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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 18, 2020

Swan Lake Hydroelectric Facility Expansion Utilized after Record Rainfall

Swan Lake Hydroelectric Facility Expansion Utilized after Record Rainfall
Front Page Photo Courtesy Sen. Bert Stedman
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Ketchikan: Swan Lake Hydroelectric Facility Expansion Utilized after Record Rainfall - After a summer of record-setting rainfall, the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Facility reached full capacity following expansion totaling an additional 15 feet of storage for the first time. Due to drought conditions since construction was finished three years ago, this summer marked the first time water levels made it all the way up on the flashboards, forcing a reservoir spill on July 24. 

“This expansion allows for increased storage of one of our area’s most important renewable energy sources: hydropower,” said Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka. “This expansion ensures that we can store more hydropower and use it during the fluctuating rainy seasons. This is just a part of a larger ongoing expansion, and we are currently reviewing other hydropotentials to increase storage generation in the future.”

The Swan Lake Reservoir Expansion Project achieved its objective of increasing regional hydro storage capacity, which was identified as a priority in the Southeast Alaska Integrated Resource Plan. The expansion was a 22MW hydroelectric facility on Revillagigedo Island that expanded the capacity from 86,000 acre-feet to 111,800 acre-feet, allowing for about 25-30% more storage. 

Annually the expansion will provide up to 12,000 MWh of additional energy, which equates to 800,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually, according to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA). In the first year of the project an additional $1.1 million in diesel generation to Ketchikan was offset. In addition to the cost savings of displacing 800,000 gallons of diesel is the elimination of 17,904,000 pounds of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere. 

“This is a great example of maximizing the value of an existing hydroelectric asset without the need for additional transmission or powerhouse infrastructure,” said SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson.

The project was completed on an accelerated schedule and came in under the engineer’s estimate of $13.3. million. It was partially funded through a $3.9 million direct appropriation from the State of Alaska and SEAPA sold bonds for the remaining balance. Alaska’s congressional delegation supported the project, as well, which subsequently led to the passage of related Swan Lake Boundary Adjustment Act. Numerous state agencies and the U.S. Forest Service also worked collaboratively to bring the project to fruition. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Ketchikan: EARLY VOTING BEGINS 09/21 AT GATEWAY RECREATION CENTER - Early in-person voting for the October 6, 2020, City of Ketchikan and Borough Regular Election will be September 21st – October 5th at the Gateway Recreation Center, 601 Schoenbar Road, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Note that this is a change from prior years. Previously, absentee-in-person voting has been available at the Borough and City Clerks’ offices. This year, for the convenience of the voters and to allow for additional social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Early Voting for both the City of Ketchikan ballot and the Borough ballot has been arranged to be provided at the Gateway Recreation Center. 

Voters registered in the City will vote two separate ballots.  In years past, voters registered in City of Ketchikan precincts have voted a combined ballot with City of Ketchikan races and propositions on one side, and Borough races and propositions on the other side.  This year, the ballots have been separated and City voters will need to vote two separate ballots. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

October 06, 2020 - Tuesday
Ketchikan Regular Election
Ketchikan Borough Assembly - 3 Year Term (3 Seats Open)
jpg Jeremy Bynum Jeremy Bynum
Filed: 8/3/20
jpg Amanda 
(AJ) Pierce Amanda
(AJ) Pierce
jpg Sheen Davis Sheen Davis
Filed: 8/4/20
jpg Matthew Merrill Matthew Merrill
Filed: 8/19/20
jpg Judith McQuerry Judith McQuerry
Filed: 8/24/20
jpg Trevor A. Shaw Trevor A. Shaw
Filed: 8/25/20
Ketchikan School Board - 3 Year Term (2 Seats Open)
jpg Diane Gubatayao

