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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 19, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By ALEXANDRA DORSEY

Weather permitted the eagerly anticipated Deer Mountain fireworks display planned for the new year to be the community's entertainment Sunday evening. What has become an annual popular event is presented by a volunteer team led by Ken Arriola.
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Alaska: Latest five-year OCS lease proposal includes Alaska By MARY KAUFFMAN - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced the proposal for the nation's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.

Latest five-year OCS lease proposal includes Alaska

Map: 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program

After receiving extensive public input and analyzing the best available scientific data, the Proposed Program released Tuesday evaluates 13 potential lease sales in six planning areas – 10 potential sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three potential sales off the coast of Alaska. According to the Department of Interior, the Proposed Program does not schedule any lease sales in the Mid- and South Atlantic Program Area due to current market dynamics, strong local opposition and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean uses.

“This is a balanced proposal that protects sensitive resources and supports safe and responsible development of the nation’s domestic energy resources to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary Jewell. “The proposal focuses potential lease sales in areas with the highest resource potential, greatest industry interest, and established infrastructure. At the same time, the proposal removes other areas from consideration for leasing, and seeks input on measures to further reduce potential impacts to the environment, coastal communities, and competing ocean and coastal uses, such as subsistence activities by Alaska Natives.”

The Proposed Program evaluates one potential sale each in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Cook Inlet planning areas, while taking comment on other options, including an alternative that includes no new leasing, as well as other measures to protect natural resources and reduce conflicts with other ocean uses, such as subsistence activities.

Governor Bill Walker commented on the announcement saying, “Secretary Sally Jewell informed me [Monday] that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Proposed Plan for leasing in the OCS will include the Cook Inlet and both the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea Planning Areas. This is good news for Alaska. [Tuesday's] announcement gives Alaska flexibility in planning beyond the current price conditions." - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

Fish Factor: Costs add up as fish makes its way to retail counters By LAINE WELCH - If a fisherman gets 50-cents a pound for his reds, how can the fish fetch $10, $15 or more at retail counters?

“It’s all the other stuff that happens after he sells the fish. A lot of costs, margins and profits are included in that retail price,” said Andy Wink, a Fisheries Economist with the McDowell Group in Juneau.

It’s an ‘apples and oranges’ comparison when it comes to using weights paid for the raw goods and the end product. A lot of weight is lost going from a whole fish, which fishermen are paid on, to a fillet at retail counters.

“Most sockeye fillets amount to 40 to 50 percent of the round fish weight. If fishermen sold sockeye at $0.50 per pound, there’s about $1.10 of raw material cost in a $10 per pound fillet sold at retail,” Wink explained. “This might seem like a high mark up, but it’s a decent reflection of all the costs and acceptable margins built into the product.” - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

Alaska: 2016 charter and commercial halibut season opens; Regulations in immediate effect - The commercial IFQ halibut season opens Saturday, March 19th and NOAA Fisheries is providing notice of the immediate effect of regulations of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

At its annual meeting in January, the IPHC recommended to the governments of Canada and the United States catch limits for 2016 totaling 29.89 million pounds, a 2.3 percent increase from last year. Alaska's total halibut catch was set at 21.45 million pounds, up 235,000 pounds from 2015.

For commercial and charter halibut fishers in Alaska, the following regulations are in effect... - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

Alaska: Alaskans with Disabilities and Seniors Asked to Weigh in on Budget Cuts - Two Democrats in the Alaska House of Representatives are sending a positive message to those who live with disabilities that will lose significant help under the budget passed last week. Representatives Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) are encouraging Alaskans with disabilities and others to share their stories with lawmakers and to not give up hope that the harmful cuts, to help they rely on, can be reversed.

“These cuts are symptomatic of a budget that cuts beyond waste, and too far into the chances Alaskans have for opportunity and fairness. I voted for $700 million in cuts last year and could support Governor Walker’s level of roughly $100 million in cuts, plus any more waste that can be found in the budget,” said Rep. Gara. “But we should never turn a blind eye towards people who live with disabilities, those who are frail medically and need a hand, seniors who built this state, and children who deserve a quality education or a safe, loving home.”

