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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 03, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Buck Moon
The full moon on July 19th was photographed from Helm Bay. July's full moon is called the Buck Moon to signify the new antlers that emerge from Buck Deers' foreheads around this time if the year. July's full Moon is also known as Thunder Moon, Hot Moon, and Hay Moon.
Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Southeast Alaska: Body found in wooded area near Klawock - Alaska State Troopers on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska received a report on Sunday of the death of a female in a wooded area near Klawock. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 03, 2016

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Final Rule: Predator Control Restricted on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges - In response to public interest and concern about predator harvest on national wildlife refuges across Alaska, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a final rule to clarify that predator control is not allowed on national wildlife refuges in the state unless based on sound science and in response to a conservation concern or is necessary to meet refuge purposes, federal laws or Service policy.

Final Rule: Predator Control Restricted on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge: Brown bear and cubs
Photo credit: LISA HUPP/USFWS

In addition, the rule defines the process that will be used for considering predator control, prohibits certain methods and means for non-subsistence harvest of predators, and updates the procedures for closing an area or restricting an activity on refuges in Alaska.

“Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges are incredible landscapes with wildlife populations that support subsistence traditions and recreational opportunities like hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing,” said USF&W Service Director Dan Ashe. “The Service manages these refuges to conserve species and preserve biodiversity and environmental health for the continuing benefit of present and future generations of all Americans, while balancing the need to provide sport and subsistence hunting opportunities. Consistent with existing law and agency policy, sustainable harvest of fish and wildlife, including predators, remains a priority public use on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.”

Under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), all refuges in Alaska are mandated to provide the opportunity for continued subsistence use by rural Alaska residents in a manner consistent with the conservation of natural diversity. The final rule will not change federal subsistence regulations or restrict taking of fish or wildlife under them.

The state of Alaska regulates general hunting and trapping of wildlife, including on national wildlife refuges.

“Whenever possible, we prefer to defer to the state of Alaska on regulation of general hunting and trapping of wildlife on national wildlife refuges unless by doing so we are out of compliance with federal law and policy,” Ashe continued. “This regulation ensures we comply with our mandates and obligations.”

The rule will help facilitate the ability of the USF&W Service to maintain sustainable populations of bears, wolves and coyotes throughout national wildlife refuges across Alaska and will ensure a consistent and transparent approach to management of predators.

Today in a prepared statement from Kenai, Alaska Congressman Don Young (R-AK) condemned the final rule regarding wildlife management practices upon federal refuges within the State of Alaska.

“Make no mistake – the size, scope and impact of this rule is enormous,” said Young. “With over 76.8 million acres of wildlife refuges in Alaska – an area equaling the size of New Mexico – this unilateral power grab fundamentally alters Alaska’s authority to manage wildlife across all areas of our state. Not only does this rule undermine promises made in the Alaska Statehood Compact, it violates the law by ignoring provisions Senator Stevens and I secured within the Alaska National Interest Lands Claims Act (ANILCA) to protect Alaska’s sovereignty and management authority. This newest attempt to exert federal authority over Alaska has not gone unchallenged and I will continue to work every angle in Congress to strike this rule, and a similar proposal by the National Park Service, from the federal register. If this rule is allowed to stand, we could see an opening for future jurisdictional takings by the federal government – transforming a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the Fish and Wildlife Service to one of servitude.”

Alaska’s national wildlife refuges encompass some of the largest and most remote wildlife habitats remaining in the United States. These vast areas are ideal for wide-ranging and large animals like wolves and bears.

According to a statement on the Defenders of Wildlife's website's blog, "Anti-wildlife representatives in Congress and Alaska’s state government have been fighting this rule since it was first proposed in January, and will surely continue to do so. We commend the Fish and Wildlife Service for finalizing this important rule, which upholds bedrock environmental laws like the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act and the Wilderness Act. This action sends a clear message that science, not politics, governs our public lands." - More...
Wednesday PM - August 03, 2016

Alaska: 15 Year Old Wins Prestigious Made in Alaska’s Manufacturer of the Year Award - At a presentation at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Monday Forum, Grayson Davey became the youngest winner of the Made in Alaska’s Manufacturer of the Year Award. The award, presented annually by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, highlights the importance of the statewide manufacturing sector.

