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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 17, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Saxman Deer
This Sitka Black-Tailed Deer appears to be speaking to the photographer.
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Ketchikan: Macasaet arraigned for July 31 POW murder by Leila Kheiry, KRBD - About a week after he was apprehended for the strangling death of his girlfriend, 27-year-old Albert Peter Macasaet was arraigned Tuesday in Ketchikan District Court. - Read or listen to this KRBD story...

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Huge Win for Alaska Tribes: No Appeal from State of Alaska in Land-into-Trust Case - After a decade of litigation, the State of Alaska announced this week it will not seek further appeal in the Akiachak Native Community v. State of Alaska. The State’s decision followed a landmark ruling issued in June 2016 by the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that rejected the State of Alaska’s attempt to block the Department of the Interior (DOI) from taking land into trust to safeguard it for Alaska tribes.

“It’s important to acknowledge Governor Walker and Attorney General Lindemuth’s courage to move on from this decade long litigation,” said Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska" President Richard Peterson. “You’ve acted in the best interest of Alaska Natives and the State of Alaska as a whole. I also want to express my deep gratitude to the Akiachak Native Community, Chalkyitsik Village, Chilkoot Indian Association, Tuluksak Native Community (IRA), and Alice Kavairlook for challenging the Department of Interior’s exclusion of Alaska tribes in court. Central Council looks forward to working with the State alongside our Alaska Native brothers and sisters to implement the land-into-trust policy and build a new age of tribal and state collaboration.”

Trust lands are a cornerstone of federal Indian policy and are the key to federal and private sector funding and investment. Given our State’s fiscal challenges, tribal trust land is just one more solution to Alaska’s budget crisis. The ability for Alaska tribes to petition for trust land acquisition maximizes tribal government resources, eligibility for federal programs and services, and fosters economic development. It will help address public safety and child welfare issues, protect historic homelands and cultural sites, and expand funding for services, education, and housing.

Land-into-trust presents a multitude of advantages for the State and Alaska tribes, but overall it’s about tribal self-determination and the right for Alaska tribes to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of trust lands for themselves and their communities.

The U.S. Department of Interior will begin accepting applications to take land-into-trust starting August 22, 2016. Federally recognized tribes can apply for land into trust by petitioning the Secretary of the Interior to take the land into trust specifically for the benefit of the tribe and its tribal citizens. Applications can be submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the land must qualify under federal Indian laws, historic preservation, and environmental laws.

Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska said their priority will be to restore the federal protections to land previously lost. The Tribe has submitted a fee-to-trust and reservation proclamation applications for property Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) holds in fee and lands held in federally restricted status by individual tribal citizens of Central Council. All parcels are located within the historical and cultural area long known as the “Juneau Indian Village” and comprise the parking lot and subsurface of Central Council’s Andrew Hope Building on Willoughby Avenue.

Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth announced Monday, August 15, 2016, that the State of Alaska will not pursue further litigation in Akiachak Native Community v. U.S. Secretary of the Interior. That case affirmed the ability of the Secretary of Interior to take land into trust on behalf of Alaska Tribes and also acknowledged the rights of Alaska Tribes to be treated the same as all other federally recognized Tribes. The State’s decision to not seek Supreme Court review ends years of protracted litigation and ushers in a new era for Alaska Tribes.

The case was brought in 2006 when four Tribes and one Native individual - the Akiachak Native Community, Chalkyitsik Village, Chilkoot Indian Association, Tuluksak Native Community (IRA), and Alice Kavairlook - brought suit challenging the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to leave in place a regulation that treated Alaska Tribes differently from other federally recognized Tribes in the continental United States. NARF and Alaska Legal Services Corporation sought judicial review of the “Alaska Exception” which barred the acquisition of land in trust in Alaska other than for the Metlakatla Indian Community or its members. The State of Alaska intervened in defense of the regulatory bar on the basis that the differential treatment was required by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The District Court for the District of Columbia rejected both the Secretary and Alaska’s defense of the regulatory bar and found in favor of plaintiff Tribes on March 31, 2013. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 17, 2016

Fish Factor:
Alaska More Susceptible To Ocean Acidification By LAINE WELCH - Alaska is one of a handful of U.S. states to launch a go-to website aimed at keeping ocean acidification in the public eye.

The Alaska Ocean Acidification Network, a collaboration of state and federal scientists, agencies, tribes, conservation, fishing and aquaculture groups, went live last month. Its goal is to provide a forum for researchers to share their findings, and to connect with coastal residents concerned about future impacts on their communities.

Ocean acidification (OA) is caused by the ocean absorbing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, generated primarily from the burning of fossil fuels for energy. The off kilter chemistry causes the seawater to become corrosive, making it tough for marine creatures to grow scales and shells.

Alaska is more susceptible to OA than other regions because its waters are colder and older, and thereby hold more C02.

“We are so reliant on the ocean for our lives and livelihood. The seafood industry is valued at about $5.8 billion every year, and it’s the largest private sector employer in the state. So just think about the direct and indirect effects of OA and the implications,” said Darcy Dugan, Network project coordinator who also works for the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS). “The more educated Alaskans are, the more creative they can be in thinking about adaptation strategies and the more confident they can feel about working together to have a sustainable future,” she added.

Since 2011 the AOOS and its partners have sampled acidic fluctuations (pH levels) at moorings in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and at the Alutiiq Pride Hatchery in Seward. Researchers also have taken 1,200 shipboard water samples over several years. Starting this fall, the Network has partnered with the state ferry system to have OA measuring instruments onboard the Columbia which makes twice weekly runs between Bellingham and Skagway.

