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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 07, 2015

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Ketchikan: Vallenar Bay Timber Sale Preliminary Best Interest Finding released - The Alaska Division of Forestry is seeking public comment on a Preliminary Best Interest Finding describing the Division’s intent to harvest approximately 12 million board feet in the Vallenar Bay unit of the Southeast State Forest on Gravina Island in 2016.

The project proposes to establish access to the state forest from the existing road system on Gravina Island by constructing a forest road from the Lewis Reef area to the existing logging road on the southeast side of Vallenar Bay. The Preliminary Best Interest Finding examines various issues related to the question of whether or not it is in the state’s best interest to access the Vallenar Bay area and proceed with a timber sale contract.

Developing access to the Vallenar area is part of the State’s intent to actively manage the Southeast State Forest as a “working forest” consistent with the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. A “working forest” means utilizing forest resources to create jobs and support healthy communities through active forest management, while protecting fish and wildlife habitat, providing the public with access to recreation and other multiple use of state land, and maintaining public benefits such as clean air, land, and water. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

Ketchikan: 2015 Ketchikan Borough Assessment Roll Released - The Ketchikan Borough Assessor’s Office announced that Assessment notices for the 2015 tax year were mailed on February 6. The notices were mailed from Juneau and should begin arriving within the next few days.

The department has issued 6,763 notices for properties within the Borough. During preparation for the 2015 tax roll, the Assessment department, focused on residential land and building valuations for the northern portion of the Borough and the roadless areas in the north end.

Quoting a news release, the Borough Assessor’s Office continues to innovate and improve the methods it uses to value Ketchikan residential and commercial properties and the ways it communicates with taxpayers.

A thirty day review period is provided for property owners to discuss any concerns about the 2015 valuations with Assessment staff. If sufficient evidence is obtained by the department during the review period, the valuation may be modified by the department. Evidence may include such items as appraisals or listings of the property, sales of comparable properties, engineering reports, or inspections of the property by Assessment staff. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

Fish Factor: The link between seafood and love By LAINE WELCH - Lovers choose lobster as the top Valentine’s Day dish to share with that special someone. Crab legs and shrimp also get the nod as ‘romantic meals’ on Feb. 14 - one of the busiest dining out days for U.S. restaurants.

In a national survey by Harris Interactive, chefs called lobster an “exotic delicacy that results in an intimate moment because it is hand-held and shareable.” In fact, respondents called all shellfish ‘a catalyst for connection like no other food.’

The links between seafood and love have a long history, including the belief that oysters enhance male desire and performance. Until recently there was no scientific evidence to back that up, but new studies by Miami and Italian researchers revealed that oysters contain compounds that prompt the release of sexual hormones. The scent of oysters resembles the most potent female pheromone; oysters also are loaded with zinc, a key nutrient for testosterone production in both men and women.

Many ‘experts’ have touted omega-3 fish oils as serious libido lifters because they help raise the amount of compounds that control ‘feel good’ levels in the brain, and stimulate the release of sex hormones. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015


Alaska: Governor Releases Amended Endorsed Budget - Thursday, Governor Bill Walker released his budget for fiscal year 2016, which he emphasized is a starting point for discussions.

“There are cuts in here, and some will be painful,” Governor Walker said during Thursday's announcement.
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor, Video file

“There are cuts in here, and some will be painful,” Governor Walker said. “Our state right now has a $3.6 billion budget deficit, leading us to draw about $10 million every single day from savings. I want to be up-front with Alaskans throughout this process.”

The fiscal year 2016 budget (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016) has more changes than the placeholder budget the Walker administration submitted in December. With the decline in state revenues, the Walker administration cut an additional $132 million from agencies’ unrestricted general fund operating budgets from the December budget, while preserving Governor Walker’s vision to maintain essential services and protect reserves.

“We will prioritize the delivery of services and look for ways to provide services at lower costs,” said Pat Pitney, Director of Office of Management and Budget. “We will combine services where possible to gain efficiencies.”

