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February 15, 2019
Ready for Spring
Thomas Peacock was hatched and raised in Ketchikan. He is strictly a pet and lives with a bevy of peafowl in their own barn including an outside aviary. Peafowl are very social and intelligent birds. Thomas is almost 17 years old.
Front Page Feature Photo By MARY KAUFFMAN ©2019
Governor Unveils Budget Proposal Where Expenditures Match Revenues; Concerns Expressed Over Budget Cuts of $1.6 Billion By MARY KAUFFMAN - Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy unveiled his FY2020 budget proposal Wednesday which includes $1.6 billion in cuts. According to the Governor, this budget is an open and straightforward approach to budgeting that works to tackle Alaska’s overwhelming fiscal challenges.
“Our budget was built from the bottom up. It was built around a series of core principles, most importantly the idea that expenditures will not exceed existing revenues,” said Governor Dunleavy. “The issues surrounding our budget and massive deficits has been a longstanding problem and Alaskans have demanded a budget that brings fiscal certainty and aligns spending with revenues. This is only the beginning, but we are determined to fix this budget this year so we can begin building a permanent fiscal plan for Alaska.”
“Governor Dunleavy’s budget uses honest numbers and does not drain reserves nor take dividends away from Alaskans,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin. “The budget he faced upon taking office had a $1.6 billion budget deficit. The governor is determined to balance the budget and not to repeat the past, where expenditures have exceeded revenues by over $16 billion dollars since Fiscal Year 2013.”
In building An Honest Budget: Fiscal Year 2020, Governor Dunleavy and his team worked to identify efficiencies, duplications and cost savings across government to restore the core principles of government responsibility. The budget focused on five core tenets:
- expenditures cannot exceed existing revenue;
- the budget is built on core functions that impact a majority of Alaskans;
- maintaining and protecting our reserves;
- the budget does not take additional funds from Alaskans through taxes or the PFD;
- it must be sustainable, predictable and affordable.
Governor Dunleavy and the Office of Management and Budget considered several longer-term, enterprise-wide initiatives that will positively impact agencies and the state as a whole. These initiatives will be carried out through administrative orders (AOs) and focus on restructuring programs and administrative processes within state government, thereby improving effectiveness, increasing cost savings, and achieving better alignment between programs and department core services.
In the face of significant fiscal challenges, and a desire to deliver a budget where state expenditures do not exceed revenues, the Dunleavy Administration also identified an overarching need for agencies to reevaluate their scope of responsibility to ensure programs align with the Governor’s desire to improve services to Alaska and deliver cost efficiencies across agencies. These efforts focus on reforming government at its core and include reforms to right size government, eliminating nonessential travel, reform government pay, utilize public/private partnerships, and realign priorities to meet the needs of a majority of Alaskans.
“This has been an ongoing issues for years. We all know it needs to be solved. Everyone in this state knows this issue needs to be solved. It’s not going to be easy. That’s why it’s been kicked down the road – the can has been kicked down the road for some time. We have to get it solved this year and I’m determined to get it solved this year,” said Governor Dunleavy at the conclusion of his press conference to unveil the budget.
Dunleavy said, “We have to preserve our savings. We have to recalibrate Alaska. We have to get back our essential services and we have to have a robust discussion – which I’m looking forward to – as to what are our needs and what are our wants? What are the needs that impact the majority of Alaskans? And how do we want to pay for this moving forward? This is going to be the discussion over the next several months. I look forward to it. I believe Alaskans look forward to it. I look forward to working with the Legislature on this issue. But it has to be fixed this year. My administration is determined to fix this issue this year.”
Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) said, “The Senate Majority is committed to protecting the Permanent Fund and dividends for future generations of Alaskans, passing a sustainable budget in both the short and long-term, increasing jobs and growing the economy, and keeping Alaskans and their families safe.”
Stedman said, “Now that we have the governor’s proposal, we can get to work taking it apart and understanding the impacts."
“The budget is only part of the picture – the Senate Finance Committee will be tracking and analyzing how the budget and other proposed appropriations and constitutional changes interact to affect the health of our state’s economy,” said Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee Sen. Natasha von Imhof (R-Anchorage). “While it is too early to understand all the impacts today, we’re committed to taking the time to fully analyze and thoroughly vet these proposals.”
