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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 17, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY BALZER

Herring Cove: Black Bear
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Ketchikan: Wolf sightings prompt warning for North End
by Leila Kheiry, KRBD
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Body found last week identified - The Ketchikan Police Department announced today that preliminary information received from the State of Alaska Medical Examiner's Officer has identified the human remains found last Tuesday, May 10th, under one of the fish processing plants at 1775 Tongass Avenue.

According to a news release, Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett said the remains have been positively identified as Thomas Booth, age 35, through dental records. Booth was reported missing in January 2016 after leaving his home to go to Safeway. The last time the police can confirm that Booth was seen was the afternoon of January 2nd at Western Union where he picked up a money order.

There was no obvious signs of trauma to the body according to the information released by the Ketchikan Police Department. The Medical Examiner is still waiting for Booth's toxicology reports, which could take up to six weeks, before issuing their final report. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 17, 2016

Ketchikan: Northwest Revilla Island Project Open House - The Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District needs your help managing your forest and is inviting you to share your thoughts and ideas on what can be done within the Northwest Revillagigedo Island area. The goal is to build this project collaboratively with the community. Forest Service specialists have identified opportunities for stream restoration, wildlife habitat enhancement, recreation enhancement, road improvement, and timber harvest.

"This is your forest and we would like to hear your thoughts and ideas on what we can do to make your forest a better place," said Fish, Wildlife, Watershed, and Botany Staff Officer Jon Hyde. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Congressional Delegation Urges U.S. State Department Protections for Southeast Alaska Rivers - Alaska’s congressional delegation wrote to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last Thursday urging greater federal engagement in the review of British Columbia (B.C.) mines near the headwaters of world-class rivers shared by the U.S. and Canada, mines that threaten salmon and a way of life for Alaskans.

More than ten large-scale open-pit hard rock mines in various stages of development in British Columbia threaten the transboundary Taku, Stikine and Unuk Rivers, which originate in B.C. and flow into Southeast Alaska. These rivers collectively support southeast Alaska’s traditional way of life and multi-billion-dollar fishing and tourism industries.

In the letter to Secretary Kerry, Alaska Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and Representative Young request that Secretary Kerry “utilize all measures at your disposal to address this issue at the international level.”

“This powerful statement underscores that Alaskans, regardless of political party, want Secretary Kerry to address B.C. mining with Canadian officials so that clean water and healthy salmon runs will support our economy for generations to come,” said Heather Hardcastle, campaign director for Salmon Beyond Borders. “The danger we’re facing here in Alaska is real and was reconfirmed by the recent B.C. Auditor General’s warning. We urge Secretary Kerry to stand up for American jobs and seek International Joint Commission (IJC) involvement in this matter so Americans have a say in the protection of our resources shared by the U.S. and Canada.”

The congressional delegation letter comes following bilateral meetings last month between the U.S. and Canada, and a recent scathing report about provincial mining compliance and enforcement from the B.C. Auditor General. Nearly 20,000 letters requesting IJC involvement were delivered to Secretary Kerry signed by Americans supportive of strong protections for salmon and jobs of Southeast Alaska. The diversity of support on this matter, including Alaska Tribes, commercial fishermen, anglers and hunters, business owners, municipal leaders and outdoor enthusiasts demonstrate the strong and united desire for the U.S. to establish enforceable protections with Canada to protect the jobs and economies that depend on this rugged transboundary region. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

Fish Factor: Optimism for Alaska's salmon season By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s salmon season has gotten underway with lots of optimism, a far cry from the bleak feelings of a year ago.

Last year’s fishery was blown asunder by a perfect storm of depressed currencies, salmon backlogs and global markets awash with farmed fish. Prices to fishermen fell by nearly 41 percent between 2013 and 2015, years which produced the two largest Alaska salmon harvest volumes on record.

But in the past six months, those trends have turned around.

“Based on current market conditions and harvest expectations, it appears probable that prices will begin improving in 2016 and there is an excellent chance total ex-vessel (dockside) value will rebound in 2017,” heralds the Salmon Market Information Service just released by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The user-friendly reports include a salmon industry analysis, harvest and forecast summaries, salmon market overviews and Alaska seafood exports.

One of the biggest turn arounds this year is with global currencies.

“Going into last year the dollar was getting stronger against our major customers and competitors. That makes our salmon more expensive to foreign buyers and the competing imports less expensive,” said Andy Wink, a fisheries economist with the McDowell Group.

That trend has reversed and the dollar has weakened against other currencies, notably with the Euro (slightly) and the Japanese Yen, which has strengthened about 13 percent from a year ago.

“That will make our products less expensive to those two key Alaska salmon markets,” Wink said.

