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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 10, 2015

Front Page Photograph By CHANELL BROWNE

Wrangell: LeConte Glacier
LeConte Glacier resides in a 12 mile-long fjord at the head of LeConte Bay about 20 miles North West of the mouth of the Stikine River.
Front Page Photograph By CHANELL BROWNE ©2015
(Submit your photograph to be featured on the SitNews' front page. Email photo to include your name and a brief photo description.)

Southeast Alaska: 110 died when Star of Bengal grounded on Coronation Island By DAVE KIFFER - From just about every direction, Coronation Island is a foreboding place. - More...
Saturday - March 07, 2015

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Southeast Alaska: Prehistoric Stone Maul Discovered at Starrigavin Slide Area - In January 2015, Tongass National Forest Hydrologists Marty Becker and KK Prussian discovered an oddly weathered stone while collecting, sampling, and identifying rock samples in the Starrigavin slide area.

Prehistoric Stone Maul Discovered at Starrigavin Slide Area

The maul shows minor signs of damage from being churned among the soil rocks and trees in the landslide. There are much older signs of damage to the maul likely from the time of original use; one of the ears or tangs was broken off. There are also signs of use wear around the striking surface.
Photo courtesy USFS

“I thought it was just a cool weathered rock and held it in my hand and started walking back down to KK,” said Becker. As I was walking, it suddenly hit me this thing is really comfortable and took a closer look at it, realized what I thought it was, showed it to KK and got the same assumption from her.”

What Becker and Prussian had found was confirmed by Forest Service Archaeologist Jay Kinsman as a prehistoric stone tool more succinctly a T-shaped hand maul. This type of stone tool is common in Northwest Coast Native Cultures extending from the Columbia River to Yakutat. A tool of this type is akin to a prehistoric hammer or sledge hammer. This tool would have likely been used for driving wedges made of a softer material such as wood, antler, or sea-mammal along a cedar log to split off planks.

It is likely that the former owner of this maul was utilizing cedar for one of the many resources derived from it (planks) on the slopes above Starrigavin creek. The owner would have likely cached the maul and wedges for future use rather than haul them back and forth with load of cedar planks. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 10, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Southeast Conference Will Launch Planning Process for Southeast 2020 Economic Plan at Mid-Session Summit - Southeast Conference will host its annual Mid-Session Summit at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on March 17th and 18th.

Day one will be comprised of a series of dynamic presentations and discussions on regional areas of interest. Speakers include Sealaska President Anthony Mallott, Commerce Commissioner Fred Parady, economics professor Steve Colt, Alaska Energy Authority Executive Director Sara Fisher-Goad, and Transportation Commissioner Marc Luiken, among others.

Other day one events include a panel discussion by regional legislators responding to audience member questions, and the launch of Southeast Conference’s planning process for the Southeast 2020 Economic Plan, led by local consulting firm Rain Coast Data.

Day two will consist of committee based work sessions. Committees will focus on objectives specific to nine different Southeast Alaska focus areas, including energy, food security, marine industries, timber, communications, transportation, fisheries, tourism, and solid waste. Committee’s members will begin to work on the Southeast 2020 Economic Plan, discuss partnership opportunities, introduce resolutions, present industry forecasts, network, and much more. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 10, 2015



Southeast Alaska: Final opportunity for health insurance during new special enrollment period - Even though the open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance ended on February 15th, individuals and families that did not have health insurance in 2014 and had to pay the shared responsibility tax fine will have one more chance to enroll. A special enrollment period from March 15th through April 30th allows a second, and final chance for people to sign up for insurance that did not understand the tax consequences for being uninsured.

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is available to support all Southeast Alaska residents with signing up for the Health Insurance Marketplace, the federally run program that helps insurance be more affordable. After April 30th you will not be able to purchase health coverage unless you meet special enrollment requirements, and you may pay a very high tax penalty next year. Signing up for insurance during this 45 day period will ensure your coverage starts May 1, 2015.

