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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 28, 2019

Front Page Feature Photo By DALE CURTIS

The Landing
Another beautiful day in Ketchikan. In the background is Vigor Ship
Building and Deer Mountain.
Front Page Feature Photo By DALE CURTIS ©2019

October 1, 2019
Ketchikan Local Election

Sample Ballots & Propositions

Email statements to
Absentee voting began Sept. 16th.

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
jpg David Landis 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
jpg JOrdan Tabb 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
jpg Kathleen Yarr Kathleen Yarr
Filed 08/23/19
Candidate's Statement 09/15/19

Ketchikan City Council
3 Year Term, 2 Seats Open
jpg Lew Williams III Lew Williams III
Filed 08/05/19
jpg Judy Zenge Judy Zenge
Filed 08/05/19
jpg Spencer Strassburg Spencer Strassburg
Filed 08/26/19
Candidate's Statement 09/15/19

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Alaska: 2019 Alaska PFD Amount Announced  - Beginning Thursday, October 3, an estimated 631,000 Alaskans will receive their 2019 Permanent Fund Dividend in the amount of $1,606.00. The total distribution for this year’s dividend is over 1 billion or approximately $1,013,000,000. 

According to the Alaska Department of Revenue, under Governor Michael J. Dunleavy’s PFD proposal, and the statutory formula passed by the Alaska Legislature into law in 1982, the 2019 dividend should have been $2,910.00.

Alaskans who filed for the dividend online and chose direct deposit will see the funds in their bank accounts on or shortly after October 3, 2019. Alaskans who applied with a paper application and/or chose a paper check will receive payment starting on October 24. 

Dividend applications that require additional time to process and approve will be paid out on a monthly basis by check or direct deposit beginning October 24. - More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

Alaska: Unionized state employees will reaffirm deduction of union dues says Admin Order Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN – Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy announced Thursday the implementation of an administrative order to protect the First Amendment rights of State employees by bringing State government into compliance with the 2018 United States Supreme Court’s ruling, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

“This administrative order is the result of the Supreme Court ruling known as Janus, which states that public employees have the right to freely associate with unions,” said Governor Dunleavy. “As Governor of Alaska, I am legally obligated and compelled to ensure state employees’ free speech rights are protected. Today’s announcement, which provides employees the necessary flexibility and freedom under the court’s ruling, is about the State complying with the law.”

Quoting a news release from the governor, in Janus, the Supreme Court held that 1) government employees cannot be required to pay dues or fees to a public sector union as a condition of employment, and 2) no money can be deducted by employers for public sector unions “unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.” Public employers, such as the State, cannot according to the court, deduct union dues or fees from an employee’s wages unless the employer has “clear and compelling evidence” that the employee has authorized such deductions. The administrative order only applies to State of Alaska employees currently represented by a union.

The governor's administrative order directs the Alaska Department of Administration to create an initial opt-in program where unionized State employees decide, online or in written form, if they want union dues deducted from their paychecks, which would be revocable at any time.

“A decision to pay or not pay union dues is the employees’ decision to make,” said Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka. “The Department of Administration is committed to informing our employees about their constitutional rights so they can make informed choices that are best for themselves.”

The administrative order is based on Attorney General Kevin Clarkson’s legal opinion on the Janus decision that found the State is not in compliance with the Supreme Court’s ruling. 

“The State has put itself at risk of unwittingly burdening the First Amendment rights of its own employees. A course correction is required,” said Attorney General Clarkson.

In response to the administrative order, Alaska Senate Democratic Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) released a prepared statement saying, “There is ongoing litigation against Governor Dunleavy and Attorney General Clarkson because of their recent decision to overstep the intent of the Janusdecision. Governor Dunleavy is, once again, circumventing the public process by attempting to take action without oversight or legislative approval. Clearly, Governor Dunleavy does not believe he can win the legal challenge against his earlier action, so he is doing everything he can to dismantle protections for working-class families before the courts can rule."

