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May 09, 2020

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Front Page Feature Photo By LEROY WALLACE ©2020
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Fish Factor: Alaska halibut gets battered by foreign imports; Salmon starts; Get Mugged  By LAINE WELCH - Sales of Alaska’s most popular seafoods are being hit hard by markets upended by the coronavirus, but perhaps none is getting battered worse than halibut. Along with the big losses in the lucrative restaurant trade, Pacific halibut also is facing headwinds from increasing foreign imports.

Starting three years ago, sales of fresh Pacific halibut to established markets on the east coast were toppled by a flood of less expensive fish flowing in primarily from eastern Canada. Trade data show that for 2019 through February 2020, total Canadian halibut imports to the U.S. topped 15.3 million pounds for which the U.S. paid nearly $107 million. 

“It is taking over the eastern seaboard and also is being trucked from Boston to major middle American markets such as Chicago and Denver. It’s very hard to sell Alaska halibut to these traditional markets now. The Canadian product is cheaper and is available nearly year round,” said a marketer with over 30 year’s experience in selling halibut from Southeast Alaska, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

“All of a sudden, an important market that paid a good price for fresh halibut has disappeared,” he  said. “Rule of thumb is generally, sell fresh make a profit, freeze halibut lose money.” 

Earlier this year, fresh farmed Atlantic halibut was spotted for sale at $9.99 a pound at a Costco near Seattle. 

Total global production of farmed halibut is only 4.4 million pounds, of which 3.5 million comes from three farms in Norway. (The remainder is from Scotland, Canada and Iceland.) From 2019 through February 2020, the U.S. bought nearly 2 million pounds of wild caught and farmed halibut from Norway for $10.5 million. 

Alaska’s losses in fresh sales are combined with huge hits in the west coast frozen market. That’s due to another newcomer: increasing imports of halibut caught by Russians and processed in China. 

“Halibut is not consumed by Asians nor Russians so they target the U.S. The Russian halibut is mostly fished longline, dressed collar and tail off and frozen in blocks at sea.  They off load in Busan and auction it to processors for making into fillets,” he said. The fish then goes to the U.S. and Canada for resale at prices that undercut all others.   

“I have been calling end users and distributors trying to find placement for our Alaska product in the frozen fillet form.  But the Russian product has taken over,” he wrote in an emai. “I visited a customer in Vancouver and he showed me some Russian/Chinese skinless halibut fillets he had bought in the low $6's. Alaskan fillets, for reference, needed to be in the $13's to recoup costs.  He mentioned that most of his customers have switched to the less expensive imported.  I spent weeks calling fish and chip shops that have always used Alaskan and they prefer not to cut in house but use the imported twice frozen fillets,” he said, adding that Canada is where most of Alaska’s  larger frozen halibut (60+) has gone over the last few decades.” 

Other market watchers agree that the appearance of Russian halibut is a new twist to conventional market trends.

“We started seeing increased Russian production about a year and a half ago when it started to pop up in the data,” said Garret Evridge, a fisheries economist with the McDowell Group. “We were wondering where that volume was going, but given the difficult nature of trade data, we didn't have a firm grasp. Now we see that some of that harvest is making its way into the U.S. It is a relatively new development,” 

The Russian/Chinese fish also makes an end run around trade tariffs of up to 25% imposed two years ago by the Trump Administration. 

“A lot of the product used to come in through Seattle, but since the USA imposed the duties for Chinese processed halibut coming into this country, a lot comes into Vancouver, thereby avoiding the duty,” said the marketer. 

The volume coming in from Russia has been tricky to track once it enters the “black box of China,” said Evridge who added - “Then our data really falls apart. But we understand that Russian Pacific halibut entering China can make its way to the US through a variety of ways.”

And the Russian imports are increasing.  

“In 2019, we saw about two million pounds of frozen Russian caught halibut imported into the U.S. The year prior it was 140,000 pounds. Through the first two months of 2020, we've imported about 420,000 pounds, so it’s trending higher. For a relatively low volume fishery and for U.S. markets two million pounds is pretty substantial,” Evridge said.

Trade data show that the U.S. paid nearly $6.7 million for two million pounds of Russian caught halibut from 2019 through January 2020.

The foreign fish also get the benefit of more favorable exchange rates. 

“The Russian ruble has weakened against the U.S. dollar by about 14%. If I'm a U.S. buyer, there's a 14% discount. The ruble is also weak against the Chinese Yuan, so if I'm a Chinese buyer, bringing that product in is relatively affordable. That's another thing that that we struggle with,” he explained.   

