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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

September 25, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By JIM LEWIS

Humpback Whale Feeding
Location: Doyons Landing with Pennock in the background.
Front Page Feature Photo By JIM LEWIS ©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

jpg Amanda (AJ) Pierce
Amanda (AJ) Pierce
Filed 08/02/17
jpg Alan Bailey Alan Bailey
Filed 08/03/17
jpg Kevin Gadsey Kevin Gadsey
Filed 08/18/17
jpg Joel W. Jackson Joel W. Jackson
Filed 08/24/17
jpg Kent L. Colby Kent L. Colby
Filed 08/25/17
jpg Susan Pickrell

Susan Pickrell

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

Ketchikan School Board
3 Year Term - 2 Seats Open

jpg Diane Gubatayao
jpg David Timmerman David Timmerman
Filed 08/18/17
jpg Glen Thompson

Glen Thompson
Filed 08/21/17

Click here to read Candidate's Statement Published

Ketchikan School Board
1 Year Term - 1 Seat Open

jpg Bill Blankenship
Bill Blankenship
Filed 08/21/17
jpg Glenn J. Brown Glenn J. Brown
Filed 08/25/17

Ketchikan City Council
3 Year Term - 3 Seats Open

jpg Dick Coose
Dick Coose
Filed 08/01/17
jpg Mark Flora Mark Flora
Filed 08/04/17
jpg David Kiffer

David Kiffer
Filed 08/18/17

Click here to read the candidate's statement.
Published 09/24/17

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Fish Factor:
National Seafood Month; Fish Bill Lives; & Crab Knuckle Biter By LAINE WELCH - October is National Seafood Month, a distinction bestowed by Congress 30 years ago to recognize one of America’s oldest industries.           

Alaska merits special recognition because its fishing fleets provide 65 percent of the nation’s wild caught seafood, more than all of the other states combined.

Ironically, there is little to no fanfare in Alaska during seafood month. My hometown of Kodiak, for example, (the #2 U.S. fishing port) never gives a shout out to our fishermen and processors, nor do local restaurants celebrate seafood on their October menus in any way. 

That’s not the case elsewhere in the USA.  

To launch Seafood Month, 250 fans across the nation will be holding house parties on September 30 to sing seafood’s praises, swap and compete with recipes and, ultimately, get more Americans to pledge to eat more fish. (Join the conversation at #seafoodparty)

The house parties are sponsored by the non-profit Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) which has a single goal:  to inspire Americans to include more seafood into their diets for improved health. The SNP operates grassroots programs in large cities in Alabama, West Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio and Georgia.

The group also will hold a series of Heart Healthy Summits during October in five states, sponsored in part by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

“We are celebrating the third year of our public health campaign by coming together with the communities for a half-day session to learn about the progress that’s been made in each city, and how we can continue the movement of helping everyone understand the need to eat sustainable seafood,” said Linda Cornish, SNP president.

The message is getting across, based on annual tracking in the target cities. 

“We’re happy to share that one in three Americans over the past year has intentionally added seafood to their diets. That’s not to say they are eating it twice a week, but they’ve added more seafood to make sure they are eating healthier,”

U.S. dietary guidelines recommend eating seafood two times a week, a suggestion followed by only one in 10 Americans. The Partnership’s Healthy Heart Pledge program has made a dent in that dismal statistic.

Cornish said 60 percent of the survey respondents signed a pledge to eat seafood twice a week, bringing the total to over 38,000 so far.

“We work in mostly landlocked states and there has been the perception that they don’t have access to good seafood,” Cornish said. “We’ve helped to dispel that notion with the facts that there are all kinds of seafood available from Alaska and around the country where it’s fresh frozen, easy to prepare and affordable.”

The SNP also is taking its ‘eat more fish’ messages directly to America’s kids during seafood month. 

For the first time, districts in West Virginia and Oklahoma will feature seafood on their school lunch menus in October. “They are very excited to introduce seafood to their students,” Cornish said. “It takes time to build this awareness and also for them to figure out how they can incorporate seafood into their menus more. But it’s working.”         

The SNP launched a program and curriculum at the start of this school year that provides classroom sized aquaponics systems for elementary and middle school grades.   

“It helps them understand how fish is grown and can co-exist with growing vegetables, so they can see it all living and breathing right in their classrooms,” Cornish said. Learn more at

Fish bill lives:

 A proposed ballot initiative that aimed to modernize Alaska’s 60 year old salmon habitat protection and permitting laws was denied (and quickly appealed) last week, but the move remains very much alive in the Alaska legislature.  