Another positive turnaround is with salmon supplies. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

Alaska House Passes Legislation to Roll-Back Many Unsustainable Oil Industry Subsidies - The Alaska House of Representatives on Friday approved House Bill 247 to significantly reform Alaska’s unsustainable oil tax credit subsidy system. The members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) cautiously supported the legislation after participating in a bipartisan effort to amend the bill to dramatically increase savings and fix flaws included in previous versions of the bill.

“The current system of paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the oil industry through tax credits and other subsidies is contributing to Alaska’s fiscal crisis and must be fixed,” said AIDC Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “There is still a lot of work to do to ensure Alaskans receive a fair share from our shared oil resource, but true leadership demands compromise, and that’s exactly what we have done with this bill. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction towards protecting our economy.”

“I am not prepared to cast a vote to take money out of the pockets of individual Alaskans through taxes or a cut to Permanent Fund Dividends while we subsidize big oil to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the foreseeable future,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). “Today’s bipartisan amendment to HB 247 made this a bill I could support because it ends many of the unsustainable subsidies to the oil industry that are making the fiscal crisis worse. It is my hope that HB 247 becomes the cornerstone of a broader fiscal plan that will right our fiscal ship and put Alaska on a prosperous path into the future.” - More....
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

Alaska: 75th Anniversary of Alaska State Troopers; Senators Honor Heroes of the Last Frontier - The U.S. Senate passed a resolution, introduced by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Alaska State Troopers and honoring the “first responders of the last frontier” and their families for their service and sacrifice. In 1941, the 15th Territorial Legislature established the Alaska Highway Patrol, an organization created for the sole purpose of enforcing the traffic code in the territory. That organization grew and evolved into what we know today as the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and Village Public Safety Officers.

“I cannot think of a more appropriate time to honor the loyalty, integrity, and courage of the Alaska State Troopers than the eve of National Police Week. Our troopers face huge challenges policing Alaska’s vast geography, and we are fortunate that their skill and determination rise to that challenge,” said Senator Murkowski. “On behalf of a grateful state, I thank the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and Village Public Safety Officers for protecting the Last Frontier.” - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016


Alaska: Alaska Legislature Passes Criminal Justice Reform - Friday, the Alaska State Legislature passed Senate Bill 91, a landmark comprehensive criminal justice reform bill. Reforms implemented by the bill are aimed at improving public safety, while also saving the state an estimated $380 million over the next decade.

"I introduced this bill in order to improve public safety, hold offenders accountable and get a better return on our corrections spending," said Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole), the bill's sponsor. "Two out of three people coming home from prison return within three years. We've got to break that cycle, and SB 91 is a paradigm shift that will help us do it."

The bill incorporates recommendations of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission to adopt data-driven and research-based criminal justice reforms. These reforms include:? - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

Alaska: Sixth Annual Summer of Heroes Program Launches, Recognizing Local Youth - Alaska Communications announces the kickoff of its sixth annual Summer of Heroes program in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska. The scholarship program recognizes five young Alaskan heroes, plus one from the Employee Program, who are making a significant contribution to his or her Alaska community. Each selected hero will receive a $1,500 scholarship through the UA College Savings Plan, as well as a trip to a special recognition ceremony at the Alaska State Fair the last weekend in August. This year, the nomination period runs from April 27 to July 15.

In addition to recognizing young Alaska heroes through the scholarship program, Alaska Communications has pledged to donate $25 to Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska for every new Unlimited or Business Internet contract signed between April 27 and July 15, 2016, up to $15,000 total. Since 2011, Alaska Communications has contributed a total of $75,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska through the Summer of Heroes program. One of the leading youth development organizations in Alaska, Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska provides high-quality programming for nearly 10,000 youth in 30 communities. As a nonprofit organization, the fluctuation of the economy often affects both federal and corporate funding, making contributions from individual donors critical for Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska to continue serving these youth. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016


Columns - Commentary

TOM PURCELL: Premium Handmade Cigars Go Up in Smoke - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has got me smoking mad.

Last week, the FDA released 499 pages of new regulations that pertain to the production and sale of tobacco products in the U.S. that extended its control to the premium cigar industry.

The new regulations are the result of the 2010 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which granted the FDA the authority "to regulate marketing and promotion of tobacco products and to set performance standards for tobacco products to protect the public health."

Here's the problem: They treat premium, handmade cigars over $10 in the same category as the little machine-made cigars and e-cigarettes that young people are smoking in big numbers.

You see, premium handmade cigars are bought almost exclusively by middle-aged people who can afford 10 bucks or more a stick — which is why handmade cigars account for only 2.1 percent of the 14 billion cigars that are consumed in the United States every year.

