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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 01, 2011

Front Page Photo

April 1st: Deer Mountain
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS
Graphic by Mary Kauffman

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Southeast Alaska:
Legislation Would Extend Southeast Native Land Rights – Alaskan Congressman Don Young on Thursday introduced H.R. 1306 which allows Native residents of five unrecognized Southeast Alaska communities to organize five urban corporations, one for each unrecognized community.  The Southeast Alaska Villages of Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Tenakee and Wrangell have been denied fundamental rights and compensation afforded other Alaska Native villages under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

“A significant number of Alaska Natives reside in these communities but have been denied the opportunity to establish village or urban corporations,” said Rep. Young. “There is no reason given as to why this injustice occurred, and the time has come to right the wrong.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, I am proud to introduce this bill and provide a compromise and solution to those who have unjustly been denied rights to land and local resources that other village and urban corporations in Southeast Alaska received under ANCSA.”

In 1993, Congress directed the Secretary of Interior to examine why these five communities were unrecognized in ANCSA.  The Institute of Social and Economic Research (University of Alaska Anchorage) report found no distinction between the five communities and other Southeast Alaska communities, and thus no justification for omission of these five Southeast Native communities from ANCSA.  

Passed in 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) extinguished Native land claims to almost all of Alaska in exchange for about one-ninth of the state's land plus $962.5 million in compensation. - More...
Friday - April 01, 2011

Alaska: HOUSE PASSES GOVERNOR’S OIL TAX REFORM BILL – The Alaska State House of Representatives today passed major tax reform legislation encouraging new investment in North Slope oil fields to reverse production declines, keep trans-Alaska oil pipeline flows steady and halts the loss of oilfield and service company workers.

HB 110, sponsored by the House Rules Committee at the request of Governor Sean Parnell, R-Alaska, modifies key provisions of former Governor Sarah Palin’s Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share, or ACES, oil tax regime. The reform bill restores Alaska’s competitiveness in the pursuit of industry capital by lowering production taxes at high oil prices and boosting incentives for companies to bring new production online.

“We firmly believe that doing nothing is not an option,” said House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski. “Even if we got it right back when we passed ACES, which I don’t think we did – the global oil industry has changed since then. It’s night and day. New technology has opened up more places for development and Alaska, with some of the highest production costs and highest oil taxes in the world, is simply no longer competitive.”

The bill separates production into two new tax brackets with incremental increases to the state’s take. Existing production is taxed at a 25-percent base rate and capped at 50-percent. New production will be taxed at a 15-percent base rate and capped at 40-percent. A credit for production-generating drilling increased by 20-percent and several adjustments were made to ACES provisions to establish a better business relationship between the state and industry. The state’s royalty share, and corporate and property taxes are unchanged.

In his legislative report, Rep. David Guttenberg (D-District 8) wrote, "One thing stood out, everyone there wanted to increase production and put more Alaskans to work." He said, "I would have liked to have been able to vote yes for something that would have done that. HB 110 gave Alaskan’s no guarentee of any type of returns. It allowed for $2 Billion in tax breaks to the industry and never required neither increased production or jobs." - More...
Friday - April 01, 2011

Alaska: Awards Presented at 2011 Governor’s Safety and Health Conference - More than 300 Alaskans attended the 2011 Governor’s Safety and Health Conference, participating in training tracks in employer resources, arc flash safety, youth safety, safety education, oil industry, transportation and hospitality, OSHA 10 hour construction course, OSHA 10 hour general industry course.

Awards Presented at 2011 Governorís Safety and Health Conference

Trident Seafoods-Ketchikan North & Trident Seafoods-Cordova South; One of eleven organizations qualified for the Governor’s Safety Award of Excellence
Ernie Cadabes, Labor Commissioner Click Bishop, Brian Parsons, Paul Schneider, Dan Taylor, Bob Pelkey, Jr.
Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Information about applying for the Voluntary Protection Program, which recognizes and promotes effective workplace safety and health management through a cooperative program between a company’s management, employees and AKOSH, was also provided.

