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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 19, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By GARY & CAROL COX

Haines: Brown Bear Cub
One of two brown bear cubs that frequented Chilkoot Lake
fishing with mother bear. This photo was taken September 29, 2016.
The photographers, from Horn Lake, MS, are frequent visitors to Southeast Alaska.
Front Page Feature Photo By GARY & CAROL COX

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Alaska: How will salmon survive in a flooded future? New research from Alaska analyzes 800 watersheds and suggests that intact flood plains may mitigate for a warmer, wetter future - As torrential rain descends on the Pacific Northwest, new research published online in the journal Global Change Biology provides a glimpse of how salmon rivers might fare in a future with larger floods.

How will salmon survive in a flooded future? New research from Alaska analyzes 800 watersheds and suggests that intact flood plains may mitigate for a warmer, wetter future

Southeast Alaskan salmon runs will see increased pressure from flooding in the future. But well-connected flood plains and rivers can help minimize the risk to salmon populations.
By Matt Sloat, Wild Salmon Center

The study, led by Wild Salmon Center science director Dr. Matthew Sloat, in collaboration with US Forest Service researchers, examines new climate patterns in southeast Alaska and the effects on flooding and habitat in salmon watersheds. Climate projections for southeast Alaska suggest that the region, home to the largest remaining temperate rain forest in the world, will be even warmer and wetter in the future.

Salmon are absolutely central to the culture, economy, and ecosystems of southeast Alaska. Salmon fishing in the region generates about $1 billion annually. Salmon populations and their habitat are generally in good condition throughout the region, but local communities are concerned about the potential effect of a changing climate on these populations.

Sloat and colleagues looked at the impact future floods could have on salmon spawning. Salmon spawn in streams in the fall and eggs develop through the winter, so increased winter flooding could potentially scour their eggs from the streambed and impact the next generation of fish.

The researchers combined field measurements and model simulations to estimate the potential influence of future flood disturbance on the quality and extent of coho, chum, and pink salmon spawning habitat in over 800 southeast Alaska watersheds.

They found that as much as 16% of the spawning habitat for coho salmon could be lost by the 2080s. But losses were predicted to occur primarily in narrower, steeper streams that provide moderate-quality habitat and, to a lesser extent, in high quality low gradient floodplain habitats. Estimated effects were lower for pink and chum salmon, which spawn almost exclusively in low gradient floodplain streams. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Couple Sentenced to 10 Years for Conspiracy to distribute Meth in Ketchikan - Former Ketchikan residents Luke Roderick Lowe and Marguarite Jean Keicher, now residents of Sitka were sentenced Monday in federal court in Juneau for their role in a drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Ketchikan.

Lowe, 38, and Keicher, 39, were each sentenced by Chief United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess to 120 months (10 years) of imprisonment and five years of supervised release for their roles in the drug conspiracy and forfeited $1,524.00 in U.S. Currency and firearms involved in the offense. Lowe has been in federal custody since May 1, 2015, and Keicher has been in federal custody since April 22, 2015.

According to information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, the defendants had moved to Ketchikan from Sitka, Alaska and began distributing methamphetamine from various sources who had obtained the drugs from the Lower 48 using various drug trafficking methods. After the methamphetamine was delivered to Ketchikan, the defendant distributed the drugs to others for subsequent distribution. During the investigation, the defendants’ residence was searched and law enforcement found a total of 72.9 grams of actual methamphetamine and a number of loaded firearms, specifically two semi-auto handguns located in the defendant’s backpacks, a revolver, and assault style rifle located in the defendant’s bedroom in their residence.

Prior to imposing sentence on October 17, 2016, Judge Burgess indicated the seriousness of the offense and the need to provided treatment as reasons for the sentence imposed.

Lowe and Keicher were indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on April 21, 2015, on drug conspiracy and firearms offenses that occurred in Ketchikan. Keicher was arraigned on April 24, 2015, in U.S. District Court in Juneau and Lowe was arraigned April 29, 2015, in U.S. District Court in Ketchikan before Chief Magistrate Judge Deborah M. Smith. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

First dinosaur bones found in Denali National Park; Discovery comes ten years after first evidence of dinosaur record in the area By THERESA BAKKER - Paleontologists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the National Park Service found the first dinosaur bones in Denali National Park during an expedition in July. They also discovered several new dinosaur trackways, which are fossilized impressions left by ancient animals walking through mud that eventually became rock.

First dinosaur bones found in Denali National Park; Discovery comes ten years after first evidence of dinosaur record in the area

An extremely well-preserved footprint in Denali National Park reveals a meat-eating dinosaur’s claws, fleshy toe pads and pebbly skin texture.
Photo by Pat Druckenmiller

Pat Druckenmiller, curator of Earth sciences at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, is leading a collaborative project with Denali National Park over the next several years to explore additional areas and make new discoveries.

