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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 21, 2019

Front Page Feature Photo By TRINA NATHAN

Crab: It's What's For Dinner
This feeding starfish was photograph in Hydaburg.
Front Page Feature Photo By TRINA NATHAN ©2019

Photos of the Month

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Southeast Alaska: Southeast pink salmon forecast cause for concern, cause for conservation By JENNY WEIS - As the days grow longer and summer plans start to materialize, ‘18 million’ is a number on the mind of many across Southeast Alaska, especially those in the numerous industries that rely on salmon fishing.

Eighteen million is the number of pink salmon the Southeast forecast shows could be harvested in the 2019 commercial fishing season. The Southeast pink salmon harvest follows an every-other-year pattern, with the odd years usually being more productive. However, models by Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put this years’ harvest at about half of the recent ten-year average.

“Salmon is the biggest portion of my income for sure,” said Stan Savland, commercial fisherman out of Hoonah and 20-year seiner. “The forecast is very alarming. I’m worried about this season because our recent odd year cycles are really what’s been carrying the seine fleet to make it.”

For seiners, low pink forecasts mean the fleet depends most heavily on hatchery returns of chum, often resulting in many fishermen huddled in a small area, waiting their turn.

“You can equate it to waitin’ in line for lunch. You’ve got to wait for 50 people in front of you,” Savland said. “Or, would you rather just go out to a place where there’s 25 people selling lunch and you can take your choice? Being able to go to standard corridors allows the fleet to spread out and allows for enjoyable, productive fishing.”

For tourism operators like Matt Boline, manager of Bear Creek Outfitters, a catch-and-release fly fishing and wildlife viewing operation out of Juneau, low pink years can mean less enjoyable and less productive experiences for their fishing and bear-viewing clients, in addition to delayed or cancelled trips and more stress on other species. - More....
Wednesday PM - March 21, 2019

Alaska: Governor Dunleavy Holds Statewide Roadshow to Outline Permanent Fiscal Plan for Alaska;Senate Democratic Leader Says Governor's Townhalls are Private & Paid for by Multi-Billionaire Special Interests  By MARY KAUFFMAN - Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy announced earlier this week a series of community focused discussions and meetings to outline a permanent fiscal plan for Alaska, including the vision behind his FY2020 budget proposal and a package of constitutional amendments meant to address the state’s long-term fiscal stability. “A Statewide Discussion for a Permanent Fiscal Plan”  meetings are scheduled in Kenai, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Nome. Several of the meetings will be broadcast live online.

Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy announced earlier this week a series of community focused discussions and meetings to outline a permanent fiscal plan for Alaska, including the vision behind his FY2020 budget proposal and a package of constitutional amendments meant to address the state’s long-term fiscal stability. “A Statewide Discussion for a Permanent Fiscal Plan”  meetings are scheduled in Kenai, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Nome.

“We are at a pivotal point in Alaska’s history, a once in a generation moment where we must begin making the tough decisions to put our state on a path towards a permanent fiscal plan,” said Governor Dunleavy. “One thing is clear, in order to be successful, we must have the engagement and support of the Alaskan people. Alaskans overwhelmingly spoke during the last election cycle, and chose a government that would protect the PFD, fix our unsustainable spending, and put an end to the ‘nothing is too important to reform’ type attitude. Regardless of where this path takes us, Alaskans must buy into the decisions being made in Juneau. To that end, we’re excited to announce a series of meetings, events and gatherings to further engage the Alaskan people. These presentations will outline our vision for Alaska, take an in-depth look into the direction we’re headed, and further lay our proposals out in the open. As we surpass the 60th day of Legislature, it’s important that Alaskans fully understand where we’re headed. Will Legislators once again take the PFD from Alaskans in order to pay for a government we can no longer afford? Will politicians in Juneau recklessly spend down the last of our savings? Will Alaskans be saddled with billion-dollar taxes?  All of these details and discussions are critical to the process. My view, if the Legislature wants to continue down this unsustainable path and further lock in the status quo, it must be put to a vote of the people. Doing anything different would fly in the face of the electorate and further exasperate the state’s fiscal challenges.”

Governor Dunleavy and members of his team will embark upon a journey across the state to provide Alaskans the opportunity to hear directly the Governor’s proposal for a permanent fiscal plan. Joining Governor Dunleavy will be Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, Commissioner of Revenue Bruce Tangeman, OMB Director Donna Arduin, and Deputy Chief of Staff Jeremy Price.

