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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 31, 2015

Front Page Photograph By STEVEN SPEIGHTS ©2015

Low Tide
Following Thursday's very high tide at 2:29 PM AKDT measured at 18.9 ft, was a very low tide of -3.3 ft at 8:55 PM AKDT. Pictured is the low tide as viewed from the Ketchikan Airport Ferry's loading ramp. (Not the recorded highest or lowest for October - Ketchikan, Alaska Tide Chart)
Front Page Photograph By STEVEN SPEIGHTS

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Southeast Alaska: Federal Regulations Updated to Determine Subsistence Practices; Saxman redesignated as “rural” - The U.S. Departments of the Interior and Agriculture on Friday updated regulations defining which parts of the state are rural or nonrural, thus determining where federal law provides a preference for subsistence take of fish and wildlife on federal public lands and waters in Alaska. The new regulations redesignate Saxman as “rural”. Located approximately 3 miles south of Ketchikan, in 2013 Saxman's population was 416, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Federal Regulations Updated to Determine Subsistence Practices; Saxman redesignated as “rural”

Courtesy Google Maps

“The Obama Administration is fully committed to protecting the subsistence rights of rural Alaskans. We are working hard to make the process both more transparent and more flexible so it best meets the needs of these communities,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael Connor. “This update will enable the Federal Subsistence Board, with input from Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils, federally recognized tribes, and the general public, to use more flexible criteria in the rural determination process that more accurately reflect life in Alaska.”

In a prepared statement U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said, “I am pleased that the Federal Subsistence Board is publishing a new regulation that reverses their unfounded and inappropriate conclusion that the federal subsistence protections afforded to rural residents of Alaska does not apply to the Organized Village of Saxman. I cannot understand why it has taken the federal government eight years to reverse this erroneous decision.”

Murkowski said, “When the federal government arbitrarily redesignates an Alaska community as non-rural it does not just affect the community’s hunting and fishing privileges; it is an attack on the identity, the culture, and the fabric of the community itself.”

This change in regulation comes months after Murkowski introduced the Subsistence Access Management Act (SAcsMan Act), which legislatively restore Saxman’s rural status and require congressional consent for any further re-designation of an Alaskan community from rural to non-rural.

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the updated regulation now provides the Federal Subsistence Board more flexibility in making rural determinations by removing absolute numeric criteria and taking into account regional differences found throughout the state. Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar initiated a review in 2009 conducted with extensive comments from Alaskans, subsistence hunters and fishermen, tribes, and agencies. The review found that areas with strong rural characteristics adjacent to nonrural communities were denied a subsistence preference by being declared nonrural under the existing regulations. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015


U.S. Senate Passes Budget Deal, Sent to President - Less than five days after it was introduced, the United States Senate passed the 144-page, two-year budget deal that suspends the debt limit until March 2017 and raises spending caps giving final approval to a large fiscal package that would prevent a U.S. default next week and lower the risk of a government shutdown in December.

The Senate approved the budget deal after a procedural vote early Friday morning which passed, 63-35. Thirty-five Republican senators opposed the deal, though it was not enough to stop the bill from heading to President Obama’s desk. The Senate gave final approval to a large fiscal package that would prevent a U.S. default next week and lower the risk of a government shutdown in December.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said, “I voted against this bill for a number of reasons. It spends too much on growing federal agencies like the EPA, IRS and the Department of the Interior, and spends too little on our nation’s defense and the brave young men and women who serve in our military. It also does nothing to grow the economy – which grew at an anemic 1.5% rate last quarter. Lastly, the bill is structured such that all spending will be up front, with promised savings in the future. Because of this, it will likely bring our national debt to over $20 trillion in the next two years. All of this puts our kids' and grandkids’ futures at risk.”

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowksi (R-AK) said she "reluctantly voted in favor of this bill". In a prepared statement Murkowski said, “While the Budget Act is an imperfect plan, it does prevent a government shutdown and the very real impact that would have on Alaskans. I reluctantly voted in favor of this bill because it provides relief from the financial brinkmanship that Alaskans have, unfortunately, become all too used to seeing from Washington. In less than a week, our nation’s treasury would be unable to pay its bills without this deal. Defaulting on our obligations is something I simply cannot accept." - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015


Fish Factor:
Alaska Claimed Top Three Fishing Ports for Landings By LAINE WELCH - Alaska claimed the top three fishing ports for landings again last year, and led all U.S. states in terms of seafood landings and values.

“The Alaska port of Dutch Harbor continued to lead the nation with the highest amount of seafood landings – 761.8 million pounds, 87 percent of which was walleye pollock,” said Dr. Richard Merrick in announcing the national rankings last week from the annual Fisheries of the U.S. report for 2014.

It’s the 18th year in a row that Dutch Harbor has claimed the top spot for fish landings. Kodiak ranked second and the Aleutian Islands was number three, thanks to Trident’s plant at Akutan, the nation’s largest seafood processing facility. In all, 13 Alaska communities made the top 50 list for landings: Alaska Peninsula (8), Naknek (10), Sitka (14), Ketchikan (15), Cordova (16), Petersburg (20), Bristol Bay (23), Seward (27), Kenai (34) and Juneau (45).

