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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 16, 2009

Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES

Tongass Narrows
Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES


Alaska: Federal Pipeline Coordinator Replaced - The Obama administration on Monday announced it was replacing Drue Pearce as Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects. Pearce was appointed to the position by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2006. Vice Admiral Thomas Barrett, USCG (Ret.), the deputy federal coordinator, will be interim coordinator until a permanent replacement is named.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today thanked Pearce for her service to Alaska and the nation in working to make a North Slope natural gas pipeline project a reality.

"Drue has long been a strong advocate for the gas pipeline and her commitment will be difficult to match," Murkowski said. "I regret the loss of Drue's experience and knowledge on this project, but I understand that it's the president's prerogative to appoint the person of his choosing."

Pearce has a long record of service to Alaska, both as a state legislator and former state Senate President, and later as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Alaska Affairs at the Department of the Interior. Murkowski has known Pearce since they served together in the Alaska State Legislature beginning in 1998.

Construction of a pipeline capable of delivering North Slope natural gas to markets in the Lower 48 has long been one of Alaska's top economic development goals. The project holds the promise of providing a long-term supply of affordable and clean natural gas to meet the nation's growing energy needs.

"The Alaska natural gas pipeline project is important to the economic and energy security of the nation," Murkowski said. "I've discussed this issue with the White House and I'm encouraged by the president's level of interest in seeing this project succeed."

Murkowski was pleased that Vice Admiral Thomas Barrett, USCG (Ret.) will be interim coordinator until a permanent replacement is named and noted she has the highest regard for Barrett's abilities.

U. S. Senator Mark Begich said in a prepared statement, "I commend and thank Drue for her many years of public service, both in the Alaska Legislature and as the first pipeline coordinator, and wish her the best in her next pursuits."

Begich said, "As a candidate and now as president, President Obama has always believed the Alaska natural gas pipeline is vital to meeting America's energy needs while ensuring our national energy security. The federal pipeline coordinator is designed to be an essential tool to kick-starting the project and moving its approval quickly through the federal regulatory process. "I commend President Obama for bringing new energy to this office and for his commitment to building an Alaska natural gas pipeline which will deliver affordable, clean-burning energy to America's homes and industries. I will continue to work with him on the selection of a new pipeline coordinator." - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

Alaska: Public Input Sought on Energy Program - Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage), chair of the Senate Special Committee on Energy and co-chair of the Senate Resources Committee, and Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), co-chair of the Senate Resources Committee, are calling on Alaskans to submit comments on their Draft State Energy Policy and Program Recommendations.

"We've put together draft recommendations that we think will go a long way in addressing some of Alaska's biggest energy challenges," said Senator McGuire. "Now we are turning to the public to help us transform this draft into action."

"Since the end of the legislative session in April, we have visited many parts of the state to learn first-hand about the severity of the energy challenges they face, and to get ideas and suggestions for short- and long-term solutions," said Senator Wielechowski. "Before we go back to Juneau for the next session in January, we want to hear from as many Alaskans as possible." - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

Alaska: ENERGY COSTS HURTING SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES - As school districts and local governments across the state are facing budget shortfalls, a report released today by Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) shows that Alaska's high energy costs are making these problems worse. Petersen serves on the House Energy Committee which is working to create a statewide energy policy and on Tuesday will be taking testimony from mayors from across the state about their communities energy needs.

"High fuel prices have caused communities and school districts to consider painful cuts to services," said Petersen. "I look forward to hearing from the mayors about the individual energy needs of their communities."

Mayors from all four corners of the state will tell the House Special Committee on Energy what their communities are looking for in a statewide energy plan on Tuesday, November 17th at the Anchorage LIO at 3:00 p.m. The hearing is part of the 2009 Alaska Municipal League Conference scheduled for next week in downtown Anchorage. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

Alaska: Annual Medicare drug plan enrollment window opened Nov.15 - The yearly window to review and join new Medicare prescription drug plans started yesterday. The annual open enrollment period runs from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.

