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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 06, 2013

Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Rotary Beach Sunrise
Front Page Photo By DOUG BURKMAN ©2013
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Ketchikan: New TFCU Officers Elected – Tongass Federal Credit Union members are celebrating a 50th anniversary year as member-owners of a financial cooperative, chartered by teachers and public employees in 1963.

Members at the annual meeting elected Nathan Fawcett of Metlakatla and re-elected Jeanne Sande of Ketchikan to three-year terms on the Board of Directors.  Fawcett is the elected Executive Treasurer of the Metlakatla Indian Community.  Sande is a retired Ketchikan teacher; she has served two previous terms on the TFCU Board. Both were nominated by the TFCU Board Nominating Committee.

The annual meeting Feb. 23 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center was attended by 171 adult members.  Tongass FCU is based in Ketchikan with branches in Metlakatla, Klawock and Thorne Bay.  As a community charter credit union, TFCU offers membership to anyone living or working in Southern Southeast Alaska.  - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

Alaska, National: Legislation to Address Mental Illness and Gun Violence Introduced - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) today joined Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) to introduce legislation to clarify circumstances under which a person loses the right to receive or possess firearms based on mental illness. The legislation, The NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013, enjoys strong support from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The Senators noted that under current law certain mental incompetency adjudications are not required to be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which is the clearinghouse for all new gun purchases.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to bring together unlikely allies from outside the building and produce a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will help keep our communities safe while protecting our Second Amendment rights,” Begich said. “I have worked side by side with both the NRA and the mental health community to ensure that this bill will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people without stigmatizing the mentally ill or taking away individual rights. I hope today’s announcement serves as a reminder that if we roll up our sleeves and work together, we can still get things done around here.” - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

Alaska: Symposium to focus on impacts of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystem - Sea Ice covering the Arctic Ocean melted away to a record low in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The steady loss of arctic sea ice is perhaps the most obvious sign of a warming planet.

Far less obvious is how individual marine species - from arctic cod that live just below and sometimes within the sea ice, to seals, whales, polar bears and ultimately humans—will respond to the loss of sea ice and other consequences of a warmer Arctic.

In one of the first major scientific meetings on the topic, Alaska Sea Grant will convene Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, the 28th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium, in Anchorage, Alaska, March 26–29, 2013.

This symposium will bring scientists from around the world to share their research on how arctic marine ecosystems are responding to climate change. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

Alaska: Alaska’s peonies are the state’s new cash crop By NANCY TARNAI - A little over a decade ago you’d have been hard pressed to find peonies growing in Alaska, except for the occasional decorative backyard bush. Today, there are 25 farms that belong to the Alaska Peony Growers Association.

Alaska’s peonies are the state’s new cash crop

The peony is a beautiful flower in great demand for weddings and other special occasions.
Photo courtesy of Pat Holloway

At the group’s winter meeting Feb. 13-15 in Fairbanks, 150 people gathered to learn about peony growing techniques and share their stories of pluck and perseverance.

“It’s been incredible,” said Franci Havemeister, director of the Alaska Division of Agriculture. “I was at their first meeting five years ago and the growth is amazing.” Peony sales present an economic potential for Alaska, she said. “We can meet the demand no one else is able to meet. It’s a wide open market.”

Apparently, eager growers concur. According to Pat Holloway, a horticulture professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, commercial production began in 2004 with small test plots in Fairbanks, Kenai and Homer. By 2012, more than 100,000 roots had been planted by 38 growers. The projected statewide harvest by 2015 is over 1 million peony stems. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

Alaska Science:
After a lifetime of study, aurora still a mystery By NED ROZELL - Sometimes, after idling in the sky for hours as a greenish glow, the aurora catches fire, erupting toward the magnetic north pole in magnificent chaos that can last for three hours. “Substorms,” as space physicists call them, can happen two or three times each night.

After a lifetime of study, aurora still a mystery

Nothern aurora at onset of a substorm
Photo by Ned Rozell

The man who came up with that name half a century ago has, with a former student he once mentored, come up with a new theory on the location of heavenly energy for these auroras.

Syun-Ichi Akasofu first heard the word aurora from his mother, who sang it to him in a lullaby. He would not see the phenomenon until he was 28, when in the late 1950s he traveled from Japan to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has been here ever since.

During much of his six decades in the far north, he has pondered the complicated mechanisms that trigger the aurora. But there was a 20-year gap in Akasofu’s academic pursuits when he served first as director of the Geophysical Institute and then the International Arctic Research Center, both at UAF. He retired from high-level administrative work in 2007, and now spends fewer hours at the office.

