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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 27, 2020


Refuge Beach Sunset
Front Page Photo By RACHELLE SPEIGHTS ©2020
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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.
4. Photograph.
5. Email your information in text format and photos (jpg) to

Additional comments are allowed.
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)

Last day to register to vote is 30 days before the election. Register online at

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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Southeast Alaska: U.S. Department of Agriculture Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement With Full Exemption Alaska Roadless Rule By MARY KAUFFMAN - The U.S. Forest Service has released the final environmental impact statement for a regulation that would eliminate the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule on the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska.

After a public process, the Forest Service’s final Environmental Impact Statement identifies its Alternate Six – an unconditional, full exemption – as its preferred alternative. The Record of Decision (ROD) and final Alaska Roadless Rule are expected to be effective immediately after being published in late October.

Governor Mike Dunleavy welcomed news the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) calls for a full exemption from the so-called “Roadless Rule” on the Tongass National Forest, saying the action brings Alaska one step closer to opening the door to improved transportation infrastructure and broad benefits to the people and economy of Southeast Alaska.

“After conducting a thorough, multi-year public process the Forest Service has once again acknowledged that this onerous rule has imposed an unfair burden on our state,” Governor Dunleavy said. “We thank Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue and his team for conducting a thorough evaluation and proposing a reasonable accommodation for Alaska, and we look forward to release of the Final Alaska Roadless Rule.”

In 2001, the USDA adopted the Roadless Area Conservation Rule (2001 Roadless Rule). The roadless rule prohibited road construction, and cutting, selling or removing timber within inventoried roadless areas, with certain exceptions. The 2001 Roadless Rule applied nationwide and includes more than 45 million acres of national forests and grasslands. Currently, 9.2 million acres -- around 55% -- of the Tongass National Forest are designated and managed as inventoried roadless areas, which has limited economic opportunities in some areas. In Southeast Alaska, the rule dealt a near-fatal blow to the region’s logging industry, closing sawmills and ending the careers of hundreds of Alaskans.

The State of Alaska petitioned the Forest Service in 2018 to free 9.2 million acres of the 17-million-acre Tongass from the previous rule, saying it has unfairly blocked public access, including the roads essential to supporting a vital regional timber industry. In response, the USDA, Forest Service, and the State of Alaska agreed to examine state-specific rulemaking. In June 2018, the Secretary directed the Forest Service to begin evaluating state-specific roadless rule for Alaska.

For nearly two years, the USDA Forest Service reviewed citizen input provided through public meetings and subsistence hearings, written public comments, government-to-government consultations with federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native corporations, and engagement with cooperating agencies.

Under the proposed rule, projects will still need to go through a formal Forest Service permitting process, but road access will once again be a realistic option to support multiple-use management objectives in the Tongass.

“The communities of Southeast Alaska and the State as a whole will benefit from this decision in many ways, including improved access to public lands, and improved economics not only for the many users of the Tongass National Forest, but also those using the state and private lands surrounding the Tongass,” said Corri A. Feige, Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.

The governor noted that the Forest Service’s rulemaking process gave a voice to all interested parties, including the state-convened Alaska Roadless Rule Citizen Advisory Committee representing the region’s various interests. The state also participated as a cooperating agency, as did several tribal organizations.

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young (all R-Alaska) issued statements after the U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) published the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a Tongass-specific Roadless Rule. The final EIS includes six alternatives, with a full exemption selected as the preferred alternative.

“The Tongass is home to Alaskans who want what most Americans take for granted—the opportunity to live, work, and play in the communities in which they grew up,” Murkowski said. “A full exemption from the Roadless Rule is about access—access to recreation, renewable energy, and more. This puts us on track for a Record of Decision and final rule by the end of the year, in turn opening the door for individuals and communities throughout Southeast to build a more sustainable economy while still ensuring good stewardship of our lands and waters. I thank Secretary Perdue and the Forest Service team for their continued good work on this important rulemaking.”

