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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 25, 2016

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Governor: Stakeholder input bypassed in streamlining Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission - In February, Governor Bill Walker issued Administrative Order 279, authorizing the transfer of certain administrative functions from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) to the Department of Fish and Game. The objectives of the Order were to streamline administrative and research functions of the agencies, identify cost-saving measures, and provide appropriate support to the commercial fishing industry in the state without negatively impacting the fishing industry.

The order was challenged in court by United Fishermen of Alaska; however, a superior court judge ruled in favor of the state, which could have paved the way for immediate action. Rather than implementing Administrative Order 279, Governor Walker said today he would place a moratorium on AO 279 to allow for a more robust stakeholder engagement process.

“In our effort to find cost-savings, I unfortunately bypassed an important step in any restructuring of state government - public engagement and feedback,” Walker acknowledged. “The vital stakeholder input will help determine the best course of action needed to find a path forward for the fishing industry, individual Alaskans, and the affected state agencies.”

The administration will pursue input from Alaska’s commercial fishing industry after the conclusion of the fishing season this fall. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

Southeast Alaska: 2016 Unit 2 wolf harvest quota announced - Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, announce that the Unit 2 wolf harvest for regulatory year (RY) 2016-17 will be set at eleven wolves.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service currently manage wolves on Prince of Wales and associated islands, collectively known as Game Management Unit 2 (GMU 2), for an annual harvest not to exceed 20 percent of the most recent unit-wide population estimate as required by regulation. Our primary goal for managing wolves in GMU 2 is to ensure a population that provides opportunity for a sustainable harvest. While legal harvest is only one of several factors influencing wolf numbers in Unit 2, it is the one that managers can control as we continue wolf research activities.

According to a U.S. Forest Service news release, unlike elsewhere in Alaska where wolf numbers can be estimated from aircraft, the dense forest cover across Southeast Alaska makes that method impossible. Therefore, ADF&G researchers with support from the Forest Service calculate the total number of wolves based on a DNA mark-recapture technique on a large northcentral Prince of Wales Island study area. Data collected from October through December 2015 (fall 2015) resulted in a GMU 2-wide population estimate of 108 wolves, with a possible range of 69 on the low end, to 167 wolves on the upper end. This is the most current population estimate.

The fall 2015 population estimate of 108 is higher than the 2014 estimate (89 wolves), indicating that the number of wolves in GMU 2 is no longer declining and may have increased. We believe this result supports continuing with the management strategy used last year. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

Alaska: Standard & Poor’s Maintains Alaska’s AA+ Credit Rating and Removes CreditWatch - The Alaska Department of Revenue announced Tuesday that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings has removed Alaska’s general obligation, appropriation and moral obligation from CreditWatch while maintaining the AA+ rating on Alaska’s general obligation debt.

In their analysis S&P notes that although Alaska’s legislature did not approve the fiscal reforms sought by Governor Walker as part of the 2016-2017 budget process, nevertheless from a fiscal standpoint, the state may achieve results similar to what it might have if the reforms had been approved because the governor vetoed $1.29 billion in spending. With reduced spending, the state will draw $3.2 billion from its budget reserves this year - the same amount shown under Governor Walker’s original December 2015 reform proposal. In the absence of the vetoes, which included halving the permanent fund dividend (PFD) paid to state residents, the state’s fiscal gap and related draw on its reserves would have approached $4.5 billion. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

Ketchikan: New Nurse Practitioner Joins Creekside Family Health Clinic - Creekside Family Health Clinic announced the recruitment of Lisa "Kat" Robbins-Spann, FNP-C to the practice as a family nurse practitioner (FNP-C). Spann graduated from the University of South Alabama in May 2016 with a Master of Science in Nursing and is dual board certified in Family Practice and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care. She is also a board certified emergency room nurse. She will provide acute and primary health and medical care to children, adolescents, and adults.

New Nurse Practitioner Joins Creekside Family Health Clinic

Lisa "Kat" Robbins-Spann, FNP-C , joins Creekside Family Health Clinic
Photo courtesy CFHC

A native of Arkansas in the Little Rock region, coming to Alaska has been a dream of Spann's for many years. "Coming to Alaska has been a household topic for several years now," says Spann. "I feel pretty fortunate to have found Ketchikan out of all the possibilities here."

