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May 04, 2020

Front Page Feature Photo By ANDREA NORTHRUP

Fish Eggs, Another Sign of Spring
After pulling the outhaul line, these fish eggs were stuck to it. Looking closely you can see eyes developing in some of the eggs.
Front Page Feature Photo By ANDREA NORTHRUP ©2020
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Alaska: $125 million in federal COVID-19 aid authorized by Alaska lawmakers Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Alaska Legislative Budget & Audit Committee on Friday authorized $125 million of the $1.25 billion provided to Alaska by the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  This $125 million goes for education, child nutrition programs, public safety and public transportation.

Authorization of these initial budget items by the legislative committee was in accordance with a revised proposal from Governor Mike Dunleavy. 

“Today was a great first step in executing a tranche of CARES Act funding out to the people of Alaska,” said Senator Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, vice-chairman of the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee.

Bishop said, “Hopefully by Wednesday we get the remaining balance of those funds out to communities. I want to thank all involved, from the governor’s administration to the House and Senate, who’ve worked tirelessly to get us to this point.” 

“Delivering these funds as quickly, widely and appropriately as possible to Alaskans is our top priority,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel. “Today’s progress was the result of hard work and collaboration between members of the House, Senate and governor’s office. It remains our shared goal to swiftly disburse the remaining funds.”

“Alaskans need help, and they need it fast – and these funds reflect that urgency,” said Senator Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “But, our work is not done. We are still working closely with the administration on distributing additional funds. We’re also working closely with the congressional delegation to make sure Alaskans get necessary assistance and understand the resources available to them.”

“We thank everyone for rising above politics and working together as Alaskans to get funding out to those who need it as quickly as possible,” said Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “Today’s action was a significant first step, and the committee continues to work overtime to review the governor’s revised proposal that was released this [Friday] morning.”

Follow-up action is expected soon to get additional federal funds out to Alaskans and organizations that need help, but the first wave of money will go toward a variety of programs adversely impacted by COVID-19.

The committee on Friday approved six spending proposals through the Revised Program Legislative (RPL) process: - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

Ketchikan: Don’t delay necessary healthcare - PeaceHealth Ketchikan is planning the safe reopening of healthcare services.

While the medical center and clinics are not easing current practices related to safety and security implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians and leaders at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center and Medical Group want to remind the public not to delay seeking important healthcare.

One outcome of the COVID-19 crisis is the shift in public perception about what constitutes necessary care. When combined with fear of contracting the virus, many people have chosen to delay or postpone routine, follow-up, and emergency care with potentially harmful effects. 

While stay-at-home orders are a large contributing factor, there is a growing concern among the healthcare community that patients, even those with severe illnesses, are avoiding hospitals out of fear.

Delays seeking care can have a detrimental impact on patient health including more severe clinical findings; poorer outcomes; and increased expenses related to postponing care.

PeaceHealth Medical Group physician Peter Rice, MD, encourages the public to remain focused on their own health and wellness during the crisis. He urges people not to hesitate to seek the routine or critical/emergency care they may need either for themselves or their loved ones.

“I am concerned about patients who are reluctant to seek medical care because they are unaware that we are open during this crisis and are safely caring for our patients,” stated Rice, “Our physician group continues to provide ongoing care, manage and treat chronic and acute illness, give important childhood and adult vaccinations, and prescribe medications for our patients unrelated to the COVID-19 virus.”

Visits may look different, given social distancing requirements, and video visits provide options to traditional face-to-face visits which are still required for some patients.

Safety remains a top priority at the Medical Center for patients and caregiver employees and they continue to take the necessary precautions based on the most recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that any COVID-19 patients are not only cared for, but in safe and strict isolation away from general hospital areas. - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

Alaska: Alaska Attorney General Says Legislative Auditor Overstepped Her Legal Authority - In response to the attempt by the Alaska Legislative Auditor to force executive branch agencies to adhere to her interpretation of the Alaska Constitution, Alaska Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson in a letter outlined the statutory and ethical roles of the Legislative Auditor and Attorney General.

In the letter to Legislative Auditor Kris Curtis, General Clarkson explained that the role of the auditor is to audit financial transactions, and the role of the Attorney General is to provide legal advice to executive branch agencies. According to the Attorney General’s April 29, 2020 letter (128K PDF), the Legislative Auditor has overstepped her legal authority and exposed Alaska to unnecessary financial and legal risk by asserting that the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation has potentially violated its fiduciary duty by following the legal advice of two successive Attorneys General, former Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth and current Attorney General Kevin Clarkson.

