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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 21, 2011

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Colorful Mushroom
Beautiful, but poisonous, Fly Agaric mushroom; also known as a Amanita Muscaria. Photographed in the Mountain Point area.
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS


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Time is past due to open ANWR say Officials; Developing ANWR Would Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs & Raise Revenue – The U.S. House of Representatives Commitee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing this morning on "ANWR: Jobs, Energy and Deficit Reduction". The hearing specifically examined the benefits of developing a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska as an opportunity to create new jobs and generate new revenue for the government. Responsible energy production on less than three percent of ANWR’s total land could create thousands of jobs and $150 billion or more in revenue over the life of production.

Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) in his opening statement to the committee said, "At a time when our Nation is in desperate need of new job creation and cutting the staggering national debt, this Committee is uniquely positioned to advance solutions that accomplish both of these priorities. Responsibly harnessing America's onshore and offshore energy resources will create millions of new jobs and generate billions in new revenue."

Hastings told the committee that ANWR is the single greatest opportunity for new energy production of federal land. No single energy project in American can produce more jobs and do more to reduce the debt.

In her testimony, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed her frustration over the Obama administration’s repeated attempts to lock up lands in Alaska by designating them as wilderness to prevent resource development. Murkowski made her comments Wednesday in testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources during an oversight hearing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“Here we are with the federal government essentially broke – fighting all day, every day over every spending cut and revenue-raiser ever conceived, when the simple delivery on a decades old promise could render literally hundreds of billions in federal revenue without so much as raising a tax or cutting a single program,” Murkowski said. “But instead of looking for a responsible path towards accessing our resources, the Fish and Wildlife Service looks for ways to lock it up.”

The promise Murkowski is referring to is the one made by President Carter when signing the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. He stated, “100 percent of [Alaska’s] offshore areas and 95 percent of the potentially productive [onshore] oil and mineral areas will be available for exploration or for drilling.” Currently, less than one percent of federal lands onshore and none of the federal offshore lands are producing any oil or natural gas.

“Increasing production will result in job creation all over the country.  It will require oil-field monitoring software from companies in California, new trucks from Michigan, and goods and services from everywhere in between,” Murkowski said. “Every state will benefit, and the federal treasury will benefit the most.”

The non-wilderness coastal plain of ANWR has a mean-estimated 10.3 billion barrels of oil. To put that in perspective, the United States imports about 2 billion barrels of oil a year from OPEC nations and is expected to import 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from all sources this year, according to the Energy Department.

Also testifying today before the committee was U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). Senator Begich reinforced his message of the need to responsibly develop the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as a way to create tens of thousands of jobs for Alaskans and across the country.

In testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee Begich, also said developing ANWR should be part of a comprehensive energy plan that would reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy sources.

“With gasoline prices averaging $3.65 in the lower 48 states and unemployment around 9 percent, Alaska is here to help,” Sen. Begich said to the committee. “We can offer relief to consumers at the pump, provide well-paying jobs in Alaska and the Lower 48 and help reduce our $15 trillion deficit.”

On top of calling for development in ANWR, Sen. Begich offered the committee an update on efforts to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Each of these opportunities would create thousands of jobs.

“The University of Alaska’s Institute for Social and Economic Research estimates 54,000 jobs created from Alaskans working in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including all the support and manufacturing jobs stretching from Alaska to the Lower 48,” Begich told the committee.

Sen. Begich is a co-sponsor of legislation to open ANWR to responsible oil and gas development.

At a time of high unemployment, high energy prices, and an urgent need to address our national debt, there is no question that this Nation needs the oil and gas that can be produced from ANWR," Representative Don Young (R-AK) told the committee.

Young said, "Although the ANWR region of Alaska encompasses 19 million acres, less than 2000 acres would actually be necessary to tap the region’s vast resources though ultra-modern, environmentally sensitive drilling technology, including slant-drilling. To give some perspective on size, if the State of Alaska were a 1,000 page phone book, the 2000 acre drilling area would be equal to one-half of a square inch on one page of the 1,000 page phone book." - More...
Wednesday - September 21, 2011

Alaska Science: Fungus Man and the start of it all By NED ROZELL - Alaskans love fungi. This was evident on a recent Saturday when author and mycologist Lawrence Millman offered a mushroom walk at Creamer’s Field on one of the wettest days of the yellow-leaf season.

