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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 08, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By DOUG BURKMAN

Rudyerd Bay: Black Bear
This Black Bear was photograph near Rudyerd Bay earlier this month. The bear stopped eating long enough to look up; other than that the bear seemed to be oblivious to the photographer's presence.
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
jpg Judith L. McQuerry
Judith L. McQuerry
Filed 08/25/16
Statement Published 09/08/16
  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.)

Ketchikan: Southeast Alaska Climate Change Summit in Ketchikan - Climate change impacts are unique in the Southeast Alaska region and include impacts such as heavy rains causing flooding, ocean acidification, warmer waters, snowfall variations, warm springs followed by frost affecting wild berry production, invasive species, and toxins in the marine environment. These factors impact food security and culturally important resources.

Southeast Alaska Climate Change Summit in Ketchikan

Southeast Alaska Climate Change Summit
September 22–23, 2016
Cape Fox Lodge
Ketchikan, Alaska

On September 22-23, 2016 Alaska Sea Grant, the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska will be hosting a workshop in Ketchikan at the Cape Fox Lodge to review climate change impacts to five subsistence and cultural resources that have been identified by Southeast Tribes as their highest concern; salmon, shellfish, berries, cedar, and cultural resources. These five resources were identified in December 2015 at a workshop hosted by the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes of Washington in collaboration with Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

The first day of the workshop in Ketchikan will review the climate change impacts to these resources. At the end of the first day Tribes, university, and agency representatives will work together in group discussions to come up with monitoring and adaptation strategies that Tribes have the capacity to implement quickly to address these 5 resources. - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

Ketchikan: Maritime Apprenticeship Offers New Job Opportunities for Alaskans - The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is revitalizing a job training initiative to place Alaskans in credentialed positions in the U.S. flag commercial maritime fleet.

Alaskans who pass industry and Coast Guard required physicals, drug screenings, and background checks will be eligible to enter into a 14-month apprenticeship program to train for credential as a chief cook, FOWT/fireman-oiler-watertender, or able-bodied seafarer. Program participants receive room and board as well as wages while working as an apprentice, and graduates are guaranteed placement into their first job.

Ralph Mirsky of SeaLink in Ketchikan, Alaska will coordinate the recruitment and screening of Alaskans interested in this program.

“We are committed to helping Alaskans obtain the training they need for rewarding careers,” said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas. “This program has a proven record of success in helping Alaskans find work in the maritime industry with good wages and benefits.” - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

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Ketchikan: Investigation Continues in Alleged Robbery & Assault - According to a news release issued yesterday by Ketchikan Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett, officers responded on August 23rd to a report by a male that he was robbed and assaulted by multiple males on the Schoenbar Trail.

Officers responded to the 600 block of Dock Street at approximately 10:30 PM and the victim identified one suspect as Thomas Allen Jr., age 20 and said the meeting had been arranged by Allen's 17 year old girlfriend. The victim reported he was ambushed by Allen and two unknown males.

The victim reported he was assaulted with blunt objects and a knife was held to his throat. While the knife was held to the victim's throat, his personal belongings, including cash, shoes and eye glasses were taken from his person. The victim was told if he did not count to 100 he would be stabbed. - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

Alaska: GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION OF ALASKA OFFICE OF CHILDREN’S SERVICES REQUESTED - Representative Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole) has requested that a Grand Jury conduct an investigation into how the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Office of Children Services (OCS) are complying with statutory duties.

”OCS has become a protected empire built on taking children and separating families,” Wilson said. “This is not to say there are not those children who do need to be removed from horrible situations and need protection. I believe children and parents are caught up in legal kidnapping and ineffective politics.

“I have scores of cases of exhausted families on my desk,” Wilson said. “I cannot turn my back on these suffering, crying and sometimes beaten down individuals. We are mistreating the most vulnerable. No longer is judgment based on what the child needs or who the child wants to be with or what is really best for the whole family, it is some adult or bureaucrat who makes the decision sometimes based only on hearsay.

“This request is made because I have received numerous complaints and inquiries from parents, grandparents, foster parents and health care providers,” Wilson said.

