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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 29, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By DAN ZINK

Fruit Loving Bear
This naughty black bear first started feasting on the photographer's cherry tree, then the next day the bear came back and started eating the apples. Bears are naturally attracted to fruit bearing trees and shrubs which presents a challenge for gardeners in bear country. Yes, cherries are classified as a fruit.
(How To Bear Proof Fruit Trees)
Front Page Feature Photo By DAN ZINK ©2017

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Ketchikan: 2017 Summer of Heroes Honorees Announced; In seventh year of program, six Alaska youth awarded $1,500 scholarships for heroic acts- The six 2017 Summer of Heroes youth heroes were announced Sunday, at the Alaska State Fair. This year’s Summer of Heroes honorees hail from Ketchikan, Anchorage, and Toksook Bay and range from 7 to 18 years old. Now in its seventh year, the Summer of Heroes program promotes awareness and support for youth development programs throughout the state and recognizes Alaska's youth who make significant contributions to his or her community through acts of charity, bravery or achievement.

Addie Epler, age 7, of Ketchikan is one of Alaska's 2017 Summer of Heroes Honorees
Photo courtesy Summer of Heroes

At the ceremony, Diedre Williams, vice president, human resources, at Alaska Communications, joined Alana Humphrey, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska, to recognize this year’s honorees for their community service efforts and present each youth with a $1,500 scholarship check.

“This year, we are honored to meet and recognize outstanding young people from communities including Ketchikan, Toksook Bay and Anchorage, who have dedicated a great deal of their time and energy to helping others,” Alaska Communications President & CEO Anand Vadapalli said. “We’re proud to join Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2017 Summer of Heroes honorees, and look forward to continue learning about their community-minded initiatives.”

“This year’s heroes have donated their time to others in their communities, helped people and animals in need and boldly stood up for what they believe in,” said Alana Humphrey, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska. “These six young people inspire Alaskans of all ages through their acts of valor and we’re pleased to join Alaska Communications to recognize them.”

The 2017 Summer of Heroes are:

Addie Epler, age 7, Ketchikan: For being only seven years old, Addie Epler has already had a big impact in her community. Addie’s spirited and altruistic personality is well known in Ketchikan, and her community service projects set a positive example for those around her. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017

Ketchikan: All campgrounds opened in Ward Lake Recreation Area - The Ketchikan Misty Fiords District Ranger, Susan Howle, has re-opened the Signal Creek Campground in the Ward Lake Recreation Area after a recent inspection. Since the rain has subsided, the lake levels have returned to normal at Ward Lake. The announcement was made Monday.

The inspection revealed minimal erosion damage to trails in the Ward Lake area and the footbridge near the day-use area shelters was lifted off of its foundation. While the bridge is misaligned, it appears stable and the District is planning to repair it later this week. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017

Alaska: New bulletin for Alaska beachcombers on rights to marine mammal parts - Beachcombers are drawn to items they find on the shore, and often can’t resist taking home a souvenir.

On Alaska beaches, marine mammal remains are often a prized target. Alaska Sea Grant’s Gay Sheffield knows first hand that people are unaware of their rights to beached animal parts.

“People don’t understand the legalities. It is so complex — it is very difficult to find an answer,” said Sheffield, Marine Advisory agent in Nome.

Sheffield researched the topic and created a two-page reference for Alaska residents, agencies and visitors - Collecting Dead Marine Mammal Parts While Beachcombing.

What matters are ethnicity, land ownership and the animal’s status under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Native Alaskans can salvage all parts of all dead marine mammals for subsistence purposes. Non-Native people can take only hard parts, such as bones, teeth, and ivory, and only from some animals—it depends on the different federal agencies authorized for each marine mammal species. In many cases, the takers must report their find within 30 days to the appropriate federal agency. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017

Southeast Alaska:
NOAA-trained team hopeful strategic cut freed entangled humpback near Tracy Arm - NOAA Fisheries marine mammal entanglement experts are hopeful that a humpback whale is free, after what they are calling a successful operation to cut the anchor line it was stuck in Sunday afternoon near the mouth of Tracy Arm.

