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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 30, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Tongass Sunset
Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON ©2018

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Alaska: Murkowski: Forest Service Must Address  Long-Standing Management Failures  - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) chaired an oversight hearing last week to examine the president’s budget request for the U.S. Forest Service for Fiscal Year 2019. Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen testified on behalf of the Forest Service. 

Murkowski opened the hearing by noting the Forest Service will receive greater flexibility in funding as a result of the recent omnibus, which included a multi-year budgeting fix for wildfire suppression costs. Murkowski, while urging meaningful forest management reforms to help prevent wildfires in the first place, called on the Forest Service to use that funding certainty to finally put an end to fire borrowing and return to its multiple-use mission. 

“The agency has been given more funding, new tools, and expanded authorities. We’ll be looking to build on those. But in the meantime, get going to correct the management failures that have plagued the agency for years,” Murkowski said. “End fire borrowing and revamp your budget process. Ensure that our forests are productive again. Move at the pace and scale needed on our overstocked forests to reduce the risk for catastrophic fires. Streamline permitting so that we can produce minerals that are critical to our national security. And provide access to rural communities, so they can build and sustain thriving economies.”

Murkowski also pointed to the cultural challenges facing the Forest Service, and told Christiansen that resolving them must be one of her highest priorities. 

“You’ll also have one other major job - internal reforms to put an end to the sexual harassment and assault that have plagued the Forest Service,” Murkowski said. “I have been horrified to learn about what has been happening, over the course of years and decades. It is categorically unacceptable. Improving the culture and guaranteeing a safe workplace must be one of your highest priorities.” 

In both her opening statement and questions, Murkowski spoke to the ongoing management failures in our two largest national forests – the Tongass and the Chugach, both in Alaska – where access is significantly restricted, harming local economies. 

“As I have said many times before, the Roadless Rule has never made sense in the Tongass, a forest made up of 32 island communities. In my mind, more access starts with restoring the Roadless exemption in the Tongass, and you have a state petition that asks you to do just that,” Murkowski said. “We hear a lot of talk about keeping public lands accessible to the public, but in Alaska, that’s often very different from the public’s experience.”

As part of her first round of questions, Murkowski asked Christiansen what the Forest Service is doing to respond to the State of Alaska’s petition for an exemption from the Roadless Rule. 

“We are working very closely with the State of Alaska to look at all of the options to address the Roadless issues. A response is being submitted in the matter of a day from Secretary Perdue back to the State of Alaska,” Christiansen said. “We want to look for success in how we can assure southeast Alaska citizens have the needs met as you identified, and we will support the state in numerous ways on those various options.”

Murkowski also pressed Christiansen on the agency’s plans to address errors in the 2016 Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) Amendment. The agency failed to conduct a stand-level inventory needed to determine the appropriate timeframe for a transition to young-growth timber harvesting. Compounding that are errors in the plan amendment—including its treatment of moderate vulnerability karst—that have led to even greater restrictions on the number of acres where timber can be harvested. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018


Alaska: Coast Guard Announces New Fast Response Cutters to be Homeported in Alaska - The U.S. Coast Guard announced last week the future homeporting of six total Fast Response Cutters (FRC) for Alaska – in Kodiak (2), Seward (1), Sitka (1), 2 will remain homeported in Ketchikan, and two additional patrol boats in Petersburg and Juneau.

The decision comes following consistent pressure by the Alaska Congressional delegation to ensure new Alaska Coast Guard assets be “homeported where they can be most responsive to the needs of Alaskans and the nation.” According to the U.S. Coast Guard, recapitalizing will begin in 2023 and no assets will be decommissioned prior to the arrival of new assets. will homeport six Fast Response Cutters (FRC) in Alaskan communities, which will enhance the Coast Guard’s coastal capability to perform search and rescue operations, protect our fisheries, and improve resiliency to disasters throughout Alaskan waters. 

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) received letters dated April 25th from the Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Zukunft making the announcement.

These new larger cutters are a significant upgrade from Alaska's current fleet of 110 ft. patrol boats.  They bring the newest and most advanced systems, and a new, larger platform with more endurance to our coastal waters.  In addition, the Coast Guard will homeport a Coastal Patrol Boat in Petersburg and one in Juneau.

“The importance of the Coast Guard to Alaska and our entire nation cannot be understated. From rescue missions to protecting our vital fisheries, to monitoring our vast waters, these men and women work daily to ensure the safety and security of Alaskan waters. It is critical for us to provide these important upgrades to our aging current fleet, allowing the Coast Guard to better serve Alaska and protect our arctic borders,” Senator Murkowski said. “It is imperative that we have the most capable assets available and that we have them strategically located. Where we place our assets in order for them to be responsive is crucial not only from a national security perspective, but for fisheries enforcement and search and rescue missions as well.”

“Thank you for your consistent support of the Coast Guard and recognition of the services we provide in Alaska,” Admiral Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard wrote. “I ask for your continued support as we work with the Administration and Congress to request funding, and for the support of city officials as we mutually prepare for the arrival of the patrol boats. The Coast Guard values its relationship with each Alaskans community and I appreciate your support as we continue to serve the citizens and maritime community of Alaska.”

