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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 11, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY BALZER

Great Blue Heron
This great blue heron is showing off its amazing wingspan. Herons can have a wingspan of 5.5 to 6.6 feet making them a joy to see in flight and can cruise at 20 to 30 miles an hour. Heron are often seen standing silently along inland rivers or lakeshores, or flying high overhead, with slow wingbeats, its head hunched back onto its shoulders. This bird is highly adaptable and thrives around all kinds of waters from subtropical mangrove swamps to desert rivers to the coastline of southern Alaska. This photo was taken in the Ketchikan area.
Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY BALZER ©2018

Invitation to Local Candidates: The Ketchikan Regular Election will be held on October 02, 2018. As in the past, SitNews invites all local candidates to provide a candidate's statement and include the reason you are running, experience, and issues you would like to address. Photographs are also requested. No word limits.

Absentee in-person voting begins on Sept. 17, 2018.

SitNews deadline to recieve statements will also be Sept. 17, 2018 - the date voting begins.

Statements will be published as received. As always, this media exposure is provided as a free service to local candidates.

Questions for the Candidates: Click Here to Participate in the SitNews Online Forum.

Ketchikan City Council Candidates
3-Year Term, 2 Seats to Fill
jpg Janalee L. Gage

Janalee L. Gage
Filed 08/01/18
Candidate's Statement

  Sam Bergeron
Filed 08/23/18
  Dragon London
Filed 08/24/18
  Spencer Strassburg
Filed 08/27/18
Ketchikan City Mayor
3-Year Term, 1 Seat to Fill
  Robert (Bob) Sivertsen
Filed 08/01/18
Ketchikan Assembly Candidates
3-Year Term, 2 Seats to Fill
jpg Dan Bockhorst Dan Bockhorst
Filed 08/01/18
Candidate's Statement
jpg Austin Otos Austin Otos
Filed 08/02/18
Candidate's Statement
  Danielle "Dani" Pratt
Filed 08/22/18
  Sven Westergard
Filed 08/24/18
  James Montgomery
Filed 08/24/18
  Felix Wong
Filed 08/27/18
Ketchikan School Board
3-Year Term, 3 Seats to Fill
  Matt Eisenhower
Filed 08/10/18
jpg Sonya Skan Sonya Skan
Filed 08/13/18
Candidate's Statement
jpg Rachel Breithaupt

Rachel Breithaupt
Filed 08/17/18
Candidate's Statement

  Bridget Mattson
Filed 08/20/18
  Lana Boler
Filed 08/21/18

Ketchikan: Gubernatorial Forum Luncheon at Southeast Conference at Noon - Sept. 12, 2018, Cape Fox - Open to Public. Participants: Gov. Bill Walker, Sen. Mark Begich, Sen. Mike Dunleavy (Luncheon required early registration - limited seats, standing room only)

Alaska: Alaska Superior Court Orders DOT&PF to clarify campaign sign laws - On Sept. 10, 2018, the Alaska Superior Court ordered the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) to clarify how laws restricting outdoor advertising will be applied during the current campaign season to political signs within and outside of state highway rights of way.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska (ACLU), independent expenditure group Dunleavy for Alaska, and Alaska resident Eric Siebels jointly filed suit against the State of Alaska in August seeking to immediately block enforcement of a state statute barring political signs near roadways and asking for those rules to be struck down as unconstitutional. 

“There is no right more fundamental to a democracy than the right of an individual to express their personal political views,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua A. Decker when filing the suit in August. “That is why the U.S. Supreme Court has afforded political speech special protection. If the government wants to seize that right by barring Alaskans from displaying political signs on their own property, they need a more compelling reason than ‘because somebody might see it.’”

The Alaska Superior Court directs:

• Unauthorized signs within state highway rights of way, including both commercial and political signs, remain illegal under AS 19.25.75-180. DOT&PF will continue to enforce this ban; any sign placed within a state highway right of way may be removed by DOT&PF crews without prior notice.

• Small, temporary, political campaign signs no larger than 4’ x 8’ may be displayed on private property adjacent to state highway rights of way by the owners or occupants of that property, provided they have not been paid to display the signs.

• DOT&PF will continue its current practice of not removing small, temporary, political campaign signs from private property outside highway rights of way.