Alaskans who have a plan through Medicare's prescription insurance program, known as Part D, can change to a new plan for 2010. People who have not enrolled can join.

Seniors who are happy with their current Medicare prescription plans should still review the new options introduced each year. A new plan may be more cost effective, or the shopper's medication needs may have changed, and be better met by a different plan.

Medicare recipients are charged permanent late-enrollment fees if they do not sign up the first time they are eligible. The exception is if they already have coverage ­ under Medicaid or a health care insurance plan such as the military's TriCare or most employer-provided plans. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009


Fish Factor: Employment in Alaska's Seafood Industry By LAINE WELCH - What is the average age of Alaska deck hands and where do they all live?

Find the answers in this month's issue of Alaska Economic Trends by the state Dept. of Labor, which highlights "Employment in Alaska's Seafood Industry."

Here's a sampler: Fish harvesting jobs in Alaska have shown two distinct trends over the past nine years. From 2000 to 2002, employment numbers fell dramatically; then through 2008, fishing jobs stabilized and recovered a bit. Over the entire period, harvesting employment lost 1,436 jobs, a 16.5 percent decrease.

When fish harvesters are combined with processing workers, 52,000 people were directly employed in the seafood industry in 2008. A breakdown by age groups shows that 47% of Alaska deckhands were 29 or younger. Permit holders were much older than their crew, with an average age of 46. Processing workers had an average age of 39.

Forty six percent of Alaska's crew members lived outside the state in 2008. Of the 54 percent who lived in Alaska, 82 percent lived in a coastal region, and 18 percent lived in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Southeast was home to just over 14% of Alaska's deckhands, 10.2% lived in Southcentral, 5.9% in Western Alaska, 5.4% in Bristol Bay, 4.9% in Kodiak, and 3.1% lived in the Aleutians/Pribilof region..

For permit holders, 21.1% resided in Southeast, 13.5% in Western Alaska, 13.1% in Southcentral, 8.1% in Anchorage, 6.9% in Bristol Bay, 4.6% in Kodiak, 2% lived in Aleutians/Pribilof region.

Twenty seven percent of Alaska permit holders were nonresidents, and 74% of seafood processing workers lived outside the state.

Alaska has been the nation's top fishing state since 1975. More than 55 percent of total U.S. seafood landings come from Alaska, and 39 percent of the total value. "That's pretty impressive for a state whose population amounts to only two-tenths of one percent of the nation's total," the report concluded. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: Char and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Uno - What we had was a failure to communicate.

The woman behind the counter was only trying to be helpful. Even though I had just spent about two minutes fumbling in my pocket for exact change in Euros and "la gente" behind me in line were not amused.

The woman looked at me and asked me a question in Basque. I recognized the language but not the words. My blank expression showed her that I was clueless.

So she asked a question in Spanish. I understood enough to realize that she was asking me if wanted something, but I had no idea what.

Blank expression number two!

Then she asked me what was obviously the same question in French.

Blank expression number three!

The natives in line behind me were getting restless.

Finally, she turned and pointed to something behind her on the counter.

"Bago?" she asked.

"Bai, Si, Oui!" I quickly replied back and she smiled.

Fortunately, she didn't then ask "paper or plastic?"

