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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 01, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By DEWIE HAMILTON

Southeast Alaska Sunset
South Point Higgins Beach Sunset: September 01, 2016
Front Page Feature Photo By

October 04, 2016
Ketchikan Borough Election
This is the 14th year, Sitnews has provided FREE web exposure to all local Ketchikan candidates to provide information for consideration by their constituents.
Responses will be published as received and not edited.

KTN Borough Assembly
3 Year Term
2 Seats Open
jpg Rodney Dial
Rodney Dial
Filed 08/01/16
Statement Published 08/30/16

Keith Smith

  Susan Pickrell
  Judith L. McQuerry
  David Timmerman

KTN Borough Mayor
3 Year Term
1 Seat Open

David Landis (Unopposed)

KTN City Council
3 Year Term
2 Seats Open
  Judy Zenge

Julie Isom


Spencer S. Strassburg

KTN School Board
3 Year Term
2 Seats Open

Conan Matthew Steele


Trevor Shaw


Kim Hodne

  1. Local candidates are invited to provide for their constituents' consideration basic background information, experience and qualifications for the public office for which they seek.
  2. Candidates are invited to address for their constituents what they would like to accomplish if elected and issues of concern.
  3. Send Photographs & include your web address for a link.
  4. Email to by September 15, 2016 (Deadline: Absentee voters may vote as early as 15 days prior to the Borough election: absentee in person, absentee by mail, or by electronic transmission.)

Southeast Alaska:
Drivers warned about POW road condition - The U.S. Forest Service is warning drivers to use extra care as they travel along NFSR 20 road on North Prince of Wales. The road has developed a soft spot that is eroding the outside edge of the roadway from underneath. The road may continue to slough off on the outside edge. The area, at milepost 106, just north of the El Capitan turnoff, is marked with stakes and flagging so it is visible to drivers. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

Ketchikan: Tongass Historical Museum Closes for Renovation September 6th - The Tongass Historical Museum is closing its doors on Tuesday, September 6th to prepare for the renovation of the main floor of the Centennial Building. Staff will be available via the lower level entrance by appointment only, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

As Dawson Construction crews demo and rebuild the main floor over the winter, museum staff will be crafting a new permanent exhibit to tell Ketchikan’s authentic story. With community support a museum experience will be created that reflects all Ketchikan has come from, showcases the depth of Ketchikan, and provides a foundation to record Ketchikan's future: a living platform that both responds and inspires.

The museum will reopen its doors in early summer 2017, starting with portions of the new exhibit space and updated accessible restrooms. The big reveal of the completed permanent exhibit is expected in 2018. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

Alaska: Attorney General Opinion Declares Unlicensed Marijuana Social Clubs Illegal - Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth issued an opinion yesterday on the legal status of “marijuana social clubs.” These clubs call themselves private social clubs but operate like businesses, inviting members of the public to consume marijuana on the premises in exchange for a fee. The Attorney General’s opinion, requested by the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, makes clear that consuming marijuana at these places is unlawful. The opinion also clarifies that offering marijuana samples to paying patrons may violate state criminal law against distributing marijuana without a valid commercial license.

“When Alaskans voted in 2014 to liberalize personal use of marijuana and to allow a commercial marijuana industry, they also voted to prohibit public consumption of marijuana,” said Attorney General Lindemuth. “Unlicensed marijuana social clubs are public places like any other place of business - such as cafes, movie theaters, or retail stores - where marijuana consumption is not allowed by law.” - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Tongass Plan Amendment Falls Short Says Audubon Alaska - The objection period for the amended Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan and accompanying Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) closed August 30.

Audubon Alaska submitted an objection letter for the Final Plan that reiterated their concerns and argued that the Forest Service did not take a hard look at the issues they previously raised. This deadline marks the latest in a series of administrative procedural steps in which the Forest Service will amend the TLMP in order to transition the Tongass National Forest away from old-growth clearcut logging. Audubon Alaska previously submitted a comment on the Draft Plan.

“All signs point toward the need to definitively end old-growth clearcut logging on the Tongass,” said Susan Culliney, Policy Associate. “It’s time to protect the Tongass’ sustainable resource values such as wildlife and salmon, which will be critical foundations for Southeast Alaska’s future, whether or not a second-growth timber industry takes hold.” - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

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AK-GOP Claim Illegalities in Primary Election; Democrats to AK-GOP, Stop Meddling in Our Primary - Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock sent a letter to the director of the Alaska Division of Elections yesterday, cautioning her against certifying the Aug. 16 primary results for Alaska's District 40.

His letter to Director Josie Bahnke outlines several problems that make it impossible for the State of Alaska to credibly certify that race. There are 21 votes separating candidate Dean Westlake from Ben Nageak, the sitting House of Representatives member.