15 Year Old Wins Prestigious Made in Alaska’s Manufacturer of the Year Award

“Alaska Paracord Designs is an excellent example how innovation and hard work can manifest into a successful small business,” said Chris Hladick, commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. “Grayson is an inspiring young entrepreneur. His company contributes to our economy and puts Alaskans to work. We are proud to honor Alaska Paracord Designs with this award.”

Grayson started Alaska Paracord Designs in 2013 at the age of 11 when family friends were stranded for days after their boat overturned on a local river. Grayson took note when they reflected on the ordeal saying, “if we only had something with us to start a fire.” Grayson took a paracord bracelet design that he already knew and integrated fire making and survival tools into it - Alaska Paracord Designs was born. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 03, 2016

Alaska: New study offers important insight into emerging freelancer industry - In recent years, a trend toward flexible, non-traditional work has enticed an increasing amount of the country’s workforce. A recent study commissioned by the Alaska Division of Economic Development suggests that Alaska’s workforce is no exception to this trend. The report offers insights into factors that foster a vibrant freelancer industry and the impact of the emerging industry in Alaska.

The study suggests that each dollar earned by a freelancer generates an additional $0.67 in gross sales to other businesses and $0.33 in profits, wages and indirect taxes. One-third of Alaska freelancers surveyed said their business has grown within the last year and 80 percent expect their business to remain stable or even grow in the year to come.

“With uncertainty surrounding Alaska’s economic future and state spending reduced due to the plunge in oil prices, this type of economic resiliency is even more important for our state,” said Chris Hladick, commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 03, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Sex Offender Sentenced To Life Imprisonment; Twice Convicted Child Molester Produced Child Pornography While on Parole - A resident of Juneau was sentenced Monday by United States District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to life imprisonment for production of child pornography.

Thomas Schopp, 52, had two prior convictions in state court for child molestation. In those case, Schopp was identified as Thomas Hiser. On January 29, 1988, Schopp (Hiser) was convicted of six counts of sexual assault in the first degree and was sentenced to five years in prison. On May 17, 1993, Schopp (Hiser) was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, and one count of attempted sexual abuse in the third degree, and was sentenced to 26 years in prison.

According to documents filed in this case and arguments made at Monday’s sentencing hearing, Schopp met Juvenile A, providing the minor with gifts over the course of several months, to include a cell phone. In February 2014, Schopp invited Juvenile A to his residence. At the residence, Schopp videotaped the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 03, 2016


Study: Lack of water likely caused extinction of isolated mammoths in Alaska - A remnant population of woolly mammoths on a remote Alaska island was likely pushed to extinction by rising sea levels and a lack of access to fresh water, according to a newly published study.

Equipment for collecting samples of lake sediment is laid out as part of a research project on St. Paul Island.
Photo courtesy Matthew Wooller

By analyzing layers of a dated sediment core from a lake on St. Paul Island, researchers determined that mammoths went extinct on the island roughly 5,600 years ago, thousands of years after remnant mainland populations died off. The study also indicated that the Bering Sea island experienced a phase of dry conditions and declining water quality at about the same time the mammoths vanished.

"It's amazing that everything turned out so precisely with dating of extinction at 5,600 plus or minus 100 years," said Russell Graham, professor of geosciences, Penn State who led the researchers.

Matthew Wooller, director of the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a co-author of the study, said past events on St. Paul Island provided a unique opportunity for research. Mammoths were trapped there when rising sea levels submerged the Bering Sea land bridge, and survived about 5,000 years longer than remnant mainland populations. There is no evidence of people having lived on the island during the era.

St. Paul Island lies about 400 miles north of the Aleutian Islands and was part of the Bering Land Bridge before sea level rose when the last glacial period ended. Previous researchers radiocarbon-dated remains of five mammoths to about 6,480 years ago, but there was no way to know if these were the last five animals.

Beside the mammoths, the only animals appearing on the island in "prehistoric" times were arctic foxes, shrews and polar bears, and there is no evidence of polar bears before 4,000 years ago. Humans did not arrive on the island until 1787 C.E. The only large mammals present were mammoths.

