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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 22, 2017

Winter Solstice
The Winter Solstice in Ketchikan was Thursday, December 21st at 7:27 am. In terms of daylight in Ketchikan, the day was 10 hours, 22 minutes shorter than on the June Solstice according to TimeandDate.com
This photo was taken at Frog Pond.
Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN ©2017

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Southeast Alaska: Japanese immigrant was an early Alaskan casualty of World War II; Kayamori was the “Picture Man” in Yakutat By DAVE KIFFER - Many people know the name of the first Alaskan casualty of World War II.

Japanese immigrant was an early Alaskan casualty of World War II; Kayamori was the “Picture Man” in Yakutat

Fhoki Kayamori with rifle, two dogs and an otter; winter. Yakutat, Alaska. Time period 1913-1939.
Collection Name: Fhoki Kayamori, Photographs, ca. 1912-1941
Creator: Fhoki Kayamori
Photo Courtesy Alaska State Library - Historical Collections

Ketchikan resident Irvin Thompson was on the battleship Oklahoma when it was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. (See "Sincerely Igloo, SITNEWS, Dec. 7, 2011)

But the second Alaskan World War II related death occurred just a day later, in Yakutat, when Japanese immigrant Fhoki Kayamori committed suicide.

Kayamori was a fixture in his adopted hometown of Yakutat for nearly 30 years. The reason? The immigrant that everyone called the "Picture Man" took hundreds of photos of the people of the community. And it was that hobby that eventually created the circumstances that lead to his death at 64.

Kayamori was born in 1877 in the village of Dembo, today part of Fuji City in central Japan. In Japan, just coming out of centuries of feudal isolation, he was a child without prospects. Although he was born to a wealthy family which owned a paper mill, farm lands and a department store, he was the fifth of eight children and the second son. He would not inherit much, if any, of his family holdings.

When he became an adult, he served the required three-year military term and then served in the reserves. In 1903, it was likely that he would be called up to fight as Japan was in a dispute with Russia that eventually led to the Russo-Japan War of 1905.

Whether he left to avoid the war or not, Kayamori turned 26 on board the steamer Iyo Maru on the way from Yokohama to Seattle. Japanese men were being encouraged to come to America in those days, particularly on the West Coast, as there were many jobs in the growing salmon cannery industry going unfilled. Particularly in light of the fact that there were strict limits on Chinese workers, who had filled most of the cannery positions up to that point. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

Fish Factor: National grant gives big lift to deckhand apprenticeships program By LAINE WELCH - The clamor of “take me fishing” is taking on new meaning in Alaska.

Prospects for a deckhand apprenticeship program just got a big lift from a $142,000 national grant awarded to the Sitka-based Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA), and the group plans to get more boots on deck statewide. 

Deckhand apprenticeships are recommended as one way to attract younger entrants into an industry where the average fisherman’s age in Alaska is over 50. 

ALFA has been crafting a local deckhand training program since 2015, and the grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be used to develop curricula and protocols for skippers and crew statewide, said ALFA outreach coordinator Alyssa Russell. 

Salmon troller Eric Jordan gets the credit for inspiring the program, Russell said, adding that he has taken out 25 greenhorns so far for short term crew jobs on his F/V I Gotta.

“Finding crew with some experience, who loves fishing in Alaska, is so critical to the future of our individual businesses in the industry as a whole,” Jordan said. “This program gives them the taste of it. Deckhands know they like it, and skippers can recommend them for future employment. It is a win-win for everyone.” 

ALFA took Jordan’s model and developed it into a more formal ALFA program, and “tried to rope in other skippers and deckhands,” Russell said.  “We want to give skippers the tools they need to mentor someone. For instance, safety procedures, crew contracts, and basic checklists of protocol for someone who has never been on a boat before.” 

Jordan said he has been inspired by the enthusiasm of budding fishermen is his many “experiential trolling” trips. 

He shared a quote from one: “Crewing was a dream come true. I had never been commercial fishing before; I had never even killed a fish. The days were filled with learning and fun. I learned how fishing works, the lifestyle about salmon and a lot more.”       

A report released this month called ‘Turning the Tide’ highlights the ‘graying of the fleet’ and recommends ways that a new generation of Alaska fishermen can enter the industry. The user-friendly study was compiled by Paula Cullenberg of Alaska Sea Grant, Rachel Donkersloot with Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and Courtney Carothers, Jesse Coleman, and Danielle Ringer of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

Alaska: Re-assessing Alaska's energy frontier - Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS' latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.

Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope.
Credit: David Houseknecht, USGS.

The new USGS assessment estimates 8.7 billion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources. This is a more than sixfold increase from the previous USGS estimates in the region, which include parts of the 2005 Central North Slope assessment and the 2010 NPR-A assessment.

The USGS decision to reassess the NPR-A came after several industry announcements of potential large discoveries in the area, much greater than previously thought. The Pikka and Horseshoe oil discoveries near the Colville River delta just outside NPR-A were announced in 2015 and 2017. Industry announcements suggest that the two discoveries 21 miles apart likely are in the same oil pool, which may hold more than 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

"Advances in technology and our understanding of petroleum geology are constantly moving forward," said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator of the USGS Energy Resources Program. "That's why the USGS re-evaluates and updates our assessments, to give decision-makers the best available science to manage our natural resources."

