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Alaska: Alaska State Trooper Arrested on Child Sexual Abuse Charges  – Today the Alaska Department of Public Safety and Alaska State Troopers arrested 39-year-old Soldotna resident Benjamin Strachan. Strachan is employed as an Alaska State Trooper in Soldotna. In an effort to maintain transparency the following information is being released today:

On Saturday, October 9, 2021 the Kenai Police Department notified the Alaska State Troopers of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against 39-year-old Soldotna resident Benjamin Strachan, Strachan is employed as an Alaska State Trooper in Soldotna. Immediately upon receiving the report, investigators from Soldotna, the Mat-Su Valley, and Anchorage began an investigation into the allegations. The investigation found probable cause that Strachan sexually abused multiple victims within the last year. In consultation with the Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions, Strachan was arrested today on one count of Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the 1st Degree, and six counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the 2nd Degree. Strachan was remanded to Wildwood Pretrial and is expected to be arraigned tomorrow in Kenai Superior Court at 10am. 

This investigation was handled in the same manner that any allegation of this nature is investigated, and no special consideration was given to Strachan due to his profession. 

Strachan has been an Alaska State Trooper since June 2020 and has been assigned to Soldotna Patrol during his entire career. Per policy, Strachan was immediately placed on leave pending the outcome of the criminal justice process.

“As a 29-year Alaska State Trooper I am saddened and sickened by these allegations against a law enforcement officer,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell.

Cockrell said, “The public places immense trust into its police officers and state troopers, and the actions of a single Trooper have now tarnished that trust and the badge that hundreds of brave men and women wear each day across our great state. We are committed to moving forward and continue meeting the critical mission that the Department of Public Safety has of protecting the great citizens of our state.”

“We would like to acknowledge the victim for having the bravery to come forward and bring these allegations to law enforcement,” said Colonel Bryan Barlow, Director of the Alaska State Troopers. - More...
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Saxman: Historic Plans Underway for Saxman Revitalization and Community Development - A historic meeeting was held on October 1, 2021 with Cape Fox Corporation (CFC) one of the representative organizations in attendance. The meeting was also attended by the Saxman City Council and Saxman Mayor and the Organized Village of Saxman (OVS).  All three entities are for the first time working together to strategize and put plans in place that will focus on community development and the revitalization of Saxman, Alaska.

The plan is to form a Community Development Corporation (CDC).  This newly formed Corporation will focus on the development and revitalization of the Saxman Village. Charles Parker from Alaska Village Initiatives (AVI) led the strategic planning session that outlined the responsibilities, governance structure, priorities, and vision for the CDC. This is a shared vision of all three entities that includes a list of priorities that need to be performed to move the Village forward.

This is a historic moment for Saxman, Alaska as noted by Joe Williams, Jr., President of the OVS, “Never before in the history of Saxman has OVS, the City of Saxman and Cape Fox Corporation, the ANC for the Village of Saxman, met to discuss the future of Saxman. I have been working for 26 years to make this meeting happen and it has finally happened!”

One of the plans in discussion is the building of a new grocery store that will service Saxman.  Joe Williams noted that “a grocery store of some kind should be built in Saxman for residents of the south end of greater Ketchikan which includes all Saxman residents and shareholders.”

The mayor of Saxman, Frank Seludo, has been devoted to strengthening the community of Saxman.  He stated that “We as elected officials must work for the betterment of the people who elected us. So, we have continued to work towards building a grocery store.  We care for our community and listen, and we did hear the response from the constituents.” - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Ketchikan: Dunleavy Administration Announces Successful Completion of Land Exchange Posted & Edited by MARY KAUFFMAN - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy recently announced a successful land exchange through the Alaska Mental Health Trust (AMHT), which increases support for the Southeast logging industry and Alaska’s mental health treatment programs. This significant work by the State will directly benefit the State’s economy and the beneficiaries of the AMHT. 

“In the face of ever-increasing restrictions from the Biden Administration on the Southeast timber harvest, I am proud to announce this success,” said Governor Dunleavy. “This sale will not only increase supply for the timber harvest, but it will also directly enhance Alaska’s mental health system by supporting our local mental health treatments.”