“This marks the beginning of a multi-year project to locate, document and study dinosaur fossils in Denali National Park,” Druckenmiller said. “This is a world-class site for tracks of dinosaurs and other animals that lived in Alaska during the Cretaceous Period. Now that we have found bones, we have another way to understand the dinosaurs that lived here 70 million years ago.”

The research team found four different fragments, including one ossified tendon. The largest is a few inches long. They are clearly parts of bigger bones from a large animal. This rules out other animals with a backbone known from this geological period, including mammals, birds and even flying reptiles. Because they are parts of much bigger bones, Druckenmiller expects more complete remains may be found in the park.

“Finding these bones opens a new chapter in the story of Denali dinosaurs,” he said. “That story is still being written as we find new sites, new kinds of dinosaurs and evidence of their behavior.” - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

Exotic ticks found on Alaska dogs, Alaskans
Alaska Science: Exotic ticks found on Alaska dogs, Alaskans By NED ROZELL - While Alaskans have long endured dense mosquitoes and frigid air, we’ve always had the absence of venomous snakes and dog ticks.

But the latter may be establishing themselves here. Ticks that infest red squirrels, snowshoe hares and a variety of birds have always been present in Alaska, but a team of biologists and veterinarians recently found five non-native ticks on Alaska dogs and people.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers identified brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, Rocky Mountain wood ticks, deer ticks and Lone Star ticks in Alaska. A few of those creatures hitchhiked up on animals and humans that had recently visited the Lower 48. But some had not.

"It appears the American dog tick is established in Alaska," said Kimberlee Beckmen, a wildlife veterinarian with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and a co-author of the study. "Some of the dogs (with the tick) had not traveled or hadn't had contact with traveling dogs." - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

Study finds local fidelity key to ocean-wide recovery of humpback

A humpback whale mother and calf are in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, with the Fairweather Mountains in the background.
Photo Credit: National Park Service photo under NMFS Scientific Research permit #945-1776-01

Southeast Alaska: Study finds local fidelity key to ocean-wide recovery of humpback - Humpback whales can migrate thousands of miles to reach feeding grounds each year, but a new study concludes that their fidelity to certain local habitats - as passed on through the generations - and the protection of these habitats are key to understanding the ultimate recovery of this endangered species.

The study documents the local recruitment of whales in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait in Alaska over a 30-year period. The researchers found that contemporary whales that utilize these rich feeding grounds overwhelmingly are descendants of whales that previously used the area.

In other words, the population recovery of humpback whales in the region depends on cultural knowledge of migratory routes passed on from mothers to their calves; it is not a product of whales from outside the area suddenly "discovering" a rich feeding ground.

Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Endangered Species Research.

"Humpback whales are recovering from exploitation on an ocean-wide basis, but ultimately their individual success is on a much more local scale," said Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University and a co-author on the study.

"Humpback whales travel globally, but thrive locally." - More..
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016


British Columbia:
MiningWatch Canada Files Charges Against B.C. Government and Mount Polley Mine for 2014 Tailings Pond Disaster - Yesterday, MiningWatch Canada filed a private prosecution against the B.C. government and the Mount Polley Mining Corporation for alleged violations of the federal Fisheries Act in connection with the largest mine waste disaster in Canadian history.

MiningWatch Canada Files Charges Against B.C. Government and Mount Polley Mine for 2014 Tailings Pond Disaster

MiningWatch filed charges Tuesday morning in Provincial Court in Williams Lake, Canada
Photo courtesy MiningWatch

The mining watchdog grop claims that the massive 2014 spill was caused by the negligence of both the Province of B.C. and the Mount Polley Mining Corporation (MPMC), owned by Imperial Metals. As such, MPMC and the Province of B.C. are being charged for violating sections 35(1) and 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

MiningWatch is taking action now because almost two and a half years after the disaster, the Crown has failed to lay charges and enforce the Fisheries Act, despite what they say is clear and ample evidence to justify proceeding.

“We are all concerned that almost 30 months later, despite clear evidence of impacts on waters, fish, and fish habitat, no sanctions and no penalties have been brought forward by any level of government,” states Ugo Lapointe, Canada Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada. “This sends the wrong signal to the industry across the country and undermines public confidence in the capacity of our regulatory system to work effectively to protect our environment.”

MiningWatch filed the charges Tuesday morning in Provincial Court in Williams Lake. It used a specific provision of the Canadian Criminal Code which allows any citizen to initiate a private prosecution if he or she believes, on reasonable grounds, that a person has committed an indictable offence. These reasonable grounds clearly exist in this case, under the Fisheries Act according to MiningWatch.