Diane Gubatayao
Filed: 8/2/20

jpg Alexandra Ginter Alexandra Ginter
Filed: 8/04/20
jpg Paul Robbins Jr. Paul Robbins Jr.
Filed: 8/11/20
Ketchikan School Board - 1 Year Term (2 Seats Open)
jpg Tom Heutte Tom Heutte
Filed: 8/3/20
jpg Nicole Anderson Nicole Anderson
Filed: 8/6/20
Photo Kim Hodne
Filed: 8/6/20
Ketchikan City Council - 3 Year Term (3 Seats Open)
jpg Jai Mahtani Jai Mahtani
Filed: 8/3/20
jpg Richard Coose Richard Coose
Filed: 8/3/20
jpg Abby Bradberry Abby Bradberry
Filed: 8/3/20
jpg Riley Gass Riley Gass
Filed: 8/6/20
jpg Dave Kiffer Dave Kiffer
Filed: 8/21/20

jpg Spencer Strassburg

Spencer Strassburg

jpg Joey Jean Tillison Joey Jean Tillson
Filed: 8/21/20
jpg Lisa Scarborough

Lisa Scarborough
Filed: 8/25/20

Early Voting

09/21/2020- 10/05/20
Gateway Rec Center,
601 Schoenbar Road

Ketchikan City Council - Two Year Term (One Seat Open)
Grant Echohawk
Filed: 8/5/20
jpg Mark Flora Mark Flora
Candidate's Statement
jpg Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson
Filed: 8/24/20

For almost two decades, SitNews has provided a section at no cost for individuals running as candidates for the local Assembly, School Board and City Council.

All candidates are encouraged to participate and provide your future constituents with your candidate's statement to included this required information:

1. Why you are running for office.
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3. Identify at least two significant issues and challenges facing our community and your approach in addressing and solving these challenges. This does not just mean that you will be open to public input. Be specific about the issues and challenges and your specific ideas to address.
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Please submit your candidate's information for publication by September 11, 2020. Candidate's information will be published as received and will not be edited by the SitNews' editor. (Posted: August 31, 2020 - Invitations to Participate emailed to all candidates on September 03, 2020)

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You may vote as early as 15 days prior to a Borough election: early voting in person, absentee by mail, or by electronic transmission.
Early IN-PERSON voting for the City of Ketchikan and Borough Regular Election is open September 21, 2020 - October 5, 2020 at the Gateway Rec Center, 601 Schoenbar Road, Monday-Friday, 8:00AM-5:00PM.
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Ketchikan: TRUST LAND OFFICE 2020 LAND SALE  NOW UNDERWAY - The Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office’s 2020 Fall Land Sale Auction is underway, with final bids due November 16, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. 

This year’s land sale auction includes 47 parcels in locations across Southeast, Southcentral, and Interior Alaska that will be sold to the highest bidder. Revenue generated from land sales will help fund programs and services that support Trust beneficiaries across the state.

The 2020 sale includes unique parcels on the road system and in remote locations, as well as island, river, ocean, and lakefront parcels - including 3 parcels in Ketchikan in the Upper George Inlet Subdivision.

Photos, maps, survey details, parcel access, and additional information including the minimum bid is available for each parcel on the Trust land auction webpage.

“The Trust’s annual land sale auction not only generates revenue to support Trust beneficiaries, it provides an opportunity to own a piece of Alaska,” said Wyn Menefee, Trust Land Office Executive Director. “Each year our Lands team puts forth some great offerings for the sale, and this year is no different. We have parcels conducive to uses ranging from recreational, to residential, and commercial.” - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Alaska: Additional Unemployment Payments for Alaskans to be Distributed Soon - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy and Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter announced today that $62 million in funding, provided by President Donald Trump’s executive order, will be allocated to Alaska from the FEMA Lost Wages Assistance program.

“I want to thank President Trump for his executive order directing FEMA to assist displaced workers, including self-employed workers, through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy.

Dunleavy said, “Financial assistance to Alaskans now, who are ready and waiting to go back to work when their jobs return, will help protect Alaskan families and the overall economy.” 

“The unemployment insurance program has provided critical replacement wages for Alaskans impacted by COVID-19. We are grateful to our federal partners for the additional resources provided to Alaskans during these challenging times,” said Commissioner Dr. Tamika Ledbetter. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Fish Factor: Fishermen’s relief funds welcomed as unfair trade deals drag on By LAINE WELCH - Alaska fishermen can increase their federal trade relief funds by adding higher poundage prices for 15 fish and shellfish species. While it’s welcomed, the payouts are a band-aid on a bigger and ongoing problem.

Through December 14, fishermen can apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP) if their bottom line has been hurt by the Trump Administration’s ongoing trade standoffs, primarily with China.

