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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 26, 2009

Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Happy Thanksgiving
Diogenes, a turkey living in Ketchikan, is thankful to be a pampered pet.
Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON


Ketchikan: Canoe Accident Led To The Founding of Saxman; Tribes had hoped to locate new village on Annette Island A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - An ill-fated winter canoe trip in Tongass Narrows more than 120 years ago eventually led to the founding of Saxman, and also, indirectly, to the founding of Metlakatla as well.

Saxman, circa 1900
Donor: Arthur Bryant,
Tongass Historical Society
Photograph courtesy Ketchikan Museums

The canoe accident was also, somewhat surprisingly, worthy of a story in the New York Times.

The modern day community of Saxman is the result of the combination of two Native villages. At the time of its founding, 1894, residents of Cape Fox and Tongass villages chose to leave their ancestral homes and move into a newly created village just south of the tiny village of Ketchikan in order to have access to a government school and to missionaries.

Both the Cape Fox and Tongass villages had existed for several centuries in the lower portion of the Alaskan panhandle. But life in those villages began to change when contact was made with the traders and explorers in the 1800s.

Cape Fox village was located about four miles south of Boca de Quadra, approximately 40 miles south of Ketchikan. A US census in 1880 determined that 100 people were living there.

The village of Tongass was located on a small island, adjacent to the eventual United States/Canadian border at Portland Canal. In 1868, the United States stationed a small military garrison at Fort Tongass to act as the customs port for the newly purchased territory. The base was abandoned in 1870 but the customs official stayed on in the community. In 1879, US officials estimated the Tongass village population at 700.

Tribes Asked For School

According the August 8, 1885 edition of the "Alaskan" newspaper in Sitka, Dr. Sheldon Jackson, the federal agent for education in Alaska, had met with representatives of the Tongass and Cape Fox tribes to hear their concerns about the need for a school and their stories of the havoc that alcohol supplied by the traders had done to their traditional way of life.

Tillie Paul translated for the tribal leaders and then wrote minutes of the meeting for the American authorities.

"A long time ago when I was a little boy a ship come into the harbor at Tongass and I ran down to the beach to see it," John Kontich of the Tongass Tribe said. "Its coming made me very happy. As a boy I ran to meet the ship, so now as a man with joy I receive your promise of a school."

Billy Williams agreed. - More...
Thursday AM - November 26, 2009

Southeast Alaska: Native Organizations Oppose Yakutat Mine - The Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp (ANB) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) are seeking to block development of a strip and dredge placer mine by Geohedral LLC near the fishing community of Yakutat, Alaska.

The NCAI, a national organization that fights to protect tribal nations' treaty rights, and ANB, an Alaska Native civil rights organization with Native and non-Native members, have passed resolutions opposing mining in the Yakutat Forelands, a region between the Coastal Mountains and the Gulf of Alaska, where Geohedral LLC has staked over 91 square miles of mining claims. In addition, the people in Yakutat, population 600, have collected over 450 signatures from the region on petitions opposing any mine development in this area.

"The Yakutat Forelands, particularly the Akwe and Dry Bay areas are historical sites where villages and resting grounds of our ancestors are located," states the Alaska Native Brotherhood Resolution. "This land is not only precious due to its historical significance for our clans but it is also important for our community's future generations."

While the resolutions highlight the area's long history of use by Native Alaskans, the petition states that mining in the Yakutat Forelands, located in the Tongass National Forest, threatens existing uses and important salmon rivers.

"The Forelands is critical fish and game habitat that the community depends on. We believe mining would threaten this habitat and therefore negatively impact current, sustainable economic industries. Yakutat's main economic industry has always been subsistence, commercial and sport fishing."

This isn't the first time that the community of Yakutat has fought to keep the Forelands and their salmon streams intact. During the 1980's and early 1990's concerns about the impact of logging and other uses compelled the community have Congress designate the Forelands as a "Land Use Designation II" or "LUD II" through the 1990 Tongass Timber Reform Act. This congressional designation bans logging and associated road developments, but it does not preclude mining.

"We thought we had already protected this area for future generations, but apparently there is a mining loophole in the LUD II." stated Raymond Sensmeier, a fisherman and member of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe Council that has circulated petitions and resolutions opposing the mine. "We are just going to have to fight this battle again, and judging by these resolutions and petitions, people are willing to fight."

