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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 01, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Herring Cove
Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON ©2018

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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Selected As Site for Ucore's 1st U.S. Strategic Metals Complex By MARY KAUFFMAN - Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. announced Tuesday their site selection program has identified Ketchikan as the premier location for construction of Ucore's first U.S. Strategic Metals Complex.

Ketchikan Selected As Site for Ucore's 1st U.S. Strategic Metals Complex

Bokan Dotson-Ridge Rare Earth Project located on Prince of Wales Island.
Graphic courtesy Ucore

The site analysis was conducted by Mike Schrider, P.E., V.P. Operations and Engineering of Ucore. According to Ucore, consideration was given to multiple domestic locations, including sites in South Eastern, South Central and the Western United States. In addition to the fundamental decision to initiate a rare earth element (REE) Strategic Metals Complex (SMC), selection criteria included logistical considerations such as the ease of access to international shipping corridors, industrial infrastructure, permitting considerations, and potential for local incentives and State funding programs.

The City and Borough of Ketchikan, with greater than 13,000 residents, is the southernmost population center in the State of Alaska, located on the protected and weather-temperate Inside Passage. The location is in proximity to a major container port and rail head at Prince Rupert, BC, 62 miles (100 km) to the Southeast, with the two locales connected by routing via the Alaska Marine Highway. Ketchikan features deep water port, barge-container facilities and direct access to markets in the United States and the Pacific Rim by way of ocean vessel, the lowest-cost mode of bulk transport. Ketchikan also offers a unique work force, ice-free harbors and is in close proximity to Ucore’s flagship in-situ development project, the Bokan Dotson-Ridge Rare Earth Project (“Bokan”) located on Prince of Wales Island.

“Engineering and economic studies have confirmed that Ketchikan is our preferred location to construct our first strategic and critical metals separation facility” stated Schrider.

Schrider said, “Additional engineering and product specification criteria are being initiated at this time targeting rare earth by-products and primary concentrates from non-Chinese sourced projects world-wide. The intent is also to maintain the processing flexibility and capacity to accommodate ore concentrate from the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Project, once that project has been developed.”

“We’re pleased that Ketchikan has been selected from among competing locales,” said Randy Johnson, Managing Member of Orca Holdings and President of Tyler Rental Inc. Johnson, a Ucore Advisory Board Member, with over 35 years of business and industrial experience in Southeast Alaska, has been a strong advocate in Ucore’s decision to locate this SMC in Ketchikan.

Johnson said, “The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority has received legislative authority from the Alaska Legislature for a $145 million financing package for the future development of the Bokan Mine and Processing facilities. A significant portion of this proposed financing is intended for the development of a proximal rare earth element separation facility, and our recommendation will be for the construction of this component to be placed in Ketchikan, just 50 km Northeast of Bokan and accessible via marine transport.”

“The development will considerably broaden the economic base in Southeast Alaska,” continued Johnson, who was instrumental in developing the Ketchikan Shipyard, otherwise known as Alaska Ship and Drydock (ASD). Through a successful public-private partnership with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), Alaska Ship and Drydock grew the shipyard business to over $35M in annual revenues and worked closely with AIDEA to plan and orchestrate an $80 million plus investment in the shipyard. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018

Ketchikan: 2017 Report for Bacteria at Coastal Areas in Ketchikan Released By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the awaited for 2017 Ketchikan Beach Monitoring report Wednesday. The report summarizes and discusses the results of coastal water quality monitoring for fecal waste contamination near Ketchikan, Alaska during the 2017 recreation season.

2017 Report for Bacteria at Coastal Areas in Ketchikan Released

Rotary Beach Park, also known as Bugges Beach
Photo courtesy Alaska DEC

The Alaska BEACH program was initiated along the Ketchikan coastline to monitor fecal waste contamination during the 2017 recreation season. Marine water samples were collected from July through September to evaluate potential health risks indicated by fecal coliform and enterococci bacteria, and to notify the public when levels exceeded state standards.

