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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
May 18, 2022

Looking to the west as the sun sets with Vigor Alaska shipyard viewed in the distance to the left on Revilla Island. Gravina Island is on the right..
SitNews Front Page Photo By RACHELLE SPEIGHTS ©2022
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NEWS: Alaska Lawmakers Face End of Session With Budget Unresolved - READ MORE.. May 18, 2022





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Reporting data for May 11-17, 2022
STATEWIDE OVERVIEW: 1,954 new cases - 18 deaths (of those 2 in Ketchikan[male in his 70s and a male in his 40s], 1 in Petersburg [a female in her 80s]) -  44 new hospitalizations
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STATEWIDE OVERVIEW – 1,629 new cases -  15 new deaths,  41 new hospitalizations
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Southeast Alaska Historical: Craig, IFA celebrate anniversaries By DAVE KIFFER -  The Spring of 2022 has featured two significant historical anniversaries for Prince of Wales Island: The 20th Anniversary of Inter-Island Ferry Authority and the 100th Birthday of City of Craig.

The IFA first began connecting POW with Ketchikan on Jan. 13, 2002. It was born out frustration over decades of less than adequate service by the Alaska Marine Highway System, according to POW residents. There was also a plan to create a new ferry route that would connect communities on Northern Prince of Wales with Wrangell and Petersburg.

Planning for the IFA began in the early 1990s.

AMHS service to Prince of Wales, via the MV Aurora had been decreasing over the years, cutting back to only a couple of times a week and often either leaving or arriving at the Hollis Terminal in the early hours of the morning. POW residents wanted daily, mid-day, service.

First, in 1992, the state of Alaska passed the Municipal Port Authority Act that allowed the creation of port authorities that could sell bonds to support local transportation operations.

The City of Craig then received a $50,000 state grant in 1994 to study the potential of a Prince of Wales Island port authority.  Ketchikan planner Kent Miller worked with C.L. Cheshire, James Van Altvorst, longtime Craig Mayor Dennis Watson and Craig City Manager Dennis Briggs to bring it to fruition. The planners came up with the idea of the separate northern and southern runs. The AMHS supported the study conclusions because it had decided that ferry service to POW was expensive and difficult to maintain.

The IFA was formally created in 1997 by the communities of Klawock, Craig, Thorne Bay, Coffman Cove, Wrangell and Petersburg. In 1998, the state of Alaska endorsed the creation of the new service and the Alaska Congressional delegation secured $12.6 million for the first of the two needed day-boats, the MV Prince of Wales.

The IFA received a $200,000 loan from the City of Wrangell and issued $1.9 million in bonds, that were backed by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.  

The Prince of Wales was designed by the Elliot Bay Design Group in Seattle and was constructed, for $12.2 million by Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington. She is 197.5 feet long and cruises at 15 knots. The ship can carry 160 passengers and 30 cars. She has a crew of five.

After the MV Prince of Wales went online in January of 2002, work began on MV Stikine. The Stikine was also built at Dakota in Anacortes, for $16.9 million. Originally a "twin" of the Prince of Wales, she had some modifications added to take into account things that had been noticed during the earlier ship's operation. The speed and the capacity were the same. The Stikine went online in 2006.

From 2006 to 2008, the Stikine also operated a daily run on the northern route between Coffman Cove and the South Mitkof Terminal south of Petersburg, with a side trip to Wrangell. But that run proved not to be profitable and the IFA cancelled its "northern route" in 2008 and Wrangell and Petersburg eventually left the authority.

Currently the Stikine and the Prince of Wales are both on the southern run. Since 2013, the IFA has provided a single round trip between Hollis and Ketchikan. A different port authority, called the Rainforest Islands Ferry Authority was proposed to provide service between POW and Wrangell and Petersburg, but it didn't come to be. The state Department of Transportation provides the IFA with a $250,000 operations subsidy each year.

On March 4, 2022, the City of Craig celebrated its 100th birthday. As part of the centennial celebration, there were numerous community events and the city even commissioned a 10 minute film celebrating the town's history.

The founding of Craig dates from 1907, when Craig Millar started fish saltery on nearby Fish Egg Island with the help of Haida natives who had emigrated from Canada to the region decades before. Millar moved his operation to Prince of Wales Island and added a cold storage and packing company at what is now called Craig. In the early days, the tiny community was still sometimes referred to as "Fish Egg."