Begich said, "These are hard-working Alaskans that the Governor is directly attacking. We are a state that proudly looks out for working families, and we must do everything within our power to continue to protect working Alaskans and grow our workforce. Unfortunately, Governor Dunleavy and his Attorney General are fighting to dismantle our middle-class and those unions that protect workers’ rights."

“Governor Dunleavy and Attorney General Clarkson keep referring to this Administrative Order and legal opinion as a First Amendment right for workers but let's not be fooled by his rhetoric. Before even taking office, he demanded all non-union employees swear loyalty to his political agenda and his administration. This Governor does not have working Alaskans’ First Amendment rights in mind, and there is a clear record of that," said Begich.

Earlier this month, following requests from several state employees to stop deducting union dues from their paychecks, the Alaska Department of Administration (DOA), upon advice from the Alaska Department of Law, processed the requests and notified the union that the State would be halting deductions for these employees. The Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA), representing the general government bargaining unit, objected and threatened litigation.

Quoting a Dept. of Law news release, the Alaska State Employees Association insists that the Alaska Dept. of Administration could not honor these requests and that DOA’s decision to do so was unlawful. In light of the dispute between ASEA and the State, and the importance of alleviating the legal uncertainty surrounding state employees’ First Amendment rights, Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson filed a lawsuit on September 16, 2019 asking the court to confirm that Alaska Department of Administration, upon a direct request from an employee, should stop deducting dues from that employee’s paycheck. - More...
Saturday PM - September 26, 2019

Alaska: Study finds safe mercury levels in Kotzebue Sound fish By JEFF RICHARDSON - A new analysis of Kotzebue Sound fish has found that mercury levels in a variety of its subsistence species are safe for unrestricted consumption.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks-led study tested 297 subsistence-caught fish, which included eight species — chum salmon, fourhorn sculpin, least cisco, humpback whitefish, starry flounder, Pacific herring, Pacific tomcod and sheefish. The average mercury levels for each species were at levels considered safe by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Local residents have wondered about mercury levels in the Kotzebue Sound in recent years, due in part to discharges from the Red Dog Mine, which is located about 80 miles inland. Its presence has contributed to questions about the safety of Kotzebue-area subsistence foods.

The study was initiated by the Native Village of Kotzebue, which contacted Todd O’Hara, a UAF professor of veterinary toxicology and pharmacology. Researchers worked with local subsistence fishermen, who donated a variety of Kotzebue Sound fish species from their catches in 2105, 2016 and 2018 for testing.

Of the hundreds of samples tested, only four individual fish exceeded the “unrestricted consumption” levels set by state officials. The average mercury levels in each species were well below that threshold.

UAF researcher Andrew Cyr, who wrote about the study for the journal Environmental Research this month, said the results are consistent with other data that show fish throughout Alaska are safe for consumption with respect to mercury levels.

The study also compared mercury levels to those recorded in Kotzebue Sound fish 15 years ago. It found no increase in concentrations of the contaminant during that time, an indication that mercury hasn’t increased in the food web.

“There’s a lot of information and misinformation about fish and mercury, but the vast majority of fish in Alaska are safe for consumption,” said Cyr, who began the study as a doctoral student and now works for UAF’s Biomedical Learning and Student Training program. “The nutritional benefits of consuming Alaska fish far outweigh the risk of mercury.” - More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

Raccoons, wild pigs and other bad ideas

Raccoons, wild pigs and other bad ideas
More than 25,000 otters now live in Souteast Alaska.
Sea otters feeding in Tokeen Bay near Prince of Wales Island.
Photo by Deborah Mercy, UAF


Alaska: Raccoons, wild pigs and other bad ideas By NED ROZELL - After reading my column about biologists who once stocked a Southeast Alaska island with wolves, a reader mailed me a book. In it, the author detailed people’s attempts to import raccoons, wild pigs and other creatures to Alaska.

In addition to well-known events like the recent introduction of wood bison to the Innoko River country, Tom Paul wrote about smaller creatures people have over the years let loose onto beaches and into the woods of Alaska.

