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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 11, 2019

Front Page Feature Photo By DEWIE HAMILTON

Sunset: South Point Higgins' Beach
Front Page Feature Photo By DEWIE HAMILTON ©2019

Ketchikan Borough Mayor
3 Year Term, 1 Seat Open
jpg Rodney Dial Rodney Dial
Filed 08/05/19
Candidate's Statement 08/27/19
jpg Sidney Hartley Sidney Hartley
Filed 08/08/19
Candidate's Statement
jpg Michelle O'Brien Michelle O'Brien
Filed 08/23/19
Candidate's Statement 09/03/19

Borough Assembly
3 Year Term, 2 Seats Open
jpg Austin Otos Austin Otos
Filed 08/01/19
Candidate's Statement 08/28/19
  David Landis
Filed 08/01/19
jpg Jeremy T. Bynum Jeremy T. Bynum
Filed 08/26/19
Candidate's Statement 09/08/19

Ketchikan School Board
3 Year Term, 2 Seats Open
jpg Bridget Mattson Bridget Mattson
Filed 08/06/19
Candidate's Statement 09/05/19
  Jordan Tabb
Filed 08/20/19

Ketchikan School Board
1 Year Term, 1 Seat Open
jpg Leslie Baker Leslie Becker
Filed 08/15/19
Candidate's Statement 08/29/19
jpg Hilary Kvasnikoff Hilary Kvasnikoff
Filed 08/16/19
Candidate's Statement 08/27/19
jpg Paul Robbins JR Paul Robbins, Jr.
Filed 08/16/19
Candidate's Statement 09/02/19
  Kathleen Yarr
Filed 08/23/19

Ketchikan City Council
3 Year Term, 2 Seats Open
  Lew Williams III
Filed 08/05/19
  Judy Zenge
Filed 08/05/19
  Spencer Strassburg
Filed 08/26/19

October 1, 2019
Ketchikan Local Election

Sample Ballots & Propositions

This is the 17th year, SitNews has provided FREE unfiltered web exposure to all local Ketchikan candidates to tell the voters why we should elect you.

Tell your possible future constituents about your background, work experience, qualifications for the position, etc. Please send a photo. Links to your contact and social media page accepted: Email to

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By: 09/15/19

The sooner the better; absentee voters may vote as early as 15 days prior to the Borough election - absentee voting begins Sept. 16th.

Last day to register to vote in the local election is
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Alaska: Governor Dunleavy Recognizes Patriot Day; State and U.S. flags flown at half-staff to honor victims and their families, first responders, caregivers, and service men and women –Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy proclaimed today, September 11, 2019, as “Patriot Day” and issued the following remarks:

“On September 11, 2001, the American people endured the worst terrorist attack on United States soil in the nation’s history, with courage and heroism.

“While the attacks were meant to divide our great nation, we responded by standing together in a remarkable display of the spirit of unity, resolve, and compassion for one another that represented the best of the American spirit.

“We will forever remember and honor the nearly 3,000 innocent Americans who lost their lives on that day, and remember their families, friends, and loved ones who continue to carry the memories of their lives forward.

“We recognize and honor the heroism of the first responders – the firefighters, police, emergency personnel, health care providers, and citizens who came to the aid of others during, and immediately following the attacks, some of whom laid down their lives while helping to evacuate and rescue others.

“On this day and every day, we as Americans reflect on the importance of freedom, liberty, patriotism, and love of our country, and are grateful for the privileges and rights that we hold as Americans. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

Fish Factor: Defining U.S. Dietary Guidlines for 2020-2025 By LAINE WELCH - Federal agencies are meeting now through next March to define U.S. dietary guidelines for 2020-2025, and a high powered group of doctors and nutritionists are making sure the health benefits of seafood are front and center.

For the first time in the 40 year history of the program, the dietary guidelines committee has posted the questions they are going to consider. They include the role of seafood in the neurocognitive development in pregnant moms for their babies, and in the diet of kids from birth to 24 months directly, said Dr. Tom Brenna, professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. 

“We really got jazzed when we saw that because we wanted to figure out what the committee would find when it does its literature search on what medical evidence is out there and boy, did we find a lot,” Brenna said. 

Brenna also chairs the advisory council of the  Seafood Nutrition Partnership which on September 17 is holding its 3rd annual  State of the Science Symposium in Washington, DC. The non-profit hosts the event as part of a public health campaign started in 2015 aimed at getting Americans to eat more seafood.  

