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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 09, 2020

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Fish Factor: Will Alaska shellfish farmers & divers be open for business? By LAINE WELCH - Alaska shellfish farmers and divers fear they won’t be ‘open for business’ much longer if they’re forced to pick up the tab for federally required lab tests as outlined in Governor Dunleavy’s budget. 

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed shifting the state cost to the harvesters which last year totaled almost a half million dollars.  

Geoduck clam divers in Southeast Alaska, for example, pay about $150,000 each year to collect samples that are sent to the single federally approved laboratory in Anchorage and tested for paralytic shellfish poison and other toxins. Divers also pay $20,000 for water quality samples twice a year, and $8,000 to test for inorganic arsenic.

“And then we pay the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game about $25,000 a year for them to do the management and assessment of the geoduck resource,” said Phil Doherty, co-director of the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Association (SARDFA). 

The geoduck divers also tax themselves 7% to cover SARDFA’s $50,000 administrative costs. In all, Doherty said it adds up to $266,00 a year.

SARDFA is unique in that it is the only commercial fishing group in Alaska that is taxed through legislative action to pay for state oversight of the fishery, which is centered around Craig and Ketchikan.

“We pay the department to do the work they need to do and we pay for all of the PSP sampling that needs to get done. We just don't pay for the lab costs,” Doherty explained.

The geoduck fishery harvests about 650,000 pounds each year valued at around $4 million to about 60 divers.  

“Out of that $4 million, you take the 3% fisheries tax, So that is about $120,000 a year that goes to the state via the fisheries tax that goes into the general fund,” he said.

If a testing fee of $400 to $700 per sample is added, Doherty said it would increase divers’ costs by $60,000 to $100,000 per year.

“We would not have the money to pay for that,” Doherty said. “And therefore, the geoduck fishery would close down. That would mean a loss to the State of $120,000 a year in geoduck fish taxes, $25,000 in ADF&G payments and $20,574 for Dept. of Environmental Conservation permits.” 

Meanwhile, 50 or 60 geoduck dive boats and their crews have been beached for more than a month because their market in China is closed due to the coronavirus. 

Meta Mesdag, owner of the Salty Lady Seafood oyster farm in Juneau and president of the Alaska Shellfish Growers Association, called the cost shift “an impossible ask.”

In a letter to the House Finance Committee and DEC Commissioner Jason Brune, Mesdag said, “asking a nascent industry that produced $1.6 million in revenue last year to absorb $457,700 in program expenses will decimate shellfish farming in Alaska,” reported the Alaska Landmine.   

“The state is fully on board with growing this industry; however, they seem to not understand that in order to do so, we must have the necessary infrastructure in place to comply with federal mandates, and it’s not the farmers responsibility, but a matter of public safety,” Mesdag said.

The Alaska Mariculture Task Force , created in 2016 with a goal of  growing a $100 million industry in 20 years, opposes shifting the lab costs.

“This public health service assures that commercially available shellfish is safe for consumption. At the current size of the mariculture industry, the proposed fees are not financially feasible nor realistic. The rate increases will be devastating to the existing industry and will restrict future expansion,” the task force wrote in a letter to the legislative finance committees. 

Should it pass, Alaska will be the only state that makes its growers/divers pick up the federal testing tab. 

Mesdag also questioned Alaska’s high testing costs for samples from 26 Alaska shellfish oyster growers.  She told the Landmine that Bigelow Analytical Services, a private nonprofit in Maine, told her they would do all of Alaska’s tests for $31,000 a year.  

“The industry believes that we are actually subsidizing (Alaska’s) environmental health lab at $457,700 a year for a test that should cost $31,000 a year to operate,” Mesdag said.

Alaska legislators in the House rejected the proposal in the operating budget that passed last week, and it is now up to the state Senate – and the governor’s veto pen - to decide. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

AMHS M/V Matanuska in Ketchikan for Repairs

AMHS M/V Matanuska in Ketchikan for Repairs; Additional AMHS vessels returning to service in April and May
MV Matanuska heading south through Wrangell Narrows..
Wikimedia Creative Commons: LCGS Russ


Ketchikan: AMHS M/V Matanuska in Ketchikan for Repairs; Additional AMHS vessels returning to service in April and May - The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) M/V Matanuska departed from Juneau Friday for the Ketchikan Vigor Shipyard for repairs to its propulsion system. The United States Coast Guard approved a sailing plan for Matanuska allowing the vessel to travel to Ketchikan on one engine, along with a tug escort provided by Vigor Marine with arrival Sunday.

