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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 04, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CHRIS THOMPSON

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Front Page Feature Photo By CHRIS THOMPSON ©2018

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Alaska: Alaska House Passes Budget; Reduces PFD From $2,700 to $1,600; Proposed FY 2019 Budget Includes More Money for Public Safety, Fully Funds Education By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Alaska House of Representatives passed an operating budget this week in Juneau for the State of Alaska. After several days of discussion, the Alaska House rescinded the action on its March 26th amendment that added the full $2,707 PFD, providing a PFD of $1,600 instead.

The PFD amount changed by the House adopting Representative Paul Seaton's (R-Homer) compromise amendment creating a 5.25% ERA draw that would provide a PFD of $1,600.  This 5.25% ERA draw of $2.7 billion is sustainable according to the House Majority Coalition on a short-term basis and provides $1.7 billion for public services and $1.0 billion for PFDs.  The draw from the Constitutional Budget Reserve to fill the deficit is reduced from $756 million to $708 million.

House Bill 286 passed the Alaska House of Representatives on Monday by a vote of 21-19. Voting in support was Rep. Dan Ortiz (I) of Ketchikan. Also voting in support was Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins representing Sitka and 21 other rural Southeast Alaska communities. The operating budget bill has been sent to the Alaska State Senate for consideration. 

According to the Alaska House Majority Coalition, House Bill 286 largely maintains the current level of essential services, fully-funds Alaska’s Base Student Allocation (BSA), includes additional resources to keep Alaskans safe in their homes and businesses, and authorizes the payment of a $1,600 Permanent Fund Dividend to eligible Alaskans. The House’s operating budget features total General Fund spending of $5.35 billion. $942 million is moved to the principle of the Alaska Permanent Fund to inflation-proof the value of the fund.

This budget will cut the PFD amount by a little over 50%. The April 2nd budget includes $1.02 billion to be used to fund Permanent Fund Dividends of $1,600 for eligible Alaskans.  This amount is different than the amendment adopted by the Alaska House last Monday, March 26th. That amendment would have resulted in a $2,707 PFD, the old statutory formula amount.

The proposed FY 19 state operating budget uses the rules-based Percent of Market Value (POMV) approach to access the earnings of the $66 billion Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for the essential services that Alaskans demand of their state government. The 5.25 percent draw totals $2.7 billion. $1.69 billion will be used to help pay for state services like public education, State Troopers, fish and game management, and road maintenance.

Governor Bill Walker in a prepared statement said, “I commend the House for passing an operating budget that protects the necessary government services Alaskans rely on, and I look forward to working with lawmakers as the budget process now moves into the Senate. All sides agree it is necessary to tap the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund to help pay for government moving forward. It is essential that the first draw from the Permanent Fund in history is structured, sustainable, and protects the future of the dividend program.”

“This budget shows the commitment of our Coalition to safeguard the Alaska Permanent Fund and Alaskans’ PFDs. We followed the advice of the experts to inflation-proof the fund and limit the draw from earnings to a sustainable level. I am especially pleased that our budget includes a significantly larger Permanent Fund Dividend than last year, which will help boost our lagging economy and put extra money into the pockets of Alaskans struggling to make ends meet,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham).

“By passing this budget, our Coalition showed that we are realistic about the fiscal challenges facing Alaska. We also showed that we are unafraid to make tough choices. Alaska is currently saddled with an oil tax system that lets oil companies retain the largest percentages of total oil revenue in the history of Alaska. At current and projected oil prices this system simply will not fund the kind of Alaska that we all want. We chose the responsible course to develop and pass a budget that augments our dwindling oil tax revenue with the responsible use of the Earnings Reserve account of the Alaska Permanent Fund,” said House Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer), who was tasked with guiding the operating budget through the legislative process in the Alaska House. 

