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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 11, 2016

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Sunset at Refuge Cove
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AK Senator Dan Sullivan touts science, strong coastal economies, more markets By LAINE WELCH - Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan has scored seats on nearly every Congressional committee that deal with issues on, over and under the oceans. That fulfills a commitment he made to Kodiak when he ran for office two years ago, he said at a ComFish town meeting during a two day stay on “the Rock.”

Sullivan ticked off a list of fishery related actions he’s had a hand in getting accomplished over the past year: passage of an enforcement act that combats global fish pirating and seafood fraud; adding language to bills that lifts pricey classification requirements on new fishing vessels; and a one year water discharge exemption so fishermen don’t need special permits to hose down their decks.

He said he is “working to make sure new regulations are not an undue burden on the industry.”

“We hear about overregulation in terms of costs from every single group I’ve met with,” Sullivan said. “We all want clean water and a safe environment, but we have federal agencies that are taking a one size fits all approach to these regulations and it can be crushing on what you all do. I hear it loud and clear.”

Sullivan said when it comes to Alaska’s fisheries, he is guided by three core principles: science is the foundation for sustainability, seafood is the engine for strong coastal economies, and the need to create more markets for what he dubs the “super-power of seafood.”

“We’ve been looking at ways structurally to create more demand for Alaska seafood,” he said, citing recent legislation that was added to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement to fix a seafood oversight.

“The authorizing legislation said our trade negotiators have to achieve objectives to open markets for different industry groups, such as agriculture, high tech, textiles…,” Sullivan said. “Guess what industry was not in the bill – seafood. So my team drafted legislation that said in any future trade agreements, the U.S. has to get access for our fisheries and fish products in foreign markets, and go after the subsidies of foreign fleets that unfairly compete against us. It passed and was signed by the president. So all trade agreements for the next six years must have major provisions focused on opening markets for U.S. seafood products. It also is included in a European trade agreement being negotiated now.”

On the home front, Sullivan said he is working with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to require the nation’s school lunch program to only include fish that is caught in U.S. waters.

“Believe it or not, there are loopholes in the program that don’t require that,” Sullivan said. “In my view, we should not be feeding our kids fish that is caught in Russian waters and then processed in China and injected with phosphates. If our kids get fed fish that is not very good, you turn off a generation until they get about 30 or 40 and get over the fact that the fish sticks they had in second grade made them not like seafood.”

In a separate media interview, Sullivan took exception to allegations that he and Alaska’s delegation aim to stymie U.S. and global protections for an increasingly off kilter climate to benefit the fossil fuel industry.

“On the science side we’re trying to make sure that ocean acidification and other issues that impact the fisheries are completely and fully funded. I'm all over that,” he asserted. “In Alaska we’re seeing the impacts of climate change and a warming ocean. I have been very focused on making sure the agencies have the applied science capability to manage the stocks accordingly.”

Sullivan agreed that human activity has an impact on climate change, to some degree.

“With seven billion human inhabitants there is certainly a human impact, but to what degree, I don’t think the science is ever settled on that,” he said.

Sullivan said he supports an “all of the above energy strategy, crediting the “natural gas revolution” of the past few years (fracking) for “driving down America’s greenhouse gas emissions significantly.”

Senator Sullivan said Alaska’s roads, ports and harbors will benefit from a $2.6 billion highway bill passed by Congress, and another in the pipeline will provide “significant” money for airports. The Coast Guard’s biggest airbase at Kodiak also is set for some upgrades, including new aircraft and cutters. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

Southeast Alaska:
Coast Guard Suspends Search For Man Missing Near Sitka - Coast Guard crews suspended their search for a 40-year-old man near Sitka, Saturday.

A kayak belonging to Jesse Mills was discovered on Kasiana Island approximately four miles northwest of Sitka, Friday, but search dogs and crews turned up no other sign of the man after a thorough search of the area. A first light search conducted by an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka, Saturday, yielded no results. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

Alaska: Alaska Still a Likely Portal for Avian Influenza - The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence last week that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. The new report announces that while no highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses have been found in Alaska, the state remains an important area to monitor due to migratory bird flyways from North America and Eurasia that overlap the region.

