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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 04, 2012

Ward Lake: Mink
This mink appeared to be inquisitive about the photographer and didn't seem to mind having its photo taken. All was well until an unrestrained dog entered the picture and attacked and chased the mink -- then earlier another dog chased the trumpeter swans. When on an outing with your dog(s), remember the leash law is in effect in the Ward Lake Nature Trail area.
Front Page Photograph by JIM LEWIS ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

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Ketchikan: Changes to Alaska Ferry Concept Announced by Governor - While in Ketchikan today, Governor Sean Parnell announced that the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) will pursue plans to build two smaller, less costly Alaska Class Ferries, rather than one large Alaska Class Ferry. The governor announced the new direction after it became apparent during the design phase that building a 350-foot ferry on budget, in Alaska, could not be accomplished.

Gov. Parnell made the announcement at a combined Rotary 2000, First City Rotary and Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Governor Parnell noted while in Ketchikan today, “With declining oil production and declining state revenue, we have to be smarter with the people’s money while meeting Alaskans’ marine transportation needs. I have supported and will continue to support the increased service by mainliners from Bellingham all the way out the chain. By setting a new course, Alaskans can build two smaller Alaska Class Ferries and stay on budget, and at the same time provide the same or better level of service Alaskans expect from our marine highways. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 04, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Forest Service seeks Feedback on Commercial Thinning Project; Dargon Point Project in Comment Phase of Planning Process - The Tongass National Forest is developing a commercial thinning project on Prince of Wales Island and is looking for comments from the public. The project, Dargon Point, is a young growth timber project and part of a broader effort by the Forest to transition from old growth to young growth harvest.

Located along the western shore of Prince of Wales Island, approximately three miles north of the community of Naukati, the Dargon Point project proposes to commercially thin and harvest mature (60-70 years old) young-growth spruce and hemlock. The stand under consideration was originally harvested in the 1940s.

In order to better understand public thoughts and concerns about the project, the Forest Service has released the “Dargon Point Commercial Thinning Environmental Assessment” (EA) for a 30-day review and comment period. The comment period will begin the day after a Notice of Availability (NOA) is published.

“The project will be pretty wide-ranging in its impacts, from improving forest health and wildlife habitat to providing sawlogs to mills and job opportunities for local contractors,” said Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. “If approved, the young-growth volume will diversify the current Southeast Alaska timber industry.” - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012

Alaska: Former Executive Director Of Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission Sentenced To 41 Months In Prison - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced last week that an Anchorage woman was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for two counts of Intentional Misapplication of Funds from an organization receiving federal grant money and one count of Money Laundering for misapplying almost $400,000 in funds from the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (“AEWC”).

Maggie Ahmaogak, 62, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $393,000 in restitution.

Ahmaogak was the executive director for AEWC from 1990 until her termination in April 2007. AEWC is a non-profit organization formed in 1976 to protect Eskimo subsistence whaling of bowhead whales; to protect and enhance the Eskimo culture, traditions, and activities associated with bowhead whales and subsistence bowhead whaling; and to undertake research and education related to bowhead whales. AEWC receives funding from several sources, with the majority of its budget coming from grants issued by the United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Between 2004 and April 2007, the time period of the defendant’s intentional misapplication of funds, the AEWC received federal grant funds from NOAA totaling approximately $2.3 million. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012

Alaska: Response crews remove tug, barge from beach near Cold Bay - Response crews successfully completed the salvage of the tug Polar Wind and its barge the Unimak Trader from Ukolnoi Island, 40 miles east of Cold Bay, Saturday.

The five-person crew of the Polar Wind was rescued November 13 after the tug ran aground and began taking on water. The crew was reportedly attempting to recover the barge after their towline parted.

“The safe rescue of the crewmembers of the tug Polar Wind highlights the importance of our continual presence in the Bering Sea and the northern Pacific and the quick response capabilities of our ship and aircraft crews,” said Capt. Paul Mehler III, commander, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.