As part of a statewide recreational beach monitoring program, marine water samples were collected at nine Ketchikan coastal areas from July 18 to September 13, 2017. Due to elevated levels of bacteria, samples were also tested to see if the bacteria came from human sources. Samples were taken at South Refuge Cove Beach, Seaport Beach, Rotary Park Beach also known as Bugges Beach, Thomas Basin, Beacon Hill, Knudson Cove, South Point Higgins Beach, Sunset Beach, and Shull Beach. Ketchikan Indian Community assisted DEC in collecting the water samples.

The report indicates recreation criteria for water quality were exceeded nearly every week from July 24 through August 29 at most of the nine locations. In addition, human fecal waste sources were associated with all of the nine monitoring locations along the Ketchikan coastline. Copies of previous public notifications are also incorporated into the report.

The 2017 analytical tests for fecal coliform bacteria revealed that all nine of the monitoring sites failed to meet the Alaska water quality standard (WQS) single sample criteria for seafood processing, aquaculture and harvesting for consumption uses. Seven of the nine sites failed to meet the Alaska WQS geometric mean criterion for harvesting for consumption use and five of nine also failed the geometric mean criteria for seafood processing and aquaculture uses. For enterococci tests, eight of the nine monitoring sites failed to meet the Alaska WQS statistical threshold value (STV) criterion, and all nine of the sites failed to meet the Alaska WQS geometric mean criterion for the recreation use.

In addition to bacteria testing, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) began a source investigation of the pollution. Microbial source testing for bacteria genetic identification was also conducted. The human host marker was detected at all nine monitoring locations. One high use recreational beach also had dog and gull host markers detected, and a boat harbor known for youth recreational swimming/jumping had a gull host marker detected, as well as the human marker.

Numerous potential bacteria sources are present along the Ketchikan coast, including: private and/or public sewer treatment system outfall(s), public treatment system emergency bypasses, sewer line breaks, individual septic tanks, wildlife, pet feces, boats in harbor and launch areas, cruise ships, private watercraft and ferries. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018

Ketchikan: $30,000 in Meth Seized in Ketchikan - Monday, the Alaska State Troopers’ Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit in Ketchikan contacted Peter Joey Riveranieves (age 24 of California) at the Inter Island Ferry Authority in Ketchikan prior to Riveranieves boarding a ferry destined for Prince of Wales Island. 

A duffle bag Riveranieves was in possession of was seized pursuant a search warrant and Riveranieves was released from the scene Monday.  A search warrant was obtained and 51 grams of methamphetamine, $2,826 in cash U.S. currency, and items indicative of drug distribution were seized from the duffle bag.  The estimated street value of the methamphetamine in Ketchikan is $30,000. 

Tuesday, Riveranieves was arrested at the Ketchikan International Airport just prior to Riveranieves boarding a flight for Seattle.  - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018

Ketchikan: Hiker Rescued by KVRS - The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad's duty office was contacted by Alaska State Troopers last Friday afternoon reporting 19-year-old Henry Rouland of California was overdue on a hike from Carlanna Lake to Perseverance Lake.

After Rouland failed to arrive his friends reported receiving a text message from Rouland who reported he was “Stuck between Carlanna and Ward Lake on the trail” and lost and to call 911.  Rouland was able to provide the GPS coordinates for his location.  

The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad's operations center was setup and dispatched a four person hasty team up the Perseverance trail to the reported coordinates, locating Rouland at 9:55 pm. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018


Alaska Science:
Largest earthquake on the planet, until the next one By NED ROZELL - What’s this? Another aftershock?

Largest earthquake on the planet, until the next one

A star marks the location of the largest earthquake of 2018, a magnitude 7.9 about 180 miles from Kodiak early on Jan. 23.
Image by Vicki Daniels, UAF Geophysical Institute, for the Alaska Earthquake Center.

That’s hundreds now, each more faint than the last.

Sorry, I guess I’ve moved on. I should pay more attention, given that you - a 7.9 deep in the seafloor not far from Kodiak - are the most powerful earthquake on the planet since one off Mexico last August.

It’s just that you’re so mysterious, hard to define. And you got buried in my news feed.

