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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 22, 2018

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Fish Factor: Outside & foreign resource giants spending big to topple Alaska salmon protections By LAINE WELCH -  Resource developers are pulling out all stops to block the push to strengthen Alaska’s salmon habitat protection law for the first time since statehood in 1959.

Since early January the group Stand for Alaska has raised over $2 million to stop a ballot initiative that could go to voters this fall. That is 10 times more than the grassroots group Yes for Salmon has raised in support of modernizing permitting and habitat protection measures.  

Filings with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show that financial backing for both groups comes primarily from outside the state.

Mining operations from Canada that put in $200,000 each include Kinross Fort Knox and the Pebble Mine. Japanese owned Pogo Mine, Illinois-based Coeur Alaska and Hecla Mining of Idaho also contributed $200,000 as well as Donlin Gold and Doyon, Limited.  

ConocoPhillips has donated $250,000 and BP has contributed $500,000 to Stand for Alaska. 

Those companies, along with Canada’s Teck Mining and Tower Hill Mines, the Resource Development Council, Alaska Miners Association and the Alaska Oil and Gas Association also have contributed in-kind donations to cover staff time, office expenses, travel, etc. 

To convince voters that the ballot measure is a bad idea, Stand for Alaska so far has paid $132,000 to Anchorage-based Bright Strategy and Communications; $36,000 to Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Virginia; $20,000 to Blueprint Alaska and $10,000 to Dittman Research, both of Anchorage. 

Total expenditures by Stand for Alaska also include nearly $612,000, of which more than 40 percent has gone to DCI Group of Washington, DC as a subcontractor. 

DCI Group is widely cited as a “top Republican and lobbying group” that creates campaigns by masking corporate sponsors to make it appear that it is a grassroots effort, a practice known as ‘astro-turfing.” Most notably, the DCI Group has done campaigns for the tobacco industry and for Exxon’s climate change denial efforts.

The APOC filings show that most of the money donated to Yes for Salmon’s campaign also comes from outside Alaska. 

Through April 7, the group has collected about $205,000 in contributions. Of that, $100,000 comes from John Childs of Florida who also is a board member of the Wild Salmon Center based in Portland, Oregon.

The New Venture Fund Salmon State, backed by the Hewlett Foundation of Washington, DC, has contributed $37,246 of in-kind contributions. 

The Alaska Center has donated $14,000 for in-kind services, along with Trout Unlimited, the Sitka Conservation Society and Cook Inletkeeper. Other monetary contributions are in the $75 - $250 range by nine individual Alaskans.   

Total expenditures by Yes for Salmon totaled $124,388, none of which has been spent on media campaigns.

The salmon protection push must still prove it is constitutional before it goes to the voters. The Alaska Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 26.  - More...
Sunday PM - April 22, 2018


Ketchikan: Stellar Sea Lion shooting death under investigation in Ketchikan; Two Alaska Men Charged with Harassing, Killing 15 Steller Sea Lions - NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement is seeking information about a Steller sea lion that was shot near Ketchikan or Metlakatla, Alaska. The sea lion was found deceased on April 13, 2018. The initial findings reported by NOAA indicated that the Steller sea lion was shot a least last two weeks before it was discovered.

NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement is currently investigating whether this was an unlawful take. Call the Ketchikan-based NOAA Office of Law Enforcement at 907-247-5804 to report any information about the incident. If the animal was taken illegally, a reward may be issued for information leading to a conviction.

In the death of other sea lions in Alaska, U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced last Thursday that two Alaska men have been charged in relation to 15 Steller sea lions found dead during the opening of the 2015 Copper River salmon season.  The two men have been charged with harassing and killing Steller sea lions with shotguns and then making false statements and obstructing the government’s investigation into their criminal activities.  The Steller sea lion is protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and is listed as an endangered species for the geographic area where the shooting occurred.

Jon Nichols, 31, of Cordova, who was captain of the Fishing Vessel (F/V) Iron Hide, and Theodore “Teddy” Turgeon, 21, of Wasilla, who was a deckhand on the F/V Iron Hide at the time of the offenses, were both named in the indictment.  The charges include conspiracy, violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, obstruction of a Marine Mammal Protection Act investigation, false statements, and obstruction.

According to the indictment of NIchols and Turgeion, during the first few weeks of the salmon gillnet season that opened on May 14, 2015, fifteen Steller sea lions were discovered dead along the sand bars at the mouth of Copper River fishing district.  It is alleged that on various occasions between May and June 2015, Nichols, as the captain of the F/V Iron Hide, regularly directed his crew, which included Turgeon, to get a shotgun kept aboard the vessel, and shoot at Steller sea lions while fishing in the Copper River fishing district.  At times, Nichols would shoot the Steller sea lions himself.  Nichols would also sometimes drive the F/V Iron Hide in the direction of the Steller sea lions to allow Turgeon to get a better shot at the sea lions.  - More....
Sunday PM - April 22, 2018

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Artists Search Underway - Artists seeking to make a sustainable and livable income may wish to attend a 10 a.m. meeting Monday, the 23rd at The Point. Cheri and Terry Pyles are hosting the meeting for local artists to meet and hear about the 40 North Artists proposal to market select local artists throughout the United States. 

