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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

July 06, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By DAVID SMITH

Lights of Ketchikan
Early morning lights of Ketchikan were the first to brightly greet a family moving to Ketchikan from Florida.
Front Page Feature Photo By DAVID SMITH ©2018

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Southeast Alaska: Perdue Gets Firsthand Look at Unique Challenges and Opportunities in the Tongass National Forest - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) yesterday hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Prince of Wales Island in the Tongass National Forest. The trip allowed the Secretary to visit the largest national forest in the United States and hear from local stakeholders about the need to build a stronger, more sustainable economy in southeast Alaska. 

Perdue Gets Firsthand Look at Unique Challenges and Opportunities in the Tongass National Forest

Murkowski and Perdue at Goose Creek Mill
Photo courtesy Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

“I appreciate Secretary Perdue and his team traveling to the Tongass to learn more about our need for greater access and economic opportunity,” Murkowski said. “Whether increasing the level of timber harvests, facilitating the development of renewable energy and mining projects, or granting recreational permits on a timely basis, we have a lot to do to ensure the Tongass is once again a working forest.”

Murkowski and Perdue participated in a roundtable luncheon with the Prince of Wales Landscape Assessment Team and visited the Viking Lumber Company, old and young growth timber sites, and the family-owned Goose Creek Mill. 

“I really appreciate the invitation to be on the ground here, really to talk to the citizens. They want the same things that most Americans want. They want hope for the future, and that involves working forests - whether it’s working in the recreation business, outfitter business, tourism business and servicing all those needs, or working in the timber business,” said Perdue. “We think it can be done frankly without jeopardizing the growth of any type of other industry - recreational, fishing, or anything else. We don’t, I don’t believe these are mutually exclusive."

“The folks out in this region are hard-working, resilient, and tough, but they also need to know that their government is going to work with them,” Murkowski said. “I think they got a clear message today that our Forest Service, led by the Secretary of Agriculture, wants to be a partner.” - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018

Alaska: Coast Guard, partner agencies participate in joint law enforcement operation - Law enforcement authorities from the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Alaska State Troopers and local police departments participated in a joint law enforcement operation to detect and deter illegal activity on Alaska Marine Highway System and inter-island ferries, June 24 thru July 2.

The operation took place randomly at AMHS ferry terminals in Bellingham, Washington; Ketchikan and Kodiak over the course of the week.

Canine teams from Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Francisco (91105), MSST Seattle (91101), MSST Los Angeles/Long Beach (91103), Maritime Security Response Team – West and the Alaska State Troopers conducted sweeps of the ferry system.  

During the course of the operation, authorities assessed 1,577 passengers, 418 crew members, and 549 vehicles. Multiple pieces of contraband were confiscated including 56 grams of heroin, one ounce of methamphetamines, one firearm, nearly two pounds of non-commercial marijuana, alterants an individual could use to taint urinalysis testing, and illegal prescription drugs. 

“No matter what the amount of contraband we collect, the biggest win is knowing that we, alongside our partner agencies, deterred illegal activity on Alaska’s waterways including the use or shipment of illicit drugs,” said Lt.Cmdr. Bernard Auth, member of Coast Guard District 17 enforcement division. “We appreciate the continued support from our partner agencies in our fight against the opioid crisis.” - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018


Fish Factor:
Sockeye Salmon, Salmon Trackers, Fish Watch & Ferry Science By LAINE WELCH - Sockeye salmon catches often add up to half of the value of Alaska’s total salmon fishery, and the so-called reds dominate the season’s early fisheries starting in mid-May. 

But sockeye catches so far range from record-setting highs at Bristol Bay to record lows nearly everywhere else.  

For example, the Copper River sockeye harvest of just 26,000 is the lowest in 50 years.  At Kodiak just 212,000 sockeyes were taken through July 6 making it the weakest harvest in 38 years. Sockeye fishing at Yakutat has been closed due to the lowest returns in 50 years; likewise, fishermen at Chignik also have yet to see an opener. 

Sockeye harvest levels at Cook Inlet and the Alaska Peninsula also are running well below average. 

Fishery scientists suspect the downturns are due to the warmest sea-surface temperatures ever recorded running from 2014-2016, which likely depleted food sources before the sockeyes returned from the ocean this year as adults.

At the other extreme, the early sockeye run at Bristol Bay set records for some of the best catches ever. By July 6 fishermen at the Nushagak district had four harvests that topped one million reds per day, including a record 1.77 million fish taken on July 1. 

Salmon trackers:

Anyone can easily track Alaska’s daily and weekly salmon catches with two free sources. 

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game’s “Blue Sheet ” updates salmon catches daily for every Alaska region from May through September.  Through June 6 it showed that just over 22.2 million salmon had been taken so far – 16.5 million sockeyes, nearly 5 million chums,    91,000 Chinook, 8,000 coho and 636,000 pink salmon.

