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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 03, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By KIMBERLey DEAN

Harvest Time
This black bear shows us the BEARY best way to enjoy a snack of tasty Huckeberries. The photographer has named this bear HuckleBEARY.
Front Page Feature Photo By KIMBERLey DEAN ©2017

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Alaska: A white calf has been born to the Farewell Herd, one of four herds of plains bison in Alaska. Learn more and see pictures in the August issue of Alaska Fish and Wildlife News.

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Filing Open for October Regular Election By MARY KAUFFMAN - Filing forms are now being accepted for the October 3, 2017 regular Election. The candidate filing period began August 1 and closes at 5:00 p.m. on August 25th. 

The Ketchikan Borough has elective seats open for the offices of Borough Assembly Members and School Board Members on the October 3, 2017 Borough ballot.  The following seats are available:

There will be three (3) seats open on the Borough Assembly for three-year terms. These seats are currently held by John Harrington, Mike Painter (termed out) and Glen Thompson (termed out).

There will be two (2) seats for three-year terms and one (1) seat for a one-year term open on the Ketchikan School Board. These seats are currently held by Glenn Brown and Diane Gubatayo, and the one year-term seat was held by Misty Browne who recently resigned.

As of this date, Diane Gubatayao has filed for a 3-year term seat on the Ketchikan School Board, and Amanda (AJ) Pierce and Alan Bailey have filed for three-year term seats on the Ketchikan Borough Assembly.

The City of Ketchikan has elective seats open for the offices of Ketchikan City Council on the October 3, 2017 ballot.  The following seats are available:

There will be three (3) Ketchikan City Council seats open. These seats are currently held by Councilmembers Dick Coose, Mark Flora, and David Kiffer. To date, Dick Coose has filed for reelection.

To qualify as a candidate for Ketchikan Borough Assembly Member, a citizen must have resided in the Borough for one year prior to the election date, and must be a Borough registered voter 30 days prior to the election.  To qualify as a candidate for School Board, a citizen must be a Borough registered voter 30 days prior to the election.

Qualified Ketchikan Borough Assembly candidates must submit the completed declaration of candidacy along with the signatures of at least ten (10) qualified Borough voters. All candidates must also complete and submit the 2017 APOC Public Official Financial Disclosure Statement. These forms must be submitted together to the Borough Clerk’s office no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 25, 2017. - More...
Thursday PM - August 03, 2017

Southeast Alaska: United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group Hires First Coordinator - The United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group (UTTMWG) announced the hiring of the non-profit’s first Coordinator -- Tis Peterman, a lifelong resident of Wrangell and of Tlingit descent. Tis is the great granddaughter of Chief Shakes VII and her parents were the late Marcus & Mae Dailey. Much of her career includes over twenty years of working with non-profits and Tribes in the region. “I am very excited about being hired for this position as I see the biggest threat to fishing and our way of life are the BC mines,” states Peterman. “This issue has been a passion of mine since I first began hearing about the disastrous results of the Mt. Polley tailings dam failure three years ago.”

“We are extremely excited to announce our first ever hired staff person,” said UTTMWG Chairman, Frederick Olsen, Jr. “With Tis Peterman, we made the right choice due to her extensive background in working with Southeast Alaska’s Tribes. She has been involved with our organization since the beginning in 2014.”

“Tis has served as an Alternate Representative to our group from Wrangell,” said UTTMWG Vice Chair Carrie James and Vice President of Ketchikan Indian Community, “It will be great to continue to have her voice involved in our issue,”.

The UTTMWG Coordinator will provide staff support with the goal of connecting the Tribes of Southeast Alaska with the First Nations of British Columbia to protect our traditional and customary ways of life. It is a significant step in the growth of the organization which has previously depended on volunteers.

“Tlingit & Haida Central Council is proud to be a partner with UTTMWG and we are enthusiastic about the positive movement in the hire of Ms. Peterman.” Richard Peterson, CCTHITA President. Added CCTHITA 1st Vice President Rob Sanderson, Jr., also UTTMWG Treasurer, “Tis will put our money to good use and her knowledge will allow her to hit the ground running, so to speak.”

The United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group is comprised of sixteen Tribes of Southeast Alaska whose mission is to create a unified voice for Indigenous peoples across the international border who are facing impacts from development and industrialization rapidly occurring in the region. - More...
Thursday PM - August 03, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By SUSAN HOYT

Mama's Three Little Bears
Front Page Feature Photo By

Alaska: Alaska's North Slope snow-free season is lengthening - On the North Slope of Alaska, snow is melting earlier in the spring and the snow-in date is happening later in the fall, according to a new study by CIRES and NOAA researchers. Atmospheric dynamics and sea ice conditions are behind this lengthening of the snow-free season, the scientists found, and the consequences are far reaching -- including birds laying eggs sooner and iced-over rivers flowing earlier. 

