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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 18, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By AMBER LEVINSON

Phocena Bay
Phocena Bay at low tide with Spot, the photographer's dog, enjoying the sunset and a dip. Phocena Bay is located on the west side of Gravina Island - about 15 air miles and 25 water miles from Ketchikan. 
Front Page Feature Photo By AMBER LEVINSON ©2018

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Fish Factor: Bill Enacting Alaska Mariculture Development Plan to be Signed in Ketchikan By LAINE WELCH - As Bill Governor Walker prepares to sign a bill this week enacting the Alaska Mariculture Development Plan, 16 new applicants hope to soon begin growing shellfish and seaweed businesses in just over 417 acres of tideland areas in Alaska. 

The governor plans to sign the bill at grower Trevor Sande’s farm near Ketchikan. 

The new growers will add to the 35 farms and 6 hatchery/nurseries that already are producing a mix of oysters, clams, mussels and various seaweeds. Eventually, sea cucumbers, scallops, giant geoduck clams and algae for biofuels will be added into the mix.

Most of the mariculture requests in Alaska are located in Southeast and Southcentral regions and range in size from .02 acres at Halibut Cove to 292 acres for two sites at Craig. 

Data from the state Department of Natural Resources show that two farms have applied at Kodiak totaling nearly 37 acres, and one Sitka applicant has plans for a 15 acre plot.  Other communities getting into the mariculture act include Seldovia, Port Chatham, Juneau, Naukati, Cordova, Ketchikan and Gustavus.      

In 2017, Alaskan farms produced 11,456 pounds of clams, 1,678 pounds of mussels, 16,570 pounds of seaweeds and 1.8 million oysters.

Oysters always have been the dominate mariculture crop, and several farmers have added kelp to their acreage. The seaweed takes just three months to grow to harvestable size and can provide a ready cash flow to farmers while they wait for up to three years for their bivalves to ripen. 

Kelp is poised to be one of Alaska’s biggest crops with one of the biggest payouts. 

The first Alaska crop of 15,000 pounds was harvested last year at Kodiak, which yielded a payday of about $10,000 for grower Nick Mangini. This year he tripled his take with 42,000 pounds of two products, brown kelp (alaria) and sugar kelp. 

Mangini said 75 percent of the crop was alaria, for which he received 90 cents a pound and 45 cents a pound for the sugar kelp, adding up to more than $33,000.

The kelp is marketed under the name Kodiak Island Sustainable Seaweed (KISS) and sold to a California company called Blue Evolution.

“We are making it into products that are familiar to North American consumers, so our first items were pastas and macaroni and cheese,” said founder Beau Perry. “It actually deepens the flavor profile. Everyone from moms and dads who are feeding it to their kids to gourmet chefs are responding very positively.”

It’s all a drop in the bucket compared to the real potential for the new industry in Alaska. 

“If only 3 tenths of a percent of Alaska’s 35,000 miles of coastline was developed for oysters, for example, it could produce 1.3 billion oysters at 50 cents adding up to $650 million a year,” said Julie Decker, director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and head of an 11-member mariculture task force established in 2016 by Governor Walker through administrative order. 

The task force concluded that mariculture crops could yield $1 billion for the state within 30 years. 

Treadwell talks fish:

Politics aside, one thing that can be said about Republican candidate for governor, Mead Treadwell, is that he knows fish.    

“One thing I know is that fishing is Alaska’s largest employer and you can’t have good fishing unless you have good science and transparent management,” he said in a phone interview.

Treadwell touts research as the cornerstone for fisheries sustainability.  

“I believe we could double or triple the endowed science available for North Pacific, Bering Sea and Arctic marine research and I think it’s very important to do,” he said.

Treadwell was a past chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, involved with the North Pacific Research Board and one of the earliest advocates for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Alaska’s Community Development Quota program. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018


2017 “Crime in Alaska” Report Released - The Alaska Department of Public Safety has released 2017 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data in compliance with federal and state regulations.

The FBI assumed responsibility for the Uniform Crime Report Program in the 1930s to help generate national crime statistics. The Alaska Department of Public Safety is the UCR administrator for Alaska; state statute requires police agencies to submit data on crimes within their jurisdiction to the Department for tabulation and reporting. 32 police agencies covering 99.5% of the state’s population submitted data for all 12 months of 2017. 

