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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 17, 2017

Fast Response Cutter John McCormick arrives in Ketchikan

Fast Response Cutter John McCormick
arrives in Ketchikan

The Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick (WPC-1121) and crew make way to their homeport at Coast Guard Base Ketchikan, March 17, 2017. The Fast Response Cutter McCormick and its crew completed a 6,200-mile trip from Key West, Florida.
Front Page Feature Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class William Colclough

Alaska:With budget mired in amendments, Alaska House majority cuts off debate By Nathaniel Herz, ADN - The fight over the Alaska House budget, which had been lurching into paralysis, culminated Thursday in an extraordinary decision by the new majority to cut off debate and get the measure moving again. - Read this article...
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Alaska: Alaska House, reversing itself, again proposes slashing its own expense payments By Nathaniel Herz, ADN - The Alaska House reversed itself Thursday and approved a sharp cut in its daily expense payments for next year, while one lawmaker introduced a new proposal to let a nonpartisan commission — rather than the Legislature itself — set future rates. - Read this article...
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Ketchikan: Fast Response Cutter John McCormick arrives in Ketchikan By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick (WPC-1121) and its crew arrived to their homeport at Coast Guard Base Ketchikan, Friday afternoon after completing a 6,200-mile trip from Key West, Florida.

Fast Response Cutter John McCormick arrives in Ketchikan

USCG BM1 Andrew Statham, a crew member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, greets his family after the Fast Response Cutter and crew arrived at its new homeport during a homecoming ceremony at Coast Guard Base Ketchikan, March 17th,
Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class William Colclough

The cutter will be the first FRC stationed in Ketchikan, Alaska. It was the third consecutive FRC delivered with zero production discrepancies, indicating improved stability and efficiency in the production process.

The cutter is named after Boatswain John McCormick, who as officer-in-charge of the wooden 52-foot motor lifeboat Triumph out of Station Point Adams, Oregon, on the Columbia River, saved a crewman Surfman Robert Bracken who was washed overboard March 26, 1938. Acting with exceptional skill, McCormick maneuvered the lifeboat against a strong current and into the breakers to pick up the drowning man. McCormick received the Gold Lifesaving Medal for his actions that day.

"We are pleased to welcome the crew of the new Fast Response Cutter John McCormick to the Ketchikan community," said Capt. Shannan Greene, commander of Coast Guard Sector Juneau. "The new cutter and its crew will provide greater service and enhanced capabilities for the southeast Alaska area and its maritime communities."

The 154-foot FRC is designed to patrol coastal regions and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; the ability to launch and recover standardized cutter boats from astern or via side davits; and improved seakeeping and habitability. The FRCs, which are replacing the 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats, feature an endurance of five days and reach a maximum speed of over 28 knots.

The John McCormick is the first fast response cutter on the West Coast and will provide increased capabilities compared to the smaller 110-foot patrol boats it is replacing.

On her voyage to Ketchikan, the crew of Cutter John McCormick met with descendants of John F. McCormick, the cutter's namesake, while moored in Astoria, Oregon on March 11, 2017. The crew met and shared the cutter with the McCormick family.

The 154-foot sentinel-class cutter was named after Boatswain John McCormick who received a Gold Lifesaving Medal for his actions on March 26, 1938. McCormick rescued Surfman Richard Bracken who fell overboard from the motor lifeboat Triumph at the mouth of the Columbia River.

The vessel's manufacturer, Bollinger Shipyards, of Lockport, Louisiana, delivered the ship to the Coast Guard on December 13, 2016, for her acceptance trials. The John F. McCormick will be commissioned in April 12, 2017 in Ketchikan.

The Cutter John McCormick is the Coast Guard's 21st Sentinel-class cutter, and the first to be stationed in Alaska.

The Sentinel-class cutters are lightly armed patrol vessels with a crew of approximately two dozen sailors, capable of traveling almost 3,000 nautical miles, on five day missions. The cutter is a multi-mission vessel intended to perform law enforcement, search and rescue, fisheries and environmental protection, and homeland security tasks.

On February 07, 2017, the Coast Guard accepted delivery of the 22nd fast response cutter (FRC), Bailey Barco, in Key West, Florida. The cutter Bailey Barco will be the second FRC stationed in Ketchikan. The 22nd fast response cutter is slated for commissioning in July 2017. - More...
Friday PM - March 17, 2017

Pastor Evelyn Erbele Honored by Sen. Sullivan as Alaskan of the Week

Pastor Evelyn Erbele
Alaskan of the Week
Photo Courtesy General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church

Ketchikan: Pastor Evelyn Erbele Honored by Sen. Sullivan as Alaskan of the Week - Pastor Evelyn Erbele, co-pastor of Ketchikan’s First United Methodist Church, who operates the First City Homeless Services Day Shelter, has been honored this week as part of U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan’s series, “Alaskan of the Week”.

