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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Wednesday - Thursday
March 25-26, 2015

Front Page Feature Photo By LAWRENCE WILLIAMS

Carlanna Lake Rainbow
Saturday, March 21, 2015 - Carlanna Lake is located just 2.6 miles from Ketchikan
Front Page Feature Photo By LAWRENCE WILLIAMS ©2015
(Submit your photograph to be featured on the SitNews' front page. Email photo to editor@sitnews.us include your name and a brief photo description.)

Ketchikan: Medical Examiner Provides Positive Identification of Victim of Tragic Fire in Ketchikan By MARY KAUFFMAN - According to a report received from the Alaska State Medical Examiner’s Office, the remains of the victim of Monday's early morning fire in the 2100 block of 1st Avenue have been positively identified as those of George Mather Jr. of Ketchikan. The name of the deceased was officially released today by Abner Hoage, Chief of the Ketchikan Fire Department. Before the victim's name could be released, Mather's body was sent to the Alaska State Medical Examiner for positive identification.

Chief Hoage said Mather died of smoke inhalation as was evidenced by high levels of Carbon Monoxide in his blood according the the Medical Examiner's Office. - More...
Thursday PM - March 26, 2015

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Southeast Alaska: Hyder Border Closure Prompts Visit by Rep. Ortiz & Meetings - The Canadian Border Services Agency current plans to close the border between Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, B.C. between midnight and 8 a.m. beginning April 1 has prompted a vist by Rep. Dan Ortiz (I- Ketchikan) to meet with area residents and Canadian officials.

Hyder Border Closure Prompts Rep. Ortiz Visit & Meetings

The border between Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska
as seen from the Canadian side.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons - wikipedia.org

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) cites cost as a main reason for the planned border closure. Currently, the border crossing is staffed 24 hours a day to allow residents and visitors to use the only road entry point into Hyder. District 36 Rep. Ortiz plans to spend the next several days meeting with Hyder residents and Canadian officials in an effort to find a solution to the problem.

“The only medical center for the two communities is in Stewart and the road to Stewart is the disaster evacuation route for Hyder,” said Rep. Ortiz. “I’m concerned that closing the border, and thus closing the road, will make it more difficult for area residents to get the care and services they need in an emergency.”

The annual tourist season is just a few weeks away and many residents in Hyder believe the closure of the border in the overnight hours could have a dramatic impact on tourism. Additional concerns have been raised about the potential negative impact on local businesses that serve both communities. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Judge approves Big Thorne, the largest old growth timber sale in decades, and the Tongass Forest Plan - A controversial old-growth logging project on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest could begin as early as April after Federal Judge Ralph Beistline denied a lawsuit brought by 10 environmental groups.

Friday, the U.S. District Court in Alaska ruled the Forest Service complied with the law when it approved the Big Thorne timber sale, allowing logging from approximately 6,200 acres of old growth forest, and when it adopted the Tongass Land Management Plan.

Southeast Conference with 180 member organizations with 1,200 people from 32 regional communities including Ketchikan and Saxman said in a prepared statement, "Southeast Conference and its members applaud this decision by the court and trust that further time-wasting appeals will not be filed, and Viking Lumber can begin timber production in April on Prince of Wales Island."



Clearcuts and old-growth forests are part of the view on Prince of Wales Island.
Creative Commons: Photo by Nick Bonzey

According to an annual report issued by the Southeast Conference, about 325 people worked in the timber industry in Southeast Alaska in 2013 with about 11,000 workers in the fishing, tourism and recreation industries.

KTOO reported Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton said Beistline’s decision will help the Forest Service implement that policy by allowing Big Thorne to go forward. “It is critical to our overall transition and the abitlity to provide bridge timber to the industry here in Southeast, as we make that complete transition to young growth in the next 10 to 15 years,” she told KTOO, a Southeast Alaska radio station.

Forest Service officials say the Big Thorne logging project, on Prince of Wales Island, will provide key “bridge” timber as the agency transitions away from allowing old-growth logging on the Tongass.