Wilson said, “There are significant, systematic problems with how OCS operates which is illustrated by the fact that the number of children in State custody has grown dramatically.

Also Wilson alleges, "There are areas where legal requirements are being ignored, or simply disregarded. These include missing case plans, plans lacking parent signatures, missing and incomplete visitation or contact plans, lack of plan reviews and updated goals and inadequate legal representation."

"Impoverished individuals appear to be targeted since they make up the overwhelming majority of OCS cases," said Wilson. - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

Alaska: Man Arrested, Charged With Defrauding Alaskans Out of Approximately $2.7 Million; Wife Also Arrested, Charged with Social Security Fraud - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a Washington man has been charged in Alaska with 11 counts of wire fraud and eight counts of money laundering. His wife has been charged with one count of social security fraud in Washington. They were both arrested this morning in Washington.

Floyd Jay Mann, Jr., 55, of Puyallup, Washington, is charged in a 19-count indictment returned in Anchorage with a scheme to defraud victims in Alaska. His wife, Cheryl Mann, 51, also of Puyallup, Washington, is charged with one count of defrauding the Social Security Administration in an indictment returned in Seattle, Washington.


According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward, who presented the case against Floyd Mann to the Alaska grand jury, Floyd Jay Mann, Jr. defrauded Alaskans of approximately $2.7 million by falsely leading the victims to believe that he was the recipient of a multimillion-dollar settlement from a class-action lawsuit with a pharmaceutical company. Mann told victims that if they helped to pay Mann’s medical bills and other lawsuit-related expenses, the victims would be paid back plus a substantial return on their money when Mann’s multimillion-dollar settlement was released by the court. In fact, Mann did not use the victim’s money to pay medical bills and there was no lawsuit settlement, and instead Mann used the money he obtained from the victims to gamble at a casino and win over $1 million over the course of the scheme.

According to Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Diggs, who presented the case against Cheryl Mann to the Western District of Washington grand jury, during the course of Floyd Mann’s scheme, he and his wife Cheryl Mann and their son collected approximately $56,000 in need-based Supplemental Security Income benefits. Cheryl Mann was the designated payee for Floyd Mann and their son and responsible for reporting any changes in the household income or assets. During this time, Cheryl Mann won approximately $125,000 at a casino. That income, as well as the funds obtained by her husband, would have disqualified the Manns from the public assistance they received. - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

Alaska: THREE PRISON INMATES SENTENCED FOR FILING FALSE TAX REFUND CLAIMS - Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced yesterday that Jesse Scott Wilson, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason to a total of 92 months in prison, followed by three years’ supervised release. Wilson had pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to tax refund claims on Feb. 26, 2016. In addition to his prison sentence, Wilson was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $384,892.


Wilson was convicted of participating in a conspiracy to obtain tax refunds by filing fraudulent income tax returns. Between September 2008 and June 2012, Wilson and his co-conspirators prepared and submitted approximately 428 false tax returns claiming refunds of approximately $681,258.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason pointed out the need for the sentence to address the severity of the crime and deter others in prison from committing similar crimes. Court documents revealed that Wilson conspired with his co-defendants and fellow prison inmates William Wesley Hines, aka Speedy, 54, Jason Donald Schmidlkofer, 34, and Nick Lewis Thurmond, 30, to obtain the names and social security numbers (SSNs) of individuals, many of whom were also inmates at correctional facilities. Wilson, Hines, Schmidlkofer, and Thurmond were State of Alaska prisoners who were incarcerated together at Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, at the beginning of the conspiracy. Wilson and his co-conspirators prepared and filed false individual income tax returns using the names and SSNs of approximately 210 individuals.

Wilson and his co-conspirators prepared false individual income tax returns claiming false wages and withholding amounts listed on the tax returns for which there were no Forms W-2 issued. Each return claimed that the taxpayer was owed thousands of dollars in refunds to which they were not entitled. The conspirators forged the individuals’ signatures on the tax returns and used their own personal addresses and fake addresses on the tax returns. The conspirators mailed the false income tax returns to the IRS. Wilson and his co-conspirators retained a portion of the money from the refunds, and then wired or mailed the remainder of the refunds to other co-conspirators.