Lilina Lisenko, lawyer for MiningWatch, states, “The legislation specifically provides an incentive for private persons to enforce federal laws like the Fisheries Act in order to ensure the protection of public resources, such fish and fish habitat, even if against the Federal or Provincial Crown. It’s a valuable constitutional safeguard to protect the public interest against inertia or possible partiality on the part of authorities.” - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Ron Paul

RON PAUL: Iceland Today, the US Tomorrow? - During the 2008 economic crisis, Iceland's government froze offshore accounts held by foreign investors in that country's currency, the krona. Recently, the government of Iceland announced it would unfreeze the accounts if the account holders paid a voluntary "departure tax," which could be as high as 58 percent. Investors who choose not to pay the departure tax would have their investment "segregated" into special funds that only invest in CDs issued by Iceland's central bank. These CDs are expected to only provide a rate of return of at most 0.5 percent a year. So investors in offshore accounts can thus choose between having their money directly seized via the departure tax or indirectly seized via the inflation tax.

Iceland's freezing of offshore krona accounts was part of a "stabilization and recovery" program implemented under the guidance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which also provided Iceland with a $1 billion loan. So U.S. taxpayers not only helped the IMF bail out Iceland's government, they may have helped the IMF advise Iceland on how best to steal property from American investors!

The IMF's role in Iceland's seizure of the property of foreign investors shows the hypocrisy of IMF officials, who recently expressed concerns about the increasing support for protectionism supposedly exemplified by the Brexit vote. However, freezing of assets held by foreign investors is a particularly harmful form of protectionism, while Brexit was more about rejecting the European Union's bureaucracy than rejecting free trade. Perhaps what the IMF and its supporters are really worried about is losing their power to use taxpayers' money to force other countries to adopt IMF bureaucrats' favored economic policies.

Iceland is not the only government to turn to a departure tax to raise revenue. Just last year, in order to raise revenue for federal transportation programs, Congress gave the IRS the power to revoke the passport of any American accused of owing more than $50,000 in back taxes.

As an increasingly desperate Congress looks for new ways to squeeze money out of the American people to fund the welfare-warfare state, it is likely that more Americans will have their liberties limited because the IRS accuses them of not paying their fair share of taxes. It also is likely that the Federal Reserve will follow the example of its counterpart in Iceland and devalue the holdings of anyone who dares to resist the IRS's demands. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

jgp Editorial Cartoon: Political ad agencies

Editorial Cartoon: Political ad agencies
By Dave Granlund ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Dan Ortiz and The Accountability Project By Paul Seaton - I am the District 31 State House Representative for the lower Kenai Peninsula and have served in the legislature for 14 years. This year I was targeted by The Accountability Project(TAP) in the Republican Primary election with distortion ads and robocalls. Although 'independent expenditure groups' are legal - they are definitely not accountable. In fact, one of their chief donors wrote me an apology and sent a campaign contribution because the industry supported distortions were so unaccountable. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter No to Sivertsen By Douglas Thompson - If I got it wrong I would sure like to hear Bob Sivertsen tell me how he is going to protect the Permanent Fund Dividend. In his previous Sitnews announcement he stated that he wanted to join the Republicans in Juneau. The Republicans are headed by Governor Walker. They want to take our PFD and have already grabbed half of this year's. The plan as it stands is to take it all and give it to the oil companies. In short to pay them back every cent they have paid in taxes since the sixties and then some. You will get to pay taxes to make this happen. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter Disappointed - again By A. M. Johnson - With the continued barrage of Wikileaks data flooding the landscape via creditable blog sites it is becoming obvious why Establishment Republicans are struggling with Donald Trump's candidacy. Were he elected, then the Establishment members, who in my opinion include our own Senator Murkowski, personal friend with Senator Mitch McConnell, leader of the Establishment, and others will find their political terf at risk of exposures as the quite majority address RINO voting. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter I support Dan Ortiz By Janice Jackson - I support Dan Ortiz in his bid for re-election as our legislative representative for District 36. Representative Ortiz has demonstrated to me his willingness to meet with and listen to our concerns on important issues in our state. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter RE: THANK YOU By Judith Green - Kolby Elliot's THANK YOU note deserves in return a thank you. is a great place for the positive happenings in, on and about our Island Community and you have added a bright spot. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 19, 2016

