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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Thursday PM
March 21, 2013

Panorama Sunrise: Rotary Beach
Front Page Photo By MIKE SMITH ©2013
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
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Ketchikan: State of the Art Skateboard Park Becomes A Reality By AMANDA HEIN & MARY KAUFFMAN - The dream of a skateboard park in Ketchikan is becoming a reality. Years in the planning, "The Shane Howard White Skateboard Park" will be a state of the art park that will be enjoyed by many for years to come said Bob Fultz, President of Ketchikan Youth Initiatives. - More...
Friday - March 15, 2013


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Ketchikan: New Ship Assembly Hall To Be Dedicated - Alaska Ship & Drydock (ASD) in cooperation with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) will host a ceremony March 26 to dedicate the new ship assembly hall at the Ketchikan Shipyard.

New Ship Assembly Hall To Be Dedicated

Ketchikan Shipyard's new
ship assembly hall
Photograph courtesy Alaska Ship & Drydock

Giving the keynote address will be Congressman Don Young, whose advocacy and hard work to reindustrialize Southeast Alaska has helped turn the shipyard into an engine for private investment and family-wage jobs in Ketchikan. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski will be present to honor Congressman Young’s long service in Congress and his role in building industrial capacity in Ketchikan.

The recently opened ship assembly hall is a 70,000 square-foot advanced manufacturing facility and the latest in a series of improvements to the Ketchikan Shipyard. The shipyard, which is owned by AIDEA and operated by ASD under a 30-year agreement, has grown from a small operation to a state-of-the-art industrial facility in the past 19 years. Shipyard employment has grown from 30 to 157 over the same period, with today’s jobs earning about 1.5 times the average annual earnings for private-sector workers in the Ketchikan Borough.

Much of that growth can be attributed to improvements to the facilities that allow the shipyard operator to compete for more projects and win them, said ASD President Adam Beck.

“Right now, there are about 40 Alaskans who have family-wage jobs building the first large modern fishing vessel built in Alaska. That probably wouldn’t have happened here without this new assembly hall,” Beck said. “And the assembly hall wouldn’t have happened without the strong leadership of Congressman Young and our partners at the state and local levels.”

Improvements to the yard have followed the Ketchikan Borough and AIDEA’s Shipyard Development Plan, first published in 1999. Drawn up to address the economically devastating collapse of the Southeast Alaska timber industry in the mid-1990s, the plan set a course to reindustrialize Ketchikan and Southeast Alaska through construction of advanced marine industrial manufacturing facilities in Ketchikan. Congressman Young supported this initiative by sponsoring two bills, which brought more than $50 million in federal funding to make the development plan into a reality. In total, Congressman Young’s efforts have helped secure more than $100 million in local, state, and federal investment in the Ketchikan Shipyard. 

Some of that funding paid for the $31 million assembly hall, which was completed on time and on budget in large part due to an innovative contracting system implemented by US Federal Transit Administration. That system brought together the project owner and contractor early to identify and address potential delays and cost overruns before construction began. Other portions of the funds went toward building a ship transfer system, a ship repair berth, an operations center and an advanced waste water treatment system. A new $10 million ship module fabrication facility is set to be completed later this year. That facility will feed large ship modules directly into the assembly hall for final assembly of complete new ships. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

Interior Department’s Will Take Closer Look at Proposed King Cove Road and Land Exchange - King Cove residents are praising the Interior Department for agreeing to take a second look at the proposed land exchange and small road corridor from remote King Cove to Cold Bay. Last night, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) held a meeting with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Today, the Interior Department announced that it will review the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s opposition to the life-saving road.

Salazar agreed to take a look at factors that Murkowski has said were not adequately considered the first time, including the health and safety of the residents of King Cove. Under the agreement, the Interior Department will look at whether the environmental impact statement (EIS) by the Fish and Wildlife Service adequately considered the importance of protecting the human health and safety of the residents of King Cove. The review will also include an evaluation of Interior’s native trust responsibilities, and government-to-government consultations with local Aleut groups, including the Aleut Native Corp., Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove, Beikofski Tribal Council, King Cove Corp., City of King Cove and Aleutians East Borough.

If the Interior Department does approve the land exchange and road construction, the federal government would receive more than 56,000 acres of pristine land (43,093 acres of state land and 13,300 acres of land owned by the King Cove Corporation). As part of the land swap, 206 acres would be conveyed to the State of Alaska for a small, single-lane gravel road leading to the all-weather airport in the neighboring community of Cold Bay. The State of Alaska would also receive 1,600 acres from the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Sitkinak Island south of Kodiak.

