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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 08, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By ERIC NANCE

Settlers Cove Falls
Front Page Feature Photo By ERIC NANCE ©2016

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Southeast Alaska: SEARCH FOR 64-YEAR-OLD MAN NEAR POW SUSPENDED - The search for a 64-year-old man overdue from a fishing trip was suspended Saturday. James Gray departed Naukati on Wednesday intending to camp on Camp Island for one night. Friends found Gray’s skiff washed ashore on northern Heceta Island, between Port Alice and Camp Island. Gray's dog was found but Gray was not located.

"The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one to make and is done with great care and deliberation," said Lt. Stacey Tate, a search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector Juneau. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing man."

Alaska State Troopers were notified Thursday that Gray was overdue from a fishing trip and a search was launched that included members of the United States Coast Guard, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

Alaska: Mariculture Task Force Established - With the vision to develop a sustainable mariculture industry producing shellfish and aquatic plants for the long-term benefit of Alaska’s economy, Governor Bill Walker (I) signed Administrative Order 280 last week. The order establishes the Alaska Mariculture Task Force and directs the task force to present recommendations to the Governor on a long-term plan to advance the mariculture industry in Alaska.

“Mariculture represents a tremendous opportunity to diversify our economy, strengthen our coastal communities, and provide healthy food to the world by using sustainable practices that are a foundation of our current fishery resources,” said Governor Walker. “The goal of this task force is to bring key stakeholders together and determine how the state can help this industry prosper with Alaska-grown products.”

The Alaska Mariculture Task Force will be made up of stakeholders representing various regions and interests from across the state. Essential state agencies will also participate in the task force. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

Alaska: Initiative Calling for PFD Voter Registration Proceeds to Ballot - Alaska Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke announced that signature petitions for an initiative related to the permanent fund dividend application and the registration of voters were properly filed, allowing the initiative to proceed to the ballot.

If approved by voters, the ballot initiative would instruct the Division of Elections to automatically register qualified Alaskans to vote when applying for the annual Permanent Fund dividend.

“This will be the only initiative on the primary ballot,” Bahnke noted as she witnessed Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott sign the certification documents and letter to the sponsors this morning at the capitol.

Sponsors were required, within one year, to submit 28,545 total signatures, including at least 7 percent of those who voted in the previous election in 30 House districts. The Division of Elections verified 36,907 voter signatures in the submitted petitions.

“I’m pleased the division was able to complete this process before the March 14th deadline,” noted Mallott, who oversees the division as part of the Lt. Governor’s duties. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Fisheries students participate first hand as Halibut catch limits for 2016 are set - Some Fisheries students have first hand experience in fishing boats ... but only rarely do students get a chance to listen, interact, and even influence the outcome of official fisheries management deliberations. This was the experience of a recent Fish Tech class at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka.

Fisheries students participate first hand as Halibut catch limits for 2016 are set

UAS-Sitka Fish Tech Students attend a reception at the Governor’s mansion in Juneau with Professor Joel Markis and IPHC commissioner Jeff Kauffman.
Photo by Tracee Geernaert IPHC

Recently, Professor Joel Markis traveled to Juneau with a group of students enrolled in a Fisheries Policy course. Each year, the course syllabus calls for students to attend a different type of management meeting. This year, Markis and his students attended the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), alongside 360 other participants from both the US and Canada.

“It’s great when students can actually become a part of their course subject, beyond just learning about topics in the classroom,” commented Professor Markis. “I think of this as an example of us being true to our mission of coupling hands on learning with distance delivered coursework.” The Fisheries Technology program at the University of Alaska Southeast provides opportunities for its students to gain experience in the field, from measuring stream flow and gradient to spawning and collecting salmon eggs in hatcheries. Additionally, the program also provides opportunities to participate in another aspect of fisheries—management and policy.

