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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 04, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Happy Fourth of July 2016
The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States of America. The Bald Eagle is the only eagle unique to North America with about half of the world's 70,000 bald eagles living in Alaska. On June 20, 1782, the Continental Congress adopted the design for the Great Seal of the United States depicting a bald eagle grasping 13 arrows and an olive branch with its talons.
Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

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Southeast Alaska:
Massive Landslide Detected in Glacier Bay’s Fragile Mountains By STACY MORFORD - A 4,000-foot-high mountainside collapsed in Glacier Bay National Park this week in a massive landslide that spread debris for miles across the glacier below. It was a powerful reminder of the instability of the mountains in this part of Alaska and the risks that that instability creates. Just 10 miles away, the glacier ends in Johns Hopkins Inlet, a popular stop for cruise ships.

Massive Landslide Detected in Glacier Bay’s Fragile Mountains

A pilot captured this image of the landslide in Glacier Bay National Park that Columbia University scientists had detected from seismic waves.
Photo: Paul Swanstrom/Mountain Flying Service Photo courtesy Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

The sliding rock stopped a few miles short of the inlet this time. Last fall, when a similar-sized landslide landed directly in Alaska’s remote Taan Fiord, scientists discovered that it created a tsunami wave so large, the water swept 600 feet up the opposite side of the fiord, stripping away the trees.

“We have events like this maybe three to five times per year around the world, and Southeast Alaska is the global hotspot,” said geomorphologist Colin Stark, whose team at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory discovered both the Glacier Bay and Taan Fiord landslides in seismic recordings. Stark is headed to Glacier Bay this coming week, and he took a team to Taan Fiord this spring and is returning in August to study how the landscape and geology affected the landslide and tsunami there. What the scientists learn from recent landslides can help assess landslide risks facing Southeast Alaska and other areas in the future.

Large landslides often go unnoticed in remote areas, but they shake the earth enough to create seismic waves that have been catching the attention of Stark, seismologist Göran Ekström and their colleagues at Lamont.

Stark and Ekström’s preliminary analysis of the Glacier Bay landslide, which had a 5.2 magnitude, suggests the collapse started at 8:21 a.m. local time on June 28, 2016, when a rock face estimated to have been about half a square mile in size collapsed on a high, steep slope. The rocky debris appears to have accelerated for almost a minute over about a mile and a quarter, Stark said. Once it hit the ice of Lamplugh Glacier, the debris kept sliding, pushing up snow and ice as it moved. A pilot who later landed near the end of the landslide, about six miles from the collapse site, found that the thickness of the debris there was more than twice the height of a man.

Once the clouds clear and satellite images become available, the scientists will be able to calculate the volume of the Glacier Bay collapse. From their seismic analysis, Stark and Ekström estimate the landslide to have been about 120 million metric tons – the equivalent of some 60 million mid-size SUVs tumbling down a mountainside. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016

Alaska: Alaska Tribes Win Trust Lands Appeal Before D.C. Circuit Court - Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the State of Alaska’s attempt to block the U.S. Department of the Interior from taking land into trust and safeguard it for Alaska Tribes.

In Akiachak Native Community, et al. v. Department of Interior, et al., the court held 2-1 that the Department of Interior’s revision of its land into trust regulations rendered the case moot. Of the decision Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Staff Attorney in the Anchorage office Heather Kendall Miller said, “[Friday's] decision is an important victory for all Alaska Tribes. Nearly a year ago the State of Alaska decided to appeal this case and continue its fight to treat Alaska Tribes differently than Tribes in the rest of the country. We sincerely hope that fight ends today.”

History of the Case

Friday’s decision is a historic victory for Alaska Tribes ten years in the making according to the Native American Rights Fund. In 2006, four Tribes and one Native individual - the Akiachak Native Community, Chalkyitsik Village, Chilkoot Indian Association, Tuluksak Native Community (IRA), and Alice Kavairlook - brought suit challenging the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to leave in place a regulation that treated Alaska Natives differently from other Native peoples.

