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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 06, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By MEGHAN RICHARDSON

Twin Peak Sunrise
Sunrise over Twin Peak while camping on the Traverse in mid October.
Front Page Feature Photo By MEGHAN RICHARDSON ©2018

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Ketchikan Historical: The Amazing, Colorful and Controversial Life of Gertrud Mellenberg Schrader By LOUISE BRINCK HARRINGTON - First and foremost, Gertrud Schrader was a survivor.

The Amazing, Colorful and Controversial Life of Gertrud Mellenberg Schrader

Gertrud Mellenberg Schrader
This photo was given by Gertrud to Marjorie Anne Voss ©
Courtesy Marjorie Anne Voss

Born in 1909 in Riga, Latvia (then part of Czarist Russia), she survived not only the Russian Revolution, but also World War II in Eastern Europe.

Her father, Leo Mellenberg, a member of the White Russian Army, died during the revolution in a Communist prison in Riga. Her mother, Alma Mellenberg, then took Gertrud and her two brothers and escaped to Manchuria. Alma Mellenberg found work in Manchuria as a chambermaid and later at an import-export business.

When World War II broke out, Gertrud was on vacation in Germany visiting her grandmother and some friends. The Nazis arrested her, declaring her “a displaced person” (she’d been born in Russia and currently was a resident of Manchuria) and threw her in jail. Being a fearless and headstrong person, however, she talked her way out of prison by convincing the Nazis she was needed as a teacher in occupied Poland.

But after a short time in Poland, she realized that the Nazis were arresting Jews and sending them to concentration camps. She watched as a German soldier grabbed a bundle of rags from the arms of a Jewish woman and threw it onto a flatbed truck.

The bundle of rags began to cry.

It was a baby.

“I saw an SS [Germany’s elite military unit] man standing on the street, filming that incident,” Gertrud told the Ketchikan Daily News years later. “I told the SS man that it was tactless to be filming that. And he said, ‘No! Do not say that. This will be an historic document!’”

When hired as a teacher in Nazi-occupied Poland, Gertrud had taken an oath to not oppose the Nazis. But now, witnessing such Nazi brutality, she wanted out of Poland—and she wanted out now. She resigned her teaching position, biked and hitch-hiked to Prague, Czechoslovakia, where she signed up for nursing courses at a university.

That’s where she was in 1945 when the war finally ended. Now, her goal was to find a way out of war-torn Europe and a new life for herself, preferably in the United States.

By 1956, Gertrud was working as a lab technician at a hospital in South Dakota. She decided that what she really wanted was to spend the rest of her days living in a small town on the west coast. She found three job openings available in her field—all in Alaska, at hospitals in Nome, Fairbanks and Ketchikan—and chose the one in Ketchikan, she said later, because the position at the Ketchikan General Hospital included a place to live and hot meals while on duty.


“I was terribly disappointed in Ketchikan at first,” Gertrud later wrote in a paper for a community college course. “My first three weeks here in June, 1956, were wet and gray with uninterrupted rain. I would have left right then if I hadn’t been so stingy…I spent a lot of money to ship all of my earthly possessions here.”

Five months later, however, she changed her mind, deciding that Ketchikan wasn’t so bad and buying a log cabin at Mountain Point, six-and-a-half miles from town. “It was the air,” she wrote in her paper, “the fresh, clean, windy, cool, invigorating Ketchikan air that did it!”

She added that, while on her daily bicycle rides to work at the hospital, she “breathed deeply the fresh, moist air that the southeasterly wind carried from the ocean, through the channels and over the wooded islands to Ketchikan.” - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018


Ketchikan: Victor Chen MD joins Ketchikan PHMG Psychiatry - Victor Chen, MD knows what it’s like to live in a big city.

Victor Chen MD joins Ketchikan PHMG Psychiatry

Victor Chen MD joins PHMG Psychiatry
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Medical Center

The new PHMG Psychiatrist grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles after his family moved there from Taiwan when he was five. He went to the University of California at Berkley for his undergraduate degree in Biology and, after a stint as an ambulance EMT, went to medical school at the University of Cincinnati. He returned to California for his residency at UCLA-San Fernando Valley.

But he was looking for something else. He did not want “an ordinary life.”

Dr. Chen attended a medical conference in New York City just before coming to Ketchikan to discuss working here. “I went from a place that’s the center of the universe to a place on the edge of the universe - and I mean that in the very best way,” he said.

“I got off the plane in July and it was love at first sight.”

Dr. Chen began seeing patients last week and is making progress meeting and treating people. PHMG Psychiatry had been without a permanent provider since July.

“I love my work,” he said recently. “It’s challenging. There is a stigma in society about mental illness. We don’t blame people who have cancer. No one chooses to have mental illness.