“STRP is part of a federal relief strategy to support fishermen and other producers while the administration continues to work on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets to help American producers compete globally,” said a USDA fact sheet.

The damages to fishermen are calculated as the difference with a trade tariff and the baseline without it based on 2019 catches.

For cod, for example, that adds up to an extra $.14 a pound.  So, a fisherman who had cod landings last year of 375,000 pounds would multiply that by $.14 for a trade relief payment of $52,500.

Salmon fishermen can add $.16 per pound across the board. For Alaska crabbers, $.47 a pound can be added to 2019 catches for Dungeness, king crab, snow crab and Tanners.

Geoduck divers can add $.76 to their total poundage. It’s $.10 cents for sablefish, Atka mackerel and Pacific Ocean Perch, $.15 for flounders, sole and turbot, $.04 for herring, and an extra one penny a pound for Alaska pollock.

Eligible fisherman can fill out a “2020 Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP) Application,” found at  and at USDA Farm Service Agencies. In Alaska there are three locations at Homer, Kenai and the statewide office in Palmer.

The money will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Fishermen who have applied reported it was a fairly easy process and took about an hour to complete, according to a statement by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

While the money is a welcomed inclusion for U.S. fishermen, the relief payments do little to advance the administration’s “free, fair and reciprocal trade deals.”

Since 2018, for example, the U.S. has paid a 38% tax on average for seafood products going to China, previously Alaska’s biggest buyer. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

jpg This pale pup contrasts with its dark-furred companions.Photo credit Vladimir Burkanov

Rare Albino Fur Seal Pup Stands Out
This pale pup contrasts with its dark-furred companions.
Photo credit Vladimir Burkanov

Fisheries: Rare Albino Fur Seal Pup Stands Out - An albino fur seal on a recent research trip by NOAA Fisheries Affiliate Vladimir Burkanovto the remote island of Tyuleny in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia.

The reddish-gold pup has very light colored eyes and pink flippers. It was born in July on the island, which supports a large fur seal colony. 

The only information about how rare this sighting is comes from literature published in 1958.  At the time, Scientist Vic Scheffer reported that the chances of encountering a fur seal with this coloration is one in 100,000. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Alaska: Alaska Minimum Wage will increase 15¢/hour in 2021 - The Alaska minimum wage will increase from $10.19 to $10.34 effective Jan. 1, 2021. Voters passed a ballot initiative in 2014 to adjust the minimum wage annually for inflation.

Alaska Statute 23.10.065(a) requires the Alaska minimum wage to be adjusted using the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the Anchorage metropolitan area (Anchorage CPI-U) for the preceding calendar year. The Anchorage CPI-U increased 1.4 percent in 2019. As a result, the minimum wage will rise from $10.19 to $10.34 effective Jan. 1, 2021. By law, Alaska’s minimum wage must remain at least $1 per hour over the federal minimum wage.

The Alaska minimum wage applies to all hours worked in a pay period, regardless of how the employee is paid - whether by time, piece, commission or otherwise. All actual hours worked in a pay period multiplied by the Alaska minimum wage is the very least an employee can be compensated by an employer unless the employer can clearly show that a specific exemption exists. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Alaska: HELP Committee Hears Testimony on Simplifying Federal Student Aid Application - U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) took part in a Senate HELP Committee hearing focused on fixing the burdensome and complicated Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA), which students utilize to apply for federal student financial aid to help pay for college.

The hearing explored legislative solutions to simplify and shorten the Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA), including making it easier for low-income families to qualify for federal Pell Grants. 

“We must do a better job of not only communicating to high school students what grants and loans might be available to them to go to college, but also improve the process on how they go about accessing that aid. The reality is, Alaskan students and families have missed out on federal aid because the process to get there is unnecessarily complex and onerous. It’s important that we work to simplify this process and better equip student to make these important decisions. There are a number of challenges in pursuing a higher education - the application process for student aid shouldn’t be one of them,” said Murkowski. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020


Alaska: Partnership brings 49,000 pounds of  donated salmon to Southeast Alaskan families - This month, a regionwide effort to help Southeast Alaskans reliant on subsistence salmon fisheries is culminating in the distribution of 49,000 pounds of wild salmon to families from Yakutat to Hydaburg. The distribution is the result of the cooperation of dozens of individuals, tribes, businesses and communities in Southeast Alaska to help both local residents and commercial fishermen reeling from a difficult summer season. 