Founded in 1923, the IPHC is unique in that it is an international organization that focuses on halibut research and management. The Commission receives support, staff, and funding from both Canada and the United States. The Commission researches halibut biology and population dynamics, and uses this information to make stock management recommendations. The Commission depends on the experience and suggestions of a number of different advisory bodies, including fishermen, processors, scientists, and government agencies from the US and Canada. Each year, the Commission holds a meeting to discuss the status of the halibut population in the North Pacific, propose ideas for future research, and set catch limits for the coming year. Hundreds of stake-holders attended from across North America including Markis and his students, who took the opportunity to better understand Halibut management and policy in this unique framework. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016


Alaska Science:
Barrow's extreme spring of one year ago By NED ROZELL - For a town of its size (4,300 people), Barrow receives more visits by scientists than anyplace in America. The northernmost community in the U.S. has hosted researchers since Army Lieutenant P. Henry Ray built a polar observatory there in 1882.

jpg Barrow's extreme spring of one year ago

Barrow, Alaska
Photo by Ned Rozell

This different-than-anywhere-else place with fewer people than a one-stoplight town in Texas has attracted scientists from all over the globe. Why? Because Barrow has housing, electricity and is way north of the Arctic Circle.

Those features led to the Arctic Research Laboratory being built in 1947. Today, Barrow hosts the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium, the Barrow Environmental Observatory, the NOAA Barrow Observatory and the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility.

Some scientists live in Barrow. Many others fly in from other places to study sea ice, whales, frozen ground, a vast underwater canyon just offshore, snow and other northern features.

All those instruments and people were in a good spot to record a noteworthy spring last year. In 2015, Barrow set some new climate-related records and came close to breaking others.

Some examples:

The snow melted on May 28 at the NOAA Barrow Observatory. That's the earliest date recorded since 1940 by Robert Stone, a retired scientist from Boulder, Colorado. It was the second-earliest snow-melt day recorded (in 2002 the snow disappeared on May 24). Last year's early melt was the result of warm May temperatures that ate up Barrow's above-average snowfall.

At 28 degrees Fahrenheit, the average temperature for May 2015 was 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the longtime average. The entire state also set a May warmth record, 7.1 degrees above the 91-year average. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Phil Kerpen

PHIL KERPEN: GOPers Agree on REINing in Regulators - The very first thing in the U.S. Constitution after the famous "we the people" preamble is Article I, Section 1, which states "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." Yet over time, more and more legislative power — the power to write laws — has been ceded to a vast federal bureaucracy that exercises control over nearly every aspect of American life.

This state of affairs has made the intricate system of checks and balances designed by the founders largely irrelevant, because rather than work with a Congress of the opposing party, a president can, as President Obama demonstrates frequently, implement his own agenda via regulation.

Will the next president be different? If any of the current Republican contenders wins in November, the answer is yes. All of the remaining GOP presidential hopefuls support the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: If Bill Clinton Becomes 'First Guy - The way our circus of a presidential election is unfolding, the odds are increasing that Hillary Clinton may become our first female president — which would be great for American men.

Maybe I better explain.

Personally, I couldn't care less if our president is male or female — couldn't care less about our president's sex, ethnicity or skin color.

I do care about what he or she stands for and how effectively he or she will address the considerable problems our country is facing (entitlement costs, debt, soaring health premiums, our record 10th year below 3 percent growth, the meltdown in the Middle East, etc.). But I'm in a growing minority, regrettably.

Once Hillary gets past Bernie Sanders, and she will, many will vote for her for historic reasons. They'll talk endlessly about the positive impact a lady president would have on the American psyche — how Hillary would be a powerful role model for their daughters. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Nancy Reagan Tribute 2016

Editorial Cartoon: Nancy Reagan Tribute 2016
By Dave Granlund ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

Alaska: Flags Lowered in Honor of Nancy Reagan - Governor Bill Walker on Monday ordered all Alaska state flags be lowered in honor of former First Lady of the United States Nancy Reagan, who passed away Sunday at the age of 94. This action follows a proclamation by President Barack Obama to lower all United States flags in honor of Mrs. Reagan. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
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letter RE: Ketchikan School District's Budget Slush Fund By Michelle O'Brien - In regards to Ms. Moran’s latest letter to the Editor as it pertains to education funding in our community, I cannot let her latest diatribe go without comment. It can only be seen as her latest red herring swimming in a sea of others she has produced over the last several years. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

letter SAY NO TO ALL TAX INCREASES AT THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL By David G Hanger - “We’re going to fight one battle at a time,” Dan Ortiz and Governor Walker told us in unison at this meeting held last Monday night, and this statement was the biggest news item that came out of that meeting despite the fact that every media outlet missed it. The battle our Governor and State Representative have chosen to fight is to turn your wallet, my wallet, and everybody else’s wallet inside out; that is everybody’s wallet except the oil companies. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