“The teamwork between federal, state, local and tribal partners working together with industry resulted in an outstanding and professional response,” said Capt. Mehler III, . “The crews were able to resolve a complex and logistically challenging job without adversely impacting the maritime environment and ensured the safety of responders.”- More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012

A barn on a budget offers a life lesson in agriculture By Nancy Tarnai - If you believe the common conceptions that young people are afraid of hard work and have no interested in agriculture these days, you haven’t met the Wilcher boys.

Wyatt (left) and Dakota Wilcher in the
barn with Mildred the pig.
Photo by Nancy Tarnai

Wyatt, 16, and Dakota, 15, have been raising critters for years and have turned their hobby into a viable business they dubbed Budget Barn Farm, located at their home off Nordale Road. It all began because their father, Mike, didn’t want his sons to “graduate high school without having worked a day in their lives and I wanted them to know where food comes from.”

Mike grew up on a farm and had some firsthand knowledge so he and his wife, Chris, enrolled the boys in 4-H. At first they had their own club, “Pigs and Stuff,” but eventually they joined the Country Meadows club which is now called Far North Farmers. In 4-H, students are encouraged to pursue whatever they are passionate about, be it photography or sewing or a host of other subjects. For the Wilcher brothers it was animal husbandry. They launched into raising pigs, chickens, goats, calves and turkeys, all of which they show and sell at the Tanana Valley State Fair.

They even tried reindeer. Through a special project with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Reindeer Research Program, the boys each raised a reindeer a couple of years ago. Neither was able to show his deer at the fair because they couldn’t get them to calm down enough. “It was a fun experience, though,” Dakota said. - More...
Monday - December 03, 2012

Columns - Commentary

TOM PURCELL: Christmas Tree Shopping with Dad - It was one of my favorite rituals every year.

One evening after dinner - a few weeks after Thanksgiving - my father and I would shop for a Christmas tree.

My father wore his rattiest coat as he prepared to do battle with strangers who would attempt to part him from precious family resources.

He instructed me to remain silent as he executed his negotiation strategy - one he'd refined and perfected over the years - for good reason.

accident. As he worked his cunning on the unsuspecting flea-market guy, I raved about the bike - how I couldn't wait to get it home!

I screwed up the deal royally, of course, and my dad was steamed. The flea-market guy wouldn't budge off the price and we walked away bikeless.

Over the next few years, I learned to keep my yap shut when my father displayed his cunning.

As the cold December air froze our bones - as a hot fire raged in an old steel barrel to keep the tree-lot guys warm — my father would almost go into a trance. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012

WILL DURST: Fiscal Cliff Traffic Report - "So, expect showers and gale-force winds over the next couple of days and don't forget that high-surf advisory is in effect throughout the weekend. We may even see some downed power lines and scattered looting. That's the weather here on Capitol Hill -- now let's go to Brandon with your Congressional traffic report."

"Thanks Brandon. Well, its gotten pretty ugly out there, people. My best advice is, stay in your homes. As expected, following the holiday recess, we're seeing a lot of bluster and bombast building up on the Beltway, and the obstructionist blather has managed to stall headway on nearly every budget deal ramp to a virtual crawl.

Three or four 18- wheelers jam-packed with Election Day rancor have overturned, and as you might imagine, rubbernecking has resulted in hundreds of not-so-tender fender benders in both directions. It's gotten so bad that major media outlet trucks are stuck on the shoulder filming each other, filming each other. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012


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letter Re: Property Taxes By John Harrington - Mike Fay was stunned last year when he got his tax bill for a waterfront home valued at over $170,000. Why? He had to pay almost $1000. He complains that there are no schools, way up there. That is true, also there are no students; but nonetheless the State of Alaska requires the Borough to pay almost $500 toward funding schools for his property. And the Borough pays every cent of his taxes to support schools, and then some. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012

letter Re: The girl who gave up By Kathy Stack - I want to thank you for your story Jordan. I have a hole in my heart due to a brother commiting suicide in 1990. I think your story will help others and I want you to know I appreciate you for writing and publishing it. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012

letter King Island Christmas By Jacquie O'Sullivan - I just returned from the Ketchikan Community Choir's performance of King Island Christmas. It was outstanding. They all did a terrific job putting it on. Singing was terrific, settings and artwork were great and the story is uplifting and fun for all ages. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2012

