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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 18, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By SUSAN HOYT

Sitka Black-Tail Deer
One of the unusual rubbings on this deer is a thumb up. What's not to like?
Front Page Feature Photo By SUSAN HOYT ©2018

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Alaska: UFA Announces Officer and Executive Committee Changes- United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) announced the transition in its leadership effective April 15, with the election of Matt Alward succeeding Jerry McCune as president, Bob Kehoe replacing Alward as vice president, and new executive committee members Rebecca Skinner and Sue Doherty.

Jerry McCune has served most recently as UFA president since 2014, as well as from 1992 to 1996, and has served as a paid or volunteer lobbyist for UFA throughout the past two decades.  He was named to the UFA Alaska Seafood Industry Hall of Fame among the initial inductees in 2009, and will continue to serve on the UFA executive committee. Matt Alward represents North Pacific Fisheries Association on the UFA board and has served as vice president since 2015. 

“I greatly appreciate the decades of service and leadership Jerry has given to the commercial fishing industry and the ways in which he has mentored me and so many other Alaskan fishermen,” said new UFA president Alward.  “It has been an honor to work alongside him and the UFA board to serve and advocate for the industry.  I look forward to building a bright future for UFA and all Alaska fishermen.  If we work together we can improve the unity of all sectors and regions of our industry and bring a stronger voice to the state, nation, and the world.”

McCune thanked Alward for his initiative and involvement. “I and the board appreciate that Matt has stepped forward as an active vice president and worked closely with me to be prepared for leading UFA. Matt and I have been working very closely in his two years as vice president and I look forward to helping him as he leads the organization into the future. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve fishermen, and I appreciate the support from the board and members for the organization.” 

Bob Kehoe of the Purse Seine Vessel Owners Association will serve as UFA vice president, after two years as Admin committee co-chair. New UFA executive committee members include Rebecca Skinner as Subsistence Committee chair and Sue Doherty as PR & Membership chair. Skinner represents UFA member group Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association and was recently selected as a member of the Kodiak region federal subsistence regional advisory council. New PR & membership chair Doherty represents the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association on the UFA board.  - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

Alaska: Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Council Releases 2017 Annual Report - The Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA) has released its 2017 annual report outlining changes, progress, and enduring commitment to combatting Alaska’s high rates of intimate partner violence.

The Council has also released its Fiscal Year 2019-2021 Request for Proposals (RFP) for community-based victim services grant programs. Grant recipients will provide critical and immediate emergency services and referrals to Alaskans impacted by domestic and sexual violence.
“Alaska and Alaskans have made great strides in addressing domestic and sexual violence throughout our state,” CDVSA Board Chair Rachel Gernat said. “However, work still remains. The programs we have in place and the organizations and individuals working on the front lines continue to need the support of the State so that we can help all Alaskans suffering from interpersonal and sexual violence.”

According to the 2017 annual report, 3,058 unduplicated participants received emergency or transitional shelter with 106,881 shelter nights provided with an average stay of 35 nights.

Primary issues reported by victims being served: - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018


Alaska: Senate Reaffirms Commitment to Alaska’s Statehood Rights; Rejects Amendment Demanding Alaska Receive 90% of Royalties As Promised - The Alaska Senate on Sunday reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Alaska’s statehood rights.

SR 9, sponsored by the Senate Resources Committee, urges the protection of Alaska’s right to manage its own lands and waters, in accordance with federal laws such as the Alaska Statehood Compact Act, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

“This resolution seeks to resolve what I would consider unfinished business, supports an ongoing relationship between the federal government and the State of Alaska on land use, and proposes solutions to longstanding problems interfering with Alaskans’ rights,” said Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole). “Our interests in mining, timber, road building and subsistence, are all being eroded because the federal government is ignoring the provisions of key compacts with the State of Alaska.”

The resolution urges implementation of recommendations made by the Citizens Advisory Commission on Federal Areas through its legally impaneled subcommittee, the Alaska State Lands Advisory Group (ASLAG), in its June, 2017 report. The group was established in 1981 to inform Alaskans affected by land management. The recommendations include federal funding for the Alaska Land Use Council; support for filing a petition; advancing federal conveyance of land to state ownership; and expeditious resolution of uncertainty related to Alaskans’ rights on navigable waters, submerged land and RS 2477 rights-of-way.

