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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 27, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By DOUG WARD

Top of Minerva Mt.
Doug Ward took this photo March 25, 2018 while snowshoeing on top of Minerva Mt. Deer Mountain is in the background. Access is up behind Carlanna Lake. 
Front Page Feature Photo By DOUG WARD ©2018

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Ketchikan: Esther Shea Fawn Mountain Track and Field's New Bleachers & Media Booth Ready for 2018 Spring Sports Season - - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough staff, along with the volunteers and project participants, announced the media booth and bleachers are in place for the 2018 spring sports season at the Esther Shea Fawn Mountain Track and Field. Borough Mayor David Landis will dedicate the new facility on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend. 

The Esther Shea Fawn Mountain Track and Field's media booth and bleachers project was accomplished through the efforts of First City Rotary, Ketchikan Borough staff, contractors, and many volunteers in the community.

The Esther Shea Fawn Mountain Track and Field has been undergoing improvements for several years. Site preparation began in 2003 in conjunction with the Fawn Mountain Elementary School. From 2006 to 2012, the stairways and access paths were constructed, field lighting was added, and the rubberized track and turf field were installed. In 2013 and 2014, improvements were made for field accessibility, and a restroom with changing rooms was constructed. The need remained for spectator seating and for a protected media and score-keeping facility. 

First City Rotary president Scott Brandt-Erichsen's signature project for the local club this year was for the Esther Shea Media Booth. Through this signature project, First City Rotary recognized the need for elevated bleachers to allow patrons to watch games without standing or sitting on the track, and the need for a media booth to protect expensive equipment, facilitate better quality filming, and improve the utility of the facility.

First City Rotary spearheaded the public private cooperative project to build the media booth with the bleachers wrapped around. The members met with user groups and media representatives to determine what design elements were most important, and coordinated getting the approvals necessary to move the project forward. Then First City Rotary sold duck tickets and secured a grant and other donations to raise the funds to pay for the building materials, design and electrical work.

R & M Engineering Ketchikan donated some of their valuable design time and prepared designs for the booth and also to allow for installation of footings to accommodate a future roof over the stands.

The First City Rotary used Duck Race proceeds and grant funds from the Rotary District to buy materials for the booth. First City electric provided a discounted rate for the electrical work, and the Ketchikan Borough Public Works director and staff provided the labor to construct the structure, with some help from Rotarians.

In addition, the Ketchikan Borough provided the funding to purchase the bleachers and paid for the concrete work for the pad and the foundations for the booth and the future roof. The bleachers were also installed by Public Works Staff. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018

Ketchikan: Brindle Family Funds Promising Ketchikan Students through New Scholarship - The Alaska Community Foundation and the Ketchikan Community Foundation announced a new scholarship to further educational opportunities for students at Ketchikan High School who achieve valedictorian status.

The Brindle family, who have a long history in Southeast Alaska, were inspired to start the scholarship to give back to Ketchikan. Their generous donation of $100,000 will create the Alec and Cornelia Brindle Family Scholarship and provide a generous scholarship of $5,000 to each year’s graduating valedictorian. The scholarship is intended to provide opportunities for Ketchikan students to pursue and achieve their dreams, whether through a vocational school or an undergraduate degree.

“Ketchikan has provided our family with many opportunities, and this is a way for us to create opportunities for others,” said Alec Brindle, Jr.

The scholarship is also a way for the family to honor the late A.W. “Winn” Brindle, who graduated from Ketchikan High School on May 16, 1920, That fall, Winn entered the University of Washington where he planned to major in Mining Engineering. Unfortunately, the death of Winn’s father and lack of tuition funds forced him to stop his education after only one year and return to Ketchikan to take care of his mother and six younger siblings.

“This scholarship is intended to honor my late father’s aspirations and what he could have achieved had he been able to stay in school,” said Alec Brindle, Sr. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018


Southeast Alaska:
Great scat! Bears - not birds - are the chief seed dispersers in Alaska - It's a story of bears, birds and berries.

