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August 28, 2022

Amylon led Ketchikan city government for more than a quarter century

Amylon led Ketchikan city government for more than a quarter century; Looking back at a long reign
Karl Amylon
Photo courtesy City of Ketchikan

arrow COVID-19 DATA SUMMARY – August 24, 2022
Reporting data for August 17-23, 2022
STATEWIDE OVERVIEW – 2,435 new cases - 8 newly reported deaths - 78 hospitalizations
A male resident of Ketchikan age 80+ was counted among the 8 newly reported Alaska deaths.
Ketchikan 23; Juneau 70; Haines 2; Craig 1; Metlakatla 4; Petersburg 1; POW - Hyder 2; Sitka 22; Skagway 7; Wrangell 4.
arrow COVID-19 DATA SUMMARY – August 17, 2022
Reporting data for August 10-16, 2022
STATEWIDE OVERVIEW: – 2,103 new cases - 0 newly reported deaths - 86 hospitalizations
Ketchikan 10; Juneau 68; Metlakatla 9; Petersburg 2; POW-Hyder 3; Sitka 18; Wrangell 4; Haines 8
arrow COVID-19 DATA SUMMARY – August 10, 2022
Reporting data for August 3 - 9, 2022
STATEWIDE OVERVIEW – 2,553 new cases - 21 newly reported deaths - 65 hospitalizations
Ketchikan 21; Juneau 52; Haines 18; Metlakatla 1; Sitka 39; Skagway 3; Wrangell 11; Petersburg 4; POW_Hyder 5
arrow COVID-19 DATA SUMMARY – August 3, 2022
Reporting data for July 27 - August 02, 2022
A total of 1,275 COVID-19 deaths have been documented among Alaska residents since the beginning of the pandemic.
OVERVIEW – 3,284 new cases - 0 newly reported deaths - 74 hospitalizations
SE Alaska Positive Cases:
Ketchikan 22, KGB 2, Juneau 102, Craig 4, Metlakatla 6, Haines 12, Petersburg 5, Sitka 39, Wrangell 11, POW-Hyder 8.
arrow COVID-19 DATA SUMMARY – July 27, 2022
Reporting data for July 20-26, 2022
STATEWIDE OVERVIEW: 2,946 new cases;  0 newly reported deaths ;  83 hospitalizations
SE ALASKA POSITIVE CASES: Ketchikan 25, Juneau 103, Metlakatla 5, Craig 4, Haines 8, Petersburg 5, Sitka 44, POW-Hyder 5, Wrangell 7.
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Ketchikan Historical: Amylon led Ketchikan city government for more than a quarter century; Looking back at a long reign By DAVE KIFFER -   In the world of municipal management former longtime Ketchikan city manager Karl Amylon was a unicorn.

The International City/County Management Association estimates that the average city manager stays in one job for between three to five years. In more than 40 years as a municipal manager, Amylon basically only had two jobs.

Amylon was fresh out of Bucknell University in 1978. when he was hired to be confidential assistant to the city manager of Watertown, New York, By 1982 he was the acting city manager and then became assistant city manager in January 1983. Eleven months later he was appointed full time Watertown city manager.  Watertown is about 160 miles north of Corning, New York, where Amylon grew up. 

At the time, Amylon, 28, was one of the youngest municipal managers in the country. He would hold that job for the next 11 years before resigning in 1994. In 1995, he would be named city manager in Ketchikan, a job he would hold for 26 years before resigning at the end August of 2021, just about a year ago. 

Amylon then died of cancer in September of 2021.

When Amylon passed away in 2021, the current Watertown city manager, Kenneth Mix, spoke about him in an article in the Watertown Daily Times.

"Karl was a very intelligent person" who knew how to get things done, Mix told the Daily Times, noting that he had worked with Amylon back in the 1990s. He said among Amylon's major accomplishments in Watertown was negotiating a power purchase agreement between the city and Niagara Mohawk that decades later still provides the city with millions of dollars of revenue each year.

But Mix also noted that Amylon was forced to leave Watertown because of a pair of controversies involving the Watertown police department. First, in 1986, he was criticized for naming Michael Hennegan of the Niagara Falls police department to head the Watertown department in 1986. Several years later, a lieutenant with the police department was accused of a serious crime and, according to the Daily Times, Amylon publicly said the officer would be found guilty. When that didn't happen the city council forced Amylon's resignation.