“For nearly two decades, the Roadless Rule has stifled opportunities for Alaskans in Southeast to harvest timber, connect communities, develop minerals and build vital energy projects,” Sullivan said“With this new Tongass-specific regulation, the Forest Service has struck a better balance between conservation and fostering opportunities for Alaskans to make a living. I thank Secretary Perdue, Chief Christiansen, and the Forest Service team for working with Alaskans and reaching this critical stage on the path to a more responsible and workable Roadless Rule.” - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

Alaska: Pebble Mine Tape Reveal Plans to Build Massive 180-Year Mine at the Headwaters of Bristol Bay in Alaska Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Washington DC-based non-profit the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) last week released recordings of conversations between EIA investigators and executives of Pebble Limited Partnership and Northern Dynasty Minerals (Pebble), the companies behind the contested Pebble Mine project in Alaska. The recordings, which EIA has dubbed “The Pebble Tapes,” reveal Pebble’s plans to build a large and long-lived mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in western Alaska. 

According to the EIA the tapes also reveal Pebble’s apparent plans to use the infrastructure included in its mine plan to open up other expansive swathes of western Alaska to mining, including through the activation of the Donlin Mine, a project that already has federal permits and could become economically viable overnight if the Pebble project is approved. 

Topics were discussed between EIA investigators and Pebble on a number of other topics in the tapes including the Alaska Governor, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Northern Corridor, Alaska senators, Alaska politics, corporate structure, water treatment, Trump Administration and EPA veto. 

Following the release of the tapes, Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier resigned.

Tim Bristol, SalmonState executive director said, “Tom Collier is only leaving the Pebble Partnership because he got caught. Deception, dishonesty, greed and hubris are in the DNA of this company and at the heart of its existence. Pebble lies. We have always known this and now, thanks to these tapes, the rest of world knows it as well. Tom Collier was not the source of this corruption — he is indicative of it. In the wake of this week’s events, it’s imperative our leaders call for a halt to the Army Corps planning process, which was exposed as broken almost beyond belief.”

Tom Collier, the CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, and Ronald Thiessen, the president and CEO of Northern Dynasty, of which Pebble is a wholly-owned subsidiary, spoke with EIA investigators during August and September after the investigators expressed interest in investment opportunities related to the Pebble project. Their conversations, which were recorded, contain multiple statements by Collier and Thiessen that contradict, or in some instances color, previous public statements by company executives as well as assertions in official company materials that Pebble is intended to be only a small 20-year mine, as described in the Clean Water Act permit application for the project. 

Statements made by Collier in the recordings also call into question the Congressional testimony he submitted on behalf of Pebble regarding the company’s plans for expansion. In October 2019, Collier submitted written testimony to the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment stating that, “Pebble has planned a smaller, smarter mine” and that it has “no current plans, in its application or in any other way, for expansion.” - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

Fish Factor: 2020 Largely A Success for Alaska's Fisheries By LAINE WELCH - Some surprising results are revealed in the first of a series of briefing papers showing how Alaska’s seafood industry has been affected by the pandemic from dock to dinner plates.

The updates, compiled by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), show that so far the amount of seafood that has been harvested is in line with previous years.

“While 2020 harvests have been significantly lower in some salmon fisheries … the declines are due to weak runs rather than reduced effort or other forces that might have some connection with the pandemic,” according to the latest brief.

“If we forgot about the pandemic and we just look at how much has been harvested, we're similar to past years, so that's a vote of confidence there,” said Garret Evridge, a McDowell fishery economist.

Market disruptions and increased operating costs definitely put downward pressure on the value of all that seafood, with the price plummet at Bristol Bay being perhaps the most striking example. The preliminary value of the Bay’s fishery this year is $140.7 million (not including post-season bonuses), compared to the all-time high of $306.5 million in 2019.

“And that certainly seems to be the trend across nearly all species. Generally, the pandemic has depressed prices across the board,” Evridge said.

Also pushing down the value was a smaller processing work force. The extra efforts to manage and mitigate Covid-related risks “are believed to be the primary cause of a 13% overall decline reported for July 2020, a decline of 2,500 jobs from July 2019,” the September brief said. Chaotic market changes also forced workers to produce lower valued salmon products.

Using Bristol Bay again as an example, where a compressed run plugged processing plants with millions of salmon, time and labor constraints meant that most of the fish had to be headed/gutted and frozen or canned instead of being trimmed up for pricier fresh or frozen fillets.

“What that effectively does is it reduces the average value per pound of the Bristol Bay pack, which is particularly difficult in a year when operating costs have increased so much,” Evridge said.

