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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 30, 2008

Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER

'Make a Joyful Noise'
Double Crested Cormorant
Front Page Photo By CINDY BALZER



Fish Factor: Pacific coast salmon harvest decreased in 2008 By LAINE WELCH - 'Reduced supply' summed up all of the Pacific coast salmon fisheries this year, and Alaska was no exception. Despite the lower catch, wild salmon is still holding its own in world markets.

Alaska's statewide harvest of 146 million salmon was a decrease of 31.4% from the previous year ­ still, it was the 16th largest catch since statehood in 1959. And although the value of the catch was down, it topped $400 million at the docks for the second consecutive year.

Market expert Ken Talley of Seafood Trend said the preliminary value of $409 million decreased less than 2% from Alaska's 2007 salmon fishery, and increased more than 18% from 2006. All species except sockeye (reds) fetched higher prices for Alaska fishermen.

Although statewide landings of sockeye fell 18% this year, the average base price failed to gain overall, dropping 2.5% to $.78/lb. At Bristol Bay, home to the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, landings dropped 6.7% and prices increased only a penny over last year. Sockeye salmon continue to make inroads into the U.S. market, Talley said, especially during the summer "when fresh fish make a splash at retail."

Chinook (king) salmon were hard to find this year, coming in at just 351,000 fish, down nearly 40% from last year. The scarce kings boosted prices with Copper River fish averaging $5.87/lb, followed by troll caught fish from Southeast at $5.33/lb.

Coho (silver) salmon continued their gains in price and popularity. Alaska landings of 4.4 million were a gain of 22%, and dock prices jumped 26% from last year. Troll caught cohos led the way at $1.57/lb on average.

The chum salmon harvest, which topped 18 million fish, continued to show the biggest gains, with dock prices shooting up by 56%. Pinks saw landings of 84 million, a drop of nearly 42%, while the average pink price rose 52.6%. Alaska fishermen averaged 29-cents a pound for their pink salmon, up a dime.

The $409 million paid to fishermen represents only about 40% of the overall value of Alaska's 2008 salmon fishery, said industry analyst Chris McDowell.

""It's the first wholesale prices that capture all the rest of that value ­ payment to harvesters, processing activity in Alaska, payment to processors, use of goods and services from vendors like welders and truck drivers and shipping," he said.

"For example, the value of the 2007 salmon catch was $416 million ­ add in first wholesale and it pushes the industry closer to $900 million."

The state Dept. of Revenue publishes that information in its Alaska Salmon Price Report, which includes yearly sales volumes and values for six major products - canned salmon, frozen and fresh headed/gutted fish, frozen and fresh fillets, and salmon roe. The ASPR is available in the spring. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

Alaska: 'Palin mania' continues, with fans and foes gearing up By KYLE HOPKINS - A California-based conservative group that hammered Barack Obama during the presidential election launched a string of commercials this week praising Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska.

Designed to counter what the group calls attacks on Palin -- a potential presidential candidate in 2012 -- by "media elites," the ads began airing in Alaska on Tuesday.

But Palin's critics have been just as busy.

A group spearheaded by local left-leaning bloggers says the governor still has to answer for the findings of an abuse-of-power investigation finished during the campaign, and are pressing lawmakers to take action next session.

The group, Alaskans for Truth, says the state legislature ought to censure Palin for breaking ethics rules and hold hearings on whether the governor and her husband told investigators the truth.

At the same time, Palin supporters are airing commercials paid for by a political action committee called the Our Country Deserves Better Committee, which originally formed in July to defeat Obama's presidential bid.

On its web site, the political action committee writes about stopping illegal immigration and liberal judges, and says the country needs a president who embraces a "culture of life."

The plan was to disband after the election, said chief strategist Sal Russo, but supporters voted in an online poll to keep going.

The committee is spending $50,000 on the ads in Alaska and plans to air spots on national cable and network TV too, Russo said.