Raccoons are not native to Alaska, but people have brought them here a few times, Paul wrote in “Game Transplants in Alaska,” an updated version of an Alaska Department of Fish and Game report first written by Oliver Burris and Donald McKnight in the early 1970s.

In 1941, a man captured eight raccoons in Indiana. He let them go on Singa Island, off the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. The animals, probably surviving on crabs, mussels and other shellfish, lived for many years on Singa and nearby El Capitan islands. Raccoons may still persist there, but other introductions of raccoons, like those released on Japonski Island near Sitka in 1950, did not seem to stick.

Why would someone bring raccoons to Alaska? For their fur, which could be harvested and sold. That was also the idea behind a marten transplant sponsored by the territory of Alaska in 1934. Crews of Alaska Natives captured 17 martens near Ketchikan and Petersburg, releasing 10 of them on Prince of Wales and seven of them on Baranof Island, neither of which had martens. The cat-like animals must have found the habitat to their liking, because martens continue to thrive in both places.

Another successful marten relocation happened in September 1952, when biologists executing a federal project live-trapped marten near Lake Minchumina and transported them south to Afognak Island north of Kodiak. Biologists captured 20 animals from an area north of Denali Park with a reputation for high-quality furs. The descendants of those Interior animals are now scampering over Afognak Island.

To provide food for those martens, people imported red squirrels. A few months before the marten transfer from Minchumina to Afognak Island, hired trappers caught 47 red squirrels around Anchorage and released them on the island.

“This transplant resulted in excellent squirrel populations but it is questionable whether it affected the ultimate success of the marten introduction,” Paul wrote, pointing out that several biologists later showed that martens don’t eat a lot of red squirrels. - More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

Analysis: Why the flu shot cannot give you the flu (and why you should get one now) By LIBBY RICHARDS - Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu-related illnesses and deaths annually, but vaccination rates are low for many reasons.

During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 45% of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine. While this is an increase of 8% from 2017-2018, it falls way below the national goal of 70% of American adults receiving a flu shot.

One of the common myths that leads people to avoid the flu shot is that they think the shot will give them the flu. But that is simply not true. The virus in the vaccine is not active, and an inactive virus cannot transmit disease. What is true is that you may feel the effects of your body mounting an immune response, but that does not mean you have the flu.

I am a nursing professor with experience in public health promotion, and I hear this and other myths often. Here are the facts and the explanations behind them. - More...
Saturday PM



MICHAEL SHANNON: Democrats Hoist on Their Own Transcript - "Heard it from a friend who

Heard it from a friend who

Heard it from another you been messin' around"

- REO Speedwagon 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's call for formal impeachment proceedings is not the first time this has happened in Congress. It's not even the first time President Trump has been threatened with impeachment. It is, however, the first time impeachment has been based on the results of a game of "Telephone" gone wrong.

This spurious "whistleblower" complaint is the brainchild of a leftist CIA operative who was not part of the telephone conversation between Trump and Ukraine President Zelenskyy. This CIA tool had not even seen a transcript of the conversation. The complaint that finally jump-started impeachment was based solely on a rumor that was distorted in an effort to cause maximum damage to the president.

Initially I was worried. Not because the Opposition Media had finally gotten a negative Trump story right. I was worried because Trump may have finally gotten it wrong. As I've written before, for a man who talks as much as the president does, he is famously inarticulate. Trump wanders around a topic, brings in unrelated information, loses his train of thought and then concludes. And that's just in a single sentence. If his teeth started to fall out he'd be Joe Biden.

My concern was in an effort to be chummy or topical or through sheer impulsiveness, Trump had finally knotted a word noose that would hang him.

And then to everyone's consternation, Trump released the transcript. The left expected him to hold out for months so the mystery transcript could be a central topic of 2020 attacks. Since no one had seen the document the left was free to lie without fear of being contradicted. Like "Russia Collusion" until Ahab Mueller stepped in the Schiff. - More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019


MICHAEL REAGAN: On Ukraine, Let's Do the Time Warp Again! - Has Congress imposed a secret austerity plan? In the past, I remember every office in Congress had at least one calendar on the wall. That is either not the case now or if they have calendars, no one is turning the pages.