• All signs that pose a safety concern to roadway users will be subject to removal by DOT&PF regardless of the content of the signs or whether they are located on private property. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 11, 2018

Alaska - Hawaii: Humpback Whales Are Navigating An Ocean of Change By ELIZABETH WEINBERG - Each year, thousands of humpback whales migrate between Alaska and Hawaii. However, in late December 2015, Ed Lyman started getting calls from whale watching companies on the island of Hawaii. “Ed, how are the whales off Maui?” tour operators were asking. “We’ve never seen them arrive this late.”

Lyman is the large whale entanglement response coordinator for Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. While the sanctuary coordinates and leads the effort to free whales from life-threatening entanglements, it relies heavily on tour operators, fishermen, researchers, and other members of the on-water community to help find and monitor them. That same on-water community plays a major role in monitoring the overall health of and risks to humpback whales throughout Hawaii. Lyman works closely with these groups.

So when more tour operators on other islands throughout Hawaii let Lyman and the sanctuary know that the whales seemed to be late that season, Lyman started calling around. He wanted to know if the lower sightings were just on a few of the islands, or in other areas in the Hawaiian Islands as well. But every island was reporting the same thing. Even Mexico’s disentanglement network reached out to Lyman, telling him that they were seeing low numbers. “It wasn’t just us,” says Lyman. “Something was happening.”

A whale of a recovery

In parts of Alaska, like Glacier Bay National Park, they feed on huge swarms of small fish and krill throughout the summer. Then, in the winter months, they travel to the warm, shallow waters off Hawaii to mate, give birth, and raise their calves.

While in Hawaii, humpback whales do not eat. There are a few good reasons for them to forgo the feasts of Alaska during the winter. Primarily, expectant mothers migrate to Hawaii‘i to reduce the risks of predation on their newborn calves. While not much will try to eat an adult humpback whale, calves are at risk of predation from orcas. In Hawai‘i, orcas are uncommon. Additionally, whales are born with a relatively thin layer of fat, or blubber. In Hawai‘i, humpback whale calves can stay warm while they nurse and produce the blubber they’ll need to survive the cold waters of Alaska.

Humpback whales range throughout the world’s ocean, migrating between feeding grounds near the poles and calving grounds in tropical waters. In 1973, they were placed on the Endangered Species List, as commercial whaling had significantly reduced their numbers. 

The protection appears to have worked. Between 2004 and 2006, 400 researchers from 10 different countries around the world came together to establish population size and migratory patterns for the North Pacific population of humpback whales, and, as a subset of that, the Hawai‘i population. The SPLASH study (Structure of Population, Level of Abundance, Status of Humpback Whales) survey estimated that as of 2006, approximately 10,000 humpback whales utilize Hawai‘i as their breeding and calving area. The survey also indicated that the population was growing at an annual rate of 5.5 to 6.0 percent.

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Humpback Whales Are Navigating An Ocean of Change

A mother humpback whale supports her calf in the warm waters of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Photo By J. Moore/NOAA, under NOAA permit #15240

In 2016, thanks to that recovery, the Hawai‘i distinct population segment of the North Pacific population of humpback whales – those whales that feed in Alaska and breed in Hawai‘i – was removed from the Endangered Species List. (Other North Pacific population segments, including the Mexico and Central American distinct population segments, remain on the Endangered Species List.)

The SPLASH growth estimate seemed to be pretty spot-on in the ensuing years. Dr. Rachel Cartwright, emeritus faculty at California State University, Channel Islands, and lead researcher with the Keiki Kohola Project, conducted transect surveys in the ?Au?au Channel between Maui and L?na?i to determine where mother and calf whales were spending their time. “We had a really nice climb from 2008 to 2013,” she says, with the number of mother and calf pairs increasing over the years. What they observed tracked “with what we would have expected based on that five to six percent” estimate.

But then, everything changed.

A mysterious silence

As the 2015 season progressed, it became more clear to Lyman, Cartwright, and other researchers that the changes in whale sightings weren’t just a temporary fluke. Several researchers shifted their efforts and attention to investigate and quantify the changes in order to help determine what might be going on.

