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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN

The Stash
This Southeast Alaska squirrel is visiting its stashed food supply stored underneath a pile of shredded spruce cones in the Ward Lake area. Underneath these debris piles, squirrels will have a cache of green cones loaded with seeds.
Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN

Southeast AK: Fishermen forced to share pounds in herring fishery
by Angela Denning, KFSK - New restrictions are being put into place for the upcoming spawn-on-kelp herring fishery in Southeast Alaska to address a declining population. - Read or listen to this KFSK news...

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Ketchikan: New Partnership Supports Advanced Manufacturing Careers for Alaskans - Vigor, Alaska’s largest shipbuilder and ship repair expert, along with leaders of Alaska’s maritime industry, Maritime Works, jointly announced plans for an innovative training program aimed at developing an advanced manufacturing workforce comprised of Alaska residents.

New Partnership Supports Advanced Manufacturing Careers for Alaskans

Vigor operates the Ketchikan shipyard, which includes a brand new 70,000 square foot assembly hall along with an adjacent indoor fabrication shop.The yard is one of the most modern in the United States and provides an excellent year-round location for new builds, repair, and refit to support nearly any vessel working Alaska's waters.
Photo courtesy Vigor

This bold public, private and philanthropic initiative is called Advancing Alaskan Workers and it is essential to combatting the high turnover rates seen at the Ketchikan shipyard and elsewhere that result when non-Alaskans are recruited to fill the critical skills gap in our state.

In 2016 Vigor employed 191 people at the Ketchikan Shipyard (KSY), up substantially from just 21 employees in 1994. With large contracts to build two Alaska-class ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System - and other large projects forecasted for the future - Vigor and Maritime Works are taking proactive steps to build a skilled local workforce to meet the demand.

“The maritime sector holds great promise for the future of our state,” said Doug Ward, Director of Shipyard Development at Vigor. “To realize that promise we must have a stable, best-in-class Alaska resident workforce which will enable us to win more contracts and in turn provide a steady flow of work for our community.”

The Advancing Alaskan Workers project offers structured on-the-job training, leading to industry-recognized credentials and family wage careers. “This is key to providing sustainable opportunities for Alaskans in the Ketchikan workforce as well as providing Vigor’s current workforce a path for upgrading skills, advancing to leadership positions and higher earnings,” says Cari-Ann Carty, spokesperson for Maritime Works. Carty is the Executive Director of the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium (APICC), an industry backed nonprofit, which serves as staff and fiscal agent for Maritime Works. - More...
Friday AM - February 03, 2017

Alaska: Stedman Rolls Out Plan To Guard and Grow Alaskans’ Permanent Fund - Alaska Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) rolled out a new plan this year to guard and grow the Alaska Permanent Fund.

“It is time to build a simple new framework for the permanent fund,” said Sen. Stedman. “One that provides a stable and predictable dividend, protects the fund by ring-fencing it, and allows the proven management of the fund to continue. This bill is not intended to be a final solution for state budget deficits; it is intended to protect the permanent fund first and safeguard the dividend for current and future generations.”

SB 21 (2017 version) creates a simple percent of market value structure. The draw would be calculated based on an average of the year-end market value of the permanent fund for the first five of the last six fiscal years. An amount equal to 4.5 percent of the average would then be made available for appropriation.

According to Sen. Stedman's Sponsor Statement, SB 21 would establish a percent of market value (POMV) approach that “guards and grows” the Permanent Fund. It guards the Permanent Fund from legislative appropriations in several ways. - More...
Friday AM - February 03, 2017

Companion Bills Introduced to Require Disclosure of Basic Information About Oil Tax Subsidies - Two Alaska Democrats wants the state to release to the public critical information about Alaska's investments in the form of oil tax credits.

Senate Democratic Leader Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage), and House Resources Committee Co-Chair Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) introduced SB44 and HB99, would allow the state to release this informaiton to the public. With passage of the legislation, companies filing for oil tax credits would provide a basic description, overall purpose, and general location of these expenses as a condition of participation in Alaska's generous credit program.

