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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 26, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Tongass Narrows
As viewed from Saxman.
Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON ©2018

Ketchikan: Recovery effort for man buried in avalanche temporarily suspended By LELIA KHEIRY, KRBD

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Ketchikan Recovery Effort for Ketchikan Man Buried in Avalanche Sunday Temporarily Suspended - Sunday, the Alaska State Troopers in Ketchikan received a third-party report of a person buried in an Avalanche around 4:16 PM. According to the Troopers' Dispatch, it was reported that two men were out snowboarding on Dude Mountain outside of Ketchikan when a large avalanche let loose at approximately noon. One of the men, identified as Marvin Scott, 39 of Ketchikan, was buried.

Both men had on beacons. The man not buried searched for Scott for about an hour before hiking out and calling for help. There was not mobile service at the site of the avalanche. - More...
Monday PM - February 26, 2018

Fish Factor: Preventing Deck Winch Injuries By LAINE WELCH - The most common piece of gear on a seine vessel is also one of the deadliest – the rotating capstan winch used for winding ropes. Anyone who has ever worked aboard a seiner has horror stories of close calls, or worse.

“The deck winch is the most powerful thing on the boat. It’s the scariest piece of machinery that we work with. My feeling when I was caught in it was that I was completely helpless. There was nothing I could do,” said fisherman Noah Doncette who participated in a video for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) called “The Most Powerful Thing.”  

“The corner of my raincoat caught under the capstan and started wrapping around. It snapped my head back and broke my neck,” said Randy Dobrylnia. 

“I was lifting the ring and I reached over with a pair of nylon gloves. My arm went down and started going around again and again. Then it jammed me against the deck and started to pull my arm off. It all happened in seconds,” said Gunnar Neilson. 

A simple device called an E-Stop has been available for over 10 years to prevent deck winch injuries.

“It’s a button that can be put on the horn of a capstan winch on a seiner. When the button is hit, it triggers a solenoid valve that stops the flow of hydraulic fluid to the winch and locks the capstan in place to prevent further entanglements,” said Ted Teske, a NIOSH Health Communications Specialist who invented the device. 

“It was in response to guys being wrapped in the winch and being pulled away from the controls back at the wheelhouse. This gives them an option right on the winch itself to lock the device and keep them from getting further injured,” he explained.

Between the years 2000 and 2014 there were 16 fatalities from winch entanglements in the U.S. In 41 percent of the cases, loose clothing or gloves were cited as the first thing getting entangled in the gear.

But fishermen have been slow to adopt the devices aboard their seiners.  In the Northwest and Alaska, only 50 to 60 E-Stops are being used out of a fleet of about 1,500 boats.

Teske and his team are determined to find out why.

“We are interested in talking to any seiners who have either installed one and what was the tipping point, and their experience using it, as well as guys who have considered it and did not install an E-Stop. Both perspectives are extremely valuable for us,” Teske said. “If we can identify the barriers, we can address them through other types of interventions – whether it’s risk awareness or developing rebate programs, or talking with insurance companies to see if they might offer a lower rate for installing safety equipment on their boats.”

In a major success story for NIOSH’s Research to Practice initiative, all three major manufacturers in the Northwest now provide E-Stops as standard features on their new seine winches. Retrofits for older boasts cost around $3,800. - More...
Monday PM - February 26, 2018


Elder Fraud Cases Are a Priority Nationally and Locally for the Justice Department – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Friday that as part of the Elder Fraud Initiative launched by the Department of Justice, he has appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward as the Elder Fraud Coordinator for the District of Alaska. 

The District of Alaska has prosecuted several defendants targeting aging and vulnerable victims including most recently United States v. Floyd Jay Man prosecuted by AUSA Steward.  Mann was sentenced in December to 10 years in prison for defrauding more than 15 victims in Dillingham, Alaska.  Mann’s first victim in that case was an elderly man dying of cancer.  Mann convinced the elderly victim that he was due to receive a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement from a pharmaceutical company.  Mann falsely told the victim he needed help paying court costs and medical bills before the settlement would be released.  Mann led the elderly victim to believe he would share millions of dollars of his settlement if the elderly victim helped him cover costs.  The elderly victim gave his life savings and monthly social security payments to help Mann.  The elderly victim died of cancer waiting for the payout promised.  Mann moved on to the elderly victim’s friends and family in Dillingham targeting them with the same scheme.  Mann obtained almost $3 million from his fraudulent scheme.  Several victims lost homes and retirement savings. 

As part of the Elder Fraud Initiative, AUSA Steward has coordinated with the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspectors, the State of Alaska Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance, and Senior Corps to identify cases appropriate for prosecution and to coordinate outreach to vulnerable groups. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced yesterday that he has made combatting Elder Fraud a priority for the Department of Justice.  Attorney General Sessions was joined in the announcement yesterday by FBI Acting Deputy Director David Bowdich; Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell; FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen; and Kansas Attorney General and President of the National Association of Attorneys General Derek Schmidt.

“The Justice Department and its partners are taking unprecedented, coordinated action to protect elderly Americans from financial threats, both foreign and domestic,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “When criminals steal the hard-earned life savings of older Americans, we will respond with all the tools at the Department’s disposal – criminal prosecutions to punish offenders, civil injunctions to shut the schemes down, and asset forfeiture to take back ill-gotten gains.  Today is only the beginning.  I have directed Department prosecutors to coordinate with both domestic law enforcement partners and foreign counterparts to stop these criminals from exploiting our seniors.”

