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Tongass Sunrise
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Alaska

Alaska: Republican Senators Call on Lt. Gov. Mallot to Fight "Ballot Box Biology" By MARY KAUFFMAN - Friday, members of the Alaska Senate Majority urged Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott to appeal the recent ruling by the Alaska Superior Court allowing what the Senate Majority is calling an unconstitutional initiative to proceed.

Republican Senators Call on Lt. Gov. Mallot to Fight "Ballot Box Biology" By MARY KAUFFMAN

Photo Courtesy USFWS

The Superior Court for the State of Alaska ruled on October 9th, in favor of "Stand for Salmon" and approved the printing of petition books for the Stand for Salmon Ballot Initiative, a measure that proposes updates to Alaska’s 60-year-old law governing development in salmon habitat. According to "Stand for Salmon", the proposed updates would bring certainty and stability to the permitting process and promote responsible resource development in a growing and changing Alaska. The application was submitted by three Alaskans with deep ties to the state’s fisheries – Mike Wood, Brian Kraft and Gayla Hoseth.

Superior Court Judge Mark Rindner ruled the controversial "Stand for Salmon" ballot initiative to be constitutional, overturning the contrary decision by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott less than a month earlier.

"What this means is that the initiative will get certified and Stand for Salmon can start collecting the signatures it needs to get the initiative on the ballot,” said Valerie Brown, legal director for Trustees for Alaska and the attorney who argued the case for the plaintiff, Stand for Salmon. 

“We stand behind the lieutenant governor’s original rejection of an initiative that proposes ballot box allocation,” Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage), chair of the Senate Resources Committee. “A careful evaluation by state attorneys made it clear that this initiative is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court needs to hear the facts.”

Initiative 17FSH2, also known as the "Stand for Salmon Initiative", applied to gather signatures and appear on the ballot of next year’s election. After a thorough review process, the lieutenant governor denied certification on September 12th. The initiative’s sponsors appealed in court, and an initial ruling by an Anchorage judge contradicted the lieutenant governor’s decision.

“Alaska’s constitution wisely leaves resource management to professional biologists, not the ballot box,” said Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), Majority Leader of the Alaska Senate. “Allocating access through bumper sticker campaigns endangers every Alaskan’s right to work and right to fish. Just as the Cook Inlet setnet initiative was ruled unconstitutional, I encourage the Walker administration to appeal this decision immediately.”

The state has not yet decided to appeal the case.

“Like many Alaskans, salmon is my livelihood and the food on my table,” said Sen. Micciche. “I call upon all legislators to work together in understanding a proper balance between healthy fish habitat and responsible resource development.”

“We live in an owner state and Alaskans have the right to have their voices heard. This ballot measure is an important step back to the levels of protection for salmon that were intended by the authors of the Alaska constitution. These are needed updates to an outdated law that will balance responsible development with protecting Alaska’s wild salmon, one of the state’s most vital natural resources from a cultural, economic and recreational perspective,” said Gayla Hoseth, one of the initiative sponsors, from Dillingham.

Trustees for Alaska filed the lawsuit after Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott rejected the ballot measure in September. The state argued that the initiative would effectively remove the legislature’s discretion over allocations. It argued, in essence, that Alaska citizens cannot put a thumb on the scale of how state assets - in this case water - are used. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017



Ketchikan:
TSA implementing new screening procedures for carry-on items - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented new and stronger carry-on baggage security screening procedures at Juneau International Airport and the same procedures are coming to five other airports in southeast Alaska within the next five weeks.

The new procedures require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for x-ray screening when going through the security checkpoint. In addition to Juneau, these procedures will soon be in place at Cordova Municipal Airport, Ketchikan International Airport, Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport, Wrangell Airport, and Yakutat Airport.

“TSA continually evaluates and adapts our screening procedures when needed to keep the traveling public safe and secure,” said Brian Cahill, TSA Federal Security Director for Alaska. “The procedures in Juneau will soon extend to airports throughout southeast Alaska and across the state. We will work closely with passengers as they get used to the new procedures to ensure an effective and efficient trip through the security screening process.”

