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Southeast Alaska: Southeast Communities Will Receive a Share of $56 million in Alaska Fisheries Disaster Relief Funds By MARY KAUFFMAN - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on June 20th allocated $200 million in disaster funding appropriated by Congress to help fishermen and the businesses and communities that rely upon them to recover and rebuild following hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. Funding has also been appropriated and allocated for the disasters that devastated the West Coast and Alaska fishermen from 2014 to 2017.

“Last year, American fishing communities across the Gulf and Caribbean were devastated by some of the most destructive hurricanes in recent memory, while Pacific fisheries have suffered from years of hardship,” said Secretary Ross. “This Administration stands shoulder to shoulder with these communities as they prove their strength and resilience in the face of adversity.”

Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka) and Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) welcomed the news that Alaska, including Southeast, will receive a share of the $56 million in federal fisheries disaster relief funds allocated to Alaska.

The 2016 pink salmon fishery’s devastatingly low revenues were felt throughout the state, but the initial request for disaster relief funds was limited to Prince William Sound, Kodiak, Lower Cook Inlet, and Chignik. Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins and Rep. Ortiz, parallel to the work of Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), advocated for the inclusion of Southeast communities in the governor’s disaster relief request in October 2016. (Kreiss-Tomkins & OrtizLetter of October 21, 2016)

"The investment from the federal disaster relief funds will help the fishing industry which is so vital to Southeast economies and communities, especially given the sobering run forecasts this year,” said Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins.

Kreiss-Tomkin said, “All this came about because fishermen contacted their legislators. We turned around and did our honest best to represent their interests and, fortunately, ensure that Southeast Alaska was included with the rest of Alaska and got its fair share.”

“We heard from fisherman here in Southeast who saw a more than 50% drop in revenue,” said Rep. Ortiz. “I’m glad to see that all of the communities affected by the 2016 pink salmon fishery disaster will be receiving compensation.”

According to NOAA, the funds can help commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter businesses, shore-side infrastructure, subsistence users, and the fishing ecosystem and environment. Activities that can be considered for funding include infrastructure projects, habitat restoration, state-run vessel and permit buybacks, job retraining, and other activities, as specified by the law and limits of the request.

NOAA Fisheries used commercial fishery revenue loss as the common metric to allocate funding among eligible disasters. In addition to revenue loss, NOAA also took subsistence uses and long-term impacts to the fishery into account to further ensure an equitable distribution of the $200 million funded.

Following Secretary of Commerce Ross' announcement this week, NOAA said they will be contacing the eligible applicants for both hurricane-affected states and territories and for states and tribes affected by fishery disasters on the West Coast and in Alaska.

Alaska will receive $56,361,332 in disaster relief for economic assistance for entities affected by the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon fishery failure. The money is part of the $200 million in disaster relief allocated by the Secretary of Commerce in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Nine fisheries in Alaska, Washington, California and Oregon as well as fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico will receive funds. Alaska Governor Walker thanked Alaska’s Congressional delegation for their efforts to secure the funds through the Bipartisan Budget Act.

“This is a big deal. Alaska will get more than a quarter of the $200 million dollars allocated to help fishing communities across the country that have faced fisheries related disasters,” Governor Bill Walker said.

Walker said, “Coastal communities have been hurting, and $56 million dollars will go a long way to help the hard-working and resilient Alaskans whose livelihoods and lifestyles depend on fish.” 

According to a news release from the governor, the State of Alaska is working collaboratively with NOAA and stakeholders to develop criteria for disbursement of funds. NOAA fisheries will provide notification regarding how to apply for funds through non-competitive awards. The funds can cover a wide range of entities such as commercial fisheries, industries like processors and support facilities, as well as communities affected by the disaster.  

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, (all R-Alaska), also welcomed a funding allocation announcement by the Secretary of Commerce for states and territories affected by recent fishery disasters. Alaska's disaster funding of $56,361,332 will support compensation, recovery, and relief for fishermen, communities, and stakeholders affected by the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon fishery disaster. - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018


 


Ketchikan:
Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick transfers command in Ketchikan - Lt. Tim Ozimek relieved Lt. Mike Moyseowicz as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick in a change of command ceremony held on June 15th at Coast Guard Base Ketchikan.

Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick transfers command in Ketchikan

The families of the incoming and outgoing commanding officers for the USCGC John McCormick (WPC 1121) take a photo in front of the 154-foot Fast Response Cutter following a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Ketchikan, June 15, 2018. Lt. Tim Ozimek relieved Lt. Mike Moyseowicz as commanding officer of the John McCormick.
U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Capt. Stephen White, commander of Coast Guard Sector Juneau, served as presiding official as the command of the ship passed from its inaugural skipper to a successor. 

The Coast Guard commissioned the Cutter John McCormick in Ketchikan April 12, 2017. Built under the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class FRC program, the John McCormick is the first of two fast response cutters homeported in Ketchikan and the first to be homeported in the Pacific Area. Four more fast response cutters are scheduled to be homeported in Alaska. - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018

Alaska: Coast Guard seizes 80 tons of salmon for suspected illegal fishing in the North Pacific Ocean - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley detained the fishing vessel Run Da suspected of illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing activity last Saturday in international waters 860 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan.

The crew of the Alex Haley, a 282-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Kodiak, and People’s Republic of China Coast Guard officers conducted a joint international boarding on the high seas of the Chinese-flagged fishing vessel Run Da.

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130 aircraft, forward deployed on a North Pacific Coast Guard Forum multi-national fisheries enforcement patrol supported by Canada, China, Japan, Russia and the Republic of Korea, sighted the suspected IUU fishing vessel.

Upon arriving on scene, the U.S. Coast Guard and PRC Coast Guard conducted a set of pre-boarding questions over VHF-FM radio to confirm fishing activity and nationality. After questioning was complete and clearance to board was obtained from both United States and China, the Alex Haley boarding team deployed to assist the PRC Coast Guard investigation and to document the suspected illegal fishing activity.

The fishing vessel is suspected of violating the worldwide driftnet moratorium called for by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/215. The captain of the Run Da admitted to fishing with driftnets up to 5.6 miles in length. The joint boarding team discovered one ton of squid and 80 tons of chum salmon on board. 

The Alex Haley crew transferred custody of the Run Da and its crew Thursday to PRC Coast Guard vessel 2301 in the Sea of Japan approximately 92 miles west of Japan. PRC Coast Guard vessel 2301 will escort the Run Da back to China for prosecution. The PRC has jurisdiction for any enforcement actions taken upon the vessel, master and owner.  - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018


 

Alaska Science:
Warming in the North continues as predicted By NED ROZELL - Just outside my window here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, workers are drilling into the asphalt of a parking lot using a truck-mounted rig. They twist a hollow bit 25 feet into the ground and pull up hard, clear evidence of why the blacktop is sinking.

A few days ago, John Walsh gave a talk a few hundred steps from that parking lot. Walsh has spent 17 years in Fairbanks studying Arctic climate and learning about the latest physical changes in the far North. He is the chief scientist of the International Arctic Research Center, and an expert on global warming as it applies to the Arctic and sub-Arctic.

Back in the parking lot, an engineer guiding the work watches the drillers hit clear discs of ice, about 7 feet below car level. The ice had been solid for centuries, maybe thousands of years, but the construction of a parking lot in the late 1990s is making it shrink. What used to be spruce trees and an insulating carpet of forest floor is now a layer of warm asphalt.

Human-assisted or not, thawing permafrost is a slow-motion disaster happening now in most of northern Alaska. Unlike a hurricane or a flood, the loss of permafrost is silent, rarely dramatic, and never fatal. In the back parking lot, university secretaries and grounds crew workers will steer into different parking spaces, and go on with their days.

Even though they are dramatic in scale, the northern changes Walsh described have the same subtlety. They happen far from where most people live and have not yet resulted in an emergency for most of the world’s billions.

For example, sea ice was just not there in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean this spring.

“That was new territory for open water,” Walsh said.

In the recent history of Earth, blue water on the northern oceans in early spring was an event worthy of more than a few minutes of Twitter’s attention. But few people heard that ocean lapping outside Point Hope and Utqiagvik. Lack of reflective sea ice floating on the northern oceans might help nurture 30-inch rainfalls in Houston, Texas, but that connection is hard to prove. - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018

 

COMMENTARY

jpg PETER ROFF

PETER ROFF: SCOTUS Puts Internet Sales Tax in Play - Bloomberg Businessweek just did a feature piece about the demise of Toys R US that, complete with an illustration of a crying Geoffrey the Giraffe, really tugs at your heart strings. It's a clever take that puts the blame squarely on private equity investors and executives who, the magazine claims, kept the company alive for a decade or more by "living on borrowed money."