Senator Sullivan has spoken on the Senate floor weekly for several months recognizing Alaskans around the state who help make Alaska a better place for all of us. By speaking on the Senate floor, his statements become part of the Congressional Record.

This week, Senator Sullivan honored Pastor Evelyn Erbele, who has dedicated her life to helping others.

Sullivan said, like most places across our country, Ketchikan has its challenges, and it has a challenge with homelessness, like many communities in America and Alaska. Ketchikan is also home to a very caring community that has set its sights on helping its fellow Alaskans.

Erbele is the copastor with her husband Terry of the First United Methodist Church of Ketchikan. There is a day shelter in the church's social hall, which provides a hot meal, shower, clean clothes, and a place for the community's homeless to go every day of the week.

In recognizing Pastor Erbele as the Alaskan of the Week, Sullivan said, "Oftentimes when we think of homelessness, we think of people not having a place to sleep, but it is also important to remember that being homeless means having no place to go during the day. First City Homeless Services - Day Shelter gives people a place to go during the day. Pastor Evelyn oversees that day shelter. According to the manager of the shelter, Chris Alvarado, who himself has been homeless, she does so with commitment and with kindness and with compassion." - More...
Friday PM - March 17, 2017

Alaska’s congressional delegation says Sea Grant funding should remain - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed strong support for Alaska Sea Grant last week at a reception celebrating the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program at the Senate Hart Building. About 400 fellows, along with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration staff and Sea Grant directors from around the country, attended the event.

The senator’s remarks came on the heels of a Washington Post report saying the Trump Administration wants to zero out funding for all 33 Sea Grant programs across the nation, about $73 million. Today, the Administration reconfirmed its intent to eliminate Sea Grant in its first budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. The budget proposes increases to defense spending by $54 billion and to make major cuts to 18 federal agencies.

The budget proposal cuts over $250 million in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education, including Sea Grant. The journal Nature published a story today on the proposed cuts.
Murkowski said eliminating Sea Grant would seriously harm her state and many others.

“Sea Grant plays a vital role in Alaska,” Murkowski said.

The senator said Sea Grant brings “massive benefits” to Alaska, other coastal and Great Lakes states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico, through applied research, communication, extension and education. She specifically noted Alaska Sea Grant accomplishments in research for the fishing industry and its education program in marine literacy for K-12 students.

During meetings with Alaska Sea Grant director Paula Cullenberg and Petersburg Marine Advisory leader Sunny Rice, other members of the state’s Republican congressional delegation—Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young—also expressed strong support for continued funding for the organization.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, six senators, including Murkowski and Sullivan, called the proposed cuts “dangerous” and “drastic.” They noted that Sea Grant programs had a national economic impact of $575 million in 2015, representing an 854 percent return on federal investment. Sea Grant created or sustained close to 3,000 businesses and 21,000 jobs annually in a wide range of industries. It also supported nearly 2,000 college and graduate students, training them to protect coastal economies and communities in the years ahead, the senators wrote. - More...
Friday PM - March 17, 2017


Fish Factor:
Pinks uptick in harvest projected; Hatchery hit; Tax tasks By LAINE WELCH - Alaska salmon fishermen could haul in a harvest that nearly doubles last year’s catch, due to a projected uptick in the number of pinks.

An Alaska Department of Fish and Game report on 2017 salmon run forecasts and harvest projections (PDF) pegs the total catch at 204 million fish. That compares to just over 112 million salmon taken by fishermen in 2016.

The catch last season included 53 million sockeye salmon - the fifth largest harvest since 1970—but only 39 million pink salmon, the smallest harvest since 1977.

For this year, the forecast calls for an “average” catch of sockeye salmon at 41 million, 12 million fewer reds than last year. For those hard to predict pinks, a harvest projection of nearly 142 million is nearly 103 million more humpies than last summer.

For the other three salmon species, managers project a catch this year of 4.7 million cohos, nearly 800,000 more than last year. A chum catch of 16.7 million would be an increase of 1.2 million fish.

For Chinook salmon, a harvest of 80,000 is projected in areas outside of Southeast Alaska, where catches are regulated by treaty with Canada.