The land exchange process began in 2011 which was conducted in two phases. The first phase was completed in 2019, which protects old-growth stands, viewshed and trail lands near Ketchikan for timberlands. Federal legislation authorized the land exchange, which was enacted into law in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. Following more than 15 years of planning, the second and final phase was completed through the Dunleavy administration in conjunction with the congressional delegation and the Trust Land Office. 

Through timber sales in Alaska on the acquired timberlands, AMHT raises revenue for the mental health services in the state. The Dunleavy administration is supporting mental health resources for those who need them the most. This land exchange is providing a return to the Trust that will support programs and initiatives for years to come.

This equal value land exchange transferred 18,494 acres of Federal land to the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (Trust) in Naukati, Hollis, and Shelter Cove (north of Ketchikan). In exchange, the Trust transferred 17,980 acres of land to the United States in Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau, No Name Bay, and Meyers Chuck. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Alaska: Bill Introduced to Improve Access to Justice in the West, Create New Twelfth Circuit; Legislation Implements Judicial Conference Recommendations, Splits the Ninth Circuit - U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) have introduced the Judicial Efficiency Improvement Act of 2021, a bill that would codify the Judicial Conference’s most recent recommendations as well as other important measures to enhance the effectiveness of the federal judiciary. The legislation would authorize 77 permanent district court judgeships, convert nine temporary district court judgeships into permanent posts, authorize two appellate court judgeships for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and create a new Twelfth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The Judicial Conference of the United States is the national policy-making body for the federal courts. It is comprised of the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the chief judge from each judicial circuit, the chief judge of the Court of International Trade, and a district judge from each regional circuit. Every two years, the Judicial Conference makes recommendations for needed federal judgeships.

“It’s been four decades since a non-partisan judicial commission determined the Ninth Circuit suffers from ‘serious difficulties with backlog and delay’ due to its size and scope. Those difficulties have only gotten worse with time and inaction, leaving citizens under its jurisdiction - including all Alaskans - with less-than equal access to justice,” said Sen. Sullivan.

Sullivan said, “We know the problem. The solution—splitting the Ninth Circuit, establishing a new Twelfth Circuit Court of Appeals, and adding new judgeships—shouldn’t be controversial. We’ve split circuits and created new ones in the past to address the changes in our country’s population. What is controversial is a circuit court using short-cuts to manage its workload and litigants waiting 40 percent longer to get their cases resolved, something I saw firsthand as a judicial law clerk for the Ninth Circuit. Our legislation would rectify this injustice and finally ensure the federal judicial system fairly serves the rapidly-growing West.”

“As a result of massive population growth across several western states, the Ninth Circuit has seen an overwhelming increase in caseloads, creating a lengthy process for those seeking justice,” said Sen. Crapo. “Splitting the Ninth Circuit would provide for a more expedient route to justice for many individuals in the West.” - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

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Randy Williams appointed Tribal Administrator

Ketchikan: Randy Williams appointed Tribal Administrator - The Tribal Council of Ketchikan Indian Community announced the appointment of Randy Williams as Tribal Administrator as of September 17, 2021. Williams replaces Charles White, who served as Tribal Administrator for the past two years, helping to secure funding necessary for the complete renovation of the Administration and Tribal Health building.

"I'm so pleased to have this opportunity to serve our Tribal Members," Williams said. "I will strive to preserve our traditional ways of life by protecting our natural resources, providing the best possible health care for our Tribal Members, honoring our Elders and Veterans, advocating for positive economic development, and supporting the creation of employment opportunities and annual monetary dividends for our members."

A Tlingit born in Ketchikan, Williams brings a wealth of education and experience to the position. As a graduate of Dartmouth College, Williams has put his knowledge and skills to work over the years at Tlingit & Haida Central Council, Ketchikan Indian Community, managing Tribal Casinos in the lower 48, and serving as CEO of the Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation.

