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Alaska: U.S. Attorney Takes Steps to Handle Any Complaints of Election Fraud and Voting Rights Abuses In Alaska - United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced Monday that Assistant United States Attorney Kelly Cavanaugh will lead the efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2016, general elections. Assistant United States Attorney Cavanaugh has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of Alaska, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

United States Attorney Loeffler said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination, and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud. The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”

The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on election day.

United States Attorney Loeffler said, “Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate. It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”

Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. For example, actions of persons designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are actions to uncover illegal voting may violate federal voting rights law. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

Fisheries: 19th Consecutive Year: Dutch Harbor Highest Seafood Landed in Nation - 2015 was another above-average year for fishing and seafood consumption, with the average American adding nearly an extra pound of seafood to their diet, according to the annual Fisheries of the United States report released today by NOAA.

Across the nation, U.S. fishermen landed 9.7 billion pounds of fish and shellfish valued at $5.2 billion, a volume and value similar to recent years. The highest value U.S. commercial species were lobster ($679.2 million), crab ($678.7 million), shrimp ($488.4 million), salmon ($460.2 million), and Alaska (walleye) pollock ($441.7 million). By volume, the nation's largest commercial fishery remains Alaska (walleye) pollock, which had landings of 3.3 billion pounds (up 4 percent from last year), trailed by Atlantic and Gulf menhaden, which accounted for 1.6 billion pounds (up 29 percent).

"Fishing and seafood is big business for our country. Marine and coastal fisheries contribute billions of dollars to the national economy, support 1.8 million jobs, and keep our ports and waterways open for business," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. "Thanks to longstanding legislation and continued innovation in fisheries science and management, we are seeing real returns on our nation's efforts to end overfishing and make our fisheries more sustainable."

The report shows that for the 19th consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of seafood landed with 787 million pounds, valued at $218 million. New Bedford, Massachusetts, had the highest valued catch from one port with $322 million for 124 million pounds, due mostly to the high price sea scallops fetch on the market, which accounted for more than 76 percent of this value. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 26, 2016

Researchers continue quest for Northern spring wheat variety By DEBBIE CARTER - The quest for a spring wheat variety that grows well in Alaska has been ongoing for more 200 years.

Researchers continue quest for Northern spring wheat variety

University of Alaska Fairbanks agronomist Mingchu Zhang examines wheat varieties grown in 2016 at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm.
Photo by Jeff Fay

University of Alaska Fairbanks agronomist Mingchu Zhang is continuing the research with Bob Van Veldhuizen, a research assistant in agronomy and soils. Zhang believes that with Alaska’s warming climate, more opportunities may exist to find or develop a wheat variety that grows well in Alaska.

Russians reportedly tried to grow wheat, with limited success, in coastal Alaska to provide bread flour for the Russian American Co. fur trading posts in the 1790s.

The hunt continued with the development of agricultural experiment stations in Sitka, in 1898, and then in Rampart in 1900 and Palmer in 1915. Researchers developed several spring varieties, most recently Ingal wheat in 1981. Most of the early maturing wheat varieties developed in Alaska have had problems with “shattering,” where the grains fall off the plant before they are harvested.

Zhang said that farmers in Alaska, the Yukon and Newfoundland have expressed an interest in an early maturing spring wheat that does not shatter. While hobbyists and Alaska farmers have experimented with growing wheat, no one raises it commercially on a large scale.

“If we can grow wheat in the state, it can help with food security,” Zhang said.

Since Alaska does not have a plant breeder, he and Van Veldhuizen are working with Washington State University wheat breeder Stephen Jones at the Mount Vernon Research Center. In 2010, Jones’ doctoral student, Karen Hills, developed three crosses with the Ingal variety and other varieties grown in Saskatchewan and Alberta. A second graduate student developed four new varieties of hard red spring wheat in 2014. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital hires Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon - Dr. David Brown, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon was recently hired by SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. Dr. Brown began seeing patients this week.

Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Administrator, Jeffrey Prater, said, "We are excited to have Dr. Brown as part of our team; he brings unrivaled experience in orthopedic surgery to our hospital. Dr. Brown’s qualifications and his previous experience living and working in Southeast Alaska make him an excellent addition to our surgical department and for the people we serve."

