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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 05, 2019

Icy Falls
As water seeps out of rocks during freezing weather, icy waterfalls are commonly seen. Photographed in the Coffman Cove area.
Front Page Feature Photo By JACY PIERSON ©2019

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Fish Factor: Alaska Symphony of Seafoods Awards Announced By LAINE WELCH - Push that pasta aside. Noodles made from Alaska pollock are poised to become a center of the plate favorite.  

Alaska Pollock Protein Noodles from Trident Seafoods swept the awards at the 26th annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood new products competition in Juneau. The low carb, “flavor neutral” noodles contain 1O grams of protein per serving and can be swapped with any pasta favorites.

The ready to eat item drew raves from judges and samplers from Seattle to Southeast who gave the noodles quadruple awards at the Feb. 20 bash.

“That’s never happened before,” said Julie Decker, executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation,” host of the Symphony event. “It really blew everything out of the water.”

The new products played to a packed house as part of United Fishermen of Alaska’s annual legislative reception where everyone gets to sample and vote on the goods. 

“It’s a great chance for policy makers to mix with people in Alaska’s statewide seafood industry,” Decker said.“Sen. Murkowski gave away the grand prize. Lots of legislators were there and a number of them presented awards. A number of people from the governor’s office also attended.”

The annual competition kicks off at Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle in November where the new products are judged and first place winners in three categories are announced. All other winners are kept under wraps until the Juneau event.

Trident’s protein noodles took top honors in the retail category, People's Choice awards in Seattle and Juneau and the overall grand prize.

Second at retail was Wild Alaskan& Salmon Jerkyby Fishpeople Seafood of Portland, Oregon; Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder by Heather Choice of Anchorage took home third place.

First place in the Food Service category was awarded to Alaska Cod Dumplings by Tai Foong USA, followed by Trident’s Entrée Redi pollock fillet portions.   

Winner in the Beyond the Plate category, which features items made from seafood byproducts, was Wild Alaska Pollock Oil by Alaska Naturals Pet Products.  Second place went to Tidal Vision’s crab shell based Tidal-Tex Odor Preventer that ‘de-funks’ footwear, camp gear and pet beds.

Top winners are automatically entered into the Seafood Excellence competition at the Seafood Expo North America March 17-19 in Boston.  - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

Alaska: Corps, BLM issue federal approval for natural gas pipeline in Alaska - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land Management signed a joint record of decision (JROD) for the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Final (ASAP) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) today. The record of decision is the last regulatory milestone before the Corps and BLM can exercise their federal authorities.

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC), an independent corporation of the State of Alaska, is proposing the ASAP project which will construct and operate a 733-mile long natural gas pipeline system from Prudhoe Bay to the ENSTAR Distribution System near Big Lake, and a 30-mile long lateral line to Fairbanks, in an effort to provide Alaskans an affordable and reliable source of natural gas from the North Slope. It is designed to bring gas to the major population centers of Fairbanks and Anchorage as well as other communities along the route.

"This is another example of the Corps collaborating with its federal, state and tribal stakeholders to ensure we are delivering for the country and allowing appropriate development that will contribute to energy independence for the nation," said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

Community Connections Announces Sustainability Fund with The Alaska Community Foundation

Community Connections Announces Sustainability Fund with The Alaska Community Foundation
Bess Clark (Current & the second CC Executive Director), and Joanna Desanto (Founder of Community Connections and first Executive Director)
Photo courtesy Heidi Ekstrand

Ketchikan: Community Connections Announces Sustainability Fund with The Alaska Community Foundation - Approximately 60 people attended a reception Friday night where Community Connections announced its years-long effort to build an endowment fund to help provide services for children, adults with disabilities, and seniors for years to come.

Community Connections is a nonprofit human service organization that assists individuals from birth through their senior years. The endowment is expected to generate $40,000 to $50,000 annually to support Community Connections’ services.