The M/V Matanuska returned to service in November 2019 after a two-year, $47 million overhaul. AMHS anticipates that Matanuska’s repairs will be completed at some point in May and hopes that the vessel can be ready for revenue service shortly following completion of the repairs.

The Matanuska has been docked in Juneau since Jan. 25, 2020 and has undergone an evaluation to determine the cause of the reduction gear failure. During this time, crew prepared the ship to safely operate on one engine for the trip to Ketchikan. Vigor Marine has determined that additional repairs must take place at their Ketchikan shipyard – AMHS is working with Vigor to return Matanuska to service as soon as possible.

AMHS mainline service has been offline for approximately a month due to a combination of unanticipated mechanical issues and overlapping overhaul periods for ships. On March 5, the M/V Tazlina returned to service in the Northern Panhandle. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

Ketchikan: PeaceHealth Announces Visitation Restrictions & Clinic Guidelines - To protect the health of patients and caregivers as the number of confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increases in the Northwest, PeaceHealth has implemented voluntary visitation restrictions at their Alaska and Northwest Washington hospitals.

For the safety of PeaceHealth patients, family and caregivers, PeaceHealth is limiting access to the hospital to 1 to 2 essential visitors per patient. These restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

PeaceHealth asks that patients call ahead before arriving at any PeaceHealth facility if they meet both of the following: - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


Alaska: Alaska LNG Project clears a significant regulatory hurdle By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Alaska LNG Project on Friday cleared a significant regulatory hurdle as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission published a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project, setting up a final order for Alaska LNG this summer.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff prepared the final environmental impact statement (EIS) to assess the impacts of constructing and operating the Alaska LNG Project proposed by the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, an independent, public corporation of the State of Alaska.  The purpose of the Alaska LNG Project is to commercialize the natural gas resources of Alaska’s North Slope by converting the existing natural gas supply to liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export and providing gas for users in Alaska.  

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) has been seeking the authorization to construct, own, and operate in Alaska: a new Gas Treatment Plant; a 1.0-mile-long, 60-inch-diameter Prudhoe Bay Unit Gas Transmission Line; a 62.5-mile-long, 32-inch-diameter Point Thomson Unit Gas Transmission Line; an 806.9-mile-long, 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (Mainline Pipeline) and associated aboveground facilities, including eight compressor stations and a heater station; and a 20 million metric-ton per annum liquefaction facility (Liquefaction Facilities), including an LNG Plant and Marine Terminal Facilities.  

Quoting a news release from the Alaska House Majority, the Alaska LNG is a longstanding effort of the State of Alaska and industry partners to commercialize the North Slope’s vast natural gas reserves, something the project would achieve with an 807-mile, 42-inch pipeline and a new gas treatment plant. The EIS reflects six years of public input, engineering, science-based environmental research, and cultural resource studies which assesses more than 150,000 pages of data.

The House Resources Committee co-chairs released a joint statement on Friday’s news, Reps. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) and John Lincoln (I-Kotzebue) said, “There is a long way to go before Alaskans will finally enjoy the benefits of commercialized North Slope gas. Today’s development, however, is a major regulatory milestone that is the culmination of significant private and public investment over the past several years. We applaud the hard work and collaboration that went into this achievement and hope that we will receive good news this summer about the viability of Alaska LNG.”

Alaska State Senators also commended the state corporation for its 6-plus years of diligent work in achieving the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

“This significant milestone is the product of hard-working Alaskans, with strong input from Alaskans statewide,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage).

Giessel said, “The LNG project has tremendous potential to generate new revenue and jobs for our state, and we’re encouraged by this progress. The FEIS is not a final green light for this project, but paves the way for the actual authorization expected in June. I appreciate the hard work that AGDC and our industry partners, BP and ExxonMobil, have done to reduce the cost of the project.” 

The several thousand-page FEIS provides conditions for project construction that protect important Alaskan environmental and cultural assets. A clear understanding of federal conditions for the $43 billion project will also help AGDC attract partners and investors, according an Alaska Senate Majority news release.

“Hats off to the many Alaskans, from community members to AGDC and our project partners involved with helping us reach this significant FEIS accomplishment,” said Senator Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), chairman of the Senate Resources Committee.