In 2013, a team of researchers collected a sediment core from the bed of one of the few freshwater lakes on St. Paul Island. Wooller and fellow UAF researcher Kyungcheol Choy measured the stable oxygen isotope ratios of the prehistoric remains of aquatic insects preserved in the sediment from before, during and after the extinction of mammoths from the island.

"We see a reduction in the three species of fungus, all of which are associated with the dung of large animals," said Graham. "These spores are a marker for the presence of large animals like mammoths."

Sediment DNA from the lake cores showed the presence of mammoth DNA until 5,650 years ago, plus or minus 80 years. After that time, there is no mammoth DNA and so no mammoths on the island. The youngest of the newly dated mammoth remains' dates fall within the mammoth DNA range and the fungal spore dates as well.

Using state-of-the-art methods for radiocarbon dating, the researchers used 14 newly recovered remains from various areas on the island to help document the time of extinction. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 03, 2016


Columns - Commentary

RON PAUL: Americans Are Going to be Disappointed in Election Outcome - It is a sad commentary on the state of political life in the United States that our political conventions have become more like rock music festivals than competitions of ideas.

There has been a great deal of bombast, of insults, of name-calling, and of chest-beating at both party conventions, but what is disturbingly absent is any mention of how we got to this crisis and how we can get out. From the current foreign policy mess to the looming economic collapse, all we hear is both party candidates saying they will fix it, no problem.

In her convention speech, Hillary Clinton promised that she would "fight terrorism" and defeat ISIS by doing more of what we have been doing all along: bombing. In fact we have dropped more than 50,000 bombs on ISIS in Iraq and Syria over the past two years and all she can say is that she will drop more. How many more bombs will defeat ISIS? How many more years will she keep us in our longest war, Afghanistan? She doesn't say.

In fact, the New York Times ---- certainly not hostile to the Clintons ---- wrote that it was almost impossible to fact-check Hillary's speech because, "she delivered a speech that was remarkably without hard facts."

Clinton's top foreign policy advisor said just a day after her convention speech that her big plan for Syria was to go back to square one and concentrate on overthrowing its secular president. How many more thousands more will die if she gets her way? And won't she eventually be forced to launch a massive US ground invasion that will also kill more Americans?

Clinton does not understand that a policy of endless interventionism has brought us to our knees and made us far weaker. Does she really expect us to be the policemen of the world with $20 trillion in debt?

Likewise, Republican candidate Donald Trump misses the point. He promises to bring back jobs to America without any understanding of the policies that led to their departure in the first place.

Yes, he is correct that the middle class is in worse shape than when Obama took office, but not once did he mention how it happened: the destructive policies of the Federal Reserve. The financing of our warfare/welfare state through the printing of phony money. Distorted interest rates that encourage consumption and discourage saving and investment. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 03, 2016

jgp Editorial Cartoon: 'Yuge' News

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


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letter Thank You POW By Sheila Finkenbinder - I want to thank the residents of Prince of Wales Island for the welcoming reception I received during my visit last week. I traveled from Craig and Klawock up to Whale Pass for the POWCAC meeting, down to Hydaburg for Cultural Camp, and over to Thorne Bay. I met with mayors and administrators, fishermen and electricians, teachers and superintendents, business owners and bankers; and the man on the street. I heard about your love of living on the island, as well as your concerns. But the most amazing thing I heard was your understanding of the fiscal crisis that Alaska faces, and your willingness to be a part of the solutions needed to get us through the tough times ahead. I want to thank so many people for taking the time to talk with me and help me get to know your island home. - More...
Monday AM - August 01, 2016

A Measurable Academic Goal for the District By Agnes Moran - The Ketchikan School Board is in the process of setting goals for the district and the superintendent for the upcoming school year. I think it is time the Board set tangible, measurable, academic based goals for the district that will have long term, positive impact on our community’s children. The primary goal I would like to see the School Board commit to is a 92% graduation rate (as calculated by the national standard adjusted cohort graduation rate used by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)) for the freshman students entering Ketchikan High School this fall. - More...
Friday AM - July 29, 2016

letter Finkenbinder Not A Serious Candidate By Bob Claus - Today I had the dubious pleasure of meeting Sheila Finkenbinder, a candidate for State House. She was visiting Prince of Wales Island, a major part of her potential district, for the first time. - More...
Friday AM - July 29, 2016

