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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

June 03, 2015

Front Page Photo By KERRY DEEDS

Golden Tongass Sunset
Southeast Alaska sunset as viewed from South Point Higgins Beach.
Front Page Photo By KERRY DEEDS ©2015

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May 2015 Photo of the Month is TONGASS ORCA BY SHAWNA SHOTWELL

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THE DUTCH HARBOR WAR; Flags Ordered Lowered by Governor Bill Walker on Dutch Harbor Remembrance Day, June 3rd By JUNE ALLEN - It was the summer of 1942. America had been at war since just after the shocking Japanese sneak air attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, which temporarily crippled the U.S. Pacific fleet and killed 2,300 Americans.

Burning buildings at Ft. Mears after first enemy attack on Dutch Harbor, 3 June 1942....
Historical Photo - Public Domain - Naval Historical Center
Photo Courtesy Department of the United States Navy

Ketchikan mourned one of those casualties, Navy Ensign Irvin Thompson, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Thompson. A graduate of Ketchikan High School, class of '35, Thompson was lost in the sinking of the battleship Oklahoma. His death, the first Alaskan serviceman casualty of World War II, brought home the reality of war to his little Tongass Narrows hometown of 4,700 people. The entire population of Alaska at the time was only 72,500!

Six months later, on a chilly summer morning seventy-three years ago today, on June 3, 1942, Japanese bombers from carriers in the North Pacific attacked an Alaska town! - Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island, home of a small naval facility. After that first news break, the U.S. military high command slapped an immediate blackout on any news of the ensuing war in Alaska. Postwar commentators remarked that America would surely have panicked had it known that the enemy had attacked American soil - and could envision the enemy continuing down the West Coast to major cities! That news blackout was the reason so few know about the Alaska theater of war. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 03, 2015

Alaska: Alaska Republicans blast EPA, Obama for overreach on water rule By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Obama administration last week asserted its authority over the nation's streams, wetlands and other smaller waterways, and moved forward with one of the most controversial environmental regulations in recent years.

In what the Environmental Protection Agency is calling an historic step for the protection of clean water, the EPA and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule on May 27th to clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources.

This rule will ensure that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined and predictably determined, making permitting less costly, easier, and faster for businesses and industry. The rule is grounded in law and the latest science, and is shaped by public input. The rule does not create any new permitting requirements for agriculture and maintains all previous exemptions and exclusions.

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures – which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”

“[Wednesday's] rule marks the beginning of a new era in the history of the Clean Water Act,” said Assistant Secretary for the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy. “This is a generational rule and completes another chapter in history of the Clean Water Act. This rule responds to the public's demand for greater clarity, consistency, and predictability when making jurisdictional determinations. The result will be better public service nationwide."

People need clean water for their health: About 117 million Americans – one in three people – get drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before the Clean Water Rule. America’s cherished way of life depends on clean water, as healthy ecosystems provide wildlife habitat and places to fish, paddle, surf, and swim. Clean and reliable water is an economic driver, including for manufacturing, farming, tourism, recreation, and energy production. The health of our rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters are impacted by the streams and wetlands where they begin.

Protection for many of the nation’s streams and wetlands has been confusing, complex, and time-consuming as the result of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006. EPA and the Army are taking this action today to provide clarity on protections under the Clean Water Act after receiving requests for over a decade from members of Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, environmental groups, scientists, and the public for a rulemaking.


In developing the rule, the agencies held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders across the country, reviewed over one million public comments, and listened carefully to perspectives from all sides. EPA and the Army also utilized the latest science, including a report summarizing more than 1,200 peer-reviewed, published scientific studies which showed that small streams and wetlands play an integral role in the health of larger downstream water bodies.

The agencies said climate change makes protection of water resources even more essential. Streams and wetlands provide many benefits to communities by trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater supplies, filtering pollution, and providing habitat for fish and wildlife. Impacts from climate change like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures threaten the quantity and quality of America’s water. Protecting streams and wetlands will improve our nation’s resilience to climate change.

In response, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for overreaching in its efforts to expand the list of waterways covered by the Clean Water Act. Murkowski said the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule would greatly expand the amount of area in Alaska that will require federal permits for development – immediately creating one more roadblock to responsible construction and other productive activities.

“The EPA’s expansion of the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act appears to threaten economic activities across the country – and nowhere is the impact more likely than in Alaska,” Murkowski said. “With half of all of the wetlands in the United States, Alaska is directly in the sights of the federal bureaucrats back in Washington, DC, who will now be able to make decisions from more than 4,000 miles away about how we develop almost any part of our state.”

