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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Tuesday PM
January 09, 2018

Carlanna Lake
Standing at the edge of the dam.
Front Page Feature Photo By CARLOS WEIMER ©2018

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Alaska: Stedman: Let’s Protect the Permanent Fund & Guarantee a Dividend - Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) introduced a constitutional amendment yesterday for consideration in the upcoming legislative session to protect the Permanent Fund and guarantee a dividend. SJR 9 would ensure Alaskans receive a reasonable annual dividend, roughly $1,800 in the first year after voter approval, from the Permanent Fund while protecting it from overspending.

“The Permanent Fund and the dividend are critical to our future,” said Sen. Stedman. “We must ensure the fund maintains its financial health, continues to grow for future generations, and provides a fair dividend.”

SJR 9 would require the Legislature to annually appropriate 2 percent of the market value of the Permanent Fund’s 5-year average value to dividend payments for Alaskans.

SJR 9 would also allow, but not require, the Legislature to annually appropriate up to an additional 2.5 percent of the market value of the Permanent Fund’s 5-year average to either increase the dividend, make deposits back to the principal of the Permanent Fund, or to use for essential government services, depending on the financial circumstances at the time.

The most the Legislature could annually withdraw from the fund would be 4.5 percent, the same percentage that two different financial expert consultants for the Permanent Fund have said is the best level of draw to use (Callan & Associates, February 24, 2017, and Bridgewater, December 12, 2017). - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

Alaska: Lawmakers Oppose Re-imposition of Marijuana Prohibition - Last week’s decision by the U.S. Justice Department to cease respecting states’ decisions on marijuana policy has prompted lawmakers to ask Alaskans to contribute to a response from the Alaska Legislature. 

Last year, Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks) introduced House Joint Resolution 21that called for the federal government to respect the authority of states to regulate marijuana. In response to the U.S. Attorney General’s decision, Rep. Guttenberg and other lawmakers are asking Alaskans help to rewrite HJR 21. The public can now provide thoughts on what should be included in the new resolution on a new Facebook page titled “Alaska’s Voice on Marijuana Policy.” All respectful contributions will be included in the bill packet and considered for incorporation into the final version of the resolution.

“The U.S. Attorney General seems hell-bent on cutting Alaska’s legal marijuana industry off at the knees. The policy shift announced last week denies the will of Alaskans, who voted overwhelmingly to legalize cannabis in 2014,” said Rep. Guttenberg. “A federally imposed prohibition overriding strong local support drives good people to indirectly support criminals through the black market. Furthermore, it threatens an industry just beginning to provide real tax revenue to the State of Alaska. I want Alaskans to have their voices heard by helping us craft an official statement from the State Legislature that says ‘No’ to enforcing an antiquated federal marijuana prohibition over the will of Alaska voters.”

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a previous federal policy that advised federal prosecutors not to prosecute marijuana offenses in states where it was legalized by the voters, including Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

Alaska: Alaska Investors Advised to Approach Cryptocurrency with Caution - With cryptocurrencies continuing to attract headlines, the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities reminds investors to be cautious about investments involving cryptocurrencies. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) identified initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency- related investment products as emerging investor threats for 2018.

“The recent wild price fluctuations and speculation in cryptocurrency-related investments can easily tempt unsuspecting investors to rush into an investment they may not fully understand,” said Kevin Anselm, director of the Division of Banking and Securities. “Cryptocurrencies and investments tied to them are high-risk products with an unproven track record and high price volatility. Combined with a high risk of fraud, investing in cryptocurrencies is not for the faint of heart.”

Cryptocurrencies are a medium of exchange that are created and stored electronically in the blockchain, a distributed public database that keeps a permanent record of digital transactions. Current common cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Unlike traditional currency, these alternatives have no physical form and typically are not backed by tangible assets. They are not insured or controlled by a central bank or other governmental authority, cannot always be exchanged for other commodities, and are subject to little or no regulation.

