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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 02, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Ketchikan Creek: Downy Woodpecker
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

Alaska’s Billion Dollar Mountain By Daniel Grushkin, Bloomberg Businessweek - The story of one man who used a little persuasion - and a lot of luck - to win the rights to millions of tons of rare earths - Read this article...


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Alaska: Tribe’s Child Support Orders to be Recognized by State of Alaska - The Superior Court for the State of Alaska, First Judicial District at Juneau, issued a decision with significant implications for tribal courts throughout Alaska in Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska v. State of Alaska Child Support Services Division. The Court's order on October 25, 2011, reaffirms the Tribe's inherent jurisdiction to handle the full range of family law issues affecting its citizens, including the particular issue of child support for the benefit of tribal children.   

At issue in the case is the State of Alaska's failure to honor tribal court support orders issued under the Central Council's Family Responsibility statute and federally recognized Tribal Child Support program. As the lack of interagency cooperation negatively impacted families with tribal support orders, the Tribe was left with little choice but to file suit seeking relief requiring the State of Alaska to recognize tribal child support orders under recognized principles of tribal sovereignty and Alaska's own Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The Tribe was represented throughout the litigation by Alaska Legal Services Corporation attorney, Holly Handler. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 02, 2011

Southeast Alaska: AFN ENDORSES COASTAL INITIATIVE; Annual Gathering Favors Ballot Measure to Revive Coastal Management - The state’s foremost organization of Alaska Natives has stepped forward at its recent annual convention to support a ballot initiative to form a coastal management program.  Alaska Federation of Natives delegates voted unanimously on October 22, 2011 to approve a resolution endorsing the initiative to revive coastal management.

Alaska has nearly 40 percent of the entire coastline of the United States, but is the only state without a program to coordinate management of these important areas.  Thousands of Alaskans live near the coast, but because Alaska doesn’t have a coastal management program, they have no voice in important decisions affecting coastal areas.

North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta supported the resolution.  “The big resource development projects are in rural Alaska, and rural communities are generally strong supporters of these projects,” Mayor Itta said. “If we work together early in the process, the chances of a timely and successful start are much better than if local people are just left out in the cold. Coastal management never stopped a project in the past. It just gave communities a stake in the project. What’s not to like about that?”

State coastal management programs and local coastal management plans guarantee state and local participation in coastal development and a seat at the table during federal decision making.  After operating successfully for 34 years, Alaska’s Coastal Zone Management Program died when the Alaska Legislature failed in 2011 to renew it during both the regular session and two special sessions called in part to restore the program.  Without a program in place, federal agencies need not consult state or local officials on questions of coastal development. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 02, 2011

Alaska: State Files Lawsuit to Defend Permitting Process – The State of Alaska filed a constitutional challenge Friday in Anchorage Superior Court against an ordinance recently enacted by ballot initiative in the Lake and Peninsula Borough.

The local ordinance attempts to give the Lake and Peninsula Borough’s planning commission authority to nullify state permitting processes and prevent the development of certain large-scale resource development activity. The ordinance requires the planning commission’s approval of a borough development permit before an applicant may receive a state or federal permit.

The State’s lawsuit alleges that the borough ordinance is invalid because it tilts the constitutional balance between state and local interests. The Alaska Constitution gives the Alaska Legislature the authority to determine how to develop resources for maximum use consistent with the public interest. It is therefore the State’s duty to evaluate projects to determine whether they can be conducted in a way that serves the public interest, and if so, what safeguards to require. Under the Lake and Peninsula Borough ordinance, the State may never have that opportunity. While boroughs have limited power to regulate some of the activities associated with resource development, a small majority of voters in a local community cannot usurp the more comprehensive state authority and eliminate the entire state permitting process. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 02, 2011

Alaska: National Pavement Summit Tackles Alaska’s Toughest Transportation Challenge - The 2011 Alaska Asphalt Pavement Summit held Monday & Tuesday brought nearly 300 transportation professionals from around the world to collaborate on innovative, cost saving solutions to Alaska’s unique pavement preservation challenges.

This two-day national summit is the only forum of its kind where such highly-specialized state and international specialists collaborate to address ways to make pavement last longer and cost less in Alaska and other cold regions. Few places in the United States pose the unique combination of transportation challenges involving permafrost, frozen ground, extreme ice and moisture erosion, and rapid surface deterioration due to harsh climates.

Attendees and presenters included engineers, planners, researchers, government officials, contractors, scientists, crew bosses, private industry, and technology experts from Alaska, the lower 48, and foreign countries dealing with similar cold-climate issues.

“This event is about leveraging the diverse expertise of many different fields to try and solve our pavement preservation challenges,” says Billy Connor, Director of the Alaska University Transportation Center. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 02, 2011

Southeast Alaska: Moore Named ARMC clinic administrator - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is pleased to announce the promotion of Joyce Moore to clinic services administrator at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock.

Moore previously served as deputy clinic services administrator. She recently received her Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Ashworth College (a distance delivery program based in Norcross, Ga.), and she plans to continue on to the master's program.

“Joyce has worked her way from an entry level position at ARMC to one of the key administrative positions in the organization,” said Dr. David Vastola, SEARHC Community Health Care Services Medical Director. “Her current responsibilities include oversight of all SEARHC facilities on Prince of Wales. In addition to her strong skills and work ethic, Joyce's local knowledge of the island will be invaluable in her new position. She is a strong patient advocate and is respected by her staff. We are all extremely pround of her.” - More...
Wednesday AM - November 02, 2011

Southeast Alaska: New Petersburg District Ranger Announced - The Tongass National Forest supervisor announced that Jason Anderson, currently Thorne Bay District Ranger on the Tongass, has accepted the position of Petersburg District Ranger. Anderson will assume the position officially February 12, 2012.