The people behind me muttered "estupido norte Americano" under their breath. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009


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Basic Rules

Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696.

letterLandless By Vernon M. Grant - Each time I read the Sealaska Corporation website ,I always hold my breath in thinking maybe, just maybe this time they will have something written about this issue, but each time I've read anything it was about some other facts, about a bill other then the landless issues.When will this issue be important enough for this corporation to take notice of its importance and set forth an honest effort to bring this to a resolve, before it is too late? In all these land bills I read about, NO where is there any mention of the landless bill mentioned, or of the communities thereof.What will it take to make Sealaska Corporation take charge and spearhead a honest-to-goodness effort to pursue and resolve this long awaited landless issue that many of our people have been weeping and begging for? This to be noticed, only for it to be forgotten and swept under the rug once more. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

letterThe Problem With Socialism By Connie Emmert - If you have been watching the news about the TEA parties, you have probably seen the sign that says, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." We're beginning to realize the truth to this phrase as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security careen into bankruptcy. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

letterFighting and name calling By Chris Barry - I appreciate the comments, regardless of how wrong they are. If you consider a disagreement of ethics and morals to be insulting, petty, and degenerative to the upcoming generations of leaders, and that, to quote you, "No one can change beliefs of another so stop trying." then some enlightenment needs to be sent your way. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

letterCustomer Service By Heather Wills - I remember reading a few different letters sometime in September or thereabouts talking about the lack of customer service. I would like to share my experience. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

letterRe: Plasma Garbage By Alan R. (Rudy) McGillvray - I suggest that Ketchikan would not be the sole enjoyer of this process, we could also take the wastes from all other towns and villages in southeast, and turn it into energy and pay those other towns for so doing, instead of everytown shipping their wastes as we do... to Spokane, WA.? - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

letterName Calling By Mike Harpold - Mr. Barry says President Obama is a communist, and maintains he's not name calling because it's the truth. I disagree. Until he can prove his assertion, Mr. Barry is merely calling names. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009

letterLandless Natives of Ketchikan By James Llanos Jr. - Please attend our next Landless meeting on Sunday, December 6th, from 2PM-4PM at 429 Deermount Avenue. This issue began with the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). This is the bill that passed through Congress that settled aboriginal rights with Alaska Natives. In short, this was a process that set eligibility for the Native Communities of Alaska to be a part of ANCSA. - More...
Friday - November 13, 2009

letterPlasma Garbage By Rob Holston - Whether or not you own Loggerville or have another direct interest in Ward Cove Plasma Gasification of Garbage should be a community discussion. Contrary to claims made by Don West of TransGlobal, LLC the technology is not based upon a patent he holds. Many companies are doing this. I have talked to two, Star-Tech Environmental Corp & EnerSol Technologies, Inc. They both responded similarly when I told them our location and how much garbage our community produces per day. - More...
Friday - November 13, 2009

letter Fight over Liberals & Conservatives By Andy Hansen - In my opinion this petty argument over liberals and conservatives is not showing the best in anyone butting heads on the subject. I think we all need to grow up and stop insulting others' beliefs. I am embarrassed to see such arguments between adults who are what the young community of Ketchikan look to for knowledge, and should look to for peace and reason against others who don't agree with who they are. This is not teaching them Ketchikan, this by far is not. - More...
Friday - November 13, 2009

letter4th of July Parade By Blaine Ashcraft - As Executive Director of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, I would like to respond to Mr. Garcia s letter. It is true that the Chamber is in charge of the 4th of July parade that our community enjoys each year. We have a committee that works tirelessly on this event. As with all volunteer committees, we can never have too many volunteers. We would welcome/appreciate any community member's participation in making this a successful event. We welcome any new ideas to make this the best celebration ever. - More...
Friday - November 13, 2009

letterDemocrats Crushed By Chris Elliott - The only thing shovel ready appears to be the President's rhetoric. - More...
Friday - November 13, 2009

letterName Calling By Chris Barry - You are correct, name calling is childish, but when someone speaks the truth, is it name calling? - More...
Friday - November 13, 2009

letterSecurity Requires Nuclear Deterrent By Donald A. Moskowitz - President Obama naively suggests the world can be free of nuclear weapons if the U.S. and Russia commit to arms reduction. - More...
Friday - November 13, 2009

letterSecond lesson on Liberal vs. Conservative By Al Johnson - Normally I would space my contributions longer, however the reaction to lesson one on the subject is too good to hold back! The first lesson brought another!! - More...
Monday PM - Nvember 09, 2009