Wilson, Hines, and Schmidlkofer are residents of Alaska. Thurmond is currently a resident of Colorado. Wilson, Hines, Schmidlkofer, and Thurmond were indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2015 for conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to false claims. Their current status is as follows: - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg John L. Micek

JOHN L. MICEK: Compared to Clinton, Trump Seems Lost at Sea - So who's winning the Commander-in-Chief Election?

In their first proximate -- but not joint --appearance of the fall campaign, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump each made the case for their foreign policy chops this week.

Their backdrop: The retired aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Intrepid, in New York City.

One of them - Clinton - was decidedly more effective than the other.

Yes, Clinton spent much of her allotted 30 minutes during a televised "Commander in Chief" forum on MSNBC on Wednesday re-explaining her mystifying and damaging decision to use a private email server while she was Secretary of State ("a mistake," she allowed, even as she defended it).

But Clinton also offered a more sharply defined vision for the wielding of American power than Trump who, pardon the pun, often seemed lost at sea during his allotted screen-time. - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

jpg Joseph Cotto

JOSEPH COTTO: Clinton Wants Voters to Ignore the Facts - "Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials' correspondence be retained as part of the agency's record," Michael S. Schmidt wrote in his now-famous March 2, 2015 New York Times article.

Two days later, Clinton spoke out on Twitter.

"I want the public to see my email," she claimed. "I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible."

Something happened on the way to public knowledge.

"In a follow-up interview on May 3, 2016," a Clinton aide told federal investigators that "he believed he had an 'oh s--t' moment and sometime between March 25-31, 2015 deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from the PRN server and used BleachBit to delete the exported .PST files he had created on the server system containing Clinton's emails." - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

jpg Dick Polman

DICK POLMAN: Trump's Real Pay-to-Pay Scandal Ignored by the Media - How refreshing it is, after weeks and months of faux Clinton Foundation "scandals," after all the fatuous media talk about "optics" and "perceptions," to finally have a real Foundation scandal to chew on. An actual example of pay-to-play, of money given and a favor granted. And it comes to us courtesy of Donald Trump.

The Washington Post has done most of the spadework, but most of the so-called "liberal" media has inexplicably ignored it. Fortunately, Trump himself pumped some oxygen into the story when he denied any and all wrongdoing.

Three years ago, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, the family's nonprofit charity, gave a $25,000 campaign contribution to a group that flacked for Florida attorney general Pam Bondi. That donation was illegal, because nonprofits are barred by the IRS from giving money to political campaigns. And at the time the illegal donation was made, Bondi was deciding whether to go to bat for all the Floridians who had been allegedly bilked by the phony Trump University. Should she join the State of New York's class action lawsuit, or not? - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Congress Punts Federal Budget on First Down

Editorial Cartoon: Congress Punts Federal Budget on First Down
By R.J. Matson ©2016, Roll Call
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter CAVE People By A. M. Johnson - It is suggested that reality encourages the gathering of souls in a uproar for the purpose of Deer Mountain logging, in a positive step. Form a Committee. Forming a committee assures the participants the satisfaction of making the effort. The goal if success is not achieved, is to be viewed as having made that effort and feel good about it. A committee requires a proper title to clearly give the listening public guidance to the committee's intent. - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

letter Open Letter to Mental Health Trust By David G Hanger - Take your Mental Health Trust chairmanship, Board of Directors, et. al, and go to hell by the shortest route. The Trust has got to be the number one bad guy in all of Alaska. Deer Mountain is Ketchikan, Alaska, and you folks propose to destroy it so you can make a few bucks. Why don’t we put the Anchorage sewage processing plant in your front yard, a rendering plant in your back yard, and obstruct any view you might have with an 80 foot concrete wall. - More...
Thursday PM - September 08, 2016