According to the report, statewide crime rates rose 6% between 2016 and 2017 across all categories. The violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery, assault) rose 6%. From 5 years ago, the violent crime rate rose 35%.

Statewide, 60% of homicides involved a firearm in 2017, down from 83% in 2016.

Statewide the rate of property crimes (burglary, larceny, vehicle theft, arson) saw an increase of 5% in 2017 and rose 23% over the last 5 years.

A total of 1,073 rapes were reported statewide in 2017; 76 attempted rapes were reported and are included in the total. Arrest data indicated 20.6% of the persons arrested for rape were juveniles and 99.2% were male. Rapes increased 2.6% from 2016 to 2017. The 2017 Felony Sex Assault Report will be released later this year, and will contain additional information on sexual assaults across the state.

In 2017, the crime index for rape was calculated and compared to the crime index for rape offenses from 2013 through 2017 (the four years in which the FBI’s revised definition of rape was implemented). Due to the significant difference between the revised definition for 2013 reporting as compared to the legacy definition for 2012 and earlier, the increased rate beginning in 2013 and later should be noted with an acknowledgement of that difference. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018

Southeast Alaska: Deer harvest limit for Non-Federally qualified users reduced - The Craig/Thorne Bay District Ranger is issuing an emergency special action to restrict the harvest limit of deer by non-Federally qualified users to up to two male deer on federally-managed public lands in Unit 2. This emergency special action is effective immediately and will expire in 60 days or when the 2018-2020 Federal Subsistence Wildlife Regulations are published in the Federal Register, whichever occurs first.

The District Ranger is taking this action based on extensive public testimony and traditional ecological knowledge provided to the Federal Subsistence Board, showing subsistence needs for deer were not being met. Adoption of this reduced harvest limit for non-Federally qualified users will increase opportunity for Federally-qualified subsistence users.

“This action is based on the Federal Subsistence Board decision, in response to concerns from our rural subsistence users on and around Prince of Wales Island,” said Tyler Gunn, Acting District Ranger. “As land managers, we will continue to work alongside our partner agencies and all other forest stakeholders to ensure these public lands meet the unique social and economic dynamics of southeast Alaska.” - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018


Alaska: Stern of World War II U.S. destroyer discovered off remote Alaskan island - For almost 75 years, the stern of the destroyer USS Abner Read lay somewhere below the dark surface of the Bering Sea off the Aleutian island of Kiska, where it sank after being torn off by an explosion while conducting an anti-submarine patrol. Seventy-one U.S. Navy Sailors were lost in the aftermath of the blast, during a brutal and largely overlooked early campaign of World War II.

Heroic action by the crew saved the ship, but for the families of the doomed Sailors, the final resting place of loved ones lost in the predawn hours of Aug. 18, 1943 remained unknown.

On July 17, a NOAA-funded team of scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the University of Delaware discovered the missing 75-foot stern section in 290 feet of water off of Kiska, one of 4 United States territories to be occupied by foreign forces in the last 200 years. (Kiska, Attu and the Pacific territories of Guam and Wake Island were occupied by foreign forces during World War II.)

“This is a significant discovery that will shed light on this little-known episode in our history,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and acting NOAA administrator. “It’s important to honor these U.S. Navy sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.”

Mapping an underwater battlefield

Abner Read was on patrol at about 1:50 a.m. Alaska time when the massive explosion - presumed to be from a Japanese mine - ripped the destroyer apart. Somehow the crew kept the main part of Abner Read’s hull watertight, and two nearby Navy ships towed it back to port. “This was catastrophic damage that by all rights should have sunk the entire ship,” said Sam Cox, curator of the Navy and director of the Naval History and Heritage Command.  

Within months, the destroyer was back in the war. It went on to fight in several battles in the Pacific Theater before being destroyed in Nov. 1944 by a Japanese dive bomber in a kamikaze attack during the battle of Leyte Gulf. Abner Read received four battle stars for her World War II service. - More....
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018

Alaska Science: Tapir’s jaw an ‘incredibly rare’ find By NED ROZELL - Thanks to her 6-year-old grandson, Janet Klein of Homer recently hosted a few interesting house guests.