The administration focused on reducing overhead and administrative costs before reducing services, and worked hard to make sure cuts do not disproportionately impact small, outlying offices where services may be most needed.

The proposed fiscal year 2016 budget reflects a $240 million reduction in agency unrestricted general fund spending from fiscal year 2015 and eliminates more than 300 positions.

“We’ll work to minimize state employee layoffs by eliminating vacant positions and reducing others through retirements, resignations and transfers,” Governor Walker said. “However, we are also leading by example. I cut 11 percent of my executive office through leaner staffing and operations.” - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015



Alaska: Governor Walker Announces Medicaid Expansion and Reform Plan - Governor Bill Walker was joined Friday by Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to present the plan for Medicaid expansion and reform, “The Healthy Alaska Plan: A Catalyst for Reform.”

Governor Walker Announces Medicaid Expansion and Reform Plan

On the left, Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson with Governor Bill Walker at Friday's announcement.
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor - Video File

Medicaid expansion and reform have been top priorities for the Walker administration in support of the state’s ongoing commitment to serve the health needs of Alaskans.

“Today, Alaska takes another step toward the goal of providing health insurance to the tens of thousands of Alaskans at no cost to the state,” Governor Walker said.

Also presented was a new report by Evergreen Economics , who have been analyzing Medicaid data for the Department for almost a decade. The report provides details on the Alaskans who would be eligible for Medicaid through expansion and projected costs of their health care.

The reports project $145.5 million in federal revenues to Alaska in fiscal year 2016, increasing over the next six years. Further, state general fund savings are projected to be $6.1 million in fiscal year 2016 and increase in the years following. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

Alaska: Group plans to discuss recent federal decisions regarding ANWR and OCS with Secretary Jewell at AFN - A delegation of Alaska State Senators will travel to Kotzebue later this month to meet Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for her visit to Kotzebue and surrounding villages. Senate President Kevin Meyer along with Senators Charlie Huggins, Mike Dunleavy, Donny Olson, and Lyman Hoffman have requested meetings with Secretary Jewell about the recent decisions to designate more of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness and put wide swaths of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off-limits to offshore oil and gas drilling.

“The Federal Government is breaking promises made to the people of Alaska at Statehood and under ANILCA. These decisions will impede our state from responsibly developing our natural resources – resources that provide Alaskans with quality, high-paying jobs, resources that ensure communities have access to affordable energy, and resources that will lead to energy independence for our nation,” said Senator Meyer. “We hope by meeting with Secretary Jewell we can show her Alaska is not one giant national park. We are a state that’s trying to better the lives of our citizens and we deserve the same rights as those granted to the other 49 states.”

Secretary Jewell announced last month she planned to visit Kotzebue to attend the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) winter board retreat. She also said the trip would include visiting villages in the region to see up close the effects of climate change and discuss Arctic issues. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015



Science: We're all going to die; DNA strands on the end of our chromosomes hint when - Jonathan Alder has a startling secret he doesn't freely share: he knows when most of us are going to die.

OK, he doesn't know exactly the day or time, but he has a pretty good idea, thanks to his research on tiny biological clocks attached to our chromosomes. These DNA end caps, called telomeres, are the great predictors of life expectancy: the shorter your telomeres, the shorter your lifespan.

But that's not the only thing these fascinating strands of DNA predict. Shorter telomeres also indicate a greater chance for bone marrow failure, liver disease, skin disease and lung disease.

Knowing that, Brigham Young University biologist Jonathan Alder and other scientists have been tinkering with telomeres over the last three decades, trying to figure out ways to extend them and studying mutations within them. Now, a research team Alder is part of has found another link to telomeres and lung disease.

"When we are born, our telomeres are longer. As you get older, they shorten," said Alder, an assistant professor of physiology and developmental biology at BYU. "What we have found is that if you look at individuals with lung disease, they have shorter telomeres than the rest of us." - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave Kiffer
DAVE KIFFER: Running into a teenager parental responsibility - Charlotte and I like to think we are "involved" with our child.