Dr. Brown is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons. He earned his medical degree from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, and was an AOA Honors Graduate. He completed his residency at Brooke Army Medical Center, Level 1 Trauma & Burn Center in San Antonio, Texas where he maintained a General Orthopedic practice for 11 years. He served as the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery from 2008-2010 and achieved the rank of Colonel before retiring from the military. While at Brooke Army MEDCEN, Dr. Brown did a tour in Afghanistan and was the Commander of a Forward Surgical Team, a 20-man surgical team responsible for treating a wide array of complex trauma patients. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016


Alaska: New permafrost map shows regions vulnerable to thaw, carbon release By MARMIAN GRIMES - A new mapping project has identified regions worldwide that are most susceptible to dramatic permafrost thaw formations, known as thermokarst, and the resulting release of greenhouse gases.

University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers David McGuire and Vladimir Romanovsky were part of the project, which was led by University of Alberta researcher David Olefeldt. They found that about 20 percent of the globe’s northern permafrost region is potential thermokarst landscape. The research can be used in infrastructure and ecosystem planning and greenhouse gas modeling.

The journal Nature Communications published the study this week.

Northern permafrost soils store twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere. When permafrost thaws, the organic matter in the previously frozen soil begins to decay, releasing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Those gases can contribute to climate warming and further permafrost thaw.

“The most dramatic changes are likely to occur where permafrost thaw is accompanied by land surface collapse, known as thermokarst,” Olefeldt said. Scientists can use the new map to test assumptions about how fast the soil organic matter will turn into greenhouse gases in these areas.

Thermokarst occurs when thawing soil contains large amounts of ice. When that soil and ice thaws, the water drains away, leaving a void that can lead to more than two dozen distinct collapse landforms, including gullies, slumps, wetlands and lakes. Each type affects greenhouse gas emissions in its own way, and up until now no one has been able to account for all of them at the global scale.

“There haven’t been good estimates on how thermokarst disturbance could affect the release of carbon out of the soil,” said McGuire, who is part of the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology and U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists have been hindered by both the diversity of the thermokarst landforms and a lack of information on where these thermokarst landforms are most likely to occur in a warming world. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jgp Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: The Jerry Springer Election - "I can't take it anymore. This stupid presidential election has turned into a lousy Jerry Springer show."

"Ah, yes, you speak of a series of salacious stories about Donald Trump, as well as Hillary and Bill Clinton. Story after story is being published daily. It's certainly getting ugly out there."

"You got that right. First we hear a recording of a boorish Trump talking about his weakness for beautiful women, and all of a sudden, nine women come out of the woodwork accusing him of groping them. If there is one word I hope to never hear again in a presidential election, 'groping' is it."

"I couldn't agree more. It is also disheartening that so many stories about Bill Clinton's peccadilloes keep making the news."

"I thought I was burned out on Bill Clinton's alleged extracurricular activities when he retired from the White House in January 2001. Now that Hillary is running for president, various news outlets keep reporting his more recent alleged activities - activities I don't want to know about."

"What you say is true. Various gossip rags and other 'legitimate' news outlets are reporting that other women are coming forward, accusing Bill of untoward behavior or worse. One young man has come forward, claiming that Bill impregnated his mother, a lady of the night, and that he is Bill's son."

"Stop. Please. We have so much at stake in this country. Our debt will soon pass $20 trillion. Entitlement spending is about to explode. Economic growth has been horrible. ObamaCare has driven insurance premiums through the roof for millions of middle-class Americans and is likely to collapse under its own weight. If we don't address these issues, a world of hurt awaits us. Yet our focus is in the gutter?"

"Then you surely won't want to hear the latest gossip-rag report on Hillary. According to the National Enquirer, Hillary had a bagman set up trysts between her and -"

"Please. God. Stop. Look, one of the great tragedies of our time is that there is so little distinction between the gossip rags and the legitimate news outlets. Whether you like or dislike Trump, it is tragic that our allegedly objective press is clearly in the tank for Hillary. It's hard to know whose reporting to trust anymore."

"Your words evoke great sadness in me - sadness for our country. As you say, with all the challenges our country faces, why do we let the politicians and the press get us lathered up about various allegations, when so many real issues and challenges are at stake?"

