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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 05, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By DALE CURTIS

Coast Guard Base Ketchikan
The beauty of a March moon shines over Ketchikan.
Front Page Feature Photo By DALE CURTIS ©2018

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Ketchikan: Ucore Sets 2020 Production Start Date for Ketchikan SMC - Ucore Rare Metals announced today the company has set a 2020 production start date for the recently announced U.S. Strategic Metals Complex to be located in Ketchikan. The Strategic Metals Complex (SMC) will be a rare earth elements separation plant. Ucore’s transition to production will be led by Mike Schrider, Chief Operating Officer and Randy MacGillivray, VP Project Development in conjunction with the engineering efforts of IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc, other specialty firms, and local Alaska based consultants. The Bokan Dotson-Ridge Rare Earth Project is located on Prince of Wales Island.

Ucore is currently entering its second phase of Alaska SMC due diligence, including: (1) specific site selection within the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, (2) design engineering, (3) construction costing (CAPEX), (4) finalization of input feedstocks from the short-list of competing alternatives, (5) operational costing (OPEX), and will reveal additional schedule highlights once confirmed.

“The decision to embark on the engineering design is a significant milestone for Ucore and Alaska; as together we accelerate to becoming a technology-based producer of individual, saleable, REE oxides in the worldwide market,” said Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. “Our go-forward planning during H1 2018 includes the business plan, engineering, construction and operating schedules for the Alaska SMC. We’re pleased to share the highlights of this information with our shareholders and the residents of Ketchikan via a series of forthcoming press releases in the weeks and months ahead.”

“The residents of Ketchikan have expressed a great interest in our Alaska SMC project” said Mike Schrider. “We’re pleased to finally be in a position to reveal our initial schedule highlights as well as additional aspects of the design and planning process as they materialize in the immediate term.”

““We envision the Alaska SMC as the first component of the nearby Bokan Dotson Ridge rare earth element project’s surface complex,” said Randy McGillivray. “Ucore is in a position to construct a state-of-the-art rare earth separation facility that is neither energy-intensive nor a threat to air and water quality. We have the opportunity to permit and construct the first large scale REE separation facility using clean-green Molecular Recognition Technology (MRT), in an environmentally sustainable and safety conscious manner.”

Representatives of Ucore attended and actively participated in the recent US Forest Service Roundtable Discussion held on February 24, 2018, at the Ketchikan Public Library.

The one-day event, hosted and chaired by Senator Lisa Murkowski, was organized to solicit input from local stakeholders and to gain a greater understanding of the forest management challenges faced by communities in the Tongass National Forest , the nation’s largest national forest for the benefit of USFS Chief Tony Tooke.

Randy MacGillivray, Ucore’s VP of Project Development, represented the Company as a panel member in the Roundtable interactions. Also in attendance was Ucore Advisory Board member Randy Johnson, of Orca Holdings, LLC. The Ucore contingent participated in order to obtain ongoing stakeholder input and feedback, focusing on opportunities to improve access to the Tongass and build a diverse and broad-based economy in southeast Alaska, and in support of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s efforts to ensure sustainable access to and development of mineral resources in Southeast Alaska.

Ucore recently announced the selection of Ketchikan as the location for the Company’s forthcoming U.S. Strategic Metals Complex (SMC) in January 2018). The SMC is being developed for the purpose of processing rare earth containing concentrates to coincide with the increasing demand for electric vehicles and the need to provide a domestic supply of individual REE oxides for US commercial and military technologies. Feedstock from locations in the continental US, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia are under consideration. The Ketchikan SMC will also serve as the separation plant for REEs mined from the Bokan project into individual saleable rare earth oxides once the development of the mine project is realized.

