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January 26, 2019

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Ketchikan: Prohibition attempted to ban alcohol a century ago; Alaska enacted a ban two years earlier, neither one worked By DAVE KIFFER - It is hard imagine a time when the authorities tried to ban alcohol in Alaska.

jpg Prohibition attempted to ban alcohol a century ago; Alaska enacted a ban two years earlier, neither one worked

Pat Gilmore, Sr. and Jack Davies Celebrate the end of Prohibition.
December 5, 1933.
Photograph courtesy of Anne Gilmore Terhar ©

"Hooch" and other spirits and beer have been the preferred "fuel" for the colonizing of Alaska since the Russians were making rot gut potato and corn vodka in stills in Kodiak and Sitka in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

But at numerous times in Alaska's history, "demon rum" has been indeed demonized and made illegal to sell or possess. Most notably in the years after World War I when alcohol was illegal throughout the United States.

January of 2019 marks the centennial of ratification of the 18th Amendment, the Volstead Act, in 1919 which "forbade the production, sale and transport of intoxicating liquors" in the United States and its territories.

Of course, none of the "bans" actually kept alcohol out of the hands of the Alaskan residents who wanted it. Alaska's remote location and tens of thousands of miles of coastline made it virtually impossible for the authorities - often called the "Revenuers" - from preventing it from arriving in the Territory.

It also didn't help matters that Alaska's closest neighbor, Canada, was more than happy to help quench the parched throats of its Alaskan cousins. Ketchikan, in particular, was just 90 miles up the coast from Prince Rupert and there was an active "rum trade" between the two communities whenever Alaskan officials attempted to ban alcohol.

Almost immediately after the purchase of Alaska in 1867, the US government moved to control alcohol in the territory. In 1867, the War Department - which had jurisdiction - prohibited the shipments of "spirituous liquors or wines" to Alaska.

But by 1869, the Army itself was trying to make ends meet in Sitka (then the largest community in the state) by openly selling confiscated liquor back to the citizens, according to a 2015 story on alcohol in Alaska in the Fairbanks News-Miner.

And within the next decade, the authorities had also given up efforts to stop residents from making their own "hooch."  In 1877, nearly 5,000 gallons of molasses (a common ingredient in homemade alcohol) was brought into Sitka, more than enough "cooking" molasses for non alcohol needs for two decades!

That year, the Treasury Department took over responsibility for administering Alaska. It immediately allowed the importation and manufacturing of beer and wine in the territory but said no to "distilled spirits." It also made it illegal to sell alcohol to Alaska Natives.

That "open" policy lasted all of seven years. Pressure by national temperance campaigners led the federal government to once again ban alcohol in Alaska - except for "sacramental" purposes - when the first civil government was brought to the territory in 1884.

But once again, Alaska's remoteness and a general disinclination to follow federal rules, led to an almost total lack of enforcement of the ban. By 1892, alcohol was again "legal" in Alaska. The young territorial government, looking for ways to pay for itself, developed some of the earliest processes for licensing and taxing alcohol sales. In 1899, the territory enacted a $1,000 license fee for all liquor dealers. It was reportedly the first "liquor license" program in the United States.

By the 1910s, the national temperance movement that was leading to charge to ban alcohol nationwide had also reached Alaska. In addition to the normal anti-liquor arguments (its negative effects on health, personality and family life), alcohol abuse was creating significant problems in Bush Alaska, particularly amongst the Alaska Native population. A new law was proposed to make Alaska "bone dry" and it passed with the support of 62 percent of the voters. That vote took place in 1917, two years before federal prohibition was approved and went into effecf.

Of course, prohibition did little to stop the use of alcohol in Alaska. Ketchikan residents soon learned they could make money by visiting Prince Rupert and bringing alcohol back into Alaska. So they did. - More...
Saturday AM - January 26, 2018


Fish Factor:
2019 Salmon Markets Looking Good By LAINE WELCH - Heading into the 2019 salmon season markets are looking good as global demand exceeds supply. 

That’s due in part to constraints on the world’s biggest producers of farmed Atlantic salmon – Norway and Chile. While farmed production continues to tick upwards, growth in both countries is limited as to the maximum amount of fish regulations permit them to have in the water. 

Chile also is still recovering from a deadly virus that wiped out millions of fish in 2016, and Norway is battling pervasive sea lice issues. All told, the days appear to be over when both countries could count on double digit increases in production to meet setbacks in supply. 

“Now it appears the salmon farmers don’t have any rabbits left in the hat. They are still increasing production but not to the extent in percentage terms that it used to be,” said Andy Wink, a fisheries economist and director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. 