A highlight of the annual conference is recognition of Alaska businesses that exemplify good corporate citizenship and a commitment to the health and safety of their workers.

One organization qualified for the Governor’s Special Achievement Award. This award is presented for special outstanding achievements in the field of safety and health. Nominees must show a significant and measurable impact on the community, or must have made documented contributions or enhancements to the field of safety and health. This special award was presented to the Alaska Injury Prevention Center and Child Passenger Safety Partners. In 2009, Alaska passed a revision to its seatbelt law that included clarification that most children between ages 4 and 7 need to be secured in a booster seat. Efforts to raise awareness were developed by the Alaska Injury Prevention Center with other partnering agencies. The result was a measurable improvement in the use of appropriate child passenger safety devices from 52 percent to 80 percent, which translates into fewer injuries to Alaska children.

Eleven organizations qualified for the Governor’s Safety Award of Excellence. This recognition is awarded to a group that has demonstrated excellence in safety and health systems that protect employees. Companies must show there is management commitment, employee involvement and a documented system for hazard analysis and hazard reduction. The organizations receiving awards were:

Trident Seafoods-Ketchikan North and Trident Seafoods-Cordova South. The Ketchikan plant employs an average of 200 annual workers and the Cordova plant employs 133. Each plant has been a model of safety practices. Ketchikan reduced its DART by 50 percent from 2008 to 2009 and Cordova went from a 3.3 DART rate in 2008 to zero in 2009. - More...
Friday - April 01, 2011


Columns - Commentary

jpg DANNY TYREEDANNY TYREE: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Tax Liability - As both a capitalist and a taxpayer, news of recent antics by General Electric (G.E.) made me wince.

That’s because G.E.’s actions are practically begging the usual suspects to ramp up their protests against “evil corporations.”

According to The New York Times, G.E. – despite making a $5.1 billion profit in the United States in 2010 – paid no federal income tax and actually received a $3.2 billion TAX CREDIT to apply to future indebtedness.

The nearly 1,000 employees in G.E.’s tax department achieved this through a series of deductions, shelters, adjustments, “green” energy subsidies, offshore profit centers, generous depreciation schedules, brownie points, Early Bird specials and a Sunday newspaper coupon that actually expired last Friday but received an “Aw, what the heck, man” pass from a particularly mellow agent at the IRS.

The multinational was just carrying out its fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders (okay, fiduciary responsibility on STEROIDS), but the tax burden does seem troubling in light of recent Supreme Court decisions. With much effort, corporate entities won the same First Amendment rights as individual HUMANS, but apparently want to be TAXED at the same effective rate as disabled THREE-TOED SLOTHS.

Granted, millions of low-income taxpayers pay no federal income tax at all, and I understand that G.E. let the government off pretty lightly. Some of the tax lawyers had been holding out for the keys to Yellowstone, Fort Knox and the Lincoln Memorial. And only a shortage of active volcanoes saved that sacrificial virgin. - More...
Thursday - March 31, 2011


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Update in Progress

letter Achievements By Judith Green - We in Ketchikan recently were very aware there was a local teacher representing our city in the 2011 Iditarod Race - many in town were present at the start, many were present at the finish line. HOORAY to Team Taggart for beginning and ending the race. Ketchikan was talking proud. One family that was present at the start of the race was the Valentine family: Trevor and Tiffany with their 2 sons, Jake and Jared. - More...
Thursday PM - March 31, 2011

letter Kudos to Bobbie McCreary! By Diana Chaudhary - I would like to congratulate Bobbie McCreary for being selected by Sandy Parnell as a "First Lady Volunteer of the Year". I have worked with Bobbie on several projects and have long admired her incredible organizational skills, as well as her compassion and dedication to youth. - More...
Thursday PM - March 31, 2011