Cartwright, for one, revisited the transects she had surveyed for the first time between 2008 and 2010 and again in 2013 and 2014. “We have random fluctuations,” she acknowledges. “But by the time we got to 2017, we were over 50 percent down from 2014” in terms of the number of different mother and calf pairs they had seen. By 2018, her team was recording an additional 35 percent drop in sighting rates for mother-calf pairs. While she was sighting adult humpback whales in similar numbers as in past surveys, she simply wasn’t seeing many new calves.

Work by Dr. Marc Lammers helps fill in gaps in data about male adult whales in Maui waters. Lammers is now the research coordinator at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, but in 2015 he was was president of the Oceanwide Science Institute and an associate research professor at the University of Hawai‘i. Lammers studies whale acoustics, placing underwater microphones called hydrophones in the water and listening in to whale song. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 11, 2018


How the pain of 9/11 still stays with a generation By DANA ROSE GARFIN - The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were the worst acts of terrorism on American soil to date. Designed to instill panic and fear, the attacks were unprecedented in terms of their scope, magnitude and impact on the American psyche.

The vast majority (over 60 percent) of Americans watched these attacks occur live on television or saw them replayed over and over again in the days, weeks and years following the attacks.

As we reflect on the anniversary of this tragic event, a question to consider is: How has this event impacted those individuals who are too young to remember a world before 9/11?

As an applied social psychologist, I study responses to natural and human-caused adversities that impact large segments of the population – also called “collective trauma.” My research group at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has found that such exposures have compounding effects over the course of one’s lifespan. This is particularly relevant for children who have grown up in a post-9/11 society.

PTSD and Ground Zero

Many of the outcomes on which my team and I focus involve mental health, such as post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post-traumatic stress symptoms include feeling the event is happening again (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares), avoiding situations that remind individuals of the event (e.g., public places, movies about an event), negative feelings and beliefs (e.g., the world is dangerous) or feeling “keyed up” (e.g., difficulty sleeping or concentrating).

In order to meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD, an individual must have been directly exposed to a “traumatic event” (e.g., assault, violence, accidental injury). Direct exposure means that an individual (or their loved one) was at or very near the site of the event. It might be somewhat obvious that people directly exposed to a collective trauma like 9/11 might suffer from associated physical and mental health problems. What is less obvious is how people geographically distant from the epicenter or “Ground Zero” might have been impacted.

This is particularly relevant when considering the impact of 9/11 on children and youth across America: Many reside far from the location of the actual attacks and were too young to have experienced or seen the attacks as they occurred. The point is people can experience collective trauma solely through the media and report symptoms that resemble those typically associated with direct trauma exposure.

Impact on physical and mental health

The events of 9/11 ushered in a new era of media coverage of collective trauma, where terrorism and other forms of large-scale violence are transmitted into the daily lives of children and Americans families. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 11, 2018


Analysis: 'Treason' is now a popular word – here's what it really means By ROBERT A. SEDLER - In the furor over the anonymous New York Times op-ed by a Trump administration “senior official,” the word “treason” has been used by a variety of people.

President Trump tweeted “TREASON?” in an apparent reference to the op-ed’s author. Trump’s supporters have likewise used the word in attacks on the author – and the newspaper for printing it.

Trump’s opponents have likewise bandied the word about by saying that the op-ed was not “treasonous.” Instead, they say that Trump himself is guilty of “treason” by trying to obstruct the investigation into the claimed Russian interference in the 2016 election. Earlier this year, Trump opponents also claimed he committed treason at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As a constitutional scholar, I’d like to remind people there is a precise definition of “treason” set forth in the Constitution. None of the recent charges of treason remotely fit that definition. The claims that one side or the other have committed treason are ignorant of the law.

Nothing worse

Treason is the only crime specifically defined in the Constitution. It is a heinous crime, the worst crime that can be committed by an American citizen. It is a betrayal of the nation and of values embodied in the American constitutional system.

It can be punished by death.

When the framers defined “treason” in Article III, Section 3, they were determined to avoid the use of “treason” as it had been used in English law to punish opponents of the king.

In English law, “treason” meant acts of disloyalty to the king. A person convicted of “treason” was not only executed, but all of his property was “attained” – or confiscated by the government.

This was not the way the crime of treason would operate in the United States, which was founded by those who had rebelled against the British king. The framers of the constitution made sure of that.