“The Legislative Auditor has an important role,” said Attorney General Clarkson in describing why he felt a response was necessary. “But her role has limits. It is beyond the auditor’s authority, as well as beyond comprehension, to assert that executive branch agencies are acting unlawfully because they follow the Attorney General’s advice. The meaning of the Alaska Constitution is not for the auditor to determine. The Auditor has no legal training. Our statutes and constitution are clear—it is the Attorney General’s role to advise agencies on what the law means, and it is for the courts to ultimately determine what the law is.”

The legal question is whether the Legislature must make an appropriation to place 50 percent of royalties in the Permanent Fund when the Alaska Constitution requires a deposit of only 25 percent. When the disagreement between the Legislative Auditor and the Department of Law first arose, former Attorney General Lindemuth (Walker administration) sent a letter to the auditor explaining the Department’s view that because the constitution requires a deposit of only 25 percent and a state statute requires 50 percent, depositing the constitutional 25 percent is automatic but the additional statutory 25 percent requires a legislative appropriation. - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

Sikuliaq embarks on limited research cruise

Sikuliaq embarks on limited research cruise
The Northern Gulf of Alaska Long-Term Ecological Research site lies off the research vessel Sikuliaq’s stern. The cruise this May will be the first research cruise since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Photo by Bernard McKiernan


Alaska: Sikuliaq embarks on limited research cruise By ALICE BAILEY - Scientific operations resumed on the research vessel Sikuliaq for one week beginning May 4, preserving an unbroken string of 22 years of ecological data collection. 

Special permission has been granted for a small team of researchers from the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to collect water samples in the northern Gulf of Alaska.

This will mark the first time a vessel in the U.S. Academic Research Fleet has been allowed to engage in research activities since COVID-19 grounded the fleet, which is coordinated by the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System. 

The scientists self-quarantined for two weeks prior to boarding the vessel, and are adhering to health mandates while conducting their research. 

Rose Dufour, ship operations program director at the National Science Foundation, said, “NSF recognizes the difficult decision to move forward with science operations in these uncertain times, but we feel UAF has done an excellent job in assessing and mitigating the risks.”

UAF operates the Sikuliaq on behalf of NSF, which owns the vessel.

The Sikuliaq will provide science support for the Northern Gulf of Alaska Long-Term Ecological Research program. This ocean region supports one of the nation’s largest fisheries, as well as many important crab, seabird and marine mammal populations. 

Understanding the NGA ecosystem begins with understanding the plankton that sustain it. - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

Alaska - Nationwide: S-O-S Sent to Federal Government as Fishermen and Seasfood Businesses Struggle to Stay Afloat & Provide Essential Services - Today, hundreds of independent fishermen along with small and mid-sized seafood businesses across the country and their allies sent a letter to the Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Agriculture, and Congress urging for increased federal support for America’s fishing communities. Representatives from Alaska, the West Coast, the Gulf, and New England spoke out in an accompanying video message . Their message underscored growing concerns about the impacts of COVID-19 on small and mid-scale seafood producers and called on the Trump Administration and Congress to address the increasingly urgent situation facing fishing communities nationwide.

The letter outlines several key recommendations that would enable fishing communities to weather the COVID-19 crisis and adapt to its abrupt and dramatic impacts on the seafood supply chain. The recommendations include $1.5 billion in additional emergency funding (with at least half allocated for small and mid-sized fishing operations); debt forgiveness measures; support for young fishermen; investments in shoreside infrastructure; access to testing, protective equipment and medical care; and, eligibility for the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

A broad and diverse group of 238 allies endorsed the letter, including commercial fishing trade associations, seafood businesses, food & agriculture groups, environmental organizations, social justice advocates and concerned citizens, collectively representing three million Americans. - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

COVID-19 harms Alaska mariculture industry

COVID-19 harms Alaska mariculture industry
A grow-out raft suspends trays of oysters in the water.
Photo by Melissa Good/Alaska Sea Grant.


Alaska: COVID-19 harms Alaska mariculture industry By MELISSA GOOD - Alaska’s mariculture industry laid off employees after COVID-19 health mandates sharply reduced revenue, according to a new Alaska Sea Grant survey.

