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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 29, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Murphy's Landing Sunset
Front Page Feature Photo By DOUG BURKMAN ©2018

Southeast Alaska: AMHS M/V Columbia Incident Reported - After docking in Bellingham, WA early in this morning, the Alaska Marine Highway System’s M/V Columbia crew discovered black smoke in the vessel’s bow thruster room. No flames were visible. AMHS immediately deployed a fixed CO2 firefighting system and evacuated the vessel. - More...
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Southeast Alaska: Coast Guard rescues 7 after vessel sinks in Thorne Bay - A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew rescued seven people from a life raft in Thorne Bay today after their 58-foot fishing vessel Mystic Lady ran aground and sank.

Coast Guard rescues 7 after vessel sinks in Thorne Bay

The USCG Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew rescued seven people from a life raft in Thorne Bay.
Photo courtesy USCG District 17

A Station Ketchikan RB-M boat crew arrived on scene and took the five adults and two children aboard. The boat crew took them to a Thorne Bay pier in good condition.

Coast Guard watchstanders received a 406 emergency position indicating radio beacon alert and a mayday broadcast via VHF-FM Channel 16 from the master of the Mystic Lady reporting that his vessel struck a rock and was sinking quickly. The master stated that seven people were abandoning ship into a life raft. Coast Guard watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station Ketchikan boat crew.

The boat crew arrived on scene to see seven people waving their arms in an inflatable life raft near the entrance of Thorne Bay.

“We were the first to arrive on scene, and I’m thankful that we were able to assist these people as quickly as we could,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Fischer, the small boat coxswain during the case. “With the inflatable life raft that the survivors used, they increased their own chances of survival exponentially until we were able to be on scene and assist.” - More...
Friday PM - June 29, 2018

Ketchikan: KMC Grants $15,000 for High School Nurse Aide Class Tuition - When you look at lists like “Ten Best Jobs for the Future” or “Fastest Growing Careers” you’ll find healthcare occupations often dominate the list. That’s because a career in healthcare is one of opportunity and job satisfaction.

Now, through an agreement with the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan (UAS), Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, and Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC), students will have an amazing opportunity to become Certified Nurse Aides (CNA) while still in high school.

On Wednesday, June 27, Ed Freysinger, KMC Chief Administrative Officer, presented a $15,000 check to UAS Ketchikan Campus Director Priscilla Schulte. The grant will support high school enrollment in the UAS Ketchikan CNA class taught at Ketchikan High School this coming academic year.

“This was the brain child of Beth Lougee,” said Matt Eisenhower, Director of Community Health Development at PeaceHealth. “Many students interested in this training simply could not afford the tuition, so Beth found a creative solution to partner with interested community organizations to make this work.” Beth is the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development for the School District.

Freysinger was an enthusiastic supporter of the plan, “this is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore healthcare careers and can provide them with an immediate employment opportunity. CNAs are essential caregivers and their interaction with patients provides service and comfort for those in our care.

“Some Nurse Aides become Registered Nurses or choose other healthcare careers. Being a CNA provides an overview of what it means to be in healthcare and the many possibilities for exciting occupations.” - More...
Friday PM - June 29, 2018


Alaska - National:
Alaskan Tara Sweeney Confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at DOI By MARY KAUFFMAN - Today the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to confirm Alaskan Tara Sweeney to be the next U.S. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.

Alaskan Tara Sweeney Confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at DOI

Tara Sweeney is the first Native Alaskan and only the second woman in history to hold the position of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at DOI
Photo courtesy US Dept. of Interior

On October 17, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Sweeney to be one of five assistant secretaries at the Department of the Interior, reporting to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs will support the Secretary of the Interior in fulfilling the United States’ trust responsibility to the federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages and individual Indian trust beneficiaries, as well as in upholding the Federal-Tribal government-to-government relationship.