“We’re proud to be a part of this, as members of the Board,” said Alonso Escalante, Community Connections Board President. “This fund is here because we’ve been strong and conservative stewards of our money over the years.”

He said a lot of that is due to the hard work of program managers, current and past, and the Executive Director Bess Clark.

“They have been able to carefully save funds, while at the same time, deliver amazing programs,” Escalante said. “By establishing this endowment, Community Connections will have sustainable revenue to ensure that our clients receive the care they need for years to come.”

Community Connections has partnered with The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) to protect and grow its initial contribution. Only the interest earning from the fund will be distributed annually to the organization, leaving the principal of the endowment intact.

Community Connections serves individuals with developmental disabilities, adults with physical disabilities, elders, very young children who experience or are at risk for developmental delays, and children with mental health and behavioral health needs. The organization serves roughly 600 people annually in Ketchikan, Metlakatla, and Prince of Wales Island. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019


Alaska: Board of Regents directs UA administration to conduct an expedited program review - The University of Alaska Board of Regents directed President Jim Johnsen and the university administration to conduct an expedited review of UAA’s education programs and report the findings to the board at a special meeting on April 8, 2019.

Regents discussed at length the impacts of the options presented by UA President Jim Johnsen. Most notably, regents focused on their commitment to students who deserve a certain path to licensure as teachers from an accredited and approved program in Anchorage.

“We are trying to figure out the most secure way to provide students the education that we promised them. That requires sitting down and thinking out of the box about the best options moving forward,” said Regent Karen Perdue. “We owe that to these students.” - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

Alaska: Latest TRI Data Shows Drop in Chemical Releases to Air and Water in Alaska - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2017 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. According to the EPA, results of this publicly available database show that since 2007, releases of TRI chemicals in the U.S. manufacturing sector have declined while the economy has grown. Industrial facilities have reduced releases of TRI chemicals by taking action to prevent pollution.

The release of TRI chemicals to air and water in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are declining, both year to year and over a decade according to the report. Releases to air have declined by 4 percent since 2016 and by 30 percent since 2007, while water releases are down 2 percent since 2016 and 12 percent since 2007.

Overall, according to the EPA, total reported releases have risen in Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, OregonWashington, and 271 Native Tribes) for 2017, mostly due to on-site land disposal at metal mining facilities. Over the past 11 years, releases of TRI chemicals by metal mining facilities have fluctuated. Notably, total releases reported by the Red Dog Mine, in remote Northwestern Alaska, increased by 43 percent from 2016 to 2017, and the mine is responsible for 86 percent of all release quantities of TRI chemicals reported from Region 10 for 2017. Red Dog Mine’s on-site land disposal, including disposal of TRI chemicals in waste rock, accounted for 99.979 percent of its total TRI releases for 2017. The Red Dog mine maintains multiple permits with controls designed to minimize exposure to TRI chemicals following on-site land disposal. 

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conversation commented on today’s release of the annual Toxics Release Inventory saying it provides an inaccurate picture of the chemical releases into Alaska’s environment. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

Alaska: Man Sentenced to Prison for Misapplying over $300,000 from Organization Receiving Federal Funds - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Friday that a Fairbanks man has been sentenced to federal prison for willfully misapplying over $300,000 from an organization receiving federal funds, among other offenses. 

David Michael McGraw, 39, of Fairbanks, was sentenced March 1st by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to serve 18 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.  In October 2018, McGraw pleaded guilty to one count of misapplication from an organization receiving federal funds, and one count of making and subscribing a false return.  McGraw paid restitution in full to the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council prior to sentencing, and was also ordered to pay $40,604 in restitution to the IRS.