Representative Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) will be holding meeting around the state to build support for the Wild Salmon Legacy Act (House Bill 199) that she introduced last session.

The draft bill says that it “protects the interest of subsistence, commercial, sport and personal use fishermen while creating efficiency and predictability in permitting and enforcement.”

“My intent is not to put any resource out of business. We all are trying to make a living here,” Stutes said in a phone interview. “My intent is to ensure that our fisheries continue in a sustainable manner with their waterways maintained in a clean, safe way.”

The Legacy Act presumes that all state waterways are anadromous, meaning paths for salmon returning from the ocean to spawn in their home streams. It also specifies that the burden of proving a stream is not anadromous would fall to a developer. 

Stutes believes that will save the state millions of dollars.

“Let’s face it. I think we have all come to the conclusion that we cannot continue to depend on oil as our mainstream income. We have to diversify. And in the meantime, we all have to tighten our belts. The state cannot continue to pay these huge costs,” she said.

Under current law, each water body must be sampled and added to the Anadromous Waters Catalog (AWC). The catalog serves as the trigger for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s authority to manage fisheries habitat and issue permits. Currently, less than 50 percent of Alaska’s anadromous waters are now listed in the AWC. 

“Right there it’s going to save millions in labor just by saying that we will consider all waterways and streams are anadromous unless proven otherwise,” she said.

Rep.Stutes, who also chairs the legislative Fisheries Committee, will be traveling to Fairbanks, the MatSu and Bethel in advance of next year’s session when many hearings will be held on the salmon bill. - More...
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

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Ketchikan: Replica Chief Johnson Pole to Be Cleaned & Repaired - The replica Chief Johnson totem pole in downtown Ketchikan is in need of cleaning and repairs, including the restoration of Raven’s beak that broke away from the pole in 2016.  While the City does not own the totem pole, with permission from the Tongass Tribe, Ketchikan Museums has aided in its care and maintenance as an act of stewardship of Ketchikan’s history. 

Replica Chief Johnson Pole to Be Cleaned & Repaired

Chief Johnson's Home & Totem
Photo Date: 1913
The original Chief Johnson totem pole was carved in 1901.
Collection: Rev. S. Hall Young Album
Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks

The City of Ketchikan will be proceeding with the Chief Johnson totem pole repair project on Tuesday, September 26th.  Contractor Marvin Hill of Wildcatters, LLC will be taking down the totem pole and transporting it to the old fire hall on Main Street in conjunction with the City Streets Division.  Tommy Joseph has been contracted to do the cleaning and repairs.  Joseph, a Totem Heritage Center instructor originally from Ketchikan, has over 20 years of experience with totem pole restoration.

Weather dependent, the removal and transport will occur Tuesday, September 26th.  If the crane is unable to safely operate due to wind, the removal will be delay until September 27th or into the first week of October.  The south half of the Centennial Building parking lot will be closed while the crane is in operation.  The safety of the totem pole, the public and the personnel involved are our utmost concern.

Joseph will conduct a condition assessment, clean the entire totem pole and repair figures as their condition warrants.  He will also treat the totem pole to help prevent further deterioration and take additional preservation measures.  Joseph projects that this process will take 6 weeks.  According to Ketchikan Museum, the plan is to return the totem pole to its current downtown location across from the Federal Building.

The original Chief Johnson totem pole was carved in 1901 and raise at a potlatch attended by 500 people.  The original pole was restored by Native carvers enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1939-1941. - More...
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

Brindle Family Makes Cancer Resource Room Possible - PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC) will have a Cancer Resource Room thanks to a generous donation from the Alec and Cornelia Brindle family. 

Brindle Family Makes Cancer Resource Room Possible

L to R: Foundation Director Matt Eisenhower, Alec Brindle Sr., Alec Brindle Jr., KMC Governing Board Chairperson Bob Berto, KMC Foundation Boardmember Dr. David Johnson.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Medical Center

The family, which has a storied history in Southeast Alaska, donated $100,000 through the KMC Foundation to support the project which honors Cornelia "Pinky" Brindle who died after a five-year struggle from lung cancer in 2008. Pinky was the wife of Alec Brindle Sr. and the mother of Alec Brindle Jr. 