Since shifting to a net profits tax structure in 2007, the State has given the oil industry $8 billion in subsidies from the public's treasury. Currently, neither the administration, the legislature, nor the people of Alaska as the owners of the resource have enough information to evaluate the effectiveness of the tax credit system.

According to Gardner and Josephson, at a time of fiscal crisis, this elementary information is essential to understanding the real value of the credits, i.e. if they incentivize or increase production. By next year, the state will owe over $1 billion in subsidies to oil companies for earned but unpaid credits.

“Alaska’s current oil tax credit portfolio results in a potential liability to the state of over a billion dollars, just as we are in a recession and facing a daunting fiscal crisis,” said Rep. Josephson. “This legislation adds some transparency to the tax credits so lawmakers, regulators, and the people of Alaska actually know what we are getting for such a huge investment. In this time of limited funds, we can’t justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars every year on oil tax credits unless they are actually resulting in more oil and gas developments in Alaska which would not happen otherwise.” - More...
Friday AM - February 2017

Alaska: AK House Supports Efforts to Build a Life-Saving Road to Connect King Cove and Cold Bay - Tuesday the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously approved House Joint Resolution 6 expressing support for Congressional efforts to authorize construction of a life-saving road between the Southwest Alaska communities of King Cove and Cold Bay. The resolution is sponsored by Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon from Dillingham, who represents the communities in the Alaska Legislature.

“King Cove residents have been fighting for over 30 years to get approval for a road to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay and I am happy to once again take up their cause,” said Speaker Edgmon. “My colleagues and I don’t want to see any more loss of life because King Cove residents can’t get access to medical facilities in Anchorage via the Cold Bay airport. We are committed to public safety in every city, borough, and village in Alaska and it seems only fitting that this resolution is the first piece of legislation to pass the House this year.”

The proposed one-lane gravel road to connect King Cove and Cold Bay would cross the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, which requires approval by Congress and the President of the United States. In the last 30 years, 11 people have died during flights into or out of King Cove, which only has a small weather-dependent airport. The all-weather airport in Cold Bay is open year round and offers 24 hours a day access for medivacs to medical facilities in Anchorage. - More...
Friday AM - February 2017


Rebecca "Becky" Stoeckler Joins Creekside Family Health Clinic - Creekside Family Health Clinic announced the recruitment of Rebecca "Becky" Stoeckler, FNP-C to the practice as a family nurse practitioner (FNP-C). Stoeckler graduated in 2016 from Simmons College in Boston, MA with a Master of Science in Nursing and is board certified in Family Practice. She will provide acute and primary health and medical care to children, adolescents, and adults.

jpg Rebecca "Becky" Stoeckler Joins Creekside Family Health Clinic

Rebecca "Becky" Stoeckler
Photo courtesy Creekside Family Health Clinic

Although she is a native of New Jersey, she is no stranger to Alaska. Stoeckler completed her clinical rotations with SEARHC in Sitka during 2015/16 and worked as a nurse in the outpatient clinic and emergency room at that facility from 2013 - 2016. Prior to that Stoeckler worked at the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center from 2009 - 2013 in the PACU, ER, and acute care departments. "Eight years ago we came here and really fell in love with everything Alaska has to offer", Stoeckler said.

“We were pretty excited to meet Becky, especially since she was already living here in Ketchikan" says Lani Hill, Family Nurse Practitioner and clinic owner. "It's especially nice because she's already settled here and doesn't need a pre-lecture on the weather", she noted with a smile. "Her experience, easy-going nature and genuine interest in patient care will be a real asset here", she added. - More...
Friday AM - February 02, 2017


Columns - Commentary

MARK GRABOWSKI: Supreme Court pick is good news for media - The president may not be a fan of the press. But his new Supreme Court pick sure seems to be.

Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch Tuesday to succeed Antonin Scalia, whose seat on the nation’s highest bench has remained vacant since his death in February 2016.

Gorsuch, a 49-year-old judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, is a former journalist with a strong judicial record of supporting freedom of the press.