Yes, it's easier to be "involved" with your child when there is only one.

When I was growing up, one of my friends lived in a family that had 11 kids, nine of which were boys.

I remember being at a scout meeting in which three of the scouts were from that same super-sized family.

The father arrived looking harried as usual (we NEVER EVER NEVER EVER saw the mother outside of the house). For a few seconds he stared blankly at the scouts milling around.

I could say he was momentarily thrown off by the fact that those uniforms make the scouts all look like. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

jpg Jeff Lund
JEFF LUND: How to not succeed while really trying - I’m slowly making my way back to my life.

The weekend trip to some river somewhere else was unsuccessful. This somewhere else is my special somewhere else; my clutch somewhere else, my desert island somewhere else. But it let me down, or the fish let me down, or I let myself down or maybe a little of each.

That’s what steelhead fishing is - euphoria with long stretches of failure and coping. Steelhead fishing will cure you of any sort of arrogance, over-confidence or even general self-esteem while ridding you of a healthy back account. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Terrible Christians

Political Cartoon: Terrible Christians
By Rick McKee ©2015, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter A Threat To Ward Creek Trail By Eric Muench - Over the years extensive trail systems have been built in the Ward, Connell and Perseverance Lakes and Ward Creek and Salvage Road areas. Ward Creek Trail, in the heart of these, is now at risk. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter What should Ketchikan do about ‘feral’ cats? By Kim Whalen - This has been written in response to recent Borough Assembly and Animal Control discussions regarding solutions for ‘feral’ cats in our community. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter Astounding State of Alaska Pay Scale By A.M. Johnson - Interesting article in the Alaska Dispatch News this date (2-6-15) regarding pay schedule for deputy commissioners and other high level personnel. Would the common man ever be made aware of these astronomical pay scales in several categories had not this publication had the fortitude to bring them to light? - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter REMEMBERING PATCHWorks By Diane Gubatayao - Over fifteen years ago a great many citizens of Ketchikan participated in a planning process led by Ketchikan Public Health. The key question was what builds a healthy community? Their response was not the customary prevent heart disease or prevent cancer. Their response was truly visionary: if we want to build a healthy community, we need to invest in healthy youth. But how? - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter ONE BILLION RISING 2/14/15 By Janalee Minnich Gage - Ketchikan is an amazing community where amazing people come together regardless of how busy their daily lives are. The first time I heard of one billion rising, was last year. I went online and listened first to the song, and then I watched several videos from around the world where communities from the Philippines to Africa joined together for this 5-6 minute flash mob dance. I was drawn in simply because I was a student of dance throughout grade school and middle school and always felt this great freedom of expression, and happiness from it. I am older and slower today, and yet I am still drawn as I believe so many of us are to dance. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015


letter GAS PRICE: THE EXTENT OF THE RIP-OFF THIS WEEK By David G Hanger  - Talked to the ex- on the phone a few days ago. The price of gasoline in San Antonio is now $1.60 a gallon and still falling. What that means is the price of gasoline dropped 40 cents a gallon in the first three weeks of January. In Arkansas the price is down to $1.56. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter RE: IRS Debacle By Stephen C, Eldridge - This letter is just one more example of FairTax® deception. The FairTax® does not cure excessive, foolish, un-Constitutional federal spending - that is a distinctly different problem from the tax system. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015