“We’re committed to the continued pursuit of development required to advance the Bokan – Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project on Prince of Wales Island”, said Randy MacGillivray. “We appreciate the invitation to participate in this important dialogue with the Chief of the Forest Service due to the fact that the USFS will be the lead agency during the permitting process to bring Bokan online. Further, our recent selection of Ketchikan as our targeted site for the Strategic Metals Separation Complex will serve as the first step to ensuring that saleable rare earth oxide products can ultimately be produced locally from rare earth ore concentrate.” - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018


Ketchikan School District Leading Way For Public Education Changes - School districts across Alaska are leading the way for change in our public education systems including the Ketchikan School District. In the summer of 2014, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District was awarded a 3-year "Digital Teaching Initiative Grant" to start the Alaska Digital Academy.  

The intention of the Alaska Digital Academy is to deliver high quality interactive distance courses to Alaskan middle and high school students.

Now that the grant has ended, the Alaska Digital Academy has moved to its sustainability plan of offering online courses to any Alaskan student. Their scalable system is flexible enough to allow for tuition-based enrollments or, should funding allow for it, tuition-free courses.

Any students who are enrolled in one of the partner districts of Annette Island School District, Craig City School District, Hydaburg City School District, Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, Klawock City School District, Southeast Island School District can take distance classes from the Alaska Digital Academy (AKDA). The Alaska Digital Academy works to offer increased opportunities for students through a Enriched Virtual instruction model.

These courses are taught by highly qualified teachers who are proficient in distance technology and who understand alternative forms of education.  Students will have access to teachers throughout the school day, after school hours, and when school is not in session. Students will regularly demonstrate mastery through performance-based assessments, assessments during the unit or course, and end-of-unit or -course assessments. Educators will use student assessment results to support interventions that increase student success. - More...
Monday PM - March 03, 2018

Alaska: EPA & Trident Settle Wrangell, Sand Point Fish Waste Violations - Trident Seafoods Corporation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act for discharges of fish waste at two seafood processing facilities in Wrangell and Sand Point, Alaska. 

At the Wrangell plant, Trident has agreed to screen out most solid seafood wastes, which will reduce or eliminate waste discharges to the nearshore marine environment. Annual dive surveys at both processing plants will monitor the size of any accumulated seafood waste to ensure continued compliance with permit requirements. 

Under the agreement, Trident will limit the amount of seafood waste discharged from its Wrangell plant and remove nearly three-and-a-half acres of waste from the seafloor near its Sand Point plant.

“We are pleased that Trident has committed to removing the waste pile at Sand Point and to continue reducing the amount of seafood waste discharges from its operations,” said Edward Kowalski, Director of the EPA Region 10 Office of Compliance and Enforcement. “This settlement is the result of a productive and successful collaboration with Trident, and will help protect the seafloor, surrounding water quality, and important habitat for a variety of marine life.” - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018

Alaska - Nationwide: STOP School Violence Act Introduced - Today, a non-partisian group of U.S. Senators introduced the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018, legislation that funds school security improvements and invests in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens. Among the Senators to introduce the legislation was Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

The legislation authorizes the Department of Justice to make grants for the purposes of training students, school personnel, and law enforcement to identify signs of violence and intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others. In addition to prevention efforts, the legislation funds evidence-based technology and equipment to improve school security and prevent school violence.  This includes the development of anonymous reporting systems, and commonsense security infrastructure improvements.  The legislation also provides funds for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams to help schools intake and triage threats before tragedy strikes.  

The bill would authorize $75 million for FY 2018, and $100 million annually for the next ten years, which may be partially offset from a DOJ research program called the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative.

Following tragedies like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland, the federal government has funded short-term school safety initiatives focused on crisis response, active shooters, and physical infrastructure. While these are important investments, we have not yet seen sustained strategies to STOP violence in our schools before it happens. Our students, educators, and local law enforcement need the tools and support to take proactive and continuous steps toward improving school safety and security. 

