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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 09, 2010

Front Page Photo by HEIDI PRENTISS

Someone's Not Sleeping
Bear prints in the snow, Dec 5 at Herring Cove.
Front Page Photo By HEIDI PRENTISS

Ketchikan: Residents speak out about South Tongass Ferry Terminal site By MARIA DUDZAK, KRBD - On Monday night, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities held a meeting to update the public on the status of the South Tongass Ferry Terminal Project. Selection a terminal site is the final component of the Alaska Marine Highway System's plan to link the southern end of Revillagigedo Island to Walden Point Road on Annette Island. Some in attendance spoke in favor of the project, while others spoke against one of the alternatives.- Listen to this KRBD story...

Alaska: Judge hears arguments in Miller's Senate battle; decision won't come before Friday By PATTIE EPLER, Alaska Dispatch - Don't expect a ruling in Joe Miller's challenge of Lisa Murkowski's apparent win in the U.S. Senate race until sometime Friday, Ketchikan Superior Court Judge William Carey told attorneys who spent two hours arguing their cases on Wednesday morning. - Read this Alaska Dispatch article...


Restoration Stabilizes Totem Poles - The Giant Oyster Pole and the Two Frogs Pole in Saxman, Alaska were experiencing significant decay along their bases due to the bare wood of the poles being placed directly into the ground when the poles were installed in the Saxman Totem park over 70 years ago. To address the issue, Saxman received Commercial Passenger Vessel Tax funding to stabilize the poles.

Restoration Stabilizes Totem Poles

Ernie Hamilton of Three Dog Construction helps to stabilize Saxman’s Giant Oyster Pole, ensuring its safety for years to come.
Photo by Kelsey Sullivan

In mid-November, both poles were removed from the ground.  Decaying sections of the bottoms of each pole were removed.  A new creosote log “foot” was installed in the base of the Giant Oyster Pole.  The creosote log will prevent future decay.  A new wooden base was constructed and grafted onto the base of the Two Frogs pole, this base will now outlast the pole. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Community Concert Band Festive Holiday Concert - The Ketchikan Community Concert Band will present a festive holiday concert on Sunday, December 12 at 3:00 pm at the Ketchikan High School Auditorium. The performers will open their holiday concert with "Alaska's Flag", and continue with "Christmas Sketches", a unique arrangement by Sean O'Loughlin. Following is a suite for concert band entitled "Chesapeake" "inspired by the bountiful Chesapeake Bay and dedicated to all who live, work and find recreation on America's waterways".

Roland Barrett has written a thought-provoking composition entitled "Ghost Dances - Wounded Knee 1890", inspired by the massacre of 300 members of the Lakota Sioux tribe at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Barrett sets a solemn mood interspersed with agitation and tension, in a masterful musical setting of this great tragedy in American history. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

Ketchikan: Practice safety with holiday decorations - As the holiday season approaches, there is an increased excitement about adorning our homes with the traditional decorations of Christmas trees, ornament, and garlands.  Holiday decorations, as beautiful as they are, can also be an added home fire hazard. Statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Association reveal that a candle fire in the home is reported to a fire department every 30 minutes and each year nationally, fire departments respond to roughly 260 structure fires caused by Christmas trees.

Seven people have died in fires in Alaska in 2010. As we enter into this holiday season, don’t let a tragic home fire mar your spirits or even worse, take a life.  The Ketchikan Fire Department and the Alaska State Fire Marshal‘s Office urge families to follow a few fire safety tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday season: - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

Alaska: State Works to Remove Aggressive Wolves Near Port Heiden - Residents of Port Heiden on the Alaska Peninsula have asked the Alaska Department of Public Safety and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) for help with aggressive wolves that have been killing pets and approaching people in frequent visits to the community.

“Due to the threats to public safety, the state has decided to take action and remove wolves in the vicinity as soon as possible,” said Joseph Masters, Commissioner of Public Safety. “We have been developing a coordinated effort for the community.”

Residents report that wolf numbers, attacks on domestic animals, and threatening behavior toward people is increasing. Wolves have killed 5 dogs and 2 cats this year, including 2 dogs during the last few days. Villagers have killed 6 wolves in the vicinity of the village since August. Currently there is not enough snow on the ground and local waterways have not frozen enough to allow local residents to safely travel by snow-machine, which hampers their efforts to take wolves.