While that's true in part, there's much more to the story. Almost no where in its exposition of the company's failure does it examine the underlying problem: government policies that favor clicks over bricks by granting tax and regulatory preference to e-tailers over what's come to be known as main street retail.

Up to now, sales tax must be collected on an item purchased via the Internet when the seller has a physical presence in the state in which the buyer resides. The technical term for that is nexus and it meant, according to what the United States Supreme Court found in the case of Quill v. North Dakota, that a state could not mandate the collection of sales tax on goods sold to purchasers living out of state where no nexus existed.

To many, this differentiation became one of the loopholes creating essentially preferential tax treatment for Internet retailers at the expense of local stores like Toys R US, which once dotted the American landscape. It was the toy store of choice for many parents until it became apparent the same items you could by in the store could be bought cheaper on the Internet and delivered to your house already gift wrapped.

On Thursday, the court reversed itself. In a 5-4 decision the justices now found state concerns about revenue loss should take precedence over concerns about a physical nexus. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy opined, "Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States. These critiques underscore that the physical presence rule, both as first formulated and as applied today, is an incorrect interpretation of the Commerce Clause." - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018

jpg BLAIR BESS

BLAIR BESS: This is Us - This is us, America. This is who we are at this precise moment in time. A nation that separates families. A nation that interns children and infants in detention camps far from their parents, farther still from those the Trump administration perceives to be his meddlesome enemies; those whose prying eyes, brimming with empathy, and voices of reason are a threat to his regime. 

This is us, America. This is who we are - or have become - in the eyes of the world.

This is exactly what other autocrats - among them, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, and Turkey's Recep Erdogan - would like their own people to believe. For them, this is the perfect "I told you so" moment. A time when they can accurately point to America and say "They are no better than us. They are not who they claim to be." 

The president's immigration policy is a disaster. To those true believers, those who continue to ride the Trumpian Trolley to hell, the president is a man of his word. In their eyes, he is fulfilling the promises he made while campaigning for office. He tells them what he wants them to hear and believe. 

President Trump and his apostle, Jeff Sessions, are, in the minds of their followers, guiding Americans toward security and salvation. Yet, the path these two men and others in the administration are forging leads us further into the wilderness, isolating us from those who remain free to speak the truth and true to their values.

As in previous authoritarian regimes throughout history, the president and his minions have sought and found a scapegoat. For the Romans, it was the Christians; for the Czars, it was the downtrodden who threatened their autocratic reign and personal fortunes; for the Third Reich, it was the Jews, Roma, homosexuals, and political opponents.  - More...
Saturday PM - Jun e 23, 2018

jpg MICHAEL REAGAN

MICHAEL REAGAN: Congress is Broken... and Spineless - It's no surprise that Democrats and everyone in the liberal media are blaming President Trump personally for the crying immigrant children at the border.

He gets blamed for everything their hysterical minds can think of. 

But it's not up to him to fix what's wrong with our messed-up immigration policies. It's up to Congress.

The problem is, as Americans can see for themselves every day, Congress is broken â€' and crawling with spineless politicians.

Our senators and representatives can't or won't come up with an immigration reform bill and send it to the president's desk any time soon - just like they couldn't or wouldn't do so when Bush II and Obama were presidents.

Both parties are at fault.

For more than thirty years, no matter which party controlled Congress or the White House, they did nothing significant to fix our illegal immigration problem - which now should be more accurately described as "an illegal invasion problem."

House Republicans today can't even get their act together to pass an immigration bill and send it to the Senate, where they'd never get it passed anyway.

Meanwhile, cynical Democrats prefer to continue using footage of crying children as propaganda weapons in their 24/7 war against Trump and anyone bearing his name. - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018


jpg Political Cartoon: Fashion Trends

Political Cartoon: Fashion Trends
By Jeff Koterba ©2018, Omaha World Herald, NE
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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jpg Letter / Opinion

Crying Children and Due Process of Law By Kary Love - Being a lawyer, I have long been interested in and have studied the question, where did law come from? It turns out to have been the result of a centuries long, hard struggle by people over generations as humans evolved to try to incorporate justice into their villages or tribes.  Generation built upon generation, honing and improving law.