“I started medical school intending to become an OB/Gyn but when I did my psychiatric rotation I knew that was where I should be. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

Southeast Alaska: Opportunity to Object Announced; EIS for POW Landscape Level Analysis Project Released - Wednesday the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released a draft Record of Decision proposing the largest old-growth logging project in the nation in decades. The proposal would log up to 235 million board feet of mostly old-growth forest over 15 years. This sale dwarfs any project on the Tongass since the Ketchikan pulp mill was still in operation under a 50-year timber contract. The Tongass National Forest encompasses almost 17 million acres of wild forest in southeast Alaska; roughly 9.5 million acres is classified as roadless under the Rule.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Record of Decision (ROD) for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POW LLA) Project is being made available for public review on November 2, 2018.

An official, 45-day Objection period will begin for the project upon publication of the Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register. It is expected that it will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, November 2, 2018. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 3018

Alaska: Alaska’s Minimum Wage Will Increase by 5 cents an hour in January 2019 - The Alaska minimum wage will increase from $9.84 to $9.89 in 2019. Voters passed a ballot initiative in 2014 to raise the minimum wage by one dollar in both 2015 and 2016, and thereafter required the rate to be adjusted annually for inflation. 

Alaska Statute 23.10.065(a) requires the Alaska minimum wage to be adjusted using the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the Anchorage metropolitan area (Anchorage CPI-U) for the preceding calendar year. The Anchorage CPI-U increased 0.5 percent in 2016, rising from 217.830 to 218.873. As a result, the minimum wage will rise from $9.84 to $9.89 effective January 1, 2019. By law, Alaska’s minimum wage must remain at least $1 per hour over the federal minimum wage.

The Alaska minimum wage applies to all hours worked in a pay period, regardless of how the employee is paid: whether by time, piece, commission, or otherwise. All actual hours worked in a pay period multiplied by the Alaska minimum wage is the very least an employee can be compensated by an employer. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

Alaska: State report compiles vital statistic data on births, deaths, marriages and divorces - The Section of Health Analytics & Vital Records within the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health just released its 2017 Alaska Vital Statistics Annual Report. The report examines Alaska resident births, deaths, adoptions, as well as marriages and divorces between 2008 and 2017 using the most recent Alaska Vital Statistics data. These figures provide health trends for health care providers, planners, researchers and others interested in public health.

Here are some key findings from the report: In 2017, Emma and James were the top baby names. Alaskan mothers gave birth to 10,477 babies, resulting in a fertility rate of 71.4 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, a decrease from 76.4 births per 1,000 women in 2016, mirroring a national decline. In 2017, 5,123 marriages were performed and there were 2,680 separations; both of those rates also show declines over the last decade. 

During 2017, a total of 4,415 deaths occurred among Alaskan residents. The top 10 leading causes of death accounted for 71 percent of all deaths and were, in ranked order: 1) cancer; 2) heart disease; 3) unintentional injuries and poisonings, including drug overdoses; 4) chronic lower respiratory disease; 5) suicide; 6) stroke; 7) diabetes; 8) chronic liver disease and cirrhosis; 9) Alzheimer's disease; and 10) homicide.  The report also highlights some additional categories of death including drug-induced deaths.  - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018


jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: Do ya feel lucky, Ecopunk? - Sometimes a news headline tell you everything you need to know.

For example: Bloggers who walked on Yellowstone hot spring die after falling from Canadian waterfall

This headline was recently in one of my old newspapers, the Casper Star-Tribune.

The gist is that a trio of thrill seekers recently died when they were swept over a 100-foot waterfall in the Canadian  Rockies. A sad, but not unusual story as people occasionally come to grief testing themselves against nature. Spoiler alert: Nature usually wins.

But, of course, there is a little more to this story. These particular thrill seekers - like every other member of their generation - believe that a life not "posted" might as well not exist. So they "blog" - or in this case  "blogged" - about their exploits. All in the name of "infotainment" or perhaps, just plain "braggadocio."

Yes, I understand that grumping about bloggers and selfieholics makes me sound like an old, old, old geezer. I plead guilty. But you do have to wonder that, if everyone is busy blogging, is anyone actually reading those blogs? It's like everyone is so busy "journaling" that no one has any time to read any one else's "journal." Right? - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Rich Manieri

RICH MANIERI: Maybe We Should Try Listening, For a Change - It might be that our political discourse is what it is because those involved are satisfied with the status quo. 

The rest of us spend a lot of time wringing our hands over the apparent impossibility to find common ground on any important issues, at least until we realize that the loud voices on both the right and left aren't really all that interested in compromise.

Political tribalism is evidently more comfortable and satisfying than actually trying to work through and find solutions to intractable problems.

Psychologists have a term for this phenomenon. It's "reactive devaluation." A June article in Psychology Today put it this way: "Once we discover it was the other side who said or supports something, then we withdraw or withhold our support. It doesn't seem to matter what was said or proposed."

That certainly explains a lot.