Couple that with expanding salmon demand and current market conditions create a larger niche for wild salmon, Wink said, not only in the U.S. but also in China.  

“Demand for salmon in China is growing in a big way,” he explained. “News reports say they expect farmed salmon consumption in China to go from 90,000 metric tons (198 million pounds) this past year to around 250,000mt (550 million pounds) by 2025. There’s a lot of opportunity for all wild salmon.”

Market watchers are awaiting the last four months of sales data, but all salmon species have been selling well and holdover inventories are not expected heading into the coming season.  

 “We saw strong pricing on the wholesale side and volumes moved at a quick clip,” Wink said. “As far as sockeye goes, people I’ve been in touch with anecdotally say things are moving nicely even though prices are up.”

Another good sign is that the value of the dollar has held steady. 

“For the past year the dollar has been going sideways in terms of its strength,” Wink explained. “If it moves a lot, that will have a huge impact on fish prices, but for the time being we haven’t seen a lot of change.”

 Demand continues to increase in the U.S. where Wink said more appreciation has grown for wild salmon in general. He pointed to Costco as a new market channel, which rolled out a national sockeye salmon program last year.

That really gave sockeyes a boost, and Wink said it was clearly shown in Bristol Bay’s branding promotion that has grown from a small pilot program in a handful of stores in Boulder, Colorado in 2016 to 1,000 stores across the country and growing.

“When we approach a retailer they are generally very receptive and excited to work with us,” he said. “They know their customers want wild salmon, they want to know where it comes from and that connection with the producer, and that it’s a quality product. Whether it’s from Bristol Bay or other places in Alaska, there’s great demand for that in the U.S.” 

Wink said the decades of hard work by Alaska’s salmon industry is really starting to pay off. 

“A lot of great work has been done to develop the quality of the pack, push new products and new markets are opening up,” he said. “Even though they’ve taken years to cultivate, we’re seeing a lot of those investments bear fruit now.”  - More...
Saturday AM - January 26, 2019

Front Page Feature Photo By Jodean Albertson

The Rock
Front Page Feature Photo By Jodean Albertson ©2019

Alaska: Art Chance Declines Senior Policy Advisor Position in Dunleavy Admin. After Public's Outrage By MARY KAUFFMAN - It was announced Thursday night that Art Chance will not be joining the administration of Governor Mike Dunleavy. Art Chance was slated to join the Department of Administration as a senior policy advisor. According to the Associated Press, Art Chance did not accept his offer of employment. This came after Chance was found to have posted inappropriate comments on his personal Facebook page regarding Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, homosexuals and women.

Chance wrote Friday afternoon on his FaceBook page before deactivating his account, "In a job like that [administration] if you speak, it is the State of Alaska speaking, so you check your private ciitizen [sic] notions of free speech when you sign the oath and the W-4. So with this I'm going to deactivate the FB account and bid all my friends a fond fairwell..."

Chance is a retired Director of Labor Relations for the State of Alaska, formerly of Juneau and now living in Anchorage. Most recently he was an opinion columnist for MustReadAlaska.com.

This announcement prompted members of the Alaska House Coalition to release the following prepared statements.

“I believe a vigorous public discourse is good for our democracy, and I have no problem with strong language. However, I draw the line at threatening sexual violence against anyone. In reviewing his social media posts and comments, this man has actually threatened to sexually assault the wives and girlfriends of those he disagreed with on political issues. This is outrageous, and I was disappointed to learn that the Governor was willing to overlook this behavior and elevate an internet troll to such an important job in his administration. Thankfully, the public outrage sparked by this appointment worked this time. I hope Governor Dunleavy doesn’t let it happen again,” said Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage). - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019

Alaska: Bear cub poacher sentenced to three months in jail, 10 year hunting ban, and forfeiture of boat, truck, firearms, and gear - Alaska District Court Judge Pamela Washington on Tuesday sentenced Wasilla residents Andrew and Owen Renner for poaching a denning black bear sow and two newborn cubs on an island in Prince William Sound. The defendants were convicted of eight and four counts respectively, related to the unlawful killing of the bears, unlawfully possessing the bears, and falsifying the sealing certificate.

Andrew Renner was sentenced to five months in jail with two months suspended, pay a fine of $20,000 with $11,000 suspended, forfeit his 22’ Sea Sport ocean boat and trailer, 2012 GMC Sierra pickup truck, two rifles, two handguns, two iPhones, and two sets of backcountry skis which were used in the offenses. His hunting license was revoked for 10 years.