In southeastern Alaska, brown and black bears are plentiful because of salmon. Their abundance also means they are the primary seed dispersers of berry-producing shrubs, according to an Oregon State University study. 

The OSU team used motion-triggered cameras to record bears, birds and small mammals eating red berries of devil's club, and retrieved DNA in saliva left on berry stalks to identify the species and sex of the bears. Researchers found that bears, while foraging, can disperse through their scat about 200,000 devil's club seeds per square kilometer per hour. Rodents then scatter and hoard those seeds, much like squirrels hoard acorns. 

The study was published recently in the journal Ecosphere.

In most ecosystems, birds generally are thought of as chief dispersers of seeds in berries, said Taal Levi, an ecologist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences and co-author on the study. The researchers found that birds accounted for only a small fraction of seed dispersal. 

This is the first instance of a temperate plant being primarily dispersed by mammals through their gut, and suggests that bears may influence plant composition in the Pacific Northwest.

It was well-known that bears were dispersing seeds through their scat, Levi said, but it was not known that they were dispersing more seeds than birds, or the relative contribution of brown and black bears to seed dispersal, or whether the two species bears were eating berries at different times of the year. 

"Devil's club is extremely abundant in northern southeast Alaska, so it didn't seem plausible that birds were dispersing all this fruit," Levi said. "Bears are essentially like farmers. By planting seeds everywhere, they promote a vegetation community that feeds them."

The researchers found that in the study area along the Chilkat and Klehini rivers in southeastern Alaska, brown bears dispersed the most seeds, particularly before salmon became widely available. They also found that after the brown bears switched from eating berries to salmon later in the season, black bears moved in and took over the role as principal seed dispersers. Black bears are subordinate to brown bears and avoid them. 

The fruit on a devil's club stalk is clustered into a cone containing berries. The researchers observed through the camera recordings that brown bears can swallow an estimated 350 to 400 berries in a single mouthful. Birds, on the other hand, consumed on average 76 berries per plant that they visited.

"That's pretty remarkable," Levi said. "When birds visit these shrubs, they take a few berries and fly off. They don't eradicate the cones like a bear." - More...
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018


Collective movement studies may enhance salmon management By LAUREN FRISCH - New research involving a University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist suggests that social behavior of salmon and other fish is an important puzzle piece that has been missing from fisheries conservation.

Collective movement, which is the study of why and how animals move in groups, can explain many aspects of fish behavior. It may influence when juvenile salmon head out to the ocean or how fish travel in schools. But many of the concepts behind collective movement are not well understood.

UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences professor Peter Westley is part of an international team of scientists that has been working to consolidate information on the topic and explore the implications of collective movement on the ecology, evolution and management of species such as Alaska salmon.

Modern tagging practices and statistical tools have increased the capacity for researchers to track and analyze movement trajectories for many animals at once. But increased research on collective movement was also catalyzed by a fundamental curiosity — both within the research community and more generally — about how and why certain animals move together. The results of this research have even infiltrated the world of superheroes: the flying bat scenes in the Batman movies were created with collective movement models.

Just as people often make decisions based on social factors, many of the choices that salmon make are driven by group dynamics. Since this topic is not well understood, it is not often considered by fishery managers.

“Changing our thinking to incorporate social dynamics into this understanding of how populations move around is critical to making the best decisions about their management,” Westley said.

Social data reveal that certain species, such as northern cod, cluster when population sizes drop and that juvenile salmon start the long journey to the ocean earlier when they live farther inland. Westley explained that incorporating data like this into decision-making may help managers target or avoid species.

Other studies on movement ecology indicate that salmon may be particularly resilient to regional environmental change. Westley is part of a research team that revealed that salmon stray from smaller groups at higher rates than they stray from larger groups. This happens because smaller groups of salmon have less information to share with each other and work from, so their ability to choose the correct path home is reduced. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018



jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Narcissism & the Republic - 'Me the People?' - Boy, is narcissism getting out of hand with younger generations. 

