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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 08, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By RODNEY GAUTHIER

Tongass Narrows Sunrise
Front Page Feature Photo By RODNEY GAUTHIER

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PFD: Online filing for the 2017 PFD began at 9:00 am on January 1, 2017 and ends March 31,2017.

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“The law we have now, in terms of permitting projects in fish habitat, was written the year after statehood and it has not had any substantive updates since then,” said Lindsey Bloom of Juneau, one of a newly forming, diverse group called Stand for Salmon that is backing a review of the permitting process.

Last month the group proposed that the state Board of Fisheries send a letter asking the legislature to update the old statute, and the Board agreed.

Currently, the statute states that the commissioner of Fish and Game “shall issue a permit unless the activity is determined to be insufficient for the protection of fish and game resources.”

Bloom and others want to see the phrase “insufficient for the protection” more clearly defined.

“The language is vague and open-ended,” she said. “It doesn’t contain anything specific to what the proper protection of fish and game is.”

The scope and size of some of the development projects being proposed and considered today were not on the radar screen at Statehood in 1959.

“Large scale projects like Pebble and Susitna and Chuitna - anyone can see they are going to have significant impacts on fish and game. How do regulators in Alaska determine what the proper protection is?”

The Board wrote in its draft letter to the Alaska legislature: “The board recognizes the broad responsibilities of the Legislature to promote economic development and the wise stewardship of resources for all Alaskans. The board finds that clear delineation of Alaska’s unwavering promise to protect salmon and fisheries habitat establishes a consistent and predictable business environment that will help all individuals and corporations wishing to do business in Alaska.”

The Board of Fisheries is expected to give the letter a formal nod at its meeting next week in Kodiak. - More...
Sunday PM - January 08, 2017


Alaska: State Says Beluga Whale Recovery Plan's Criteria for Recovery are Unrealistic - "The most critical action for recovering the Cook Inlet belugas will be to determine why the population isn't growing," said Division of Wildlife Conservation Director Bruce Dale. "The threats limiting recovery are unknown."

According to a ADF&G news release, Cook Inlet beluga whales, considered a distinct population segment, historically numbered between 1,000 to 2,000 animals. The population declined to a few hundred in the late 1990s, due largely to unsustainable subsistence harvests during the mid-1990s. Subsistence harvests were reduced in 1999, but the population has failed to rebound. In response to petitioning by Cook Inletkeeper and others, the NMFS listed Cook Inlet beluga whales in 2008 as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Surveys in 2010-2014 have since placed the population at 284 to 340 animals according the Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation.

Under the NMFS recovery plan the ADF&G said, Cook Inlet belugas would be down-listed to threatened status when the population reaches 40 percent of their historic environmental carrying capacity (estimated in the plan as 1,300 whales) and delisted when numbers reach 60 percent carrying capacity. These demographic criteria are problematic because the number of animals in a population is not necessarily an indication of the risk of extinction. Further, the plan includes threats-based recovery criteria that are not measurable and impossible to meet. These issues make delisting Cook Inlet beluga whales under the recovery plan unattainable, which will necessitate a bureaucratically difficult delisting outside of the plan.

The Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation said, to the NMFS's credit, the recovery plan emphasizes adaptive management, a flexible strategy through which management actions are revised according to new research findings and the response of the beluga population to previous management actions. The NMFS recognizes the plan will require regular updates to account for new information and (hopefully) increased understanding of why Cook Inlet belugas have not recovered.

The Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation said they are committed to the conservation of Cook Inlet beluga whales. - More...
Sunday PM - January 08, 2017


Alaska Science:
The rigors of research in the cold By NED ROZELL - Rod Boertje knew it was getting cold when Park Service rangers took the dogs inside. Boertje, then a graduate student in wildlife biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, was doing a study on caribou in Denali National Park in the early 1980s. Park rangers, saying it was too cold for the sled dogs that had brought Boertje to his study area, mushed the dogs back to a warm kennel. Boertje stayed behind, watching caribou to see what they did in the winter. He’s one of a few scientists who have done field work in Alaska on the coldest days of winter.

The rigors of research in the cold

Fairbanks endures 40 degrees below zero, when the safest place for field scientists is in front of a computer.

