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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 04, 2012

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Fish Factor: DNR's mission statement shift raises questions; Governor defends ADF&G, & More... By LAINE WELCH - Alaskans were surprised to learn (from the Anchorage Daily News’ Alaska Ear, of all places) that there is a new and very different mission statement posted by the Department of Natural Resources on the State of Alaska website. 

The old ‘statement of policy’: “To develop, conserve and enhance natural resources for present and future generations.” 

The new mission statement:  “To responsibly develop Alaska‘s resources by making them available for maximum use and benefit consistent with the public interest.” 

Questions about the mission shift dominated a recent press conference, where Governor Parnell was quick to defend the change.

“I certainly had a role in that mission statement,” he asserted. “It comes straight out of the Alaska Constitution. It is Article 8, Section 1 of the Constitution.  I think that’s a pretty good foundation for a department’s mission."

Parnell was pressed on the removal of the word ‘conserve,’ the adding of the term ‘maximum development’ and the lack of mention of future generations.

“Even though it doesn’t expressly mention that conservation element, it’s implied in the terms of that section,” the governor retorted.  “So it’s development, it’s conservation, it’s everything. So read the Constitution – that’s exactly where that mission came from.”

Queried one reporter:   “You’re saying it is implied that resources will be conserved for future generations. How so?” It says they will be developed for maximum benefit – it doesn’t say anything about conservation or the future.

“You don’t believe maximum benefit for the people implies future generations as well?” asked Parnell.  “I do, and I actually gave voice to that in my State of the State address. That it’s not about just us grabbing as much cash as we can now, it’s about our kids and our grandkids and that they have a legacy too. That’s exactly why I think conservation is implied in there as part of the policy. I’m not going to argue with the Constitution. I think it’s a pretty good direction for the Dept. of Natural Resources,” he added.

“Actually, the state statute that actually defines and puts into statute as the mission for DNR does use the word conserve”, pointed out APRN’s Dave Donaldson.

Reporters also commented that The DNR policy change appeared to jump the gun, as department mission statements are required to be approved by the legislature.

“Well, look, I’m willing to have the conversation with legislators. Certainly the legislature gets to set missions and measures by statute. I was a part of that and had a hand in that in the ‘90s when I was in the legislature. This legislature has not spoken and I am willing to have the conversation with them. And if they have something better than Article 8; Section 1 of the Constitution as a mission for DNR and want to set that, I’m willing to work with them on it.”

What it says:

Article VIII of the Alaska Constitution addresses Natural Resources. Section 1;  Statement of Policy says:  “It is the policy of the State to encourage the settlement of its land and the development of its resources by making them available for maximum use consistent with the public interest.”

Section 2. General Authority, states: The legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people.

Section 3. Common Use, says:  Wherever occurring in their natural state, fish, wildlife, and waters are reserved to the people for common use.

Gov defends ADF&G

The governor also was asked at the press conference about recent law violations  with some staff at the Dept. of Fish and Game, notably,  Division of Wildlife Conservation director Corey Rossi who was recently indicted on 12 Class A hunting misdemeanors, and if Alaskans should be concerned that ADF&G is “broken.”

"Absolutely not,” Parnell said. “I think if you look at Commissioner Campbell’s leadership, and you look at what’s happened, I think the right outcomes have resulted, and I think, frankly, if you looked at any work place, I think you would find issues. It’s a question of how they are dealt with in the end. And in these cases, I would say look at the department now and tell me what is wrong with it, because I think we have a very professional department and we have very professional leadership there.” 

Commissioner Campbell on Jan. 25 appointed Doug Vincent-Lang, a longtime state fisheries biologist, as new Division of Wildlife  Conservation director. - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

Ketchikan: Wells Fargo invests $105,000 in Southeast Alaska nonprofits ; Grants help 30 charitable SE organizations - In 2011, Wells Fargo and its team members invested $105,000 in more than 30 schools and nonprofit organizations in Southeast Alaska, and a total of $1.5 million in more than 300 nonprofits statewide.  The charitable contributions help meet the needs of local communities in the areas of social services, youth and education, arts and culture and economic development.  Education is Wells Fargo’s top funding priority, representing more than 40 percent of statewide community investments.

In addition, Wells Fargo’s 950 team members in Alaska logged 9,000 volunteer hours in 2011 – a dollar value of $195,000.  During Wells Fargo’s annual Community Support Campaign last September, Alaska team members raised a record $523,000 for nonprofits in Alaska – a 30 percent increase over 2010.  Southeast Alaska team members pledged more than $26,000 during the month-long fundraising campaign. - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave KifferDAVE KIFFER: Just Another Routine Fright North - Mea culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa. I have offended the Gods of Travel (Hermes), Weather (Zeus) and Flight (Boeing). My sin was hubris. Hubris in saying “sure, I’ll fly to a meeting in Anchorage in late January.”

As a result – as I feverishly type this – I am condemned with 80 other lost souls to circle endlessly in the dark, storm tossed, clouds above Juneau. Occasionally, we lower speed and flaps and descend into the snow flurries to get tantalizingly close to Juneau – even seeing the shimmering lights of the town through the overcast. Close to the runway, enough to see some of the navigation lights blinking red and blue in the darkness. Then the engines roar back to life and the jet soars back into the clouds.

Every so often, the Captain comes on the speaker and reminds us of the possibility of a “return” to Purgatory, AKA Sitka.