Democrats currently running Congress appear to be stuck in December 2016, wondering how Hillary lost and what they can do about getting rid of the winner. Grasping at straws doesn't begin to define their desperate mindset and monomaniacal focus. 

At first it was maximizing the leaks and innuendo concerning the Mueller Report. That was a two-year holding pattern as they waited for the report to be released. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spent much of the time holding back demands to begin impeachment proceedings, content in the certainty there would be plenty of time for a successful, publicly-supported impeachment process after Mueller blessed the effort.

Only the Mueller Report turned out to be one of the largest nothingburgers since the Jeb Bush presidential campaign. But rather than dampen impeachment fever, that failure only served to increase it.

Now Pelosi has started formal impeachment procedures based on a rumor that generated a whistleblower complaint from a partisan Democrat. The rumor concerned a phone call President Trump made to the president of the Ukraine. Trump asked him to look into the past firing of a prosecutor under the former regime who was investigating then Vice President Joe Biden's son.- More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: Like it or Not

Political Cartoon: Like it or Not
By Jeff Koterba ©2019, Omaha World Herald, NE
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Deadline for publication of any Oct. 1st Election Letters: Sunday, September 29, 2019.

jpg Opinion

Response: Ms. O’Brien’s Latest Attack By Dan Bockhorst - Michelle O’Brien, candidate for Borough Mayor, claims in social media that her own words are being “deliberately obfuscate[d]” about how she would handle a situation where she, as mayor, disagreed with the assembly.  She was quoted in the local news media on September 27 as saying “you can have private discussions in terms of voicing your disagreement with fellow assembly members . . .”   Her statement on the matter is clear. 

Ms. O’Brien claimed in social media that I alleged she “would purposefully ignore the rule of law as it pertains to the Open Meetings Act.”  I urge Ms. O’Brien to carefully re-read my letter as I made no such assertion.    

Alaska’s Open Meetings Act allows “private discussions” among three assembly members, or the mayor and two members of the assembly.   While allowed under the law, do we want our local elected officials to have “private discussions” about public matters?  I certainly don’t.  As I stated in my previous letter, sunshine is the best disinfectant when it comes to conducting the public’s business.  The Borough Assembly has enacted in law a policy that the Assembly’s “deliberations be conducted openly” (see KGBC 2.10.190).   - More...
Monday - September 30, 2019

jpg Opinion

RE: O’Brien, Hartley Reveal Appalling Disregard for Citizens’ Rights By Michelle O'Brien - It’s very unfortunate that Mr. Bockhorst chose to deliberately obfuscate the conversation held by the Mayoral candidates at the recent Chamber of Commerce forum.  Rather than share the entire answers of the candidates, he chose to take one snippet of the conversation in order to make a very serious false allegation against two of the candidates by alleging  that we would purposefully ignore the rule of law as it pertains to the Open Meetings Act. 

I have been through multiple Boardmanship trainings provided by the Alaska Association of School Boards, and in that training learned, and subsequently put into practice, that when and if your fellow Board (Assembly, Council, et al) members vote in such a way on an issue that does not reflect the position that you supported, then it is incumbent on all Board members to support the decision that was made by the body. I specifically referred to that during the debate, yet Mr. Bockhorst chose not to mention that.  You should wonder what his true motivation was in doing so.

As I have stated in my candidate letter, often times while on the School Board, I thought that I had come to a conclusion regarding an issue, and when I heard the thoughts of others, either via public comment or those of other Board members at the meeting, this additional information enabled me to make a better, and sometimes different, decision.  This in no way, shape or form means that I condone closed meetings out of the public eye. Having a comfort level with fellow Board members by knowing and respecting their points of view only serves to create a more cohesive team, and does not go against the Open Meetings Act when one is diligent about the process. - More...
Sunday - September 29, 2019

jpg Opinion

Vote ‘Yes’ on Proposition 2 – KPU Undersea Fiber Optic Cable to Prince Rupert By Ed Cushing - This letter is in support of voting ‘Yes’ on Proposition 2 (KPU Undersea Fiber Optic Cable to Prince Rupert). In part, this letter is also in response to David Hanger’s letter, regarding his opinion of Proposition 2.