Those added costs aren’t going away anytime soon.

There are no hard data yet but interviews with processors indicate at least $50 million has been spent so far by inshore and offshore sectors, said Dan Lesh, a McDowell senior analyst.

“It’s definitely an estimate and it's a number that's likely to increase, not only through the end of 2020, but into 2021 and as long as this pandemic is in effect. We're trying to communicate that the industry is sustaining real operating cost increases,” Lesh said.

"The industry is taking on these costs out of pocket at the same time we are facing severe disruption in key markets and multiple pre-Covid cost burdens,” said Cora Campbell, CEO of Silver Bay Seafoods at a July 29 U.S. Senate committee hearing.

“While a fraction of these costs may be reimbursed, we face significant uncertainty because there’s no specific congressional directive to support health and safety protocol costs for critical seafood supply chains," Campbell said, adding that Covid prevention measures have not been included so far in federal relief loans and funds.

The McDowell team is waiting a few more months to get a better understanding of how Covid has affected volumes and values of Alaska’s top export. August and September are the peak   export months for Alaska seafood; for salmon, about 75% of annual exports (by value) occur between July and October.

One advantage, Evridge said, is that global currency rates are playing in our favor. The dollar has trended weaker since February, making Alaska seafood more affordable to foreign buyers.

“It's important to focus on these bright spots,” Evridge said. “But there still is a big trade imbalance there with Russia, not to mention the ongoing trade war with China,” he said.

Overall, and despite all the difficulties, Evridge called 2020 “largely a success” for Alaska’s fisheries.

“We're still harvesting five to six billion pounds of seafood, the values are down, but we haven't fallen off a cliff,” he said. “If you just think back to the early stages of the pandemic, we were talking about the possibility of Bristol Bay not even opening and some of the worst scenarios weren't actually realized. So that's a real positive." - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

jpg Ketchikan's Yates Memorial Hospital Among America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Ketchikan's Yates Memorial Hospital Among America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places
Yates Memorial Hospital, Ketchikan, Alaska
Built in 1905 as a clergy house for the Episcopal Mission, the building was re-purposed in 1909 to serve as a 12-bed hospital during the boom years of Ketchikan’s growth


Ketchikan: Ketchikan's Yates Memorial Hospital Among America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places - During an unforgettable, transformative year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveils its much-anticipated list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.  On the 2020 list is the Yates Memorial Hosptial in Ketchikan.

The good news is that these potential losses are wholly preventable, if the decision is made to take action to save these 11 places that have made a lasting impact on American culture. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

Ketchikan: Printing Error of Ketchikan Borough Absentee-By-Mail Envelopes Being Remedied - On Friday, September 18, 2020, the Ketchikan Borough Clerk’s Office mailed out the first batch of absentee-by-mail ballot packets for the October 6, 2020 Borough Election. We learned on Saturday, September 19th that a small portion of the packets mailed included an incorrectly printed return envelope. While the process of confirming correct addresses continues, the total number of envelopes bearing incorrect return addresses is estimated to be in the range of 15-25.  

The by-mail envelopes were printed by PrintWorks out of Homer, Alaska. PrintWorks is a reputable company that specializes in printing ballots and envelopes for state and municipal elections. The Borough has been contracting with PrintWorks for over two decades for printing of election ballots and materials. This is the first instance that the Clerk’s Office is aware of an error occurring. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

Ketchikan: Public meeting scheduled Oct. 1. for Square Island Subdivision sale - The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposes to sell approximately 150 acres of state-owned land within the Square Island Subdivision project area, approximately 35 miles north of Ketchikan. Up to 40 parcels no smaller than one acre will be surveyed and offered for sale for the purpose of providing land for settlement.

DNR will hold a public meeting from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1 at The Landing Hotel in order to gather information about public priorities and concerns within the project area. The meeting will also be streamed live online using Microsoft Teams. This will not be a formal public hearing. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

Alaska: Alaska Legal Services Corporation, Perkins Coie Launch Pro Bono Legal Clinic to Help Local Small Businesses and Nonprofits Navigate COVID Pandemic - Recently, the Alaska Legal Service Corporation, along with the law firm Perkins Coie, launched a virtual legal clinic, offering pro bono legal consultations for Alaskan small business owners and nonprofits to help them navigate the COVID-19 economic crisis and relief programs.

