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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 18, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By REX BARBER ©2018

Boiler of the Ancon: Loring
In 1889, the side-wheel steamer Ancon made one of its regular stops in the small village on Loring in Naha Bay on Revillagigedo Island, 20 miles north of what would later become Ketchikan. When casting off, through an error, a rock pierced the hull of the 226-foot ship and water poured in.
Read the feature article in the SitNews' archives about the Ancon.

Front Page Feature Photo By REX BARBER ©2018

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Alaska: Key Tax Reform Provision Known as Investing in Opportunity Act Highlighted In Letter to Alaska Governor - U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) last week wrote Alaska Governor Bill Walker to highlight a critical provision within H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, known as the Investing in Opportunity Act, which encourages economic investments in distressed or underserved communities across the country.

In his letter Sullivan wrote,“… part of the tax bill creates what is called ‘Opportunity Zones,’ which will further promote economic investment in underserved, rural and impoverished areas. This program has received less attention than the overall tax bill, but has significant potential to spur economic growth in our state."

The Investing in Opportunity Act, a bipartisan measure championed by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, was one of the many measures – in addition to the historic opening of ANWR’s 1002 to resource development – included in H.R. 1 to encourage growth and investment in the American economy. The provision arose from a group of Congressional members – including Senator Sullivan – convened by Senator Scott called the Opportunity Coalition. The provision works to incentivize investment by temporarily deferring, or in some cases reducing or excluding, certain capital gains taxes for investing in new Opportunity Zones located in “low-income community” census tracts.

“Opportunity Zones are areas that are in qualifying census tracks based on average income of residents living in those tracts. Alaska has approximately 68 such tracks, encompassing a huge swath of our state. Your office will designate 25 of these tracks as Opportunity Zones. Investors can then establish Opportunity Funds to invest in projects within these zones,” Sullivan's letter stated.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act calls for the establishment of Opportunity Zones by state Governors by March 21st, 2018 but includes language allowing for a 30-day extension from the U.S. Treasury. - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018

Alaska: Fast-Track Supplemental Budget Sent to Governor - Friday, the Alaska Senate passed a “fast-track” supplemental budget totaling $110.2 million in funding for urgent and unanticipated state expenses. 

“The fast-track supplemental budget is a good-faith effort between the House and Senate to fund the items we broadly agree on,” said Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel) co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “As we continue progress toward solving the state’s fiscal problem, it’s important to pay our bills.”      

The supplemental budget includes $45 million to fund Medicaid through mid-May, $30 million for Community Assistance, $18.3 million to pay for an unanticipated increase in the prison population and growing inmate healthcare costs, and $24 million to fully fund the Alaska Marine Highway System.

HB 321 also deposits $30 million for the Community Assistance Fund for distribution in FY 19, transfers $4 million to the Alaska Disaster Relief Fund, and provides $5 million for the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for increased investment management resources related to recent growth to the fund.

The bill also deposits an additional $25 million into savings realized from the state’s re-insurance program, and $5 million was appropriated to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation to cover fees related to higher than expected fund earnings. - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018


Two Initiative Petitions Properly Filed By MARY KAUFFMAN - Two 2018 ballot initiatives were properly filed, according to Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott. The Lt. Gov. issued letters on March 7th and March 13th to the sponsors of the petitions: “The Alaska Government Accountability Act,” known as “17AKGA” and “An Act providing protection of wild salmon and fish and wildlife habitat,” known as “17FSH2.”

“I have determined that the initiative sponsors have timely filed the petition and that the petition is signed by qualified voters (1) equal in number to 10 percent of those who voted in the preceding general election; (2) resident in at least three-fourths of the house districts in the state; and (3) who, in each of the house districts are equal in number to at least seven percent of those who voted in the preceding general election in the house district,” Lt. Gov. Mallott wrote. Initiative Petition List

Currently, there is active litigation over 17FSH2, “An Act providing for protection of wild salmon and fish and wildlife habitat.” The case is on appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court. Oral arguments will be held in Anchorage on April 26, 2018. The Division of Elections must wait until the Supreme Court rules on the case before moving ahead with final ballot preparations for that specific initiative.

However, in accordance with state statute, the Director of the Alaska Division of Elections "shall" place the ballot title and proposition on the ballot of the first statewide general, special or primary election that is held after a period of 120 days has expired since the adjournment of the legislative session. Barring any unforeseen special election or a change in the date of adjournment of the current legislative session, the initiatives would appear on the ballot for the August 21, 2018 Primary Election. If the primary election takes place 120 days or less after the regular legislative session adjourns, then the initiatives would appear in the November General Election.

jpg Updated

[Updated 03/19/18] Stand for Alaska (SFA), a group organize in opposition to the proposed state ballot initiative that would overhaul fish habitat regulations released a prepared statement in response to the initiative petition announcement by the Lt. Governor.