Over 40 studies address the two committee questions, Brenna said, and provide evidence of how nutrients in seafood, such as omega 3 fatty acids, are so especially important to brain and eye development.

 “The brain and the retina in the eye are omega 3 organs. As calcium is to the bones, omega 3 is to the brain,” he said. “These kinds of data are exactly the kind of human study the dietary guidelines focus on, They are not cell studies, not rat studies, they are based on real studies on humans. It’s direct evidence. That’s why we are so excited.” 

For centuries fish has been regarded as “brain food” and a plethora of studies has shown that seafood can prevent or relieve dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and reduce depression, among other things.

“I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t be thinking of seafood if they wanted to keep their brain in good working order,” Brenna said, adding that he is baffled why such positive health messages have not “stuck” in the U.S.

Answers could be forthcoming in a discussion of Building Lifelong Seafood Consumers at the DC symposium.

Unlike the meat or dairy industries who use sustained, national campaigns such as “Where’s the Beef?” or “Got Milk? the seafood industry has never banded together on its own behalf.

“Getting the seafood industry together to promote one message has been difficult,” Brenna said, adding that the industry appears fragmented instead of coming together as a national “whole.”  

He is hopeful that putting the spotlight on seafood’s health advantages will help move the message and that national media will show more interest.

“We’re generating the ammunition for the policy guys,” Brenna said. “There’s only so much that the science guys can do and boy, we’ve spent a lot of time doing it. We can lay the evidence in front of the policy makers. They have to implement it.”

 The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines recommended at least two servings of seafood per week, but only one in 10 follow the recommendation. Consumption of seafood by Americans reached 16 pounds per person in 2017, in increase of 1.1 pounds over 2016, according to federal data. 

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will meet five times with the last meeting tentatively scheduled for March 12-13, 2020. All meetings will be open to the public and two will include opportunity for public comment. Written comments are being accepted until the committee completes its work.  A final report will be submitted to the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

Alaska: U.S. Senate Leaders Introduce Arctic Refuge Protection Bill; Congressman Don Young Stands with Organized Labor to Keep ANWR Open for Business. – Leaders in the U.S. Senate today introduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act to designate a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness and protect its coastal plain from oil and gas leasing and development. The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA); Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO); Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE); Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM); and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge was recommended for wilderness status under its current Comprehensive Conservation Plan — issued in 2015. The Trump administration fast-tracked efforts to hold a lease sale by the end of this year to allow oil drilling.

And this week the House of Representatives is set to consider measures that would restrict America’s future energy supply, including one that would block responsible development in northeast Alaska. Today, Congressman Don Young (R-AK) issued a prepared statement on the same day the Senate introduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act reminding U.S. House Democrats that their efforts to close ANWR to resource development is opposed by a significant number of national labor organizations in addition to trade unions.

Young said, “Sometimes bad bills make for strange bedfellows, and this remains true for the Democrat-led effort to close ANWR. Organized labor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – who oftentimes find themselves opposing one another – have united against H.R. 1146 because they know it will destroy well-paying jobs, jeopardize long-term American energy production, and threaten thousands of American manufacturing and construction workers who depend on resource development to feed their families. I am proud to stand with labor in opposition to this disastrous legislation.

"We need to develop our resources at home. In Alaska alone, the oil industry supports over 110,000 direct and indirect jobs. Washington State is home to five oil refineries that process billions of dollars of Alaska crude. Shutting down ANWR before production begins takes good jobs off the table. These jobs aren’t limited to Alaskans – people come from around the country to work on Alaska’s North Slope. I urge my Democratic friends to listen to their blue-collar constituents and stand with organized labor against H.R. 1146,” said Young.

Quoting a news release from a coalition of environmental and human rights organizations on the introduction of the Arctic Refuge Protection Act in the Senate today, against the wishes of the 70 percent of people across the United States who favor permanent protection for the coastal plain, it was opened for leasing and development by a provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Supporters of the Senate bill say Drilling in the Arctic Refuge could have disastrous effects for people and wildlife. The coastal plain provides vital habitat for polar bears, migratory birds and other species and is the calving ground of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. Indigenous Gwich’in communities have a spiritual connection to the Arctic Refuge and depend on the caribou to maintain their culture and way of life.  - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

Southeast Alaska: Coast Guard inspectors in Southeast Alaska find discrepancies on commercial vessels – The Coast Guard inspected several passenger vessels in Juneau and Sitka that are owned and operated by Allen Marine and found some discrepancies ranging from material condition to crew familiarity to be corrected.   