letter Thank you, Ketchikan! By Michelle O'Brien - Once again, Ketchikan never ceases to amaze as a vibrant and welcoming community. The recent Open World Program delegation from Russia was greeted with open arms; from informative visits with local organizations, to a generosity that is unique to cemented the fact that Ketchikan is far and away a community unlike others. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Bob Sivertson for State House By Tuckerman Babcock - The Alaska Republican Party stands in support of the positive change offered by Bob Sivertson for State House.- More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Vote Dan Ortiz By Susan Bachant - I am writing to share my reasons why I support Dan Ortiz. Throughout the years there have been many people representing us in various political avenues. Only one has ever asked me how I wanted him to represent my voice and that is Dan Ortiz. I have seen him go from door to door, talked with him in the mall, and even filled out an online survey from him wanting to know what I and all of the other folks that he represents think on a particular subject. I find this absolutely refreshing. Ask yourself, how any of our representatives actually do this? How many want to know what the people they represent want? Usually they get in there and pitch their own personal agendas. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Two Untrustworthy Candidates By Donald Moskowitz - We know that many politicians make promises they cannot keep and they typically use manipulative and ambiguous language to hide their true ideas and feelings. They hope the public will forget their false statements. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

letter Response to Political Attack Ads By Rep. Dan Ortiz - It has come to my attention in recent days that groups from outside our district and outside Alaska have started to send out negative ads against me. Judging from where this effort is coming from, I take it in stride. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

letter Thank You By Kolby Elliot - On behalf of my teammates and myself, I would like to thank my family, coaches, community, and peers for all of their support contributing to a successful Schoenbar Middle School Cross Country season. Please publish this thank you as a token of gratitude to all those who participated. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

letter School Board Replacement Pre-selected? By Carl Webb - I am embarrassed that we voters have failed to ask why School Board President Michelle O’Brien, who announced a long time ago that she would resign from the Board, chose to do it one week after the official election. She even announced the date. Because of that decision, the voters of Ketchikan were denied the right to select the new board member and the current Board will be making the choice. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

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Tuesday - October 18, 2016

Ketchikan: No injuries in Rosa Reef area fire; Structure a total loss - Updated: At approximately 4:00 AM Sunday morning Karen Horn said she heard an explosion. Horn, living just north of Ketchikan, said she looked out her window and saw a house across Tongass Narrows on Gravina Island had exploded into flames. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

Southeast Alaska: House Fisheries Committee hears concerns about potential negative impacts of B.C. mining operations; U.S. State Department Responds to Transboundary Concerns- The Alaska State House Fisheries Committee last week heard the concerns of numerous Alaskans and Canadians about the potential negative impacts of British Columbia (B.C) mining operations on rivers shared by the two countries. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

Alaska: New Study on Definition of "Alaska Native" Released; Study focuses on eligibility of future generations of Natives to hunt marine mammals - Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has released a statewide study on the current definition of "Alaska Native" and how the rule could affect future generations of Natives who want to hunt marine mammals. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

Ketchikan: Addressing Climate Change in Southeast Alaska - Southeast Alaska residents have concerns about climate change - with most of those concerns connected to water. Safe natural resources are a prime issue, in face of changes such as heavy rains causing flooding, ocean acidification, warmer waters, and snowfall variation, as well as invasive species, toxins, and warm spring seasons followed by frost affecting wild berry production.- More...
Tuesday AM - October 18, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Significant changes in the Health Insurance Marketplace this year - Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins November 1, 2016, and ends January 31, 2017. This year, Moda Health will not be available in Alaska so those insured by that company will need to move to a Premera Blue Cross plan. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 16, 2016

In Case You Missed It
Sunday - October 16, 2016

Ketchikan: Ketchikan, Saxman and Petersburg Residents Invited to Meet with Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office - The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and Trust Land Office announced plans to host community meetings to engage with the residents of Petersburg, Saxman and Ketchikan on the status of the proposed land exchanges and potential timber sales. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

Fish Factor: Sea Cucumber Harvest Impacted by Sea Otters By LAINE WELCH - Sea cucumbers are the most valuable of Alaska’s dive fisheries, especially in Southeast. Annual October harvests in Southeast Alaska hover around one million pounds and attract nearly 200 divers, who will fetch between $4 to $5 a pound for their pickings. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Alaska Island Community Services and SEARHC Announce Affiliation - Alaska Island Community Services (AICS) and SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) announced last week they are formally affiliating to enhance access to quality care for Wrangell residents and patients. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

Alaska: State of Alaska Receives Extension to REAL ID Requirements - Governor Bill Walker received notification from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week that Alaska received an extension to compliance with the REAL ID Act until June 6, 2017.
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016

Alaska Science: Earth's expanding crust swallowed beneath Aleutians By NED ROZELL - Sometimes, a great idea arrives ahead of its time. A person squints at a raw landscape, thinks about it in his bunk on a heaving ship, dreams of it. He scribbles a diagram. He remains quiet years later as others rediscover the same thing. - More...
Sunday PM - October 16, 2016


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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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