San Diego State psychologist Jean Twenge examines the trend in two books: "Generation Me" and "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement."

Twenge says the self-esteem movement - in which everybody gets a trophy - has produced many "me-centered" young adults, whose opinions of their own skills and talents are often out of sync with reality.

Why is this an issue? Because, says Psychology Today, "true narcissists can only see things from their own perspective." They are incapable of the civility and thoughtful deliberation a representative republic requires to address the many challenges ours is facing.

Lucky for me, I grew up in the 70s when it was impossible to become self-centered. 

Unlike many modern parents, who often give their children unique names to demonstrate how "special" they are, I was given the biblical name Thomas, after my father. I never took myself too seriously, because thousands of other kids had names - Bill, Bob, Tim, Joe - just as common.

Families were bigger in the 70s. Growing up as the only boy with five sisters was awfully humbling. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018


CARL GOLDEN: Both Republicans and Democrats Running Against Their Leaders - In a growing sign that traditional party identification and loyalty are weakening under the stress of internal ideological and strategic conflict, this year's mid-term Congressional candidates are being advised to utilize opposition to their party leadership as a central campaign theme.

The ties that have historically bound Republicans and Democrats to their respective parties have frayed badly and, in some cases, unraveled altogether, replaced by a strategy rooted in personality and style.

The late House Speaker Tip O'Neill's trenchant observation - "All politics is local" - has morphed into "All politics is personal."

Republicans are being counseled to avoid close association with President Donald Trump while Democrats see benefit in distancing themselves from their House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Democrats around the country took notice when one of their own, Conor Lamb, won a special election in a southwestern Pennsylvania congressional district carried by Trump by nearly 20 points by breaking with party orthodoxy on gun control and abortion rights, for instance, and promising he would not support Pelosi for Speaker should Democrats regain control of the House.

The decision by more than 20 House Republicans to retire rather than seek re-election was interpreted as a warning that Trump had become a serious - perhaps fatal - drag on their re-election hopes. - More....
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Russian diplomats expelled

Political Cartoon: Russian diplomats expelled
By Dave Granlund ©2018, Minnesota
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

NOT FUNNY, KIFFER By David G Hanger - There is nothing at all funny about your muse on local road conditions and potholes; incompetence and probably worse is not in any sense amusing, but before I delve into that subject I will briefly address your silliness about donut spare tires. The solution is very simple and is done immediately by any driver and vehicle owner who knows what they are doing. You rip that worthless piece of junk off its rim and replace it with a standard-sized tire, and you make sure you buy a vehicle that has a spare tire well large enough for a real tire to fit. I know; it’s complicated. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Are Democrats bracing for all-out ‘internecine warfare?’ By John Grimaldi - Do you get the feeling that the Democratic Party appears to be moving further and further to the left, adopting what some would call “extreme” socialist policies and even turning against the moderates in the party? Well, it is. Just look at what happened to one of the most popular Democrats in Congress, Dianne Feinstein. She has served her California constituency for some 26 years, winning election after election since 1992. But, she was unable to win an endorsement at the recent California Democratic Party convention, losing to a relatively unknown progressive contender - More...
Saturday AM - March 24, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

No New Epidemic of Drugs By Angelo Martin - I am astonished at the articles in the Ketchikan Daily News about drugs in the community as if they're surprised or it is something new. When I arrived in K-town drugs were everywhere and continued to be there all the years I lived there, 21 years. You would be surprised who was using them. Cocaine thrived as other stuff. - More...
Saturday AM - March 24, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Trump The Terrible By Donald Moskowitz - President Trump's character flaws are overwhelming his administration and placing our country in jeopardy. Former CIA Director John Brennan  referred to Trump as " unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical ". I add divisive, chaotic, and terrible judgement. - More...
Saturday AM - March 24, 2018

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.”- 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. - 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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