The Coast Guard conducted 10 vessel inspections to the Allen Marine fleet, to include three in Sitka, and seven in Juneau.  The discrepancies that were found have been corrected, or are being corrected to allow operation to resume.  

“The Coast Guard and Allen Marine are working hand-in-hand to correct deficiencies that have been identified, and Allen Marine has voluntarily planned a series of internal safety inspections to ensure operators are trained and the vessels are safe,” said Capt. Steve White, Captain of the Port and Officer-In-Charge of Marine Inspections of Southeast Alaska.  “The cooperation between the Coast Guard and Allen Marine has been very good.  The Coast Guard works hard to ensure passenger vessels in Southeast Alaska are safe, and we appreciate the partnership with them in that endeavor.” 

Allen Marine has been a long-time operator in Southeast Alaska region, and the Coast Guard has provided oversight of their long history of safe operation.  The goal of these types of inspections conducted is to ensure continued safety on the water.  

Coast Guard inspectors, along with industry partners, work to ensure visitors to Southeast Alaska will enjoy safe opportunities on the water.   - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019


Alaska: UA Board of Regents to review strategic approach for the university’s
integration at September meeting
– The University of Alaska Board of Regents will convene Sept. 12-13 in Anchorage to review the administration’s strategic approach for the university’s integration. The board originally was scheduled to decide on whether to restructure the university under a single accreditation at this meeting, but when a compromise agreement was reached with Gov. Mike Dunleavy in August, the board terminated its declaration of financial exigency and agreed with UA President Jim Johnsen on a more deliberate and inclusive approach to the planning effort.

In the interim, in order to reduce costs in line with anticipated $70 million in state funding cuts, work on administrative consolidation continues. Academic workshops have been conducted to gather initial input from faculty and students to inform future planning efforts, and results of a broad stakeholder survey will be presented to the board.

For the first time, there will be a video archive available of the regents' September meeting on the board of regents' website.

Related to university integration, Johnsen will seek the Board’s direction to conduct expedited programs reviews for eight statewide academic units and programs and five areas including research, libraries and athletics. Inter-university teams would be created to conduct the program reviews and report back to the administration on how best to integrate, reduce or discontinue units and programs. A decision on the university’s structure is anticipated to be made by the board in early November. The September meeting also will include a two-hour public testimony session, a report from the task force that convened to discuss university structure, a Title IX update, approval of the FY20 budget allocation, a preview of the FY21 budget plan, committee reports and other reports about finance, government relations, fundraising, tuition and university governance. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

Alaska: Half of Lawmakers reject Governor's Representation to Potential Pebble Mine Investor; ‘Alaskans will vigorously defend their existing cultural and economic interests’ - Twenty members of the forty member Alaska Legislature on Monday signed a letter correcting what they say are inaccurate statements made by the governor about the ease with which the State of Alaska might permit the proposed Pebble Mine. Overwhelmingly, the twenty members signing the letter are declared Democrats.

According to the legislatures' letter, Gov. Mike Dunleavy in a July 30 letter to the chief executive officer of Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. claimed that the state will actively defend the company’s investment in the proposed mine at the edge of Bristol Bay from “interference” and “frivolous and scurrilous attacks.” 

These twenty lawmakers responded Monday in a letter to CEO Randy Smallwood, saying, “Opposition to this project is both local and statewide, and is not frivolous, slanderous or interference. As individual Alaskans, our opposition to this project arises from the potentially severe social, economic, and cultural risks that the Pebble Mine represents.

“Alaskans will vigorously defend their existing cultural and economic interests, and assuming that permitting will be pro forma carries substantial risk. As Alaskans, we refuse to jeopardize an existing, sustainable resource for the sake of an economically dubious project.” - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

jpg Program aims to provide Alaska Native and rural students with opportunities at NOAA

Program aims to provide Alaska Native and rural students with opportunities at NOAA
Students participating in the PEP AK program visit Toolik Field Station.
Photo Bu Kara Chuang


Alaska: Program aims to provide Alaska Native and rural students with opportunities at NOAA By PAULA DOBBYN - Alaska Sea Grant is partnering with NOAA Fisheries to provide opportunities to Alaska Native and rural students at the federal agency. The goal is to increase their representation in marine-related professions at NOAA Fisheries, an arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration formerly known as the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Over the summer of 2019, NOAA Fisheries and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), which houses Alaska Sea Grant, launched a marine education and workforce development program that brought five undergraduate students to the UAF campus for a two-week course run by Vladimir Alexeev, research professor at the International Arctic Research Center (IARC). It’s called the Partnership in Education Program Alaska (PEP AK). The program was developed by policy analysts Sorina Stalla and Megan Hillgartner, and UAF faculty member Alexeev.