The average pH in the world’s oceans today is 8.1, according to NOAA. The lower the pH, the higher the acidity. While no direct effects of OA are showing up yet in Alaska’s sea creatures, computer models predict that normal acidic ranges will become off kilter sooner than previously thought.

“They are anticipating that the Beaufort Sea will be first to leave its natural range of pH variability around 2025, followed by the Chukchi in 2027 and the Bering in 2044,” Dugan said.

“Based on global estimates of ocean acidification, the Bering Sea may reach a pH level of 7.5 to 7.8 in the next 75 to 100 years, if not earlier,” estimated Bob Foy, director of NOAA’s research lab at Kodiak

“Once, it reaches those levels there will be significant decreases in survival and subsequent fishery yields and profits within 20 years," Foy added.

“We can be informed and prepared,” said Dugan. “We can come together as a community to respond and adapt.”

Ocean acidification in Alaska was featured at the Aleutian Life Forum Aug. 16 in Unalaska and at a (free) “State of the Science” Workshop Nov. 30- Dec. 1 in Anchorage. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 17, 2016


AMHS Releases Winter 2016-17 Schedule - The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) today announced the release of its 2016-17 winter schedule. The AMHS winter schedule covers ferry travel from October 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017.

Release of the 2016-17 winter schedule followed a public comment period held in May and June. The comment period is an opportunity for communities and individuals to review and comment on the proposed schedule, and to make AMHS aware of significant community events. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 17, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Coast Guard Rescues Pilot After Plane Crashes Near Ketchikan - A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued a pilot after his float plane crashed approximately 26 miles west of Ketchikan, Alaska, Monday night.

The Sitka helicopter crew located the plane wreckage on the shoreline of a lake on Prince of Wales Island. The sole occupant and pilot of a privately owned 1956 Piper Pacer was located alive by a responding USCG helicopter from Sitka. Thomas J. McIntire, age 30 of Ketchikan received minor injuries during a late aborted take-off attempt when the aircraft struck the rocky shoreline causing the onboard ELT to activate.

The helicopter crew hoisted McIntire and transported him to Ketchikan airport where he was met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel. No serious injuries were reported. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 17, 2016

Ketchikan: Meth and heroin smuggling leads to arrest - A Washington man was arrested at the Ketchikan International Airport by the Alaska State Troopers Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit in Ketchikan for two counts of Conspiracy to Commit Misconduct involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a Class B Felony.

Zerisenay Gebregiorgis, age 34, was arrested Saturday (August 13th) at approximately 6:30 PM as the result of a joint investigation between the Alaska State Troopers Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit in Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Police Department Drug Unit, which revealed that Gebregiorgis was conspiring with other people to smuggle large amounts of meth and heroin into Ketchikan and into other Southeast Alaska communities. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 17, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Jeff Lund

JEFF LUND: Ketchikan is a Coffee Town - This is a coffee town, probably a coffee state. You need it to talk. You need it to fish. You need it to hunt. You need it to kayak. You need it to be, or to tolerate, tourists.

As an English teacher who fishes (or a fisherman who teaches?) coffee is vital to my existence. The sweet (bitter) nectar is necessary to ensuring I function properly. Okay, maybe that’s a little much. I do like coffee but as a casual consumer. I don’t need it or get headaches if I don’t have it, I just drink it. By the way, when I say coffee, I mean coffee with coffee in it. Not something like a 620-calorie white chocolate mocha. That’s a drink, not a coffee. I take my coffee black unless I’m fishing in northern California or Oregon, in which case I’ll get an Annihilator from Dutch Bros because it helps me catch trout and has a cool name.

Anyway, there are really two divisions of coffee.

The first is the place you go simply because you need a brain slap. You don’t get the trucker blend at a truck stop then stick around to see what’s good. You get the largest size and get back on the road.

The other coffee style is the sit down and relax sort of way. You go there to visit with friends, tell fishing stories loud enough that everyone can hear, read the paper, eat or write.

Where you drink your coffee is almost as important as the coffee you’re drinking. No one wants to spend an hour sipping a few cups at a place you can’t stand. So with all that in mind, here are the best places to get caffeinated with a book, laptop or a friend. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 17, 2016

jpg John L. Micek

JOHN L. MICEK: Two Campaign Controversies Voters Shouldn't Shrug Off - If you ever wonder why some people think the game is rigged, why they believe the rich get access to government and power and influence the way the average working stiff doesn't, then two headlines are instructive.

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Paul Manafort, the campaign manager for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, had popped up in a "secret ledger" showing $12.7 million in cash payments were earmarked for him from a political party headed by Ukraine's former president, a pro-Russian strongman named Viktor F. Yanukovych.

That came on top of revelations last week of what appears to have been an entirely too cozy relationship between Democrat Hillary Clinton's State Department and major donors to the controversy-prone Clinton Foundation.

Both incidents are each, for their own reasons, profoundly troubling. And they would be, on their own, in a normal campaign year, a serious argument for disqualification for the respective candidates.

But this isn't any other year. The voting public has proven strikingly immune (or perhaps is now simply indifferent) to shocking, shameful or embarrassing things the Democratic and Republican nominees have said or done.

However, there is something particularly unsavory and unseemly about Manafort's Ukrainian payday and the reports that Clinton's State Department skated right up to the edge of "pay-to-play." - More...
Wednesday PM - August 17, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Obamacare Death Spiral

Editorial Cartoon: Obamacare Death Spiral
By Rick McKee ©2016, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.
Taxpayers at Risk as Obamacare Crumbles By PHIL KERPEN
(SITNEWS - August 16, 2016)


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Update in Progress

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