letter Abortion, Re-Cross Examination: Part one By Rob Holston - I’ll address some of Laura Allen's comments made in a letter of March 21.  I am law abiding.  I recognize that the Supreme Court decision is the law of the land.  That does NOT mean that this law is immune from either legal, scientific or moral debate.  It neither means the law is correct nor does it abrogate my right to challenge it.  Your premise that to oppose any law of the land simply because it is the “law of the land” is sophomoric logic.  Slavery was once upheld by the the law of the land.  Women were prevented from voting by the “law of the land.” - More...
Thursday PM - March 31, 2011

letter Where does the money go? By Lewis Roger Amundson - I would also like an answer on where the money goes too. I know they make good money off us otherwise they would not do what they do. I also think if you're going to come here and run a business you should live here and have an Alaska state identification. I'm not against people who work, just the ones who are greedy! They should have to tell us what is going on. Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU) has more money than the City of Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - March 31, 2011

letter Nurses face over-load of patients and complaints By Rida Wazni - This letter is in regards to the issue of nurses in the health care system today. There is an increase in the number of acutely ill patients to the lower number of nurses to attend to their needs. Nurses are dealing with job dissatisfaction, burnout, distress, physical and mental illnesses due to the heavy workloads. Patients on the other hand, are unhappy about the shortage in delivery of care. - More...
Thursday PM - March 31, 2011

letter Misappropriations or good business? By Gayle Brooks - We the people have been screaming from every corner of the U.S. about Government spending and misspending, and here we are in small town America adding to the pile. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011

letter States Rights By A. M. Johnson - It has been a very frustrating past few days from Senator Begich and Representative Young's visits to Ketchikan. Frustrating from the standpoint of typical "No Action" visible from either of these two or Senator Murkowski, in taking firm aggressive stances on various Federal acts such as the Tongass Roadless Act, that are detrimental to Alaska and Ketchikan in particular. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011

letter ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND GOVERNMENT By Charles Edwardson - I missed a recent Ketchikan townhall type meeting on economic development, as I was out of town. If I had attended, the first statement I would have made is: economic development and government are like oil and water and the borough assembly and city council are forms of government, and I would then gauge the response of the industry experts in the room before I engaged in any other talks about economic development. If some of the industry experts agreed it would be worth further discussion, but if no one agreed than it would have been a nice forum to catch up with friends and have a nice brainstorming session that will lead nowhere. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011

letter Low income housing is a great need in Ketchikan By Shannon Nelson - Housing is defined as a combination of: Mortage or rent, insurance, gas, electricity, maintenance and phone. Housing should not exceed 30% to 36% or 1/3 of your monthly income. Rent should not be more than 25%. Transportation 18%, Food 14% household 7%, Savings 10%, Debt 10% and everything else 11%. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011

letter Cost of Living in Ketchikan By Lewis Amundson - I have read the letters about the cost of living in Ketchikan and I have to say that it is not just high costs for electric, heat and rent. We live in a cornered market from bad doctors to poor airlines. I have lived here for 31 years - more than most and I'm getting tired of being walked on and have some big issues with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. We pay high prices for every thing purchased locally -- their answer is we have to ship everything in. So is that why I would have to pay $250 dollars for a pair of work boots purchased locally and could buy the same boots from Big J's out of Washington for $160 dollars? Don't try to tell me it costs that much to ship a pair of boots. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011

letter Re: Upcoming State Herring Sac Roe Fisheries; Open Letter to Commissioner Campbell By Andy Rauwolf - As you may be aware, conditions exist that are severly impacting the marketability of our kazunoko (herring roe) in Japan.  It has been common knowledge for several years that younger Japanese are losing interest in this tradition.  Along with this problem, Japanese super markets reported that Russian herring roe outsold Sitka’s and British Columbia’s product in the year-end 2010 sales season.  This is due in part to lower prices for shipping.  There is also reported to be a backlog of unsold Sitka herring roe left over from last year’s huge harvest. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011

letter An Apology to Our Customers By Brad Tilden & Glenn Johnson - Alaska Airlines experienced a computer system outage this past weekend that disrupted our operation, and we want to offer our profound apologies to the thousands of customers who were affected. We recognize we fell far short of our service commitment to you and are working diligently to determine the underlying causes of the failure to prevent a recurrence. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011

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