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January 08, 2019
Ketchikan: 2018 Year in Review By DAVE KIFFER - The youth of Ketchikan figured into several of the most prominent stories in 2018.
First, the Ketchikan High Academic Decathlon team won its first state title in March. But that was just the beginning. Representing Alaska in the National Finals in Texas in April, the team won the National Division III title, the first time that any Ketchikan High School group has ever won a national title.
The team was coached by Peter Stanton. The team members were: Esme Anderson, Megan Cornwall, Mackenzie Fousel, Charisma Manalo, Adrian Ronquillo, Lydia Sumrall, Max Varela and Largim Zhuta.
Then sports teams from Ketchikan High School ended long doubts. The Kayhi boys' soccer team defeated Juneau Douglas for the first time in more than a decade. Even the coaches weren’t sure when Kayhi last beat Juneau, but it was at least 10 years ago. And the Kayhi boys' track field team won its first regional title in 20 years in May.
The Kayhi girls' softball team finished 2nd in the state tournament and the boys' baseball team finished 3rd. Those were the highest finishes by Kayhi athletic teams at state in the past six years.
The Metlakatla boys' b-ball team won the state title and the girls finished second.
The Craig volleyball team finished second in the state.
Schoenbar eighth grader Grace Parrot became the first Ketchikan student to take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. She was one of 321 spellers who made it to the third round, Parrot finished 42nd overall in the contest.
Further on the youth front, the Ketchikan 13-year-old baseball all-stars won the state title and represented Alaska in the western regionals in San Jose, California.
And Joshua Cohen not only represented Alaska in the national Special Olympics in Washington, he won a gold medal, besting all comers in bocce ball. Cohen and Jesse Guinn also finished fifth in the unified bocce doubles.
Also notable was the Kayhi girls' basketball team winning its fifth consecutive SE title and the boys' wrestling team winning its 11th consecutive SE title. Kayhi’s regional wrestling title winners were Degan Linne, Kai Biagi, Patrick Rauwolf, Matthew Rodriguez, Charlie Blair, Andy Collins, Brayden Linne, Richie Stewart, Carson Cowan, and Brandon Wieber. Louise Bueno was SE champion in the girls division.
In non-youth news, the biggest story in 2018 was the chaos caused by a catastrophically low king salmon run in both Southeast and British Columbia. Commercial fishing seasons were slashed early in the summer to protect the few returning kings for escapement and sport fishing limits were slashed in Southeast and completely cut in the Prince Rupert area. The remaining King Salmon Derbies in Southeast were either curtailed or moved to later in the season. For the first time in more than 60 years, the Ketchikan King Salmon Derby became a Silver Salmon Derby and was moved from May and June to August.
And 11 people survived when a Taquan Air turbine otter crashed on Jumbo Mountain on Prince of Wales Island in July. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 08, 2019
Ketchikan: Before Year Ended, Ucore Moved Closer to Construction of Strategic Metals Complex By MARY KAUFFMAN - The end of 2018 has been a busy time for Ucore in moving forward on their company’s forthcoming rare earth and strategic metals refinery and separation plant that will be based in Ketchikan..
UCore reported in late November the initiation of the consultation process with local government officials on the planned construction of the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex to be located in Ketchikan Gateway Borough.
The commencement of consultations is yet another milestone in the overall process of designing, permitting, constructing, and operating the ultimate rare earth element (REE) separation facility. Other milestones achieved before the year's end included executing a land purchase agreement and selecting a contractor to commence with the required due diligence regarding the purchase agreement of the comprehensive land package.
land within the Ketchikan Gateway Borough located on the North Tongass Highway featuring Heavy Industrial Zoning, immediate access to trucking routes, and proximal access to the Ketchikan deep water shipping and container facilities. The 6-acre land package comprises two adjacent lots, located at 10690 N. Tongass Hwy & Blk 10600 N. Tongass Hwy.
"The selection of the Alaska SMC property is a key element of our project pathway”, said Mike Schrider, Chief Operating Officer of Ucore. “The current owners of the selected site have been very gracious, accommodating all of our needs to secure a suitable site for this intricate project. The site is located north of the City of Ketchikan, within the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. It meets all of our internally developed criteria, including land mass to accommodate our anticipated footprint, as well as being one of very few consistently flat, sufficiently-sized and suitably-zoned commercial properties in the area. With highway frontage and fundamental infrastructure to support the planned accesses, services and utilities, I believe we could not have selected a more promising development location.”
“The United States Government recently cleared legislation which places prohibitions on the U.S. Department of Defense from purchasing rare earth magnets from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran,” commented Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. “This has been an enormous shot in the arm for the build-out of a US-based rare earth separation center and supply line. Securing this well-appointed property, with strategic access to feedstock, utilities and personnel, is a huge first step restoring a domestic rare earth raw material supply chain for the US and its Allied partners. Many thanks to AIDEA and the City and Borough of Ketchikan for their continued avid support for this important project.”
