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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 20, 2012

Front Page Photograph by PAUL HOVIK

F15 Eagles & Tanker
Eight F15s and their tanker raised eyebrows as they passed over Ketchikan Saturday. The F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters. The Eagle first flew in July 1972, and entered service in 1976.
Front Page Photograph by PAUL HOVIK ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

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Southeast Alaska: Alaska Timber Task Force Releases Report; Recommends expanding state forests, addressing needs of small timber operatorsThe Alaska Timber Task Force released its report this week to Governor Sean Parnell recommending steps to improve economic conditions in Alaska’s forest-dependent communities.

Created by Administrative Order 258, the nine-member Alaska Timber Jobs Task Force reviewed issues affecting Alaska’s timber industry. Largely due to declining timber volume offered for sale by the U.S. Forest Service, the Southeast Alaska timber industry has nearly collapsed.

“Inadequate federal timber sales and reckless lawsuits by environmental groups bent on stopping all logging, and wiping out Alaska jobs along the way, are unacceptable,” Governor Parnell said. “This report provides clear and reasonable steps that can assist communities, schools, small businesses, and families in Southeast Alaska.”

Key recommendations include placing up to 2 million acres of federal land in a trust managed by the state, and seeking federal legislation granting states the option of running timber sale programs on federal lands. A state-run program would operate under state forestry standards and state laws.

The report looked at the state of the timber industry throughout Alaska. The industry is small but growing in the Interior and Southcentral Alaska, largely due to a dependable supply from state-managed timberland, according to the report. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources and businesses are working together as woody biomass becomes a cost-effective heating and energy option in rural Alaska.

In Southeast Alaska, however, the downward spiral of lost jobs and closed schools has continued. Despite federal law requiring enough timber sales to meet demand, the Forest Service choked off the timber supply; two of the last three mid-sized mills have closed. - More...
Saturday - October 20, 2012

Southeast Alaska: Tongass National Forest Says Big Thorne Project Will Promote Economic Stability – Following the release of the Alaska Timber Task Force report this week recommending steps to improve economic conditions in Alaska’s forest-dependent communities, the Tongass National Forest announced Friday it is proposing the Big Thorne timber sale project in response to the need to provide a stable timber supply in Southeast Alaska to support local sawmill operations and encourage investment in the wood products industry as it transitions to include more young-growth harvest and restoration activities.

The Forest’s timber program has historically focused on harvesting old-growth timber in an effort to meet market demand, as directed by the Tongass Timber Reform Act, and to provide jobs in local communities.  As a result, the forest products industry and infrastructure in Southeast Alaska is primarily scaled to handle large diameter wood.  The alternatives in the Big Thorne Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement include a mix of old-growth and young-growth timber harvest to sustain the current industry and build a supply of young-growth timber for future operations.

“The Forest recognizes the importance of developing a sustainable, young-growth supported timber program,” said Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. “The Big Thorne Project is an important bridge to getting to that future.”

Maintaining and diversifying the current Southeast Alaska timber industry is critical. It is also essential during the transition from predominantly old-growth to young-growth harvest that the existing workforce with local knowledge and experience is retained. History has shown that losing the skills and infrastructure of an existing forest products industry makes it very difficult for a new industry to emerge.

The Forest developed an integrated, 5-year timber program, of which the Big Thorne Project is a major component. This program of work will allow the Southeast Alaska timber industry to adjust, adapt, and develop markets for new wood products. To do this and to keep ahead of yearly demand, having at least three years of wood under contract for each mill is the Forest’s goal.

“At this time, the majority of young-growth trees on the Tongass National Forest are too small or young to harvest. These trees will begin to be ready in 10-15 years and can start to replace old-growth harvest in about 20 years,” said Cole. “The Big Thorne Project will provide stability to local mills now by supplying timber for up to ten years, while allowing the Forest to increase investments in young-growth planning.”

The Big Thorne Project is significantly larger than projects the Tongass National Forest has put forward in recent years. The Forest is proposing this large timber sale to provide a stable timber supply, create efficiencies in Forest Service timber sale preparation, and focus old-growth harvest in fewer areas of the Forest versus scattering them throughout. - More...
Saturday - October 20, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Louie WhickerLOUIE WHICKER - Louie's Blog - My teacher Kevin Clevenger is the focus of Louie's Blog this week. Being humble and with pride, he did not want me to write about him in Louie's Blog.