“This special enrollment is a great break for people that did not realize they had to have health insurance, file an exemption or face a tax penalty,” says Andrea Thomas, Outreach & Enrollment Manager for SEARHC. “Now is the time to take care of signing up for health insurance before the special enrollment ends on April 30th.” - More...
Tuesday PM - March 10, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Draft Southeast State Forest Plan available for comment - The Division of Forestry is seeking public comment on the draft Southeast State Forest Management Plan through April 30, 2015. The draft plan describes how the Division of Forestry intends to manage the 33 units of the 48,000-acre state forest. The forest units are located on 12 islands between Petersburg and Ketchikan, on the mainland in Bradfield Canal, and by Crittenden Creek east of Wrangell Island. The Alaska Legislature established the Southeast State Forest in 2010 and 2011 for the primary purpose of timber management.

The Division of Forestry is actively managing this new state forest as a ‘working forest’ to sustainably provide wood for personal and commercial use while protecting fish and wildlife habitat. In addition, the forest will be managed to improve access and provide the public with recreation and other multiple uses. Public meetings will take place in several communities during the comment period; check the plan webpage for the schedule. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 10, 2015



Alaska: Research helps climate monitoring and predictions in Alaska By Yuri Bult-Ito - Is it going to be a busy fire season, or will it be wet in Alaska this summer? New geographic climate divisions for Alaska can help answer that question.

University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers and collaborators created the divisions, which describe zones that have broadly similar climate variations over time.

Governmental agencies use such divisions to monitor climate and analyze temperature, precipitation and drought. The private sector also uses them for agricultural and hydrological applications.

The Lower 48 has had climate divisions for decades. Although Alaska’s vast size, high-latitude location, proximity to oceans and complex topography create a wide range of climates, the state never has had objectively constructed divisions. As a consequence, Alaska was out of the picture, while the rest of the country was receiving benefits such as drought forecasts.

The climate divisions for Alaska, a project started by a team of scientists in 2010, will change that.

Peter Bieniek, a postdoctoral fellow at the UAF International Arctic Research Center, calculated climate divisions for Alaska as part of his Ph.D. thesis in atmospheric sciences with his advisor, Uma Bhatt of the UAF Geophysical Institute. Rick Thoman, of the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, provided the forecasters’ perspective from the start.

The scientists looked at weather stations in Alaska and applied statistical analysis to group them according to similar climate variability. This resulted in 13 climate divisions in the state.

Later, they developed data for each zone, which allows the federal agencies such as the National Climatic Data Center and the Climate Prediction Center to use climate divisions to diagnose climate variations in Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 10, 2015



Columns - Commentary

jpg Ron Paul

RON PAUL: Don't Be Fooled by the Fed's Anti-Audit Propaganda - In recent weeks, the Federal Reserve and its apologists in Congress and the media have launched numerous attacks on the Audit the Fed legislation. These attacks amount to nothing more than distortions about the effects and intent of the audit bill.

Fed apologists continue to claim that the Audit the Fed bill will somehow limit the Federal Reserve’s independence. Yet neither Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen nor any other opponent of the audit bill has ever been able to identify any provision of the bill giving Congress power to dictate monetary policy. The only way this argument makes sense is if the simple act of increasing transparency somehow infringes on the Fed’s independence.

This argument is also flawed since the Federal Reserve has never been independent from political pressure. As economists Daniel Smith and Peter Boettke put it in their paper "An Episodic History of Modern Fed Independence," the Federal Reserve "regularly accommodates debt, succumbs to political pressures, and follows bureaucratic tendencies, compromising the Fed’s operational independence." - More...
Tuesday PM - March 10, 2015

TOM PURCELL: Overreaching in Plain English - Get this: The federal government is trying to explain things to citizens in plain English.

In 2010, you see, President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act into law. It requires that all federal agencies use "clear government communication that the public can understand and use."

In 2011, Obama took the plain-language initiative a step further. He issued an executive order (No. 13563) that demands that government "regulations are accessible, consistent, written in plain language, and easy to understand."

Too bad these actions came after ObamaCare, which Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to pass so we could find out what was in it.