"A better question is why do we keep falling for it? All of this 'gotcha' journalism is killing us." - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Vote

Editorial Cartoon: Vote
By Dave Granlund ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Stop the Negative Campaigning By Kyle Johansen - Like many of you I’ve been disturbed by the influx of negative advertising in the race for House District 36. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter Watersheds By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The Stikine, Taku and Unuk watersheds are a major factor in the reliability of our seafood and tourism industries. Our fisheries, mariculture, and tourism industries rely on healthy watersheds, which replenish these resources and maintain our scenic reputation and seafood quality. If these rivers are not maintained for quality, our resources will diminish, as vital nutrients and safety conditions will lapse. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter Alaska’s Write-In Candidate for Congress By Stephen Wright - My name is Stephen Wright, and I was born in Anchorage, AK on Elmendorf AFB in 1969. I was only five years old when Don Young became Alaska’s 4th Congressman after campaigning twice. I would love to be the 5th Alaska Congressman to represent this great state. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter RE: PAC's Negative Campaigning By Jan Jorgensen - I would like to thank Bob Sivertsen for stating "I don't support and do not agree with the negative ads" sent out by The Accountability Project(TAP) regarding Dan Ortiz. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter Negative PAC Mailer By Bob Sivertsen - I would like to correct the statement that the mailer was from one candidate to the other. I, Bob Sivertsen, did not and would not produce such a mailer. It was not sent from my campaign and I don't support it. - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter Response to Sivertsen By Dan Ortiz - In a recent letter to the editor, my opponent, Bob Sivertsen, wanted to 'clear the air' about negative advertising. He stated that he has non connection to PACs or any control over what an outside PAC may do. In fact, Bob does have the ability to denounce their misleading and negative attacks, but he has chosen not to do this. His argument for keeping silent is 'this is politics as usual' and uses the current presidential campaign as an example. I would hope that Southeast Alaska can set the bar higher than this year's presidential race! - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter Why I Support Dan Ortiz By Eric Muench - I support Dan Ortiz as District 36 representative for three good reasons. First and foremost, he has been doing a good job representing local interests. He responds to local needs and to his constituents, and is reported to have good relations with other legislators of both parties. As an Independent, he is not bound to the bigwigs of either party and can make the best choices for his district. We need more independent politicians. - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter Clinton calls Trump a "sore loser" By Jim Dornblaser - I think this the most dirty, mud slinging campaign I can remember in my 75 years. I wish our media in general was as interested in facts as they are: 1) name calling, 2) mud slinging and, 3) trying to get so much press from a loaded question (the reason for 'sore loser'). - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter PACs' Negative Campaigning By Bob Sivertsen - I have read and heard a number of concerning comments regarding the negative advertising that is being used in this race for State House. I don’t personally believe in negative campaigning and I do not engage in negative campaigning. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Donald Trump By Betty Constuble - I would like to proclaim my full support of Donald Trump. I believe he is the warrior president this country needs now. He will stand up for us. He will make the decisions that our country so much must have. The current politicians have put us in the mess we are in. We need someone who will stand up and get us out of this and make America great again. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Very Little Style over Even Less Substance By Rod Landis - Dan Ortiz's opponent in the State House race this fall missed an opportunity to distance himself from the miserable (yet laughable) antics of those involved with the Accountability Project. This big-money political action committee is behind a series of smear ads that have recently flooded Ketchikan residents mail and P.O. boxes. Some significant cash seems to have been spent designing, producing, and distributing these ads, yet the result cannot be taken seriously. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Vote Stedman & Finkenbinder By Gary Paxton - Bert Stedman, not unlike Dick Eliason and Ben Grussendorf for Sitka, has been a statesman for our great state. He has always put the state, SE Regoin, and Ketchikan ahead of any political concerns. At this time, when our state has such complex and difficult decisions to make, Bert is exactly the kind of legislator we need and he needs all the help he can get. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter What I learned from the Democrats By A. M. Johnson - I first wish to thank you and your publication for using Reuters and FOX news as your online National/ World news source over the Associated Press (AP). In part your publication, in conjunction with reliable online sources, presents news and opinions based on the more reliable news stories allowing me to express what the Democrats have taught me about politics and life particularly in this election: - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter House District 36 By Jan Jorgensen - I am not someone who is outspoken about anything political, in fact lately I have been less than eager to read, talk or listen to what politicians have to say but I do because I will be voting on November 8th. Recently I received a flyer where one Ketchikan candidate chose to speak negatively about another candidate. No where on this flyer did he tell me anything about himself, just two sides of negative words about someone else. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Thank You By Susan Coady - Thank you to the many people and businesses for supporting my friend Wendy Goyette and her son Johnathon Washburn. It's truly amazing how the people of this community come together in times of need. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Re: Two Untrustworthy Candidates By Joe O'Hara - In reference to Mr. Moskowitz' October 18th letter, I certainly agree with him that one must verify those facts before committing to them. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Dan Ortiz and The Accountability Project By Paul Seaton - I am the District 31 State House Representative for the lower Kenai Peninsula and have served in the legislature for 14 years. This year I was targeted by The Accountability Project(TAP) in the Republican Primary election with distortion ads and robocalls. Although 'independent expenditure groups' are legal - they are definitely not accountable. In fact, one of their chief donors wrote me an apology and sent a campaign contribution because the industry supported distortions were so unaccountable. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter No to Sivertsen By Douglas Thompson - If I got it wrong I would sure like to hear Bob Sivertsen tell me how he is going to protect the Permanent Fund Dividend. In his previous Sitnews announcement he stated that he wanted to join the Republicans in Juneau. The Republicans are headed by Governor Walker. They want to take our PFD and have already grabbed half of this year's. The plan as it stands is to take it all and give it to the oil companies. In short to pay them back every cent they have paid in taxes since the sixties and then some. You will get to pay taxes to make this happen. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter Disappointed - again By A. M. Johnson - With the continued barrage of Wikileaks data flooding the landscape via creditable blog sites it is becoming obvious why Establishment Republicans are struggling with Donald Trump's candidacy. Were he elected, then the Establishment members, who in my opinion include our own Senator Murkowski, personal friend with Senator Mitch McConnell, leader of the Establishment, and others will find their political terf at risk of exposures as the quite majority address RINO voting. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter I support Dan Ortiz By Janice Jackson - I support Dan Ortiz in his bid for re-election as our legislative representative for District 36. Representative Ortiz has demonstrated to me his willingness to meet with and listen to our concerns on important issues in our state. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter RE: THANK YOU By Judith Green - Kolby Elliot's THANK YOU note deserves in return a thank you. is a great place for the positive happenings in, on and about our Island Community and you have added a bright spot. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter Thank you, Ketchikan! By Michelle O'Brien - Once again, Ketchikan never ceases to amaze as a vibrant and welcoming community. The recent Open World Program delegation from Russia was greeted with open arms; from informative visits with local organizations, to a generosity that is unique to cemented the fact that Ketchikan is far and away a community unlike others. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Bob Sivertson for State House By Tuckerman Babcock - The Alaska Republican Party stands in support of the positive change offered by Bob Sivertson for State House.- More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Vote Dan Ortiz By Susan Bachant - I am writing to share my reasons why I support Dan Ortiz. Throughout the years there have been many people representing us in various political avenues. Only one has ever asked me how I wanted him to represent my voice and that is Dan Ortiz. I have seen him go from door to door, talked with him in the mall, and even filled out an online survey from him wanting to know what I and all of the other folks that he represents think on a particular subject. I find this absolutely refreshing. Ask yourself, how any of our representatives actually do this? How many want to know what the people they represent want? Usually they get in there and pitch their own personal agendas. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Two Untrustworthy Candidates By Donald Moskowitz - We know that many politicians make promises they cannot keep and they typically use manipulative and ambiguous language to hide their true ideas and feelings. They hope the public will forget their false statements. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Response to Political Attack Ads By Rep. Dan Ortiz - It has come to my attention in recent days that groups from outside our district and outside Alaska have started to send out negative ads against me. Judging from where this effort is coming from, I take it in stride. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

letter Thank You By Kolby Elliot - On behalf of my teammates and myself, I would like to thank my family, coaches, community, and peers for all of their support contributing to a successful Schoenbar Middle School Cross Country season. Please publish this thank you as a token of gratitude to all those who participated. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

letter School Board Replacement Pre-selected? By Carl Webb - I am embarrassed that we voters have failed to ask why School Board President Michelle O’Brien, who announced a long time ago that she would resign from the Board, chose to do it one week after the official election. She even announced the date. Because of that decision, the voters of Ketchikan were denied the right to select the new board member and the current Board will be making the choice. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

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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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