letter Let’s win assault on Alaska together By U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan - Most of us remember where we were when we first learned of some momentous event that seemed briefly to freeze history in time. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter Break the Chain By Diane Gubatayao - What do one billion and 50% have in common? They both represent statistics about violence against women and girls. According to the World Health Organization, one third or one billion women and girls around the world experience either domestic or sexual violence in their lifetime. Here in Ketchikan, according to a survey conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, 1 out of 2 women over 18 years of age in Ketchikan have been victims of DV or SA in their lifetime. These are staggering numbers and very real. - More..
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter Inflated Gas Prices By Bobbie McCreary - Filled up last night in Lincoln, CA for $2.09. Since January 25th as I traveled through Nebraska and Minnesota and California, I have not seen a price higher than $2.49 anywhere, regardless of city or rural area. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter IRS debacle By Joe O'Hara - It just isn't fair! We work hard for our money. But the government takes a portion and allocates it to programs we could never justify. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter "Snake Oil” By Tom Dowdy - The National Association for Gun Rights has recently undertaken a campaign to smear hundreds of thousands of great patriots around the nation that are responding to the call of the founders to use the single most powerful tool given to us to save our nation. This group contemptibly refers to the lawful, orderly, and Constitutional process in Article V as “snake oil”. They invoke the names of men like James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, and refer to the date of the Philadelphia Convention as being 1789 (What ?). - More...
Wednesday AM - February 04, 2015

letter THE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC), FACT, FAD, OR FANTASY? By David G Hanger, EA, MBA - While the extra fees from the formation of all these limited liability companies definitely adds considerably to my bankroll, the older ethics of my profession, to which I still adhere, specifies that I, as a licensed practitioner, must do no harm to my client’s financial position; thus professional responsibility alone warrants the caution that the LLC in most instances, by which I mean in excess of 98% of them, will not limit at all personal liability if something bad happens in a business operation. In other words for most of you it is just a waste of money and time, and that money could be better directed to one of the two things that actually can limit your personal liability: Insurance. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter Ketchikan gas prices By Bill Christensen - Wow, the beginning of this week gas in town was showing $3.43 per gallon at Safeway. Also there was an article in the news stating the reason for the gas prices dropping so slowly here is because of bulk storage. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter Keeping Ferry Bars Open By Michael Moyer - Who gave the State Ferry system the right to close the lounges on the ferries? The Alaska Marine Highway ferries are the property of the people of the State of Alaska. The people of the State of Alaska should be asked if THEY want the lounges closed. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter ANWR: Why not lock it up? By John Suter - The reason President Obama is locking up ANWR from oil development is because the state wouldn’t get anything from this development. The state is giving all of the money it would make from oil going through the pipeline this year and next year to the oil companies plus an additional 500 million dollars of cash from the state's savings account. The states motto is “Ask not what the oil companies can do for you, but what you can do for the oil companies”. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter Too many childish mistakes to be real. By Richard Davis - While the series is interesting, the Discovery Channel probably shouldn't try to pass the Browns off as anything other than what they really are. Greenhorns that have decided to try to make it in the wild. They make far far too many mistakes that could be fatal to have the experience they profess to have. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter RE: Off Leash is lethal By Marlene Steiner - I had accidentally hit a dog one time when I was out North of town. The dog was lucky because I had to stop for a school bus and when I started driving a dog darted right out in front me. I hit it on the back upper leg. I did stop and tried to find it to see if was ok but could not find it. I contacted the State Troopers about Leash Laws for North end and I was told there is a Leash Law for all of the Ketchikan area. I explained what had happened and was told the owner of the dog that was hit is in the wrong for letting it run lose. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2015

letter Questions for PeaceHealth Ketchikan By Ralph and Lauren Mirsky - Nurse’s, Nurse Practitioners; family, friends, women and men that are Living and working in our community; these highly Educated, Dedicated Professionals work towards the well being of all of us that live here in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday AM - January 29, 2015

letter Alaska Needs A Voice in Washington By Mike Wenstrup - Alaska has always needed a voice in Washington. From the Trans Alaska Pipeline to the Native Claims Settlement Act to present day debates about oil exploration, our economic opportunities are closely linked to federal policy. That means our federal representatives must be effective, not just loud. - More...
Thursday AM - January 29, 2015