The coronavirus pandemic’s impacts on Alaska’s seafood markets and fish prices coupled with lower-than-expected returns for several species of salmon has been devastating for Southeast Alaskans, in particular commercial and subsistence fishing families. Pandemic precautions have forced closures and strict limits on capacity at restaurants, resulting in plummeting fresh seafood demand. According to the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust 2019 SeaBank Annual Report, seven of the top 100 fishing ports by value in the entire country are in Southeast Alaska, so the impacts on fishing families and communities are being felt widely throughout the region. Meanwhile, salmon returns this season were among the lowest recorded in more than 40 years. Pink salmon have not had a worse year since 1976, and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game reports sockeye catches at 70 percent below 2019 – among the lowest ever. Coho is 50 percent behind last year, and king salmon are 14 percent below 2019. 

Given Southeast’s low salmon returns, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) through its community supported fishery program, Alaskans Own, identified communities where families were unable to put up fish for the winter. They successfully secured $250,000 in funding to distribute salmon to Angoon (8,000 round pounds); Hydaburg (8,000 round pounds); Kake (5,000 filleted pounds); Klawock (5,000 filleted pounds) and Sitka (5,000 filleted pounds). The salmon will be processed by Seafood Producers Cooperative and Northline Seafood and delivered to outlying communities by ALFA member fishermen with freezer trollers. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Ketchikan: September is National Suicide Prevention Month - September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Local agencies use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, promote awareness, and connect our community to the resources they need. One local resource is the Ketchikan CARES Crisis Line providing 24/7, free support to people in distress. Supportive counselors can be reached at 907-225-2273 (CARE).

Suicide is among the nation’s leading causes of death, taking more than 31,000 lives each year. In our community we see suicide prevention as an immediate and necessary effort. A 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed one in four Ketchikan teens seriously considered attempting suicide while 14% of Ketchikan high school students have attempted suicide. Nearly half of the survey respondents indicated they felt alone in their life and that they do not matter to people in their community. So many in our community have been impacted by suicide, suicide attempts or suicide ideation. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Alaska: The Blessing Loom is an Illegal Pyramid Scheme - The Alaska Department of Law warns Alaskans not to participate in a growing pyramid scheme called “The Blessing Loom.” The scam is currently believed to be operating in multiple communities across the state. The scam often uses a multi-layered octagon board called a “loom.”  The layers of the “loom” are sometimes associated with earth, wind, fire, and water.

The scheme is often perpetuated on social media.  A new participant will be asked to join a “Blessing Loom” by providing a gift, blessing, or investment of anywhere from $100 to $1,500. Each participant is required to recruit two new members, and promised an eightfold return.

However, like all pyramid schemes this scam depends on continuously bringing in a growing number of new participants. Eventually, the pool of new investors dries up and the pyramid crashes, and the majority of people lose money. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

A Conversation with Hunter and Conservationist Tia Shoemaker

A Conversation with Hunter and Conservationist Tia Shoemaker
Tia Shoemaker with a happy moose hunter on the Alaska Peninsula.
Photo courtesy Tia Shoemaker


Alaska: A Conversation with Hunter and Conservationist Tia Shoemaker By BJORN DIHLE - Hunting Guide Tia Shoemaker is fighting tooth and nail to ensure future generations will have the opportunity to experience the wilderness of Bristol Bay and the Alaska Peninsula.

“We have something incredible on the Alaska Peninsula and Bristol Bay. All we have to do is not mess it up. Millions acres of wilderness surrounded by millions acres of wilderness. John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt would be proud we still have a place like this. This place should be one of the seven wonders of the world,” Tia said this September while taking a break from preparing for moose season.

Tia grew up in the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge on the Alaska Peninsula. The closest people to her family’s homestead were around 60 miles away in the communities of Egegik and King Salmon in Bristol Bay. To say she grew up remote is an understatement. Her parents, Phil and Rocky, who both have degrees in wildlife biology, instilled a deep reverence of and stewardship for their home in Tia and her brother Taj.