But you did create a stir. You rousted hundreds of Alaskans. People felt the shake, saw alert messages on their phones. Feet hit the floor. They grabbed what they could and drove to high places.

The all-clear came two-and-a-half hours later, when your harmless waves lapped at Sitka, 530 miles away, earlier than they reached Kodiak, 180 miles away. This proved again that tsunamis travel faster in deeper water, and the abyss lurks just beyond the continental shelf.

A few who study tide gauges and buoys saw the bumps. The largest wave, which arrived at Homer, was less than a foot high.

You didn’t generate a massive wave because you did not shove the seafloor toward the sky. You were more like two freight trains passing too close, grinding past one another, flashing sparks and smelling of burned metal.

There’s no argument, a 7.9 is impressive. Even in Alaska, we’ve felt only three in the last 20 years. Each of them was 15 times more powerful than the 7.1 Iniskin earthquake that in 2016 snapped gas lines in Kenai and burned down four houses.

One of those 7.9s was a celebrity: the 2002 Denali Fault earthquake. The third, kind of like you, was distant, bashful. That one struck three years ago, deep beneath the far Aleutians, swaying the rusted anti-aircraft guns on Kiska. Like you, it did not kick away masses of water or leave a scar.

The Denali Fault earthquake ripped a 200-mile frown across the middle of Alaska, shaking people out of their daily routines and snapping the frozen asphalt of two roadways. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018



jpg Michael Reagan

MICHAEL REAGAN: I'm Stlll Cheering for Trump - Donald Trump sure hit it out of the park Tuesday night.

Like millions of other people in America who tuned in to the president's first State of the Union Address, I'm still cheering.

I wasn't in Washington, in Soviet California, or anywhere else in Trump's America.

I was actually on a cruise ship with my wife on the other side of the world in the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia.

After I watched Trump's prime-time TV address live in my cabin on the Celebrity Solstice - Wednesday afternoon, my time - I tweeted that it was so phenomenal I wanted to watch it all over again.

I wasn't kidding - or seasick.

I hadn't heard such a great speech by a president in a long, long time. And 75 percent of its 46 million viewers said they liked it, too, according to the polls.

The Hate Trump Media disagreed, of course. They thought the address went on too long.

But that was because they couldn't wait to start picking it apart for being too gloomy, too mean to illegal immigrants or for mentioning "America" too many times. - More....
Thursday P - February 01, 2018

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Lighten up Critics, it's Groundhog Day - If I were Punxsutawney Phil, I might think twice before coming out of my burrow this year.

Groundhog Day 2018 is upon us. Every Feb. 2, Phil emerges from a stump in Punxsutawney. If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't, spring will be just around the corner. Millions have enjoyed this ritual for years, but in these oh-so-serious times, problems may abound.

For starters, Groundhog Day evolved from Candlemas Day, a Christian holy day commemorating the Virgin Mary's purification. As this tradition evolved in Germany, Germans believed Candlemas Day could also predict the weather - which culminated with playfully pulling a hedgehog out of a tree stump. The tradition was brought to Punxsutawney in 1887 by German immigrants.

But how, some busybody critics may be thinking, can any government body impose on our diverse society any celebration that has its roots in Christianity? Aren't the people of Punxsutawney supporting one religion over the others? What about their insensitivity to atheists? - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Groundhog Flu

Political Cartoon: Groundhog Flu
By Rick McKee ©2018, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Governor Walker’s Budget Proposal By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Governor Walker submitted a budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The proposed budget includes a direct increase of $34 million in Public Safety Investments, funding for Medicaid, health care reform strategies, and deferred maintenance projects within the state. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Murkowski's abortion vote By A.M. Johnson - Knowing the loving parents of Senator Murkowski, a couple who demonstrate the highest of high bringing their children into life, abortion would never be a consideration. Each of the Murkowski children was a welcome event looked forward to with love and excitement. The children had a wonderful upbringing, efficient on outdoor activities, awareness of the world around them. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Why Not Come to Ketchikan By A.M. Johnson - A bit of follow up to the recent submission regarding Gravina Island land use for attracting a technology profession to settle in Why Not Ketchikan. _ More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Airport Ferry Service By Ken Leland - Several years ago, I posted a link to the real story on "The Bridge To Nowhere". It showed that it was tied to the environmental lobby and their plans for the Tongass.

