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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Thomas Basin
Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON ©2018



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Ketchikan: REMEMBERING SOUTHEAST ALASKA RESIDENTS WHO DIED IN VIETNAM; 10 area residents killed 50 years ago in conflict By DAVE KIFFER - A half century ago, Alaskans were beginning to take notice of the Vietnam War, primarily because the number of local men and women serving in Southeast Asia was increasing and Alaskans were dying in the fight. A total of 58 Alaskans would die in Vietnam, more than twice the combined number of Alaskan combat deaths in World War II and Korea.

One local who went oversees and was killed almost exactly 50 years ago was William Arthur "Bill" Thompson. Thompson was born in Ketchikan in April 1949. He enlisted in the army and began his service in Vietnam on January 18, 1968. He reached the rank of corporal and was in the light weapons infantry. He served with the 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade. Thompson died on July 12, 1968 in Pleiku Province, South Vietnam. The military record lists his death as "hostile died of wounds, misadventure, ground casualty." Thompson is buried in Bayview Cemetery.

According to a story in the July 15, 1968 Ketchikan Daily News, Thompson graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1967. He briefly went to Spain after graduation and then returned to New York City and enlisted in the Army. He trained at Fort Jackson and requested assignment to Vietnam. He had a brief furlough in Ketchikan before going to Vietnam in January of 1968. He volunteered for long range patroi missions outside of Pleiku and was wounded by shrapnel in March but was back on duty in April.

"He recently graduated from Recondo School in Nha Trang and returned to duty as the leader of a five man patrol," the Daily News reported. "He was wounded on July 10 along with three others of the patrol when a cache of Viet Cong grenades were detonated by enemy fire. He died of his wound on July 12."

"It was such a sad story about Bill died," Former Kayhi classmate Cathy Hook said recently. "He was in my class and went to Nam right after graduation. Very nice, smart, fun, a gentle and soft spoken guy."

Thompson was the second Ketchikan resident to die in Vietnam, following Arthur Joseph "Joey" Whitney.

Joey Whitney Jr was born in Nevada in November of 1946. He was drafted into the Army and enlisted in October of 1966. He reached the rank of Private First Class and his speciality was a "field wireman" according to Army records. He served with the 41st Artillery Group, 7th Battalion, 13th Artillery, B Battery. He was killed on May 5, 1967 in Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam from "hostile action...multiple fragmentation wounds." He was buried in Elko, Nevada, where his family moved after leaving Ketchikan.

According to a May 8, 1967 story in the Ketchikan Daily News, Whitney was a 1965 Kayhi graduate and was on leave from his Ketchikan Pulp Company job when he killed.  He and his family - which managed the Yukon Bar - had lived in Ketchikan for about a decade. He was killed when his vehicle struck a land mine as he was returning from a short leave.

"(Joey) lived in our neighborhood on Main Street," Terry Carlin said recently. "He was a nice guy and I remember talking to him a few times even though he was a teenager and I was in grade school."

Bill Hollywood was drafted with Whitney and another Ketchikan man, Bill Urquhart.  Urquhart went into the Marines and both Hollywood and Whitney were initially in the Army, although Hollywood eventually ended up serving in the Navy instead.

"Joey really liked games," Hollywood said recently. "We belonged to a chess club at Kayhi and many nights we had pinochle games around town. We would play at different friends houses. We would call KTKN night watch and request songs we wanted to hear while playing. He was a great friend and would drop everything to come help if you needed him. It was a great to grow up in Ketchikan, till we had to go to war."

Eight other Southeast residents died in Vietnam, according to U.S. military records. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018

 


The Salmon State:
Low Copper River sockeye return effects ripple outward; Dipnetters optimistic; ADF&G making decisions ‘week-by-week’ By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN - It’s a summer tradition for many in Alaska: pack up the car, drive to Chitina and dipnet for Copper River red salmon.

It’s a tradition, however, that many won’t fulfill this year, with personal use fisheries largely shut down for the first time since statehood.

Many locals and dipnetters on the river are optimistic that the fish are coming, but late. Alaska Department of Fish & Game managers don’t believe that’s the case, but, based on recent sonar counts at Miles Lake, downriver of Chitina, they did on July 16 announce the second 84-hour opener in a two-week period.

On July 8 and 9, however - normally a busy time of year in Chitina - the campgrounds were almost empty, the streets were quiet and the only charter business running was AK eXpeditions, a Zodiac-based dipnetting charter and tour company owned and operated by Mark Spencer, who has permits to run his boats in the subsistence area above the Chitina-McCarthy bridge.

