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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 31, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By CHARLES HABERBUSH

Northern Lights
Northern Lights photographed Saturday night from Deer Mountain.
Front Page Feature Photo By CHARLES HABERBUSH


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Ketchikan: Northwest Revilla Island Project Open House - The Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District is asking your help in managing your forest. An informal open house will be held Thursday, November 3, 2016 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center located downtown at 50 Main Street. Enter through the rear door.

The Ketchikan–Misty Fiords Ranger District Is inviting you to share your thoughts and ideas on what we can do within the Northwest Revillagigedo Island area," said Fish, Wildlife, Watershed, and Botany Staff Officer Jon Hyde. "Our goal is to build this project collaboratively with our community." - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

Ketchikan: PeaceHealth Medical Group starting move into new addition - Friday, November 4th, PeaceHealth Medical Group will begin the process of moving its clinics into the newly constructed surgery and clinic addition on Tongass Avenue. The moves begin with the Primary Care clinic (also known as Family and Internal Medicine) and the Behavioral Health clinic which will be located on the second floor.

Monday, November 7th, these providers will begin caring for patients in the new clinic. Patients with appointments are encouraged to park in the new parking structure by using the Carlanna Lake Road entrance and turning right into the parking garage. Patients can also reach the clinic from the Tongass Avenue entrance and take the elevator or stairs to the second floor.

The remaining clinics will make the move throughout the month.

Monday, November 21st, the Women’s Health and Pediatrics clinics will begin seeing patients on the second floor of the new building, and on Monday, December 5, the General Surgery and Orthopedic clinics will be open on the first floor above the new parking garage. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

FISH FACTOR: Alaska salmon permits take a nose dive; Farmed salmon flop; & Top fishing ports and fish favorites By LAINE WELCH - Values of Alaska salmon permits have taken a nose dive after a dismal fishing season for all but a few regions.

“No activity for drift gillnet or seine permits in Prince William Sound…No interest in Southeast seine or troll permits… Nothing new in Area M (the Alaska Peninsula),” wrote Mike Painter of The Permit Master. And so it goes -

“With the lone exception of Bristol Bay and Area M it was a pretty grim season for salmon fishermen all over the state, and we are seeing that reflected in the declining prices for salmon permits and very low demand,” said Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

On the upside, Bristol Bay drift permits have rebounded to the $135,000 range after reaching a low of around $90,000 last fall and spring. But at this point, there’s not much interest.

“I believe there are fishermen who would like to switch out, say from Cook Inlet and go to the Bay, but it’s tough to make that move,” he said, adding that “Cook Inlet drift permits aren’t selling; there are lots of them on the market for around $50,000 and no action there.”

A few years ago, Prince William Sound drift gillnet permits were fetching up to around $240,000, but recent sales were in the $130,000 range or lower.

“Those permits have dropped about $100,000 in a year because they’ve had a couple of bad years in a row,” Bowen said.

The story is similar for seine permits in the Sound, following a disastrous pink salmon year that came in less than 25 percent of the forecast.

“The market there is around $150,000 and they were up over $200,000 last year,” he added. “We don’t see much action on those, and there is no interest for Kodiak seine cards. You can see them listed in the low $30,000 range but what it would take to actually sell one – my guess is it’s something under $30,000.”

In Southeast, some permit values are not down quite as much as in other areas. Drift gillnets were priced at $95,000 to $100,000 last year, with recent sales at around $80,000. Southeast seine permits, which a couple of years ago approached $325,000, recently sold at $160,000.

Bowen says it all adds up to very little optimism.

“Several of these areas have had bad years back to back. If you add it all up, there’s likely a couple hundred million dollars that did not show up in salmon this year. There’s not money floating around in the industry to buy permits, so we’re seeing a depressed market in general.”

He added that many stakeholders are worried about the future of Alaska salmon fishing.

“You hear people talking about the water temperature is too warm and the fish are swimming deep and going under the nets and around them, and there seems to be a lot of concern about the future, even in the near term,” Bowen said.

One bright note: salmon markets are going strong so far and that could help to turn the tide.

“Sales have been brisk this fall,” said Tom Sunderland, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Ocean Beauty Seafoods. “We expect inventories to be low as we head into next season, and that should create some good market opportunities.”

Bowen added that with low prices now for permits nearly across the board, it’s a good time to buy.