Owen Renner was sentenced to suspended jail time, community works service and required to take a hunters safety course. His hunting license was suspended for two years. Both defendants were ordered to pay $1,800 restitution, the amount set by statute for killing black bears. - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019

Alaska: Registration open for Alaska Food Festival - Registration is open for the 2019 Alaska Food Festival and Conference, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, at Land’s End Resort in Homer.

Hosted by the Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC), this semi-annual event previously took place in Anchorage in 2014 and 2016 and in Fairbanks in 2017. This year, the Alaska Farmers Market Association is co-hosting the conference.

“This event is an amazing opportunity to meet enthusiastic folks from all parts of the Alaska food system to share ideas and dreams from educators to farmers, distillers to oyster growers, and communities from Tyonek to Port Lions to Kotzebue,” said Lorinda Lhotka, a governing board member of the Alaska Food Policy Council and one of the conference organizers. “There is truly something for everyone and when you leave this conference you will be motivated to take action to improve your local food system.”

Conference topics will cover Alaska’s vast and diverse food system. This year’s keynote speakers are Ben Feldman, policy director and interim executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, and Courtney Long, program coordinator for the Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service and Outreach/Local Foods Program. - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019


Analysis: Vital economic data was likely lost during the shutdown – here's why it matters to all Americans By AMITRAJEET A. BATABYAL - The shutdown may be over – for now – but its consequences will linger on.

One of those concerns is the dizzying amount of economic data the federal government collects on everything from the state of the economy and investment to the cost of college and the quality of nursing homes. During the partial government shutdown, a lot of data simply weren’t collected, which means at a minimum there will be gaps in what people know about the U.S. economy, the jobs picture and housing, to name just a few areas.

Americans may not realize just how vital this is to a wide range of groups and individuals – including an economist like myself.

This is another powerful reason why it’s essential that the president and Democrats agree on a long-term solution during the upcoming three-week truce.

What’s affected

The shutdown affected about 800,000 government workers at dozens of agencies. Of those, roughly 380,000 were furloughed or sent home.

As a result many government researchers were neither collecting nor analyzing a lot of key economic data.

Some of them work for the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, which measures the country’s gross domestic product, as well as provides important data on international trade. The publication of this data was suspended or delayed due to the shutdown.

The work of the Census Bureau, also a part of Commerce, was hit as well. And while Americans primarily associate the agency with tallying the number of people living in the U.S. every 10 years, it also puts out data on the pace of new home building, durable goods and monthly retail sales.

It is presently not clear how quickly and completely the delayed data will be released. Even if the delayed data does get released, it will take several months before the affected agencies return to normal.

After the 2013 government shutdown – the longest before the recent one – there were questions about just how much data were lost or corrupted as a result. The latest shutdown lasted more than twice as long, suggesting the impact may be much worse. - More...
Saturday AM - January 26, 2019



DAVE KIFFER: Oh no, it's the big 60! - In a couple of weeks, something significant will happen to me.

No, I am not changing jobs, getting a new house, having more kids. None of those life altering events of significance.

Actually, I will be doing nothing more "life changing" than waking up.

Which, of course, is usually the most strenuous thing I do most days. Getting out of bed is truly a chore, especially this time of year when everything is dark and cold and wet, and did I mention, dark and cold and wet?

I totally get now how in the old days people used to pretty much turn into bears and hibernate in the winter. You got up long enough to go the bathroom and make sure there was enough wood to keep the fire going a few more hours and then you dove back into bed (assuming you had already hunted and gathered enough to provide for winter sustenance). Winter was the time that  you shut down everything you could shut down. Then you worked like crazy during the long summer days to make up for it. That sounds so wonderful, compared to now where you do the same thing, over and over, 52 weeks a year.

What is that definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome?

That sure sounds like life as we know it. - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019


RICH MANIERI - Journalism's Credibility Takes Yet Another Hit - "We don't report rumors."

That seemed obvious when a newsroom colleague said it to me some 20 years ago.

We had received information - which turned out to be unfounded - regarding some salacious stories about a local politician.

"Wow, it's a good thing we don't report rumors," my colleague said, as we laughed off such an absurd notion.

What has changed in two decades?

We now report rumors, and innuendo, and speculation, and a lot of stuff that's flat out made up.

When Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has to release a statement debunking a report that the president of the United States committed a federal crime, you know things are bad.

That report came from BuzzFeed, whose top story as of this writing is "37 Confessions About Sex That Will Make You Feel Less Alone." While you're reading that, you might as well take the quiz to find out what pizza you are. 