This summer’s curriculum focused on marine sciences and the drivers of Arctic change, climatology, oceanography, marine resource management and policy, law, subsistence use and perspectives, hydrology, climate modeling, permafrost, interior wildfires, meteorology, atmospheric science and more. Following their coursework and a trip to the Toolik Field Station on the North Slope, students applied their knowledge and completed internships with NOAA’s regional Alaska office and its Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Juneau.

The Partnership in Education Program Alaska fosters understanding and practical use of knowledge (including indigenous knowledge) and policy for undergraduates entering marine-related professions. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019


JEFF LUND: Dude... - I thought about Matt Hamilton’s “Dude” shirt as my buddy Ryan and I ambled up the mountain’s eroded path as the sun came up. It’s the best bargain hike around, by far. The name is all the social media captain you need and, in Matt’s usage, a reference to a movie that had a cult following, but outgrew it. So, it works on so many levels.

The trail was a muddy chute though it hadn’t rained in a few days. In some places, it took on the braided qualities of some of the larger area rivers. I wondered which was the main channel. 

I wondered how many people who don’t live here wondered if they had what it takes and thought about trying it once reaching the top. 

I wondered how many people were up there on the opening day of deer season. 

I wondered how many people hiked up it then realized it was opening day of deer season. 

I wondered how many people went up with a coveted goat tag, and down with a goat.   

I wondered how many people used the mountain for photography or camping. 

I wondered how many people used it for medicine. 

At the exposed section, I of course looked over, but didn’t get too close. I’m pretty good at standing, but the addition of consequences sometimes shakes my confidence.  

I looked over. 

“Dude, that’s steep.” - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: 911 Anniversary

Political Cartoon: 911 Anniversary
By Milt Priggee ©2019, Oak Harbor, WA
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Unlocking Arctic Energy Is Vital for Alaska - and America By U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski & Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young - This week the House of Representatives is set to consider measures that would restrict America’s future energy supply, including one that would block responsible development in northeast Alaska. As the state’s congressional delegation, we are unified in strong opposition and believe passage would be a reckless strategic mistake.

The bill in question comes from a California representative and targets the non-wilderness 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which Congress set aside in 1980 for future exploration. After years of debate, Congress agreed in 2017 to allow careful development of just 2,000 acres of the 1.5-million-acre area, itself located within the ANWR’s 19.3 million acres. This developable fraction of a fraction amounts to one ten-thousandth of the refuge.

We believe, in fairness to Alaskans, that the leasing program should proceed responsibly, with Congress and the Trump administration ensuring that lands and wildlife are cared for. All of us are working to put the proper guidelines in place. Yet some in Congress still remain eager to repeal the provision, based on misperceptions about what is at stake and what most Alaskans want.

Most offensively, the repeal effort ignores the Inupiat people of Kaktovik, the only village located in the ANWR. Most who live there, like a sizable majority of Alaskans, support responsible development of the 1002 Area. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

"Traitor Teachers" By Kathleen Yarr - "Traitor Teachers" have been forwarding Ketchikan Education Association President email to me. (Emailed on school email. Huh. Wonder if that’s okay?) Regardless, this is evidence the KEA is not quite the rock-solid, union monolith KEA would like to think they are.

With a whiff of ..... displeasure, President Lundamo mentions I was a para (Implication: Who will run for school board next? A janitor? I hope so.) Lundamo then goes on to gently correct the record on the National Teachers Association-Alaska’s position on pregnancy, which they support providing the mother supports her pregnancy.

However, that still makes the KEA irrelevant since it is against federal law (29 CFR Sec. 38.8) to discriminate against an employee based upon her pregnancy status. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

Trade War Hurting Farmers By Donald Moskowitz - President Trump is trying to attain trade equity with China, but his trade war is having a devastating impact on U.S. farmers, which could lead to long term losses of the Chinese market for our agricultural products since they are being replaced by competing countries. The $12 billion farmers subsidy is just a temporary reprieve for farmers.