“Jason has played a leading role in fostering partnerships and collaboration on the forest, which is critical to our work and the way we do business,” said Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. “He’s prioritized building a strong network of relationships with the communities on Prince of Wales, and he’ll bring that same emphasis to the position in Petersburg.”

Forest Partnerships and Public Affairs Staff Officer Erin Uloth affirmed Cole’s praise stating, “Jason leads by doing. He is a true optimist and brings that perspective to his work when approaching any problem or issue.”

Anderson began his career with the Forest Service in 2001. After four years as partnerships and public affairs staff officer on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, he moved to the Tongass in 2005 and has served as Thorne Bay District Ranger for the past six years. Prior to working for the Forest Service, Anderson spent ten years as a resource manager and river ranger for Stanislaus River Parks in California with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 02, 2011


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letter Septic Tanks - How Often to Pump? By Shelley Stallings - Attached is a septic pumping schedule from Ohio State University Extension Service. It shows that the frequency of pumping septic tanks depends primarily on 2 criteria: 1. number of people in household & 2. size of tank. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2011

letter Yates building as Ketchikan visitors' bureau By Mary Ida Henrikson - The demolition of the Yates Building is abhorrent.  It is the center of how Ketchikan identified itself.  It is place where the Alaska Sportsman magazine was edited and published, establishing a creative core around which Ketchikan rotated and thrives to this day.  There were writers who shared frontier experiences and words of wisdom and survival, many of which have become legend.  Artists like Beth Eberhart from Pennock Island created covers and our many local photographers shared their idea of place.  Later the Morning Raven Gallery and the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce were quartered there; both promoting Ketchikan. In front of the Yates Building is the original location of the Ketchikan Rain Gauge. The Ketchikan King Salmon Derby sign was there and served as a backdrop for the winners and their prizes. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2011

letter Thank you Ketchikan By Don Hoff Jr. - On behalf of the Hoff Family and extended Family, we want to thank all Tillie L. Hoff's friends and family in the Ketchikan, Saxman, Metlakatla and Prince of Wales Island for their prayers, donations of money, food and flowers. - More...
Thursday AM - October 27, 2011

letter RE: Ineptocracy By Ken Leland - Once again, Mr. Johnson, you have hit the nail on the head. That is a beautiful description of our Federal, State, Borough and City Government. I may not have that much knowledge of the State or City Government, but I was impacted by the Borough and I spent 6 1/2 years in Washington, D.C. observing the Federal animal in action. - More...
Thursday AM - October 27, 2011

letter Covered area for cruise ship staff By Mike Dooley - I agree with Jill Gates. Let's keep in mind the cruise lines pay a fee to dock in Ketchikan. Cruise ship passengers also pay a head tax, and sales tax on tours and purchases. It is my understanding the head tax revenues have to be used for cruise ship related expenses and improvements. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter Open Letter to KGB: Fiscal tethering account charges By Edmund J. Fry, III - As a matter of public records, I would like to inquire some fiscal analysis of the current sludge fee program.  There are 2 questions that I would like to have answered and they are: - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter Whale Watching By Seth Gross - I live in Portland Oregon but lived in Ketchikan for several years during the 90's and I still visit regularly. I am a huge fan of the KPU Ketchikan web cams and look at them at least once a day. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter Airport Parking - more KGB overreach By Chris Barry - According to the Airport management recently regarding snow removal and winter upkeep in the airport parking lots on the town side, the parking lots are not in the lease with the state and therefore, not the KGB's responsibility to maintain. Yet, somehow they feel obligated to patrol the lots (both short and long term parking) writing tickets, collecting fines and booting peoples' vehicle. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 25, 2011

letter RE: Septic System Boondoggle By Don Borders - I am in complete agreement with Mr. Stallings and Mr. Fry. A larger, intrusive, wasteful local government competing with private companies is just wrong. Their, Ketchikan Gateway Borough council, actions are competing with the private sector and being a government function very inefficient and a waste our taxpayer dollars. Other operations within the Borough are privatized; a Local sanitation company has a fee-based collection operation. So why not include the septic systems dealing with the pumped sludge. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Political humor By A.M.Johnson - During these times of political moments, this perhaps, is a outstanding addition to the political speak depicting the current debate. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Baby Bear By Deborah Hayden - AWWWWWW! Wasn't he cute, the baby bear running through Tatsuda's produce section? Oh, boy, it's great he was on national news and put Ketchikan into the national spotlight for something other than Nowhere status. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Perspective By James Schenk - With all the negatives that affect our lives everyday it is sometimes hard to keep things in perspective. Well I am not here to preach but only to suggest something again you have heard before. This is your life, one person in life can make a difference in anything we wish to pursue, even if you do not see immmediate results everything we do affects people around us. - More...
Friday AM - October 21, 2011

letter Septic System Boondoggle By Shelley Stallings - I am in complete agreement with Mr. Fry about the waste of money and resources our current septic system policy imposes upon Ketchikan home owners. This one size fits all doesn't fit all, probably only 'fits' 10% or less of home owners. The frequency of pumping needed for any specific septic system varies widely from 1 to 2 years at the high end to possibly 15-20 years on the low end. Being a single occupant home owner who monitors carefully what is being put into my septic tank, I estimate I have easily paid thousands of dollars MORE than required to keep my system operating efficiently since this wasteful program has been in place. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2011

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