“Our past research in western Alaska has shown that while we have not detected the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, up to 70 percent of the other avian influenza viruses isolated in this area were found to contain genetic material from Eurasia, providing evidence for high levels of intercontinental viral exchange,” said Andy Ramey, a scientist with the USGS and lead author of the recent report. “This is because Asian and North American migratory flyways overlap in western Alaska.” - More...
Monday PM - April 11,2016

Alaska: Alaska Senate Passes Bill Allowing Guns on Public University Campus - By a vote of 13-5, the Alaska State Senate passed a bill Friday to protect the constitutional right of Alaskans to keep and bear arms on a public university campus.

SB 174, sponsored by Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), resolves a conflict between the University of Alaska Board of Regent's weapons ban and the Alaska Constitution, ensuring that law-abiding residents may carry firearms while pursuing a post-secondary education. - More...
Monday PM - April 11,2016

Alaska: University of Alaska Regents Focus on Budget Issues and Strategic Planning - A two-day Board of Regents meeting held in Anchorage focused on tough budget and planning discussions was punctuated by some festive moments, most notably a visit from the UAA women’s basketball team just returning from NCAA Division II national playoffs, and an award ceremony acknowledging staff excellence across the University of Alaska system.

The primary purpose of the meeting held April 7th-8th was to engage a preliminary discussion of the university’s FY17 contingency budget planning and discussion about processes for investing in important programs in the face of budget reductions. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

Alaska: HOUSE VOTES TO CALL CONVENTION OF THE STATES; Pair of resolutions aim to give states veto power over Federal actions - The Alaska House of Representatives today passed a pair of resolutions, both by Representative Shelley Hughes, seeking to restore the balance of power between the states and federal government and strengthen state sovereignty by providing states with veto (countermand) power over federal decisions not in their best interest through a precise and careful mechanism established by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This pair of resolutions is intended to start the process of eventually amending the U.S. Constitution via the powers granted in Article V of that same document. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

Alaska: House Passes Bill Allowing State to Implement "ABLE" Act; “ABLE” ACT gives families of the disabled greater financial freedom - Families and those with disabilities are a step closer to having greater financial freedom and security following House passage of a bill by Rep. Dan Saddler to implement the federal “ABLE” Act in Alaska.

House Bill 188 would let individuals and families set up tax-free savings accounts to help pay for education, housing, transportation or other expenses for children or adults with disabilities.- More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016


Alaska Science: The giant wave of Icy Bay By NED ROZELL - A landslide last fall caused a giant wave of the type not seen in Alaska since the storied 1958 event in Lituya Bay.

The giant wave of Icy Bay

The site of an October 2015 landslide in Taan Fiord, within Icy Bay.
Photo courtesy Chris Larsen.

After a period of heavy rains, a mountainside near Tyndall Glacier collapsed into a fiord of Icy Bay on October 17, 2015. The displaced water generated a wave that sheared alders more than 500 feet up on a hillside across from the slide.

To put that in perspective, the 2011 tsunami in Japan reached about 130 feet above sea level. The Icy Bay wave may be the largest since a magnitude 8 earthquake shook much of a mountain into Lituya Bay in 1958. The wave that followed ripped spruce from 1,700 feet up a mountain slope and left trimlines in the bay that are visible today.

Last October, seismologists at Columbia University in New York detected the Icy Bay landslide on their instruments. Göran Ekström and Colin Stark specialize in picking up landslide signals. They figured the slide spilled 200 million tons of rock in 60 seconds.

Winter snows hid the extent of the wave generated from the rock avalanche. Upon hearing a report from a pilot colleague that the landslide area of Icy Bay was free of snow, glaciologist Chris Larsen flew there in his Cessna 180 from his home in Fairbanks. The Geophysical Institute professor used a camera system mounted in his plane to make a high resolution map of the landslide and the path of the megatsunami.

"It almost blows away everything in the historical record except for Lituya Bay," he said. "It's really a unique event to have a tsunami 100 meters high."

The landslide dumped rocks and soil into a finger of Icy Bay known as Taan Fiord. The avalanche debris also covered the tongue of Tyndall Glacier where it dips into salt water. Seconds after the mass hit the water, a wave swept down the fiord. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

Is Alaska’s first new butterfly species in decades an ancient hybrid?

