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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 23, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

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Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON ©2018

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Alaska: More than a dozen community leaders travel to Juneau calling for better salmon habitat protection By MARY KAUFFMAN - Community leaders from around the state visited with legislators this week urging them to pass House Bill 199, “The Wild Salmon Legacy Act,” introduced by Fisheries Committee Chair Rep. Louise Stutes (R- Kodiak) at the request of the Alaska Board of Fisheries. 

Alaska’s Board of Fisheries submitted a letter to the State Legislature in January 2017 asking for an update to a 60 year old law guiding development in salmon habitat. 

HB 199 would update this old Alaska’s law governing development in salmon habitat and encourage responsible development. Earlier this week, a separate group of community leaders also provided testimony against Pebble Mine in a legislative hearing, citing the harmful impacts the mine would have on wild salmon. The conversations with legislators highlighted an issue that has become one of the top priorities for Alaskans during this year’s legislative session.  

“Wild salmon are everything to me, to my family and to my community,” said Thomas Tilden, First Chief of the Curyung Tribal Council. “We are not saying no development, what we want is development done responsibly. We are asking for an update to a 60-year-old law that has not been adjusted since statehood.” 

Community leaders traveling to Juneau in favor of House Bill 199 included Tom Tilden from Nunamta Aulukestai in Dillingham; Tim and Mary Wonhola, New Stuyahok Elders; Mike Friccero, a Kodiak and Bristol Bay commercial fisherman; former State Senate President and backcountry guide Rick Halford from Chugiak and Aleknagik; and Jasmin Ieremia, a Petersburg teen advocate who commercial fishes with her family and other community leaders from Talkeetna, Anchorage, Sitka and Homer.

Alaskans from across the state have voiced support for improving salmon habitat protections, an issue that has unified users – from urban anglers to rural subsistence communities to commercial fishermen.

There are those who oppose House Bill 199. In a January 2018 letter to the Rep. Stutes from Lorali M. Simon, Usibellie Coal Mine's Vice President of External Affairs, Simon writes , "Alaska's permitting system already sets high standards for the protection of public health and the envirnomnet, including fish habitat. By definition, a permitting process is intended to permit an activity. The opposite of permitting as activity would be denail of an activity. Alaska does not have a denial system - it has a permitting system. However, HB 199 creates a denial system.

Simon further wrote, "Usibelli Coal Mine is concerned with many aspects of HB199 including many of the similarities in WOTUS, such as jurisdictional reach, the expansion of regulatory oversight, and increased uncertainty for community and resource development projects."

Usibelli Coal Mine was founded in 1943 and has grown to become the largest coal mining operation in Alaska. UCM currently has a work force of approximately 115 employees, and operates year-round. Mine production has grown from 10,000 tons in 1943 to an average between 1.2 and 2 million tons of coal per year.

The Council of Alaska Producers also submitted a letter of opposition to the Alaska House Special Committee on Fisheries in February 2018.

Karen Matthias, Executive Director of the council, wrote, "CAP remains concerned that mining projects could not be developed under HB199 and that is would also jeopardize the continuation or expansion of existing mines. The operationg mines in Alaska were built under modern environmental laws and their operations are strictly monitired by state and federal agencies. Their excellent track records are testament to both their commitment to responsible development and to Alaska's world class permitting system. The vital industry directly and indirectly provided almost 9,000 jobs in Alaska, revenue to state and local governments, and benefits to Alaska Natives through the ANCSA revenue sharing requirements." - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018


Kids Count Report Reveals Many of Alaska’s Children Struggling - KIDS COUNT Alaska, a project at the Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT), released a new report detailing the latest trends in the economic well-being of Alaska’s children and their families. Each quarter a report is released with the goal to shed light on a number of statistics that impact a child’s life and future.

“All families, no matter their education, economic status, family structure or where they live, can raise thriving children,” said Alaska Children’s Trust Executive Director, Trevor Storrs. “Unfortunately, many of our hard-working families across Alaska are struggling.”

The report shows 36% of Alaska’s children live in poverty, 20% are from homes that don’t have enough food and are hungry, and 31% live in homes with a high housing cost burden. When families are unable to provide the basic needs, children are at risk of experiencing adversities that can negatively impact them lifelong.  

According to the report, there are significant disparities in family income by race/ethnicity in Alaska. While median family income was $75,500 in 2015, only White families earned more than the median ($91,300); all other race/ethnicities earned less (non- White median family income is $48,700). Alaska Native families and American Indian families have the lowest median income ($43,600).