And that is why the FDA had the option to exempt premium cigars from its new rules — cigars that are supplied primarily by small, creative entrepreneurs who lack the thousands of dollars they will need to achieve FDA approval.

According to some estimates, it will cost anywhere from $250,000 to $330,000 for a single cigar product to complete the FDA approval process — which will put thousands of the most creative blends out of business.

Like many cigar aficionados, I like to try different cigars on a regular basis. My favorite handmade cigar has its origin at the Leaf & Bean in Pittsburgh's Strip District. Created by "Island Jim" Robinson, owner of the Leaf & Bean, and Oscar Valladares, a cigar maker in Honduras, "Leaf by Oscar" has been a huge hit across the country. It's been followed by 14 additional specialty blends, and the two have created jobs for more than 150 people. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Crazy Mental Health System

Editorial Cartoon: Crazy Mental Health System
By Pat Bagley ©2016, Salt Lake Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

By David G Hanger - For the first quarter of 2016 ConocoPhillips recently announced a loss of $1.5 billion on its worldwide operations. While it is somewhat reasonable to assume the remaining three quarters of 2016 will be better, estimates about oil prices throughout the remainder of this year still run from a low of $20 to a high of about $80. So it remains possible that overall ConocoPhillips will lose even more on its worldwide operations by the end of this year. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

letter Poo Journal Wanted! By Marie Zellmer - Things have gone too far down at the docks. New Ketchikan City ordinances are about to be enacted and enforced, and no one knows about them or what they really mean to people who have chosen to live on the water. Don't get me wrong, many of the harbormasters I have worked next to, gone to school with, and built sets for plays with, and I have considered them friends, but when they go to work my home is there. The harbormasters have convinced the council to enact rules such as... anyone who stays on their vessel for 15 days is a live-aboard and must have a coast guard approves toilet installed with a storage tank, and keep daily logs as to how much it is being used and how often it is being pumped out at one of the only three pump stations on the island. This will also affect the fishing industry if the wording is followed. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

letter Our taxes for Health and Fitness By Joe Ashcraft - After a really arduous work day, my daughter convinced me to take her to the Fawn Mountain track for a few laps. This has been an almost nightly affair over the past few summers. And as I travel Southeast and the rest of Alaska on business, when asked about Ketchikan my response has included the track, the pool and the rec center as additions that make Ketchikan a really livable town. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

letter Drive Careful By Robert Jahnke - In the Ketchikan and outlaying areas we have now entered the green up phase of the year when the road side ditches and open areas are greening up drawing deer into areas dangerous to them and drivers alike. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

letter RE: Incarceration Conditions By Bonnie J Abbott - You are absolutely, one hundred percent CORRECT! Thank You for caring and speaking out on this horrible disease. Maybe more citizens will step up and voice their opinion on every last word in your awesome letter!!!! - More...
Tuesday AM - May 17, 2016

letter Outrageous Spending of Local Tax Dollars By Douglas Thompson - Let me start this letter by thanking you for providing a needed forum so that citizens may address abuses by the power structure. It is Ketchikan's only avenue for open discussion. - More...
Thursday PM - May 05, 2016

letter Part 7: “OIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ, AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM By David G Hanger - As the crow flies the distance from Ketchikan to Anchorage is about the same as that from Denver to San Francisco; from Alaska’s First City to the oilfields of the North Slope is the distance from D.C. to Los Angeles. Throughout the 1980s, ‘90s, on into the twenty-first century Ketchikan has had its issues, economic and otherwise, upon which the locals have legitimately been focused, so paying much attention to what is happening in an oil patch almost a continent’s distance away has not really been on anyone’s agenda around here. - More...
Thursday PM - May 05, 2016

letter IS KPU A SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS OR A PLAIN AND SIMPLE DISSERVICE? By Joey Garcia - Sorry readers I have been absent for awhile as I was inside the heat wave in my vacation in the Philippines. But I noticed a lot of changes lately with KPU although I am identified as KPU Public, Customer, enemy No. 1. Much to my regret, my honeymoon with the entire KPU is history. Never can a public utility company survive without the so called bailout, "gratuity et amore" from customers who do not feel comfortable with KPU's customer service people, or the way it is run by the incumbent managerial level lineup. - More...
Thursday PM - May 05, 2016

letter "Oilcan" By A.M. Johnson - Reading the author of the series "Oilcan", the thought comes to mind that we may have the wrong guys in Juneau representing District 1. - More...
Monday PM - May 02, 2016

letter The Fireside By Ken Leland - Oh yes, I definitely remember the Fireside. Loved their Prime Rib. I was the Broadcast Engineer at KTKN and lunch time was a snap, hardly even got wet ducking next door from the Station. - More...
Monday PM - May 02, 2016

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