“There is no one, simple fix for addressing acts of violence, but a focus on prevention is an imperative. In the aftermath of tragedy, we find ourselves looking back, identifying the signals for help that were overlooked. We need a more proactive approach to address the growing violence that we see in our society,” said Murkowski. “This legislation aims to help schools implement evidence-based programs that stop school violence before it happens. By equipping individuals with the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to identify warning signs, as well as implementing anonymous reporting systems for how to notify the proper authorities with potential threats, we are taking a step in the right direction. By being proactive, we all can be part of the solution and keep our students and teachers safe.” - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018


Alaska - Western US:
Two species of ravens nevermore? New research finds evidence of ‘speciation reversal’ - For over a century, speciation — where one species splits into two — has been a central focus of evolutionary research. But a new study almost 20 years in the making suggests “speciation reversal” — where two distinct lineages hybridize and eventually merge into one — can also be extremely important. The paper, appearing March 2 in Nature Communicationsprovides some of the strongest evidence yet of the phenomenon, in two lineages of common ravens.

“The bottom line is [speciation reversal] is a natural evolutionary process, and it’s probably happened in hundreds or almost certainly thousands of lineages all over the planet,” said Kevin Omland, professor of biological sciences at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and co-author on the new study. “One of our biggest goals is to just have people aware of this process, so when they see interesting patterns in their data, they won’t say, ‘That must be a mistake,’ or, ‘That’s too complicated to be correct.’”

“We examined genomic data from hundreds of ravens collected across North America,” said Anna Kearns, the study’s first author and a former postdoctoral fellow at UMBC, who is now a postdoc at the Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genomics. “Integrating all of the results across so many individuals, and from such diverse datasets, has been one of the most challenging aspects of this study. Next-generation genomic techniques are revealing more and more examples of species with hybrid genomes.”

When Omland initially began work on this project in 1999, common ravens were considered a single species worldwide. He thought further research might uncover two distinct species — perhaps an “Old World” and “New World” raven — but the real story is much more complicated. Omland reported the existence of two common raven lineages in 2000, one concentrated in the southwestern United States dubbed “California,” and another found everywhere else (including Maine, Alaska, Norway and Russia) called “Holarctic.”

Since then, the plot has thickened. Two undergraduates in Omland’s lab, Jin Kim and Hayley Richardson, analyzed mitochondrial DNA from throughout the western United States and found the two lineages are extensively intermixed. In 2012, the Norwegian Research Council provided major funding for the project and Kearns spent a year at the University of Oslo analyzing nuclear genome data.

The best explanation based on the team’s analysis is that the California and Holarctic lineages diverged for between one and two million years, but now have come back together and have been hybridizing for at least tens of thousands of years. - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018



jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Never Time for Daylight Saving - I'm already dreading it.

On Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m., daylight saving time, the practice of moving our clocks forward one hour in the spring and backward one hour in the fall, will commence.

When I wake on March 11 at my regular time - which will depend on the pub I was drowning my DST sorrows at the night before - I will be short by one hour.

I will be in a stupor, for the most part, until November, when I must set my clocks back one hour - at which time I will officially resume my perpetual confusion about what the heck time it is.

Come Sunday, half the clocks in my house - those that have been off by an hour since November - will display the correct time.

The other half, which have displayed the correct time since November, will be wrong.

Thus, when I have business meetings or social engagements to attend, I'll be one hour late or one hour early, but hardly ever on time.

Daylight saving time was first implemented in Thunder Bay, Canada, in 1908. The goal was to squeeze an extra hour of daylight out of a typical day.

The United States adopted the concept in 1918, but, reports TimeandDate.com, without uniform rules across all states, it resulted in widespread chaos in commerce and transportation.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 addressed that challenge by synchronizing the switch dates across the country.

In an effort to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo, Congress changed DST dates again - then changed them again in 1976.

From 1987 to 2006, the country observed yet another set of DST dates - which changed one more time in 2007, to our current March-and-November cycle.