Frankly, Mr. Hanger’s unfortunate personal attacks are not worthy of a response. However, Mr. Hanger’s letter makes some technical assertions that, in the interest of accuracy, are worth correcting.

Simply put, I appreciate Mr. Hanger’s interest in Proposition 2. However, with all due respect, every technical and/or theoretical assertion raised in his letter is incorrect, inaccurate, or simply untrue. Regarding Low Earth Satellites LEO – someday LEO will be a complementary service (especially for folks in very rural communities, cabins, on boats, etc.). However, as a practical technical matter, in the real world LEO will probably deliver 200 Megs at best. And we are rapidly approaching a world wherein most every home and business will require 1,000 Megs. LEO will not provide the very large bandwidth connection our community (and your home, and your business) will require between Ketchikan and Seattle.

Proposition 2 is as exactly as it has been advertised. Proposition 2 (because it is a Revenue Bond) cannot, will not, and does not affect property taxes. Upon ‘turning up’ the new undersea cable, KPU will ‘turn down’ capacity we presently rent from a competitor. We will then use the former ‘rent money’ to make the Revenue Bond payments. The Revenue Bond does not cost taxpayers anything and promises to cost our customers very little, if anything. From a financial perspective, Proposition 2 is a ‘no brainer’. Conceptually, we will simply stop paying our landlord over $1,000,000 per year in ‘rent’ – and instead will use the rent-money to build our own ‘house’.
As a strategic matter, the new undersea fiber will close the loop on creating the very best future-proofed local telecommunications network in the United States. As well, construction of the undersea fiber optic cable to Prince Rupert will physically connect our community to the mainland – equipping our network with a virtually unlimited capacity for broadband and/or Internet connectivity – no matter what the digital future might bring. - More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

Yes to Prop 2 By Carlene Dixon - Low Earth Orbit Satellites (LEOS) are the newest technology, however, they still have a way to go in terms of speed, latency, and reliability. While I agree that LEOS are the future, we are nowhere near a point of abandoning terrestrial-based broadband. Need for bandwidth will only continue to increase as humanity becomes more connected in day-to-day life, and abandoning ideas of diversifying our pathways to metropolitan servers would be a shot in the foot for Ketchikan. Other communities in Alaska recognize this and are actively researching and building new routes for fiber to the lower 48.

This goes far beyond “petulance” toward competitors. Building new pathways to increase redundancy promotes fair business. Take a look at communities in Alaska that only have one internet service provider and compare their broadband prices to communities with multiple service providers. You will see that they will pay many times more per megabit of internet than a community like ours.  - More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

O’Brien, Hartley Reveal Appalling Disregard for Citizens’ Rights By Dan Bockhorst - Asked how they would address disagreements with the Borough Assembly, mayoral candidate Michelle O’Brien stated, “you can have private discussions in terms of voicing your disagreement with fellow assembly members.” Sidney Hartley stated, “I would have my own private conversations with Assembly members.” Those views were reported in local news media on September 27.

O’Brien and Hartley display a shocking disregard for the right of citizens of Ketchikan to remain informed about the people’s business. Both have declared that they would conduct public business privately.

State and Borough laws prescribe that deliberations of the Borough assembly “be conducted openly.” Those laws provide further that the citizens of Ketchikan do not give elected Borough officials “the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.” State and Borough laws enshrine the right of Ketchikan citizens to remain informed so “they may retain control over the instruments they have created.” (See AS 44.62.312 and KGBC 2.10.190.)- More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

Against Rodney Dial By Ghert Abbott - One of the duties of the Borough Mayor is to publically represent the interests and needs of Ketchikan to the state government. Currently, it is in the interests of Ketchikan to publically fight all further cuts to essential state services, among them the AMHS, the Pioneer Homes, the University of Alaska Southeast, and the state’s Medicaid system. Based on Rodney Dial’s prior actions and statements, I do not believe he would oppose the Dunleavy administration’s harmful austerity agenda.

