealing with different businesses and/or organizations in Ketchikan is disappointing. - More...
Thursday AM - November 08, 2007

letterGlobal warming? By Barbara Seybold - I live in Big Lake, Alaska and there were more moose in our neck of the woods than I have seen since 1989. Last winter I would not drive at night because of the abundance of moose so go figure. What's up? - More...
Thursday AM - November 08, 2007

letter State Supreme Court's Decision By Taylor McDonald - In regards to Ms. Tillson's letter... what about the young girls who do not have caring, understandings parents? What if they have to deal with abuse or alcoholism? - More...
Wednesday - November 07, 2007

letterIf you really want to save the bears.... By Denise Jausoro - The bears were cute when they were little. I even felt sorry for "BooBoo" after his mother was killed. I don't anymore. Halloween morning I discovered that a bear, probably two, had spent the evening in my 2000 Explorer, feasting on two cases of apples. Not satisfied with just devouring the apples, they destroyed the interior of my vehicle for no apparent reason. They are not cute anymore. - More...
Wednesday - November 07, 2007

letterWar against ALS By Matt MacVane - I read Linda Kreider,s letter about ALS and her dad. It is a sorry story. My son Beau is 31 and was diagnosed with ALS in April of 2007. Beau spent 5 combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, 3 in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan in the elite Army Rangers. He is not doing well. The disease is terrible and just as Linda stated it robs one of the ability to talk and walk. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 06, 2007

letterThe New Drum - Present Day Prophesy By George Miller - A few weeks ago I was writing a vision for this reaching this region with the Good News and was overtaken by another vision. It began with a deep, reverberating drum sound. The sound was coming more from deep time than deep geography, though it seems to shake the mantle of the earth. I began to sense pressure from generations of First -Nations People, who had been in some ways prevented from expressing worship to the Creator, Jesus, in the way HE had designed. There was deep increasing pressure to express worship and the drum grew louder and more intense. A great release is near, a break-out from bondage to dead religion, or mere ceremony. God is building a pent up passion to break out into true freedom in worship. HE will have His way. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 06, 2007

letterKetchikan, Pribilofs, Ward Cove By Ralph E. Pray - I immensely enjoyed reading the snippets about Ketchikan, where Bev and I married (at Totem Park) in the late 50s, where our first son was born, and where we departed for the Colorado School of Mines in 1961. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 06, 2007

letter Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share Plan By Gov. Sarah Palin - "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality." - Max DePree

I rolled out Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) plan, defining reality for legislators and Alaskans: our current oil valuation system, PPT, is of unreliable origin and we have devised a way to fix it. - More....
Monday AM - November 05, 2007

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Ketchikan, Alaska

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