In 1922, the community of approximately 200 people was incorporated as second-class city within the territory of Alaska. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Alaska - Nationwide: Investigative Report Released, Outlines Next Steps in Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative - Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland released Volume 1 this week of the investigative report called for as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive effort to address the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies. This report lays the groundwork for the continued work of the Interior Department to address the intergenerational trauma created by historical federal Indian boarding school policies.

This investigative report is a significant step by the federal government to comprehensively address the facts and consequences of its federal Indian boarding school policies — implemented for more than a century and a half — resulting in the twin goals of cultural assimilation and territorial dispossession of Indigenous peoples through the forced removal and relocation of their children. It reflects an extensive and first-ever inventory of federally operated schools, including profiles and maps.

The investigation found that from 1819 to 1969, the federal Indian boarding school system consisted of 408 federal schools across 37 states or then territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and 7 schools in Hawaii. The investigation identified marked or unmarked burial sites at approximately 53 different schools across the school system. As the investigation continues, the Department expects the number of identified burial sites to increase.

“The consequences of federal Indian boarding school policies—including the intergenerational trauma caused by the family separation and cultural eradication inflicted upon generations of children as young as 4 years old—are heartbreaking and undeniable,” said Secretary Haaland. “We continue to see the evidence of this attempt to forcibly assimilate Indigenous people in the disparities that communities face. It is my priority to not only give voice to the survivors and descendants of federal Indian boarding school policies, but also to address the lasting legacies of these policies so Indigenous peoples can continue to grow and heal.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Prosperity Ketchikan - Zoom Meeting - May 20, 2022

Southeast & Statewide: New report shows AK-funded megaprojects cost state $30.2 billion in lost opportunity -  “Alaska Megaproject Update,” a new report from independent economist Ginny Fay, analyzes Alaska’s giveaway of public resources, its funding of unsustainable development, and its billions of dollars lost, had public funds been invested more wisely. The analysis is an update to Fay’s 2003 publication, “A History of Alaska’s Mega Projects and Selected Boondoggles,” and highlights a clear need to take a hard look at Governor Mike Dunleavy’s pet megaprojects, including the proposed West-Susitna Access Road.

“Essentially, Alaska is subsidizing a huge giveaway of its public resources,” Fay wrote in the report. “If a project is not financially feasible, subsidizing it with public money to try to make a bad project feasible is poor and unsustainable public policy.”

“When you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging, not to buy more shovels,” said SalmonState Executive Director Tim Bristol. “Our current proposed megaproject is the West Susitna Access Road, and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s own recently released data shows the vast majority of local Alaskans oppose it — meaning it’s the perfect place to stop wasting our money and to start spending it wisely.”

Lodge owner Steve Perrins is one of those Alaskans opposed to the project.

Perrins said, “The proposed West-Su Access Road threatens the Mat-Su region’s existing economy — while providing no benefit to the state,” said Perrins, who owns Rainy Pass Lodge, on Puntilla Lake. “As an Alaskan, it’s incredibly upsetting that AIDEA is throwing away state money on a project that will damage our economy, kill many Mat-Su tourism-generating lodge businesses, and destroy my business - the oldest hunting lodge in Alaska. I am calling on our elected officials to stop wasting state money on this divisive project.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Southeast Alaska: Ucore Mobilizes Geological Crew to Bokan Mountain as Prices for Heavy Rare Earth Oxides Continue to Rise - Ucore Rare Metals Inc.("Ucore" ) announced its plan to mobilize a geological crew to conduct Ucore's Summer 2022 fieldwork program at the Ucore's Bokan-Dotson Ridge Zone mineral deposit on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, USA.  The program is a continuation of Ucore's 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2014 Bokan Mountain Complex exploration drill programs and is being undertaken by  Aurora Geosciences (Alaska) Ltd. (" Aurora ") of Juneau, Alaska.

The fieldwork program is designed to improve the geological confidence of the mineral deposit in preparation for a forthcoming planned pre-feasibility study , as the rare earth oxide (" REO ") market continues its favourable response to the increased electrification demands related to the electric vehicle (" EV ") and renewable energy sectors.