Fungus Man and the start of it all

A drawing of a carving by Charles Edenshaw in the late 1800s depicting the Haida myth of the origin of women. Fungus Man is paddling the canoe with Raven in the bow in search of female genitalia.
Courtesy of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.

“Eighty people showed up in the rain, all eager to learn about fungi,” Millman said by email after returning to his home in Massachusetts. “I dare say the hunter-gatherer instinct is alive and well in Fairbanks.”

And why shouldn’t it be, since Fungus Man made life possible? During a lecture at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Millman introduced the crowd to Fungus Man, a character in a Haida myth. Millman showed a drawing depicting a wide-eyed Fungus Man paddling a canoe. Fungus Man guides Raven, who sits in the front of the canoe holding a spear.

As the legend goes, Fungus Man paddled Raven the Creator to the land of female genitalia, “thus making it possible for homosapiens to appear on our beleaguered planet,” Millman said.

Robert Blanchette of the University of Minnesota once fleshed out Fungus Man in the journal Mycologia: “Fungus Man originated from a bracket fungus with a white undersurface upon which Raven drew a face . . . Of all the creatures that Raven placed in the stern of the canoe only Fungus Man had the supernatural powers to breach the spiritual barriers that protected the area where women’s genital parts were located.”

So, we owe a lot to fungi, one of five kingdoms of living things, chock full of puffballs, mushrooms, and other examples of what Millman calls “incredible and essential biomass.” - More...
Wednesday - September 21, 2011

Alaska: 2011 Permanent Fund Dividend is $1,174 - Governor Sean Parnell today announced that 647,549 eligible Alaskans will receive a 2011 Permanent Fund Dividend in the amount of $1,174. According to the Department of Revenue, 676,000 Alaskans applied for the 2011 Dividend. This represents a one percent increase over 2010 applications.

The first dividends will be paid on October 6 when approximately 535,000 applicants will receive a direct deposit into their bank account, and 93,000 will be mailed a check. Paper checks will be mailed on October 6 from Juneau. The actual delivery date will vary by applicant location. - More...
Tuesday - September 20, 2011



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letter An Open Letter to SitNews Readers: Whitman Lake Hydroelectric - Proposition 2 By Lew Williams On Behalf of the Ketchikan City Council - On October 4th, 2011, Proposition 2 will ask voters to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, regarding authorizing the City to issue up to $15 million dollars in bonds to finance construction of a new hydroelectric facility.  The Ketchikan City Council recommends a ‘Yes’ vote. - More... 
Wednesday - September 21, 2011

letter The Mahoney Lake and Whitman Lake Hydroelectric projects, how can we bring them online? By Sam Bergeron - Those of us who live in Ketchikan and get our power from Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU) belong in the two dam pool, owned and operated by: Southeast Alaska Power Association (SEAPA). We are required to buy our power from SEAPA before we use any other source of power, including our own. - More...
Monday AM - September 19, 2011

letter Closing: PATCHWorks By Bobbie McCreary - I'm sure I join many others in our community in applauding the efforts that PATHWorks, their volunteers and a "slim" staff (of two part-timers) accomplished during the time that organization evolved from a community process addressing the health of this community to current times. - More...
Monday AM - September 19, 2011

letter Thank You Ketchikan By Sara Schroeder - Since I left Ketchikan in 2006, I have moved residences at least once every year, and that leaves a lot of packing and unpacking. Today I was sorting through some old papers and I found the news article from a few weeks following my transplant in 2005. I could go into to various stories about how thankful I am, how I am doing, what my future holds, etc. but I will keep it simple and just want to say, Thank You Ketchikan. - More...
Monday AM - September 19, 2011

