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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 18, 2015

Front Page Photograph By RACHEL GUYSELMAN

Foggy Day in the Tongass
Front Page Photograph By RACHEL GUYSELMAN

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Ketchikan: Chimney Fire: No injuries reported; When to Clean a Chimney Flue - Just after 2am Friday morning, the Ketchikan Fire Department, along with mutual aid from the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department and the South Tongass Fire Department, responded to 5260 Shoreline Drive for a chimney fire that had spread to the roof and attic of the home.

Shoreline Drive Chimney Fire
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Fire Dept.

According to information made public by the Ketchikan Fire Department, smoke alarms woke the resident and the occupant and pet made it safely out of the house.

As of approximately 4am the fire was reported out and crews conducted salvage and overhaul checking for any hot spots. KRBD reported, Ketchikan Fire Chief Abner Hoage said the second floor and roof received quite a bit of damage. He did not have a cost estimate, and the official cause of the fire has not yet been determined. He did say the fire started in the chimney.

Mike Bellanich, owner of Southeast Services in Ketchikan, recommends that if you burn wood that you check and clean your chimney regularly. If you are a frequent wood burner, Bellanich recommends having your chimney cleaned at least every six months and as frequently as needed. Southeast Services offers chimney cleaning among the many services offered in the Ketchikan area.

To aid in the prevention of chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion and to help keep wood stoves and fireplaces functioning properly, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers the following safety tips:

1. Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.

2. Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.

3. Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

4. Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months – one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

5. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at the rear of the fireplace on a supporting grate for a fireplace. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids.

6. Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36 inches away from the hearth. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

Alaska Shellfish Growers Learn about Seaweed Farming

Edible kelp is driving a $5 billion industry worldwide, Alaska shellfish farmers are exploring seaweed as the next step in their industry.
Photo courtesy Alaska Sea Grant

Ketchikan: Alaska Shellfish Growers Learn about Seaweed Farming - With edible kelp driving a $5 billion industry worldwide, Alaska shellfish farmers are exploring seaweed as the next step in their small industry. About 40 farmers learned about kelp growing methods, markets, biology, and state programs to expand mariculture during a workshop at the Alaska Shellfish Growers Association meeting in Ketchikan. The workshop was supported by a NOAA–National Sea Grant aquaculture grant to Alaska Sea Grant, for mariculture diversification training and demonstration projects.

At the workshop, Maine-based seaweed grower Paul Dobbins presented an overview of kelp farming from spore to plate including farming setup, and Beau Perry, of Premium Oceanic in California, explained how his company is investing in seaweed growing in Alaska. Mike Stekoll, algae researcher at the University of Alaska Southeast, summarized his experiments with growing several seaweed species in Alaska over the last 25 years.

Alaska Sea Grant’s project is supporting commercial seaweed pilot projects on shellfish farms in Alaska, to test growing conditions, economic feasibility, and logistics. Farmers will have the opportunity to acquire kelp propagation starters as early as 2016. OceansAlaska in Ketchikan is seeding longlines with kelp species native to Alaska and will provide them to growers, who can suspend the lines under water from buoys.

“OceansAlaska is going to provide the string to propagate the algae,” said Gary Freitag, Marine Advisory agent and one of the project leaders. “We can’t use algae from back East—it wouldn't be legal. You have to have indigenous seed in order to raise seaweed in Alaska.”

Alaska’s south coast has a broad variety of edible species. Many of them could be used to make the nori sheets used for sushi, Beau Perry said. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Craig Landmark Destroyed by Fire - Ruth Ann’s Restaurant, a Craig landmark, burned down early Thursday morning. The business supported about six jobs in the small Prince of Wales community of approximately 1,200 people.

Craig Landmark Destroyed by Fire

Ruth Ann’s Restaurant, a Craig landmark, burned down early Thursday morning.
December 17, 2015
Photograph by April Dixon ©2015

According to a press release issued by Craig Police Chief R.J Ely the fire was first reported at about 2:40 am. Fire personnel responded within minutes and found the building completely engulfed in flames. Fire personnel responded within minutes and found the building completely engulfed in flames. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

Fish Factor: Eco-revolution fueled by Alaska Crab Shells By LAINE WELCH - Alaska crab shells are fueling an eco-revolution that will drive new income streams for fabrics to pharmaceuticals to water filters. And for the first time, it is happening in the USA and not overseas.

The entrepreneurs at Tidal Vision in October made the leap from their labs in Juneau to a pilot plant outside of Seattle to test an earth-friendly method that extracts chitin, the structural element in the exoskeletons of shellfish and insects. Their first big run a few weeks ago was tested on a 60,000 pound batch of crab shells delivered by Trident Seafoods from St. Paul Island.

The end product they are going for is chitosan, a fibrous polysaccharide which, among other things, can be woven into fabrics and textiles, and has no end of commercial and biomedical uses.

Chitosan can fetch from $10 to $30,000 a pound depending on quality and usages, and up to $150,000 a pound for pharmaceutical grades, said Craig Kasberg, former fisherman and now Tidal Vision’s Captain Executive Officer.

