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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 19. 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

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Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON ©2017

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Ketchikan: Maxwell is New Director of Ketchikan Museums - Anita Maxwell is the new Director of Ketchikan Museums. Maxwell served as both the Senior Curator of Programs and the Interim Director for one year, and has most notably led the museum through a long-sought renovation to the Tongass Historical Museum while still supporting growth in programs and fostering community-wide support.

Maxwell is New Director of Ketchikan Museums

Anita Maxwell is the new Director of Ketchikan Museums.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Museums

The renovation has been a tremendous milestone for Ketchikan Museums, allowing the museum to better serve both the community and visitors with new permanent and temporary exhibit galleries, expanded collections storage, security upgrades, and accessible public restrooms. Quoting an announcement, "She has also been an exemplary leader for the Ketchikan Museums team as we tackled this immense undertaking and its many challenges."

Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Montana. Prior to moving to Ketchikan in 2008, Maxwell worked for the Montana Natural History Center in Missoula. Starting as an intern, she worked in multiple programmatic and administrative capacities culminating in Directorship.

Beginning in 2009, Maxwell served as the Operations Manager, then Education Director for the Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council. She took her first position with Ketchikan Museums as the Senior Curator of Programs in March of 2014, and within a few years began taking on the duties of the vacated Director position.

"Anita Maxwell is a very experienced and dedicated leader who is both welcoming and responsive to our community, and who has vision and enthusiasm that will help take Ketchikan Museums into the next phases of growth and vitality," stated the news release. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Alaska: Compromise Achieved to Reform Alaska’s Unsustainable Oil Tax Credit System - On the final day of this special session a compromise was met which will save the state $200 million this year and protect oil investment for years to come according to Alaska House Republicans.

One of the most significant provisions of HB 111 ends Alaska’s cash for tax credits system retroactively to the first of July with provisions that allow companies to recover their costs through lower production tax payments once a project is producing oil or gas. This incentivizes actual production and protects the State of Alaska from huge future liabilities to cover losses from non-producing projects. allows oil companies to carry forward losses for either 10 or 7 years depending on the field's production and changes the interest rate to 5.25% for money owed to the state.

Ending cash payments to oil companies was a key element to HB111 and according to a House Republican news release, an easy place to find compromise since the credits have accomplished their goal of encouraging development. In the past 2 years Alaska has seen year over year increases in production for the first time in 3 decades.

“Overall the most important aspect is that Alaska must remain competitive in the global market for oil. This compromise allows Alaska to save money while still retaining incentives for the industry,” said Conference Committee Member Representative Dave Talerico (R-Healy). 

“Ending cash payments to oil companies was an easy place to find agreement but I’m thankful the area of Net Operating Losses saw compromise,” said Rep. DeLena Johnson (R-Palmer). "Removing the ability to deduct losses would've been dangerous, as it is allowed by every other oil producing regime."

The Alaska Legislature passed the compromise version of legislation Sunday night to reform Alaska’s system of subsidizing the oil industry on the North Slope with tax credits. House Bill 111 ends Alaska’s unique cash for tax credits system and strengthens the four percent minimum tax to ensure Alaska receives some production tax revenue in times of low oil prices. Sunday’s compromise was brokered by House Resources Committee Co-chair Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), who served as the Chair of the HB 111 Conference Committee.

Governor Bill Walker reacted positively Sunday night towards the passage of House Bill 111 on the final day of the Second Special Session of the 30th Alaska Legislature. HB 111 was the only bill remaining on the second special session call for lawmakers to address. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Alaska: Negotiations on a Compromise Capital Budget are Underway; Lawmakers Will be Recalled to Juneau When a Deal is Reached - With the passage of legislation last week to reform Alaska’s oil industry subsidies, the attention of the Alaska Legislature turns to the Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Budget. That budget needs to pass before the start of the federal fiscal year in October in order to prevent the loss of over a billion dollars in federal funding. The Alaska House Majority Coalition said in a news release they hope to negotiate a compromise with the Alaska State Senate and Governor Walker to pass the FY 18 Capital Budget before returning lawmakers to Juneau for final action. To this end, the Co-chairs of the Finance Committees in the House and Senate have already started meeting to discuss the details of a Capital Budget compromise.

In a news release Sunday, Alaska Governor Bill Walker said Alaskans deserve a complete fiscal plan and economic stability for the future. He urged lawmakers to continue with this spirit of compromise and collaboration, and pull together to fix Alaska. Governor Walker said legislators need to present him with a compromise on the capital budget before he places it on the call for another special session.