The approximately 5-week Program consists of two primary planned objectives: - More...
Saturday PM - May 15, 2022

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Announces New Trustees

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Announces New Trustees
Agnes Moran
SitNews File Photo

Alaska: Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Announces New Trustees - The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (Trust) announced the confirmation of Trustees Agnes Moran and Kevin Fimon, who were appointed by Governor Dunleavy and recently unanimously confirmed by the Alaska Legislature.

A longtime resident of Ketchikan, Trustee Agnes Moran is the Executive Director for Women In Safe Homes, or WISH, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing essential support services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families. She has also served as a member of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly and has been on the board of directors for First Bank for close to 20 years. Trustee Moran brings more than a decade of work supporting Trust beneficiaries to her role as a trustee, along with skills in building collaborative relationships and in advocacy for Alaska’s rural communities. In addition to her work with WISH, she Moran has extensive volunteer experience, particularly in working with beneficiaries experiencing substance misuse and homelessness. Agnes has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University, and spent the early part of her career in the aerospace industry.

Trustee Kevin Fimon resides in Anchorage and brings decades of fiscal management to the board of trustees, having owned and operated Fimon Financial Services in Anchorage for the past 32 years. His experience in preparing tax returns, providing financial statements, fiscal management consulting, and working with boards and corporations is an asset to the Trust board. Trustee Fimon is actively involved in Rotary International and has served with municipal community councils and community schools’ programs in both Nome and Anchorage.  - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Ketchikan: 2022-2025 Community Health Needs Assessment For Ketchikan Medical Center Released - PeaceHealth has released the 2022-2025 Community Health Needs Assessments for all 10 of their medical center communities which includes PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Community's assessment.

“Supporting our focus to deliver person-first, community-centered care, the CHNAs highlight our commitment to helping people in need as well as our value of collaboration with community partners as we work together to promote the health of our communities,” said Mike Dwyer, executive vice president of Strategy and Community Health. 

Led by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, PeaceHealth is heeding the call for health justice for all – focusing on how to promote health, prevent illness and create community well-being. 

PeaceHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Liz Dunne shared, “We have a responsibility to shine a light on the profound effect inequities have on health and well-being, and to do something about it. We are called to promote the inherent dignity of each person, to further the common good and seek justice through solidarity, especially in service to the most vulnerable.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Alaska: Sawyer Cipolla Found - Troopers Announce Change in Sawyer Cipolla Search Strategy - Today, May 15, 2022, at approximately 12:30 pm, the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers were notified that two adults recreating in the Pillar Mountain area had located a deceased juvenile. Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers immediately responded to the area. Troopers identified the deceased juvenile as 7-year-old Kodiak resident Sawyer Cipolla who was reported missing on May 7, 2022. There were no obvious signs of foul play identified at the scene by Troopers. Sawyer’s remains will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy. Next of kin has been notified. The investigation into the death of Sawyer Cipolla is ongoing.

Alaska State Troopers were alerted that 7-year-old Sawyer Cipolla had gone missing from his home on Forest Drive in Kodiak last Saturday, May 07, 2022. Law enforcement agencies and first responders from across Kodiak Island immediately responded to the area and started an intense multi-day search for the missing child. 

Over the course of the past week, more than 2,500 volunteer searchers, 14 search and rescue dog teams from across the State, and search and rescue professionals have searched just under 10,000 acres of Kodiak Island for Sawyer. In addition to the extensive ground search, the US Coast Guard, Alaska Army National Guard, and private aircraft have flown dozens of missions above the coastline, waterways, and terrain in search of Sawyer. Volunteer drone pilots have used thermal imaging to search across the Kodiak area. The US Navy SEALs provided 60 of their service members to conduct searches along the coast, sweep freshwater ponds, and traverse steep and difficult terrain throughout this weeklong search. Despite relentless searching, covering a great deal of the search area at least twice, there have been no clues or signs of Sawyer located in the probable area and there are no additional leads for search teams to follow up on. 

Beginning Saturday, May 14, 2022, the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers will be shifting their search strategy for Sawyer from a widespread active search to a limited reactive search. Law enforcement and professional search teams will limit their search activities to areas where new evidence or information suggests that Sawyer may be located. 