The Brindle family story in Ketchikan began over a century ago when a mine-watchman moved with his family from Kasaan to Ketchikan. Young Alexander Brindle, the oldest of six, was an early and eager entrepreneur. He collected Seattle newspapers from supply ships and sold them to locals, he hauled coal up the stair streets of Ketchikan with his brothers, and together they bought a boat. By 1928, the brothers owned a small cannery in Ward Cove. 

This was the beginning of the long, productive relationship between the Brindles and Ketchikan. Their many business ventures contributed to the growth of the community and the support of the community was essential to the success of the businesses.

Alec Brindle Jr., the grandson of Alexander, said, "Ketchikan is an important part of our family legacy. This donation is our attempt to, in a small way, help the community where we have, over the years, had many great experiences and made many friends."

The Cancer Resource Room will provide help and support to cancer patients and their families. Since cancer is such a complicated and diverse diagnosis, those affected by the disease are forced to process great amounts of information, learn new medical processes, and meet new healthcare providers. Coupled with the disease itself, the process can seem overwhelming. 

An oncology nurse will be a Cancer Care Coordinator for patients and family to help with travel coordination, infusion schedules, appointments, and supplies. KMC will partner with the First City Council on Cancer to help link outside services with those offered within PeaceHealth. 

The Brindles know too well the impact of cancer on patients and families. Alec Brindle Sr. said, "Pinky first exhibited symptoms of her disease during a walk around Ward Lake in Ketchikan. 

"During the course of her treatment in Seattle, which consisted of hours of traditional chemotherapy, and her participation in several clinical trials, she never once complained even though she had severe reactions to some of the trials. She was determined to continue participation in the hope the results of her treatment, even if not helpful for her, would lead to knowledge that would help others. - More...
Monday AM - September 25, 2017


Southeast Alaska: Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission Receives Grant from Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation - The Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC) has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the eco-focused Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.  The funding will allow for the SEITC to continue pressing work on developing relationships with other Alaskan tribes as well as the First Nations in Canada. 

According to SEITC Chairman Frederick Olsen, Jr., “Leveraging the unified voice of over 100,000 Tribal citizens to demand their rights under the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights, which Canada has adopted and confirmed, will change the dialogue from how we can mine the Sacred Headwaters to should we mine the Sacred Headwaters. “

The Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (formerly known as United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group) is comprised of sixteen federally recognized Tribes of Southeast Alaska whose mission is to create a unified voice for Indigenous peoples across the international border who are facing impacts from development and industrialization rapidly occurring in our region. 

Member Tribes include Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan), Chilkoot Indian Association (Haines), Craig Tribal Association, Douglas Indian Association, Hydaburg Cooperative Association, Organized Village of Kake, Organized Village of Kasaan, Ketchikan Indian Community, Klawock Cooperative Association, Metlakatla Indian Community, Petersburg Indian Association, Organized Village of Saxman, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council), Wrangell Cooperative Association, Yakutat Tlingit Tribe. 

The region encompassing Southeast Alaska and Northwest British Columbia is the world’s last and largest intact temporal rainforest.  Four major pristine rivers, the Alsek, Taku, Stikine, and Unuk feed the salmon forest and sustain local communities.

British Columbia has embarked on a massive initiative to develop several large open pit mines in the Canadian headwaters of these crucial rivers.  The new NW Transmission Line and BC Hydro project power these mines.

“The SEITC ‘s ultimate goal is to get both the federal governments to act under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and invoke an International Joint Commission to govern the transboundary region,” said Kristina Haddad, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s Director of Wildlife & Landscape Conservation.  “Meanwhile, these mines are rushing through development and permitting.”
According to a news release, BC borrowed $38 billion of public money and expects to recoup the cost by rubber-stamping 10-12 new mines.  BC’s weak environmental safeguards and lack of enforcement combined with no engagement from Canadian or US. Federal governments create a significant risk to downstream fisheries and the continued existence of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples. - More...
Monday AM -September 25, 2017


Columns - Commentary


Money Matters: Is It Time to Get Out of the Market? By MARY LYNNE DAHL, CFP® - Well, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has again hit an all-time high, so the buzz that we are now hearing is that “now is the time to get out”. And, although it may be ok to take some profits, that does not mean that you have to get out entirely. No, indeed! Getting out, then back in at some time down the road, is the wrong way to go about this job of investing. You may disagree; quite a few people will disagree, in fact. However, they are wrong.