"We lost him, and he went to Alaska, but I think he found a good place, he was in Alaska for 26 years," Mix told the Watertown newspaper.

Amylon was born in Corning, New York in 1956. After growing up in Corning, he attended Bucknell University, graduating with a degree in political science. He later received a master's degree in public administration from Syracuse University. 

When he arrived in Ketchikan, it was not without some controversy. He took over for a long-time assistant city manager who was one of the candidates for the full-time position and the city council received more than a little grief for not "hiring local."

Also, in 1999, the city council decided to add the management of Ketchikan Public Utilities to the city manager's portfolio after having separate utility and city government managers for many years. The idea was to limit what had become numerous skirmishes between the city and utility managers in recent years.

There were many major projects during Amylon's two decades at the head of Ketchikan city government. 

On the city side there was the $50 million renovation of the medical center, the construction of the new downtown fire station and the new city library in Bear Valley. The centennial building and the Tongass Historical Museum were remodeled. There were also several city hall remodeling projects, and upgrades to Bayview Cemetery and the city landfill.

Roads were a major issue and Amylon oversaw the reconstruction of Water Street Trestle and the work on numerous other city roads, as well as a few state ones in the city.

There were also public-private projects and Amylon promoted the city interests in the private company building of Berth 4 and the expansion of the Ketchikan Shipyard.

Perhaps, the biggest change to the city was creation of the port facility downtown with nearly $100 million going into the establishment and improvements of Berth's One, Two and Three and the Waterfront Promenade as well as upland developments to handle a cruise industry that went from 200,000 visitors in Amylon's first year to more than 1.3 million by 2019.

There were also major changes at KPU when Amylon was in charge.

The water disinfection facility was built, the Whitman Lake Hydro Dam was built. A $15 million subsea fiber optic cable was built to Prince Rupert.  The Bethe Electrical Substation was built and the city negotiated the transfer of responsibility for operating the Swan Lake hydro operation from the city to the SEAPA. 

All told, Amylon helped lead the city through more than $300 million in new construction projects in his two decades, besides implementing combined city and KPU budgets of more than $100 million yearly.

Another area where Amylon was involved was in the transfer of the city's responsibility for operating Gateway Center for Human Services to the State of Alaska. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

Alaska: After State of Alaska fails to address voter disenfranchisement issues, civil rights groups file suit - The ACLU of Alaska, Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and Perkins Coie are taking the State of Alaska to court after it refused to address ballot curing issues that disenfranchised thousands of voters in the June special election. 

Representing the League of Women Voters, Arctic Village Council, and two individual Alaskans – the organizations said the state failed to honor the due process rights of voters when they failed to notify voters of clerical errors and rejected their ballots without any opportunity to correct the errors.

“More than 5,000 Alaskan voices were suppressed by the state when their ballots were rejected,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Mara Kimmel. “That’s more than 5,000 people denied their most fundamental right to participate in our democracy. The state has a duty to uphold election integrity, which means ensuring that every vote counts. By failing to do so, the state is failing Alaskans.”

Of the ballots rejected, about 3 percent were rejected because of ballot defects that could have been corrected if voters had been notified of defects, such as missing witness signatures, voter identifying numbers, or voter signatures. Rejection rates were significantly higher in rural areas, where the percentage of Alaska Native voters is substantially higher. 

“Every vote counts and the state could take lead from any of the other many states that have already put in place measures to fix curable issues instead of rejecting votes,” said NARF Staff Attorney Megan Condon. “Without changes to the current system, the state can continue to reject a great number of votes cast by Alaska Natives and rural voters.” - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

Ketchikan Regular Election Oct. 04, 2022 - Tuesday
Early & In-Person Absentee Voting
Begins September 19, 2022

For over two decades, SitNews has provided a front page section at no cost for all candidates for the local Ketchikan Assembly, School Board, City Council, and Mayors to provide information about themselves and their campaign for the voters to consider.

All candidates are encouraged to participate. SitNews will begin accepting candidates' statements on  September 05, 2022 for publication.  Note: Early or Absentee-In-Person Voting will begin on September 19, 2022. In person voting at the polls will be Oct. 04, 2022.

In your statement please tell the voters:

1. Why you are running for office.

2. Experience and education.

3. Community involvement

4. Identify at least two significant issues and challenges facing our community and your ideas on addressing these issues. (Please do not just say you will be open to public input. Be specific about the issues and challenges and your specific ideas to bring to the table.)