On the water

Spencer started guiding on the Kenai, but would come to the Copper River to fish for his own freezer. When his clients learned that, they were interested in coming along. Now, it’s his fifth season guiding on the Copper.

“I always kind of envision this is how Alaska used to be,” he said, comparing the Copper River to the Kenai. “There aren’t so many people here, and the river keeps the traffic in check.”

Spencer let me tag along with Tasi Fosi of Anchorage, Al Myers of Fairbanks, Dave Osantowski of North Pole, and John Naylor of Wasilla as he took them out on the water the afternoon of July 9 to try their luck. Most of them had been coming to Chitina for years, though it was also the first time most of them were dipnetting the Copper from a boat.

Last year, Naylor said, he caught 30 reds and one king fishing from one of Spencer’s Zodiacs. “It’ll be slow, slow, slow, and then you’ll find a run… and just hammer it,” he said.

This year, the four men caught eight kings and one red between them all.
“This is probably the slowest I’ve ever seen reds,” said Osantowski, who has been fishing the river for 20 years.

Naylor expressed the optimism that many Chitina residents felt: “I don’t think they’re not here,” he said. “I think they’re late.”

Another who expressed optimism was 79-year-old Ahtna elder Martin Sinnesand, born in Chitina, who has fished all his life.

2018’s poor returns, Sinnesand said, stand out. In 1957, he was seining in Cordova, at the mouth of the Copper River. At the time, people said was the worst since 1932, he remembers.

Sinnesand has a fish wheel he operates every few years, harvesting around 100 fish each time through his state subsistence permit. So far this year he’s on track. Given a recent jump in Miles Lake sockeye counts - from a low of 2,503 on July 11 to a high of 21,536 just three days later, on July 14 - he doesn’t expect any problems. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018


 

Alaska: Fingerprint of ancient abrupt climate change found in Arctic - A research team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the fingerprint of a massive flood of fresh water in the western Arctic, thought to be the cause of an ancient cold snap that began around 13,000 years ago.

"This abrupt climate change - known as the Younger Dryas - ended more than 1,000 years of warming," explains Lloyd Keigwin, an oceanographer at WHOI and lead author of the paper published online July 9, 2018, in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The cause of the cooling event, which is named after a flower (Dryas octopetala) that flourished in the cold conditions in Europe throughout the time, has remained a mystery and a source of debate for decades.

Many researchers believed the source was a huge influx of freshwater from melting ice sheets and glaciers that gushed into the North Atlantic, disrupting the deep-water circulation system - Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) - that transports warmer waters and releases heat to the atmosphere. However, geologic evidence tracing its exact path had been lacking.

In 2013, a team of researchers from WHOI, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and Oregon State University, set sail to the eastern Beaufort Sea in search of evidence for the flood near where the Mackenzie River enters the Arctic Ocean, forming the border between Canada’s Yukon and Northwest territories.  From aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the team gathered sediment cores from along the continental slope east of the Mackenzie River. After analyzing the shells of fossil plankton found in the sediment cores, they found the long sought-after geochemical signal from the flood.

“The signature of oxygen isotopes recorded in foraminifera shells preserved in the sediment allowed us to fingerprint the source of the glacial lake discharge down the MacKenzie River 13,000 years ago,” said co-principal investigator Neal Driscoll, a professor of geology and geophysics at Scripps Oceanography. “Radiocarbon dating on the shells provided the age constraints. Circulation models for the Arctic Ocean reveal that low-salinity surface water is efficiently transported to the North Atlantic. How exciting it is when the pieces of a more than 100-year puzzle come together." - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018

 
COLUMN/COMMENTARY


jpg TOM PURCELL

TOM PURCELL: Be Civil, by George! - "Can you believe that a man dumped a drink on a teenager because the teenager's baseball cap favored the president? What's happening to civil discourse in our country?"

"That's a question on a lot of people's minds. Our political discourse is at a fever pitch. Like or dislike President Trump, his sharp rhetoric isn't helping matters."

"So what if he attacks his opponents with nasty comments and tweets? He's a rough-and-tumble New Yorker fighting back the way New Yorkers do!" 

"Maybe so, but a president has the power to set the tone, and the tone President Trump is setting is getting people fired up. Other political leaders are also stepping over the line. But the truth is civil discourse has been on the decline for years."

"If you say so, you jerk!"

"Psychology Today reports on a recent study that found people are ruder to each other online for the simple reason that they don't make eye contact, as they do in face-to-face discussions." 

"That explains why so many dirty rats leave nasty remarks on my Facebook posts!"

"Look, it's easy to be rude. Being civil and polite requires effort. Civility is the cornerstone of all well-functioning societies."

"Says who?"