The new rule, which the EPA released last Wednesday morning, would require a federal permit for any activity that results in a discharge into any body of water covered by the new definition of “waters of the United States,” including small streams and wetlands. Murkowski said the rule is so broad that it could also apply to areas of permafrost that become wetlands during the short summer months, or any other patch of land statewide where water could potentially wash across during the year. She also criticized the EPA for paying lip service to the concerns of state officials and local stakeholders without offering any real relief as it issued the final rule. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 06, 2015



Alaska: Return of artifacts fulfills century-old promise By THERESA BAKKER - More than 3,000 artifacts collected 100 years ago near the North Slope village of Kaktovik are back in Alaska as a result of a collaborative effort among the community, archaeological researchers, ExxonMobil Corp. and the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

Return of artifacts fulfills century-old promise

These arrowheads, on loan to the University of Alaska Museum of the North from the Canadian Museum of History, were collected by Diamond Jenness in 1914 on Barter Island, Alaska.
Photo by Kelsey Gobroski, UA Museum of the North

The artifacts excavated at Barter Island were preserved at the Canadian Museum of History after being collected by Diamond Jenness in 1914 as part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition. Now on loan to the university museum in Fairbanks, the collection recently was accessed by Chumis Cultural Resources Services, Northern Land Use Research Alaska and the museum to fulfill part of a cultural resources agreement outlined under ExxonMobil’s Point Thomson Project. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 03, 2015

Southeast Alaska & NW: Comments sought on regulations requiring Navy to implement measures to protect marine mammals during testing - Comments for a proposed rule requiring the United States Navy to implement protective measures during activities at their Northwest training and testing study area are being sought by NOAA Fisheries. The testing study areas are in state waters off Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and northern California to reduce the chances of harming marine mammals.

The Navy has requested an authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act because the sound generated by mid-frequency active sonar and the pressure generated by detonating explosives might affect the behavior of some marine mammals, due to a temporary loss of their hearing sensitivity or other injury.

The Navy is currently operating under rules issued in 2010 and 2011. Since then, the Navy has submitted annual monitoring and exercise reports. They are required to renew their MMPA authorization every five years.

Under the authorization, the Navy would have to follow mitigation measures to minimize effects on marine mammals, including:

  • Establishing marine mammal mitigation zones around each vessel using sonar;
  • Using observers to shut down sonar operations if marine mammals are seen within designated mitigation zones;
  • Using mitigation zones to ensure that explosives are not detonated when animals are detected within a certain distance; and
  • Implementing a stranding response plan that includes a training shutdown provision in certain circumstances, and allows for the Navy to contribute in-kind services to NOAA Fisheries if the agency has to conduct a stranding response and investigation.

According to NOAA Fisheries, no deaths of marine mammals are anticipated or authorized, and the measures included in the proposed rule should minimize the potential for injury and significantly reduce the number of marine mammals exposed to levels of sound likely to cause behavioral reactions and temporary loss of hearing sensitivity.

Additionally, the proposed rule includes an adaptive management component that requires the Navy and NOAA Fisheries to meet yearly to discuss new science, Navy research and development, and Navy monitoring results to determine if modifications to mitigation or monitoring measures are appropriate. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 03, 2015



Columns - Commentary

jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Magna Carta: The 800th Anniversary - "Magna Carta? Wasn't that the show Tom Selleck was on before 'Blue Bloods'?"

*Sigh* In fact, Magna Carta (Latin for "Great Charter") is one of the most significant documents in history, drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between King John of England (infamous from the Robin Hood legends) and a group of rebel barons.

The provisions of the charter were agreed to on June 15, 1215 at Runnymede — meaning Magna Carta will soon be celebrating its 800th birthday.

Too bad modern media didn't exist to record the goings on. The warring factions would have made for great pay-per-view. ("Putting the feud into feudal!!!")

Of course one of the claims to fame of Magna Carta was that it was the first FORMAL document stating that a king had to follow the laws of the land. (Previous INFORMAL documents included, "Y'all ought not be doin' that kind'a stuff. What would your momma think, bless her heart?")

Yes, Magna Carta declared unabashedly that the KING is not above the law. You'll find that as Number 7 in Barack Obama's book "10 Reasons Why I Wanted To Be PRESIDENT."

