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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 10, 2012

Front Page Photograph by SUSAN HOYT

Ward Lake: Muskrat
Muskrats are referred to as "rats" in a general sense because they are medium-sized rodents with an adaptable lifestyle and an omnivorous diet. They are not, however, so-called "true rats". The muskrat's name probably comes by folk etymology from a word of Algonquin origin, muscascus, or from the Abenaki native word mòskwas as seen in the archaic English name for the animal, musquash. Due to the association with the "musky" odor, which the muskrat uses to mark its territory, and its flattened tail the name became altered to musk-beaver; later it became muskrat due to its resemblance to rats. (Source
Front Page Photograph by SUSAN HOYT ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
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Ketchikan: KPU Electric to Start Diesel Use for Peak Periods - Ketchikan experienced a very dry fall and as a result of the reduced rainfall, the water in KPU reservoirs is lower than normal, according to Karl Amylon, Ketchikan City Manager and KPU General Manager.

Quoting a news release, in October 2012, the electric usage in the City and Borough was the highest October in history. Electric usage in Wrangell and Petersburg was also very high. The combined result is that there is not sufficient energy available from Tyee or Swan Lake to carry Ketchikan through the winter. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012


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Alaska: State Board Adopts New Regulations for Educator Evaluations - The State Board of Education & Early Development, meeting Dec. 6-7 in Anchorage, adopted regulations regarding school districts’ evaluations of teachers, administrators and special service providers such as school psychologists.

Under the regulations, districts will evaluate whether a teacher is exemplary, proficient, basic or unsatisfactory on each of seven content standards and on student growth. Administrators will be evaluated on 10 content standards and student growth. Special service providers will be evaluated on their service’s performance standards. In evaluating educators, districts will consider the state’s standards for culturally responsive educators.

Educators’ evaluations remain confidential. Neither districts nor the state can make public an educator’s evaluation. The evaluations do not affect an educator’s salary. Districts will report to the state what number and percentage of their educators are evaluated as exemplary, proficient, basic or unsatisfactory.

Student growth refers to improvement, not proficiency. Growth would be measured from where the students start when they begin lessons with the teacher. Growth would be measured in ways that are appropriate to the students. For example, growth in special education students might be based on the academic goals from their Individualized Education Programs, which are intended to measure growth. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

Alaska: Alaska Senior Housing Summit addresses statewide needs; Community members and policymakers prepare for Baby Boomers’ golden years - Alaska’s senior population is one of the fastest growing in the nation. Policymakers, real estate developers, seniors and community stakeholders will discuss the pressing need for more affordable and appropriate senior housing at the Alaska Senior Housing Summit, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12, in the Wilda Marston Theater, Loussac Library, Anchorage. All are invited to attend.

“We want people to be able to age in place with dignity as close to their home community as possible, staying healthy and independent for as long as possible,” said Denise Daniello, executive director of the Alaska Commission on Aging.

Summit topics include sustainable senior housing, building strategies, support services and long-term care facilities. Speakers include representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, senior centers, architects and Alaska Pioneer Homes. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

Alaska: Alaska’s Moon Rocks Return to the State - Following legal proceedings, Alaska has reclaimed Apollo XI moon rocks missing since a fire at the Alaska Transportation Museum in Anchorage in 1973. The moon rocks will be displayed through December at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau starting on Dec. 7.

The moon rocks, presented to Gov. Keith Miller by President Nixon in 1969, turned up in the possession of former Alaska resident Arthur Anderson, who asked an Alaska Superior Court judge in December 2010 to declare him the moon rocks’ owner. Anderson asserted that the state had abandoned the moon rocks after the fire.

State Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth of Anchorage, responding to a state motion, said the documentary evidence of continued state ownership was strong. The Alaska Department of Law persuaded Anderson to voluntarily dismiss the case, which Judge Aarseth did on Sept. 27, 2012.

Judge Aarseth had previously required Anderson to submit the moon rocks to NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for authentication. The FBI, using highly sophisticated photographic analysis, confirmed that the moon rocks and the plaque that contained them were the same rocks and plaque depicted in earlier photographs. The plaque also contained a small Alaska flag that had traveled to the moon and a brass plaque noting the gift from President Nixon to the people of Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

Fish Factor: Value of Fishing Industry; Bait and switch, & Frankenflop By LAINE WELCH - Ask an Alaskan what community is home to the most commercial fishermen and they will respond Kodiak or Dutch Harbor, or maybe Petersburg or Bristol Bay.