I had to deal with the ferry several times a day. You know about the aggravation of having to watch the ferry leave without you, knowing that it would be another half-hour until you could finally complete your journey. Imagine having to deal with a van full of passengers and their frustration. - More...
Saturday PM - January 27, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Sealaska: Four Decades of a False Promise! By Dominic Salvato - Over a decade ago the rules of elections governing Sealaska's election were suspended in order to pass the new shareholder resolution.

The resolution was modified to allow 50% plus 1 of VOTING shareholders to approve the resolution. Sealaska's management budgeted 1.5 million dollars on the campaign to assure the passing of the resolution. It passed guaranteeing the need for management into the future. - More...
Saturday PM - January 27, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Dear Somebody: Why Not Us? By A. M. Johnson - Out of the gate I allow as I am not close to the literary level Dave Kiffer proffers in his humorous article titled Dear Amazon: Why Not Us? published in your fine publication.

The intent is not to rebut Dave, rather be supportive of the local Very Strong Proponent of Ketchikan through Dave's humorous article. - More...
Saturday PM - January 27, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Inconsiderate and irresponsible dumping By Jerry Cegelske - I recently went to the dog park area off of Revilla Road to see what additional trash and solid waste had been dumped there.  This has been a dumping area for many years despite the fact that homeowners in the Borough has already paid a monthly landfill fee so there is no charge for residential trash. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 24, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gravina Access By Dave Kiffer - Chris Herby's recent letter about Gravina Access touches on some very important points. Most notably that, after all the years and all the millions of dollars of federal money that was appropriated and spent, access to the airport, on the most basic level, will not appreciably improve. - More...
Monday PM - January 22, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Airport Access By Vera Plumb - Just a comment regarding Chris Herby's letter about airport access: It was Governor Sarah Pallin who coined the phrase "bridge to nowhere." Governor Pallin was responsible for killing the bridge. - More...
Monday PM - January 22, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Exploitation of ancient tradition By Rosita Worl - It has come to our attention that the group, Dance of the Deer Foundation, is planning a shamanism retreat in Juneau, the ancient homeland of the Auk people of Aak’w K?wáan, and that you are charging a substantial fee for this experience. - More...
Monday PM - January 22, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Women's March By A. M. Johnson - Observing the 2nd annual women's march across the nation, one has to have a quandary of thoughts. One that seems to provide conflict. - More...
Monday PM - January 22, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Tax Supported Racism By Robert B. Holston, Jr. - Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, believed in eugenics and promoted "good" breeding and aimed to prevent "poor" breeding. The idea was that the human race could be improved through encouraging people with traits like intelligence, hard work, cleanliness (thought to be genetic) to reproduce and those populations lacking such traits should have reproduction controlled.  Eugenics was taken to its horrifying extreme during the Holocaust, through forced sterilizations and breeding experiments.  - More...
Monday PM - January 22, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The hypocrisy of political correctness By John Grimaldi - A professor at NYU was shunned by his colleagues because of "the content and structure of his thinking."   That's right, the "thought police" were after him.  They didn't like the fact that he was using social media to expose the hypocrisy of political correctness on campus. - More...
Monday PM - January 22, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Ketchikan Airport & Access By Chris J. Herby - As a community we all had no choice but to watch our long anticipated bridge to Gravina Island die a slow and miserable death. After our congressional delegation worked hard to get funding for our bridge, it was taken away from us due to negative coverage in the national fake news media. However, we were still left with roughly 90 million dollars to improve access to Gravina. Of course that isn’t enough to build a bridge but nevertheless it’s a large amount of money that should surly be able to improve access to our airport. Or maybe not. From what I have read, it appears that we are going to burn through that money and actually not improve our airport access at all. It is my understanding that after we spend all of that money, we are still only going to have access by a ferry every 30 minutes. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Open Letter to Alaska Delegation By Laura Plenert - Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Representative Young, please encourage your Democrat counterparts to show up the State of the Union address.  This is a time honored tradition.  It is about respect for the Office of President, not the current occupant.  - More...
Wednesday PM - January 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Jones Act By Timothy J Droke - In response to Mr. Art Johnson I would like to put forward some thoughts regarding the Jones Act, which is simply a form of protectionism. With protectionism you see the protected group benefit and those outside the protected group see a negative impact. In this day and age when ships fly a flag of convenience (think Panama or Liberia) the Jones act is ripe for repeal or some modifications. Residents outside the contiguous states such as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam all pay out of their pocket higher costs than they should due to this act due to the higher costs associated with operating these US built ships, why should Alaskans pay more for the food on their table to protect a small class of jobs? - More...
Wednesday PM - January 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