“In Shungnak, every registered Democrat was illegally given a Republican ballot and they were allowed to cast that ballot,” Babcock wrote. There is simply no way for you to determine the actual, legal vote in the Democrat State House primary in District 40.”

Babcock outlined the solution of having a new election in District 40 and petitioned Bahnke to “not certify what you do not know to be true.”

Alaska Democratic Party Chair Casey Steinau today said in a prepared statement in response to Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock’s call for the State to invalidate the Democratic Primary election results for the HD 40 state representative, “The Republican Party has taken inappropriate, though not unprecedented action, to stifle the voices of another rural Alaskan community. Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock has taken it upon himself to advocate for the dismissal of all votes from Shungnak in District 40. This attempt to meddle in a Democratic Primary and silence rural Alaska is a blatant overstep by Republican leadership, designed to undermine a result they don’t like. After arguing to defund rural public radio, threatening to shut down rural schools, and ignoring rural infrastructure needs, the Republican Party is once again disregarding the needs and voices of rural Alaskans."

“If the Republican Party wanted to have a candidate appear on the November ballot, then their candidate should have run as a Republican," said Steinau.

“It is unnecessary to invalidate the election or have another vote as Republicans are advocating," said Steinau,"because errors that have been identified didn’t change the outcome in any race.

“The people of District 40 have spoken and we must respect that. If Mr. Babcock succeeds in undermining their voice, that would be the real failure of this election,” said " said Steinau.

Responding to a request by the Alaska Democratic Party that the Division of Elections certify the election in District 40, Alaska Republican Party Chairman Babcock said today in a prepared statement, “The Democratic machine in Anchorage has stooped to a new low by calling the primary a 'Democratic Primary.' It’s very clear that the ADL ballot is an open ballot, available for all voters to use if they so choose. That ballot is open to Republicans, Libertarians, and undeclared voters. That is want the Democrats publicly claim they want."

Babcock said, “The Division of Elections has admitted that voters in District 40 were allowed to vote two ballots in violation of Alaska law. The Republican ballot is a closed ballot, not available to members of other organized parties, but only to Republicans, nonpartisans, and undeclared voters." - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

Alaska: Alaska receives federal funding to combat opioid addiction, misuse and overdose - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services received three federal multi-year grants this month that together provide nearly $3 million annually toward the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction, misuse and overdose in Alaska.

“Opioid addiction and overdose deaths are hurting Alaska families and communities,” said Gov. Bill Walker. “Getting this funding is great news because it will help us continue building programs and services that can potentially save lives.” - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

Southest Alaska:
FIRST TLINGIT LANGUAGE AND GAMES APPS RELEASED - The first Tlingit apps for students who want to learn their Native language through mobile devices has been released by Sealaska Heritage Institute.


The programs include an app with more than three hundred Tlingit words, phrases and sounds and an app that teaches the Tlingit words for ocean animals and birds through interactive games, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“We know our students are learning our Native languages in new ways, and technology plays a big role in that. This is our effort to help learners revitalize Tlingit by learning the language through their mobile devices,” said Worl, noting the institute will continue to add new content through updates.

The “Learning Tlingit” app includes sections on vocabulary, phrases and the alphabet. The vocabulary includes seventeen categories, including animals, fish, food, geography and plants. As users click on each category, a list of words is revealed and students can learn the Tlingit spellings and hear the words spoken in Tlingit. The phrases section includes categories for coming and going, feelings, introductions, learning Tlingit and meal time and the alphabet section allows students to learn how to pronounce each sound. The app also includes a searchable index and a link to language podcasts, which will be available soon. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016


Extension offices in Sitka & Anchorage to remain open By MARMIAN GRIMES - The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will maintain offices in Sitka and Anchorage under a new plan developed by Extension leaders this summer.

The plan means the Anchorage office will move to a new location and become an outreach center rather than a district office. Outreach centers have no Extension agents but offer Extension publications and face-to-face and distance-delivered programs led by agents from other district offices. Classes will also be taught by program staff and by community experts. Services at the Sitka office will be relatively unchanged, but operations will be mostly grant funded.

In May, the university was planning to close both the Anchorage and Sitka offices due to budget shortfalls. This summer, office and classroom space with another university program became available and Extension received some additional grant funding. Those changes allowed the university to re-examine the decision to close the offices. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

Alaska: Survey Suggests Western Arctic Caribou Herd Decline is Leveling Out - A population survey conducted earlier this summer places the Western Arctic caribou herd at 201,000 animals, indicating the herd’s recent rate of decline has eased greatly.

"The results of this photocensus imply that the population has continued to decline since 2013, albeit at a much reduced rate, which seems to be improving each year" said Caribou Biologist Lincoln Parrett.