letterContinued saga at Ward Cove By Don Borders - I watched the local telecast of the presentation where the development plan to build a Plasma plant at Ward Cove was presented. I have many concerns as to how the Borough might act on the slick mono-view of the "possibility" of the fringe technologies for Ward Cove. It was impressive to the scope which various people were taken by the smooth delivery without really answering any hard questions. The end results are breath taking, however, what about any concern if the thing will just not work due to local environmental conditions such as 80 to 99 percent humidity, lack of actual product to "burn," will they import materials to "feed" the Beast? What if the possibility the whole thing ends back up in the laps of the borough assembly with added additional problematic clean-up of Ward Cove all over again? Will it be additional pages and chapters in the ongoing saga of government mismanagement? - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009

letterName Calling By Robert D. Warner - I too consider myself to be somewhat of an independent conservative, but I do not think that a recent letter in SITNEWS calling President Obama a Marxist and incompentent idiot is especially useful. This type of name calling is both stupid and childish. - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009

letterIrvin Thompson By Margery DeMan Welker - I personally have a huge problem with the cousin in Calif being Irvin Thompson's closest relative . . . they even mention that Irvin was related to the Schlais family, which he was, yet they didn't contact any of the people by that name in Ketchkan, e.g., Evard, Faye, Alex. It might've been nice to bury him near his mother and father, if they had done a little research, as I know Aunt Margie was devestated when he was killed. - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009

letterThinking about the 4th By Jose Garcia - When I sent an email letter to the Ketchikan City Mayor Williams III regarding my ideas about the July 4th celebration, his office referred me to the Chamber of Commerce, annotating that they are in charge of such celebration. I did, but their office is manned with an answering machine. - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009

letterHeating & Ward Cove By Don Borders - I would like to address several recent letters, or opinions to the editor of Sitnews, submissions making their greenest concern or their environmental point of view. - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009

letterRE: Personal losses By F. David J. Jacob - Mr. Borders, I would first like to express my heartfelt sentiments over your losses. I cannot imagine what losing three friends in the space of a month would be like. I hope you are spending plenty of time reflecting on the good times and the lessons you learned from your friends. In memory they will live on! - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009

letterWard Cove Comprehensive Plan By Mary Lynne Dahl - As an observer of what has been happening at Ward Dove this past 12 years, I agree wholeheartedly that before we sell Ward Cove piecemeal, we should develop a comprehensive, long term plan for that property. My 25 years as a financial planner have proven to me that planning produces much better results than shooting from the hip. The PIEER authors have some very good ideas for creating the kind of plan needed before any concrete actions are taken and their suggestions should be taken seriously. - More...
Wednesday - November 04, 2009

letterHeating and power generation By A.M.Johnson - Samuel Bergeron has it right, however I am not so sure that Petersburg and Wrangell, ahead of Ketchikan in this suggested heat form, has already been doing this to a high degree. It may be that the surplus power or the anticipated share of the Tyee power for Ketchikan is reduced up by these two town's recent and ongoing conversion activity to electrical heat. - More...
Wednesday - November 04, 2009

letterDemocrats crushed By Tom Ferry - Obama was like an anchor around Corzines' neck. Now finally it is the beginning of the end of the Marxist Obama administrations complete gutting of America. with crushing defeats in key states the folks seem to finally be coming out of their trance. - More...
Wednesday - November 04, 2009

letterLoggerville By Rob Holston - On November 9, 2009 the KGB Assembly will be discussing Ward Cove, Loggerville and any other proposals that may be presented. - More...
Wednesday - November 04, 2009

letterHaloacetic Acid in the drinking water By Peggy Ayers - I am writing to let Dayle Amundson (and any other persons concerned with Haloacetic Acid in the water exceeding acceptable limits) know that according to the Minnesota Department of Health Haloacetic Acid can be removed from the drinking water using a Carbon Activated Filter. They can be installed as a whole house system or an under the sink system for use in drinking and cooking water. I do not know where these units can be purchased but I'm sure they can be found. - More...
Wednesday - November 04, 2009

