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September 30, 2019

Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY BALZER

Ready for Winter
It was a bountiful summer for this chubby black bear.
Front Page Feature Photo By CINDY BALZER ©2019

October 1, 2019
Ketchikan Local Election

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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
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jpg Michelle O'Brien Michelle O'Brien
Filed 08/23/19
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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

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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
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jpg Kathleen Yarr Kathleen Yarr
Filed 08/23/19
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Ketchikan City Council
3 Year Term, 2 Seats Open
jpg Lew Williams III Lew Williams III
Filed 08/05/19
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Filed 08/05/19
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Southeast Alaska: A historic boat works struggles to hang on; Property dispute threatens 80-year old boat shop By DAVE KIFFER - Once upon a time, there were dozens of small, independent boat builders in Southeast Alaska. Ingenuity and a seemingly endless supply of wood meant that it was usually cheaper to meet the regional need by building locally. 

A historic boat works struggles to hang on; Property dispute threatens 80-year old boat shop

Wolf Creek Boathouse
Photo By Dave Kiffer

"Larger vessels were typically built in larger shipyards along the coasts of the continent, however smaller vessels in the range of skiffs to seine boats 40' or more were often built locally,” historian and archeologist Ottar Mobley wrote in 2015. “A number of commercial boat works were established in Southeast Alaska during the early part of the century.” 

Among the boat works that sprouted in the first half of the 20th Century was Israel Steven’s facility at the mouth of Wolf Creek on Prince of Wales Island near Hollis. Stevens was familiar with the area because his father had managed the nearby Flagstaff Mine. 

Stevens began residing on Forest Service land at the mouth of the creek in late 1939 under a special use permit. He built his boat works, originally called the Twelvemile Arm boat shop, in 1940. Later it would be called the Wolf Creek Boatworks. 

According to Mobley’s research the machinery was powered by water from Wolf Creek, which was transferred to the boat shop with a wooden flume that powered the belt drive equipment and a small Pelton wheel was fed from a four inch steel pipeline which drove a small generator. Eventually, a large 18 inch wooden piepelin and a 1902 S. Morgan Smith water turbine and generator were installed to provide both mechanical and electrical power.

A cradle was built inside the open boatworks and eventually a marine rail and grid system was built along the north side of the building. Between 1946 and 1960 a sawmill was co-located with the boat works and trees in the surrounding area were felled to build the boats.

Mobley determined that between 1939 to 1951 Stevens made small skiffs which he sold.  Additionally he also built larger boats at the property for himself. Stevens sold the boatworks to John Stacker in 1951. The boatshop changed hands several times between 1951 and 1994, when it was purchased by Alaska state ferry system engineer Sam Romey. Romey began a quarter century effort to (1) restore the boat works and (2) get some form more permanent claim on the land.

“I was not looking for a place at that time in my life, especially this place.,” Romey said recently.  “I was working on the Aurora and the chief engineer at that time owned the place and he was trying to sell it because the USFS would not allow him to use the land for a fishing lodge. He kept pestering me to buy it and he kept lowering the price. After looking at it several times and talking with my dad about it we decided to purchase it and restore the place.” 
Initially, Romey said, the Forest Service wanted to see renovation progress in order to continue the special use permit.  
“The forest service made it very clear from the beginning that the land would never be for sale or tradeable under any situation,” Romey said. “This was one of the angles the previous owner Ron Whalen tried with the forest service back between 1986 and 1994 before I purchased it. He wanted to do everything but what the FS required under the special use permit. So, when my father and I approached the FS about getting a new permit and running a boat shop, they (the USFS) were pretty skeptical. We had to provide resumes with our qualifying skills and a business plan as well and our financial capabilities to get it up and running. In addition, the USFS gave us two years to complete the process and have it fully operational. I know this sounds like a reasonable amount of time to most people, but keep in mind there is no road and getting anything to WC required a boat or plane for the last portion of transportation.” 

But Romey and his father did what the Forest Service asked in their effort to get the permit extended. 