“There is no greater good we could do than to provide the residents of King Cove a safe land route to the airport in Cold Bay so they can be evacuated in cases of medical emergencies,” Murkowski said. “I’m pleased that Secretary Salazar has agreed to take a second look at this. I look forward to working with Interior to ensure the department fulfills its native trust responsibilities to the people of King Cove.” 

“We are so pleased and satisfied that the Interior Department has agreed to take a closer look at the environmental impact statement (EIS) by the Fish and Wildlife Service”, said Della Trumble, spokeswoman for the King Cove (Native) Corporation and the Agdaagux Tribal Council of King Cove. “We believe that the human factor, the safety of the King Cove residents, wasn’t given serious consideration, as required by law. We appreciate that the Interior Department will focus on its responsibility to protect the well-being of Alaska Natives. We’re just asking that the Department fulfill its native trust responsibilities to the people of King Cove. That has been what we’ve been asking for during this entire process.” - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom PurcellTOM PURCELL: Income Tax 101 - Ah, the income tax preparation season is upon us.

You're probably wondering why you have to spend a couple of weekends barricaded in a room, sorting through receipts in the faint hope of complying with our confusing income tax laws.

The income tax first came to America in 1861. Americans paid it to help finance the Civil War, but come 1871 - six years after the war - the tax was repealed.

Some politicians, however, took a liking to it. They tried for the next 20 years to reinstate it. But the Supreme Court shot down the income tax as unconstitutional.

By 1913, however, the income tax weenies finally won. The 16th Amendment was passed and the income tax was signed into law.

Here's how it worked: Only those who earned more than $3,000 — a lot of money in those days - had to pay. And they only had to pay about 1 percent. The highest rate, for those who earned $500,000 or more, was only 7 percent. As you well know, these low tax rates didn't last.

By 1918, the top rate - the highest rate imposed on the highest earners — rose to a whopping 77 percent. Why? So America could finance World War I. And did the rates drop back to pre-war levels when the war ended?

Nope. The top rate did fall from 77 percent to 25 percent - but that still was 18 points higher than the top rate before the war.

Then Franklin Delano Big Government came to town. The top rate shot back up to 78 percent by 1936. In the 1940s, another war came along and the top rate skyrocketed to 94 percent. And did taxes go down following World War II?

Nope. This time, the top rate stayed above 90 percent - into the early 1960s.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy got elected by promising to get America moving again. He pushed for -- but didn't live to see -- the top rate reduced from 90 percent to 70 percent under the Revenue Act of 1964, and his reductions did spur economic growth.

So, when politicians realized that lower taxes resulted in more growth and productivity, they eagerly reduced income taxes further, right? - More....
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013


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letter Open Letter: Proposed changes to oil taxes By Bella Hammond, Chancy Croft, Jay Kerttula, Katie Hurley, Sam Cotten, John Sund, Jim Whitaker, Mike Miller, Ethan Berkowitz, Harry Crawford, Eric Croft & David Gottstein - The legislature is contemplating tax changes which would forgo tens of billions of dollars of revenue.  SB 21 would replace a progressive tax structure with a flat tax, while substantially changing which oil fields are eligible for tax credits.  It would eliminate legislative language designed to promote industry competition.  These are major policy changes, and would affect Alaska’s business climate and state budgets for decades. - More...
Thursday - March 21, 2013

letter Mind Control By Norbert Chaudhary - As a concerned American, I am shocked that my constitutional right to own many firearms is now in jeopardy. It seems the liberal media and Obama have scared people into thinking that guns are a problem. And now they want to change things. Can you believe that? Just who does this Obama think he is? - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter The Income Tax – An Open Door to Corruption By Frank C. Kuchar - History has repeatedly demonstrated when a people and their leaders lose their virtue, freedom perishes.  It has recently come to light that Senator Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey allegedly sponsored and promoted legislation that would benefit a major donor to his political campaign.  The legislation in question would have granted special tax credits and grants to a company in which his donor had invested heavily. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter Time for a FairTax By Ward Atcher - Everyone, just imagine getting your whole paycheck [no federal income or FICA deductions] every pay period; and, you decide how much federal tax you pay and when? FairTax does this for all of us.   It’s much simpler and fairer than the 77,000 page federal income tax code it replaces.  FairTax eliminates the IRS. - More... 
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter Pass FairTax HR25 By Beverly Martin - Keeping a flat tax flat is like eating chocolates – you can’t stop with just one. Income tax started as a flat tax but legislators can’t keep their hands off your goodies. The more chocolates you make, the more they take. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter RE: End Abortions, Get A Vasectomy By Marie Zellmer - I have tried to stay out of this conversation for the longest time, but I would like to add something that has been on my mind and has become disturbing for me. Mr. Holston has forgotten something very important... he is not a woman. If I said that all men should have vasectomies to prevent getting women pregnant because of the "inconvenience" of paying for child care, or the "inconvenience" of having too much testosterone, I doubt that he would like the word as much. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2013