Industry announced the discovery of the Willow oil pool in the Nanushuk Formation in NPR-A in 2017 with estimated resources of more than 300 million barrels of oil. Multiple wells have been announced to be drilled during the 2017-2018 winter drilling season at both Pikka-Horseshoe and Willow to further delineate these discoveries. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

Alaska: Will a drone be under your Christmas tree? Recently updated FAA registration requirement applies to you - If you’ll be unwrapping the gift of a drone this holiday season, before you take it to the skies on its maiden flight, be sure you’ve registered your drone with the FAA.

With the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act on December 12th of this year, all drone owners are now required to register their unmanned aircraft systems. Previously, two groups were exempt.

Some owners were exempt due to their membership in a community based organization focused on safe and appropriate use through established guidelines and education. Owners of drones less than .55 pounds were also previously exempt. Now both groups must comply along with all other drone owners.

Registration is not new to most current drone pilots. Since December 2015, FAA began requiring drone registration. More than 300,000 drone owners signed up within the first month. Today, there are close to 1,000,000 registered.

In May of this year, model aircraft hobbyists, led by the Academy of Model Aircraft (AMA), fought the registration requirement and the associated fee, arguing the FAA had no jurisdiction over hobby aircraft and that registration through a community based safety program, such as the one that AMA has, is more effective than a mandated program by the federal government. A drone owner went to court based on this premise and won. The FAA, however, continued to have concerns about aviation safety regarding drones and were able to include the mandatory registration for all drones and all user groups in the National Defense Authorization Act. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

Medical Student from Ketchikan Advances in Medical Program

Erik Pihl, a second-year medical student from Ketchikan.
Photo courtesy University of Washington Medical School

Medical Student from Ketchikan Advances in Medical Program - Twenty medical students attending the University of Washington School of Medicine at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), are moving on to the clinical phase of their education.

Among the students is Erik Pihl, a second-year medical student from Ketchikan. Erik attended Ketchikan High School, and double-majored in Mathematics and Biochemistry at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.

During a ceremony this week at UAA, the students were presented with personalized white coats that signal the end to their time studying basic science curriculum, and the beginning of their practical/clinical study in hospitals and clinics.

During the first 18-months of medical school – the Foundations Phase – students are learning about the molecular and cellular basis of disease, circulatory systems, anatomy, blood and cancer, and other basic science subjects. Additionally, through a new curriculum that launched in 2015, each student also spends time in a primary care clinic with a mentor from the very beginning of medical school. After completing Foundations they go on to the clinical phase of their education, completing required and elective clerkship rotations at clinics and hospitals throughout the WWAMI region.

“We are very fortunate to have such a high-quality medical school experience in Alaska,” said Jane Shelby, Ph.D., assistant dean for the Foundations Phase at UAA. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017



Archaeology: Could ancient bones suggest Santa was real? - Was St Nicholas, the fourth century saint who inspired the iconography of Santa Claus, a legend or was he a real person?

Relic of St Nicholas (pelvis fragment) at St. Martha of Bethany Church/Shrine of All Saints, Morton Grove IL, USA
Image Credit copyright T. Higham & G. Kazan

New Oxford University research has revealed that bones long venerated as relics of the saint, do in fact date from the right historical period.

One of the most revered Orthodox Christian saints, the remains of St Nicholas have been held in the Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Southern Puglia, since 1087, where they are buried in a crypt beneath a marble alter. Over the years relic fragments have been acquired by various churches around the world, calling into question how the bones can all be from the same person.

Using a micro-sample of bone fragment, Professor Tom Higham and Dr Georges Kazan, the Directors of the Oxford Relics Cluster at Keble College's Advanced Studies Centre, have for the first time tested one of these bones. The radio carbon dating results pinpoint the relic's age to the fourth century AD - the time that some historians allege that St Nicholas died (around 343 AD). The results suggest that the bones could in principle be authentic and belong to the saint. 

Professor Higham said: 'Many relics that we study turn out to date to a period somewhat later than the historic attestation would suggest. This bone fragment, in contrast, suggests that we could possibly be looking at remains from St Nicholas himself.' St Nicholas is thought to have lived in Myra, Asia Minor, which is now modern day Turkey. According to legend he was a wealthy man who was widely known for his generosity, a trait that inspired the legend of Father Christmas as a bringer of gifts on Christmas Day.

Believed to have been persecuted by the Emperor Diocletian, the saint died in Myra, where his remains became a focus of Christian devotion. His remains are said to have been taken away by a group of Italian merchants and transported to Bari, where the bulk of them sit to this day in the Basilica di San Nicola. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017


Columns - Commentary



JOHN L. MICEK: Christmas Traditions are the Best, Eh - This Monday before Christmas, and my daughter, her hair tied up snugly in a bun, plops herself down in the front seat of my car. And as I aim my trusty German import in the direction of her ballet school, she turns to me, her face aglow in the gray afternoon light, a plea in her eyes.

"Can you turn on your Christmas playlist, Daddy?" she asks.