letter Bullying at Morning Bus Stops By Amber Anderson - Kids are easy targets to bullying if adult supervision is lacking at bus stops. Elementary children are being bullied in the morning at both bus stops in front of the Ketchikan Rec Center. I have a group of kids telling me that a boy across the street is verbally abusing them. The language is very offensive from what the young ladies are reporting to me. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Pro Bergeron for Ketchikan City Council By Randy Kienbaum - I'd like to show my support for Sam Bergeron and thank him for responding so quickly to the e-mail I sent to him. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Hickel's Vision Inspired Norway Policy Tour By Bill Walker - Governor Walter Hickel founded the Institute of the North which organized last week's Norway Policy Tour. Hickel long advocated that AIaska, as owner of its natural resources, must take control of its resource development for the benefit of all Alaskans. I was privileged to participate with the legislators and community leaders from Kotzebue, Nome, Bethel, Dillingham, Southeast, Kenai, Kodiak, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Anchorage who met with ambassadors and top level government and industry officials to learn about the Norway "model" of government-owned and developed oil and gas resources. Having traveled with Governor Hickel to China in 2008, I know he would have been the first to enlist for the Norway trip keeping lock step with us on even on the eighteen hour days visiting industry headquarters and facilities across Norway. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Wolf rant got it wrong By Marty Bergoffen & Larry Edwards - Andy Rauwolf's Sept. 12 Viewpoint Commentary, criticizing our effort to ensure the Alexander Archipelago wolf's safety from extinction, relies on supposed facts that are simply wrong. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Closing Message from PATCHWorks By Dawn Rauwolf for the PATCHWorks Board - Since the early 1990's, PATCHWorks has been a voice in sharing the value and lessons of the 40  Developmental Assets.  Many in the community have been impacted by the asset message over the years.  PATCHWorks started as a group of committed community members interested in improving the overall health and wellness of Ketchikan.  All of the efforts to encourage parents, teachers, and community members to reach and support our youth have made a positive difference.  - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter RE: Statement on Hotel Reimbursement By Scott R. Davis - Senator Stedman, thank you for your letter to Sitnews regarding the Hotel Reimbursement. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Vote for a plan not a statement of what "we need By Ed "Mongo" Fry - After reading the Ketchikan Daily News with the forum that was hosted with the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and the candidates that were present, it is "status quo" for the Ketchikan Borough Assembly, again.  No new news there other than bombastic statements of, "we need".  If you happen to search past candidate speeches and statements, it is the platform of the majority, "we need".  Unacceptable in my book and Ketchikan deserves better. - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter RE: Sitnews By Bobbie McCreary - Sam, I agree wholeheartedly with your tribute to Mary Kauffman (and Dick before her). - More...
Saturday - September 17, 2011

letter Thank you By Dick, Judy, Rich, Barb and Traci Madden - The family of Michael Madden would like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended the Celebration of Life picnic for Michael at Ward Lake on Aug 25th. It was a fitting tribute to the outdoorsman that he was. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Alexander Archipelago Wolf By Andy Rauwolf - I wish to voice my strong support for the stand Butch Olmstead took in late August against the radical environmentalists’ latest scam regarding the so called “Alexander Archipelago Wolves.” His letter stemmed from a recent article entitled “Protection Sought Again for Rare Alaskan Wolf” in many recent publications. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Statement on Hotel Reimbursement By Sen. Bert Stedman - Recently, legislators from 13 western states gathered in Hawaii for the Council of State Governments’ Annual Conference.  My participation was highlighted in the press due to excessive hotel fees that were incurred inadvertently.  A reservations error with the hotel resulted in an expensive room I never requested. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter SitNews By Sam Bergeron - So often we take for granted the things we have without remembering where they’ve come from. SITNEWS is one of those things. Dick and Mary Kauffman founded this website in 1999 and have operated it since then. When Dick left us in 2007, Mary continued on with this important work. This is on top of caring for her house, the many animals she takes in and cares for plus doing the work of two people. This website is a marvel. It really is. It’s a free and open forum that has so many useful, interesting and thought provoking things in it that it gets many thousands of hits every day and is very influential in our community. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Sealaska Land Transfer Bill By Ralph Wells - For over two years I have followed the attempts by Rep. Young and Senator Murkowski to pass this controversial legislation.  I remain adamantly opposed to these bills, especially the provisions that would transfer acreage within designated wilderness areas to Sealaska corporation. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Sealaska Land Transfer Bill By Todd Heininger - This is an extremely controversial bill and should not be run through the House without debate and further review of the impact it will have on the residents of Sitka. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

letter Sealaska Land Transfer Bill By Marlene Clarke - HB 1408, sponsored by Rep. Don Young, has been put on the suspension calendar in the House. This will allow the house to vote on it as if it is not controversial. Many communities in Southeast Alaska have spoken clearly that this bill would be devastating to their futures. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2011

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