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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

February 28, 2019

Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN

Tongass Narrows Sunset
Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN ©2019

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Alaska: Trump makes stop, speech at Alaska military base - President Donald Trump showered praise on troops and touted the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling when Air Force One made a refueling stop Thursday in Alaska as the president returned from Asia. - More....
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Alaska: International Voyage Aims to Unravel Mysteries of Pacific Salmon Survival - An international team of biologists is setting out into some of the roughest waters in the North Pacific Ocean in the middle of winter to try to solve the fundamental mystery of Pacific salmon: What determines whether they live or die?

International Voyage Aims to Unravel Mysteries of Pacific Salmon Survival

NWFSC’s Dr. Laurie Weitkamp is the U.S. chief scientist for this international expedition.
Courtesy Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Pursuing Answers in the Remote Ocean

Perhaps the most critical, but least known, part of the salmon life cycle is the few years the fish spend on the high seas, gaining energy to return to their home rivers and spawn. This is where most of the salmon that stream out of Northwest and Alaska rivers each year disappear, most never to be seen again. Now the science team is headed into the remote Gulf of Alaska to try to find out which fish survive, and why.

“What we most need to know about salmon, we mostly don’t know,” said Richard “Dick” Beamish, a longtime salmon researcher in Canada who, with Russian colleagues, launched plans for the research expedition as a centerpiece of the International Year of the Salmon in 2019. He also raised about $1 million to fund the voyage. NOAA Fisheries contributed as well.

“Nothing like this has ever been done before to my knowledge, and I’ve been doing this for 50 years,” Beamish said. “I believe that we will make discoveries that will change the way we think of salmon and do salmon research.”

International Scientists Join Voyage

NOAA Fisheries has three scientists on board the survey, which includes top salmon researchers from Russia, Korea, Japan, and Canada. Scientists believe that Pacific Rim salmon, whether from Alaska, the west coast of the United States, or the east coast of Asia, all spend time in the Gulf of Alaska during their years at sea.

Fisheries biologist Laurie Weitkamp, who is based at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Newport (Ore.) Research Station, will be the chief U.S. scientist for the trip. Weitkamp’s previous research has mainly focused on estuaries and coastal areas, she said, while the open ocean has largely remained a “black box” to scientists searching for better tools to predict salmon returns to west coast and Alaska rivers.

“This is not a place that is very easy to go and do science, especially in winter,” said Weitkamp, who recognizes she will likely get seasick in waves known to tower 50 feet or higher, but is O.K. with that. “To understand what is affecting these fish, you have to go where the fish are, and now we are finally about to do that.”

Fisheries biologists Charlie Waters and Gerard Foley from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center will be collecting samples for several studies to learn more about salmon condition and diet. In particular, they want to learn more about what pink salmon are eating and whether they are in competition with sockeye, Chinook, and coho for prey resources. All of these salmon species support important commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries in Alaska.

“We have a vested interest in knowing what’s going on during the winter months,” said Foley. “It is a critical, critical time in the life history of these fish.”- More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019


NW Archaeology: 3,500 years of shellfish farming by indigenous peoples on the Northwest coast - The Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia have been harvesting shellfish from specially-constructed clam gardens for at least 3500 years, according to a study released February 27, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Nicole Smith of the Hakai Institute, Dana Lepofsky of Simon Fraser University, and colleagues. This research offers new methods for tracking the history and development of mariculture.

The study reveals that clam gardens, ancient Indigenous food security systems located along B.C.'s coast, date back at least 3,500 years - almost 2,000 years older than previously thought. These human-built beach terraces continue to create habitat for clams and other sea creatures to flourish in the area.

For thousands of years, First Nations of the Northwest Coast, from Alaska to Washington, relied on clams as a staple food. Clam gardens have helped Indigenous peoples prevent the depletion of this important food resource despite ongoing harvesting to support the growth of dense and widespread human populations.

Clam gardens are traditional mariculture structures consisting of a rock wall and flat terrace that serve as a sheltered habitat for clams in intertidal zones of beaches. It is known that these gardens increase clam productivity and abundance and have long been important food sources for coastal Indigenous cultures. However, since clam gardens often have complex formation histories, they can be difficult to date, and it is thus difficult to track mariculture trends through time.

"This traditional form of mariculture has been used continuously for 3500 years and into the present day, and it holds potential to become a model for how local, sustainable food systems could operate in the future," says Nicole Smith.

"Oral traditions, songs, and local Indigenous knowledge, as well as the archaeological record indicate that clam gardens were built and used throughout the coast," says Dana Lepofsky. "However, because clam gardens are constructed of rock, it is difficult to determine the age of these features using standard archaeological techniques. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

Southeast Alaska: Juneau Man Sentenced for Role in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that a Juneau man has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy to transport heroin and methamphetamine from the lower 48 to Alaska for distribution.