Caims covering approximately 49,000 acres of Federal and State lands located near the town of Yakutat in southeastern Alaska were staked in September 2008 by a privately held company Geohedral LLC. The claims encompassed an area of more than 76 square miles and consist of black sand ridges that Geohedral estimated contain probable reserves of 891 million metric tons of Magnetite (iron ore) and 696 million metric tons of Ilmenite (iron titanium oxide ore). The Beard Company (OTCBB: BRCO) at the time owned a 23.16% interest in a privately held company Geohedral LLC. On October 1, 2009, the Beard Company, headquarted in Oklahoma City, announced it had increased its equity interest in Geohedral LLC to 25.68%. - More...
Thursday AM - November 26, 2009


Columns - Commentary

TOM PURCELL: For Thanksgiving - Pass the Civility - It's bound to happen at Thanksgiving tables across America: A progressive liberal Democrat discovers he's sitting next to a conservative Republican.

There's no need for mashed potatoes to fly.

Harry Stein, an author, columnist and contributing editor to the political magazine City Journal, offers advice on how to navigate the situation.

Stein, an erstwhile '60's radical who evolved into a conservative, faced a similar dilemma at a dinner party a few years ago.

When the guest next to him discovered his conservative/libertarian thinking, the fellow said loudly, "I can't believe I'm sitting next to a Republican!"

"It was," says Stein, "as if I was wearing not only a white hood, but a Nazi armband."

So accustomed had Stein become to such broadsides -- common experiences for conservatives living in progressive bastions -- he wrote a humorous book on the subject: "I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican: A Survival Guide for Conservatives Marooned Among the Angry, Smug, and Terminally Self-Righteous."

So what to do when bipolar political philosophies are seated next to each other at the Thanksgiving table?

Make a concerted effort to get beyond "straw man" stereotypes.

"In theory, liberalism is predicated on openness to varied perspectives, but talk to lots of liberals and what you'll hear is that all conservatives are greedy, hardhearted knuckle draggers," says Stein. "To them, 'conservative' is another way of saying 'warmongering,' 'racist,' 'homophobic,' not to mention 'aching to wipe out every last polar bear for the sake of Big Oil.'" - More...
Thursday AM - November 26, 2009

REG HENRY: This turkey has something meaty to say - As one who has often been called a turkey during my journalism career, I feel that I am best placed to say something about Thanksgiving from the turkey's point of view.

By channeling my inner turkey, I offer the following thoughts not only concerning Turkey Day but also Christmas. This is another occasion for concern, thanks to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" wherein a repentant Ebenezer Scrooge sends the Cratchit family a turkey, establishing it as the official holiday bird.

On behalf of the turkey community, not all of us in political office, it is my roosting honor and feathery privilege to be able to gobble up some newspaper space to bring our concerns before you.

You may not have considered it before, but the plight of we the turkeys is a historical tragedy. We were just strutting about in what you called the New World, pretty much minding our own business. To be sure, the native human inhabitants hunted us, but they had a decent respect for the balance of nature, unlike some.

But then the people with the funny hats arrived. Puritans! Darn busybodies! Considering the number of scarlet letters they handed out, we are not so sure they were all that pure, but maybe this is just sour stuffing on our part.

When you think about it, people in funny hats have been a menace throughout the ages, whether spoiling the fun with religious edicts or sending armies into horrendous battles. - More...
Thursday AM - November 26, 2009


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letterThanksgiving Away By Jeff Lund - Ten years and change ago, I made a decision I do not regret.

I left home to pursue a college degree and a career away from the sprawling metropolis that is Klawock, Alaska population 750. - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letter Yes we need a Community Police Officer on site at our schools! By Bobbie McCreary - This is so obvious it is hard to imagine that anyone cannot see the value of a SRO (school resource officer) assigned to Ketchikan High School! Especially when that officer is well disposed to forming a trust relationship with, and really cares about working with, our youth to make our schools safe. - More...
Friday - Novembr 27, 2009