Before attending Harvard Law and embarking on a legal career, Gorsuch studied at Columbia University, where he wrote columns for the student newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator. He also co-founded an alternative student newspaper, The Fed, aimed at rebutting what he considered the dominant “politically correct” philosophy on campus. - More...
Friday AM - February 03, 2017


DICK POLMAN: On the Supreme Court, Democrats Simply Lost - When Senate Republicans decided last year to ditch their constitutional duty - by stiffing President Obama's eminently qualified Supreme Court nominee, denying him even the courtesy of a hearing - they took a big political risk. They gambled that the voters wouldn't punish them on election day.

Turns out, they were right. Their unprecedented power play paid off.

And that's why the minority Democrats are currently up the creek. They can fume all they want about how the GOP stole Merrick Garland's seat - justifiably so - but their options for blocking Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch are basically nonexistent. Senate rules require 60 votes for passage, which means that Mitch McConnell needs eight Democrats to say yes. But if Democrats dig in, McConnell can always change the Senate rules and put Gorsuch on the court with a simple majority vote - 51 Republicans saying yes, no Democrats needed. - More...
Friday AM - February 03, 2017

jpg Arthur Martin

ARTHUR MARTIN: [The Never Ending Presidential Campaign] Donald Trump Applies to Run in 2020 within Hours of Becoming President. - Yes, you read that headline correctly. There where complaints during Obama’s first term that instead of focusing on his main job as President, he optically ran a never ending presidential campaign for his second term. Optics aside, President Obama officially filed for his 2012 re-election in April of 2011. This is not the case for Trump.

To put in this in context:

47 months—Donald Trump filed on Jan. 20, 2017 for the 2020 election.
19 months—Barack Obama filed on April 4, 2011 for his 2012 re-election.
18 months—George W. Bush filed on May 16, 2003 to run in 2004.
19 months—Bill Clinton filed on April 14, 1995 for his 1996 re-election campaign.
12 months—George H.W. Bush filling on Oct. 11, 1991 for the 1992 election.
12 months—Ronald Reagan filed on October 17, 1983 for the 1984 campaign. - More...
Friday AM - February 03, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Free Speech

Editorial Cartoon: Free Speech
By Rick McKee ©2017, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Statue of Liberty By Terence Erbele - Ellis Island is one of our national treasures. It is a place to reflect on the history of our country and to capture a sense of what many of our ancestors experienced upon entering this country. It was not a warm welcome. On several walls are old posters, dating back to the 1800's, demanding that we keep immigrants out. Certain countries are named. Yet most of the detested immigrants and their descendants became integral to every part of our society. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2017

letter RE: Hold the line on spending By Clay Bezenek - Just a short comment to say thanks to Rodney for doing his job well as a new Ketchikan assemblyman!!! - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2017

letter COMING SOON: THE FIRST INDIAN WAR SINCE 1890 By David G Hanger - As the flim-flam man tries to figure out how to build our version of the Berlin Wall without undocumented labor, his obsession with self-aggrandizement continues unabated even to the point of setting the stage for the first Indian War since 1890. Wounded Knee, of course, was far more a U.S. Army massacre than it was a war, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after extended analysis in the past month or so decided they had no interest in pressing that button again. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2017

letter Don't be manipulated By Thomas Scott - As I was walking out of Walmart Thursday, in the area that you would kick the snow off your boots and grab a shopping cart, there was this young lady in a very animated conversation with an older lady. As I got closer, I could hear that she had been involved with the Woman's March down in Homer, and I thought, "good for her, she's obviously very passionate about this and she's expressing herself" A few more steps and I'm around her and heading out the door when I hear her say," I'm so mad about this, if I was 18, I would have denounced my citizenship at the end of that walk". - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2017

letter Immigration By A. M. Johnson - In anticipation of local empathy for the current social issue of immigration and the issuance of the Presidential decree to cease the acceptance of foreign nationals into America being tabbed with so many negative titles, the thought of recalling recent history on the matter would be appropriate. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2017

letter Wild Ketchikan Times By Frances Vlahos-Rohm - I spent a very soggy year in Ketchikan in 1973. I worked at the Frontier Saloon for Roger Hoff and had quite an exciting time of it. Men outnumbered women about 12:1 and I maintain to this day, I never had to buy my own drink. We were highly entertained by the Friday performances of "Fish Pirates Daughter", and I can still quote a few lines after hearing it all summer long. I made life long friends from my short time in town and had so many adventures. Roger hired some great bands, including a rock band from LA and a great country/blue grass group from Canada. The fiddler had been a Canadian fiddling champion at 17, and was still too young to drink in the bar! - More...
Tuesday AM - January 31, 2017