China typically imports large quantities of U.S. fruit, pork, cotton, soybeans and other farm products. It imports 60% of U.S. soybean exports, about 30 million tons per year. Although the European Union agreed to import more soybeans, its 14 million tons falls far short of the 30 million tons to China. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

jpg Opinion

Why would you want to opt out of KEA? By Kathleen Yarr - Teachers: What could you do with an additional $1,123 dollars a year? And paraeducators, an additional $582 a year? You could save that money by 'not' opting into the Ketchikan Educational Association (KEA). For those of you who appreciated the Trump Tax Cuts, here’s a way to put some more money in your paycheck. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 03, 2019

jpg Opinion

Enthusiastic for Tourism By Chelsea Goucher - The primary mission of the Ketchikan Chamber is to advocate for a healthy business climate, sustainable economic growth, and a rich quality of life in Ketchikan. In accordance with this mission, the Chamber's Board has determined that now is the time to make crystal clear our enthusiasm for tourism. We applaud the Ward Cove Group's efforts to support this industry through the construction of new cruise ship berths north of town, and we are encouraged that this is being done through private sector investment in our community. In equal measure, we stand behind the efforts of our municipal governments to improve public infrastructure and ensure that locals and tourists alike experience Ketchikan at its very best. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 27, 2019

jpg Opinion

Who is OURPORT? By Janalee L Minnich Gage - While I have been on the Ketchikan city council since 2015, in this statement I speak for myself as a member of this community. I do not speak for other members of the council or the council as a whole. 
Community Members are very busy, and expect their elected officials to do the job of planning and administering the City. I believe everyone on this council truly has the community’s best interest at the heart of their decisions. However; there are people and groups that would like to skew the facts, so that we don’t see the truth, or that what they get is more beneficial to their pocketbook not the community as a whole.  - More...
Tuesday PM - August 27, 2019

jpg Opinion

Defend Alaska Against Foreign Corporate Interests By Dr. Al Gross - The proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay is the epicenter of crony capitalism, and the poster child for what’s wrong with politics.

On July 30th, following a meeting between Governor Dunleavy and President Trump on Air Force One, the EPA announced that it is doing away with a protection that the Canadian Pebble Mine operators viewed as an obstacle. No longer will these foreign developers have to worry about section 404 C of the Clean Water Act, which provides veto authority over dredge or fill operations that are shown to have harmful effects on aquatic life. Scientific evidence shows that the Pebble Mine footprint will cause irreversible damage to our wild Alaska salmon population. President Trump, Governor Dunleavy, and the Corporate Interests from Canada don’t seem to care. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 27, 2019

jpg Opinion

Funding Our School Budget to the Cap By Sidney Hartley - John Dewey once said, “Education is not preparation for life; it is life itself.” When we look at our Ketchikan School District, we need to be asking ourselves if we are breathing enough life into the future of our children. Last year, by no easy task, Ketchikan Education Association (KEA) successfully reached a negotiated agreement with the school board to provide Ketchikan educators with competitive pay and affordable health insurance. KEA’s effort to negotiate an agreement spanned three years, and required robust, committed meetings with an all too dismissive school board president and certain other board members. Amidst the advocacy and protest for the board to hear the concerns of our educators last summer, (then) school board president Shaw resigned in response to facing the recall petition I spearheaded, along with incredible support of eight other co-sponsors: Matt Hamilton, Austin Otos, Kevin Staples, Lindsey Johnson, Jackie Yates, Penny Johnson, Cassidy Patton, and Christine Furey. - More...
Tuesday AM - August 27, 2019

jpg Opinion

Vote Sid Hartley for Ketchikan Borough Mayor By Lance Twitchell - I am writing to endorse Sid Hartley for Ketchikan Borough Mayor. I trust her leadership completely, and feel she is by far the greatest candidate for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. She brings with her great patience, genuine interest to listen to people, an ability to find the middle ground between groups with differing interests, and a mindset that is inclusive and holistic. In this era of American politics, where issues are decided by the intentions of large special interest groups and political alliances, Alaska is in need of leadership that will take a close look at the issues before making a decision. Ms. Hartley is exactly the candidate that our state needs, and will bring good things to Ketchikan, especially in terms of sustainable tourism decisions, embracing language revitalization at a community level, protecting the stability and safety of schools, and making stronger moves to ensure environmental protection without harming the economy.   - More...
Tuesday AM - August 27, 2019

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