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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 07, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY MOODY

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June Allen: Collector of Characters and the Character of Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER - It was a rainy night in late August 1964, when June Allen arrived in Ketchikan. With her were her husband, who was taking a job as an English teacher at Ketchikan Community College, her five “tired and whiny” children and the children’s grandfather.

June Allen: Collector of Characters and the Character of Ketchikan

June Allen
Photo Courtesy Lee Ann Cody
Editor’s Note: Longtime Ketchikan historian June Allen passed away on March 9, 2016 from the complications of a stroke at the age of 86. Rather than write a traditional obituary, SITNEWS contributor Dave Kiffer was asked to write a feature article. Kiffer decided to write about June as if she was the subject of one the nearly 100 stories she wrote for SITNEWS over the years. June’s family is planning a public ceremony for June at Bayview Cemetery on August 2, 2016.

The Allen family’s apartment in the Tongass Towers was not ready so they spent their first night in the First City crammed, wet and tired into two small rooms in the Stedman Hotel. Most people would have found the situation discouraging, but not Allen. She frequently, and cheerfully, retold the story of the family’s midnight arrival – noting that in those days every state ferry seemed to arrive at or later than midnight. It even made up the meat of her first and last SITNEWS stories more than 40 years later.

At her core, June Allen was a teller of stories, especially Ketchikan ones. She seemingly never met a person or a story that wasn’t worth writing about. Over the years she worked for the Ketchikan Daily News and started her own brief newspaper, the Ketchikan Record. She was a freelance writer for numerous other magazines, newspapers and internet sites. She wrote promotional materials for the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau and the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. Between 2002 and 2007, she published nearly 100 stories on SITNEWS alone.

But June was always more than just the sum of her bylines. It seemed that in each of her stories there was a personal note or two that told you something of her life and, by extension, the life of Ketchikan during the four decades she called Ketchikan home.

A typical June Allen story would start off with an observation.

For example, that the façade of Ketchikan’s City Hall was unusual and striking, having been made out of glass bricks that were developed in the 1920s because bottle makers were seeking new markets to make up for the fact they weren’t selling as many glass bottles because Prohibition was in force.

Anything to do with the Prohibition Era in Ketchikan, the time when Ketchikan was reportedly one of the “wickedest” towns in America, always got her attention.

The observation – just like one of the oral stories that June would often tell – would gradually morph into a history story, perhaps focusing on a single thing – like City Hall – but expanding to encompass all of Ketchikan’s history from that apparently narrow viewpoint. Pretty soon, the story would be talking about Citizens Power and Light (the forerunner of KPU) and the lives of the telephone operators crowded into narrow rooms of the City Hall building.

Then there would come anecdotes about longtime Police Chief Hank Miller (“crusty and non-nonsense”) who pulled the police department back from the wide-spread corruption of the early 1950s and the sometimes stern librarian Mary Ginger (“I not only didn't talk in there, I didn't even risk a whisper.”).

And that was where she found the still living history of Ketchikan.

“I like writing about people,” June once said. “Buildings don’t tell stories. People tell stories. Ketchikan is nothing but stories about people.”

Not that she didn’t love the old buildings of Ketchikan, often writing about them as if they were living things. But it was always from the standpoint that buildings like the Stedman, the Ingersoll, the old Civic Center, or the Fireside were representative of moments in Ketchikan’s history that were worth preserving, even if the buildings themselves didn’t always survive. - More...
Thursday PM - April 07, 2016

Warm Days, Stirring Bruins Remind Alaskans to be Bear Aware - From Alaska’s southern reaches north to Fairbanks and points beyond, word has it that bears are waking and starting to move. And that can mean only one thing: It’s time for Alaskans to assume their best “bear aware” behavior.

Warm Days, Stirring Bruins Remind Alaskans to be Bear Aware

A Black Bear in 2015 at Herring Cove, north of Ketchikan.
File photo by CINDY BALZER ©2015

“We had a report the other day of a grizzly out around Nordale Road,” said Jesse Dunshie, a fish and wildlife technician in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Fairbanks office. That was one of a couple bear-related calls he’s received in recent days.

