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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 10, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By FARREL LEWIS

Cambria Doe
This Sitka Black-Tailed Deer was photograph while
grazing in Ketchikan's Cambria area.
Front Page Feature Photo By FARREL LEWIS

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Southeast Alaska:
After Standoff, Man Arrested for Murder in the First Degree - The Alaska State Troopers' Alaska Bureau of Investigation announced today it was determined Monday that 27-year-old Judylee Guthrie of Hydaburg had been the victim of a homicide. Investigation had developed Albert Macasaet III, age 27 of Hydaburg, as the sole suspect. After consultation with the Ketchikan District Attorney's Office, the Alaska State Troopers planned to make a warrantless arrest of Albert Macasaet on Tuesday (08/09/16) at the Klawock residence where he was residing.

At about 1:30 PM, Troopers attempted to contact Albert Macasaet and arrest him for Murder in the First Degree. However according to a press release, upon contact Albert Macasaet and a family member actively resisted the arrest, resulting in the Troopers retreating when Albert Macasaet produced a firearm. An arrest warrant for Murder in the First Degree was subsequently obtained.

Albert Macasaet barricaded himself inside the residence along with two other adults and three juveniles – ages 13, 7, and 3. Alaska State Troopers crisis negotiators contacted Albert Macasaet and the other adults at the residence via telephone and began the negotiation process.

After several hours wherein Albert Macasaet and the others refused to leave the residence, the AST Southcentral Special Emergency Reaction Team was deployed to the scene. Through continued negotiations, both of the other adults and the 13 year old left the residence by 6:30 PM; but Albert Macasaet remained inside with the 3 year old and 7 year old. Negotiations continued until approximately 11:25 PM, when the Southcentral Special Emergency Reaction Team successfully engaged in a tactical intervention that resulted in Albert Macasaet’s arrest. No injuries were sustained by any members of AST, either child, or Albert Macasaet. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016

Alaska: Governor Visits King Cove; Expresses Deeper Appreciation for Road Connection to Nearby Cold Bay Airport - Alaska Governor Bill Walker visited King Cove last Wednesday to see first-hand how critical the need is to link the remote Aleut community to the nearby all-weather airport in Cold Bay. The Governor also visited Cold Bay and the Izembek Refuge to view the area where an 11-mile single-lane gravel road connection would be built if Congress and the President approve a bill recently introduced by Alaska’s Congressional Delegation.

“I have met multiple times with U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and on this issue, I know we don’t agree,” Governor Walker said. “I won’t give up, though, on pushing for what the residents of King Cove need – a road to access emergency medical care.”

During his visit, the governor was able to get up close and personal to the Cold Bay dock where multiple medevacs via boats have been forced to handle medevac patients in the worst Aleutian weather when air travel was grounded due to foul weather in King Cove.

“Governor Walker was amazed that sick, injured and sometimes elderly patients have had to climb up a 20-foot ladder to the dock or be hoisted up in a crab pot where an air medevac plane was waiting,” said Aleutians East Borough Mayor Stanley Mack. “In this day and age, it’s frightful and unwarranted that patients have to endure these conditions when a road could so easily solve our transportation access problem. The Governor’s hometown of Valdez and Delta Junction, where he was raised, both have life-saving roads. That is all we are asking for in King Cove.”

For a couple of hours, it appeared that dense fog and low visibility might prevent Governor Walker from flying into King Cove. However, after spending some time in Cold Bay, the weather improved, allowing the Governor, First Lady Donna Walker and Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack, to land in King Cove.

“After the weather delay and visiting our community, Governor Walker understands even more that dense fog, dangerously high winds and fierce Aleutian weather often prevents travel by air or sea as much as one-third of the time,” said King Cove Mayor Henry Mack. “When medical emergencies occur, and patients need to be medevaced out to an Anchorage hospital, a simple gravel road would provide a safe, reliable and affordable solution rather than putting our brave Coast Guard personnel at risk. Governor Walker was raised in a small Alaska town, and he has always been a strong advocate for the King Cove road, which we truly appreciate.”