Wrong!  Anchorage ranks #1 for total fishing participation, with 994 permit holders and another 1,216 crew license holders who fish year round.  The Anchorage–based fishermen brought home an estimated $52 million from the fishing grounds last year.  The Mat-Su Valley with 396 permit holders and 420 fishing crew also is home to more harvesters than many coastal regions.

Those are just a few of the latest “fish facts” compiled by United Fishermen of Alaska, which profiles the jobs and business taxes generated in 2011 by seafood harvesting and processing in 18 Alaska communities.  

 By far, most commercial fishing operations in Alaska are small LLCs or family businesses, and each fishing boat is like an individual store front. Alaska’s harbors can be likened to a “mall in a marina.’’    

UFA is “alarmed” at the lack of public awareness about the economic contributions of the Alaska’s seafood industry, said president Arni Thomson of Anchorage. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

Alaska: Department Releases Revenue Sources Book - The Revenue Sources Book Fall 2012, an annual publication providing basic information about state revenue, as well as the anticipated revenue over the next ten years, has been released by Department of Revenue (DOR) Commissioner Bryan Butcher.

Total state revenue was $13.6 billion in FY 2012, while General Fund Unrestricted Revenue totaled $9.5 billion. The Department forecasts Unrestricted Revenue of $7.5 billion and $7.0 billion for FY 2013 and FY 2014, respectively. The revenue forecast is based on an oil price forecast of $108.67 per barrel for FY 2013 and $109.61 per barrel for FY 2014. For comparison, the FY 2012 average oil price was $112.65 per barrel. Forecasted oil prices remain above $100 per barrel throughout the forecast period to 2022.

According to Commissioner Butcher, “Total state revenue is forecast to show an increase over the next two years, due to assumed returns on the Permanent Fund. However, the main news is that Alaska’s revenue forecast is for lower General Fund Unrestricted Revenue when compared to the Spring 2012 forecast. The General Fund Unrestricted Revenue for the current year is forecast to be $928 million less in FY 2013 and $679 million less in FY 2014 than the amounts forecasted this spring. We do forecast General Fund Unrestricted Revenue will be between $6 and $7 billion per year for the next nine years, assuming continued high oil prices.” - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: The Five Islands of Ketchikan - Interesting title, no?

Sounds kind of like one those philosophical self help books like the “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” or “The Five People You Will Meet In Heaven.”

Makes you want to turn to it so see what those five islands really are. Are they physical? Are they metaphorical?  What are the “five” islands of Ketchikan? And why only five?

Actually, it is the title of a brief travel story about Ketchikan that was in USA Today recently. I found out about it because I subscribe to Google Alerts, which - unsurprisingly enough - alerts me whenever Ketchikan shows up in significant places on the Internet.

About 99.9 percent of the time, Ketchikan shows up on the Internet in relation to the Bridge to Nowhere.

Just about every week there is a story in some media outlet somewhere about some “important” federal project that is desperately needed by some locale. The only way to get it is an “earmark.” But thank goodness it is not as bad as that “awful Ketchikan Alaska Bridge to Nowhere” which has given all earmarks – even this important, needed by (insert your town name here) one – a bad name.

Well, as a teacher once told me it is better to be a bad example than not to be an example at all. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

jpg Danny TyreeDANNY TYREE: The Mayan Calendar, The End Of The World And You - Underground bunkers. Food stockpiles. Suicide pacts.

All of these are coming into play as people interpret the infamous "Mayan calendar" to mean that the world will end on December 21. According to a Reuters survey of 16,000 people in 21 countries, at least 10 percent of the population is genuinely concerned that we'll all be annihilated on that date.

Yes, one in 10 people are really agitated by all the books, documentaries and bumper stickers ("How's my driving — as I dodge lava, meteors and stampeding wildlife?")

(Let's not forget the Incas and Aztecs who are agitated about missed opportunities — slapping their foreheads and declaring, "Calendars! And we wasted our promotional money on stupid ink pens!")