5. Email a digital photograph. 

6. Email your information in text format or as a doc file and photo to

Additional comments are allowed. (Posted Online: August 27, 2022 - Invitations to Participate were emailed to all candidates on August 27, 2022.) Editor SitNews

Ketchikan Borough Mayor - 3 Year Term (One Seat Open)

Rodney Dial
Filed 08/01/22


Katie Jo Parrott
Filed 08/22/22


Ketchikan Borough Assembly - 3 Year Term (2 Seats Open)

Austin Otos
Filed 08/01/22


Filed 08/17/22


Michael Iann Martin
Filed 08/17/22


Glen Thompson
Filed 08/19/22


Ketchikan School Board - 3 Year Term (2 Seats Open)

Tom Heutte
Filed 08/02/22


Melissa O'Brien
Filed 08/19/22


Robb Arnold
Filed 08/24/22


Ginger yeil atoowu McCormick
Filed 8/25/22


Ketchikan City Council - 3 Year Term (2 Seats Open)

Lallette Kistler
Filed 08/01/22


Mark Flora
Filed 08/10/22


Dion Booth
Filed 08/18/22


Kevin Kristovich
Filed 08/24/22


Jamie King
Filed 08/25/22


Amy Williams
Filed 08/25/22


Ketchikan City Council - One Year Term (1 Seat Available)

Jack Finnegan
Filed: 08/22/22


Dave Timmerman
Filed 08/24/22


Christopher Cumings
Filed 08/25/22


Printed ballots for inspection for the October 4, 2022 election will be available September 14, 2022. 

Last Day to register to vote in the local election is Sept. 04, 2022

KGB Election Information Click Here
City of Ketchikan Election Info Click Here

Ketchikan was named the top fishing destination in the country for Labor Day weekend

Ketchikan was named the top fishing destination in the country for Labor Day weekend
Photo courtesy FishingBooker

Ketchikan: Ketchikan was named the top fishing destination in the country for Labor Day weekend - FishingBooker, the world’s largest platform for booking fishing trips, has compiled a list of the top Labor Day weekend fishing destinations for 2022, and Ketchikan topped the list!.

Some see Labor Day as an ode to union workers who changed the lives of future generations. Some use it as the last chance to bask in the summer before the school year begins. Most people, however, just want some time to spend with their families, doing the things they love. Fishing is one of the best activities you can plan for the holiday weekend.

Why did Ketchikan rank number 1

If there’s a state that combines fantastic fishing opportunities with breathtaking nature, it’s Alaska. September in Ketchikan offers prolific angling conditions. Pleasant temperatures (with quite a bit of rainfall) make it easy to enjoy the bite – and the list of species is impressive, too. First in line is Coho Salmon. All five Salmon species can be expected, but Coho is the most popular draw. Halibut and Rockfish are also available here! If you prefer freshwater fishing, head to Ward Lake or Connell Lake. Here you can target Rainbow, Cutthroat, and Brook Trout, as well as Dolly Warden and Steelhead.

Besides fishing, FishingBooker recommended taking a walk through history in Totem Bight State Historical Park and not to miss the Misty Fjords National Monument and definitely explore Creek Street in dowtown Ketchikan.

The full list of the 9 best Labor Day Fishing Destinations in the U.S. for 2022 are: - More....
Sunday - August 28, 2022

Alaska: Troopers Increase Patrols to Crack Down on Impaired Drivers; Dedicated patrols aim to prevent fatal and serious injury crashes through robust DUI enforcement - Alaska State Troopers have joined the national campaign with high-visibility patrols on Alaska’s highways through the Labor Day holiday to prevent fatal and serious-injury crashes. While Troopers will focus on DUI enforcement for both alcohol and drugs, they will also watch for, aggressive driving, distracted driving, speeding and people not wearing their seatbelts.

  “Keeping our roadways safe by emphasizing not driving under the influence of any substance that can cause impairment or drowsiness is our goal,” said Major Bernard Chastain, Deputy Director of the Division of Alaska State Troopers.

Chastain said, “Whether you’re traveling in the interior, the Kenai Peninsula, or to the Alaska State Fair, dedicated patrols will be on the lookout for bad driving behaviors. Our goal is for all traveling motorists to arrive at their destination safely. Remember, you can always have a designated sober driver or plan to stay the night.”