Events will take place in Kenai/ Soldotna, Anchorage, Nome, Fairbanks, and the Mat-Su Valley. In addition to public events, the Governor will meet with stakeholder groups and sit directly with Alaska media to bring these discussions to the forefront.

“The first leg of the Governor’s roadshow includes a number of meetings, events, media interviews and community-based discussions in partnership with groups and organizations from across the state,” said Press Secretary Matt Shuckerow yesterday.“These presentations – the first of many – all focus on the tough discussions ahead, our state’s undeniable fiscal challenges, and exactly how the governor intends to let Alaskans determine their own future. We look forward to these discussion over the next few months and encourage Alaskans to participate in our radio interviews and to attend any one of our open to the public events.”

Yesterday, Senator Donny Olson (D-Golovin) sent a letter to Governor Dunleavy (pdf) expressing concern about holding such private town halls. According to Olson, the 415-word terms and conditions on the Americans for Prosperity website demanded Alaskans give up constitutional rights to attend or they will be asked to leave. In response, Senator Olson has offered to personally pay for the use of Old St. Joe's in Nome for the March 27 event to allow for the public at large to attend and voice their concerns without stipulations placed on them.

"This budget impacts all Alaskans, but disproportionately in my region of the state. My constituents are outraged that Governor Dunleavy is using public resources announcing an event to promote American's for Prosperity's political agenda," said Sen. Olson. "I am providing this opportunity for Governor Dunleavy to leave Americans for Prosperity's political propaganda behind and hear from all Alaskans, no matter their political background or stance on his agenda. I hope the Governor will take me up on this offer."

The letter was hand delivered to Governor Dunleavy's office in the Capitol Wednesday morning.

“From discussions on our fiscal future to debates on whether the PFD belongs to the people or to politicians, the governor believes Alaskans need to play a critical role in these once in a generation decisions,” said Press Secretary Matt Shuckerow.“We encourage Alaskans to join the conversation, take part in a variety of events and let lawmakers know where you stand on these critical issues. The governor’s message has been clear, if we’re going to use the PFD to cover the costs of state government, it should be approved by a vote of the people.”

On March 19, 2019, according to a news release form the Senate Democratic leader, details surfaced that the Governor's roadshow events are private and paid for by Americans for Prosperity - Alaska, which is founded and funded by the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers from Kansas. The organization announced these private events are "dedicated to discussing Americans for Prosperity's issues." 

"On the campaign trail, then-candidate Dunleavy promoted restoring trust in government as one of his main themes for his administration. Now that he is governor, countless campaign promises continue to be broken. This represents one more failure of trust by Governor Dunleavy and his Administration," said Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage).

Begich said, "Holding private events to promote his anti-Alaska agenda, which is sponsored and paid for by special interests that are funded by radical outsiders, is not the Alaskan way. Alaska's governor should be open, transparent, and dedicated to serving Alaskans, not multi-billionaires from Kansas and their political agenda."

According to Senate Democrats, on the event website, Americans for Prosperity provided a 415-word disclaimer on the terms and conditions of the event (pdf posted by Senate Democrats) which threatens Alaskans if they do not comply with their rules. If you don't follow these set rules, you will be denied admission or forced "to leave the event."

"I encourage Governor Dunleavy to cancel these events paid for by outside special interests. The Governor has an obligation to promote open and transparent public forums where all Alaskans can come and freely express their ideas and concerns about the state's budget and policies without fear of retaliation if they do not share the same agenda," continued Sen. Begich. 

Americans for Prosperity-Alaska (AFP-AK)  State Director Ryan McKee released the following statement: “We’re looking forward to traveling across the state and educating all Alaskans on how Juneau can curb its habit of wasteful spending through meaningful spending reform like implementing a spending cap and a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. We’re also excited to join Governor Dunleavy and his administration to highlight their plans to address the fiscal situation. This event is free and open to the public and we look forward to having a meaningful discussion on the issues facing Alaska.”

During this time, the Alaska House Finance Committee will also be holding statewide operating budget hearings. Alaska House Finance Committee is said will be spending tens of thousands of state dollars to fly members around the state campaigning for an increase in government spending. Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard (R-Wasilla) called the House Finance Committee 's travel expenditures plan irresponsible. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

jpg Alaska medical student praises WWAMI program

Alaska medical student praises WWAMI program
Alex Davis, a WWAMI medical student from Girdwood who is just completing a rotation at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Group and on Prince of Wales.
Photo Courtesy Alex Davis


Ketchikan: Alaska medical student praises WWAMI program - Medical student Alex Davis is committed to a rural practice

In 1971, five students enrolled in the first medical school in Alaska. The class, at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, doubled the next year and, by 1989, had twenty participants each year.