“I hope the Senate Majority will soon join the Alaska House Majority Coalition in confronting the remainder of our multi-billion-dollar deficit by diversifying our revenue through a comprehensive fiscal plan,” said Rep. Seaton. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018


Alaskans made 41,205 pledges totaling $2,533,575 to 634 nonprofits -The Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) filing season has ended and nonprofits across the state are sifting through their inboxes to see what the 2018 Pick.Click.Give. cycle has yielded.

Now in its 10th year, Pick.Click.Give. has paid out over $18.5 million to nearly 1,000 individual nonprofits across the state. As of April 2, Alaskans added an additional $2.5 million to that figure. While Alaskans who have filed for their PFD may add or adjust pledges through August 31, 2018, the April report is an accurate reflection of how the philanthropic community will benefit when checks are disbursed in October. 

This year, 24,155 Alaskans made 41,205 pledges totaling $2,533,575 to 634 nonprofits. This number reflects a smaller percentage of Alaskans participating in the program since 2015, when the PFD was $2,072. In 2018, the average gift per person totaled $104.89, amounting to $5.26 more than the average gift per donor of $99.63 in 2015.

While many Alaskans feel the tightening of our state’s economy, those who continue to give are supporting nonprofits at higher rates than years past. This year’s top pledge recipients include public radio, direct services to persons in emergency situations, and animals. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018

Ketchikan: David Martin Joins TSS INC as Safety Coordinator - David Martin of Ketchikan, Alaska has joined TSS Inc. as the Safety Coordinator, rounding out a team of highly dedicated and experienced professionals ready to serve the community’s safety and employee screening needs. David brings over three decades of experience in Occupational Safety oversight and management as well as a passion for teaching, instructing and maintaining compliance standards for companies large and small.

Martin is focusing his efforts on assisting business owners, safety managers, HR professionals and community leaders with the implementation of sound safety policies, compliance training needs and best practices for efficient and effective wellness practices that promote employee wellness and safety.

According to OSHA, “Businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses -- expenditures that come straight out of company profits. But workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent. In today's business environment, these costs can be the difference between operating in the black and running in the red.”

“This is exactly what TSS Inc. is all about,” says Martin, “we are eager to partner with our community members in order to help them successfully grow their own businesses while preventing losses that drain away their resources. Safety is key to that success and we are here to make it simple.” - More...
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018


Spear points prove early inhabitants liked to travel By KEITH RANDALL - Careful examination of numerous fluted spear points found in Alaska and western Canada prove that the Ice Age peopling of the Americas was much more complex than previously believed, according to a study done by two Texas A&M University researchers.

Spear points prove early inhabitants liked to travel

Migration Map
Courtesy Texas A&M Uni.

Heather Smith and Ted Goebel both were involved with the study that was associated with the Center for the Study of the First Americans, part of the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M. Smith is now an assistant professor at Eastern New Mexico University.

Their work has been published in the current issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

Smith, who worked on the study as part of her Ph.D. at Texas A&M, and Goebel, professor of anthropology at Texas A&M, believe the findings could change how we view the traveling patterns and routes of early humans from 14,000 to 12,000 years ago as they settled in numerous parts of North America.

Using new digital methods of analyses utilized for the first time in such a study of these artifacts, the researchers found that early settlers in the emerging ice-free corridor of interior western Canada "were travelling north to Alaska, not south from Alaska, as previously interpreted," says Goebel.

"Although during the late Ice Age there were two possible routes for the first Americans to follow on their migration from the Bering Land Bridge area southward to temperate North America, it now looks like only the Pacific coastal route was used, while the interior Canadian route may not have been fully explored until millennia later, and when it was, primarily from the south.

"The findings of these fluted spear points provide archaeological evidence supporting new genetic models explaining how humans colonized the New World."

