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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 15, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By JIM LEWIS

Talbot Lake Rainbow
Talbot Lake, a popular fishing lake, is located about 7.2 miles from Ketchikan in the Ward Cove area. This rainbow was photographed Saturday.
Front Page Feature Photo By JIM LEWIS

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Ketchikan: Timber Sale On Hold, Road Link Allowed to Proceed By MARY KAUFFMAN - The U.S. Forest Service’s Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton has directed the Tongass National Forest to put the Saddle Lake Timber Sale on hold until a supplemental environmental review can be completed and further public comments are considered. Friday’s decision still allows a fish pass to be built to help spawning salmon and construction of a 1.1-mile road link.

Timber Sale On Hold, Road Link Allowed to Proceed

An aerial October 2015 photo of the Alaska Mental Health Trust’s nearly 4,000 acre clear-cut that is adjacent to the Saddle Lakes project area
Photo Courtesy Greenpeace

The proposed Saddle Lakes Timber Sale project is located in the middle of Revillagigedo Island, east of the city of Ketchikan, on a peninsula between George and Carroll Inlets. The project would harvest approximately 30- 47 million board feet (MMBF) of timber on about 2,207 acres using cable, shovel, and helicopter logging systems; and would construct up to 16 miles of NFS system and temporary road.

In a March 9th letter to Greenpeace, Pendleton agrees with the complaint that the original Environmental Impact Statement hadn’t sufficiently considered the effects of additional logging that likely would take place after the planned transfer of about 8,000 acres of National Forest Service land to Alaska Mental Health Trust.

“We’re glad to see this project put on hold,” said Dune Lankard, senior Alaska representative for the Center for Biological Diversity. “This kind of destructive logging comes at a steep price for wildlife including wild salmon, wolves and goshawks that call these incredible forests home. Revilla Island is a treasure of Southeast Alaska and deserves better than continued massive clearcutting.”

Although the timber sale is delayed, the Forest Service is authorizing a right-of-way to the State of Alaska to build the long-planned six-mile Shelter Cove Road. The road would be a low-volume road, rock and gravel road between two existing low-standard roads that would extend from the end of Revilla Road at Harriet Hunt Lake all the way to the Shelter Cove on Carroll Inlet. The 1.1-mile road link is on Forest Service land.

The proposed road project would provide vehicle access to Shelter Cove and would allow the public increased opportunities for recreation, subsistence hunting and gathering, tourism, and small scale economic development consistent with public land use plans and policies.

The decision to put the sale on hold was in response to a formal objection by environmental groups. Although the groups support building the fish pass, the conservation groups oppose the right-of-way.

In November 2015, environmental groups objected to the project’s final environmental impact statement and an accompanying draft project decision. The proposed decision was for 47 million board feet of logging and 37 miles of road construction and reconstruction.

Organizations requesting further public comments on the Saddle Lake Timber Sale included Greenpeace, Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community (GSACC), Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, and The Boat Company. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016

Saxman: RURAL COMMUNITY STATUS RESTORED TO SAXMAN VILLAGE - After ten years of arduous effort, the Organized Village of Saxman announced they are filled with gratitude at the recent decision by the Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) to remove Saxman from the list of nonrural communities, thereby recognizing Saxman as a rural community. Under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), rural community members enjoy a priority to harvest wild fish and game on federal public lands and waters. In 2006, however, the Village of Saxman took the stance that the FSB wrongfully classified Saxman as a non-rural community, thereby denying its citizens the subsistence rights they had exercised since time immemorial.

The Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) officially restored the rural status of Saxman on March 10, 2016. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) grants a harvest priority of fish and game on public lands, but this priority is only extended to “rural communities”; however, in 2006, under political pressure from the State of Alaska, the FSB terminated Saxman’s rural status and grouped the village with the larger city of Ketchikan. Represented by Native American Rights Fund, Saxman later filed suit to restore its rural status, but parties settled the case in favor of this administrative fix.

The Organized Village of Saxman, worked for over ten years to restore the community’s rural status. The Native American Rights Fund expressed congratulations to all of the tribal citizens and community members who worked for so long to restore their essential subsistence rights.