Micciche said, “Reducing risk is key to attracting capital for this potentially course-changing project, and to ensuring a project that ultimately generates revenue to the state and energy and jobs for Alaskans. Once we have the final approval from federal regulators, expected later this year, Alaskans will know the true marketplace potential for this monumental LNG export project.”


The Center for Biological Diversity reacted to the release of the final EIS for the Alaska LNG Project which they say will export fracked gras from Alaska to Asia. The proposal calls for an 807-mile pipeline, a facility to liquefy natural gas, and the shipping of about 20 million tons of the condensed fuel abroad annually.

The pipeline would have a daily capacity of 3.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas, which could result in more than 90 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually according to the Center for Biological Diversity opposed to the project. That’s the same global warming impact as operating 21 coal-fired power plants.

“This study confirms that the Alaska LNG Project would harm Alaska’s endangered wildlife and its rapidly warming environment. It’s time to abandon this terrible idea once and for all,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Monsell said, “Building a gas pipeline across Alaska’s thawing permafrost is a risky move that would worsen the climate crisis. Asia would get cheap American fossil fuel while polar bears, whales and Alaskans would pay a heavy price.”

The proposal originally involved BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. The oil companies pulled out of the project several years ago because of the surplus LNG on the world market and the project's high cost, currently estimated at $45 billion, which could leave Alaska taxpayers on the hook if LNG prices stayed low. 

Alaska's Gasline Development Corporation, the only party currently pursuing the project, submitted its application to FERC on April 17, 2017. Governer Bill Walker asked the Trump administration to fast-track approval and exempt the project from dozens of environmental rules. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

Alaska: MSC certification of Gulf of Alaska Cod suspended, remains for Bering Sea and Aleutians; RFM certification remains in place - Friday, MRAG Americas, Inc. published a notice of suspension for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) region with an effective date of April 5, 2020. The harvest of GOA Pacific cod is approximately 6% of the total catch of Pacific cod from Alaska. The MSC certification for the remaining 94% of Pacific cod from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) regions will remain in place. The suspension is based on a recent review of new information regarding stock assessment in the GOA provided by NOAA Fisheries. According to MRAG Americas, an independent auditing and certification body for the MSC standard, “This suspension is not due to overfishing or a lack of a responsible management response, rather, the depressed stocks of Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska below B20% limit is climate driven and caused by the Gulf of Alaska marine heat wave.”

Since 2017, the GOA Pacific cod stock has declined due to the effects of an anomalous warm water event in 2014-2016. This marine heat wave, among other things, reduced food availability for cod and dramatically increased natural mortality. In response, federal and state fishery managers took swift and immediate action to severely restrict commercial fishing efforts — a responsible and precautionary management decision responding to ecosystem uncertainty. In 2018 and 2019, harvests were reduced by 80% to maintain the future viability of the fishery. In 2020, commercial fishing was closed in the federal GOA fishery and the small state fishery was further reduced. Fishery managers and fishermen are confident that this response will allow stocks to recover quickly.

“As the Client for the Alaska Pacific cod fishery, AFDF is disappointed that the MSC certificate in the GOA is being suspended, despite fishery managers taking responsible actions in the face of ocean conditions beyond their control,” explains AFDF Executive Director, Julie Decker. “We believe that responsible management should be rewarded and hope this unfortunate situation will be a catalyst for the MSC program to make changes to address future scenarios such as this.” - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020



Alaska: Alaska Division of Personnel and Labor Relations Files Unfair Labor Practices Against Two Unions - Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka announced last week the Alaska Division of Personnel and Labor Relations has filed claims of Unfair Labor Practice (ULPs) and a Petition to Enforce the collective bargaining agreements against the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA) and the Alaska Public Employees Association-Supervisory Unit (APEA). The filing is a result of the Unions’ actions related to the unnecessary delay and disruption of the statewide implementation of biweekly payroll. 

Transitioning from 2 payroll systems to one system for all employees is good for our employees and good for the State. It will mean less payroll corrections and delays in pay. We tried to get ASEA and APEA employees an extra $2 million in pay for 2020 by transitioning them from semimonthly to biweekly payroll in December 2019, but the unions refused.”

The unions’ contracts require them to convert to biweekly payroll “as soon as feasible.” Converting to a biweekly system prior to 2020 would have allowed employees to take advantage of a system that pays based on number of days worked rather than set calendar dates. In years with additional workdays, like 2020, most salaried employees will earn more pay in a biweekly system than a semimonthly system. Employees paid hourly rates will see no difference in pay. 