Indeed, unseasonably mild weather may be rousing bears earlier than usual in some parts of the state. In Anchorage, black bears have been spotted in several areas around the city. Reports in Kodiak have included sightings of brown bear sows and yearling cubs which normally don’t appear until later in the season. And in Southeast, recent warm days have skunk cabbage and other wild greens blooming, setting the stage for bears there to start moving any day.

In light of these early signs, Gov. Bill Walker has proclaimed April Bear Awareness Month. The official proclamation recognizes that “our state abounds in bear country,” and that “April is a good time to remind Alaskans about bears, their behavior, and how we can live responsibly and safely in bear country.” - More...
Thursday PM - April 07, 2016

Alaska: House Defers to Local Governments For Property Tax Exemptions - The Alaska House of Representatives today passed legislation granting greater local control over some economic development tax exemptions and deferrals to local governments.

House Bill 370, by the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee, changes the requirement that a full or partial property tax exemption or deferral for economic development property be limited to five years and instead limits it to 20 years. By changing the requirement, it gives municipalities the discretion to set the exemption timeframe based on the type of economic development property.

“In this difficult budgetary environment, we’re unable to provide Alaska’s municipalities new or additional monetary resources,” Representative Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, and Chair of the Community & Regional Affairs Committee, said. “However, we can provide them non-monetary assistance in the form of statutory changes allowing them greater local control to encourage new investment in their areas. - More...
Thursday PM - April 07, 2016


Ketchikan: 2016 Alaska Hummingbird Festival Juried Art Show Winners Announced - The results of the 2016 Alaska Hummingbird Festival Juried Art Show were announced this week. Eleven years ago, the Juried Art Show was created to educate and promote awareness of the spring migratory birds of Southeast Alaska through creative arts.

2016 Alaska Hummingbird Festival Juried Art Show Winners Announced

Best of Show Adult:
Laura Kemp, “Kittiwake Cliff,” Acrylic, Species: Black-legged kittiwake

This year’s art show will be on display through May 31st, 2016 at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. The U.S. Forest Service and the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau (KVB) co-hosted the opening reception on April 1, 2016. The Ketchikan Visitors Bureau provided the refreshments and support throughout the evening.

There were 102 artists who submitted entries ranging from Anchorage, Port Protection, Craig, Skagway, Ward Cove and Ketchikan. There were 23 adult and 79 juvenile art submissions for the annual show celebrating the return of the migratory birds to Alaska. - More...
Thursday PM - April 07, 2016

Sitka: Search Underway for Missing Sitka Man - The Coast Guard, Sitka Police Department and Sitka Fire Department are searching for Jesse Mills, age 40, reported missing in Sitka Thursday.

The man's wife first reported him missing to the Coast Guard 17th District command center after he left home Wednesday night and did not return. The Mills' kayak is also missing, prompting his wife to believe he may have gone kayaking.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau assumed control of the case and requested the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka to begin a search for the man. A Sitka Fire Department boat, Sitka Police and good Samaritans are also involved in the search.

Searchers conducted a search of Sitka Sound and shoreline vicinity throughout the day. Search operations will be on-going throughout the night according to the Alaska State Troopers. - More...
Thursday PM - April 07, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Mary Lynne Dahl

MONEY MATTERS: DO THE RECENT CHANGES TO SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AFFECT YOU? By MARY LYNNE DAHL, CFP® - The recent changes to Social Security will affect benefits for some people who were going to file soon but have not done so yet. If you are one of those people, you only have until April 29, 2016 to file for benefits that may not be available after that date. Social Security is complex, so many people are unaware that they may be eligible for benefits that are expiring soon.

To begin with, know that Social Security allows an individual to claim his or her own benefits at full retirement age, which is now age 66 or 67, or file for a spousal benefit that is equal to 50% of the benefit that their spouse is entitled to. Generally, (there are exceptions) spousal benefits begin as early as age 62, but if you defer taking them until full retirement age(66 or 67) or later, at age 70, they automatically grow by 8% per year (guaranteed). Waiting until age 70 instead of taking them at 62 can increase the benefit amount by almost 75%. Do the math!