Alaska's North Slope snow-free season is lengthening

A pair of black guillemots
Credit: Friends of Cooper Island

"The timing of snowmelt and length of the snow-free season significantly impacts weather, the permafrost, and wildlife -- in short, the Arctic terrestrial system as a whole," said Christopher Cox, a scientist with CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA's Physical Sciences Division in Boulder, Colorado. The study has been accepted for publication in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Focusing on the transition seasons on the North Slope -- the springtime snowmelt and the autumn onset of snowpack -- the researchers found that since the mid-1970s, the spring melt has been happening earlier, and the first snow has been happening later. The end result: an increase in length of the snow-free season, by about one week per decade from 1975 to 2016. From 1975 to 2016, the spring snowmelt has arrived nearly three days earlier every decade, and from 1979-2016, snow onset has arrived later, by about 4.5 days every decade.

CIRES and NOAA researchers and their colleagues analyzed long-term observations of snow cover and meteorology at the NOAA Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory outside of Utqiavik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, along with other records of environmental variables in the region.

Despite natural swings up and down, a persistent, long-term warming trend emerged: eight of the 10 earliest melt dates have occurred since 1990, pointing to the influence of warming Arctic temperatures. 2016 experienced the earliest melt, the latest onset of snow in autumn, and the longest snow-free season in 115 years of record-keeping -- about 45 percent longer than the average over the previous four decades. 

The researchers then began dissecting their data to find weather-related factors that might be contributing to these observed changes. They found different factors at work in spring versus fall. Changes in flow patterns of warm Pacific Ocean air from the south were driving earlier spring snowmelt, while decreasing summer sea ice had the greatest influence on later onset of snowpack in the fall.  - More...
Thursday PM - August 03, 2017


Alaska: Paddlers pay tribute to historic Sheenjek expedition - By MEGHAN MURPHY - There was a lot of silence as the two friends floated 110 miles south on a remote river in northeastern Alaska in July. But the silence wasn’t between them — it was all around them.

Paddlers pay tribute to historic Sheenjek expedition

Bob Krear took this photograph at a camp near the Sheenjek River in 1956. From left are Brina Kessel, George Schaller, Don “Doc” MacLeod, Mardy Murie and Olaus Murie.
Photo courtesy the Murie Center

“It was phenomenal,” Stan Havlick said of his trip with Mike Fallon on the Sheenjek River, which flows south from the Brooks Range. “It was way beyond our expectations. We experienced total silence and serenity.”

The two floated the Sheenjek in honor of a 1956 expedition in the river’s upper valley that was part of an effort to protect the lands that now comprise the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The original expedition included their friend, 95-year-old Bob Krear, who recorded the endeavor in motion pictures and photographs. Famed conservationist Margaret Murie helped organize the expedition.

Murie grew up in Fairbanks and in 1924 was the second student to graduate from the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, now the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The new UAF life sciences building was named in her honor in August 2013.

A new honor will grace the Murie Building’s walls in August 2017. Fallon and Havlick asked Krear’s friend, sculptor Susan Raymond, to create a bronze plaque that portrays the 1956 expedition’s five principal members.

The discovery "suggests this part of Alaska is particularly prone to tsunami generation," said seismologist Anne Bécel of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who led the study. "The possibility that such features are widespread is of global significance." In addition to Alaska, she said, waves could hit more southerly North American coasts, Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific. - More...
Thursday PM - August 03, 2017

Columns - Commentary



MICHAEL SHANNON: Way Past Time to Let Congress Enjoy Obamacare - Every presidential administration reaches a pivot point. Many observers thought Trump's came when Anthony Scaramucci walked in the White House door. Others thought it came 10 days later when Scaramucci walked out the door.

For me the Scaramucci saga was just part of the excitement when the circus comes to town.

The pivot point I'm looking for is when President Trump finally learns he has only enemies and bystanders among the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. 

Mitch McConnell, Curator of the Senate, is happy to keep polishing Senate rules, while aging whiz kid Speaker Paul Ryan is proud of slightly reducing the velocity of the socialism-bound train that is the House of Representatives.

Ryan and McConnell have no respect for Trump. He doesn't have their years of political experience or expertise in the arcane working of the legislative process. The fact the voters know this and elected Trump anyway escapes them.

Neither of these hacks is going to expend a dime of political capital to advance the Trump agenda. Their primary goal is protecting the GOP majority in both houses and maintaining their comfortable offices and the perks that come with leadership. They are both corporate incumbents, not conservatives, and their pitiful legislative records prove it.

Both of these swamp creatures expect to be in Washington, building their federal pensions, long after Trump has returned to Trump Tower for good.

There is no legislative outreach that can bridge the gap between the White House and Capitol Hill. Reince Priebus couldn't do it and new chief of staff Gen. John Kelly won't either. The only thing the invertebrates that make up the GOP will understand is negative consequences for their failure to support the Trump agenda.