Now, nearly fifty years later, the WWAMI program accounts for almost 12% of the entire physician population in the state.

WWAMI, Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho, is part of the University of Washington Medical School, considered the number one primary care medical school in the country. WWAMI supports programs in the states that can’t offer medical schools through their own university system.

Alexandra “Alex” Davis is a WWAMI student who has been at PeaceHealth Medical Group Primary Care Ketchikan and Prince of Wales during parts of her first three years of medical school. Most recently September 2018 to March 2019.

“All my life I’ve wanted to be a physician in my community where I can take care of my friends and family.” She said recently. “That would be an incredible life.

“I grew up in Girdwood and that love for my community fueled my exploration of medicine initially. Further experience with Emergency Medical Services, search and rescue, and ski patrol confirmed my interests.”

Originally the first two years of medical school were in Alaska with the final two years in Seattle but, as of 2017, almost all four years of medical school can be accomplished in state.

WWAMI accepts twenty Alaskans each year into the medical school now based in Anchorage. The first two years are classroom instruction, followed by two years of clinical rotations in the WWAMI states depending on the specialty interests of the students. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

Organized Village of Kasaan Receives Community Partner or the Year Award

Organized Village of Kasaan Receives
Community Partner or the Year Award

From Left: Joyce Niven, Terry West, Paula Peterson,
Marina Anderson, and Desiree Jackson.
Photo Courtesy Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority

Southeast Alaska: Organized Village of Kasaan Receives Community Partner or the Year Award - The Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority (THRHA) recently hosted the First Annual Southeast Housing Summit in Juneau. This inaugural two-day event which closed on Thursday, March 14 th brought together participants from throughout Southeast Alaska to explore this Summit’s theme of “Planning Our Future Through Housing.” Participants represented a variety of housing-related industries including real estate, contractors, local government, mortgage and finance, tribal management, and various Alaska Native Corporations.

At the Summit, the Organized Village of Kasaan received THRHA’s 2019 Community Partner of the Year Award. “Kasaan’s population has grown by 63% since 2010, largely in part to the work that the Tribe has done to spark economic development,” said Joyce Niven, THRHA’s Interim President & CEO. “As a Tribal Partner, Kasaan has been a model partner.”  - More..
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

Alaska: Alaska DOT&PF Issues RFP for AMHS Economic Reshaping Consultant - The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking qualified vendors for an Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) Economic Reshaping Consultant.

The Alaska Department of Transportation is soliciting proposals to identify potential reductions of the state’s financial obligation and/or liability as related to the Alaska Marine Highway System.

On March 1, 2019 DOT&PF issued an informal request for proposals with responses due March 11, 2019. The department heard from interested parties that a longer time frame and larger budget were required and based on this feedback, the timeline has been extended and the budget has been increased. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

Alaska: Governor Dunleavy Releases 10-Year Budget Blueprint for Alaska; Plan builds the economy, promotes job growth, preserves PFD - Today Governor Michael J. Dunleavy released his State of Alaska Fiscal Plan for FY20-FY29. The plan is based on projected revenues from the spring 2019 revenue forecast, the administration’s proposed balanced budget, and the enactment of the administration’s legislative package to create a permanent and sustainable fiscal plan.

“We can’t continue to spend more money than we have. My plan represents a vision of a smaller State government, with more money in the pockets of Alaskans while laying the foundation for new private sector investment and the new jobs that come with it,” said Governor Dunleavy. “While reductions in State services are understandably difficult choices to make. Alaska must implement a permanent fiscal plan to get the economy moving again.”

The ten-year plan also contains three alternative approaches to solving the State’s fiscal problem. The additional scenarios do not reduce the size of government. Instead, those alternatives make up the revenue shortfall over the next decade through PFD cuts, emptying reserve accounts, or imposing broad-based taxes that take billions of dollars from Alaskan families and the private sector economy. 

“These alternatives clearly demonstrate there is no easy, simple solution to addressing the State’s budget deficit. Every option comes at a cost. I believe the plan my administration put forward is what the people voted for when they elected me,” Governor Dunleavy said.

