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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 17, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY MOODY

Buoy Break
Labor Day 2017.
Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY MOODY ©2017

Borough Election
OCTOBER 03, 2017

This is the 15th year, Sitnews has provided FREE web exposure to all local Ketchikan candidates to provide information for consideration by voters.
Tell your possible future constituents about your background, qualifications for the position, etc. Please send a photo. Links to your social media page accepted: Email to

Respond By: 09/26/17
The sooner the better; absentee voters may vote as early as 15 days prior to the Borough election.

Ketchikan Borough Assembly
3 Year Term - 3 Seats Open

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Amanda (AJ) Pierce
Filed 08/02/17
jpg Alan Bailey Alan Bailey
Filed 08/03/17
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Filed 08/18/17
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Filed 08/24/17
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Filed 08/25/17
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Susan Pickrell

Click here to read Candidate's Statement
Published 09/13/17

Ketchikan School Board
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jpg David Timmerman David Timmerman
Filed 08/18/17
Glen Thompson
Filed 08/21/17

Ketchikan School Board
1 Year Term - 1 Seat Open

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Bill Blankenship
Filed 08/21/17
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Ketchikan City Council
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Fish Factor: Building Alaska’s ‘Blue Economy’ brings top tech minds to Alaska By LAINE WELCH - A growing cluster of entrepreneurs is seeding prospects for Alaska’s new “blue economy” and it is attracting interest from around the world. 

Marine technology experts are meeting at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage this week as part of the Oceans ’17 conference and the conversations and a competition will continue into October. 

It’s a first visit to Alaska for the global event that is hosted by the Marine Technology Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Founded in 1884 by the likes of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, the IEEE declares itself as “the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology for the benefit of humanity.”

The theme of the free Sept. 18-21 conference is “Our Harsh and Fragile Ocean” and it will focus on how modern technology and traditional knowledge can combine to tackle such issues as climate change, increased Arctic vessel traffic, energy extraction and the new blue economy.

“Globally, the oceans are being viewed as the last economic frontier. There is huge potential to develop the oceans in a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable way and our hope is that Alaska becomes a leader in this blue economy,” said Joel Cladouhos, director of Alaska’s Ocean Cluster Initiative, a collaboration of the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, the College of Fisheries and Oceans Science at UAF and the Global Entrepreneurs Institute at UAA. 

(The cluster holds Ocean Tuesday video talks at UAA that include multiple Alaska communities and countries.) 

Ocean Clusters are modeled after a concept that began in Iceland in the 1970s that create an “economic ecosystem” to connect “startup” people with a common goal.

“We’re all familiar with marine ecosystems, but an economic ecosystem involves innovators and entrepreneurs and educators to create a foundation to grow businesses, innovate new products and grow from the bottom up,” Cladouhos explained.

“Blue growth” is defined as the application and commercialization of new technologies and innovation to fisheries and marine science and engineering. It is said to be the one of the fastest growing global sectors and is expected to triple in value to $3 trillion by 2030 (measured as marine based industrial contribution to economic output and employment). 

For Alaska, the blue economy includes traditional sectors such as fisheries, oil and gas, mariculture, coastal tourism and transportation, as well as new arenas such as robotics, biofuels, undersea drones, renewable energy and marine biotechnology. 

The ocean visionaries project such blue ventures for Alaska would boost the state’s economy by 50,000 jobs and $3 billion in wages by 2040.

“Alaska holds over half the nation’s coastline and a third of the U.S. exclusive economic zone. There is huge potential to develop our oceans in a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable way,” Cladouhos said. “It’s time for Alaska to get on board with the blue economy because it has the potential to be bigger than oil and gas if we have the appropriate long-term strategy.”  

A conference presentation on growing Alaska’s blue economy is set for September 21 from 1:30- 3pm and will be streamed via Zoom video.           