The summer survey supports information gathered earlier by state biologists indicating improved Western Arctic caribou herd calf recruitment and survival. Biologists and hunters at Onion Portage in 2015 observed that caribou were in very good condition compared to prior years with average body condition of adult females characterized as "fat." Also, calf weights averaged 100 pounds, which is about 11 pounds heavier than the 2008-2014 average and is the highest average calf weight recorded in the eight years the department began collecting calf weights at Onion Portage. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Will Durst

WILL DURST: Assembling Trump's Dream Team - Any politician angling to be president has to appear believable while wearing many hats. The electorate needs to imagine him/her in a pith helmet to lead us through the jungle. A hard hat to connect to blue collar voters. A top hat to conduct formal diplomatic negotiations. A deerstalker to sift through the intrigue. And a toque to cook up some fun.

Even a branded baseball cap to protect his hair from whipping to the heavens like a sentient shrubbery signaling a secret society of Navajo fringe talkers has a certain appeal. Apparently.

Of course Donald Trump is no ordinary candidate. As can be verified by recent attempts to appear statesmanlike, which are so all over the map, his staff should be CCing Rand McNally with daily briefings from the expanding duchy of Trumpistan.

First, he refuses to back down from anything he's ever said or done, then issues a blanket apology to whomever for whatever, whenever. Following that he jettisoned a campaign manager he never paid attention to, before hiring an entirely different ministry of folks to totally ignore. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

jpg Joseph Cotto

JOSEPH COTTO: Will Hillary Talk About What Happened in Haiti? - "In 2009, while Bill Clinton was setting up one of the family's shell companies in New York, in that same year Hillary Clinton was at the State Department working with US corporations to pressure Haiti not to raise the minimum wage to $0.61 an hour from $0.24," progressive comedian Lee Camp said on his, RT America, program back in April.

Are his words true?

"Memos from 2008 and 2009 obtained by Wikileaks strongly suggest, but don't prove without a doubt, that the State Department helped block the proposed minimum wage increase,", PolitiFact's Linda Qiu wrote shortly after the broadcast. "The memos show that U.S. Embassy officials in Haiti clearly opposed the wage hike and met multiple times with factory owners who directly lobbied against it to the Haitian president.

"The Clinton campaign refuted the claim, and the State Department didn't comment."

Surprise, surprise.

In her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has emphasized themes of 'justice,' 'fairness,' and by far the mother of them all, 'equality.'

It is easy to wax poetic about such things from a pulpit -- especially when this pulpit is surrounded by enthusiastic supporters who will vote your way even if you call each and every single one of them the worst name in the book on live television. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Trump To Mexico

Editorial Cartoon: Trump To Mexico
By Bob Englehart ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Proposed Logging on Deer Mountain By Owen Graham - There have been a number of articles, letters and op-eds about the Mental Health Trust plans to harvest timber from portions of its Deer Mountain and Petersburg properties if our Congressional Delegation is unable to enact legislation to exchange these parcels for timberlands elsewhere. Rhetoric from the usual anti-development critics about saving Deer Mountain and destructive logging is disingenuous. The past harvests in the region have not harmed fish or wildlife habitat and the extensive road system that the logging established has greatly benefited the local communities and has provided enhanced recreation and tourism opportunities. The Great Alaska Logging show near the docks in Ketchikan is a major tourist attraction and a helicopter partial cut on the slopes south of town will not harm our tourism industry. - More...
Friday PM - September 02, 2016

letter Communities that value nearby Trust land have had years to secure community interest in it By Russ Webb - The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority recently took the first step to authorize sale of timber on land near Ketchikan and Petersburg. This action has generated some strong emotions reflected in statements of support, objection, and even some accusations and threats. Here are the facts. - More...
Thursday PM - September 01, 2016

letter Thinking Outside the Box: A Better Solution for the Mental Health Lands Debacle By Rebecca Knight - The Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community believes there are better solutions than a land exchange to solve the highly controversial Alaska Mental Health Trust debacle. The exchange is detailed in Senator Murkowski’s Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Exchange Act of 2016 (S.3006). [1] Specifically, what should be pursued instead is either a federal buy-out or a land transfer with the State, not Feds, from existing State forestlands. Clearly, AMHT’s threats that Murkowski’s bill be passed— or else—have angered many. Further, moving the impacts of large-scale, destructive logging out of the local public’s eye to Prince of Wales Island and elsewhere on Revilla Island only caves-in to the Trust’s threats and simply shifts the destruction to old growth forests already highly- fragmented by decades of logging. - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016

letter Save Deer Mountain By Norbert Chaudhary - How can we save Deer Mountain? Why not a petition to Governor Walker to fire the entire Mental Health board? If they want to threaten the people of Ketchikan then why not return the favor? - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016