NOAA-trained team hopeful strategic cut freed entangled humpback near Tracy Arm

NOAA-trained marine mammal responders collect a sample from the exhalation of an entangled a humpback whale on Sunday, August 27, near the mouth of Tracy Arm, Alaska.
Credit: NOAA Fisheries/John Moran NOAA MHSRP permit 18786-01

The humpback became entangled in the anchor line of the cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer early Sunday morning. It is located about 45 miles south of Juneau and 70 miles north of Petersburg, off of Holkham Bay and adjacent to Stephens Passage within the Tongass National Forest.

During the night, numerous humpback whales had been bubble-net feeding in the vicinity of the vessel, anchored in Holkham Bay near Wood Spit. One of these animals struck the vessel at 2:15 a.m. and became entangled in the anchor line. According to the bridge team, the chain was wrapped around a pectoral fin, and as the whale turned, became wrapped around the head and jaw. 

NOAA Fisheries was notified of the entanglement just before 3 a.m. Sunday. In the early hours of the morning, agency authorities reached out to Alaska's Large Whale Entanglement Response Network for help. The network consists of NOAA authorized specialists who are trained to respond to such high-risk events. Humpback whale researcher Fred Sharpe of the Alaska Whale Foundation quickly mobilized his vessel from Baranof Warm Springs, and had his team on scene by late morning.
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Officer Bob Marvelle and NOAA whale expert John Moran also rushed to the site from Juneau.
Using a camera on the end of a long pole, the team assessed the entanglement and determined the anchor chain was wrapped around the lower jaw with only a half twist and 50 feet of chain between the animal and the vessel. While consulting with NOAA Large Whale Entanglement expert Ed Lyman by phone, and working with the crew of Wilderness Explorer, the team decided the best plan of action that would ensure safety of the responders, yet have a good chance of freeing the whale, was to make a clean cut of the chain at the vessel and hope the whale could navigate the remaining half twist to free itself of the 50 feet or less of chain. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017

Alaska: Three Charged with Conspiring to Provide Illegal Big Game Hunts in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve - Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that a federal grand jury in Anchorage has returned an indictment charging Jeffrey Harris, 44, from Poulsbo, WA, Dale Lackner, 72, from Haines, AK, and Casey Richardson, 47, from Huson, MT, with conspiring to provide illegal hunts for Dall Sheep, creating false records, and making false statements to federal agents in order to conceal the illegality of the hunts.

Charges were also filed for illegally baiting game, and using xylitol, a substance toxic to wolves and coyotes, for predator control. All of the hunts occurred at the Ptarmigan Lake Lodge in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. 

According to the indictment, Ptarmigan Lake Lodge (PLL) was permitted to operate as a concessionaire to provide sport hunting guide services within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The indictment alleges that, during the 2014 and 2015 hunting seasons, out-of-state hunters illegally hunted and killed Dall Sheep at PLL without being accompanied by a registered guide. Harris and Richardson, not Alaska residents nor registered guides, are charged with illegally hunting themselves and conducting many of the illegal hunts. Lackner, a registered guide in 2015, conspired with Richardson to conduct an illegal hunt. The indictment further alleges that Harris and Lackner created false State of Alaska hunt records claiming the hunts were conducted with registered guides. Harris later made false statements to law enforcement during the investigation into the illegal activities at PLL.  - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017


Alaska Science:
Hike across Alaska ends with after-dinner bear By NED ROZELL - A few days ago, Cora the dog and I walked across a footbridge spanning a natural moat flowing through northern tundra plants. There, we reached Mile 0 of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the finish of a south-to-north walk across Alaska, most of it on the service road that parallels the pipeline.

Hike across Alaska ends with after-dinner bear

Ned Rozell and his dog Cora with the Arctic Ocean and Prudhoe Bay in the background on the day they finished their trans-Alaska hike.
Photo by Ned Rozell

Though the orange-and-black mile markers along the pipe read 800 in Valdez and 0 near Prudhoe Bay, due to our diversions my GPS tracker recorded more than 850 miles walked from April 30 to mid-August. Cora, of course, probably logged 100 extra miles though the boreal brush that wore out one dog pack and did a pretty good job on the second.

Since late April, those chestnut-backed chickadees we saw mating in the Valdez rainforest have raised at least one brood of chicks. The migrant birds, including the millions of ducks and geese on Alaska’s North Slope, will lift from northern lakes for the final time soon, to spend winter far away.