The total dockside value of the 2016 salmon fishery barely topped $406 million, the lowest in 14 years. The average prices paid to fishermen, however, were up across the board at 88 cents a pound for sockeye salmon; 65 cents for cohos, 48 cents for chums, 24 cents for pinks and $4.40 cents a pound for king salmon.

The 2017 report includes a review of the 2016 salmon season for all Alaska fishing regions. Find it at the ADF&G home page.

Hatchery hit

Last year’s salmon slump also hit state hatcheries hard.

Typically, more than one-third of Alaska’s total salmon harvest and value include fish that start out as eggs from wild stocks reared in hatcheries - mostly pinks and chums -and are released as fingerlings to the sea.

The annual Alaska Fisheries Enhancement Report (PDF) shows that last year only about 27 million adult salmon returned to Alaska’s 28 hatcheries that are dotted throughout Prince William Sound, the Panhandle and Kodiak. That was less than half of the forecast and the lowest returns since 1992. - More...
Friday PM - March 17, 2017



MICHAEL REAGAN: Make the Democrats Own Obamacare - At my age I'm pretty sure I don't need maternity care.

At her age I'm pretty sure my granddaughter doesn't need health insurance for her end-of-life needs.

But what do I know? I'm just a dumb citizen.

According to the architects of Obamacare - if you can call the Democrats who designed President Obama's signature failure "architects" - I can't be trusted to buy my own health insurance.

The architects of Obamacare in Washington, all Democrats, decided six or seven years ago they knew what the best health plan was for everyone, rich or poor, healthy or sick, old or young, Californian or New Yorker.

For them health-care choice was never an option for individual American citizens - it was one-size fits all.

They decided that every American human being, no matter what their sex, age, health or personal needs or desires, deserved Cadillac care for any possible sickness or service. - More...
Friday PM - March 17, 2017


JOHN L. MICEK: Trumpcare: Helping the Rich, Stiffing the Poor -It's taken seven years, but Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration are finally having their "If you like your health care plan you can keep it" moment.

Like President Barack Obama, who saw millions of Americans initially lose coverage under his signature plan, President Donald Trump, who vowed "insurance for everyone," is finding some promises are nearly impossible to keep.

An eagerly awaited report by the independent Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday held plenty of bad news for the new president and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill.

It was also a reminder that, when it comes to healthcare, the White House and Congressional Republicans are singing from very different hymnals.

The biggest blow to the White House?

The CBO report makes clear that the House GOP plan doesn't mean insurance for everyone. In fact, it means insurance for 14 million fewer people next year and then 24 million fewer by 2026.

As The New York Times and other outlets reported, average premiums would rise by 15 to 20 percent in 2018 and 2019 than they would be under the current law. But premiums would be 10 percent lower by 2026, the CBO analysis found.

The GOP bill would also trim Medicaid by $880 billion, dropping tens of millions of people from the rolls. - More...
Friday PM - March 17, 2017

jpg Political Cartoon: Obamacare Monster

Political Cartoon: Obamacare Monster
By Rick McKee ©2017, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter SAY NO, PROTECT TAKU By Chantelle Hart - I am a Taku River Tlingit (TRT) woman from Atlin BC and I have lived my entire life in fear of “the mine” that might come to my home territory and cause disastrous impacts to my community and the surrounding environmental areas. Even as a young child, I lived with terror and unarticulated fury over the various investors that have come to capitalize off the Tulsequah Chief mine. First there was Redfern (later called Redcorp Ventures), and they went bankrupt – but the long and drawn out legal battles my First Nation became embroiled in was a tremendous financial sacrifice we have not yet recovered from. My people have never been able to breathe easy for long, because there is always a wolf at the door, attracted by the possibility of profit. - More...
Saturday AM - March 18, 2017

letter RE: Voting to Increase State Spending By Rodney Dial - Regarding this response to Rep. Ortiz’s letter, again, I am voicing my opinions and I am not speaking on behalf of the Ketchikan Assembly… In my letter, I used total spending, all funds, and compared the budget the Governor sent to the house, and the budget after amended by the house majority budget sub-committee process. I didn’t pick and choose one budget or spending item; I didn’t pick different years, just what the legislature has done this session. Total spending… isn’t that what really matters? Anyway, all I did was cut and paste the info from the media which reported the $127 million increase on March 8th, (also reported by the legislative watchdog AK Headlamp on 3/14). They even attached documents from the legislature showing the increase (see below). - More...
Thursday AM - March 16, 2017