Walker said, “The state does not need to spend thousands of dollars in daily expenses simply for the parties to negotiate.” Governor Walke rsaid, “I have been assured, however, that legislators will reach a compromise in time to pass a capital budget before July 31. Once a deal is reached, I will immediately call them back into session.”

The Alaska State Senate invited the House to join them in a new special session this week in Juneau to finalize a capital budget that keeps Alaskans working on key projects across the state. The Senate issued the invitation at the close of the special session addressing oil tax credits.

“I see no benefit to the Alaskan people by paying to send dozens of legislators to Juneau, competing with tourists for peak-season hotel rooms at state expense, when there are still differences between the most recent House and Senate Capital Budgets. However, we have made significant progress in the last few days. We can and should act quickly to resolve our differences, protecting vital construction projects and preserving over a billion dollars in federal matching funds,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham). “I have already begun conversations with Senate President Kelly and Governor Walker to discuss the timing of taking up the Capital Budget with the hope of reaching a deal and getting this vital piece of legislation passed and signed before the end of July.”- More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Alaska: Couple Charged with Crimes Related to False Distress Call to Fake Lead Defendant’s Death to Avoid Prison - Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that two Port Graham, Alaska, residents have been federally charged related to their causing the United States Coast Guard to attempt to save life and property when no help was needed. 

Ryan Riley Meganack, aka: “Unga,” 34, and his girlfriend, Ivy Rose Rodriguez, 25, both of Port Graham, Alaska, were charged with conspiracy and false distress. Meganack was also charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Meganack, a long-time commercial fisherman and a boat captain, was scheduled to plead guilty on Dec. 5, 2016, in a separate case (State of Alaska v. Meganack, 3AN-15-00683CR), and understood that at the time he pled guilty in that matter he would go to prison. To avoid that consequence, Meganack attempted to fake his own death and enlisted the help of his girlfriend, Rodriguez. 

In furtherance of the conspiracy, on Nov. 29, 2016, Meganack piloted his fishing vessel to an island near Port Graham and abandoned his skiff in a manner that made it appear that he had gone missing after a boating accident or had otherwise died. Meganack then returned to Port Graham, picked up Rodriguez, and the two traveled in Meganack’s fishing vessel to a tidal lagoon where they secured the vessel, and returned to Port Graham on land. Meganack went to a makeshift campsite near Port Graham, and Rodriguez went to a residence where she was staying. In the early morning hours of Nov. 30, 2016, Rodriguez reported to a member of Meganack’s family that Meganack had left in his skiff, the skiff “wasn’t running right,” and indicated that Meganack had been drinking and had more alcohol with him. The Indictment alleges that Meganack and Rodriguez agreed that Rodriguez would tell Meganack’s family that Meganack was missing, knowing that Meganack’s family would report him missing and that a search for Meganack would commence. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017


Alaska: ADOT&PF Seeks Public Review of 2017-18 Winter Ferry Schedule - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities proposed Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) schedule for fall, winter, and spring 2017-2018 is now available for public review. Scheduled service is similar to last year’s service, and is designed to meet community service needs while staying within available funding and maintaining vessel regulatory and safety standards.

Communities and interested people can review and comment on the proposed schedule on or before July 30, 2017. With the timing of the budget, the public comment period is slightly shorter than those in recent years, to allow the public sufficient lead time to make reservations for sailings that begin on October 1st.

The draft schedule is based on established community service needs and events. It is available online with accompanying documents... - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Alaska - National: Republicans fail on health care. Here's why the rest of Trump's agenda won't be 'so easy,' either By PATRICK T. HICKEY - Passing legislation is always a difficult, messy task. America’s highly polarized political environment, with party activists demanding ideological purity on both sides of the aisle, makes that task even harder.

The announcement by Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran that they would oppose bringing the Better Care Reconciliation Act to the Senate floor has derailed Republican attempts to replace the Affordable Care Act.

During his campaign, Donald Trump claimed that passing health care reform would be “so easy.” So why were Republicans unable to pass a health care law despite controlling both the White House and Congress?

It turns out that the relationship between Congress and the president is more complicated than Trump thought. Most citizens and political scientists assumed that conservative Republicans would prefer any health care law that Trump supported over the Obamacare status quo.

However, my research shows that this assumption is too simplistic. As Trump now knows, ideological extremists may also vote against bills proposed by their party’s president. The recent struggle to pass a Republican health care law is a prominent example of this phenomenon.