The National DUI High Visibility Enforcement campaign, with the primary messages of “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over; Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over; If You Feel Different, You Drive Different; Drive High – Get a DUI”, enforcement period began on August 18th and runs through the extended Labor Day weekend. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

Southeast Alaska Chinook Salmon Treaty Fisheries Under Attack Washington Judge Rules in Favor of Washington-based Conservation Group

Southeast Alaska Chinook Salmon Treaty Fisheries Under Attack Washington Judge Rules in Favor of Washington-based Conservation Group
Posted & Edited By MARY KAUF

The purple region shows the Southeast Alaska Chinook troll fishery.
May courtesy Wild Fish Conservancy


Southeast Alaska: Southeast Alaska Chinook Salmon Treaty Fisheries Under Attack Washington Judge Rules in Favor of Washington-based Conservation Group Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - Earlier this month, the Federal Court in the Western District of Washington ruled in favor of the Wild Fish Conservancy in a brief order adopting the Report and Recommendation from a magistrate assigned to hear the case. This case is a challenge to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion (BiOp) for the Southeast Alaska salmon fishery – the document that gives Alaska Endangered Species Act (ESA) "incidental take" coverage and allows our Pacific Salmon Treaty salmon fisheries to operate. The State of Alaska and Alaska Trollers Association (ATA) intervened in the case to defend Alaska's fisheries and interests.

The lawsuit was brought by the Wild Fish Conservancy, a conservation organization based in Washington State. The suit specifically attacks Alaska's management of its Chinook salmon fisheries under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The lawsuit argues that Alaska fisheries threaten the survival of several ESA-listed Chinook salmon stocks in Washington and Oregon, and the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales that depend on Chinook salmon for food. Judge Jones supported their claims. It does not attack similar fisheries that occur off the coasts of Washington and Oregon, despite similar impacts.

Present Situation: According to the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game, the magistrate has been directed to consider potential remedies to his ruling. This is important as it will determine what happens next for Alaska's fisheries. It is our understanding that the State and ATA will be given an opportunity to provide briefings on the remedy. The best-case scenario would be for the court to give NMFS time to rework their flawed BiOp without vacating the current incidental take coverage. This would allow fisheries to continue while NMFS corrects its mistakes. The worst-case scenario is that the incidental take coverage is determined to be flawed and Alaska loses its ability to prosecute its Treaty salmon fisheries until a new BiOp is prepared.

Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, issued a statment writing "We disagree with the ruling and are considering an appeal. We have a responsibility to look out for our fisheries and the Southeast coastal communities and families that rely on them."

Vincent-Lang added, "The State of Alaska abides by the terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the Biological Opinion that is tied to it and it is troubling that this ruling singles out our fisheries. We will be looking at our options in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries will proceed as normal."

Quoting a news release from the ADF&G, the Wild Fish Conservancy disputed the provision of the BiOp that required over $100 million of federal funding be provided for mitigation actions to support Chinook salmon hatchery production to increase prey for killer whales, Puget Sound habitat restoration, and Puget Sound conservation hatcheries. These actions not only allow Alaska fisheries to continue in the face of ESA concerns, but also provide mitigation to allow salmon fisheries in the lower 48 to proceed.

"Alaska should not be expected to be solely responsible for remedy", said Vincent-Lang. "What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If this decision sticks, we will be looking at having all fisheries that affect these salmon being treated equally under the law."

Alaska fishermen and conservation groups called a recent Washington federal court ruling that is requiring more review of the impacts of Chinook salmon harvest by Alaska trollers on endangered Puget Sound killer whales a “dangerous distraction,” and “scapegoating at its worst.” The August 8th ruling in the suit, filed by the Washington-based Wild Fish Conservancy, will likely mean more environmental analysis of the impacts of Southeast Alaska’s highly regulated hook and line fishing for Chinook salmon, leading to more uncertainty for small-boat fishermen throughout the region. 