The clinic is part of a nationwide program developed by the Lawyers for Good Government Foundation, a non-profit network of more than 125,000 legal advocates with lawyers in all 50 states.

Qualifying small businesses and nonprofits of 50 or fewer employees will be offered free 45-minute phone or virtual consultations with pro bono attorneys who can answer legal questions and help determine the best path forward for their companies. Consultations will include helping small business owners or nonprofits understand the legislative language in the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and answer any questions related to employment, contracts, commercial leases, insurance and insolvency issues.

“We are so grateful to the private bar for pitching in during this crisis and making sure that the small businesses within our community have the legal resources they need to navigate these rough waters.  Alaska Legal Services couldn’t be happier to support this effort,” said Nikole Nelson, Executive Director of Alaska Legal Services Corporation. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020


Pacific NW: Invasive shrimp-sucking parasite continues northward Pacific expansion onward to Alaska - Researchers have identified an invasive blood-sucking parasite on mud shrimp in the waters of British Columbia's Calvert Island. The discovery represents the northern-most record of the parasite on the West Coast and is likely an indication of its ability to spread without human transport.

Orthione griffenis, a cough drop-sized crustacean native to Asia and Russia, has decimated mud shrimp populations in California and Washington over the past 30 years, causing the collapse of delicate mudflat ecosystems anchored by the shrimp. By the 2000s, it had reached as far as Vancouver Island. The discovery of O. griffenis at Calvert Island, described in a new study, represents a northward leap of more than 180 miles.

Scientists found the parasite during a 2017 bioblitz, organized by the Hakai Institute and the Smithsonian Institution's Marine Global Earth Observatory, in which they intensely surveyed and documented marine life.

"I was on the lookout for things that seemed out of place," said study lead author Matt Whalen, a Hakai postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia who studies coastal biodiversity. "But this particular parasite wasn't initially on my radar."

Most scientists believed the parasites' expansion was exclusively mediated by human transport - O. griffenisis thought to have first arrived in North America by traveling in ships' ballast water. Their appearance at Calvert Island, 150 miles from the nearest city of more than 5,000 people, shows "clearly, they can do it on their own," said study co-author Gustav Paulay, curator of invertebrate zoology at the Florida Museum of Natural History.  

"This is such an astonishingly spectacular part of the planet," he said. "During the bioblitz, one of the things we talked about was that there were no invasive species at all. And then we found this thing."

Whalen described the find as "a bit depressing."

"We tended to associate this parasite with places that have a lot of marine traffic and aquaculture, like California and Oregon," he said in a statement. "Finding them on Calvert Island really suggests that there's very little preventing the spread because of the parasite's life cycle."

The parasite is a bizarre crustacean called a bopyrid isopod. In the pre-adult part of its life, it hitches a ride on planktonic copepods - an intermediate host that allows the isopods to travel to new and far-flung mudflats in search of shrimp blood. As adults, the parasites attach to the gills of another crustacean host, in this case a mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis, and proceed to sap the life from it. Infected mud shrimp are so hard done by that they lack the required energy to reproduce. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

Without otter predation, sea urchins decimate Aleutian reefs

Without otter predation, sea urchins
decimate Aleutian reefs

Sea urchins dine on a reef in the Aleutian Islands. Urchins, which boomed after sea otters disappeared, destroyed many kelp forests on the reefs and are now eating the algae-filled reefs, which are weakened by ocean acidification.
Photo by J. Tomoleoni/U.S. Geological Survey



Alaska: Without otter predation, sea urchins decimate Aleutian reefs By ALICE BAILEY - Scientists have linked sea urchins, otters and climate change to the destruction of reefs in the Aleutian Islands in a new study published in Science.

Uncontrolled by sea otters, their natural predator, sea urchins are devouring the massive limestone reefs surrounding the Aleutian Islands — a process exacerbated by climate-driven changes in the marine environment, according to the study. 

Brenda Konar, a University of Alaska Fairbanks professor at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and a co-author of the study, began diving in the Aleutians in the 1990s, just as the Aleutian sea otter population began to crash from killer whale predation.

With otters gone, the urchin population boomed both in body size and density. They began eating more kelp, which grows on the reefs.

