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Front Page Feature Photo By MIKE YOUNGBLOOD

Roosevelt Lagoon
Roosevelt Lagoon is up the Naha River trail, December 02, 2017.
Front Page Feature Photo By MIKE YOUNGBLOOD ©2017



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Alaska

Fish Factor: Fish forum for all; Salmon ballot push; & more... By LAINE WELCH - A forum this week in Kenai will highlight diverse perspectives on the push to modernize Alaska’s fish habitat protection and permitting laws, which have not been updated since statehood 60 years ago. Many believe changes are necessary to reflect challenges posed by large resource development projects; others believe the laws are adequate as they are. 

While there is strong common ground among all Alaskans that salmon are a critical resource and their habitat should be protected, the devil is in the details as to what that protection is, said Lindsey Bloom, director of United Fishermen of Alaska’s Salmon Habitat Information Project (SHIP), a forum co-sponsor with the University of Alaska/Fairbanks.

“Our objective is to provide a venue for the public to get educated about the habitat protections, how they are now and how they might be changed,” Bloom said. “We want people to discuss problems that exist and some of the changes being proposed, including state legislation and the ballot initiative.” 

The forum will include viewpoints from Alaska natives, conservationists, oil and gas, mining and fishing sectors, legislators and more.

“The purpose is to have a good conversation,” Bloom stressed. “It’s not about getting people to agree with each other, or come to conclusions about a specific policy. It is a real opportunity for Alaskans to participate in their natural resource management and to have a voice in the process.”

Last January at the urging of citizens, the state Board of Fisheries requested that the legislature update Alaska’s Fish Habitat Permit Law (Title 16).   It was introduced by Rep. Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) as House Bill 199 and is set for first hearings in the upcoming session.  

“The goal of SHIP is to ensure that commercial fishermen around the state have access to information and knowledge about what is happening, and also that they are at the forefront of weighing in on the legislative process,” Bloom said. “We want to ensure that we get to an end result that is in the best interest of all Alaskans, including commercial fishermen who are concerned about protecting their jobs and livelihoods.”

The Kenai Salmon Habitat Forum is set Thursday, Dec. 14 starting at 5pm at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association Building.  It will be live streamed on Facebook at UFA/SHIP.  

Salmon ballot push: 

Meanwhile, a statewide petition is gathering up to 45,000 signatures to put the salmon habitat protection issue before the voters next November. 

“We have volunteers collecting signatures from Nome to Sitka,” said Ryan Schryzer, director of Stand for Salmon, a grassroots group that is the primary backer of the initiative. 

“I’ve been blown away by the response from volunteers who are fired up about collecting signatures. We had hundreds of books go out almost immediately,” he added. 

Schryzer said getting signatures from Alaskans is an easy sell. 

“When our volunteers talk about this initiative helping to put the standards in place that will encourage responsible resource development and protect salmon for future generations, people are all in and sign very quickly,” he said.   

The deadline to submit the petitions to the Division of Elections is January 15 at the start of the legislative session. 

“I’m extremely confident we are going to hit our goal and that voters will have this option in front of them in 2018.”   - More...
Monday PM - December 11, 2017

Ketchikan: Washington Man Convicted for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Meth in Southeast Alaska - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that on Dec. 6, 2017, a federal jury in Juneau convicted Zerisenay Gebregiorgis, 35, a Washington resident, of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.

The evidence presented at trial showed that, between June 1, 2016, and August 16, 2016, Gebregiorgis and others planned to distribute large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine in the communities of Ketchikan and Sitka.  Gebregiorgis supplied drugs to drug couriers, who carried the drugs inside their bodies to other co-conspirators in Ketchikan and Sitka for subsequent distribution.  Drug proceeds were then given to the couriers to be carried back to Seattle to be delivered to the defendant or deposited into bank accounts controlled by Gebregiorgis. 

According to evidence presented at trial, Gebregiorgis trafficked at least 100 grams or more of heroin and 50 grams or less of methamphetamine.  Gebregiorgis directed every aspect of the conspiracy, to include directing the amounts of drugs sent to Alaska, the couriers who carried the drugs, the travel for those couriers, and delivery of drug proceeds of the conspiracy back to him via couriers and bank accounts deposits. - More...
Monday PM - December 11, 2017



Southeast Alaska:
Governor & Lt. Governor donate portion of salaries to help purchase drug detection K9 for Yakutat, Cordova - As a part of their continuing work to address the opioid crisis and build a Safer Alaska, Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott announced they will each donate $3,500 for a new drug detection K9 that will serve Yakutat and Cordova, to help reduce the flow of illegal drugs into rural Alaska.

Governor & Lt. Governor donate portion of salaries to help purchase drug detection K9 for Yakutat, Cordova

During a demonstration, K9 Buddy located a bag laced with a drug pseudo scent in the Governor's Cabinet Room.
Photo from video of K9 Buddy during December 6 Opioid Task Force meeting.