Unlike an initial public offering (IPO) when a company sells stocks in order to raise capital, an initial coin offering sells “tokens” in order to fund a project, usually related to the blockchain. The token likely has no value at the time of purchase. Some tokens constitute, or may be exchangeable for, a new cryptocurrency to be launched by the project, while others entitle investors to a discount, or early rights to a product or service proposed to be offered by the project.

Director Anselm went on to say, “Investors should go beyond the headlines and hype to understand the risks associated with investments in cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency futures contracts, and other financial products that in some way link the virtual currencies to the underlying investment.” - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

Alaska: Report Identifies Adverse Health Impacts of Climate Change - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Section of Epidemiology released a report today that outlines how the health of Alaskans could be affected by climate change. The report, “Assessment of the Potential Health Impacts of Climate Change in Alaska” highlights physical and mental health challenges that Alaskans are currently experiencing and could experience in the future due to warming temperatures and major weather events related to climate change.

“Temperatures in Alaska have warmed faster than the rest of the United States,” said Dr. Jay Butler, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer and Division of Public Health Director. “This report is one resource for communities as they work to identify potential health problems as a result of our state’s changing climate and as they prepare to address and prevent emerging health issues.”

The report provides examples of health problems related to climate change including, but not limited to: - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018


Inconsistencies Found in Marijuana Testing in Alaska - The Alaska Marijuana Control Board and the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) have learned that state-licensed marijuana testing facilities have reported results that appear to be inconsistent and may be inaccurate.

Alaska’s marijuana laws require that all marijuana and marijuana products offered for sale in licensed stores be tested by state-licensed testing facilities. Testing facilities are required to test marijuana bud, flower, concentrates, and products for potency of THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, and CBN cannabinoids. Marijuana products are limited to 5 mg THC per serving. There can be no more than 10 servings in a single packaged unit. The distribution of marijuana in edible products must be even throughout each serving. In addition, marijuana flower, products, and water and food-based concentrates must be tested for bacteria and mold. The Marijuana Control Board closely monitors these test results to ensure public health and safety.

Recently, the board has been made aware of inconsistencies in test results. In one case, the two licensed testing facilities reported significantly different levels of THC from samples of the same edible product. In another case, one testing facility found a potentially dangerous mold on a product but the other testing facility failed to detect it. - More....
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

Southeast Alaska: Sitka Man Indicted for Unlawful Exploitation of a Minor - As a result of an ongoing investigation by the Sitka Police Department and the Anchorage Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit, Khari Atiba Wade was indicted December 28th by the Sitka Grand Jury and charged with eight counts related to the unlawful exploitation of minors.  

On August 8, 2017 Wade, a seasonal worker at Silver Bay Seafoods, came to the attention of local authorities in Sitka when a community member allegedly observed him handing out money to children at the Coliseum Movie Theatre.  Approximately two weeks later on August 26, 2017 the Sitka Police Department received a report that a man, later identified as Wade, was taking pictures of a minor in the boy’s locker room at the Blatchley Middle School pool during open swim. Detective Eccleston of the Sitka Police Department spoke with the minor and allegedly confirmed that Wade pointed his phone at him and angled it downward.

Officers located Wade at Silver Bay Seafoods and conducted an interview at the Sitka Police Department.  According to the charging documents, Wade admitted to recording a cell phone video of the minor. Wade also admitted to taking video of multiple different nude minors earlier that day and the previous day. The Anchorage Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit performed a data extraction on Wade’s Samsung Galaxy phone and discovered video recordings of minors in the community.  - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018


Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: DRIPPY NEW YEAR! - As the crow flies, it is about 1,100 miles from Nanaimo, British Columbia to Cordova, Alaska.

Which begs the question, just how straight does a crow fly really?

I mean we mostly have ravens around here, which gets me to wondering if they are all  that different from crows.

They are both black and they seem to just spend all day flocking around.