Stand for Alaska (SFA) campaign manager Kati Capozzi said, “We have long expected this measure to be approved to go before Alaska voters later this year."

Capozzi said, “This misguided and poorly written ballot measure is ripe with unintended consequences that will cause havoc in Alaska’s communities and in how we live our lives, both in urban and rural Alaska. It’s clear the language of this measure puts important development projects at risk. But, it also negatively impacts public infrastructure projects such as roads, airports, ports, pipelines and wastewater treatment facilities."

“We look forward to a robust discussion in the coming months so voters will learn that this proposed ballot measure is not what it claims to be. Our job will be to help voters understand the negative impacts this flawed proposal will have on Alaska and Alaskans,” said Capozzi.

The group Stand for Alaska (SFA) is a broad statewide coalition, including Alaska Native corporations, trade unions, business and industry organizations and a growing coalition of Alaskans concerned about the state’s economic future. [End of Update]

Nearly 42,000 signatures were verified from all 40 legislative districts for the Salmon Initiative, the first time in at least 15 years that a ballot initiative has surpassed the minimum signatures required in every district according to ballot initiative sponsors. The initiative would update an ineffective state law governing development in salmon habitat. It’s now slated for a vote later this year. 

“Alaskans have spoken and the message is clear: salmon is our way of life, a cornerstone of our culture and economy. Economic development is necessary, but protecting salmon habitat is too,” said Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, Yes for Salmon ballot sponsor and director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. “We understand what it’s like to experience serious declines in salmon runs – we’ve seen it in king runs statewide - and that's for reasons that are out of our control. Promoting responsible development is something we can control and is the most important proactive step we can take to keep our runs strong. And now we officially have the chance to vote on this critical issue.” - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018


Southeast Alaska:
Forest Service Interim Chief Announces new Acting Regional Forester for Alaska Region - USDA Forest Service Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen announced Friday the appointment of David Schmid as acting regional forester for the Forest Service’s Alaska Region. As regional forester, Schmid will oversee management of more than 22 million acres of National Forest System lands in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska. 

Schmid replaces Beth Pendleton, who will retire in April after serving as Alaska Regional Forester for eight years. Pendleton served in several key positions in the Alaska Region, including Deputy Regional Forester for Operations and Director for Recreation, Lands, and Minerals. Pendleton also served as the Acting Associate Chief of the agency in Washington, DC, during the transition to the current administration.

“David’s more than 30 years of Forest Service experience make him exceptionally well qualified for this job,” Christiansen said. “His natural resources work and 23 years spent on the Chugach and Tongass National Forests make him especially well-suited for the Alaska region, and I am very pleased he is bringing that experience to this role.” - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018  

Alaska: Alaska Division of Elections to Host First Language Summit - The Alaska Division of Elections will host its first language summit March 19-20 in Anchorage. The goal is for participants to learn about the division’s efforts to increase language assistance along with Alaska Native languages preservation and revitalization efforts.

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott said, “I’m encouraged to see the Alaska Division of Elections provide a meaningful focus on language and real world application of language assistance as part of a bedrock of our democracy - the privilege of voting in local, state and federal elections.”

The event centers around in-depth panel discussions and presentations on voting rights, legal framework for language assistance, demographic shifts in Alaska and strategy for future translations in the DOE’s language program. Speakers and panelists include: Liz Medicine Crow, President/CEO First Alaskans Institute, Natalie Landreth, attorney with Native American Rights Fund, and Tammy Patrick with the Democracy Fund, and Christy McCormick, Commissioner with U.S. Election Assistance Commission among others. - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018




TOM PURCELL: Ready to Support Socialism - Come 2035 - My golden years are shaping up to be way better than I expected.

CNBC reports the U.S. Census Bureau projects that in 2035, adults over age 65 will outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in U.S. history.

I will be 72 in 2035 - if taxes don't kill me before then - and it will be the most glorious time of my life.

It will be glorious, partly, because surveys show that Americans are happiest in their old age.

It will be glorious, partly, because I'll be debt-free. All my risks, sacrifices and investments over the years (rental properties, etc.) will finally pay me back.

But being 72 will be glorious mostly because I'll be part of a massive geezer voting bloc that will force younger generations to fund my government largesse.

The irony of this demographic shift is delicious.

Take millennials, ages 20 to 35. The Census Bureau expects them to become America's largest generation in 2019.