“In January, Lt. Governor Mallott and I committed to building resilient committees as part of our Safer Alaska initiative,” Governor Walker said. “The purchase of this K9 will be one step in assisting these Alaska communities in their efforts to prevent the distribution of opioids.” 

Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott announced the $7,000 donation last Wednesday at the state’s Opioid Task Force meeting. Yakutat is also seeking additional grants and donations to defray the cost of training for the dog and the handler, plus veterinarian care for the new K9. Cordova retired its dog last year and with jet flights twice a day between Cordova and Yakutat, the new dog will be able to work in both towns as needed.

“I am delighted that the Governor and I can help out in a small but meaningful way,” said Lt. Governor Mallott, whose hometown is Yakutat. “Making Alaska a safer place for our families is something we care deeply about.”

During the task force meeting, members met “Buddy,” Juneau Police Department’s drug detection German Shepherd and his handler, Detective Mike Wise. Detective Wise outlined the benefits of having a trained K9 to sniff out illegal narcotics at the airport, post office and shipping ports. Buddy has found almost $660,000 worth of illegal drugs year to date in Alaska’s capital city. The Governor and commissioners observed Buddy find and retrieve an ‘illegal’ packet of drugs hidden in the Cabinet Room by the detective before the meeting. - More...
Monday PM - December 11, 2017

 

 

Southeast Alaska: Salmon bones inspire wearable art, new museum piece By THERESA BAKKER - Artists need materials, whether they’re a pile of canvases, cups full of pencils or stacks of fabric. These supplies might be central to the success of an artwork, but they are chosen for a wide variety of reasons. They could even be a bucket of bones.

Salmon bones inspire wearable art, new museum piece

Sitka artist Cynthia Gibson stands with the salmon bone dress she spent years working on. It will soon have a new home at the University of Alaska Museum of the North.
Photo by Stephanie Lambdin

For Sitka artist Cynthia Gibson, the sight of a fish carcass and a glimpse of its curved backbone on a local beach sparked a vision she carried with her for years.

“The simple lines of the bone in its natural setting were beautiful to me,” she said. “I have been using salmon bones for years to embellish corsets and create earrings and other jewelry. Even a flapper dress where the fringe was made up with mostly salmon bones.”

Then she decided to make a dress entirely out of bones. The positive feedback from her other experiences, coupled with a desire to challenge herself, led to a unique idea that would take her more than four years to finish. The result is a dress that is now part of the permanent collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

Fashion statement

Fashion from the 1920s has always been a passion, but Gibson knew she wanted a dress that would elicit that vibe while mimicking the shape of the salmon vertebra she fell in love with on the beach. “With a natural hole in each bone from the spinal cord, stringing them together was easy.”

She just had to get them as white as possible.

That meant gathering bones from the beach and from others willing to donate. Then sorting and sanding and cleaning and bleaching. Each tiny bead had to be perfect so it could be attached to a little black dress she purchased at a thrift store. She spent hours threading those bones, approximately 20,000 of them altogether.

Through trial and error, she strung and sewed and re-sewed many strands. Toward the end of her process, Gibson stopped cooking for her family, snacking in the work space that took up the entire dining room table instead. Her daughter and husband had to fend for themselves, eating frozen pizza and bowls of cereal on the couch. - More...
Monday PM - December 11, 2017


 

Columns - Commentary

 

jpg MICAHEL REAGAN

MICAHEL REAGAN: Crashing the DC Men's Club  - I finally get why President Trump tweets.

Even though I often disagree with what he tweets and how he tweets it, the president has no choice.

Tweeting is how he controls, or steers, the media coverage of him and his administration - by setting news agendas for them, whether they like it or not.

If President Trump didn't tweet what he tweets, the Big Media would be able to ignore important stories like the political bias and corruption that's been going on within the FBI, Robert Mueller's Russian investigation and the Deep State.

As a total outsider in Club DC, Trump has to defend himself at all times.

He's hated or not wanted by the entrenched political establishment, left-leaning bureaucrats of the Deep State and liberal media elite that run the city.

He's not a member of their club, not on their team, not one of them - and never will be.

As we've seen, the people who run Washington and powerful politicized government agencies like the FBI will do anything they can to impeach or get rid of Trump.

The president is surviving so far only because he doesn't play by the DC Men's Club's rules.

He plays by his own rules, as a businessman, and if they come after him on bogus sexual harassment charges, collusion charges or whatever, he doesn't care.

Meanwhile, things go much easier if you're a member of the DC Men's Club.

From JFK's well-known bed hopping and Bill Clinton's serial sexual predations to Congressman John Conyers' chronic groping, the misbehaving male members of the Washington "family" have usually been protected - or at least they were until a couple of months ago.