Williams has also owned and operated a number of successful businesses, including the Four Winds Qw'aan management and consulting company, a UPS store, and two Washington State card rooms. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

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Alaska: Ranked choice voting: what is it, how does it work, and will it change Alaskan politics? - Following its adoption by ballot initiative last year, Alaska’s future state and national elections will be held under Ranked Choice Voting, allowing voters to specify not just their favoured candidate but also their second, third and fourth choices.

In the 2020 General Election, Alaska voters approved an initiative to establish a Nonpartisan Top Four Primary Election system and a Ranked Choice Voting General Election system. In the next general election on November 06, 2022, Ranked Choice Voting in Alaska will allow voters to rank their choices in order of preference. For a candidate to win, they must receive a majority (50% + 1) of total votes cast. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round of counting, more rounds of counting continue until a candidate reaches a majority.

This system is gaining ground across the United States and has been used for over a century in Australia, home of Political Scientist Professor Benjamin Reilly, University of Western Australia.

Professor Reilly is visiting Juneau for his research and discussed recently during Evening at Egan Fall 2021, how Ranked Choice Voting works; its implications for voters, candidates and political parties; and what insights from comparative experience suggests for how the new system may impact Alaskan politics. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Alaska: Court affirms free speech rights of API doctors fired by Dunleavy Administration; In sweeping victory, the Court says the Dunleavy Administration violated the First Amendment and free speech clause of Alaska Constitution.  - The Federal District Court in Alaska ruled Friday that the Dunleavy Administration violated the constitutional rights of two Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) doctors by firing them after they refused to pledge their allegiance to the Governor’s political agenda. In December 2018, just after being elected, Governor Dunleavy demanded that all at-will State employees tender their resignations and show affirmative support for his political agenda. Doctors Anthony Blanford and John Bellville refused to resign, believing their allegiance was first to their patients and making such a pledge would violate their duties as doctors.

In what the ACLU of Alaska calls a sweeping victory, the court wrote in summary judgment: “It was made clear that by submitting a resignation, the employee was actually signaling a commitment to work with the new governor and on behalf of his agenda. This agenda was later described by Mr. Babcock to include support for a full statutory PFD, the repeal of Senate Bill 91, reorganization of government agencies, pro-life issues, and a balanced state budget. Plaintiffs did not want to align themselves with these political priorities to the extent they involved funding cuts and hiring freezes that would detrimentally affect the functioning of API, and therefore they did not submit their resignations. They consequently were fired for this exercise of their associational rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.”

“Our clients took brave lawful steps to protect vulnerable Alaskans; that is honorable beyond measure and defines what it means to be a dedicated public servant. Despite their commitment to the people who need them, the Dunleavy Administration unlawfully retaliated against them for their refusal to politicize the mental health care they provided,” ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Stephen Koteff said. “But we never doubted the court would rule in the name of justice and to protect the free speech rights of our clients, and all state employees." - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Alaska: Alaska's navigable waters lawsuit pushes back on federal overreach - The State of Alaska is suing to force the federal government to recognize state ownership of submerged lands beneath four Interior rivers, continuing Governor Mike Dunleavy’s defense of state sovereignty against federal overreach.

The action filed in federal District Court last week seeks to extinguish any federal ownership claim to lands underlying sections of the South Fork of the Koyukuk River, Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River, Bettles River and Dietrich River.

“The federal government continues to deny the obvious in a bald attempt to block the State of Alaska from exerting ownership of its submerged lands, and while that is disappointing, it is no longer surprising,” said Governor Dunleavy. “This lawsuit represents the next step in my continuing Unlocking Alaska Initiative to assert our land ownership rights against federal obstruction.”

The state’s claim to the submerged lands beneath these rivers is grounded in the U.S. Constitution, Equal Footing Doctrine, Federal Submerged Lands Act, and Federal Quiet Title Act, which recognize state control of waters within their borders that did support or could have supported commercial travel at statehood.

