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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 29, 2012

Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT

Bohemian Waxwing
Front Page Photo by SUSAN HOYT ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)


Ketchikan: Ketchikan Borough considers land sales - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is considering a 140-lot land sale that would be conducted in three phases. - Read this article on the Anchorage Daily News ...

SitNews Editor's Note: For a list of the Phase 1 KGB proposed properties for sale and topography maps, go to page 12 of the Dec. 17th KGB Manager's Report.

To submit a comment by mail or e-mail contact Ronald E. Brown, Director of Assessment, 1900 First Avenue Ste. 219, Ketchikan, AK 99901; or email comments to ronb@kgbak.us


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Fish Factor:
2012 Fishing Notables & Picks & Pans' By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s seafood industry worked hard this year to ramp up its message to policy makers, especially those from rail belt regions who tend to overlook the industry’s economic significance.

 How important is the seafood industry to Alaska and the nation? At a glance:   nearly 60% of all U.S. seafood landings come from Alaska  and  96% of all wild- caught salmon.  Seafood is by far Alaska’s #1 export, valued $2.4 billion last year. Alaska ranks 9th  in the world in terms of global seafood production.

The seafood industry is second only to Big Oil in revenues it generates to Alaska’s general fund each year, and it provides more Alaska jobs than oil/gas, mining, tourism and timber combined.

Here are some fishing notables from 2012, in no particular order, followed by my annual ‘fish picks and pans’:

High winds, frigid temperatures and a record ice pack put the brakes on Alaska’s winter fisheries; ice forced the snow crab fleet to extend  its season into June.

The US became the first country to put catch quotas on every fish/shellfish species it manages in waters from three to 200 miles from shore. For Alaska, that means 80% of the total annual catch. 

The first Bering Sea-sized fishing boat  built in-state got underway at Alaska Ship and Dry Dock in Ketchikan - a 136 foot, all steel catcher processor for Alaska Longline Company of Petersburg. 

The world’s first portable floating dry dock was launched at Allen Marine in Sitka; the modular dock can stretch to 160 feet and handle vessels up to 1,000 tons. 

Western Alaska CDQ group vessel owners started making plans to homeport their big Bering Sea boats in Seward instead of Seattle.

For the first time, China emerged   as the top market for Alaska exports, led by seafood.   

Halibut catch limits declined again by 20% and the outlook is for a similar reduction in 2013. Since 2004, the Pacific halibut commercial catch has been trimmed 224%.

Pollock skins were cited as a new source for nano fibers that have a similar tissue structure to human organs and skin.  Studies show that fish gelatin improves tissue cell growth better than mammalian gels. 

Governor Parnell changed the mission statement of the state Department of Natural Resources and removed the word ‘conserve’.  He changed the Governor’s mission statement too.)    It was news  to the Alaska legislature which is supposed to approve such changes.

Bristol Bay fishermen continued to get improved grades for improving the quality of their salmon using a ‘report card’ system and lots of ice.   

The industry braced for new rules that will place observers aboard fishing boats smaller than 60 feet, and for the first time, include the 2,000+  halibut longline fleet. The expanded program begins in January. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Coast Guard medevacs injured man near Sitka - A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a man with multiple injuries from a beach approximately 10 miles north of Sitka Friday.

The man, who reportedly had a tree fall on him while in the woods, was safely transported by the Jayhawk crew to emergency medical service personnel for transfer to Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka for additional care.

The search for the injured man began after Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received a brief distress from the man’s wife over the radio. Watchstanders notified Sitka Mountain Rescue and diverted the Jayhawk crew from a routine patrol to assist. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012

Alaska: Pat Kemp Named Transportation Commissioner - Governor Sean Parnell has named Pat Kemp as commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF). Kemp has served as acting commissioner since October.

“Pat’s decades of experience are a true asset for the state,” Governor Parnell said. “His leadership and critical thinking are well respected. The Department of Transportation will be well served with Pat at the helm.”

Kemp began his career with the Department of Highways in 1971 as a rear chainman on a survey crew. He worked during summer breaks from college and began full time employment with DOT&PF in 1977. After serving 30 years in the construction and preconstruction sections, Kemp retired from the department in 2006. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012

Alaska: Drilling ship held off the coast of Alaska - A drilling ship is being held off the coast of Alaska while crew safety and pollution control are being investigated. The ship is one of two used by Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

The 571-foot Noble Discoverer has been ordered by the U.S. Coast Guard to remain in port in Seward until employee safety concerns are addressed, in addition to problems with pollution control equipment.

The Noble Corporation said that it is working cooperatively and diligently to rectify deficiencies and maintenance issues raised by the U.S. Coast Guard during a recent inspection of the Company's drillship, the Noble Discoverer. The Noble Corporation said the inspection followed a successful drilling season in offshore Alaska.