Tapir’s jaw an ‘incredibly rare’ find

Patrick Druckenmiller of the UA Museum of the North holds a photo of a tapir and the 10 million-year-old fossilized tapir jaw discovered by a boy near Homer last year.
Photo By Ned Rozell

Five experts on ancient creatures slept in Klein’s Homer house last month as they searched local cliffs for another chunk of a mammal that lived in Alaska millions of years ago. Her guests were Patrick Druckenmiller of the UA Museum of the North, Grant Zazula and Susan Hewitson of the Yukon government, paleontologist Analia Forasiepi of Argentina, and Ross MacPhee, curator of mammology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Along with Klein, a Homer resident and naturalist, the scientists were looking for a rock that might fit into the petrified jawbone of a tapir that Klein’s grandson Kai found about a year ago on a beach near Homer.

Kai Reising, then 5, was beachcombing in July 2017 with his grandmother; his mother, Deborah Klein; his father George Reising; and his younger brother Silas. In an area where the family had found cool things on other outings, Kai picked up a rock with both hands.

“Kai went over thinking it was a big piece of fossilized wood,” Klein said. “When he turned it over, his mom said, ‘It has teeth!’

“The minute we saw the teeth, we knew a scientist had to look at it.”

Klein has a trained eye for unusual rocks; years ago, she found fragments of a mammoth tusk and ankle bone on the Kenai Peninsula. She didn’t know what the tapir was, but she knew it wasn’t a contemporary of the mammoth, which survived until perhaps 10,000 years ago.

“I knew it had nothing to do with a Pleistocene animal,” she said.

The family carried the rock from the beach. Soon after, Janet Klein visited Druckenmiller and UAF paleontologist Kevin May in Sutton, where they were doing work. They were jazzed at the pearl-green teeth protruding from the rock. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018


jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: A Bridge (Story) Too Far - I've always been a sucker for those compilation stories that the Main Scream Media trots out on slow news days.

You know, the ones that come up with "lists" of all the important "whatevers" in every state or country. You've seen them.

Best Restaurants in all 50 States! 

Cheapest States to Retire In!!

100 Absolutely Awesome Public Restrooms in America!!!

Recently I took issue with one of those "stories" floating around the internet that concluded that Ketchikan is the "poorest" town in Alaska. We are not.

I have also occasionally fulminated  on several other ones in the past that seem to conclude that either Sitka is the "prettiest" town in Alaska or is one of the "best" small towns in America.

Not that I am concluding that Sitka is not "pretty" or is not one the best small towns in America. It most certainly is on both counts. It's just that my initial reaction to such pronouncements is a full throated "SEZ WHO??????" as if I was still standing next to the monkey bars at Houghtaling Elementary arguing over who's mom was the smartest. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018

jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Middle America, Are You Ready For Your Face Tattoos? - Like many kids, I had a dalliance with washable temporary tattoos.

As a teen, I tried (unsuccessfully) to market a comic strip about a tattoo artist named Tat McGrat.

But, as I entered adulthood, some combination of nature and nurture distracted me from making permanent tattoos a priority.

Other people DID have an interaction of DNA and Life Experience that made them exercise their right as Americans to embellish their skin with inconspicuous hearts, skulls, marijuana leaves -- or even dragons, unicorns, honest politicians and OTHER mythical creatures.

Alas, tattoos on chests, arms and legs are Yesterday's News. According to the New York Times, tattoos on the FACE are going mainstream. 

One rapper joked that he wears face tattoos to make his momma mad. A piece of advice from a squeamish old guy: "Drink milk straight from the jug. Air condition the whole neighborhood. Who needs needles and pigment?"

Hipsters tout face tattoos as a cool way to announce, "This is who I am!" (Yeah, "This is who I am - the guy with 200 fewer bucks to donate to your charity.")

The pioneers of face tattoos seem themselves as "free spirits." This is especially true if they have an out-of-body experience from an allergic reaction to pigments. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Omarosa White House taping

Political Cartoon: Omarosa White House taping
By Dave Granlund ©2018,
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

No On Craig Property Tax Ballot Measure By Bob Claus - There is a ballot measure to eliminate the property tax in Craig. No one likes paying taxes, but this is a bad idea. 

As a taxpayer in Craig and former president of the school board, I value the services that my taxes help support. A full local contribution to the Craig Schools lend a stability to the school budget that other districts lack. This has allowed the Craig Schools to excel and provide the services our kids deserve. 