By now, Sitka is probably packed in again and even a successful landing would be more jarring than the Disneyland Matterhorn ride and slightly less heart stopping than Space Mountain. Or we would just fly back to Juneau again and begin our circle–descend- climb-circle-rinse-repeat dance again. Fortunately we have plenty of Picnic Pacs. - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012


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letter Governor Parnell Urged to Reconsider his Position on Pension By Barb Angaiak - I am very disappointed in Governor Parnell’s refusal to consider returning to a defined benefit pension plan for state employees. I strongly urge Governor Parnell to reconsider. The legislation SB 121 is not a return to the old defined benefit system. SB 121 is a compromise that creates less of a benefit but provides retirement security at no additional cost to the state or other employers. - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter Ketchikan School Board Cuts By Frances Gierard - I am an alumnus of Ketchikan High School and am now attending college in Seattle. I have heard that you are considering cutting some elective courses at Kayhi. I am hoping to change your mind otherwise. - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter Talk about cold! By Jeff Orr - I am not very happy with the State of Alaska Court system, nor the current Guardian for my adult brother who has down's syndrome. The AK court system sent a Court Visitor to do a report on his living conditions while he was living with my Mother, who adopted him over 42 years ago. In this report the Court Visitor bashed my two brothers who live in Ketchikan and excluded them from being able to apply for guardianship for our brother. What is worse is the Guardian decided to take our brother while my Mother is in the hospital! Talk about cold! - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter The Capuchin monkeys' Scam By Margaret Cloud - Someone has recently listed some capuchin monkeys. This ad is a scam. I responded to the ad to see what I would receive. Here is the reply: - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter Compact fluorescents (CFLs), LEDs, and halogens By Shelley Stallings - From wikipedia: In December 2007 (during the Bush Administration) , the federal government enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which contains maximum wattage requirements for all general service incandescent lamps producing from 310 2600 lumens of light.[38] However, these regulations never became law, as another section of the 2007 EISA bill overwrites them, and thus, current law, as specified in the U.S. Code, "does not relate to maximum wattage requirements."[39] - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter RE: In the Dark By Scott Cragun - Regarding A.M. Johnsons reply to my letter regarding incandescent light bulbs, I would like to point out that the production of the incandescent bulbs may have ceased in the USA but they continue to be produced in Japan and in Europe in wattages less than 100 and will/could be until 2014. These bulbs are also imported into the USA where it is legal to sell them until 2014. - More..
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012

letter RE: Option for Public Employees By Chris Elliott - I know in my heart I'll regret commenting, but I just can't resist. Ms. Machado's two basic assumptions are questionable. One, that government recruits and retains the "best and brightest" by offering outstanding benefits & retirement plans and, two, that public employees deserve the best, most secure retirement because they give their best. - More...
Thursday AM - February 02, 2012

letter State of the Mess By A. M. Johnson - With all the nasty political advertisements and such, a lighter level of political satire is offered. In the Spirit of joining with Senator Murkowski in her recent effort to encourage by-partisanship during the "State of the Mess" campaign speech, I too will offer my suggestion we all can rally behind. As there is less than a year until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States. The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans. - More...
Thursday AM - February 02, 2012

letter City or Borough Tax By Scott Cragun - Mr. Thompson, is this a City of Ketchikan tax or a Ketchikan Borough tax? - More...
Thursday - February 02, 2012

letter In the Dark By A. M. Johnson - Regarding Scott Cragan's understanding of the status of the Incandescent bulbs. Message to Scott: All production of incandescent bulbs have ceased. The industry advised Congress following the extension date, that it made no difference as the production of incandescent light bulbs has ceased. - More...
Thursday AM - February 02, 2012

letter Re: Boat Tax By Glen Thompson - The Ketchikan Borough has repeatedly attempted to repeal this excise tax but the City has refused. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter Option for Public Employees By Allegra Machado - I urge all Alaskan Constituents and State Employees to write your Senator and Representative today and encourage them to stand up and actively support Senate Bill 121 and House Bill 236. This is the legislation that creates an option for TRS and PERS employees hired after 2006 to choose either a defined benefit or defined contributions retirement plan. - More..
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter IS THE TEA PARTY DEAD? By Ken Bylund - 193 AD: The Praetorians ran out upon the ramparts and in a loud voice proclaimed that the Roman world was to be disposed of to the best bidder by auction... It reached the ears of Didius Julianus who began to bid for "the purple" at the foot of the rampart. Edward Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire... now Romney is buying the purple. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter CFL Platform? By Scott Cragun - Mr. Borders, if it is true that the only light bulbs you can find at your "local" hardware store are the more energy efficient CFL (compact flourecent) type, this is a choice made by the store and/or its purchasing department. Incandescent light bulbs are not scheduled to be COMPLETELY phased out in the USA until January 2014, this process has started this year (2012) with the higher wattage bulbs then works it's way down to the lower wattage bulbs by 2014. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter Ketchikan Roads By April Whitton - Thank you Mark Hoyt for grating the roads and trying to keep up with the snow dumped on us. Robbie would have been proud. I to thank you. And kudos to the rest of the crew that are out there on the streets at all hours trying to make our roads safe for us to drive on. A big thank you also goes out to Curtis, Danny K, Dan M, Matt, Tad (That's what Robbie always called him), Bruce, Dana, Karl and all the guys in the back ground that keep the trucks and other equipment in running order. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter Deep Six Somali Pirates By Donald A. Moskowitz - The recent rescue of hostages in Somalia by a Navy Seal Team brings into focus the ongoing problem we have with the Somali pirates.  These pirates continue to wreak havoc on commercial shipping off the coast of Africa, and there are numerous ships and hostages currently being held by the pirates for ransom. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

letter PFD By Joey Garcia - Does the Alaska yearly PFD need an online-oversight commitee? Some Alaska residents comes in flock, mostly to a department store using their PFD checks or the purchase of things they have dreamt for years. I am not surprised that the present PFD online application contains additional questions in support to the query of having been absent from the State on a specified date that can be judged as fraud. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2012

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