On behalf of their clients, the Native American Rights Fund and Alaska Legal Services Corporation sought judicial review of 25 C.F.R. § 151 as it pertained to federally recognized Tribes in Alaska. This federal regulation governs the procedures used by Indian Tribes and individuals when requesting the Secretary of the Interior to acquire title to land in trust on their behalf. The regulation barred the acquisition of land in trust in Alaska other than for the Metlakatla Indian Community or its members. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016


Alaska: 50-Year-Old Mystery Solved: Seafloor Mapping Reveals Cause of 1964 Tsunami that Destroyed Alaskan Village - Minutes after the 1964 magnitude-9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake began shaking, a series of tsunami waves swept through the village of Chenega in Prince William Sound, destroying all but two of the buildings and killing 23 of the 75 inhabitants. Fifty years later, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey revealed the likely cause of the tsunami, a large set of underwater landslides. The scientists used detailed seafloor images not only clear up a decades-old mystery, but also underscore the tsunami hazard that submarine landslides can pose in fjords around the world where communities and ports are commonly located.

50-Year-Old Mystery Solved: Seafloor Mapping Reveals Cause of 1964 Tsunami that Destroyed Alaskan Village

Main part of the Chenega village site at the head of Chenega Cove, Alaska. Piling in ground marks the former locations of homes that were swept away by waves. Schoolhouse on high ground was undamaged. Photograph taken 1964.
Courtesy USGS

USGS geologists mapping Alaska’s south coast shortly after the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake had speculated that a submarine landslide might have triggered the Chenega tsunami, just as known landslides triggered tsunamis that devastated the Alaskan towns of Valdez, Seward and Whittier. But “a bathymetric survey at the time, which only imaged relatively shallow seafloor, down to 180 meters (330 feet) deep, did not reveal evidence of a landslide in nearby Dangerous Passage or the other waterways around Chenega. Alternate explanations involving seafloor movement during the earthquake did not fit the timing and severity of the Chenega tsunami as described by eyewitnesses,” explained Daniel Brothers, USGS geophysicist and lead author of the study.

The tsunami origin remained uncertain until a team led by Brothers mapped a large submarine landslide complex in Dangerous Passage, mostly in water deeper than what was studied in 1964. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016

Alaska: Jahna Lindemuth Alaska's Next Attorney General - Governor Bill Walker has named Jahna Lindemuth as Alaska’s next Attorney General. Born and raised in Anchorage, Lindemuth is said will bring extensive experience in complex commercial litigation, appeals to the Alaska Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and administrative management to her new role at Department of Law. She is currently a partner at Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, and serves as head of the firm’s Anchorage office.

Lindemuth will be the second woman ever to serve as Alaska’s Attorney General. Grace Schaible was the first woman to serve as Alaska’s Attorney General from 1987 to 1989 under the Cowper Administration.

Lindemuth replaces Attorney General Craig Richards, who said he is stepping down to focus on his family. Richards resignation was announced by the Governor on June 23, 2016. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016


Second Annual Wellness Fun Run - It’s been said there’s nothing to do in Ketchikan for young people. The Ketchikan Wellness Coalition aims to prove that misconception incorrect by hosting a free Fun Run for kids and youth on July 9th at Ward Lake.

“We wanted to make this an event for families to enjoy together,” said Race Organizer and Ketchikan Wellness Coalition Board Member Diane Gubatayao.

Registration for the Second Annual Wellness Fun Run will begin at 9 a.m. at the Ward Lake Shelters and the One-Mile Run/Walk starts at 10 a.m. followed by the 5k at 11 a.m. Both events will be timed, The event is free for kids and adults can participate in either race for $10. All proceeds benefit KWC’s substance abuse and tobacco prevention programs. Information previously printed in the Borough’s Activity Guide has incorrect start times and fees.

