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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 02, 2012

Front Page Photograph by Jacy Pierson

The ermine or short-tailed weasel is also known as a stoat. While out enjoying nature, the photographer spotted this lil guy as he ran across the road.  Pulling over to get some photographs, the lil guy was so curious and kept coming near the photographer to see what they were doing.  The photographer said the ermine ran all around them and in and out of the rocks and grass for 20 minutes before leaving. This photograph was taken on Prince of Wales Island.
Front Page Photograph by Jacy Pierson ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

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Alaska: CHANGE YOUR CLOCK, CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM - Sunday, November 4th at 2:00 a.m. marks the official end of Daylight Savings time as clocks are pushed back one hour. Alaska State Fire Marshal Kelly Nicolello reminds Alaskans to check their smoke alarms when they change their clock from Daylight Savings Time this Sunday.For the last two years 55% of fatal fires had no working smoke alarms in the structure. In another 25% it could not be determined if smoke alarms were present and operating. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012


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Fish Factor: Western Alaska Salmon Stock ID Project; Alaska Pollock Demands; and Fishing Photos Wanted By LAINE WELCH - The results of a six year study on Western salmon will be unveiled this month and the conclusions are not what people of the region had hoped for.

Some background: the Western Alaska Salmon Stock Identification Project (WASSIP) was created in 2006 by a group of eleven signers to a memorandum of understanding  including Aleut Corporation, Aleutians East Borough, Association of Village Council Presidents, Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, Bristol Bay Native Association, Concerned Area M Fishermen, Kawerak, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association  and Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The mission:  to sample commercial and subsistence chum and sockeye salmon fisheries from Chignik to Kotzebue. The goal:  to gain a better understanding of the origins and composition of harvests in westward fisheries, and the effects that these fisheries have on salmon stocks across the vast region.   The driving issue: identifying the origins of chum salmon migrating through Alaska Peninsula waters to Western regions.

Over four years, nearly 320,000 samples were collected and 156,000 samples were analyzed by the ADF&G Gene Conservation Laboratory. It took a full year of dedicated laboratory time to do the genetic studies.

“It is unprecedented. You are not going to find any salmon genetics project in the world that even comes close to this,” said Eric Volk, Chief Scientist for ADF&G’s Commercial Fisheries Division.

Genetics stock identification projects typically reveal the salmon stocks that are harvested in a particular run, and the proportions of those stocks that make up a catch, Volk explained. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

Alaska: Commercial fishermen in Alaska encouraged to focus on safety - The Coast Guard 17th District is encouraging commercial fishermen to make safety a top priority following the deaths of four commercial fishermen within the past month.

Commercial fishing in Alaska is inherently dangerous, especially during the harsh winter seasons.

Fishing vessel owners and operators are reminded of the importance of properly maintaining their vessel’s life saving equipment, ensuring that all crewmembers working on deck are wearing personal floatation devices and conducting regular shipboard drills in order to maintain the crew's proficiency at operating shipboard emergency equipment. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

Alaska: Long Hours on the ‘Slime Line’; Seafood processors key to Alaska’s largest export By By ERIK STIMPFLE, ADOL Research Analyst - Seafood is one of Alaska’s most lucrative natural resources — and with Alaska fishermen bringing in more than half of the country’s poundage, it takes an enormous workforce to bring the product to market. Seafood processors are the largest share of workers in the fishing industry and also the largest group of seasonal workers in the state.

Processors must be physically fit and able to work long and repetitive hours in wet and slippery conditions. Their duties — which require rain gear, gloves, and boots — can include sorting, grading, washing, cutting, or trimming seafood. The work is sometimes by machine, but often by hand.

This job may not be glamorous — it’s often called the “slime line” — but it’s a critical step in a major supply chain.

A large, mobile workforce

The seafood processing industry provides mostly seasonal jobs wherever there is commercial fishing. The various fisheries span the calendar, and facilities are spread across the state.

Though most salmon species are harvested during the summer only, various shellfish, cod, and bottom fish are harvested throughout the year. The processing industry as a whole employed 25,112 workers statewide in 2011. Of those workers, 19,740 were seafood processors.