When the unions refused to convert to biweekly payroll in December, the State made a concession to split out the conversion and allow these unions and others to convert in June 2020, at their request. After the State’s concession, however, ASEA and APEA still refused to sign the agreements. Both unions engaged in bad faith bargaining, regressive bargaining, and violated their contracts. Although Letters of Agreements were created that address all the unions’ stated concerns, both unions still refuse to sign the agreements.- More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


Ketchikan: Borough Assembly Member Austin Otis Talks About Agenda Items By LARRY JACKSON - Earlier today I spoke with Austin about issues for consideration before the Ketchikan Borough Assembly at tonight's meeting which is held in the Borough Assembly Chambers. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


Ketchikan: Mat Rats hold final tournament of the season By LARRY JACKSON - The Mat Rats held their final tournament Sunday at the Ketchikan Recreation Center. I visit with Noah Hilson and the first female wrestler to make it and place in the Alaska State Wrestling Tournament. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


Ketchikan: Bob Vincent remembers coaching years at Ketchikan High School By LARRY JACKSON - In light of the recent scoring title change and my story on Chis Lee and Steve Ortiz, I though it might be interesting to visit with Bob Vincent the coach of the Kayhi 1974 state champion team. Vincent was a coach, principal and referee from the early 60's to 80's in Ketchikan. In this short interview he recalls some of the players and the differences in the game. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


Ketchikan: Ocean Acidification Sampling Project on the M/V Columbia By LARRY JACKSON - Follow along as I tour the M/V Columbia with environmental technician Christen Harrington from the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). Harrington shows us the testing apparatus set up several years ago to sample the ocean PH levels as the vessel goes about its itinerary. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


Ketchikan: In the Company of Trees, A Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Lee By LARRY JACKSON - A short interview with Marilyn Lee on the opening of her solo exhibit of expressive works featuring the unique shapes, textures, and “personalities” of trees she has studied in our surrounding Tongass Rainforest. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


Ketchikan: City Council Member Sam Bergeron Discusses Various Items By LARRY JACKSON - Ketchikan City Council member Sam Bergeron talks about several items that were to be considered on the March 5, 2020 agenda. Most notable the letter from Holland America regarding the port RFP. Bergeron also discusses lack of bull rails on the Casey Moran floats and the pot holes. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020


jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: More than just a place to shop - I grew up on the "West End" of Ketchikan, that "Nouvelle Frontière" of Our Fair Salmon City that really hit its stride in the decade after the pulp mill opened and Ketchikan was in need of housing as the community grew dramatically.  Never mind that the I house I was raised in had been built by one of my great uncles back in to the 1920s, the area around it really began to boom in the 1950s and 1960s.

Natch, it was called the West End, because it was west of Downtown and needed a name to differentiate it from that other suburb west of Downtown, Newtown. I suppose it could have been called New Newtown, but that would have been awkward.

Speaking of Newtown, someone asked me recently where "Newtown" ends and the "West End" begins. Good question. I have no clue. Maybe past the Lutheran Church? Maybe the old Ellis Air hanger buildings? White Cliff School?

I just know that by the time you reach the giant concrete bunkers of Tongass Towers and the Marine View, you are clearly in the West End. The bunkers are an important point here, because besides housing hundreds of my fellow Ketchikanians over the past half century and acting as giant Southeaster deflectors to cause wind tunnels that can knock you off your feet, they were also the location of the two major West End grocery emporiums, Wingren's and Log Cabin. In fact, the Marine View was originally called the Wingren Court when it first opened. This was before the beach between the feet of Jefferson and Madison streets was filled in and both stores moved across Tongass Avenue and became "superstores" before we even knew what that word meant. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

jpg Jeff Lund

JEFF LUND: Officially never officiating  - I’d never be a referee, mostly because, as a former coach, I’d be watching the offense and defensive fundamentals rather than focusing on the legality of the movements. Also, because I’d become a non-human. Few things cause people to lose their minds faster than a blown call, and in a spasm of rage, the mob unleashes its anger – anger at the call, anger at the game, anger at their own lives, whatever. 

For most that’s it, for some, it’s not enough. The rage must be more than heard, it has to be felt. In addition to parents and passionate fans losing their minds I’ve heard of attacks, threats and suggestions of suicide after blown calls that were deemed turning points or reasons for defeat. It’s so much easier to pile on now thanks to social media. 

