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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 17, 2023

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Ketchikan: KIC Tribal election results & President’s Awards announced - A high number of Tribal citizens turned out Monday, January 16, 2023, as Ketchikan Indian Community held Annual Tribal Elections with 473 members casting their votes.

Incumbents Lloyd Ruaro and Judy Leask-Guthrie were reelected to retain their seats on the Tribal Council for additional three-year terms. Gianna ‘Saanuga’ Willard, who had been appointed by the Tribal Council to fill a vacant seat in September of 2021, was also elected for another term. Running unopposed, Amber Williams-Baldwin was reelected to the Advisory Health Board for a two-year term and will be joined by write-in candidate Kristina Shorey pending a successful vetting process.

The official ballot included seven candidates for the Tribal Council and one candidate for Advisory Health Board. Write-in votes were cast for four individuals for Tribal Council and five individuals for Advisory Health Board.

An official memo from Chairperson of the KIC Elections Board Bertha Hamilton certified the following election returns:


177 — Lloyd B. Ruaro
172 — Judy Leask-Guthrie
154 — Gianna Saanuga Willard
142 — Rushcelle “Pebbles” Hull
135 — Randy Williams
124 — Sharyl Whitesides-Yeisley
121 — David Jensen


309 — Amber Williams-Baldwin

President’s Awards:

• Willard ‘Klíewaan’ Jackson was honored as the Citizen of the Year for his ongoing leadership on behalf of Tribal Veterans, his advocacy for Alaska Native causes, and his lifelong service to the Tribal community.

• Just Dandy Apothecary & Café owned by Larissa ‘Leek’u Shaa’ Sivertsen was honored as Business of the Year for exemplifying the Tribal value of ‘holding each other up’ as she mentors the fellow Tribal citizens who work for her and for her focus on providing our community with healthy food options, including locally sourced foods.

• Torah ‘Adaal’ Zamora was honored as Emerging Leader of the Year for the investments she is making into our Tribe as she puts her education and cultural heritage studies into practice while inviting other Tribal members to join her for monthly cultural gatherings, outdoor activities, and language revitalization activities.

• Alberta Shields was honored as the Herring Egg Volunteer of the Year for her hard work and enthusiasm as she assisted as KIC distributed Herring Eggs to Tribal citizens in 2022 and helped bring awareness and respect to the Tribe’s values, customs and traditions.

• Lynn Quan was honored as Employee of the Year for her dedicated service of Tribal citizens for more than 27 years, currently as director for KIC’s Social Service Department, and the dedicated way she supports a staff of 18 as they work together to serve the most vulnerable in our community.

• Cecelia ‘CC’ Johnson was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her advocacy for the betterment of our Tribe and of humanity. A lifelong leader in the Native community, CC has served on Tribal Council, the Advisory Health Board, the Alaska Native Health Board, as a longtime ANB/ANS member, a WISH crisis volunteer, and as a certified Advanced Alcohol Counselor in the Alaska Court System.

In addition to the formal awards ceremony at the Annual Membership Meeting, the Tribe plans to highlight each of the awardees individually. Watch social media for more details. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023


Alaska: Governor Dunleavy Outlines Carbon Management Bill Package - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy recently outlined his Carbon Management Bill Package, previewing legislation he will introduce, creating statutory and regulatory structures needed to capitalize on the carbon markets.

“Shortly, we will introduce our Carbon Management Bill package to launch the State into the emerging carbon market,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Managing this resource is clearly in Alaska’s best interest. It is in alignment with our constitutional mandate to develop all resources. This opportunity does not exclude or negatively impact current industries in Alaska, such as logging. Monetizing carbon has a very real potential of bringing revenue to the State of Alaska to the tune of millions, if not billions, of dollars. We will be asking legislators to seriously consider the legislation that will be introduced.”

Quoting a news release from the governor's office, carbon management is required or incentivized in multiple ways around the world, driving growth and investment in carbon markets and projects. This opportunity can generate carbon offsets and/or credits, which are sold, traded, and utilized by companies and entities in two kinds of markets: “regulated” or “compliance” markets found in jurisdictions around the world where activities are required to utilize credits, and “voluntary” markets, where companies use them to comply with corporate missions and commitments to limit net emissions associated with their activities.

These markets are growing rapidly. Alaska Native regional corporations like Sealaska, Chugach Alaska Corp., and Ahtna Inc. have been participating in these markets for years. Since 2019, carbon offsets generated in Alaska have brought $370 million to our Alaska Native Corporations and were the most prominent forestry participants in the California Air Resources Board’s regulated offset/credit market.

The State is proposing legislation for maximum flexibility to participate in this evolving industry. Under this legislation, the Department of Natural Resources would be authorized to promote and provide two main categories of carbon management:

• Geologic sequestration – where concentrated carbon is compressed, injected and stored in deep underground geologic formations. Also typically referred to as carbon capture, utilization, and storage or “CCUS”.