Approximately 11,000 children live in families with incomes less than $12,000 a year. The report also shows most families in poverty are single-parent families.

Financial security is a complex issue that no one policy can solve.  However, leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sector can take steps to the issues that put children’s and families’ financial security and stability at risk.  - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

Alaska: HB 392 Seeks Economic and Legal Justice for Women in Alaska - Legislation was introduced this week to create a Commission for Women and Girls to identify legal problems that prevent women from earning equal pay for equal work in Alaska. The commission will also work to determine best practices to promote economic, social, legal, and political justice for women. House Bill 392 calls for the commission to create a report to be presented to the Alaska Governor and the Alaska Legislature every two years with policy recommendations and a plan of action with achievable goals.

Women earn an average of 68 cents for every dollar a man makes in Alaska for doing the same work, according to a March 2017 report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. A similar report from 30 years ago showed women earned 62 cents on the dollar when doing the same work. The study found this to be true in 80 of Alaska’s occupations and at every age and educational level, even though men and women participate in the workforce at nearly equal rates.

“Six cents growth over 30 years is unacceptable,” said Rep. Tarr. “We know that discrimination is a huge factor in these statistics, and we need a serious investigation of the laws and regulations that prevent Alaska women from reaching their full economic potential.” - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018


Southeast Alaska:
Young Halibut Hook Fisherman & Grandfather Accept Award at Innovators Hall of Fame - A young Tlingit fisherman and his grandfather were invited by Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) to accept an award from the Juneau Economic Development Council and the Alaska State Committee for Research (SCoR), which announced the induction of the traditional wood halibut hook into the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame last week.

Thomas George, a master fisherman and hunter, and his grandson, Thomas Barlow, both of Klawock, were to accept the award on behalf of northern Northwest Coast people at a ceremony held Wednesday.

George trained Barlow to fish handmade hooks as a child and today, at the age of 14, he is an accomplished halibut fisherman who is deft at landing the fish with hooks. SHI staff learned about the pair in 2016 while doing research for a book about traditional wood halibut hooks, which will be published by SHI this year, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

Worl noted the young man knew how to use "line-ups," a traditional technique used to pinpoint precise locations for fishing, and that he makes his own halibut hooks.

"Thomas' grandfather passed on the traditional knowledge associated with using halibut hooks, and we were astonished to witness his prowess in locating his family's traditional halibut holes using line ups and his ability to land fish with the hook," Worl said. - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

Alaska: Alaska House Passes Resolution on Proposed Plan for Offshore Lease Sales - Wednesday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Resolution 6, weighing in on the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program. The current draft program calls for lease sales in 14 of the 15 planning areas in Alaska (there are a total of 26 planning areas across the country).

“With this resolution, the Alaska House joins Alaska’s entire Congressional delegation, the Governor, and a number of tribes and other stakeholders who have requested that 11 of the 14 planning areas be removed from the draft proposed plan,” said Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage)

Tarr said, “The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas planning areas have far and away the greatest estimated recoverable reserves for oil and gas, and while the Cook Inlet Planning Area has more modest potential, it is a critical source of affordable energy for Alaska’s most populous region. Lease sales in other areas are unlikely to attract significant interest, would create tremendous controversy, and would wastefully expend State and Federal money on lease sales which would not lead to development.” - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018



jpg John L. Micek

JOHN L. MICEK: Do You Trust Trump on Gun Control? - Donald Trump, the man who needs a cue-card to feign basic human empathy, is serious about gun control?

Yeah, right. This is still the same president whose promises far outperform his actual ability to carry them out.

Remember when Trump promised a spectacular replacement for Obamacare? That hasn't happened. In fact, he made it worse.

Trump promised a massive infrastructure program. What we got relies on a paltry $200 billion investment from the federal government to magically conjure $1.5 trillion from private interests and cash-strapped state and local governments.

He loved the Dreamers until he squeezed them so he could get more money for his preposterous border wall. And immigration reform, of any kind, remains at a standstill.

And now we're supposed to believe that he'll successfully push for comprehensive background checks, raise the age of gun-purchasers to 21 and move to ban bump-stocks?

It would be nice to think Trump is serious about actually doing any of those things. Unfortunately, hard experience teaches us that his desire for approval far outweighs his desire to make substantive policy change. - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Michael Regan

MICHAEL REAGAN: More Love, Not Gun Control - We live in a country where liberals are constantly working to get rid of things that were once sacred to America.

They've taken God out of our public schools.

They've politicized and disrespected our national anthem.