letter Alaska Oyster Cooperative By Eric R Wyatt - On Thursday, November 19th, the Alaska Oyster Cooperative was formed, in Naukati Bay on Prince of Wales Island.  A interim-board of directors approved the Articles of Incorporation.  The six member board consists of oyster and clam farmers, who plan to operate the local shellfish nursery and a new shellfish processing facility in Naukati. - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letter Ward Cove By Carol Cairnes - I just read a Viewpoint on SitNews suggesting that a prison be built at Ward Cove. Because of the contamination on the site it can not be used for human habitation. The area has some serious restrictions on it that are known to anyone who reads the EPA reports. - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letterTea Party Slogans By Monica Gaita - You gotta be kidding with this NONSENSE... right??? - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letterRE: Ward Cove Comprehensive Plan By Marina Keirn - Why not take the approach that the city of Seward took? When they needed to create sustainable income and job opportunities, they floated a bond and built a prison that was then leased to the State of Alaska. A prison with between 300 - 500 beds would create many opportunities for jobs as Correctional Officers, Medical Providers (Mental Health, Dental, Medical, etc.), Administrative staff, Maintenance personnel, and would also create more jobs in the community through increased demand for Food supplies, Office supplies, Mechanical Materials, Clothing vendors, etc. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letter Lesson three regarding Liberal vs Conservative By A. M. Johnson - Recently I read Vince Flynn's latest book "Pursuit of Honor". At one point during a Senate hearing between a Liberal Democrat Female Senator, who supports late term abortion and was berating the central character, undercover CIA agent, Conservative Mitch Rapp, for torturing a Muslim terrorist to gain information. In response the Mitch Rapp character stated the following. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letter"Going Rogue" By Andy Rauwolf - In response to the letter by Susan Round regarding the various definitions of the word rogue and how they may best apply to Sarah Palin: Susan, in reading the dictionary definitions you posted and which one would best apply to Sarah Palin, since the elephant is the symbol of the republican party, and "to separate from the herd" is considered to be a rogue, you need not look further. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letter RE: TEA Party Slogans Cheap and Shallow By Cindi Davis - Mr. Bolling, you have made SOME valid points. Capitalism does have its problems. However, it sounds like you are advocating dumping our grand experiment in liberty in favor of a socialistic nation. Our last 200 years of history would be rendered meaningless and eventually be as forgotten as any utopia. Our founding fathers would roll in their graves. We would lose the personality and identity we have as a nation. Perhaps socialism could be beneficial. Personally, I doubt it would work. However, let's look it straight in the eye and tell the truth: 1) President Obama's stradegies ARE very socialistic. 2) We are being asked as a nation to take part in a socialistic experiment. 3) We are being lied to and led like a bunch of children by a government who claims this isn't happening. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letterHealthcare Reform By Chris Elliott - Last December I woke up after surgery in a room at Virginia Mason with a homeless female heroin addict in the other bed. I know this because a nurse patiently gathered the woman's medical history and current circumstances before the poor woman slumped across her food tray fast sleep. I'm pretty sure she didn't have health insurance. I'm pretty sure those of us with insurance are covering her in our premiums. (The Uninsured) - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterCell Phones for Soldiers Program By Ed Vitorino - Every year millions of Americans throw their used/broken cell phones in the trash and we all know that it ends up on a landfill. I know we all have them sitting in a drawer somewhere taking up space. What if i told you that we can recycle them and in return the recycling company gives the military members calling cards? - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterOh Sarah Palin..... By Evan Bolling - The much anticipated controversial autobiography, "Going Rogue" written by our very own claim to shame, Frm. Gov. Sarah Palin is now on the bookshelves. A sad day for Alaska, the literary world, and all sentient life too. We should have done a better job keeping the lid on this total embarrassment, but now she's a national satire. And in 2008 the most mocked person on Saturday Night Live. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterGOING ROGUE By Susan Round - The following definitions of the word ROGUE are provided by Merriam Webster Online Dictionary: - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterMillion Dollar Blunder at the Public Library? By Robert D. Warner - With the City Manager's plea to the City Council to increase properity taxes next year, it seems most urgent to end careless and wastefull spending. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterNot in my Backyard By Don Borders - Here in Alaska we are not so energy deprived that we need to go out on a limb to resolve the electrical power needs. We have not even started to explore the tidal influx as a power source where other nations in the world have done so and commissioned such systems to feed their power grids. We do have an abundance additional hydroelectric possibilites and thermal ones such as Chena Hot springs thermal system which has proven to be efficient and has won several awards in its design. So to embrace an "iffy" fringe technological concept just to generate power which would release all kinds of substances into our lean pristine air is just foolish. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterPebble Mine Views By Martha Jacobson - Regarding the Ketchikan Daily News editorial about eating your salmon in Seattle without the restaurant owner sharing views on the Pebble Mine - the issue is way more complicated than narrowing it down to some restaurant chef's political views. Way more! - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterTEA Party Slogans Cheap and Shallow By Evan Bolling - "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of everyone else's money" this becomingly trite slogan was at one point witty and creative. Witty because it employs an intelligent humor and creative because it cunningly neglects the obvious, making it a purely fantastic perspective. Fantastic, from the Latin phantasticius meaning imaginative, fantasy. The root definition has been included to avoid confusion in my intended meaning. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterName calling By Tom Ferry - Mr. Warner, you say you would find it to be a privilege to vote for Obama's re-election. Hey that's fine , but if you did vote for him the first time and now the second time, you are not even close to being as I am "an independent conservative". - More...
Saturday PM - NOvember 21, 2009

letterLandless Issue By John Morris - I would like to respond to the folks who have this issue. I want you to realize that once you sign on with the ANCSA Corp, whether be regional or village, you are signing away all your aboriginal rights... that is what this Act has done. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letter Socialism to classroom analogy By Evan Bolling - Al Johnson's socialism to classroom analogy is absolutely genius. Of course, however, if you think about it for even a second more it becomes totally ill conceived. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

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