letter RE: Voting to Increase State Spending By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Under the State’s constitution, one of the primary tasks of legislators is to adopt a capital and operating budget for the State of Alaska. As a member of the House Finance Committee, that is the most primary of my duties. It is because of these duties that I read with extreme interest the letter written by Rodney Dial and the inaccurate and misleading numbers he presented. Let’s dig into the numbers behind the budget: - More...
Tuesday PM - March 14, 2017

letter Autism, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act By Bill And Jennifer Whicker - We are long-time residents of Prince of Wales Island and Ketchikan, AK and are the parents/guardians of a 23-year-old young man with moderate to severe autism. - More...
Monday AM - March 13, 2017

letter The American Corporate Health Care Act By Michael Spence - Today [Thursday] the Speaker of the House of the US Congress declared that the health care legislation he is promoting will face trouble in the senate if it is not passed as written. - More...
Monday AM - March 13, 2017

letter Leaked budget cuts threaten Alaskan way of life and prosperity of coastal communities By Becca Robbins Gisclair - Alaska would be hard hit with the cuts proposed for just one of the agencies targeted by the Trump administration. Taken together, the proposed budget cuts for NOAA, EPA and the Coast Guard represent a dangerous triple threat that risks hundreds of Alaskan jobs, millions of dollars that flow into the state, and the clean water and healthy fisheries on which Alaska’s economy, culture and way of life is based. - More...
Monday AM - March 13, 2017

letter Our Rep. Voting to Increase State Spending By Rodney Dial My name is Rodney Dial and I am a Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly Member. This letter is my opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of other assembly members.

A few days ago I posted on Facebook how our local Representative Dan. Ortiz, was voting to increase State spending, at a time when the State budget has a multi-billion dollar deficit. Many of you asked me for the specifics….here they are: - More...
Wednesday PM - March 08, 2017

letter WATCH OUT FOR THAT GIANT HOOK By David G Hanger - I had not realized until this latest round of state hearings and testimonies that all of us folks down here in Southeast Alaska are a bunch of welfare kings and queens who have been suckling on the state dole for these past four decades or so. Got guys and gals that are 150 days and more a year away from home even, busting their asses to make their families a living, but, hey, they are just a bunch of welfare duds, too. It matters not that we already pay the highest tax rates in the state, that as extractive industries shut down here we re-invented ourselves to a considerable degree and established new economies with little to no effectual help from outside sources or entities. We are a bunch of welfare duds; just ask our dear carpetbagging friends in the Anchorage/Fairbanks corridor about the 230,000 or so Alaskans who don’t live in that cesspool of corruption, fraud, and lies. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 08, 2017

letter Transboundary Issues By Rep. Dan Ortiz - I recently introduced a House Joint Resolution regarding Transboundary Mining, and I was pleased to see that it is generating conversation with our B.C. neighbors. On February 26th, an opinion piece by Gavin Dirom was published in SitNews. As President of the B.C. Association for Mineral Exploration, his response focused on the benefits of the B.C. mining industry. I have read his letter and I respect his intent, but there are a few points I would like to clear up. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 08, 2017

letter Open Letter to Commission Hartig By Van G. Abbott - I have just been informed that the additional cost of the Departmental Environmental Control program is perhaps as high as $2000 per year per coastal resident. I had said $500 to $1,000 based on the Ketchikan Daily News frontpage article. Apparently, their quoted cost estimate was $2000 per coastal residential property, not per common collector. My mistake. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 08, 2017

letter Open Letter: Mis-allocated federal funds By A. M. Johnson - The following letter has been submitted to Representative Don Young for consideration and action. Thank you for your publication services. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 08, 2017

letter Open Letter to Rep. Ortiz By A. M. Johnson - Representative Ortiz is asking citizens to contact him with concerns so I will submit this post to his attention. Perhaps noting the potential and maybe current cost of dealing with educational cost of mult-national illegal students on a district, and the various medical potential cost to the state Medicaid program plus other's departments dealing with illegal issues now in existence or potentially to come, Ortiz will be proactive and submit legislation similar to the Missouri statutes. Again, while it may not be a huge issue, every dollar that can be addressed in savings or reduction in services to others than those who are citizens should be considered. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 08, 2017

letter New regulations concerning common outfalls By Bill Elberson - Ketchikan residents that have septic tanks connected to an ocean outfall should check out the State DEC new regulations concerning common outfalls. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 01, 2017

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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