“It is a serious situation,” said Bruce Dale, Region IV, supervisor ADF&G. “Local residents feel threatened and say there are too many wolves for them to get the situation under control.” - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

Alaska: NOAA PROPOSES LISTING RINGED AND BEARDED SEALS AS THREATENED UNDER ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT - NOAA’s Fisheries Service is proposing to list four subspecies of ringed seals, found in the Arctic Basin and the North Atlantic, and two distinct population segments of bearded seals in the Pacific Ocean, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The proposed listings cite threats posed by diminishing sea ice, and additionally, for ringed seals, reduced snow cover. NOAA climate models were used to predict future sea ice conditions.

One of the five recognized subspecies of ringed seals, the Saimaa in Finland, is already listed as endangered under the ESA. Under the proposed rules published today in the Federal Register, the remaining four subspecies of ringed seals – Arctic, Okhotsk, Baltic and Ladoga – would all be listed as threatened. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010



Dave KifferDave Kiffer: A Brit Bid to Bridge the Gravina Gap? - Several of my loyal readers (it surprised me too that there were more than two!) have contacted me let me know that the British navy has an aircraft carrier for sale.

Yes, you - for a minimum bid of $5 million pounds ($7,837.334.41!) can win - at auction, the HMS Invincible. Call now and they will throw in a couple of harrier jump jets just for the heck of it.

If you are wondering why I would care - or more appropriately why other folks would know that I care - then you just haven't been paying attention!

I think that an aircraft carrier would solve a variety of Ketchikan's ills.

Unfortunately, not the HMS Invincible. More on that in a moment.

It all goes back to a couple of bored journalists in the early 1990s.

My late, great friend Pete Figueroa was probably the only person to work for every media outlet in the city of Ketchikan, at least twice! He specialized in attending governmental meetings, two or three times a week, depending on whether he was doing print or broadcast journalism. He knew a lot about what was going on in town because he paid attention. He also had really active brain!

One night, he and I were sitting through a lengthy and pointless school board meeting (yes, I realize that pointless and lengthy are redundant when combined with school board meeting).

This was in the early 1990s when the idea of bridge to the airport on Gravina was burbling back up into the community consciousness as it is wont to do every 10 years or so.

So we were sitting there listing to the school superintendent drone on about the latest Blue Ribbon Panel Initiative to boost Vitamin D in school lunches.

Pete scribbled something on a piece of paper and passed it to me.

"Aircraft carrier."

Silly me, I was actually paying attention to the inane speech, so I shot him a quizzical look.

Then it hit me. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010



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Basic Rules &
Freedom of Speech

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

letterSave Coast Guard Beach By Eric Muench - Coast Guard Beach is a 70 acre parcel near Point Higgins with open forest, the longest stretch of sandy beach along the Ketchikan road system, and ≤ mile of natural waterfront. It has been used for school camping trips, nature education and public recreation for generations. It is now under threat of being chopped up. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

letter A PROSPECTIVE WINDFALL By David G. Hanger - I found Merrill Stulkin’s reasons for supporting Joe Miller somewhat curious, and I think it suggests the prospect for an unexpected windfall. Mr. Stulkin believes in limited government, so he claims, the kind that Joe Miller espouses, i.e. no social security, no unemployment benefits, no food stamps, no government assistance of any kind, basically. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

letter Joe Miller By Charlotte Poirier - It seems to me if it's not Joe Miller's way, it's no way. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

letter Security Requires A Strong Military By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Obama administration is contemplating major reductions in the Defense Department budget to help cut into the huge deficits incurred by the President and his Washington cronies.  They plan on reducing our conventional military forces, and increase special operations units to combat the terrorist threats around the world. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010

letter Ward Cove again! By A. M. Johnson - It is not my intent to be a fault finder, however, December 3'd has come and passed. Hopen and Associates have missed the extended deadline for earnest money payment. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 07, 2010