Millions of Americans have been befuddled ever since. - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018

jpg Rick Jensen

RICK JENSEN: More Failures in Florida Than a Lack of Gun Control - Much went wrong leading to the massacre at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

There were 18 direct calls to the Broward County Sheriff's office prior to the very disturbed Nicholas Cruz' rampage through the school, ending 17 innocent lives. The shiny, new FBI call center in West Virginia did not even forward warning calls to the FBI office in Miami.

If Sheriff Deputy Peterson did take FBI active shooter training, then he disregarded the fact that he was taught to enter the building and engage the shooter prior to backup arriving. If he did not take the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT),he was unqualified for such duty.

I spoke with retired DEA Supervising Special Agent and former Hillsborough County (Tampa, Florida) Sheriff's Deputy Jeffery Higgins, who said he would be surprised if an officer assigned to a school did not have this training.

They teach that even though it is best to have at least two officers "sweep" rooms in a building, it is, indeed, the duty of the officer to enter the building himself or herself to locate and engage the shooter to protect the children.

We have also learned that Broward County Sheriff Israel is a politician, a product of an elective process that encourages partisan politics to attain and then retain one's position.

Could you imagine the additional crushing heartbreak in Broward County should it be true that there were calls for the Sheriff Deputies to "stand down" during or immediately after the shooting? - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Assault Trunk

Political Cartoon: Assault Trunk
By Bill Day ©2018, Tallahassee, FL
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Treating the dignity deficit By Sen. Pete Kelly - Here’s the question: should Alaskans who receive Medicaid be required to work or volunteer as a condition of their benefits?

I believe so, and two weeks ago I introduced Senate Bill 193 which would require Medicaid recipients to engage with their community through employment, volunteerism or subsistence activities.

First, the facts: SB 193 does not require new mothers, the elderly or the disabled to seek employment. We reviewed proposed Medicaid work requirements from other states and crafted our exemptions to ensure that the Medicaid safety net continues to work for those who need it most. - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Sorry but the NRA is wrong By Michael Spence - Quoting Mr LaPierre in his most recent red-faced, impassioned speech regarding the Parkland School shooting: .. "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun."

Every reasonable person can then ask,: So how do you define a good guy? - More...
Monday PM - March 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A Preventable Shooting Tragedy By Donald Moskowitz - The Parkland, FL shooter had a history of violent behavior. Police were called to his house many times, but they did not arrest him because the school board had an agreement with the police not to arrest any students.. The FBI received a viable tip indicating he wanted to shoot up a school, but the lead was not pursued.

The following are incredible:  A student saw the shooter in a stairway loading his rifle, but did nothing to try to stop him when told "things are going to get messy around here". The student left the building, did not call 911, but informed a teacher. The teacher drove the student to a baseball field, and then went back to the school to check it out, but the shooting had started. Why did the armed deputy sheriff assigned to protect the school stand around during the shooting? If true, why did three police officers arrive at the school and take cover behind their vehicles, and not enter the school? - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Take guns from criminal gang bangers By John Suter - On HB 75 the legislature should also add felon criminal gang bangers to the list that the government takes away their guns because they are a danger to themselves and the community at large.  We would have a lot less crime then.  - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Staff Training By A.M. Johnson - For the public that wishes to read current articles regarding the arming of school personnel.

Below are direct quotes from three of the four provided sources. Two quotes are not know as supporters of conservative thinking on most anything including firearms, however they do quote statements a bit more accurately than the author of the Taking the Law into your Own Hands is not an "Individual Freedom" would have you believing. One would ask the author of the letter to the editor to provide a bit more specifics on the basis for opinions offered as Fact. - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

This in not my father's NRA By Michael Spence - He was a combat veteran, an expert marksman, and a lifelong member of the NRA. When I was 12 he took me and my brother out to the sand dunes to practice shooting at tin cans. Before shooting, we learned from him how to carry, clean, and handle a .22 rifle, a shotgun, and a .45 automatic pistol. The rules he taught were ones right out of the NRA manual:

