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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 10, 2007

Front Page Photo By Jacob T. West

Settlers Cove
Front Page Photo By Jacob T. West

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Ketchikan: Fire Safety Advice and Tips For the Holidays - The Ketchikan Fire Department would like for everyone to have a joyous and especially a safe holiday season. To focus attention of safety, the KFD has distributed some fire safety advice and tips. During this special time of the year there will be feasts to prepare, Christmas trees to light, and often candles in the home to add a warm festive glow.

According to the Ketchikan Fire Department, cooking and heating-related incidents are the leading cause of residential fires in Alaska, accounting for almost 60% of the state's total reported structure fires. With the holidays approaching, warm, cozy homes and holiday feasts play a major role in our preparations for family gatherings. It also increases the risks for fire. These fires can be prevented and losses reduced by simply following a few simple safety precautions.

Pay particular attention while cooking, especially when using oils and grease. Cooking appliances should be kept clean of grease build-up, which can easily ignite. Applying a lid to a small grease fire and turning off the burner is usually the most effective and safest method of controlling it. Never carry a pan that's on fire as it may ignite clothes, or spill and spread the fire or cause severe burns. If the fire is inside your oven, turn off the heat and leave the door closed to cut off the fire's air supply. Young children should be kept away from cooking appliances to prevent any mishaps. It's always a good idea to use the back burners when possible and keep panhandles turned to the inside so they won't be pulled or knocked over. Check stoves and other appliances before going to bed or leaving your home to make sure that the units are left in the "off" position. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

Ketchikan: Ten registered nursing students received pins - A formal pinning ceremony for University of Alaska Anchorage Associate Degree Nursing Program Ketchikan graduates was held Friday, December, 7th at the US Coast Guard Station Crow's Nest, upper base.

Ten registered nursing students received their pins. The pinning is a long held traditional nursing ceremony. Speakers included UAS Campus Director Cathy LeCompte, UAA School of Nursing Director Jean Ballantyne, UAA Nursing faculty Maureen Northway, and Student Speaker Brett Hinkle.

Emily Avila, Leanne Blanks, Thomas Grass, Mary Hasibar, Brett Hinkle, Sherity Kelly, Christine Lyshol, Vanessa McGhee, Rosa Mergenthal, and Sandra Singer spent 2 years training in clinical settings in Ketchikan and Anchorage. They also completed college course work which qualifies them to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science , Nursing degree. These graduates are now able to sit for the national licensing exam (NCLEX-RN), and practice as registered nurses. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

Alaska: Education Proposal Unveiled by Governor - Building on the work of the Legislature's Education Funding Task Force, and reaffirming her commitment to education, Governor Sarah Palin on Friday announced details of her three-year school funding proposal. Under the plan, the State of Alaska would invest more than $1 billion each year in public education over the next three fiscal years.

Two key components of the proposal include forward-funding and increasing the base student allocation. This will enable school districts to have the resources they need to be accountable for student success.

"I believe it is critical to shift the annual debate from how much are we going to spend on education to how we can be innovative and work to improve the outcome of our education system," said Governor Palin. "It is my hope that this proposal, which incorporates the good work of those who served on the Task Force will become one that all Alaskans can support, including the Legislature, the education community and the public at large." - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

Alaska: UA regents agree to bachelor's degree in Yup'ik language, culture - Starting in January 2008, students at the University of Alaska will be able to begin earning credits toward a four-year degree in Yup'ik language and culture at the Kuskokwim campus in Bethel.

"In Yup'ik, the program is called Yupiit Nakmiin Qaneryaraat Piciryaraat-llu," Oscar Alexie, assistant professor of Yup'ik at the Bethel campus, said Thursday at the UA Board of Regents' meeting in Anchorage. "That means 'the very own language and culture of the Yup'ik people'."