The resolution passed the Senate on April 14, 2018 by a vote of 16 to 3.

Also on Sunday, Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) introduced an amendment to SR 9, relating to management of public land and resources in the state, that demands the federal government adhere to the Alaska Statehood Act, which provides that the state receive a 90 percent share of all bonuses, royalties, and rentals under leases received by the federal government for exploration and development for mineral leases, such as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Wielechowski's amendment failed 8 to 11.

"What we are asking for is to get what we were promised at statehood, which is our promised 90 percent share," said Sen. Wielechowski. "I'm disappointed the Senate Majority refused to take a strong stand on this important issue, which could cost the state billions in promised revenue." - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

Alaska: Legislature Urges Respect for Marijuana Legalization in Alaska - Today, the Alaska State Senate joined the Alaska House of Representatives in passing a resolution calling on the federal government to respect states’ rights and the will of the Alaskan people regarding marijuana policy. House Joint Resolution 21, sponsored by Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks), also urges the federal government to reconsider its listing of marijuana as a schedule one controlled substance. 

“The people of Alaska have spoken on this issue time and time again. Alaskans overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalization in 2014, and since then we have seen a thriving new industry that has created thousands of jobs and generated millions in tax revenue. The federal government needs to respect this and not work against it,” said Rep. Guttenberg. “By passing this resolution, the Alaska Legislature listened to and prioritized Alaskans wants. This is not a marijuana issue; it’s a state’s rights and federal overreach issue.” 

House Joint Resolution 21 passed the Alaska State Senate today by a vote of 20-0. The resolution passed the Alaska House of Representatives on March 19, 2018 by a unanimous vote of 38-0. After today's concurrence vote, HJR 21 will be sent to Governor Bill Walker for his signature.

The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution last month calling on the federal government to respect states’ rights and the will of the Alaskan people regarding marijuana policy. House Joint Resolution 21, sponsored by Guttenberg, also urged the federal government to reconsider its listing of marijuana as a schedule one controlled substance. Other schedule one controlled substances include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018


Alaska: Bonding to Pay Oil and Gas Tax Credits has a "Substantial Risk" of Being Unconstitutional According to Legislative Attorneys - A legal memo from the non-partisan Legislative Legal Division is advising that Governor Walker's proposal to bond to pay off oil and gas tax credits has a "substantial risk" of being unconstitutional.

Senate Bill 176 and its companion, House Bill 331, would establish a state corporation known as the Alaska Tax Credit Certificate Bond Corporation to issue bonds to borrow up to $1 billion to pay past-requested unfunded oil tax credits. The majority of the credit funding had been vetoed by Governor Walker in 2015 and 2016. Last year, the legislature chose to appropriate a lesser amount for the credits than were requested by the oil companies. 

In a legal memo to Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), a legislative attorney explains that based on the language of the Alaska Constitution and available case law, there is a "substantial risk" that the bill is unconstitutional. Article IX, Section 8 of the constitution provides that "No state debt shall be contracted unless authorized by law for capital improvements or unless authorized by law for housing loans for veterans, and ratified by a majority of the qualified voters of the State who vote on the question." Article IX, Section 11 of the constitution supplies an exception to that general prohibition for independent state corporations, when the corporation can pledge its revenue as security in the event of default.

"The Alaska Constitution expressly prohibits the legislature from bonding for state debt, and the two instances that are allowable must be approved by the voters. This bill seeks to avoid the constitutional ban by creating a pass-through state corporation whose sole purpose is to put the state in debt to pay the oil companies," said Sen. Wielechowski. "This kind of debt is precisely the sort of thing our constitutional founders sought to prevent. The constitutional convention focused on ensuring the people give their permission when the state's credit rating would be at risk, because they and their children would be burdened by the debt for years to come. Oil tax credits are clearly not an allowable state debt prospect, but the bill also jeopardizes the state's credit rating without asking for the people's say."

"This kind of debt is precisely the sort of thing our constitutional founders sought to prevent. The constitutional convention focused on ensuring the people give their permission when the state's credit rating would be at risk, because they and their children would be burdened by the debt for years to come. Oil tax credits are clearly not an allowable state debt prospect, but the bill also jeopardizes the state's credit rating without asking for the people's say," said Wielechowski

Senate Bill 176 and House Bill 331 are currently in their respective Finance Committees.