Following Oceans ’17, a first ever Ocean Technology Innovation Sprint (OTIS) will kick off on October 7. OTIS is based on the Google Ventures Sprint process that engages interdisciplinary teams to create prototype solutions to problems over five days within a three-week period. 

“The Sprint process works very well and is used by many corporations. It has not been tried anywhere else in the world and is an Alaska innovation, very cutting edge,” said Nigel Sharp, Global Entrepreneur in Residence at the Business Enterprise Institute at UAA.

Applicants can apply to be in a pool of 30 Alaskans to make up teams that will “go through an “iteration of a product cycle” in one of nine blue growth areas. Top prize is a trip to BlueTech Week in San Diego.

“No experience needed. Just a passion and willingness to share ideas” is the OTIS logo.

“Hopefully it will start a movement that allows Alaska to get a foothold into the global ocean economy and show we are a base for innovation and ideas,” Sharp said.

Alaskans can apply to the Sprint at through September 26, 2017. 

Fish fine print

Every year vessel owners must renew documentation with the US Coast Guard with the boat’s name, ownership, tonnage, home port and other basic criteria. It costs $26 – unless you get scammed by a private provider that charges three times as much. 

Fishing groups are warning that is the case with an online company called U.S. Vessel Documentation. 

Fisherman Norm Hughes of Haines received a letter saying he needed to renew his documentation at a website called and he paid $150 for a two year renewal. Then he learned it was a legal scam.  

The outfit is sending misleading letters to boat owners across the country, said Steve Ramp, a Coast Guard spokesman in Sitka.  

“This company is making themselves look very close to an official letter from the Coast Guard when they’re not,” Ramp said. "They are not doing anything illegal.   They are offering a service to the owners of documented vessels and they are performing that service.”

US Vessel Documentation spokesman Zachary Johnson called any mix ups ‘regrettable.”

“We don’t have the same logos. We have a completely unique and trademarked logo. We aren’t on a government URL or anything like that,” he told KHNS in Haines. - More...
Sunday AM - September 17, 2017

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Ketchikan: Ingrid Jones RN retires and looks North for next challenge - Some things change in forty years, but some things stay the same. Ketchikan Medical Center faced a change last week when Ingrid Jones RN, retires after 38 years at PeaceHealth Ketchikan.

Ingrid Jones RN retires and looks North for next challenge

Ingrid Jones RN retires
Photo courtesy KMC

Forty years ago, Ketchikan still had a frontier feel – most people had work tied to logging and fishing; Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) had settled into its new location on Tongass, physicians in private practice took turns taking call in the Emergency Department and young Ingrid Pihl would soon begin her nursing career.

“Nursing was my calling,” she said recently. “I played nurse as a little girl growing up.” She started as a Certified Nursing Assistant in 1979 at KGH. She’s been a Registered Nurse since 1983.

When asked what makes a good nurse, Ingrid, now Ingrid Jones, says, “a commitment to compassion.” And, while the economy is more diverse and KGH has expanded into a Medical Center with its own providers, Ingrid has stayed as a steady presence; a loving and compassionate caregiver at PeaceHealth Ketchikan.

She closed her career at Ketchikan Medical Center Friday (September 15) when she left her second-floor Manager’s office in New Beginnings Birthing Center. During her multi-faceted career, she has been a nurse in Med/Surg, the Special Care Unit (ICU), Emergency Department, Infection Prevention, Healthcare Improvement, House Supervisor and in the Pediatric and Orthopedic Clinics. - More...
Sunday AM - September 17, 2017

Alaska: Travel grant renewed for rural Alaska veterans accessing health care – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs renewed a transportation grant in the amount of $225,000 to the State of Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs to provide transportation options to veterans residing in five rural areas who need to travel to health care services.

“Last fiscal year, this grant reached out to over 7,384 veterans in rural areas. Our transportation partners transported Alaska’s veterans over 352,000 miles and over 37,000 nautical miles, round trip for free. We provided the first step in ensuring our veterans in some of our rural communities have access to quality care,” said Verdie Bowen Sr., director of the State of Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs.

