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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 14, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By DANIEL PETERS

Etolin Island Wake Up
Front Page Feature Photo By DANIEL PETERS ©2018

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Ketchikan: ANCSA Improvement Act Could Create New Native Corporations in Ketchikan & Southeast By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held a legislative hearing in Washington on 15 bills last week, including the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act, S. 1481.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) spoke at the hearing to highlight the importance of S. 1481, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Improvement Act. The bill, sponsored by Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) will help ensure that ANCSA continues to serve and benefit Alaska Natives as they say Congress intended. 

“Back in 1971, Congress passed ANCSA to settle the aboriginal land claims of Alaska Natives, clearing the way for Alaska Natives to receive 44 million acres of land and $962 million of compensation,” Murkowski said. “The law also pioneered a new method for U.S. treatment of Native Americans through the establishment of corporations to provide a continuing stream of income to help improve the lives of Alaska Natives.”

“This legislation is long overdue. It remedies and perfects legislation we passed 47 years ago. I hope my colleagues will join Sen. Sullivan and me in supporting S. 1481, so that we can finally fulfill the promises that Congress made to Alaska Natives all those years ago,” said Murkowski who is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The ANCSA Improvement Act as proposed will re-dress the omission of the Southeast Alaska communities of Ketchikan, Haines, Petersburg, Teneakee and Wrangell from eligibility by authorizing the Native people enrolled in the communities to form Urban Corporations for these communities under the Alaska Native Claimes Settlement Act and to receive certain settlement land.

The Improvement Act would also allow the Southeast Alaska Native villages of Ketchikan, Haines, Petersburn, Tenekee and Wrangell to establish additional native Corporations allowing these Native villages to reorganize as Urban Corporations. pon Upon incorporation entitling each to receive one township of land (23,040 acres) in southeastern Alaska from “local areas of historical, cultural, traditional and economic importance”.

Each Native who was enrolled as a shareholder fo the Regional Corporation for Southeast Alaska on or before March 30, 1973, would receive 100 shares of Settlement Common Stock in their respective Urban Corporation.

Members of the Native Villages of Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Tenakee, and Wrangell who become shareholders in an Urban Corporation will continue to be eligible to receive distributions as at-large shareholders of the Regional Corporation for Southeast Alaska.

Subcommittee members received testimony from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Deputy Director of Policy and Programs for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Brian Steed, expressed the administration’s support for S. 1481. 

“The Department is proud to support the efforts of the sponsors to bring about resolution of many issues facing Alaska Native communities,” Steed said. “The Department supports this legislation and looks forward to working with the sponsors and the Committee on technical modifications to specific sections [of the bill].”

Steed also supported adding the Secretary of Agriculture for consultation and coordination on land selections resulting from implementation of the bill. In addition, we recommend that the word “township” be replaced with “23,040 acres” because some townships along the coast may be less than 23,040 acres.

Murkowski and Sullivan introduced the ANCSA Improvement Act of 2017 to correct oversights in the original Act and other federal statutes to respond to challenges ranging from erosion to incomplete land selections affecting Alaska Native communities. 

The Improvement Act not only makes technical corrections to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act but also addresses other purposes around Alaska.

According to an Action Alert posted on the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's website, their biggest concern with this current version of the bill is the threat it poses to lands previously designated by Congress for permanent protection in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, the Tongass Timber Reform Act of 1990, and the Sealaska Land Entitlement Finalization Act of 2014.

Regarding Section 10 which establishes new “urban” Native Corporations in Southeast Alaska for Alaska Native residents from the communities of Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Tenakee, and Wrangell.  The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council wrote that once “recognized,” these for-profit corporations can select 23,040 acres of high value, “local,” public lands from the Tongass. As drafted, Section 10:

  • Directs the Secretary of Interior to offer “local areas of historical, cultural, traditional, and economic importance to Alaska Natives” from the five communities and “give preference to land with commercial purposes;”
  • Mandates economic development of lands no matter their importance for customary and traditional or historical uses;
  • Expressly fails to safeguard Tongass lands previously protected by Congress in perpetuity as Legislated LUD IIs (“roadless wildlands”) in the 1990 Tongass Timber Reform Act and the 2014 Sealaska Land Entitlement Finalization Act.

Robert Dewey, vice president of government relations and external affairs, Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement: "The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act is a massive public lands giveaway. The bill would sell off hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands within the Tongass National Forest and the National Wildlife Refuge System to private profit. Lands that belong to the American people within the biologically sensitive coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be privatized and opened to oil and gas development. These actions would have significant impacts on the wildlife that rely on old-growth forest and the Arctic Refuge to survive." - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018


Alaska Science: Where are the Yukon chinooks headed? By NED ROZELL - In a packed university conference room, biologist Randy Brown spoke of chinook, the fatty king of far-north salmon.

Where are the Yukon chinooks headed?

Randy Brown holds a chinook salmon at his family’s fish camp on the Yukon River in 1989 or 1990 with his sons Gabe, at right, and Jed.
Photo courtesy of Randy Brown

“It’s more than just a fish, it’s a culture,” Brown said to the Fairbanks crowd, many of them Alaska Natives.

Brown is the lead author on a paper in which he documented all the known Yukon River chinook salmon spawning beds in the U.S. and Canada. The fish biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and his colleagues spent years reading papers and speaking with people. They created a map of where Alaska’s largest and rarest salmon return to spawn.