letter Keep KPU Telecommunications Public; Contract Out Ketchikan Public Library By Robert Warner - With the coming holiday season it is pathetic to note that Ketchikan city management continues its scheme to sell KPU Telecommunications, an organization that actually serves citizens well and earns a profit for the city.  If sold, will we face sharp rate increases?  Will we have to speak with an operator in India when we have a telecommunications problem?  With telecommunications rapidly overtaking traditional books and libraries as the prime source for research and learning, Ketchikan still has the opportunity to develop and shape its own service to fit the needs of our citizens.  This is a rare opportunity, especially for a small community like Ketchikan.  To date KPU Telecommunications has a excellent record of meeting this challenge.  Why can't the city manager start serving the public and answer these important questions before any attempt to sell this division takes place? - More...
Tuesday AM - December 07, 2010

letter Kudos to KGH By Jackie Brozena Herter - Our mother Coralee Brozena, who recently passed away, was in Ketchikan General Hospital's long-term care facility for three years. I would publicly like to thank ALL the staff for their wonderful care. We're not always easy to be around as we age and have health/pain issues, but everyone was very kind and caring. Ketchikan should be proud of their fine hospital staff. Dr. Liljgren was very giving of her time and communicated well with the three of us daughters long distance. The peace of mind being able to ask questions and get clarification was invaluable. Our family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 07, 2010

letter Why Sell Ward Cove??? By Kimberly Peters - Why does the Ketchikan Borough want to sell Ward Cove? It seems the deals always fall through. I think the borough should put in a new harbor and try to make some money instead of trying to get rid of such a great piece of property. - More...
Tuesday - December 07, 2010

letter Part 1: Lowering taxes didn't increase oil output By Sen. Hollis French & Rep. Les Gara - Alaskans deserve a fair share for the oil produced in this state.  Alaska’s Constitution says all Alaskans own our oil in common, and it should be developed for our "maximum benefit."  We also need to encourage production, and jobs. That’s something the Army Corps of Engineers didn't help with when it blocked needed oil development in the National Petroleum Reserve this year.  The truth is that achieving both goals is complex, and if we want strong production and a fair share of oil profits so we can fund our schools, roads, public safety and savings, we need to put aside the sound bites of campaign season. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 07, 2010

letter Part 2: Lowering oil taxes doesn't guarantee investment By Sen. Hollis French & Rep. Les Gara - Few subjects provoke more controversy than oil taxes.  If oil is taxed at too high a rate there’s a risk that crucial investments don’t get made in the state’s most important industry.  If oil is taxed at too low a rate then we fail in our constitutional duty to ensure that our oil resources are developed and used for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 07, 2010

letter Herring fisheries By Robert McRoberts - Over the years some very good letters have been written on this site -- such as why we should oppose this type of fishery, or some about certain areas. When Kah Shakes fishery first started I was a young boy working for my brother in-law Frank Jaynes. he was trying to keep diversification in his fishing to keep money coming in throughout the year. We would also pack herring on his boat the Patty Lynn. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 07, 2010

letter2010 Alaska U.S. Senate election By Trapper Bishop - I am writing this piece to offer some advice for Joe Miller: accept and concede. Although I personally supported Joe Miller, the time has come, I believe, in which Joe needs to realize the people of Alaska have spoken and Senator Murkowski deserves to be sworn in next month. - More...
Thursday AM - December 02, 2010

letter Unique learning opportunity By Robert Warner - Perhaps the last election provided most Alaskans with a unique learning opportunity.  It was a good spelling lesson that we can all benefit.  Let's see! - More...
Thursday Am - December 02, 2010

letterRoe Herring fishery By R.K. Rice - This is largely in response to Kevin Kristovich's letter. You are a lifelong local so you probably remember when as late as the mid 90's Tongass Narrows was teeming with herring every December through January. People jigged bait and pickling herring off the docks. Some used small seine's to harvest bait for longlining shrimping etc. Prior to that East Behm Canal also had a large herring population. Kah Shakes roe herring fishery just suddenly collapsed, along with most of the local herring stocks. - More...
Monday - November 29, 2010

letterWard Cove Deja 'Vu By Mary Lynne Dahl - Once again, Ward Cove is the subject of a questionable purchase by a buyer who has already demonstrated that he either does not have or is not able to raise the money that he offers. He also refuses to disclose, does not keep his word and may, in fact, be just another flim-flam man looking at Ketchikan as an easy mark for his own enrichment plans. A Seattle area man, Kenneth Hopen of Hopen & Associates, a Nevada limited liability corporation, has come up with an offer that has, so far, not put a dime on the table. - More...
Friday PM - November 26, 2010