“The Wild Fish Conservancy is singling out Alaska’s small-boat fishing families while ignoring the much larger issues threatening Puget Sound’s Chinook stocks and the southern resident orca population, including dams, ever expanding urbanization and habitat degradation, marine mammal predation, including - ironically - other populations of orca, and climate change,” said Amy Daugherty, Executive Director of Alaska Trollers Association. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

Green Crab Detected in Alaska for the First Time

Green Crab Detected in Alaska for the First Time
The carapace of an invasive green crab, and a live green crab.
Photo Credit: Linda Shaw/NOAA Fisheries


Southeast Alaska: Green Crab Detected in Alaska for the First Time - On July 19, 2022, the Metlakatla Indian Community discovered three crab shells from the invasive green crab during an Annette Islands Reserve survey. Further investigation found more ... many more. As of August 17,2022, the tally was 56 live green crabs, 13 crab carapaces (shells), and six dead crabs from Tamgas Harbor and two from Smugglers Cove. Numbers continue to climb.

The green crab is an invasive marine species spreading throughout the coastal waters of the United States. Efforts between NOAA Fisheries and Metlakatla Indian Community have been leading the way on monitoring to detect this species’ presence in Alaskan waters. 

The green crab has been found in U.S. waters since the 1800s, but this is the first confirmed presence in Alaska. They are a threat to native species and habitats. They are highly competitive predators that can decimate shellfish populations, outcompete native crabs, and reduce eelgrass and salt marsh habitats. They are a serious threat for Alaska’s tidal habitats.

In 2020, the Metlakatla Indian Community began an early detection program. This made data collection more efficient and increased the monitoring areas. No green crabs were found in 2020 or 2021. During a molt survey in July 2022, the team found three shed carapaces from invasive green crabs. This set off a multistakeholder response to address their presence. 

A team of Community and NOAA staff worked with a Sealaska Heritage Institute Intern, Natalie Bennett. They took a multi-pronged approach with carapace surveys and trapping to make this discovery.  

“Natalie found the first carapace rather high in the intertidal zone. Later, crabs were found in tide pools and deeper areas. This experience gave us valuable insight in looking for founder populations of green crab in southern Southeast Alaska,” said Linda Shaw, a wildlife biologist with NOAA Fisheries in Alaska.

Future surveys will allow scientists to monitor the presence and expansion of the green crab. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be expanding trapping efforts in the region to monitor more areas. By immediately being made aware of their presence, monitoring will allow for future adaptations to control the species’ population in Alaska.

The Metlakatla Indian Community, NOAA Fisheries, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game have built a strong partnership. They provide technical and financial support, technical assistance, and subject matter experts to bolster the community-based monitoring program. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

 Museum of North launches Adopt a Mammoth program

Museum of North launches Adopt a Mammoth program
Matthew Wooller kneels among the mammoth tusk collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in 2021. Wooller is leading the museum's Adopt a Mammoth program, which will date and identify specimens at the museum.
UAF Photo By JR Ancheta


Alaska: Museum of North launches Adopt a Mammoth program By JEFF RICHARDSON - The University of Alaska Fairbanks is inviting the public to go woolly mammoth hunting.

The newly launched Adopt a Mammoth program encourages sponsorship of each of the roughly 1,500 teeth, tusks and bones in the University of Alaska Museum of the North’s collection. A $350 donation will pay for radiocarbon testing to date the fossil, and a lab in Sweden will offer free DNA analysis for each adopted specimen to determine its sex and other genetic characteristics.

The larger goal is to find the “youngest” mammoth — a specimen from 10,000 years ago or more recent. This would extend the date of extinction on the mainland to a period well after the earliest people arrived in Interior Alaska.

“That would be a real change in understanding how these animals existed,” said Patrick Druckenmiller, the museum’s director. “It would be pretty amazing to have this huge and unique data set.”

Only a small number of mammoth specimens in the museum’s collection are currently dated.

The “youngest” dated mammoth in mainland Alaska so far is about 11,600 years old, but there are reasons to believe the massive animals were around more recently. A remnant population on neighboring St. Paul Island survived until about 5,600 years ago.

Participants in the Adopt a Mammoth program will receive a photo of their specimen, updates on testing and a chance to name the fossil. When testing is complete, the donor with the youngest fossil will receive a trophy. The winner also can appear in a photo with their specimen in the museum during the announcement period. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

Columns - Commentary



CHRISTINE FLOWERS: STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS SHIFTS MONEY TO WEALTHY - My roots are blue. Not the political blue of the current climate. Blue-collar blue. My maternal grandfather had a third-grade education and spent almost three decades picking up trash for the city of Philadelphia.