In the FY18 government budget, the U.S. Coast Guard received $340 million to fund six FRCs, which are in various phases of the construction process, to replace the aging 110 ft. patrol boats. As a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Murkowski strongly advocated for Fast Response Cutter funding and that they be spread throughout as many communities as possible. The vessels are larger than the 110 ft. patrol boats they will be replacing, meaning they also require larger and stronger docks with adequate amenities, maintenance support units and will be manned by bigger crews.  Investment will be needed for the shore-side infrastructure to support the vessels, crews and their families.  Also included in the FY18 government budget, $51.5 million to fund Coast Guard housing and shore-side infrastructure projects that will support current and future Coast Guard assets in Alaska, such as these FRCs.


U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) also welcomed the U.S. Coast Guard’s announcement on the future homeporting of six total Fast Response Cutters (FRC) slated for Alaska.

“The Coast Guard is undergoing a major recapitalization of its fleet and I’ve consistently worked to ensure this means more Coast Guard ships, aircraft, and personnel for communities across our state. As the Coast Guard Subcommittee Chairman, I continue to work to ensure we have the broadest possible search and rescue coverage, response capability, and maritime domain awareness throughout Alaskan waters,” said Senator Sullivan. 

Sullivan said, “The effort to stop a potential drawdown of Alaska-based Coast Guard assets led to numerous and sometimes tense discussions. In the end, persistence and tireless advocacy – tied to a well-timed confirmation hearing of the next U.S. Coast Guard Commandant – led to this announcement. I’m pleased to see the Coast Guard has heard our message loud and clear and followed a 2-1-1-2 homeporting model for the FRCs and will deploy two additional Patrol Boats into Alaska, a decision which ensures larger mission area coverage. I’m proud to have worked with many mayors in coastal communities to ensure the Coast Guard made the appropriate investments to increase geographic coverage and ensure we can more effectively monitor our waterways and coastlines. This announcement gives many of our Southeast communities the long-term certainty they’ve been asking for and brings significant investments – in infrastructure and local housing – to our coastal communities. And frankly, we’re not done pushing the Coast Guard during their recapitalization process.  In fact, we’re just beginning." - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

Alaska: Alaska State Trooper Arrested for Attempted Sexual Abuse of a Minor - In the interest of maintaining transparency, the Division of Alaska State Troopers (AST) released the following information regarding an Alaska State Trooper under arrest for attempted sexual abuse of a minor.

“This case and investigation have been handled in the same manner as any other, and we are informing the public of these developments today to maintain transparency,” Alaska State Troopers Director Colonel Hans Brinke said. “AST and the Department of Public Safety are committed to fulfilling our mission to protect the public, and staying accountable to the people of Alaska.”

On Thursday, April 26th, AST was notified that Trooper Vance Peronto, a 16-year veteran of AST, may have had inappropriate contact with a minor, and began investigating immediately. Investigators learned that on April 8, Trooper Peronto conducted a traffic stop of a 16-year-old female for driving without her headlights on. No citation was issued. Peronto subsequently contacted the 16-year-old female via social media, and began establishing a social relationship.

Investigators obtained consent from the 16-year-old and her family to retrieve electronic evidence pertinent to the case. On Sunday, Peronto attempted to rendezvous with the female at a hotel in Anchorage, but was instead contacted by Alaska State Troopers with the assistance of the Anchorage Police Department. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018



jpg Tom Purcell
TOM PURCELL: The Growing Art of American Cursing - Get this: the average American can't get through the day without cursing.

So is the finding of a recent 9Round Kickbox Fitness survey, as reported in the New York Post.

Why are Americans cursing so much? One reason is stress.

Fifty six percent of survey respondents say financial worries are their biggest source of stress. A lack of sleep (36 percent), health concerns (35 percent), work (30 percent), the environment (9 percent) and our $20 trillion deficit (4 percent) are other sources of stress.

The survey didn't explore politics, but the names "Trump" and "Pelosi" are generating an explosion of salty-tongued originality across our great land.

Whatever the source of our stress, cursing DOES relieve it.

A 2011 Keele University study, reports Forbes, found that yelling out curse words increases pain and stress tolerance.

Volunteers were asked to hold their hands in freezing-cold water twice. The first time, they shouted curse words. The second time they used inoffensive phrases. Each volunteer was able to keep his or her hands in the cold water longer while cursing.

"The researchers found that the enraged yelling raised the heart rate, which, they hypothesize, means that the yelling triggered a fight-or-flight response, 'downplaying feebleness in favor of a more pain-tolerant machismo.'"

That's one reason why, concluded the researchers, that "swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon."

Cursing has certainly improved my capacity to deal with stress. I studied cussing under the tutelage of my father, now 85, a maestro in the art form. He perfected his skills while attempting plumbing repairs in our home.