“Over the last week the Kodiak community has rallied together to search for young Sawyer, over two thousand residents of Kodiak showed the state that when faced with adversity, Alaskans join together to work the problem and find solutions. Despite one of the most thorough ground searches in Alaska history, as of today we have exhausted all of our leads and searched far beyond the search perimeter in an effort to bring closure to the Cipolla family and the Kodiak community,” stated Colonel Bryan Barlow, Director of the Alaska State Troopers.

Barlow said, “While the search will now be taking a different shape and strategy, know that locating Sawyer remains a top priority for the State Troopers and everyone involved in this search and investigation.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022


Alaska: Signing of American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act Welcomed - U.S. President Joe Biden this week signed the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act into law on 05/12/22, bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and cosponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that will create an industry-led committee to assist in the administration of federal fisheries marketing, research, and development grants. 

“For the past 50 years, Alaska’s and America’s fishermen have lacked a meaningful seat at the table in the important Saltonstall-Kennedy federal grant process—a frustration brought to my attention by a fisherman from Kodiak back in 2015,” said U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

Sullivan said, “I made a commitment to my constituents to get this fixed, and this week, we delivered. With the signing of the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act, Alaskans will once again have a voice in directing the millions of federal grant dollars toward the priorities and needs of the fishing industry. I thank my colleagues for helping us get this important legislation passed, and for ensuring our fisheries remain the healthiest and most sustainably-managed in the world.”

“Supporting Alaska’s fisheries continues to be one of my top priorities. I’m excited that this bipartisan legislation, which will uplift our fishermen and women and invest in Alaska’s world-class fisheries, has been signed into law,” said U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowsk i( R-AK). 

Murrkowski said, “The American Fisheries Advisory Committee will award grants for research and development projects based on the unique needs of Alaska’s fishing community, ensuring future investments are going to the right communities based on local input. Senator Sullivan and I have worked hard to listen to the needs of our state, so I’m really proud to have shepherded a bill into law which ensures that the voices of fishermen in Alaska and across the nation are heard.” 

“I can’t express enough my gratitude to Senator Sullivan, Senator Murkowski, the late great Congressman Young and the other bill co-sponsors for championing the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act over the finish line,” said Matt Alward, president of the United Fishermen of Alaska.

Alward said, “This effort to restore the original intention of the Saltonstall Kennedy Act was many years in the making and was a tremendous team effort. We look forward to the creation of the committee that will enable the SK grant funding to once again be directed by the US seafood industry to what they feel will best have a positive and impactful effect on all aspects of the seafood industry.”

“I am nearly at a loss for words to describe how excited I am that Senator Sullivan had the foresight to carry this great piece of legislation!” said Bruce Schactler, director of the National Seafood Marketing Coalition and the long-time marketing committee chair of the United Fishermen of Alaska. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Alaska: Murkowski Comments on Key Arctic Developments - Following Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin's announcement Thursday of the country's interest in jointing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), US Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released a statement commenting on the membership announcement.

“Yesterday [May 14th], Finland’s President and Prime Minister announced their support for joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. I respect Finland’s right to choose its alliances and fully support its decision to pursue NATO membership. Just as Arctic nations rally behind Ukraine and provide unprecedented support in its fight against Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric invasion, they are making important decisions that reflect the best interests of their own security in a changed world,” said Senator Murkowski.  

On Thursday, the Standing Committee of the Parliamentarism of the Arctic Region (SCPAR) convened a meeting to discuss the current situation in the Arctic. Senator Murkowski was nominated to continue serving as Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the SCPAR, a position she was first selected for in April 2021.

“For the first time in its history, SCPAR [Standing Committee of the Parliamentarism of the Arctic Region] met without our Russian counterparts. We unanimously agreed that the Committee must continue to meet in order to address the wide range of issues that affect our countries and the Arctic. I also accepted the Committee’s nomination to remain its Vice Chairman,” said Senator Murkowski. “All of the Arctic nations, except Russia, are aligned in continued pursuit of peace and stability in the far north and around the world. I’m proud to represent one of the seven Arctic nations that supports productive collaboration and helps uphold a rules-based international order.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Humanitarian flights will bring 600 Ukrainians to Alaska

Humanitarian flights will bring 600 Ukrainians to Alaska
Zori Opanasevych and her sister, Oksana Vakulich, organized a fundraiser lunch to help bring Ukrainians to Alaska.
Photo courtesy of Zori Opanasevych


Alaska: Humanitarian flights will bring 600 Ukrainians to Alaska - Rasmuson Foundation’s board has approved emergency assistance to help 600 Ukrainians fleeing the war resettle in Alaska.

