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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 13, 2010

Front Page Photo By ROSY RIGLEY

Ward Lake
Front Page Photo By ROSY RIGLEY

Court Rules in Favor of State and Murkowski; Miller Seeks Appellate Review - Alaska Superior Court Judge William Carey of Ketchikan on Friday decided in favor of the Alaska Division of Elections, and re-affirmed the state’s practice of determining “voter intent” on write-in ballots - thus ruling in favor of the state and against Joe Miller in his challenge of the election for U.S. Senate. The ruling confirms the State’s final unofficial results that gave Senator Lisa Murkowski a victory by more than 10,000 votes. Superior Court Judge William B. Carey

Today, the Joe Miller for U.S. Senate Campaign filed its Notice of Appeal of Friday's decision with the Alaska Supreme Court. The Court has issued an expedited briefing schedule, whereby Miller's opening brief is due Tuesday, and the State's opposition brief will be due on Wednesday. Oral argument on the appeal is scheduled for Friday December 17, 2010. Joe Miller is appealing portions of Judge Carey's ruling, including the ruling that essentially modifies state law that previously required write-in ballots to match the candidate's declaration form, but now, after Judge Carey's ruling, such ballots will be counted as long as an unelected bureaucrat believes he or she can determine or guess what a voter intended. 

Regarding today's appeal Miller said, "We have consistently asserted that the law should be followed strictly. The fact that the legislature stated that there should be "no exceptions" to the ballot counting method is what, in our view, should govern this matter. Under the current ruling, there are now over 8,000 exceptions, a result everyone who favors the rule of law should question."

Of Friday's decision, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell said in a prepared statement, “I am pleased to see such a decisive ruling. [Friday’s] decision moves the Division of Elections closer to certifying this election so that Alaskans can have representation in the U.S. Senate. I trust that any appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court and the two cases now pending in federal court will be resolved in a timely manner."

Treadwell said, “The most important decision is the one made by the voters on November 2 and the job of our Elections Division is to make sure the voters’ will is carried out.”

Friday the State asked Federal Judge Ralph Beistline to lift his stay of certification of the election, while Mr. Miller pursues his appeals. The Murkowski campaign also filed a motion to enjoin the state’s motion and also requested the certification’s stay be lifted and the case be expedited.

The State has recognized that Miller is attempting to delay certification of the race by any means necessary, including new accusations that convicted felons were wrongfully allowed to vote, an accusation strongly disputed by the State.

“We anticipated [Friday's] decision,” said Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney. “We agree with the State of Alaska that Joe is now simply trying to prevent Senator Murkowski from being seated on January 5th.” - More...
Monday - December 13, 2010

Fish Factor: Annual fee for managing and enforcing harvesting rights to a catch yields $3.9 million By LAINE WELCH - Alaskans who own harvesting rights to a catch also pick up the tab for the costs of managing and enforcing those fisheries.

Longliners for halibut and sablefish (black cod) and Bering Sea crabbers pay an annual fee of up to three percent to the federal government for coverage costs. The fee is based on dock prices and averaged across the state.   

This year it yielded $3.9 million for halibut and black cod costs, up from $3.3 million in 2009.

“The fee percentage is slightly lower at 1.4%  compared to 1.6%  last year,” explained Troie Zuniga, fee coordinator at NOAA Fisheries Restricted Access Management Division in Juneau.

This year’s average price for halibut was $4.86/lb compared to $3.13/lb in 2009; for sablefish, the average was $3.76/lb, compared to $3.21/lb. 

The higher prices boosted the ex-vessel (dockside) value of the halibut fishery to $193 million, an increase of $61 million over 2009. For sablefish, the value was $82 million, and increase of $4.9 million.

During the eight month fishery, they landed just under 40 million pounds of halibut, or 99% of the 2010 catch limit.  For sablefish, harvesters caught 88% of the 24.8 million pound quota, leaving about 3 million pounds in the water.

Zuniga said bills were sent out last week to 2,187 Alaska longliners, three more than last year. Deadline for payment is January 31. - More...
Monday - December 13, 2010

Alaska: Alaska’s impaired driving rates improve; still a problem - Alaska was one of a dozen states that saw a significant drop in drunk driving, and one of seven with a significant drop in drugged driving, according to national survey data from 2002–2005 and 2006–2009. While national rates also fell, impaired driving is pervasive and deadly, and whittling away at the problem continues to be a national and state priority.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on Thursday released a report “State Estimates of Drunk and Drugged Driving” that compared combined survey data from 2002–2005 and 2006–2009.

In an average year, 30 million Americans drive drunk and 10 million drive drugged, according to the SAMHSA report. A third of all traffic-related deaths in 2008 - nearly 12,000 deaths nationwide - were the result of alcohol-related crashes; 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths involved drugs, including misused prescription drugs.

