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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 14, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CHARLES M. HABERBUSH

Deer Mountain
This photo was taken Sunday while the photographer was hiking across the west face of the Deer Mountain trail to the summit. As the day progressed, early morning fog diminished which brought out many hikers on the trail.
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

jpg Susan PIckrell
Susan Pickrell
Filed 08/24/16
Statement Published 09/14/16
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
jpg Julie Isom

Julie Isom
Filed 08/04/16
Published 09/12/16


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: Kasaan celebrates Son-I-Hat longhouse restoration By DAVE KIFFER - Nearly 800 people attended a September 3rd ceremony marking the restoration of the Son-I-Hat longhouse in Kasaan, a village of 64 people on the east side of Prince of Wales Island.

Kasaan celebrates Son-I-Hat longhouse restoration

Restoration of the Son-I-Hat longhouse in Kasaan, September 2016
Photograph By DAVE KIFFER ©2016

The nearly 140-year-old longhouse, located at the end of a mile-long trail from the village, is on its second reconstruction, having been last restored in 1938. The carvers themselves say the restored longhouse recreates a "beacon" not just for Haida but for all people needing to reconnect with their lives.

The massive influx of visitors transformed the tiny community into a bustling one day cornucopia of food, dancing, music and native crafts. Ceremonial canoes from Klawock, Ketchikan and Juneau landed at the beach in front of the longhouse and were given a traditional welcome by Kasaan Haida elders.

The event was emceed by Hydaburg Mayor Anthony "Tony Peele" Christiansen and former longtime Kasaan leader Richard Peterson, the current head of the Tlingit-Haida Central Council in Juneau.

Other speakers included Louis Jones of KAVILCO, Ronald Leighton the Organized Village of Kasaan President, Haida Elder Julie Coburn, Kasaan Mayor Della Coburn, Clinton Cook Jr., a descendant of Chief Son-I-Hat; Russ Jones, Skidigate chief from Haida Gwaii; Lt. Governor Byron Mallot, and several other village and regional elders.

After the ceremony, there were several hours of dancing and music in the village. Ceremonial gifts were exchanged and the village somehow managed to come up with enough food to sate the hundreds of visitors, many of whom came from throughout Southeast and Haida Gwaii, the traditional home of the Haida who settled in the Kasaan area more than two centuries ago.

According to the house history, provided by Haida Laas - Graham Richard: A Haida leader from the Yaadaa, a Kuusdek Eagle clan, set sail from the western part of Prince of Wales Island more than 200 years ago, with family members and friends in three canoes.

They were struck by a southeast wind, the Xyuu, driving them ashore and destroying their canoes. The clan leader demanded that the Xyuu pay reparations in the form of three whales. When the wind didn't make reparations, the leader took one of Xyuu's Tlingit names, Son-I-Hat as compensation.

The first Chief Son-I-Hat eventually passed on and his nephew, Koyongxung, who had been born in 1829, carried on his name. The new Son-I-Hat settled his family on the site of what became Gasa'aan, now known as Old Kasaan, some time before 1860. Old Kasaan, near the mouth of Polk Inlet, eventually held several other families and reached a size of 500 people, 18 houses and up to 60 totem poles.

But a small pox epidemic struck the village in 1862, decimating the population down to 50 people, and Son-I-Hat chose to relocate near a Christian mission some 10 miles to the north. the Chief tried to convince his people to follow him, but many were concerned about living near the missionaries. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016

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Fish Factor:
Fall The Busiest Time For Alaska's Fishing Industry By LAINE WELCH - It surprises many people across the state that fall is one of the busiest times for Alaska’s fishing industry from the Panhandle to the Bering Sea. As salmon season gets tucked away, hundreds of boats of all gear types are still out on the water, or gearing up for even more openers in just a few weeks.

Here’s a sampler:

Longliners have taken 82 percent of their 17 million pound halibut catch quota with three million pounds left to go by the November 7 close of that eight month fishery. Homer, which bills itself as the nation’s top halibut port, is being out-landed by Kodiak by just a few thousand pounds.