If you think of Magna Carta at all, you probably think it has a long unbroken history. In fact, both sides violated it almost immediately, modified versions were issued in 1216, 1225 and 1297 (let's not even get into the XP, Vista and Magna Carta 8 versions) and only three of the 63 clauses still remain in English statute law. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 03, 2015

jpg Jeff Lund

JEFF LUND: The problem with not waiting - What’s my problem? I’m such an idiot sometimes. Yeah, I say this a lot, but seriously. I knew better.

It was right there. I knew it was there, yet I walked down to it. You don’t just walk down to where you know a steelhead is holding in thin, clear water. You trust it’s there, cast to it, it bites, you feel like the greatest fisherman in the world and then post the picture on the social media of your choice.

But not me. No. Not on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. If you’re me, you need to see the fish you want to catch and in doing so, spook it and ruin what you think will be your only chance.

I wasn’t too distraught because it’s been a great steelhead season, but still, it’s never good to be reminded of your potential to be a fool. Plus, this was after I went to my favorite spot that was filled to capacity – with humans. The creek was secret, or at least unmentioned, by locals at one time. Now, it’s hammered each spring because people like me write about great places and people like to see those great places. I’m mostly positive I’ve never mentioned this place in print (certainly not for its steelhead) but I’m still sorta the problem. Vehicles registered in Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and some locals were present - their occupants throwing spinners, jigs and flies in the few productive spots of the river not made to sustain such traffic. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 03, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Hillary's 3am Call

Political Cartoon: Hillary's 3am Call
By Gary McCoy ©2015, Cagle Cartoons
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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

letter CORRUPTION, COLLUSION, & GRAND CONSPIRACY By David G Hanger  - For all practical purposes the financial foundation of the government of the state of Alaska has been destroyed. According to one reliable source, who I am sure will do his own write-ups on the subject, the tax credits already generated by the oil companies are sufficient for them to avoid paying state taxes for any number of years to come. Kudos to the collective idiocy of the Alaska electoral majority who bit off on oil company propaganda and voted for this crap because you have not only voted to tax to the max yourselves, but even more so babies in diapers. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 26, 2015

letter Deep cuts in state budget By John Suter - We see in the news every day about how the legislature is working on deep cut backs for fire, police, road maintenance, schools and all the other state departments. However, there is no mention of cut backs on the state giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the oil companies in tax credits. They have special exemptions from cut backs. What’s up with that? How come they don’t have to have deep cut backs like all of the state’s departments do? - More...
Tuesday PM - May 26, 2015

letter Non-profits in Ketchikan By Lisa Scarborough - Recently you may have read or heard about the cut in funding to local nonprofits in our community by the Ketchikan Borough Assembly. The funding these organizations and agencies get from our local government is funding used to leverage, I would venture to guess, in excess of 2-3 million dollars each year. The organization that I am involved with, Love In Action, brings in around $125,000 in other grant funds each year alone. These organizations do wonderful work for your friends, family and neighbors throughout the year, whether elderly, disabled or just having trouble putting enough food on the table - services of all different kinds are provided by caring community involved residents. If you know of someone who fits these categories or you are someone who fits in these categories, I would ask you to consider speaking up and letting your government know that the needs are real. The borough is concerned with economic development and I would say that healthy, secure and sustainable families and individuals contribute to a healthy economic community because they work, shop and live in this community. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 26, 2016

letter RE: The Third Quarter of 2016 By Daniel C McQueen - Mr. Hanger hit the nail squarely on the head. Good Job! - More...
Tuesday PM - May 26, 2015

letter Vaccinations By Amanda Mitchell - Every media outlet seemed to be covering the Disneyland outbreak. Did you read where they said the parents choosing to opt their kids out of vaccines caused this? Did you read anything about the whistleblower that came out, Dr. William Thompson, Senior Scientist for the CDC, stating that they intentionally manipulated and adjusted the study data to erase a link to autism from the MMR vaccine? [1, 2,] Did you read about how Merck is being sued for fraud by its own scientists? [3, 4] I would like to go through the Disneyland case, the vaccination logic, and much more. I hope that you bear with me (print it out and read it in chunks if needed), securely fasten your best thinking cap on and get ready to leave your presuppositions behind. We are going to where many of you have never gone before and I hope this will make you think, ask questions and do your own research. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 26, 2015

