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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 09, 2018

Up A Tree
This Herring Cove bear cub is like other cubs in that they can climb trees and will wait for mother bear. Not only can black bears climb trees, they are strong swimmers. Best not to mess with a mama bear's cub as black bears can run 35 miles per hour and will fiercely defend their cub.
To view a photo of this cub with its mother click here.
Front Page Feature Photo By JAMES (JIM) LEWIS ©2018

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Alaska: Landmark Bill Reforming Alaska’s Overburdened Foster Care System Signed by Governor - Thursday, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed landmark legislation into law to implement proven reforms to Alaska’s overburdened foster care system. The two-year process to pass House Bill 151 concluded in the final days of the Second Session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature. Gov. Walker signed the bill during a ceremony at the UAA Child Welfare Academy in Anchorage. The Governor was joined bill sponsor Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage), who grew up in foster care, and dozens of current and former foster youth, including several youth preparing to attend the University of Alaska in the fall. 

Rep. Gara said, “This success belongs to the current and former foster youth who’ve poured their hearts out and bravely told their stories to legislators to educate us all. Their fingerprints are all over this bill, and the many past reforms we’ve worked on together. That includes the addition of needed college scholarships and job training support, which were added after youth explained the need for a system that helps youth succeed after leaving care. The proven reforms called for in this bill will improve the lives of thousands of foster youth in Alaska. I want to thank dedicated public servants like Valerie Davidson, tireless advocates like Amanda Metivier, legislators of all political stripes who helped, and to the Governor who stood up to endorse this reform effort early on. At its best government helps people succeed, and that’s the goal of the many evidence-based reforms in this legislation. We want youth facing devastating life disruptions to have fewer hurdles in life.”

HB 151, The Children Deserve a Loving Home Act, implements comprehensive national best practices for foster care, including strong training and workload standards for caseworkers in the Alaska Office of Children’s Services. New caseworkers will be provided six weeks of quality training, and be given lower, nationally recommended caseload levels, so they can do the work to get youth back with their original families, or into a permanent loving home faster, with less trauma. Currently, it is normal for caseworkers to carry caseloads 50 percent to 100 percent higher than what national child advocacy experts recommend. That causes youth to languish in foster care, sometimes in multiple temporary foster homes, far too long.  

“This landmark piece of legislation offers sweeping changes to Alaska’s child welfare system. There are reasons why we have more foster youth than ever before. The opioid epidemic is tearing apart families and leaving kids and young adults living on the edge. The recession is costing people jobs, and Alaska leads the nation in the rates of domestic and sexual violence. There is uncertainty everywhere, but thanks to this bill there may be more certainty for these brave children and youth that they will have good caseworkers with the resources and knowledge to help,” said Amanda Metivier, founder of Facing Foster Care in Alaska.

In addition to training and caseload restrictions, HB 151 implements other major changes to support the well-being of youth in foster care. Caseworkers will now routinely conduct exhaustive searches for relatives so more foster youth can be placed with loving family members. Foster care placements with relatives like aunts, uncles, or grandparents are often far less traumatizing to foster youth than being placed with a stranger. HB 151 also requires the sharing of contact information so that siblings in separate foster care placements can maintain needed contact with the closest people in their lives. The bill also allows foster parents to make normal decisions for youth about sports, vacations, or other activities without clearing them through their caseworker, which creates extra work and unnecessary frustration. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

Southeast Alaska: Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Methamphetamine in Southeast Alaska - Zerisenay Gebregiorgis, 36, a Washington resident, was sentenced on June 1, 2018 in Juneau by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess, to serve 121 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.  Gebregiorgis was previously convicted in December 2017, following a five-day jury trial.  The sentencing announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder.

According to evidence presented at trial, between June 1, 2016, and Aug. 16, 2016, Gebregiorgis and others planned to distribute large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine in the communities of Ketchikan and Sitka.  Gebregiorgis supplied drugs to drug couriers, who carried the drugs inside their bodies to other co-conspirators in Ketchikan and Sitka for subsequent distribution.  Drug proceeds were then given to the couriers to be carried back to Seattle to be delivered to Gebregiorgis or deposited into bank accounts controlled by Gebregiorgis. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018


Fish Factor:
Recycling old fishing nets By LAINE WELCH - Plastics in recycled fishing nets are being used to make an amazing array of products around the globe and Alaska plans to get in on the action.

An Alaska Net Hack Challenge is being planned for September 8 and 9 that aims to identify potential opportunities for using the tons of old nets piled up in landfills and storage lots across the state and develop new items from the materials. Fishing nets can weigh from 5,000 to 20,000 pounds each.

“The purpose of the program is to change how people look at fishing nets and ropes. Instead of looking at them as waste materials, hopefully, they will start seeing them as a valuable resource and materials they can use in a different way,” said Nicole Baker, a former fisheries observer and founder of www.netyourproblem.com. 