40 North Artists, a company owned by Patricia Burkman of Ketchikan, will launch January 2019. According to Burkman there is no costs associate with being included in the marketing campaign, but not everyone will be selected saying, “We are looking for only forty artists of diverse backgrounds, styles, and forms, those artists will be allowed between one and five pieces to be premiered in a print catalog and up to 20 pieces in an online catalog”.  - More...
Sunday PM - April 22, 2018


Kelp mariculture in Alaska By SUE KELLER - Seaweeds and shellfish present a significant and sustainable economic opportunity for coastal Alaska communities, and now is the time for business leaders and policymakers to take the necessary steps for the industry to reach its full potential, according to researchers and industry backers.

That message was supported this month by presentations at Ocean Tuesday, a weekly forum for promoting Alaska’s maritime economy. Presenting were Alaska Sea Grant–funded graduate student Annie Thomson and Tamsen Peeples of Blue Evolution, a California-based company. They talked about their work on kelp mariculture in Alaska. Alaska Sea Grant and Blue Evolution are collaborating on a federal grant to address biological traits that limit seaweed farming development in Alaska.

Blue Evolution is the first company to culture and process kelp in Alaska, focused on ribbon kelp and sugar kelp. In 2017 Blue Evolution harvested 10,000 pounds of wet kelp grown by two independent farmers on Near Island and Larsen Bay.

Mike Stekoll, University of Alaska Southeast professor of chemistry and biochemistry, began studying seaweed cultivation with Peeples in 2015 with funding from Blue Evolution. In 2016 Peeples built a commercial kelp hatchery at UAS, placing Plexiglas tanks on shelves with string-wrapped PVC pipes inside the tanks. Growing on the string are young kelp plants called sporophytes.

In the fall season Peeples collects kelp with fertile fronds and brings them to the lab. In sterilized seawater the spores are released to the string-wrapped pipes, where the plants develop through the life cycle to the sporophyte stage. After incubation they are outplanted to the coastal farms in the fall, where they grow to a harvestable size of 9-12 feet by April or later.

Worldwide there is a big demand for seaweed for food, health and beauty products, animal feed and biofuels. Blue Evolution sells a line of pasta products with seaweed and provides seaweed to other companies.

“There are many great reasons for pursuing seaweed culture in Alaska,” said Peeples. “There is a huge space for it, Alaska has diverse species of seaweed and a fleet of vessels is available for harvest and transport.” - More...
Sunday PM - April 22, 2018

Alaska: Mexican National Sentenced to 11 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking Charges Including Southeast Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Friday that Jorge Cardenas, a/k/a George Castineda, 42, a Mexican national residing in Girdwood, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason, to serve 11 years in prison, followed by a five-year term of supervised release.  Cardenas previously pleaded guilty on July 21, 2017, to conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine.

According to the court documents, for at least five years prior to his arrest in March 2017, Cardenas trafficked large amounts of methamphetamine and other illegal controlled substances  throughout Southcentral Alaska, including Anchorage, and Southeast Alaska, including Juneau. 

A total of approximately 730 grams of methamphetamine was seized from his truck in Juneau and from his residence in Girdwood.  The investigation further revealed that Cardenas was making and planning to distribute “gunpowder heroin,” which is heroin laced with fentanyl, and spoke candidly about the likelihood of it causing overdose deaths.  In his residence, Cardenas had a shrine dedicated to worshipping Jesus Malverde – the “Patron Saint of Drug Dealers.” - More...
Sunday PM - April 22, 2018  



jpg Joe Guzzardi

JOE GUZZARDI: On Earth Day, Congress Whistling Past the Graveyard - Last month, the United Nations hosted a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) conference in Bonn, Germany. Despite hopes that limiting population growth would be the UN's centerpiece topic, concerned attendees came away disappointed, with the impression that political correctness ruled the day, and that feel-gooders rather than do-gooders dominated the agenda.

The conference offered not a single population or biodiversity session, even though non-human life plays a crucial role in maintaining planetary health. Instead, the conference focused on "leaving no one behind" despite ecological limits and realities. International migration, which is gripping Europe and the United States, was conveyed as a necessity and an unmitigated good. When a realist in the audience asked how it would be possible that some would not inevitably be left behind when the planet adds 80 million people annually to its existing 7.6 billion, the moderator dismissed his question as too negative.

One overall UN theme was contradictory: "think globally, but act locally." The U.S., while it may or may not be prepared to think globally, has an immigration policy that ruins any chance at positive local action toward sustainability.

The Census Bureau provides an instructive mathematical breakdown on population growth's components. The current U.S. population is 327 million; one birth occurs every eight seconds, and one net international migrant arrives every 28 seconds, but deaths offset the increases by only one every 11 seconds. The result is that each day the U.S population has a net gain of one person every 14 seconds.

The Pew Research Center projected that by mid-decade the population will increase to more than 441 million, driven by immigration. The same researchers concluded that if immigration were cut in half, population would grow by 70 million; if eliminated, 31 million.

U.S. growth is the direct consequence of Congress' unwillingness to consider immigration's long-term effects on the nation's population, a failure that's repeated itself for 53 years. Republicans and Democrats are equally culpable.

During the Senate hearing about the effect the 1965 Immigration Act might have on population, New York Sen. Robert Kennedy, responding to North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin's questions, acknowledged that the legislation would eventually double U.S. population, and that mass immigration to America couldn't and wouldn't solve global overpopulation. Senators Ervin and Kennedy were right in their analysis, but wrong in their votes to pass the legislation. Both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly voted for the 1965 Immigration Act. - More...
Sunday PM - April 22, 2018

Political Cartoon: Earth Day - April 22, 2018

Political Cartoon: Earth Day - April 22, 2018
By Dave Granlund ©2018, Minnesota
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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