The Coast Guard has identified several components and systems aboard the Company's drillship for attention, including the ship's propulsion and safety management systems. In connection with Noble's internal review independent of the Coast Guard inspection, Noble reported certain other potential regulatory non-compliance issues that it discovered relating to its operations, including possible unauthorized collected water discharges outside the period of drilling operations. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012

Alaska: Coast Guard assists tug and tow in Gulf of Alaska – Coast Guard Sector Anchorage personnel are coordinating a response with Royal Dutch Shell representatives after the tugboat Aiviq experienced multiple engine failures while towing the mobile drilling unit Kulluk approximately 50 miles south of Kodiak Island yesterday.

The crew of the Aiviq reported that they were able to restart one of the ships engines and is currently awaiting assistance from the crews of the response vessels Guardsman and the Nanuq, which departed Seward and are expected on-scene early Friday afternoon.

The Alviq is an American icebreaking anchor handling tug supply vessel (AHTS) owned by Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). The $200 million vessel was built in 2012. She has been chartered by Shell Oil to support oil exploration and drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska. The primary task of the vessel is towing and laying anchors for drilling rigs, but she is also equipped for oil spill response. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012

Columns - Commentary

PETER FUNT: 2013 Precap - Should auld acquaintance be forgot? How 'bout the presidential campaign, the 112th Congress and Newsweek magazine? Journalists usually favor year-end recaps of news but as a public service I'm going to focus instead on the glorious months ahead, in this handy precap of 2013:

JAN. 1: At a New Year's breakfast with Congressional leaders, President Obama outlines goals for his second term: creating jobs, reducing the deficit and ending war. House Speaker John Boehner tells reporters, "It sounds like the president is still campaigning."

JAN. 31: Congressional Republicans introduce legislation to make Jackie Robinson's birthday a federal holiday.

FEB. 3: Super Bowl XLVII is held in New Orleans and immediately establishes an NFL record for a Roman numeral that fewest fans are able to decipher. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012

DANNY TYREE: 2013 Resolution: Be A Responsible Pet Owner - At my house we've TRIED being responsible pet owners in 2012. We feed our four-legged companions Science Diet pet food, provide them a warm place to sleep, carry them for regular vaccinations and give them plenty of attention. We've discussed making tough quality-of-life decisions about seizure-prone geriatric dog Turpy. We just got adopted stray tomcat Trafalgar (a.k.a. Fogger) neutered.

(And we've tried to use the term "neutered" instead of "fixed," so as not to add insult to injury. Illogical euphemisms must be an ordeal for pets. "They put me in a strange room, brandished scalpels and then the Orwellian Newspeak started. Fixed???? It's a nightmare I'll never...oooo, a new place to curl up...")

But we know that a lot of people are NOT behaving responsibly. Pets are living in cramped, unsanitary conditions or roaming the streets. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012

WILL DURST: The Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2012 - First a disclaimer: The Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2012 should not under any circumstances be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2012. They are as different as red satin cummerbunds and Liar's Dice. Duck liver and Spanish moss. Matched pearl necklaces and motorcycle handlebars.

For those of you itching to point out that some stories, especially those involving death, destruction, devastation and disaster are not proper subjects for this sort of fanciful folderol -- way ahead of you. Totally agree. Exactly why the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre, Hurricane Sandy, Jerry Sandusky and the movie John Carter failed to make the cut.

Also left off the list are a few of the fiendishly frivolous footprints despoiling the sands of this annus horribilis such as Lindsay Lohan's continuing struggles with sobriety, that curious craze called Gangnam Style, the introduction of the iPhone 5 and Facebook's roller-coaster IPO.

That said; here they are, the key stories from the past year providing the purest opportunities for major mocking and scoffing and taunting as determined by the executive council of the Comics, Clowns, Jesters & Satirists Union. Me. - More...
Saturday AM - December 29, 2012


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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696
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letter RE: Tonka Timber Sale By Owen Graham - Last month Sitnews published a “Viewpoint” that complained about perceived fish and wildlife concerns with the Tonka timber sale. I did a little research and am happy to report that those concerns are unfounded. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter Rezoning our residential area to heavy industrial; Case 12-106 By Amanda Mitchell - I live in Bear Valley. I have some great neighbors, beautiful views and easy access to the new library, new pool, schools and recreational areas. It is that cozy place where city dwellers get a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some of Alaska’s nature while living in town. We should cherish our peaceful community along with our new pool and library as we have a lot invested in them. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter Need Armed School Security Officers By Donald A. Moskowitz - The recent tragedy at a Connecticut school shooting points out the need for stronger security measures to help prevent or mitigate loss of life at our schools. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter RE: Gun Laws By Amanda Mitchell - I want to thank Rodney Dial for writing his letter about the firearm debate. I think that it is very important to point out the troubles that China and other countries still have with violent acts of crime even with their gun bans. Plus, someone should point out that there have been lives saved because of guns. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter Ketchikan Gas Prices By Margaret Cloud - We need to have some site for listing the current gas prices. I did a search and found a number of sites that supposedly provide the lowest price in any given area but did not find a single one that provided the current Ketchikan prices and some did not list all of the stations. One had Safeway listed as the lowest price. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2012