Longline fleets also are targeting a 20.3 million pound sablefish (black cod) catch.

Scallopers are still dropping dredges around Yakutat and in other parts of the Gulf and Bering Sea.

Lingcod fisheries are ongoing in parts of the Gulf, primarily by small boats using jig and hand troll gear.

Trawlers are targeting pollock and other groundfish in both the Bering Sea and the Gulf. And tons of cod fish are crossing the docks with September 1 openers for longline gear and pot boats.

Southeast’s summer Chinook fishery closed to trollers on September 3; the winter troll fishery will reopen in early October.

Crabbers will be back out on the water for the October 1 start of the fall Dungeness fishery. The summer dungie season that ended in mid-August produced a two million pound catch valued at $6 million at the Southeast docks.

October also marks the start of Alaska’s premiere shrimp fishery – big spots from the Panhandle. Pots will haul in more than a half million pounds of spot shrimp during that opener. Beam trawling for pink and coon stripe shrimp also is ongoing in several Southeast regions.

Hundreds of divers will head down for sea cucumbers and urchins in October. More than one million pounds of sea cukes are usually taken in Southeast waters, with smaller takes around Kodiak Island, and the price often tops $3 a pound.

Hundreds of big ‘7 by’ crab pots are stacked to the sky at Dutch Harbor and Kodiak in readiness for the start of the Bering Sea crab fisheries which get underway on October 15.

Pink relief updates

Fishermen hurt by the pink salmon no-show can apply now for a breather in their state loan payments.

“This would not be a forgiveness, but would add this year’s loan payment onto the end of the loan period and forgive the payment just for this year,” said Representative Louise Stutes of Kodiak who sponsored the relief measure.

Stutes said it is “absolutely imperative” for anyone wanting a waiver of their loan payments to contact the Division of Economic Development prior to the due date of the loan.

She urged that fishermen not be put off by the 16-page application packet they will receive.

“Not all of the pages need to be filled out. This is a loan application and these individuals already have a loan. They are only asking for a waiver in the provision of the existing loan,” Stutes explained, adding that division staff is on point to help.

“They are anticipating fishermen calling and they will walk them through to help them put in only the pertinent, required information,” she said. “That streamlines it somewhat until we can fine tune it a bit further. Call the Division at 1-800-478-5626

The state also continues to build a case for declaring the pink salmon fishery failure a disaster.

“There are certain steps to go through before the Governor feels comfortable making that determination. And that’s the process we’re in currently,” Stutes said.

Affected communities can contact her office to get the appropriate wording to use in a resolution, Stutes said, “indicating how devastating this lack of pink salmon has been to their communities and requesting that they do declare it a disaster.” (907) 486-8872 - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016


Alaska: Alaska State Board of Education & the University of Alaska Board of Regents Hold Joint Meeting – Signaling a continued effort of collaboration between education governing bodies, the Alaska State Board of Education & Early Development and the University of Alaska Board of Regents held a joint meeting on Sept. 14 in Juneau to lay out a strategy for how the two education systems (PK-12 and postsecondary) can work together to strengthen Alaska’s educational performance.

"Aligning our two organizatons will start us down the path toward creating a robust culture of education in Alaska,” said University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen. “We know that by 2025, Alaska will demand that 65 percent of its workforce have some postsecondary education. Right now, we stand at 37 percent so we have a way to go.”

Typically, Johnsen said, of 100 average Alaska 9th grade students, 29 won’t graduate from high school, 40 won’t attend college, 16 will select out of state universities and only 10 will attend the University of Alaska. However, of those 10 who attend UA, only five will graduate but it will take them on average 10 years to do so.

“This trend needs to be reversed,” Johnsen said. “We need to make known the urgency of attending college not only among our PK-12 students and parents, but also among adults who want to continue or complete their education. Our state needs a trained workforce – more teachers, more engineers, more business owners, more innovators – and that is the imperative.” - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016

Alaska: Legislature Receives Update on Marijuana Regulations; State still has a lot of work to do on commercial marijuana - Today, the Alaska Senate and House convened a joint Judiciary Committee hearing on the state of Alaska's fledgling marijuana industry. The focus was on the status of implementation and regulations of Alaska's commercial marijuana industry, which was legalized when Ballot Measure 2 was affirmed by 53 percent of voters in the 2014 general election.