“The importance of being recognized as a rural community is acute for Saxman and is crucial to survival. Subsistence is an essential cultural practice, a traditional worldview that is at the heart of surviving and thriving in Saxman,” said Lee Wallace, Tribal President of the Organized Village of Saxman. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016

Fish Factor: Alaska fishing permits plummet By LAINE WELCH - Fire sale salmon prices last year and a dim outlook for the upcoming season have caused the value of Alaska fishing permits to plummet.

To another extreme – the prices for halibut catch shares have soared to “unheard of levels.”

Starting with salmon permits: “A lot of people had disastrous seasons last year, whether it was drift gillnet or seine permits, and the values have declined dramatically,” said Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

At Alaska’s bellwether fishery at Bristol Bay, a base sockeye prices of 50 cents a pound helped push drift gillnet permit prices into the $98,000 range, down from $175,000 last spring.

“That may be the bottom; they seem to have come up a bit,” Bowen said, “but it’s still way below what they were trading for at this time last year.”

The lower prices have spawned little interest in Bay drift permits; likewise, for salmon seine cards across the state.

Seine permits at Prince William Sound are priced in the $150,000 range, down from over $200,000 a year ago. Kodiak seine permits have sunk into the mid $30s, and a Cook Inlet drift permit is valued in the $60,000 range.

Bowen doesn’t expect the tide to turn anytime soon.

“I'm afraid a lot of the same factors that contributed to the low prices we saw last year are pretty much the same this year. It’s not an optimistic outlook for salmon, and that is depressing the market for permits, and also the boats,” he added. “There are lots on the market, lots of sellers, not that many buyers.”

“There’s not a lot of extra money floating around in the salmon industry. So folks wanting to upgrade their vessels or pick up permits in another area, we’re just not seeing that happening.”

The situation is slightly better in Southeast Alaska, where driftnet permits are getting a plug of interest.

“More than I thought compared to all the other salmon areas,” said Olivia Olsen of Alaskan Quota and Permits at Petersburg.

“We started at $78,000 in November and drifts now are going for $85,000 and they may creep up from there. Same with power troll permits. They’ve been pretty steady sales at about $35,000 which is down about $6,000 from last year, but still a pretty good price when you listen to all the talk about bad salmon prices. Hand troll permits also are on the upswing to $12,000,” Olsen said.

Both brokers said salmon permit prices tend to tick upwards the closer it gets to salmon season.

“I think the main issue is what we are going to see for prices, Bowen and Olsen said. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016


Bering Sea Elders Group Disagrees, Joint U.S. - Canada Statement Developed Based on Direct Input - Contrary to what has been reported in the press, the U.S. - Canada Joint Statement was developed based on direct input from various Tribes and Indigenous residents, according to The Bering Sea Elders Group.

During President Obama's visit to Alaska last year, the President met with tribal and non-profit Native leaders from around the state. The messages they delivered, such as applying Indigenous science and traditional knowledge in decisions and respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples in policy, are reflected very clearly in the Joint Statement, according to The Bering Sea Elders Group.

The Bering Sea Elders Group, an association of elders designated by 40 participating Tribes on the Bering Sea coast, expressed their thanks to the Obama Administration for its U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership. The Bering Sea Elders Group joined those Tribes in the post-announcement phone call who also thanked this Administration for being, in the words of one Tribal leader, "the most open and accessible presidential Administration" that they had experienced. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016

Alaska: Life-Saving Overdose Prevention Bill Signed into Law - A life-saving measure preventing opioid overdose in Alaska, was signed into law Monday by Governor Bill Walker. SB 23,sponsored by Senator Johnny Ellis of Anchorage and co-sponsored by 37 other legislators, removes civil liabilities from doctors and trained bystanders who prescribe and administer naloxone, a drug intended to counteract the negative effects of an opioid overdose.