One source has long been claimed to be “God’s Law.”  For example, the idea of “due process of law,” the right to a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal before judgment is found in not only in Roman law but in Christian law as well.  In John 7:51 Nicodemus defends Jesus to the Pharisees who are seeking Jesus’ condemnation and death without trial.  Nicodemus demands of the Pharisees:  "Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?" (John 7:51)

Whether you are a believer or not, the Bible is a source of much human law, at least in the West.  It was written over millennia probably derived from oral traditions before being reduced to writing by the Hebrews in the Torah.  As worldly experience and common sense teach, one ought to be careful about arrogantly overthrowing centuries of accumulated human wisdom, or God’s law, if you so believe.  Before law, my training was in science and I learned: “you may be smart, but you are not smarter than evolution.”  So, I seek wisdom where it can be found to have evolved and reject it only after careful consideration.  - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Bad Arguments for Taxing the PFD By Ghert Abbott - A number of very bad arguments have been made by those who want to resolve our state’s fiscal crisis via a massive head tax on the Permanent Fund Dividend without any regard for the extremely regressive effects that this will have.

The most popular argument is that the PFD is merely being reduced to its historical average of $1,050. The purpose of this argument is to convince Alaskans that they won’t suffer too great a loss because they’ll still be getting an “average” PFD. But this average is simply the median between the highest and lowest returns. Making the median return the new high will naturally create a newer, lower average for PFD recipients. So for Alaskans to continue receiving an average PFD of $1,050, by definition the Permanent Fund needs to be left alone. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

BORDER FAMILY SEPARATIONS OPEN OLD WOUNDS; US practice recalls horrific policies used to eradicate Native cultures By Rosita Kaaháni Worl - I want to express my appreciation to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for opposing the separation of families at the U.S. border and demanding an immediate halt to this "cruel, tragic" practice. I also want to recognize U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska for requesting a more deliberate bipartisan approach to this issue.

For me and for many, many other Alaska Natives, this issue is personal and resurrects old wounds. As Alaska Natives, we suffered the kidnapping of our children who were interned in boarding schools under the assimilationist policy of the United States. We as individuals and societies continue to suffer the intergenerational trauma from being separated from our families and raised in boarding schools. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Separating immigrant children from their parents By Larry Emery - The Metlakatla Minister's Association sent a letter to Alaska's congressional delegation protesting the treatment of the children of asylum seekers at the United States border.  The letter calls states that the administrations policy "... not only rejects America's values, it also ignores biblical teachings about the value and dignity of all human beings as being in God's image, regardless of their immigration status..." The minister's go on to state, "...undocumented aliens and asylum seekers should be treated with respect as human beings while their cases are undergoing due process. This is not a partisan political issue but a moral one. The policy of family separation must be reversed."  The Metlakatla Minister's Association consists of the pastors of the Lakeside Church of God, Metlakatla Congregational Church, Metlakatla Presbyterian Church and the William Duncan Memorial Church.  The full text of the letter is as follows: - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Trump Voters Responsible By Hallie Engel - I just wanted to remind everyone that if you voted for Trump, you are in part responsible for the separation of children from their parents. Some of these children are babies. I would like you to think about how you would feel if you came to the US seeking asylum, and someone took your child from you. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Separating children By Rob Holston, Jr - Trump is crazy for separating children from their illegal parents.  He should put them up in TRUMP hotels with catered meals and have the federal government pick up the tab.  He would become richer.  Of course more and more illegal immigrants would hear about this golden opportunity and soon TRUMP would be building more hotels just to house all the illegal immigrants and their kids.  More money for TRUMP….. and it would just cost hard working Americans a few dollars each A DAY to pay for it.

Soon South America, Mexico and all the countries in between would be nearly void of all population and TRUMP would be declared the wealthiest man on earth EVER. Sounds like a pretty honest business plan to me. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Shrimp Permit By Lance Clark - Another permit, really? So now, besides a fishing license, King stamp, hunting license, hunting permits, locking tags, sealing requirements and harvest surveys for game and fish, we have to have a permit to throw in a shrimp pot. What's next, an environmental impact study before bug repellent can be put on?