“An Alaskan suffering a heart attack should not have to additionally brave the elements just to get to a doctor,” Governor Walker said. “After having met community members who have had close calls and having seen for myself the great lengths they have to travel just to be medevaced out, I see the urgent need for a solution.” - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016

Ken Tonjes to leave PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center - Ken Tonjes, chief administrative officer (CAO) at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, has made the decision to leave PeaceHealth to move closer to his children and grandchildren in Washington. After nearly 26 years with PeaceHealth, and three years in Ketchikan, Tonjes plans to enjoy some time off and then reassess his career goals and professional options. His last day at the medical center will be on or before December 31, 2016.

CAO Ken Tonjes as he thanked the community of Ketchikan and many others for their partnership in making the new surgery and clinic addition at PeaceHealth Ketchikan a reality during the recent Ribbon Cutting celebration.
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

“With phase I of the new construction nearly complete, I feel it’s the right time to make a transition,” Tonjes said. “I have truly enjoyed my time serving the people of Ketchikan and helping to build on the legacy that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace began nearly a century ago,” continued Tonjes. “Ketchikan and the people here will always hold a dear place in my heart. It’s difficult to say goodbye to the community that welcomed my wife and I so warmly nearly three years ago.” - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016

Alaska: GOVERNOR SIGNS UPDATED LAND EXCHANGE STATUTES - A long-standing land exchange issue that proved to be an inefficient and cumbersome process has been fixed today now that Representative Cathy Munoz’s House Bill 274 has been signed by Governor Bill Walker.

HB 274 modifies existing Title 38 statutory framework to create a uniform process for land-exchanges and to help the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in their ability to effectively manage state land resources.

The previous law required that the exchange be of exact equal value and that only the land value is considered. This bill changes that by implementing the municipal land exchange requirements found in Title 29 and that the exchange value be of approximate equal value. Additionally, it removes the one year limitation on the validity of an appraisal, which in some cases caused exchanges to start over from the beginning.

“I’d like to thank the Governor for signing this important piece of legislation,” Rep. Muñoz (R-Juneau) said. “After working with a local non-profit to resolve a longstanding land exchange issue, I realized that the old process was time consuming, inefficient and difficult to execute. HB 247 is another step forward for increased government efficiency.” - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016

Textbook story of how humans populated America is 'biologically unviable,' study finds

Map outlining the opening of the human migration routes in North America revealed by the results presented in this study.
CREDIT: Mikkel Winther Pedersen

Textbook story of how humans populated America is 'biologically unviable,' study finds - The established theory about the route by which Ice Age peoples first reached the present-day United States has been challenged by an unprecedented study which concludes that their supposed entry route was "biologically unviable".

The first people to reach the Americas crossed via an ancient land bridge between Siberia and Alaska but then, according to conventional wisdom, had to wait until two huge ice sheets that covered what is now Canada started to recede, creating the so-called "ice-free corridor" which enabled them to move south.

In a new study published in the journal Nature, however, an international team of researchers used ancient DNA extracted from a crucial pinch-point within this corridor to investigate how its ecosystem evolved as the glaciers began to retreat. They created a comprehensive picture showing how and when different flora and fauna emerged and the once ice-covered landscape became a viable passageway. No prehistoric reconstruction project like it has ever been attempted before.

The researchers conclude that while people may well have travelled this corridor after about 12,600 years ago, it would have been impassable earlier than that, as the corridor lacked crucial resources, such as wood for fuel and tools, and game animals which were essential to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

If this is true, then it means that the first Americans, who were present south of the ice sheets long before 12,600 years ago, must have made the journey south by another route. The study's authors suggest that they probably migrated along the Pacific coast.

Who these people were is still widely disputed. Archaeologists agree, however, that early inhabitants of the modern-day contiguous United States included the so-called "Clovis" culture, which first appear in the archaeological record over 13,000 years ago. And the new study argues that the ice-free corridor would have been completely impassable at that time. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016


Rare snailfish found in Aleutians, only a dozen specimens ever recorded; Scientists find fish last seen in 2003 By KATIE DOPTIS - Alaska Fisheries Science Center biologist Jay Orr confirmed that a fish collected during a routine fisheries survey is a species that has only been encountered once in more than a decade. Little is known about this creature, identified as a gray snailfish. The fish is so uncommon it has only been collected a dozen times since it was first discovered 30 years ago.

Rare gray snailfish found off western Aleutian Islands
Photo: NOAA Fisheries

The gray snailfish was found during the Center’s annual survey of the remote waters around Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Scientists are gathering information to assess the health of commercially important fish and crab species.