New Chance Inc., a nonprofit affiliated with New Chance Christian Church, is chartering three flights from Poland to Anchorage, each carrying 200 Ukrainians. Rasmuson Foundation is contributing $150,000 toward the $750,000 total cost. Alaska businesses and individuals have contributed generously, including $150,000 from Weidner Apartment Homes to match the Foundation award.

The first flight is this week, and the others will arrive later this month. Most of those coming have strong family ties to Alaska. About 150 are children.

Ukrainians coming to Alaska through efforts organized by New Chance Inc. will be arriving on commercial flights rather than chartered planes.

They are being processed for entry into the United States through the new Uniting for Ukraine program of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That is a change from the original plan and will require longer up-front processing times but may ultimately even more Ukrainians than the original 600 will make it to Alaska.

Instead of three chartered flights, small groups will fly commercially as soon as paperwork is in order. Each will be connected with a host family when they arrive.

New Chance, with Ukrainian clergy and membership, already has been helping Ukrainians displaced by the war with food, clothing and employment in Alaska. About 50 have made it here so far. The work has expanded to help Ukrainians living in camps in Poland and still in Ukraine. In March, Rasmuson Foundation provided a $25,000 grant to help with local efforts.

“Our board is unanimous in the desire to help,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “Those escaping the horrors in their homeland will be our neighbors in Alaska. We are glad to do what we can to support those who have lost so much get to a safe and welcoming place.” - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Alaska: 401 Certification for Donlin mine reaffirmed by DEC Division of Water Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Water yesterday reaffirmed its 2019 401 Certificate of Reasonable Assurance that the proposed Donlin Gold mine’s discharges to water would comply with Alaska water quality standards. The reaffirmation followed review of two technical reports from Donlin Gold LLC with new information on the impact of proposed discharges on mercury and water temperature, as well as information from Orutsararmiut Native Council (ONC).

The 401 Certification indicates the State’s reasonable assurance that issuance of the Federal Clean Water Act Section 404 permit will not cause exceedances of the State’s water quality standards. This final decision is part of the ongoing appeal filed by Earthjustice and Orutsararmiut Native Council

“In addition to reviewing the data, Division of Water’s permitting staff contracted with third-party experts to provide their opinion of Donlin’s and ONC’s reports,” said Randy Bates, Division of Water Director. “Everything that we have reviewed and analyzed further validates our issuance of the 401 Certification that Donlin will be able to meet Alaska water quality standards.” 

Under Section 401 of the U.S. Clean Water Act it is stated: must either issue a Certificate of Reasonable Assurance that proposed discharges to water would meet state water quality standards or waive the certification before the associated federal Section 404 permit to discharge dredge or fill material may be issued or deny the certification in which case the federal Section 404 permit would not be issued. 

Orutsararmiut Native Council (ONC) appealed Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision to issue the certificate to the Alaska Superior Court in June 2021. Donlin Gold LLC asked for a temporary stay in September 2021 to provide all parties with additional information on two water quality standards at issue in Orutsararmiut Native Council ’s appeal: mercury and water temperature limits. At Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s request, the Court remanded the decision to issue the certificate back to the Division to review in light of the new information. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Community Navigators Ready to Connect Tribal Citizens to Local Resources

Community Navigators Ready to Connect Tribal Citizens to Local Resources
Photo courtesy (Tlingit & Haida)


Southeast Alaska: Community Navigators Ready to Connect Tribal Citizens to Local Resources - The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) is one step closer to ensuring tribal citizens have the resources and support they need in their community. Over the past several months, Tlingit & Haida has been recruiting tribal citizens to serve as Community Navigators which are new positions created within the Tribe. These positions serve as a liaison between Tlingit & Haida and tribal citizens in 20 communities, including Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California.

“The creation of the Community Navigators program came from conversations and really listening to the needs of our communities,” shared President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson. “This program is based on a community liaison position that the Tribe has now revitalized. We’ve taken that foundation and have expanded the position so that each of our Community Navigators knows not only the Tribe’s programs and services, but also other local resources. They will not just guide tribal citizens to the resources, they will provide application support too.”

