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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Front Page Photo By DON LOUGHMAN

Friendship Has No Borders
Ketchikan 4th grader Jesse Loughman traveling in Turkey with his parents shows that friendship has no borders and children are indeed our greatest ambassadors. Jesses's sister Melanie Loughman is an exchange student in Ankara Turkey this year.
Front Page Photo By DON LOUGHMAN ©2014
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)



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Ketchikan: WW II Bomber honored the First City By DAVE KIFFER - Nearly seventy years ago, the City of Ketchikan was taking the war to the Japanese in the Pacific.

WW II Bomber honored the First City

1st Lt Dick Brinck on Guam, beside the B-29 "City of Ketchikan" so named after the city in Alaska, where his father George was from.
Photo courtesy 39th Bomb Group

It wasn’t the city itself that was fighting, it was a a B-29 bomber named the City of Ketchikan. The bomber was named after the First City because of a connection its commander, Richard “Dick” Brinck, had with the first city.

Brinck was the son of long time Ketchikan resident and pioneer businessman George Brinck. He was born in Anacortes, Washington in 1922. Hi mother died when he was a young child and he spent most of his youth in Seattle with his aunts and uncles. According to his half sister, Louise Brinck Harrington, Dick Brinck moved to Ketchikan when he was 16 and finished high school here.

Dick Brinck attended the University of Washington and Seattle University and joined the Army Air Corps in 1942. He was an instructor in AT6s and B-17s.

After the war, Brinck was posted in Okinawa and in the Philippines to train pilots to fly the B-29s. According to his bio on 39th Bomb Group Website. Brinck had intended to begin a float plane operation in Alaska, but after spending some time with Ketchikan Air in Ketchikan and Alaska Island Airlines in Wrangell, he ended up settling in Seattle instead.

At one point, he opened a gas station with his City of Ketchikan crewmmate Cecil Davis. Both men were recalled to active duty during the Korean War. Brink continued to serve in the Air Force through 1968 when he retired as a Lt. Colonel. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 15, 2014

Southeast Alaska: AirCare Membership Program to Continue in Southeast - A bill that will allow Airlift Northwest to continue offering the AirCare membership program for medevac services, passed the Alaska House of Representatives earlier today by a unanimous vote. The bill had previously passed the Senate unanimously on February 28th and now goes to the Governor’s office to be signed into law.

Since January 2009, Airlift Northwest, the provider of lifesaving air medical transport services, has offered the popular AirCare membership program to residents of Southeast Alaska. Over 3,000 Southeast residents are enrolled in the program which covers the cost of any out-of-pocket expenses related to Airlift Northwest’s medevac services. Air medical transportation is expensive and insurance may not cover all the costs. The AirCare program directly helps fund Airlift Northwest so they can transport critically ill or injured patients to hospitals with levels of care not locally available.

Since its inception, the AirCare program was offered to Alaskans under a regulatory exemption it received from the Alaska Division of Insurance. However, after an organizational restructuring, the Division of Insurance deemed the program no longer exempt and ordered Airlift Northwest to cease enrolling new members. Airlift Northwest was told they could honor their existing memberships but were not allowed to renew expired memberships or accept new members. Senate Bill 159 will exempt air ambulance services from the state’s insurance code, thereby allowing Airlift Northwest to continue offering the AirCare program to Alaskans. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 15, 2014


Alaska: House Bill Increasing Minimum Wage Called a Bogus Bill to Deny Alaskans an Opportunity to Vote – The Alaska House of Representatives voted Sunday to increase the state’s minimum wage by $2.00 over the next two years and inflation-proof it moving forward. House Bill 384 would raise the minimum wage for 1.8 percent of Alaska’s workforce for the first time since the $.50 increase of 2007.

However, Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage chair Ed Flanagan says this is a a blatant political maneuver by the Alaska House of Representatives designed to deny Alaskans the opportunity to vote on the already approved voter initiative to raise the state's Minimum Wage. The House passed HB 384 by a very close vote of 21-19 Sunday evening.