"We thought a good thing to start with was your governor was being maligned by too many media elites and political pundits," Russo said. "We're saying we want her to continue to be a leader of the Republican Party, that we need her," he said.

The ads hit local television on Tuesday and will appear across Alaska during prime time Wednesday and Thursday -- in time for Thanksgiving. Palin, whose stance on social issues such as abortion lean hard to the right, has left the door open to a potential presidential bid in four years.

The Our Country Deserves Better Committee made headlines during the campaign for airing footage of Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and holding a multi-state "Stop Obama" bus tour.

The group's chairman is Howard Kaloogian, a Republican who served in the California State Assembly from 1994 to 2000. Together with Russo, he worked on the successful 2003 effort to recall Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis.

Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said Palin wasn't aware of the ads until reporters called about the commercials last week. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008


Columns - Commentary

DALE MCFEATTERS: The United States about to collapse? A Russian prof speaks - A gentleman described as "a leading Russian political analyst" -- and how acute do you have to be to analyze rigged elections? -- says the United States is in the throes of a collapse that will result in us fragmenting into six separate nations.

Professor Igor Panarin is said to have made these predictions in an interview with Izvestia, and it has to be true because it's all over the Internet and featured on the Drudge Report. There's even a photo of him on the Russia House Web site, a stolid-looking guy with a burr haircut. What more proof do you need?

He is said to be a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- not an institution that I'm readily familiar with, but we might have sent off an application on behalf of one of our kids as a fallback school.

Assuming Panarin is for real -- and he apparently has been predicting our imminent implosion for 10 years -- it is only fair to warn him that he is treading into dangerous literary territory.

There is a large body of literature on the collapse of the United States, predicated on several doomsday scenarios -- we are swamped by immigration and become North Mexico; we are swamped by the Chinese economy and become a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing; Al Gore was right and we make the whole country uninhabitable through environmental carelessness; we are enslaved by space aliens.

But wrecking the United States is the province of (ital) American (end ital) authors, and they're not going to look kindly on some Russian interloper.

Panarin says that the dollar will soon be worthless and that as a precaution the United States, Canada and Mexico reached a secret agreement in 2006 -- an achievement that President Bush somehow neglected to mention -- to scrap their currencies and replace it with something called the Amero. You know that's not true just because the name is so stupid.

Here's the relevant part of his theory:

"He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts -- the Pacific Coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic Coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong."