Viking Lumber Company, based on Prince of Wales Island, won the rights to the timber sale last fall. Viking currently runs the only significant sawmill remaining in operation in Southeast Alaska. The Big Thorne timber sale includes about 6,000 acres of old-growth forest and about 2,000 acres of second-growth forest. About 46 miles of roads would be built to access the timber.

Joining the Forest Service in opposition were the Alaska Forest Association, the State of Alaska, the city of Craig, and Viking Lumber Inc.

Friday's decision stems from two lawsuits filed by conservation organizations. In the first case, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, and Audubon Alaska challenged the Big Thorne timber sale. In the second lawsuit, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, and Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the Tongass Land Management Plan. Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm, represented the organizations in both lawsuits. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015



Southeast Alaska: Young to Forest Service Chief: “What Are You Doing in SE to Make Sure We Have a Steady Yield of Timber?” - Tuesday, in a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands, Alaskan Congressman Don Young questioned U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell on his agency’s failure to approve new timber sales in Alaska, particularly Southeast Alaska, for the benefit of countless Alaskan communities and the very existence of the timber industry.

Young to Forest Service Chief: “What Are You Doing in SE to Make Sure We Have a Steady Yield of Timber?”

Congressman Young began his remarks by questioning Chief Tidwell on the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request, which he says only “furthers the agency’s decline in timber management practices to the detriment of the Alaskan and American people.” He continued by prodding Chief Tidwell on the many failures of the U.S. Forest Service in Southeast Alaska.

“Mr. Tidwell, what I really want to ask you is what happened in Southeast; what are you doing with the Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) that passed in 2008; and where are we headed ?” asked Congressman Young. “What are you doing in Southeast to make sure we have a steady yield of timber?”

Congressman Young later pressed Tidwell on the issue of hydro power and what the U.S. Forest Service is doing to streamline the process for countless Alaskan communities that have submitted applications to develop the renewable energy resource.

“In the area of hydro, we run into road blocks all the time from the Forest Service,” Young said. “In your budget have you made a proposal to expedite the process to develop hydro so we don’t burn diesel fuel; so our small communities don’t have to fight the battle with your agency, the EPA, and everybody else to try to build real renewable energy? Is there anything in your mindset to work on hydro power?

Immediately following the Committee hearing, Congressman shared his frustration for the U.S. Forest Service lack of commitment for truly managing Alaska’s timber resources: - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015



Alaska: Crime Bill 2.0’ reduces expensive jail time for non-violent offenders while incentivizing good - Today, Senate Majority Leader John Coghill, R-North Pole, introduced Senate Bill 91, which reduces expensive prison time for non-violent offenders while incentivizing good behavior. SB91 continues a bipartisan multi-year effort to reform Alaska’s criminal justice and corrections systems and builds on the work accomplished last year through another crime omnibus bill, Senate Bill 64.

“Non-violent offenders are filling Alaska’s prison beds and costing us millions of dollars to over-supervise and over-incarcerate people who now make up a majority of the prison population,” said Senator Coghill. “Last year, almost 40-percent of all prison admissions were for drug possession, a class C felony, committed by individuals between the ages of 18-29. Putting non-violent offenders in prison with violent offenders not only costs money, it has negative impacts on public safety.”

Nearly half of Alaska’s prison population is people who are awaiting trial. SB91 creates safe electronic monitoring programs for those on pre-trial and allows credit for time served before trial, rather than continue wasting millions of dollars housing them in prison. In addition, the bill provides for “good time” while on electronic monitoring, probation and parole and allows those who are incarcerated a chance to earn “merit time” if they complete certain programs. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015

Columns - Commentary

jpg Jeff Lund

JEFF LUND: Party time, excellent - So I was watching Wayne’s World the other night.

It’s relentless in its hilarity which borders at times on stupid, but not in a senseless, gratuitous sort of way. It’s an important lesson in early 90s culture - horizontal tears across the knees of jeans, leftover big hair that could easily be formed into power mullets for powerful head-banging to 80s power rock. The t-shirts from this time are vintage collections with jacked up prices at today’s stores. Boys wore boy jeans. Girls wore girl jeans. You went and hung out at your friends’ house to hang out with them, not to text other people you wish were there. The “loud sigh” plea-for-attention social media post had not yet been invented. I passed notes, I didn’t send snaps.