The areas with the biggest catches also have the highest employment. The Aleutians East and Aleutians West census areas and Bristol Bay and Kodiak boroughs each had more than 2,600 processors in 2011. Together, those areas employed 51 percent of the industry’s workers. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

Ketchikan: Southeast Alaskans Be Aware of Possible Encounters with Bears - Southeast Alaskans need to use extra caution when recreating outdoors during fall. The combination of bears preparing to den and their normal food sources naturally decreasing has led to a greater likelihood of encounters between bears and humans. Rarely are these encounters aggressive, but the Tongass National Forest and Alaska Department of Fish and Game still urge hunters and other outdoor recreationists to use common sense and be "Bear Aware.”

“Southeast Alaska is home to some of the highest densities of black and brown bears in the world. They are an important part of the identity of Southeast Alaska and they play an important role in our ecosystem, culture and economies, ” said Brian Logan, wildlife program leader for the Tongass National Forest. “It is important that we maintain our awareness of bears and behave accordingly.”

When outdoors, always be aware of your surroundings and keep pets under control. Avoid attracting bears by storing food in bear resistant containers or out of reach of bears. Be observant of bear sign on the trail or near campsites. Remember to make plenty of noise on the trail, especially on blind curves, in dense vegetation or areas with limited vision, and in areas bears frequent, such as salmon streams and tide flats. Always be alert for sudden encounters, and be prepared to react in a safe and prudent manner. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

Alaska Science: Lake stars and windshield cracks now forming over Alaska By NED ROZELL - As Alaska’s billion lakes become colder and harder, some of them will sport mysterious, spidery cracks extending from small holes in the ice. This phenomenon inspired a geophysicist to figure out what he calls “lake stars.”

Lake stars and windshield cracks now forming over Alaska

A “lake star” that formed on a Fairbanks lake.
Photo by T. Saito.

“I thought something so pretty and relatively commonly observed should be understandable, so I pursued it,” said Victor Tsai, who wrote perhaps the only paper in existence on lake stars.

Tsai, a geophysicist with the Seismological Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, developed a mathematical model to explain how the stars form. He recently gave a less technical description of the conditions needed for lake stars to blossom:

“You need relatively thin ice, and a thick snow cover,” he said. “The lake needs to have just frozen over and then had a heavy enough snow to weigh the ice down enough that the snow can become wet from lake water.”

Tsai became interested in lake stars when he spent a summer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. There, he found that, while many people had guessed at what caused lake stars, there was no established theory to explain them. He set up a lab experiment in which he created the stars indoors, using a plate cooled below freezing. Through a dish of slush, he fed a steady drip of water one degree above freezing. Narrow channels formed in all of his attempts, and he wrote a 13-page paper on “the formation of radial fingers emanating from a central source.” He provides here a non-technical version on how the stars form: - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012


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letter CHALLENGE DAY By Diane Gubatayao - Challenge Day is approaching and we are seeking adult volunteers who are willing to dedicate a day to supporting our students. There are three separate sessions:  Tuesday, November 13th and Wednesday, November 14th at Kayhi and Thursday, November 15th at Schoenbar. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

letter Why I cannot support the Republicans By Eric Muench - The Obama administration's approach to resource development in Alaska is harmful to the State and to the nation. The Outside urban liberal environmentalist agenda is driving Forest Service and Interior Department policies. But despite my wish to see a change in direction of those agencies, there are some more fundamental threats to us all than economic issues. Individual and religious freedom is being threatened and that makes it impossible for me to support Republicans in this election. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

letter Support Kreiss-Tomkins By Adrian LeCornu - My name is Adrian LeCornu and I have served my community for over 30 years, and have watched state legislators come and go, and once in a while they even show up in Hydaburg. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

letter Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins For Alaska House District 34 By Gavin Hudson - Every once in a while the political landscape shifts, providing rural people an opportunity to assert ourselves in our government. We can see this unfolding in the newly redrawn District 34, which includes Metlakatla, Craig, Klawock, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Kake, Hoonah, Angoon, Pelican, Klukwan, Elfin Cove, Port Alexander, Haines, and Sitka. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

letter House District 33 Race By Kathleen Wiechelman - I'll be voting for Matt Olsen in the upcoming election. Matt is honest, ethical, and I've watched Matt at enough Ketchikan City Council and School Board meetings to know that he asks a lot of thoughtful questions before he makes decisions on issues. He does his research and keeps himself well-informed. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