The Governor proposed legislation, SB 176 ("An Act Establishing the Alaska Tax Credit Certificate Bond Corporation"), would authorize the issuance of bonds to pay off the state's tax credit liability in a lump sum rather than paying it down incrementally over the coming years.

The State currently has an obligation to certain small oil and gas exploration companies of roughly $800 million. Before the Governor proposed the legislation, the Alaska Department of Law in conjunction with outside bond counsel carefully reviewed the legality of the bill under Alaska law, including the constitutional limitations on state debt.  In response to inquiries from Senator Wielechowski who opposes the bill, legislative counsel issued an opinion stating there is a “substantial risk” a court would find the tax credit bonds to be unconstitutional. The Alaska Department of Law disagrees with the legislative counsel's opinion published today. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018



jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: Helping Those Who Help Ourselves! - Ketchikan residents are nothing if not helpful. We always endeavor to assist newcomers to our community. We just plain love to help people out. Whenever someone says to me "Can you help me out?" I always answer ""Absolutely. What way did you come in?"

With than in mind, it's that time of the year when we helpfully provide a guide to those "summer people" who will be staying with us for the next few months. The people that come here to "help us" relieve the visitors of their spare change.

Ketchikan changes a bit in the summer. You may have noticed this. Things get a little busier. The weather gets worse.

No, scratch that, the weather doesn't actually get worse. It just seems worse because that awful biased "main scream media" keeps reminding us of the biggest "lie" ever. That it is actually SUMMER,  SOMEWHERE ELSE.

They show us all these pictures and videos of people frolicking in the sun, splashing at the beach, barbequing large pieces of meat on the back porch grill. Yeah, like that is actually happening. Next thing they will be telling us that JFK, Elvis and Nostradamus AREN'T actually batching it in a Vegas time share.

But I digress.

Anyway, as the calendar page flips its way to June, It becomes impossible to drive a vehicle anywhere between Totem Bite and the George Inlet Cannery, so yes, it does get a little busy around these here parts.

While we often chalk this up to the 126 million visitors who debark (that's a funny word, isn't it? sounds like something you should do to a tree or a dog), each summer day in Our Fair Salmon City, we forget that the "summer people" also are part of the mix. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018


TOM PURCELL: Tax-Time Q&A - The tax season is upon us. I'm no CPA, but let me offer advice and consolation to my fellow taxpayers.

Q. Dear Tom: My CPA told me that a tax bracket is a heavy, metal object that the government uses to hit you over the head every time you succeed in pushing your income up. Can you elaborate? - Annoyed in Minnesota

A. Dear Annoyed: Your CPA is correct! There is one silver lining, however. The recent tax-reform bill includes six brackets that run between 10 percent and 37 percent, but there is no tax on the first $9,525 in income, and the standard deduction almost doubles, from $6,350 to $12,000 for single filers, and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples who file jointly. If you have a middle-class income, you've likely seen a nice little bump in take-home pay. But taxes are still high, as the next question will reveal!

Q. Dear Tom: Like you, I contracted my writing services to a big technology firm last year. Well, I received my first 1099 and the taxes I owe are way more than I planned for. Why are my taxes so high? - Desperate in Des Moines

A. Dear Desperate: The short answer is FICA, the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. It requires you to make contributions to Social Security and Medicare. The 7.65-percent contribution rate combines the rates for Social Security (6.2 percent) and Medicare (1.45 percent). When you were an employee, your employer paid half of your FICA bill. As a self-employed person, you must pay both halves on your first $127,000 in income - a whopping 15.3 percent, which is nearly $20,000!

Q. Dear Tom: Despite the considerable taxes we pay, why the heck does the federal government spend billions more than it takes in? - Concerned in Connecticut - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Barbara Bush

Political Cartoon: Barbara Bush
By Rick McKee ©2018, The Augusta Chronicle, GA
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Ketchikan Borough Advocacy Trip By Rodney Dial - I scrutinize every penny of Borough spending and wanted to keep you in the loop regarding a recent action we took. Just over a week ago the Borough sent me, Mayor Landis and Borough Manager Duran to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of our borough. The issues we presented were reviewed and approved unanimously by the Assembly and are of great importance to growing our economy, protecting our rights and keeping our taxes from increasing.