• Biologic sequestration – where the accumulation of carbon in trees, soils, kelps, or other natural processes can be promoted or encouraged. These projects could occur both on state lands and potentially in state waters off of our coasts. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023


Alaska: State Seeks Clarity on Federal Opinions Addressing the Placement of Native Lands into Trust after ANCSA -  With five different opinions issued by three different Solicitors of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior over the past several years, confusion exists over whether the 51-year-old Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) extinguished the federal government’s ability to take lands into trust in Alaska.

The State filed a lawsuit today (Jan. 17, 2023) against Bryan Newland, the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, with the U.S. Department of the Interior, asking the U.S. District Court to uphold the settlement terms agreed to by the federal government, Alaska Natives, and the State in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

“We believe that this issue of tribal lands was settled with the passage of ANCSA in 1971, and that has been the law of the land for more than 50 years. If we are wrong, then the Court needs to clarify it,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “The purpose of the case is to receive unambiguous legal clarity for the State, local governments, the tribes and all Alaskans, on the question of placing Native land into federal trust for the tribes.”

In 1971 Congress passed ANCSA. The Act extinguished Alaska Natives’ aboriginal claims, but in exchange, it authorized the transfer of $962.5 million and 44 million acres of land. Congress also expressly revoked the few reserves/reservations that had been created in Alaska except Metlakatla and provided for the creation of more than 200 State-chartered village and regional corporations, owned and operated by Natives as for-profit businesses subject to State law, the complaint states. This model makes Alaska different than any other state in the United States.

“For 46 years following the passage of ANCSA, under the guidance of multiple Secretaries of the Interior, the Department declined to take lands into trust on behalf of Alaska Natives. That changed in 2017, when the Department, for the first time, accepted lands into trust in Alaska post-ANCSA. And now, after nearly 50 years of certainty, the State and Alaska Natives have entered a period of uncertainty,” the complaint states. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023

Tlingit & Haida Signs Deed to Put Land into Federal Trust Status

Tlingit & Haida Signs Deed to Put Land into Federal Trust Status
On the right, President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson at the Bureau of Indian Affair’s (BIA) Alaska Region office in Anchorage.
Photo courtesy Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska

Southeast Alaska: Tlingit & Haida Signs Deed to Put Land into Federal Trust Status - The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) recently officially signed a deed to put its first parcel of land into federal trust status.

The deed was signed on January 10, 2023 by President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson at the Bureau of Indian Affair’s (BIA) Alaska Region office in Anchorage, Alaska. Once the deed has been recorded, the title for Tlingit & Haida's land parcel will be officially transferred over to the United States Department of Interior (DOI) to hold for the benefit of the Tribe and its citizens. Under federal trust status, Tlingit & Haida’s land parcel cannot be sold, alienated or transferred without federal approval.

"This was a great day for our Tribe, self-determination, and all tribes in Alaska. We have crossed the finish line in the land-into-trust process and will continue the journey for our remaining applications. This process started for Tlingit & Haida more than fifteen years ago and stalled over six years ago for Alaska tribes. Up until now, Craig Tribal Association's land-into-trust application was the first and only one to be approved in Alaska by the Department of the Interior,” said President Peterson.

The parcel of land transferred is Tlingit & Haida’s oldest land-into-trust application. The land is located in the old Juneau Indian Village (Lot 15, Block 5) and was purchased in October of 2007 from the Vavalis family.

Those present during the signing included BIA Deputy Regional Director of Trust Services Lynn Polacca, Realty Specialist Diane Sam, and Regional Realty Officer Cyril Andrews Jr. Several Tlingit & Haida staff were also present – General Counsel Madeline Soboleff Levy, Chief Operating Officer Roald Helgesen and Native Lands & Resources Division Director Desiree Duncan.

On November 17, 2022, the Department of Interior gave notice to Tlingit & Haida it had approved the land-into-trust application. Four of the Tlingit & Haida’s land-into-trust applications remain pending with the DOI.

“This is a benchmark achievement in our landback initiative. After many years of waiting we finally have land that will be held in perpetuity for our Tribe, land which has been rightfully ours since time immemorial,” said President Peterson. "The parcel may have a small footprint, but it is huge in terms of what this means to the Tribe. I am hopeful the Department of the Interior will approve our remaining applications." - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023

Toxic toilet paper and long-lasting chemicals found in endangered killer whales

Toxic toilet paper and long-lasting chemicals found in endangered killer whales
Southern Resident killer whales swimming.
Photo Credit: Paul Cottrell, DFO.
Usage: Single Use Only


NW Coast: Toxic toilet paper and long-lasting chemicals found in endangered killer whales - A chemical used in the production of toilet paper and ‘forever chemicals’ have been found in the bodies of orcas in B.C., including the endangered southern resident killer whales.

