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Alaska: Governor Dunleavy Unveils PFD Back Pay Legislation - During a press conference held Wednesday, Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy unveiled two Permanent Fund Dividend-related bills focused on restoring full dividends and repaying Alaskans monies owed for years 2016, 2017, and 2018 under historic PFD calculations.

Quoting a news release, Governor Dunleavy believes we should view the PFD as a transfer under the historic calculations Alaskans have grown to trust and rely upon.

Governor Dunleavy previously stated, "“The PFD must be paid out according to the law, Alaskans must be paid back what the governor arbitrarily took from them, and future actions involving the PFD must be approved by voters.”

The bills work to fulfill that commitment by providing full back pay over three years, while also cementing full dividends through 2023 by prioritizing and authorizing the next four years of dividend payments. This removes the threat the PFD will once again be held as political ransom.

  • SB23: An Act making special appropriations from the earnings reserve account for the payment of unpaid permanent fund dividends, and authorizing dividend payments through 2023.
  • SB24: An Act directing the Department of Revenue to pay dividends to certain eligible individuals over the next three years.

Back Pay Eligibility: Eligible individuals will be determined by the receipt of a prior year’s dividend and their eligibility for the current year’s dividend.

  • To receive back pay ($1,061) in 2019; an applicant must have received a 2016 dividend and be eligible for a 2019 dividend.
  • To receive back pay ($1,289) in 2020; an applicant must have received a 2017 dividend and be eligible for a 2020 dividend.
  • To receive back pay ($1,328) in 2021; an applicant must have received a 2018 dividend and be eligible for a 2021 dividend.

PFD Paid vs PFD Owed:  According to the Permanent Fund Dividend Corporation, eligible Alaskans should have received $3,678 additional dollars during years 2016, 2017 and 2018 under the historic formula. Those funds – $2.3 billion in unpaid dividends – sit unspent in the Earnings Reserve Account. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

Fish Factor: Smaller Winter Crab Fisheries Give Economic Boost To Coastal Communities By LAINE WELCH - When most people think of Alaska crab, they envision huge boats pulling up “7 bys” for millions of pounds of bounty in the Bering Sea. (7 bys refers to the 7’x7’x3’ size of the crab pots.) But it is the smaller, local crab fisheries that each winter give a big economic boost to dozens of coastal communities across the Gulf of Alaska. They occur at a time when many fishing towns are feeling a lull while awaiting the March start of halibut and herring openers. The gearing up means a nice pulse of extra work and money for just about every business tied to fishing.  

High winds and overall snotty weather delayed Kodiak’s Tanner crab fishery, but 83 boats dropped pots a day late on January 16th. They will compete for a 615,000 pound catch quota, an increase from 400,000 pounds last season. At an average weight of 2.2 pounds, that will yield about 280,000 crabs.

The fishery will go fast, said Natura Richardson, assistant area manager for shellfish at the Department of Fish and Game office at Kodiak.

“It could be as quick as a couple days but it’s looking more like four to six days, something like that,” she said, adding that the mid-winter crab season picks up the pace at work.

“Oh yea, there’s a lot of activity with all the registrations and figuring out who’s going where. There’s a lot of excitement in the office. It’s fun,” she said. 

Reports of prices starting at $4.65 a pound also were exciting, an increase from $4.50 last year. That could mean a payout of nearly $3 million to Kodiak fishermen.

Crab fisheries for Tanners and golden king crab will open throughout Southeast Alaska in mid-February. A fleet of about 60 boats typically participates each winter for a harvest of less than   one million pounds of Tanners; around 30 boats fish for golden king crab which has a harvest guideline of about 70,000 pounds. 

Southeast’s Dungeness crab fishery, which occurs in the summer and late fall, is one of the region’s most lucrative fisheries. In the 2017/18 season, a fleet of about 200 boats took just under 2 million pounds (937,701 crabs) valued at nearly $6 million to local fishermen.