Traditional interpretations of the peopling of the Americas have predicted that early inhabitants migrated from Siberia through Alaska, and then followed the ice-free corridor that gradually opened in western Canada to reach the Great Plains of the western U.S. But newer genetic studies of ancient Siberians, Alaskans, and Americans, as well as the discovery of new sites south of the Canadian ice sheets predating the opening of the ice-free corridor, suggest instead that the first Americans passed along the Pacific coast. - More....
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018


Ketchikan: New Family Nurse Practitioner Joins Creekside Family Health Clinic - Shawna Strouth-Shaw has joined Creekside Family Health Clinic as a Family Nurse Practitioner effective April 2nd, 2018. 

jpg New Family Nurse Practitioner Joins Creekside Family Health Clinic

Shawna Strouth-Shaw joins Creekside Family Health Clinic

Strouth-Shaw started her nursing career at Peace Health Ketchikan Medical Center in 2001 and brings with her an outstanding record of service and experience to her new role as a Family Nurse Practitioner. At Creekside, she will be providing acute and primary health care to children, adolescents, and adults under the age of 65.

Strouth-Shaw recently graduated from Simmons College in Boston, MA with her Master of Science in Nursing and gained board certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 

"Through my experience in intensive care, maternity, and newborn care, I realized the importance of helping patients avoid health care complications through wellness and preventative care. Since this is the type of care emphasized at Creekside, I'm excited to join their practice, and really appreciate their overall model”, says Strouth-Shaw.  - More...
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018

Ketchikan: "Return of the Retirees" Concert - Ketchikan Community Concert Band will present a very unique and exciting concert tribute, planned to honor former music teachers in Ketchikan. "Return of the Retirees" will be presented at the Kayhi Auditorium on Friday, April 20th at 7:00 p.m.

Ketchikan is fortunate to have eight former Ketchikan school music teachers who have retired and remained in our town. These people represent nearly 200 years, from since the 1960's, teaching our children.

Each of these people have come together for this program, having selected a piece of their own choice to lead the band in performance. One of them, Ralph Beardsworth, has chosen to perform a trombone feature. Ralph taught music here for four years.

Other conductors are Jerry Hughes (taught 23 years), Dale Curtis (taught 22 years),Rob Holston (16 taught years), Sam Soderstrom (taught 29 years), Tanya Antonsen (taught 8 years) and Roy McPherson (taught 10 years). - More....
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018


Analysis: MLK’s vision matters today for the 43 million Americans living in poverty By JOSHUA F.J. INWOOD - On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, while fighting for a 10-cent wage increase for garbage workers. These efforts by King were part of a broader and more sustained initiative known as the Poor People’s Campaign.

King was working to broaden the scope of the civil rights movement to include poverty and the end of the war in Vietnam. King and his leadership team planned to bring thousands of poor people to Washington, D.C., where they would camp out on the National Mall until Congress passed legislation to eradicate poverty.

King was convinced that for the civil rights movement to achieve its goals, poverty needed to become a central focus of the movement. He believed the poor could lead a movement that would revolutionize society and end poverty. As King noted, “The only real revolutionary, people say, is a man who has nothing to lose. There are millions of poor people in this country who have little, or nothing to lose.”

With over 43 million people living in poverty in the United States today, King’s ideas still hold much power. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: 50th Anniversary MLK's Assassination

Political Cartoon: 50th Anniversary MLK's Assassination
BY Dave Granlund ©2018,
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Ketchikan is one of the highest taxed areas in Alaska By RODNEY DIAL - I have been on the Borough Assembly for a year and half now and thought I would pass on my observations/opinions of local government and the concerns I have moving forward. First, let me state that these are my own personal comments and I am not claiming to represent anyone… except the taxpayers.

As most of you may remember, the last two budget cycles have been challenging for the Borough. Last year the deficit was nearly a million dollars. Creative efforts on behalf of the Assembly and Borough Staff allowed that deficit to be closed without a sales or property tax increase.

The budget deficit for this year was initially projected at approximately ½ million, however that recently changed, primarily due to a significant increase in property assessments and an increase in sales tax revenue. Those of you who recently received your assessments probably noticed that your prior year assessment amount was listed on the form for comparison to your new assessment. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 04, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Getting More Resources Against Trafficking our Kids By Senator Dan Sullivan - Most Americans and Alaskans think that human trafficking is a problem that happens in other, far-away places. And many are shocked to realize that it's happening right here, in America and in our state, and that the problem is actually increasing, dramatically.