Neither of my four grandparents went to college, and only one of them finished high school. My mother was the first in her family to obtain a high school diploma, which was a significant accomplishment.

And then there was my father. He excelled in high school, so they knew he had a brain. But Teddy had no money, so he went into the army for a few years, cooling his heels (literally) at a NORAD post in Greenland. When he came home, he used money from the GI Bill as well as money from the many jobs he juggled to get an undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland. He never asked for help, beyond what the government owed because of his military service. If he had, he would have made sure to pay back whatever was loaned, with interest.- More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022


PETER ROFF: BIDEN’S INFLATION REDUCTION ACT WILL MAKE THINGS WORSE - Marching in lockstep, the Democrats pushed a $700 billion spending bill through Congress, claiming it would reduce inflation. We know that to be a lie.

Independent analyses from the Congressional Budget Office, the Congressional Joint Tax Committee, and Penn/Wharton all show the badly misnamed Inflation Reduction Act would do little to nothing to stop the rate of increase in the price of goods and services.

Instead, relying on the oft-quoted strategy of never letting a good crisis go to waste, the Democrats rammed through a pared-down version of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan that, to the disappointment of those who put him in office, had languished on Capitol Hill for more than a year. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022


CARL GOLDEN: AFTERMATH OF MAR-A-LAGO SEARCH PLAYS INTO TRUMP’S HANDS - n their initial reaction to the FBI execution of a search warrant at former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate, Democrats were ecstatic, believing it was a long awaited first step by the Department of Justice in a broader investigation that heralded criminal charges.

The euphoria has since dissolved into a muddle of charges and countercharges, information and misinformation, anonymously sourced news reports, legal proceedings genuine and threatened, while leaving Americans to sort through who and what to believe.

In short, the aftermath of the unprecedented search of the former president’s home to retrieve cartons of documents he took with him when he departed the White House has evolved into the kind of tangled overheated political standoff relished by Trump. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022


TAYLOR KOVAR: Ask Taylor: Does China Have A Real Estate Problem? By Taylor J Kovar, CFP® - Hi Taylor & Megan - Someone mentioned China might have a real estate bubble like the US did back in 2008. Also, hearing it’s going to have a ripple effect throughout the world. Any truth to that?

Hey Leonard - Time will tell on the whole bubble-bursting thing, but some alarming signs are coming out of China’s real estate and development sector. Most of it is focused on one giant company, but as we’ve all seen, significant housing problems can reach every sector of a country’s economy.  - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Should you own bonds when interest rates rise? Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS® - As you know, the stock market has attracted a lot of attention – and for good reason, as we’ve seen considerable volatility almost from the beginning of the year. But if you own bonds, or bond-based mutual funds, you might also have some concerns. However, it’s important to understand why bonds should continue to be an important part of your portfolio.

To begin with, let’s look at what’s happened with bond prices recently. Inflation has heated up, leading the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to help “cool off” the economy. And rising interest rates typically raise bond yields — the total annual income that investors get from their “coupon” (interest) payments. Rising yields can cause a drop in the value of your existing bonds, because investors will want to buy the newly issued bonds that offer higher yields than yours. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022


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jpg Opinion

It's Time For A Change; Time For Mike Sheldon By Susie Dotson - Bert Stedman is out of sync with the times. He got into the office when we still thought oil could save us, and for a time it did. He found his place as finance committee chair, doling out the money back when we had money. Now that we're broke, he has no interest in finding a new way forward but only in finding a new source of money to continue his power. He's taking our PFDs to do it.

It's not just the money that Stedman is used to. It's the power. As chair of the finance committee in a binding caucus, he knew that whatever he decided would have to be agreed to by his colleagues. Now that the binding caucus is out of favor in the Senate, his power base is gone. Instead, he has resorted to bullying people by holding their district projects hostage. That will backfire on him soon. He knows how to work with the other old guard, but he can't work with the new breed of politicians that are in Juneau. Politics has changed, but he hasn't changed with it.

The economy has changed as well. The old economy of the state was oil giving Juneau a lot of money and Stedman dishing it out. Now that oil doesn't bring in the money that it used to, he's trying to maintain that oil model by cutting the PFD. Heaven helps us when both oil prices and the stock market tank at the same time. He won't know what to do.

Senator Bert Stedman is one of the longest-tenured senators in Alaska. Sitting in Senate Finance for 20 years, Bert has assisted in designing one of the most overblown state budgets in the United States.