Trump’s two-sided task

President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are waging a legislative battle on two fronts with no compromise in sight. Both moderate Republicans and extremely conservative Republicans oppose the current health care bill for completely separate reasons. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Xiao Hong & Franklin Roppel Exchange Wedding Vows

Franklin and Xiao Roppel

Wedding: Xiao Hong & Franklin Roppel Exchange Wedding Vows - Xiao Hong and Franklin Roppel were united in marriage Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the home of Frank and Nancy Murkowski in Wrangell. Former Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski officiated at the ceremony.

Xiao Hong of Tokyo, Japan, is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Xiao Han Yong of Shanghai, China and Franklin Roppel is the son of the late Robert and Beulah Roppel of Ketchikan, Alaska.

The bride was attended by her sister, Xiao Fen and nephew An Xiao Lin of Shanghai, China. The groom was attended by his son, John Roppel of King George, Virginia, and his daughter Cynthia Baird of Greenwich, Connecticut.

The bride is currently employed by Ettusais, a division of Shiseido Cosmetics of Tokyo and has a bachelor's degree from Asia University of Tokyo. The groom is a graduate of Ketchikan High School and has a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017




TOM PURCELL: Credit-Card Debt Explained - America’s credit-card deb has surpassed the $1 trillion mark. A 20-something fellow I know helped me understand why.

"It all began in college when a credit-card company offered me a free credit card," he said.


"Well, shortly after I got the card, my transmission blew up, and I didn’t have the money to pay for it. So I charged it."

"That’s an unpleasant thought."

"Yeah," said the fellow. "I maxed out my credit limit on my first purchase, but that wasn’t a problem because the credit-car company doubled my limit!"

"How kind of them," I said.

"Then Christmas came along, and I used my card to get my girlfriend a diamond necklace."

"How’d that work out?"

"She left me for a guy with a bigger credit limit! I went to the nearest bar to drown my sorrows. I bought rounds for everyone." - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017


JOHN L. MICEK: From 'I Alone Can Fix It' To 'I Won't Own It' - A year ago this week, newly anointed as his party's candidate for president, Donald J. Trump capped the Republican National Convention in Cleveland by ascending the podium in the Quicken Loans Arena, and offering these words:

"Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it."

A year later, as the latest iteration of an Obamacare repeal lay in smoking ruins, Trump said this:

"I think we're probably in that position where we'll let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it," he said Tuesday. "I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We'll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us."

But Trump, along with Congressional Republicans, does own the healthcare bill's failure for this simple reason: His party controls the White House and Capitol Hill.

Trump cut Democrats out of the process, and neither House Speaker Paul J. Ryan, R-Wisc., nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made any meaningful attempt to include them in talks.

"This White House, like the last one, has outsourced healthcare to Congress," U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., told MSNBC last month. "That's what happened with this bill. Congress is largely writing this bill." - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: GOP toetag

Editorial Cartoon: GOP toetag
By John Cole ©2017,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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RE: Fact versus fiction By Rodney Dial - Summer is a busy time for most of us in Ketchikan. Personally, I have better things to do than respond to Rep. Ortiz’s latest letter, however it presents a great opportunity to show how politicians like Ortiz play the word game to deceive and mislead. For example: - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Re: NRA Propaganda By D Jay O'Brien - The violent images in the NRA video Mr. Chaudhary references are indeed disturbing. The video is a compilation of segments from actual events that have occurred in our cities and on our college campuses since the last election. Is this video clip propaganda or just depictions of the new reality of violence that may be brought upon someone for their beliefs and political leanings? - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Giving Alaska's oil away By Ray Metcalfe - Alaska doesn't have a budget problem; Alaska has bribery problems, and gullible legislator problems. Alaska allows oil companies to extract fair payment for their services from net oil production revenues. Additionally, they keep 90% of our ownership equity; equity other owner states keep. At today's prices, the big three are making over $17 per barrel plus cost of production and delivery from our oil. (See ConocoPhillips' quarterly reports) That's about $9 Million per day, or $3.2 billion per year. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 11, 2017

NRA Propaganda By Norbert Chaudhary - The politically partisan, hate filled NRA recruiting video posted a few days ago is shocking but sadly not so surprising. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 11, 2017

Budget cuts By Liz Bruce - All this reduction in spending is good but the problem is there are so many promised benefits and retirement we can't afford. You sit in a position where you can vote to keep state employee and teacher benefits intact when we can't afford those benefits as a state. New taxes are regressive and too easy to rely on. Our household has not seen an increase in income since 2011 but we have to live within our budget. It is time for the state to quit promising benefits we can't afford. You can't expect taxpayers to always come up with more. - More...
Tuesday PM - JUly 11, 2017

Fact versus fiction By Rep. Dan Ortiz - As an elected official, it’s my responsibility to keep Alaskans informed with factual and relevant information about the issues that affect them. As I write I’m busy working for you up in Juneau, so here’s a quick rundown of fact versus fiction. - More...
Sunday AM - July 09, 2017