In late October, Ucore reached another milestone the contracting with R&M Engineering-Ketchikan, Inc. to commence with the required due diligence regarding the purchase agreement of a comprehensive land package for the Company’s forthcoming rare earth and strategic metals refinery and separation plant in Southeast Alaska, the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex.
R&M was chosen according to a UCore news release because R&M offers a broad spectrum of services with a focus on civil and environmental engineering, land surveying, utilities design, structural engineering and architectural design. The firm specializes in contract administration and special inspections, the design of new structures, remodeled structures, and water & sewer treatment facilities compliant with Surface Water Treatment Rule regulations. R&M’s experience includes commercial and industrial subdivisions, topographic surveys and the planning and design of road infrastructure, buildings and applicable utilities.
Of the most recent milestone announced in late November, Mike Schrider, COO of Ucore said, “Obtaining local government input and approvals are critical aspects of earning our social license within our chosen locational community of Ketchikan. Schrider stated, “This is a commitment that we have made in consultation with and under the guidance of the Alaska Import Development and Export Authority (“AIDEA”). As a prospective employer, contributor to the local-area tax base, and member of the Ketchikan business community, the consultation process is a fundamental best-practices undertaking, and we welcome the opportunity to commence interaction. We thank the Council and Assembly for their active interest and hospitality.” - More...
Tuesday AM - January 08, 2019
Alaska: New Pacific Salmon Treaty Language: New Provisions Went Into Effect Jan. 1st - With implementation beginning January 1, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game released three chapters of new Pacific Salmon Treaty language. These three chapters will directly impact Alaska and Alaskans.
The current chapters of the Pacific Salmon Treaty that affect southeast Alaska expired December 31, 2018. Over the past several years a team of 58 Alaskans including department staff and affected users have been working towards negotiating a new agreement. In June 2018 the Pacific Salmon Commission completed negotiations regarding a new conservation and harvest sharing agreement between the United States and Canada. This new agreement forms the basis for management of southeast Alaska salmon fisheries.
The negotiated treaty language has been held in confidence for a variety of reasons. However, since the revised treaty takes effect January 1, 2019, releasing the latest version of the agreed to treaty language is in the best interest of affected users. It is important to understand that the treaty language is not open to renegotiation as it has been agreed upon formally. The release of the language will allow affected users the opportunity to become familiar with the stipulations as management strategies are developed for the upcoming season.
The revised agreement addresses a number of salmon fisheries in southeast Alaska, including those near the Alaska/British Columbia border and on several transboundary rivers. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 08, 2019
Alaska: Slime proves valuable in developing method for counting salmon in Alaska - Scientists have published a novel method for counting Pacific salmon - analyzing DNA from the slime the fish leave behind in their spawning streams.
The study, funded by The National Geographic Society, is published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources.
"When we analyzed the environmental DNA sloughed into water from salmon tissues including mucus and skin cells, we got very accurate counts," said Taal Levi, an ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. "This is a major first step for more informed salmon management decisions because it opens up the possibility to affordably monitor many more streams than the few that are currently monitored."
Pacific salmon are a keystone resource in the Pacific Northwest, with an economic impact of well over $500 million each year in Alaska alone. Currently, spawning salmon are counted at just a few streams due to the reliance on human counters, or in rare cases, sonar. Five species of Pacific salmon - pink, chum, sockeye, coho, and chinook - are distributed through more than 6,000 streams in southeast Alaska alone. More than 1,000 of those streams host spawning salmon.
Salmon are anadromous: They migrate from home streams to the ocean as juveniles, and return a few years later as adults to spawn. Anadromous fish such as salmon provide a straightforward scenario for testing whether environmental DNA (eDNA) can be used to count fish, because large numbers of salmon release their DNA as they pass a fixed sampling point, either as they swim up a river or stream as inbound adults or swim downstream as outbound juveniles.
In many rivers and streams, including the majority of freshwater systems in Alaska, adult salmon returning to spawn are poorly monitored, as are fry and smolt production resulting from spawning salmon.
For the study, researchers collected water samples in 2015 and 2016 near the Auke Creek research weir, nearly 16 kilometers north of Juneau. Weirs consist of a series of closely spaced bars across an entire stream to prevent the passage of salmon, except through a single, narrow gate over which a human observer tallies and identifies salmon as they file through.
The Auke Creek weir, cooperatively operated by the National Marine Fisheries Service, in collaboration with the University of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is known as one of the most accurate fish counters in the world, Levi said. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 08, 2019
JOHN L. MICEK: What Would Jefferson Think of the Government Shutdown? - It was a perfect post-Christmas day, as I watched tourists move in concentric circles around the Jefferson Memorial at the far edge of the National Mall.