Almost a week ago, Senate Democrats requested Governor Dunleavy to provide his fiscal plan immediately to the legislature and ensure it is available to the public through the Office of Management & Budget's website. Since that request, the budget is now available as of today.

Senate Democrats sent a letter to Governor Michael Dunleavy on March 14th (PDF) expressing concerns about what they called his ongoing violation of the Executive Budget Act. Alaska Statute 37.07.020(b) mandates the governor to submit "a fiscal plan with estimates of significant sources and uses of funds for the succeeding 10 fiscal years."

The governor's 10-year fiscal plan must identify sources and uses of state funds, must demonstrate a balanced budget while providing essential state services and protecting the economic stability of the state, must project fund balances into the future, and must appropriately explain assumptions to allow the legislature to rely on the plan in making budgetary decisions.  - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

Alaska: Proposal Would Allow Alaskans to Donate All or Part of Their PFD to General Fund - A bill was introduced in the Alaska Senate this week to give Alaskans the option of donating all or a portion of their Permanent Fund dividends (PFDs) directly to the state’s general fund.   

“Many Alaskans have told me they wouldn’t mind giving up a portion of their dividends to pay for state government,” said Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla), the bill’s sponsor.

Wilson said, “This bill creates a simple mechanism for them to do so. If you want to donate your dividend, that’s your choice. If you want to keep your dividend, you’re free to do so. Senate Bill 92 is about the freedom to make your own decision.”    

Participants will be able to contribute $25, $50, $75, $100, or more, in increments of $50, up the total amount of the PFD. 

A donation to the state’s general fund, in some cases, can be counted as a charitable donation for federal tax purposes. It’s advised, however, that Alaskans consult with a tax professional to verify how this may apply to them individually. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019  

Southeast Alaska: POW Landscape Level Analysis Project Public Workshop Scheduled for Saturday, April 6, 2019 - The Tongass National Forest will hold a workshop on Saturday, April 6, to accept public comments on the proposed activities for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POW LLA) Project. This is the first of many workshops over the span of the comprehensive, 15-year integrated resource management plan.

The workshop comes on the heels of a final project decision that was signed earlier this month and is being held is to present draft activities that are proposed for implementation in the near future. A wide array of activities for all resource areas will be presented so that the public can provide input on locations, activity design components, methods, mitigation measures, and integration opportunities. 

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.at the Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center, 6565 Boundary Road, in Klawock, Alaska. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

Alaska taking shape near Yakutat

Alaska taking shape near Yakutat
Hubbard Glacier, restless as ever, calves into
Disenchantment Bay north of Yakutat.


Alaska Science: Alaska taking shape near Yakutat By NED ROZELL - The forces shaping Alaska never sleep, especially near Yakutat.

I visited the fishing town of about 800 people and many dogs a few years back. My assignment was to write about scientists studying Hubbard Glacier, which slammed the door on Russell Fiord in summer 2002, creating the largest glacier-dammed lake in the world for a few weeks until the dam broke.

The relentless advance of Hubbard Glacier takes center stage in Yakutat, but the area surrounding the town is one of the world’s great examples of geology in action.

To the west of Yakutat, Mount St. Elias rises like a white pyramid to an elevation of 18,008 feet in one of the world’s most dramatic transitions from sea to summit. The Yakutat block, a chunk of Earth’s crust larger in area than Pennsylvania, is responsible for forming Mount St. Elias and the other mountains of the St. Elias and Chugach ranges.

The Yakutat block formed somewhere off the west coast of the U.S. or Canada and, in a trip that took a few million years, rode the top of the Pacific plate to its present location along Alaska’s southeast coast. The Yakutat block rams into the North American plate at a speed of about 2 inches each year, twice as fast as India is shoving into Asia to form the Himalayas, according to GPS measurements by researchers with the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Near West Nunatak Glacier, about 30 miles northwest of Yakutat, scientists including Chris Larsen used GPS receivers to find a hillside rising toward the sky at 1 1/3 inches each year. The rise is due the ground rebounding from the weight of melting glaciers, and to a lesser extent earthquake activity. Along with the Glacier Bay area to the south, the land around Yakutat is rising faster than any other place measured, except for scattered volcanoes that are inflating with molten rock.