And it explains why, as we're still recoiling in horror over the murder of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, we hear only demagoguery and no actual effort to reach across the aisle. No one can possibly accept a reasonable suggestion made by the other side, lest they be ostracized by their base. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Voting Is The Best Medicine

Political Cartoon: Voting Is The Best Medicine
By Christopher Weyant ©2018, The Boston Globe, MA
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Open Letter: To Alaska's Next Governor By Gov. Bill Walker - I want to congratulate you. You have earned a role that comes with more responsibility, meaning and joy than you can yet imagine. There are very few who will ever have so large an opportunity to shape the future of this beloved place we call home.

Along with a smooth and supportive transition from our team, I want to offer four non-partisan principles that helped us through some of the most challenging times in Alaska's history. It's my hope that your tenure begins, and is remembered, as a resounding success, for you and for the people of Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - November 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

VOTING FOR COMMON SENSE By Alan Bailey - The following statement is a personal opinion and does not represent other persons or organizations. Having worked in the Criminal Justice System for 30 plus years and now serving a third term as an elected official, I have come to the conclusion there are three basic questions to government spending: How much does it cost?; Who is paying for it?; and, How much does it cost to maintain? Senator Dunleavy is restoring public trust in controlling government spending. Expanding government is not growing Alaska s economy or developing industries that create jobs for our children s future. The tax and spend policies of the past is simply not sustainable or affordable. Someone pays the bill and that is usually you and me. Senator Dunleavy understands the importance of responsible spending and is advocating for efficiencies. About time! Personally I am not in favor of an income tax to pay for more government jobs, Senator Dunleavy is advocating responsible development of our vast timber, mining, fisheries, and mariculture resources, actually creating industries. This kind of leadership is long overdue and instills confidence in Alaska s ability to compete in private business. - More...
Monday PM - November 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Public comment period ending today By Shelley Stallings - Under President Trump, the Department of the Interior, lead by Ryan Zinke (currently under investigation by the Justice Department for ethics violations) is proposing a roll back of protection of wildlife in Alaska’s national parks and reserves. - More..
Monday PM - November 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote for Mark Begich By Don Mitchel - Mike Dunleavy seems to have one priority, cutting the State Budget. The problem is he’s been trying that strategy and it’s failed. He already led that charge and cut our State services about 30%, and cut Capital projects (that provide infrastructure for the future) 78% without agreeing to any comprehensive budget solutions. What did this strategy lead to?...... - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote for Dan Ortiz to Protect the Permanent Fund Dividend By Ghert Abbott - On November 6th I will be casting my vote for Representative Dan Ortiz, as I believe he will work to protect the Permanent Fund Dividend and contribute to its future restoration. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote No on Ballot Measure No. 1 By Andy Rauwolf - Please be advised that funding for Ballot Measure 1 is designed to be hidden from public view and comes from large outside environmental groups on the East Coast, the same groups that fought successfully for years to block any development in ANWAR among other things. . - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

HOLD YOUR NOSE AND VOTE FOR BEGICH By David G Hanger - Hold your nose, if indeed you find it necessary, and vote for Begich. Mark Begich is a bore, an incredibly unimaginative individual who throughout his life has coat-tailed on his father’s limited and tragic career. I have heard and seen nothing from him in the way of original thought. So far as I can tell he is a toad inclined to do as little as possible.

Mike “Days of Misery” Dunleavy by contrast is a real piece of work. He will slash everything government does, or jack the price sky high, the instant he takes office. “Days of Misery” Dunleavy will not bring you just days of misery; he will bring you decades of misery with the damage he proposes to do. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote Dunleavy for Governor By Rob Holston - The arguments on the issue of abortion are always clouded with misleading terminology and incomplete acceptance of science. Begich is 100% in favor of a woman's reproductive rights and 0% in favor of men's reproductive rights, 0% in favor of a pre-born human life's rights.  Begich hides behind the phrase "woman's health" when claiming that all women have the right to kill their pre-born babies. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Support Dan Ortiz By Peter Stanton - They say politics changes people, but as far as I can tell, politics hasn t changed Dan Ortiz. Dan is still the same hard worker, considerate thinker, careful listener, and compassionate human being that many of us have known for decades. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The People’s Representative: Dan Ortiz By Evan Wick - I have known Representative Ortiz for fourteen years. He is a dedicated teacher, coach, mentor and state representative. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Ortiz: The People’s Representative By Austin Otos - I have known Dan Ortiz for 10 years as a devoted debate teacher, local representative, and most importantly, a personal friend. These past two elected terms I have keenly followed representative Ortiz and his ascension as a staunch advocate for local issues within our state congress. His record clearly shows legislation that has directly benefited our local community. From supporting our burgeoning mariculture industry, to defending funding for the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System, Ortiz has dedicated his civic life to representing all of District thirty-six. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A CARAVAN OF FOOLS By David G Hanger - No, I am not referring to the caravan of Hondurans wandering across southern Mexico at this moment in time, but rather the gooney birds who are sopping up the fascistic propaganda of Fox News and Donnie “Two Scoops” that somehow we are threatened by what is now reported to be as many as 7000 Hondurans in a group heading for the U.S. border. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018

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