Cora and I are home in Fairbanks now, appreciating chairs and dog beds, getting back to the busyness of real life and missing the daily charge of the first few steps. Before I get back to some real science writing (and thanks to my boss Sue Mitchell for accepting a summer of semi-science writing), here are some closing thoughts about the trip.

Our final evening of camping was on cobbles underneath the Mile 10 sign of the pipeline. There, Cora and I were on the coastal plain of the Arctic Ocean — wet tundra and big rectangular lakes a few feet above sea level.

We had just diverged from the Sagavanirktok River and nearby Dalton Highway, which is loud with the beeps and groans of graders and compactors. Heading north toward Pump Station 1, the pipeline bends a few miles away from Alaska’s farthest-north highway. The scenery changes from river gravel to green tundra grasses and plants. The dominant sounds are the laughter of white-fronted geese and the croaks of sandhill cranes.

That final night, I camped in the exact spot I had 20 years ago, my tent footprint covering the same gravel. The evening was stunning and unlikely: warm, with no breeze and, somehow, no mosquitoes. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017


Columns - Commentary



JOE GUZZARDI: Missing the Point By Focusing on Arpaio - President Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set off a firestorm of criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. At the core of the Arpaio controversy, both during his six terms in office from 1993 to 2016, and after his 2017 criminal contempt of court conviction, has been immigration law enforcement.

Taking no position on the validity of the claims and counter-claims on behalf of or against Arpaio, the merits or folly of his conviction and ultimate pardon, the crux of the matter is that while in office Arpaio enforced immigration law. During eight of his 24 years as sheriff, 2009-2016, President Obama looked askance at immigration laws both at the border and in the interior. The longer Arpaio remained as Maricopa County's sheriff and defied President Obama, the more determined the White House, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other pro-immigration advocacy groups became to unseat him.

President Obama's open borders world view has had dramatic national consequences. Through social media, the word went out across the globe ---- get to the United States, and the chance of removal is slim or none. In 2016, illegal immigrant border crossings were nearly 40 percent higher than the record year of 2014, and double the 2015 pace. Much of the increase came after then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced new, more relaxed rules for detaining illegal immigrants which became known as catch-and-release. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017


SUSAN STAMPER BROWN: Leftists' Goal Is To Wear Us Down - They are trying to wear us down. 

Although they don't understand anything about those with whom they are dealing.

Regular folks who love God, their family and their country aren't the fascists or racists the left makes them out to be, with the daily barrage of propaganda designed to take good people down.

Normal folks don't have time to entertain the darkness the left promotes. They are too busy working or going to church or tending gardens or splitting wood at night to keep their families warm. Then they go to bed and get up the next day and do it all again.

There is no time for the nonsense littering the internet and television intended to cast guilt over their values and votes. The more insane the left and their propaganda becomes, the more confident they are about the choices they will make in 2018 and 2020.

They have zero interest in protests across the country about which the media incessantly reports. They have no patience for the violence and chaos and destruction. They interpret it as something city folks do when they have too much time on their hands and too much money they didn't earn in their pockets. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 29, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Hurricane Harvey, Houston

Editorial Cartoon: Hurricane Harvey, Houston
By David Fitzsimmons ©2017, The Arizona Star
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Opinion - Letter

Stop medical price gouging By Amanda Mitchell - We all need care from time to time and finding that perfect doctor can be tough. Adding to the problem of finding a good doctor is price transparency. No one wants to go in to a doctor needing help for something that is not life threatening and come out with a medical bill that is life altering. However, this is reality and medical insurance has only made this problem worse: It’s called mining for diagnostic codes. With how the system is currently set up, insurance companies allow clinics to exploit the system to get the max amount of money they can possibly extract. It's not about what is fair or reasonable to the individual. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 30, 2017

Opinion - Letter

“Alaska Government Accountability Act” By Rep. Dan Ortiz - If legislators do not pass a budget within the regular legislative session, they should not receive legislative per diem during the subsequent special session. Alaskans for Integrity – a group founded by one independent lawmaker, one Democratic lawmaker and one Republican citizen –proposed a ballot initiative for 2018 that will raise legislative standards of financial transparency and accountability to the public. I support this initiative, known as the “Alaska Government Accountability Act.” - More...
Wednesday AM - August 30, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Please stop the name calling By Kelli Carlin-Auger - Regarding David Hanger's response to Rex Barber's letter: David, the fact that you call Liberals "Libtards" show your true (ugly) colors. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 30, 2017

Opinion - Letter

An opportunity to return to honor By Mary L. Stephenson - By the time William H. Seward was born in 1801, Russia’s empire included Kodiak and Sitka.