“The place taught us that as much as our parents. I wouldn’t trade growing up here for anything,” Tia said.

Tia calls her home the Serengeti of Alaska, and she’s not exaggerating. This year more than 57 million sockeye salmon returned to Bristol Bay to spawn. This incredible pulse of life acts as the foundation for the densest concentrations of brown bears and one of the richest ecosystems on earth.

“Salmon are everything. It’s been said so many times, but it’s true,” Tia said.

Tia’s life is intimately tied to salmon and brown bears. Her family runs a small fishing and hunting guiding operation called Grizzly Skins of Alaska. During the summer they guide fishing excursions and during the fall and, sometimes spring, they guide hunts. She has been helping out on moose hunts since she was 10. When she was 12 or 13, she started helping on brown bear hunts. Around then, her parents, fearing Tia and her brother were becoming too “bushy,” moved the family to the tiny community of Circle Hot Springs for a couple months each year to help socialize their kids. When Tia was 18, she got her assistant guide license. She’s been working as a wilderness guide in different capacities ever since.

Most hunters visiting Bristol Bay and the Alaska Peninsula come to pursue the region’s brown bears and moose. The paradoxical nature of brown bear and other forms of trophy hunting is difficult for many to come to terms with.

“There’s a magic to brown bear hunting,” Tia reflected. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

Study to investigate melting Malaspina Glacier, potential new bay

Study to investigate melting Malaspina Glacier, potential new bay
UAF researchers and partner institutions will use computer modeling to study the impact of climate change on Alaska’s rapidly melting Malaspina Glacier, pictured here. Researchers say the loss of the ice may create a new bay in southeastern Alaska.
UAF photo by Martin Truffer



Southeast Alaska:
Study to investigate melting Malaspina Glacier, potential new bay By FRITZ FREUDENBERGER - The rapidly melting Malaspina Glacier in southeastern Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park could create a new ocean bay, one feature in what may be the largest landscape transformation underway in the United States.

To better understand these changes, the National Science Foundation recently awarded researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and two partner institutions a $1.3 million grant to study its retreat.

The Malaspina is a piedmont glacier, a valley glacier that flows onto lowland plains. It’s the largest of its kind in the world — larger in area than Rhode Island — and it’s melting fast.

The researchers will collect comprehensive data on ice velocity and thickness, glacier bed conditions and other features to characterize the glacier under possible future climate scenarios. Scientists will use the data to create thousands of computer models to predict these outcomes under various conditions.

Martin Truffer, a professor of physics at the UAF Geophysical Institute, is the primary investigator on the project, which includes GI researchers Chris Larsen and Mark Fahnestock. Researchers from the University of Montana (including Doug Brinkerhoff, a former GI graduate student co-advised by Truffer), the University of Arizona and the National Park Service will collaborate on the project.

According to Truffer, melting of the Malaspina could open up a new bay in the coastline of Alaska within this century, altering the entire local ecosystem.

Truffer compared this landscape change to neighboring Yakutat Bay, which was full of ice from the Hubbard Glacier about 1,000 years ago. Hubbard retreated over a span of about 800 years, opening up Yakutat Bay. Hubbard’s loss was similar to the volume of ice the Malaspina stands to lose.

The melting of Malaspina could have significant impacts outside Alaska, too.

“Over the next few decades, a lot of what we’re seeing in terms of sea level rise is largely influenced by nonpolar ice,” Truffer said. “Alaska is near the very top of contributors, and, in Alaska, the Malaspina is one of the largest contributors.”

The Malaspina Glacier “comes spilling out of the St. Elias Mountains onto this coastal plane and looks like a pancake,” said Truffer. “It’s really an unusual glacier because it has so much ice at a low elevation.”

Its location makes the Malaspina especially vulnerable to an accelerated cycle of melting. As the ice melts, it comes into contact with more water, which speeds up the process. However, the ice can’t retreat out of the water because the bottom of the ice is so low, at some points 1,000 feet below sea level. This causes the Malaspina to thin rapidly, in some places several yards a year. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

An unnerving earthquake jolt, and a reassuring insect buzz

An unnerving earthquake jolt,
and a reassuring insect buzz

Broken wharf pilings remain visible at the former site of Valdez.