Travelers departing airports where the new procedures are in place will be asked to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags. The electronics should be placed in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for several years.

This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image of electronic devices. The new screening procedures were tested at 10 airports over the past several months and will be implemented at airports nationwide. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Fish Factor: Producing seaweed for biofuels By LAINE WELCH - - Kodiak is at the center of a national push to produce biofuels from seaweeds. 

Agents from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently traveled to the island to meet with a team of academics, scientists, businesses and local growers to plan the first steps of a bi-coastal pilot project to modernize methods to grow sugar kelp as a fuel source. 

The project is bankrolled by a $500,000 grant to the University of Alaska/Fairbanks through a new DOE program called Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER). It has funded 18 projects to develop new tools to help the U.S. grow into a “world leader” in production of macroalgae (seaweed) as fuel, chemical feedstock and animal feed.

“By further developing this untapped resource, the U.S. could eventually produce enough seaweed to handle as much as 10 percent of our demand for transportation fuel,” according an ARPA/E release. The group estimates the U.S could produce at least 500 million dry metric tons of macroalgae per year, which could yield about 2.7 quadrillion thermal units of liquid fuel.       

“The exclusive economic zone of the U.S. oceans (out to 200 miles) is equivalent in size to the nation’s whole land area,” said Marc von Keitz, ARPA/E program director. “Right now we are at the very early stage and it is a very manual, artisanal type operation. If we want to make large quantities so it is relevant for energy, we need to think about how we scale it up.”

In 2014, the world produced 25 million wet metric tons of seaweed through a combination of wild harvesting and highly labor-intensive farming techniques. Current operations are not capable of supporting a viable seaweed-to-fuels industry. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017


UAS first Alaskan college to host Coast Guard's College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, 17th District commander, and University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor Rick Caulfield shake hands after signing a memorandum of agreement between the Coast Guard and UAS.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Shawn Eggert.

Southeast Alaska: UAS first Alaskan college to host Coast Guard's College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative - On behalf of the Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zunkuft, Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Seventeenth Coast Guard District commander, signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the University of Alaska Southeast, establishing the university as a member of the Coast Guard’s Minority-Serving Institution partnership program.

The purpose of the program is for the Coast Guard to recruit, retain and sustain a ready, diverse and highly skilled workforce. 

“Our people are our most important investment, and the Coast Guard must engage and retain the most qualified and inclusively diverse workforce,” said McAllister. “For 150 years, the Coast Guard’s ability to serve and protect Alaska has grown alongside the state’s increasingly prominent role in national sovereignty and maritime commerce. With this MOA we have an opportunity to attract young people that know what it means to live and work on the water.”

Central to this partnership is the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative scholarship program. CSPI is a program designed for motivated individuals who demonstrate high academic and leadership excellence, and desire to serve their country in the United States Coast Guard.  Students can apply if they are currently enrolled, accepted for enrollment or pending enrollment in a full-time bachelor's degree program at Minority-Serving Institutions and have the desire to receive a guaranteed commission as an officer in the United States Coast Guard. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017


 

Alaska Science: Algae’s athletic role in glacier melt By NED ROZELL - Life exists everywhere you look. Even on glacier ice, home to inch-long worms, snow fleas, bacteria and algae.

Algae’s athletic role in glacier melt

The Harding Icefield stretches across the Kenai Peninsula.
Photo by Dave Swartz

When gathered by the millions on the ice, algae cells can help make the water they need to survive. Alaska scientists recently studied this living agent of glacier melt.

“If you went to a place on a glacier and scraped the algae away, about 20 percent of the melting would go away,” said Roman Dial, a biologist at Alaska Pacific University. He is co-author on a recent study executed in summer 2014 on Harding Icefield by then-APU graduate student Gerard Ganey.