"Did you know the word 'etiquette' originated under Louis XIV in the 1600s? Etiquette and manners define what social behavior is and isn't proper."

"I ain't following rules drafted up by snooty old French people!" - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018

jpg RICK JENSEN

RICK JENSEN: When the Government Knows What's Best For You - When government "nudges" people into new behaviors, resistance is often ugly.

Eric Garner died because a Democratic governor sent the message down the line that New York was losing a billion dollars in cigarette taxes and police needed to get tough on everyone, including the guy on the corner selling "loosies."

In New Jersey, the Hampton Police Department brought in millions of dollars in 18 months selling cigarettes illegally in a "sting" operation, during which no charges were filed, no arrests were made and police used proceeds to buy SUV's, electronics and trips to conferences. Thousands of unaccounted dollars were also reportedly withdrawn from their credit union account.

The police chief resigned. 

States around the country told you they needed to tax cigarettes to help people quit. Then they raised the taxes more to help fill their general funds. Then they raised them more because fewer people were smoking.

You create a black market for a product by slapping with extraordinary taxes, eventually reducing the amount of tax dollars coming in as people quit buying it. Then the government needs to find new funding for the extra spending that came along with the original short-term tax revenue increases.

The Tax Foundation reports the 2009 excise tax on cigarettes, from $0.39 per pack to $1.01 per pack, more than doubled revenues from $7.6 billion in 2008 to $17.1 billion in 2010, then starting to decline. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018


jpg Political Cartoon: Protest Vote

Political Cartoon: Protest Vote
By Pat Bagley ©2018, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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jpg Letter / Opinion

The Three Components of the PFD Tax By Ghert Abbott - The PFD tax that the state government has imposed on Alaskans is composed of three components. The first is the $1,000 dollar head tax that is taken directly out your Dividend. This is a quintessentially regressive tax – working and middle class people pay a far greater portion of their total income to the state then the rich, who pay practically nothing. This is perhaps the worst system of revenue the state could have devised and enacted. It penalizes families, taxing them higher then single individuals. It hurts young people trying to make a start and save for their future. It burdens retirees trying to live on a fixed income. Its regressiveness also discriminates against small, rural communities, such as Ketchikan, where the cost of living is higher. This results in wealth, population, and power further being concentrated in Anchorage and the rail-belt.

The second component is the state taking and spending the money that otherwise would have been reinvested into further growing the Permanent Fund. Since the Permanent Fund’s inception, its earnings have been underdrawn in order for the Fund to expand. This is why the average PFD has steadily increased over the past 38 years. By taking the investment money, the state is freezing the Fund’s value, depriving you of the benefits of its future growth. This component is much more insidious then the direct tax on the PFD, as the money is effectively coming out of your future dividends. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Dunleavy for Governor By Jim Minnery - The 2018 race for Governor could be the most consequential state election in Alaska’s history.  The gravity of Alaska’s problems helps explain why—an economic recession, skyrocketing crime, and a state government that is in a perpetual budget crisis. 

But there’s another big reason this election is unique.  Voters have a chance to elect a candidate with extraordinary strength, skills, and character.  The Board of Directors of Alaska Family Action has voted to endorse Mike Dunleavy for Governor.  Only rarely do we endorse candidates, especially in primary elections.

Mike Dunleavy is the exception, because he’s an exceptional candidate.  We’ve observed Mike Dunleavy closely during his years in public office, especially the five years he served in the State Senate. 

Yes, Dunleavy has solid, conservative values.  But more impressive is his steely determination to move beyond “rhetoric and symbolism,” and actually achieve real policy victories that will make a positive difference in the lives of Alaska families. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Truth about Wildlife Management in Alaska By Sam Cotten - Alaska’s support for the National Park Service’s recently proposed amendments to hunting and trapping practices on national preserves in Alaska is not about trophies. It does not concern sport or recreation. It has nothing to do with predator control.

Alaska’s scale and geography are incomprehensible to most Americans. The state is enormous, largely without roads, and in many places as wild today as when its Native people first encountered Russian explorers some 275 years ago. - More...
Sunday PM - July 15, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

That Moon Colony Will Be a Reality Sooner Than You Think By Wilbur Ross - The first man on the moon held an American flag. In the not-too-distant future, astronauts on the moon may be holding fuel pumps.

The future for American commercial space activity is bright. Space entrepreneurs are already planning travel to Mars, and they are looking to the moon as the perfect location for a way station to refuel and restock Mars-bound rockets. As much as this sounds like the plot of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” it is coming closer to reality sooner than you may have ever thought possible. - More...
Sunday PM - July 15, 2018

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