Sweeney said in a prepared statement, “I am honored to be confirmed to serve Indian Country in this capacity.” She said,My goal is to develop strong relationships with Tribes, Alaska Native corporations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations to work on innovative solutions for lifting up our communities. I am motivated to work with Indian Country to find efficiencies inside the Bureau of Indian Affairs, improve service delivery and culturally relevant curriculum in the Bureau of Indian Education, and create a more effective voice for Tribes throughout the Federal Government.

Sweeney thanked Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, Congressman Young, AFN, and NCAI for their unwavering support. "I am also thankful for the bipartisan support for my nomination. I am humbled by the confidence President Trump and Secretary Zinke have shown in me and I am ready to serve,” said Sweeney.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the Alaska Congressional Delegation issued the following statements today after the U.S. Senate confirmed Alaskan Tara Sweeney to be the next U.S. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.

“Congratulations to Tara on her confirmation. She is a results-driven team leader and coalition builder who has an impressive combination of business acumen and service to her community,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

Zinke said,  “Her lifelong active engagement in Native American policy development and her outreach, advocacy, and organization skills are the combination we need to carry out the President’s reform initiative for Indian Country. I look forward to welcoming her to the Department."

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) stated, "I believe that if anyone is up to this hard and difficult task that it is Tara Sweeney.” 

Murkowski said, “She has the determination and tenacity to take on this challenge and achieve remarkable things in her position. She truly has a heart for all Native people. As a proud Inupiaq, she has lived first-hand the challenges that many in Indian Country face. Her talents as a manager will serve her well in the position of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, and she will do everything in her power to bring the agencies under her back on course.  I’m proud to see her confirmed, and now it is time for her to start kicking down doors and get to work.”

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) stated, “I thank my colleagues for voting for the historic confirmation of Tara Sweeney to become our next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, an extremely important position not only for Alaska but the nation.” 

Sullivan said, “Tara has a long history of relentlessly advocating for Alaska Native cultural values, rights, and economic opportunity. She will bring this focus and determination to all Indigenous people throughout the country. I am absolutely certain that there is no one who will work harder for the rights, for the economic empowerment, and for the culture of America’s First Peoples than Tara Sweeney. It’s a great day for Alaska and a great day for our country.” 

Congressman Don Young (R-AK) in the joint prepared statement said, “Tara is a natural leader and has been an influential voice for American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

Young said, “Throughout her years of dedicated service to Alaska Native communities, she has championed the economic and social well-being of our First Peoples and the spirit of tribal self-determination. Her career has been marked by many notable successes and I’m very proud that she has been entrusted to positively shape the future of BIA."

Young said, " I’m confident that in her new role, she will bring her years of experience and her vision to empower our Native communities. As the first Alaska Native to hold this position, she is an exceptional representation of the Last Frontier. Congratulations on this well-deserved confirmation, Tara.”

Tara Mac Lean Sweeney has been a prominent Alaska Native leader and acclaimed businesswoman with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. Sweeney is a member of the Native Village of Barrow and the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, and she is the first Native Alaskan and only the second woman in history to hold the position. - More...
Friday PM - June 29, 2018


Alaska Science:
Boreal owls perform by daylight By NED ROZELL - Just beneath the owl box, hung 20 feet up the stem of a balsam poplar, the backyard barbecue continued late into the evening. Despite the thwap of badminton birdies and the chirp of human voices, the boreal owl had work to do.

With a vole in its talons, the hand-sized bird perched on a branch outside a wooden box nailed to the tree. After a quick scan of the activity below, the owl bent and grabbed the vole with its beak. It fluttered up, hovered, and slam-dunked the vole through the hole.

The owl then disappeared into the shadows of the spruce forest. Scratching noises came from the nest box as the adult female within tore apart the vole into pieces her hatchlings could swallow.

Over much of their range, boreal owls operate in the dark every night. They live south to Colorado and in a forested belt around the northern part of the globe.