Chinooks, also known as kings, begin life as fertilized eggs in the gravel of 183 waterways of the Yukon River basin: 79 in the U.S. and 104 in Canada. Some of the fish tuck into tributaries less than 100 miles from the Bering Sea; others travel 2,000 miles farther, swimming across the border and deep into Canada’s Yukon. The Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management published Brown’s study.

Salmon arrive at many crossroads during their migrations back to birth streams. One third of all the water in Alaska proper drains into the Yukon. The basin receives water from 330,000 square miles of mountain and muskeg that take up as much space as Turkey.

The Yukon is not the longest river in America; it is third, behind the Mississippi and the Missouri. But king salmon nose their way up neither of those. More than 100 million people live in the Mississippi drainage; 15 million more within the Missouri’s watershed boundary. Fewer than 200,000 people reside in the catchment of Alaska’s largest river, most of them in Fairbanks and Whitehorse - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018



jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: For Valentine's Day - We Need to Relearn the Art of Romance - I still have no idea why Laura Lindsey liked me, but she did.

It happened during my sixth-grade year in the spring of 1974, when she transferred to our school.

Laura had grace and style and was instantly embraced by the popular girls.

She was out of my league, but I pursued her nonetheless.

Trying to impress her one day while playing "keep-away" during recess, I grabbed the ball and ran near her.

I didn't know it then, but thousands of years of DNA were at work - the same primitive energies that caused cavemen to club each other as cavewomen looked on.

Laura looked at me. For a moment, our eyes locked - I felt a spark in the middle of my heart.

Laura Lindsey liked me! I wanted to buy her something romantic - which was a problem.

First, everything I knew about romance, I'd learned from the fathers in my neighborhood, one of whom bought his wife snow tires for Valentine's Day.
- More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018

jpg Jase Graves

JASE GRAVES: A Valentine's Day Victim of Victoria's Secret - As Valentine's Day approached this year, I was at a loss regarding how to surprise my wife with a gift that would truly show my love and appreciation to her for not smothering me in my sleep. My daughters had presented their Valentine's wish lists (yes, wish lists) shortly after Christmas, so I'd already financed their gifts. But my wife (who never asks for anything other than that I avoid playing with that app on my phone that makes 500 different bodily noises - in church) was a harder nut to crack.

Then the clouds parted when I checked the mail recently to find, addressed to me, a special offer from Victoria's Secret. My internal rejoicing over my coupon was suddenly interrupted, however, when I read the horrifying phrase in fine print, "In-store only." I didn't even think men were allowed in that place. In fact, whenever I go the mall, I risk contact with the mall kiosk salespeople hawking bespangled phone cases, Dead Sea beauty cream, and Dippin' Dots as I veer away and avert my eyes from the Victoria's Secret entrance, festooned with mannequins who forgot to put on their pants. This time, though, I was determined I wouldn't let my self-respect keep me from making a romantic gesture at a discount.

Apparently, underwear at Victoria's Secret is categorized according to how much of it is missing. As I snuck through the store, I expected at any moment to see a table display featuring nothing but spools of thread. When I finally found something I could identify as human garments, I then had to find the correct size, which involved rifling through storage bins below the display table and constantly looking over my shoulder like a maniac to see if anyone was watching. 

Sure enough, it didn't take long for a sales associate (wearing all black - presumably for my funeral) to show up and ask, "May I help you, sir?" just loudly enough for mall security to hear. I had no choice but to be completely honest, so I told her I was looking for socks, to which she replied at full volume, "You're in the wrong drawer. Those are the cheekies." - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Congress Valentines

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


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Infrastructure Package Must Include Permitting Reform By U. S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and Terry O’Sullivan - While pundits debate the merits of various infrastructure proposals, the very real problem of permitting reform has been overlooked. Almost four in 10 of our country’s bridges are at least 50 years old. More than 50,000 of those bridges were structurally deficient in 2016. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States—and in some places, like in Alaska, there are entire communities that don’t even have access to tap water and a flushed toilet. Much of our energy grid is at full capacity, one out of every five miles of highway pavement is in poor condition, our ports need to be modernized and deepened, and many of our schools are crumbling.

We can do much better for our citizens, and we believe that the Trump administration’s focus on infrastructure presents our nation with significant bipartisan opportunities. A key to the success of any infrastructure package has to involve a desperately needed reform of our country’s broken public-works and environmental approval process – a process that adds years and costs to projects – sometimes resulting in the death of those projects altogether. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Abortion Rights By Robert K. Rice - A M Johnson: if you're against abortion, don't have one. Let women decide if a fatal or life threatening back alley abortion is best for her, or if a safe professional abortion is better. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion
K-12 Education Early Funding
By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Funding for Alaska’s schools is one of the most important pieces of our state budget. Yet, each year, school funding gets caught in the cross fire of budget debates and ends up being one of the last measures passed by the Alaska Legislature. - More...
Saturday AM - February 10, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Alaska Military Youth Academy: Celebrating 25 years of changed lives By Maj. Gen. Laurie Hummel - The high school counselor lowered his head, peered over his reading glasses, and looked straight into the eyes of the young man before him.  “You’re not going to graduate this year.”  - More...
Wednesday AM - February 07, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Rebuild Our Depleted Military By Donald Moskowitz - The Budget Control Act of 2011 necessitated budget cuts for the Defense Department which had a huge negative effect on the readiness of our military. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 07, 2018

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

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