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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 16, 2012

Front Page Photograph by JIM LEWIS

Ward Lake: Trumpeter Swans
Two adults and one juvenile Trumpeter Swans photographed in flight. Shortly before flying, the swans had started vocalizing and bobbing their heads up and down until they took off possibly continuing their migration. In addition to the bugle call, Trumpeter Swans use motions such as head bobbing to alert others of disturbances or in preparation for flight.
Front Page Photograph by JIM LEWIS ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

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Ketchikan: Record highs & lows in Ketchikan area in October - Ketchikan's temperatures tended to be on the warm side for the first half of October, then turned cold for the remainder of the month. Exemplifying the cold spell at the end of October were three record cold events in Ketchikan. First, on the 22nd, the temperature dropped to 28°F, breaking the old record of 29°F set way back in 1919. Then on October 24th, the low temperature of 28°F tied the record from 1991. Finally, on the 29th the low of 25°F matched the record also set in 1991.

Record highs & lows in Ketchikan area in October

Daily temperature ranges and precipitation for Ketchikan for October 2012. Note the three record cold events during the protracted cold spell at the end of the month.
Chart courtesy Alaska Climate Center

Statewide, new temperature records started out the month of October with a number of high events, scattered across the state from Annette to St. Paul to Barrow, exemplifying the warm start to the month. However, after the 22nd all new temperature records were cold, and occurred in Southeast Alaska as a strong offshore wind brought cold air in from the continent, and kept the relative warm air from the ocean away.

Ketchikan's neighboring city, Craig located on Prince of Wales Island, set several record lows during the month of October. On the 27th Craig recorded a low of 28 degrees breaking the previous record low of 32 degrees set in 2004. On the 29th, Craig set a new record low temperature of 25 degrees, breaking the previous record low of 28 degrees set in 1991. The on October 30th, Craig again set a new record low temperature of 24 degrees breaking the old record low of 28 degrees set in 1950. On the 31st, Craig another new record was set when a low of 23 degrees was recorded breaking the old record of 28 degrees set in 2003.

Statewide, some of these records had stood for considerable amounts of time, as in the case on the 22nd in Ketchikan where the previous record had been in place since 1919. - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012

Ketchikan: John Brown Named Interim General Manager at KIC - Ketchikan Indian Community announced the appointment of John Brown, Tribal Education Director at KIC, as the interim general manager of KIC while the executive search continues.  Three candidates have already been interviewed for the position but no decision has yet been made.

John Brown has held various management positions with Ketchikan Indian Community throughout the years including Housing Director, Economic Development Director and most recently Tribal Education Director.

Departing general manager, Debbie Patton, has accepted a position with Douglas County as Deputy Health Administrator based in Roseburg, Oregon.  She starts her new position on December 1st. - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012

Fish Factor: Value of salmon catch By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s salmon harvest and value for 2012 came in well below last year, dropping 21 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

According to preliminary state tallies, the value of the salmon catch totaled nearly $506 million at the docks this summer on a statewide catch of 124 million fish. That compares to a 2011 take of 177 million salmon valued at just over $641 million.

A breakdown shows that the 2012 Chinook harvest of 333,000 was worth $17.6 million; sockeyes came in at 35.2 million valued at nearly $246 million; the coho catch of 3 million rang in at about $22.5 million; pinks totaled 67 million fish valued at over $105 million; and the chum catch of 18.3 million was worth $114.5 million at the Alaska docks.

In terms of average prices, there were ups and downs. Chinook salmon brought fishermen $3.99 a pound, compared to $3.53 last summer. Sockeyes dropped to $1.16, a drop of 15 cents a pound. Coho salmon also paid out at $1.16 on average, up a penny; pinks averaged 43 cents a pound compared to 46 cents last season, and chums at 66 cents decreased by 18 cents a pound. - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012 

Alaska: Oregon Man Sentenced For Commercial Fishing Crimes - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced yesterday that an Oregon man was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for two counts of falsely reporting where he caught 31,000 pounds of halibut that he sold in Kodiak, Alaska in 2007.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Cooper, the evidence established that Freddie Joe Hankins, 47, of Cove, Oregon, had caught the halibut in an area where it was illegal for him to fish under the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system, and that he falsely stated in his landing reports that he caught the fish in another more distant but legal area.

