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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 04, 2018

Ketchikan's First Baby of 2018

Ketchikan's First Baby of 2018
Chelsea Weihing and Darren McKeehan are the parents of Ketchikan's First Baby of 2018, Lyanna Raine McKeehan.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Medical Center

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Ketchkan: Ketchikan's First Baby of 2018 - Ketchikan's First Baby of the Year arrived on January 2nd and was welcomed into the world by her parents just before 10:00 PM Tuesday.

Chelsea Weihing and Darren McKeehan are the proud parents of their seven pounds, two ounces daughter, Lyanna Raine McKeehan. Lyanna is 19.5 inches long and she joins big sister Harper who will be three later this month.

Her mother Chelsea is an Office Service Technician for the City of Ketchikan. And dad Darren is a lead welder at Vigor Shipyard. - More....
Thursday PM - January 04, 2018

Alaska - Nationwide: Justice Department Will Enforce Federal Marijuana Laws By MARY KAUFFMAN - The United States Department of Justice today issued a memo on federal marijuana enforcement policy announcing a return to the rule of law and the rescission of previous guidance documents. Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, Congress has generally prohibited the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana. These statutes reflect Congress' determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity is a serious crime.

In the memorandum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities. This return to the rule of law is also a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.

"It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "Therefore, today's memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country."

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in a prepared statement said, “Although I did not support the 2014 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana [in Alaska], it strongly passed and I passionately believe in democracy and the principals of states’ rights. For these reasons, I have worked with federal officials and Alaskans to try to address a number of areas where our state and federal marijuana laws are in conflict." - More...
Thursday PM - January 04. 2018

Alaska: Research reveals evidence of new population of ancient Native Americans By MARMIAN GRIMES - Genetic analysis of ancient DNA from a six-week-old infant found at an Interior Alaska archaeological site has revealed a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America.

The findings, published in the Jan. 3 edition of the journal Nature, represent a major shift in scientists’ theories about how humans populated North America. The researchers have named the new group “Ancient Beringians.”

“We didn’t know this population existed,” said Ben Potter, one of the lead authors of the study and a professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “These data also provide the first direct evidence of the initial founding Native American population, which sheds new light on how these early populations were migrating and settling throughout North America.”

Research reveals evidence of new population of ancient Native Americans

A scientific illustration of the Upward Sun River camp in what is now Interior Alaska.
Illustration by Eric S. Carlson in collaboration with Ben A. Potter

Genetic analysis and demographic modeling, which help scientists draw connections among groups of people over time, indicate that a single founding ancestral Native American group split from East Asians about 35,000 year ago. That group then split into two groups about 20,000 years ago: the Ancient Beringians and the ancestors of all other Native Americans. Lead authors J. Victor Moreno-Mayar, Eske Willerslev and the team at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark completed the genetics work.

The DNA from the infant, named “Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay” (sunrise girl-child) by the local indigenous community, has provided an unprecedented window into the history of her people, Potter said. She and a younger female infant found at the Upward Sun River site in 2013 lived about 11,500 years ago and were closely related, likely first cousins. The younger infant has been named “Ye?kaanenh T’eede Gaay” (dawn twilight girl-child).

“It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this newly revealed people to our understanding of how ancient populations came to inhabit the Americas,” Potter said. “This new information will allow us a more accurate picture of Native American prehistory. It is markedly more complex than we thought.”

The findings also suggest two new scenarios for populating the New World. One is that there were two distinct groups of people who crossed over the Beringian land bridge prior to 15,700 years ago. A second is that one group of people crossed over the land bridge and then split in Beringia into two groups: Ancient Beringians and other Native Americans, with the latter moving south of the ice sheets 15,700 years ago.

Potter’s National Science Foundation-funded work at the Upward Sun River site has spanned a decade. He said that when the science team began the analysis of the genetic material, they expected it to match the genetic profile of other northern Native American people. Instead, it matched no other known ancient population. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2018


Alaska Science:
The most remote place in the U.S. By NED ROZELL - Richard Forman, a Harvard professor of landscape ecology, once visited a mangrove swamp in the Florida Everglades that he described as the most remote place in the eastern U.S. The swamp was 17 miles from any road.

The most remote place in the U.S.

The most remote places in Alaska.
Map by Dorte Dissing

What’s the most remote spot in Alaska? Dorte Dissing once tackled that question. Dissing is a geographer with Alaska Biological Research, Inc. She’s proficient with the use of digital mapping systems.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than 4 million miles of road crisscross the continental U.S. Alaska has 12,823 miles of public roads. That’s less than Vermont, which is 62 times smaller.

Dissing used a program with a blank map of Alaska to which she added features, such as rivers, towns, roads, and trails. To begin the search for the Alaska’s middle-of-nowhere, she created a buffer zone of increasing mileage around Alaska roads, trails, and villages. The most remote spots appeared as tiny wedges in northwest and northeast Alaska. Other lonely spots were a few Aleutian islands and St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea.

When she lengthened the buffer zones to 85 miles from villages and trails listed on her GIS program, the most remote spot on mainland Alaska was an upper branch of the Coleen River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge close to the Canada border. The hill is about 85 miles from both the villages of Old Crow in the Yukon Territory and Arctic Village in Alaska’s Brooks Range.