Running through the mountains east of Yakutat is the Fairweather fault, a weak point in Earth’s crust and a tectonic feature that would be famous if it cut through a more populated area. The side-to-side slippage of the Earth along the Fairweather fault is about 1 3/4 inches each year, compared to 1 1/2 inches along the San Andreas fault in northern California. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019



Money Matters: YOUR TAX REFUND MAY GO AWAY, AND HERE’S WHY By MARY LYNNE DAHL, CFP®- Many people get income tax refunds annually. I do not believe that this is wise financial planning, but I recognize that it is a common method for lots of people who otherwise have trouble saving money. A refund is a loan to the government that pays no interest, so it is not a sound financial strategy, but people do it anyway, so that they can get a check from the IRS every year. Ok, I get it. They like getting a check.

This tax season, however, some people who would normally get a check will not get one, or will but it will be less than they expected. This may cause some real heartburn, because many people count on that refund for a major purchase, a vacation to Disneyland or a way to pay off a credit card that they have run up during the year. These folks will be upset and wondering what happened. Here is the explanation:

The federal administration passed a new tax bill called The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The bill was supposed to stimulate the economy by lowering corporate and personal income tax rates. The bill increased the standard deduction, eliminated or reduced certain itemized deductions, gave small businesses that operate as “pass-though” entities a 20% gross income deduction (if they meet qualifications), increased the child care credit and generally disrupted many traditional tax strategies. At this point, the jury is out on whether or not it has provided any stimulus to the economy.

The new tax law passed by the Trump administration lowered taxes for most middle income workers. This required employers to withhold less from an employee’s paycheck. The IRS sent out a schedule of how much would now need to be withheld from pay at various pay rates and whatever dependents were being claimed by the worker. This resulted in less tax being withheld and a bigger paycheck for lots of workers. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: 2020 Democrats running

Political Cartoon: 2020 Democrats running
By Dave Granlund ©2019, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Opinion

Thirty years later, Council continues mission to combat complacency By Donna Schantz - On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil. Congress determined that complacency on the part of industry and government was a contributing factor in the accident and they mandated citizen involvement in the oversight of crude oil terminals and tankers. For the past 30 years, the Council has filled this role for Prince William Sound and its downstream communities, advocating for environmental safeguards to prevent oil spills and a strong response system should prevention measures fail.

Improvements since 1989

Measures developed with Council participation since 1989 represent vast improvements in oil spill prevention and response. We have double-hull tankers, high-performance escort tugs, a much-improved workforce, state-of-the art equipment for recovering oil, and a fleet of over 400 trained fishing vessels and crews ready to respond promptly to an oil spill. We also have improved communications between the oil industry and the state and federal governments, and more oil spill clean-up equipment than probably any other U.S. port. This has taken considerable effort on the part of industry, regulators, the Council, and other members of the public.

Some recent examples of improvements include new purpose-built tugs and oil spill response barges that came on line with the marine services transition in 2018, and new technology that allows pipelines at the Valdez Marine Terminal to be internally inspected, which had not been done since start-up over 40 years ago. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

jpg Opinion

Sustainable fiscal plan, reliable funding crucial for K-12 education By Norm Wooten, Dr. Lisa Skiles Parady, Sarah Sledge - Last month, Governor Dunleavy unveiled his proposed FY 2020 operating budget, which among other drastic cuts, slashed $330 million from education funding. This budget would devastate public education and leave a bleak future for our children and communities. These severe proposed budget cuts have damaged Alaska’s reputation as a desirable place to live. Thankfully, they’ve also galvanized many citizens across the state, who realize that now is the time, more than ever, for Alaska’s budget to prioritize the things we value.
The deep cuts proposed to K-12 education are at a level not seen in other states. This is because public education has always been a priority for successful communities, states and countries. The people of Alaska also value their local schools and understand the critical role they play in their communities, as confirmed in a new survey conducted by a coalition of education advocacy groups called “The Great Work of Alaska’s Public Schools.” (Link to survey results.)

A majority of Alaskans polled believe public education is the No. 1 priority for government funding. Alaskans who participated in this survey know that young people are our future leaders, innovators, educators, investors, philanthropists, doctors, engineers, writers, welders and builders. Survey results also show that Alaskans support elected officials who will invest in public education and work to make it better for all children. This investment is not possible without a long-term fiscal strategy that moves away from the roller coaster ride of budgeting based on oil prices and production. It’s not possible without a diversification of revenue streams. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

jpg Opinion

Our Children Must Read by 9 By Jodi Taylor - Right now, Alaska’s public-school children are ranked dead last in the nation in fourth-grade reading proficiency, a key indicator used to measure academic success. In terms of school years, they are up to a full year behind their counterparts in other states. This means many of our fourth graders cannot read Charlotte’s Web or The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. While it may seem like such a simple, basic issue, the ability to read is actually the foundation of a child’s educational success; the value of reading cannot be stressed enough.