Of course, bills written by lobbyists, who are paying off members of Congress to make laws that enrich them, are poorly written on purpose. Don't ask me — ask ObamaCare consultant Jonathan Gruber. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 10, 2015


By Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
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letter Careful Consideration Is Needed By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Getting our state’s fiscal house in order by establishing a sustainable operations budget plan should be the Alaska State House of Representatives main priority for this legislative session. It’s in the best long-term interests of all Alaskans that the Legislature significantly reduce our 3.5 billion dollar deficit while supporting programs that spur economic growth. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 04, 2015

letter Political Correctness in play By A. M. Johnson - Please to hear that I have stated the most racist statement heard. The more vocal Political Correctness crowd across the Nation will be hurt and sadden to learn their trumpeted bellowing has been overshadowed by a single Alaskan. No apology coming! - More...
Wednesday AM - March 04, 2015

letter Words of Senator McCain By A. M. Johnson - One has to wonder if Senator John McCain has second thoughts regarding his flowery endorsement of then candidate Obama quoted within Mr. Harpold's espial of 2-25-14. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 04, 2015

letter KRBD budget cuts By Deb Turnbull - I am asking for your help today in lieu of the proposed 59% budget cuts to public broadcasting. We view these cuts as excessive and disproportionate causing significant harm to our system. We know KRBD plays an important role keeping our community informed, educated and entertained. I ask that you place a call today to your legislator and ask where they stand on the 59% cut… a $2.5million cut – that would deeply impact all the stations in the state. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter Ketchikan Recorder's Office Closure By Chris Elliott - The Legislature is very seriously considering closing the Ketchikan Recorder's Office. This is where deeds and other documents are recorded for the Ketchikan Recording District, the Wrangell Recording District, and the Petersburg Recording District. If the office closes, we will be forced to mail documents to Juneau for recordation. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter Come On, Not Again With Library Funding! By Terri Jirschele - I have never personally used the "library-on-the-cliff", and I don't plan on starting! In this digital age I, like so many other people, read electronic books. I can't remember the last time I held, let alone, actually opened, and read a printed book. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter RE: Powers Act By Laurin Boyer - Read Marc Kaiwi's comments with interest and would like to point out that unlike living under a dictator or emperor, our allegiance is given to the constitution which allows for the removal of a President if the conditions seem to warrant as well as the freedom to express our opinions of the country and its leaders as both you and Mr. Johnson have done. - More...
Saturday AM - February 28, 2015

letter Respect and Legal Pot By James Schenk - Respect, kind of the first rule in life to follow, to coexist with our fellow Human beings. With the Legalization of Marijuana now here, the number one rule to follow should be Respect! Be respectful first to your self, if you are unable to function as you would expect when using this substance do not do anything to put yourself, nor anyone else in danger. Respect the wishes and health of your family, like cigarettes and other smoke producing products, the best use is away from those who have no desire, nor should be around it, find a quite place outside your home or with no access to minors, no one who does not use pot deserves to be subjected to second hand smoke, or the actions of those not responsible enough respect the space of those who do not use pot. - More...- More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter Changes are way overdue By Guy Lane -Since moving to POW Island it's not hard to see why some small towns just don't go anywhere. First I moved to Coffman Cove where my family was sold an undisclosed buried logging camp dump by the City Administrator which resulted in a lengthy lawsuit with the Defendants paying my family a settlement of $65,000. After the settlement was made, several past and present Coffman Cove Council members and or their associates can't just seem to leave my family alone and continue to harass and slander my family and business which will result in a new lawsuit being filed against them in the near future. My family was threatened and stalked for not wanting to be the proud owners of an undisclosed buried logging camp dump that contained hazardous materials and has since been designated as an illegal hazardous waste dump by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter RE: War Powers act By Marc Kaiwi - ... Stand the Muslim President down NOW! This is the most racist statement I've heard since the 1960's! I'd ask you Mr. Johnson is it that you just don't like Muslims or is it that you simply object to a black President? Might I remind you that Mr. Barack Obama is currently the President of the United Sates of America, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and voted into Office twice by the American people via democratic vote! - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter RE: War Powers Act By Mike Harpold - Al, this is what the man we both voted for in 2008, Senator John McCain, had to say about then candidate Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Minnesota in 2008: - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter Daylight Savings Time Change By Mike Bethel - Where does the fact that we lose two hours in the evenings if we stop using daylight savings time come from? Metlakatla is not using daylight savings time and they are currently on the same time as Seattle. They gain an hour in the evening, not lose two. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter RE: Culprit of wealth division By Stephen C. Eldridge - Paul Livingston starts off with a class warfare appeal, “The CULPRIT of wealth division is our federal tax code.” I see, in the besotted mind of a Socialist, the Tax Code CREATES “unfair” distribution of wealth TO the rich. Socialists have no concept initially that the wealthy EARN their wealth, legally. Socialists are blinded by their class hatred of the rich and thus cannot process the long known fact that the rich pay most all of the federal income tax, but that would not matter anyway because in their minds, the rich will NEVER pay their “Fair Share” of taxes, no matter how much they pay. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 25, 2015