letter Poor Cleanup By Don Petrey - I am writing this letter to bring to light the recent accident. I drove by right after it happened and then about 2 hours later. And the one thing that really concerned me was all the antifreeze coolant and oil that was left on the road. All that material got washed into the storm drains as we got some rain. - More...
Thursday AM - January 29, 2015

letter RE: Discovery's Alaska Bush People is unreal By Janice Paschke - You are so right. This family is a joke! They all have new boots, new tents, new guns, tacky cheap jewelry - I could go on forever. You can tell by the way they act that the show is scripted and everyone wants their close ups. - More...
Thursday AM - January 29, 2015

letter Starting Fresh By Jerry Cegelske - The New Year offers everyone an opportunity to start fresh. Starting fresh can be something personal like improving your diet or health, but it can also be something community oriented, like doing a better job of doing your part for the community. For some businesses, one way to be better at doing your part as a better member of the business community is by keeping on top of your obligations to collect and remit sales taxes. - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

letter Off-leash is lethal By Gretchen Moore - Have you ever heard the sound it makes when a vehicle traveling at 55mph hits a dog standing in the road? As the owner of Groomingdales located at 12 miles N. Tongass, I've heard the sound more times than I can count on all of my fingers and toes and it never gets easier as it echoes in your head, over and over. I never can seem to run fast enough to the road to get to the pet in need. - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

letter Discovery's Alaska Bush People is unreal By Clay Slanaker - I am very disappointed in the portrayal of Ketchikan and the rest of Southeast Alaska by the Discovery channel. The reality of the show is left far behind the scenes. No one shoots at a Sitka blacktail deer with their scope covers closed, nobody leaves town with dental issues that could cause death, and nobody that leaves town with dental issues buys two boats with the possibility of dying in the bush just to impress the masses! - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

letter Open Letter: Public funds for Governor's ball By A. M. Johnson - Following is the content of a personal email to Ketchikan Assembly persons requesting that public funding not be utilized in the cost of the upcoming governor's ball in Ketchikan. The intent is not to be taken as a slap at the governor or the tradition. It is the objection of using this symbol of celebration with public funding in trying times the current and years out reflect. - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

letter Go Gridlock By David Levine - Now that the State of the Union has been delivered, it’s time for all the usual suspects to start chiming in with all their predictable comments. The Republicans undoubtedly will call the President obtuse for refusing to heed the recent election as a call to rethink his policies, and his Democratic Party allies will line up behind him, cheering his tenacity in the face of an increasingly unforgiving opposition. But because that opposition now has a majority in Congress, virtually nothing that the President has proposed will ever see the light of day. So the State of the Union ends up being nothing but bluster and theater, containing vague, flowery ideas never having any chance of coming to fruition. Politics as usual as they say. Cynics might get angry at this exercise in futility, deeming it a colossal waste of time that serves to do nothing more than poignantly illustrate a broken political system in Washington. - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

letter Time for Real Fix for Healthy Forest Management By Dan Shoun - I think it’s time for Senator Murkowski and her colleagues to quit bashing the Forest Service and take a good look in the mirror to see where part of the problem resides! We stand ready, in many Western States to work with Congress on the real fix for Healthy Forest Management and how Counties and Schools are compensated for these otherwise untaxable lands! - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

letter Out of control government By Tom Dowdy - An Article V Amending Convention of States is on the move. Now no one can deny the Article V movement has truly swept the nation. The desire to curb the federal government's abuses is not limited to northern states or southern states, red states or blue states. Americans from all stripes realize something must be done, and they understand a Convention of States is the best way to do it. - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

letter Time for an Article V Amending Convention of States By Jeff Kroyer - America is currently under attack. This time it is from within our borders and from many of our fellow citizens. Our constitution is being trampled upon by many people, from the President, Congressional Leaders and Supreme Court Justices. The abuse of Executive Decrees by the president, as well as the irresponsible and reckless spending by the federal government, has us on the road to perdition as a nation. - More...
Monday PM - January 26, 2015

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