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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 08, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By CAROLYN CHAPMAN

Marvin, the friendly Inman Street neighborhood cat, strolled up for his morning walk around the boardwalks. Marvin and this juvenile eagle looked each other over, neither seeming too interested in the other. After checking each other out, Marvin and the eagle each continued on their separate ways.
Front Page Feature Photo By CAROLYN CHAPMAN ©2017

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Ketchikan: USCG CUTTER CAPE ROMAIN STILL ON PATROL; Longtime Ketchikan ship still sailing for CA Sea Scouts By DAVE KIFFER - While Ketchikan is all abuzz with the arrival this spring and summer of two brand new 154-foot United States Coast Guard cutters, there are still many local residents who remember the long history of an earlier Cutter, the Cape Romain, which spent more than two decades patrolling the Alexander Archipelago.

USCG CUTTER CAPE ROMAIN STILL ON PATROL; Longtime Ketchikan ship still sailing for CA Sea Scouts

Cape Romain
Photo Courtesy Sea Scouts

During its 26 years in the First City, the Cape Romain took part in just about every major event in the community, according to a 1986 story in the Ketchikan Daily News, 

The Cape Romain was the 20th of the 36 cutters built at the United States Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland. It entered service on Oct. 11, 1955.

It was a B class cutter meaning that is was slightly larger, at 105 tons, than the A Class cutters that preceded it. The 95-footers, as they were colloquially called, had aluminum superstructures and steel hulls. The 95-footers replaced the 83-foot wooden patrol boats that had been around since before World War II.

Originally, they were designed for anti-submarine warfare, although they all spent their careers primarily as patrol and search and rescue boats. Originally, the ships simply went by their hull numbers, which in the case of the Romain was 95139.  Prior to the early 1960s, coast guard cutters under 100 feet in length were not named, but the law was changed in 1964 and they were named after American geographic capes. Becoming known then as “cape” class cutters.

The Cape Romain was named after Cape Romain in South Carolina, not far from Charleston. Cape Romain - also sometimes called Cape Roman - is a dangerous spit of land that has had lighthouses on it for nearly 200 years because its shoals extend up to nine miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The type B Cape Class ships like the Romain were powered initially by four Cummins VT-600 2,200 horsepower diesels, although some were eventually refitted with a pair of Detroit 16V149 diesels that generated 2,470 horsepower. Top speed was 22 knots, but most of the time the ships cruised around 12 knots. At that speed, the Cape Romain had a range of about 1,700 miles. A crew of 15 operated the boat.

Although the ships didn't have anti-submarine duties most were still equipped with depth charge racks. The Type B ships like the Romain also had an 1.40 mm cannon and two .50 caliber machine guns. Later cutters including the Romain also received a grenade launcher retrofit.

Originally, the Cape Romain was stationed at Point Loma, California, according the Cape Class cutter history on the USCG website. She performed law enforcement and search and rescue duties there until 1962 when she was stationed in Ketchikan. She remained in the First City for 23 years. She was then stationed in San Francisco from 1986 to 1990.

Her duties in Ketchikan were mostly search and rescue and the Cape Romain was involved in a variety of high profile crew rescues, in addition to helping to fight several major waterfront fires in the 1960s and 1970s, according the history website.  The Cape Romain was also sent north to help in the aftermath of the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were disputes over the US-Canadian border in Dixon Entrance and the Cape Romain was frequently sent on patrols to monitor Canadian fishing activity which was taking place near Alaskan territory at Cape Chacon and Cape Muzon. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

Senate President Responds to Governor's Budget Compromise - Responding to Governor Bill Walker's budget compromise package, Senate President Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks) in a prepared statement made it clear regarding the Governor's proposed income tax, “The Senate Majority remains strongly opposed to an income tax.”

Kelly said Wednesday, “The Senate Majority appreciates Governor Walker offering a solution. The only way to reach agreement on the issues before us is when all parties are willing to sit down and have a real discussion. These are important issues with real-life consequences for hundreds of thousands of Alaskans. The Senate is currently evaluating the Governor’s proposal. While we’ll agree on some points and disagree on others, an operating budget for FY18 is our highest priority."

“When we swore an oath of office," said Kelly, "we vowed to discharge our duties. Our sole requirement, under the Constitution, is to pass an operating budget each year. The Senate is committed to prioritizing that action, and there is no time to waste. July 1 is fast approaching."

“We have called on and will meet the House at the conference committee table to carry out those budget negotiations, as we do every year," said Kelly. "We have said many times we stand ready to negotiate. Our goal is to deliver a reduced budget that continues essential services for Alaskans, avoids unnecessary layoffs and delivers stability and certainty to our private sector."