The board, which met for two days on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus this past week, approved the four-year program. The program will build upon existing certificate and two-year programs in Yup'ik language proficiency and Native language education in Bethel. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

Fish Factor: Higher prices for halibut, Favorite fish folks, Fish Watch By LAINE WELCH - Buyers will likely be paying higher prices for halibut next year if proposed cuts get the nod from fish managers.

Scientists with the International Pacific Halibut Commission are recommending a nine percent cut to the coast-wide catch next year - meaning California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. The IPHC also oversees British Columbia's halibut fishery. The suggested U.S. catch of 59 million pounds means six million pounds less of the popular fish will be crossing the docks.

The industry was anticipating the drop. Starting two years ago, IPHC scientists began assessing the Pacific halibut stocks as a single coast wide unit instead of by separate regions, as they have been doing for the past two decades. New information from tagging programs showed greater movement of adult halibut than previously believed.- More....
Monday AM - December 10, 2007


Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: It's a Beautiful Day, In Frost Patch USA - By the time you read this, Ketchikan's normal wet winter will probably have resumed.

We don't often get these lovely little stretches of clear and cold weather like we have had in early December, just like Ketchikanites don't often have the pleasure of white Christmases.

We watch TV and see the commercials where the horse drawn carriages pull up to the brightly lit houses and sigh. That's not our reality most Christmases. Santa almost always decks his "halls" with Gore Tex on his way here.

And we don't often get these pretty little cold snaps, maybe once every couple of years or so. Just to remind us that we really aren't living in North Seattle after all.

I was walking across a parking lot this week, enjoying the brisk temps and watching my breath condense in front of me.

I heard a little rustle on the adjacent hillside and then a sharp crack, followed by a large thunk on the hood of the car next to mine.

Santa slipping off a roof top? - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on Teaching Teaching - No matter what she wears - or doesn't wear - Paris Hilton will never be quite the international sensation she was in "One Night in Paris". Even though I haven't seen the infamous home video, I am confident in my prediction because I know two things: sex sells, and you can't sex-up sex.

Likewise, you can't coach coaching. Vince Lombardi is regarded as the greatest football coach ever, and he was a business major in college. Before making history on the sidelines, he taught high school Latin, algebra, physics and chemistry. The latter requires more than a smattering of the others for true mastery, but I fail to see how it could be a prerequisite to the Hall of Fame.

True, Knute Rockne was also a chemistry teacher (at Notre Dame, where he had majored in the central science), but Lombardi was never coached by Rockne - in chemistry or coaching.

Pat Summitt is the legendary coach of the Lady Vols basketball team at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and her NCAA career winning record surpasses all others, male or female. She is an alumna of the University of Tennessee at Martin. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007



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Basic Rules

letter City Council: Do you really understand? By Charles Edwardson - The city council, like many other boards and councils, are under appreciated and should be commended for their efforts "SOMETIMES"

But sometimes you get a group in there and you have to wonder just what they are thinking, if anything. First a 10% minimum grade for new roads in Ketchikan for all new construction, and now a move to try to add sprinkler systems in new homes where you cannot park a fire truck within 150 feet of the new home. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

letterRevilla Road Closure By Heather Muench - On Saturday afternoon on my usual trip out the Rivilla Road, I noticed a "road closed" sign. The road was clear with a little snow at the edge. It was in far better shape than the few days after the beginning of the cold weather. I saw numerous cars going in both directions. There were folks out cutting wood, walking dogs, hauling snowmobiles and getting Christmas trees. About a mile after the end of the pavement , there was an Alaska State Trooper stopping cars. He told me the DOT had closed the road and he had been sent out to enforce the closure. We were on dry gravel. I asked if I could park and walk my dogs. He once again said the road was closed. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

letter Newtown, downtown steering committees By Charles Edwardson - Some of the same people on these committees were the biggest critics of the jewelry stores. And now there is talk of glamorizing Ketchikan's seedy past and turning Newtown into a theme park, (lots better than jewelry stores right)? This is ludicrous and validates the legitimacy of the jewelry stores at least they are what they are, and are not trying to fool anyone. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007