To sum Bert up, all one has to do is to listen to his most recent speech on the Senate floor before adjournment. Senator Stedman stood up and violently opposed the full payment of the PFD. He went on to state that "We would be spending the seed corn of the Permanent Fund." Perhaps one should remind Bert that he had a substantial hand in spending over $17 billion in our various savings accounts since 2014 on deficit budgets. This brazen act was the "seed corn" of our savings accounts. He opposes restoring money that was withheld from all Alaskans over the last six years but he is keen on spending any last dollar we have on his vision of BIG GOVERNMENT which has very little value for the average Alaskan. Do you want to know why Alaska is in deficit spending year after year? Look no further than Bert Stedman. - More....
Sunday - August 28, 2022

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Tom Heutte for Ketchikan School Board By Bridget Mattson - first met Tom Heutte the night I was appointed to fill a one year term seat on the school board in the fall of 2018. I had run and come in fourth in the October election for three open seats. The board had an immediate open seat for appointment following the election. Mr. Heutte also applied for the appointment and he was chosen to interview prior to my turn. Mr. Heutte told the board that the hundreds of voters who had chosen me should be respected and he withdrew from consideration to allow for my immediate appointment. 

I ran unopposed for a three year seat the next year and received the most votes of anything on the ballot- I was the daily news trivia question answer for being more popular than the tobacco tax. I have served as Vice President, President and Clerk/Treasurer for the past three years. My term ends this October and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent and serve Ketchikan. I am particularly grateful to Tom Heutte for his moral code that gave me the initial one year appointed seat. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

jpg Opinion

In defiance against the Binding Caucus; My vote is for Jeremy Bynum By Susie Dotson For many years both the Alaska Senate and House of Representatives have employed the rule of a Binding Caucus on the majority caucus in both houses. Only in this last election cycle did we witness the Senate breaking away from a Binding Caucus and organizing under what they called a "Caucus of Equals" where individual senate members were allowed to "vote their conscience" regarding the final budget.

What a Binding Caucus demands is strict adherence to a final vote on the operating budget which works its way through the committee process. Proponents of a Binding Caucus promote the idea that all representatives have ample opportunities to assist in the development of the budget through various committee assignments.

In reality, the only committee that matters in forming the state budget is Senate and House Finance, and consistently any work product which comes out of these committees is a direct result of the Chair and Co-Chairs of these committees.

In all cases, the deck is stacked. This means that a significantly small number of legislators control the outcome of a budget and the rest of the majority caucus is bound to rubber stamp their decisions or face repercussions like being removed from committee assignments, losing their office, and losing essential staff members.

Put plainly, the Binding Caucus rule is pure coercion and bribery employed by select elite leadership to control the budget results. This is precisely why we have had runaway budgets in deficit spending for years.

It should be noted, that Alaska has the only legislature which utilizes the Binding Caucus Rule. All other states legislate their budgets without threatening their members. In some states the binding Caucus is illegal. - More...
Sunday - August 28, 2022

jpg Opinion

Idea for Local Use Lumber Program By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Our timber industry has been an integral part of Southeast for generations. Like many people, the timber industry directly impacted my life: I worked for the Ketchikan Pulp Mill during summers and a short stint in the late 1970s, which helped pay for my college education.

Prior to the pandemic in 2019, timber industry jobs were up by 10% and wages up by 20% (“Southeast Alaska by the Numbers 2020”). I was hopeful to see that sector growing again. Since then, we have seen another downward trend in timber supply, sales, and jobs, which has led to conversations with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service about ideas for strengthening the timber economy.

One idea that has come to the forefront, thanks to stakeholder input, is a Local Use Lumber Program. Currently, small timber businesses are excluded from a large portion of the market because they can’t provide Alaskan construction lumber for any jobs that require a building permit. If we could effectively grade the lumber for permitted construction uses, over 30 small mills could break into the market. Some stakeholders believe that self-certification – or making small operators their own graders – can be a viable solution.

Of course, it is easier said than done. There are more conversations to be had and few issues to be to be ironed out: who assumes liability? How can we get inspectors, contractors, and insurance agencies on board? How can we make such an intensive Lumber Grading education program accessible and of high quality? Ultimately, how can we expand the market while providing the highest standards of our local Alaskan lumber? - More....
Sunday - August 28, 2022

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