Born in Ketchikan and raised in Metlakatla, Kevin has a big family with five children.

Fom the Tsimshian Nation and of the Raven Clan, Kevin and his girlfriend Natasha Kapralov lead a Tsimshian dance group. The group sings and dances a mixture of contemporary and traditional songs. Kevin isan apprentice carver and learned to carve under Uncle Wayne Hewson, who is a master carver. Kevin is also learning the language of the Tsimshian people, Shmalgyax. His teacher is Terri Burr.

Kevin served ten years in the U.S. Army and is a combat veteran and I thank him for his service. - More...
Saturday - October 20, 2012

RICH RUBINO: Make Every Vote Equal: What a Novel Idea - For the majority of American voters, this election season is a mere spectator sport. Under the winner-take-all electoral system, only about 10 states receive laser-like attention from the Presidential nominees. The rest of the states, representing the vast majority of Americans, are relegated to the electoral sidelines.

The practical application of this is that a select group of Americans residing in geopolitically advantageous locations receive special attention, while the concerns of Americans residing in “safe states” are largely ignored. It is not uncommon for Presidents to compromise their ideological objectives just to propitiate voters in battleground states. - More...
Saturday - October 20, 2012

jpg Tom PurcellTOM PURCELL: An Interview with Big Bird - A butler opens the door of the large Sesame Street brownstone and guides me to the parlor. Big Bird is sitting on a large couch, wearing a silk smoking jacket, holding a bourbon and enjoying a drag on what appears to be an unfiltered Camel cigarette.

Purcell: Thank you for agreeing to my interview request, Big Bird, but I am shocked to see you drinking and smoking. I thought you were only 6.

Big Bird: I'm a character actor, man. Forty years ago, I took the only role a tall, yellow lark could find. When I'm off the set, it's party time.

Purcell: You've been in the news lately. Mitt Romney said he'd cut your public funding. President Obama used you in a political ad to attack Romney. What are your thoughts on this turn of events? - More...
Saturday - October 20, 2012


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Update in Progress

letter Formula for Disaster: Governor’s Timber Task Force By Lindsey Ketchel - The report of the Governor’s Timber Task Force, released this week, is a formula for disaster. The grandiose and unrealistic plan would remove over 2 million acres from the Tongass National Forest and remove federal protections for salmon streams and other vital habitat. The recommendations are based in confrontational politics and a misguided nostalgia for times past. The small group that made these tired and familiar recommendations was not representative in any way of the diverse stakeholders of the Tongass. The extreme overreach of this report will exacerbate the conflict over land management in Southeast Alaska, leading to a dangerous stalemate that will hurt the people who are actively working on the public land of the Tongass today and diminish their chances for a prosperous future. - More...
Saturday - October 20, 2012

letter VP Debate By Rob Holston - CNN Wolf Blitzer, commenting on the VP debate, said one issue was “women’s right to abortion.” Is there anyone else out there who actually recognizes the liberal left wing position that Blitzer demonstrates with this supposedly “neutral” (CNN) comment? - More...
Monday PM - October 15, 2012

letter Support Rep. Peggy Wilson By Linda Koons Auger - I will be voting for Representative Peggy Wilson for House District 33 on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th.  For those of you that seem to be worried about a candidate being “LOCAL”, I would say that “SENIORITY” is what you should be concerned about! Losing one House seat due to re-districting places our community and Southeast Alaska in a potentially precarious position in the Legislature. In a 40-member House of Representatives, the SENIORITY Representative Wilson brings to the table is invaluable.   - More...
Monday PM - October 15, 2012

letter Theft By Jeff Lundberg - I must proclaim my disgust to the person who stole the donation jar from the Craig library on October 11 during business hours. - More...
Monday PM - October 15, 2012

letter Timely President's speech By A. M. Johnson - As a staunch conservative constitutional voting citizen who has NEVER voted Democrat for the obvious philosophical reasons allows me to suggest that a speech by this Democrat given in today's strain of Democrats would have current Democrats screeching much as finger nails on a black board to attempt shutting out the words. Doubt me? Then listen to that speech and you draw your conclusions of what the Democratic Party was and where it is today. - More...
Monday PM - October 15, 2012

letter The Bait-and-Switch on Alaskan Energy By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - An alliance of environmental activists and Democratic politicians has spent decades blocking the efforts of Alaskans to access the rich energy resources of our state.