Alaska Sea Grant distributed the anonymous survey to Alaska’s mariculture producers to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 during February and March. Survey respondents reported that revenue was down, with 43 percent reporting losses of more than half of their revenue. More than a third had laid off employees.

Mariculture — the cultivation of shellfish and aquatic plants — is a fledgling industry in Alaska with a current value of around $1 million. Sales 2019 included 1.8 million oysters, 112,000 pounds of seaweed and smaller amounts of other shellfish species.

While fisheries and aquaculture businesses in Alaska are allowed to continue operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic with health safety precautions, closures in restaurants and tourism-related businesses around the country have reduced the demand for seafood.

Mariculture farmers reported the biggest hits to their businesses were restaurant closures (81%), labor challenges (52%) and reduced opportunity for export (48%). Closures of restaurants have resulted in few or no sales, which means little or no cash flow to the farms. With reduced cash flow, farmers are unable to hire workers to maintain, harvest and process their crop.

As the summer growing season approaches, oyster farmers are concerned that a shortage of labor could lead to the loss of millions of oysters to predation and fouling. Long-term concerns include whether the economy will rebound, restaurants will reopen and customers will return with the “previous enthusiasm for new healthier/more sustainable products,” as one survey respondent said. Another respondent said some of the impacts from COVID-19 could be minimized if the state’s ferries were operating. - More...
Monday PM - May 05, 2020

New equipment provides quick test 
results for COVID 19

New equipment provides quick test
results for COVID 19

New COVID 19 testing equipment that can deliver results in under two hours.
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

Ketchikan: New equipment provides quick test results for COVID 19 - COVID 19 results are now more quickly available at PeaceHealth Ketchikan with the addition of QIAstat-Dx, made by QIAGEN. It provides test results in under two hours.

PeaceHealth Ketchikan has been using an Abbott Labs ID NOW in both in Ketchikan and on Prince of Wales Island.

The Abbott Labs equipment is a Point of Care (POC) machine that can be used outside a lab to provide results in under an hour if the test is negative. If a test is positive or unknown, that test was sent to an outside lab for verification, which can take two to four days.

Now PeaceHealth Ketchikan can run the second test on site, in its own lab and have a result quickly with the QIAstat-Dx which tests for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

The machine takes a small DNA sample and amplifies it, so it is large enough to study. With this new equipment, the lab tech goes under the ‘hood’, a device that pushes air flow away from the tech, and adds the sample to a reagent which is then analyzed in the QIAstat-Dx. - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020


Alaska: Additional benefits now available for unemployed Alaskans - The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) announced Friday it will provide up to 13 weeks of additional Unemployment Insurance benefits to help Alaskans who are out of work due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Reopening Alaska’s economy responsibly and getting Alaskans back to work will take some time,” said Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter. “It’s important that we help Alaskans out of work through no fault of their own, by extending unemployment benefits so they can meet their basic needs until they are able to return to work.”

This program, called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), is part of the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020. The benefits would be payable after individuals have exhausted benefits on a regular unemployment claim that ended July 6, 2019, or later. The additional payments are available during the weeks ending April 4 - Dec. 26, 2020. - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

Southeast Alaska: False distress calls put Alaskan, other lives at risk; $1,000 reward - The U.S. Coast Guard received multiple reports of false distress communications in various parts of Southeast Alaska recently, putting mariner's lives at risk. 

Coast Guard Investigative Service is working with the Juneau Police Department to investigate these calls, and urges the public to be aware that knowingly and willfully communicating a false distress message such as a flare or a radio communication to the Coast Guard or causing the Coast Guard to attempt to save lives and property when no help is needed is considered a felony under federal law.

The felony offense is punishable by up to ten years in prison, up to a $250,000 criminal fine, a $10,000 civil fine, and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search. To determine the fine(s), cost estimates are based on hours of asset operations and personnel hours worked. 

Flares are considered a sign of distress and they are distinctive from fireworks. Flares are red or orange in color, and come in three common types. Meteor flares rise rapidly to over 250 feet and descend rapidly, burning for more than five seconds. Parachute flares rise rapidly to over 1,000 feet and descend slowly, burning for more than 30 seconds. Hand-held flares burn for one to two minutes. Crews aboard Coast Guard Air Station Sitka's MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters, Coast Guard Station Juneau's 45-foot Response Boat Mediums and 17th District-based Coast Guard Cutters have been launched on multiple unresolved distress calls in the last several weeks, costing more than $1.4 million of taxpayer money to conduct unresolved searches that degrade crew readiness, impact their ability to train and respond to other missions, and endure unnecessary risk operating in the challenging and harsh climate and geographic environment in Alaska.