letter Property Taxes By Mike Fay - I was stunned last year when I got my tax bill for my 20-30' wood cabin way out in Misty Fiords on the Unuk River, almost $1000. That is of course after the Ketchikan Borough annexed the properties on the Unuk into the Borough just a few years ago. There is no fire service, no schools, no investment up there whatsoever and yet we are paying more and more every year. - More...
Friday PM - November 30, 2012

letter KSM mine threatens the Unuk river By Victoria McDonald - Alaskans agree that plentiful salmon runs are an important part of our lifestyle. But 2012 ended with another year of low king returns. Statewide studies are searching for answers but if we were able to ask a fish, they'd supply an easy answer: "We need clean water and healthy habitat". In southern Southeast, numerous salmon spawn in the Unuk River tributaries so it is essential that water quality be safeguarded in the Unuk and other mainland rivers. - More...
Friday PM - November 30, 2012

letter RE: There Once Was a Girl That Gave Up By Bobbie McCreary - Thank you! Jordan for sharing this very personal story of your own experience with suicide and the positive outcomes you have since achieved. This story will speak to many youth and young adults, and those of all ages, who have considered taking their lives. You have proven there is hope and a meaningful future for all... - More...
Friday PM - November 30, 2012

letter Tax & spend By Ed Plute - Wonder why taxes are going up when in the water division, for example, you have a $300,000 break-room which should not have cost any more than $10,000 max. If officials can afford to spend our money like this, why would they not dare think of raising taxes? Is everybody asleep in Ketchikan? Hold them accountable. - More...
Friday PM - November 30, 2012

letter The answer is NO! By Rodney Dial - In the news on November 26th, our Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon announced yet another large tax increase for the city. Apparently the property tax increase last year wasn't enough, or the shell game the City Council did when they made KPU the funding source for the non-profits, transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures to our utility. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 28, 2012

letter SAYING SO DOESN’T MAKE IT SO By Rebecca Knight - The Tonka Timber Sale Record of Decision, signed in March 2012, culminated a multi-million dollar, three-year planning effort on Lindenberg Peninsula, just a short skiff ride from Petersburg. The protected waters of Wrangell Narrows allow safe access for local subsistence deer hunters during our notorious fall weather. Regionwide, one of the greatest threats to deer hunters is from boating accidents. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 28, 2012

letter RE: Dumping By Laura Plenert - Also, be considerate of other areas - like the "end" of the road, or the parking area available at the bottom of the Calanna Lake trail. It is disgusting to see people's trash just thrown in a public area. - More...
Monday PM - November 26, 2012

letter GAC pool By Amber Williams-Baldwin All last year swimming twice a week I had to sometimes wait 30 minutes for a " family room/ handicap room" . I am very happy that there're no stairs (except for the slides). If last year having two family rooms-handicap rooms wasn't enough, why would we only put in two again? Would anyone want to take their child out of a warm bath & let them wait 5,10,15-30 minutes to dry off? No? Then why didn't we put in several small just family rooms separate from handicap rooms? I think that was a HUGE mistake to both parties. - More...
Monday PM - November 26, 2012

letter Abortion, rights and choice By Marie Zellmer - I have been reading a lot about the abortion issue on Sitnews lately and I felt that I should add a little of what I know, personally. I will admit publicly that I have had two abortion procedures. Why? Is it because I don't like children? I can't afford to raise one, or have the guts to give it up for adoption? Or, because I am selfish and I don't want to have the responsibility of another life? The answer is no to all of these questions. - More...
Monday PM - November 26, 2012

letter RE: Fix It By Laura Plenert - Mr. Garcia, try talking to the store manager. I'm sure he would be able to help you. Bottom line, you cannot pay the lowest price and expect the highest quality. - More...
Monday PM - November 26, 2012

letter There once was a girl who gave up By Jordan Flory - On September 13, 1995, that girl was born, bright eyed and innocent to the ways of the world. All was good. As she grew up she learned about the hardships of life. Not only did these hardships cause her to become numb and distant, she also felt that there was no way out. That no one understood. That NO ONE could help. Her heart felt cold and empty. Somehow, it didn’t matter how many friends she had. It didn’t matter that she had a loving supportive family waiting at home. She knew there were people to talk to, but she didn’t know that there were people who understood. Giving up on living was the only possible fix she could see. - More...
Friday PM - November 23, 2012