Processor reports for 2017 show that they paid $194 million for total crab purchases from Alaska fishermen and sold it to customers for nearly $252 million. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019


jpg Todd MacManus Named President and CEO of First Bank

Todd MacManus Named President and CEO of First Bank

Ketchikan: Todd MacManus Named President and CEO of First Bank - The Board of Directors of First Bank recently announced the promotion of Todd MacManus to President and CEO, effective January 1, 2019. He replaces William Moran, Jr., who served as President and CEO for the bank for the past 34 years. Moran will continue to remain as First Bank’s Chairman of the Board.

Born and raised in Ketchikan, MacManus is a 1999 graduate of Ketchikan High School. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business Administration, with dual concentrations in finance and law and public policy from Gonzaga University.

MacManus has served in several key roles at First Bank over the past fifteen years, most recently as a Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer.

MacManus said he doesn’t foresee making any major changes in the bank. “I have the luxury of taking over a well-run organization, and I don’t see a need for making any dramatic changes,” he said.

MacManus will be in position to lead First Bank’s 100th anniversary celebration, which is approaching in 2024. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Community Foundation Announces 2019 Grant Program - The Ketchikan Community Foundation (KCF), an Affiliate of The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF), is now accepting online applications for its 2019 grant program. The deadline is March 6, 2019.

This year, KCF expects to award approximately $22,000 to qualified nonprofit organizations serving the Ketchikan area. KCF has chosen three community funding categories that rotate each year, and this year’s category is “Physical and Emotional Support.”

This is the fourth year that KCF has awarded grants to local nonprofits. Since 2016, KCF has awarded a total of $61,759 to 21 non-profit organizations.

The Ketchikan Community Foundation (www.ketchikancf.org) is a permanent charitable fund for the communities in the Ketchikan area and is one of 10 Affiliate Community Foundations under the umbrella of The Alaska Community Foundation. KCF’s goal is to grow an endowment to strengthen the charitable nonprofits serving greater Ketchikan. KCF is focused on keeping resources invested locally in a permanent charitable fund to help meet today’s needs and provide a reliable source of funding for the future. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019


 

Alaska: Vessel Swap Will Save Money Says AMHS - The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is making a vessel route change with the goals of saving money and utilizing the new Alaska Class Ferries (ACF) as soon as possible.

AMHS will move the ACF Tazlina to Lynn Canal to replace service by the F/V Fairweather, starting in May 2019. The ACF Hubbard will move to Prince William Sound to replace service provided by the Aurora in 2020.

“I commend AMHS for taking a hard look at the system and recognizing opportunities to save money,” said DOT&PF Commissioner John MacKinnon. “By putting the Alaska Class Ferries into service sooner, we can replace vessels earlier and save on maintenance costs.”

This operational shift to short haul will not require $27 million in capital funding that was requested to add crew cabins for the ACFs. Forward side doors will still be added to the ACFs at a cost of approximately $3 million for both vessels. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

Alaska: Regents Discuss Revocation of UAA’s School of Education Accreditation - The Board of Regents of the University of Alaska focused its meeting today to discuss the loss of the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Education accreditation of its School of Education initial licensure programs.

UA President Jim Johnsen apologized to the UAA students enrolled in the affected education program and pledged to do everything possible to support them.

“We dropped the ball on arguably the single most important responsibility we have, which is to provide students with high quality accredited programs,” said UA President Jim Johnsen. “I personally apologize to students for this failure and breach of trust and I will support the new team that Chancellor Sandeen has put together as we do everything possible to assist affected students.”

Regents questioned the president and chancellor for information on how it happened and what is being done to assist students in the affected programs. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

Alaska: Governor Announces Recent Appointments to Boards and Commissions - Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy announced today the following appointments to State of Alaska State boards and commissions:

State of Alaska Board of Education and Early Development
• Sally Stockhausen of Ketchikan 
• Bob Griffin of Anchorage 
• Tiffany Scott of Kotzebue (reappointment) - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

Alaska: Attorney General files lawsuit alleging business identity theft - The Alaska Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit yesterday in Anchorage Superior Court alleging that a California man stole the identity of eight Alaska businesses. The complaint alleges multiple violations of Alaska’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act. The state is seeking injunctive relief, remediation and civil penalties for the violations.