So far in fiscal year 2020, the Coast Guard launched on 102 cases that could not be resolved, including 64 unintentional/accidental electronic alerts, 15 abandoned/derelict vessels, seven uncorrelated maydays, two people in the water, eight flare sightings and three capsized boats. - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020



Analysis: Coronavirus: Why is it so hard to aid small businesses hurt by a disaster? By MARIA K. WATSON - The U.S. government has committed hundreds of billions of dollars to help small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic. But early reports suggest larger companies are gobbling up much of the aid, while many of the neediest ones – particularly those with only a few dozen employees – aren’t benefiting.

For example, large, generally profitable companies like Shake Shack, Potbelly and even the Los Angeles Lakers, with access to other lines of credit, have received millions of dollars in loans, even as mom-and-pop stores across the U.S. say they are still waiting to hear back about their applications.

Very small businesses, particularly those operating on small profit margins, are especially vulnerable, since they may not have the cash reserves to weather periods of economic uncertainty and typically have fewer ways to access financing. A recent poll by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that one in four U.S. businesses is two months away from permanently shutting down.

My research on efforts to help businesses recover from hurricanes and other disasters shows why smaller organizations have long struggled to get aid after a crisis. - More....
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

Analysis: The 'first scientist's' 800-year-old tonic for what ails us: The truth By RICHARD GUNDERMAN - It seems that science has been taking a beating lately. From decades of denial by the tobacco industry that smoking causes cancer to more recent attempts to use the COVID-19 pandemic to score political points, a presumption seems to have taken root that it is okay to seek and speak the truth only when it suits personal interest.

In times like these, we urgently need leaders who know what they are talking about and whose commitment to truth exceeds their loyalty to party or person – among them, the sort of people long known as scientists (“those who know,” the literal meaning of scientist). COVID-19 is a kind of plague, but so is ignorance, and only by addressing the latter can society tackle the former.

This year marks what is believed by many to be the 800th birthday of an especially courageous truth seeker, the English polymath Roger Bacon. Though other scientists came before him, his breadth of study has led many to call him “the first scientist.” Were he alive today, Bacon would likely be pursuing the truth about such matters as the coronavirus and its effects on society, as well as the need for personal and political virtues to overcome it.

Roger Bacon’s pursuit of the truth

Because Bacon lived so long ago, we know more about his ideas than his life. Born in Somerset, England, his family appears to have been well off, and he studied and taught at two of Europe’s oldest universities, beginning at Oxford. After earning his master of arts degree, he accepted an invitation to teach at the University of Paris for about a decade before eventually returning to Oxford.

Bacon was one of those remarkable human beings who seem to know just about everything. An expert on the thought of the ancient philosopher Aristotle, he also taught mathematics, astronomy, music, optics, alchemy (a forerunner of chemistry), moral philosophy and theology. Because of the depth and breadth of learning reflected in his Opus Majus (“Great Work”), composed at the Pope’s request to describe his studies, he became known as Doctor Mirabilis or “Wonderful Teacher.” - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020



BOB CIMINEL: A Few Questions About Those Stimulus Checks - I am a pragmatist to the nth degree. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become even more adept at questioning give-away programs, and particularly those sponsored by politicians. And, no matter how they refer to themselves, anyone holding an elected office is first and foremost a political animal born, nurtured and absolutely at home in the snake-pit of politics.

The forthcoming stimulus payments will assuredly have a due-bill attached to them. In all probability it will be a future tax increase or a new round of inflation
The government currently has no income, except for stalwart citizens like myself who paid their taxes before the COVID-19 invasion. And that begs question, where is the money to fund the stimulus initiative coming from? There are only two methods through which the government can pay for stuff, either print more money or borrow more money. Even without the stimulus package the government was projected to spend over $1 trillion more than it’s projected income (read taxes).

What do people use when they spend more than they make? They either borrow money or use credit cards, which are just a convenient way to borrow money.
As of now, $5.4 trillion of our debt is owned by Asian countries, and 20% of that is held by China, world headquarters for COVID-19.