According to court documents, from 2010 to 2014, McGraw was the Finance Director for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (“Watershed Council”), a nonprofit corporation formed to improve and preserve the water quality of the Yukon River and its watershed.  During McGraw’s employment as the Financial Director, the organization received over $3.5 million in federal grant funds to address health, environmental and safety issues.  The investigation revealed that McGraw intentionally misapplied approximately $315,000 from the Watershed Council for his personal benefit including, among other things, the purchase of an airplane, maintenance on the airplane, flight school for himself, the purchase of real estate, more than a dozen firearms, and online pornography fees. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019


Alaska: Researchers delve into unexamined world of Alaska seaweed By LAUREN FRISCH - Growing up near the beach, Brian Ulaski often overlooked wrack, the seaweed that washes up on coastlines.

Later, as an undergraduate in California, Ulaski learned that wrack holds information about a coastline. It can tell us about the organisms that rely on this link between land and sea. Ulaski became interested in learning more about how wrack, and seaweed in general, can be integral to coastal ecosystems.

In Alaska, few research projects have explored seaweed, even though there is growing interest in harvesting it for food and fertilizer. Now a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Ulaski is part of a team taking some important first steps to determine whether seaweed and wrack can be harvested more broadly in Southcentral Alaska.

Ulaski and UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences researcher Brenda Konar are looking at components that influence where and how seaweeds grow. They want to understand where seaweeds in Southcentral Alaska thrive and whether more areas could support harvests, including take by commercial operations.

“Right now, most coastlines in Southcentral Alaska have nonsubsistence regulations that make it illegal to harvest live and growing seaweed — whether attached, dislodged or even washed up on the beach,” Ulaski said. “We don’t know if the regulations need to be so black and white. There are a lot of details that could determine whether certain species or areas of the coast could be sustainably harvested.”

Seaweed clusters provide a safe habitat for small fish and animals, and seaweed’s abundant nutrients benefit both coastal and intertidal environments. Current harvesting regulations are in place because of this important role seaweed plays in the broader ecosystem.

Seaweed reproduction hasn’t been studied much in Alaska. More information would be useful so managers can ensure seaweed harvests do not harm the wild population. With funding from Alaska Sea Grant, the Robert and Kathleen Byrd Award and the Northern Gulf of Alaska Applied Research Award, Ulaski and Konar are seeking to answer long-standing questions about seaweed harvesting and reproduction. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

Alaska: Researchers study Alaska forest fires over past 450 years - In a recent study, researchers explored the ways forest succession and climate variability interacted and influenced fires in Alaska's boreal forests over the past four centuries - from 1550 to 2015.

"We reconstructed fire activity over the last 450 years using lake-sediment records," said Tyler Hoecker, the study's lead author.

As part of his master's thesis work in the University of Montana's Systems Ecology program in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, Hoecker collected lake-sediment cores near the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge in central Alaska, a fire-prone area that also has many lakes."Charcoal produced by fires is blown into lakes and settles to the bottom, forming a stable record of the fire history in the layers of sediment, much like fire scars on tree rings," Hoecker said. "By carefully measuring changes in charcoal through time, we deduced changes in fire activity. We paired fire history records from seven lakes with records of tree ages and a record of climate. Then, we compared these records, looking for patterns in how the processes interacted." - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019



RICH MANIERI: The Politics of Infanticide - The U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill that would require health care professionals to provide life-saving medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion. 

It's difficult to write such a sentence without recoiling. 

Yet, all but three Senate Democrats - Bob Casey Jr., Joe Manchin and Doug Jones - voted against the bill.

The Senate voted down the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act by a count of 53-44.

All of the Democrats running for president in 2020 voted against it: Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Kamala Harris, Cory "I am Spartacus" Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. 

You have to give Casey, Manchin and Jones credit I suppose, though I'm not sure how we got to the point in this country where not supporting infanticide makes you an outlier. 

It occurs to me that Democrats often chide Republicans and the National Rifle Association for viewing every attempt at firearms regulation, no matter how sensible or tangential, as a slippery slope toward full-blown repeal of the Second Amendment. It seems the ultimate irony that these same Democrats, who support gun control as a way to save lives, have no problem casting a vote for infanticide.  - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019


JASE GRAVES: A Tale of Tunes, a Ticket, and Traffic Law - After several years of driving with a clean record, most of it while I was awake, the unthinkable happened.On a recent drive, after turning up the radio while singing along with the high parts of Boston's "More than a Feeling," I looked into my rearview mirror and saw something we all dread.