Chitosan has been produced commercially in China and India since the late 1950s by using chemicals and waste methods that would never pass the muster of US environmental regulators. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015


Online business tools help Alaska fishing operations By DEBORAH MERCY - Alaska commercial fishermen in search of business management assistance can find a wealth of information on the renovated Alaska Sea Grant FishBiz website.

The redesigned website includes material on financing, income diversification, charting exit strategies and many other topics. CoBank, a national rural cooperative bank, provided funding support for the website improvements.

The Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has helped seafood harvesters for 35 years to address small business management challenges with publications, workshops and a network of coastal offices.

“Supporting coastal fishing businesses is a long-standing priority for Alaska Sea Grant,” said Cordova MAP agent Torie Baker. “Our fishing business website had begun to languish. We knew it was time to step up our online delivery of services to this group.”

The website organizes resources to match fishing career phases and includes customizable financial spreadsheet downloads and podcasts of popular workshop presentations. The new design is appealing and easy to use, with some new tools added and others brought up to date. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

Alaska: Division of Insurance Cautions Alaskans Short-Term Health Insurance is not ACA Compliant - The Alaska Division of Insurance has received a number of complaints from Alaska consumers regarding insurance solicitation by Health Insurance Innovations (HII). According to the consumer complaints, agents are allegedly presenting HII products as Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant insurance products. The Division of Insurance reviewed the policy documents provided by Health Insurance Innovations to consumers and determined that the insurance product being offered is actually short-term health insurance, which is not compliant with the Affordable Care Act requirements for minimum essential coverage.

The Division of Insurance advises exercising caution when considering a short-term health insurance policy. While such a policy may fit a consumer’s budget, short-term plans are designed to be used for brief periods of time, such as when a person is between jobs or newly graduated from school. Short-term plans are not held to the same benefit standards and do not have the same consumer protections as comprehensive health plans. When shopping for a short-term medical plan, consumers are encouraged to consider: - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

Alaska - Nationwide: FAA Requires Drone Registration - The FAA is requiring all small unmanned aircraft/ drones that weigh more than half-pound, be registered with the federal government. Unmanned aircraft enthusiasts are considered aviators and with that comes a great deal of responsibility. The FAA wants to work with users to ensure they operate drones safely.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced this month a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015


Columns - Commentary

jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Star Wars Part VII: The Farce Awakens - Ah, time -- it travels faster than the Millennium Falcon.

I still remember the summer of 1977 and my late father sitting through the first "Star Wars" movie with me at the Hi-Way 50 Drive-In in Lewisburg, Tennessee. (I had heard there would be a sequel, but I was so blown away by "A New Hope" that I couldn't imagine what was left to say.)

Yes, I should have been with a date instead of my father; but I was a shy, awkward teen with zits boasting enough of a gravitational pull to bring down the Death Star.

My father bought me an 8-track tape of the soundtrack for my next birthday. A few years later, the press was lampooning Pres. Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative as Star Wars.

(Good thing the media didn't learn about other Reagan administration plans for dealing with the Evil Empire, such as Animal House, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.) - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

jpg Michael Reagan

Michael Reagan: Watching the Tuesday Night Fights - Maybe it was because it was held in Las Vegas, where so many great prizefights have been held.

But Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate was easily the best yet.

CNN and Wolf Blitzer did a good, fair-and-balanced job of staging and refereeing the nine-person fight card.

Most of the time was spent discussing substantive issues like foreign policy and national security, not throwing personal low blows.

No candidate was the clear winner. No one was the unanimous loser. No one dramatically moved up or down in the rankings.

A day later it's still No. 1 Donald Trump against everyone else (except his new pal, Ted Cruz).

The final debate of 2015 wasn't as informative as it should have been, but it was like watching three boxing matches in the same ring.

One minute it was Trump and Jeb Bush going toe-to-toe, with Jeb trash-talking Trump for his harsh words about Muslims and charging him with playing on the terrorism fears of Americans.

Trump in turn dismissed Jeb as a fading candidate who was resorting to calling him "unhinged" because "he has failed in this campaign. It's been a total disaster. Nobody cares." - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Christmas 2015

Editorial Cartoon: Christmas 2015
By David Fitzsimmons ©2015, The Arizona Star
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter Smoke and Mirrors By Agnes Moran - The administration and school board of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District (KGBSD) have been creating discord with the Borough Assembly over “in-kind contributions” to draw the community’s attention away from what it should be focused on, student achievement. Under this administration and school board our children are failing to thrive. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

letter Boundary Waters Treaty By Frederick Olsen, Jr. - The United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group (UTTMWG) issued a letter to Alaska Governor Walker requesting that the Governor stop the process of developing a Statement of Cooperation with British Columbia on the SE Alaska Transboundary Rivers until his office formally requests the involvement of the US Department of State under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help protect the rivers vital to our economy and traditional cultures and way of life. - More...
Friday PM - December 28, 2015