Snailfish are small and almost gelatinous; they resemble a tadpole and have no scales. Interestingly, snailfish can be found in shallow tide pools and the deepest oceans around the world, deeper than any other known vertebrate. The fish’s deep ocean habitats in rough waters around the Aleutians make it difficult to study. Snailfish are also fragile and can be easily damaged which made identification challenging in the past. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Cooperative Weed Management Area partnership - Ketchikan's invasive plants group has been working hard to remove tansy ragwort from two large infestation areas north and south of Ketchikan. You may have seen them on a Friday or Saturday, rain or shine, putting tansy into bright yellow bags donated by the Ketchikan solid waste facility. This plant is toxic to wildlife that graze on leaves and flowers. The group's goal has been to prevent tansy ragwort from spreading further, and they aim to remove it completely over the next few years.

Ketchikan's invasive plants group is forming a Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) partnership composed of local landowners and interested individuals who want to remove high-priority invasive species before they become widespread and take more time and effort to remove. This group would like to invite all Ketchikan City and Borough land and property owners and other concerned citizens to attend their next meeting on Monday, August 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The location is the Ketchikan Public Library large multi-purpose room (1110 Copper Ridge Lane).

The meeting will begin with a 15-minute introductory presentation about high-priority invasive plants in the Ketchikan area. The remainder of the meeting will focus on (1) what we have learned from this year's work with tansy ragwort and strategies for next year, (2) the MOU process and formation of Ketchikan's CWMA, and (3) efforts to obtain funding for invasive plant management, outreach, and education. We will be available to answer questions on invasive plants and the CWMA. The public is invited to attend. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL:A Comatose Man Wakes to the 2016 Election - "Where am I?" asked the man from his hospital bed.

"You were in a freak accident," said the doctor. "You've been comatose since 1986."

"Since 1986?" said the patient. "That's 30 years!"

"It surely is," said the doctor. "What is the last thing you can remember?"

"I remember the speech President Reagan gave after the Challenger disaster," said the patient. "I remember how united the country was after the speech."

"Well, a lot has changed since then," said the doctor. "For the sake of your health, it's best that we ease you into the events of 2016 slowly."

"Come on, Doc, lay it on me. Who is president now?"

"President Barack Obama, America's first black president."

"That is awesome," said the patient. "I am so proud my country made such progress while I slept. Has President Obama got our country more unified than ever?"

"He's unified half of the country," said the doctor. "The other half, not so much."

"Who's running for president this year?" - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016

jpg Bob Ciminel

BOB CIMINEL: Another Trump Kerfuffle - “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” With those two statements Donald Trump set off another media firestorm based on the supposition that he was condoning violence against Hillary Clinton. In effect, the media is implying that all 2nd Amendment supporters advocate violence as a means of attaining their goals. I am not buying it and neither should you.

Why, in a country founded on a Constitution emulated by other countries, are supporters of constitutional rights being pilloried by the press? When you abhor a document that granted so many rights to our citizens I must question what it is you are trying to attain: Anarchy, totalitarianism or tyranny? Obviously, you don’t like our current form of representative democracy founded on two simple and reasonable documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

I do not believe Donald Trump would ever advocate violence as a means to a political end, other than defeating terrorism, nor would any of the 2nd Amendment supporters I have met over the years. What Donald Trump was saying is that the only way we can defend our rights under the Constitution is at the ballot box. That is the only real “power” citizens have in our country. Issues are won at local elections, state elections and national elections.

As I see it, our country is currently being ruled by minorities, contrary to how a representative democracy is meant to be ruled. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 10, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: DOLPHIN

Editorial Cartoon: DOLPHIN
By Bill Day ©2016, Cagle Cartoons
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter Taxing Citizens Out of Ketchikan By Rodney Dial - If you have been reading my SitNews letters over the years, you can remember how I correctly reported: 1)That if borough and city governments consolidated it would cost us millions. Proven true less than two weeks after voters defeated the last consolidation attempt (2006). Consolidation would have cost us over 2.2 Million dollars every year since (now over 20 million saved because we did not consolidate). 2) That approval of the library and fire station bonds would result in tax hikes. Proven true when the City manager used them as justification for three tax increases (two property, and one sales tax increase). 3) That the last tax increase (2014) was, in part, to provide for the continued expansion of local government; that would allow the City to renovate the towns 2nd Museum (we have two), without a vote of the people. - More...
Tuesday AM - August 09, 2016