No, it wasn't one of my daughters and her boyfriend in the back seat fondling each other's iPhones, but the ominous flashing of lights.Yes, I was being pulled over by the po-po.

Like most drivers in this situation, my heart started pounding, and I broke out in a cold sweat - as if my wife had just asked me to take my three daughters to shop for swimwear.As I pulled to the shoulder, anxious and somewhat irrational thoughts raced through my mind: "Is my driver's license expired?Has the Nyquil worn off? Am I currently wearing pants?"

When the officer came to my window, dressed and equipped like he was about to take down an entire drug cartel, he asked for my license and registration, and informed me that I had been speeding in a twenty-mile-per-hour school zone.Although I wasn't sure that my vehicle could actually travel that slowly unless I was pushing it, I thought it best not to argue (or mention the Boston).Instead, I simply told him I didn't realize that I was in a school zone - and that my water just broke.No, really, I just admitted that I wasn't paying attention and the next time one of those police officer foundations called, I would donate my children's entire college savings. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: Hickenlooper Maneuver

Political Cartoon: Hickenlooper Maneuver
By Rick McKee ©2019, The Augusta Chronicle, GA
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Alaskans deserve a fair chance to weigh in on Pebble Mine By Rep. Andrew Josephson - Twenty members of the Alaska House of Representatives signed a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting an extension of the deadline for Alaskans to weigh in on the Pebble Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

USACE currently plans an inadequate 90-day public comment period. Given the significant impacts the Pebble Project would have on Bristol Bay, Alaskans should have at least 270 days to comment. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

jpg Opinion

Conserving Electricity By Judith Green - Would it help our present Lack of Precipitation if all neon signs were turned off during daylight hours? - End...
Tuesday PM - March 05, 2019

jpg Opinion

The real solution to rural Alaska’s challenges? Good jobs and the dignity that comes with them By First Lady Roxe Dunleavy - In December, my husband chose to hold his inauguration in my home village of Noorvik because it expressed our deep respect and love for the people of rural Alaska. I will forever be grateful to the people of my home village, the people of Kotzebue and the all the people of the Northwest Arctic region for hosting the governor, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, our families and all who attended that amazing, historic event as guests. They received the tremendous hospitality and kindness our people are known for. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

Not an Expenditure! By Ghert Abbott - Like many Ketchikan residents, I appreciate that Representative Ortiz took the time to inform us on February 13th about the Governor’s slash & burn budget. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

Dunleavy's Budget By Robert K. Rice - Like his counterpart in the White House, creating uncertainty, fear, and despair are Dunleavy's greatest skill. Will I have a job? How will we fund our schools? Are we going to have to kick old people out of the Pioneer homes? Will I lose my health care coverage? Will criminals prevail, as we reduce our law enforcement personnel? How will people on islands from Dutch Harbor to Ketchikan travel with our vehicles and motorhomes? etc. etc. etc. - More...
Thursday PM - February 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