The following five boroughs will continue to receive free transportation for veterans: Denali, Matanuska-Susitna, Kodiak Island, Kenai Peninsula and Prince of Wales-Hyder.

Veterans living in those communities qualify to use an array of transportation options so that they may seek the health care they need. The Alaska Department of Military & Veterans Affairs partnered with five transportation organizations to meet those needs: Interior Alaska Bus Line (Denali Borough), Valley Mover (Matanuska-Susitna Borough), Alaska Marine Highway System (Kodiak Island Borough), AAA Alaska Cab, Inc., (Kenai Peninsula Borough) and Inter-Island Ferry Authority (Prince of Wales–Hyder). - More...
Sunday AM - September 17, 2017

Governor Announces Next Steps to Building a Safer Alaska - Governor Bill Walker announced Friday that he has tasked Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth to create and implement a public safety action plan. The first step, he said, is to add Senate Bill 54 to the October 23rd special session call.

"I have heard from Alaskans who have had cars, cabins and homes broken into," Governor Walker said. "Thieves are openly stealing from businesses. Results from the 2016 Alaska Crime Report prove that crime is up. Whether caused by economic instability, the opioid crisis, or criminal justice reform, we must tackle the problem with a plan of action-with immediate, mid-term and long-term steps. Passing SB 54 this year is an important immediate step we can take."

Earlier this year, the Walker-Mallott administration proposed fixes to Senate Bill 91, the 2016 bill that addressed criminal justice reform, to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission. Most of the revisions were included in SB 54 introduced last session.

"SB 91 overhauled our criminal justice code, and with any overhaul, you need to keep a close eye on how it's working and fix it when needed," said Attorney General Lindemuth. "SB 54 is a good first step in giving necessary tools back to our law enforcement and prosecutors. But we have to remember that SB 54 is only a piece of the puzzle. We are actively reaching out to our federal, local, and tribal law enforcement partners to get input into a larger integrated plan."

Senate Bill 54 would give courts the ability to impose jail time for first-time Class C felonies or repeat theft offenses. This would act as a potential deterrent and encourage offenders suffering from addiction to seek treatment.

In a prepared statement Representative Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage) thanked the governor for adding Senate Bill 54 to the October Special Session Call.

“Thank you for protecting Alaskans by adding SB 54 to the call of this special session. While I do not believe this legislation goes far enough, it is a step in the right direction. The needed reforms of SB 91 cannot wait another year; a year sure to be monopolized by discussions of the FY19 budget and other measures," said Pruitt.

Pruitt said, "During SB 91’s passage I warned we were heading towards a perfect storm for crime in Alaska, and the changes we made to our justice system sent a message that Alaska was open season for criminals. We must now send an even louder message that Alaska is an unwelcome place for those preying on residents and businesses in our state.“

Representative Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage) also thanked Governor Walker for the inclusion of Senate Bill 54 in his special session call.

Millett said, “There is no greater priority than ensuring Alaskans feel safe in their homes,” said Representative Millett. “My constituents, and Alaskans across this state, are scared and angry that their government is failing to keep criminals off of our streets and bring justice to crime victims.”

"While Senate Bill 54 is far from a total fix to the dangerous, detrimental changes made to Alaska’s laws by Senate Bill 91, a bill which Rep. Millett did not support, it does at least impose greater sentences for certain felony offenses and allow jail time for certain theft offenses," said Millett.

“While I’m glad to see SB 54 on the October call, I wish it had received the attention deserved during the regular session instead of being stalled in committee by the Democrat-led House Majority,” said Representative Millett. “There’s no more time to waste. Senate Bill 54 is an important first step, and we will be working during this special session to see real reforms made to our criminal code.”