"Any member who truly supports a meaningful and lasting improvement in the lives of hard working, low-income Alaskans voted no on this cynical ploy to thwart the will of the people," said initiative sponsor Ed Flanagan. "The House Majority has acted in bad faith in bringing forward this bill. Their goal is clearly to remove the bill from the August ballot, where they believe it may influence the vote on the SB 21 referendum", said Flanagan.

The House Majority leadership introduced HB 384 through the Rules Committee on April 4, the 74th day of the 90 day session. The bill is, by design, similar to the initiative bill advanced by Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage and certified for the August 19 primary ballot by the lieutenant governor. Under Alaska law, if the legislature passes a bill "substantially similar" to an initiative, the measure is removed from the ballot.

“Alaskans have expressed broad support for increasing the wage, and we’ve listened,” Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “We’ve sent the initiative through the legislative process, and it’s come out stronger because of it.”- More...
Tuesday PM - April 15, 2014

Alaska: Legislature Clarifies Definition of ‘Medically Necessary Abortion’ for Medicaid Payments - Sunday, the Alaska State House passed Senate Bill 49, sponsored by Senator John Coghill (R-North Pole), which is said will neutrally define what a “medically necessary abortion” is for the purpose of making payments under Medicaid. The bill incorporates House intent language to ensure continued funding for existing women’s health programs in Alaska.

SB 49 was crafted after thorough legal review of the 2001 Planned Parenthood case. The definition incorporates the necessary foundation in the Hyde Amendment and includes neutral medical terms taken directly from testimony by numerous medical professionals.

“As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I wanted to clear up the definitions we follow when using state money for abortions,” said Senator Coghill. “State Medicaid should not be covering any purely elective procedures, including elective abortions.”


According to a news release from Senator Coghill, Senate Bill 49 will ensure that the state is only paying for abortions in cases of rape or incest (as required by the Hyde Amendment) or where the woman faces death or a major bodily impairment arising from the pregnancy. “We are simply trying to define, using relevant, neutral legal and medical standards, when it is appropriate for the people of Alaska to pay for a truly medically necessary abortion,” said Senator Coghill.

However the Alaska Democratic Party says, SB 49 puts politicians between women & doctors, and requires disclosure of private medical conditions.

According to a news release from Zack Fields, Communications Director of the Alaska Democratic Party, the passage of SB 49 allows politicians to dictate what constitutes a “medically necessary” abortion, and to force women to disclose personal medical information to the government. No other medical procedure requires such an invasion of personal privacy, and pending litigation suggests the regulation likely will be found unconstitutional. Republicans passed this bill after eliminating provisions that would have encouraged family planning, meaning that this unprecedented invasion of privacy probably won’t even reduce the number of abortions. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 15, 2014

Alaska: Bears Are Stirring: It’s Time to Clean Up Attractants - Governor Sean Parnell has proclaimed April “Bear Awareness Month,” and as bears emerge from dens Alaskans are reminded it’s spring cleaning time. To keep bears wild and neighborhoods safe, biologists suggest taking down bird feeders and placing trash, livestock feed and pet foods indoors or in bear-resistant containers.

Bird feeders stocked with seed and suet draw bears in early spring. Feeders should be taken down by April 15 and kept down through October. Storing pet and livestock foods, trash and other bear attractants indoors in a garage or sturdy shed or in bear-resistant containers further reduces bear visits. Owners of poultry, goats and other small livestock can discourage bear raids by erecting electric fences.

Bears that associate homes and people with food, often return. Feeding bears, even unintentionally, is illegal and leaving attractants out around homes, cabins or camps in a manner that attracts bears can result in fines. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 15, 2014


Alaska Science: Summer comes early in the far north By NED ROZELL - Despite a wind that makes today's minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit feel like minus 39, a worker at this research camp in blue-white hills north of the Brooks Range has proclaimed this the first day of summer.

A sun dog above the entrance to Toolik Field Station, 111 miles south of Prudhoe Bay. Photo by Ned Rozell.