letter An historic opportunity for Alaska’s future By Governor Bill Walker - In the final stages of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, many quit their jobs prior to the completion of TAPS because they wanted to be first in line to work on the gasline. Alaska expected construction to begin that quickly. But that was nearly 40 years ago. Efforts to monetize the billions of dollars of stranded North Slope gas, such as the projects advanced by the Yukon Pacific Corporation and the Alaska Gasline Port Authority did not materialize, primarily due to lack of access to gas. For the first time, Alaska now has assurances by the North Slope leaseholders that the gasline project will have access to North Slope gas. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Naay I’waans (The Great House) Re-dedication Ceremony By Rep. Dan Ortiz - On Saturday, September 3rd I, along with approximately 800 other visitors, had the privilege of attending the Naay I’waans (The Great House) Re-dedication Ceremony in Kasaan. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Deer Mountain By Norbert Chaudhary - It's a bit of a stretch to use the popularity of the Lumberjack Show as justification to continue outdated practices of the past and to log Deer Mountain - as was recently written in a letter supporting Mental Health's ultimatum. Using that same logic, Dolly's House is quite popular so why not bring back prostitution? After all, along with clear cut logging, Ketchikan's Red Light District provided jobs and was once a major contributor to our local economy. But of course we have moved on in our growth as a community and as a state. Or have we? - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter The Deer Mountain Threat By Michael Spence - In response to Mr Graham's letter defending the ultimatum of logging Deer Mountain by the Mental Health Land Trust if its demands are not met by Congress: To most people who live here, use of the term Trust is a little disingenuous as to who is the real beneficiary of this scheme. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter In Praise of Public Servants By Michael Spence - Since the 1980's there has been a gradual erosion of respect and appreciation for the true public servants of our country. Indeed some politicans have promoted an ideology that public service is somehow inferior to private enterprise. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Ketchikan City Council Elected to Serve the People By Shawn D. Kimberley - Like many other residents of Ketchikan, I have been watching closely as our elected City Council addresses the Marijuana bill passed by Alaska voters. What I, and many other have witnessed, is nothing short of a disorganized, squabbling, unproductive attempt at addressing the bill. Our city council was VOTED in to REPRESENT the people and to SERVE the community. However when it comes to this all important measure, they have performed very poorly as a group. - More... Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Open Letter to Sen. Sullivan: What I want By A. M. Johnson - I don't go to public meetings any longer particularly with politicians. Not meant as a slap, rather, same o, same o. In reading Senator Sullivan's comments being in Ketchikan, particular the Deer Mountain logging issue, one of the many reasons for the civil war was the South recognizing that the North with all of its industrial power and resources would one day by the shear force of numbers, eliminate 'State Rights' as it was recognized during the day. (Slave ownership being but one subject) - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Thoughts on Labor Day By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The history of America's economic success, and our high gross domestic product compared to the rest of the world has much to do with our country being blessed by an abundant and varied supply of natural resources. From our flowing rivers, to our vast farm lands, to our rich supply of energy resources, across the U.S., America has the the comparative advantage in terms of natural resources. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Being Prepared Is Not Just for Scouts By By Susan Johnson - No matter where you live, a natural disaster can strike at any time. Here in the Northwest, we’re told to expect the next big earthquake at any time. Many of our majestic mountains are dormant volcanos. The natural beauty of our forests can turn into horrible forest fires from a carelessly thrown cigarette butt. Extreme winter storms are a serious risk. Floods are common throughout our region and we also get the occasional tornado. While disasters are sometimes instantly fatal, survival often depends on whether you are prepared. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Dangerous Donald Trump By Donald Moskowitz - Dangerous Donald Trump might be a threat to our viability. He could try to assume dictatorial powers and abolish the Constitution, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Some of his supporters are far right extremists. His candidacy is reminiscent of the Fascists in Germany, Italy, and Japan during the 1930s and 1940s. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

letter Logging Deer Mountain By Rosa Gaona - I am from Ketchikan and currently living in Juneau, Alaska and I feel very strongly that logging Deer Mountain is a quick fix but a very bad idea. Whoever is in charge of this idea for quick monies needs to consider the impacts involved! - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016

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

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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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