As a basketball coach in California during the beginning of social media proliferation and weaponization, we had a rule and none of our players were to vent specific frustrations involving teammates or opposing schools on social media. Most of them found that once the night passed, the temptation to vent had left and they were ready to get back to work rather than using the refs as an excuse. A ref can dictate how you play defense or rebound, but can’t prevent you from doing either.  

We probably remember calls more than poor play because it’s easier to be a victim than to take responsibility. Put in the work in the off season and during practice and the game is less likely to fall into the hands of the people with whistles. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

jpg Political Cartoon: COVID-19 and shortages

Political Cartoon: COVID-19 and shortages
By Dave Granlund ©2020, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Opinion

Reform? Reshape? Really....? By Percy Frisby - In regard to the recent press conference with Governor Dunleavy and Commissioner of DOT John Mackinnon

First off we want to Thank the Governor for admitting that this self inflicted wound affects all coastal areas of Alaska and that we need a sustainable system that works.

There are red flags with your working group, the lack of experience in not having representatives from the local communities and not having anyone who has any experience running an Alaskan run shipping company.

Having what you call "other modes of transportation" will not fix this problem, you blame it on old ships, in the next sentence you admit we have had a "lack of regular maintenance" please look at the example of Washington State Ferry's and Blackball ferry and see what they have done with "old" equipment.

You finger point at the Union for the Strike this last summer, for large costs and the disruptive nature, it was your destructive budget in February 2019 that essentially ended service after September. The Strike happened at the end of July and was a "preview of some coming attractions "a clarion call to the damage you would create. Our question now is how much and how disruptive does your "Strike" cost Alaska?

You also blame the legislators but you forgot it was your budget. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

jpg Opinion

The House Passes a Budget By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Earlier last week, the Alaska House of Representative passed the operating budget. It took the House 43 days of session to pass the budget, which is the fastest we have passed one since 1993. I am proud with how quickly, efficiently, and cooperatively we worked to get it done.

The budget is $4.45 billion in Unrestricted General Funds (UGF), which reflects total state spending. It is a relatively flat budget that is similar to last year and within $10 million of the Governor’s proposal.

Despite the limited spending, we were also able to add back funds for services that we prioritize. One of the most important increases was the $18.7 million to our Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). Pioneer Homes received an additional $5 million. We restored $1 million of the $2.7 million that was vetoed by Governor Dunleavy last year for Public Radio. The Ocean Ranger Program was reinstated. We increased our Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program by $1 million and added monies to the Troopers to hire an additional 36 positions. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

jpg Opinion

Seniors Park Your Money Now By David G Hanger - Rick Santelli was his usual obnoxious self when on CNBC he suggested exposing everyone to the coronavirus, so that the effect on the markets and the economy would be short-lived; and he did in hindsight apologize for his bluntness; but the very clear point he has made is that the impact on the markets and on the economy is unpredictable and apparently long-lasting. The trend on the markets is down, and there is no identifiable bottom currently discernible.

The World Health Organization has emphasized that unlike the flu there is no guarantee that come spring and warmer weather the coronavirus transmission rate will decline.

There is no likely vaccine for 18 to 24 months.

Comparative history of pandemics such as the 1918-19 Spanish flu indicate the likelihood that were the coronavirus to recede during the spring and summer months, the second wave beginning in the fall will be worse than the first wave.

Airlines are forecasting losses for the year of $70 to $120 billion.

Travel, already restricted in many areas around the globe, has become even more self-restricted by the fear response. - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

jpg Opinion

House Bill 62 By John Suter - The state should put in HB 62.  HB 62 is the bill that says when a person calls in another person to the authorities and says that person has guns and you think that person could be a danger to society, then the authorities come in and takes those guns away.  - More...
Monday PM - March 09, 2020

jpg Opinion

Reject recall, Keep Gov. Dunleavy By Cynthia Henry- We need your help. Alaska is facing an important political issue that could change the course of our great state. I have followed state and local government in Alaska for more than four decades and have never been more dismayed by the actions of some political activists who didn’t get their way. We need the help of good men and women. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 03, 2020

jpg Opinion

DEATH KNELL OF THE GOLDEN GOOSE AND WHAT’S LEFT OF KETCHIKAN, TOO By David G Hanger - Al Johnson is correct that there are a myriad of possibilities in terms of lost tourist sales revenue as consequence of the coronavirus. Since last week several passengers on the quarantined Diamond Princess have died and several dozen exposed to the virus were moved stateside. How many more will die on the quarantined ships? In a week’s time the path of the coronavirus has gone from a “possible” pandemic to a pandemic in all but name. That official branding is scheduled for the not too distant future. Carnival, Norwegian, and other cruise ship stocks have tanked, losing more than 25% of their value, which is depression territory, not recession. - More...
Saturday PM - February 29, 2020