Because some of the trails included on her program are historic winter trails over tundra, Dissing dropped Alaska roads and trails for another run of her GIS system. She found that the farthest place from an Alaska village or town in mainland Alaska was a bend of the Etivluk River about 15 miles from its confluence with the Colville River on Alaska’s north slope. The closest villages - each about 120 miles from the river bend —are Ambler to the southwest and Atqasuk to the north. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2018


Columns - Commentary


MICHAEL REAGAN: Calling Out Congress - Didn't we turn over a new leaf in 2018?

Didn't everyone in Washington resolve to work together on America's important problems and get things done?

Oh, sorry.

That must have been that pipe dream I had last weekend when I dozed off in my La-Z-Boy watching the Times Square ball fall on TV.

The New Year isn't even a week old and already I can't wait till the start of 2019.

We're back to watching the same stupid political stuff going on in Washington and listening to the cries of the same Trump-deranged national media.

Today it's Steve Bannon and his former boss Donald Trump calling each other names in public and everyone on TV talking about Michael Wolff's new expose,"Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

Wolff's book details the internal feuds, power plays and administrative chaos of the president's first year.

Nothing Wolff writes would surprise me, but these days who knows what's true or fake?

What we know for sure so far in 2018 is what we learned from last year -- there's room for only one super ego in Washington, and Steve Bannon isn't it.

Meanwhile, the forecast for The Swamp looks like a repeat of last year. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2018


GRAHAM F. WEST: Protests in Iran Require Care and Nuance - In the final days of 2017, protests erupted and quickly spread to cities across the country of Iran. More than a week later, a government crackdown has left more than 20 people killed and 450 arrested, as demonstrations continue in the most serious show of resistance to the oppressive regime in Tehran since the 2009 Green Revolution. 

These protests are worthy of careful consideration - and while there may be a productive role for the United States to play moving forward, the Trump Administration hasn't landed on it just yet. 

It is notoriously difficult to get reliable information from within Iran, but the protests seem to have started small and spread quickly. Initial rallies were possibly an attempt by conservatives to foment dissatisfaction with pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani had promised that engagement with the international community would produce greater economic opportunity in Iran, but improvement has been slow thanks to weak foreign investment and chronic corruption and mismanagement in Iranian institutions that transcend his administration. 

Now, all across the county, an overwhelmingly young mass of people is protesting not just Rouhani, but the broader government, its foreign and domestic policies, and Supreme Leader Khamenei himself. The protests are leaderless and agnostic to the political cycle (unlike the Green Revolution, which followed a presidential election), leaving Iran's various political factions unsure of how to leverage the moment.  - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Dow Record

Political Cartoon: Dow Record
By Rick McKee ©2018, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Acknowlegement By A. M. Johnson - Often, this writer takes Senator Murkowski to task for the many ill sponsored and contrary positions on subjects felt should reflect conservative Republican ideals. Yet, on the rare occasion she, like finding the preverbal pony in the manure pile, she participates in a good result. The ANWR opening is such rare action. - More...
Sunday PM - December 31, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

It's a sin to tell a lieBy Dan Weber - Never in the history of the world has it been easier and faster to find out what is happening in virtually every city on the face of the earth.  Nor, has there been a time when news reporting has been so erratic and unreliable. - More...
Sunday PM - December 31, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

New Tax Bill By Norbert Chaudhary - I would like to thank Senator Lisa Murkowski for the wisdom, foresight and the unwavering loyalty she has shown standing with President Trump in his quest to Make America Great Again! Our Dear Leader is the most honest, humble and God fearing President this nation has ever been blessed with.  - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

THE DUCHESS LIES AGAIN By David G Hanger - The Duchess of the Duchy of Murkowski, once referred to as Alaska, one Lisa Oil-louski Murkowski, wants you to chortle your shorts over this massive tax ripoff Donnie Two Scoops just signed off on. It’s the Christmas present that is going to save you and all of Alaska from fiscal and economic disaster. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Historic Opportunities for Alaska in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - This holiday season, Alaskans can have a renewed sense of hope for good jobs, larger paychecks, stronger growth, and enduring prosperity. The reason why is today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes two historic opportunities for our state.

The first - and perhaps most unexpected, at the start of this year - is the opening of the 1002 Area within the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Set aside by Congress in 1980, Alaskans never gave up on its incredible potential for energy development, and our longstanding efforts finally succeeded this week. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Alaska Marine Highway thoughts By A. M. Johnson - Some interesting community member thoughts have been brought to my attention and worthy I believe, of public discussion. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 19, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Violence Prevention By Agnes Moran - Alaska leads the nation in per capita incidence of sexual assault and domestic violence. Unfortunately, as the recent headlines in the Ketchikan Daily News indicate, Ketchikan is not exempt from these statistics. Women in Safe Homes (WISH) is working to eliminate violence in our community through community partnerships and primary prevention and education programs. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

President Trump should sign ANWR legislation to boost Alaska’s economy, nation’s energy dominance By Gail Phillips - Alaskans are on the verge of seeing the oil-rich coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) opened to leasing for the first time – a three-decades-long quest that was, until now, stifled by environmental it and the blocking-and-tackling tactics of Democrats in Washington, DC. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

AMHS PROBLEMS PLAGUE SOUTHEAST ALASKA COMMUNITIES By Mary Lynne Dahl - My husband and I are frequent customers of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. We have been sailing on the Ketchikan – Prince Rupert run about 6 round trips per year for 16 years, mostly in winter. We have become very familiar with many of the boats and crew over these years. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

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