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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

October 03, 2015

Front Page Photograph By JACY PIERSON

Prince of Wales: Swimming Deer
Sitka Black-tailed yearling buck with just nubs for horns and a doe swimming from one small island to another.
Front Page Photograph By
Select your favorite Photo of the Month. The photographer with the most likes for the month will receive $100. Only LIKES on SitNews' Facebook page will be counted. If you don't use FB, email your choice to the editor.
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Ketchikan: For the 13th year, Sitnews will be providing a FREE web page to all local 2015 candidates.
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2. Candidates are requested to address what they would like to accomplish if elected and issues of concern.
3. Send Photographs
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5. Email to by September 30, 2015.

Don't delay, take time to communicate with the voters. Voting takes place on Oct. 6th.

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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Borough Assembly Considers Urging State to Include Permanent Fund in Fiscal Plan By MARY KAUFFMAN - As Permanent Fund Dividends are being distributed to Alaskans in Ketchikan and around the state this week, the Ketchikan Borough Assembly will consider a resolution urging the State of Alaska to implement a long-range fiscal plan which will include the utilization of Permanent Fund earnings. This resolution is just one of many items on the Borough Assembly's agenda to be discussed Monday, October 5, 2015.

Ketchikan Borough Assembly Considers Urging State to Include Permanent Fund in Fiscal Plan

Ketchikan Borough Assembly Chambers, 1900 First Avenue, Suite 144 (WhiteCliff Building).
Courtesy Google Maps...

At the current pace of spending, the State is anticipated to drain the Constitutional Budget Reserve and Statutory Budget Reserve account in the years to come. Three primary sources of revenue have been discussed to help bridge the fiscal gap: tapping Permanent Fund earnings, a statewide sales tax and/or an income tax. The Ketchikan Assembly will consider in new business Resolution 2619 which if passed, will encourage the State of Alaska to implement a long-range fiscal plan which, among other things, utilizes Permanent Fund earnings and cuts State spending.

A position paper from former Fairbanks Senator Gary Wilken describing the impacts of each fiscal solution on citizens was provided for consideration as well as a document on economic considerations with revenue options from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

According to Sen. Wilken's "Everyone Helps A Little" fiscal plan, $1 billion can be raised for the state's General Fund by:

  • asking middle class working Alaskans to pay $1,700 a year in an income tax, or
  • asking all Alaskans and visitors to pay a sales tax costing $1,990 a year, or
  • the Legislature can draw $1 billion from the Permanent Fund Earning account (ERA) at a cost to every Alaskan of less than $100 the first year and a total cost, over five years, of $172.

According to KGB's Resolution 2619, failure to develop a long-term plan to deal with the fiscal challenges will have serious ramifications for the Alaska economy and is evidenced by the decision by Standard & Poor to lower Alaska's credit outlook from "stable" to "negative" in August. Moody's Investors Service revised its outlook for Alaska in December 2014 from "stable" to reflect a "negative" outlook also.

Alaska House Rules Chairman Craig Johnson (R-Anchorage) said, “Alaska is an owner state, and the dividend represents each Alaskan’s personal stake in the management of our resource wealth." Johnson said the PFD creates an “ownership” interest that helps connect Alaskans to the Permanent Fund and keeps politicians from raiding it.

Representative Johnson said, “Like shareholders in a corporation, Alaskans through the dividend have a stake in what happens to the Permanent Fund.” As a result, Johnson said, politicians are very reluctant to tamper with it. “Anyone thinking about raiding the Permanent Fund knows they’ll have to answer to Alaskans.” - More...
Saturday PM - October 03, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Native American Remains Unearthed in Southeast Alaska - A delivery of dirt for constructing new aviaries at the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines contained part of a human skull, according to a report from Alaska Public Media. At first, the volunteers who discovered the bone did not recognize what they had found. “Everyone was pretty much just in shock - eyes wide, jaws dropped. This doesn’t happen to real people, this is something that you’d only see in a movie or something,” said raptor curator Chloe Goodson.

Haines police responded to the call, and brought in anthropologist Anastasia Wiley, who determined that the remains are those of a Native American woman who was at least 40 years old at the time of death, most likely sometime before 1700. - More...
Saturday PM - October 03, 2015



Fish Factor: Few bright spots in permit prices By LAINE WELCH - “Unsettled” best describes the mood among brokers in the business of buying, selling and trading Alaska salmon permits and quota shares of various catches.

For salmon permits, “the dust hasn’t really settled” since the season ended, said Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer, but at the moment, prices are tanking across the board.

“There were a few bright spots but several areas in the state did not do well, either because of production or price or both. That’s put a downward press on permit prices,” he added.

Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits have taken the biggest hit after another huge sockeye run ran into a perfect storm of backlogged markets, depressed global currencies and record imports of foreign farmed fish. Bay fishermen were shocked to get a base price of 50 cents a pound, down from an average $1.34 last summer.

“Those permit prices in the spring were as high as $175,000 and last week we sold one for $112,000. That’s a big drop in just a few short months. And we see a similar pattern with other salmon gillnet permits,” Bowen said, adding that “there is almost no interest – not yet anyway.”

Likewise, there’s little action in the salmon seine permit market.

“It will be interesting to see what happens at Prince William Sound,” Bowen said. “They had a record year with 97 million pinks but got just 20 cents a pound. So great production, lousy price. There are several permits on the market at $200K, but no interest. And at Kodiak, several seine permits are listed at under $40,000, but again, no interest yet.”

Salmon power troll permits were the only ones moving in Southeast Alaska, according to Olivia Olsen at Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg. At listings of $35,000 to $46,000 “those are still down $5,000,” she said.

Both brokers agree that as salmon forecasts come out for next year, buying interest is likely to tick up. But a bad fishing season means there is not a lot of excess capital floating around to upgrade or buy a new boat, or add another permit to a fishing portfolio.

“It was a dismal season the way the prices were,” said Olsen. “They might be catching more fish, but prices were too low to come out ahead. And if salmon prices stay down, guys are going to turn their interest to other areas.”

“It’s still early,” said Bowen. “We’ll see how this plays out. - More...
Saturday PM - October 03, 2015


Alaska Science:
Urban ermine inspires weasel-related questions By NED ROZELL - While talking with two friends just inside a university entranceway, I saw a creature scampering in our direction just outside the glass doors. My first though was of a misdirected red squirrel running on the concrete. But this guy was longer, and bounded like a Slinky. A weasel!

Urban ermine inspires weasel-related questions

The ermine or short-tailed weasel, photographed in Southeast Alaska
File: Front Page Photo by JACY PIERSON, November 2012

We went outside and staked out the area, waiting for it to emerge from a crack between metal trim and the concrete. After a few minutes, it poked its head and torso from the 2-inch gap. Then it squeezed out, paused between us without fear and boinged past us to greenery.

Since then, I have heard of several more weasel sightings. Bob, who was there at the university, saw one in his woodpile a few days later.

Link Olson is not calling this the year of the weasel, but the curator of mammals at the University of Alaska Museum has gotten "a ton" of calls from people reporting lots of voles, including the easy-to-identify yellow-cheeked vole. An abundance of the weasel's frequent meal makes Olson think perhaps there might be a good population of weasels out there.

And who is this fierce little cylinder? The one I saw was an ermine, also known as a short-tailed weasel (a stoat in Europe).

There is something appealing about a weasel's sleek spunkiness that makes people want to keep one as a pet. Behind that cuteness is a killing machine. In the same family as wolverines and badgers, weasels are one of the busiest predators out there.

In the basement of the museum, Olson held up the jaw of a weasel that came to the collection from 15,000 feet on Denali. He showed how the weasel's jaw, unlike ours, is designed to move only up and down. The lower jaw is locked into the skull to strengthen the force of its bite. - More...
Saturday PM - October 03, 2015


Columns - Commentary

jpg Peter Funt
PETER FUNT: Protecting School Kids - Face it. Every school in America should have a uniformed police officer on duty whenever school is in session. If smaller communities can't afford it, a federal program should be established to help. And, yes, these cops should have guns.

I favor more gun laws — far stricter than most liberal politicians would dare advocate in public. I abhor the NRA and the damage done by its stranglehold on our elected representatives. But I'm not so naive as to conflate gun control with crime control — especially in schools.

In his frank talk to the American people immediately after the Oregon school shootings, President Obama seemed to suggest that it is our duty and his to keep revisiting these issues until something changes.

These were my thoughts following the Sandy Hook massacre nearly three years ago. The arguments are just as valid today, only more urgent. - More...
Saturday PM - October 03, 2015

SUSAN STAMPER BROWN: Take Away Our Guns, Obama? Hell No! - We hear you loud and clear, President Obama. Only a person with a cold heart would blame innocent people and suggest taking their guns away after a crazy, militant atheist who probably cheered when your party booed God at their convention goes on a shooting spree at a college in Oregon.

We get you. If you were really angry about the right things, you'd be angry that witnesses said the Oregon shooter religiously profiled people and executed them if they admitted they were Christian. But, oh, no. You conveniently didn't mention that detail in your anti-gun rant on Thursday in Washington. Instead you heartlessly said it was time to politicize the event. Politicize. Not console victims' families.