Fortunately, Trump has just the weapon. - More...
Thursday PM - August 03, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Liberty Garden

Editorial Cartoon: Liberty Garden
By Pat Bagley ©2017, Salt Lake Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Opinion - Letter

Health Care Vote By A.M. Johnson - Senator Murkowski, you are in a word, a Fraud. Pure and simple. You and your two RINO cohorts, Collins and McCain own Obamacare Senator, with the projected increases of cost to Alaska and the resulting decline of healthcare access. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 01, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Capital Budget By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Later this week, the Legislature will convene for its third (and hopefully very brief) special session to pass a capital budget. Negotiations with the Senate have been completed and I’m confident that a compromised version of the capital budget will pass out of both bodies. It will meet the minimum needs of the state and it’s residents in terms of infrastructure investment. - More...
Thursday PM - July 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

PFD's Future in Supreme Court's Hands By Dr. Jack Hickel - Governor Jay Hammond, Permanent Fund founder, knew this time would come – the time when politicians would move to spend the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) without public consent. Hammond believed in the PFD as Alaskans’ right to share equally in the resource wealth saved in the Alaska Permanent Fund and as a way to protect the Fund. Ever since the start of the PFD in 1983 the dividend has been the politicians’ target for spending. Today, politicians are working to grab a large percentage of the people’s PFD. That is exactly what Hammond and other Alaskans warned against and opposed during past failed attempts. - More...
Thursday PM - July 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

37th anniversary of the Legislative coup By Ray Metcalfe -June 12, 2017 was the 37th anniversary of the Legislative coup toppling Juneau's State House Representative Jim Duncan's Democratic Majority Caucus. The Legislature had been at a standstill for about three weeks. The Bush Caucus, all Democrats, was unhappy with the share of the legislative pie the Majority was offering. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 25, 2017

Opinion - Letter

The Republican Healthcare Bill is Horrible for Alaska, Regardless of its Name By Ghert Abbott - The first version of the Republican healthcare plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) raised premiums, increased deductibles, reduced coverage quality, lowered the subsidies that help people buy insurance, financially penalized senior citizens, and drastically cut Medicaid for rural states, all in order to pay for tax cuts to the top 1%. As a result, 24 million Americans were to lose their health insurance, 45,000 of them Alaskans, of which approximately 1,000 would have been Ketchikan residents. When Don Young provided one of the essential votes in the ACHA’s passage out of the House, he claimed there was no cause for concern as the Senate would substantially improve the legislation. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 25, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Tansy Ragwort By Farrel Lewis - I spent the last two days pulling tansy ragwort in the Cambria area.  I just dropped off five garbage bags full of the stuff at the landfill to be burned.  This is the perfect time to pull it up, after it bolts the roots release far easier from the soil. Unfortunately, you cannot just pull the blooming plants and leave them on the ground to die, doing research on this subject I found out that the seeds will still mature.  These plants need to be disposed of properly. - More..
Tuesday PM - July 25, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: Fact versus fiction By Rodney Dial - Summer is a busy time for most of us in Ketchikan. Personally, I have better things to do than respond to Rep. Ortiz’s latest letter, however it presents a great opportunity to show how politicians like Ortiz play the word game to deceive and mislead. For example: - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Re: NRA Propaganda By D Jay O'Brien - The violent images in the NRA video Mr. Chaudhary references are indeed disturbing. The video is a compilation of segments from actual events that have occurred in our cities and on our college campuses since the last election. Is this video clip propaganda or just depictions of the new reality of violence that may be brought upon someone for their beliefs and political leanings? - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Giving Alaska's oil away By Ray Metcalfe - Alaska doesn't have a budget problem; Alaska has bribery problems, and gullible legislator problems. Alaska allows oil companies to extract fair payment for their services from net oil production revenues. Additionally, they keep 90% of our ownership equity; equity other owner states keep. At today's prices, the big three are making over $17 per barrel plus cost of production and delivery from our oil. (See ConocoPhillips' quarterly reports) That's about $9 Million per day, or $3.2 billion per year. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 11, 2017

Opinion - Letter

NRA Propaganda By Norbert Chaudhary - The politically partisan, hate filled NRA recruiting video posted a few days ago is shocking but sadly not so surprising. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 11, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Budget cuts By Liz Bruce - All this reduction in spending is good but the problem is there are so many promised benefits and retirement we can't afford. You sit in a position where you can vote to keep state employee and teacher benefits intact when we can't afford those benefits as a state. New taxes are regressive and too easy to rely on. Our household has not seen an increase in income since 2011 but we have to live within our budget. It is time for the state to quit promising benefits we can't afford. You can't expect taxpayers to always come up with more. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 11, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Fact versus fiction By Rep. Dan Ortiz - As an elected official, it’s my responsibility to keep Alaskans informed with factual and relevant information about the issues that affect them. As I write I’m busy working for you up in Juneau, so here’s a quick rundown of fact versus fiction. - More...
Sunday AM - July 09, 2017

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