“We want teens and kids to know that they have a myriad of opportunities to enjoy life with their families and create their own futures here in Ketchikan and beyond,” said KWC Executive Director Kevin Gadsey. “That’s much more important to the task forces of the KWC than fundraising. That’s why we lowered the entry fee for adults and removed it for youth this year.” - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Petersburg Man Indicted on Transportation and Possession of Child Pornography – A Southeast Alaska man has been indicted for the transportation and possession of child pornography. Marvin Mitchell Jackson, 28, a resident of Petersburg was arraigned on June 27, 2016 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie C. Longenbaugh on the charges of transporting and possessing child pornography. Jackson pled not guilty to the charges and was ordered detained pending trial. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, who is prosecuting the case, informed the court that Jackson was contacted Jan. 18, 2016, during an unrelated investigation. Jackson was traveling from Washington to Petersburg, Alaska, on a commercial air carrier; his cell phone was seized and subsequently searched pursuant to a search warrant as part of that investigation. During the search, a number of images of child pornography were discovered. Law enforcement obtained additional search warrants and discovered hundreds of images of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including images of known identifiable children obtained from Facebook and other media that had been modified by the defendant to depict the children in those images engaging in sexual explicit conduct. Many of the images were modified by the defendant to depict prepubescent children engaged in sexual explicit conduct, including text stating sexual abuse fantasies related to those children. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016


Southeast Alaska: A great Alaskan hero honored during leadership education By SGT. MARISA LINDSAY - Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the 103rd Civil Support Team, Alaska National Guard, gathered for an in-house professional development seminar to study leadership during the Korean War and to honor a great Alaskan hero.

A great Alaskan hero honored during leadership education

Marine Colonel Archie Van Winkle
Photograph courtesy

Lt. Col. Wayne Don, the commander of the 103rd CST, organized the training for his Soldiers and Airmen that was held in Juneau on June 23.

“Regardless of technology and worldly on-goings, leadership is constant,” explained Don. “You’ve got all of these widgets and gadgets that make Soldiering a little bit easier, but at the end of the day it’s human interaction and the ability to influence a group of people that’s important, and that will never change.”

The professional leadership development event, which commenced with a historical briefing on the major players of the Korean War before delving into specific battles and acts of heroism, was led by senior non-commissioned officers from within the unit. As the attendees listened, instructors provided maps, re-enactment videos, and historical photographs describing the timeline of “The Forgotten War.”

Specifically, the valiant efforts portrayed by Alaska’s only Medal of Honor recipient, retired United States Marine Corps Col. Archie Van Winkle, were highlighted. Van Winkle was born in Juneau in 1925.

Van Winkle earned the Medal of Honor in November of 1950, as an infantry platoon sergeant, when he led a charge through enemy fire near Sudong, Korea. Van Winkle became injured, and suffered from a gunshot in the arm and a direct-hit in the chest by a grenade. He refused to be evacuated, and instead continued to shout a stream of encouragement and orders, enabling his outnumbered platoon to resist the enemy attack.

After serving his country for more than three decades, he returned to his beloved Alaska before he died in Ketchikan more than 10 years later, in 1986. Van Winkle was laid to rest at the Sitka National Cemetery. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Independence Day

Editorial Cartoon: Independence Day
By Nate Beeler ©2016, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
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letter AST K9 Lutri By A.M. Johnson - Did not the local enforcement dispose of the drug dog on reason that having marijuana legal the dog was not worth the cost? Seems logical that a dog such as the one in this story would be a deterrent IF used daily at the ferry terminal, airport, and incoming mail (Postal office). FedEx, and UPS. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016

letter No Aircraft for Iran By Donald Moskowitz - Boeing Co. recently cut a deal with Iran Air to sell it 100 Boeing 737s and 777s worth about $25 billion, which is a nice contract for Boeing and its employees. - More...
Monday AM - July 04, 2016

letter WISH Situation is Dire By Diane Gubatayao - By now it is well known that since September 2015, Women In Safe Homes (WISH) has been on probation with the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA), the State agency responsible for funding and administrative oversight of 18 shelters throughout Alaska. The original probation document cited nine systemic issues involving staff, participants and community partners. I do not believe it is productive at this time to debate the merits of the probation. I trust that a State agency comprised of a Commissioner and assistant State Attorney General, among others, has done due diligence before imposing such a serious sanction. To their credit, many associated with WISH have made the effort to meet the requirements outlined by CDVSA. However, we have learned recently that the situation is dire with the exit of five Board members and some staff, and continued problems with WISH management and leadership highlighted by CDVSA. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 29, 2016