People know boreal owls in Europe and Russia as the Tengmalm’s owl. Here in Alaska, biologist Tim Craig found boreal owls in his nest boxes north of Coldfoot along the Dalton Highway, almost to where there are no trees. But — fun fact — he found none in his string of boxes just south of Coldfoot on the highway.

In the far North, where there currently is no night, nocturnal animals like flying squirrels and owls need to go about their business in daylight.

“None of these animals out there are sacked out for eight hours like we are,” said UAF ecologist Knut Kielland, who studies lynx and hares, among other creatures. - More...
Friday PM - JUne 29, 2018

Alaska: Northern Alaska Region HIPAA and APIPA Security Breach Notification - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) had a security breach which may have disclosed personal information of individuals who have interacted with Division of Public Assistance (DPA) in the Northern region. Due to the potential for stolen personal information, DHSS urges Alaskans who have been involved with the DPA Northern region offices to take actions to protect themselves from identity theft.

On April 26th, a DPA computer in the Northern region was infected with a Zeus/Zbot Trojan virus, resulting in breaches of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Alaska Personal Information Protection Act (APIPA) involving more than 500 individuals. The DHSS security team conducted an investigation which revealed the infected computer accessed sites in Russia, had unauthorized software installed, and other suspicious computer behavior that provided strong indications of a computer infection. The computer had documents including information on pregnancy status, death status, incarceration status, Medicaid/Medicare billing codes, criminal justice, health billing, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, first and last names, birthdates, phone numbers, and other confidential data. Hackers may have used the infected computer to steal data. Preliminary investigations indicate information potentially accessed from this breach originated in the Northern region. - More...
Friday PM - June 29, 2018



TOM PURCELL: Confusing Facts & Opinions - "The Pew Research Center quiz was harder than I expected."

"Ah, yes, you speak of the recently released survey in which Pew quizzed 5,035 adult Americans to determine their ability to distinguish between factual information and opinion statements in the news."

"That's right. The Pew website lets anyone take a quiz featuring 10 statements, five that are true-or-false factual statements and five that are opinion statements. Pew told me to ignore whether or not a statement is accurate and also to ignore whether or not I agree with it. I follow the news and figured I'd ace the quiz, but I didn't."

"Let's take a look at the quiz. Pew's first statement says, 'Abortion should be legal in most cases.' Did you classify that as a fact or an opinion?"

"I classified it as an opinion and got it right. This is a contentious issue, but the statement is still an opinion."

"Pew's second statement said, 'Immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally have some rights under the Constitution.' How did you classify that one?"

"It's factual. Look, it's true that undocumented immigrants don't have the full rights of a U.S. citizen, but, according to the ACLU, our Constitution does afford them some rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, privacy and others. I struggled with Pew's next statement, however."

"That 'Democracy is the greatest form of government'?"

"Yes. I classified it as a fact, because I strongly believe that democracy - in our case a representative republic - is the greatest, but the statement is, in truth, an opinion."

"It's not always easy to separate one's strong beliefs and opinions from facts. Pew found that each participant was more likely to classify both factual and opinion statements as factual when the statements validated his or her personal politics or beliefs."

"That's probably why Pew chose 10 statements that may get people fired up, depending on their political points of view. Such as this one that's still driving conspiracy nuts crazy: 'President Barack Obama was born in the United States.' I correctly classified that as a fact." - More...
Friday PM - June 29, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Full Court Press

Political Cartoon: Full Court Press
By Jeff Koterba ©2018, Omaha World Herald, NE
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Supporting our Fishing Industry By Rep. Dan Ortiz - A week ago, China announced that it will add an additional 25% tariff on seafood imports. China is Alaska’s top seafood customer, spending $1.3 billion on exports last year.

This tariff increase will directly impact tens of thousands of fishermen, other fish-industry employees, and Southeast Alaska’s economy. According to the McDowell Group, the fishing industry produces $2 billion in labor income alone, and a total economic output of $5.2 billion per year.