Alaska Science: An unnerving earthquake jolt, and a reassuring insect buzz By NED ROZELL - A few nights ago, stretched in a tent on the blue-gray gravel of the Lowe River floodplain, I woke to a series of sharp jolts. It felt like the earth was a giant halibut, and I was the fishing pole.

Earthquake! The ratcheting westward lasted only a few seconds, but I felt the helplessness every human does when solid ground is no longer the truth.

My first thought was of the day before, when I had walked through the open marsh grasses at the site of Old Valdez. I could still see some of the streets and concrete foundations of the former town, not far from where I later pitched my tent.

During the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 1964, water-saturated soils beneath Old Valdez become more liquid than solid — they underwent liquefaction — during shaking that lasted for more than four minutes.

That earthly violence caused mountains of sediments beneath the ocean’s surface to slide to the depths. The moving soil shoved mountains of water out of the way, generating a great wave.

At least 30 feet high, the wall of water hit Old Valdez, rebounded off rocks across the port, and nailed the town again. Thirty-two people died there, the highest death toll for any town due to the magnitude 9.2 earthquake. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020



TOM PURCELL: CHANGE VOTING AGE TO 16? TRY 80! - San Francisco residents will vote on a measure in November to allow teenagers as young as 16 to vote in local elections.
That’s according to The Hill, which also reports that in recent years, two women in Congress introduced measures to lower the voting age nationwide to 16.

One argument for doing so is that 16-year-olds are permitted to work and therefore must pay taxes – but, unable to vote for political leaders, they have no representation regarding how their tax “contributions” are spent.

Another is that young people should be able to help shape the world that they will run in the not-so-distant future.

Those are fair points. My response: We should raise the voting age to 80.

Youthfulness is wonderful – but not without its challenges where voting is concerned.

In our era of instant mass communication with millions through smartphones, the opportunity for misinformation to spread is incredible. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020


Joe GUZZARDI: JUAN WILLIAMS: BLACK JOBS DON’T MATTER - With less than two months until Election Day 2020, more and more news stories are focused on the pivotal African-American vote.

In a New York Times op-ed written by Fox News contributor Juan Williams, the author boldly wrote that “the black vote now defines American politics.” Williams’ commentary went on to provide a long list of reasons that Black Americans should support challenger Joe Biden over incumbent President Donald Trump.

Boiled down, Williams contends that African-Americans dislike President Trump because they perceive him as a racist. He believes that four more years of President Trump would be bad for Black and Latino Americans. As Williams wrote, “Black Americans have had enough,” and for them defeating Trump is “personal.” Fox News viewers know that Williams can barely contain his disdain for President Trump.

On one count, Williams is spot on. The Black vote, which is 12 percent of the national electorate, could determine whether President Trump remains in the White House or whether Biden achieves his five-decade long dream of ascending to the U.S. presidency. - More...
Friday PM - September 18, 2020

jpg Political Cartoon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933-2020

Political Cartoon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933-2020
By Dave Granlund ©2020,
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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KETCHIKAN SHOULD VOTE NO ON Ballot Measure 1, THE OIL TAX INITIATIVE By Bill Moran - We have seen this before. From 1985 through 1990 environmental groups, using the slogan “Save the Tongass,” promoted their prescriptions for “fixing” the environmental “problems” and economic “unfairness” caused by the long-term timber contracts. The result was the Tongass Timber Reform Act of 1990. By 2000 both pulp mills were closed, and we lost over 4200 jobs in Southeast Alaska.

Today, based on the slogan “Alaska’s Fair Share,” Alaskans are asked to vote “yes” on Proposition 1. This is a two-page tax bill drafted by a lawyer who has been engaged in litigation against the oil industry his entire career. Most Alaskans don’t know him. Most Alaskans haven’t read or digested the complex tax bill that Ballot Measure 1 would enact. Nevertheless, Alaskans are asked to trust that this anti-industry, anti-job individual’s tax bill will “fairly” pluck the golden goose and not strangle it.