ADF&G also provides a weekly in-season summary  and catch tally by region. The harvests are graphed to show the progression of catches for the fishing season, with comparisons to the previous year and 5-year averages. The timing charts can be customized by region, area, district or fishery and all five salmon species. 

Another Alaska salmon source is the harvest summary done weekly by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. It also shows catches by species and region with comparisons to the previous year’s catch. - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018

Alaska: New Drug Seizure Dashboard data includes seizures from AST drug cases, K9 assists - For the first time, the Alaska Department of Public Safety has developed a dashboard to inform the public on efforts the Alaska State Troopers are taking to stop drug trafficking in the state. Available data includes total seizures made by the Alaska State Troopers’ Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU) by month for the last three months, and all seizures made by the AST K9 units during the month of May. SDEU K9s not only assist the Alaska State Troopers with investigations; they assist other federal, state, and local departments across the state as well.
“For years, the Alaska State Troopers, along with our partner agencies, have been working diligently to get illicit drugs off the streets, and publishing these numbers will allow the people of Alaska to see the results of our hard work,” Commissioner Walt Monegan said. “Prevention remains an important focus in fighting the opioid epidemic; we can’t arrest our way out of this problem, and we encourage Alaskans to seek help if they or one of their friends or loved ones is misusing illicit substances.” - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018

jpg Cavelila “The Gov” Wonhola and Triston Chaney practice knot tying at Bear Trail Lodge this year during the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy in King Salmon. 

The Salmon State: Casting for fish - and guides - in Bristol Bay
Knot tying: Cavelila “The Gov” Wonhola and Triston Chaney practice knot tying at Bear Trail Lodge this year during the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing and Guide Academy in King Salmon. 
Photo by Sarah Miller.


The Salmon State:
Casting for fish - and guides - in Bristol Bay By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN - Triston Chaney, a 19-year-old college student raised in Dillingham, knew before this year that he loved fly fishing. What he didn’t know is that he’d love helping other people catch fish, too.

With the help of the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing & Guide Academy, he’ll soon start a job doing just that.

Chaney, who is Athabascan and Yup’ik, is a largely self-taught fly fisherman. He’s been taking his 14-foot flat-bottomed boat up the Wood River to fly fish for years now. The academy, he said, helped him experience new country in his backyard.

The day at the end of the academy when students took clients out fishing, Chaney said, “was really eye-opening for me. I actually loved it. I didn’t think I would like guiding, just because I’m going to be watching people catch fish that I wanted to catch. But I really enjoyed helping them catch fish.”

In late July or early August, he’ll start guiding at Bear Trail Lodge, owned by Heath and Nanci Morris Lyon. It’s an opportunity for which he said he’s very thankful, especially as he’s likely moving toward guiding as an occupation.

More than a dozen graduates of the academy are employed at Bristol Bay lodges like Bear Trail. Sometimes the students had never even touched a fly rod prior to the academy, said Trout Unlimited Alaska Program Communications Director Jenny Weis and Director Nelli Williams.

Sixteen-year-old Abbey Whitcomb, who also grew up in Dillingham, is one of those who started out this year at the academy with less experience fly-fishing - though, through her family, she’s been around sport, subsistence and commercial fishing her entire life.

“They taught us how to do everything on our own, like tying flies and knots. Everyone there was super nice and helpful,” she said, adding that she thinks the experience will be useful “for anything in Bristol Bay, whether it be fishing or job-related.” - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018

Alaska: Study ranks marine mammals’ risks from Arctic shipping By HEATHER MCFARLAND - Bowhead whales are the marine mammals most vulnerable to disruption from increased ship traffic in waters off Alaska, a new study has concluded. Across the Arctic, narwhals are the most vulnerable.

The study is the first to assess the vulnerability of the seven marine mammal species that could encounter more vessels as the ice-free season expands in Arctic seas.

The study, produced by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Washington, was published July 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


In recent decades, parts of the Arctic seas have become increasingly ice-free in late summer and early fall. As sea ice is expected to continue to recede due to climate change, seasonal ship traffic from tourism and freight is projected to rise.

Study ranks marine mammals’ risks from Arctic shipping

A boat used to hunt bowhead whales, a critical traditional resource, rests on the ice near Utqiagvik, Alaska.
Photo by Billy Adams, Alaska Arctic Observatory and Knowledge Hub

“We know from more temperate regions that vessels and whales don’t always mix well, and yet vessels are poised to expand into this sensitive region,” said lead author Donna Hauser, who worked on the study as a UW postdoctoral researcher and is now a UAF research assistant professor. “Even going right over the North Pole may be passable within a matter of decades. It raises questions of how to allow economic development while also protecting Arctic marine species.”

The study looked at 80 subpopulations of the seven marine mammals that live in the Arctic. It identified risks on or near major shipping routes in September, a month when Arctic seas have the most open water.