Because benefits are so much greater if you wait until age 70 to start taking them, several strategies have developed that maximize the way a married couple gets those benefits. One of those strategies is to file for benefits at full retirement age but suspend, waiting until age 70 to actually begin receiving those benefits. That way, if your spouse is eligible for spousal benefits (by being age 62 or older), he or she can start getting benefits based on your earnings and delay his or her own benefits until age 70 also, thereby getting the 8% extra credit per year during the waiting period. This is called “file-and- suspend”.

Another strategy is for your spouse who has reached full retirement age to file for spousal benefits only, while their own benefit gets the 8% per year credit, while you are taking your own benefits. This called filing for “restricted benefits”. Your spouse gets a smaller benefit now and a larger benefit later.

These benefits will expire on April 30, 2016 , which is why many people should apply by April 29, 2016, if they are eligible for the restricted benefit strategy or the file-and- suspend strategy. - More...
Thursday PM - April 07, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Tax Haven Getaway

Editorial Cartoon: Tax Haven Getaway
By RJ Matson ©2016, Roll Call
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Part 4: “OIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ, AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM By David G Hanger - Before Sean Parnell was appointed, then elected Governor of the State of Alaska he was an oil company lawyer; just another staffer in a law firm doing oil company business. He is also very much a provincial hick who actually believes that people living off the “road network,” by which he means the Anchorage-Fairbanks corridor and the Kenai Peninsula, should not expect anything at all in the way of state government funding. - More...
Friday AM - April 08, 2016

letter Time for timber to face the harsh realities of their own making By Hunter McIntosh - Viking Lumber and other southeast Alaska timber companies are threatening to close down unless they can continue cutting down old growth trees in the Tongass National Forest and other nearby forests. To which I say: Good riddance. - More...
Friday AM - April 08, 2016

letter Abortion By Robert Holston - I agree with this argument. Do you? 'The irony is that people who imagine themselves to be "enlightened" are actually making a pro-slavery argument with their pro-abortion position. The argument used to sustain slavery is the same argument used by pro-abortionists. - More...
Friday AM - April 08, 2016

letter Rep. Young blames "bunch of idiots" for Trump phenomenon By A.M.Johnson - Thank you Congressman Young for characterizing a high number of Alaskans, many who have in the past, I say past as Young has surely established the present with his observations of the mental state of many, supported his elections. Were Young to demonstrate a similar level of tirade on Hillary and her long list of corrupt dealings, or Sen. Sanders and his relationship to being a socialist or worst, Communist one would give some credence to Young being a Republican. - More...
Friday AM - April 08, 2016

letter Senior Citizen Property Tax By Ed Zastrow - Ketchikan's senior citizens are disappointed that some in the State Legislature are seeking to balance the State budget on the backs of the Alaska's most vulnerable citizens. A total of 985 senior citizen and disabled veteran households in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough stand to lose nearly $1.3 million annually if a last-minute bill to eliminate the mandatory State senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemption is adopted by the State Legislature. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 05, 2016

letter Alaska’s Senior Citizens By Dan Ortiz - Is oil, or any commodity, really Alaska’s most valuable resource? I, for one, would say no. Our most valuable resource, the resource that most contributes to Alaska, is our people. If we were to make a ranking list of the most valuable populations, senior citizens would be at the top. As we in the Legislature attempt to deal with our significant fiscal challenges, it’s important for us to protect our seniors. Our seniors are a treasured asset to our communities and our economy. The Alaska Legislature shouldn’t adopt policies or cuts that put undue burdens on our senior population. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 05, 2016

letter Climate Change By Norbert Chaudhary - It is beyond my understanding how anyone, especially those in leadership roles, can question the fact that humans burning fossil fuel have pushed the planets CO2 levels beyond anything the earth has seen in at least 650,000 years and that this is already having a profound impact on our planets climate. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 05, 2016

letter To better understand federal tax problems and solutions By Paul Livingston - There is much confusion, misrepresentation and lack of understanding about the federal tax problems and solutions. The root cause of taxation problems is the 16th Amendment (enables direct taxation) passed in 1913. This Amendment gives government huge new taxing power for the first legal income tax, the IRS, payroll taxes and tax withholding. We lost Freedom, Liberty and Civil Rights. The 16th Amendment enables a graduated income tax, the second requirement for a communist state per the Communist Manifesto by Karl Mark. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 05, 2016

