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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 15, 2013

Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Tuesday evening's sunset as viewed from South Point Higgins beach.
Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)



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Southeast Alaska: Sealaska Lands Bill Revised – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) unveiled a new version of legislation Thursday to allow Southeast Alaska’s Sealaska Native Regional Corp. to complete the aboriginal land claims selections promised its shareholders 42 years ago under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

The revised Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act establishes where and how Sealaska may select 70,075 acres of land owed to it under ANCSA. The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska).

“It has taken years of negotiating with stakeholders and listening to public concerns to reach this point, but I believe the revisions have resulted in a stronger bill,” Murkowski said. “This legislation will finally deliver on the promise the federal government made to Southeast Alaska Natives in 1971. At the same time, it ensures continued public access to the lands Sealaska selects. That is unprecedented.”

The bill is designed to steer Sealaska’s timber harvesting activities toward second-growth timber, areas that already contain roads and existing timber infrastructure, and minimize impact on old-growth timber stands.

According to Murkowski, in all, Sealaska would receive about 68,400 acres of land for timber development, about 1,099 acres for other economic development projects, such as hydroelectric generation and marine hydrokinetic activity, and tourism near the communities of Yakutat, Kake and Hydaburg.

The bill places 152,000 acres in national conservation areas to further protect old growth and important aquatic resources.

The legislation also provides Sealaska with selection rights to 490 acres to protect Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian traditional burial and historically significant land parcels.

“We took great care to fulfill the promises made to Sealaska shareholders, while at the same time addressing the concerns of all Southeast residents who utilize the Tongass for everything from subsistence to fisheries to recreation,” Murkowski said.

The revised bill removes some 26,000 acres of land selections on northern Prince of Wales Island. Language has also been added to create buffers along key fisheries and anchorage areas for fishermen, and addresses the U.S. Forest Service’s request to retain lands deemed important for its transition to focus on young-growth timber transition strategy in the Tongass.

“It has taken years to work through the many concerns about this bill. This is truly a compromise. But it finally gets Sealaska its lands and protects fisheries and wildlife,” Murkowski said.

According to Sealaska, the bill will convey approximately 70,000 acres to Sealaska, partially addressing the inequity of severely restricted withdrawal areas under the original act. The bill permits Sealaska to select economic lands, small parcels, and cemetery sites and historical places that support the cultural, social, and economic welfare of Alaska Native people, as ANCSA intended.

Sealaska was established to ensure economic and cultural vitality for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people. “Sealaska is measured by more than economic success,” said Sealaska President and CEO Chris E. McNeil Jr. “From a village perspective, we must find solutions to extremely high energy costs. This bill will provide a small foundation to resolve the grinding energy problems that face every village resident and start to tear down a barrier to sustainable village economies. Just as important is the health and vitality of Southeast Native culture. We have included important cultural and historic sites in Sealaska’s land selections under the bill. The sites represent our strong tie to the land but ensure that future generations will continue to have the opportunity to learn from the past.” - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2013

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Man Cited For Trapping Violations - An investigation that began in July 2012 when Alaska State Troopers received a report of a deer that had been caught in a snare near South Point Higgins Road resulted in a Ketchikan man being cited for several trapping violations.

The report received in July 2012, was followed up by Alaska Wildlife Troopers. Responding to the area, Wildlife Troopers located nine set snares in two different areas. One snare had the remains of a deer that had been caught in the snare.

Gregory M Johnson, 21 years-of-age of Ketchikan was cited on February 12, 2013 after an almost seven month long investigation revealed the nine snares had allegedly been set approximately two years earlier by Johnson. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2013

Ketchikan: Certified Nurse Midwife Joins Local PeaceHealth Women’s Clinic - Certified Nurse Midwife Patty Thornton has just joined the PeaceHealth Medical Group Women’s Health Clinic in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Patty Thornton, CNM, MS(N), has been a Certified Nurse Midwife since 2001, but began her career in nursing in 1978 when she received her Associate of Applied Science from Lincoln University. She later went on to complete her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science at University of Missouri - Columbia.