It’s also a trip back to a specific context. Teenagers in contemporary society have been deprived of some of the golden moments of youth. You know, when you were using the phone in the back room to call a girl, and your mom picked up the phone and started dialing grandma? You had to endure every. single. number. punch. until the phone was finally held to an ear and you could then explain that you were on the phone. My Dad would ask who it was, then I’d hear mom in the background, “Fred, hang up the phone!” - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Mandatory Voting

Political Cartoon: Mandatory Voting
By Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter No "Young Growth Management" on the Tongass By Robert W Pickrell - I have a garden. Whoa... even if you re not into gardens keep reading. I'm going to tell you about something that will change the farming industry and S.E. Alaska! Actually my garden is a mini-park with paths where you walk under the rodys. There are other flowers, rare bushes, inanimate critters,and a unique village. The only edible (my farm) is my raspberry patch. The Secretary of Agriculture of the U.S.A. has proposed a program guaranteeing increased value to my patch and also to the huge crop of timber in S.E. Alaska's Tongass National Forest. So I'm going to transition. After all he is the top farmer in the U.S.A.! Why I didn't think of it before. Actually we must give credit to Washington DC's Environmentalist Think Tanks. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015

letter Obama's Alaska Wilderness Head Fake By U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan - President Obama’s plan to designate 12 million acres as wilderness in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge did not fool Alaskans. The announcement in January revealed his goal of starving the trans-Alaska pipeline by stranding tens of billions of barrels of American oil permanently under the Arctic tundra, and turning the state into a giant national park. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015

letter BUY (AND GROW) LOCAL, LET’S CRUNCH THE NUMBERS By David G Hanger, EA, MBA - Mr. Timmerman, let me make note in the first instance that I do not put my initials behind my name unless I am writing a professional document; and that is what this is. Before I get into that detail, though, let me duly note that while I think it is great that you don’t drink and another committee member smokes dope I do not think you and your little group are capable of anything but a really, really stupid result. And what you didn’t tell us about yourself is actually more interesting than what you did. I cannot forget that this is the town that elected Jack Shay every time he ran for office, nor that the system of government of which you are a part is specifically designed to ensure one-way, one-dimensional results. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2015

letter High School Suppresses Americanism By Donald A. Moskowitz - According to WHDH, a Lexington High School, Lexington, MA school administrator buckled to objections by some students on the theme of a dance event, and in essence, suppressed Americanism. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25

letter KETCHIKAN CHOOSES RESPECT 2015 By Evelyn Erbele - What began as a statewide campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault is continuing in Ketchikan and has expanded to include everyone from all walks of life. - More...
Monday PM - March 23, 2015

letter Re: Marijuana Committee Rant By Dave Timmerman - In response to Mr. Hanger's recent letter concerning the Marijuana Advisory committee... - More...
Monday PM - March 23, 2015

letter Mary Jane's Lies By Janalee Minnich Gage - How do we come to terms with the vast what ifs? We can sit and argue, fight over what is right and what is wrong, you can verbally personally attack me, call me crazy, and call me names because that is all you have to use, I will state now, that we all have mud, and we all have a past, but we all have experiences worth respect. - More...
Monday PM - March 23, 2015

letter Stockhausen Coach of the Year By Diane Gubatayao - I was very pleased to learn that the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches bestowed the well-deserved honor of Coach of the Year 4A boys’ basketball upon Coach Eric Stockhausen. - More...
Thursday PM - March 19, 2015

letter THE LOCAL MARIJUANA COMMITTEE By David G Hanger  - Looking at the names on this so-called local marijuana committee I detect a strong whiff of alcohol but no tokers or smokers. And what can one expect from such a one-dimensional, one-sided bunch of liquid refreshers? A result that is really, really stupid! - More...
Thursday PM - March 19, 2015

