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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 23, 2009

Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

Buggy's Beach
Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

Christmas Boat Parade

SEAPRO, Ketchikan Fire Department, and maybe a few others, will resurrect the Christmas Boat Parade on Wednesday the 23rd announced Fire Chief Jim Hill. Look for (at least a couple) decorated boats on the Narrows starting at about 3:30 in the afternoon Wednesday.


Ketchikan: 'Ollie' Prest Was First To Fly Into SE; Famous Air Daredevil Nearly Beat Roy Jones To Ketchikan in 1921 A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - Most locals are aware that Roy Jones flew the seaplane Northbird into Ketchikan the summer of 1922 and brought air flight to Southern Southeast.

But Jones was very nearly not the first pilot to come to Ketchikan. Almost a year before Jones' flight, a famous daredevil pilot trying to make the first flight from Mexico to Siberia had to turn around just five miles south of the First City and return to Prince Rupert.

Clarence Oliver "Ollie" Prest did not intend to land his wheeled biplane in Ketchikan - he was heading for a patch of grass near Wrangell - but he most certainly would have excited Ketchikan residents by buzzing the community and would have been the first plane to arrive in the skies over town.

Alas, his visit was aborted by - no surprise - a bad rain squall that nearly brought his plane down at the mouth of Tongass Narrows before he turned back to Prince Rupert.

Prest, 25 when he made his first attempt to fly to Siberia, had been obsessed with flying since he was a young boy in Southern California.

Prest had begun "experimenting" with gliders and low-powered aeroplanes in 1911 - when he was 15, according Robert Steven's comprehensive 1989 book "Alaskan Aviation History, 1897-1928."

He purchased a Bleriot monoplane in 1915 and moved to Venice, CA where he opened a short-lived flying school. He also attracted attention by performing early parachute jumps, most notably from a balloon at the Arizona State Fair.

By 1916, he had relocated to Riverside and had built another airplane that he used to set several altitude records and put on exhibition flights, according to Stevens.

The Los Angeles Times, in a 1988 history of Orange County, also noted ones of Prest's feats.

" It was in the skies above Seal Beach on Aug. 12, 1917, that Clarence O. Prest, a daredevil motorcycle racer turned pilot, attempted to set a new world's altitude record, reaching an incredible height of 18,100 feet with a makeshift oxygen system while 35,000 spectators gasped below," wrote Times reporter Kim Murphy in 1988.

Prest also began experimenting with various forms of aerial photography and became one of the most expert early practitioners of it. He often financed his flying ventures by selling copies of his aerial photographs.

Pilot Survives A Drop of 'Poison'

In 1919, he was flying out of Salt Lake City and had gained enough notoriety to be a "headliner" at the first air show in the then desert village of Las Vegas on Thanksgiving in 1920. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

Ketchikan: Wells Fargo Donates $15,000 to KGH Foundation - Wells Fargo Bank representatives recently presented a check to the Ketchikan General Hospital Foundation for $15,000. The donation was given in support of the Foundation's 2010 "Gift of Healing" campaign to provide equipment and a new operating table for a Minimally Invasive Surgical Suite.

Wells Fargo Donates $15,000 to KGH Foundation

Wells Fargo Bank employees present a check for $15,000 to the Ketchikan General Hospital Foundation.
Photo courtesy KGH

Minimally invasive surgery is performed through small incisions through which a tiny camera and other instruments are inserted. The camera projects images on a screen to guide the surgeon. At the end the incisions are sutured and bandaged.

This new technology will improve image resolution resulting in superior diagnostic clarity, improve the detection, diagnosis, and prognosis of some cancers and other diseases, reduce the need to perform more invasive surgeries in some cases, and increase the range of services available locally.

"We feel passionate about giving back to the community," said Steve Boehlert, Wells Fargo Business Banking Manager for Southern Southeast Alaska. "This project will improve our medical facilities which is a great way for us to provide a benefit to our region." - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

Ketchikan: "Enough is Enough" a Community Summit Scheduled for January 12th - "I saw the hurt in my kids and didn't know how to solve it," said Diana Chaudhary, mother of teenagers attending middle school and Ketchikan High School. "We need to step up to take action. I spoke to a former police officer who told me that until the community comes together and says 'enough' loud and clear, and is willing to do something about it, the problems will continue."

Chaudhary is one of a group of concerned citizens who have initiated a community summit slated for January 12, 2010, from 6:00 to 8:30pm at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. This forum, entitled, "Enough is Enough, a Community Conversation," invites all segments of the community, from elected officials to business owners to service organizations to youth and families, to participate in an exchange of concerns and solutions. The community needs to stand together to address the problems caused by the influence of drugs and alcohol and other issues that threaten the future of our youth and our community as a whole.