As a former Alaska State Trooper and private citizen, I like the 24 hour police service that no other community on the island enjoys. I like the tax-funded support for the fire and EMS services we all will need at some point in our lives. It makes my investment in Craig more secure and gives me peace of mind for my family and property.  - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote Tuesday By Mary L. Stephenson - On Tuesday, August 21st we have a Primary Election for House District 36. Dan Ortiz, Trevor Shaw and Ghert Abbott are vying for the Representative seat in Juneau.

If you are reading this letter in the news, it means you read the newspaper. It also means you track the opinions of others who submit their letters to the Editor. One being, Ghert Abbott.

I met Ghert in January 2017 at the Women’s March Rally at Pier 2. A speaker at the rally, I observed Ghert spoke with knowledge and was quite passionate about the direction the administration was taking Alaska. Poor fiscal responsibility of this and previous Governors along with senior Senators and Congress representatives in Washington DC has put Alaska over $4 billion in debt; with little-to-none accountability of what happened to it. Our diversity in air, land and sea economies should place Alaska high on every important list to preserve, protect and properly manage and yet we are losing ground, especially with the current Republican administration. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

On August 21st Primary: Vote for a Full Permanent Fund Dividend and a Full Progressive Income Tax By Ghert Abbott - My name is Ghert Abbott, I am the Democratic candidate for state house in District 36: Ketchikan, Saxman, Metlakatla, Wrangell, and Hydaburg. The Democratic primary is August 21st.

I stand for a full Permanent Fund Dividend, a full progressive income tax, an increase in oil tax revenue, and an end to all the austerity measures that are strangling our state’s future.

For the last four years the political establishment has presented Alaskans with a false choice: consent to a tax on the PFD or watch as essential public services are utterly decimated. The results of this emaciated consensus are now plain to see: the creation of a regressive system of state taxation; cuts to education, healthcare, the pioneer homes, policing, infrastructure, and the Marine Highway System; and the endangerment of our Permanent Fund’s long term value through inadequate inflation proofing. The costs of resolving the fiscal crisis are thus being placed entirely on the backs of working and middle class Alaskans, while wealthy Alaskans pay practically nothing. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

THE “MOTSOS” CAMPAIGN: AN OPEN LETTER TO MARK BEGICH By David G Hanger - You spent six years as a U.S. Senator, Mr. Begich, and it and you were a real yawner. Your replacement, Senator Conoco-Phillips, at least has someone periodically write something for him in an effort to communicate with his audience, albeit generally rife with lies. “Begich” is a name, and because “Begich” is a name, you have to date basically sat like a toad on a lily, croaking. As you can see, I am just thrilled and chilled at your candidacy for Governor of the State of Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 14, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Property Tax Repeal Referendum in Craig By Andy Deering - Here is my response to Arthur Martin's article No Property Taxes in the City of Craig? A Referendum May Make this a Reality.

At the very outset of the article it should have been made very clear this referendum calls for a gradual elimination of property tax over a six year period. The basic idea is that when we have a balanced budget, revenue windfalls, or reductions in spending be GIVEN BACK TO TAXPAYERS and not simply spent elsewhere as has been done in the past. If this protocol is followed, a six mill reduction over six years is neither excessive nor impractical and gives plenty of time for all necessary discussion and debate. It should be noted that the City of Craig currently has over $10 million dollars in a reserve fund as well as over $3 million dollars in a school reserve fund. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 14, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Fair vs Unfair Solutions By Ghert Abbott - Alaska’s political establishment wants to resolve our state’s fiscal crisis through the continued imposition of austerity, which is a combination of social spending cuts and regressive taxation. In practice this means massive cuts to essential state services and a confiscatory head tax on the Permanent Fund Dividend. The ultimate goal of such austerity measures is not to resolve the fiscal problems being used to justify them, but rather to protect the wealthy from taxation. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 14, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Two Faced President By Donald Moskowitz - As a Conservative Independent I agree with some of Trump's domestic policies, but Trump is two faced concerning foreign trade.

President Trump harassed and threatened Harley Davidson because they are moving their foreign production overseas in response to the imposition of the Trump tariffs. He has railed against other U.S. companies who have moved facilities to foreign countries. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 14, 2018

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