Arne Fuglvog, former fisheries aide to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who served a prison term for his fisheries conviction, testified at the Hankins trial that he had fished with Hankins, and that Hankins had previously made similar false landing reports claiming he caught his fish in the more distant but legal area when in fact he caught them in the area closer to port where the fishing was better but where it was illegal for him to fish.

Evidence also showed Hankins was convicted in state court in 2007 for falsifying a landing report to conceal the fact that he had exceeded the allowable by-catch of rockfish. - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Chief Shakes Tribal House inches towards completion - A late stretch of warm, fall weather in Wrangell saw the new Chief Shakes Tribal House roof up in a matter of days.  It wasn’t long before the weather switched, with cool, clear days eventually giving way to rain and some heavy winds.

Chief Shakes Tribal House inches towards completion

Chief Shakes Tribal House
Photo courtesy Wrangell Cooperative Association (WCA)

“We’re still standing,” said Project Manager Todd White.  Looking at the new foundation, massive logs and water tight roof, one would wonder what it would actually take to make even a scratch in the building.  A beefed up roof system has ensured the interior remains bone-dry.  In addition to the classic cedar planks and shakes, White has added layers of 3/4" plywood and waterproof membrane.

The copper flashing is striking, as is the smell of cedar and wood stain half-way down the 300 yard boardwalk.  The walls have been up for months and the roof has been on now for weeks. Despite the tremendous visual progress, White isn’t distracted from his goal of making the National Historic Site perfect.

"It's going to take a while still," said White.  "We had to re-locate the temporary carving shed, which set us back some work-time.  We also took the time to cover the totems located on the island to protect them from the weather.  We're looking at finishing the floors, then lighting, heat and electricity. And if it turns out we're short a little cedar, we may be looking for new logs to mill and adze in order to finish the floor."

"After all is done, we're still going to need a window of cool, dry weather to get the house posts and artifacts back inside," said White.  "They’re currently on display at the Nolan Center and Wrangellites know it's tough to predict the weather." - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Two more tribes go tobacco-free in Southeast Alaska - Momentum for statewide tobacco-free workplaces continues to spread in Alaska as the Skagway Tribal Council and the Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan) tribes join the growing number of 13 Southeast and 36 statewide Alaska tribes that have already passed local smoke-free and tobacco-free policies. This tribal movement for tobacco-free workplaces was sparked by the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp delegates, who in 2011 unanimously supported a statewide smoke-free workplace resolution.

In Southeast Alaska, 88 percent of Alaska Native people have smoke-free rules in their homes, and about 88 percent believe that smoking should never be allowed in work places. Yet, about twice as many Alaska Native adults still work at unprotected workplaces compared to non-Native adults. A significant amount of secondhand smoke exposure occurs in workplaces, bingo halls, and other public places. Secondhand smoke exposure has known immediate adverse health effects on the heart and blood vessels and contributes to preventable illness and premature death.  - More...
Friday - November 16, 2012


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letter Open Letter to the Ketchikan Borough Manager By Peg Travis and Dave Hirchert - We are writing with our concerns of the “new” Gateway Aquatic Center. We are disappointed in the design and construction of the facility and feel the citizens are paying for a building of inferior design and workmanship. - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012

letter Stopping the Use of Cigarettes By Alan R. McGillvray - I had been wanting to stop smoking cigarettes for some time. In my desire, I finally figured out that it was the first light-up in the morning that set the day. The idea that since it was that first cigarette that set me up for smoking for the day, why not just not light it up and set a whole different tone on the day. Well I tried that, and it WORKED. I still have not lit up that first cigarette of the day. That was some 3 & 1/2 years ago. - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012

letter RE: Abortion By Chris Elliott - Regarding Mr. Jarvi's letter: "...convince the males of our great land to not start the problem..." ? With all due respect and without expressing any opinion on abortion per se, I thought birth control pills and IUDs and whatever else is available to women were the answer to unwanted pregnancies. Unless a woman is raped or her contraception fails her, she will not become pregnant. Let's convince the females to take advantage of what's available. - More...
Friday PM - November 16, 2012