letter It rained on our parade! By Bobbie McCreary - What the heck, Ketchikan! Paintball “markers” (guns) without tanks are even safer than guns without ammo because there is no way to shoot…even if there were “ammo” (AKA paintballs) hiding inside the paintball marker. - More...
Friday AM - July 29, 2016

letter Ethan's Garbage Truck By Judith Green - What a wonderful change in the media this week. A heart warming account of a 6 year old boy who was granted his wish through that wonderful Make-A-Wish program. The story was picked up by local folks who turned out that morning to cheer him with signs and smiles and waves of delight. He rode in his very own garbage truck, his name emblazoned on the truck, with the greatest of smiles. Thanks to Make-A-Wish, and the media, for giving all of us a chance to enjoy this heart warming episode with Ethan and his family. - More...
Friday AM - July 29, 2016

letter Ketchikan's Missing By Irene Anderson - I would like to submit a follow up summation regarding the Missing & Deceased Men and Women in Ketchikan. - More...
Friday AM - July 29, 2016

letter Support Our Police By Donald Moskowitz - Police actions in Ferguson, MO; New York City, Baltimore, Baton Rouge and Minnesota have been in the news, and a few police officers have been seen using excessive force and shooting people. I believe a small number of police officers use excessive force, and these officers should be held accountable for their actions. - More...
Tuesday AM - July 26, 2016

letter RE: Oil Cans... By Angelo Martin - I first met David Hanger about 1980 when I first got to Ketchikan. His Mom and Dad were wonderful people. I was hired by their cruse ship fishing charters service in 1982. I consider David a very intelligent person, but his talents are wasted, he should write novels, run for local office. - More...
Tuesday AM - July 26, 2016

letter Thank you to Ketchikan Solid Waste facility By Victoria McDonald - As one of many Ketchikan citizens concerned about tansy ragwort, orange hawkweed, Japanese knotweed,and Scotch broom, we deeply appreciate the Solid Waste facility acceptance of hundreds of pounds of tansy ragwort. Dorica Jackson and I have taken close to 600 pounds from the Fawn Mountain area with another 300 pounds needing to be pulled. One local man has taken hundreds of pounds pulled from the Carlanna area. Wolfe Point is infested where 125 pounds have been removed. - More...
Saturday PM - July 16, 2016

letter Part 14: OIL COMPANY” WALKER, “OIL CAN” ORTIZ AND OIL COMPANY SOCIALISM; Summation and Conclusion By David G Hanger - When Sam Rayburn died he had $26,000 in the bank. He was the longest-serving Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, second in line of succession to the Presidency of the United States, an attorney who never took a fee or gift from anyone who might have any interest whatsoever before the government; and the standard, the very benchmark, for personal integrity and honor, both in and out of political office. When “Little Ben” Stevens, the unindicted co-conspirator in the VECO case that put Kott in prison, was President of the Alaska State Senate, he used his elected position to pocket more than a million in graft and payola. For this he should have gone to prison for at least 10 years, but an attorney general of the same political party let the case lapse. Since then the corruption of graft, payola, and special interest has been codified into law by the majorities in both the state senate and the house, so that they can continue their campaigns of personal graft and payola while concomitantly serving the needs of their corporate masters. - More...
Saturday PM - July 16, 2016

letter Loss of hundreds of lives, sparing a dog By Nancy Crawford - Thank you for your writing on the loss of hundreds of lives on Princess Sophia. Their lives were not lost in vain as I am sure that this disaster gave many ideas to make ship travel safer. - More...
Saturday PM - JUly 16, 2016

letter Muslim camps By A. M. Johnson - As often the case, each weekend edition of the Ketchikan Daily News' religious news carries some level of contentious religious news or article, picked off snide religious slanted AP provided articles. This week end it was the article on Muslim summer camps. In this apocryphal reading one would take away a vision of a Peaceful Religion promoted by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (A terror listed group) and other Muslim based anti Western political groups would and do use to undermine and hide the true record of the dark side of this political/religious diatribe by fooling the'folks'(infidels) not up on any religion (i.e. 'Low information voter/citizen). - More...
Saturday PM - July 16, 2016

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for