SENATOR “BOUGHT & PAID FOR” JUST ANOTHER DAMNED LIAR By David G Hanger - The first problem with being owned, Senator Dan “Bought & Paid For” Sullivan is that ‘ere long you cannot see the forest, let alone the trees, because of the self-deception born of your own filthy lies. Be aware that assuming the position of lapdog licking fundamentally distorts reality. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Why Protect the Jones Act? By Art Johnson - I believe the Jones Act is necessary for several reasons and if it is repealed, it will be detrimental, not only to the maritime industry and those who work in it, but it will harm the country's ability to build ships, both Merchant Marine and Navy and to carry cargo to our forces overseas in time of national emergency. Ship building requires many skills and it is foolish to think we can have foreign yards building our ships and then if necessary find enough skilled workers to build them in the USA. It would be beyond foolish to build out military vessels in foreign yards. The same goes for having foreign ships and foreign crews carrying our country's cargoes. Where will we find trained seamen in time of need? Senator John McCain is frequently mentioned, because he is in favor of repealing the Jones Act, but it should be noted that he flew airplanes in the Navy and that is a whole lot different than being part of operating ships and all that goes with it. It should also be noted that our politicians have little to say about maintaining a healthy U.S. Merchant Marine, because only a small number of our citizens even know what the Merchant Marine is and very likely, even some of our politicians have only a slight knowledge of this vital industry. They can't get many votes promoting something that people know little about, let alone understanding the importance of the maritime industry. - More...
Saturday AM - January 13, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Governor’s Tax Proposal: A Free Ride for the Rich By Ghert Abbott - If one has any doubts as to the power that the rich currently exercise over our state government, then one has only to consider Governor Walker’s recent tax proposal, designed with the aim of appeasing the Republican state senate. The governor’s proposal combines a 1.5% payroll tax, capped at the first $150,000 of income, with a $1,100 cap on every Alaskan PFD (which amounts to a roughly 50% tax of the PFD’s current value). It only takes a few numbers to reveal the extreme inequity of this plan. According to the Census Bureau, in 2016 the average household income in the city of Ketchikan was $53,937 a year. According to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, only roughly 7% to 10% of Alaskans have a yearly household income of over $150,000. The richest 1% of Alaskan households, those who earn $532,590 a year or higher, have an average income of $1,282,900 a year. - More...
Saturday AM - January 13, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Never Trump By Robert B. Holston, Jr. - I have a brother in Montana who is a “never Trumper”. I wrote him months ago saying I would not defend Trump on a daily basis for things this president says because I didn’t need a full time job, but his recent “DACA/Defecation” remark prompts me to defend Trump, just a bit, and warn the “never Tumpers” just a bit. - More...
Saturday AM - January 13, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Optimism for Alaska in 2018 By Senator Dan Sullivan - As Alaskans, there’s no doubt we face significant challenges, including high crime rates, domestic violence and sexual assault, thousands of Alaskans struggling with addiction, and a continuing recession that has left too many without jobs. These are issues that I’ll continue to focus on in the coming year. But when I look out at 2018, I am struck by one overriding feeling for our state: optimism. There are numerous reasons for this. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

On rescinding Obama-era marijuana enforcement guidelines By Wiley Brooks - Marijuana by U.S law is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. I extracted the below from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEC) official site. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018

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