“The Majority appreciates the Governor’s willingness to step up with a comprehensive proposal and, while we prioritize a budget, we will continue to talk with the Governor to achieve consensus," said Kelly. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

Southeast Alaska: Thousands of Alaskans sign onto letter requesting public lands remain in the public trust - Wednesday, thousands of business owners, guides, outfitters, hunters and anglers who support conserving and maintaining access to public lands released a letter urging Alaska’s congressional representatives and the Trump Administration to keep public lands in the public trust while celebrating the many uses of the Tongass National Forest.
The letter states: “As individuals that depend on access to abundant natural resources, we believe the Tongass National Forest must continue to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service on a multiple-use basis. We stand together in opposition to any effort to transfer management or ownership of Federal public lands in Southeast Alaska to State or private entities [and] any proposals that threaten to unreasonably restrict public access or would harm fish and game populations by eliminating essential federal conservation designations and measures, such as the Tongass 77.”
At its core, the letter expresses concern that transferring public lands into private hands will harm the resource-based economy and culture of Southeast Alaska. However, many signers participated as a celebration of their support for the numerous uses and benefits of the Tongass National Forest. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

Southeast Alaska: UAS “FINISH COLLEGE ALASKA” OFFERS FLEXIBILITY FOR ADULT DEGREE COMPLETION - The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) is currently promoting Finish College Alaska, with flexible online learning options and customized degree programs designed for the 120,000 Alaskans with some college but no degree.  It's college that fits life, work and play schedules. 

Regardless of where prior college credits have been earned, UAS’ degree completion specialists will help students outline plans that fit their goals and needs. Credit for prior learning, military courses and occupations will be considered in each student’s personalized plan for success.  

As a special incentive for newly-returning students, UAS is offering a 3 credit tuition waiver for eligible Finish College Alaska applicants -- up to an equivalent of $700 -- among other benefits. To be eligible , applicants must have completed the equivalent of 60 semester credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university. They must also demonstrate a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better, and not have attended any college in the last 12 months.  

Degrees incorporated into Finish College Alaska help prepare Alaskans for careers in counseling, justice, business, accounting, education, and more.  Featured degrees, which can be completed entirely online, are the Bachelor of Business Administration, the Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, Bachelor of Liberal Arts, and Bachelor of Arts in Education. - More....
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017


Meals on the go: The physics of whales' eating habits - In a recent paper published in PLOS One, Saint Louis University professor of physics Jean Potvin, Ph.D., and biologist Alexander Werth, Ph.D. at Hampden-Sydney College, detail for the first time how baleen whales use crossflow filtration to separate prey from water without ever coming into contact with the baleen. Baleen are comb-like keratin plates that have replaced the teeth of the whale's ancestors about 30 million years ago and play the role of a filtration surface in their mouths. The researchers looked at how this type of feeding affects a whale's drag as it moves through the water and how this form of filtration is enhanced by a large body size.

Meals on the go: The physics of whales' eating habits

Humpback whales pod co-op feeding (baleen whales).
Photo Credit: Marilyn Dahlheim (NOAA)
Courtesy Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)

Scientists hope that a greater understanding of how these aquatic mammals feed will shed light on how whales have evolved to the enormous sizes seen today. This new knowledge also will aid conservation efforts for whales, most of which are endangered species. 

"As a physicist, I collaborate with biologists and paleontologists," Potvin said. "We study the physics of the various feeding mechanisms used by whales such as the humpback, blue and right whales. One practical aspect of this research is to know how much food they need. For the largest species, the food is krill and copepods. With climate change and human exploitation currently affecting prey availability, scientists wonder how whales will adjust to the possible food shortages or geographical displacements that are likely to arise. Answering how much food whales need to eat, or in other words, how much energy they have to spend throughout the year to catch and digest food, will help answer this question. 

"Blue whales, for example, feed on millions of krill that gather in big patches, in many cases patches that are larger than the whales themselves. This allows whales to grow to enormous sizes. These whales are the largest animals to have ever lived on Earth - they are larger than most dinosaurs. They engulf water and prey, and then filter what they don't need out through the baleen plates. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017




JEFF LUND: Adventure tolerance - In July, my first set of friends from California will come up and get their week-long slice of Alaska. It’s been fun to see how far we’ve altered the threshold of adventure for a few of them since they first visited. 

“I’m really excited to come up, I don’t even care if we fish,” said Brian a high school teacher and softball coach before he was shown the ways of taking terminal salmon with a snagging hook. 

Fast forward five years and he’s the one checking the tides and recommending we get up at 3:30 a.m. to get on the road and make sure we get to the snagging grounds on time.

His sense of wild has changed. His perception of the amount of adventure he can handle has changed. He craves the outdoors – as long as it’s for about a week, in summer and under my supervision. 

It’s normal to get hooked by the idea of being bolder. Not in that teenage rebellious type way, but in that, me vs. nature sort of way. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017


DANNY TYREE: How Much Do You Hate Property Taxes? - Many people in my hometown have been freaking out over their property tax appraisals, so it was timely that I discovered a Motley Fool article titled "Why Property Taxes Are The Most Hated Levy In America."

First, a couple of disclaimers. Since I have a child in public school, I have not felt particularly overwhelmed by my own tax bill. And I'm truly appreciative of a conscientious county employee who got two worthless buildings removed from my mother's tax appraisal.