Here’s how the framers defined treason: - More...
Tuesday PM - September 11, 2018


jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Recalling 9/11: We're Not So Divided After All - On Sept. 11, 2001, I was driving along the Beltway to a Falls Church, Va., office building when a radio announcer said a plane had flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. 

"What a horrible accident," I remember thinking. 

I was doing communications work for a big technology company. I parked my car and just as I was getting situated in my cubicle inside the office building, I heard the television blaring in my client's office.

He told me a second plane had flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Soon, we learned that a third plane had flown into the Pentagon. 

We took the elevator to the top floor with several others. Only 9 miles from the Pentagon, we could see smoke billowing into the sky.

Radios and TVs were turned up. Local announcers were relaying reports of additional attacks, many of which would turn out to be untrue. 

Dulles International Airport was under attack? Reagan National Airport? The White House? The Capitol? How many more hijacked planes were out there? Where would they strike next?

It was total chaos. Here I was in an impersonal office building as people cried, called loved ones, even prayed aloud. 

We all experienced the horrific events of 9/11 in different ways and there was nothing special about my experience - except that I was living in the Washington, D.C., region when it happened.- More...
Tuesday PM - September 11, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Nike Ad

Political Cartoon: Nike Ad
By Rick McKee ©2018, The Augusta Chronicle, GA
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote Dunleavy for Governor; Shaw for House;
Bockhorst for Borough Assembly
By Rodney Dial - Friends, I have been on the Borough Assembly for a few years now. I was convinced to run by citizens who believe our community is becoming too expensive, especially for our elderly and our young. I told you that if you elected me I would not vote to raise your property or sales taxes and would work to make government more efficient. I have kept my word.

In addition to the many actions I have taken to contain local government growth, I have also worked on expanding economic development and coordination with the Federal Government. My past letters have detailed those efforts, to include the boroughs first ever, coordination with the Whitehouse on issues important to us. I just received an invitation to return to the Whitehouse this October for additional meetings. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Otos for Assembly - Ketchikan needs more Borough Assembly members that are leaders who actively engage their constituents, are proactive about issues and are planning for the future. Austin Otos would be one of those assembly members. Mr. Otos is a candidate that focusses on what we ‘can’ and ‘should’ do for our community and doesn’t focus on the ‘cant’s’ like other assembly candidates.

Mr. Otos as a candidate has reached out to constituents involved with local organizations ranging from the seafood industry to emergency response to local transportation as well as state and local officials to have a better understanding on the needs and wants of our community. This dedication in the early stages of his possible tenure shows how valuable he would be to the community as an elected member of the assembly. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Campaign Signs By Deborah Hayden - In this campaign season so far the various factions have been not been contentious.  That changed this weekend when I came home and found a “Vote No on 1” sign placed on my property without my permission.  Whether I will vote no on ballot measure 1 or not has no bearing on the sign on my property.  The fact is, no one asked or received permission to place the sign on my property.  I removed the sign and placed it on the ground nearby.  The next day, the sign was again up on my property.  No one had asked for permission.  I again removed the sign and put it in a place where those who kept putting it up could not access it.

Over the weekend, I noted that three other signs that I had personally placed on my property had been removed.  The only entity that has an interest in removing signs is the Alaska Department of Transportation, (DOT).  DOT personnel do not work on weekends.  I doubt DOT removed the three signs.  I can only surmise that the “Vote No on 1” people removed the other three signs on my property out of pique that I had removed their sign. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

LiSA’S CHOICE By David G Hanger - Only two things of real consequence have emerged from the Brett Kavanaugh hearings: 1) First is the fact that Kavanaugh repeatedly lied to Congress about his criminal involvement in and use of stolen government documents during the Bush Jr. administration. These repeated lies to Congress are sufficient in and of themselves to impeach this extremist ideological cretin from his current judgeship, and definitely disqualifies him for consideration as a legitimate Supreme Court Justice; 2) There are no laws telling a man what he can do with his body, a simple fundamental fact. Yet Kavanaugh, despite his denials to the contrary (all lies) does not believe that Roe v Wade is the law of the land, and is in fact looking forward to the opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade at the earliest moment possible.