The money for the stimulus checks will be added to the deficit and our grandchildren will pay it back in their taxes, along with the funds allocated for business, research, transfer payments and anything else that receives money for nothing. There is no free lunch
Were I running the country, I would put people back to work and stop all federal, state and local withholding for a year. That would put an extra 30 to 40% in every paycheck every payday. Those hardworking folks who run cash businesses may be at a short-term disadvantage, but as business picks up they will reap the benefits of the trickledown economy.

Some questions have been in my mind since the Democrat majority in the House approved the package: - More...
Monday PM - May 04, 2020

jpg Political Cartoon: Believe Some Women

Political Cartoon: Believe Some Women
By Rick McKee ©2020, Counterpoint
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Opinion

Appreciating our Direct Care Workers By Bess Clark - As we are appreciating all of the essential workers in our communities here in southeast including medical and grocery store workers, I encourage everyone to not forget those who are also on the front lines – direct support and personal care workers.

These workers put themselves at risk too. They are taking care of elders who are stuck at home – helping them with personal care, and chores around the house. They are doing grocery shopping and running errands to make sure people have the food and medications they need. They are taking care of people who experience disabilities, who are stuck at home even more now and missing out on crucial social interactions. They still need help with various life skills like cooking or good hygiene, or even just coping with the increased isolation.

I am proud of the hard work our employees at Community Connections are doing. A pandemic does not stop the needs of seniors, or people with disabilities, or families with children. On the contrary - it serves to emphasize how essential these support workers really are. Our workers are essential to the health, safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of our community. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 05, 2020

jpg Opinion

Who's Above The Law? By Ray Metcalfe - Every elected, appointed, exempt or non-exempt state employee who has participated in the withholding of information from a state auditor is likely covering up a crime and probably belongs in jail. 

But they will never be prosecuted under Alaska law because Alaska's Courts and Alaska's Legislature have refused to provide the public with access to the constitutionally guaranteed right to hold the Governor and members of his Cabinet accountable.

Section 8 of Alaska's Constitution, titled "Declaration of Rights contains the following: - More...
Tuesday AM - May 05, 2020

jpg Opinion

Legislative Update By Rep. Dan Ortiz - This past weekend, I hosted a Facebook Live event to catch up with District 36 while still social distancing. I was happy to see a lot of participation; there were great questions and comments! Thank you to everyone who listened in and offered insights. I’d like to reiterate some of the bigger topics we touched during that forty-minute conversation.

As the summer season begins, the visitor industry has been on the forefront of people’s minds. Cruise ship stops will be down by over 50%, and most cruise ship schedules (which are subject to change) for large ships doesn’t truly start until July while smaller ships are expected in late May or early June. Guidelines for charter fishing operators have been established too via state mandate.

What’s an update on the ferries? The Kennicott will return to Bellingham no earlier than June 25th. Prince Rupert facility upgrades are halted indefinitely because of our border travel restrictions. Increased ferry service is one of my top priorities, and although the Legislature passed an increased AMHS budget, Governor Dunleavy vetoed a large portion of those funds. On a bright note, about $5 million in federal emergency relief funds will go to our ferry system.

Our fishing industry will also look a little different this year in light of the virus. Within the CARES Act, $100 million in stimulus funding is designated for the Alaska Fisheries Industry. We want to get our fishing industry up and running as safely as possible. Safety measures and precautions are being worked out through regional groups and state and local governments. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 05, 2020

jpg Opinion

RE: Local comments on fuel prices By A. M. Johnson - With regards to the submission by my "My Good friend" as politicians often begin their opposition view, Marvin Davis on the subject of local fuel prices.

He is totally correct in his presentation, I can attest to that as a past employee of a major oil company in Ketchikan, to the pricing logic.

However, think clearly. When the prices increase, there is no selling off the inventory of cheaper product till the volume is depleted as the reverse of what Marvin  has presented . Prices go up immediately on current inventory well before the barge with cheaper fuel arrives. - More..
Tuesday AM - May 05, 2020

jpg Opinion

Local comments on fuel prices By Marvin Davis - So I see that the rants have started on FB again about fuel prices, their movement locally, and about how we are all getting ripped off.  Having lived in this community some 40 years, operating retail a good part of that,  it’s been interesting the number of times the rant comes up about how something is priced in this town.  The fuel business is not insulated from this, we’ve seen complaints for years.