In 1867, Seward, as President Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, negotiated the Alaska Treaty of Cession in 1867. Two years later, the retired public servant began traveling around the world – first to Alaska. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 30, 2017

Opinion - Letter

CORPORATE TAXES SHOULD BE ZERO By Wiley Brooks - Tax reform is a priority agenda item in the 115th Congressional session. In the coming months, we will hear significant proposed changes to the extremely complex income tax laws. One of the hotly debated provisions will be what to do with the corporate tax rate. The current rate of 35% is the highest in the industrialized world. When you add the corporate amount charged by most states the total in near 40%. The average rate levied by other industrialized countries is about 23%. This is a huge disadvantage for American businesses in the global economy. It is driving American corporations and their profits offshore to avoid such a heavy tax burden. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 30, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Safe Operation of Ships By Donald Moskowitz = As a former Navy Enlisted (1950s) and Naval Officer (Navigator and Officer of the Deck, 1960s), I am quite concerned with the recent collisions by our warships in Asian waters.  We lost seven sailors in the collision of the USS Fitzgerald and another ten sailors in the collision of the USS John S. McCain.  Two guided missile destroyers are out of service and need extensive repairs. - More...
Saturday PM - August 26, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Nazi Apologists By Tristan Moyer - Equating Nazis with people who are against Nazism is so strange I hardly know where to start. I've seen comments like this a number of times lately. Why would anyone defend Nazis? Is it because they were wearing MAGA hats and waving Trump campaign signs? According to this logic people who fought against Nazism in the 1940s are worse than Nazis for fighting back. What an insult to the millions who fought and resisted Nazi fascism. - More...
Saturday PM - August 26, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: REX BARBER By David G Hanger - In response to Rex Barber’s latest missive all that can be said is such genius cannot possibly be exceeded.

I do hope that comment does not offend our local mullahs and ayotallahs, i.e. our local preachers, priests, etc., i.e. our local censors of speech, thought, association, and pretty much everything else. - More...
Saturday PM - August 26, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Anti-fa haters By Ken Leland - Right on, Rex Barber. Your first point is spot on, although they will never admit it.The violent response to free speech that is opposed to their belief system reminds me of the Nazi Brown Shirts. - More...
Saturday PM - August 26, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Common Denominator By Rex Barber - There are many similarities between hard core progressives (antifa) and the Nazi party.

1. They are both socialist. That's what Nazi means: National Socialist German Workers party. And progressivism is synonymous with socialism. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 23, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Freedom of speech and the rule of law By Paul Bergeron Sr. - What a mess. A group of people get a permit to hold a rally to protest the removal of monuments honoring the soldiers on the confederate side of the civil war.

The KKK and other extreme right wing groups get wind of it and decide to add their voice to the permitted protesters. Their agenda has never been a secret. They want a white race America and believe that a race war in the USA is the way to reach this utopian dream. They came prepared to protect and initiate violence should the opportunity arise. - More...
Monday AM - August 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Statues today, books tomorrow By A.M. Johnson - Confederate statues today, book burnings tomorrow?

Public Announcement: Please DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT use the $1 $2 $50 or the $100 bills. They have pictures of former slave owners on them! Send them all to me and I will dispose of them properly! - More...
Monday AM - August 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter

We need politicians with courage and ideals By Norbert Chaudhary - The violence, death and injuries that occurred in Virginia was completely predictable and given the direction the President has taken this nation, pretty much inevitable. 

This sort of reaction from Far Right minions is exactly what the fear/hate blathering heads on cable TV, a.m. Radio and the internet have been driving their weak minded, low information voters to do for years. And this isn't the first time they have acted up. Remember the Bundy Ranch standoff? The armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge? Or the Oklahoma City bombing? There is no forgiving the carnage these 'for profit' social agitators have wreaked upon us.  - More...
Monday AM - August 21, 2017

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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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