Baker spearheaded a project last summer in Dutch Harbor that collaborated with the local fishing industry and Global Ghost Gear Initiative to ship nearly 240,000 pounds, or about 40 nets, to a company called Plastix in Denmark where they were melted down, pelletized and resold to manufacturers of plastic products.

“Socks are being made from recycled fishing nets, water bottles, cell phone cases, carpets, bathing suits, sneakers, sunglasses, skateboards, rugs, bowls, even 3-D printing and injection molds. People are becoming so creative about finding ways to reuse these plastic products,” Baker said.

The Alaska Net Hack Challenge is based on the Circular Ocean program in the U.K. and Iceland that “aims to inspire enterprises and entrepreneurs to realize the hidden opportunities in discarded fishing nets.”

Along with Baker, the two-day events are being organized in Anchorage by the Alaska Ocean Cluster Initiative (AOCI) and by Brian Himelbloom, a retired University of Alaska seafood specialist in Kodiak.

“We will dump a bunch of waste nets and rope in the middle of a room and encourage artists, students, designers, business owners, engineers, recyclers and others to take the materials and design products out of it,” Baker explained, adding that Arctic Wire and Rope of Anchorage and gear manufacturers in Seattle are providing supplies for the Anchorage challenge, whereas Kodiak has plenty of “end of life” nets to offer.

“On the first day we will show presentations about the context and scale of the issue, the type of materials available, and some products and business models that have been implemented already to get people’s gray matter warmed up,” she added. “On the second day, teams will get together and use the material and design a prototype that will be presented to the judges to get their feedback.”

Judges will score the projects on creativity, usefulness and scalability and follow the development over six months.

Video conferencing also will be available so that other interested communities can have a guideline on organizing Net Hack Challenges in their fishing towns.

The ultimate hope is that some of the prototype projects will become commercially viable through the AOCI’s Blue Economy push that helps develop products to their final stages.

The Alaska Net Hack Challenge is in its early organizational stage and a website and social media where people can register will be up and running in a few weeks, said AOIC director Joel Cladouhos. In the interim, emails to info@alaskaoceancluster.com will serve as the contact point.

Meanwhile, later this month Nicole Baker will be back in Dutch Harbor and also at St. Paul to collect more nets and give them new life in different useful forms.

“My goal is to fill more than seven container loads and top least year’s take,” she said. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

The Salmon State - A downriver homecoming

A downriver homecoming
Canoes from Atlin (British Columbia), Ketchikan, Kake, Sitka, Angoon, Hoonah and Yakutat are formally welcomed to Juneau at the One People Canoe Society Canoe Journey arrival at Sandy Beach on June 5, the day before the start of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian biennial event Celebration, organized by the Sealaska Heritage Institute.
Photo by MARY CATHARINE MARTIN | SalmonState


Southeast Alaska: The Salmon State - A downriver homecoming By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN - The Taku Kwáan Dancers have been traveling from Atlin, British Columbia to Juneau’s biennial Celebration for years. This year, for the first time, seven of them did it the traditional way: paddling a canoe down the Taku River.

The trip, said Taku River Tlingit First Nation master carver Yaan Dekin Yeíl (Flying Raven) Wayne Carlick, a Raven of the Xooxhitan House who grew up on the Taku River, is “the first part of revitalizing this part of our culture.”

“That’s where we came from,” he said. “Juneau. Douglas, Alaska. Our people originated from there. We had some land that was given from trade through a potlatch… they gave some land inland here, and that’s how we ended up moving inland…. They put the border there, and suddenly we weren’t able to go back and forth.”

On the Alaska side of the border, this year’s Celebration is also host to the beginning of another kind of healing for Douglas Indian Association Vice President John Morris Sr.: Wednesday, before Celebration officially began, they raised a healing totem pole commemorating the 1962 burning of the Yanyeidi Douglas Indian Village, which stood where Douglas Harbor now is. The Taku Kwáan dancers are invited to dance at the event, he said.

Though they’ve never met and they come from two different sides of a border, the Taku River is an integral part of both Carlick and Morris’ lives.

As a child, “I knew no other place besides the Taku River and Douglas Indian Village,” Morris said. “That was my world. I used to brag that you could blindfold me and put me on that river and in an hour I could tell you where I was from the breeze going through the trees and the fragrance of the cranberries.”


After he left the Taku, in his twenties, Carlick returned to the Taku to build a cabin there.

“I used to think about how our people used to get up their river,” he said. He’d seen old, archived photos of people sailing upriver, but it wasn’t until he experienced some strong winds when he was building a cabin that it clicked.

“It starting snapping the tops of the tall cottonwood trees off,” he said. “That’s when I realized, the wind, the powerful wind - would take them.”