The Institute for the Ocean and Fisheries (IOF) at UBC, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists analyzed tissue samples from six southern resident killer whales and six Bigg’s whales stranded along the coast of B.C. from 2006 to 2018, according to a recent study. They discovered that chemical pollutants are prevalent in killer whales, with a chemical often found in toilet paper one of the most prevalent in the samples studied, accounting for 46 per cent of the total pollutants identified.

Called 4-nonylphenol or 4NP, the compound is listed as a toxic substance in Canada and can interact with the nervous system and influence cognitive function, the authors say. “This research is a wake-up call. Southern residents are an endangered population and it could be that contaminants are contributing to their population decline. We can’t wait to protect this species,” said co-author Dr. Juan José Alava, principal investigator of the ocean pollution research unit at IOF.

4NP is often used in pulp and paper processing, as well as in soap, detergents and textile processing. It can leak into the ocean via sewage treatment plants and industrial runoffs, where it is ingested by smaller organisms and moves up the food chain to reach top predators such as killer whales. It’s known as a ‘contaminant of emerging concern’ or CEC, which are pollutants found in the environment that are not well-studied and so, regulated. “Very little is known of both the prevalence and health implications of 4NP as it has been studied in few marine mammals. This study is the first to find 4NP in killer whales,” said first author Kiah Lee, who undertook the research as an undergraduate at UBC.

“This investigation is another example of an approach that takes into account the health of people, animals and the environment, using killer whales as a case study to better understand the potential impacts of these and other compounds to animal and ecosystem health,” said co-author Dr. Stephen Raverty, IOF adjunct professor and veterinary pathologist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023





Columns - Commentary



ELWOOD WATSON: WHAT WOULD MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. THINK OF OUR AMERICA? - This month, as we celebrate Black history, millions of Americans will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King was, without question, one of the greatest historical figures of the 20th century. He dedicated his life in an effort to ensure the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be in reach for all those who were marginalized and had been denied access to full citizenship rights for far too long.

Like many people, Dr. King was a complex man. He engaged in marital infidelity. He was prone to volatile anger. He could be bawdy and crude. Like many men of his era, he could be disturbingly and overtly sexist. At times, he suffered from envy. Other times, he could be ruthlessly competitive. In essence, he was human.

Despite these personal shortcomings, he was able to galvanize and awaken the conscience of a sizable segment of this nation (and the larger world), to a degree very few other individuals were able to do.

It has become custom to reflect on the life and times of Dr. King while speculating what he would think of the United States today. I would argue ambiguity would likely be how he would view our divided country at the moment. A deep degree of ambivalence. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023


TOM PURCELL: STOVE DEBATE A REAL GAS - I love my gas stove — almost as much as I love my Weber gas grill.

So I became curious this past week when I heard that a commissioner in one of our ever-expanding federal-government agencies discussed a possible ban on natural gas stoves.

As the story goes, Richard Trumka Jr., a U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner, told Bloomberg that gas stoves are a hidden health hazard and that “products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Bloomberg says that 40% of America’s homes use gas stoves and that they “emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the EPA and World Health Organization have said are unsafe and linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular problems, cancer and other health conditions .…”

If that is the case, I consider myself a gas-stove survivor.

Growing up in a house with eight people, our gas stove was always cooking something.

My mother mastered the gastronomic wonders of Hamburger Helper most nights and we devoured her delicacies unaware that our little lungs, hearts and other parts of us were being put at incredible risk. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023


FINANCIAL FOCUS: Open the (back) door to a Roth IRA Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS® - There aren’t many drawbacks to having a high income — but being unable to invest in a Roth IRA might be one of them. Are there strategies that allow high-income earners to contribute to this valuable retirement account?

Before we delve into that question, let’s consider the rules. In 2023, you can contribute the full amount to a Roth IRA — $6,500, or $7,500 if you’re 50 or older — if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $138,000 (if you’re single) or $218,000 (if you’re married and filing jointly). If you earn more than these amounts, the amount you can contribute decreases until it’s phased out completely if your income exceeds $153,000 (single) or $228,000 (married, filing jointly).