Always carry and store the gun with a safety on.
Never leave a loaded gun unattended.
Never point a gun at another person. - More...
Friday PM - March 02, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gun control By Rex Barber - Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted amongst men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. THAT WHEN EVER GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE TO THESE ENDS IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH AND INSTITUTE NEW GOVERNMENT. - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Taking the Law into your Own Hands is not an "Individual Freedom" By Michael Spence - Once again the CEO of the NRA, Mr LaPierre, has taken the podium to expound on the rights of individuals to take the law into their own hands. In doing so he reveals again his huge misunderstanding of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which does not entitle anyone to do so. - More...
Friday AM - February 23 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gillam crash By John Tippets - I greatly enjoyed reading and appreciated Dave's article about the Gillam crash of 75 years ago. 

Yes, the men were extremely careful in stretching out the food items they had; cutting Sardines into five parts (or four after Harold left) and breaking candy bars into the small squares for one piece for each, each a day.  - More...
Friday AM - February 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

KEA Seeks School District Funding to the Cap By Dan Bockhorst - The Ketchikan Education Association is calling for the Borough to fund our school district to the cap. Here are some points to consider:

1. The Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District (KGBSD) has a current-year operating budget of $44,115,565. Additionally, payments for school debt service add $3,510,233, and another $400,000 has been budgeted for school capital improvements this year. Those figures total $48,025,798. With a student population of 2,287, the total equals $20,999 for each student served by the KGBSD. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Gun Violence By Rob B. Holston, Jr. - First let me say I own guns. I killed two deer this fall. I enjoy eating venison. I don’t pretend to have one silver bullet to solve the problem of gun violence in America today, but perhaps several bronze bullets. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

King Salmon Fishery By Angelo Martin - I have followed the King Salmon Fishery and see that it is in trouble, low counts of wild stock. I took special intrest with the King Salmon program that SSRA was implementing, I was on the board of directors of SSRAA. I FOUGH HARD TO KEEP THE PROGRAM GOING EVEN GOT volunteer of the year twice for the work in the King Salmon Fishery. Before I left it was in fairly good shape because of the hatchery program.l loved it. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A Strong Ferry System is Part of a Stronger Alaska By Gov. Bill Walker & Lt. Gov. Bryon Mallott - For more than 50 years, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has served as a critical transportation link among Alaska’s coastal communities to Anchorage and to the Lower 48 and Canada. The marine highway system is a socio-economic lifeline for many of the 33 Alaska communities it serves, the majority of which are not connected to Alaska’s road system. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

THE FOUR Ps OF GOOD LOCAL GOVERNANCE By David G. Hanger - The four Ps of good local governance are power, plumbing, parking, and potholes. The first three are desirable in relative abundance; the fourth, potholes, none at all is optimal. Historically, with power and plumbing the City’s rep is so-so; plenty of power but plenty of power outages, too; with plumbing both in and out problems of potable water and problems with pollution that cause periodic health problems. But parking and potholes are our main concerns today. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Abortion By Robert B. Holston Jr. - Robert K. Rice claims to be a “realist” and then spouts sophomoric platitudes about a great grandpa choosing NOT to have an abortion.  How “realistic”. - More...
Saturday AM - February 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Infrastructure Package Must Include Permitting Reform By U. S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and Terry O’Sullivan - While pundits debate the merits of various infrastructure proposals, the very real problem of permitting reform has been overlooked. Almost four in 10 of our country’s bridges are at least 50 years old. More than 50,000 of those bridges were structurally deficient in 2016. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States—and in some places, like in Alaska, there are entire communities that don’t even have access to tap water and a flushed toilet. Much of our energy grid is at full capacity, one out of every five miles of highway pavement is in poor condition, our ports need to be modernized and deepened, and many of our schools are crumbling. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 14, 2018

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