"I applaud the Alcohol and Marijuana Compliance Office (AMCO) on the work completed to date," said Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It is difficult to develop regulations from scratch with so many complex facets involved."

"I am pleased to see progress in moving the initiative forward," said Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage), chair of the House Judiciary Committee. "However, I am concerned that lack of staffing may be causing problems that may put unnecessary obstacles in the path of fledgling businesses and Alaskan entrepreneurs, thus impeding the will of the voters who passed the initiative."

Ballot Measure 2 set timelines for the creation and adoption of regulations designed to govern the commercial activities of licensed marijuana businesses. In 2015 the Alaska State Legislature created the Marijuana Control Board (MCB) to meet the timelines of the ballot measure. The final regulations were adopted by the Board on February 21, 2016. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016


Central Council Stands in Unity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; Opposes the Dakota Access Pipeline - Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s Executive Council unanimously adopted a resolution recently opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. As stewards of the air, land, and sea, who have respect for nature and property, Central Council said they stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who have been peacefully protesting to protect their way of life, water, people and land.

"As we embark on our own battles over transboundary mining issues, we need to support our brothers and sisters across Indian Country so that we might be able to call on them to do the same for us in the spirit of the Idle No More movement,” said President Richard Peterson.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, LLC has proposed to construct a 1,100 mile pipeline, with a capacity of 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day, to cross the Missouri river immediately above the mouth of the Cannonball River on the Standing Rock Reservation. Although the pipeline will not directly cross an environmentally protected area or federally reserved indigenous land, under current proposals it will pass within half a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and traverse 209 rivers and creeks. The drilling required for the construction of the pipeline would disturb burial grounds and sacred sites on ancestral treaty lands.

Central Council stated in a press release the Dakota Access Pipeline violates Article 2 of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty which guarantees that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe shall enjoy the “undisturbed use and occupation” of their permanent homeland.

Central Council also called upon the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the river crossing permit under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and the Secretary of Interior to fully exercise the trust responsibility and ensure that the federal government rejects the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Recent history demonstrates the danger oil and gas pipelines have had on downstream communities, fish, and wildlife said Central Council. Between 2010-2015, 840,000 gallons of oil was released near Tioga, North Dakota; 51,000 gallons of oil was released into the Yellowstone River upstream from Glendive, Montana, resulting in the shutdown of the community water system for 6,000 residents; and 100,000 gallons of tar sand crude was released in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

Standing Rock is the sixth-largest reservation in land area in the United States, with a land area of 3,571.9 square miles and a population of 8,250 as of the 2000 census.

The pipeline goes from North Dakota to Illinois, and the activists argue the pipeline would jeopardize the water source of the reservation, the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an injunction against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop building the pipeline. In April 2016, three federal agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Interior, and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, requested a full Environmental Impact Statement of the pipeline. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016


Columns - Commentary


SUSAN STAMPER BROWN:Wells Fargo is a Bank, Not a Center for Political Activism - If Wells Fargo was focused on bank charges and interest rates rather than political hot button issues, perhaps they wouldn't have had to fire thousands of employees for ripping off customers and be liable for millions in fines.

In a recent press release, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [CFPB] recounted that Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. will pay "the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed," $185 million, because thousands of Wells Fargo employees "covertly" opened "more than two million deposit and credit card accounts," transferring funds from consumers' authorized accounts without their knowledge or consent, often racking up fees or other charges."

The press release says the employees who engaged in this "widespread illegal practice" were "spurred by sales targets and compensation incentives." "Spurred" is a little mild, considering that CNN Money reports that a "pressure cooker environment" at Wells Fargo resulted in employees engaging "in all kinds of sordid practices."