Before arriving in Ketchikan, she was employed at Saint Vincent's Hospital assisting with the treatment of patients with acute and emergency care. She has also worked at several other rural and urban hospitals in the Little Rock region. She notes that she had a lot of choices around the country as a new graduate but Ketchikan really spoke to her and her family. "What's impressed me so far is the 'can do' independence of the community and the resourcefulness of it all. The variety of activities here is pretty amazing in-spite-of the remoteness, weather, and general challenges of living up here", she said. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

Ketchikan: Welfare Check Leads to High Speed Chase - - A welfare check Tuesday morning led to a high speed chase with speeds reaching 85 miles per hour before coming to a dead end on North Tongass Highway.

Alaska State Troopers in Ketchikan received a report Tuesday at approximately 9:35 AM that an 18 year old woman was "distraught and wanted to harm herself". According to the information released by the Alaska State Troopers, an attempt to contact the woman who was driving in the area of Brown Mountain Road resulted in the woman not stopping.

The unidentified woman drove for approximately 20 minutes reaching speeds of 85 miles per hour before coming to the end of North Tongass Highway. Ultimately, the woman exited the vehicle and Troopers escorted her to the hospital for evaluation. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016


Study measures methane release from Arctic permafrost - A University of Alaska Fairbanks-led research project has provided the first modern evidence of a landscape-level permafrost carbon feedback, in which thawing permafrost releases ancient carbon as climate-warming greenhouse gases.

Research Associate Professor Katey Walter Anthony inspects ignited methane gas shooting from a hole in the ice on the surface of a pond on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The naturally occurring phenomenon is enhanced by thawing permafrost and increased plant decay.
UAF photo by Todd Paris

The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The project, led by UAF researcher Katey Walter Anthony, studied lakes in Alaska, Canada, Sweden and Siberia where permafrost thaw surrounding lakes led to lake shoreline expansion during the past 60 years. Using historical aerial photo analysis, soil and methane sampling, and radiocarbon dating, the project quantified for the first time the strength of the present-day permafrost carbon feedback to climate warming. Although a large permafrost carbon emission is expected to occur imminently, the results of this study show nearly no sign that it has begun.

The study used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of methane emitted from expansion zones, where Arctic lakes have recently grown to consume and thaw terrestrial permafrost. The age of that methane mirrors that of the ancient permafrost soil thawing alongside and beneath the lakes, and provides the largest known dataset of radiocarbon dated methane emissions.

The data is important for climate change models, since the emissions released by thawing permafrost could significantly affect levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Old carbon isn’t part of that equation if it remains trapped in frozen soil, but it’s released as methane and carbon dioxide when permafrost soils thaw and decompose.

Walter Anthony said the billions of tons of carbon stored in permafrost are about twice the amount that is currently in the atmosphere. Many researchers are concerned that if old carbon begins to cycle, it could create a feedback loop — its emissions contribute to warming, which again contributes to the thawing of more permafrost. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jgp Joseph Cotto

JOSEPH COTTO: Why the Media is Biased Against Donald Trump - Hillary Clinton is "doing what they call in politics 'freezing pockets,'" Chris Cuomo -- son of the late New York governor -- explained on his CNN program, "because the donors are giving her money thinking she's gonna run. That means they're not gonna have available money for other candidates if she doesn't, and I don't think she's gonna give it to 'em."

Seconds later, he declared that "(w)e couldn't help her any more than we have! You know, I mean she's--she's--she's got just a free ride so far from the media. We're the biggest ones promoting her campaign".

This took place on June 9, 2014. Fast forward to August of this year.

Donald Trump has secured the Republican nomination, yet falls behind in opinion polls to Clinton -- who obviously froze enough pockets to deter serious establishmentarian Democratic opposition. Nonetheless, she faced a shockingly competitive challenge from Vermont's independent socialist U.S. Senator, Bernie Sanders.