letter RE: Surviving the great tsunami By Paul Crowl - I rarely choose to take to a public forum to step in-between two opposing viewpoints, the one represented by Dave Kiffer's article "...surviving the great tsunami", and the other,  Brad Maushart's response of Oct. 30. But, I find myself appreciative of both perspectives. Though, I have to say that on the one hand, I find elements of Dave's original article a bit snarky, and elements of Brad's response a bit defensive.  - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012  

letter RE: We all Survived the Tsunami 2012 By Annie Fawcett - In my opinion it might be a wise idea for Mr. Kiffer to travel to Lituya Bay before down playing a Tsunami alert, to see how a large wave can give a haircut to a mountain. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

letter FairTax is different from the income tax By Glen E. Terrell - The income tax and the Internal Revenue Service have been “the law of the land” throughout the life of every American-born citizen working today.  We, as Americans, haven’t lived under any other system.  But, there is a much better way ­ it’s called the FairTax Act. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

letter RE: "We all survived the GREAT TSUNAMI ALERT OF 2012!" By Brad Maushart - In response to Dave Kiffer's column... weather, seismology, sports betting and many other things in this world are not an exact science. A variable of 1 degree, to one foot to one missed tackle can mean the difference between rain or snow, devastating tsunami or one inch wave or even a big payout or disappointment. If they were exact sciences, anyone could succeed at those jobs and I would most likely be replaced by a better speaker and definitely by someone who looks better. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Critics of Timber Task Force Recommendations By Owen Graham - Recent critics of the Governor’s Timber Task Force recommendations claim that the establishment of a State Forest from portions of the Tongass would remove federal protections for salmon streams and would hurt fishermen, hunters, tourism operators and others. Those criticisms are unfounded. Both State and Federal land are required to maintain a minimum of a 100-foot salmon stream buffer and the State Forest Practices Act was designed specifically to protect salmon habitat. The Forest Service and the State Division of Forestry have both done a good job of managing timber harvesting without harming stream habitat. In fact, the salmon returns in Southern Southeast Alaska have doubled over the last 50 years, even in the most heavily logged watersheds. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Albert Kookesh for Senate, District Q By Richard J. Peterson - I write this letter in support of Senator Albert Kookesh and his bid for the newly combined District Q. I have known Senator Kookesh for many years and have worked closely with him in my prior role as Mayor of Kasaan, now Council Member, and currently as Tribal President for the Organized Village of Kasaan and lastly as the President of the Southeast Island School District. It is not in any of these capacities that I endorse Senator Kookesh, however it is with these experiences that I draw upon to gauge the effectiveness, dedication, and determination of which Senator Kookesh has served his constituents. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Matt Olsen for State Rep. District 33 By Mike Wisnewski - I'm glad Matt Olsen is running for state representative from our area. I've known Matt since he was a pre-schooler and I taught him in school here. He genuinely likes people, listens to people, and hears what they say. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Voting No On Ballot Measure 1: The Constitution Shouldn't Be Messed With By Les Gara - How thrilled are you about the prospects that extremists would re-write our Constitution? I don’t know about you, but that would be, well, pretty schmucky.

Ballot Measure 1 shows up every 10 years to ask if you want a “Constitutional Convention” to re-write our State Constitution. This week I had dinner with a state Founding Father, Vic Fischer, who helped write the constitution. He and his Convention peer, Republican Jack Coghill, think letting people into the Constitution to push their pet peeves is a bad idea, especially in times when extremists on either side have pet peeves they want in the Constitution. The Constitution should be a regal document, not one with extremist ideas in it. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Obama’s Failed Economic Policies By Donald A. Moskowitz - More people gave up looking for work in September causing the U. S. unemployment rate to dip to 7.8%.  The unemployment rate has hovered over 8% during Obama’s entire term up until last month.  The President promised a 5.6% unemployment rate by this time in his administration. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

letter Oil tax issue: Oil companies want more money By Matt Olsen - Representative Les Gara's October 19, 2012 opinion piece in the Ketchikan Daily News summed up the oil tax issue well; the oil companies want more money. $2 billion more. For a company like Conoco-Phillips, this would be in addition to the more than $7.5 billion profit they made from Alaska's oil just last year. Is this right? I don't believe so. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 30, 2012

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