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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 12, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By JENNIFER KEIZER

October Sunrise
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Alaska: Court clears Stand for Salmon ballot initiative for signature gathering By MARY KAUFFMAN - An Alaska Superior Court judge issued a ruling Monday allowing the “Stand for Salmon” ballot measure to move forward through the initiative process. The ruling requires the Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott to certify the initiative and allows proponents to begin collecting signatures. The purpose of the proposed ballot measure is to update state statutes to protect Alaska’s vital and nearly pristine salmon habitat.

The Superior Court for the State of Alaska ruled Monday in favor of "Stand for Salmon" and approved the printing of petition books for the Stand for Salmon Ballot Initiative, a measure that proposes updates to Alaska’s 60-year-old law governing development in salmon habitat. According to "Stand for Salmon", the proposed updates would bring certainty and stability to the permitting process and promote responsible resource development in a growing and changing Alaska. The application was submitted by three Alaskans with deep ties to the state’s fisheries – Mike Wood, Brian Kraft and Gayla Hoseth.

In September, Lieutenant Governor Mallott declined to certify the “Stand for Salmon” initiative after receiving a legal opinion that the initiative would limit the ability of the Alaska Legislature to allocate state assets. Trustees for Alaska took the decision to court and Monday Superior Court Judge Mark Rindner issued his ruling allowing the initiative process to proceed.

“We live in an owner state and Alaskans have the right to have their voices heard. This ballot measure is an important step back to the levels of protection for salmon that were intended by the authors of the Alaska constitution. These are needed updates to an outdated law that will balance responsible development with protecting Alaska’s wild salmon, one of the state’s most vital natural resources from a cultural, economic and recreational perspective,” said Gayla Hoseth, one of the initiative sponsors, from Dillingham.

Currently, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issues fish habitat permits for development activities in or near salmon streams based on a simple standard that calls for “... the proper protection of fish and game.” But without a clear definition of “proper protection,” many argue that the standard is increasingly open to wide interpretation, leading to a confusing and volatile permitting process.

The updates proposed in the Stand for Salmon Ballot Initiative would create clear standards for protection and increase transparency in government by requiring public notification for fish habitat permits. They would also give Alaskans a voice in the process by providing an opportunity for input on major projects. Additionally, the initiative proposes a two-track “major” and “minor” permitting process to guide responsible development.

Alaska’s population has more than tripled since the 60-year-old law was written. According to "Stand for Salmon", in a 2016 poll, 75 percent of Alaskans supported clarifying standards to protect the strong legacy of Alaska salmon for future generations.

“We need to have clear rules for projects proposed in sensitive salmon habitat to ensure they’re being done responsibly – as well as provide more certainty in the permitting process for the industry proposing the project. That’s exactly what this measure calls for. It works to ensure a prosperous economy for all Alaskans by bringing balance to our approach for permitting,” said Mike Wood, one of the initiative sponsors and a commercial fishermen who set nets in Upper Cook Inlet.

“The once abundant salmon stocks in Scotland and New England were decimated because of short-sighted decisions that resulted in massive habitat loss. I stand with the thousands of Alaskans determined not to let that happen in Alaska,” said Representative Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Co-Chair of the Alaska House Resources Committee. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Southeast Alaska: Wolf harvest meeting at the Craig Ranger District - Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, are hosting a meeting at the Craig Ranger District on October 16, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. to discuss in-season management for the 2017 regulatory year (RY). 

Game management unit (GMU) 2 wolf hunting season for federally qualified subsistence users on federal lands opened on Sept. 1 and the trapping season opens on Nov. 15, respectively. State wolf hunting and trapping seasons in GMU 2 opens on Dec. 1. The length of the state seasons will depend on the number of wolves taken during the federal hunting and trapping seasons prior to Dec. 1. The state and federal seasons will be closed when managers believe harvest is approaching the 2017 harvest quota of 46 wolves.

In regulatory year 2016, actual Unit 2 wolf harvest was two and a half times the harvest quota and exceeded the maximum state Guideline Harvest Level set in regulation. Federal and state and managers plan to discuss regulatory year 2017 harvest management options with game management unit 2 hunters and trappers. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Project seeks storm data from erosion-plagued villages By JEFF RICHARDSON - Researchers have launched a pilot project to collect new data about the severe winter storms that are slowly claiming several erosion-ravaged Northwest Alaska villages.

Project seeks storm data from erosion-plagued villages

A tripod in the village of Shishmaref is part of a network of newly deployed storm-surge detectors in three Northwest Alaska villages that are vulnerable to erosion.
Photo by Nick Konefal

Nick Konefal, a research engineer at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, deployed storm-surge sensors in the past several weeks in the communities of Kivalina, Shaktoolik and Shishmaref. All three villages are threatened by coastal erosion, much of it caused when winter storms push powerful waves onto shore.