According to GoogleCaw, there are physical differences. Ravens live longer and crows hang around people while ravens do not. Guess the Google folks need to spend a little more time around the McDonald's drive thru or anywhere in Ketchikan there is a trash can. Ketchikan's ravens seem more than a little social when scavenging is involved.

But GoogleCaw didn't answer the main question. Do crows/ravens fly in a straight line?

Somehow, I doubt it, but why mess with a good cliché. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: My War On Shoelaces Marches Into 2018 - Will 2018 be the year when I finally stomp out my footwear malfunctions?

Perhaps I can even inspire others. A quick Google search reveals a distressing number of people are vexed and perplexed by shoelaces that suddenly, repeatedly unravel at inopportune times.

I often find myself gazing skyward and pleading for an answer to the question, "Why, oh why can I go six weeks without a slip-up and then have the same shoelaces fall apart twelve times in a single day?"

I have literally walked across a room and experienced freshly re-tied shoestrings coming undone. It's like I have my own "12 Steps" program. ("My name is Danny and I am really sorry I tripped and made you spill your alcohol.")

I'm self-conscious about the subject because my mother thinks unkempt shoestrings are one sign of being "slouchy," and I know that like-minded bystanders have a sixth sense for smugly announcing, "Hey, your shoe is untied!" just as I'm about to tend to it myself.

I feel that these people are judging me. I just know they are making unjustified extrapolations, such as "If you traipse around with untamed shoestrings, you must also lie about flossing, abuse the passing lane, eat endangered species and suffer from a low sperm count." These nosey losers probably also have the mistaken notion that I'm PARANOID. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Oprah 2020

Political Cartoon: Oprah 2020
By Dave Granlund ©2018, Politicalcartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Optimism for Alaska in 2018 By Senator Dan Sullivan - As Alaskans, there’s no doubt we face significant challenges, including high crime rates, domestic violence and sexual assault, thousands of Alaskans struggling with addiction, and a continuing recession that has left too many without jobs. These are issues that I’ll continue to focus on in the coming year. But when I look out at 2018, I am struck by one overriding feeling for our state: optimism. There are numerous reasons for this.

First, the cornerstone of Alaska’s economy - responsible resource development - is making a dramatic comeback. Congress’s recent action to open the 1002 area of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is a key part of this. For decades, thousands of Alaskans - Democrats, Republicans and Alaska Natives - have advocated for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And despite millions of dollars spent by opponents of this Alaska dream, reinforced by the stale and truth-challenged talking points of their allies like Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and a national media that was consistently hostile to opening ANWR, we did it.

This is an important victory for all Alaskans. But our comeback is not just about ANWR. Several new discoveries and developments on the North Slope, including a significant expansion of the Point Thomson field, all point to the potential for billions of dollars of new investment, significant increases in trans-Alaska pipeline throughput and state revenues, and hundreds if not thousands of good-paying jobs. At long last, we now have a federal government that wants to be a partner in opportunity for Alaska, not an obstacle.

But it’s not just oil and gas that make Alaska’s natural resources the envy of the world. Alaska has the most sustainable and abundant fisheries in the world, supporting tens of thousands of jobs in our state. As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, I am working to make sure that Alaska remains the superpower of seafood by increasing market opportunities for our world-class products and streamlining federal regulations that often encumber family-owned vessels. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

On rescinding Obama-era marijuana enforcement guidelines By Wiley Brooks - Marijuana by U.S law is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. I extracted the below from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEC) official site.

“The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.”

“Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote”

If you live in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, it may come as an unpleasant surprise to learn that you are still committing a federal crime by possessing, buying, or selling marijuana. The problem is, despite the liberalization of state laws across the country, federal law still treats marijuana as a controlled substance, just like cocaine or heroin. When your local assembly approves an applicant’s permit request to open a pot shop, they are putting a stamp of approval for that vendor to violate federal law. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

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