The complaint states that in June, 2018, Christopher Gabriel Webb accessed the registration portal maintained by the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing and set up several shell corporations, including Energy Capital Group, LLC., Defense Enterprises, LLC, E2 Ventures, LLC, and Engineering Laboratories.

The lawsuit goes on to state that Webb changed the ownership of seven Alaska businesses to the shell companies, falsely swearing that he was authorized to make the changes. Business identity theft occurs when the underlying business ownership of a corporation or LLC is changed without the original owner’s knowledge or consent. The thieves then use the businesses’ identity to apply for and obtain credit, conduct business transactions, and apply for licenses in the businesses name. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019


 

Alaska Science: Alaska’s year without a summer By Ned ROZELL - Two-hundred and thirty-six years ago, when Gen. George Washington marched back into New York City as British troops were walking out, a volcano erupted in Iceland.

For eight months of 1783, Laki volcano spewed lava and belched noxious fumes into the atmosphere. One-quarter of the residents of Iceland died, and the sulfur-rich gases that spread worldwide reflected the sun’s rays, making many places on Earth cooler.

Using evidence held in white spruce trees, researchers think the Laki eruption was a catastrophe for northwest Alaska residents, who had no idea why their July turned into November that year.

Rosanne D’Arrigo, of the tree-ring lab at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York, recently told the story of Alaska’s year without a summer. She attended the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union last month in Washington, D.C.

On a poster in a cavernous meeting hall there, she displayed a photo of tree rings from a white spruce tree from Alaska. Amid a series of dark lines is a faint one that lines up with the year 1783.

Tree rings are thick-walled cells that form in conifers late in the growing season. The hard-to-see tree ring in D’Arrigo’s example shows a most unusual year, 1783, amid centuries of normal spruce growth.

D’Arrigo, Alaska archaeologist Karen Workman and the late Gordon Jacoby once wrote of a “disaster for northwest Alaska Inuit” caused by the Laki eruption and the cold temperatures that followed. The scientists based their conclusion in large part on cores of wood pulled from white spruce trees at northern tree line.

James Louis Giddings gathered many of those plugs.

In June of 1940, Giddings, an archaeologist and mining engineer educated at UAF, flew from Fairbanks to Allakaket. Once in that small village, he aimed his compass at a mountain pass across the Koyukuk River that would lead him to the headwaters of the Kobuk River. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019


 
COLUMNS/COMMENTARY

jpg TOM PURCELL

TOM PURCELL: It's Up to Us to Realize Dr. King's Dream - We'll celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and legacy next week. In these angry and divisive times, we all could benefit by reminding ourselves of his words' truth, civility and wisdom.

Too many of us are consumed with hatred and anger, which have reared their ugly heads in our public discourse lately. Dr. King, who endured hatred so ugly and excessive that it led to his assassination, spoke often of the futility of hating anyone or anything - of how hating harms the hater than the hated: , 

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that."

"I have decided to stick to love ... . Hate is too great a burden to bear."

"Let no man pull you so low as to hate him."

Our political leaders' courage has always been in regrettably short supply. If only those leaders - who are more concerned with partisan interests than with our country's many challenges - would heed these words from Dr. King:, 

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

JPG JEFF LUND

JEFF LUND: Resolution 2019  - I am way late this year on my Resolution. I know the deadline was Jan. 1, but I just can’t decide. Here’s what I have so far, each so vital to being a vibrant human in contemporary society. 

Blame more people. 
John Wooden once said, “If you lose a close game, blame the officials, that way you don’t have to think you didn’t work hard enough.” I learned this early in my coaching career and it helped tremendously. I wanted my players to constantly think that their success or failure is it not up to them. Now that I’m not coaching, I want to apply this to my life in general. 

Believe everything I hear or read. 
There is only one person who deserves the benefit of the doubt, me. The problem with most things is that they are complicated and listening to other people might make me confront or even change my world view. So, by listening only to people with whom I agree, I can help to eliminate nuance and discussion in favor of partisan shout-downs and “Good morning you jerk” texts to politicians who will never see them. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: Trump & Pelosi

Political Cartoon: Trump & Pelosi
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle, GA
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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Re: Edwards' Mess By Gigi Pilcher - I agree 100% with John Herrington's Letter regarding prosecution of each and every adult employed by the KGDSB who knew (first hand) about the sexual assault/sexual abuse allegation.