Today, the population of Toolik Field Station increases from nine -- five people running the camp, three scientists and me -- to 16. Seven support staff members are making the 10-hour drive north from Fairbanks. Starting tomorrow, Toolik Field Station will be in summer mode until September. During the next few months people will sleep in dorm-style buildings, weatherports and tents as they study ground squirrels, permafrost, plants, fish and other far-north mysteries. At the peak of action here in mid-July, more than 100 scientists will clomp the gravel in rubber boots.

People have pondered things here on the treeless tundra since 1975, when the National Science Foundation funded research on nearby Toolik Lake, a splotch on the map that takes up more than a square mile. From a 16-foot travel trailer that now rests behind a heated outhouse, the camp has expanded to a few dozen structures, including a comfortable new dining hall/office building. Toolik Field Camp is part of the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. A few UAF staff members and logistics contract workers have kept the camp open all winter, even when the sun didn't pop above the Brooks Range from late November until mid-January. - More....
Tuesday PM - April 15, 2014

Columns - Commentary

jpg Longing for Tax Freedom

Tax torture
By John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune
Provided to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

TOM PURCELL: Longing for Tax Freedom - "I can't believe it. The wife and I owe the IRS again!"

"You mean you aren't getting a refund this year like millions of working Americans?"

"Refund? The wife and I run a small business. We are crushed by taxes. We can barely keep up with what we owe."

"It can't be that bad."

"We pay 28 percent federal, 3 percent state and 1 percent local. Then we pay 15.3 percent for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All told, it's like we're in a 47 percent bracket!" - More...
Tuesday PM - April 15, 2014


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Thank you everyone for your patience. I am most appreciative.

letter Minimum Wage: Let the People Have a Voice By Daniel Repasky - We, the Citizens of Alaska, by initiative have made the effort to see a modest minimum wage increase placed on the ballot for Voters to decide in election. We believe it that important. It’s not often that the people express their desire for a change in law by petition although this year seems to be a banner year, what with SB21, the Marijuana Initiative, and minimum wage all headed for a vote of the people. AO-37 was another such issue. Over 20,000 voters made the effort to change a bad law. The Assembly majority in Anchorage and Mayor Sullivan did everything it could to frustrate Anchorage’s votes (at taxpayer expense) and successfully delayed this vote until November. Our hope is that those 20,000 voters who signed the initiative/referendum will remember this and vote accordingly whenever Mayor Sullivan’s name appears on a ballot. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter Shopping dogs... By Dixie Rhodes - After reading the letter sent in by Laura Attwood, I decided to put in my own two cents. I've noticed a trend recently for people to bring their small dogs into grocery stores while they shop. I know that there are certified therapy dogs and service dogs in Ketchikan. I understand that there are people that need the help that therapy / service dogs provide. I have no problem with that. My problem is when I see people inside a grocery store with their puppy or small breed dog. Clearly, these are not service or therapy dogs. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter North End Dog Owners By Joseph Lanham - I love dogs by choice. I think you would be hard pressed to find more than a hand full of people that spend more time training and working with their dog than I do. I am commanded by God to love their owners ☺. This is more difficult. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter Alaska Fair Project By Michael Goodner - My name is Michael Goodner, and I am a third grader from Anselmo-Merna School in Merna, NE. I am nine years old. My class is having a States Fair and I have drawn your state to research. - More...
Wednesdsay AM - April 16, 2014

letter For the birds By Victoria McDonald - After years of picking up dead birds that have broken their necks after hitting my windows, I might have found something that will prevent their deaths. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter Prohibitions on same-sex marriage are inconsistent with freedom, justice, liberty and equality By Hollis French - Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These simple words, found in the Declaration of Independence, helped forge the ideals embedded in the United States Constitution -- a constitution that is the envy of the free world. Why? Because it stands as the finest example of humanity's commitment to freedom and equality. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 16, 2014