Tariffs of up to 25% are in place for most seafood both coming and going to China, and Russia has not purchased a pound of U.S. seafood since 2014. 

Meanwhile, Alaskans have 17 million pounds of halibut to catch this year and landings so far are down 60%. With deflated markets and dock prices in the $3-$4 range, there’s not much motivation to go fishing. - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

Front Page Feature Photo By LEROY WALLACE

'Miner's Headlight'
Seven figures by sculptor Dave Rubin stand on top
of The Rock on Ketchikan’s dock.
Front Page Feature Photo By LEROY WALLACE ©2020


Alaska: Governor Issues Guidance on Phase Two of Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Thursday issued new guidance on the State of Alaska’s 16th COVID-19 Health Mandate, Phase Two of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.

Guidance was issued on the following topics: non-essential public facing businesses generally; retail businesses; restaurants dine-in services; personal care services; non-essential non-public facing businesses; fishing charters; gyms, fitness centers, sports, and recreational facilities; social, religious, and other gatherings; libraries, museums, and archives; swimming pools; bars; theaters; bowling alleys; and bingo halls.

Phase Two of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan took effect Friday, May 8, 2020 at 8:00am.

Phase Two:

  • 50% capacity for businesses such as retail, restaurants, personal care and offices
  • 25% capacity for gyms, bars, libraries and theaters
  • Swimming pools open to 50% of pool capacity
  • Walk-ins allowed for restaurants and bars
  • Social and religious gatherings of up to 50 people, including non-household members (with social distancing)

Protective Guidelines: - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

Ketchikan: Free Drive Up Testing Clinic Planned; Hand Sanitizer Refill Stations; Ketchikan Facility Updates Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN- The Ketchikan EOC, along with Creekside Family Health and Public Health, is hosting a free drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic on May 12, 13, and 14. The clinic will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Berth 3.  

This free testing clinic is offered to anyone who has any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how minor.  We encourage anyone with any of these symptoms to seek testing: 

  • Cough, chills, difficulty breathing, diminished sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, headache, muscle/joint aches, nausea/vomiting, rash, runny nose, or sore throat.

Pre-test screening will occur on site, or people can be screened in advance by calling 247-TEST. 

To participate in the testing:

  • Wear a mask or face covering
  • Adults will need to have a current photo i.d.
  • One household per vehicle
  • Screening and testing is performed in the safety of your own vehicle

Cars will turn onto the Berth at the traffic signal at the Dock and Front Street intersection, then proceed north toward the Berth 3 pavilion. Follow the cones provided that will direct traffic flow. You will not have to get out of your car.

The test will be conducted by local health providers who are following health and safety protocol. Please stay in your vehicle. 

Samples collected are expected to have results received in approximately 72 hours. 

The last reported positive case in Ketchikan was on April 20, 2020. The total number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Ketchikan remains at sixteen (16). All 16 have recovered.

535 tests have been conducted for COVID-19 in Ketchikan, with the following results:

  • 16 positive results
  • 504 negative results
  • 15 pending results

3.86% of the Ketchikan population has been tested.

Hand Sanitizer Refill Stations 

The EOC, with assistance from the City of Ketchikan Public Works Department, has procured and developed a quantity of hand sanitizer that is available for the public.  The hand sanitizer solution is a “no-frills” formula. It is not a thick gel, and it is not fragranced, but it is highly effective for killing germs. Gallon-sized refill containers have been set up at the following locations:

  • Ketchikan Police Department
  • KPU Customer Service in the Plaza
  • Saxman Community Center
  • North Tongass Fire Department Station 8 (Mile 13 North Tongass Hwy)

As additional facilities become open to the public, additional refill stations will be established.

Borough and City Facility Updates

City and Borough staff are closely following the Governor’s mandates and applying protocol for social distancing and safety precautions prior to opening facilities. Staff is working on obtaining necessary supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks, in order to be able to open to the public.  Many services continue to be offered via telephone, internet, and mail. For services that cannot be provided through telephone, internet, or mail, plans are being implemented for providing those services through a phased-in public opening following the current safety guidelines. 

Ketchikan City Hall and the Borough White Cliff Building are currently physically closed to the public with services being provided via phone, internet, and mail.  Once PPEs have been obtained and social distancing protocols established, the buildings will be opened to the public. 

The Borough Transit Program is working on revising protocols in response to the Phase 2 guidelines. Once the revisions have been established, the bus ridership capacity may be able to be increased. 