jpg Opinion

Let’s Finish What We Started By Eric Muench - One year ago, Alaskans discovered that our newly elected governor had no intention of keeping his promises, but instead was single handedly wrecking essential State programs to fit a personal radical conservative agenda that even most republicans could not agree with.   - More...
Thursday PM - February 27, 2020

jpg Opinion

AMHS Reshaping Group By Art Johnson - It certainly seems odd that some of the communities most impacted by the lack of ferry service are not represented on the nine member reshaping work group. People from Anchorage and Fairbanks have very little exposure to the difficulties being experienced in SE Alaska. Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg should be represented, if this is a serious effort to find solutions to providing proper ferry service. - Link to Letter....
Thursday PM - February 27, 2020

jpg Opinion

Grow Ketchikan’s Mentorpreneurs Network By Deborah Hayden - Grow Ketchikan enthusiastically announces formation of the Mentorpreneurs Network.  This initiative creates a venue where entrepreneurs can meet, share triumphs, challenges, and expertise, and benefit from mutual support. 

Each meeting will contain a short presentation by Grow Ketchikan’s Executive Director or other local business and finance experts on topics such as business planning, marketing, financing, and resources available to businesses.

The first meeting will be in the Library’s large meeting room, 1110 Copper Ridge Lane, at 12 noon on Tuesday, March 3.  We will connect with entrepreneurs and listen to their needs.  Together with the group, we will evolve initiatives that address those needs and foster successful growth. - More...
Thursday PM - February 27, 2020

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Why I am supporting Prop 13 By Deborah Bonito - Anchorage, Alaska has been my home town since my Army family moved here when I was 12 years old. I’ve always been proud to call this amazing place my home. In Anchorage, we grow our businesses, our families, and our community together. That’s why I want to tell you about an opportunity we have to make Anchorage an even better place to live, and to invest a little right now in something that will have returns year after year.   I know from my many years as a retail business owner and operator that a smart investment today can make a big difference in the future. 

Problems caused by extended homelessness and untreated addiction are plaguing our city.  We know what the solutions are, we just need a dedicated revenue stream to invest in change. 

The Anchorage Assembly voted recently 9-2 in support of putting Proposition 13 on our spring Municipal ballot—a 5% tax on the purchase of alcoholic beverages. I support Prop 13, but I know that some well-heeled folks in the liquor industry will be funding a campaign against it. - More...
Thursday PM - February 27, 2020

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Alaska Municipal League 2020 Legislative Conference By Austin Otos - I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2020 AML legislative conference on the behalf of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough with Mayor Rodney Dial, and KGB Manager Ruben Duran. The conference consisted of various sessions including updates from State of Alaska agency directors, current bills going through the State legislature, overview of the State budget, and a speech by the Governor of Alaska detailing his economic vision. Major themes were: what happens on the state level directly impacts local municipalities, collaboration between other communities can garner new ideas/solutions, and constant communication with your state representatives can produce good policy outcomes. - More...
Monday PM - February 24, 2020

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An open letter to our Alaska legislators By Michael S. Queen - If we in the owner-state are determined to be giving away the just and fair profits of resource extraction, then the declining revenues we ourselves have crafted dictate that we identify alternative revenue streams. If one is going to live here and enjoy the benefits of established, necessarily maintained, and improved in the future infrastructure, the money has got to come from somewhere. - More...
Monday PM - February 24, 2020

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The ferry system, lifeblood of S.E. Alaska By Clement Plamondon - What has been done to our ferry system in the past several years by blatant mismanagement and political manipulation is nothing short of criminal. Not to mention the stupidity of simply killing half the small communities of S.E. Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - February 24, 2020

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No Good Presidential Candidates By Donald Moskowitz - President Trump continued the economic recovery and reinvigorated our military with increases in defense spending. Conversely, he weakened environmental regulations; moved funds from military construction projects to fund the border wall; and hurt our standing in the world, including our relationship with friendly countries. Trump continually lies about events and policies, and demeans the Presidency with his derogatory comments and gutterly uncivilized language. He garners attention with his negativity. - More...
Monday PM - February 24, 2020

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Ketchikan's Port By Janalee Minnich Gage - So we are selling the port? News to me, and I sit on the Ketchikan City Council.