Farmed salmon flop

Wild salmon is less nutritious because it burns up all its good fats and oils on its long journey to spawn. That’s the startling claim by professors at Stirling University in Scotland in a study showing declines in omega-3 levels in farmed salmon due to increased use of plant based feeds. The statement brought a quick reaction from one Alaska expert.

“I laughed. It’s a silly remark,” said Scott Smiley of Kodiak, a retired professor and noted zoological expert in cell and developmental biology. “A friend who is a fish nutritionist asked if the Scottish researcher was a professor of medieval literature,” he added with a laugh. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016


PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center welcomes new Orthopedic Surgeon - Steven Becker, MD, has joined PeaceHealth Medical Group’s Orthopedic and Sports Medicine clinic in Ketchikan, Alaska. He is a renowned orthopedic surgeon with more than thirty years’ experience. Dr. Becker brings his wealth of experience to the people of southern Southeast Alaska, providing a full range of orthopedic procedures including full-joint replacements of hips, knees and shoulders.

jpg PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center welcomes new Orthopedic Surgeon

Steven Becker, MD
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Medical Center

Most recently in practice in Wyoming, the majority of Dr. Becker’s career was spent caring for patients in Irvine, California, where he was named Top Doctor for Orange County by US News & World Report for three consecutive years (2012-2014).

Dr. Becker was the valedictorian of his class at the University of California Irvine where he received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. He went on to receive his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, graduating second in his class. He returned to University of California in Los Angeles for his General Surgery internship and residency. Upon completion, Dr. Becker was accepted into the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Program in Boston, Massachusetts, where he completed his residency as Chief Resident.

Dr. Becker has researched and published a number of papers and has spoken extensively at professional gatherings throughout his career. He also served as team physician for a number of high school and college teams over the years as well as offering his services at a community health clinic in Costa Mesa, California.

Dr. Becker and his wife Leslie have been regular visitors to our state for the past decade, making a number of road trips to the interior and even an adventurous motorcycle journey to the North Slope up the Haul Road (Dalton Highway) to Deadhorse, Alaska. Having fallen in love with Alaska, they finally decided to make a permanent move to Ketchikan. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom Purcell
TOM PURCELL: ObamaCare Q&A for Dummies - Now that open enrollment is upon us and ObamaCare premiums are soaring through the roof (again), my email inbox is being flooded with questions from frustrated Americans. I'll do my best to provide answers that even a dummy could understand.

Dear Tom: The Affordable Care Act of 2010 was supposed to extend health insurance coverage and reduce costs. Why do my premiums keep going up? - Hurting in Houston

Dear Hurting: ObamaCare was sold to the public along emotional lines - insurance for all, including folks with pre-existing conditions. It was sold using several mistruths - that you could expand coverage and costs would go down. Its architects knew all along that you can't give everyone the goodies they want without causing premiums to explode. ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber explained on several occasions that ObamaCare was designed to dupe stupid Americans - and dupe it did. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

jpg John L. Micek

JOHN L. MICEK: One Bit of Good News for Hillary Clinton - If there's one consolation for Hillary Clinton to come out of FBI Director James Comey's late-game announcement that he's popped the hood on the investigation into her emails and is rooting around the chassis for (a still-unspecified) something new, it's this:

After months of controversies for both Democrat Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, voters have become nearly anesthetized to even the faintest whiff of scandal.

They are alternately so faithful to their favored candidate and so openly hostile to the competition, that nothing can change their views.

Remember how Trump's insane decision to pick a fight with a Gold Star family was supposed to tank his candidacy? Or how allegations of pay-to-play at the Clinton Foundation were going to destroy Clintons' White House hopes? - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

jgp Susan Stamper Brown

SUSAN STAMPER BROWN: Corruption is the Cornerstone of the Clinton Campaign - Reopening Hillary Clinton's FBI investigation isn't a political ploy, nor is it an "October Surprise." But it could be God's early Christmas gift to America.

Hillary Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin, says she doesn't know how her emails showed up on husband Anthony Weiner's computer. The FBI stumbled upon another treasure trove of Clinton-related emails while investigating Abedin's now estranged husband, who is under investigation himself for allegedly exchanging lewd messages with a 15-year old girl.