letter Ketchikan faces a new opportunity By Kent Miller - From inception of the Alaska Marine Highway System through the 1970s, Alaska Marine Highway ships every year ran south to Puget Sound for maintenance, often laying in Seattle through the winter. Then, Ketchikan citizens proposed development of an Alaskan shipyard to perform necessary ship maintenance and repair in Alaska. This was a novel concept at the time, it was even said it could not be done. But today Ketchikan Shipyard demonstrates that ship repair and newbuilding are viable sectors of Alaska’s economy. In creating the Ketchikan Shipyard, Alaskans, and especially the citizens and workers of Ketchikan, have succeeded in bringing home millions of dollars in expenditure — Alaska’s earnings and wealth — that otherwise would have continued to flow outside. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2016 By David G Hanger - Start saving now for what will transpire locally by the third quarter of 2016, or, conversely, get ready to move. I was a little surprised to hear that already the state is delaying payments to the shipyard, and a year from now that situation will be much, much worse. By the end of the third quarter 2016 this hospital boondoggle will have concluded itself, and all those people will have cleared out with their gains that the remaining citizens of this town will be paying off for the next 30 years. We will be lucky if the economic contraction is in the 10% to 15% range; contingent upon what our politicians do that contraction could be 25% or more. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter Bar Harbor Parking By Mike Youngblood - Those of us who regularly use the parking area around the VFW hall while we access our boats have noticed recently that parking has become a real issue there. The construction of the new addition to the hospital requires numerous workers, and they all need a place to park. It’s very convenient for them since it’s right across the street from the jobsite. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter High School Concert By Judith Green - We have wonderful dedicated musicians here in our school district - thank you to each one of you. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter Myth: Man-made Global Warming By Marvin Seibert - Chicken Little once screamed the Sky is falling! Now we have Barack Obama and his minions claiming the same thing. Mr. Obama claims that it is causing Rising Seas, Poverty, ISIS Beheadings and now Asthma. All you need to know that it is another way for governments to have an excuse to control people s behavior. What he won t tell you that this is just the natural cycle of the climate of the earth. Activity from the Sun regulates the climate, how arrogant is it to believe that man has any influence! - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter LOCAL GOVERNMENTS STEPPING UP TO FILL SHORTFALLS IN SCHOOL FUNDING WON’T BE ENOUGH IF LEGISLATURE DOESN’T RESTORE BASIC FUNDING By Lisa Parady - Juneau and Fairbanks are amongst the municipalities that have voted to increase education funding in light of the gap created by the state legislature. Cities and boroughs can’t do it alone, however. The Legislature should fulfill its commitments, since education is both a constitutional duty and, as schools educate the vast majority of the children in the state, the best place to invest limited funds. In doing its part – by restoring the formula cuts – the legislature can give schools and school boards the time needed to sort out sensible options for the future. Finally, it should be noted that it is unusually underhanded to cut school funding while simultaneously draining forward funding for schools, effectively shorting schools today while taking school dollars for tomorrow to fund other government activities. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter Why the Uproar Over Unjust
Teacher Evaluations is a Sham
By Cevin Soling - Recently, Sheri Lederman, a 4th grade teacher, filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Education on the grounds that the metrics used to appraise her performance are fundamentally flawed. Despite a bevy of sincere accolades from students and parents that stretch the length of her esteemed 17 year career, she was deemed “ineffective” as an educator based on her value-added modeling (VAM) evaluation. This complaint follows three other lawsuits which evidence mounting resistance among educators to this approach of measuring performance. In response, defenders cite a body of scientific research that went into developing the assessment protocol. While critics are undeniably correct about certain fundamental problems with VAM – it does not take a genius to realize that if students get high scores on a test, there is little room for measured growth – teachers’ unmitigated hypocrisy undermines any reason to acknowledge the legitimacy of their grievances. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter Troops Needed In Afghanistan By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Obama administration finally listened to our military leaders, and they are now planning on leaving 9800 troops in Afghanistan through 2016 and probably beyond. Originally they were going to draw down to 5500 troops. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter Re: U.S. History By Derek Andrews - So yet again someone reads or sees comments and twists them out of context because they most likely have some dislike of an individual. Mr. Mateer did this regarding First Lady Michelle Obama due to her saying the founding fathers of the America were not born in the United States. He argues Ben Franklin was born in Pennsylvania and others were born in Virginia. He then concludes his findings with a quote from John Wayne to call her stupid. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

letter Re: U.S History By Margaret Cloud - The letter supposedly written by Michael Mateer has been circulating for some time (about a year) and is nothing more than a copy/paste. It is also factually incorrect. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 20, 2015

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