Ganey and his helpers traversed the steep Exit Glacier Trail near Seward about a dozen times that summer in his study of algae that lives on ice. In the research published in Nature Geoscience, Ganey found that adding fertilizer to glacier ice increased the amount of nearby algae. More algae absorbed more sunlight, equating to 17 percent more glacier melt in areas rich in algae.

Green algae cysts are single-celled packages now waiting out the long winter on Alaska glaciers. They break their dormancy in spring when tickled with meltwater.

When spring warmth delivers free water, algae swim to the glacier surface using tiny flagella whips. Then algae lose their ability to move and morph from green to red. Red seems the perfect color to absorb just the right amount of heat from the sun to thaw nearby snow without the algae getting too hot and dying. A frigid glacier without water would host no living creatures.

“All life needs liquid water,” said Dial, Ganey’s advisor at APU. “When you go camping and your water bottle is frozen, you’re going to be thirsty until you get your water bottle thawed out.” - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017



 

Columns - Commentary

 

jpg RICK JENSEN

RICK JENSEN: There's No Such Thing as Personal Information - Your personal information is most likely out there for criminals to use.

Did you call Equifax?Did they say your information was likely not compromised?

Don't believe them.I get this from internationally renowned cyber security expert Josh Marpet, who suggests we should all freeze our credit so no one opens up a bunch of credit cards in our names.

You may have read about some of his exploits, such as using his skills to prove Recep Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, was taking bribes.

He has revelations for those of us not immersed in issues like everyday surveillance of U.S. citizens.

ALPR cameras, E-ZPass transponders, and aggregated CCTV video watch you a lot more than you realize.

ALPR? What's that?

Automatic License Plate Recognition systems read license plates on both the left (oncoming traffic) and right (parked cars, or the next lane over) sides of the car. It can be done at over 75 miles per hour, picking up EVERY car it goes by. 

Law enforcement uses it to get people who are wanted (warrants), scofflaws (didn't pay those tickets, did you?), and to identify stolen cars.  - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

jpg PETER ROFF

PETER ROFF - Tax Reform Now - The U.S. economy may be improving but it's not growing like it needs to. Cutting red tape has helped but it's not enough.

The solution should be obvious. Small business owners surveyed recently by CNBC identified taxes as their No. 1 concern. A quarter of them said it was the most critical issue they face currently. That's not a surprise since the code is cumbersome, punishes success, is highly complicated, and doesn't reflect the realities of the global economy.

America needs tax reform to get going again. The post-2008 recession recovery is hardly worth the name. It's going to take a shot of economic adrenaline to fix the problems we face, something very much like the Trump plan which, if passed as currently envisioned, will get things going quite nicely.

That means President Donald Trump is going to have to go over the heads of the swamp dwellers in Congress and on television like Ronald Reagan did to get his 1981 tax bill through Congress. Only the kind of pressure the public can apply will convince enough Republicans and Democrats to pass a budget allowing for tax cuts in the future to get out of the Senate by a simple majority. If Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is allowed to set the threshold for passing anything at 60 votes it is game over.

Getting the budget for next year through is only the first step. Trump and the supporters of tax reform will have to show how their plan makes a difference to the American family and the American family business is truly meaningful ways if they expect the people to get behind it. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017


jpg Editorial Cartoon: Republicans Say Tax Reform Will Be Easier

Editorial Cartoon: Republicans Say Tax Reform Will Be Easier
By RJ Matson ©2017, Roll Call
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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Opinion - Letter

