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

Front Page Feature Photo By MICHELLE LIPSCOMB

Connell Lake
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Southeast Alaska: Rasmuson Foundation announces 2018 Individual Artist Awards in Southeast Alaska - The Anchorage-based Rasmuson Foundation has named 35 artists in 12 Alaska communities as Individual Artist Award recipients for 2018 including 13 from Southeast Alaska. The Southeast group includes 10 Project Award recipients and three Fellows picked from a statewide pool of nearly 400 applicants.

Painter Mary Ida Henrikson of Ward Cove (Ketchikan area), multimedia artist Nicholas Galanin of Sitka and filmmaker Susan Stark Christianson of Juneau are the Fellowship recipients for Southeast.

Fellowships of $18,000 are awarded to mid-career and mature artists to focus their energy and attention on developing creative work over a 12- month period.

Project Awards are going to master weaver Delores Churchill of Ketchikan; performance artist Roblin Gray Davis, carver Alison Marks and weaver Ricky Tagaban, of Juneau; writers Merry C. Ellefson and Emily Wall, of Douglas; carver Robert Mills of Kake; carver Glenn “Stormy” Hamar of Kasaan; and composer Zak Dylan Wass and clothing designer Peter Williams, both of Sitka.

Project Awards of $7,500 support individuals at all stages of their creative careers for specific, short-term projects.

Four Southeast artists are prior recipients. Davis and Tagaban also received Project Awards in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Churchill was selected as the Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist in 2006 in recognition of her lifetime of achievement as a weaver. Galanin’s 2018 Fellowship is his fourth Individual Artist Award after Fellowships in 2008 and 2014 and a Project Award in 2011. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018

Ketchikan: Opioid Crisis in Alaska Presentation - Life expectancy in the United States dropped for the second year in a row in 2016*. The primary reason is the skyrocketing death rate from drug overdoses.

In Alaska, opioid deaths tripled in less than twenty years: from 46 in 1999 to 143 in 2016. Although opioid deaths declined slightly last year in the state, opioid addiction is still at tragic levels in Alaska.

According to PeaceHealth Ketchikan, this community problem will require community solutions.

PeaceHealth Ketchikan, with sponsorship from Guardian Flight, will provide three public sessions to address opioid addiction.

Jay Butler MD and Tessa Linderman DNP will lead “The Opioid Crisis in Alaska” Thursday, May 24 in the Sunny Point Conference Room. There will be three 90-minute sessions, at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., to provide the broadest opportunity for attendance. The sessions are free and open to the public.

There will be an overview of the current situation, an explanation of how we got to this point, and a discussion on where we go from here. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018


Alaska: State Successfully Prosecutes Workers’ Compensation Fraud - An Anchorage jury has convicted a former Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) employee of multiple criminal charges related to workers’ compensation fraud. Scott Groom was found guilty of one felony count of scheme to defraud, two felony counts of theft in the second degree, and 34 felony counts of falsification of business records. The Anchorage jury also found an aggravating factor.

Groom worked for DOTPF as a weigh station operator when he was injured on the job in 1999. Groom moved to Wisconsin in 2002 and settled his workers’ compensation claim with the State of Alaska in 2008. Under the terms of the settlement, the State agreed to provide future medical benefits.

Groom then allegedly began receiving massage treatment from Laurayne Fischer in Wisconsin. Between 2009 and 2012, Groom and Fischer submitted fraudulent workers’ compensation claims for services that were not performed by Fischer. Groom also submitted fraudulent mileage reimbursement claims related to the treatments allegedly performed by Fischer.

In February of 2018, Fischer pled guilty to two counts of theft in the second degree and testified against Scott Groom at trial. The terms of her plea agreement require Fischer to pay $20,391.46 in restitution to the State of Alaska for the workers’ compensation funds she received for treatments that she did not perform. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018

Alaska: Wasilla Teen Sentenced for Providing Marijuana to Minors - Accessory in Grunwald Murder; Provided Marijuana to Victim of Statutory Rape – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that Devin Lee Peterson, 19, resident of Wasilla, Alaska, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline to three years in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, for distribution of marijuana to minors.

The federal sentence will be consecutive to a pending state sentence of six-years to be imposed for Petersons’ role in obstructing the investigation into David Grunwald’s murder in November 2016, and his tampering of evidence from that case.

On the night of Nov. 13, 2016, four men assaulted and murdered David Grunwald in a secluded area near the Knik River off Old Glenn Highway.  Following the murder, the men drove to Peterson’s house.  Once there, Peterson took possession of the weapons used to assault and murder David Grunwald, and provided gas cans to the group that they used to burn Grunwald’s vehicle.