According to Zig Ziegler, local realtor and businessman, "There is a huge problem in Ketchikan. That problem is drugs; specifically meth and OxyContin. The costs, not only monetary but socially, are staggering. It is time to take control of a situation that is out of control." - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009


Southeast Alaska: Alaska Native, Tourism, and Conservation Groups Seek Protection for Roadless Areas in Tongass National Forest - A diverse coalition of Alaska Native, tourism industry, and environmental organizations took action Tuesday to protect some of the last pristine old-growth areas in the Tongass National Forest. These areas are important to Southeast Alaskans for hunting, fishing, customary and traditional subsistence uses, tourism, and recreation. They are also important to the world for their storage of carbon, which combats global warming.

The lawsuit filed yesterday - Organized Village of Kake v U.S. Department of Agriculture - seeks to end the 2003, Bush-era decision to "temporarily" exempt the Tongass from the national Roadless Rule. The lawsuit asserts that this exemption was illegally adopted.

"We must not lose more roadless areas here," said Mike Jackson with the Organized Village of Kake. "For Tribal members, these lands are essential sources of food, medicine, clothing, and traditional items for artistic and spiritual use," he continued. "Our deer hunting and other customary uses of the forest have suffered too much already from past logging," he added. Two large timber sales are slated for roadless areas near Kake, on North Kuiu Island and Central Kupreanof Island.

"The natural values of these watersheds are essential for the survival of small businesses around Southeast," explained Hanna Waterstrat, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association. "Very few folks will pay to go see clearcuts and decaying logging roads."

"Over our 30 years in operation, it has started to get harder to find pristine watersheds to take our clients," Hunter McIntosh of The Boat Company reported. "Now," he said, "dropping anchor in a bay free of logging damage often means doubling or tripling up with other tour boats. For the future of our company and our industry, it's crucial to protect the Tongass wildlands we have left." - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

Fish Factor: Brokers say sales of fishing permits and catch shares good way to gauge confidence in economy By LAINE WELCH - Sales of fishing permits and catch shares is a good way to gauge how confident people feel about the economy, and brokers say the past year has been a mixed bag in their business.

"It's been the slowest year I've ever had, but with the most phone time ever. There's a lot of interest, but not a lot of movement," said Olivia Olsen at Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg. "A lot of guys want to buy and they had the money, but the world situation and some declining fish stocks didn't give them a lot of confidence."

Mike Painter at the Permit Master in Anacortes, WA agreed, but added the tide seems to be turning.

"Most fishermen seem to have money saved up and they've been hanging on to it during the downturn in the economy. Now things look like they're starting to loosen up and guys are starting to spend," Painter said.

In the past six weeks, Painter said business has picked up considerably, most notably, for salmon permits at Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound. Many people waited to see what decisions the Board of Fisheries made earlier this month in the Bristol Bay fishery, he said, and then they started putting down their money.

"Drift permits are at $90,000 now and they are hard to find at that price. That indicates that they are going to continue to creep up," Painter said. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696.