letter State Budget By Lance Clark - Maybe I'm doing the math wrong, I hope, but there's approximately 750 thousand people in Alaska and our state budget is around $11 billion a year. That turns out to be $14,667 per person. I have no idea how we can even pretend we can afford that. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Alaska is Cold By John Suter - President Obama is going to send Alaska its share of refugees. Now is not the time to increase cost in the state budget that will incur by bringing in these refugees to the state when the state must do all that it can do to cut cost to balance the budget. A way the state can cut cost is to offer these refugees a free one way airplane ticket with a hand full of cash to fly to another state like California where they have hot dry deserts that is a similar type of country to where they came from and they will feel more at home. They need to know that Alaska is cold by their standards year around and they would not be happy here when they could live in sunny California that welcomes them with open arms of welfare, health care and everything else that they may need. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Dave Kiffer Truckin' By Melissa Muller - Dave Kiffer hit all the high points with his recent column "Ktown Economy just keeps on Truckin'. With the state's economy going up in smoke, it's time to do more than straight thinking. There is a new high tide mark being set and Ketchikan needs to roll with it. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Hillary Clinton Plans a Corporate "Exit Tax" By Wiley Brooks - This is Mrs. Clintons answer to stop American Companies from re-incorporating overseas. For too many politicians the answer is always the same - “we’ll punish those “expletives” for making a profit. An “exit tax” will just be added to the cost of the products we buy and make it more difficult for American companies to compete in the global market. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Revenue options: Thanks for participating By Dan Ortiz - To me, government by the people and for the people is more than just a theoretical concept. I believe this famous phrase from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address must be put into practice for government to work. That’s why I’ve been going door to door, mailing out surveys and holding meetings in the communities I represent. At our town meeting on December 1st, I shared my revenue survey results and asked attendees to fill out a questionnaire on Governor Walker’s proposed endowment fund model. - More...
Friday AM - December 11, 2015

letter Open Letter: ADF&G Commissioner Cotten By Rick Steiner - You may have seen the Fall update released last week by NPS on the Denali wolf population, which showed a slight increase in numbers, but a continued decrease in viewing success. This year, only 5% of the park visitors were able to see wolves, thus some 500,000 paying visitors were deprived this opportunity. - More...
Friday AM - December 11, 2015

letter REDDI report followup By Shawn Kimberley - Almost immediately after posting my letter, I was contacted by the Captain of the Alaska State Troopers. The gentleman I spoke with was the commander of the entire southeast region. After a fairly long conversation, I would honestly say that I believe that he is a good man and a good leader. After our conversation I feel like he is here to help improve all aspects of our community. We discussed the situation thoroughly. What came out of that conversation was a complete surprise to me. Not only was the outcome something positive, But it restored my faith in the Alaska State troopers organization. He did not try to make excuses, He did not try to dance around the subject. Instead he owned up the actions, or in my opinion the lack of action. And was very polite and thankful to me for my part in trying to help correct a dangerous situation. - More...
Friday AM - December 11, 2015

letter Open Letter to Councilman Bob Sivertsen: Future hopeful House Representative By Amanda Mitchell - According to a quote by KRBD, you said: “You wonder why somebody would run when we have such a budget issue with the State of Alaska. I think that might be an opportunity for us to restructure and do some good things. But it’s going to take a lot of work, and I believe my experience and ability to work with people and gain consensus will help our district and our communities.” - More...
Wednesday AM - December 09, 2015

letter No timely response to REDDI report By Shawn Kimberley - On the evening of December 7th 2015, A friend of mine and I were leaving A&P market heading north. It wasn't long at all before I realized that traffic was moving very slow, yes slower than normal even for Ketchikan. There were probably 12-15 cars in front of us and before long there was 20 plus cars behind us all forced to drive 25-30 miles per hour. By the time that we hit the Ward Cove area, the line of cars behind us was so long that you couldn't even see the end of it. As we passed the old pulp mill area, many of the cars in front of us had pulled off leaving me a view of the actual cause of the hold up. We saw an obvious drunk driver leading the pack. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 09, 2015

letter Local Vessel Horizon Pearl Harbor Oil Supply Ship By Bob Young - Vessel Horizon, moored in Ward Cove, is ex-navy vessel YO-43. Constructed and operating as a small oil supply vessel in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. Probably one of the very last surviving Navy ships from that day in Pearl Harbor. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 09, 2015

letter Radical Islamic Terrorism By Donald Moskowitz - The greatest threat to world peace is radical Islamic terrorism. Radical Islamic terrorists killed 14 Americans in San Bernardino, CA; 130 people in Paris; five military personnel in Chatanooga, TN and 13 soldiers in Fort Hood, TX; a soldier in Canada; beheaded journalists and aid workers in the Middle East; killed non-Muslims in Copenhagen, Paris and Tunisia; attacked the Jewish Museum in Brussels, a mall in Kenya, Iraqi Christians, Syrian Christians, 40 churches in Egypt, our embassy in Benghazi, and the Boston Marathon. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 09, 2015

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