Recently the Community Navigators gathered in Juneau, Alaska to participate in an intensive four-day training conference to learn about Tlingit & Haida’s programs and services, eligibility requirements and application processes. They received specialized training on confidentiality, privacy and effective communication to facilitate care and meet our people where they are at, as well as heard presentations from every program within the Tribe.

The training conference also provided an opportunity for the Navigators to connect with each other, share resources and build relationships for future collaboration. It sparked conversations on the unique opportunity for Community Navigators to use relationships with entities outside of Tlingit & Haida and brought new ideas and goals to the forefront as Tlingit & Haida continues to expand and provide new and existing services to tribal citizens.

“I love being at the service of my people, being there for whenever they need anything whether it’s applying for COVID relief, housing, or enrollment questions,” shared Ketchikan Community Navigator Ginger McCormick.

The Community Navigators will serve in a dual role to help the Tribe’s Program Compliance department with the coordination of elections and enrollment application processes. The Community Navigators will expedite enrollment services by certifying birth certificates so originals will no longer have to be sent by mail, notarizing documents, and taking photos to create Tribal Identification cards. 

Community Navigators will also help to connect tribal citizens with employment opportunities, training and other classes offered through the Tribe’s Generations Southeast, and housing assistance through programs offered by Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority and other organizations.

Carol Martinez was Tlingit & Haida’s first Community Navigator hired and will serve her hometown of Petersburg, Alaska where she’s been helping people in her community for years who have been experiencing homelessness.

“Having a Community Navigator on the ground in each community allows tribal citizens the access and the one-on-one assistance to be able to fill out applications or even find the resources for programs not available through Tlingit & Haida,” shared Martinez.

Tlingit & Haida is still recruiting to fill Community Navigator positions in nine communities. Self Governance Manager Gail Dabaluz will oversee the Community Navigators program and is hopeful to have all positions filled soon. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

Columns - Commentary



CHRISTINE FLOWERS: DISPELLING THE MYTHS ABOUT ABORTION By CHRISTINE FLOWERS ) I was always a big fan of mythology. My particular favorite is Athena, also known as Minerva, goddess of wisdom. She is said to have sprung fully formed from her father Zeus’ head, which was probably a great relief for his wife Hera.

Athena is a myth, but one that ironically calls us to examine the truth. Given what happened last week at the Supreme Court and its aftermath, I think it’s time to dispel some of the myths surrounding the pro-life movement.

Myth: Pro-lifers only care about babies until they’re born

This is such an easy fabrication to dispel, given the long list of agencies that support pregnant women and children. Organizations like Birthright, A Baby’s Breath, Mother’s Home, Heartbeat International, Live Action, Project Rachel Ministry, Catholic Charities, and Carenet are easily accessed on the internet. Of course, those who support abortion rights don’t like to admit that these places exist, because myths are powerful. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022


RICH MANIERI: THE UNFAIRNESS OF MASS STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS - “You wanna borrow, you gotta pay the man.” Rocky Balboa was right, even way back in Rocky I.

Rocky didn’t break Bob’s thumb like Mr. Gazzo told him. Bob was late on his payments and Gazzo didn’t like it.

“How come you didn’t break this guy’s thumb like I told you?”

“I figure if I break the guy’s thumb he gets laid off and he can’t make the payments…”

“Let me do the figurin’ Rock! Just let me do the figurin’! These guys think we’re running some kind of charity or something.”

Rocky, Philly palooka though he was, had a tender heart. Still, he collected the debt because he understood the deal. Whether you’re borrowing from a loan shark on the docks or from a major lending institution – and the difference is sometimes negligible – a loan is an agreement, a contract.

“You wanna dance, you gotta pay the band,” Rocky reminded the terrified Bob. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022


FINANCIAL FOCUS: New opportunities for 529 plan owners Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS®- If you want to provide educational opportunities for your children or grandchildren, you may want to consider investing in a 529 plan. In recent years, this plan has gotten more flexible, and potentially more powerful, than ever.