“I applaud Senator Johnny Ellis, Representative Lynn Gattis and their colleagues for shepherding this life-saving bill through the legislature,” said Governor Walker.. “While there is still much to be done to address the heroin epidemic that is plaguing Alaska, this piece of legislation will save lives and provide more individuals with the chance to seek out a road to recovery.”

“Too many Alaska families struggle with the devastating effects of heroin addiction. Sons and daughters, mothers and fathers are all too often left to pick up the pieces when a loved one is unexpectedly taken away by overdose,” said First Lady Donna Walker. “I thank Senator Ellis, Representative Gattis, and the entire legislature for recognizing the importance of this bill..”

SB 23, with no fiscal impact to the state, will prevent deaths and serious physical debilitation from opioid overdoses by allowing and encouraging the administration of naloxone in an appropriate and timely manner. The bill follows HB 369, known as the “Make the Call” Good Samaritan bill, which was passed in 2014 and offers restriction from prosecution for those who seek medical help when someone they know is experiencing an overdose. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Are Expired Foods Your Future Diet? - I really should be prejudiced against this week's topic, but I'm not.

Back when I was around 11 years old, I marched into the local Kuhn's Variety Store with my hard-earned coins and proudly purchased a box of popcorn-based Fiddle Faddle. When I got home and crammed a handful into my mouth, I soon discovered a ragtag band of weevils doing some dirty dancing on my tongue.

To this day, I can still swear I heard a tiny voice taunting me as I spit the snack out, "Nobody puts Baby in a wastebasket!"

In spite of that childhood trauma, I was encouraged recently when CBS News and National Public Radio reported on WeFood, a nonprofit business in Copenhagen, Denmark selling food with past-due sell-by dates and damaged packaging for as much as half-off the price posted at regular stores. WeFood seeks to target both low-income consumers and environmentally conscious shoppers.

WeFood is getting off to a good start, but many people worldwide still have a misunderstanding of "sell by" dates. The dates indicate when the product is at its peak, but they can be edible and nutritious much longer. It's not like Cinderella's carriage turning back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. If it were, Disney would already have trademarked the process and given us "Country Botulism Jamboree" rides and "High School Cafeteria Musical: Mystery Meat's Last Legs" TV movies.

Developments such as WeFood, Boston's Daily Table membership-only supermarket and the Rockefeller Foundation's $130 million YieldWise initiative should get us all fired up to fight food waste and feed the world's undernourished. (According to the United Nations, one-third of all food produced around the world for human consumption is lost or wasted, even as nearly one billion people worldwide lack enough food to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.)

We Americans are way too finicky about what we eat. I wouldn't be surprised if a book club met to discuss "The Diary of Anne Frank," and during snacktime someone lamented, "We've had to eat leftovers TWICE this month. Can you imagine anything worse?" - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Fukushima Lessons

Editorial Cartoon: Fukushima Lessons
By Paresh Nath ©2016, The Khaleej Times, UAE
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Ketchikan's Safe Home Service in Jeopardy By Gigi Pilcher - Never, in the 40 year history of WISH, has it been placed on probation. This is an extremely serious action taken by the State of Alaska and the membership is questioning how this happened and what is being done about it. Ketchikan's safe shelter and services that WISH has accepted public funds to provide are essential to helping victims of domestic violence become survivors. The continuation of these services are now in jeopardy. -More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016

letter YOUR ALASKA DRIVER’S LICENSE AND THE REAL ID By Pamela Goode - My research began trying to determine if the DMV was actually using facial recognition software for the new Driver License (DL) photograph and if so, why? To me, this would be a violation of privacy rights if confirmed. Apparently, DMV chooses to call it “image verification” but it’s the same thing. Most people are not aware of this because DMV is deliberately not telling you, unless you ask. So what happens to the people who refuse to give them their facial biometric data? As of now, right or wrong, you don’t get a license. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016

letter KGBSD Slush Fund? By Chris Elliott - Hate to be a nitpicker, but if Ms. O'Brien's letter is strictly her opinion and doesn't represent the opinion of the School Board, why does she identify herself as the President of the School Board? - More...
Tuesday AM - March 15, 2016

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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