Rodney Dial has publically supported Governor Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes. On June 29th he posted a letter to Sitnews calling the vetoes “necessary” for our state. This was done about a month before the Governor was forced into partial retreat due to legislative resistance and popular backlash, so Mr. Dial was expressing support for the vetoes at their most extreme, uncaring and destructive.

Furthermore, during his time on the Borough Assembly, Rodney Dial has demonstrated a willingness to misuse his position in order to score ideological points. When he disagreed with some of the Daily News’s coverage and editorials, he sent a letter threatening retaliation through the cutting off of Borough advertising. Any attempted intimidation of the press is inappropriate behavior for an elected office, regardless of their office. - More...
Saturday PM - September 28, 2019

jpg Opinion

My Thoughts on the Borough Mayoral Race By John Harrington - Three candidates are running for Ketchikan Borough Mayor: Sidney Hartley, Rodney Dial, and Michelle O’Brien.

Sidney Hartley I don’t know. However, it is always encouraging to see the younger generation taking leadership roles in local government. I would have preferred that she had served before in an elected position. But if she is elected, the Borough Clerk, Kacie Paxton, will be of invaluable assistance, along with the Borough Manager and Attorney. If she seeks their advice she will do fine. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Dial for Borough Mayor & Landis and Bynum for Assembly By Harlan Heaton - Collective bargaining, I have always believed that the primary goal of the school board is to do what is best for our current and future students of the school district.

In the last round of teacher contract negotiations, the school district hired a consulting firm to help with this process. This firm knows all the available information as to the cost of living in every city in Alaska and what other districts are paying. Look at the map, Ketchikan is not Juneau or Fairbanks, we should be on the lower end cost of this scale in the state. During negotiations the talks were stalled when the union felt it was not making progress. It was at this time that Sid Hartley, Austin Otis and others decided to break the deadlock by recalling the school board president and two other members. The plan worked. Get rid of the more conservative members that were looking out for the children, teachers and taxpayers. Now the teachers have a contract that the local property tax payers and the state can't afford to pay. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

WITH RODNEY IT’S ALWAYS WAY TOO MUCH ABOUT RODNEY By David G Hanger - I have no idea who the two ladies are running for the office of Borough mayor, but I would like to encourage all of you to take a long, long look at both of these women, and to pick one of them to be the next Borough mayor. Rodney Dial does a very good job of banging the drum loudly for Rodney Dial, but the really big problem with this guy is it is always “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”, “me”, “me”, “me”, and never “we.”

Ambition is not necessarily a bad thing, but with Rodney ambition seems always to be driven toward satisfaction of the personal vanity of Rodney, and that is not a good thing, nor a beneficial thing for what are supposed to be community interests. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 25, 2019

jpg Opinion

Transportation off the 'Rock' By A. M. Johnson - Let's talk leaving the 'Rock' under the various modes of transportation available and estimated cost related to same.

I find myself in the need of medical appointments in Seattle that encompassed a period of time that warrants the taking of our auto for transportation to these medical appointments as well, to visit various family members in the neighboring states.- More...
Wednesday PM - September 25, 2019

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VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 2; THIS FIBER OPTIC PROPOSAL IS SO SILLY IT IS STUPID By David G Hanger - KPU wants to blow $11.5 million of your dough (and increase prices accordingly) on what effectively is an act of petulance on which it is guaranteed in advance there will be NO RETURN ON INVESTMENT.

Bob Sivertsen does not know squat about telecommunications, period. All he is spewing is the nonsense Herr Reichskanzler Amylon has given him to spew, and it comes close to being pure nonsense. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 25, 2019

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Vote Yes on Proposition 2 By Bob Sivertsen - The purpose of this letter is to encourage voters to ‘Vote Yes’ on Proposition 2 – a Revenue Bond for construction of KPU Telecommunications’ undersea fiber optic cable to Prince Rupert, BC - in the municipal election scheduled for October 1, 2019.