The Gateway Recreation Center has been working to establish protocols following the Phase 2 guidance.  The center is expected to open with limited services beginning Wednesday May 13th. The track, cardio room, and weight rooms will be open with strict adherence to social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines. The Recreation Department will provide specific instruction on that opening. 

The Gateway Aquatic Center will also be open on May 13th following Phase 2 guidance. The pools will be open for lap swims and fitness swims only. More information will be announced through the Recreation Department. - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

Front Page Feature Photo By LEROY WALLACE

'Moon Gazing'
Seven figures by sculptor Dave Rubin stand on top
of The Rock on Ketchikan’s dock.
Front Page Feature Photo By LEROY WALLACE ©2020


Alaska: Millions in Fishery Relief Heading to Alaska  - As a result of the efforts of Alaska Congressional Delegation $50 million in fishery assistance will be heading to Alaska. The funds are part of a $300 million fishery assistance fund that was included in the CARES Act to make direct assistance available to subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery participants, processors, fishery-related businesses and fishery-dependent communities that have been negatively affected by the economic and other impacts of COVID-19. 

Alaska is set to receive the highest possible allocation in fishery relief. In addition, federally recognized Tribes in Alaska will have access to $1 million to address negative impacts to subsistence fisheries. 

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young compose Alaska's Congressional Delegation.

“While the State is hard at work planning for a safe fishing season, we’ve been working hard to make sure support would be available for fishermen and seafood producers as they weather this crisis. In developing major coronavirus relief legislation for the nation, we were committed to ensuring our fisheries were not left out of the mix by including targeted assistance for fisheries in the CARES Act,” said the Congressional Delegation in a joint statement. - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

Alaska: Business leaders urge governor to provide grant relief to small businesses; Amendment provides administration grant making authority - Alaska business leaders are urging Gov. Mike Dunleavy to use the authority provided to him by the legislature last month and provide grant relief for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Currently, the governor is planning on disbursing the vast majority of federal relief dollars for small businesses through Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) loan program that is still in development, rather than through grants.

"Businesses need emergency operating grants, and they need them yesterday,” Rep. Zack Fields(D-Anchorage) said. “The governor should use the authority given to him by the Legislature to issue grants to small businesses instead of reinventing the wheel with a complicated program that mirrors existing federal loans.”

Members of the Anchorage Economic Resilience Task Force recently wrote an opinion article which appeared in the Anchorage Daily News calling on the State of Alaska to use CARES Act funding for grants rather than loans.

“Asking businesses – particularly small shops – to take on debt after nearly two months of closures puts them in an incredibly precarious position,” the coalition of business and community leaders wrote. “We urge the governor and the Legislature to reconsider the proposed use of funds to provide grants instead of loans. In doing so, they could prevent a generational loss of businesses and non-profit groups that currently threatens Alaska’s economy.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020


Ketchikan: Celebrating Nurses Week - Florence Nightingale, the Lady with a Lamp, changed the course of nursing with her care of British soldiers during the Crimean War. Her birthday, May 12, traditionally marks the end of National Nurses Week.

At PeaceHealth Ketchikan more than half their caregivers are nurses.

Nurses make decisions in administrative offices and see patients at PeaceHealth Medical Group. They’re in our Emergency Department and in the operating rooms and by patients’ bedsides. Nurses are there when babies are born at New Beginnings and there with often elderly residents of New Horizons.

“These are people who gravitate to jobs that require compassion, dedication, and strength,” said Hill Pettus, vice president of patient care services, “these are the people we celebrate each year during Nurses Week.”

A nursing career offers vast opportunities. 217 of PeaceHealth Ketchikan caregivers work as Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) and Certified Nurse Midwifes (CNM). Another 24 are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and Medical Assistants (MA).

“I think people are surprised how many essential healthcare jobs are filled by nurses,” said Hill. “Nurses are not only the backbone of what we do, they’re the heart and soul as well. - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

Alaska: Economic Impact Payments Need Protection from Pandemic Profiteers - This week, 14 organizations representing consumers, small businesses, labor unions, Indigenous communities, and direct service organizations sent a letter to Representative Don Young, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Senator Dan Sullivan, calling on the lawmakers to support and pass legislation that includes a complete freeze to garnishments on economic impact payments, with the exception of child support, due to the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. 