Additional emails released in August found that Abedin carelessly toted around classified government information in her car, once asking Clinton's personal assistant to intercept "a bunch of burn stuff in the pocket of my front seat" she'd left unattended. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: The 2016 Map

Editorial Cartoon: The 2016 Map
By Nate Beeler ©2016, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Matters of Trust By David Beebe - On December 12th 2005, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, accompanied by a principal of Alcan Forest Products declared in the council chambers of Petersburg, their Best Interest Decision to log several miles of the steep, landslide-prone mountain slopes above Mitkof Highway. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

letter Ortiz Loyal to Outside Special Interests; Republican Bob Sivertsen committed to the citizens of District 36 By Trevor A. Shaw - Incumbent State Representative Dan Ortiz has been working hard to recruit outside special interest groups and individuals to support his vulnerable re-election campaign. So far, Rep. Ortiz has raised $34,206.00 from these outside special interest groups and individuals; a whopping 59% of his total campaign funds. These special interests include: big-labor organizations, Anchorage lawyers and union bosses, the Democratic Party, and liberal politicians. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

letter Response to Peggy Wilson's 'Factual Fair' By Dan Ortiz - In response to the 'Factual Fair' op-ed published int he Ketchikan Daily News and the Wrangell Sentinel by former Representative Peggy Wilson, I would like to address the real facts. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

letter Vote Dan Ortiz By Anne Lucas - I've known Dan Ortiz for over 30 years - as a colleague and friend; as a loving husband to Lori; as a caring and involved father to their three children; and as an exemplary high school teacher and coach. During my long teaching career in Ketchikan, I've witnessed his skill at negotiating through compromise. His integrity and willingness to listen to all sides of an issue are attributes that are much needed in our state legislature today. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

letter Vote for Trump By Joe O'Hara - The important question in the upcoming Presidential election is not who is the least disliked candidate but which candidate offers the best plan to strengthen America? - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

letter Dan Ortiz: The Candidate for Southeast Alaska By Emma Scott - In the midst of this presidential election cycle, the nation has witnessed how partisan politics can fail the needs of its citizens. Personal attacks have become the norm, the issues facing our country are rarely discussed in depth, and it feels that we have come to focus on what divides us rather than what can bring us together. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

letter Vote for Dan Ortiz By Mike Cruise - I recently read that over 50% of Alaska voters are NOT registered with a political party. They are either “non-affiliated or undeclared”. It seems that almost 40% of registered voters nationwide are of the same mind. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2016

letter VOTE FOR RAY METCALFE FOR U.S. SENATE By David G Hanger - Six billion barrels of new oil reserves have been discovered off the coast of Alaska according to a recent and conveniently timed announcement from the oil industry, all of it paid for with your Permanent Fund Dividend and the massive increases in taxes and user fees all of us are about to experience. The costs of extracting that oil are currently scheduled to be paid for exclusively with your dimes, by giveaway credits to the oil companies sponsored by “Oil Company” Walker and the insanely corrupt bought and paid for Republican majority in the state legislature. - More...
Thursday PM - October 27, 2016

letter Vote Trump By A.M. Johnson - Have you noticed? There are no Trump/Pence signs among the many displays of Murkowski, Young, Stedman, Sivertsen settings along the highway and byways of Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - October 27, 2016

letter Donald Trump By Hallie Engel - I recently read a letter on Sitnews comparing Donald Trump to a rowboat that will save America. Personally, I'd say he's more like the Titanic -- a giant behemoth racing toward certain doom, threatening to take everyone down with him in an epic disaster. - More...
Thursday PM - October 27, 2016

letter The People's Representative: Dan Ortiz By Evan Wick - I have known Representative Ortiz for twelve years. He is a dedicated teacher, coach, mentor and state representative. - More...
Thursday PM - October 27, 2016

letter Stop the Negative Campaigning By Kyle Johansen - Like many of you I’ve been disturbed by the influx of negative advertising in the race for House District 36. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter Watersheds By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The Stikine, Taku and Unuk watersheds are a major factor in the reliability of our seafood and tourism industries. Our fisheries, mariculture, and tourism industries rely on healthy watersheds, which replenish these resources and maintain our scenic reputation and seafood quality. If these rivers are not maintained for quality, our resources will diminish, as vital nutrients and safety conditions will lapse. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter Alaska’s Write-In Candidate for Congress By Stephen Wright - My name is Stephen Wright, and I was born in Anchorage, AK on Elmendorf AFB in 1969. I was only five years old when Don Young became Alaska’s 4th Congressman after campaigning twice. I would love to be the 5th Alaska Congressman to represent this great state. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter RE: PAC's Negative Campaigning By Jan Jorgensen - I would like to thank Bob Sivertsen for stating "I don't support and do not agree with the negative ads" sent out by The Accountability Project(TAP) regarding Dan Ortiz. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 26, 2016