letterFAWN MOUNTAIN FIELD By Wayne Kinunen - An important responsibility of any community is to provide safe, healthy recreational opportunities for its youth and adult citizens. Ketchikan provides a great variety of activities for people. One of the most popular youth programs is soccer. The Ketchikan Youth Soccer League has provided games, coaching, training, referees and equipment for nearly 30 years. One thing KYSL has not been able to provide is an adequate field of play (in soccer terms-a pitch). The new field at Fawn Mountain is an ideal location to install an artificial turf field. - More...
Thursday PM - December 06, 2007

letter Drinking & School Sports By Jeff Currier - If a young man or woman chooses to play school sports, they are a representative of that school and the town it is in. If they choose to break rules, such as drinking or taking drugs, then they should expect to have to suffer the consequence. They are setting an example not only for the other students but also for the kids that are looking up at them as examples. - More...
Thursday PM - December 06, 2007

letter Embarassment to all Alaskans By Robert K. Rice - If corruption and lack of integrity are not enough reason to vote out Don Young and Ted Stevens, then how about the points made in the Sitnews article on 12/5 "Alaska Corruption"? - More...
Thursday PM - December 06, 2007

letter Shoping local, planning committees... By Robert McRoberts - Shop local? Why do we feel like we are getting burned? Is it the way we are taxed? There is a tax for inventory for products left in our stores on January 1st. If something is not sold the year it's ordered it's taxed making it more expensive right off. Just what do the shops that close for the winter pay? Is this fair? Not in my book. - More...
Thursday PM - December 06, 2007

letter Buy local & road maintenance... By Rodney Dial - I agree with Mr. Flom's letter and his plea to buy local. In the age of the internet, local business owners not only have to offer a competitive price, but superior service to survive. On a personal note, I have been involved in the renovation of an old house here for over a year and have spent tens of thousands of dollars locally. Madison and Talbot's have been excellent to work with. I have also been very happy with the work provided by local contractors, including the Duckworth's and Aurora Roofing -- good people. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letter Conflict of interest By Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux - "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other." Matthew 6:24, New American Standard Bible. Unfortunately, most Alaskan Legislators can not seem to grasp this fundamental principal of conflict of interest. In the final days of the Special Session, I wrote Speaker John Harris a letter and made the point on the House floor that legislators with clear ties to the oil industry should be recused from voting on the oil tax bill. In light of the recent indictments and convictions and in order to restore the people's trust in the legislative process I believed this was critical. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letterKudos to Jerry Royster By Joey Tillson - I would have to agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Royster. The minute we start allowing our children to participate in such school activities after an "honest mistake" or for "just being a kid" then when does it stop? Offenses get worse and worse. The excuse becomes "well you let so-and-so participate after being caught with tobacco, mine was just one beer". Who determines who plays and who doesn't? It's either all get punished when rules are broken or no one does. There is no level of rule/law breaking. Either you did or you didn't. Period. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letter MCA & Sports By Nick Buchanan - In response to Mr. Royster letter, I find it a bit farfetched. Now growing up in Ketchikan and attending K-Hi myself I know how it is, every weekend kids are trying to start a party somewhere, it happens with the youth now days. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letter Favorite Ketchikan Birds By Craig Moen - Since I was quite young I've had a fascination with how many different kinds of birds there are. My favorites growing up in Minnesota were the loon, pheasant, red-winged blackbird, and chickadee. The last several years here in Alaska have added the raven and eagle to the list. Most recently in Ketchikan it's the red-necked 4-wheeler. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letter MCA's and Making the Varsity By Jon Hurley - I agree with Mr. Royster's letter. If you are caught drinking or doing drugs you should not be allowed to participate in school sports for that year. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letter High School Sports By Franny Weihing - I do agree with Mr. Royster that drinking and still getting to play sports is a problem in this town with our youth today. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letter Pioneers of Alaska- Jim Duncan By Bob Rehfeld - Another wonderful piece of Ketchikan history by Ms. Harrington. Nice job and keep up the good work. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 05, 2007