The US has been enjoying a very long-running bull market for almost a decade now. In spite of some ups and downs, which are normal in any market, the overall trend has been upward. Since 2008-2009 and following the crash of tech stocks, most sectors of the US stock market have done very well, 2013 in particular. Several of the last 9 years have produced great market returns, and 2017 may finish with good returns as well. Given the fact that this is, indeed, a pretty long period of time for great returns, many investors are wondering if it is about to come to an end, with a bear market just around the corner. If that happens, the question always gets asked: “is it time to get out of stocks?” Or, sometimes the question gets posed as: “is it time to go to cash?” This is not an unreasonable question to ask, so the purpose of this article is to explore this in some depth and come up with a reasonable answer.

Keep in mind that almost all investors do know that markets always cycle up and down, which would infer that they realize that sooner or later a bull market will turn down and we will enter a bear market of some kind. The question is never whether or not the market will turn down (or up), but what you plan to do when it does. Get out? Get in? Stay the course? How do you decide what to do? How do you protect what gains you may already have? - More....
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

jpg Michael Reagan

MICHAEL REAGAN: Loving Trump's U.N. Speech - Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations on Tuesday was not just great, it was totally refreshing.

The president's address to the U.N. General Assembly was so perfect it almost made me forget all the horrible speeches his predecessor gave to that corrupt, bloated and anti-American body.

For the first time in eight years the world saw an American president not spending half his time apologizing to the U.N. for our country's past, present and future.

President Obama's U.N. speeches always managed to make it sound like the United States was no different from Iran and North Korea.

He'd say we're going to stop their evil, and we're also going to stop our evil, as if there was a moral equivalency between us and those inhuman hellholes.

On Tuesday President Trump did not pussyfoot around or ignore the obvious threats the rogue regimes of North Korea and Iran pose to a peaceful planet.

He blasted both countries, calling them out for violating "every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.

"If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few," Trump said, "then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength."

Trump, being Trump, also said what needed to be said about North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un and his missile program. - More....
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: GOP Preexisting Condition

Editorial Cartoon: GOP Preexisting Condition
Nate Beeler ©2017, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Opinion - Letter

Why We Need a Capital Budget By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Last week, I wrote a letter to the editor outlining specific funds in the capital budget allocated to southern Southeast Alaska. District 36 fortunately received millions of dollars for local infrastructure projects. That being said, the state’s overall capital budget is still miniscule in comparison to previous years. Since 2013, it has been cut by over 55%. - More...
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

Opinion - Letter

No More Taxes By Lance Clark - Will the Governor and all his cohorts please STOP trying to take more of our money! We don't need new taxes, we need to live within our means. There is just no other way. You can't cure an addiction by giving in to it, and let's face it, the Governor and our State legislators are addicted to our money! They'll never have enough and will always come up with another reason to take more. - More...
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Capped Hybrid Head Tax By A. M. Johnson - Let me try to understand the intent of the Capped Hybrid Head Tax . if one is employed they are subject to paying a tax in some cases enough to offset the dividend check they will receive plus a scheduled amount based on levels of income. Okay. at the same time, those who are not employed, (Read Mail Box money recipients) will enjoy the full dividend amount and pay no tax. - More...
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

Opinion - Letter

The Graham-Cassidy Repeal Bill will be Terrible for Alaska: Tell Our Senators to Vote No By Ghert Abbott - It’s happening again. The Republican leadership in Congress is attempting to pass yet another bill repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As with previous repeal bills, the American Health Care Act, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and the so-called “Skinny Bill,” the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill’s appearance is shrouded in obfuscation and secrecy. There will be no public hearings, no public input, and no CBO score, so the Senate will be voting on the bill with only the vaguest idea of what it will ultimately do to us. This is very much intentional. A full CBO score could have been made on Graham-Cassidy weeks ago, but the legislation was held back until the very last minute, so as to avoid the nasty headlines about inevitable coverage losses and premium spikes which helped sink all previous repeal efforts. - More...
Monday AM - September 25, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Changing the Epidemic of Veterans Suicide- By Verdie Bowen - September is Suicide Awareness Month and we can all play a role in preventing suicide, but many people don’t know what they can do to support the local Veterans, Service member, Guard or Reserve member or their families. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 20, 2017

Opinion - Letter

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. - 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. - 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. - 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. - 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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Glen Thompson for Ketchikan School Board 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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