Specifically, approximately 5,300 employees may have opened roughly 1.5 million deposit accounts, transferring funds from consumers' accounts to temporarily fund the new, unauthorized accounts. The CFPB reports that consumers were "sometimes harmed" from insufficient funds or overdraft charges. But it seems it was a win-win for Wells Fargo for those actions apparently helped the bank meet sales goals and also helped employees earn additional compensation. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016


JOSEPH COTTO: The Evolution of Obama's Thoughts on Clinton - Does time really change people?

Folks older and, presumably, wiser than myself have claimed as much. This idea sure sounds nice; like the sort of thing one might expect to find on a greeting card from disowned family, the type of sermon which can be anticipated from the pastor who wants to please his flock (donations do not pay themselves, you know), or the kind of shtick a forsaken housewife believes when her unfaithful husband claims that -- this time -- he really has turned a new leaf.

Color me unconvinced.

I believe that people have a certain personality type, determined mainly by genetic factors, and this is set in stone at a young age. My perspective is not based on sentiment, but the cold, hard facts of cognitive science.

Unlike personality, situations may change rapidly. As the tide turns, different sides of the same individual are unveiled. This creates the illusion that someone really has altered his or her life in a meaningful way. In reality, however, it is nothing more than situational adaptation.

How does political science play into this? Allow Barack Obama to explain.

"If you want somebody that has a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, and better benefits, and a fairer tax code, and a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton," the President declared in his keynote speech during this summer's Democratic National Convention. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Electoral College - Path to the White House

Editorial Cartoon: Electoral College
By Dave Granlund ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Open Letter to Sen. Murkowski By Michael McNally - Dear Senator Murkowski, Do you remember 2010? As an independent Alaskan voter you can bet I do.

To refresh your memory, 2010 was the year that the far right wing of the Republican Party denied you the party nomination, preferring to run Joe Miller as their candidate. You were re-elected only with the support of Alaska's moderate centrist voters -- I was one -- and we hoped that when you returned to Washington you would remember that it was the people, not the party, who sent you back to represent our interests. - More..
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016

letter Americans must get solidly behind Clinton By Justin Breese - Americans unquestionably cannot allow the scandal-ridden, divisive, Donald Trump to become leader of our beloved Country. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016

letter Working Together By Evelyn Erbele, Susan Peters, Jerri Taylor-Elkins, Agnes Moran, Jay Hochberg, Tasha-Marie Olinger & Charlotte White - Comments were made from the podium at the City Council meeting of September 1, 2016 that implied that the various organizations that address hunger and homelessness in our community are siloed and do not interact with one another. In actuality, we believe these organizations do work well together. What to an outside observer may appear, as siloing is actually the groups being very conscientious of the limited resources available in our community. Consequently, these groups work hard to complement one another and to not duplicate services. - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2016

letter 2016 PFD: Exactly How Much Taken from Alaskans? By Andrée McLeod - Exactly how much has Bill Walker snatched from the pockets of every man, woman and child in Alaska this year? How much would the permanent fund dividend checks have been had the governor not vetoed the full amount already appropriated by our representative and senators in the legislature this past session? - More...
Monday PM - September 12, 2016

letter So Now You Know By David G. Hanger - So now you know, too, that “Oil Company” Walker is not merely a follower of this messianic insanity northerners call “The Beginnning,” he is a leader of this insipid lunacy. He suddenly has a constitutional mandate to build a liquid natural gas pipeline for the benefit of all Alaskans that will spew forth its joy sometime between 2025 and 2040. Indeed, a constitutional mandate to blow Alaska’s whole cash wad for the next several decades because what he wants you to support is your poverty and hardship while he monumentalizes himself with a project that costs somewhere between $50 billion and $100 billion before the first dollar is earned. Why does he not have a similar ‘constitutional mandate’ to collect reasonable royalties and taxes from the jerks who are stealing Alaska’s oil for nothing in return to the State or to its people? - More...
Monday PM - September 12,2015

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

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Alaskan & Proud

Groomingdales Pet Resort - BARK, a no-kill animal shelter - Ketchikan, Alaska

The Home Office - The Local Paper; Ketchikan, Alaska

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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

Preliminary Borough Candidate's List Preliminary Ketchikan City Candidates List Ketcikan Borough Election Information