That's so ignorant it's breathtaking. - More...
Sunday - November 26, 2008



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Basic Rules

letterGHOST TOWN KETCHIKAN By David G. Hanger - A brief aside to Robert Thompson; the price of gasoline in Southeast is still $3.70 or better, and the price is still dropping everyday down here. I am quite aware of the actions of the state government respective gas price gouging; I read their report, and my response to that is it is so much blather and whitewash. The price of gasoline is still way too high. Nor do I expect the state government to do anything about this problem at all until some time possibly in March or April during the time the legislature is in session, at which point I expect them to bandy platitudes while doing absolutely nothing about this very serious problem. If you possessed the tax returns of your local gas jockeys, you would have some idea how much they are ripping us off; they are getting rich at the expense of the well-being of the overall economy. A century or so ago they hanged people for stuff like that. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter Library, pool, fire station...??? By Charles Edwardson - I read Rodney Dial's assessments on the taxes we pay and I learn more from his articles (assuming that they are accurate) than I do from listening to the Borough Assembly or the Ketchikan City Council.when they discuss their dreams on how to stabilize our economy in Ketchikan. (How a new library will assist in doing that I have yet to make the connection. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letterJust Say No to Higher Taxes By Dustin Hofeling - Now is not the time to be building a larger library and pool. Real wages are decreasing as the cost of living is increasing. A simple understanding of economics teaches that you don't spend more money when less is coming in. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter Gas Price Questions By Phil McElroy - In my teens, I worked for a gas station in Idaho when the price of gas was 35 cents per gallon. I moved to Ketchikan (1969) and got a job at City Center gas station and was taken back by the increase in price, roughly 30 cents more per gallon. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter RE: Gas Price Gouging By Zak Young - Are we still stuck on the fact that Palin is the whipping girl?? Are we still bringing her up as the cause of everything negative that we do not agree with??  For You.. .Ms. Lester, it seems so!! - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter Respose to "Almost Famous" By Marshall H. Massengale - Ketchikan watching via Internet has become for me something of an engaging hobby over the last more than a year and a half as the direct offshoot of having gotten to know, online at least, some truly wonderful people who happen to live there and who own and operate one of the borough's well-known float plane services. Of course, aside from exchanging e-mail regularly with my friends, I enthusiastically count Dave Kiffer's column in SitNews, together with the rest of the online journal's content including the various commercial Website links advertised along its margins, amongst my favorite windows into the K-Town world. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter At what point do we hold the line on new taxes? By Rodney Dial - In three locations in my previous letter 12 was listed when it should have read 1/2 % (one-half percent) this is due to a formatting error when my MS Word document is converted into a SitNews letter. The proposed tax increase to build the new pool will take the sales tax rate to 6.25 to 6.50 %. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter It was never about the 'facts By Robert Thompson - Well Mr. Hanger is expressing his opinions again without regard to information or facts. In a Sitnews' letter he says: - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letterGas Price Gouging By Jerilyn Lester - This is the first time in my 25 year history in Southern Southeast that I have been ashamed. The people that own the gas storage and the stations are keeping the price up so that we go broke just trying to get to work two jobs just to pay for the gas to do so and the oil to heat our homes. The price of oil has gone down to between $40 and $50 a barrel and we are still paying $3.75 a gallon for gas and more than that to heat the house. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter New Library = New Taxes By Dan McQueen - With the falling oil prices it's going to be pretty tough for Ketchikan to get the money from the State. A recession seems to be unavoidable at this time. Now is not the time to try and get the taxpayers of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough to accept any new taxes! - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter The future of Ketchikan By Rodney Dial - The country is going through the worst economic disaster since the great depression, with most thinking that it will get worse before it gets better. During times like these consumer spending on non essential items all but stops. This presents the real likelihood that Ketchikan will take a severe economic hit next tourist season. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Hoonah Community Forest Project By Chris Erickson - On October 1, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game implemented the first early closure of the doe hunting season in the history of Northeast Chichagof Island. It was an unsettling announcement for those of us living in Hoonah and Tenakee, two communities which rely heavily upon subsistence hunting. More unsettling is the drop in the deer population which prompted the early closure. To those of us who make our living as hunting and fishing guides operating on the northeastern tip of Chichagof Island, this drop is all too apparent. During trips in the field, deer sightings during peak activity times of early morning and late evening, once numbering a dozen or more, are so rare as to be worthy of mention. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Ketchikan Fire Stoppers By Jim Hill - The Ketchikan, North Tongass, and South Tongass Fire Departments; with assistance from the State of Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety, presented the Juvenile Fire-setter Intervention Specialist-I class November 17th and 18th at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letterGas Prices By David Hanger - Gas prices continue to fall, $1.69 a gallon now, everywhere but Southeast. The gougers are despicable; more despicable are the gutless politicians who lack both the fortitude and the concern to do anything about it. Another example of Sarah Palin's "reform" standards? - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Vocational Education Important By Amy L. Schroeder - Thank you to Charles Edwardson for broaching the voc-ed situation at K-High. I am a subscriber to the "every job is important and it takes a special person to do it" theory. I find that not only in Ketchikan, but all around is still the myth that if a child entertains higher academic schooling that his/her life will be rewarded somehow more richly. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Library cost clarification By Heidi Ekstrand - I was thrilled to see Ms. Jones' letter here with her thoughts, ideas and concerns on funding issues for local construction projects. The more people creatively involved in our community issues the better the outcomes will be. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Thank You Senator Stevens By Dan McQueen - Senator Stevens, thanks for all you have done for our Great State! I am proud to know ya! - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

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