Bryan O’Neil Yambao Arce, 40, of Juneau, was sentenced Tuesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess, to serve 54 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In December 2018, Arce pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy.  

Arce became the subject of an investigation in June 2015, when the Juneau Drug Enforcement Unit (JDEU) began receiving tips that Arce was importing drugs into Juneau.  The investigation revealed that, in order to elude law enforcement, Arce utilized a false identification while travelling to Juneau on commercial aircraft, and carried heroin and methamphetamine on his person for subsequent distribution in Juneau.  Arce also collected drug proceeds from co-conspirators while in Juneau to pay for drugs previously supplied during the course of the conspiracy.  After collecting the drug proceeds, Arce shipped the proceeds to himself using air cargo services.  In total, Arce sent 32 packages in this manner.  - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019


: Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Federal Prison for Attempted Sex Trafficking and Exploitation of Minors - An Anchorage man has been sentenced to federal prison after he made arrangements with an undercover detective to meet with two fictional minors, whom he believed to be real, to engage in sexual activities, announced U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder.

Danny Ray Lowe, 50, of Anchorage, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to serve 16 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime years of supervised release.  After a three-day trial in July 2018, a federal jury convicted Lowe of two counts of attempted sexual trafficking of a minor, and two counts of attempted enticement of a minor. 

According to court documents, Lowe promptly responded to an online advertisement placed by a detective working an undercover operation.  Over an approximate six-month period, Lowe corresponded with the detective using text messages to negotiate the time, place, and price to have sex with two fictional girls, aged 13 and 14.  On Sept. 12, 2017, Lowe arrived at the agreed-upon Anchorage motel, ready and willing to pay $150 for two hours of illegal sex with the two minors.  The investigation revealed that Lowe had also brought condoms and strawberry-flavored personal lubricant to the motel. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

Alaska: Traveler Sentenced for Attempting to Have Sex with a Child; Defendant Traveled from Minnesota to Have Sex with a 9-Year-old; FBI Agents Were Waiting for Him - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that Adam Scott Pike, 43, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, was sentenced on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason, to serve 22.5 years in prison, to be followed by a life term of supervised release, for traveling to Alaska with the intent to have sex with a minor, and distribution of child pornography.

According court documents, in early 2017, Pike communicated through a social media application with an individual in Alaska.  During those communications, the Alaska man sent sexually explicit images of a minor, and discussed with Pike the possibility of Pike traveling to Alaska in order to have sex with the minor.

On or about March 2, 2017, the FBI arrested the Alaska man and assumed control of his account.  Conversations between Pike and an undercover FBI Special Agent about Pike’s trip to Alaska continued.  During these communications, Pike sent to the undercover FBI Special Agent two videos of child pornography.  Pike also sent images of himself masturbating that he requested be shown to the minor with who he was going to have sex.  Pike traveled from Minnesota on April 3, 2017.  When Pike arrived in Alaska, he contacted the FBI undercover Special Agent and told the Special Agent to come to a local motel with the minor.  The FBI arrested Pike at the motel. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

Analysis: Trump-Kim summit ends with no deal, but diplomacy is a long process By TIZOC CHAVEZ - A second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended on Feb. 28 with no deal on limiting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

“We had to walk away from that,” the president said.

The two leaders split over both the scope and pace of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Kim offered partial steps to curb his nuclear program in exchange for the complete lifting of sanctions by the United States. This was more than Trump was willing to give for only incremental progress.

I study the personal diplomacy of world leaders, which is when heads of state and government directly engage through letters, phone calls and face-to-face meetings.

Though the summit broke up with no deal, based on my knowledge of past U.S. presidential summits, I know that talks that end without an agreement can still be important in laying the foundation for future progress.

Diplomacy is a long and laborious process. And even with preparation, summits aren’t guaranteed to succeed. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

Analysis: Oversight committee session with Michael Cohen looked like an illegitimate show hearing By STANLEY M. BRAND - Convicted perjurer Michael Cohen’s testimony at his congressional hearings was a political spectacle.

But Cohen’s appearance may not actually be legitimate under congressional rules.

In Cohen’s case, the Government Oversight and Reform Committee’s description of the issues it will explore in his hearing include “the President’s debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election … the President’s compliance with campaign finance laws…the President’s business practices …” even the “accuracy of the President’s public statements.”

These subjects have nothing to do with the committee’s jurisdiction. The committee’s role is to investigate the “overall economy and efficiency and management of government operations and activities.” - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

Analysis: Michael Cohen's verbal somersault, 'I lied, but I'm not a liar,' translated by a rhetoric expert By JENNIFER MERCIECA - Michael Cohen, who admits to lying, also says he’s not a liar.

Can we separate what someone does from who they are? Cohen thinks we should and it would help us to understand both him and Trump better.

Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, testified before Congress about his former client Wednesday.

Cohen claimed that he wanted “to correct the record” about his previous testimony. Correcting the record now, Cohen hoped, would prove to the nation that lying was what Cohen did, but not who he is.

“I have lied, but I am not a liar,” said Cohen. “I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man,” he assured Congress. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019



TOM PURCELL: Donations to Pay Down U.S. Debt Pointless - With America's national debt surpassing a frightening $22 trillion, it makes sense that fewer people are volunteering their hard-earned dough to help reduce it.

Since 1961, the Bureau of the Public Debt has allowed Americans to "gift" money to the Treasury Department - on the condition that the money be used only to pay down the debt.

Last year's donations totaled about $775,000 - "only the fourth time in 20 years that the fund didn't reach at least $1 million in actual dollars," says U.S. News & World Report. 

"Over the last five years the amount of gifts to reduce public debt has shrunk substantially from about $5 million to under a million," a Treasury spokesman told U.S. News.

Why the drop? Nobody's certain. But I have a theory. 

It isn't related to politics. The pattern of annual donations, high and low, is nearly even during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

So, who volunteers their money? And why do they even bother? - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019


DANNY TYREE: Do You Deserve the Right to Repair Your Electronics? - Remember the good ol' days of shade tree mechanics, denim patches and Emmett's Fix-It Shop on "Mayberry R.F.D."?

The growing complexity and fragility of high-tech consumer products (smartphones, tablets, video game consoles, microwave ovens, tractors, etc.) has threatened such a thrifty lifestyle; but some activists claim that even more damage has been done by the high-pressure tactics of the "either ship it to us for repair or just toss it in the landfill and buy a new one" manufacturers of those items. 

These companies are not above issuing cease-and-desist orders when an intrepid tinkerer reverse-engineers a product and posts repair tips online, or even remotely shutting down a product that contains unauthorized replacement parts. 

It's a wonder that even more companies haven't jumped aboard the greed train. I could just see the Ketchup Police kicking the front door open and catching penny-pinching miscreants with a nearly empty ketchup bottle turned upside down. ("Yeah, I'm a Ketchup Policeman. My parents met when Mom was rounding up hooligans who put aluminum foil on their rabbit-ear antennas, and Dad was cuffing scofflaws who used pliers to change channels.") - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: Trump Kim No Deal

Political Cartoon: Trump Kim No Deal
By Rick McKee ©2019, The Augusta Chronicle, GA
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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The real solution to rural Alaska’s challenges? Good jobs and the dignity that comes with them By First Lady Roxe Dunleavy - In December, my husband chose to hold his inauguration in my home village of Noorvik because it expressed our deep respect and love for the people of rural Alaska. I will forever be grateful to the people of my home village, the people of Kotzebue and the all the people of the Northwest Arctic region for hosting the governor, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, our families and all who attended that amazing, historic event as guests. They received the tremendous hospitality and kindness our people are known for.

The event was held at a school named after my late father, Robert Aqqaluk Newlin, Sr. My father was the first chairman of the NANA board of directors and a former mayor of Noorvik. Our family is honored that his portrait and a quotation of his, highlighting the importance of hard work, hangs in the school. That quotation and its location in the school illustrate two very important values that our people and the Native people of Alaska share: the value of education and the value of hard work.

Those are the same values I share with my husband and rural residents because those values are important to have if Alaska is going to to attract new businesses and investment. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

Not an Expenditure! By Ghert Abbott - Like many Ketchikan residents, I appreciate that Representative Ortiz took the time to inform us on February 13th about the Governor’s slash & burn budget.

Unfortunately, Ortiz’s analysis was marred by a serious ideological mischaracterization of the PFD.

Our Representative wrote: “Dividends are the largest expenditure in our state budget.” The dividend is not a state expenditure and should not be framed as such. Rather, the money taken from the PFD and the Permanent Fund’s Earning Reserve should be considered tax revenue.

This is not a matter of mere semantics; there are real consequences in such definitions and framing. If the dividend is just another expenditure, then that means all of the Permanent Fund belongs to the state government, not individual Alaskans, and the dividend is just another state welfare program. If the PFD is an expenditure, than the deficit is principally caused by the PFD, as opposed to the state government’s ongoing failure to raise oil taxes and implement an income tax. If the PFD is a government expenditure rather than tax revenue, than confiscating money from the dividend is a state cutback rather than a state tax. And if it’s not a tax, then the politicians don’t have to take responsibility for regressively taxing you. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

Dunleavy's Budget By Robert K. Rice - Like his counterpart in the White House, creating uncertainty, fear, and despair are Dunleavy's greatest skill. Will I have a job? How will we fund our schools? Are we going to have to kick old people out of the Pioneer homes? Will I lose my health care coverage? Will criminals prevail, as we reduce our law enforcement personnel? How will people on islands from Dutch Harbor to Ketchikan travel with our vehicles and motorhomes? etc. etc. etc. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