The FY 2017 operating budget passed last week by the Alaska House of Representatives cut $640,000 from grants that help Alaskans with disabilities live independently. The budget also cut $370,000 from emergency housing to help seniors, Alaskans with disabilities, and others facing homelessness. Both cuts were fought by the members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition during budget deliberations. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016


Hearing Requested on Alleged Illegal Spending by the Alaska DOE - A group of Alaska House Majority Members have requested a joint Education Committee hearing to investigate allegations that the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has expended funds in violation of AS 14.07.020 (b).

Through the passage of House Bill 278 in 2014, the intent of the legislature was that no money should be expended to implement educational curriculum standards established by the Common Core Standards Initiative.

Representatives were shocked to hear that legislative intent, State law, and the trust of Alaskans may have been violated and thought it was appropriate to request a hearing on the issue. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

Alaska: Bill to Constitutionally Protect the Permanent Fund Dividend Moves Through Committee Process - Passed by the Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee this week, Senate Joint Resolution 1 will still allow the legislature to use other permanent fund earnings, but the constitutional amendment provided for in this resolution would ensure that people have a say in determining whether their own share of the permanent fund earnings should be protected as well.

The Alaska Constitution mandates that the Alaska Legislature manage public resources for the benefit of all Alaskans. The permanent fund dividend has become a valued institution, and many Alaskans have come to depend strongly on the dividend to make ends meet, reduce personal debt, and to store away as a nest egg for their children’s education.

If the resolution passes both the House and Senate with a 2/3 vote, a question will be put to the people: Shall the Permanent Fund Dividend Program be enshrined in the Constitution? - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

Alaska: Alaska Delegate Count Recalculated - Ted Cruz and Donald Trump will each have 14 delegates assigned to them, now that Sen. Marco Rubio has suspended his campaign.

According to Alaska Republican Party rules, (Article 5, Section 15, Paragraph 9) if a presidential candidate drops out before the state convention, the percentage of national delegates pledged to that candidate "shall be reapportioned among the Qualified Presidential Candidates." The delegate count is recalculated according to a mathematical formula.

"For those who wondered why it was so important that we determine which district they were in before they voted in the Presidential Preference Poll, it's for exactly this type of scenario, where we have to recalculate the 28 bound votes," said Peter S. Goldberg, Party chairman. "Marco Rubio has suspended his campaign, but we have not yet chosen delegates. All we have done at this point is recalculate."

Prior to that recalculation, Ted Cruz would have had 12 delegates, Donald Trump 11, and Marco Rubio 5. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

Sivertsen Seeks Seat in Alaska House

Bob Sivertsen

Ketchikan: Sivertsen Seeks Seat in Alaska House - Life-long Alaskan Bob Sivertsen has filed for election to the Alaska House of Representatives. The General Election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Running as a Republican, he points out there are advantages in being affiliated with the majority caucus. When it comes to getting things done, “I believe in being part of the solution, not part of the problem”, Sivertsen stated.

Sivertsen, 65, is now serving a third three-year term on the Ketchikan City Council. He has also served as past board chair of the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, State Pioneer Advisory Board chair, and a member of the Alaska Commission on Aging. He is a member of the Ketchikan government cooperative relations board, marijuana advisory board, library advisory board and legislative committee.

Quoting a news release, Sivertsen looks forward to applying his knowledge of local government operations, budgets, and infrastructure to benefit the communities in House District 36. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

Ketchikan: Alaska Hummingbird Festival and juried art show - Beginning in April, the Alaska Hummingbird Festival in Ketchikan will celebrate the return of the Rufous hummingbirds to the Tongass National Forest. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center will serve as the hub for a series of educational and creative events and activities, including a juried art show, to promote awareness of the spring migratory birds of Southeast Alaska.