Oeneis Tanana, Dorsa
Tanana Arctic Female
Photographer ANDREW WARREN

Alaska: Is Alaska’s first new butterfly species in decades an ancient hybrid? - Some might say it takes a rare breed to survive the Alaska wilderness. The discovery of a possible new species of hybrid butterfly from the state’s interior is proving that theory correct.

Belonging to a group known as the Arctics, the Tanana Arctic, Oeneis tanana, is the first new butterfly species described from the Last Frontier in 28 years and may be its only endemic butterfly.

University of Florida lepidopterist Andrew Warren suggests the butterfly could be the result of a rare and unlikely hybridization between two related species, both specially adapted for the harsh arctic climate, perhaps before the last ice age. Details of the finding are available online today in the Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera.

Digging deeper into the Tanana Arctic’s origins may reveal secrets about the geological history of arctic North America and the evolution of hybrid species, said Warren, who led the new study.

“Hybrid species demonstrate that animals evolved in a way that people haven’t really thought about much before, although the phenomenon is fairly well studied in plants,” said Warren, senior collections manager at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “Scientists who study plants and fish have suggested that unglaciated parts of ancient Alaska known as Beringia, including the strip of land that once connected Asia and what's now Alaska, served as a refuge where plants and animals waited out the last ice age and then moved eastward or southward from there. This is potentially a supporting piece of evidence for that.” - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Will Durst

WILL DURST: Now it's the Dems that are Getting Nasty - And once again America reaches for the Tylenol after wrenching its collective back recoiling from the wacky ugliness monopolizing the presidential election primary process, but this time, it's... the Democrats.

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

The Mommy Party has strapped on pastel boxing gloves and started to trade blows. The punches aren't landing and even if they did, they probably wouldn't hurt much. But it is fun to watch.

We've become inured to seeing Republicans tear into each other like crazed cannibalistic piranhas in a crowded aquarium laced with liquid meth, while Democrats hop around like baby rabbits playing tag in a shaded glen. With animated bluebirds whistling happy tunes circling their fluffy bunny heads.

In an effort not to muddy the general election waters too badly for whoever is the eventual nominee, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have thus far treated each other with the courtesy and respect normally practiced by librarians in schools for children with severe sound sensitivities. You'd be forgiven for thinking they've spent the entire campaign in slippers. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

jpg Michael Reagan

MICHAEL REAGAN: Can Donald Close the Deal in Cleveland? - Thanks to Ted Cruz's primary win in Wisconsin, it's now all but certain the Republican convention is going to be contested.

Donald Trump is going to come close to winning the delegates he'd need to win the nomination on the first ballot, but I don't see him getting the GOP cigar.

Someone else will, I'm guessing. And don't be shocked if his initials are not TC or JK.

The big question for right now is how the conventioneers in Cleveland and the Republicans watching on TV will react when their party's intramural cage match is over.

Will those who saw their man knocked out of the ring act like adults or will they get angry, stomp out and not show up to vote for the GOP nominee in November?

As I said in my last column, it's time for Republicans to relax and let the nominating process play out. It's not time to unite behind a Cruz, a Kasich or a Trump.

It's too late for any of them to throw in their towels. Even Kasich, the one everybody but him agrees should have quit a dozen states ago, has a chance to win at a contested or deadlocked convention. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Vets Mess

Editorial Cartoon: Vets' Mess
By Nate Beeler ©2016, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter JUNE ALLEN By Bill Tatsuda - Great story on June Allen by Dave Kiffer. She contributed greatly to telling Ketchikan's history. I hope her work is preserved and revisited often. She herself was also a real Alaskan character and will be sorely missed for her colorful writing and great sense of humor. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

letter Guns on UA campuses By John Suter - Our legislature will be allowing concealed guns on UA campuses soon. Everything that can help Alaska’s students to get A’s in college needs to be done right now. In our down turned economy jobs are going to get harder and harder to get. Students that get A’s will be able to get the last remaining jobs in our state. A student that has a concealed gun is in a much better position to negotiate with the teacher to get the needed A in class than the student that does not have a concealed gun. The legislature understands that if that is what the student needs in order to get that an A in class, then so be it. - More...
Monday PM - April 11, 2016

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

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