Currently, there is a federally mandated freeze on federal garnishments, except for child support, due to the pandemic. As taxpayers are receiving their stimulus checks, private corporations like banks are taking payments to pay back past debt, debt collectors are collecting payments without the consumer’s consent, and payday and car-title lenders are withdrawing straight from borrowers’ accounts. “Absolutely no money for bills or gas to go hunting. We are struggling meal to meal, not paycheck to paycheck…bills can wait but putting food in my two precious men is more important.” said one participant in the AKPIRG advocacy testimonial portal, created to elevate voices around Alaska struggling financially due to COVID-19. This participant identified themselves as “Z”, living in Utqiagvik.

Approximately 32% of Alaskans have debt in collections, leading many to take out a payday loan. In Alaska, a $100, 14-day loan has an average APR of 521%. Debt in collections and payday loans are disproportionately held by low-income communities and communities of color. - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

Alaska: Proposed Settlement to Dismiss Pioneer Homes Lawsuit Announced - Alaska Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson announced this week that the Department of Law and attorneys for the class action plaintiffs have reached a settlement in the case challenging the 2019 increase in Pioneer Homes and Veterans’ Home rates. With the recent enactment of a new law by the legislature and Governor Dunleavy setting Pioneer Home rates at a lower level, all parties agree to dismiss this lawsuit.

On April 29, 2020 Governor Dunleavy signed House Bill 96 into law, which sets Pioneer Home rates by statute effective on July 1, 2020. It also limits future increases in Pioneer Home rates. This new law largely resolves the claims made in the class action case of Rider v. Dunleavy, and the parties propose to resolve that case by dismissal. Each side will bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees, and the case will be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning that it cannot be refiled.

Attorney General Clarkson states, “The plaintiffs and the State have asked the court to approve this resolution calling for dismissal of the lawsuit. The parties agree that there is no benefit to continuing expensive and time-consuming litigation over rates that will no longer be in effect after July 1 of this year.” Clinton Lasley, Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Health & Social Services adds, “We are looking forward to resolving this case amicably, and continuing to provide Alaskan elders quality care at each of our six Alaskan Pioneer Homes.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

Arctic Edmontosaurus lives again -- a new look at the 'caribou of the Cretaceous'

Arctic Edmontosaurus lives again -- a new look at the 'caribou of the Cretaceous'
The most commonly occurring duck-billed dinosaur of the ancient Arctic, the genus Edmontosaurus. The findings of the new study reinforce that the hadrosaurs - dubbed "caribou of the Cretaceous" - had a geographical distribution of approximately 60 degrees of latitude, spanning the North American West from Alaska to Colorado.
Credit: Masato Hattori



Alaska: Arctic Edmontosaurus lives again -- a new look at the 'caribou of the Cretaceous' - A new study by an international team from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas and Hokkaido University and Okayama University of Science in Japan further explores the proliferation of the most commonly occurring duck-billed dinosaur of the ancient Arctic as the genus Edmontosaurus. The findings also reinforce that the hadrosaurs - known as the "caribou of the Cretaceous" - had a huge geographical distribution of approximately 60 degrees of latitude, spanning the North American West from Alaska to Colorado. 

The scientific paper describing the find - titled "Re-examination of the cranial osteology of the Arctic Alaskan hadrosaurine with implications for its taxonomic status" - has been posted in PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access online publication featuring reports on primary research from all scientific disciplines. The authors of the report are Ryuji Takasaki of Okayama University of Science in Japan; Anthony R. Fiorillo, Ph.D. and Ronald S. Tykoski, Ph.D. of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas; and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Ph.D. of Hokkaido University Museum in Japan.

"Recent studies have identified new species of hadrosaurs in Alaska, but our research shows that these Arctic hadrosaurs actually belong to the genus Edmontosaurus, an abundant and previously recognized genus of duck-billed dinosaur known from Alberta south to Colorado," said Takasaki. 

The report states that anatomical comparisons and phylogenetic analyses clearly demonstrate that attribution of the Alaskan hadrosaurines to a unique genus Ugrunaaluk is inappropriate, and they are now considered as a junior synonym of Edmontosaurus, a hadrosaurines genus previously known from lower latitude North America roughly in between northern Colorado (N40?) to southern Alberta (N53?). 

The fossils used for this study were found primarily in the Liscomb Bonebed, Prince Creek Formation of the North Slope of Alaska, the location of the first dinosaur fossils discovered in the Arctic.

The team's research also show that the plant-eating hadrosaurs were taking over parts of North America during the Cretaceous, suggesting that Edmontosaurus was likely an ecological generalist. 