POW Hunting regulation By Mike Carney - Thanks Charles Edwardson for being able to see what is taking place on POW. I hunted POW for years as did many others that do not anymore because of the silly hunting regulation that divide Ketchikan from POW. When the Fed's made the rule that kept Ketchikan residents off federal lands in different places on POW the problems started. All it did was make some legal hunters into none legal hunters. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: Tax Fairness By Lance Clark - I don’t think Ortiz, Walker, and company care about fairness.  They just want MORE money from anywhere they can find it, regardless of the implications down the road, or who they hurt along the way. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Special Session Survey By Rep. Dan Ortiz - On October 23rd, the legislature will convene for its third special session to discuss potential revenue sources. Below, I have outlined two options that I will most likely have the choice to vote on during that session. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE:Demand Tax Fairness By Jon Bolling - Mr. Dial's October 12, 2017 letter to SitNews merits a clarification. While it is true that some areas of Prince of Wales Island are not legally obligated to support local schools, the cities of Craig, Klawock, and Hydaburg are subject to the same required local contribution requirement to fund their schools as is the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Demand tax fairness By Rodney Dial - The recent letter by former Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst details the greatest economic threat our community will likely ever face. Citizens of all political persuasions should give it consideration. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Increasing Nonprofit Organization's Efffectiveness By Deborah Hayden - During September we heard often from candidates for borough Assembly that they wanted to increase the ability of nonprofit organizations to operate in a business-like manner or to be more self-sufficient. For the past three years, the Strengthening Nonprofits Collaborative has been engaged in projects that will enhance nonprofit operations in both these categories. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

WE ARE CONTINUING TO PROTECT ALASKA’S TRANSBOUNDARY WATERS By Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott - One of the best parts of my job, and one of the most challenging, is to keep working toward Alaska goals that are not easily and quickly achieved. Perhaps my role as an elder has given me patience in dealing with an ever-changing political landscape at the local, national, and international level. But that’s not to say I don’t get frustrated and impatient like you do when incremental movement seems agonizingly slow. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Are there more hunting restrictions on POW targeted on non residents? By Chas Edwardson - My name is Charles Edwardson a native born Ketchikan resident and also an Alaska native, there is no distinction of separation in my view, although both perspectives need to be understood. I am also a dual resident having a home on Prince of Wales and in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: Open Letter to the NFL players By Joe Ashcraft - The pushing of the false narrative that the NFL players are protesting the flag, the anthem, or the American military brings into question the motives of any individual doing so. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

It’s Past Time to Achieve Parity Regarding State Education Funding: An Open Letter to Representative Ortiz By Dan Bockhorst - On October 23, the Alaska Legislature will convene its 12th session during your 3 years in office (3 regular sessions plus 9 special sessions) – far more sessions than during any other three-year period in the State’s history. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

AMHS Needs Forward Funding By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The Alaska Marine Highway System needs forward funding. I don’t think I need to say it twice. If money is allocated to the AMHS for its future expenses, the AMHS can properly plan sailings which would: capture revenue from tourists (including those considering traveling with their RV’s or vehicles), allow businesses to send employees to neighboring islands, and provide more advance planning options for Alaskans. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

SB54: Essential step in addressing public safety By Jahna Lindemuth & Walt Monegan - Crime is on the rise. We’ve been hearing a lot from Alaskans about their cabins, cars, shops, and homes being broken into. People feel scared and that fear is warranted.  The crime statistics confirm what we have been hearing in all of our Alaska communities.   As Alaska’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Public Safety, public safety is our highest concern. We agree action is needed to protect Alaskans. Passing SB54 during the special session is an important first step in this direction. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

NO WORRIES THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL JUST GET YOU TO HEAVEN THAT MUCH SOONER By David G Hanger - Some five hundred eighty-six casualties, 58 dead by gunshot, hundreds upon hundreds wounded by one man’s gunfire, and, wow, did those first responders do one hell of a job. (It took how long to even figure out where the shots were coming from?) You may have to go clear back to World War I to find a single tactical engagement that cost 586 US casualties. And you definitely have to go back to the first day of the First Battle of the Somme to find so many casualties inflicted in so short a time; the Newfoundland regiment, and that was accomplished by trained soldiers with multiple weapons and weapons systems at their disposal. Time to change USA to FFZ, as in free-fire zone. . - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Open Letter to the NFL players By A. M. Johnson - Following is an anonymous letter, author unknown which should be printed in every newspaper across this great Nation. It will not be but it should. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 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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