During her career, Thornton has provided nursing care for patients in Labor and Delivery, Surgical Intensive Care, Newborn Nursery, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and High-Risk Labor and Delivery. Since becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife, she has served in full-scope midwifery practice providing normal through high-risk care including all aspects of gynecology, family planning, prenatal care and labor and delivery. She specializes in caring for patients with diabetes, lupus, cardiac and renal ailments, hypertension, and multiple pregnancies. Thornton has also worked as a perinatal educator responsible for the development of nursing staff and has presented on a number of topics at professional meetings. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2013

Alaska - Nationwide: Social Security Bill Reintroduced- As deficit-reduction talks continue, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) on Thursday reintroduced his bill to strengthen Social Security while making it clear that budget cuts should not undermine the promise this country has made to our workers and seniors.  

Begich was also pleased that Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives. According to Begich, together, their bills would extend the solvency of Social Security for approximately 75 years by requiring higher-income Americans to pay Social Security on their earnings all year long and just adjusting the formula for cost-of-living increases to better reflect the needs of our seniors and persons with disabilities.

“Our seniors deserve to have the certainty of knowing that the benefits they worked hard to earn will be there when they need them. And this bill isn’t just about protecting our seniors it is also about common-sense long-term fiscal planning,” said Sen. Begich. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2013

Southeast Alaska: Alaskan Dream Cruises develops 2013 family itineraries with kids in mind - Alaskan Dream Cruises, a Native-owned small-ship cruise line based in Sitka is introducing a series of cruises for kids and their families in 2013.

The series includes three departures on the newly introduced Baranof Dream vessel and is designed around interactive adventures that will make science come to life for the entire family.

Daily excursions provide boots-on and hands-on learning opportunities for kids, young adults and families. Activities range from cultural classes teaching traditional arts and crafts to geocaching expeditions in the rain forest to nature hikes that teach kids to indentify indigenous plants and animals. The surrounding mountains and the glaciers that shape them offer daily geology lessons. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2013

Ketchikan - Statewide: Juneau-Douglas Wins Alaska Tsunami Bowl - Juneau-Douglas High School's Team Pogonophoraphobia narrowly beat the Mat-Su Career & Technical High School team, Mat-Tsunamis, in the 16th annual Alaska Tsunami Bowl held February 8–10, in Seward. The top two teams were tied when they faced off in the championship round, which Juneau-Douglas won. High school students traveled to Seward from 15 Alaskan communities including Ketchikan to compete in the contest of ocean knowledge.

Team Pogonophoraphobia members - Johnny Connolly, Johnny Elliott, Sam Kurland, Olivia Raster, and Ruby Steedle - won an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Alaska in the national competition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in April, as well as tuition waivers from the University of Alaska Southeast. The members of the Mat-Tsunamis - Christopher Erickson, Ariel Hasse, Lucas Hyce, Reno Hyce and Courtney Monroe - also won UAS tuition waivers for taking second place.

Petersburg High School's Omnipotent Octopi team - Tyler Lantiegne, Dan Cardenas, Diane Murph, Nicole Peterson and Kyle Hagerman - won third place in the research project plus quiz bowl. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2013

Alaska: Twenty State Attys File Briefs Supporting Second Amendment Foundation's Petition - Alaska's Attorney General along with nineteen other state attorneys general have filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Second Amendment Foundation's petition for a Writ of Certiorari in a case challenging New York's gun permitting statute, along with several other interested parties that have filed their own briefs.

The case is known as Kachalsky v. Cacace and was argued before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. SAF is represented by attorney Alan Gura , who won both the Heller and McDonald Second Amendment cases before the Supreme Court. - More...
Friday AM - February 14, 2013

Alaska: Personal Care Attendants Indicted for Fraudulently Billing Medicaid - Tuesday, 30-year-old Mile Viane Fainuulelei and 26-year-old Katrina Katherine Letuane, both of Anchorage, were indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts of medical assistance fraud, theft and perjury. Mile Fainuulelei and Katerina Letuane were both also charged with multiple misdemeanor counts for fraudulently billing Medicaid and violating Medicaid regulations. Arraignment was held for both defendants yesterday in Anchorage Superior Court.