By not guaranteeing that grade-school students become proficient readers, we are failing our children. We must do everything in our power to ensure that every child is able to read well enough so that when they enter middle school and begin learning harder material, they can read to learn. Through the third grade, students learn to read. As they enter the fourth grade, they read to learn. If a child does not develop this skill, he or she will also fall behind in social studies and science. Word problems in math will be unsolvable, navigating the rich world of literature impossible, and communicating complex ideas in written and spoken word unthinkable.

Students who cannot read well almost never catch up and their future is in peril. Statistics compiled by groups like ExcelinEd are sobering. Students who cannot read by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. High school dropouts make up 75 percent of food stamp recipients and 90 percent of those on welfare. Nearly 85 percent of teenagers in the juvenile justice system cannot read to learn and seven out of ten adult prisoners cannot read above a fourth-grade level. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

jpg Opinion

Traveling Big Top legislative circus By A. M. Johnson - In response to an article in the Alaska Daily Planet regarding the upcoming traveling "Big Tent Majority House Circus" to confirm "What?" The following was submitted in defense of District 36 Representative's perceived efforts with this movement.

"I am certain that my Representative Dan Ortiz (I) demonstrated his independence and strongly in no uncertain terms argued against this action. I wrote him and told him so. He campaigned on doing the right things and would join with the caucus that would lead into a correcting budget effort, He did, yes and deedie he did!!

He was up front, education would be his battle field, yes sir, he said it. Education was his prime reason for defending funding. Yes in deedie he did. - More...
Thursday PM - March 21, 2019

jpg Opinion

The Subdivision That Never Was By Harlan Heaton - About forty years ago the State of Alaska designed a ninety six lot subdivision in the Mountain Point area. The State sold over half of these lots to the citizens of Ketchikan. When these lots were sold forty years ago, the buyers were told by the State that there would be access to their lots.

Fast forward to the present. These property owners still have no access to their property, and have been paying property taxes for the past forty years. The Ketchikan Gateway Borough owns eighteen of the lots in this subdivision, and pay no property tax. Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority was granted several lots in the subdivision from a settlement with the State of Alaska. These lots are also tax exempt.

Last year the Borough put their lots up for sale. I received a five year option to purchase the eighteen lots the Ketchikan Gateway Borough has owned since this subdivision was sold forty years ago. In order for any development to happen the lots that are owned by the Borough and Alaska Mental Health that are tax exempt need to go into private ownership. The Borough and Alaska Mental Health will not accept any portion of the construction cost. I made an offer to purchase eleven lots from Alaska Mental Health so this construction could start to happen. This purchase agreement is set to expire on April 1, 2019 at this time Alaska Mental Health wants twice the appraised value of the lots. Because of the high cost of construction, I cannot pay more than the appraised value. - More...
Monday AM - March 18, 2019

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School District failure to report child abuse By Margaret Cloud - Mark O'Brien is correct that school district employees annually sign that they are aware of their legal requirements to report witnessed abuse as well as report if there is cause to believe that abuse has occurred.  I had to read and sign the same type of document when employed by a private Alaskan school. - More...
Monday AM - March 18, 2019

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Open Letter: Live Within Means By Byron Whitesides - We have known this time was coming for years, but our legislative leadership has failed to prepare for it, bringing us to this disaster, with no rational, SUSTAINABLE, way out but to cut the size of government, and live within our means. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 13, 2019

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Open Letter to the Ketchikan School Board By John Harrington - I am here to talk about the Edwards' Mess. With the plea agreement, Mr. Edwards part in the mess has reached a conclusion. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 13, 2019

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Budget and education By A. M. Johnson - Resolutions aside, the proposed Dunlevy budget pertaining to education, two points. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 13, 2019

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Sealaska shareholders need Congressional Intervention By Dominic Salvato - 75 million dollars paid to a handful of people collecting it year in and year out over a ten year period. Paid by thousands of shareholders barely surviving. 

With no end in sight! - More...
Wednesday PM - March 13, 2019

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