letter GOVERNOR, THE NEXT CUP OF COFFEE IS ON ME By Richard Peterson - Earlier this month, I wrote a commentary on whether or not the 2014 “Unity Team” would keep its promise to steer away from litigation against Alaska tribes and instead work towards improving tribal relations. Today’s commentary is a follow-up to express my gratitude to the Walker Administration for not appealing the recent Alaska Supreme Court decision in State of Alaska v. Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. This important court ruling affirms that Alaska tribal courts, some of whom already handle custody, adoption, and paternity for tribal children, can also decide child support. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 29, 2016

letter PART 12: “OIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM By David G Hanger - Voting for Bob Sivertsen for state representative in the upcoming election is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a fire that is already out of control. I have nothing personal against Bob Sivertsen. I hear he is a moderate conservative “who hasn’t run into a local social program he hasn’t enthusiastically supported.” But what Bob calls ‘leadership’ I call sheepishness, and that limitation is a disaster in the making because these folks up north who call themselves Republicans are anything but, yet Bob Sivertsen will still follow that bunch wherever they go. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 29, 2016

letter Local radio dropping RUSH By A.M.Johnson - The following is written as a public service. Recently KTKN radio station announced that effective July 1st, the station with locations in Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau have or are dropping the Rush Limbaugh program from their schedule. Inquiry as to the reason was given the fiscal disappointment of revenue. When asked if there was a political venue related to the action, I was assured that there was and is no such pressure. When the question of what is anticipated to replace the Rush programming that will result in equal or additional revenue during the three hour period, there was no response other than Drop by the station sometime by the general manager. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 29, 2016

letter RE: Public restrooms on docks closed too early By Douglas J. Thompson - Regarding the letter from Mr. Phil Borngraeber published recently in Sitnews: We have ten harbor employees and probably more with their 'summer help'. They are costing Ketchikan's taxpayer between ninety and one hundred forty thousand dollars per year each. We pay for a multitude of vehicles for them and all expenses. The department is supposedly run by Corporan under Amylon. Somewhere along the way as I have pointed out before they have decided they no longer need to work to collect their salary. Case in point is Mr. Borngraeber letter showing they once again "contract out" the most simple menial tasks that they themselves should be doing. It is ridiculous that cleaning Harbor Department bathrooms is approved for contracting out. With the overstaffing it should easily be handled and could even be done with 1/3 of the employees currently employed to no discernible benefit in that bloated department. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016

letter Gov Walker's 5th Special Session By Marvin Seibert - We are now in the grips of Governor Walker's calling for a 5th special session. Special sessions were not instituted till the governor of a state gets his way. Taxes being considered will have a devastating effect on the people who can afford it the least. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

letter Public restrooms on docks closed too early By Phil L. Borngraeber - Just in the last two weeks I have been among the many local folks riding, walking, taking the kids or dogs out for relaxation and exercise. But wait, no matter how great the weather is, don't plan on using the restrooms at dock 4 or 2 after the ships have left. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

letter Please abide by leash laws By Mishele Rhein - In light of summer and the added outdoor activities at the local beaches, I would like to encourage the locals and our numerous summer guests to abide by the leash laws. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy watching my dogs run, play and dig with abandon on the sandy beaches as well, but doing so on a leash. Being a dog owner, I understand the need to get out and exercise man’s best friend, but to be honest, I am growing weary of being assaulted by “friendly” dogs when the owner is truly no where to be seen. I am not sure what’s worse, missing dog owners or oblivious dog owners. The latter being the friendly passers by greeting you a wonderful afternoon while their dog is running circles around you and your now distracted leashed dog. Everyone tends to think their dog is “amiable enough” and “its no problem.” Even though my exuberant animals feel the need to greet everyone, everyone does not feel the need to greet them. Just tonight I went for a walk and was greeted (whether I wanted to be or not) by no less than three dogs before I even got to the beach. One of which had a leash trailing but no person holding the other end and the fourth dog came to investigate upon exit and felt the need to walk us part way home. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

letter The 1967 Fairbanks' Flood By John Calhoun - I was living in the Northward building at the time of the 1967 Fairbanks' flood. We were able to get power from a building across the street by a long cord hooked up to an electrical panel to provide emergency lighting in the halls and stairwells. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 22, 2016

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