A Roth IRA is attractive because its earnings and withdrawals are tax free, provided you’ve had the account at least five years and you don’t start taking money out until you’re
59½. Furthermore, when you own a Roth IRA, you’re not required to take withdrawals from it when you turn 72, as you would with a traditional IRA, so you’ll have more flexibility in your retirement income planning and your money will have the chance to potentially keep growing. But given your income, how can you contribute to a Roth? - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023


jpg Political Cartoon: Martin Luther King, Jr

Political Cartoon: Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Guy Parsons©2023, PoliticalCartoons.com
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jpg Political Cartoon: Biden Staff Finding More Documents

Political Cartoon: Biden Staff Finding More Documents
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Political Cartoon: Say It Ain't So, Joe
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Political Cartoon: Good Classified, Bad Classified
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jpg Political Cartoon: Another coincidence

Political Cartoon: Another coincidence
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Political Cartoon: Gas Stove From My Cold Dead Hands
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jpg Political Cartoon: Expensive Eggs

 Political Cartoon: Expensive Eggs
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jpg Opinion

Recognizing the efforts of a good man By A. M. Johnson - Who is Paul Ripdlinger, and why would you or any be concerned with learning the good of the man.  Well, a bit of Ketchikan history will provide a primer for learning about Paul.

In the forty's,  Ketchikan had a policy within the court system that allowed a resident sentenced to jail to serve his penitence, deemed as warranted, to reduce the jail time to serve by volunteering to wander the streets with a designed garbage can on wheels complete with a tool kit of implements that would suffice to pick up the litter from the wood streets and sidewalks areas.  It was common on clear sunny days to see one or two of these parties working their way about maintaining clean streets. To my memory, not considered an embarrassment to the participants, rather a civic duty, a community service.

As time progressed the liberal bent of identifying situations and conditions that in that mind set, was a detrimental action appearing to be an embarrassment to the participants. So, the policy came to an end and the streets then became what most of time are, cluttered with windblown bits of this and that tossed, thrown by purpose, or lost out of traveling traffic, only addressed by mechanical means on seasonal demand and then once or twice in a given season. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023

jpg Opinion

Senior Discount Day By Michael Curtiz Fletcher - Ketchikan Safeway is removing the Senior Day discount on Thursdays? Really? You do know that Seniors are on a fixed income and some of us must live on a fixed income.

Continue the Senior discount days on Thursdays indefinitely. The program could run on the first and third Thursday of a given month instead of one. Please do the right thing. - More...
Tuesday - January 17, 2023

jpg Opinion

Inflation report is a mixed bag – an economist explains why some items are rising faster than others By EDOUARD WEMY - Economists worried about soaring inflation got some good news to start the year: The rate of inflation has eased. The first report card of 2023 on consumer prices, released on Jan. 12, 2023, showed that the overall cost of goods and services decelerated to an annual pace of 6.5% in December, the slowest in over a year and down from 7.1% in November.

But there’s bad news too, especially if you are an egg-munching renter fond of frequent regular haircuts. In quite a few categories, the cost of living rose at an even faster pace.

That’s because price inflation isn’t uniform. Different products and services are affected by myriad factors. So while some prices may have fallen during December, slowing the annual rate of inflation, other items kept getting more expensive.

The Conversation asked me – an economist from Clark University who never sets off to work without his morning breakfast of two eggs, sunny side up – to explain how different items in the consumer price basket fared in the latest inflation report.


When you look at the detail of the latest report on the consumer price index, you’ll see that overall energy costs declined. That’s because there was a steep decline in gasoline prices – down 9.4% in the month of December after dropping 2% in November.

While that’s good news, it’s a bit puzzling. AAA was expecting demand for gasoline to be very high over the month, which usually happens in winter. This typically pushes prices up. My best guess is either demand wasn’t as strong as expected due to fears of a coming recession or there has been an easing on the supply constraints that has contributed to pushing the price of gas up.

An exception to this downward energy price trend was in energy services – that is, electricity and piped gas – where prices actually ticked up. The reason is largely due to the rising cost of doing business. Utility companies and pipeline services are suffering as a result of higher labor costs and are passing on the added cost to consumers through higher prices. The latest jobs report shows average hourly earnings rose 4.6% in December from a year earlier.


Overall food inflation slowed in December, with the cost of groceries rising just 0.2% in the month – down from 0.5% in November.

But there is a lot of variation in the cost of grocery items. While the price of fruits and vegetables fell in December, the cost of eggs jumped by 11.1%. That’s due to an outbreak of bird flu that could well last until into the summer.

In addition to that, farms are seeing the same wage pressures as other businesses, which are then passed on to consumers.


The cost of shelter, whether from renting or owning, rose 0.8% in December – the biggest one-month gain since the 1980s.

This is understandable given the numerous interest rate hikes during 2022. Rising interest rates means that taking out a home loan is more costly, which in turn pushes more people into renting. Added demand on rental properties in turn pushes the prices that landlords demand up.

When interest rates eventually drop, it should bring the overall cost of shelter down, as it would encourage more people to buy homes. But I’m not optimistic that rates will fall until 2024, so don’t expect any downward movement on shelter in the coming months. - More...
Tuessday - January 17, 2023

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