The state departments of Natural Resources and Law’s support of the Unlocking Alaska Initiative recently resulted in an important victory when the Interior Board of Land Appeals ruled the state, not the federal government, owned 7,500 acres of submerged lands underlying the Kuskokwim River near McGrath. The state’s case rested largely on the same principles asserted in today’s lawsuit, and on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Southeast Alaska: Skeletal remains identified - Friday the Alaska State Troopers identified the human skeletal remains found on a small uninhabited island near Craig and Klawock on August 02, 2021. The Troopers responded via the PV Gow’tukan to the area in August where the remains were located and collected.

The skeletal remains were sent to the State Medical Examiner where, after comparison to existing medical records, the remains were confirmed to be that of Christerpher Perez, age 52 of Craig. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021


Alaska: Kodiak Russian Orthodox Monk Arrested for Sexual Abuse of a Child  – On October 2, 2021, Evan P. Nicolai, a monk associated with the Russian Orthodox Church, turned himself into the Kodiak Police Department to report that he had sexually abused an 8-year-old child.  Nicolai arrived accompanied by the abused child’s parent and a Priest of the Kodiak Russian Orthodox Church. As a monk, Nicolai was permitted to stay at the housing provided by the Church. Police learned that Nicolai had stayed in Alaska at the following Russian Orthodox locations: Anchorage, Bethel, Eklutna, Homer, and Kaktovik, as well as a monastery about an hour outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

Kodiak Police have charged Nicolai with Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the Second Degree, and the case is being prosecuted by the Kodiak District Attorney’s Office.  If convicted at trial, Nicolai faces up to 99 years of imprisonment. 

Nicolai remains in jail with court ordered bonds totaling $50,000 in cash that must be posted prior to his release. His next scheduled court date is for Preliminary Hearing on October 13, 2021, at 2:30PM in Kodiak District Court. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Alaska - National: The Shadow Pandemic By JOSEPH KERTIS - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a designation that is observed annually in America to spread awareness about the important issue. In the United States, over 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually. But this year, this important issue could be pushed into the background by the other pressing public health crises like Covid-19 or the most recently reignited epidemic, substance abuse.

But these aren't separate issues. Not only did the Covid-19 pandemic cause the rates of addiction to skyrocket nationally, but it may have also had a profound effect on the issue of domestic violence. Growing evidence shows the pandemic has made intimate partner violence more common and often more severe. Surveys worldwide have shown domestic abuse spiking since January of 2020, jumping markedly compared to the same period in 2019.

In the U.S., police departments have reported increases in cities around the country. For example, there was a reported increase in domestic violence incidents of 18% in San Antonio, 22% in Portland, OR., and 10% in New York City. Researchers at UC Davis found that there are more things to worry and argue about as people find themselves in a more tenuous financial situation due to COVID-19. And with social distancing and other restrictions in place, each household can become a powder-keg.

The United Nations refers to this international phenomenon as a "shadow pandemic," a pandemic of abuse within the Covid-19 pandemic. But there may be a link between the two tragedies that is being overlooked: the connection between Covid, addiction, and domestic violence.

The Covid-19 pandemic markedly worsened America's addiction epidemic. The year 2020 was historic in several aspects, particularly morbidity. More than 93,000 people died from drug overdose deaths last year, the highest number ever recorded. This statistic is an indication that we're experiencing the worst addiction crisis our nation has ever seen, and the pandemic is fueling it. And domestic violence is often fueled by substance misuse. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Obituary: Carolyn Jane Engel - Carolyn Jane Engel passed away on September 22, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Born in 1944 in Bedford, Indiana, she endured a difficult childhood, but persevered, became the first in her family to graduate high school and fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse.

After a brief stint in Los Angeles – a city she moved to upon hearing the hit song California Dreamin’ – she joined the United States Army Nurse Corps and rose to the rank of captain. During her nine years in the military, she traveled widely and eventually, she was stationed in Alaska. She fell in love with the 49th state, which she considered her true home, and went on to live in Ketchikan, Juneau, Haines, Petersburg, Anchorage and Kodiak.