How many of you out there are aware that this is not a Christian country? There has been only one “Christian” country established on this continent, that being the Confederate States of America which institutionalized in its Constitution both slavery and Christianity, essentially in concert. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

RE: The Crisis at Waterfall By Dan Bockhorst - Regarding Austin Otos’ September 3 letter to the Editor, it’s best not to create false expectations. Mr. Otos indicates that the “Ketchikan Gateway Borough could allocate money from PILT (payment in lieu of taxes)” to construct a $1 million water tank to enable the North Tongass Fire Service Area to provide better fire protection past the Waterfall bridges. - More...
Friday PM - September 07, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Salmon Hatcheries Support Alaskans, and Feed the World By Casey Campbell & Mike Wells - When the Good Friday earthquake shook Alaska in 1964, the damage wasn’t confined to buildings and homes. In some coastal areas, the land and ocean floor were uplifted dramatically impacting the productivity of aquatic habitat for decades. - More...
Friday PM - September 07, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

RE: Establishing Basic Protections for Salmon By Owen Graham - Earlier this week I read an Opinion piece in Sitnews about the need to increase habitat protections for Alaska’s salmon. The article alleged that cumulative impacts on salmon can be seen in the watersheds around Southeast and in the salmon returns and harvests. That is incorrect; although salmon populations fluctuate from year to year, both the salmon escapements and salmon harvests in Southeast are much higher now than in the 1950s when most logging and other development commenced in Southeast Alaska. - More...
Friday PM - September 07, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Kavanaugh Bad for Alaska’s Tribes By Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson - On Tuesday, September 4th, the Senate Judiciary Committee began confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court. His confirmation is being painted as inevitable, and it will be unless our Alaska Senators take action to stop it. - More...
Friday PM - September 07, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Dumping AT&T cell phone service - going with Consumer Cellular. By Rob Holston - For many years, as business owners, my wife and I used AT&T cell phone service for ourselves and a few key employees.  We were very pleased until several months ago when I suddenly suspected that my iPhone had developed some sort of internal short!  I was suffering from one dropped call after another....... come to find out my wife’s phone had the same problem and ANYONE I’ve talked to re AT&T cell service seems to have the same problem.  “You can hear them and they can’t hear you” is the common theme. - More...
Friday PM - September 07, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Establishing Basic Protections for Salmon By Joe Mehrkens - Wild salmon stocks are under attack from all sides: ocean warming, habitat loss, over exploitation and pollution. While Alaska has enjoyed the benefit of good fisheries management, the cumulative impacts are taking its toll. Both professionals and non-professionals can see it in the watersheds around Southeast and in the salmon returns and harvests. One gillnetter moored across from me said he had only netted 7 Taku sockeyes this season. Simply stated, the risks of kicking the salmon can down the road makes a Yes on Ballot Measure 1 both critical and timely. - More...
Monday PM - September 03, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Crisis at Waterfall By Austin Otos - The two waterfall bridges located on North Tongass Highway are a prime example of neglected local infrastructure that needs to be completely rebuilt in order to allow for basic access to the property owners that live beyond them. - More...
Monday PM - September 03, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Statement of Withdrawal By Ghert Abbott - I decided to run on March 25th as a result of Representative Ortiz’s then failure to put forth a clear, comprehensive plan for both the protection and increase of the permanent fund dividend. On August 23rd, Representative Ortiz published a plan calling for a lower draw on the Earnings Reserve, a lower state share of said draw, a greater system of non-regressive revenue in order to support essential pubic services and a larger PFD, and a commitment to make increasing the PFD a top priority as the state’s fiscal situation improves. These proposals, if fully enacted, would mean a moving away from the horrifically unfair PFD tax imposed on us by Senate Bill 26. - More...
Monday PM - September 03, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Tribute To CAPT John McCain, USN By Donald Moskowitz - John McCain was shot down over Vietnam in October 1967 after completing over 20 missions. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. While McCain fought in Vietnam our fearless President got four college draft deferments. After graduating in 1968 Trump visited a doctor who provided him with a letter stating he had bone spurs in a heel and this enabled him to get a medical deferment from the draft. He later said the bone spurs were "minor". - More...
Monday PM - September 03, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Some things to think about By A. M. Johnson - Political activity of recent months surely has raised questions, caused consternations, given rise to conspiracy theory among other categories of politics mechanics. - More...
Monday PM - September 03, 2018

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