“In the past, there would be huge, vast kelp forests that went on for miles,” Konar said. “Now there are carpets of sea urchins everywhere — some places easily have 400 urchins per square meter. Kelp forests are essentially gone in the central and western Aleutians.”

The Aleutian reefs and their kelp beds serve as nursery grounds for cod and other fish. The 1,200-mile archipelago helps support the annual multibillion-dollar Bristol Bay and Bering Sea fisheries.

Having decimated the kelp, urchins are now eating Clathromorphum nereostratum, the algae that creates the reefs. 

Large urchins are chomping away at a faster rate than the algae can grow. “These long-lived reefs are now disappearing before our eyes,” said Douglas Rasher, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and lead author of the study.

Researchers looking at cross sections of the algae under a microscope found that growth layers in the tissue recorded urchin grazing over time. The amount of erosion caused by urchins waxed and waned with sea otter populations. This showed that predators, or lack thereof, were critical factors in determining the vulnerability of Aleutian island reefs. 

But, Rasher said, “Our research shows that sea urchin grazing has become much more lethal in recent years due to the emergent effects of climate change.”

The scientists replicated preindustrial, current and future seawater temperature and acidity in the lab with live Clathromorphum and urchins. They found 35 to 60 percent more grazing in current conditions than in preindustrial conditions, and even more under future conditions.

“Ocean warming and acidification are making it difficult for calcifying organisms to produce their shells, in this case, the alga’s protective skeleton. This critical species has now become highly vulnerable to urchin grazing — right as urchin abundance is peaking. It’s a devastating combination,” Rasher said. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020


DAVE KIFFER: We're on a Flight to Nowhere!! - I don't know about you, but I actually miss flying.

I miss just missing the airport ferry and having to wait a half an hour more just to get across.

i miss completely disrobing at TSA on the off chance I am trying to smuggle a five-ounce Jack Daniels in a body cavity.

I miss the unbearable plastic chairs in the terminal and the incomprehensible airport TV.

I miss the person sitting next to me shouting into her cell phone.

"Yes, we're at the airport. Yes, we're on time. Yes, I remembered to turn the stove of!!!!"

I miss sitting with the middle seat open only to have a very, very, very large person get on the plane at the very, very last minute and plop down into it.

I miss hearing the safety lecture half a dozen times between Ketchikan and Anchorage.

I miss the wind tunnel roller coaster between Wrangell and Petersburg.

I miss the landing smackdown in Sitka.

I just miss flying.

Sure, I get that,  in these COVID times, you just really don't want to fly if it means spending an entire vacation in quarantine.  Or having Q-tips go in your nose and out your ears. Or sharing a completely enclosed cigar-shaped metallic space with someone who's forehead is so warm your earbuds are starting to melt.

But, just maybe, there's another way.

How about a "Flight to Nowhere?"

This is not an original idea, there are people in Asia and Australia and the Middle East who are doing just that. Airlines are offering short, socially distanced flights that leave airports and - return - to those same airports.

They're kinda like airborne booze cruises. Plenty of snacks and alcohol. Some even often gourmet meals.

You basically get to relive all the "pleasures" of flight without actually going anywhere - and having to quarantine! - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

jpg Political Cartoon: Who's undecided?

Political Cartoon: Who's undecided?
By John Darkow©2020, Columbia Missourian
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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RE: SEITC Responds to UN Special Rapporteur’s Report’ By R. Brent Murphy - I am writing to clarify statements made in the recent news release published by SitNews titled ‘SEITC Responds to UN Special Rapporteur’s Report’ where referring to impacts of upstream dams, one of the recommendations from the report said ‘Canada should take proactive measures to prevent environmental harm and respect concerns of risk of harm including where host countries have put in place no-go-zones for resource extraction’. Mr. Frederick Olsen Jr was quoted responding to this recommendation, “Exactly! On their side of the border, they want the KSM mine which would be one of the world’s largest mines but a few miles away, on our side, we have Misty Fjords National Monument and plenty of sacred sites.”

The above statement by Mr. Olsen does not stand true for Seabridge Gold’s KSM Project. The KSM Project’s Tailings Management Facility is located in the upper reaches of the Bell Irving River Basin and drains into Canadian waters, not the Unuk River, or any other US waterway. To imply otherwise is simply incorrect.