In the 70s, she met her future husband, Gerry Engel, and they had three children: Hallie Engel, Joan Morgan and Michael Engel. She was a selfless and caring mother who had an endless supply of patience. Later in life, she moved to Oregon for retirement and continued cheering for the Chicago Cubs and doting on her grandchildren, Anders and Britta Morgan. She also gained two beloved sons-in-law, Jeremy Morgan and Craig Pilling. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021


Analysis: ‘Truth and Healing Commission’ could help Native American communities traumatized by government-run boarding schools that tried to destroy Indian culture By DAVID R.M. BECK - The National Day of Remembrance for Native American children honors children who died years ago while attending the United States’ Indian boarding schools each Sept. 30. On that day this year, a bill was reintroduced in both the Senate and the House to establish an American Indian Truth and Healing Commission on Indian boarding schools.

The bill’s purposes include both truth-seeking and healing. It asks “to formally investigate and document,” the impact of the trauma that resulted from Indian boarding school policies – a trauma that has been passed down through the generations in Native communities. It also urged federal support to heal “cultural and linguistic” destruction to tribal communities carried out by the federal, state and local governments.

Outside of Indian Country, the lasting legacy of boarding school policies has been largely ignored in the United States. As a historian of federal “Indian policy” in the 19th and 20th centuries, I study the ways that the U.S. federal government has tried to force American Indians to abandon their cultural heritage and the ways in which tribal communities have tried to remedy the damage.

One thing that I have learned is that in order for healing to occur, it is necessary to acknowledge the horrific history and impacts of boarding schools on both American Indian individuals and communities. Knowing the past and healing from it have begun, but both are far from being complete.

History of boarding schools

These boarding schools were run by the federal government, or by churches using federal money. From the 1870s, when the first schools began operation, into the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of children are estimated to have been taken away from their families and put into boarding schools, sometimes thousands of miles from their homes. They were forced to learn English and practice Christianity in these schools, and were severely punished for not doing so.

The United States Congress and the Department of the Interior were responsible for establishing and supporting the schools across the country. The schools represent a particularly insidious method of attempting forced assimilation because they involved the removal of children, sometimes by kidnapping, from their families and communities.

Children suffered homesickness and were ravaged by diseases. Many were physically and sexually abused and hundreds died.

Children as young as four – who had been separated from their families and community – were punished for speaking their home languages at the schools. When they returned home, sometimes after many years, they would be unable to converse with their elders, or participate in traditional religious ceremonies since they did not speak the language. These ceremonial activities were also banned by federal policy as part of the broader assimilation project.

The U.S. government has neither sought reconciliation nor provided reparations for the harms caused by the boarding school policy. On the heels of the discovery of mass graves at residential schools in Canada this past summer, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the first Native American in that job, vowed to take action in the U.S. She said that “only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace.”

The bill to establish an American Indian boarding school truth and healing commission was originally introduced in 2020 by then U.S. Rep. Haaland and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. For now, the Department of the Interior has announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, which, it says, will be “a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.”

The big picture question in both of these initiatives is, what does acknowledging the past and embracing the future look like? - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021


Analysis: Land acknowledgments meant to honor Indigenous people too often do the opposite – erasing American Indians and sanitizing history instead By ELISA J. SOBO, MICHAEL LAMBERT, & VALERIE LAMBERT - Many events these days begin with land acknowledgments: earnest statements acknowledging that activities are taking place, or institutions, businesses and even homes are built, on land previously owned by Indigenous peoples.

And many organizations now call on employees to incorporate such statements not only at events but in email signatures, videos, syllabuses and so on. Organizations provide resources to facilitate these efforts, including pronunciation guides and video examples.

Some land acknowledgments are carefully constructed in partnership with the dispossessed. The Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle describes this process:

“Tribal elders and leaders are the experts and knowledge-bearers who generously shared their perspectives and guidance with the Burke. Through this consultation, we co-created the Burke’s land acknowledgement.”

That acknowledgment reads:

“We stand on the lands of the Coast Salish peoples, whose ancestors have resided here since Time Immemorial. Many Indigenous peoples thrive in this place—alive and strong.”

Land acknowledgments have been used to start conversations regarding how non-Indigenous people can support Indigenous sovereignty and advocate for land repatriation.