The hard truth about Medicaid expansion By Bethany Marcum - It’s time for a reality check. Since Alaska expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults in 2015, our state has experienced cost overruns, unexpected—but predictable—over-enrollment, and is facing a dependency crisis. Some—local lawmakers and local lobbyists included—would have you believe that Medicaid expansion has benefitted ouf state. But it’s time to face the facts: Medicaid expansion is failing Alaskans. - More...
Monday AM - February 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Food for Thought By Austin Otis - The City of Ketchikan should rework its laws around operating local food trucks. The local government has placed strict regulations that food trucks are not permitted on public property and must be confined to private property (municipal codes: 9.56.040 and 9.56.055). This ordinance has not only stifled growth in entrepreneurship but has confined locals to limited restaurant options. The demand for food choices has exploded under the ever increasing tourist populations and the large influx of seasonal workers. To tame their appetites, an expansion in the local food truck industry could be a solution to a culinary dilemma. Food trucks often reflect a community’s commitment in providing good grub to its inhabitants. We don’t have to look far to find food trucks operating in other Alaskan cities such as Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. If they can have reasonable sanitation regulations and operating guidelines on food trucks, why can't Ketchikan, with a rising visitor industry of 1.2 million as of 2019? - More...
Monday AM - February 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Shareholders' revolt By Dominic Salvato - The Sealaska Corporation sees the shareholders' revolt as "ungrateful" for the dividends received over the past 47 years. This isn't the case at all.  - More...
Monday AM - February 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Dunleavy's cuts By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Last week, Governor Dunleavy unveiled his amended budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020. As expected, there were substantial cuts to government agencies, all of which will affect Southern Southeast. Some of the cuts that will be most noticeable here in District 36 are the Marine Highway, services to our seniors, education, Fish & Game, public safety, and access to information. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Proposed budget cuts to education By Bob Claus - As a long term resident of Prince of Wales island and a former school board member in Craig, I was dismayed and disappointed by the Governor’s proposed budget, especially the proposed cuts to education funding. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

THE GREAT ALASKA DEPRESSION COMETH, YOU VOTED FOR IT By David G Hanger - The main problem with a parrot is it does not understand that it is repeating words, let alone comprehending what they might mean. So whether you are a liar, a crook, or a murderer does not really matter, the parrot prattles your drivel not realizing even that it is a parrot. There is considerable parallel with the human parrot who prattles his or her drivel with the intent in mind of deceiving you. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

State Budget By Chris J. Herby - I, just like everyone else in our area, was quite set back and rather mad when I read the details of our new governor's proposed budget. Then I realized that this can't really be a serious budget proposal and instead is merely his way of getting our attention and telling us that we do in fact have a serious financial problem facing our state. I think most of us have been aware of that for quite some time now. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Gov. Dunleavy's proposed budget, a picture of doom & gloom. By Carol Dooley - Gov. Dunleavy's proposed budget is a picture of doom & gloom. His proposed budget outlines the demise of the Alaska Marine Highway system, which would be followed by the demise of the Ketchikan shipyard. He proposes to rob our senior citizens of services, to rob the poor of medical coverage, to rob our children of a decent education and ruin our State University, and to add insult to injury he proposes to take all of the commercial fish tax money and slash the Department of Fish & Game budget. All for the sake of a full payout of the permanent fund dividend. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Dunleavy, You Need To Try Harder By Charles Edwardson - Cutting education in any way shape or form in my opinion should be a last resort not your first option as a governor! I see one term wonder as the first sentence on your next resume. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Gabrielle LeDoux: The untold story By John Nelson - Gabrielle LeDoux: The untold story and how Governor Dunleavy can defeat this impasse while also obtaining a majority in the House at the same time... - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: Anti-vaxxers are a threat to all of us By Amanda Mitchell - If you are up-to-date on your immunizations, what ‘vaccine-preventable’ disease would you need to fear acquiring from an ‘anti-vaxxer?’ Rich Manieri says that if you don’t vaccinate you risk infecting other people and if you vaccinate you won’t contract the disease vaccinated for. (Manieri 2019) So the very reason Rich Manieri suggests that all vaccine exemptions should be removed is the exact same reason no one should feel threatened by the unvaccinated. Most importantly, you have to have the disease to spread it in the first place and to assume all unvaccinated people carry a disease is highly discriminatory and dangerous.   - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Israel: A Strategic Ally By Donald Moskowitz - People who claim to be anti-Israel and who support boycotting Israeli products, divestments from Israeli companies, and sanctions are actually Jew Haters who cloak their true hatred in anti-Israel rhetoric.  - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

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