Forty-two subpopulations would be exposed to vessel traffic. The degree of exposure and the particular characteristics of each species determine which are most sensitive.

Across the Arctic, the most vulnerable marine mammals are narwhals, or tusked whales. These animals migrate through parts of the Northwest Passage, the northern waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

In Alaska, bowhead whales are the most vulnerable, followed by populations of walruses and beluga whales.

Given their size, speed, and surface-oriented behavior, bowhead whales are considered more sensitive to vessel strikes than the other seven Arctic marine mammals, which was one factor determining vulnerability. The subpopulation in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas is the most exposed to the sea routes and therefore is more vulnerable than other bowhead populations. - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018


jpg Mary Lynne Dahl

MONEY MATTERS: 7 MAJOR FINANCIAL MISTAKES TO AVOID By MARY LYNNE DAHL, CFP® - Nobody likes to make a big mistake of any kind, but especially if it has serious financial results. There are several really important financial mistakes that you can avoid if you know about them and decide in advance to avoid them. This list is will help you do just that.

Mistake #1. Overspending. Make no mistake about it; this is the engine that drives the train. Everything else depends on this one issue. If you don’t get this one right, you will not do well with all of the other potential ways to succeed and you will fail financially. Let’s agree at the start to avoid overspending. So, how then, do you know if you overspend or not?

If you cannot pay off your credit cards in full every month, you are overspending. If you cannot pay the department store revolving charge account in full every month, you are overspending. If you have to borrow money in order to invest, you are overspending. If you cannot save money and leave it to accumulate in a savings account, you are overspending. Does this sound pretty hard core? Maybe it is, but this mistake is easy to get roped into. Excuses like “I know it is expensive but…” or “I deserve this” and “I don’t have a choice” are lies we say to ourselves when we overspend. Overspending is a habit that is as hard to quit as other addictive behaviors. It enslaves us to our debt burden and is one of the most powerful roadblocks to financial security and financial success. If you are an overspender, be prepared to be poor/or and stressed all of your life. If you don’t like the sound of that, resolve to become disciplined and break this nasty habit. - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018


JEFF LUND: Cabin memories  - Last month, I took my brother, his wife and his three kids to see the log cabin a couple buddies and I built in high school. We cut down trees with hatchets, notched them, stuffed moss between them, the whole nine yards. Since we didn’t know exactly how to cut doors, we put a platform on top of the logs, a trap door inside and large pieces of plywood for the roof. It’s still dry inside. 

It’s weird showing adults part of your childhood especially if it’s something built. A fort is for little kids. What we built wasn’t a fort. It was a legit camping structure that slept six. Above it was an old seine net, 30 feet above the forest floor. That’s not a fort. That’s a compound. There was a platform and basketball hoop for 3 on 3 net ball. The platform also served as the high ground for two dudes with paint ball guns, trying to light up the runner who tried to make it through the woods to the cabin without getting tattooed. 

My oldest nephew is 7 and my niece is 5. They immediately wanted to start to work on their own cabin. They are stationed with my brother at the Marine base in 29 Palms. Not a lot of logs available out there in the Mohave desert. 

Behind the cabin is the start of a second. Bigger, better. But it’s unfinished. Just before we were going to start cutting a door, Rob and Lars graduated. They are a year older than me, so when they left, construction stopped. - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Partisan Dining

Political Cartoon: Partisan Dining
By David Fitzsimmons ©2018, The Arizona Star, Tucson, AZ
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Help spread the word By Hallie Engel - Ketchikan is a community of people who care for each other and I would like to ask the citizens of our town to help someone in need.

If you lived in Ketchikan during the 1990s, you might remember David Weburg, or maybe you knew members of his family. David was always an active member of the local arts scene, and appeared in productions at Ketchikan High School and First City Players. Friendly, funny and talented, he was known for his warm smile and big heart. - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018  

jpg Letter / Opinion

Navy Must Right Itself By Donald Moskowitz - According to an oped by Pat Buchanan, starting around 2009 the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) lowered its enrollment standards for incoming freshmen so the Navy could increase its racial diversity.

The USNA is on a campaign to increase minority naval officers to approximate the nonwhite enlisted percentage of the Fleet, which is 40% minority personnel. Unfortunately, the USNA turns away applicants with SAT scores above 600 and As and Bs in their high school courses in favor of students with SAT scores in the 500s and C grades. Minority students with SATs in the 300s and 400s and C and D grades are admitted after attending a one year preparatory school. - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

New Political Sin By Rob Holston, Jr - I just saw a liberal law maker being interviewed on a liberal TV network. She said “We need a Supreme Court Justice who will fairly interpret and uphold the law of the land.” I can only take that to mean…..”Abide by the law of the land.” “Don’t dilute the law of the land.” It sounds a bit like “zero tolerance policy" to me. - More...
Friday PM - July 06, 2018

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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