I am stunned the the KGDSB had to pay money out regarding if there was wrong doing regarding the administration's FAILURE to report everyone of the allegations to law enforcement and OCS ( Office of Children's Services).

It doesn't take a brain surgeon or even a lawyer to know that under Alaska Law, which supersedes any policy and procedure that teachers, school administrators, and other school personnel are MANDATED reporters under Alaska law.

From the mid-1980's through 2004, Women In Safe Homes provided training at in services on this subject as well as providing personal safety to students K through 12th grade. Some of your readers might remember the programs that WISH provided.

Part of the personal safety taught was for a student to identify a safe person who they could go to and tell to get help. Why the KGBSD discountinued Personal Safety had to do with a change in administration. The same administration that violated state law at least 6 times.

Shame on us, every adult who votes in this community for allowing something as important as the safety of our children in school to be ignored. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

Vote for Donna Frank By Kathleen Yarr - I have known Donna Frank since 1987. I hired her to work on the KIC Welfare Reform program in 1994 when I was the Director of Social Services.

Donna was an excellent employee. She was trustworthy, flexible, curious, ethical, a good listener, open to feedback and suggestions, eager to try new approaches to solve problems and to improve policies and the KIC system, and fun to work with! She was a true team player, a quick study and honest.

Donna also had excellent work habits and got along well with the other staff. She worked her way up quickly and later held executive positions both at KIC as well as at Cape Fox. During her employment in KIC Finance, she oversaw grants and audits and earned her B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. At Cape Fox Corporation she became a Certified Fraud Examiner. Donna also has an acute understanding of Human Resources, and years of experience in organizational management and leadership. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

The Edwards' Mess By John Harrington - The Ketchikan School Board investigation into the Edwards' mess has been completed. The Executive Summary is available. The School Board is busy preparing for alterations in their policies. Great. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: Abolish Salmon Hatcheries? By Teri Dawe - I read the letter with interest. This has been a complex ongoing largely unrecognized problem for an extremely long time. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019

jpg Opinion

Read the Executive Summary By Margaret Cloud - The report regarding Doug Edwards is available on-line.  I encourage people to read the entire report.  The school district was aware of issues since 2013. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019

jpg Opinion

Systemic betrayal of public trust By Mark O’Brien - Concerning the Edwards abuse case, there appears to have been a systemic betrayal of public trust within the Ketchikan Gateway School District. During this past Wednesday’s meeting School Board member Diane Gubatayao was the only board member to step up and vote to not accept Robert Boyle’s letter of resignation. His resignation letter should have been rejected and the school board should have fired him instead. That collective vote would have been the first step in restoring faith in this body’s decisions regarding student safety and public trust. - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

“MR. GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL” By David G Hanger - “Thus, by the acts of a dismissed emissary, a disappointed president, and a divided Senate, the United States acquired California and the Southwest. This gigantic step in the growth of the American republic was not taken with enthusiasm by either president or Congress, but resulted from the fact that the elements in opposition could find no viable alternative and no basis on which they could combine. It was an ironic triumph for ‘Manifest Destiny,’ an ominous fulfillment for the impulses of American nationalism. It reflected a sinister dual quality in this nationalism, for at the same time when national forces, in the fullness of a very genuine vigor, were achieving an external triumph, the very triumph itself was subjecting their nationalism to internal stresses which, within thirteen years, would bring the nation to a supreme crisis.” (The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War 1848-1861 by Professor David M. Potter, 1910-1971, page 6.) - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

Trump's First Two Years By Donald Moskowitz - As an Independent I provide the following evaluation of Trump's first two years in office. - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: A Progressive Scam By Wiley Brooks - According to Stephan Eldridge, he’s a retired authority on our federal income tax system. Whatever he is, he’s a gadfly who evidently has nothing else to do except spend his days trolling for information published on the FairTax. Obviously, he’s a big fan of our complex, unfair, burdensome and corrupt income tax system. - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

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