In Alaska, the rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities has held steady from 2003 to 2009 at around 40 percent. Alcohol is the top contributing factor to crashes in terms of driver behavior. - More...
Monday - December 13, 2010



Alaska Science: A northern journey along the DEW Line By NED ROZELL - On windy, cold nights a few decades ago, men in darkened rooms north of the Arctic Circle spent their evenings watching radar screens. They were looking for slashes of green light that represented Soviet Bear bombers loaded with nukes and headed southward from the pole.

Those men were DEWliners: a group mostly comprised of civilians who had signed 18-month contracts to work at radar sites that stretched across the Arctic like an electronic picket fence. There were stations every 50 miles from the Aleutians to Greenland. The Distant Early Warning Line stations remained in a chain along 69 degrees north latitude even as they became somewhat obsolete after Russian development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

A northern journey along the DEW Line

Stacey Fritz standing atop two 55-gallon drums used to mark a runway at a former Dew Line site in Alaska’s Arctic.
Photo by Ryan Tinsley.

Now, long after the thaw of the Cold War, some of the DEW Line stations have been upgraded to modern radar systems. Others are moldering on the muskeg of Canada and northern Alaska.

Stacey Fritz has walked through more than one dozen DEW Line sites, talking with people who worked and lived in and near them. Fritz has camped on gravel bars with fog-obscured views of DEW Line towers and golf ball-shaped radomes. More than once during her research, she felt the terrifying thrill of being pursued by a polar bear. - More...
Monday - December 13, 2010



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

letter Coast Guard Beach By Ken Arriola - Not quite sure what Eric Muench's point is, but a few points should be brought to light. First, Mental Health Trust owns and legally has every right to develop the land adjacent to Coast Guard beach. - More...
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

letter We are about to lose Coast Guard Beach. By Sonja Alvarez - The Alaska Mental Health Trust applied for a rezone from  Public Land & Institutions (“PLI”) to Low-Density Residential (“RL”) at the October 12  Planning Commission meeting; MHT did not appear; the issue was deferred to Tuesday, December 14.  Initially only the neighborhood was notified, but due to an article in the Ketchikan Daily News, dozens of citizens appeared and testified.  This provided MHT with a window into the reaction of this community.  At a November 16 Work Session, Mr. Greg Jones, Executive Director, MHT Land Office, stated the purpose of MHT lands is to provide funds to its beneficiaries; and that they are intent to do this with CGB, either with sale or being its own developer.  A rezone to RL will “up zone” the parcel and increase its cost.  To immediately approve the rezone will therefore increase the valuation should the Borough want to purchase or trade for it later. - More...
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

letter Coast Guard Beach By Ken Leland - So they want to turn the Coast Guard Beach into another housing development, eh? The first question that enters my mind is, who stands to gain from this boondogle? Certainly not the majority of residents of Ketchikan. There are some hidden powerful forces at work here, looking after THEIR interests, not OUR interests. Speak up before it's too late! - More...
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

letter Student organization By Jenessa Albertson and Selena Barajas - HOSA, Health Occupation Students of America, is a student organization which is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education Division of ACTE, whose mission is to promote career opportunities in health care and to enhance the delivery of quality healt care to all people. Through HOSA, students learn how to care for patients in multiple settings. - More...
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

letter Clover Pass Community Church's 'A Singing Christmas Tree' By Shirley McDonald - I just wanted to thank Clover Pass for putting on yet another spectacular performance. Even tho last year was my first year of getting to see it .... I keep telling myself I will never miss another and thank goodness they do it for 3 days so I have a good running chance at it! - More..
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

letter Gone but not forgotten By Kim Hannah-Darvell - You would never know looking at the small entry way by the emergency door of Ketchikan General Hospital that miracles happen there. I entered just a few short months ago, clutching my proverbial 10 ft. pole with my good arm, my left arm guarded by my side after a severe break and weeks of immobility. - More...
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

letter KCCB concert By Judith Green - The concert today given by the Ketchikan Community Concert Band was once again a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. - More..
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

letter Ketchikan Borough Assembly: Gullible or Defiant By Charles Edwardson - I have not written in a while to this publication, sometimes my letters border on sarcastic and are edited, I don't mind the editing. I do mind not being put into the conversation. I wrote a rather pointed letter a while back about "The magical world of Oz" meaning the Ward Cove property and the borough assembly leading us down the "yellow brick road" once again. So here goes -- if it makes it in Sitnews, I'll see this coming week. - More...
Monday PM _ December 13, 2010

letter Open Letter: Gravina Access By Peter Ellis - IS IT NOT ABOUT TIME FOR AN UPDATE OF THE 3-8-2010 WEBSITE MATERIAL BY THE GRAVINA ACCESS PROJECT? - More...
Monday PM - December 13, 2010

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

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