Carlick spent most of his career in Vancouver and has carved at the Smithsonian Museum and other locations as well, but in 2006, he returned to Atlin. It was the possibility of carving totems and a canoe with kids in Atlin that clinched his decision to return. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018




TOM PURCELL: For Happiness, Head for the Hills - In my experience, the study's findings are true.

According to The Washington Post, the Vancouver School of Economics and McGill University have determined that people who live in rural areas and small towns are happier than those who live in congested urban and large metro areas.

McGill's happiness researchers have found that the happiest communities have shorter commute times, less expensive housing, less transience and people who have a greater "sense of belonging" in their communities.

In 2010, after working on a yearlong project in Washington, D.C., I moved back to a country house I own in the outskirts of Pittsburgh. The house is surrounded on all four sides by a large open space and a forest. I rented it to tenants for nearly 14 years, but decided it was time to move back to the country.

When I purchased the place in 1996, I dreamt of getting closer to nature. I envisioned myself working the fields with a hoe. I would fell trees and rebuild large stone walls with my bare hands. I would raise barns with other men, as women brought us sandwiches and cold beer.

But reality quickly overcame such fantasies.

For starters, my rural neighbors were suspicious of me. I didn't yet own, nor had I ever fired, a gun. I drove a four-cylinder Japanese sedan. And I displayed incredible incompetence the first time I was confronted by aggressive ground bees.

One neighbor told me the solution was to pour a half-cup of gasoline into the bee hole, then light it. I poured in two cups for good measure. I wisely moved the 2.5-gallon gasoline canister 10 feet away, then lit a match. It was then that I learned an important lesson about gasoline.

Gasoline doesn't burn. Gasoline fumes burn. They burn because they are FLAMMABLE! And they are especially flammable when you create a massive carburetor in a dirt hole in your planter.

As I neared the hole, I heard a giant "WOOOOF," the sound gasoline fumes make when they explode. A 15-foot flame shot up the side of my freshly painted house. But I was more concerned about the flame that was now coming out of the air hole on the top of the 2.5-gallon gasoline canister I had wisely sat 10 feet away. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Senate Cancels August Recess

Political Cartoon: Senate Cancels August Recess
By RJ Matson ©2018, CQ Roll Call
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Correction to UPRIVERS Documentary Misrepresentations By Brent Murphy - I am writing to correct the public record about misleading and inaccurate information regarding Seabridge Gold’s KSM Project presented in the UPRIVERS documentary currently being screened in Alaska and British Columbia. Seabridge Gold has also requested the producers and funders of the documentary to retract their misrepresentations.

The documentary’s suggestion that a failure at KSM would destroy the Unuk River and the way of life in Ketchikan is an extreme exaggeration and scare mongering.

The potential impacts to Alaskan waters were carefully evaluated during both the provincial and federal government environmental assessment reviews. In her final decision, the Canadian Minister of the Environment relied on an independent Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency scientific report which stated, “that no significant adverse impacts on water quality, water quantity, fish, or human health are expected on the Alaskan side of the Unuk River.”

The documentary also falsely states Alaskans were not consulted during the mine review process. Seabridge Gold, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency both worked extensively with US Federal and Alaskan State Agencies during the environmental review process. Both the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency concluded Seabridge Gold conducted significant, meaningful engagement with all concerned parties, including Alaskans. The Alaskan regulators concurred by stating: “The participating US federal and state agencies did not identify any outstanding transboundary concerns with the environmental assessment.” - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Keep Out Potential Terrorists By Donald Moskowitz - Islamic terrorist bombings in Belgium; Islamic terrorist truck attacks in NYC, France, Germany, and Spain; and attacks in England and the U.S.are indicative of the violent Islamic extremism pervading the world. Muslim attacks on non-Muslims have proliferated in Europe over the years because Europe murdered 6 million Jews and replaced them with 50 million Muslims. European countries should stop absorbing immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa and deport potential terrorists.  

The U.S. should pay attention to the problems in Europe and keep out immigrants from countries that spawn terrorists. Some liberal religious organizations and individuals believe we should show compassion and open our borders to people from the Middle East and North Africa. Hopefully, the courts will uphold Trump's ban on immigrants from the countries which spawn Islamic terrorists. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

BARR vs BEE: ABJECT RACISM vs ABJECT RUDENESS By David G Hanger - I have never watched either of these two programs, but there are very good reasons why the one should be instantly canceled and the other should not. Despite the brunette who went out of her way to glorify herself in explaining her reasons why she will no longer be watching Samantha Bee, there are two fundamental reasons why this is not in any sense justified or, for that matter, even rational.

Equating a successful black woman with a monkey is as repulsively racist as you can get, and there is no excuse for that deplorable behavior. Nor is there forgiveness. Roseanne Barr has been spewing racist crap for a long time on her time, and there is no question she is what she says. She is a white supremacist, and, yes, by definition she is an extreme racist. And she is not, and never has been, really funny at all. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

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