Over the years, cursing has helped me ease the pain of financial setbacks, a broken heart and unpleasant co-workers. On a daily basis, it helps me cope with people who write checks in front of me at the grocery store and moronic drivers who drive too slowly in the passing lane.

But the question is, why are so many Americans cursing these days?  - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Teacher's Pest

Political Cartoon: Teacher's Pest
Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

"Beyond time to get worried" By A. M. Johnson - The opinion piece from the blog site 'Anchorage Daily Planet' is timely in light of current negotiations between the property tax payers and the National Education Association. Conclusions drawn are left to the reader. With 50 percent of K-3d grade struggling or outright failing it is not hard to understand the dismal statewide results.

Children learn to read from kindergarten through the third grade. From the forth grade on if successfully taught, read to learn.

If one can not read at grade level exiting the third grade and ineffective intervention has not worked or if correct interventions are not applied failure will follow. Ability to read carries over to the ability to comprehend and without comprehension failing and struggling children will loose interest in school and become class disrupters affecting the level of what learning maybe taking place. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion
By David G Hanger - I had lunch a few days back with an old friend and lifetime local who recently returned from a two-year project in Juneau. I am sure you are all pleased to hear that Scott Gray, long-term and current Juneau resident and current Ketchikan area roads & highways supervisor, has those roads in Juneau in absolute pristine condition, smooth-surfaced and not a pothole anywhere. Everyone in Juneau apparently thinks he is a wonderful nice guy. How much are we here in Ketchikan paying for Juneau’s pristine roads and highways?

Obviously, the first thing we are paying for is highway maintenance crews that are supposed to be working here, but are not, while in the meantime the supervisor and the bulk of the resources are in Juneau.

Dan Ortiz, you are supposed to be our local representative. Why have you permitted this to happen? Your silence on this issue is deafening, while the conditions are worsening daily and have been unacceptable for quite some time. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Thank you! By Jerry Cegelske - I would like to express my appreciation to the members of IBEW Local #1547 for their efforts in the collection of trash along mile 3 of the North Tongass highway.  Anyone driving that section of the road on Sunday morning to early afternoon would have seen numerous members collecting the trash we have allowed to escape for the past months.  It wasn’t a very pleasant day with the wind and rain but they persisted in collecting about 22 bags of trash along with a tire or two and other material that escaped from the back of trucks hauling material along the road.

Their efforts will give visitors a better opinion of Ketchikan because of what they will not see thanks to Local #1547’s efforts to clean our community. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Congratulations KHS Academic Decathlon By Gigi Pilcher - I wanted to congratulate the Ketchikan High School Academic Decathlon team on their outstanding achievement in placing first in the United States Decathlon Division III National Finals.

They were also named as Rookie of the Year of the overall National finals!

Their achievements will encourage and inspire teams from all over Alaska to go for the “gold” as well.

Ketchikan and the State of Alaska should be extremely proud of their excellent performance. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Evil needs a hand By Alfred Brock - British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain famously once said, ‘Peace for our time’ on September 30, 1938 concerning the Munich Agreement and the Anglo-German Declaration.

On September 1, 1939, less than one year later, Germany invaded Poland and the world plunged into World War 2.

British Petroleum’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley recently admitted that BP has a ‘very strong’ relationship with Rosneft, the Russian company which is facing international sanctions because of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine – that happened in 2014 and Russian forces are still there. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Ketchikan vs Juneau Potholes By Marlene Steiner - Spent a week in Juneau, I noticed there are no potholes on Juneau Highway from town out past Tee Harbor. Where as here in Ketchikan almost every place you drive there are lots, lots, lots of potholes.

Seems like we have to deal with this every year. DOT is putting the blame on the weather being cold. Juneau deals with lot, lot colder weather than we do because in the downtown area they get the Taku winds and from the Valley and out they get the winds from the Glacier. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Suicide laws can easily be wrongly administered By Bradley Williams - Polling only addresses the concept not the reality that assisted Suicide laws can easily be wrongly administered.

Yes you may like the concept of assisted suicide/euthanasia until you learn that the administration of the non-transparent laws in HI, OR, WA, CA and CO brightly provide immunity for predators (corporations, strangers, caregivers, heirs, guardians ) to complete the killing all before the family knows. The safeguards are hollow and unenforceable. A simple reading of the laws confirms this to be true. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Putin Is The Enemy By Donald Moskowitz - Vladimir Putin denies Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, but U.S. intelligence agencies have conclusive evidence of the meddling. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with interfering in U.S. elections. The U.S. has sanctioned Russian individuals. The Russian firm, Internet Research Agency, which directed the Russian espionage in the elections, was funded by Yevgency Prigozhin, a close ally of Putin.

During an interview with Megyn Kelly Putin attempted to shift the blame for the election interference to Russian citizens who, according to him, are not real Russians. This dumb commentary was made by a so called world leader. Putin said " Maybe they're not even Russians. Maybe they're Ukrainian, Tartars, Jews-just with Russian citizenship. " Evidently, Communist Russia has varying classes of citizens based on ethnicity, religion, and other backgrounds. - More...
Monday PM - April 30, 2018

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