Yet the historical and anthropological facts demonstrate that many contemporary land acknowledgments unintentionally communicate false ideas about the history of dispossession and the current realities of American Indians and Alaska Natives. And those ideas can have detrimental consequences for Indigenous peoples and nations.

This is why, in a move that surprised many non-Indigenous anthropologists to whom land acknowledgments seemed a public good, the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists requested that the American Anthropological Association officially pause land acknowledgments and the related practice of the welcoming ritual, in which Indigenous persons open conferences with prayers or blessings. The pause will enable a task force to recommend improvements after examining these practices and the history of the field’s relationship with American Indians and Alaska Natives more broadly. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021




DAVE KIFFER: Hot Diggity Dogs!!! - I recently read something on the internet, so it must be true.

The only thing truer would have been if it had been told to me by my friend's brother's sister-in-law's aunt's second cousin.

You know "they say" that us modern folk just don't connect like previous generations. But any time you can get good solid information from your friend's brother's sister-in-law's aunt's second cousin, that sounds pretty darn connected to me!

But I digress.

Anyway, the internet info was about something I truly love. Hot dogs.

No, not wiener dogs, although I do like dachshunds.

Hot dogs. Those supecalifragilistic cylinders of processed meat with dubious origins. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021


MONEY MATTERS: QUIZ: HOW SKILLED ARE YOU AT MONEY – PART 2 By MARY LYNNE DAHL , Certified Financial Planner ™ Retired - As promised, the answers to the questions posed are provided below. As you read and think about these answers, keep several things in mind. One is that sometimes there is no perfect answer, and instead only a “best” answer, given the question or situation. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you answered honestly, your answers give you the opportunity to benefit greatly because they will show what you are doing right or wrong. If you do not answer honestly, your benefit will be less because it will not represent how you would actually react to the situation described in the question. Thirdly, the questions represent common money situations faced by a lot of people, so it is likely you will identify with at least some of them and can compare what you would do with what would be most advisable for you to do, in case those are not the same. Finally, remember that the purpose of these questions is to assist you in making better money decisions, not a test on which you should try to score “high”. Be honest with your answers and get as much benefit from considering the questions and answers as possible. Below are the questions, followed by the answers, with explanations for each correct answer. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021


FINANCIAL FOCUS: What does retirement security mean to you? Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS® - October is National Retirement Security Month. But what does retirement security mean to you? And how can you work toward achieving it?

Here are some suggestions:

• Build your resources. While you’re working, save in tax-advantaged accounts such as your IRA and 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. In your 401(k), contribute at least enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered, and increase your contributions whenever your salary goes up. Remember, especially early in your career, time is often your biggest asset. Be sure to save early, since the longer you wait, the more you’ll need to save to help reach your goals.

• Look for ways to boost retirement income. When transitioning to retirement, you can take steps to align your income with your needs. For example, consider Social Security. You can start collecting it as early as 62, but your monthly payments will be much larger if you can wait until your “full” retirement age, typically between 66 and 67. (Payments will “max out” at age 70.) So, if you have sufficient income from a pension or your 401(k) and other retirement accounts, and you and your spouse are in good health with a family history of longevity, you may consider delaying taking Social Security. You also might want to explore other income-producing vehicles, such as certain annuities that are designed to provide a lifetime income stream. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

Analysis: If the US defaults on debt, expect the dollar to fall – and with it, Americans’ standard of living By MICHAEL HUMPHRIES - Congress has seemingly kicked the debt ceiling deadline down the road – but the threat of a future default still exists.

On Oct. 7, 2021, lawmakers in the Senate agreed to extend the government’s ability to borrow until December. It came after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a temporary suspension to the debt limit, averting a default until at least December. But at that point, Democrats would have to find a way to raise the debt ceiling on their own – something they’ve said they won’t do.