In 2016, reports The Washington Post, more millennials voted for "progressive" Bernie Sanders than for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton combined.

According to a 2017 YouGov study commissioned by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, 44 percent of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country - 7 percent would prefer communism.

Only 42 percent favor capitalism, the system that produced the incredible wealth that millions of Americans take for granted today.

To be sure, the views each of us holds are influenced by our generation, and younger generations see things differently than I do. - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018

jpg Phil Kerpen

PHIL KERPEN: FDA Tobacco Policy Faces Key Test - Shortly after Scott Gottlieb took over as the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, he announced a paradigmatic shift in the agency's approach to regulating tobacco products centered on harm reduction - the idea that smokers who can't quit outright can get nicotine from products other than cigarettes and dramatically improve their health outcomes as a result.The first test of the extent to which things have really changed at the FDA comes with the application of a product called IQOS from Philip Morris, an electronic device that heats tobacco enough to release nicotine - but without combustion and all of the health harms associated with the products of combustion.

"The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes," Gottlieb correctly observed in a landmark speech last year."Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use. Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts."

In its press release surrounding the Gottlieb announcement, the agency added: "A key piece of the FDA's approach is demonstrating a greater awareness that nicotine - while highly addictive - is delivered through products that represent a continuum of risk and is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes."

So a product like IQOS that heats tobacco to release nicotine without combustion should be a slam dunk for FDA approval - especially because IQOS is attractive primarily to smokers who want to quit, but are challenged by the taste and tactile difference between cigarettes and vapor products.

But culture change comes slowly at a large bureaucratic institution like the FDA, and a recent hearing of its Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) showed that the absolutism that has driven hostility to the harm reduction approach remains strong. - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Kim Jong Un March Madness

Political Cartoon: Kim Jong Un March Madness
By Rick McKee ©2018, The Augusta Chronicle, GA
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

By the People, for the People By Terri Robbins - We have a system of government characterized by the principles of “By the People, For the People.” These were revolutionary ideas in the 1700s. Citizens, for the first time, had the freedom to affect the big decisions that directly impacted their lives. Our founders realized that with that freedom must necessarily come responsibility-the responsibility to vote, to serve, and to contribute to the well-being of our nation. Ours was to be a “government by the people.”

Our country has grown, both in population and in diversity. Our government, too, has grown to address the complex and serious challenges facing and motivating our citizens. Our state governments and the federal government must, of necessity, share certain aspects of governance, including the ultimate responsibility-the well-being of our citizens, thereby honoring the ideal of a “government for the people.“ - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

FOR MOST OF YOU THE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC) IS AN ABSOLUTE PIECE OF WORTHLESS JUNK By David G Hanger, EA, MBA - It may be that a limited liability company might have some benefit for a business that has 50 or 500 investors, but under ordinary circumstances such a business entity would adopt the corporate form of business organization. For a closely-held business, one owned by one or a handful of members, the limited liability company (LLC) is an absolute piece of worthless junk. I do not care who tells you otherwise. The intent of a limited liability company is to eliminate personal liability for what the business does, to keep you from being sued or held liable for business obligations. There is no possibility, none, zero, that an LLC will protect you in this way. All that paperwork will be instantaneously shredded, and you will be held liable for all business obligations. That is a statement of fact in the state of Alaska, and generally overall in the United States.

To get through an LLC, or a corporation for that matter, to get to you and to hold you liable for the business’s debt or dishonesty is called “piercing (or lifting) the corporate veil.” What that means in practical terms is punching a hole through your silly paperwork and going straight for your throat in the course of taking everything you own, if necessary, for satisfaction. In the state of Alaska you do not even need a lawyer or a judge to do that; any number of bureaucrats are authorized to “pierce the corporate veil” as it suits them in the conduct of their duties. - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Boooo HOOO Tillerson By Mary L. Stephenson  - Rex Tillerson leaves with a oil deal the US Government made with Russia in the Artic Circle and Exxon Company will reap big rewards. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 14, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Teachers and guns By A. M. Johnson - Not to belabor the issue of teachers and guns in schools, it requires intense study of options. The excerpts from the following article establishe current application of existing armed teachers and staff. It should be noted that the NRA, an organization with the true purpose of the 2nd amendment as its heart and soul, offers courses in firearm training as an option in protection of children's districts who elect to take advantage of the training. - More...
Sunday PM - March 11, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

There are no easy answers By Amanda Mitchell - I do get the concerns about guns, but I don’t believe guns are the only thing that can cause harm to others in society. If I remember my history correctly, governments have posed a significant risk to life as well. Does this mean all governments are bad or that we should get rid of all governments? Of course not!  - More...
Thursday PM - March 08, 2018

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