Members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition also reacted to the Governor press conference Friday announcing his intention to include criminal justice legislation on the call for the October special session. - More...
Sunday AM - September 17, 2017


Old fish few and far between under fishing pressure - Like old-growth trees in a forest, old fish in the ocean play important roles in the diversity and stability of marine ecosystems. Critically, the longer a fish is allowed to live, the more likely it is to successfully reproduce over the course of its lifetime, which is particularly important in variable environmental conditions.

Old fish few and far between under fishing pressure

This is the face of an adult halibut fish. This is an example of an older, larger fish.
Photo by Andrea Pokrzywinski

A new study by University of Washington scientists has found that, for dozens of fish populations around the globe, old fish are greatly depleted -- mainly because of fishing pressure. The paper, published online Sept. 14 in Current Biology, is the first to report that old fish are missing in many populations around the world.

"From our perspective, having a broad age structure provides more chances at getting that right combination of when and where to reproduce," said lead author Lewis Barnett, a UW postdoctoral researcher at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. 

In forestry, a tree farm with only 20-year-old trees may be healthy and productive, but the loss of old-growth trees should not go unnoticed. The giant trees have unique traits that support a number of animal and plant species and make for a diverse, robust ecosystem. In a similar sense, the same is true for old fish.

"More age complexity among species can contribute to the overall stability of a community," Barnett said. "If you trim away that diversity, you're probably reducing the marine food web's ability to buffer against change."

The designation of an "old fish" varies from species to species, depending on life history. Some types of rockfish might live to 200 years, while few herring live past age 10.

After female fish release eggs, many factors must align for a healthy brood to hatch and grow to adult size. Because the marine environment is so variable, species might go a whole decade between successful broods. Older fish in a population have more years to produce eggs, increasing the chance for success over time.

"In the marine world, the success rate of producing new baby fish is extremely variable," said co-author Trevor Branch, a UW associate professor of aquatic and fishery sciences. "I think of old fish as an insurance policy -- they get you through those periods of bad reproduction by consistently producing eggs."

In addition to having more opportunities to reproduce, older fish also behave differently than younger fish. As they age, some fish change what they eat and where they live in the ocean. They also take on different roles in the marine food web, sometimes becoming a more dominant predator as they get older, and bigger.

When you take old fish out of the mix, the diversity and stability of an ecosystem can suffer, the authors explain. - More...
Sunday AM - September 17, 2017


Columns - Commentary


JEFF LUND: The art of showing up - Author and entrepreneur James Clear said, “Master the art of showing up.”

I sometimes struggle with this. If someone asks what I do after work, it’s easy to deliver a line about writing columns, tying flies, shooting my bow, hiking, fishing, whatever, because that fits the narrative that people might expect. Jeff Lund writes about the outdoors, so he must be outside all the time. 
Not true. 

I’m outside a lot, but I admit I get distracted from productivity like everyone else and I think that’s the key. I feel guilty when I waste a good afternoon on nothing. It's as though I’ve cheated myself out of something real just because I can’t get off the couch. No, that’s not right, it’s not that I couldn’t get off the couch, it’s that I made the choice not get off the couch.

Nothing changes unless you’re honest with yourself. You can’t get better or more efficient unless you analyze reality. You’re not really an angler if you went fishing once. You’re not a healthy eater because you ate Kale last Thursday. The washer and dryer do all the work, so you didn’t really just do laundry all day. 

I have a lot of free time in my life because I am largely unsupervised. That is, I don’t have a wife, kids or pets, so only I know the amount of free time I have and how much of that time I use to do real things.  

I decided when I moved back to Alaska it would be really easy to trick people into thinking I lived a really adventurous life. But that’s not what it’s about and that’s not what I want. I have the chance to live the life I was deprived of while in California. Gone are two hour drives through traffic to get to packed campsites to fish near people who use gobs of Powerbait to catch stocked trout. No more do I have to follow long streams of people traversing paved paths to get to pretty places in Yosemite. Solitude is available on a scale I haven’t experienced since high school when, of course, things are different. My summer long reunions with the wilds of Prince of Wales were great reminders of what was possible.   
Now that I have reset my roots, I can show up with ease. 