letter Ward Creek Trail, Again By Eric Muench - A threat to Ward Creek Trail has receded for now but the risk is still there. The Ward Cove Group proposal to purchase and fully develop the Borough s 297 acres out the Revilla Road, including residential development of Ward Creek Trail in Tract B, has been withdrawn. That is good news, but we cannot let the matter rest there. A new proposal could be made at any time by anyone for any Borough vacant land. It would then be considered and possibly negotiated and approved by the Manager and Mayor and Assembly members. These people are not pushovers; they had serious concerns about the recent proposal, but it would have been better if the proposer had known beforehand what the intents and limits of the Borough s RFP were. It had been too open-ended. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Shenanigans By David Nees - Jay Hammond must be rolling in his grave at the current shenanigans in Juneau. In his first term as Senator, the young Jay Hammond sought a way to protect Education and Fish and Game commissioners from political cleansing by the then new Republican administration. Sen. Hammond devised and passed a clever way to balance the system: An appointed board for fish management, another appointed board for game management, and an appointed Board of Education. The governor could not have more than four persons from his party on any of the boards. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Do you hate SE Alaskan Children? By Ken Lewis - Gosh I hope the title caught your eye. Senator Anna MacKinnon wants you to think eliminating daylight savings time is good for you. She obviously either hates SE families or she thinks the northern communities (WANTS) are so valuable to us in SE, we are willing to eliminate yet another hour of afternoon daylight for recreation and basic sight for safety. If her ignorant bill should pass, the diference between a kid in Ketchikan prior to 1983 and her version of efficient use of daylight will be two less hours of after school, after work, after diner natural daylight. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Hole In The Wall Dock Upgrade By Gail Jackson - The fishermen and hunters haul tons of gear up and down the docks, people that live off the grid haul their supplies up and down the docks. The dock is a working, surviving access to the Alaska waters and marine highway. The dock needs to accommodate those that us it. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter RE: Ketchikan gas prices By Ken Arriola - Mr. Weaver, we here in K-Town are quite accustom to rolling over and being content with subsidising big business be it fuel, food, housing, utilities, labor, shipping or transportation. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter War Powers act By A. M. Johnson - Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, enough screwing around with this Muslim President! On the war powers authorization stand firm, damn firm on terms which better include eliminating Terms of engagement - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter RE: Feral Cats By Laura Plenert - What is missing here is the fact that the feral population - if neutered or spayed will eventually collapse because they can no longer breed. - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

letter Culprit of wealth division By Paul Livingston - The culprit of wealth division is our federal tax code. The tax code has over 74,000 pages with $1.2 trillion in deductions, tax breaks, loop holes, etc. that go up in value with wealth and income. This is the buy and sell tax code game played by special interests, lobbyists and politicians. Do you think winners and losers are being picker? Do you think our present tax code leads to wealth division? Plus it divides us into classes. It has regressive taxes on jobs. The tax code is based on production (income, savings and investment). Production is what creates jobs, a higher standard of living and wealth for the country. Why punish good behavior? - More...
Friday AM - February 20, 2015

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