Jefferson's famous exhortation about the nature of government, that "we might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors," still inspires all these centuries later.
Then there was this. And I'm pretty sure it's not something that Jefferson ever said or wrote.
"AREA CLOSED: Because of a lapse in federal appropriations this national park facility is closed for the safety of visitors and park resources."
And if you were a tourist looking to ... ahh ... drain the proverbial swamp, the intractability of leaders at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue meant that you were out of luck.
The shuttered restrooms at the Jefferson Memorial are an appropriate, if a tad flawed, metaphor for our current political predicament. The pipes of government are hopelessly clogged. And as the shutdown drags into its third week, it's difficult to imagine what could possibly get Congressional leaders and the Trump White House to "Yes."
So as Democrats and new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dig in, and as Trump fantastically blusters that he could declare a national emergency to build a wall, it seems worth asking: Just what would America's third president have made of the shutdown stalemate?
In our national imagination, we like to think that the founders were an 18th Century coffee klatsche, conjuring a new nation out of a bloody revolution, even as they hung out in their powdered wigs and knickerbockers, knocked back a bit of grog, and just generally debated the heck out of stuff.
But, in fact, they were just as sharp-elbowed and fractious as our current leadership. Some even hated each other. There's a reason why "Hamilton" has a sad ending, after all. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 08, 2019
Political Cartoon: The Boarder Patrol
By Bruce Plante ©2019, Tulsa World
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.
Sea Otter With Crab By
Frances C. Natkong - I work for our local tribe although I don't speak for the tribe. I'd like to address the sea otter [photo]. The picture on this page of the otter eating dungeoness crab might be cute and all but they are cleaning out shorelines of our subsistence foods.
Already, they plus divers have cleaned out abalone, clams, cockles, sea urchins, watch. That crab it has could feed a person for two meals. - More...
Friday PM - January 04, 2019
A Progressive Scam By
Stephen Eldridge - Paul Livingston continues to bombard AK with his drooling over the so-called "FAIRtax" which has understandably gone nowhere after 20 years in Congress.
FAIRtax - i.e., H.R. 25 (FT) is a Progressive Scam instead we need a 10% Tithe Tax!
I am a retired lifetime tax consulting professional (JD, LLM in Taxation, CPA, co-author of a 3- volume tax treatise, lecturer), with no financial stake in ANY tax system. This only a brief summary - for supporting details (see links in letter)...
First, it's a 30% fed sales tax, not 23%. If an item costs $100 before adding FT, you add $30 (not $23), total, $130. They deceptively divide the $30 FT by the total $130. Pretty sneaky, eh? They babble on that it compares to a 23% income tax, but FT is a sales tax of 30%. - More...
Friday PM - January 04, 2019
Bob Hays - Being an avid reader of SitNews and Wikipedia, it dawned on me the solution to an ongoing problem with your (and in my heart) fair land: The name of the Borough. As you will see, a simple name change can produce positive effects unforeseen upon initial perusal. I say we change the name to “Edgar Rice Borough”. Before the naysayers declare me an iconoclast and ridiculous, note some of the manifold benefits: - More...
Monday PM - December 31, 2018
Tear down the tax wall; Plan for the working class By
Paul Livingston - The role of government is to maintain an environment for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and not to manage the economy. The best government can do is take from some and give to others, picking winners and losers. Government is not a producer of wealth and jobs that creates a bigger tax base and higher standard of living. More government is not the solution to the problems caused by government. - More...
Friday PM - December 31, 2018
The United States is First in War, But Trailing in Crucial Aspects of Modern Civilization By
Lawrence Wittner - Maybe those delirious crowds chanting “USA, USA” have got something. When it comes to military power, the United States reigns supreme. Newsweek reported in March 2018: “The United States has the strongest military in the world,” with more than two million military personnel and vast numbers of the most advanced nuclear missiles, military aircraft, warships, tanks, and other modern weapons of war. Furthermore, as the New York Times noted, “the United States also has a global presence unlike any other nation, with about 200,000 active duty troops deployed in more than 170 - More...
Monday PM - December 31, 2018
Abolish Salmon Hatcheries? By
Jay Leo Baldwin - Orcas are starving due to the lack of chinook salmon and other marine life. Cultivating salmon eggs was thought to be the answer to the dwindling salmon stocks. As early as the late 1800’s the Federal Fisheries Act required fish companies to produce four times the number of salmon fry as were taken of the mature salmon for the season. Now after more than 100 years of salmon hatcheries the numbers of salmon returning continues to dwindle so much so that user groups are fighting over the last few fish. - More...
Thursday PM - December 27, 2018
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