The hard truth about Medicaid expansion By Bethany Marcum - It’s time for a reality check. Since Alaska expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults in 2015, our state has experienced cost overruns, unexpected - but predictable - —over-enrollment, and is facing a dependency crisis. Some—local lawmakers and local lobbyists included—would have you believe that Medicaid expansion has benefitted ouf state. But it’s time to face the facts: Medicaid expansion is failing Alaskans. - More...
Monday AM - February 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Food for Thought By Austin Otis - The City of Ketchikan should rework its laws around operating local food trucks. The local government has placed strict regulations that food trucks are not permitted on public property and must be confined to private property (municipal codes: 9.56.040 and 9.56.055). This ordinance has not only stifled growth in entrepreneurship but has confined locals to limited restaurant options. The demand for food choices has exploded under the ever increasing tourist populations and the large influx of seasonal workers. To tame their appetites, an expansion in the local food truck industry could be a solution to a culinary dilemma. Food trucks often reflect a community’s commitment in providing good grub to its inhabitants. We don’t have to look far to find food trucks operating in other Alaskan cities such as Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. If they can have reasonable sanitation regulations and operating guidelines on food trucks, why can't Ketchikan, with a rising visitor industry of 1.2 million as of 2019? - More...
Monday AM - February 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Shareholders' revolt By Dominic Salvato - The Sealaska Corporation sees the shareholders' revolt as "ungrateful" for the dividends received over the past 47 years. This isn't the case at all.  - More...
Monday AM - February 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Dunleavy's cuts By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Last week, Governor Dunleavy unveiled his amended budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020. As expected, there were substantial cuts to government agencies, all of which will affect Southern Southeast. Some of the cuts that will be most noticeable here in District 36 are the Marine Highway, services to our seniors, education, Fish & Game, public safety, and access to information. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Proposed budget cuts to education By Bob Claus - As a long term resident of Prince of Wales island and a former school board member in Craig, I was dismayed and disappointed by the Governor’s proposed budget, especially the proposed cuts to education funding. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

THE GREAT ALASKA DEPRESSION COMETH, YOU VOTED FOR IT By David G Hanger - The main problem with a parrot is it does not understand that it is repeating words, let alone comprehending what they might mean. So whether you are a liar, a crook, or a murderer does not really matter, the parrot prattles your drivel not realizing even that it is a parrot. There is considerable parallel with the human parrot who prattles his or her drivel with the intent in mind of deceiving you. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

State Budget By Chris J. Herby - I, just like everyone else in our area, was quite set back and rather mad when I read the details of our new governor's proposed budget. Then I realized that this can't really be a serious budget proposal and instead is merely his way of getting our attention and telling us that we do in fact have a serious financial problem facing our state. I think most of us have been aware of that for quite some time now. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Gov. Dunleavy's proposed budget, a picture of doom & gloom. By Carol Dooley - Gov. Dunleavy's proposed budget is a picture of doom & gloom. His proposed budget outlines the demise of the Alaska Marine Highway system, which would be followed by the demise of the Ketchikan shipyard. He proposes to rob our senior citizens of services, to rob the poor of medical coverage, to rob our children of a decent education and ruin our State University, and to add insult to injury he proposes to take all of the commercial fish tax money and slash the Department of Fish & Game budget. All for the sake of a full payout of the permanent fund dividend. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Dunleavy, You Need To Try Harder By Charles Edwardson - Cutting education in any way shape or form in my opinion should be a last resort not your first option as a governor! I see one term wonder as the first sentence on your next resume. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Gabrielle LeDoux: The untold story By John Nelson - Gabrielle LeDoux: The untold story and how Governor Dunleavy can defeat this impasse while also obtaining a majority in the House at the same time... - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: Anti-vaxxers are a threat to all of us By Amanda Mitchell - If you are up-to-date on your immunizations, what ‘vaccine-preventable’ disease would you need to fear acquiring from an ‘anti-vaxxer?’ Rich Manieri says that if you don’t vaccinate you risk infecting other people and if you vaccinate you won’t contract the disease vaccinated for. (Manieri 2019) So the very reason Rich Manieri suggests that all vaccine exemptions should be removed is the exact same reason no one should feel threatened by the unvaccinated. Most importantly, you have to have the disease to spread it in the first place and to assume all unvaccinated people carry a disease is highly discriminatory and dangerous.   - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

jpg Opinion

Israel: A Strategic Ally By Donald Moskowitz - People who claim to be anti-Israel and who support boycotting Israeli products, divestments from Israeli companies, and sanctions are actually Jew Haters who cloak their true hatred in anti-Israel rhetoric.  - More...
Wednesday AM - February 20, 2019

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