Personal care attendants are individuals (often times family members) that Medicaid pays to provide home based care services to Medicaid recipients, allowing the recipient to stay in their home as opposed to a nursing home setting. - More...
Friday AM - February 14, 2013


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letter One Billion Rising By Diane Gubatayao - This February 14th marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day, a worldwide walk/dance out to raise awareness about violence against women. This year the theme is One Billion Rising which reflects the statistic that globally one in three women will be victims of physical or sexual assault in their lifetime. In Alaska, the number is almost double. Ketchikan is participating in this worldwide event to stand together against this injustice. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter RE: Borough Assembly Meetings By Bobbie McCreary - I appreciate the opportunity to bring issues and acknowledgements before the Ketchikan Borough Assembly at two different times per month. Will the "4 shorter" planning sessions be as easily available for this purpose? What time of day will they be held and will the Assembly expect public comments then? - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Education or lack there of. By A.M. Johnson - In response to both Ms.Pardes and Mr. Timmeman's subject of education, it is good to have positions presented for self discussion or public response. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter School funding By Paul Jarvi - MS Pardes, I agree with your ideas about funding, however there are more problems with our state schools than money. Former Governor Murkowski gutted the teacher retirement system. Alaska teachers do not pay into Social Security and if they have other careers that do pay to Social Security they will only get a fraction of what they have paid. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Life does begin at conception! By Cathy Brauning - It been 40 years since the Supreme Court ruled to legalize abortion. Could  nine men really  declare that  it was now legal to destroy another human‘s life?  Well, they did, and now I want to ask you “how has that worked out for us, as a nation and individuals?”  I was a teenager in the 60’s and saw first hand the beginning of a great moral decline in America. “Free love” was touted as the thing that would change our nation and free us from all the restrictions of our predecessors.  Well that mindset did change our nation, but not for the better.  The foundational unit of our society, the family, is rapidly disintegrating. And part of that process is due to legally being able to get rid of the product of our “free love.”  Nothing is ever free. Someone always pays for it.  And in this case it is not only the baby and mom, but our society as a whole. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Board of Fish Proposal 243; Adding Pacific Herring to the State’s Forage Fish Management Plan By Jeff Feldpausch - At its Statewide Finfish meeting in March, the Board of Fish (BoF) will consider the Board generated Proposal 243, which would add Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) to the State’s Forage Fish Management Plan (FFMP).  Pacific herring are currently the only forage fish species that is commercially harvested in the State of Alaska.  The State fails to acknowledge herring as a forage fish by not specifically listing them in its FFMP, however, the FFMP does list exemptions for all existing herring fisheries. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Open Letter To Gov. Parnell: High Gas Prices By David G. Hanger - I am asking you to do something about the extremely high prices we are paying for gasoline in southern Southeast Alaska. Prices have gone down across the nation and across Alaska since the spikes of last summer, but not here. The price here has not changed at all. We are being ripped off. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Chuck Hagel By Michael Mateer - Hagel serves on the board of the Ploughshares Fund, a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world. The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Women of Distinction By Judith Green - What a beautiful night celebrating the contributions of 4 Women of Distinction in Ketchikan: - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter The New Entitlement Class By Michael Spence - For over a decade much of the federal budget debate among House of Representative conservatives, has referred to medicare and social security as a drag on the economy. The term entitlement is used sarcastically. What they are really saying is that Americans who have paid into Social Security and Medicare for their entire lives really are NOT entitled to receive anything in return. Led by Representative Paul Ryan, their budget reform proposals call for cutting such things as these entitlements for middle class Americans.. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Issues By Joey Garcia - The reverberations of the Sitnews' latest issue, it is quite annoying if we dissect these issues per se: John Kimmel's Cruise Ship Wastewater Legislation, the only pro among the cons. patting the back of cruise ships to have enough treatment before discharging them; Bruce Dixon's Dumping in Southeast Waters; Geord Kleinschmidt Drug Testing of contractors and their crews; Dave Timmerman as a citizen in the school board; and the tandem of David Haley and James Sullivan Dumping of contaminants as fecal coliform, ammonia and dissolved metals like copper, zinc, and nickel dropped in the Inside Passage waters. To all of these, its not only a cause for migraines, but probably Flu, and troubling for an average cruise ship to discharge 800 cubic meters which equals to 634 million gallons per season at par equivalent to 19 million bathtubs - WOW, our dear Sitnews Mary Kauffman, might well be commended to keep cool, I guess. - More... 
Tuesday PM - February 12, 2013