Now that he has free moments, Akasofu has, with some controversy, dug in to study the natural component of climate change, pointing out that the world should be getting warmer as it recovers from the Little Ice Age, which ended in the 1800s.

He has also returned to his first love, the aurora. Akasofu and the man who was his first post-doctoral student - Tony Lui of Johns Hopkins University - have come up with an idea that’s different from a foundational belief of many who study space physics. That is not unusual for the 83-year-old contrarian. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013


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letter WHAT TO DO IF YOUR UNLICENSED TAX PREPARER SCREWS YOU By David G. Hanger, EA, MBA - It is pretty hard to miss these ads on TV, so I am sure most of you by now have seen the ongoing advertising wars between Turbotax and H&R Block being played out for your viewing pleasure since the first of the year.  H&R Block started with a group of rather bizarre dunderheads representing their so-called “tax professionals,” a pleasant enough, but odd looking gent in a yellow bow tie, a heavy set black guy with a somewhat stupefied and shocked look on his face, a little old lady who cackles as she brags about the 25,000 tax returns she has prepared (a near mathematical impossibility, I might add; my whole firm, for example, in more than 35 years has not prepared 25,000 income tax returns), and a glib, heavy set younger woman who smiles at us and declares that she has read all 900 pages (or is it 9000??) of something to do with Obamacare.  (To which my response would be, “and do you have a life??”  It is way too early to waste one-tenth that time reading regulatory language on that subject.) - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter SEPA's Swan Lake swan song? By A.M. Johnson - Thank you for recently posting a link to this article. "AP&T analysis suggests SEAPA buyout option" Wrangell Sentinel 2-21-13. Rest assured, during the recent posting by myself on the subject of the potential of connecting the SEAPA grid to the B.C.Hydro transmission line some 50 miles from the Tyee powerhouse, there was never an effort or desire to bring into the discussion the demise of SEAPA. However, given the presentation by Mr. Grimm of AP&T allowing for the expansion of generation services in a greater area of service, one has to opine that a renewed viewing of the potential value of including the option of the B.C connection for the purpose of importing low cost and consistent power sourcing as the development of the grid system Mr. Grimm visualizes come to fruition where excess power has a avenue for exporting to the lower 48 states. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Bristol Bay fishermen raise bar on salmon quality By Izetta Chambers - Having grown up in a fishing family in Bristol Bay, I have watched and taken part in the slow and sometimes painful journey to improve salmon quality. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Thank You By Donita O'Dell - Southeast Organization for Animals would like to extend a warm and hearty THANK YOU to the many people and organizations who helped make our February 23 low-cost vaccination clinic in Metlakatla a success, with 46 dogs and cats vaccinated. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013 

letter Regarding Abortion... By Lenard Nance - Freedom to choose what? In the arena of discussion regarding abortion I have heard and read a phrase that, like a hub in a wheel, seems to anchor all arguments that revolve around it ... "freedom of choice". What I rarely hear or read is a definitive answer to my question, "freedom to choose what?". - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Replace the Income Tax By Glen E. Terrell - The FairTax is an idea whose time has come.  The congress, both House and Senate, republicans and democrats, has demonstrated time after time, the inability to restrain itself with the public purse.  The congress simply can’t govern effectively as long as the income tax is in place.  Even the “fiscal crises” legislation passed by the current congress added $74 billion MORE to the deficit; all to favor special interest groups.  In order to save America, congress must be denied the instrument of its folly; the income tax.  A solution has been filed away in a drawer somewhere by the congress for over 10 years.  It’s called The FairTax. It’s neither a republican nor democrat idea but truly an American idea! - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter PAGE 341 By David G. Hanger - Along the way in my travels now and again I come across something interesting, and on this particular return journey I re-visited what is probably the most important book written about the American Civil War in the last 50 years.  By Charles Royster The Destructive War, 1991, is highly regarded by both historians and by academia.  It is an exceptional work. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter H.R.25: The Fair Tax Act By Roy T Newsom - The US House Ways and Means Committee has had H.R.25 The Fair Tax Act shelved for several years.  Your Representative needs to hear from the voters that passing this bill is the only real solution to the problems of our economy.  Every worker will receive their full paycheck with no payroll deductions for medicare, social security or income tax.  Businesses will not have to pay income taxes and can use that money to create more jobs. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

letter Consumption tax By Patrick R. Burkett - The Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds will become insolvent within the next few years due to high payouts and low income. The Fair Tax, HR25, pending in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, would resolve this problem. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 06, 2013

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