letter Alaska should not look to a sector that’s drowning in red ink to solve its fiscal gap By Marc Langland and Jim Jansen - It was just 18 months ago that Alaskans voted for more oil production when they soundly rejected Ballot Measure 1, which sought to repeal SB 21, the More Alaska Production Act. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

letter Ketchikan Assembly's vote on sin tax By Laura Plenert - Regardless of Monday night’s vote on the additional cigarette taxes, I have one question. Will this publically elected group hear the words of the people (NO more sin taxes) and will they abide by it when we the people vote against it?? Or will they plow ahead like the Ketchikan City Council and declare those of us who vote – ignorant of what we want and think????? I’m pretty sure that if this gets to a vote of the people that the populace will again give the powers that be a resounding – STOP IT, get out of our lives. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

letter Reality recognized By A. M. Johnson - As it regards the current under consideration Ketchikan School District Budget, this presentation is offered with encouragement to the obvious diligence the school board has dedicated to the operating budget for 2016/17 year. The Board's diligence to complete their presentation for budget funding to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly in a very early manner indicates that the pain of prioritizing has been made and the education plan that requires funding has been accomplished. This in the face of the reported discord between the two bodies. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 08, 2016

letter KGBSD Slush Fund? By Chris Elliott - I'm waiting breathlessly for a response from someone on the Ketchikan School Board to Agnes Moran's letter. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 8, 2016

letter Ketchikan School District's Budget Slush Fund By Agnes Moran - In 2009, in a show of good faith towards the Ketchikan School Board and District, the Borough Assembly increased the amount of unreserved, undedicated funds the School District could carryover each year to 5% of that year’s total school district budget. The change was made to give the District an additional budget management tool. - More...
Saturday PM - March 05, 2016

letter Volkswagen vs US emission charges By Jim Dornblaser - I find it strange, no make that ludicrous, that OUR EPA stands on % of emissions per volume while TOTALLY ignoring total emissions per mile. - More...
Saturday PM - March 05, 2016

letter Proposed Budget Cuts to Community-based Support Services By Janalee Minnich Gage - I was born and raised in Ketchikan Alaska, and I am part of the Ketchikan City Council. In this life of mine so far I have had the pleasure to living in several places including two other Alaska communities Kotzebue and Kenai. I will state that these are my feelings and I do not speak for the Ketchikan City Council or anyone else. - More...
Saturday AM - March 05, 2016

letter RE: City of Ketchikan Mismanagement By Mike Schmit - Doug Thompson is a friend of mine. I used to see Doug down in the harbor when he would be tinkering on his boat. I also would be tinkering on my boat. I feel so fortunate to be able to go down on the docks and have a boat to hang out on. - More...
Saturday AM - March 05, 2016

letter An Alaska State Income Tax is Not the Answer By Wiley Brooks - The unpopular “T” word has been placed on the legislative table by the governor. With a projected fiscal crisis ahead, the governor and legislature would be neglectful of their oaths if they did not act to head off a financial meltdown. But, should an income tax be included in the list of responses? - More...
Saturday AM - March 05, 2016

letter Ketchikan Ports & Harbors By Steve Corporon - The following information is provided in response to the letter Mr. Douglas Thompson sent to the Editor of Sitnews which was published on February 25, 2016. - More...
Friday PM - February 25, 2016

letter City of Ketchikan Mismanagement By Douglas Thompson - I wonder if the reality of the Ketchikan municipal budget has sunk in to local taxpayers? Most of us have received this year's tax bill recently and it is not pleasant. Right now you could be paying zero in property tax. Zero. A sum that would not impact any perceivable services to the citizenry. All that is required is a little maturity and fiscal discipline. Qualities which are totally absent at present. This is due to the unrestrained rule of "King" (called that by the Ketchikan City Council) Karl Amylon. The council in their sycophantic frenzy to curry favor with Amylon costs local taxpayers millions of dollars. Not only is he paid an absurd salary for a town of 7,000 people but the council then 'gifts' him with additional tax dollars. - More...
Thursday AM - February 25, 2016

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