This isn’t the first time Republicans have resisted helping a Democratic president raise the debt ceiling. - More...
Monday PM - October 11, 2021

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Front Page Archives
& Letter Archives
August - Oct. 2021
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Viewpoints, Analysis,

Basic Rules &
Freedom of Speech

Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696

Sitnews reserves
the right to edit.

jpg Opinion

Regarding the Redistricting Meeting at the TFCC, 10/6, 4:30 - 6:30; Please attend this meeting. By Kathleen Yarr - On the heels of the 2020 Census, the Redistricting Board is taking recommendations on six Proposed Plans to redraw the 40 legislative districts in Alaska. We live in District 36, which includes Ketchikan, Metlakatla and Hydaburg. It is compact, fairly contiguous (considering we live on islands) and we share some of the same concerns and demographics of these communities.

Personally, I am happy with this configuration. I do not want to be lumped in with Sitka. - More...
Wednesday - October 06, 2021
jpg Opinion

Southeast Conference 2021 By Amanda (AJ) Pierce and Austin Otos - We recently had the opportunity to attend the 2021 Southeast Conference in Haines, Alaska. Every year, the conference showcases economic development opportunities and projects throughout the Southeast region. This year’s conference focused on various pecuniary topics including updates on: visitor industry, natural resource development, healthcare infrastructure, broadband initiatives, mariculture, energy projects, and AMHS transportation plans.

Some key groups from Ketchikan were present such as; TFCU (Tongass Federal Credit Union), The Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, Grow Ketchikan, Foraged and Found, Vigor, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the City of Ketchikan. These important local stakeholders represented our local community investment in the economic well-being and future of our Alaskan region.

The conference consisted of presentations on “Southeast by the Numbers” by Rain Coast Data that focused on economic and demographic changes from the previous year. The main takeaway here is that COVID played a major role in economic loss (as we all know) by reducing employment in the visitor industry which trickled down to local government’s inability to operate with a predictable budget. The panel on the infrastructure bill and American Rescue Plan Act 2021 (ARPA) highlighted the amounts of money that are to be slated for Alaska and various projects expected to be funded. AMHS ferries will receive $1 billion in funds for new construction with the promise of funding a pilot program for electric ferries. Its important to note that the Ketchikan Gateway Borough will be receiving up to $2.7 million in ARPA funding which will be used to back fill our budget deficit and help elevate our local governments budgetary woes. - More...
Sunday PM - October 03, 2021
jpg Opinion

An Open Letter to Mary Kauffman by Dan Bockhorst - Mary, thanks for your years of valued service to Ketchikan as editor, publisher, and webmaster of SitNews.

For nearly a quarter century, SitNews has been the premier local forum for those who wish to share viewpoints about topics of interest to your readers. Prominently stated in your invitation for commentary is a 1949 declaration by U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas: “The function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions that have profound unsettling effects as it pressures for the acceptance of an idea.” - More...
Sunday PM - September 26, 2021
jpg Opinion

Alaska Will Greatly Benefit from Historic Infrastructure Bill By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - everal years ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Alaska’s infrastructure a C-minus grade. Their report reiterated what too many Alaskans know and face every day: our still-young state is deficient in water and wastewater, ports and harbors, marine transportation, energy and power infrastructure, and more. Even in our highest-graded areas – like roads and airports – Alaska still has plenty of room for improvement.

One of the best ways to address these deficiencies is by bringing timely federal funding and assistance back home. That’s where I have placed my focus, and an historic infrastructure bill that will deliver massive benefits to our state is now within reach.- More...
Sunday PM - September 26, 2021
jpg Opinion

Charting a course for the next century of maritime policy By U.S. Congressman Don Young - When the chapter about the COVID-19 pandemic is written in Alaska’s history, it will be remembered as a time of resilience, shared sacrifice, and the never-give-up spirit that lives within all Alaskans. With new tools for economic development and prosperity, I believe Alaska can come back stronger than ever before.

COVID-19 exposed critical vulnerabilities in Alaska’s economy, which required emergency action to save a portion of the 2021 summer cruise season. The return of cruise ships to southeast Alaska brought much-needed economic activity to the region. But it also served as a reminder that, in the future, we cannot allow such a vital portion of our economy to be held hostage by a foreign country, in this case, Canada. - More...
Friday AM - September 24, 2021

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