"Of course," I tell her.

At a stop sign, I fiddle with my phone, tap the Spotify app, and a in a couple of seconds my 12-year-old and I are singing along at the top of our lungs to an absolute holiday classic:

"Fiiiiivvveeeee .... golden ... toookkssss ..." we bellow.

I'm talking about, of course, the Bob and Doug McKenzie version of "The 12 Days of Christmas."

This cheeseball piece of 1980s holiday brilliance foisted on the world by comics Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas never fails to reduce my child to a molten pile of giggles.

That cracked chestnut of a carol comes after Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas," but before the Bing Crosby/David Bowie version of "Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy."  - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017


DANNY TYREE: Did The Pentagon Act Alone In Employing UFO Hunters? - When I was in sixth grade, my impassioned 4-H speech about the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors didn't even merit an Honorable Mention (my fifth-grade speech about our thumb-sucking cat had taken me all the way to the county level!); so I can empathize with those military intelligence officials who are being ridiculed for the existence of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification program.

Surely, you've heard about the New York Times investigation of the Pentagon's secret UFO research program, a classified operation which SUPPOSEDLY ended in 2012.

I can't really blame the Department of Defense for having wanted to explore unexplained aerial phenomena, whether the mysterious aircraft ultimately turned out to be little green men, Russian test pilots or quirky atmospheric conditions. The Pentagon was trying to be proactive and avoid wails of "Why didn't you warn us?" if disaster struck.

But they were realistic enough to cut their losses BEFORE they were faced with having to justify $800 military toilet seats in a universe in which SOME races teleport their waste products straight from their digestive organs into the heart of the sun. ("Zorg, you have a booger hanging from your - Ha ha! Guess it's halfway to a black hole by now.") - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

jpg Political Cartoon: Mueller Claus

Political Cartoon: Mueller Claus
By Nate Beeler ©2017, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Historic Opportunities for Alaska in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - This holiday season, Alaskans can have a renewed sense of hope for good jobs, larger paychecks, stronger growth, and enduring prosperity. The reason why is today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes two historic opportunities for our state.

The first - and perhaps most unexpected, at the start of this year - is the opening of the 1002 Area within the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Set aside by Congress in 1980, Alaskans never gave up on its incredible potential for energy development, and our longstanding efforts finally succeeded this week. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Alaska Marine Highway thoughts By A. M. Johnson - Some interesting community member thoughts have been brought to my attention and worthy I believe, of public discussion. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 19, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Violence Prevention By Agnes Moran - Alaska leads the nation in per capita incidence of sexual assault and domestic violence. Unfortunately, as the recent headlines in the Ketchikan Daily News indicate, Ketchikan is not exempt from these statistics. Women in Safe Homes (WISH) is working to eliminate violence in our community through community partnerships and primary prevention and education programs. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

President Trump should sign ANWR legislation to boost Alaska’s economy, nation’s energy dominance By Gail Phillips - Alaskans are on the verge of seeing the oil-rich coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) opened to leasing for the first time – a three-decades-long quest that was, until now, stifled by environmental it and the blocking-and-tackling tactics of Democrats in Washington, DC. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

AMHS PROBLEMS PLAGUE SOUTHEAST ALASKA COMMUNITIES By Mary Lynne Dahl - My husband and I are frequent customers of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. We have been sailing on the Ketchikan – Prince Rupert run about 6 round trips per year for 16 years, mostly in winter. We have become very familiar with many of the boats and crew over these years. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

These are the Facts By Rep. Dan Ortiz - This letter is in direct response to a December 4th letter to Sitnews submitted by David Nees of the Alaska Policy Forum, out of Anchorage. Mr. Nees states that the numbers I used in my Dec. 1st letter to Sitnews are “inaccurate and misleading.” - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Speechless By A. M. Johnson - I am speechless!! Why so? You ask. I am speechless because of the act of congress to hide, fund and approve of sexual acts performed by elected representatives of Congress. To then hide that action behind a screen not openly viewed by the tax paying public. I am so speechless along with frustration over the extent of abuse towards woman being aided by elected women. Tragic that the intent is to protect abusers over the pain suffered by the victims' being paid off with OUR money. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

IN JERRY’S WORLD By David G Hanger - Ghert Abbott is spot-on with his commentary about Federal income tax policy, but he is also too polite. This is not tax reform. This is not even tax or economic policy. This is pure theft by some of the biggest pigs this world has ever produced. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

RE: Alaska's Fiscal Situation By David Nees - In a December 1 opinion piece Rep Ortiz opines that he is unfairly being accused of wanting to implement an income tax and has not done enough to cut spending. He then lays out exactly the same argument as the Walker administration with the inaccurate misleading cuts of 44% and huge loss of state jobs. - More...
Monday PM - December 04, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Tax the Rich By Ken Leland - Jerry Cegelsky is right, after spending your lifetime building an estate through hard work and sacrifice, sometimes failing in your endeavors, but always keeping on that path to financial stability and security in your declining years, with health issues for yourself and your Family to deal with along the way, it's not an easy path, but you deal with it. - More...
Monday PM - December 04, 2017

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