letter Dumping items over the 3rd Ave. bypass By Vanessa Bruns - I ask that the residents of Ketchikan be more thoughtful and respectful when they are wanting to dispose unwanted items. The 3rd Avenue Bypass is not a dumping ground. There have been many items thrown over the 3rd Avenue railing ranging from bicycles, household garbage, cans, bottles, insulation, animal remains from hunting or fishing trips, small appliances, and scrap wood to name a few. What individuals may not realize, there are houses below the Bypass. - More...
Friday PM - November 23, 2012

letter Unwanted Pregnancies By Chris Elliott - My apologies to Mr. Jarvi. When he asked Mr. Holston to "convince the males...not to start the problem...", I thought he was talking about males taking responsibility for birth control. In response to Ms. Irizarry’s comments, I say (sans sarcasm): While conceiving is a 50-50 proposition, in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, it is almost always the female who shoulders the responsibility for the child. - More...
Friday PM - November 23, 2012

letter Abortion By Rob Holston - Sorry Paul, I don't see the comparison of Roe V Wade with crossing Ketchikan Creek. I do see several valid comparisons between Roe V Wade being the "law of the land" and other "Laws of the Land" observed as pathetic reminders of our historical past & present. Here are a few: women are property; only property owners can vote; slaves can be purchased, held, sold or killed; natives can be killed or put on reservations; Jews can be killed (by the millions); pre-born children can be killed (by the 10's of millions). - More...
Friday PM - November 23, 2012

letter Fix-It By Joey Garcia - Perhaps it is high time for me to reconcile my own with David Boone's opinion of "Fix It Right". It is a very sad note that in the electronics department of Ketchikan's Walmart, sans [sic] the smile of the employees to help out a customer. What it missed along this line is the knowledge of assigned people in their electronics IT department area. - More...
Friday PM - November 23, 2012

letter The old swimming hole By A.M.(Al) Johnson - Back in the days of yore, prior to 'Indoor Swimming', a young lad grew up living on the south side of Ketchikan in the area of "Buggy Beach" a tidal pool, now referred to as "Rotary Beach'. For the first toddling years of living near this location, mother would take me wading, allowing me to chase beach crab, throw rocks and enjoy the feel of water. As I grew, the time to learn to swim was nearing and one day, while treading water behind a floating log, I slipped off in water at deep end of the tidal pool. Not knowing how to swim, and near the third time down, a local Boy Scout, Harry Johannsen saved my live. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 20, 2012

letter Re: Open letter to the Ketchikan Borough Manager By Agnes Moran - Thank you for voicing you concerns about the Gateway Aquatic Center (GAC). The issues you raise have been previously identified by GAC staff and they are actively working with the contractor to resolve them. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 20, 2012

letter Reproduction & Responsibilities By Shari Irizarry - With all due respect and without expressing any opinion on abortion per se, I thought condoms, and "whatever else is available to men" were the answer to unwanted pregnancies. If you can't be bothered to use contraception, maybe you should consider the cost of child support for the next 18 years. Perhaps that would stick in your mind and make you a little more careful. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 20, 2012

letter Once again my point... By Paul Jarvi - I think Ms Elliott missed the point of my letter. Contraception is legal and the law of the land. Mr. Holston seems not to understand this point. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 20, 2012

letter Israel Will Strike Iran By Donald A. Moskowitz - According to various intelligence agencies Iran could have nuclear armaments ready for use against Israel by early 2013.  The devices could be nuclear bombs, or more likely, nuclear warheads on missiles. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 20, 2012

letter FIX IT RIGHT By David Boone - I have been an appliance repairman for 40 years.  My natural inclination is to fix things.  As I look at the state of national affairs today, nothing seems to be working right.  One hardly knows where to begin the repair.  May I suggest tax reform? - More...
Tuesday AM - November 20, 2012

letter Stifling our economy By John S. Fellows - I am a retired foreman from the Dow Chemical Co. My political affiliation is independent. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 20, 2012

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