Alaska State Troopers subsequently obtained a search warrant to search Peterson’s phone.  During this examination, Troopers located a photograph of a 16-year-old female performing oral sex on Peterson.  In a subsequent examination, Troopers located a 10-second video showing the sexual assault of an incapacitated 15-year-old girl.  This video was taken at a party attended by Peterson and others in July 2016.  During the party, Peterson gave the girl marijuana, contributing to her extreme intoxication and subsequent assault. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018


NOAA Warns: Don’t Shoot Seals or Sea Lions; Penalties include up to $28,520 and/or one year imprisonment - The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) prohibits “take” of marine mammals unless an exception or exemption applies such as the take exemption for subsistence harvests by Alaska Natives. 

The MMPA defines “take” as “to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, any marine mammal.”

The MMPA defines “harassment” as “any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild; or has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering.”

Penalties for violating the MMPA include up to $28,520 and/or one year imprisonment.

“Marine mammals are an integral part of a healthy ecosystem,” said NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Administrator Dr. Jim Balsiger. “Unless it is being harvested for subsistence purposes, or is otherwise authorized, intentionally killing a marine mammal is illegal.”

The MMPA provides an exemption from the take prohibition for Alaska natives if such taking is for subsistence purposes or is done for the purpose of creating or selling authentic native articles of handicraft or clothing, and is not accomplished in a wasteful manner. This is a protected tradition that dates back thousands of years.

Fisheries Interactions

Seals and sea lions sometimes struggle to survive, especially in low fish years. NOAA Fisheries Stranding Program responded to multiple dead, emaciated Steller sea lions in 2017 and 2018, indicating that pinnipeds may be challenged to find enough food in some years and in some areas.  

While there may be instances where pinnipeds damage fishing gear and catch when a fisherman is hauling a full net of fish, fishermen can often avoid pinnipeds without harming them. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018




Social Security Matters: Ask Rusty - State Employees getting reduced Social Security By RUSSELL GLOOR, AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor - Dear Rusty:  I'm retired for almost 17 years, and want to know why Massachusetts is one of only 6 states in the US that went along with President Reagan's double-dipping proclamation regarding Social Security? 

I worked for 15 years whereby I contributed to Social Security and accumulated my 40 quarters. I then left my job to take care of my family and went back to work for the county under our state’s retirement plan. When I finally retired at the age of 65, I learned that I couldn’t receive the full amount of monies earned under Social Security. I am now receiving my pension from the county, and I’ve written to our Federal representatives asking them to vote to revise President Reagan's policy of not double dipping. I have received replies saying that they would investigate this subject, but nothing has changed. This policy not only affects me but many other people who are being short changed for working both under Social Security and working for the State and contributing towards their retirement. Why are there only 6 states in the United States participating in this double-dipping policy?  Signed: Disappointed - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018


JOE GUZZARDI: AP to Reporters: Stop Using 'Chain Migration' - The establishment media has dramatically moved away from using precise language in its reporting of immigration stories. In the latest effort to distract the reading public from understanding unsustainable immigration's broad consequences, the Associated Press announced that journalists should "avoid" using "chain migration" unless it's a direct quote, and then the term should be explained. The reasons AP cited for banning "chain migration" is that it's "applied by immigration hardliners" in reference to what the federal government calls family reunification.

Chain migration has been part of the immigration lexicon for decades. Even in Congress, those who push for open borders, amnesty and limited internal enforcement have often included the words "chain migration" in their dialogues. In 2010, when he was promoting one of the various DREAM Act versions, Sen. Richard Durbin pointed out that one of the advantages of his legislation was that it would not allow "chain migration."

In today's poisoned atmosphere, mainstream, pro-immigration reporters are unlikely to correctly explain how family reunification relates to population growth. Family reunification, a large population growth driver, means that millions of extended family members including cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws will come to the U.S. regardless of their educations, skills or backgrounds.
- More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018


PHIL KERPEN: Farm Bill Should Reform More Than Food Stamps - Republicans are set to move landmark welfare reform in this year's farm bill, which includes language requiring able-bodied adults to work or participate in a job training program to be eligible for food stamps.Democrats in Congress, however, have decided to litmus test opposition to work requirements and have therefore walked away en masse from supporting the usually bipartisan farm bill.That gives conservatives leverage to push for free-market reforms to the other 20 percent of the bill - and they should.