At no time did we discuss politics or our personal opinions with anyone we met, at any time. The Mayor and I volunteered our time and were not paid to go on this trip. The borough paid for airfare, lodging and incidentals. This is perhaps the greatest return on investment for the lowest cost that the borough does. In my opinion, we “knocked it out of the park”…the trip was a huge success. I hope you find value in what we accomplished and please know we fought hard for our community. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Tax Relief By U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan - Tax Day has historically been a day of frustration and confusion for many of us. Millions of Americans and thousands of Alaskans spend hours poring over W-2s and receipts in preparation for the filing deadline. The forms, the deductions and credits can be maddening. It's also a day that taxpayers get to see, in black and white, exactly how much we are paying our federal government to run our government. For many, the answer has been "too much for too little," especially as so many Alaskans are struggling as a result of our recession.

But the historic tax reform legislation that Congress passed and the president signed into law this past December will help and this will be the last year that Alaskans will file under the broken system. Not only does the reform greatly simplify the tax code, but it has already helped spur economic growth. In the past few months, nearly all Alaskans should have been seeing larger paychecks thanks to the tax reform bill. The Treasury Department has estimated that 90 percent of American workers will see pay increases as a result of the law. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Prince of Wales Island further restricts opportunities for visitors By Charles Edwardson - To readers of SitNews not familiar with this subject, it is about Prince of Wales Island located in southeast Alaska. The residents on the island have determined that Sitka black-tail deer are "hard to get"

So it has been determined if you are a non-subsistence hunter you must now be restricted to two deer vs. four deer to be available off of federal land including Prince of Wales Island, so the deer will be easier to kill for subsistence hunters. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

HB 54: A compassionate bill for personal rights and responsibility By Barbara McDaniel - In life, death at some point is inevitable. While most accept that, many wonder, “Will it be comfortable?” When I was young I would say, “I hope I die in my sleep.” But later as an adult, I found that I no longer needed to settle for simply hoping that I die comfortably. In 1991, the Patient Self-Determination Act established for individuals the opportunity to at least make legal, mitigating plans that will improve our own odds that we won’t die a prolonged, painful, and very expensive death, one that would traumatize us and those who care about us.

In consultation with my children, all adults, I modeled taking responsibility for one’s life (and that includes death) and created my Advanced Directives 16 years ago. Five years later, on my request, my doctor helped me obtain my Certificate of Comfort One Status, the do-not- resuscitate order for emergency or medical personnel. My local hospital has copies of the documents on file. I wear a bracelet. Basic information is always with me. And the best part is my children know what is coming, they know the plan, and they know what to do. We are prepared. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Open Letter: HB 54 Opposition By Jim Minnery - We are writing to express our opposition to CS for Sponsor Substitute for House Bill 54(HSS): “An act providing an end-of-life option for terminally ill individuals; and providing for an effective date.” 

HB 54 would authorize physicians to intentionally prescribe a lethal dose of drugs for the purpose of helping facilitate a person’s decision to take his or her own life. 

Alaska Family Action opposes the practice of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the following reasons:  - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

But Wait, There's More! By Dan Bockhorst - I appreciate Rodney Dial’s illuminating and sobering comments published in SitNews on April 4. I also value his diligence and discipline in safeguarding taxpayers’ money. - More...
Sunday PM - April 08, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

RE: Ketchikan is one of the highest taxed areas in Alaska By Jerri Taylor-Elkins - Mr. Dial, I am writing in response to your opinion piece posted to Sitnews on April 4, 2018. First let me say that I appreciate your service to our community and the time you took in both writing and encouraging feedback from your constituents. I would like to clarify a few things in regards to your statements about homelessness and the types and number of shelters in Ketchikan. - More...
Sunday PM - April 08, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

What happens when Ideology triumphs over Reason By Michael Spence - Both of my parents experienced the horrors of World War II firsthand. Like most American men in the early 1940's, my father joined the US Army. As a combat engineer, he saw some of the worst fighting from the beaches of Normandy to the liberation of France and Germany in 1944 and '45.. He lost his younger brother in the war effort. My Mother, who was German, lived through the the misery of bombardments from the Allied forces. Her home city was leveled to rubble. Somehow she and my grandmother survived, but many of their friends and family did not, and their lives were never the same again. - More...
Sunday PM - April 08, 2018

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. - 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. - 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

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