It doesn’t take planning or traffic reports. But I still have to show up. Just because I can, and did, doesn’t mean I will. It’s maybe a little easier once it becomes a habit but there is no end to the struggle. No one ever solves or defeats laziness, they just understand they are in a constant battle against it and refuse to let their guard down. If they do, it’s with full knowledge that the battle must resume once the game ends and the queso dip and Fritos are gone. - More...
Sunday AM - September 17, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Equifax data breach

Editorial Cartoon: Equifax data breach
By Dave Granlund ©2017,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

Consumer Tips: Equifax Data Breach: The national credit reporting bureau Equifax recently issued a notice to the public that unauthorized consumer information was accessed from mid-May through July 2017, which included names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases driver’s license numbers. Equifax also announced that credit card numbers and credit report dispute documents were also accessed.

The Alaska Office of the Attorney General offers tips for affected consumers and consumers who want to protect their personal information include: - More...


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Capital Budget & District 36 Projects By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Alaska’s Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Budget, although small, has allocated multiple beneficial projects here in southern Southeast. The compromised version of this year’s capital budgetwill meet the minimum needs of the state and its residents in terms of infrastructure investment.

The capital budget is how we fund investment in Alaska’s infrastructure for transportation (including the AMHS) and natural resource development. From 2013 to 2017, we cut the capital budget by over 55%. We cut even more this year. At $122 million in Unrestricted General Funds, the FY2018 capital budget is the smallest since 2000. - More...
Sunday AM - September 17, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Beware! USPS Will Not Go Up Hills! By Megan Heaton - We live at 5109 Surprise Beach Court, and like many of the property owners out in this area, we have been developing and building on our property.

There are several areas of growth that have happened in the South Tongass Area, such as the Gold Nugget Subdivision, Homestead Development, Seawatch Subdivision, Ravenwood Subdivision, Rainforest Sanctuary, Forest Park Subdivision and Surprise Beach Court.

Our quest for mail service started over two years ago. We requested, at our expense a "cluster box" to be positioned up by the four plex buildings and residential homes. Our main reason was a safety issue. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 13, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Anti-this, anti-that By A. M. Johnson - With all the news reflecting 'Anti-this' and 'Anti-that' one becomes confused as to which category one fits. On one side is the world s most successful hate group. Democrats. This organization attracts poor people who hate rich people, black folk who hate white folk, gay people who hate straight people, feminists who hate men, environmentalist who hate the internal combustion engine and a whole lot of bratty college kids who hate their parents.

From news reporting videos, one draws a conclusion. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work (March about with signs instead) because the other half they despise is going to take care of them. We [the workers] figure this out that somebody else is going to get what we work for, that will be the beginning of the end of the country. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 13, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Mr. President, Don’t Settle for FAKE Tax Reform By Wiley Brooks - Mr. President, there is already a bill in Congress that meets your four principles for tax reform. Have Congress get it out of committee and send it over to your desk. 

In Springfield, Missouri you first called for a tax code that is simple, fair, and easy to understand. The FAIRtax, HR25, S18, is simple and easy to understand because taxpayers “do their taxes” at the cash register. There is nothing to do on April 15. The FAIRtax is fair because it provides a refund from the Social Security Administration (there is no more IRS) to every US household with lawful residents. This refund reimburses that household for tax the household pays on essentials. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 13, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Japanese Military Build Up By Donald Moskowitz - As a counterweight to China and North Korea we should encourage Japan to build up its military capabilities.

Japan should increase its frontline military personnel from 250,000 to 350,000 and increase the number of tanks from  700 to 1000 and armored vehicles from 3000 to 4000. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 13, 2017

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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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