If you buy high, you have to sell high unless you are a government entity or non-profit.  In this town, we have to have a lot of forward capacity for fuels (storage in case the barges don’t run). The fuel in that storage is purchased at a blend of pricing, and doesn’t move price at the pump in the same way we might expect.  Inventory is sold on one of three methods, first in/first out, last in/first out, and average cost.  The dealer can’t usually switch this, once a method is chosen, they’re mostly stuck with it.  So in the case of FIFO, while they are adding cheaper fuel to their tanks, they still have to charge for the expensive fuel left in their tanks.  With LIFO, they could price the fuel being sold based on their cheaper fuel being purchased, but then they are stuck with the original layer of fuel at a much higher price, which becomes a loss if they never move it by emptying their tanks. Using average cost, they add the cost of the current fuel being purchased, and divide the total cost now in the tank by the total number of gallons in the tank.  - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

jpg Opinion

IS TODAY'S OIL PRICE A CRISIS? OR AN OPPORTUNITY? By Ray Metcalfe - Every now and then, the Saudis remind the rest of OPEC's members, and a few nonmembers like Russia, what happens when they don't stick to the production quota Saudi gave them. 

In the 1980s, the Saudis developed the ability to do something no other oil-producing country can. They developed the ability to produce over twelve million barrels per day but set their target production between 9 and 10 million. 

Saudi can cause a gradual increase or decrease in world oil markets by adding or subtracting 1 million barrels. Several OPEC countries can turn their oil spigot up and down, but only Saudi can flood the market and crash prices with an extra 3 million barrels per day. - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

jpg Opinion

Open Letter to Murkowski, Sullivan & Young: Need FBI Fraud Investigation By Byron Whitesides - I am a lifelong Alaskan, now stranded in the Seattle area, waiting on the AMHS to get a ferry to Bellingham WA, so we can get home. My reservations have been canceled and changed 3 times because the ferry system could not make the reservation they had confirmed to us, and I had to change it once because of the COVID 19 problem, and British Columbia had closed the border, canceling our plan to drive to Skagway and catch a ferry south to Ketchikan (which now is still not running). I started this letter to you as a request to you to see if you could use your authority/power to help get our AMHS highway going again, to assist us Alaskans stranded in the lower 48 because of lack of service of the AMHS in getting home, but now as I have started this, there is so much more that really needs to be addressed!

My wife and I are extremely distressed at this lack of reliability of the AMHS, once the mainstay transportation for southeast Alaska and the other Alaska coastal communities, it's service is essential to these communities providing affordable public transportation. I have discussed this with a lot of friends and long time Alaskans and they are distressed and upset too. We just don't know what to do to get this issue addressed, it appears there is nothing we as individuals can do, so now I am appealing to you for help. - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

jpg Opinion

DPS Continues to Provide Critical Services Despite COVID-19 By By: Major Bernard Chastain, DPS Operations Support Bureau - To most people throughout the United States, traditional law enforcement response usually involves an officer responding to a call for service in a police car. You know- a marked patrol car with the city or state name proudly decaled on the side with some fancy logo and uniquely identifiable image. During emergencies, a police car responds with lights and sirens through a busy city street, a state trooper pulls over a drunk driver on the highway or an officer responds in the middle of the night to a domestic violence call. We are all very familiar with this scenario. But how does it happen where there are no roads? If a police car can’t drive there, how does the Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS) get its Troopers to some of the most remote locations on our planet? Well, we use whatever we can. That includes snowmachines, ATVs and in many cases, aircraft. COVID-19 and the related decline of commercial air carrier services does not change that. 

The DPS Aircraft Section has long maintained the largest and most diversified aircraft fleet of any state law enforcement agency in the country. Utilizing 43 aircraft and over 40 pilots, the DPS Aircraft Section plays a vital role in providing air support for law enforcement missions across Alaska. Our aircraft are stationed strategically around the state from to Coldfoot to Kodiak and from Hoonah to Kotzebue to maximize their efficiency to provide the best support to all department missions. Nearly all of the Aircraft Section’s flights occur in rural Alaska, away from traditional police services and where the commercial air carrier closures impact Alaskans the most. Our Aircraft Section will continue to collaborate with partner agencies and the private sector to maintain mission critical services. - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

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HERE’S TO ALL YOU ASYMPTOMATIC, PSYCHOPATHIC OR SOCIOPATHIC KILLERS OUT THERE By David G Hanger - How would you like to be one of those people who has to live the rest of their lives knowing they killed multiple members of their family or family friends by unintentionally exposing them to the coronavirus? I know something of that myself, for it is I who in May 1972 asymptomatically brought back to Ketchikan the first case of spinal meningitis in this state in something like 40 years. My 20-month old niece was the victim, and, by dint of fortune only, she survived by the narrowest of margins. My father’s only brother (that he knew as such) died in 1933 of meningitis, and the disease has never been completely eradicated from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio (it hides, then recurs every few years) where I routinely shopped while going to graduate school. I was lucky, my guilt limited to the knowledge gleaned about what might have happened.