Not everyone is pleased with An Honest Budget: Fiscal Year 2020 unveiled by the Governor Tuesday.
Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) responded to the proposed Dunleavy budget saying, “From the proposed cuts to Education, our Marine Highway System to the cuts impacting our Senior’s, enacting Gov. Dunleavy’s budget will succeed in making S.E. Alaska a much less desirable place to live. On a statewide basis enacting this budget will result in a 15,000 to 17,000 net job loss, plunging the state into a very deep recession.”
Rep. Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) outlined the many changes that he says will directly affect South East Alaska residents of District 36: - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2019
Alaska: Many Arctic lakes give off less carbon than expected - The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. One consequence of that trend is the thawing of permafrost, a layer of earth that has remained frozen for thousands of years in some areas. This frozen soil and vegetation currently holds more than twice the carbon found in the atmosphere.
As permafrost across northern Alaska, Canada, Siberia and other high-latitude regions thaws, microbes in the soil consume organic materials, releasing carbon dioxide or methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas, into lakes and the atmosphere.
lakes. Greater flow of carbon from plants and soils into Arctic lakes stimulates greater greenhouse gas emissions from bodies of water. And in a largely unstudied region with millions of lakes, it's still a mystery as to how much carbon moves from the land into lakes, and ultimately into the atmosphere.
New research by the University of Washington and U.S. Geological Survey suggests many lakes pose little threat to global carbon levels, at least for now. In the Arctic's flat, arid regions dotted with thousands of lakes -- a landscape that makes up about a quarter of the entire Arctic region -- many lakes are functioning like self-contained units, not releasing much carbon dioxide.
"We found that not all high-latitude lakes are big chimneys of carbon to the atmosphere, and that lakes in the region are not actively processing much permafrost or plant carbon from land," said lead author Matthew Bogard, a postdoctoral researcher in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. "Documenting the heterogeneous nature of northern lakes, as we have done here, will better define the role of Arctic lakes in the global carbon cycle." - More...
Friday PM - February 15, 2019
Alaska: Climate of North American Cities Will Shift Hundreds of Miles in One Generation - In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. A new study and interactive web application aim to help the public understand how climate change will impact the lives of people who live in urban areas of the United States and Canada. These new climate analyses match the expected future climate in each city with the current climate of another location, providing a relatable picture of what is likely in store.
“Within the lifetime of children living today, the climate of many regions is projected to change from the familiar to conditions unlike those experienced in the same place by their parents, grandparents, or perhaps any generation in millennia,” said study author Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “Many cities could experience climates with no modern equivalent in North America.”
Scientists analyzed 540 urban areas that encompassed approximately 250 million inhabitants in the United States and Canada. For each urban area, they mapped the similarity between that city’s future climate expected by the 2080s and contemporary climate in the western hemisphere north of the equator using 12 measures of climate, including minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation during the four seasons. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2019
Alaska Science: Jabbing sensors into the Denali Fault By NED ROZELL - “For some reason, when I come to this terrain, I know something’s been pulverized.”
Cole Richards says this while watching three companions kick their steps Chilkoot Pass-style into an abrupt hill. The slope rises from the pancake floodplain of the Nenana River just behind him. The landscape here seems a bit confused.
Richards, a graduate student in seismology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, is standing in snowshoes on the Denali Fault, atop a foot of compacted snow. The Denali Fault is a weak spot in Earth’s crust that has maintained a frown across the middle of Alaska with its continual jerky movement. One of the most obvious strike-slip faults in the world (where land on one side of the fault creeps in the opposite direction of land on the other), the Denali Fault unzipped more than 200 miles of tundra and ice during a giant 7.9 magnitude earthquake in 2002.
Richards and nine other scientists are performing some rare February fieldwork here, where the fault didn’t rip during 2002. They are driving 400 seismometers into frozen soil. Their goal is to get exquisite detail on this geological feature that a person can see on a flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks as a straight line of lowlands and glacier ice in the middle of white Alaska Range mountains.