letter Children of the Taku By Andrew Williams & Yvonne Jack - As citizens of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN), we are proud that a November 18 Joint Clan Meeting unanimously passed a Mandate directing TRTFN leadership to "take all steps necessary to ensure that the Tulsequah Chief project, as currently proposed, is not developed on Taku River Tlingit Territory." - More...
Saturday PM - December 22, 2012

letter RE: Teacher Evaluations By Chris Barry - I have to disagree with Mike Hanley's comments about what makes a teacher great. It seems that his comments are more politically driven finger pointing than anything else. - More...
Saturday PM - December 22, 2012

letter Remembering Hon. Henry C. Keene By Brad Forbes - I simply send this e-mail in respect to all in your fair city of Ketchikan, Alaska.  For what it is worth, I was delighted to see “Capt.” Keene’s You Tube tour and a little history of Creek St.  I’ve looked your city over on You Tube.  Beautiful! - More...
Saturday PM - December 22, 2012

letter Gas Price response By Norma Lankerd - FYI, tell the guy griping about the $3.71 a gallon he may GRIPE harder if he lived in Metlakatla, we PAY $4.71 a gallon and it has never gone down since it went up. ALSO people have to realize the fuel is barged up to Alaska and that adds the fuel surcharge to the cost which is probably added into the cost of the fuel. - More...
Saturday PM - December 22, 2012

letter Thoughts on a variety of subjects By Joey Garcia - This is the first time when I read the latest Sitnews containing innuendos, which as for me, is a basic ingredient part of a constructive kind of criticism, citing a few like the sentencing of 2 brother Filipinos in the finality, the broken neck of birds along the path of Ward Lake, the attitude of the KPU inhuman trait in cutting electricity and the reinstallation charges so fantastically done so in time for Christmas, the continuous refurbishing of dockside 1 and 2 for the 2013 tourists trade, etc....etc.... Pathetic? Not really I guess... - More...
Saturday PM - December 22, 2012

letter Ferry Service for Inter Island Ferry By Norma Lankerd - Okay the Lituya will be down for maintenance - I believe is from January 4th to January 25th, 2013 - and the INTER-Island Ferry is picking up the ferry service one-way only and the resident people of Metlakatla will have to stay in Ketchikan for the night and come back to Metlakatla the next day. - More...
Saturday PM - December 22, 2012

letter Teacher Evaluations By Mike Hanley - No one describes a teacher as great without talking about how well their students are learning. It just doesn’t happen, because you can’t have one without the other. Teachers teach kids -- both in areas of academic knowledge as well as other important skills like critical thinking, problem solving, working independently, working in groups, and citizenship. I would argue that these latter skills are foundational to academic success. - More...
Monday PM - December 17, 2012

letter Thank you By Heather Muench - The Board of Directors of the Ketchikan Humane Society would like to thank all the caring community members and businesses who donated time, money, and auction items to our 2012 Silent Auction and Fundraiser on November 16th. We were so pleased that so many of you turned out in support of our efforts to help Ketchikan's abused and abandoned animals. - More...
Monday PM - December 17, 2012

letter Gun Laws By Rodney Dial - Something worth considering regarding the national debate about firearm / ammo restrictions: The one commonality present in most mass killings is the mental illness of the shooter. The number one way to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms/ammo would be the creation of a national database that would be accessed by the dealer at the point of sale. Meaning, that if a person was treated in the past for mental illness, or flagged as unstable by the health community, the sale would be denied. - More...
Monday PM - December 17, 2012

letter Leash Law By Dawna L. Hull - I have been living in Saxman for 3 years. I've talked to Animal Control on a number of occasions about the many dogs I see that wander around without leashes. I've come into contact with a number of these animals and for the most part they are friendly. But I've also come across some who will "challenge" me. - More...
Monday PM - December 17, 2012

letter Repost of the "Potential hydro power from B. C. Canada" By A. M. Johnson - Greetings Sitnews readers, I would apologize for the transmittal error that had the body of the letter submitted excluded for unknown computer glitch. - More...
Monday PM - December 17, 2012

letter Gas Prices By Justin Capps - Why are we paying a lot for gas when the lower 48’s paying under $3.75 gallon? - More...
Monday PM - December 17, 2012

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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