letter Deer Mountain By Doug Barry - Deer Mountain is not just a landmark; it is an iconic trademark. It adorns many a piece of beautiful art, it's what I picture whenever I think of Ketchikan. It was a view I enjoyed from the windows of my boyhood home, a sight I will always hold in my heart. - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016

letter AMHS Reform Post Summit By Rep. Dan Ortiz - During my 1½ years as southern Southeast Alaska's state legislature representative, I've been door to door many times throughout our district seeking the peoples' opinion. One concern many constituents share is the efficiency, safety and reliability of our ferry system. I have heard from many southern Southeast locals - from Wrangell to Metlakatla - about their expectations of our ferry system. Most of the thoughtful suggestions can be boiled down to this: our ferry system must become more responsive to the needs of Alaskan residents who live and do business in coastal communities. The AMHS needs to become more insulated from political regime change and be provided reliable financial planning with long-term funding. - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016

letter Recall Walker/Mallot By Sandra Browne - Kudos to Mr. Hangar on your letter for recall of Mr. Walker and Malott. I fully agree, its high time to oust them out of office, now before he really does damage to our state funding? I shudder to think what's next on his list of what to steal from next. - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016

letter “ObamaCare” By Rob Holston - A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption, invention, device, or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, generally including a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883–1970). - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016

letter Americans must get solidly behind Trump By Joe O'Hara - Americans unquestionably cannot allow the scandal-ridden, divisive, Hillary Clinton to become leader of our beloved Country. - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016

letter Deer Mountain Logging By Rep. Dan Ortiz - I, like the majority of my constituI, like the majority of my constituents, am in strong support of a healthy, viable timber industry. In this last legislative session I helped to pass Senate Bill 32, which was legislation that reduces some of the regulations on state owned timber lands and allowed for carefully selected, well-managed state timber land sales in Southeast Alaska. This measure should help companies like Viking Lumber on POW to remain viable into the future. Lands logged in Southeast Alaska should be separate from the land we enjoy recreationally, shouldn't diminish our local aesthetic, and shouldn't risk the health of our other industries, like, for example, the tourism and fishing industries. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

letter Deer Mountain: Mental Health Logging Threat By Norbert Chaudhary - While I understand the true goal of this Deer Mountain logging threat is a land swap, I believe the blackmail tactics being used by the Alaska Department Of Mental Health are despicable. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2016

letter RECALL THE PFD THIEF By David G Hanger - Despite his platitudinous nonsense and claims to the contrary it should be clear to all Alaskans by now that William Walker is hellbent on destroying the Permanent Fund Dividend Program and the Alaska Permanent Fund as quickly as possible. Now by dictatorial fiat and in violation of the law this man is attempting to steal $700 million directly from the pockets of citizens of this state to pay the oil tax credits to his buddies in the oil industry. - More...
Thursday PM - August 25, 2015

letter Our Ferry System By Rep.Dan Ortiz - Is our ferry system serving you and your family? Are there ways in which ferry service could improve? How should our ferry system look ten years from now? These are questions I will work to address this weekend when I attend a ferry summit in Anchorage, with many of our own community members and other coastal Alaskans. After serving for thirty-two years as a teacher and coach, and especially after serving our district these past two years as your representative, I have a strong understanding of the economic importance the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has to coastal Alaska. According to the recent McDowell report on our AMHS, for every dollar the states spends on the ferry system, at least two dollars are generated in the private sector. Primarily the hospitality industry, from bed and breakfasts to hotels and restaurants, benefits from our ferry system, but the AMHS also plays a key role in facilitating the shipping of goods into and out of coastal Alaska. We also can’t forget its importance to coastal Alaskan schools and their activities programs. - More...
Saturday PM _ August 20, 2016

letter Choose!! By A. M. Johnson - How does one delay a decision regarding voting for Trump or Clinton having vast political, philosophical, moral, honor, trustworthy differences? How does Senator Murkowski live with her position regarding that choice as she waffles about in the hither land? - More...
Saturday PM - August 20, 2016

letter Two Flawed Candidates By Donald Moskowitz - Clinton and Trump are flawed candidates running for President. Clinton has questionable scruples, and she has made significant mistakes. As Secretary of State she set up an unsecured private server in her home for government email communications and sent and received secret and top secret information. She had ultimate responsibility for the Benghazi debacle where our ambassador and other Americans were killed by Islamic terrorists. Her foundation accepted contributions from foreign entities. - More...
Saturday PM - August 20, 2016

letter Hillary or Donald? By Joe O'Hara - When you look beyond the virtually meaningless back-and-forth between Hillary and Donald, it becomes clear that somebody is 'yanking our chain'. - More...
Saturday PM - August 20, 2016

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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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