 “When we took ownership of the place it was pretty run down and the vegetation had grown up all over the house and shop and lots of woodwork on the decks floors and siding needed to be replaced. It was not something we took lightly, and the love of old equipment and the history of the place is really what got us. You have to add grease to the cups for the bearings then as its running tune the cups down a few turns to lube the bearings, the belts need to be dressed and kept tension just right and of course the turbine has to be monitored and regulated so the system does not overspeed.” 
While he was putting decades of sweat equity into the boat shop. Romey grew to love the place. 
“When I walk around the shop and the equipment is running it kind of makes a music with bold percussion coming from the belts and some lighter back up stringed instruments sounds coming? from the spinning blades, wheels and pulleys,” he said “You learn to feel the vibrations and listen to the sounds of the equipment running to know what is running and what is not as well and what is wrong. It’s like a little symphony and you just haveto treat it like the beautiful equipment it is. We did meet the deadline and installed a grid which was popular with the boat owners in Hollis, Kassan and even one customer that would come all the way from Thorne bay to get their yearly ‘shave and haircut.’"

The restoration has proved easier to resolve than the title issue. Romey has begun to produce aluminum skiffs at the site. But the title is clouded up in the convoluted Mental Health Lands Trust reconstitution process. As it now stands, the Trust wants Romey to vacant the site so a nearby logging operation can take place.

Romey contends that the logging could take place and have no effect on the six-acre boat works site. Because Wolf Creek is an anadromous fish stream, state law requires a logging setback of up to 300 feet from the stream, so most of the area around the boat shop could not be logged anyway. 

Former Forest Service Archeologist John Autry determined that the site qualifies for National Historic Register status. 

 “The Wolf Creek boat works is likely to provide information important to the history of the local area, this significance is derived through the relative integrity of the structure, machinery and power system,” Autry wrote in the late 1980s. “A boat works of this type may have been commonplace during its time, but the integrity should be considered a rarity today.  There has been no systematic or organized documentation of the ship/boat building industry in Southeast Alaska.  The documentation of this significant historical theme is a critical element in preserving the regional and local maritime heritage.” 

Unfortunately, Romey says, when the site became part of the reconstituted Trust lands, efforts to preserve the historic boat shop reached a standstill.

The Trust reconstitution process has been a controversial one in Southeast because lands was originally given by the State to the Trust to fund its services and then taken back by the State Legislature. A decades long court battle took place and eventually the State was ordered to make more land available to the Trust. The Trust then selected additional lands that were also controversial because of their locations near cities such as Ketchikan, Juneau and Petersburg. Another lengthy process took place (see “Debate over Deer Mountain logging began more than 20 years ago,” SITNEWS, Aug. 29. 2019).

Eventually USFS land – a large portion of which was on Prince of Wales Island – was added to the exchange to get the Trust to trade away the more sensitive land around the Southeast cities. That exchange moved the Wolf Creek Boatworks property to the Trust and Romey says the Trust is now pushing him to “move” his operations elsewhere and leave the boat work buildings, something that Romey has no interest in doing. - More...
Monday PM - September 30, 2019

Fishermen catch 2 billionth sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay this year

Fishermen catch 2 billionth sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay this year
Gillnetters in the water on a recent year in Bristol Bay.
Photo by Chris Miller ©
(One time use only permission)


Alaska: Fishermen catch 2 billionth sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay this year By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN - This year, during the fishery’s 2nd largest harvest on record, Bristol Bay commercial fishermen hit another historic number: the 2 billionth sockeye salmon caught by commercial fishermen since record-keeping began in the late 1800s.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen this fast, but the last couple of seasons had huge returns,” said Nushagak/Togiak Area Management biologist Timothy Sands.

2019 was the fifth consecutive year that more than 50 million sockeye salmon returned to Bristol Bay.

In 2018, fishermen caught 41.9 million sockeye out of a record overall return of 62.3 million sockeye. In 2019, fishermen caught 43 million sockeye during a return of 56.5 million sockeye, meaning this year fishermen caught a higher percentage of the total return. (All rivers met their escapement goals — the amount of salmon swimming upriver necessary to ensure healthy future runs.)

2019 was also the most valuable all-salmon-species harvest. The preliminary exvessel value, or estimated dollar amount the harvest earned fishermen when they sold to a processor, is $306.5 million.

Some may remember Bristol Bay passing another “2 billion” marker in 2016. That was the 2 billionth overall salmon caught in the region.