"In other words, Edmontosaurus was a highly successful dinosaur that could adapt to a wide variety of environmental conditions," said Fiorillo. "It's not unrealistic to compare them to generalized animals today - such as mountain sheep, wolves and cougars in terms of their range and numbers - that also roam greater geographic distributions."  - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020



DAVE KIFFER: Filling the Great Sports TV Void of 2020 - The following was adapted from an on-line discussion)

You have no idea how long I have wanted to write that! It makes me feel like such a modern communicator! Everyone knows that to be a 21st Century Winston Churchill or FDR you need to post early and often!! And then edit your original posts to make the respondees look primo foolish!

Anyway, this is from a recent Facebook post. And, yes, is has been "adapted" to make me look really clever! (but no, I didn't edits the responses!)


It's getting bad, I can't even watch the old baseball, football and basketball "greatest games" anymore. Now I have to watch the sports that even I couldn't watch the first time because they were too boring. "Closest to the Pin Frisbee Golf" and "Celebrity Senior Tour Bass Fishing." Oh the humanity.....

Patient Reader #1

You haven't been enthralled with the sports commentary on marbles yet?


No, but I just watched some yahoo on the ESPN Wide World of Covid commentate for 40 minutes on the SEC Regional Social Distancing Championships being held at a Tuscaloosa Walmart.

Patient Reader #1



It truly was when the young lady who had had too many - bless her heart - buttermilk biscuits accidentally stumbled into Aisle 7 just as Contestant #3 (Radford T. Shiloh Jr.) careened out of the frozen food section. Whoa Nelly! - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

jpg Political Cartoon: May 10th... Mother's Day COVID19-style

Political Cartoon: May 10th... Mother's Day COVID19-style
By Dave Granlund ©2020, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Opinion

WHAT DOES A ONE-HORSE TOWN DO WHEN THE ONE HORSE DIES? By David G Hanger - Well, Andy, Rod, and Keith, et. al, have finally gotten their wish. Ketchikan is about to regress to 1935- 1940. I do hope they enjoy bejesus out of it as their businesses collapse and their property values sink to next to nothing. Yes, the greatest President in the history of the world and of the universe has brought you this wonderment. Be thrilled; be more thrilled every day.

Likewise, all you sea pilots and your quarter million to $400K a year salaries, goobering as you constantly have been over your Dear Leader and the $15,000 to $20,000 a year he has saved you on your taxes. See you in the unemployment line as you now goober all over yourselves.

National statistics indicate that 50% of all small businesses in the United States will fail within the next six months. For Ketchikan that number will probably be much higher.


Is it because they are small men, intimidated by bullies like Herr Trumpff? They do not seem to be eunuchs like Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC who not only lost his stones somewhere along the way but is also minus most of his spine. In the face of ignorance, alas, none of these individuals has the balls to call an idiot an idiot, or to resign in force in the face of ignorance, lies, and deceit. That rather defines cowardice, I think.

I warned Dan six years ago and more what will happen sooner or later if you try to finance state government with Permanent Fund earnings. Somewhere along the line there will be no earnings, and we have in fact arrived at that point. He could have at least howled about how much the oil companies were stealing from Alaska.

Now the howls will be howls of real pain. - More...
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

jpg Opinion

Florida virtual school  By A. M. Johnson - After finding that many/most school districts in this state and others are continuing the fourth quarter with direct student instruction from their teachers, via email, and visual programs, and that Ketchikan is limping along with a mixed;  no classes, a district level direction that no new material may be taught by teachers, and no real effort from the district to inform local families of the State provided virtual classes,  or even the local choice of a online class, this tax payer asks the following:
If the qualification of completing three quarters has been established here as the benchmark for this school year, what is a student to do with ¾ of a geometry or history class?  What is the local plan to make up these classes?   It is apparent by this decision that the district believes students have achieved  a competent a level of education so that a fourth quarter is not required for students to be successful in the next level of classes to be taught next year. 
Having said this, then the second question is:  As ALL property tax (and about 25% of Borough sales tax)  is dedicated to public education;  and as only three quarters is being achieved, the common sense inquiry askes  for a 25% refund on property tax to the citizens.
For parents and students interested in finishing the rest of the school year, with for-credit classes, you should access the offering from the Florida virtual school with which  the  Alaska Dept of Ed has contracted---- at no cost to the students of Alaska.   The subject selections are K-12, unlike the Ketchikan Digital Academy which does not serve elementary students.   In addition, the Ketchikan Digital program has a fee of $250 per class, per student.  The Florida contract includes many classes available in both regular and honors levels.  - More....
Saturday PM - May 09, 2020

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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