The 10 scientists, including pairs from both Utah and South Dakota, have divided their labor into three sectors. Three people have driven up to Nenana and are working southward along the Parks Highway. Three have driven to Trapper Creek and are moving northward.
The four here beneath Panorama Mountain are sipping from water bottles on a snowy hilltop at what team leader Carl Tape calls ground zero, exactly on the Denali Fault. They have just snowshoed a straight path about a kilometer southward toward the Nenana River and have returned on that same line.
While the snow compacted from the passage of four people firms into a trail, the researchers relax next to 10 yellow bags, half sunk in snow. Inside each bag is a six-pack of what they call nodes, portable ground-motion sensors that look like large oil filters with steel spikes poking from the bottom. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2019
RICH MANIERI: Anti-Vaxxers are a Threat to All of Us - We are seeing, in real time, what happens when you get your medical advice from YouTube.
There are measles outbreaks in Washington, Oregon and New York, and it's only a matter of time until more states are added to the emergency list if this foolishness continues.
It should surprise no one that the outbreaks are occurring in areas with high concentrations of unimmunized children.
There is plenty of blame to go around, including but not limited to the handful of crackpots who insist on perpetrating the fraud that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism.
This theory has been debunked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Mayo Clinic, the American Medical Association, physicians worldwide and the medical community at large.
Still, the relatively small but extremely scary anti-immunization community continues to flout the evidence and insists on believing people such as Dr. David Ayoub, one of the fathers of the anti-vaxxer movement, whom The New Yorker profiled in 2018.
"Now, as you know, there's science that links vaccines with autism," Ayoub said. "Why isn't that science believed? Well, it's attacked. It's marginalized because there are competing papers, generally very flawed papers, which refute their claims. [They] design studies in order to give the answer that they want. That's going to happen when you have an industry this strong. The government is a big industry." - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2019
JASE GRAVES: Curl Up and Diet - According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), about half of Americans are currently trying to lose weight, many of them employing strategies like switching from peanut M&M's to the plain variety, or drinking more Cherry Coke to increase their intake of fruit.
Unfortunately, most diet plans fail, and any calories burned through the exhausting process of signing up for a gym membership are quickly regained through the consumption of a recovery donut on the way home to take a nap. Too bad we can't all follow the sage advice of the late Benny Hill, who said that the best way to lose ten pounds of ugly fat is to cut off your head.
I kicked off my own dieting journey recently when I was drying off after my morning shower and noticed that I could no longer wrap a towel around my mid-section without the assistance of an industrial ratchet strap. To add insult to injury, the last time my wife and I bought towels, we opted for extra-large "bath sheets," which apparently can double as bedding when not being used to dry commercial aircraft.
Having already tried a self-designed dieting plan I called the "Cheeto" diet (not to be confused with that newfangled Keto diet), in which I only ate foods described as "cheese-flavored," I decided to seek medical advice. I already had a doctor's appointment to see about another personal issue that was threatening to cripple our household plumbing, so while I was there, I asked the doctor about the best way to lose my "spare tire," which had developed a severe sidewall bulge on each side in the love handle region. - More...
Friday AM - February 15, 2019
Political Cartoon: US debt snowballing
By Dave Granlund ©2019, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.
An Honest Budget: Sustainable, Predictable, Affordable By Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy - One promise I made to Alaskans was to present you with a permanent fiscal plan, one in which we tackle our economic challenges and start bringing fiscal responsibility to Juneau. Combined with a series of legislative proposals and constitutional amendments, a major element of that commitment is addressing the state’s out-of-control spending.
This year, we’re presenting the Legislature with an annual budget that takes an open and straightforward approach. Rather than starting with the bloated budgets of the past and asking ourselves “where do we cut,” we did exactly what Alaskan families and small businesses are forced to do when faced with financial hardship. We started from the ground floor and built an annual budget where the amount we spend aligns with the amount we bring in, an approach that built a budget up rather than reducing a budget down.
As we’ve all seen, for too long, politicians haven’t been honest when it comes to the numbers and the seriousness of our fiscal woes. We’ve seen misleading figures and confusing budget tactics; we’ve relied on massive amounts of savings and Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends to grow the size and reach of government – all while never seriously tackling the issue of spending. Today I’m here to say: Those days are over. We can no longer spend what we don’t have, and we can’t pretend otherwise. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 13, 2019
Does Cursive Handwriting Matter? By
Kate Gladstone - Handwriting matters: does cursive matter? Research shows that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility. (Sources for all research are available on request.)
The fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive: though they aren’t print-writers either. Highest speed and highest legibility in handwriting are attained by those who join only some letters, not all: joining only the most easily joined letter-combinations, leaving the rest unjoined, and using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree.
Reading cursive still matters - but reading cursive is much easier and quicker to master than writing the same way too. Reading cursive, simply reading it, can be taught in just 30 to 60 minutes - even to five- or six-year-olds - once they read ordinary print. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 13, 2019
DEGREES OF DISHONESTY, CPAs INTENTIONALLY VIOLATING THE LAW By
David G Hanger, EA, MBA - There are only three classifications of individuals who are licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service and/or the Tax Courts of the United States. These are enrolled agents, attorneys, and certified public accountants (CPAs). All licensed practitioners have client privilege (which is to say what you say to them is between you and them only), rights of representation on behalf of their clients before the Service, and the ability to negotiate directly with the Service on an independent basis on behalf of one’s client. Those who call themselves ‘tax preparers’ or the even more euphemistic ‘tax professionals’ have no such rights or privileges, and in fact can and will be compelled to testify against you in a court of law. All three licensed categories require the passage of barrier exams that on average less than 20% pass annually. In the case of enrolled agents a two-year Federal background check is also required because such individuals are licensed to practice in all 50 states, as opposed to state licensing for the other two categories (reciprocity is granted by many states, but not all). Licensed practitioners are licensed under oath to only and to at all times operate within the limits of the law. That is the whole idea of the licensing, to guarantee to the public that these individuals are honest people whose advice and counsel can be trusted to NOT VIOLATE THE LAW.-
Sunday PM - February 10, 2019
Right to Life By
Robert Holston - Stacey Abrams, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and potential Senate candidate, delivered the Democrats' response to President Trump's State of the Union address. One particular statement near the end caught my attention. “America achieved a measure of reproductive justice in Roe v. Wade, but we must never forget: It is immoral to allow politicians to harm women and families to advance a political agenda.” Speaking of harm....- More...
Wednesday PM - February 06, 2019
Trump Is A National Security Threat By
Donald Moskowitz - As a former Navy enlisted man and an officer I am concerned with the threat to national security posed by President Trump. His attacks on our intelligence agencies and cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin are un-American. - More...
Monday PM - February 04, 2019
Why Drug Prices Keep Going Up - and Why They Need to Come Down By
Alex M. Azar II - Two years ago this month, President Trump promised the American people that he would stop drug companies from “getting away with murder” with their annual ritual of price increases. Since then, his historic actions on drug pricing have produced historic results. One official measure of drug price inflation was actually negative in 2018, for the first time in almost 50 years. - More...
Thursday PM - January 31, 2019
Big or small, radiation can affect your health By
Art Nash and Jennifer Athey - Certain words can create anxiety depending on your life experiences. One of those words is radiation. This is especially true for those of us who grew up during the Cold War and had under-the-desk drills, saw yellow rectangle “Fallout Shelter” signs at school and came to know geography framed by Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl.- More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019
Re: Edwards' Mess By
Gigi Pilcher - I agree 100% with John Herrington's Letter regarding prosecution of each and every adult employed by the KGDSB who knew (first hand) about the sexual assault/sexual abuse allegation. - More...
Friday PM - January 18, 2019
Vote for Donna Frank By
Kathleen Yarr - I have known Donna Frank since 1987. I hired her to work on the KIC Welfare Reform program in 1994 when I was the Director of Social Services.
Friday PM - January 18, 2019
The Edwards' Mess By
John Harrington - The Ketchikan School Board investigation into the Edwards' mess has been completed. The Executive Summary is available. The School Board is busy preparing for alterations in their policies. Great. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019
RE: Abolish Salmon Hatcheries? By
Teri Dawe - I read the letter with interest. This has been a complex ongoing largely unrecognized problem for an extremely long time. - More...
Monday PM - January 14, 2019
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