letter LET’S STOP BEING NUMBER ONE By Diane Gubatayao - Reliable statistics tell us that two out of three Alaskan women will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetimes. Alaska leads the nation in this statistic; we are a sad number one. Here in Ketchikan it is estimated that there are two DV cases a day on average and one major sexual assault a month. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

letter The Cost of Education in Ketchikan By John Harrington - I have been following the education funding discussions here and in the public meetings. I usually try to avoid getting in the middle of these discussions, but I felt that some factual information might be useful. And we ought to look at all the information. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

letter Re: How much the district spends per student By Agnes Moran - Per ordinance 1630-A, found on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough website, the school District's FY2013 funding authority (budget) was $40,425,914 for 2165 students or approximately $18,672 per student. - More...
Tuesday - March 19, 2013

letter North Korea's Threats By Ken Leland - I agree with Mr. Moskowitz' view about protection of our country. I mark it down as swagger on their part beyond insanity.Surely they know that any attack on this country would result in immediate response. Just one of our Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines has the capability to obliterate almost any country on earth with its 24 nuclear missile each with 3 independently targeted warheads, and we have more than one submarine so equipped. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter Education Funding Unfair Comparisons By Agnes Moran - As I pointed out previously (Education Funding Cap), the Cap is not a measure of the "quality" of education funding in a community, it is merely the upper boundary of a federal disparity limit. Similarly, it is incorrect to use the Cap as a direct comparison between communities as a gauge of the "value" a community places on education. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter How much the district spends per student By Dave Timmerman - There have been a couple of letters here to SitNews that have stated how much it costs to educate a student in Ketchikan. I was startled at both of the numbers stated so I had to look into it. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter "Misinformation" at Borough Meeting By Gerri Davis - At the March 4th Ketchikan Borough Assembly meeting, dozens of concerned parents, teachers, students, and citizens showed up wearing green shirts to show their support for adequate education funding. Seventeen of those people went up to the podium and gave public comment, asking the borough to increase their proposed $7.7 million contribution to the school district. This amount is $600,000 less than what the district received last year, and, if realized, would result in probable cuts at all levels to art, music, libraries, technical programs, and much more. - More...
Friday PM - March 15, 2013

letter Ketchikan's Own Sequestration! By Gene Peterson - We have all been subjected to the media's, and bureaucrat's lamentations on the chaos that a cut in the increase in federal spending is causing. The administration threatens cuts in Airport security, in Air Traffic control, and refusal to send a warship to the middle east. (Notice no threat concerning cutting the useless spending such as our bloated local Forest Service behemoth.) How can the country survive unless the federal government gets more money? So what if we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent. - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter Current Education Request Not About The Cap By Dave Timmerman - Mrs. Moran, I will reply as a citizen to your letter as this is how I feel about our elected assembly and dealing with the district, instead of stepping sideways and talking about the cap, let's talk about what the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Board of Education has asked for. They have not asked for the cap in the last several years. In fact, they have asked for 1 to 1.5 million less than the cap (depending on the year). - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter Join our voices in opposition to the latest Sealaska Lands Bill By Andrea Hernandez - I have attached a transcript of a radio commentary made by Point Baker and Port Protection residents.  This commentary was aired on KFSK Petersburg on March 12th and is archived on their website.  The commentary includes this link to the audio version, which we encourage your readers to listen to.  Please publish this in the Sitnews if possible.  - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter North Korea Threatens US By Donald A. Moskowitz - General Kang Pyo Yong of North Korea recently said "When we shell (the missiles), Washington, which is the stronghold of evils, will be engulfed in a sea of fire."  The North Korean National Defense Commission stated "In the new phase of our century-long struggle against the United States, we do not hide the fact that various satellites, long-range missiles that we will continue to launch and high-level nuclear tests we will conduct will target our sworn enemy, the United States." - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

letter RE: Abortion By Robert Holston - Regarding Linda Beaupre's letter, I am fully aware of the length of a full term pregnancy. Are you aware that most abortions occur after week 10? That is why I calculated 30 weeks of inconvenience. Most parents would jump into a freezing river to save their drowning child or run into a burning house to carry their child from an inferno death. When a pregnancy causes severe morning sickness or some other complication for the mother the easy out is to choose abortion. It is with 100% accuracy that I declare, choosing abortion kills the child. Choosing life saves the child. - More...
Wednesday - March 13, 2013

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