Trump claims the media is biased. He says it favors Clinton and actively distorts what his candidacy stands for. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Yet Another Regrettable Outcome of the 2016 Election: Divorce - Get this: According to The New York Times, some wives are threatening to divorce their husbands if the fellows vote for Donald Trump.

The Times featured one couple, a male dentist and a female a doctor, who had never talked much about politics before. When the wife learned her husband was for Trump, she threatened to divorce him and move to Canada.

Sheesh. It makes one long for the good old days when a fellow had to run off with a cocktail waitress before his wife called in the lawyers.

The Federalist shared some interesting insights on The Times article. Journalist Denise C. McAllister argues that in 2016, "you are who you vote for."

"Why are voters not merely being associated with Trump, but actually and essentially being identified with him, sharing the same characteristics of racism and sexism that have been attached to him (justified or not)?" she writes. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Pharma Vampire

Editorial Cartoon: Pharma Vampire
Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Deer Mountain Logging By Rep. Dan Ortiz - I, like the majority of my constituents, am in strong support of a healthy, viable timber industry. In this last legislative session I helped to pass Senate Bill 32, which was legislation that reduces some of the regulations on state owned timber lands and allowed for carefully selected, well-managed state timber land sales in Southeast Alaska. This measure should help companies like Viking Lumber on POW to remain viable into the future. Lands logged in Southeast Alaska should be separate from the land we enjoy recreationally, shouldn't diminish our local aesthetic, and shouldn't risk the health of our other industries, like, for example, the tourism and fishing industries. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

letter Deer Mountain: Mental Health Logging Threat By Norbert Chaudhary - While I understand the true goal of this Deer Mountain logging threat is a land swap, I believe the blackmail tactics being used by the Alaska Department Of Mental Health are despicable. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

letter RECALL THE PFD THIEF By David G Hanger - Despite his platitudinous nonsense and claims to the contrary it should be clear to all Alaskans by now that William Walker is hellbent on destroying the Permanent Fund Dividend Program and the Alaska Permanent Fund as quickly as possible. Now by dictatorial fiat and in violation of the law this man is attempting to steal $700 million directly from the pockets of citizens of this state to pay the oil tax credits to his buddies in the oil industry. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2015

letter Our Ferry System By Rep.Dan Ortiz - Is our ferry system serving you and your family? Are there ways in which ferry service could improve? How should our ferry system look ten years from now? These are questions I will work to address this weekend when I attend a ferry summit in Anchorage, with many of our own community members and other coastal Alaskans. After serving for thirty-two years as a teacher and coach, and especially after serving our district these past two years as your representative, I have a strong understanding of the economic importance the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has to coastal Alaska. According to the recent McDowell report on our AMHS, for every dollar the states spends on the ferry system, at least two dollars are generated in the private sector. Primarily the hospitality industry, from bed and breakfasts to hotels and restaurants, benefits from our ferry system, but the AMHS also plays a key role in facilitating the shipping of goods into and out of coastal Alaska. We also can’t forget its importance to coastal Alaskan schools and their activities programs. - More...
Saturday PM _ August 20, 2016

letter Choose!! By A. M. Johnson - How does one delay a decision regarding voting for Trump or Clinton having vast political, philosophical, moral, honor, trustworthy differences? How does Senator Murkowski live with her position regarding that choice as she waffles about in the hither land? - More...
Saturday PM - August 20, 2016

letter Two Flawed Candidates By Donald Moskowitz - Clinton and Trump are flawed candidates running for President. Clinton has questionable scruples, and she has made significant mistakes. As Secretary of State she set up an unsecured private server in her home for government email communications and sent and received secret and top secret information. She had ultimate responsibility for the Benghazi debacle where our ambassador and other Americans were killed by Islamic terrorists. Her foundation accepted contributions from foreign entities. - More...
Saturday PM - August 20, 2016

letter Hillary or Donald? By Joe O'Hara - When you look beyond the virtually meaningless back-and-forth between Hillary and Donald, it becomes clear that somebody is 'yanking our chain'. - More...
Saturday PM - August 20, 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

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