letter Negative PAC Mailer By Bob Sivertsen - I would like to correct the statement that the mailer was from one candidate to the other. I, Bob Sivertsen, did not and would not produce such a mailer. It was not sent from my campaign and I don't support it. - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter Response to Sivertsen By Dan Ortiz - In a recent letter to the editor, my opponent, Bob Sivertsen, wanted to 'clear the air' about negative advertising. He stated that he has non connection to PACs or any control over what an outside PAC may do. In fact, Bob does have the ability to denounce their misleading and negative attacks, but he has chosen not to do this. His argument for keeping silent is 'this is politics as usual' and uses the current presidential campaign as an example. I would hope that Southeast Alaska can set the bar higher than this year's presidential race! - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter Why I Support Dan Ortiz By Eric Muench - I support Dan Ortiz as District 36 representative for three good reasons. First and foremost, he has been doing a good job representing local interests. He responds to local needs and to his constituents, and is reported to have good relations with other legislators of both parties. As an Independent, he is not bound to the bigwigs of either party and can make the best choices for his district. We need more independent politicians. - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter Clinton calls Trump a "sore loser" By Jim Dornblaser - I think this the most dirty, mud slinging campaign I can remember in my 75 years. I wish our media in general was as interested in facts as they are: 1) name calling, 2) mud slinging and, 3) trying to get so much press from a loaded question (the reason for 'sore loser'). - More...
Monday PM - October 24, 2016

letter PACs' Negative Campaigning By Bob Sivertsen - I have read and heard a number of concerning comments regarding the negative advertising that is being used in this race for State House. I don’t personally believe in negative campaigning and I do not engage in negative campaigning. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Donald Trump By Betty Constuble - I would like to proclaim my full support of Donald Trump. I believe he is the warrior president this country needs now. He will stand up for us. He will make the decisions that our country so much must have. The current politicians have put us in the mess we are in. We need someone who will stand up and get us out of this and make America great again. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Very Little Style over Even Less Substance By Rod Landis - Dan Ortiz's opponent in the State House race this fall missed an opportunity to distance himself from the miserable (yet laughable) antics of those involved with the Accountability Project. This big-money political action committee is behind a series of smear ads that have recently flooded Ketchikan residents mail and P.O. boxes. Some significant cash seems to have been spent designing, producing, and distributing these ads, yet the result cannot be taken seriously. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Vote Stedman & Finkenbinder By Gary Paxton - Bert Stedman, not unlike Dick Eliason and Ben Grussendorf for Sitka, has been a statesman for our great state. He has always put the state, SE Regoin, and Ketchikan ahead of any political concerns. At this time, when our state has such complex and difficult decisions to make, Bert is exactly the kind of legislator we need and he needs all the help he can get. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter What I learned from the Democrats By A. M. Johnson - I first wish to thank you and your publication for using Reuters and FOX news as your online National/ World news source over the Associated Press (AP). In part your publication, in conjunction with reliable online sources, presents news and opinions based on the more reliable news stories allowing me to express what the Democrats have taught me about politics and life particularly in this election: - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter House District 36 By Jan Jorgensen - I am not someone who is outspoken about anything political, in fact lately I have been less than eager to read, talk or listen to what politicians have to say but I do because I will be voting on November 8th. Recently I received a flyer where one Ketchikan candidate chose to speak negatively about another candidate. No where on this flyer did he tell me anything about himself, just two sides of negative words about someone else. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Thank You By Susan Coady - Thank you to the many people and businesses for supporting my friend Wendy Goyette and her son Johnathon Washburn. It's truly amazing how the people of this community come together in times of need. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

letter Re: Two Untrustworthy Candidates By Joe O'Hara - In reference to Mr. Moskowitz' October 18th letter, I certainly agree with him that one must verify those facts before committing to them. - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016

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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“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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