letter PFD Automatic Voter Registration simplifies voting for all Alaskans By Dan Ortiz - Alaska is in the bottom 20% per capita of registered voters. Now, more than ever, Alaskans should exercise their right to vote. In my previous profession as a social studies/current issue teacher at Kayhi, I tried to instill in my students the value of citizen participation within the communities that they live. One of the most significant ways that this can be achieved is by simply voting. - More...
Tuesday AM - August 09, 2016

letter Re-elect Dan Ortiz By Douglas Thompson - A couple of topics have crossed my mind recently. One of them is I have not seen any report on how much Celebrity Cruises have paid the City of Ketchikan for the damage they did to our dock. I am very curious as once again in the on going trend of mismanagement Amylon gave the repair without getting any competitive bids. The pile driving company was sitting idle in Ward Cove and is here for most of the summer. It wasn't that long ago that cruise ships anchored out and shuttled in visiting passengers as a matter of course. Calling the damage an "emergency" seems to be a bit far fetched. Most especially when bids could be let and an special session of the city council could be called in seven days to choose the winning submission. Hardly a time issue. - More...
Tuesday AM - August 09, 2016

letter The Graduation Rate -- Worth Paying Attention By Bobbie McCreary - Thank you Agnes, for researching the information needed to present your challenges to our Ketchikan school district to increase our graduation rate. As you and many others are aware, this is a critically important issue for us to monitor and work for improvement in the district's results in order to positively influence the opportunities for our youth to succeed as they face the obligations of adulthood. The Empowering Youth task force of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition spent considerable time after its formation surveying our students and determining how to develop meaningful information that addressed the graduation rate for a cohort of ninth graders that were targeted to graduate four years later. We researched what definitions were used in other locales and on the federal level and after determining the 9th grade cohort was the most meaningful analysis, worked with the school district to determine how to report that information, making necessary corrections such as adjusting for students leaving or joining the district during that four year period. - More...
Tuesday AM - August 09, 2016

letter Get a Healthy Start to the New School Year with Vaccinations By Susan Johnson - In August, you’ll see back-to-school ads from virtually every store. These ads will try to convince you that you need to buy clothes, shoes, computers, school supplies, sporting equipment, lunch making materials, cleaning wipes, and a myriad of other products. Children legitimately need some of these items. Other items are in the nice to have category. The average family will spend in excess of $600 per child for back-to-school items—and significantly more for college-bound students, especially when they need to furnish that freshman dorm room. Back-to-school has become the second largest shopping season in the year. - More...
Tuesday AM - August 09, 2016

letter Tansy status? By A. M. Johnson - I recently completed the clearing of the remaining Tansy off our North Tongass property, an annual event. In viewing the adjacent properties some State and others private,this must be a record year for Tansy bloom. Reminds one of the 'Yellow Brick Road" from Wizard of Oz. - More....
Tuesday AM - August 09, 2016

letter Keep Public Lands Public - And the Wildlife They Protect! By Daniel M. Ashe - Woody Guthrie captured something essential about our nation when he penned the classic American song, “This Land is Your Land” more than 75 years ago. He understood that one of America’s best ideas - and one of our defining values - was the decision to set aside some of our most wildlife-rich lands and waters for permanent protection for the benefit of all Americans. - More...
Monday PM - August 08, 2016

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C&D Storage - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan H2O - Bulk Water Hauling

Ketchikan H20 Bottled Water Service - Ketchikan, Alaska

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan Title Agency - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Travelers Accommodations, LLC - Ketchikan, Alaska

Schmolck Mechanical Contractors - Ketchiikan, Alaska

AAA Moving & Storage - Ketchikan, Alaska

Sourdough Tactical - Ward Creek Industrial - Ketchikan, Alaska

Great Western Service - Bear Valley Apartments - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Airlines - Travel Now Discount

Rendezvous Senior Day Services, Inc. - Ketchikan, Alaska

Otter Creek Partners, Registered Investment Advisor - Ketchikan, Alaska

Lighthouse Services - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaskan & Proud

Groomingdales Pet Resort - BARK, a no-kill animal shelter - Ketchikan, Alaska

The Home Office - The Local Paper; Ketchikan, Alaska

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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