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May is an extraordinary month in Ketchikan. We transform overnight from a quiet town in April to become host to thousands of visitors each day by mid-May. Local waters see commercial troll fishermen take advantage of spring fishery opportunities while the commercial net fleets begin preparing for their season. Sport anglers are readying their gear for the May 28 start of the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

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State agencies and the University of Alaska spent $343 million outside of Alaska for goods and services for government operations in 2015.

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Ginny Gisse, 69, died April 5, 2016, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
6/19/2013
Bear aware

It isn't wise to mess with bears in any way.

Even black bears, the often-perceived least dangerous of all bears.

Evidence shows the black bruins, if provoked, can be as dangerous as their brown and white counterparts, which are thought to be the most feared. Most people give polar bears, grizzly bears and brown bears very wide berth. It really should be the same for black bears.

More than one hiker, camper, fisherman or recreationalist has discovered this; the latest was an Anchorage camper. But it could just as easily have been anyone in Ketchikan, where bears walk the streets — usually in the early morning hours — looking for food.

Don't feed them. Don't leave food accessible to them, if not for your safety, then for the safety of others who use those streets.

The Anchorage camper did, however, what most who encounter a bear wouldn't. He threw it a piece of meat. Then he threw it another. But the bear wanted a third, and the camper turned out to be that third bite.

Bears are wild animals. They aren't domesticated cats and dogs — some of which, usually judged gentle and devoted, will bare their teeth and growl if provoked.

It's difficult to reliably judge how an animal will behave. Black bears don't always run away. Sometimes they — whether provoked or just in that mood — will advance.

It's best to give even the black bruins wide berth.