letter Varsity Athletes By Jerry Royster - I was disappointed last month when I checked the police report and saw that two Kayhi athletes were arrested for minor consuming alcohol. But I was even more disappointed to see the Kayhi varsity rosters today and read that both athletes had made their respective teams. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter 4-Wheel Awareness Month By Ken Lewis - The 4 Wheeler Awareness Month, was very enlightening and a delightful insight into problem solving! Rather than throwing some grass seed on the unsightly tracks left by a human and machine, finding out who done it and don't do it again moral to the story? It has turned into justified-beat-down of narrow minded Ketchikanites who would dare ride a 4-Wheeler for any other reason, other than to carry a bat and bludgeoned baby fur seal pups! - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter State prisons: Less and less means more and more By Sen. Kim Elton - Is a bad idea escaping from the state prison system?

There are rumblings that corrections administrators plan to ask for bags of loot to build new prison beds. Our prisons are bursting at the seams but we need to ask if adding new beds is the only answer to the problem. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter State action regarding VECO scandel. By Lynette Clark - I must first write that this perspective is my own. It does, however, adhere to my own political leanings as a long time Alaskan, and a leader of the AIP. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letterLet's Move! By Su Curtis - The cold weather, dark evenings, slick roads and frosty sidewalks are forcing us indoors. But that doesn't mean we should quit moving. There are plenty of indoor activities that are just as enjoyable and beneficial as a brisk walk. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter YOUTH EXPO 12/12- You're invited! Especially 4 wheelers... By Bobbie McCreary - FIRST: Mark your calendar, Wed Dec 12th at 5:30 at the Ted Ferry Center, Youth and Family EXPO and Potluck sponsored by Ketchikan Youth Initiatives. We welcome ANY organization serving Youth with healthy alternative activities to exhibit at this EXPO. Just email to: There are two meetings to work on the displays...Tuesday and Wednesday of next week (12/4 and 12/5) 5:30pm at Creekside Meeting Center, 640 Park Avenue, across from the American Legion Building. Stop by if you are interested. 247-8080 - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letterOff road vehicles and hikers By Penny Eubanks - I just read Mr. Moen's latest viewpoint on his original 4 wheeler post, and thought I would like to point out to him that there are a number of foot trails reaching into areas that are either off limits or not accessible by off road vehicles. There are really very few areas that are open or accessible for 4 wheelers or snowmobilers to enjoy their recreational past time. I do agree that I do not like the scars on terrain such as delicate muskeg eco systems left by tracks of off roaders. But I have noted that for the most part the same trails are used rather than new ugly scars being created. Most of these well used trails are far above the Ward Lake area instead of down in visible residential areas. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter Vacant downtown By Derek Flom - On a beautiful sunny fall / winter day in southeast Alaska I drove downtown. An empty downtown. Vacant buildings for rent and seasonal buildings closed for the season. I am used to the seasonal businesses, every town has them though not to our effect but they do have them of some sort. The most alarming aspect was the amount of "For Rent" signs in empty buildings. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter A MARVELOUS SUBJECT By Jo Shepherd Ripley - THIS IS A MARVELOUS SUBJECT. Every time I read something that keeps me interested enough to read more than two pages I feel that material is suitable for a novel or film. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter Snowmachines and 4-Wheelers By Jos Gus Govaars - OK, that's it! As I sit here biting my tongue, I can't help but feel the need to teach Mr. Moen about the trail system in Ketchikan. I don't know how long you have been in town, but I can think of at least TEN (10) different trails strictly for hikers. There are very few places for the snowmachiners and 4-wheelers to ride. It seems in Alaska when there is dispute over an area segregation is the option that is persued. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

letter Al Gore By Rick Seal - I think that we should look at the house(s) that Gore lives in and see just how much he lives what he preaches. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007

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