letterResponse to Raw Fish Tax By Scott Willis This URL is an online form that Bristol Bay Fisherman must submit to the Borough for a Raw Fish Tax. 180,000,000 fish at a nickel per fish. See why the City of Ketchikan wants this Tax? - More...
Friday PM - November 26, 2010

letterRE: Herring By Kevin Kristovich - This letter is in response to the comments and concerns made by Lawrence,"Snapper" Carson. For years now, I have been reading about Mr. Carson commenting about the local herring population and how he accuses the Department of Fish and Game for mismanaging the local herring stocks we once had in the Kah Shakes area south of Ketchikan. He also goes on to object to the West Behm Canal area that is designated as a commercial sac roe herring fishery area. - More...
Friday PM - November 26, 2010

letter Concede By Michael McColley - Mr. Miller is the one who didn't want the federal government to help Alaskans. Now it is Mr. Miller who tried to file a motion to sue over misspellings and the election process and who asked for help from the federal government.- More...
Friday PM - November 26, 2010

letterRaw Fish Tax By Kevin Kristovich - To all Ketchikan commercial fishermen and local harbor users. Show your support to see that the Ketchikan City Council returns the recent funds stripped from the harbor department that were actually voted in by the council in December of 2008 to be held in trust by the harbor department for future harbor improvement and developments. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letterKyle Johanson Should Resign By Robert Thompson - At the meeting with District One Republicans our representative, Kyle Johanson, encouraged folks to call him - of course, he doesn’t bother to answer his phone. Kyle J. said he is willing to meet with anyone. Yet no one seems to know where he is or how to get a hold of him. - More..
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letter Herring By Lawrence "Snapper" Carson - The Alaska Dept. of Commercial  Fisheries has decided it is time to fish herring for sacroe in the spring of 2011 in Behm  Canal. This is a dormant mandated fishery. It is scheduled to happen when the herring population has reached a threshold population established by the  Alaska  Department of Commercial Fisheries. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letterProfiling has its place. By A. M. Johnson - As it relates to our current National airport TSA situation... "Once upon a time in the early days of our Western Territory development, a young Eastern newspaper reporter ventured west to witness and report on daily events. Stepping down from the stagecoach in a Western town, he witnessed the crowd gathering around a newly constructed gallows. Inquiring, he found that there was to be a hanging of a young horse thief. Horrified, he witnessed this act and was distraught. Several days following the hanging, it was discovered that the wrong man had been hung. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letterOpen Letter: New fence at the South Tongass Fire Station By Scott Cragun - I received (the STVFD) letter regarding the proposed new fence at the South Tongass Fire Station and I have a few questions or comments that I would like to have answered or addressed. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letter RE: Cutting Public Safety By Roger Hackstock - Darlene Guzman is absolutely correct, 100%. I've known her for years and if anybody has a grasp on things in Ketchikan she does. The police department and the fire department in the city need your full support. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letter Miller needs to let go By LeAnn Pickard - Am I the only person who is rather shocked by the way Miller is handling the outcome of the votes? He seeks to challenge misspellings of Murkowski's name, regardless of voter intent, and is now planning on calling for a recount because there were volunteer observers who did not have the training needed and therefore some ballots that should have been challenged were not. The math says that even if he gets all the 8,000+ ballots taken out of the equation, Murkowski is still in the lead by a couple thousand votes. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letterMan-up Joe By Michael McColley - I've lived in Alaska most all my life. I know Joe Miller and have met Lisa Murkowski. I believe the people, the voters of Alaska have had their say. Joe you can not push the Alaskans around. Man-up you lost, Lisa won. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letter What's sauce for the goose? By Sandy Powers - I was intrigued by the Kevin Sweeney (Murkowski's campaign manager) quote as reported in Sitnews [Nov. 17th]. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010

letter RE: Iranian Nuclear Weapons Threat By Adam Price - Mr. Donald Moskowitz’s letter (Iranian Nuclear Weapons Threat, 11/9/10) basically said it’s time to use force against Iran in an effort to stop their nuclear program.  The letter states that a number of countries have nuclear weapons, but are considered “stable” and they behave with “rational conduct.”  Umm…let’s see, which country is the only one in history to drop not one, but two atomic bombs? - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 201o

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