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Leave it to Alaska’s 29th Legislature to screw up what should have been a slam dunk. (Perhaps it is 29 and a half? What exactly is the proper nomenclature when the 29th’s first session has gone to an extra session, then that extra session has been adjourned and a new extra session called so that the Legislature can legally pack up its bags and move to Anchorage before settling on a working budget?)

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Nothing should occur to separate mother and baby. The baby's life depends upon it.

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Raymond Charles Hewson, 76, died May 13, 2015, in Anchorage.
12/28/2013
Old to new

2013 set the stage for Ketchikan's economic growth in the new year and well into the future.

Ketchikan opened its new public library, dedicated an assembly hall at Ketchikan Shipyard, saw the sale of OceansAlaska's first oyster seed, welcomed a record number of cruise-ship passengers and recorded a record harvest of pink salmon this year.

The library is fabulous, a real drawing card as part of the infrastructure that retains and attracts new individuals and businesses to the community. It is the type of facility that businesses such as the shipyard need to showcase Ketchikan to prospective employees and associate businesses.

It was designed for those who live here, providing all manner of materials from books to movies, meeting space and programs, and a place to quietly enjoy a view of Deer Mountain. Although, tourists meander their way to the library on occasion and enjoy the view and services, too.

Ketchikan attracted a record number of cruise-ship passengers — more than 960,000 — in 2013, but it wasn't the only industry reaching new heights.

Commercial fishermen saw the highest prices ever — more than $10 per pound — for winter king salmon and landed a record catch of 89.2 million pink salmon, valued at $124.7 million.

All of this signals Ketchikan is moving in a positive direction.

And it will maintain that direction in the new year with the expansion and remodel of Ketchikan Medical Center underway.

The community approved a $40 million bond in October to add to state funding for the first and largest phase of the project. With $68 million, new surgical suites and physician office space will be under construction during 2014.

The city has been accepting bids. Those are expected to be reviewed in January and an award is scheduled for February.

The hospital project will invigorate the construction industry in 2014 and enhance the health care industry in years following.

It will give Ketchikan the facility needed to maintain and grow as a medical hub for the southern Southeast region.

Enhancing health care will serve all other industries and provide the infrastructure necessary for a community to thrive again.

With all of this in place, Ketchikan looks to be that community.