The first billionth sockeye was caught in 1981 — the 98th year of Bristol Bay’s fishery. The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation (BBEDC) points out that the 2 billionth sockeye came just 38 years later, which means that the size of the average harvest has been much bigger in recent years than it was at the start of the fishery. For the first 98 years, up to the first billionth sockeye caught, Bristol Bay’s average annual catch was a little more than 10 million fish per year. For the last 38 years, it’s been about 27 million sockeye per year.

“I think it just speaks to the sustainability of the management system we have in place in Bristol Bay that after 136 years of fishing, we’re still having record runs and we’re able to sustainably harvest 2 billion sockeye salmon from the systems in Bristol Bay,” Sands said. - More...
Monday PM - September 30, 2019

Alaska: After loss in federal court, City of Anchorage agrees to end its attempt to force men into shelter for sexually assaulted women – In the wake of a loss in federal court, Anchorage officials dropped a complaint filed with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission against a faith-based women’s shelter and have now agreed with Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys to make the court’s temporary order against the city permanent.

A federal court issued an order Friday that stops Anchorage officials from misapplying a city ordinance against a faith-based women’s shelter. That shelter, Downtown Hope Center, referred an inebriated and injured man to a hospital to get the care he needed and paid for his taxi ride there. But because the center didn’t let the man sleep at its shelter and next to the abused and homeless women, the man later filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission alleging the center didn’t let him stay at the shelter, where he would have been sleeping next to abused and homeless women.

The city then chose to pursue the complaint against the center, prompting Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys to file a federal lawsuit on the center’s behalf.

Earlier, prior to Friday's federal court order, a preliminary injunction was granted on August 9th that was requested by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the Downtown Hope Center. The injunction revented the city of Anchorage from enforcing the challenged provisions against the center while its lawsuit proceeded. The court also denied the city’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

Women’s-only shelters, including the overnight housing that Downtown Hope Center provides, retain the right to provide housing only to women to help ensure that they have a safe place to sleep that does not require close proximity to men.

“All Americans should be free to live out their faith and serve their neighbors- especially homeless women who have suffered sexual abuse or domestic violence - without being targeted or harassed by the government,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson. “This is the right outcome. Downtown Hope Center serves everyone, but women deserve a safe place to stay overnight. No woman - particularly not an abuse survivor - should be forced to sleep or disrobe next to a man.”

In the federal case, The Downtown Soup Kitchen dba Downtown Hope Center v. Municipality of Anchorage, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska issued an order saying Anchorage’s public accommodation law does not apply to the center’s women’s shelter and could not be used to force the center to open its women’s shelter to men. Shortly after that order, the commission dropped its pursuit of the original discrimination complaint and on Monday filed documents jointly with ADF attorneys to make the preliminary order protecting the center permanent and end the case, subject to the court’s approval. - More...
Monday PM - September 30, 2019



TOM PURCELL: 'Fall Back' to Putting Life's Small Joys Ahead of Politics - Autumn has arrived. I can't think of a better time to put priorities back in order. 

You see, a new University of Nebraska-Lincoln study finds that "the current U.S. political climate is literally making Americans physically sick, damaging friendships, and driving many people 'crazy," according to

Among the findings: About two in five Americans are stressed out by politics, and one in five are losing sleep over it.

Look, politics is important. An informed, engaged public is essential to our country's continued success at the local, state and federal levels.

But aren't we taking our politics - and ourselves - a bit too seriously?

To be sure, in the era of social media - and a president who tweets 24/7 - politics is in our faces more than ever. We carry politics around on our smartphones. 

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't make a concerted effort to keep politics in proper perspective.

Consider: We each have little control over who becomes president - just one vote. But we have total control over how we respond to who becomes president.

A president's policies do affect our day-to-day lives - health insurance policies, taxes and regulations do impact us some. But the truth is that our politicians otherwise have minimal daily impact on our lives.

Life is largely made up of colds, bills, speeding tickets and people who sometimes grate on our nerves.

Between those experiences are mundane tasks and drudgeries.

Interrupting those drudgeries are delicious meals with friends, the occasional hearty laugh, the love of a truly special person who's supportive in times of need - and autumn, one of the most wonderful times of the year. - More...
Monday PM - September 30, 2019

jpg Political Cartoon: Putin Enjoys Impeachment Rancor

Political Cartoon: Putin Enjoys Impeachment Rancor
By Daryl Cagle ©2019,
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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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

jpg Opinion

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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