letterElectric Heat By Samuel Bergeron - With the Swan-Tyee electrical intertie coming on line, it would be in all of our best interest as rate payers and owners of KPU and the Intertie, that we use it to its fullest extent. - More...
Monday PM - November 02, 2009

letterHealth Care is in the Toilet! By Marie-Jeanne Cadle - I am still trying to get over the absurd implication by Mr. Peter Jensen a few months ago that un/underinsured people will somehow dirty his private toilet as he refers to his current health care. Mr. Jensen is also worried that access to health care by these apparently dirty individuals like myself, will somehow limit his access. I can assure Mr. Jensen that people such as myself; un/underinsured, will never have the opportunity to soil his precious private health care because 1) Mr. Jensen is Native American and has health care provided at tax payer expense that will never be available to the un/underinsured non-natives and 2) Mr. Jensen is military and has health care proved at tax payer expense that will never be available to un/underinsured non-military. - More...
Monday PM - November 02, 2009

letterWard Cove by Rob Holston - I appreciate the information provided by the Ward Cove PIEER Group. Your idea of "..designting sections for appropriate uses." is in agreement with the Ward Cove Focus Group meeting Oct. 13, that called for the KGB to subdivide and offer for sale in a way compatible with community needs & economic development. I will be presenting the Loggerville Small Boat Harbor Business Plan at the next PLEADAC meeting the evening of Nov. 4, 2009. Anyone wanting to view plan details prior to the meeting, please email me. Plan Summary to follow: - More...
Monday PM - November 02, 2009

letterWard Cove By Don Borders - What's next in the on going saga of local government mismanagement? It's been eleven years ago that the Ward Cove Pulp Plant shut down and then average incomes for the area dropped extremely low. It's only been from outside help from the federal legislators and departments like Homeland Security that have influxed the local incomes to regenerate the revenue which fuels the two local governments through the taxation of the populous. (Walmart helped also, however it's the next to the smallest store they have.) Boys and Girls, it is time to quit playing games and get the property back on to the tax roles. - More...
Monday PM - November 02, 2009

letterRe: Congressional leadership By Jim Dornblaser - Mr. Stallings' letter is rather harsh in inferring Congress' lacking of leadership. He seems to prefer "Oligarchy" rule in handing policy/law making over to an un-elected body. - More...
Monday PM - November 02, 2009

letterPersonal losses By Don Borders - I wish I had kept a list of all the Ketchikan Pulp Mill employees. In the past few months I knew three of the ex- pulp mills' employees who have died. The last one was Mike Diverty (see Coast Guard suspends search for Sitka Fisherman Monday, Oct. 26, 2009 ) Mike lost his home, his dignity and his family in losing his job due to the actions of the "Tree Huggers" forcing the closure of the Pulp Mill. - More...
Monday PM - November 02, 2009

letterMike Smith's Photos By Peter Bolling - There is little I have enjoyed more in the past month or so than logging on to SitNews and finding a new photo by Mike Smith. Poetic. Thanks Mike. - More...
Monday PM - November 02, 2009

letterHaloacetic acid By Dayle Amundson - I also worry about what haloacetic acid does to humans. I just read Peggy Ayers letter. It is interesting that the KGB mails Mt. Point consumers of the water papers saying it has too much haloacetic acid in the water (over federal guidelines). I now BUY my drinking water. - More...
Monday - November 02, 2009

letterTolerance, Good Grief By Charles Schilli - Ms Abajian, have you attended college? Those who believe they know best for every one are, in my experience, far more likely to be young and overly sure of themselves, and "Liberals". (They are not actually liberals, but totalitarians.) - More...
Monday - November 02, 2009

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