letter Ketchikan Homeless Shelter Food Drive By Gary Boatwright - The Ketchikan Homeless Shelter (PATH) is conducting its annual food drive. Collection boxes will be at local grocery stores or donations can be dropped off at the Shelter at 628 Park Avenue (across from the American Legion). - More...
Tuesday PM - November 13, 2012

letter RE: Issue of Abortion By Paul Jarvi - You have good points my good friend about the fetus, however Roe V. Wade is the law of the land. It is not a question of how to get across Ketchikan Creek. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 13, 2012

letter Fair Tax Needed By Roy T Newsom - The income tax creates a stagnant economy for the United States.  Companies have moved overseas to give their investors a tax advamtage.  They will not return to the U.S. until our system gives them an advantage in the world market. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 13, 2012

letter Col. Archie Van Winkle Is Missed By Stephen C. McGowan - On Veteran's Day we missed Col. Van Winkle, Alaska's favorite son. To his daughter for thanking me, for the Letter, you are most certainly welcome. The sad thing is that a lot of Americans only remember those who served, and those who are serving, on this Day. I asked a stranger when she mentioned the Marine Corp Patch on my sleeve if she had served our country in the military, she replied "no". I asked why not? She hesitated, and said, "That's why we have people like you". - More...
Tuesday PM - November 13, 2012

letter RE: Gas price relief By Paul Jarvi - Ms Ramsey, I just sold my beloved Ford F150. Think about an electric car. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 13, 2012

letter Open Letter: KIC Language Program By Terrance H. Booth, Sr. - I am Tsimshian, formerly from Metlakatla, Alaska and heard through my son, Timothy R. Booth that (Ketchikan Indian Community) Language Program Services is facing cut back.  On the KIC website, you have a quote: "When you lose a language, a large part of the culture goes, too, because much of that culture is encoded in the language."  Kenneth L. Hale, linguist and activist on behalf of endangered languages. I truly believe the more we keep up on our languages we Natives have a clearer view of the world around us.  My immediate family particularly by grandchildren has been part of the Cultural Programs and has made a marked impression upon who they are as Tsimshian. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2012

letter Looking forward By Rep. Kyle Johansen - I would like to thank all the people who have helped me earn three terms in the Alaska State House of Representatives.  It has been the most rewarding professional experience of my life. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter Tsunami Letters By Tom LeCompte - I think any discussion of Lituya Bay should clarify what really happened there. As eloquently written by Hizzoner Dave a few years back, the Lituya Bay waves were more of a splash, albeit 1700 feet high, caused by pretty much the whole face of a mountain and glacier, way up in the back of the bay falling off into the water. The gigantic splash sloshed around the bay like a youngster sending splashes around the bathtub. When it reached the mouth of the bay it washed over th spit and carried a couple boats across and into the open ocean. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter Gas price relief, please! By Karen Ramsey - Just wondering how long it will take again for Ketchikan to see any relief in our gas prices around town. We’ve been hearing for at least a few weeks now that gasoline prices nationally have been falling, and the average today is $3.49 a gallon for unleaded. I for one do not believe the local stations are still charging $4.27 - $4.31 a gallon based on any higher-priced inventory they still have to sell off. That, of course, is the song and dance we always get by way of explanation for our inflated pricing. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter Broadway quality production By Deborah Hayden - Now that the electoral slaughter of our sensibilities is over, may I suggest one of the finest cures for your election-battered spirits you could possibly find: My Fair Lady. The delights, fun, superb performances, soul-restoring music and ingenious sets will fully heal you. You will laugh, guffaw and continue humming these songs to yourself for weeks to come. This is a Broadway quality production. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter In the future... By Dave Kiffer - I don't usually respond to letters about my opinion pieces because I feel that I have already had my say and that any responses to it are just part of the process and a "good thing" even if they call me a complete buckbrained eegit. - More...
Monday PM - November 06, 2012

letter Issue of abortion By Rob Holston - In response to Eric Muench, I feel that the issue of abortion is all too often confined to a description of a few "religious" faiths forcing their antiquated beliefs upon the rest of us. This is unfortunate in that the truth of the matter has to do with the destruction of a fetus. It is ironic that the political party that strives to diminish Big Government is "pro-life", yet ALL political parties agree that government's largest responsibility is to protect the people of the nation. So the debate SHOULD focus on when does a fetus become that person who deserves protection? - More...
Monday PM - November 06, 2012

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