If BuzzFeed is a legitimate news outlet, I'm Rasputin. - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: Air traffic controller

Political Cartoon: Air traffic controller
By Bruce Plante ©2019, Tulsa World
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Big or small, radiation can affect your health By Art Nash and Jennifer Athey - Certain words can create anxiety depending on your life experiences. One of those words is radiation. This is especially true for those of us who grew up during the Cold War and had under-the-desk drills, saw yellow rectangle “Fallout Shelter” signs at school and came to know geography framed by Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl.

It’s important to talk about the intensity and duration of radiation exposure and physiological effects that occur with different radiation sources when gauging and discussing the risk of radiation to human health.

The sun gives off radiation, which can cause skin cancer after prolonged periods of solar exposure. Radioactive radon gas in homes originates from naturally occurring uranium in rocks and soils. Similar to the effects of solar radiation, exposure to radon gas can cause lung cancer after you breathe it in. In both cases, your likelihood of getting cancer is highly influenced by length of exposure time to these very low-dose radiation sources.

Many of Alaska’s rocks and soils contain enough uranium to produce dangerous levels of radon when concentrated in a home’s air. Where it can migrate up to the surface, radon gas may enter buildings through even tiny holes in the interface between your home and the ground. Homes constructed in seismically active areas are especially susceptible to radon intrusion. For example, the 7.0 earthquake that rattled Anchorage on Nov. 30 created breaches and fissures in foundations, potentially allowing radon gas traveling through newly formed cracks in soil and rock to seep inside. - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019

jpg Opinion

Re: Edwards' Mess By Gigi Pilcher - I agree 100% with John Herrington's Letter regarding prosecution of each and every adult employed by the KGDSB who knew (first hand) about the sexual assault/sexual abuse allegation.

I am stunned the the KGDSB had to pay money out regarding if there was wrong doing regarding the administration's FAILURE to report everyone of the allegations to law enforcement and OCS ( Office of Children's Services). - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

Vote for Donna Frank By Kathleen Yarr - I have known Donna Frank since 1987. I hired her to work on the KIC Welfare Reform program in 1994 when I was the Director of Social Services.
- More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019

jpg Opinion

The Edwards' Mess By John Harrington - The Ketchikan School Board investigation into the Edwards' mess has been completed. The Executive Summary is available. The School Board is busy preparing for alterations in their policies. Great. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: Abolish Salmon Hatcheries? By Teri Dawe - I read the letter with interest. This has been a complex ongoing largely unrecognized problem for an extremely long time. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019

jpg Opinion

Read the Executive Summary By Margaret Cloud - The report regarding Doug Edwards is available on-line.  I encourage people to read the entire report.  The school district was aware of issues since 2013. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019

jpg Opinion

Systemic betrayal of public trust By Mark O’Brien - Concerning the Edwards abuse case, there appears to have been a systemic betrayal of public trust within the Ketchikan Gateway School District. During this past Wednesday’s meeting School Board member Diane Gubatayao was the only board member to step up and vote to not accept Robert Boyle’s letter of resignation. His resignation letter should have been rejected and the school board should have fired him instead. That collective vote would have been the first step in restoring faith in this body’s decisions regarding student safety and public trust. - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

“MR. GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL” By David G Hanger - “Thus, by the acts of a dismissed emissary, a disappointed president, and a divided Senate, the United States acquired California and the Southwest. This gigantic step in the growth of the American republic was not taken with enthusiasm by either president or Congress, but resulted from the fact that the elements in opposition could find no viable alternative and no basis on which they could combine. It was an ironic triumph for ‘Manifest Destiny,’ an ominous fulfillment for the impulses of American nationalism. It reflected a sinister dual quality in this nationalism, for at the same time when national forces, in the fullness of a very genuine vigor, were achieving an external triumph, the very triumph itself was subjecting their nationalism to internal stresses which, within thirteen years, would bring the nation to a supreme crisis.” (The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War 1848-1861 by Professor David M. Potter, 1910-1971, page 6.) - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

Trump's First Two Years By Donald Moskowitz - As an Independent I provide the following evaluation of Trump's first two years in office. - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: A Progressive Scam By Wiley Brooks - According to Stephan Eldridge, he’s a retired authority on our federal income tax system. Whatever he is, he’s a gadfly who evidently has nothing else to do except spend his days trolling for information published on the FairTax. Obviously, he’s a big fan of our complex, unfair, burdensome and corrupt income tax system. - More...
Friday AM - January 11, 2019

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