letter Children of the Territory By David Otness - A number of life-long Alaskan friends and myself have been taken aback by what has happened to our beloved Alaska over the past 40 + years and how little it resembles and feels like the place in which we grew up in the then Territory of Alaska. Of course the demon and denominator - and ultimately the bane - is and was the Resource Curse that befalls any nominally-sophisticated group of people when Big Oil comes to town. And yes, it brought much which is bright and shiny, but it also brought social ills in overabundance to what was once a widely-stretched-out, self-sufficient and resilient community that lived in relative harmony in an era that rightfully should be revered and is still remembered in high esteem and longing by those of us who knew it when. I reckon we’ll be defined as primitive for that notion these days. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 30, 2016

letter Part 3: “OIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ, AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM By David G Hanger - The complacency of “Oil Can” Dan Ortiz is appalling, and verges on dishonesty. Dan Ortiz does not have an obligation to the people of the state of Alaska; he has an obligation to us as our representative, and in that regard he is a disaster. It is not our obligation to bail Anchorage and Fairbanks out of their economic problems. They have never helped us with ours, but we have to empty our wallets to help theirs. That’s nuts. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 30, 2016

letter DON TRUMP RHETORIC By Mary Lynne Dahl - Although I am encouraged by the wide range of people showing an interest in the upcoming Presidential election, some of the comments made in response to my criticism of Donald Trump were not accurate. Of course we do not all agree with one another. Of course we dispute the facts or view them from our own, unique perspective. That is all good, part of the flawed but marvelous system of democracy we enjoy. It is not a flawless system, but it is better than the alternatives. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 30, 2016

letter People of Alaska or Oil First? By Robert Johnson - I was born and raised in Ketchikan 82 years ago and it has really gone downhill since the Republicans have been in power. It's about time for a change. I voted against statehood in 1957 and it has gone down since then, we need another Bill Eagan to put us back on track. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 30, 2016

letter Old growth and young growth logging needed to sustain the current industry By Shelly Wright - Southeast Conference (SEC) a non-profit organization dedicated to the economic health of Southeast Alaska, gathered in Juneau March 15 & 16, 2016 for the Mid-Session Summit membership meeting. One of the subjects discussed at this meeting was the collapse of the Southeast Alaska timber industry. Bryce Dahlstrom, Vice President of Transportation for Viking Lumber stated, “Viking Lumber has about a year and a half of economical timber left to process. After that we are closing our doors unless more timber is sold by the Forest Service.” SEC has long been an advocate for resource development especially the timber industry and hearing this disturbing statement from our last remaining mid-size sawmill owner is devastating. Bryce went on to say that he is in despair over this decision to leave southeast, not because of the financial situation of his family, they have other opportunities elsewhere, but because of what the effects will be to the community he has grown up in. He worries about the people and communities they will be leaving behind. Approximately 150 jobs will be lost including road builders, cutters, loggers and truckers. Viking Lumber accounts for about 60% of AP&T, the local electric provider, revenue along with contributing to local towing companies, franchises such as Napa, Petro Marine, Shuab Ellison, Tyler Rental and Alaska Commercial. For communities on Prince of Wales Island, 150 jobs is a major industry. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 30, 2016

letter Our Obligation: The People of Alaska By Rep. Dan Ortiz - I have the honor of serving as your representative in the Alaska State Legislature. The major issue facing our legislature this session is Alaska’s fiscal situation. I’m committed to the practice of a government of the people, by the people and for the people. I spend a lot of time communicating with constituents across our district, from Hyder in the south, to Wrangell in the north. I seek to hear from our friends and neighbors about the issues on their minds. Our district does not always come to a consensus, but most of us agree that we need to continue making smart cuts in government spending while we look for new revenue sources. - More...
Saturday AM - March 26, 2016

letter RE: International coalition calls on BC to include Mount Polley investigation recommendations in mining code By Brent Murphy - I write you with respect to your article ”International coalition calls on BC to include Mount Polley investigation recommendations in mining code”, posted on March 22 on your web site and wish to express my disappointment that this article was posted without a fact check. The NGO’ s in their discussion on the KSM Project, which is owned by Seabridge, presented several inaccurate statements regarding the project. Specifically.... More...
Saturday AM - March 26, 2016