In terms of the value of all that seafood, Dutch Harbor was second at $191 million, coming in behind New Bedford, MA for the 15th consecutive year. The relatively small 140 million pound catch at that New England port was worth nearly $330 million at the docks, due to the pricey Atlantic scallop fishery.

Other highlights: - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

Southeast Alaska: Two Plead Guilty To Charges Relating To Violations Of The Lacey Act - A father and son from Wrangell, Alaska were arraigned and pled guilty in Juneau federal court to charges related to violations of the Lacey Act while fishing for halibut in the Gulf of Alaska.

Charles “Chuck” J. Petticrew Sr., 70, and Charles “Jeff” J. Petticrew Jr., 42, residents of Wrangell, Alaska, were charged by information with offenses related to Lacey Act violations. Both defendants appeared before United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess who took the defendant’s guilty pleas.

According to the court, between June 28, 2010, and continuing until May 20, 2013, Petticrew Sr. and Petticrew Jr. conspired to falsify fishing locations on Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Longline Fishery Logbook entries, IFQ landing permits, and ADF&G Halibut Tickets indicating that they fished in Management Area 3A, when in fact, they had only fished Management Area 2C. Petticrew Sr., pled guilty to a single felony count of conspiracy to falsify Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) records. Petticrew Jr., plead guilty to a single misdemeanor count for violating the Lacey Act by falsifying IFQ records during the same time period.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, who is prosecuting the case, indicated that the law provides for a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both, for the charges related to Petticrew Sr. and a year in prison, a fine up to $100,000, or both, for the charges related Petticrew Jr. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

Alaskan trout choose early retirement over risky ocean-going career

Dolly Varden consuming eggs during sockeye spawning in Chinkelyes Creek, Alaska.
Photo by Morgan Bond ©
University of Washington Office of News

Alaska: Alaskan trout choose early retirement over risky ocean-going career - Even fish look forward to retirement.

After making an exhausting migration from river to ocean and back to river -- often multiple years in a row -- one species of Alaskan trout decides to call it quits and retire from migrating once they are big enough to survive off their fat reserves.

This is the first time such a "retirement" pattern has been seen in fish that make this river-to-ocean migration, according to University of Washington-led research published in July in the journal Ecology.

Dolly Varden, a common and abundant trout in Southwest Alaska's rivers, live mainly in freshwater streams, but travel to the ocean in the summer months to feed and grow. This migration pattern, called anadromy, is seen in salmon and steelhead as well as some cutthroat and bull trout.

For the Dolly Varden, going to the ocean is risky yet necessary business. The sea offers a banquet feast when compared with poor food sources in their home streams, but the ocean is also a dangerous place with many predators.

The study shows that Dolly Varden, once they reach about 12 inches in length, can retire permanently from going to sea. They rely on digestive organs that can massively expand and contract and a unique relationship with sockeye salmon.

"As far as we know, no one has ever seen a population of large-bodied fish come back to freshwater and just park there for the rest of their lives," said lead author Morgan Bond, a postdoctoral researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who completed this work as a UW doctoral student. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015


Alaska: Ancient babies boost Bering land bridge layover; DNA links many Native Americans to infants in Alaskan grave _ University of Utah scientists deciphered maternal genetic material from two babies buried together at an Alaskan campsite 11,500 years ago. They found the infants had different mothers and were the northernmost known kin to two lineages of Native Americans found farther south throughout North and South America.

The Upward Sun River archaeological site in Alaska, an 11,500 year-old campsite.
CREDIT: Ben Potter, University of Alaska Fairbanks

By showing that both genetic lineages lived so far north so long ago, the study supports the "Beringian standstill model." It says that Native Americans descended from people who migrated from Asia to Beringia - the vast Bering land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska - and then spent up to 10,000 years in Beringia before moving rapidly into the Americas beginning at least 15,000 years ago.

"These infants are the earliest human remains in northern North America, and they carry distinctly Native American lineages," says University of Utah anthropology professor Dennis O'Rourke, senior author of the paper set for online publication the week of Oct. 26 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We see diversity that is not present in modern Native American populations of the north and we see it at a fairly early date. This is evidence there was substantial genetic variation in the Beringian population before any of them moved south." - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Rent Too High