letter Thank-You Coach Jodi Williams By John and Kathy Flora- It is with deep gratitude that I send Jodi Williams coach of the K-Highlites our heartfelt thanks for being such a wonderful role model, inspiration and mentor. This is a Huge sacrifice of time and commitment by you and completely enhanced our daughters experience in growing to be her highest and best. The lessons she learned on Drill Team for four years involve working with each other, good sportsmanship, teamwork, and a bigger understanding that it takes more than one person to achieve great success. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Alaska Marine Highway woes By James Schenk - I use the Ferry system from Ketchikan to Bellingham a lot. Most of my travel has been directly associated with health issues, but a lot of my trips before 2009 were, mostly for work travel. For most of my adult life I traveled for work as a I.B.E.W. Union electrician. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Open Letter: Budget Reductions By A. M. Johnson - The issue of compensation for deputy commissioners and directors has been brought to both of you in prior public submissions and or post to your office. Seemingly there is lack of enthusiasm to consider the suggestion. This lack of action or consideration then takes on the vision of Don t rock the Boat with the insiders of Alaska Government. Tragic as it was felt that Everything in the Budget is on the Table mentality was given in a serious vain. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Russia in the Arctic By Michael Mccolley - I talked with Congressmen Don Young several years ago about Russia setting up troops in the Arctic. Now I want to know whose property is the Arctic? Is it part of Alaska? Why would we let the Russians take over the Arctic with 4 brigades? Why so many soldiers? - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Daylight Savings Time By Ken Lewis - Mr Bethel questioned how "We" lose 2 hours. Here's how. Read this 1983 article that took all Southeast Alaska (except Metlakatla ) out of the Pacific time zone. Then subtract another hour once this politician from a town with a true midnight sun kicks our once active families in the gnards again. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Open Letter: Closing Cocktail Lounges on AMHS By Donald Bodda - This letter is in reference to the Alaska Marine Hiway System closing the adult’s lounges and bars. We as Alaskans that ride and depend on the service spent our time visiting old friends and making new acquaints in the cocktail lounges and we are very disappointed in the decision to close these lounges. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Recorder's Office Closure By Chris Elliott - I just wanted to publicly thank Rep. Dan Ortiz for calling me today to talk about my concerns with the closure of the Ketchikan Recorder's Office. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Name-calling By Mike Harpold - I"ve read the two articles cited by Al Johnson, but nowhere in them does John McCain refer or imply that Barrack Obama is a Muslin as you did in your letters to our congressional delegation. True, Senator McCain is exasperated with the President's policies in Ukraine, calling him naïve, but he doesn't call him the names you do. There is a line. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Hollis students and HB 53 By Richard Trojan - During public comments on March 10th, there were 4 Hollis students that did an excellent job on HB 53. It's about putting public comment back into the discussion about herbicides. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Citizens as a commodity By Garrett Collins - How can a system of criminal citation or taxation be supported by the First Amendment if we lose our rights to civil life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the process? - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Arctic Sea Ice Fraud? By Paul Mason - The sudden plunge in reported "Arctic Sea Ice Extent" defies logic. After all, North America had its coldest winter in about 100 years, yet the supposed Arctic Sea Ice Extent has reportedly SUDDENLY dropped to its lowest level in many, many years. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter Ageism and Its End By Brendan Hare - Until I turned sixty-six, retired, and officially joined the ranks of “the olds,” I lived for decades as an unreflecting and unapologetic ageist. I’m not a mean-spirited person. I pride myself on being open-minded and progressive. I’ve always tried to guard against bias in my thoughts and actions, and to fight bigotry wherever it cast its sulphurous gloom. But somehow, my prejudices about old people seemed to be natural, to reflect the facts of life, to share in the universal consensus. Being old was simply bad, wasn’t it? This felt like a solid fact, an incontrovertible position and, in the U.S. of A., also a basically uncontroversial one. In America - youth-worshipping, plastic-surgery-tweaked America - ageism stands as one of the last widely acceptable social prejudices. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

letter World Is At War By Donald A. Moskowitz - President Obama refuses to refer to ISIL, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Quds Force, and others as Islamic terrorists. He tends to mischaracterize the attacks by the radical Islamic terrorists on Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslims, and he seems hesitant to vigorously take the fight to the terrorists. Why is that? - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2015

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