Yes, it is true that the flu is a pandemic that routinely hounds humanity, and with certain virulent strains is capable of inflicting incredible misery upon humanity, but the flu is a known pandemic, a known virus, for which science has developed vaccines and at least semi-effective treatments, and for which humanity has inbred considerable herd immunity. The Spanish flu (which may actually be the Fort Riley, Kansas, flu) was such a cruel killer because it attacked people born after 1889 who had developed no immunity whatsoever to this particular version of the flu. That fact has only been understood to the extent it is understood since 2014 for an epidemic that occurred from 1918 to 1920. Science is hard, and most of you are stupid. - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

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You are Not Alone; Help is Available By By: L. Diane Casto, MPA, Executive Director, Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA) - On March 11, Governor Dunleavy declared a public health emergency to protect Alaskans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the country. The following week, a health mandate was issued requiring all Alaskans, except critical and essential workers, to remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing.  This mandate, as well as the other health mandates, are vitally important and necessary to keep Alaskans safe from the virus.

Unfortunately, staying at home, sheltering in place and social distancing have unintended consequences in homes where violence, control and abusive behaviors are happening. Homes where abuse and violence occur are not safe havens; rather they create smothering isolation, fear and increased violence, abuse and control. Domestic and family violence happens daily in Alaska. While social distancing does not create violence, CDVSA knows that isolation increases both the intensity and frequency of abusive behaviors.  - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

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Chinese Research Laboratories Caused Coronavirus Pandemic By Donald Moskowitz - Based on information  available I believe the COVID19 outbreak came from bat research at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention which is across the street  from the Wuhan seafood market falsely blamed by China for the outbreak. Another bat research facility is the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), only 10 miles away.

The following information is from the article listverse.com/2020/03/20 which I liberally paraphrase and quote.

Chinese scientists in the two Wuhan labs. have been conducting experiments on coronavirus in bats since 2012 and the COVID19 strain is solely specific to the coronavirus infecting bats at the Wuhan labs. It is believed a researcher at the labs. was infected with COVID19 and transmitted it to people in the Wuhan area. China has a history of students working in labs. becoming infected.  In November 2019 the WIV posted job openings for students interested in "molecular mechanisms that let coronavirus lie dormant for a long time without symptoms." This is a trait of COVID19. - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

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Voting by Mail By Joe Bialek - Voting by mail should replace voting at the polls in it's entirety.  The two institutions that can definitely be trusted is the County Board of Elections  and the United States Postal Service. 

The money saved by eliminating the need for poll workers could be used to offer free postage on the envelopes used to vote by mail.  The person voting would also have more time to consider what they are voting for and would not be confined to the hours of the polling place.  It would also prevent unwanted entry to schools and churches from anyone trying to harm someone. - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

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The Environment of Ketchikan By Toni Million - Ketchikan is now a psychologically putrid place to be. All operating businesses are existing in a total state of fear. If you're lucky you only get scowled and barked at, otherwise, people will scream, "Get the  #$@% away from me!!" This town will not recover from this. It is a dead thing and most people are simply allowing and even encouraging it.

If you make excuses for being unlawfully put under house arrest (euphemistically called quarantine) and wish to tell others how to live their lives - something is seriously wrong with your mind. If you are terrified to live--lock yourself up!! The rest of us who are not cowards must work! - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020

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Vindictive and Corrosive President By Donald Moskowitz - Trump fires officials who criticize or disagree with him. He fired the intelligence community inspector general who informed Congress about the whistleblower's Ukraine interference incident. Trump fired others who testified during the impeachment proceedings. He would like to ignore Dr. Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert.

Trump's latest vindictive attack was against Michigan's Governor Whitmer. She was critical of poor federal preparations and the small quantities of personal protective equipment (ppe) sent to Michigan. Trump responded by saying " We don't like to see complaints." He told Mike Pence "don't call ….the woman in Michigan. It doesn't make any difference what happens." - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2020  

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