Please Be A Responsible Pet Owner By William J. Miller - We have tried to be good neighbors and have politely asked our neighbor to keep their dog out of our yard as it has unfortunately gotten into the habit of depositing poop outside the entry to our home. The last encounter with the dog resulted in baring of teeth and challenging us. I’m pretty sure there is a leash law in the borough and although we are avid pet lovers and owners, we are at the point of contention in our household as my wife wants to file a formal complaint with animal control but I am reluctant since it will no doubt drive a permanent wedge between neighbors. - More..
Sunday AM - July 09, 2017

Gilmore Hotel By Kitty Meredith - My mother, Mary Patricia Gilmore Fox, told me that she was born in the Gilmore Hotel on October 23, 1905. Her parents, Peter Francis Gilmore and Mary Eleanor Fitzmaurice Gilmore and my mother moved shortly after into a large Victorian house they had built on Grant St., across from Ketchikan School. The house was called “the Irish Castle”. On the front of the house, high up on the tower area, was a large green shamrock. - More...
Sunday Am - July 09, 2017

Tribute to Sol Atkinson By A. M. Johnson - Regarding the tribute to Sol Atkinson, I met Sol during my careers in the early 70's where Metlakatla was involved. Sol must have retired recently to this introduction. He was a standout personality on the first meet without knowing of his military history. - More...
Sunday AM - July 09, 2017

Neutralize North Korean Threat By Donald Moskowitz - North Korea continues to expand its nuclear weapons program and is making progress in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the Western U.S.  It is working on miniaturizing nuclear weapons to fit on ICBMs by early 2018, and it threatens to attack the U.S. with nuclear warheads. - More...
Sunday AM - July 09, 2017

Traffic suggestions By A. M. Johnson - Nothing better to do than reflect on a couple of issues related to Ketchikan traffic. Our traffic due to restrictive nature of our streets and roads, should be rated at a near 10 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most taxing. - More...
Thursday PM - June 29, 2017

A Call to Leadership By Randall Hoffbeck - When, after being in session for 160 days, I began to hear both the House and Senate leadership talking about passing just a budget and going home, I was reminded of a meeting I had last summer with a professor from the University of Potsdam. - More...
Thursday PM - June 29, 2017

Health Care By Ray Metcalfe - By week's end we will know if either of our Alaskan US Senators are willing to concoct an excuse to throw 100,000 Alaskans under the bus for the opportunity to stay in Senator McConnell's good graces. Oddly enough, the same vote will deliver a giant tax break to wealthy families, their families included... And by the way; have you ever wondered why the same industry complaining about the exorbitant costs of insuring their workers also pay lobbyists to lobby against Bernie Sanders proposal to lift the burden from their shoulders with better quality, lower deductible coverage through a single payer system? Bernie wants to expand Medicare to cover every American of every age through Medicare. - More...
Thursday PM - June 29, 2017

Protect Medicaid By David G. Katzeek - One day, we will tell future generations of our choice. Did we help our neighbors when they were sick, or did we ignore their needs? This is the question before all Alaskans when it comes to Medicaid. - More...
Tuesday AM - June 27, 2017

Open Letter: Rep. Jonathan S. Kreiss-Tomkins By Gregg Parsley - Several of us in the Southeast Alaska mariculture industry would like you to look into what it would take to begin the process for Federal Disaster Relief funds for our oyster industry here in Southeast Alaska due to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). We, Shikat Bay Oysters, have been shutdown for going on 4 weeks with no relief in sight, we have lost to date over $25,000 and once our parts per unit (ppu) numbers fall below the 80 ppu number we will still have to wait another two weeks before we are able to put oysters back into commerce. I can see us, Shikat Bay Oysters, loosing in excess of $40,000 due to this unusually early and unseasonably PSP outbreak. - More...
Tuesday AM - June 27, 2017

RE: Use for Taku By Kay Taylor - The idea of the Ferry Taku being used for lodging for our representatives to save money is great. We need to stop frittering away dollars. If the Ferry system is good enough for us then it is good enough for our representatives. Moving it to Juneau for housing would solve two problems. We need to cut down on per diem for our traveling representatives. - More...
Tuesday AM - June 27, 2017

Living Within Means By Lance Clark - I think Senator Gardner shows us exactly what the fiscal problem is. Living within our means is not a foreign idea to her, it's an evil one! To be good people we have to always spend more than we have. I don't know her personally but her way of thinking sounds insane. - More...
Tuesday AM - June 27, 2017

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