The argument you will hear lately is, why are we selling the docks, why are we giving it away, why are we going to pay someone else to run them, or why can’t we do this ourselves, and why not just keep doing what we are doing? First, let me be very clear here, we are not selling the docks, We are not paying someone else to run them, nor are we giving it away. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 19, 2020

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House Finance Public Testimony This Week By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Each session, the Legislature’s biggest responsibility is to pass a budget for the State of Alaska. The House Budget Subcommittees - which examine the details of each department budget - have finished their budget recommendations. I serve as Chair of three budget subcommittees, and we submitted the following budget actions to the House Finance Committee for further review. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 19, 2020

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Alaska Permanent Fund Re-Investment Plan (APFRIP) By Robert B. Holston Jr. - Open letter to:  Dan Ortiz, Bert Steadman, Alaska State Senate President -Giessel, Majority Leader -Hoffman, Minority Leader -Begich, House Speaker -Edgmon,  House Majority -Thompson, House Minority -Pruitt and Governor Mike Dunleavy. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 19, 2020

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Waiting for the shoe to drop By A. M. Johnson - Far be from me to believe I am some soothsayer or star reader, yet one does wonder that there has been no inkling or whisper regarding the connection between Cruise ships, tax revenue, and the coronavirus. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 19, 2020

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Stedman should follow local consensus and put ferries first By Joel Jackson and Malena Marvin - As residents of the towns near the proposed Kake Road, we firmly oppose it. The $40 million raised for this “road to nowhere” should instead support the return of the Alaska Marine Highway to our coastal Alaskan communities struggling without ferry service. - More...
Friday AM - February 14, 2020

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Minimum Qualifications for Alaska Police Officers Makes Alaska Safer By Bob Griffiths - Most people are bewildered when they find out people with serious criminal convictions are serving as police officers in rural Alaska.  It truly is shocking to learn that individuals convicted of felonies, sex crimes and violent domestic violence offenses are placed in the highest positions of trust and authority.  Police officers in Alaska, from Anchorage or Alakanuk and beyond, are all given significant authority over the rest of us; including legal authority to search people, vehicles and dwellings with and without warrants; arrest and issue citations; and detain others until arraigned in court.  Those of us working to assure only trustworthy individuals are placed in these critical positions of trust have been acutely aware of this long-standing problem for years.  - More...
Friday AM - February 14, 2020  

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ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS? QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DOCK AND WARD COVE FIASCO By David G. Hanger - It certainly does not surprise me that Dick Coose’s fingerprints are all over this looming disaster. This particular buck-ass private of industry was fundamentally culpable for the train wreck that was Gateway Forest Products, the largest (and most corrupt) bankruptcy in the state’s history, and the wooden bowl scam, etc., and now he wants to sell your future away so he can toy with and burn rapidly through another $35 million of someone else’s money. Forfeiting local control of our docks for 30 years, and who knows how much more, means nothing to Dick Coose because long before then he will be dead and gone, but for many of you both you and your children will still be around. - More...
Friday AM - February 14, 2020

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AMHS Update from the Legislature By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Let’s talk about the prospects of this year’s legislative session and budget deliberations as they relate to the AMHS. Our ferry system has been at the forefront of many legislative conversations: - More...
Monday PM - February 10, 2020

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Museums’ Strategic Long Range Plan By Michele Zerbetz Scott - It’s time to update the Museums’ Strategic Long Range Plan and the Ketchikan Museums are requesting help from the community. Here is some history: - More...
Monday PM - February 10, 2020

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Book Recommended By Rob Holston - ALASKA’S INSIDE PASSAGE by Dale Pihlman is a book I purchased as a “self gift” before Christmas and finished reading it in time to recommend it to several friends for their Christmas. I’ve known Dale for years and have admiration for his insights and I expected a good product yet his book delivers far beyond any expectations. - More...
Monday PM - February 10, 2020

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Standing up for Alaska’s Pioneers By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Last year, I cosponsored and voted for House Bill 96, which reverses massive rate increases at the Pioneer Homes. This bipartisan legislation passed the House 35-4 and now is being considered by the Senate. If the Senate passes HB 96, we can reverse the devastating rate increases and provide critical financial stability both for residents and our Pioneer Home system. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 04, 2020

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