letterKPU TELEPHONE SALE: SPEAK UP By Charles Edwardson - WHAT do the Ketchikan telephone division employees think?? Last year I ran for city council. I went to several forums with telephone division employees at these meetings. I asked about the sale of the division and none of them spoke up. I told them I would stand with them, but not for them. They would not express their likes or dislikes about the pending sale -- in confidence I was told they feared for their jobs. This made no sense what so ever to me. Grown men and women (THEORETICALLY) represented by some phantom union that supposedly protects their interests, scared to lose jobs?? Guess what guys,, you're going to anyway if the utility sells so what have you got to lose? (Speak Up) - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter RE: Stimulate not Obliterate By Don Borders - Rhonda Green is correct in the position she wrote about on Sitnews Viewpoint. When I came to this town, I had to pay large deposits on the Electric and Telephone service. Nevertheless, I was happy to get them as other communities in Southeast Alaska had neither. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterOpen Letter to Sen. Begich By Rodney Dial - Dear Senator Begich, I am writing you in this forum because you seem unwilling to respond to those who question your support of the health care reform bills. My question for you is this: Since you support the Senate Health Care Reform plan, which is designed to comply with the President's mandate that the reform be "deficit neutral" (if that is even possible), can we expect you to stand by ALL elements of this bill? Specifically, this legislation requires congress to cut Medicare by $480 Billion over the next ten years. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter Open letter to Sen. Begich By Jay Jones - Could Sen. Mark Begich please explain to me this part of the Health Care Bill you just voted for? "Section 3403 it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterAnother chance! By Al Johnson - Is it not the time for Senator Beigch to come to our local community's assistance? It would seem so. I believe all it would take would be the local Moderate/liberal Republicans jointly with the "Everything is free and all for Me" Democrats, in a bipartisan way, approach Senator Begich to make his vote for National Health Care worth something. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBridge to Nob Hill By Rhett Jackson - The article, Pelosi snares millions in earmarks for her area from defense bill By JOE GAROFOLI, contained a piece of data interesting to Ketchikanites: The earmarks include $54 million for a flood-control project that will raise two trestles used by the Napa Valley Wine Train. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterOur Community Spirit is Showing! By Bobbie McCreary - The Ketchikan City Council tackled the very difficult challenge of balancing their budget in tough economic times, with an uncertain future of tax revenues ahead. Beyond the wisdom of the council members, what impressed me was how the community stepped forward to give what they could to help. To help save jobs, employees offered to take furlough days without pay. To help protect the City's revenue, Kevin Gadsey withdrew his request for a donation of the rental fee at the Ted Ferry Civic Center for a SAIL event and offered his personal donation to cover this cost instead. This modeling of the community pulling together was really inspiring. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterCut equally or not at all By Beth Antonsen - This letter is written to encourage all of you to reconsider the recent cuts to the non-profits. It is commendable that you have decided to reinstate some of the non-profits to 90% of their budgets but there are still two vital agencies you have left at 50% in cuts. Please, if you are going to cut the agencies do it equally the same to all, including to the Visitor's Bureau. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBob Norton By Neil Gray - I was very saddened when I received the news of Bob Norton passing away Monday. Beginning back in the 1970's Bob and I not only were working partners on the air and in Kayhi Sports on KTKN Radio, but became good friends. I'll always remember the days Bob and I covered Kayhi Basketball and Senior League Baseball. He was an excellent color commentator (and filled in play by play when I lost my voice), but one of the best stats man I ever had. He delveloped into a very good play by play man as well. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterParenting podcast By Inge Kummant - As a teacher and the parent of a teen, I often have the challenges of parenting on my mind. If you are a parent, did you know that there is a podcast and radio show available online from the award-winning, well-established, tried and true Love and Logic Institute? - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterWhat happened with the Christmas Lights? By Terry Miles - As everyone might have noticed, the Christmas "Snowflake" Lights that we've enjoyed in the past that hang on the power poles along Tongass Ave. are, at best, let's say, "Random", this year. I was wondering why? In years past the decorations hung from at least every other power pole. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBeautiful lights By Laurie Hodne - For the family that lives on 2nd Ave that went to obvious extensive work in your light/music display for us to enjoy, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!! - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter Christmas Spirit By Ken Leland - As a long time Forest Park resident, I applaud your efforts and appreciate your obvious Christmas Spirit. I am disappointed that there is someone who would rather act as Scrooge and spoil it for you and all of us who appreciate your efforts. Please don't let this person or persons dampen your Christmas Spirit. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterPuppy scams By Kathy Brendible - I read the BBB article on puppy scams and I was also a part of that. After reading the article it sounds exactly like what happened to me just last Christmas. I also thought I was buying a bull dog from a breeder, but the exact same thing happened . They said to send money by Western Union and I did . They said that the puppy was going to be shipped and it never showed and I never got any information on the shipping. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Kristin Coffin - Mr. Reed, I completely agree with you! I have two dogs of my own, and have thoroughly enjoyed using the local dog parks in WA and OR while completing graduate school. One of my concerns regarding a move back to town is the lack of open, safe space for my dogs to run and play. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Kim Morton - The trail at D2 loop is the best place we have found for walking our dogs. You can hit the right side and walk for miles and miles, or go to the left and they have an open area that is usually free (but sometimes there are 4 wheelers in the area). It 's a great place because you can keep an eye on your dogs but it is sheltered in by the trees. Also we have never had any problems with people getting angry about off leash dogs because there is no rule against it. Hope to see you out there. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Chris Barry - Mr. Reed, it is nice to have a confirmation that there are some responsible pet owners in Ketchikan that have a desire to let their pets run loose without bothering others. I love being around dogs, and I've always enjoyed having dogs (currently I don't have one). I would support having a pet designated area such as a dog park for multiple reasons that I am sure many locals will agree with. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

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Stories in the News
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Ketchikan, Alaska

M.C. Kauffman, Webmaster/Editor,
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