I encourage you to visit KPU’s webpage for a review of frequently asked questions/answers about the project and the Revenue Bond. - More...
Saturday AM - September 21, 2019

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Ketchikan officials concerned over Ward Cove private cruise project By A.M. Johnson - Want to see a community greed opportunity?? You see it with the City of Ketchikan, my home town. Stay tuned as private enterprise provides these new docks and then after all the bitching by the city, they will begin the process of annexing the borough boundary from the current city limits to include not only the Ward Cove area, the new docks, but continue out to include Air Marine Harbor ending at Sunset Drive.

Unfortunately as the annexing of the Shore Line Drive area, those residents pay the high property tax and receive very little in return, save for fire protection, from a distance, like wise will be the new annexation having no direct benefits that would prove a positive as the fire protection is more readily available via those “Volunteer” fire personnel who live in the Ward Cove area. - More...
Saturday AM - September 21, 2019

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Open Letter: Objections to Ward Cove Proposal By Cruin MacGriogair - To whom It May Concern: (Letter sent to Army Corps of Engineers)

I am writing as a resident of Ketchikan Gateway Borough, to notify you of my concerns and objections to the “Ward Cove Proposal” to build a large cruise ship dock in Ward Cove, North of Ketchikan, which would accommodate the largest cruise ships, with preferential docking for Norwegian Cruise Line ships.- More...
Saturday AM - September 21, 2019

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Rodney Dial for Mayor of Ketchikan By Barry A. A. Dillinger - It’s not very often that I feel compelled to personally do something about the local political process outside my normal civic duty of voting.  Normally, I read the platforms and I keep up with the local scuttlebutt, but I generally don’t voice my support through lawn signs, bumper stickers or letters to the editor.  I’ve lived in Ketchikan for the past three years and something has changed.  I saw an extremely dysfunctional relationship between the city Borough Assembly members and others in the local governmental system and noted that much of it centered around one person.  More on that in a moment. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 17, 2019

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Ketchikan's Sales Tax Cap By Janalee L Minnich Gage - I have been on the Ketchikan City Council since 2015, however my comments here as a community member. I am not speaking for other council members or the council. I appreciate all the thanks for my last letter regarding the Berth issues. I got more questions asked of me, so I am taking them one at a time - picking them apart for you- from my perspective utilizing information, and evidence available. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 17, 2019

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We Believe in Ferries By Sidney Hartley - Since 1948, travelling by ferry has been a vital piece of Alaskan livelihood and, as such, a way for Alaskans to be connected to one another. In 1963, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) was born, providing Alaskans a link to our neighboring communities and Canada. There has been a saying in Alaska that, it’s a small world in big Alaska. That’s because, it’s hard to travel from one community to another in Alaska without running into someone we know, and sometimes even a relative. We’re all family here, and that unique piece of our home is largely due to our ferry system, connecting us to places and people that may not otherwise have a method of travel (especially from/to remote parts of Alaska). Additionally, the AMHS employs roughly 430 Alaskans, and provides transportation to nearly 350,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles annually.  - More...
Tuesday AM - September 17, 2019

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Opposed to development of the waters over the superfund MOU at Ward Cove By Betsey Burdett - I am writing to voice my opposition to the development of the waters over the superfund marine operating unit (MOU) at Ward Cove. I hope you will comment to the Army Corps of Engineers concerning the permit application by Power Systems and Supplies of Alaska, Godspeed, Inc., and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd. The comment period was extended until September 19, 2019 so that agencies (EPA, DEC, etc.) and the public (us!) would have time to respond. Information disseminated thus far has come from the above companies. You can search the cleanup at Ward Cove from the EPA website. The more I look into this, the more astounded I am that the Army Corps has received only two requests for a public hearing as of this writing. Do we care about our water? Do we have time to comment about this? If you want to comment you just have a few days. - More...
Saturday AM - September 14, 2019

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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. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

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"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. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

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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. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 11, 2019

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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

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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

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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

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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. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 27, 2019

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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

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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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