Boertje brought three thermometers with him on his graduate study. He confirmed 60 below while he and another student watched caribou in a valley below.

“It was real marginal,” he said. “You put on all the gear you had to sleep, then got into your 40-below bag. There was still no way to keep warm unless you were moving.”

Boertje says he would never work at those temperatures today, and not just because he’s no longer a graduate student.

“Airplanes don’t work that well and helicopter pilots won’t fly at all,” he said of 40 below temperatures and the ice fog that comes with them.

And the caribou? Boertje said the animals didn’t seem to mind the cold temperatures.

“They had a very similar pattern to summer time. They’d lay down, then get up to graze for about an hour just like they would if it was warm.” - More...
Sunday PM - January 08, 2017

jgp Editorial Cartoon: Trump and intel briefings

Editorial Cartoon: Trump and intel briefings
By Dave Granlund ©2017, Politicalcartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Columns - Commentary

jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Should Bothering Employees After Work Hours Be Illegal? - On January 1, France implemented a new law that gives workers the legal "right to disconnect" from emails and other digital correspondence from co-workers and bosses while off the clock.

For the sake of accuracy, I must point out that the law covers only companies with 50 or more employees, thus leaving out the mom-and-pop operations (or, as they call them in France, the mom-and-pop-and-pop's-mistress operations).

If workers and management can't compromise on after-work correspondence, the company must publish a charter that specifically states expectations for workers outside the office.

Alas, it is a rather toothless law. As the "Christian Science Monitor" reports, it lacks any defined punishment for companies that fail to define employment terms or abide by after-hours rules. This shortcoming certainly dashed the hopes of the guillotine industry. There would have been protests in the street, but most of the guillotine office staff were tied up using France's generous benefit of "six weeks paid leave for flashbacks from that really traumatic paper cut incident during my probation period."

Even though the standard work week in France was set at 35 hours in 2000, I can understand the stress that office workers face. My teachers assured me the workday is a constant barrage of "Where is the library?" and "I want a cheese omelet." Unless someone accidentally "presses two" and gets a frantic string of "Donde esta la casa de Pepe?" - More...
Sunday PM - January 08, 2017

Basic Rules &
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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter 'False News' By A. M. Johnson - With the advent of 'False News' one has to be careful on reporting what seem logical. The following fable seems logical. - More...
Sunday PM - January 08, 2017

letter 'Sore Loser Syndrome' threatens to disrupt America's political process By Dan Weber - The political left suffers from 'sore loser syndrome' in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

It's not uncommon for depression to set in when the candidate of your choice loses an election, but the pathetic parade of despair on display among many of those who were sure that Hillary Clinton was destined to become president has reached new heights. The fact is, the anti-Trumpers are having temper tantrums. - More...
Friday AM - January 06, 2017

letter The Storm By A.M. Johnson - Congressional Democrats whisper to the Donald J.Trump President elect, "You cannot withstand the storm" and the 'Donald' whispers back, "I am the storm." - More...
Thursday PM - December 29, 2016

letter Help Offered: For a Healthier You By Susan Johnson - Many of us see the New Year as an opportunity for a new beginning—a chance to make positive changes in our lives. We might want to break bad habits or make changes to become more healthy, like exercising, healthy eating, or meditating. - More...
Thursday PM - December 29, 2016

letter Pepe the Frog By Norbert Chaudhary - It's just another day, another Trump outrage, more Trump lies and more Trump conspiracy theories providing even more overwhelming evidence of Trumps instability and ignorance. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 27, 2016

letter Authoritarian Regime Could Imperil U.S. By Donald Moskowitz - President-Elect Trump is setting the stage for a rocky Presidency filled with conflict, bickering, turmoil, miscalculations, and potential diplomatic and military confrontations. He is constantly involved with responding to criticism by recklessly tweeting antagonistic comments to the American public and the world. It seems he might not have adequate time to fulfill his Presidential responsibilities if he has to spend all that time tweeting out nonsense. His tweeting is demeaning the stature of the Presidency, and it encourages people to resort to cyber bullying. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 27, 2016

letter Smear campaign By Joe O'Hara - Hillary Clinton ran a billion-dollar smear campaign, greatly assisted at little cost by: - More...
Tuesday PM - December 27, 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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