We have so many rules and regulations that require government paperwork and oversight already it's ridiculous! Whose idea was this? And why are we paying them to make our life harder? - More...
Sunday AM - June 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

We must act to protect the health and future of our oceans By Reps. Suzanne Bonamici & Don Young - Oceans cover more than 70 percent of our planet and are home to more than a thousand species of marine life. Oceans generate the oxygen that we breathe. They regulate our climate and provide healthy meals for people daily. Coastal communities rely on healthy oceans—as do shellfish, fish, marine mammals, birds, and ecosystems around the world. June 8 was World Oceans Day which serves as a reminder that regardless of where we live or our political party, we must remain committed to protect, conserve, maintain, and rebuild our ocean resources.

Oceans are an economic force as well. Across the United States the ocean economy supports more than 3 million jobs and contributes at least $352 billion in economic activity annually. Changes in ocean chemistry pose a very real threat to those marine resources, industries, and jobs. Oceans are changing rapidly; if we do not act soon the consequences could be devastating.

The health of our oceans is a reflection of the health of our planet. We need to improve our understanding of the implications of environmental stressors, such as harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, marine debris, warming and more acidic ocean waters, overfishing, and rising sea levels. These problems are indicators of a changing climate, and they threaten our economy and the livelihood of millions of people. - More...
Sunday AM - June 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Correction to UPRIVERS Documentary Misrepresentations By Brent Murphy - I am writing to correct the public record about misleading and inaccurate information regarding Seabridge Gold’s KSM Project presented in the UPRIVERS documentary currently being screened in Alaska and British Columbia. Seabridge Gold has also requested the producers and funders of the documentary to retract their misrepresentations.

The documentary’s suggestion that a failure at KSM would destroy the Unuk River and the way of life in Ketchikan is an extreme exaggeration and scare mongering.

The potential impacts to Alaskan waters were carefully evaluated during both the provincial and federal government environmental assessment reviews. In her final decision, the Canadian Minister of the Environment relied on an independent Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency scientific report which stated, “that no significant adverse impacts on water quality, water quantity, fish, or human health are expected on the Alaskan side of the Unuk River.”

The documentary also falsely states Alaskans were not consulted during the mine review process. Seabridge Gold, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency both worked extensively with US Federal and Alaskan State Agencies during the environmental review process. Both the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency concluded Seabridge Gold conducted significant, meaningful engagement with all concerned parties, including Alaskans. The Alaskan regulators concurred by stating: “The participating US federal and state agencies did not identify any outstanding transboundary concerns with the environmental assessment.” - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Keep Out Potential Terrorists By Donald Moskowitz - Islamic terrorist bombings in Belgium; Islamic terrorist truck attacks in NYC, France, Germany, and Spain; and attacks in England and the U.S.are indicative of the violent Islamic extremism pervading the world. Muslim attacks on non-Muslims have proliferated in Europe over the years because Europe murdered 6 million Jews and replaced them with 50 million Muslims. European countries should stop absorbing immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa and deport potential terrorists.  

The U.S. should pay attention to the problems in Europe and keep out immigrants from countries that spawn terrorists. Some liberal religious organizations and individuals believe we should show compassion and open our borders to people from the Middle East and North Africa. Hopefully, the courts will uphold Trump's ban on immigrants from the countries which spawn Islamic terrorists. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

BARR vs BEE: ABJECT RACISM vs ABJECT RUDENESS By David G Hanger - I have never watched either of these two programs, but there are very good reasons why the one should be instantly canceled and the other should not. Despite the brunette who went out of her way to glorify herself in explaining her reasons why she will no longer be watching Samantha Bee, there are two fundamental reasons why this is not in any sense justified or, for that matter, even rational.

Equating a successful black woman with a monkey is as repulsively racist as you can get, and there is no excuse for that deplorable behavior. Nor is there forgiveness. Roseanne Barr has been spewing racist crap for a long time on her time, and there is no question she is what she says. She is a white supremacist, and, yes, by definition she is an extreme racist. And she is not, and never has been, really funny at all. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

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