When Alaskans wanted to open the 1002 area of ANWR to exploration and production, opponents of progress stymied our efforts with fear-mongering and obstructionism. In so doing, they frequently pointed to the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska in the northwest corner of the state as a preferable location for drilling. This, they argued, would protect the coastal plain of ANWR. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 10, 2012

letter New Trade Agreement Could Hurt U.S. Companies By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Obama administration is currently negotiating another free trade agreement, which will increase the likelihood of awarding federal contracts to foreign companies located on the Pacific Rim.  Countries in Southeast Asia will benefit by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), add jobs, while the U.S. could lose more manufacturing jobs. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 10, 2012

letter Open Letter: Alaska Airlines & TSA By Donna Lewis - I flew to Seattle urgently due to a family emergency last Wednesday.  The cost of my ticket $508.40.  Being in the frame of mind that I was, I had not thought to look in my "wallet" on Alaska Air to discover that there was a 30% discount, and unfortunately since I had already booked the ticket I was not able to use that discount.  I booked my flight last night to return today and used the 30% discount with this return flight.  This cost was a total of $364.30.  All in total, my round trip ended up costing me a total of $872.70 and that was for flying in coach. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 10, 2012

letter Fair Tax Plan By Roy T Newsom - The unemployment report at 7.8% with 32 days left before the election gives a false impression.  Not counted were those who have stopped looking for a job, unemployment is closer to 14% with over 23,000,000 Americans unemployed or under-employed. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 10, 2012 

letter Fair Tax By Irving B. Welchons III - Both presidential candidates are making noise about how their tax plan will help you and their opponents will harm you.  Neither of them has talked about a plan that has been put before congress that would eliminate the income tax, payroll taxes and the IRS. - More..
Wednesday PM - October 10, 2012 

letter We strengthen ourselves by voting By Ishmael Hope - In November of 1912, thirteen men and one woman gathered together in Juneau to organize the Alaska Native Brotherhood, which is now celebrating its momentous Centennial in Sitka where its first camp was organized. The Founders included Peter Simpson, Ralph Young, Frank Price, Paul Liberty, Seward Kunz, James Watson, Frank Mercer, Chester Worthington, James C. Johnson, George Fields, Eli Katanook, William Hobson, Andrew Wanamaker and Marie Orsen. The Founding Fathers and Mother of the Alaska Native Brotherhood likely couldn't have imagined in their wildest dreams the great achievements of the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood. They gathered together to protect their people, and they proved to be enormously successful. - More...
Friday PM - October 05, 2012

letter Matt Olsen for State Rep. By Karen Eakes - As a teacher in the School District, I have known Matt Olsen since he was an elementary school student at Valley Park School. As a parent, I have known Matt as a high school friend of one of our daughters and as a fine musician in the Concert Band.  Then, years later I got to know him much better as an adult with a young family and a responsible job at the University. - More...
Friday PM - October 05, 2012

letter World Teachers' Day: October 5th By Arne Duncan - World Teachers’ Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of teachers across the globe. Education is recognized worldwide as the most important driver of economic growth and social change, and teachers are the ones leading the way. - More...
Friday PM- October 05, 2012

letter City of Ketchikan Taxes By Douglas Thompson - Well the city taxes are coming due once more.  It is frustrating to give hard earned money to the city manager to waste.  It is more so when one such tax is illegal.  I refer to the city boat tax.  A tax that the borough has dropped for its residents even though their boats may be in city harbors.  Seems highly discriminatory although that is not why I refer to it as illegal.  The city wishes us as citizens to follow its enacted statutes but they in turn do not seem to feel obligated to follow the higher laws that govern them (state and federal).  - More...
Friday - September 28, 2012

letter TIME FOR ALASKA TO ALIGN WITH THE ASIAN MARKET By Bill Walker - Since the award of the AGIA contract, Alaska has funded Exxon/TransCanada in the amount of $188 million, yet Alaska  has not been told the results of the first July 2010 open season.  However, Asia’s strong demand for Valdez LNG was confirmed on September 14th when the Alaska Gasline Port Authority submitted nominations, on behalf of Asian buyers, in response to ExxonMobil/ TransCanada's AGIA second solicitation of interest.  As discussed below, the Port Authority has made those nominations public in the hope of encouraging open discourse about what steps must be taken immediately to monetize North Slope gas. - More...
Friday - September 28, 2012

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