The diehard true believers, who've immersed themselves in occult tomes and survivalist manuals, inspire me to paraphrase my favorite line from "Monty Python's Life of Brian": "I know an end-of-the-world scenario when I see one. And I should know — I've been through a few." - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012


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letter Price of Gas: What's going on? By Karen Ramsey - Good people of Ketchikan, we are still getting squeezed for $4.31 a gallon for Safeway’s gasoline and $4.33 out at Ward Cove Market. What gives? It’s ridiculous!!! I just spent a week in Hawaii, and nowhere did I see the price for regular higher than $4.00 a gallon. We need to make some noise. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

letter Ketchikan's gas prices & taxes By John Goucher - I recently visited Ketchikan for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Ketchikan was where I hung my hat for over 30 years and both of my daughters and my fiancee still call Ketchikan home. Living in Oregon this past year and visiting Ketchikan as often as possible has made me cogitate on many things in Ketchikan that folks have come to expect. Large utility bills, high food prices, multitudes of "Fees" and taxes by both the City and Borough and of course outrageous gasoline prices. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

letter Potential hydro power from B.C.Canada By A.M.Johnson - With the announcement, regarding the City of Ketchikan bringing the diesel power on to the system to counteract the lack of near future water supply for hydro generation, the following may be timely to ask you to print in your valuable community news paper. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

letter JUDGMENT, A COMMODITY OUR 4-STAR TYPES CLEARLY LACK By David G. Hanger - The most disturbing aspect of this Petraeus mess is the incredible lack of judgment demonstrated by these four-star generals in their association with Jill Kelley, her husband and Jill’s twin sister. Party animals and grifters in all but name, these are not the kind of people with whom we should ever expect close association from generals controlling the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans in uniform. Purportedly educated in the most rigid of honor systems to inculcate in these future commanders the discipline, the dignity and the integrity requisite to expending American lives in pursuit of a purpose, their most personal associations are corrupted by the freaks they are hanging out with, all for the glitz of sex or party favors. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

letter Freezing water By Alan R.McGillvray - Well the cold has begun to snap again, and I thought it would be an opportune moment to remind people that it's time to turn on the cold water on your faucets to keep the water line from freezing up. If you use a cistern to supply the house with water, it can be problematic. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012

letter Budget Cuts By A.M. Johnson - President Obama  ordered the cabinet to cut $100,000,000.00 ($100 million) from the  $3,500,000,000,000.00 ($3.5 trillion) federal budget.   I'm so  impressed by this sacrifice that I have decided to do the same thing with my  personal budget. I spend about $2,000 a month on groceries, household  expenses, medicine, utilities, etc., but it's time to get out the budget  cutting axe, go through my expenses, and cut back. - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012 

letter Deposit for services By Gladys Natkong - I have been in Alaska since 1989, I came back to Alaska to be with my mother who was sick, I decided to stay after she passed. So I am from Alaska and don't have any plans to move. I am wondering if what happened to me has ever happened to anyone else. I can't remember even getting my lights hooked up, it was so long ago, but I remember that I did put up a deposit. I think I eventually got it back. I usually pay my bills before I do anything, but I was caught up in a family matter and when I checked my bank account I saw that I hadn't paid my light bill. Then a man from the Ketchikan light company came to the door and said that he was there to shut off the lights and that I better call the office. I called the office and the lady in charge of credit said that I had to pay my bill in full and pay a $395.00 deposit by Friday (It was Tuesday) to keep my lights on. I tried to explain that I forgot because of family emergencies and she asked if I got energy assistance and I said yes. She said get them to pay it. The total amount that the light company wanted was $695.00. I told her that my disability check couldn't even pay that. - More...
Thursday PM - December 06, 2012

letter Lisa Murkowski and the United Nations By Marvin Seibert - Recently the Senate voted to reject the UN treaty for disabled rights in a 61-38 vote, 5 shy of passing. On the surface this sounds like a very Callous vote by the Senate Republicans. The truth however lies in the details! If this vote would have passed then the U.N. would create new abortion rights and impede the ability of people to home-school disabled children just to start with. The treaty would infringe on U.S. sovereignty, an argument echoed by other opponents. - More...
Thursday PM - December 06, 2012

letter Filipino Community of Ketchikan's New President By Joey Garcia - The Filipino Community of Ketchikan recently has turned the gavel to a newly elected President Alex Millendez. His prowess in getting the group together will enhance a plan for the 2013 agenda that will entail lots of camaraderie within the membership group. - More...
Thursday PM - December 06, 2012

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

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