Political Cartoon: Rent Too High
By Pat Bagley ©2015, Salt Lake Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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letter Pesticides in our state By Cindy Wyatt & Eric Wyatt - I have been a rural Alaskan resident for 40 years, trolling, longlining and oyster farming for a living. Here on Prince of Wales a huge percentage of people benefit from living in a pristine environment. Alaskan salmon, halibut, crab, shrimp, herring, geoducks, and oysters are all high quality foods sold worldwide. Produced in near shore waters, these foods face a new risk: the State of Alaska can undertake large pesticide spraying projects on state uplands and roadsides without permitting or public comment. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

letter Salmon Hatcheries By Jay Leo Baldwin - The great Sacramento River and the Klamath River already have an endangered salmon fishery because of extensive use of salmon hatcheries. It is not only that there are too many, it is the fact that pond rearing juvenile salmon makes them lose their wild instinct to survive. They are hand fed at regular intervals automatically.
The pond boils with competition to get the feed at each feeding. After several months, the wild is gone. Sometimes they hold these fish in ponds a full year, a hold over type thing. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

letter Advancing Alaska’s LNG Project By U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski - I was reminded recently, while viewing a short film produced by the Consumer Energy Alliance, of the marvel that is our Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). I didn’t marvel at the engineering; TAPS has delivered oil safely through some of the most challenging terrain and hostile conditions on earth. Nor did I reflect on its importance to our national energy security; Alaska still provides a vital source of oil to the West Coast where alternatives are limited by the lack of infrastructure from the mid-continent. I was reminded that what is so marvelous about TAPS is the people who were involved in its design, permitting and construction, and the Alaskans who ensure its safe operations today. A pipeline like TAPS isn’t simply steel, pressure dynamics or a logistics chain – it is a monument to cooperation and the collective spirit that reflects the best of Alaska. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

letter Thank You By Karen Brown - Our family would like to say a huge thank you to this community that we have called home for over 40 years. Bruce was hurt last year when he was hit by a truck by Tatuda's Supermarket while he was working. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

letter Drug Paraphernalia By Ernestine Ellis - I have seen a person enter that place in downtown Ketchikan by the tunnel that sells paraphernalia with a child of under 13 years of age. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

letter RE: Permanent Fund By Jim Dornblaser - Ms. Lankerd & all interested; A public vote seems the democratic way, BUT would only be fair if all interested parties had a vote. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

letter Permanent Fund grab By Lance Clark - I got an email from a Saudi Prince who wanted to send me ten thousand dollars, all I had to do was give him my bank account information. Turns out that it's a scam. Now I hear the Governor wants to put money in the permanent fund, I would guess for the same reason. We all know any and all governments, of all sizes, can never ever get enough tax money. If we let the State have the permanent fund now, they'll just be back later for more. - More...
Saturday PM - October 31, 2015

letter Ketchikan, A Wonderful city in which to live. By Mary Schulz - When the new parking area next to the Tongass schools and baseball field was restructured, I noticed a dangerous flaw with the pedestrian configuration and possible hazard for young people playing ball and attending the schools. I contacted Superintendent, Robert Boyle, with my concern. The next day he viewed the situation along with appropriate borough staff and called to let me know they saw the potential problem and would begin work to fix it. He later sent a copy of the bid proposal to remedy the problem to me. Last week Mr. Boyle called to let me know the walkway was fixed and enhanced as they saw other issues with the walkway. It looks safe for all now. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Ketchikan Varsity Volleyball Team By John & Mindy Lloyd - I wanted to let the school district and parents know my husband and I had the pleasure of housing most of the team and coach. I can not express how wonderful your daughters are. They were so respectful and did their homework.. Wow right! Naomi is a great coach, she kept the girls on schedule and on track and still added some fun for them. I can't be more grateful. I miss home very much and to have the pleasure to do this for family (Ketchikan) brings me home every-time and warms my heart so much. I wanted to let you parents know they were in great hands and thank you for such wonderful young Ladies and you should be very proud!! - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Permanent Fund By Norma Lankerd - My thoughts on the Permanent Fund is the question should be put out to the public and ask them if they would prefer a one-time pay out, let it be good for up to 10 years. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Shareholders never voted to adopt discretionary voting By Dominic Salvato - "Sealaska shareholders have voted in favor of discretionary voting six times. While we appreciate the interest Central Council Delegates have in Sealaska governance, it is the Sealaska shareholders that our board must continue to look to for guidance on this important shareholder rights." Joe Nelson Chairman of the board of Sealaska Corporation. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015

letter Re: Wanted, Your Opinion By Ken Bylund - Rodney Dial outlined a detailed and smart alternative to an Alaskan State income tax that will certainly meet opposition from State Legislature for not being invented there, and every Chamber of Commerce in Alaska for being hazardous to their cash registers. - More...
Friday AM - October 23, 2015

letter Obliviously Sailing Into Danger By Donald A. Moskowitz - As a former naval officer who was an officer of the deck underway, navigator, and meteorology officer, and on track for ship command, I am appalled by the decision of the Captain of the El Faro container ship to head into a ferocious storm at sea.
The Captain departed Jacksonville, FL on September 29, 2015 on a southeasterly course for San Juan, PR. This course took the ship on a track near the Bahama Islands and straight into the storm. At the time of sailing the storm was designated a tropical storm with winds of around 45 or 50 knots and seas running about 20 or 25 feet. Soon after the ship left port the storm intensified to hurricane strength, and the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning, which the El Faro should have received, forecasting winds of 125 knots and seas of 40 to 50 feet. - More...
Friday AM - October 23, 2015

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