Those who say that the oil industry won’t leave Alaska if Ballot Measure 1 passes are right. But they will go from investing in Alaska to find more oil, and creating new jobs to harvesting oil from their existing leases. Because production from oil fields on the North Slope naturally declines at a rate of 5-6% per year, we need investment just to keep oil flow around 500,000 barrels per day. - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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Ketchikan:  Vote “NO” on Proposition 1, and Focus on Opportunities to Participate in the Oil and Gas Industry By Jason Custer, Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce - The Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce urges residents to vote “NO” on ballot measure 1, the deceptively-named “Fair Share Act.”  Ballot measure 1 targets the oil and gas industry with increases to production taxes.  Increasing taxes will strongly discourage industry activity and investment in Alaska, and will lead to decreased production.  Less production means less revenue and fewer jobs for the State, as well as fewer deposits into the permanent fund. The concept of targeting Alaska’s oil and gas industry with higher taxes – when industry is already distressed by low oil prices and COVID-19 challenges to operations - is a classic case of threatening to kill the goose that has consistently laid golden eggs.

The contribution the oil and gas industry makes to our state today is already tremendous, and goes far beyond the production taxes which ballot measure 1 seeks to increase.  The McDowell Group reported that in 2019, In FY 2019, the oil and gas industry paid $2.7b in taxes and royalties to the State of Alaska.  This included $364m deposited into the Alaska permanent fund.  Total wages were $4.8 billion in 2018.  Every 1 job at an oil and gas primary company results in 8 more support jobs, plus an additional 7 jobs supported by oil-related taxes and royalties.  Together, oil and gas-related jobs make up 24% of all jobs in the State.

Oil and gas tax revenue has supported numerous capital appropriations investments in Ketchikan, including the expansion of our hospital, investments in renewable energy projects like Whitman Lake and the Swan Lake dam raise, creation of our library, additions to Ketchikan's hospital, and expansion of the Ketchikan Shipyard – projects which define us as a community.  State-wide, revenue paid from the oil and gas sector to the unrestricted general fund pays for 76% of the State’s match to Medicaid program funding, and 60% of education and early development - the equivalent of $7,479 per student enrolled in K-12 public schools in Alaska. - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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US-Canadian Border During COVID-19 By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in ways we could not have foreseen. One particularly cumbersome issue is Alaskans’ inability to travel to and through Canada. Most notably, our unique southern southeast town of Hyder - which shares a border with Stewart, British Columbia - is negatively impacted by travel restrictions.

Hyder is unique because of its relationship with Stewart; these neighboring communities rely heavily on each other and are economically tied together. In normal circumstances, Hyder residents frequently travel across the border for groceries and medical care. Access to Hyder is limited to private means (such as chartering a flight or using a personal watercraft) or through Stewart. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hyder has been almost completely isolated, and Hyder residents have not been able to cross the US-Canadian border without having to comply with an unrealistic 14-day quarantine between each border crossing.

Both communities are feeling the strain of these restrictions, so I wrote a letter of support in recognizing Hyder and Stewart as an integrated trans-border community. I sent this letter to Canadian Minister of Public Health and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair. By officially recognizing these towns as an integrated trans-border community, the 14-day quarantine would no longer apply for residents. - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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Elect Alyse Galvin to the U.S. Congress By Gail Weston Taylor - The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing and protecting women’s right to vote. Let’s celebrate this hard earned right by voting for Alyse Galvin, an Independent candidate for U.S. Congress running against Don Young.

Galvin, the Founder of Great Alaska Schools, is running for office to stand up for what she believes. Every Alaskan deserves a first-rate education. She understands a strong economy begins with strong education. Yes, I am biased as a retired teacher, mother and mother-in-law to two Alaskan (award winning) teachers, and grandmother of two Alaskan students.

I also support Galvin because she listens and respects the needs of all Alaskans. She has the energy and intelligence to do the hard work of representing our state. She has the desire and civility to work across the aisle. - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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Meaningful Local Election Reform By Trevor Shaw - In this campaign, I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about how we should be working to make our local governments more effective and efficient. That same approach, I believe, should be applied to our local election process.

Peter Stanton in his August 16, 2020 letter to SitNews, titled “Let’s Fix Local Elections in Ketchikan”, brought up a very valid concern: the process by which we elect candidates to fill seats on local governing bodies for terms of varying lengths.