A disturbing study last year found that one in four girls, and one in five boys, who were receiving services from Covenant House Alaska, reported being victims of sex trafficking. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a whopping 846 percent increase from 2010 to 2015 of children who were being trafficked — an increase that the organization attributes to the internet. - More...
Sunday AM - April 01, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Should there be a new professional responsibility to help victims of unknown emerging technological crimes? By Liberty-Anne Johnson - Living in the interior of Alaska - prior to Ketchikan - in the 1980s, I learned that it was required by state law to stop and help those who found themselves in a ditch along the ALCAN highway. Law enforcement and emergency couldn’t always arrive first or immediately given the vast highway paired with a low ratio of Alaska State Troopers and the distance required to travel. Provision of first response or aid expected to be administered by those who stopped was above normal skills thought required in those circumstances in other states and those married on the border specially trained for life-threatening incidents. - More...
Sunday AM - April 01, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

NOT FUNNY, KIFFER By David G Hanger - There is nothing at all funny about your muse on local road conditions and potholes; incompetence and probably worse is not in any sense amusing, but before I delve into that subject I will briefly address your silliness about donut spare tires. The solution is very simple and is done immediately by any driver and vehicle owner who knows what they are doing. You rip that worthless piece of junk off its rim and replace it with a standard-sized tire, and you make sure you buy a vehicle that has a spare tire well large enough for a real tire to fit. I know; it’s complicated. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 27, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Are Democrats bracing for all-out ‘internecine warfare?’ By John Grimaldi - Do you get the feeling that the Democratic Party appears to be moving further and further to the left, adopting what some would call “extreme” socialist policies and even turning against the moderates in the party? Well, it is. Just look at what happened to one of the most popular Democrats in Congress, Dianne Feinstein. She has served her California constituency for some 26 years, winning election after election since 1992. But, she was unable to win an endorsement at the recent California Democratic Party convention, losing to a relatively unknown progressive contender - More...
Saturday AM - March 24, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

No New Epidemic of Drugs By Angelo Martin - I am astonished at the articles in the Ketchikan Daily News about drugs in the community as if they're surprised or it is something new. When I arrived in K-town drugs were everywhere and continued to be there all the years I lived there, 21 years. You would be surprised who was using them. Cocaine thrived as other stuff. - More...
Saturday AM - March 24, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Trump The Terrible By Donald Moskowitz - President Trump's character flaws are overwhelming his administration and placing our country in jeopardy. Former CIA Director John Brennan  referred to Trump as " unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical ". I add divisive, chaotic, and terrible judgement. - More...
Saturday AM - March 24, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

By the People, for the People By Terri Robbins - We have a system of government characterized by the principles of “By the People, For the People.” These were revolutionary ideas in the 1700s. Citizens, for the first time, had the freedom to affect the big decisions that directly impacted their lives. Our founders realized that with that freedom must necessarily come responsibility-the responsibility to vote, to serve, and to contribute to the well-being of our nation. Ours was to be a “government by the people.”- More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

FOR MOST OF YOU THE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC) IS AN ABSOLUTE PIECE OF WORTHLESS JUNK By David G Hanger, EA, MBA - It may be that a limited liability company might have some benefit for a business that has 50 or 500 investors, but under ordinary circumstances such a business entity would adopt the corporate form of business organization. For a closely-held business, one owned by one or a handful of members, the limited liability company (LLC) is an absolute piece of worthless junk. I do not care who tells you otherwise. The intent of a limited liability company is to eliminate personal liability for what the business does, to keep you from being sued or held liable for business obligations. There is no possibility, none, zero, that an LLC will protect you in this way. All that paperwork will be instantaneously shredded, and you will be held liable for all business obligations. That is a statement of fact in the state of Alaska, and generally overall in the United States. - More...
Sunday PM - March 18, 2018

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