We understand you. If you cared an inkling about the genocidal killing of Christians around the globe, you'd have done something long ago. The venomous anti-Christian rhetoric foaming from your mouth is now coming home to roost. Your words matter. The voices of the martyrs tell us their blood is on your hands.

We clearly comprehend your alliances. Without a doubt, you would have held a White House 9/11-style vigil if the Oregon shooter profiled and killed Muslims. We see where your alliances lie. You've denied your oath to protect everyday Americans by rolling out the red carpet for untold numbers of non-vetted Muslim "refugees" who could be terrorists, now infiltrating our homeland. You've done it because you can and because you hate the America our founders created. - More...
Saturday PM - October 03, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Obama Syrian Response

Political Cartoon: Obama Syrian Response
By Rick McKee ©2015, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

Please, no election support letters after October 4th.

letter Davis for Borough Assembly By Victoria McDonald - During the time Sheen Davis has been my neighbor, I have been impressed with his knowledge of local and state issues. He understands the borough from his work with the city and South Tongass fire departments and is concerned with Alaska's budget problems. In our discussions, he asks me what I think, then adds his ideas. Sheen is open to new ideas and can listen and consider differing ideas. If I need help or advice, he is always available, a trait that will carry into being a borough assembly member. - More...
Saturday PM - October 03, 2015

letter Wong for Borough Assembly By Deborah Hayden - I have known Felix Wong for two years. In that time I have observed his integrity, his intelligence and his generous and humane spirit. He has a big picture approach to issues and an overall motivation for the good of borough residents. He is not driven by a particular ideology or philosophy but will examine each issue carefully, thoughtfully and with the overriding goal of the benefit to the people. He understands industry and job creation, is a gifted practitioner in his field and is valued, and has been promoted, at the shipyard for his technical and administrative abilities. - More...
Wedesday PM - September 30, 2015

letter RE: Scoring the Great Debate By David E Boone - Reagan's criticism of the FAIRtax is especially disappointing because not too many years ago he was a national spokesperson for it. To his point, if enough Americans want the FAIRtax, they will get the FAIRtax. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 30, 2015

letter Matt Eisenhower for School Board By Doug Andrew - I am supporting Matt Eisenhower for school board. As the director of community health development for PeaceHealth Matt is in the community talking to people all the time. He is very smart and listens well. Matt is the vice president of Little League Baseball and coaches a junior league team. Matt is also the president of the leadership council for Ketchikan's chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Matt has three sons in the Ketchikan school system; Josh is a senior, Nate is a sophomore and Caleb is in 6th grade. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 23, 2015

letter State taxes? By John Suter - Unless you just came in from Saturn, every one everywhere knows that our state is heading toward a prolonged rescission. The state is looking for ways to raise revenue. We have recently see the Chinese Navy come up to our state. China has a clear desire to have their Navy here. They are willing to pay handsomely to lease some land so they can put in a port here in Alaska for their naval operations. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 23, 2015

letter A FEW THINGS WORTH KNOWING ABOUT GAS PRICES By David G Hanger - The following are excerpts from a SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS business section article dated September 6. The title of the article is “PRICE OF GAS ON THE SLIDE, EXPECTED TO REST BELOW $2,” By Vicki Vaughan. - More..
Wednesday PM - September 23, 2015

letter Gas Prices By Frances C. Natkon - Thank you to Rev. Penisten about correcting the cost of gas on POW. I've been wondering where they get their prices from and why do they charge so much when other companies charge less. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 23, 2015

letter Bill Egan By Lloyd Prouty- One night while I was on patrol Gov. Egan flagged me down and asked "How's business?" He asked if he could ride around with me for a spell and then asked me to take him downtown to buy the "boys" a round. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 23, 2015

letter RE: Scoring the Great Debate By Joe O'Hara - I agree with much of Michael Reagan's Sept. 17th assessment of the Sept. 13th GOP Presidential Hopefuls for 2016 debate on CNN, but have added the following exceptions: - More...
Wednesday PM - September 23, 2015

letter When Politicians Call By Arnold Milton - When politicians ask for donations, I respond that they must first back school vouchers for children of all citizens, good as cash at any school, public or private. Also, they must back a simple consumption tax like the "Fair Tax". This response brings pause, because most want to first address their money problem. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 23, 2015

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Regular Election
October 6, 2015

For the 13th year, Sitnews will be providing a FREE web page to all local 2015 candidates.
1. Local candidates are requested to provide basic background information, experience and qualifications for the public office for which they seek.
2. Candidates are requested to address what they would like to accomplish if elected and issues of concern.
3. Send Photographs
4. Include your FaceBook address
5. Email to by September 30, 2015.

Don't delay, take time to communicate with the voters. Voting takes place on Oct. 6th.

Statements will be published as received. All submissions will be published.

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