Further, the proposed KSM Project successfully completed a rigorous independent joint harmonized BC- CANADA Environmental Assessment over a seven-year period (2007-2104), a regulatory review that also involved both US Federal and State representatives working alongside Provincial and Federal regulators. As we experienced, the BC EA process includes a five-pillar assessment and ensures that any potential environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects that may occur during the lifetime of a major project, are thoroughly assessed. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

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National Forensic Science Week 2020 By David Kanaris - When I tell people I’m a forensic scientist they either immediately start probing me for the latest gruesome autopsy story or ask if we found the guilty party. Fortunately for me I do neither of these things. What forensic scientists do is take evidence from a crime scene and use science to answer questions. The questions can be manifold – who touched the knife? which gun fired a specific bullet? what is that white powder? did this shoe make that impression? We have a vast number of tools, techniques and methods at our disposal to help us answer those questions clearly and impartially.

A forensic scientist’s mission is to provide scientific support to the criminal justice system. This can come in many forms, the most common of which is analysis of evidence and report writing. However, some of us are called to crime scenes. Occasionally we’re asked to testify in court, and we provide trainings to prosecutors and public defenders. We also train law enforcement officers in proper recovery techniques and evidence handling. 

An important thing to know about forensic scientists is that most will do just about anything to avoid the limelight but...

This is National Forensic Science Week, and that means we need to recognize the dedicated and diligent professionals who come to work every day and expose themselves to the worst acts of humanity in pursuit of scientific truth.  - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

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DMV Issues in District 36 By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Over the past six weeks, I’ve had multiple people reach out to me with issues pertaining to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The most vocalized concern is that the Ketchikan DMV is no longer giving road tests, which means new drivers must travel to other communities to take their road test. Another concern recently brought to my attention is the temporary closure of the Wrangell DMV office. Although some delays and changes are to be expected during the pandemic, the lack of access over the past few months and weeks has been frustrating.

I have been in contact frequently with the Alaska Department of Administration, which houses the DMV. Originally, they claimed that Ketchikan road tests would be administered “by September,” but unfortunately, we are nearly through September still with no access.

Part of the issue has been trying to find “pandemic-safe” methods for administering the road test. They developed a solution of keeping both applicants and examiners safe by using Garmin and GoPro devices. The equipment has been ordered, and the division’s current priority is to “train staff and deploy testing in all markets.” In a more recent update from the department, they reassured me that testing would start as soon as possible.

In Wrangell, the closure situation is unexpected and temporary. Between staff turnover and COVID, there is no one properly trained to run the DMV office. However, the department has hired a full-time position and is in the process of filling the part-time position. The Wrangell DMV is set to reopen in October. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

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Vote ‘YES” on Proposition 1 By David G. Hanger - How much did the oil companies pay the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce to get them to go along with the continued theft of our oil, for nothing? The sense of entitlement being endorsed here by the local Chamber of Commerce is very much an “us and them” routine. Certain people are entitled to steal everything without consequence; the rest of us are just supposed to suck it up and pay for it.

Vote ‘YES’ on Proposition 1. These folks are constantly carping about how they will increase your Permanent Fund Dividend and want to restore the ferry service; all of which is a damned lie without a source of revenue. The oil companies have been stealing us blind since 1980. In the past ten years alone the rip-off exceeds $20 billion by a considerable sum.

There would have been plenty of money to finance everything in this state in the past decade. Instead all reserve accounts are drained; gone. Without substantially increased royalties and taxes on the oil companies there will be no PFDs, there will be no ferries, no senior citizen homes. There will in short be next to nothing. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

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Vote for Joe Biden By Hallie Engel - I hope you will consider voting for Joe Biden in the upcoming election.

Biden is an honest, decent and caring man. These character traits go a long way for many of us, and I believe they will help our country heal from the more than 200,000 deaths we've experienced due to the mismanagement of the coronavirus.

Biden truly cares about our military men and women. He is the father of a veteran who served overseas, and has committed himself to ensuring people in the armed forces are paid well and that their spouses receive support.

Biden understands the loss so many Americans have experienced due to the pandemic, and has lived through the deaths of his first wife and some of his children. He plans to dramatically increase testing, listen to scientists, provide essential workers with PPE and ensure that equipment is produced in America as we move forward. - More...
Sunday PM - September 27, 2020

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