At the time when Mr. Stanton wrote his letter, the filing period for local office had not yet closed. Since then, filing closed, and here’s what the ballot will look like this October: - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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Political Cartoon By A. M. Johnson - In the Saturday issue (9-12-20) of the Ketchikan Daily News editorial page the daily political caricature exceeded the lowest of the low for this season.

The depiction of our President spraying the monument of the unknown soldier with the word "Sucker". Who on the staff of the Ketchikan Daily News seeing this depiction, allowed it to be printed?

This depiction reflects the ignorance of the the current level of publishers given the trust of the public to present the events of the today, yesterday and applicable history in actuate detail substantiated by sources who identify, and verified fact.

The low opinion this writer has of the Ketchikan Daily News, is reinforced viewing this insult to the Unknowns, President and in turn, to we, his supporters and yes, supporters of the opposing political party.   

The editorial staff of the paper chose in printing this, one can assume, to reflect their personal political frustration knowing the positions presented by those Democrats they obviously support are not carrying the political day. - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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COVID Perspective By Robert B. Holston Jr. - Put it in perspective.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 2.8 million deaths per year in the United States.  That is circa 7,700 per day.  The COVID-19 death rate is now around 500 per day.  So far the US death rate has been over twice that but has improved recently to average about 500/day.  94% of all COVID deaths involved comorbidity conditions.  How many patients succumbing to COVID would have died from any other cause in the present year is probably a question that will be answered by some statistical analysis after the end of the year.  U.S. statistics to follow:

About 650,000 heart attack deaths per year occur in the U.S.  That is 1,780 deaths per day!

Cancer of all types is responsible for about 600,000 deaths per year in the U.S.   That is over 1,600 deaths per day! - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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THE CLUELESS CANDIDACY OF LESLIE BECKER By David G Hanger - I am sure by now most of you have seen all the signs around town announcing the candidacy of Leslie Becker for state representative. They are quite prolific. So I posed the question to one of our local elected officials, “Who the hell is Leslie Becker?” The response was, “She is a dangerous extreme right wing religious kook,” absolutely no hesitation in the response. I was a bit surprised by the adamancy.

Dan Ortiz has been around long enough everyone has something of a bitch with Dan Ortiz, but let me make a simple point: Dan Ortiz is one of us, and this gal ain’t. Her pretenses at expertise in this regard are particularly clueless.

My review of her materials indicates beyond any question our local elected official is spot on about this individual. She is basically a theocratic fascist, and that is her only real political interest. Everything else she says is just dumb. - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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"Losers - Poor suckers" By Robert B. Holston Jr. - As a member of the military for six years during the Vietnam era let me address President Trump’s alleged use of the words or phrases “Poor suckers” & “Losers”.

First I reference an online dictionary definition for “Poor sucker”: Someone who was tricked, duped, became a sitting duck or a sitting target. I can tell you that during my latter high school years when the nightly news was reporting daily deaths at a rate of 80 to 100 per day of mostly kids a couple of years older than me, dying in a pointless war, it  is easy to refer to those poor suckers as such because they were duped and were sitting ducks.  I was “enslaved” with a draft lottery number of 27 and college friends of mine who got lottery numbers above 200 and were considered “safe” from going to Vietnam may well have referred to me as a “poor sucker.”  I would not take offense at being called that as it would be meant as a term of compassion for my misfortune. 

I advanced in my military training and became a 2nd Lieutenant.  Statistically over 800 2nd Lieutenants died in Vietnam.  They were by common definition “sitting ducks” as they led their squads on patrols through the jungles of Vietnam. This word is also used for showing surprise or admiration for something as in ”Look at that sucker go!”  - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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Propaganda Disinformation Of Demagogues By Donald Moskowitz - Trump uses propaganda disinformation against our democratic institutions. He attacks our court systems, the FBI, intelligence agencies, Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in our election, the Ukraine episode, the Justice Department, news media, and our military. Trump refers to journalists as "enemies of the people", which was a phrase used by Stalin in Communist Russia. Like other demagogues Trump is trying to impose his distorted will on the public and the press. His wild statements pander to far right radicals who espouse un-American ideology, including the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville VA who Trump called fine people.

Trump has threatened the use of U.S. military forces to quell protests by U.S. citizens. Members of his administration, Congress and retired generals have expressed grave concern with this attack on our democracy and Constitution. - More...
Saturday AM - September 19, 2020

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