letter Hold the line on spending By Rodney Dial - I’ve been on the Ketchikan Borough Assembly for four months now. The following is my opinion of the state of the borough for your consideration. My views do not necessarily reflect the views of the other assembly members. - More...
Thursday AM - January 26, 2017

letter The Governor’s Budget By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Governor Walker submitted a budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes three primary items: cuts in government spending, increased revenue, and the use of some Permanent Fund earnings, which is a separate fund from where we collect our dividend. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2017

letter RE: SEVENTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS By Douglas Thompson - I agree with David Hanger's recent letter concerning cost overruns. We pay in total close to three hundred thousand dollars per year to Amylon as an administrator. the question is for what? Since he has been here I can not recall one project that has come in on budget and many that have had to be redone at cost to the city. The argument certainly can not be made that we are paying for expertise! The waste of tax dollars is appalling. The lack of concern by the council is disgusting. Their continued response as the funds drain away that should have upgraded sewer, water, streets and other vital services is to threaten to increase taxes. Why do we need such a costly incompetent manager with several assistants to shovel away the tax dollars? - More...
Tuesday AM - January 24, 2017

letter Condolence By A.M.Johnson - What a well thought out and presented word of condolence the owner of Tongass Business Center offered in the Ketchikan Daily News publication of Jan 17. It is a rare moment in the world of competitive business to digest words that do not disparage, gloat, or make braggadocio taunting of a lost competitor. The loss of any small business in a economy that is hurting is a sad event for that business,its employees and community spirit. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 18, 2017

letter RE: Oppressive Tax Code By Stephen Eldridge - Yet again, Propagandist Joe O'Hara trots out the same old FAIRtax (H.R. 25)garbage, in a new trash bag. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 18, 2017

letter “Travelin’ Music” - Ketchikan Community Concert Band's Performance By Christopher Wilhelm - If you stayed inside Sunday afternoon because of the dark and windy, rainy-as-heck weather, then you missed the best of the best from Ketchikan’s musical talent pool. Roy McPherson led his forty-odd member band through a dozen pieces of rhythmic complexity and melodic variations. What this audience member did not expect was the level of performance skill that was displayed. You didn’t go? You really missed something. When they finished, I thought “What just happened??” - More...
Monday PM - January 16, 2017

letter SEVENTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS By David G Hanger - How did a $44 million Ketchikan hospital bond issue become a $78 million scam? This is the kind of project that kills a town of less than 15,000 people. Who is going to pay for this mess as the outmigration becomes more and more apparent? - More...
Monday PM - January 16, 2017

letter Democracy Fail By Norbert Chaudhary - Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Brace Yourself. The Trump Era is about to begin. Crony Capitalism with a Soviet twist. - More...
Monday PM - January 16, 2017

letter Women's March: Ketchikan By Mary L. Stephenson - As coordinator of the Women's March rally for Ketchikan, I would like to take this opportunity to update our program and encourage you and your circle of friends to participate; and to answer some of the questions that might be pending. - More...
Monday PM - January 16, 2017

letter Oppressive income tax code By Joe O'Hara - Americans have long suffered under our oppressive income tax code. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution - which enacted the income tax - has proven over and over to be just a noose around our necks. .- More...
Monday PM - January 16, 2017

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Tongass Federal Credit Union - Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Klawock, Thorne Bay, & Wrangell, Alaska

First City Homeless Services - Ketchikan, Alaska

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center - Ketchikan, Alaska

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Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council - The 31st Annual Wearable ARt Show - Ketchikan, Alaska

Madison Lumber & Hardward - TrueValue - Ketchikan, Alaska

Creekside Family Health Clinic - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Travelers Accommodations, LLC - Ketchikan, Alaska

Schmolck Mechanical Contractors - Ketchiikan, Alaska

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Sourdough Tactical - Ward Creek Industrial - Ketchikan, Alaska

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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