letter The Importance of Giving Through Pick.Click.Give By Nina Kemppel - The next several days are critical for hundreds of nonprofits across Alaska. Why? As we approach to the March 31st deadline to file for your Permanent Fund Dividend, we move closer to the time most Alaskans will Pick.Click.Give to organizations that serve critical needs here in Alaska. - More...
Saturday AM - March 26, 2016

letter Part 2: “OIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM By David G Hanger - As Alaska citizens we are all the victims of one of the most incredible crimes that has ever been committed, and indeed it is ongoing. We have been ripped off to the tune of tens of billions of dollars in the last two years alone. This crime, this scandal, already exceeds in value by a considerable margin Teapot Dome and all the financial scandals of the Grant and Harding administrations. This is conceivably the largest financial crime in the history of the United States. Our elected officials don’t even want you to believe it is a crime, they are so complicit; but if this is not a financial crime, nothing is. - More...
Saturday AM - March 26, 2016

letter The Trump Wrecking Ball By Donald Moskowitz - Trump could win the Republican nomination, but lose to Clinton in the general election. He might severely damage the Republican Party, and adversely impact Republicans in Congressional and state races. His un-American campaign of political violence and hooliganism is reminiscent of 20th century Nazi and Communist dictators. - More...
Saturday AM - March 26, 2016

letter RE: Donald Trump By Marvin Seibert - After reading some of the facts that Mary Lynne Dahl stated in her anti-Trump letter of March 19th I must point out some overlooked facts. - More..
Tuesday PM - March 22, 2016

letterOIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ, AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM PART 1 By David G Hanger - By 1981 when the revenue agent stopped by he was pushing 80 strong, but still every year summer came around and off he and the wife were once again to the Yukon or the Klondike, where the nights are short and the legends long. And every year he would spend $50,000 to $80,000 on his mining operation, and every year he reported to the IRS -0- income, generating a massive loss that offset his wife’s and his other income sources, and got him a $10,000 to $15,000 a year refund. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 22, 2016

letter The Ortiz Citizen budget poll By A. M. Johnson - An open letter to Representative Dan Ortiz regarding his survey inquiry in today's mail on how to address the budget shortfall. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 22, 2016

letter The Ketchikan School District Needs to Stop Spending By Megan Heaton - There have been some comments made at the Ketchikan Borough Assembly meetings recently about how great the schools in Ketchikan use to be. Mainly there was the hot lunch program and a school nurse. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 22, 2016

letter ROADSIDE DAFFODILS By Jerry Cegelske - North end residents were treated to some roadside daffodils on Sunday and Monday morning as the Dixon Entrance Chapter of the Society of American Foresters did their regular cleanup of mile 6 of the North Tongass Highway Sunday morning. The Chapter regularly cleans their section of road every three months or so, collecting the accumulated trash and keeping their mile clean. Thank them for their dedication when you have the chance. They do a fantastic job keeping this area clean. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 22, 2016

letter Donald Trump By Mary Lynne Dahl - I have recently become concerned about some statements being made by Donald Trump in his bid for the US Presidential ticket. He has built a campaign on repeatedly claiming that “the US doesn’t win anymore”, “China and Japan are killing us on trade” and “Illegal immigrants are pouring over the border”. He has also said that he “cannot release his federal income tax return because it is being audited by the IRS”. Although I do not generally offer political comments during an election, I challenge the accuracy of these statements and feel compelled to comment on them as untrue. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

letter Happy 6th Anniversary to the Affordable Care Act! By Susan Johnson - In terms of significance, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 is often compared to the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The ACA grew out of advances in coverage provided by Medicare and Medicaid—in fact, President Teddy Roosevelt first proposed a national health insurance program in 1912! We celebrate over 100 years of healthcare progress in 2016. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

letter Alaska PFD By Norma Lankerd - First of all, I do not like the idea of Governor Walker wanting to dig into the Permanent Fund to help bail out Alaska. He is acting like Mr. Obama, thinking money grows on trees, so spend, spend, spend. I myself say NO DO NOT TOUCH THE PERMANENT FUND, already pay out of it to run different parts of Alaska and the administration. - More...
Saturday AM - March 19, 2016

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