The food stamp program accounts for about 80 percent of the cost of the farm bill, and work requirements are overwhelmingly popular with the public. They enjoy a robust 82 percent approval among all voters and are supported by even 71 percent of Democrats according to a recent poll commissioned by the Foundation for Government Accountability.

If the farm bill accomplished nothing else, it would be worth supporting for this popular, critical reform that would incentivize Americans to reenter the workforce and get back on the ladder of economic opportunity - while helping grow an economy that is being held back by chronic shortages of workers in many industries. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Sports gambling legal

Political Cartoon: Sports gambling legal
By Dave Granlund ©2018,
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Open Letter RE Community Grants: KGB Mayor Landis By Glen Thompson - Dear Mayor Landis, At the Regular Assembly Meeting of May 7, 2018, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly (“Assembly”) introduced Ordinance 1859, adopting the FY2019 Borough Budget, and set that ordinance for public hearing at the Regular Assembly Meeting of May 21, 2018.

Draft Ordinance 1859, as presented to the Assembly for introduction, included $139,740 in community grant appropriations out of the General Fund to eleven non-profit entities that can be classified as Social Service agencies. Merriam-Webster defines Social Service as:

“An activity designed to promote social well-being; specifically: organized philanthropic assistance (such as counseling, job training, or financial support)”

When the Assembly officially introduced Ordinance 1859, it also increased the community grant appropriations for those Social Service agencies by $19,441 to a total of $159,181; a nearly 14% increase. The agencies and their community grant appropriations in Ordinance 1859 as introduced are listed below: - More...
Friday PM - May 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

2020 GO TO HELL, DOT By David G Hanger - While Juneau gets pristine roads without a pothole anywhere, Ketchikan gets a damned dog and pony show put on by DOT that includes toy trucks and hard hats for the kids. Plus the announcement that no improvements will be made to that hole in the road between the Coast Guard base and Saxman for at least three years. How much of this is racist????!!! Saxman is, of course, an Indian community.

In the meantime there are two sets of memorial wreaths, etc. set out to honor those who have been killed on that stretch of road in the past two or three years, which definitely makes this the most dangerous stretch of road on this rock.

So the solution that DOT provides us is a bunch of overfed duds eating pizza at a dog and pony show. Fire this bunch of worthless overfed bureaucrats. It is clearly pointless to employ them. They are more useless than lipstick on a pig.

Part of the problem here is the State does not want to use state funds to pay for this fix. They want a massive improvement project paid for with Federal funds, but no Federal funds are available, and this is otherwise an excuse for a bunch of planners to siphon the public purse for five years or longer; all for specs for a piece of road less than a mile long. This project is likely to be deferred for the next ten years the way things are going now.

What is clear is Ketchikan does not exist as a priority for DOT in any way, shape, form, or fashion. They can’t fix the dam potholes, and they won’t fix the road. So taking a paycheck from the government is just a form of dishonesty and corruption on their part. They cannot and will not deliver the goods, so this is the place to start with state government cost-cutting. Fire all useless duds, and if you are sitting around in a government office right now, you are a dud. There is a lot of field work that is being totally ignored. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Mysterious Jim Duncan By Tom Crosier - I worked with Jim Duncan's son, Rick on the F/V Margaret Ann, catching Dungeness crab in the areas around Bell Island. We sent 1500 pounds of live crab a week to Seattle by Alaska Airline. - More...
Friday AM - May 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

HB 312 strips away your rights By Andree McLeod - Lawmakers have again willfully and intentionally stripped away constitutionally protected rights of due process. House Bill 312 is, in part, an Act relating to arrest without a warrant for assault in the fourth degree at a health care facility. It impacts everyone, especially people who live with brain illness and cognitive impairments, such as autism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, and mental illness, among other brain illness.

In their attempt to deal with an increased crime rate, lawmakers found the courage to strip away the rights of individuals who are at their most vulnerable, when they're brought to medical facilities experiencing confusion and severe bouts of psychosis, mania, disorientation, and other symptoms of brain and cognitive impairments unrelated to substance abuse.

The sponsors of HB 312, Reps Matt Claman and Chuck Kopp, drafted and defended their egregious bill with talking points that showed they lacked an understanding of the nature of brain illness. This could have easily been remedied by first getting input from experts at state and nationally-based organizations who serve and advocate for folks who live with brain illness and cognitive impairments in order to give them a clearer understanding.

They further failed to present substantiated data that showed who commits these assaults (co-workers, patients, family members, others?) and failed to explain the root causes of these assaults. - More...
Friday PM - May 11, 2018

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