Although I am not in a position to change Chinese policy, I can – and will – continue to support the fishing industry on the state level. This past session, I sponsored three bills pertaining to our fishing industry that the legislature passed. HB56 “Commercial Fishing Loans” increases the sub-category amount an Alaskan can borrow from the Commercial Fishing Revolving Loan Fund. HB76 “Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund” allows the revolving loan program to include shellfish hatcheries. HB354 “Dive Fishery Assessments” updates the SARDFA self-assessment election process. - More...
Friday PM - June 29, 2018

Crying Children and Due Process of Law By Kary Love - Being a lawyer, I have long been interested in and have studied the question, where did law come from? It turns out to have been the result of a centuries long, hard struggle by people over generations as humans evolved to try to incorporate justice into their villages or tribes.  Generation built upon generation, honing and improving law. - More...
Saturday PM - June 23, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Bad Arguments for Taxing the PFD By Ghert Abbott - A number of very bad arguments have been made by those who want to resolve our state’s fiscal crisis via a massive head tax on the Permanent Fund Dividend without any regard for the extremely regressive effects that this will have.- More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

BORDER FAMILY SEPARATIONS OPEN OLD WOUNDS; US practice recalls horrific policies used to eradicate Native cultures By Rosita Kaaháni Worl - I want to express my appreciation to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for opposing the separation of families at the U.S. border and demanding an immediate halt to this "cruel, tragic" practice. I also want to recognize U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska for requesting a more deliberate bipartisan approach to this issue.- More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Separating immigrant children from their parents By Larry Emery - The Metlakatla Minister's Association sent a letter to Alaska's congressional delegation protesting the treatment of the children of asylum seekers at the United States border.  The letter calls states that the administrations policy "... not only rejects America's values, it also ignores biblical teachings about the value and dignity of all human beings as being in God's image, regardless of their immigration status..." The minister's go on to state, "...undocumented aliens and asylum seekers should be treated with respect as human beings while their cases are undergoing due process. This is not a partisan political issue but a moral one. The policy of family separation must be reversed."  The Metlakatla Minister's Association consists of the pastors of the Lakeside Church of God, Metlakatla Congregational Church, Metlakatla Presbyterian Church and the William Duncan Memorial Church.  The full text of the letter is as follows: - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Trump Voters Responsible By Hallie Engel - I just wanted to remind everyone that if you voted for Trump, you are in part responsible for the separation of children from their parents. Some of these children are babies. I would like you to think about how you would feel if you came to the US seeking asylum, and someone took your child from you. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Separating children By Rob Holston, Jr - Trump is crazy for separating children from their illegal parents.  He should put them up in TRUMP hotels with catered meals and have the federal government pick up the tab.  He would become richer.  Of course more and more illegal immigrants would hear about this golden opportunity and soon TRUMP would be building more hotels just to house all the illegal immigrants and their kids.  More money for TRUMP….. and it would just cost hard working Americans a few dollars each A DAY to pay for it. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Shrimp Permit By Lance Clark - Another permit, really? So now, besides a fishing license, King stamp, hunting license, hunting permits, locking tags, sealing requirements and harvest surveys for game and fish, we have to have a permit to throw in a shrimp pot. What's next, an environmental impact study before bug repellent can be put on? - More...
Sunday AM - June 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

We must act to protect the health and future of our oceans By Reps. Suzanne Bonamici & Don Young - Oceans cover more than 70 percent of our planet and are home to more than a thousand species of marine life. Oceans generate the oxygen that we breathe. They regulate our climate and provide healthy meals for people daily. Coastal communities rely on healthy oceans—as do shellfish, fish, marine mammals, birds, and ecosystems around the world. June 8 was World Oceans Day which serves as a reminder that regardless of where we live or our political party, we must remain committed to protect, conserve, maintain, and rebuild our ocean resources. - More...
Sunday AM - June 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

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. - 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. - 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. - More...
Saturday AM - June 09, 2018

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