letter Doctors Over Prescribing 4-paws and a Wet Nose By Laura Attwood - What's the deal, Ketchikan? Anyone who has the slightest heartache or set back in life should have a dog to feel better and that life tragedy should warrant being prescribed an "emotional support pet", right? Forget putting on your adult panties, just get a dog and it will make it all okay, right? - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter An independent candidacy By Dan Ortiz - Since announcing my campaign for Alaska State House of Representatives, many have come forward to express their support. A few of those supporters are concerned about the fact that I'm not running as a Republican or a Democrat but rather as an independent, non-partisan. Their concerns center around the idea that if I were elected I would be a man without a caucus/party and thus they don't see where my ability to influence would come from. As to the question of caucusing, I've been assured that both sides would court me to be a part of their caucusing group when and if I win the election. The real value however in me not being a part of a party is based on the following: - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter RE: The idiocracy of Anti-realists By Don Borders - I read with interest two letters from “Viewpoints ” on SitNews and found one really turned me, while the other one just made me mad. - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter Proud to be called idiots By Rob Holston - Ms. Marie Zellmer, we are proud to be called idiots if it saves one life. We are proud to be called stupid if it saves any life. We see a human life as a very important thing, not disposable. Human life is precious to us and both eternal truth and modern forensic evidence states emphatically that it does begins at conception. Yes modern science does agree with Biblical wisdom on this fact. Google abortion. - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter Annoying sign holders By Cherry Rice - Thank you to Marie Zelmer for your letter about the annoying sign holders on the corner. I cannot agree with you more. I found them to be ignorant and ill informed. Yes, they have a right to voice their opinions, even if they are wrong. However, saying that Roe v. Wade allows women to "murder" unborn children is totally ridiculous. It is the law that women have a choice to carry this unwanted child, or to abort this fetus that has not developed into a child yet. It is the choice of the pregnant woman. Period. - More...
Thrusday AM - April 10, 2014

letter Thanks for realism By Marie Zellmer - I would like to thank those who have given real life statements on thr choices. I was pointing out that random fantasy horror events described by anti-abortionists, with no real debate was idiotic. - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter Military Power Deters Adversaries By Donald A. Moskowitz - We are cutting back our military because the current administration believes the world is a safer place. - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter Archipeligo Wolf (baloney) By Forrest Mackie - Do you actually know what an Archipelogo wolf really is!! The pulp mill did extensive research on this because some Greenpeace characters came to town way back when!! An Archipeligo Wolf is a wolf that has mated with a dog and can be spotted by between its toes it has no hair, unlike a dog! A real wolf has hair between its toes!! - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter THE TRUE MEANING OF THE LOVING CASE By David G. Hanger - Consider this a lesson in how what you don’t know sometimes might hurt you. The Loving case, Loving vs the Commissioner (of the IRS), is not a case any layperson would be expected to follow, but it is a case all accountants have been watching closely. Concerned about the proliferation of unlicensed tax preparers and systemic fraud amounting to $500 billion a year, the IRS established the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) program, the intent of which was to regulate unlicensed tax preparers and to provide them with at least minimal educational requirements. From the standpoint of the licensed practitioner status was being given to these people that arguably they did not deserve. - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter King Cove - $50 Million Dollar Hospital - Available By Joseph G. James - The citizens of King Cove through the Small Business Development Program, has the ability to raise the necessary financial requirement, to build and maintain a five (5) bed hospital in King Cove. - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

letter End corruptive influence By Wiley Brooks - Lobbyist for large corporations & others seeking special tax favors provide a rich reservoir of re-election cash. Significant numbers elected to Congress to serve the people have been enticed to move on to where the real money is. When a Congress Person or Senator announces retirement to spend more time with their family, or is defeated for re-election as in the case of Jim Ramstad, don’t be surprised to soon learn they have a K Street address. If we want to end the corruptive influence on our top legislative body, my answer is to repeal the 16th Amendment and replace the income tax with a simple, transparent sales tax that treats all citizens fair and equal. - More...
Thursday AM - April 10, 2014

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