With this Initiative, the Justice Department is targeting schemes such as the following: - More...
Monday PM - February 26, 2018


Alaska Science:
Was the Bering land bridge a good place to live? By NED ROZELL - During the coldest days of the last ice age, the Bering land bridge was 1,000 miles wide, a belt buckle the size of Australia that connected North America and Asia.

That mysterious land of green plants, streams and hills persisted for thousands of years, until seas swelling with glacial melt ate it up. All that remains are mountaintops that are now St. Lawrence and other islands, and the outline on maps that shows the continental shelf spreading underwater like pancake batter.

Those who have spent their careers pondering Earth’s not-so-distant past wonder if the land bridge was a good place to live. Genetic information shows native North Americans split from Eurasians about 20,000 years ago. The earliest human sites in Alaska date to about 14,200 years ago. Could people have been living on the land bridge during that gap?

At a seminar at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Nancy Bigelow pointed to a map showing Earth 21,000 years ago. The current sites of New York and Chicago were buried beneath blue glacier ice. Fairbanks and Nome were not. All of the land bridge, about the size of mid-America, was perhaps a green oasis between ice sheets. A computer model suggests the southern portion of the land bridge was warmer than the continents that walled it in.

“Is this is a land people could have lived on?” said Bigelow, an ecologist at the university who gathers evidence like pollen and leaf fossils and imagines ancient landscapes. She is the director of UAF’s Alaska Quaternary Center.

She wonders if generations of people paused there, on their way to populating North America from Asia. Or whether they gritted their teeth and busted through as fast as they could.

“Was it too cold and nasty for humans?” Bigelow asked.

Like the paleo-detective she is, Bigelow presented evidence that woody plants could have grown on at least parts of the land bridge. That evidence is hard to come by; most of the land bridge is now 400 feet under water.

Bigelow has pulled cores from the bottom of lakes in western Alaska to find pollen grains and bits of ancient plants. She also studies examples of others’ work, citing a 9,000-year-old spruce twig found on the Seward Peninsula, pine pollen from a lake in Siberia, and spruce, alder and birch pollen in a core pulled from the ocean floor off Alaska and analyzed by UAF graduate student Rachel Westbrook. - More...
Monday PM - February 26, 2018



jpg Phil Kerpen

PHIL KERPEN: Congress Should Make Relief Permanent - The first year of the Trump administration saw remarkable accomplishments on both tax and regulatory relief, with fundamental tax reform for the first time in decades and the massive regulatory onslaught of the Obama years stopped and reversed.With wages rising and the economy strengthening, the most important priority for Congress in 2018 should be to lock in these historic accomplishments.

As it stands now, nearly all of the tax relief for individuals is scheduled to expire in 2025, due to Senate rules that imposed a procedural constraint on the process to avoid a Democratic filibuster. The hope and expectation was that the expiration would never take place - but President Trump will not be president in 2025, and although Obama agreed to make most of the Bush tax cuts permanent, he did so only after a tense showdown and a last minute "fiscal cliff" deal.

Republicans need to make crystal clear to the American people that the tax cut expiration exists only because of Democratic intransigence. A vote on making the tax cuts permanent this year would deny the media and Democrats the criticism of the tax reform bill that the relief is temporary.

Equally important to the improvement in economic sentiment over the past year has been the sea change in the regulatory environment. The biggest, most expensive rules imposed on the U.S. economy by Obama have been or are in the process of being reversed.

President Trump signed an early executive order calling for agencies to eliminate two old rules for every one new one, and in the first year his administration outperformed that by an order of magnitude - eliminating 22 old rules for each new rule.An analysis by the American Action Forum found that a remarkable 81 percent of regulatory costs imposed in calendar year 2017 were imposed during the three weeks of January that Obama was still president. - More...
Monday PM - February 26, 2018

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: So Long, Foods of My 1970s Childhood - The Wall Street Journal article made me both hungry and wistful.

According to The Journal, Aunt Jemima pancake mix, Campbell's Soup, Kellogg's cereals and many other "big-food" staples of the '70s are in trouble.

"High-end consumers are shifting toward fresher items with fewer processed ingredients, while cost-conscious shoppers are buying inexpensive store brands," reports The Journal.

Processed foods were all the rage in the '70s. With big families to feed in a down economy, parents were looking for what they thought was "safe, affordable and convenient food."

It was the golden era of Hamburger Helper, which originated in 1971. Hamburger Helper included dried pasta and powdered, seasoned sauce to add to browned hamburger - a tasty meal that even my father could make.

Truth be told, my parents didn't often purchase name-brand foods. They spent our limited budget on fresh fruit and produce - which my sisters and I viewed as a disappointment.

That's because the '70s was also the golden era of television advertising. The big-food makers exploited color TV's power to make us crave their products.

I'm 55 and I still have "Big Mac Attacks." I wake sweating, convinced that the Hamburglar made off with my meal.

I have Big Mac Attacks because our parents never took us to McDonald's. - More...
Monday PM - February 26, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Cyber Crime

Political Cartoon: Cyber Crime
By Michael Kountouris ©2018, Greece
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696

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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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