letter Borough assembly meetings By Bill Rotecki - Your Ketchikan Borough Assembly is considering changing its meeting schedule from the first and third Monday of the month with one two day policy session per year to meeting every third week and 4 shorter policy sessions per year. - More...
Friday PM - February 08, 2013

letter Cruise Ship Wastewater Legislation By John Kimmel - I would just like to clarify some misunderstandings about the new cruise ship waste-water bills currently in the Legislature. Opponents have said that the Governor is "gutting" the 2006 Cruise ship initiative. That is far from the truth. Cruise ships in Alaska are NOT dumping raw sewage into state waters. The Cruise ships treat their waste-water to a higher standard than others that discharges into Alaska waters. - More...
Friday PM - February 08, 2013

letter RE: Who's Left With The Bill By Amanda Mitchell - I would recommend all of our town's people to look into the history of our bus barn and into who was making a huge profit and holding all the cards. We, our city, owned the property, but the building was owned by another. It was such a loose contract and, if we decided that we no longer liked the terms, we were stuck with it or we would have had to forfeit the property over to the company. This situation sounds similar. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Underfunding has crippled state’s education system By Joan Pardes - Like everything else in Alaska, the state’s education problem is big. Despite being one of the richest states in America (CNN News), Alaska has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country (U.S. Department of Education).  But more distressing than lagging behind the poorest states is the undisputable fact that education is not a priority for Alaska’s lawmakers. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter RE: Drug Testing By Michael Mateer - First I would like to say in defense of myself & my fellow drivers and equipment operators, we are paid well for what we do and we are hard working men and woman building a community. I find it rude and disrespectful that anyone would suggest that based on our rate of pay that we are are a bunch of drug users. I have lived in this town proudly for 12 years and have been involved in every Davis Bacon job since March 02. I HAVE HELD A CLASS A CDL FOR 30 YEARS accident free. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Repeal of citizens initiative on fast track By Norm Noggle - On the one hand we have a Congress and Governor who approve of $30 million to study the reasons for decline of the King Salmon, which I don't object.  If it takes $30 million to get some "proof" to understand the variety of ways humans have hurt the salmons life process, it's ok with me.  Who knows, it might even result in some positive changes, especially if it doesn't rub up against opposition from some big money interests.  And just maybe our local fisherman can increase their catch and provide more for their families. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Dumping in Southeast waters By Bruce Dixon - The recent legislation passed by the House allowing cruise liners to dump waste in Southeast waters is another example of poor stewardship to our beautiful State. How can we promote our pristine seafood and allow such devastation of natural resources in the same breath? Having worked as a deckhand and learned the value of the salmon species as well as the other sea creatures, it is a crime to dump raw sewage into the areas that we are eating from and swimming in on a frequent basis. Other industries are expected to and required by law to clean up after themselves and be good stewards to the environment and yet our lawmakers are allowing this travesty to occur. With the expulsion of these toxins we are inviting a slew of new health problems and bad press regarding the seafood industry. I cannot understand how one can bargain for the polluting and stripping of our resources in a way that could be avoided. Jobs are necessary but so is responsible stewardship of the ecosystem. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter Hypocrite Thy Name is Democrat By Gene Peterson - Dear Mary Kauffman, I love Sitnews. It is always the first thing I read in the morning. But I have to take issue with one of your news stories: GOP bill would discharge cruiseship sewage in Alaska waters. When you use the Democrat's propaganda as news, there will be problems. It is like using PETA as a source of information on lamb chops, or the Ku Klux Klan on race. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter HB 80 By Robert Rice - Our representatives are supposedly in office to represent the will of the people who elected them. The voters of Alaska passed an initiative in 2006 to protect our pristine waters from the pollution from the cruise ships. The arrogance of Governor Parnell and the legislature to blatantly overturn the initiative that was voted in by the people is unbelievable. I would be very curious to see how much this self-serving, parasite's 'personal wealth increases from when he inherited the governorship of Alaska. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

letter CBS/KPU Solution and Thoughts By Jason Mitchell - Regarding CBS Southeast: All of this has been going back and forth, back and forth, with both sides blaming the other I recently took the time, to call both parties, and have close to an hour long phone conversation with both Ed Cushing, and some random guy who called me back when the local CBS lady couldn't help me, and said he was the owner. - More...
Thursday AM - February 07, 2013

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