The Alaska Hummingbird Festival juried art show opening reception is on Friday, April 1, 2016 starting at 5 p.m. at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. The Ketchikan Visitors Bureau will host the opening reception. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is located at 50 Main Street in Ketchikan. Artwork will be on display through May 31, 2016.

Besides the art show, the festival celebration continues through May 7. Scheduled activities include guided bird hikes, the Friday Night Insights lecture series, and films. All programs and activities are free to the public. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Dick Polman

DICK POLMAN: GOP Gapes at its Existential Crisis - It's thigh-slappingly funny to recall that RNC chairman Reince Priebus said on the eve of this national race that "Republicans will choose from a deep bench of presidential material."

After the latest round of contests and the latest winnowing of the field, here's what the GOP is left with: A celebrity hate-peddler whose agenda is built on bluster, a far-right government-crashing ideologue who would lose 40 states, and a governor whose primary season record is 1-28.

Yes, folks, the GOP's long-gestating existential crisis has finally arrived. What does it stand for as a party? Three years after vowing, in an official report, to adopt a more tolerant tone and nurture relations with an increasingly diverse electorate, is it now willing to let itself be trampled by Donald Trump? How hard is it prepared to fight (if at all) to regain its self-respect and retain its claim to being "the party of Lincoln?" - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

jpg John L. Micek

JOHN L. MICEK: Sanders Burns Out Versus Hillary - It's time to say it out loud:

The Democratic race for president is all over but for the shouting.

Yes, a bushel basket of nominating contests, including such key battleground states as Pennsylvania, still remain. And in this unpredictable season, the improbable may still yet happen.

But with a slender victory in Illinois and double-digit wins in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio on Tuesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton effectively put an end to a duel that Bernie Sanders's campaign maintains is still far from over.

"Our plan on this is we've got a long way to go, and we've got to demonstrate that Bernie's the strongest candidate," Sanders adviser Tad Devine told Politico. "We believe that slowly we can win support for people who aren't for someone, or who are softly for her, and then we can reach out more."

After Tuesday night, it's tough to imagine how that's possible. Clinton's wins during Super Tuesday, Parte Deux, increased her delegate count to 1,561, with 2,382 needed to clinch the nomination, according to a tally by Real Clear Politics.

Sanders has 800 delegates, a gap that might as well be measured in light years at this point, given the vagaries of the party's nominating rules.

And with primaries in such states as Alaska, Idaho, Utah and Washington still ahead, whose electorates are overwhelmingly white and expected to favor Sanders, the Vermont senator could yet increase his delegate haul. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Front-runners

Editorial Cartoon: Front-runners
By Mike Keefe 2016, Cagle Cartoons
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter Donald Trump By Mary Lynne Dahl - I have recently become concerned about some statements being made by Donald Trump in his bid for the US Presidential ticket. He has built a campaign on repeatedly claiming that “the US doesn’t win anymore”, “China and Japan are killing us on trade” and “Illegal immigrants are pouring over the border”. He has also said that he “cannot release his federal income tax return because it is being audited by the IRS”. Although I do not generally offer political comments during an election, I challenge the accuracy of these statements and feel compelled to comment on them as untrue. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

letter Happy 6th Anniversary to the Affordable Care Act! By By Susan Johnson - In terms of significance, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 is often compared to the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The ACA grew out of advances in coverage provided by Medicare and Medicaid—in fact, President Teddy Roosevelt first proposed a national health insurance program in 1912! We celebrate over 100 years of healthcare progress in 2016. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

letter Alaska PFD By Norma Lankerd - First of all, I do not like the idea of Governor Walker wanting to dig into the Permanent Fund to help bail out Alaska. He is acting like Mr. Obama, thinking money grows on trees, so spend, spend, spend. I myself say NO DO NOT TOUCH THE PERMANENT FUND, already pay out of it to run different parts of Alaska and the administration. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

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

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