Now, exploiting a tragic school shooting in Florida, they're aiming to get rid of our guns.

Liberals think turning America into a gun-free zone will make our schools safe and stop sick young men from going on bloody killing sprees like the one in Parkland.

The clamor for stricter gun control by the mainstream media and leading Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer is as simplistic as it was predictable.

But it's not the guns, stupids.

It's not what a disturbed 19-year-old boy has in his hands that makes him kill.

It's what he does not have in his heart - love.

I don't want to sound like a bleeding heart who thinks the Parkland shooter is a victim of society or is not totally responsible for his horrible crime.

But I haven't seen any evidence yet that he had anyone who loved him or truly cared about him after his adoptive mother died last year. - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Violent Culture

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


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Gun control By Rex Barber - Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted amongst men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. THAT WHEN EVER GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE TO THESE ENDS IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH AND INSTITUTE NEW GOVERNMENT.

The above capitalized is the birth place of the second Amendment and its highest purpose, You can alter Government through the ballot box but there is only one way the people can abolish it and that is through a force of arms. - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Taking the Law into your Own Hands is not an "Individual Freedom" By Michael Spence - Once again the CEO of the NRA, Mr LaPierre, has taken the podium to expound on the rights of individuals to take the law into their own hands. In doing so he reveals again his huge misunderstanding of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which does not entitle anyone to do so.

The position taken by the present day NRA and its paid-for politicians in Washington is nothing less than and advocacy of vigilanteism. It makes the point that Americans, including schoolteachers and ordinary citizens regardless of training or mental capacity, should practice do-it-yourself law enforcement using firearms. - More...
Friday AM - February 23 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gillam crash By John Tippets - I greatly enjoyed reading and appreciated Dave's article about the Gillam crash of 75 years ago. 

Yes, the men were extremely careful in stretching out the food items they had; cutting Sardines into five parts (or four after Harold left) and breaking candy bars into the small squares for one piece for each, each a day.  - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

KEA Seeks School District Funding to the Cap By Dan Bockhorst - The Ketchikan Education Association is calling for the Borough to fund our school district to the cap. Here are some points to consider:

1. The Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District (KGBSD) has a current-year operating budget of $44,115,565. Additionally, payments for school debt service add $3,510,233, and another $400,000 has been budgeted for school capital improvements this year. Those figures total $48,025,798. With a student population of 2,287, the total equals $20,999 for each student served by the KGBSD. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gun Violence By Rob B. Holston, Jr. - First let me say I own guns. I killed two deer this fall. I enjoy eating venison. I don’t pretend to have one silver bullet to solve the problem of gun violence in America today, but perhaps several bronze bullets.

I am conservative in my political views, yet will not support the NRA. I would support an organization that had a rational approach to controlling who owns weapons of mass destruction. We spend Billions to defeat rogue regimes around the world from attaining the A-bomb but allow 18 year-olds to walk in and lay down cash for an AR-15! - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

King Salmon Fishery By Angelo Martin - I have followed the King Salmon Fishery and see that it is in trouble, low counts of wild stock. I took special intrest with the King Salmon program that SSRA was implementing, I was on the board of directors of SSRAA. I FOUGH HARD TO KEEP THE PROGRAM GOING EVEN GOT volunteer of the year twice for the work in the King Salmon Fishery. Before I left it was in fairly good shape because of the hatchery program.l loved it.

Now I see it's in trouble, maybe bring back Sea Cops. I supported it with free printing and it seemed to help. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A Strong Ferry System is Part of a Stronger Alaska By Gov. Bill Walker & Lt. Gov. Bryon Mallott - For more than 50 years, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has served as a critical transportation link among Alaska’s coastal communities to Anchorage and to the Lower 48 and Canada. The marine highway system is a socio-economic lifeline for many of the 33 Alaska communities it serves, the majority of which are not connected to Alaska’s road system. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

THE FOUR Ps OF GOOD LOCAL GOVERNANCE By David G. Hanger - The four Ps of good local governance are power, plumbing, parking, and potholes. The first three are desirable in relative abundance; the fourth, potholes, none at all is optimal. Historically, with power and plumbing the City’s rep is so-so; plenty of power but plenty of power outages, too; with plumbing both in and out problems of potable water and problems with pollution that cause periodic health problems. But parking and potholes are our main concerns today. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Abortion By Robert B. Holston Jr. - Robert K. Rice claims to be a “realist” and then spouts sophomoric platitudes about a great grandpa choosing NOT to have an abortion.  How “realistic”. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

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. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018

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