A key benefit of a 529 plan is that earnings are generally tax free, provided the money is used for qualified educational expenses. As the owner of the plan, you can essentially name any beneficiary you want, and you’re free to change the beneficiary as needed. Contribution limits are quite high, so you can put away considerable sums in a 529 plan – and you may want to, because college costs have risen steadily over the years. In fact, for the 2021-22 academic year, the College Board reports that the average cost (tuition, fees, room and board) of a public, four-year college or university is more than $27,000 for in-state students and nearly $56,000 for students at private schools.

But 529 plans are no longer just for higher education. Over the past few years, the rules governing 529 plans have changed, so they can now be used for: - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022


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Political Cartoon: 63 Million
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jpg Opinion

The Effectiveness of Read by 9 Reforms By Debra Van Dyke - Reading scores for Alaska’s public-school students are unsatisfactory. In fact, Alaskan fourth-grade reading scores across all incomes rank our students dead last in the nation. Considering the importance of being able to read by the age of nine, this is unacceptable. I am encouraged by actions taken recently in the Senate, and present data here to encourage the House to advance these distinct reforms.

The best time to pass strong early literacy legislation would have been nine years ago when it was first introduced in Alaska; unfortunately, the legislature failed to take action then. The next best time is now. Alaska saw a five-point decrease in average fourth-grade reading scores between 2013 and 2019, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Mississippi, on the other hand, which does have strong early literacy policy in place, experienced an 11-point increase in average fourth-grade reading scores over that same period.

NAEP presents fourth-grade reading scores in three achievement levels: basic, proficient, and advanced. The NAEP proficient level does not equate to grade-level proficiency, since each state has different standards, but it does “[represent] solid academic performance” and is “the goal for what all students should know” at a given grade level. Because of a testing pause in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2019 test results are the most recent.

In 2013, 27.5% of all fourth graders in Alaska scored at or above the NAEP proficient level. Six years later, in 2019, only 25% scored at or above proficient. The 2019 proficiency level is nine percentage points below the national average.

However, Alaska has a diverse population and about 15% of students are considered English learners rather than non-English learners (children whose first language is English). Interestingly, while average total scores are lower for English learners than for non-English learners, English learner scores have increased significantly since 2013. Fourth-grade reading scores for non-English learners, however, have decreased. Between 2013 and 2019, average total scores for English learners increased from 154 to 170. Non-English learner scores, on the other hand, decreased from 218 to 210, which is barely within the NAEP basic level parameters. The goal today should be to help all Alaskan students reach the NAEP proficient level. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

jpg Opinion

Capital Budget FY23 By Rep Dan Ortiz - This week, the Alaska State Legislature is finishing up work on the Capital Budget. Our priorities for capital projects this year are to use the additional revenue from this year’s high oil prices to take care of our aging infrastructure and past due obligations to districts. In FY20, only half of what was owed to communities for school bond debt reimbursement was paid, and nothing was paid in FY21. This year there is a $220 million appropriation to cover the difference in funding over previous years. This is great news for the communities of Ketchikan and Wrangell and their schools. The Legislature has also put $100 million toward the Department of Education’s major maintenance grant fund, and Ketchikan High school is set to receive just over $500 thousand for security upgrades from this fund, which was the main priority for the Ketchikan Borough Assembly Lobbying Executive Committee.

District 36 also received funding for a variety of capital projects. Most of the funding our district will see is for transportation, as the Department of Transportation has allotted $30 million of federal funds toward planning and design of a new mainline vessel for AMHS, just over $14 million for improvements to terminal expansion and seaplane docks and ramp of the Ketchikan International Airport, $1 million for the Hydaburg Seaplane Base rehabilitation, $817k for Ketchikan’s Sayles/Gorge street viaduct improvement project, and $3 million for the Wolf Point rock slope stabilization project. Other funding in this budget includes $4.1 million towards Wrangell Water Treatment Plant improvements, and $5 million towards the Mariculture Grant Fund, which will help encourage industry growth in our district. Money left over from previous Ketchikan Pioneer Home projects will be reappropriated to the Pioneer Home for deferred maintenance, including improvements to the HVAC system. - More...
Saturday PM - May 14, 2022

jpg analysis

Fed hopes for ‘soft landing’ for the US economy, but history suggests it won’t be able to prevent a recession BY ALEX DOMASH AND LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS - The Federal Reserve will likely soon learn what gymnasts already know: sticking a landing is hard. - More...
Monday PM - May 02, 2022

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