Still, I can see why a survey conducted by Gallup, CNN and USA Today a decade ago declared the property tax to be the most despised tax by more than a two-to-one margin.

It is hard to wrap your mind around the logic of some taxes. Sure, "sin taxes" indulge our Puritanical heritage of discouraging antisocial behaviors.And fuel taxes defray the costs of infrastructure. But income taxes punish us for working and investing. And property taxes punish us for (a) keeping realtors busy or (b) upgrading the appearance of our existing property. - More...
Thursday AM - JUne 08, 2017


SOCIAL SECURITY MATTERS: Social Security Isn't Welfare; Raiding the Social Security Trust Fund; & Government Pension Offset (GPO) & Maximizing Benefits By RUSSELL GLOOR, AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor - Dear Rusty:  I receive Social Security, but I still go in the hole to the tune of about $300 per month!  I hear some people describing Social Security as "welfare" but I resent that description.  Between my employer and me, we pay over 15% of every paycheck to Social Security, so it's not "welfare", it's my hard earned money that I've paid these taxes on for 47 years.  The Government has spent my money instead of investing it to make sure I could retire and not live under a bridge.   I think that they should pay me back plus interest so I can live out my retirement!  Signed:  Disgusted

Dear Disgusted:  You're right that it's your hard earned money that you've contributed to Social Security for many years, and it's certainly not "welfare" by any definition.  I do understand your frustration but I'd like to clarify a couple of things you are concerned about.

You're correct that you and your employer have contributed over 15% of every paycheck to "FICA", but not all of that goes to the Social Security Trust Fund.  The breakdown is that 12.4% goes to the SS Trust Fund, and the rest - 2.9% - goes to help fund Medicare.  The combined 12.4% Social Security contribution is evenly split - 6.2% each by you and your employer.  Of the 6.2% you both contribute, 5.3% goes to the Old Age & Survivors Insurance (OASI) fund from which regular Social Security benefits are paid, and 0.9% goes to the Disability Insurance (DI) fund from which SS disability benefits are paid.  Nevertheless it is, as you say, your money - and your employer's - that goes into these funds. - More....
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

jpg ditorial Cartoon: Trump's Tweets

Editorial Cartoon: Trump's Tweets
By Rick McKee ©2017, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Looming Government Shutdown By Senator Berta Gardner - For years, Republicans in the legislature have stonewalled all efforts to create a stable, durable fiscal plan.  This must stop.  We cannot accept a plan simply because it averts a government shut down this year, while all but guaranteeing one next year. The can has been kicked far enough and it’s time for a long-term solution. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

letter Finding fiscal waste By A. M. Johnson - In a citizen's effort to assist in finding areas of the state budget woes, the following site and information was passed to Representative Ortiz [Dan]. Knowing Dan's desire to fine solutions along with refining departmental cost it is felt that Dan will confirm the numbers this report exposes and take the appropriate actions to eliminate the obvious always hidden from the public, cost to taxpayers that needn't be. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017

letter Understanding the Legislative Standoff: The House Plan Versus the Senate Plan By Ghert Abbott - The best way to understand the reasons behind the current legislative standoff is to examine the House Majority’s fiscal plan and the Senate Majority’s fiscal plan side by side, in order to determine their respective goals and values. - More...
Monday PM - June 05, 2017

letter State Shutdown By Lance Clark - So now Governor Walker and the Alaska House Majority Coalition are saying if we can't have an income tax, i.e. our money, they'll shut down the state. All I can say is I hope they never get elected for anything anywhere ever again. - More...
Friday PM - June 02, 2017

letter The Solution is in the Non-Partisan Middle By Rep. Dan Ortiz - As of June 1st, the Alaska State Legislature is in the middle of the “special session” called by Governor Bill Walker. The Governor called us into special session because we reached the end of the 121st day of regular legislative session without fulfilling our one required legislative duty – to pass a state operating and capital budget out of both the House and the Senate for the Governor’s signature. The two bodies are currently at odds and at nearly a standstill over the issue of establishing a fiscal plan. So far, there has been no compromise to find the middle ground. - More...
Friday PM - June 02, 2017

letter Boy Scouts Camporee By Drace Mattson - I got to go on a campout with three Boy Scout troops and it was really fun. We had a smoked pig and cooking challenges. There were lots of fun challenges for us to compete in. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

letter Thank the Republican Party By Norbert Chaudhary - I'd like to personally thank Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan as well as Congressman Don Young for their unwavering and unquestioning support of President Donald Trump. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

letter Permanent Fund By Norma Lankerd - Just FYI, I'm born in ALaska, received every permanent dividend since it was established when Governor Jay Hammond got it all set up. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

letter European Immigrant Problems By Donald Moskowitz - A truck assault in Berlin Germany is one of many problems Germany is experiencing with 1 million Middle East and North African immigrants, mostly young males, who are committing murders, robberies and assaults on German Christians and Jews, especially women; and Chancellor Merkel wants to take in another 1 million. The German interior minister said German citizens with dual nationalities who are terrorists and/or a threat to national security should be deported.- More...
Tuesday PM - May 30, 2017

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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