If you're a member of Congress and a known creeper like Senator Al "I'm going to resign soon" Franken, your club-mates will ignore or hide your crude behavior and the liberal media can be counted on not to go around digging it up. - More...
Monday PM - December 11, 2017

jpg PETER FUNT

PETER FUNT: Rural America's Struggle - There are 14,321 Dollar General stores in America. It's chain that many shoppers have never heard of, yet it has more stores than Starbucks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Dollar General company is worth $22 billion - far more than the nation's largest grocery chain, Kroger, which has five times the revenue.

Sadly, however, Dollar General is thriving because, as the Journal puts it, "rural America is struggling." The chain builds stores where folks are down on their luck, where 20 percent of customers receive government assistance, and where even Wal-Mart won't bother doing business.

I phoned several Dollar General stores and learned that none sells fresh meat or produce; the grocery aisles feature mostly canned and frozen goods. Many products, such as soft drinks, come in mini sizes to keep unit prices low. And not a single store had any newspapers for sale.

Maybe that's just as well, because headlines these days report that the stock market is remarkably high and unemployment is surprisingly low. But for rural America, news like that doesn't hit home.

Things are looking up in Donald Trump's America, except, of course, where they are not.

The administration's proudest accomplishment is a tax bill that benefits millionaires and billionaires. The Joint Committee on Taxation finds that the Senate version of the bill would increase taxes on all Americans making less than $75,000 a year.

As Paul Krugman summarizes in The New York Times: "Everything this president and this Congress are doing on economic policy seems designed, not just to widen the gap between the wealthy and everyone else, but to lock in plutocrats' advantages, making it easier to ensure that their heirs remain on top and the rest stay down."

In rural America, where about 46 million people reside, employment and economic growth have not recovered from the last recession at a pace seen elsewhere in the nation. Childhood poverty - perhaps the most critical metric in determining a population's well-being - is considerably higher in rural areas than in urban centers. - More....
Monday PM - December 11, 2017


jpg Political Cartoon: Days Of Rage

Political Cartoon: Days Of Rage
By Rick McKee ©2017, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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Opinion - Letter

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

Opinion - Letter

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

Opinion - Letter

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

Opinion - Letter

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

Opinion - Letter

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

Opinion - Letter

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

Opinion - Letter

Alaska's Fiscal Situation By Rep. Dan Ortiz - A misleading internet video posted around Thanksgiving alleged that I “want” to implement a state-wide income tax and that the State of Alaska continues to have a bloated budget. Neither of those statements are accurate. - More...
Friday AM - December 01, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Trump Condones China's Press Restrictions By Donald Moskowitz - President Trump refused to take reporters questions during his visit to China.  He succumbed to Chinese insistence that no questions be allowed from the press. - More...
Friday AM - December 01, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Easy to take money from those who have sacrificed, planned and worked By Jerry Cegelske - Ghert Abbott's letter to Sitnews on November 21st stated that the solution to the Alaska fiscal problem is to heavily tax the investment income from the “rich” people. A problem I have with his solution is the government is the entity which defines the term “rich” or economically advantaged. It is easy for government to lower the definition of rich so that the numerous middle class and lower taxpayers end up paying the bill. Government has an unlimited power to take from people and an unlimited ability to spend more than they should. - More...
Monday PM - November 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

The GOP’s Malevolent Tax Proposals By Ghert Abbott - It is impossible to fully convey the sheer, unbridled malevolence of the GOP tax plans currently being rushed through Congress. In order to pay for permanent corporate tax cuts which will predominately benefit the super-rich, working and middle class Americans will receive a permanent tax increase. At first this tax increase will be masked by temporary tax cuts, but once all the temporary cuts expire 50% of Americans will find themselves with a higher tax bill. These permanent tax increases will be particularly concentrated on households earning below $75,000 a year. The GOP’s tax plan will thus redistribute wealth upwards, increasing the tax burden of ordinary Americans while decreasing the taxes paid by the extremely wealthy. But the costs of paying for these corporate tax cuts won’t stop there. - More...
Monday PM - November 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Open Letter: Thank You By Alannah Hurley Dear Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission, On behalf of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), I would like to thank you for standing in unity with the people of Bristol Bay. The letter from your tribe urging the EPA to finalize protections for our watershed and Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life is a great help to our efforts. Like many in your region, our tribal members still live a traditional way of life in balance with our pristine lands and waters. The health of our watershed is directly connected to the health and well-being of our people and the continuation of our cultures, we thank you again for helping us work to protect this connection for future generations. - More...
Monday PM - November 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

“YOU WHO HATE” By David G Hanger - When next you choose to rant on a subject, Mr. Tim Livingston, I would suggest you at least understand what the subject is lest you again appear as stupid as you do in this instance. The term “plausible deniability” is technically a legal term for a method or action frequently used by extreme right-wing politicians in an effort to advance their agenda of lies, deceit, and ironclad control. In its more pedestrian utilization we have the denials and semi-denials of such as Menendez and Franken, but as refined political utility it is a right-wing phenomenon first developed by Goebbels, and more recently re- invigorated by the likes of Karl Rove. - More...
Monday PM - November 27, 2017

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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