Climate change and shrinking sea ice have been blamed for boosting the frequency of winter storms, but specific data is limited. Through the Rapid Deployment Inundation Platforms project, researchers hope to better understand the amount of surging water that reaches land and its effect on local erosion.

“These are small communities, and they know every square inch of the land,” Konefal said. “If you talk to locals they say the storms are getting bigger, but there’s not a lot of data out there.” - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

NW Fisheries: Default Notice Issued to Cooke Aquaculture to Fix Flaws Found in Net Pens - Flaws found in the structure of Cooke Aquaculture's Atlantic salmon net pens in Rich Passage have prompted the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to issue a letter of default on Monday Oct. 9.

The default notice gives Cooke 60 days to make repairs to the facility. If the company cannot make those repairs in that time, its lease for the state-owned aquatic lands on which the facility sits can be terminated.
Cooke Aquaculture net pens off Cypress Island collapsed Aug. 19, releasing tens of thousands of Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound.
Cooke's lease with DNR requires the company maintain the property in good order and repair. An inspection contracted by DNR returned information that some of the surface structures of the Rich Passage net pens fail to meet that standard. Specifically, inspectors found a hole in netting and severe corrosion on several components of the facility's above-water infrastructure. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017


Alaska Science: Prehistoric reptile one mile above McCarthy By NED ROZELL - In 1963, 23-year-old geologist David Whistler sat down for lunch on a rocky hilltop one mile above Kennicott Glacier. With one hand on his sandwich and the other on his miner’s pick, he flipped over rocks. One of them made him pause. Embedded in the stone was a row of sharp teeth.

Prehistoric reptile one mile above McCarthy

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park geologist Mike Loso works at a base camp for a fossil search. Behind him rise the mountains where an ichthyosaur was rediscovered in August.
Photo by Pat Druckenmiller

Though he was there to map the geology of the area, Whistler picked up the rock fragment, a little longer than his palm, and placed it in a cotton bag. Among a few hundred other words in his field notes for the day, he wrote, “Fossil. Reptile.”

Fifty-four years later, drawn by that hardened jaw and Whistler’s field notes, Pat Druckenmiller and Mike Loso stood on the same mountaintop.

“As we came up to the boulder field, little blue things were staring at me — they were bones,” said Druckenmiller, a paleontologist and curator of the earth science collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. “This whole outcrop was littered with ichthyosaur specimens.”

Ichthyosaurs were ocean-dwelling reptiles swimming at the time of the dinosaurs. The one Whistler found looked something like a giant dolphin, perhaps 20 feet long.

Druckenmiller, an expert on ichthyosaurs, said less than a half dozen have been found in Alaska. This August, he responded with enthusiasm to a request from geologist Chad Hults of the National Park Service to follow up on Whistler’s find. Along with Wrangell-St. Elias’s Mike Loso, Druckenmiller took a short flight from McCarthy and camped near Kennicott Glacier. The next day, they ventured out with field notes Whistler had written on Aug. 18, 1963.

Druckenmiller did not collect the rocky bones of the creature this summer (a permit is required to remove fossils from public land) but was enthused by what he saw on the hilltop.

“There’s a disarticulated ichthyosaur skeleton on top of this ridge and there’s a lot more to find,” said Druckenmiller. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Bob Dahlstrom of Sherman Oaks, CA
Winner of 29th Annual King of Kings Salmon Fishing Tournament

Ketchikan: 53.5 Pound King Reigns Supreme at 29th Annual King of Kings Salmon Fishing Tournament - Waterfall Resort has announced the winner of their 29th Annual King of Kings Salmon Fishing Tournament, a summer long fishing contest. The winning Chinook – the largest salmon caught at the resort this year, a 53.5 pound king salmon – was brought to the docks on July 20, by Sherman Oaks, CA, resident Bob Dahlstrom. This is Dahlstrom's eighth trip to Waterfall Resort.

"I've fished in MinnesotaCabo San LucasSouthern California, the Indian Ocean…" says Dahlstrom, "and Waterfall is a getaway I look forward to all year long."

According to the Waterfall Resort's website, the largest king salmon of the season lands the angler a big prize such as a cruise to Europe for two.

Every "King of the Day," the largest king salmon caught that day, is entered into Waterfall Resort's tournament drawing for a chance to win a Ford F-150 truck. Reeling in a 29.8 pound Chinook on June 27, Lee Novara of Stockton, CA, was crowned King of the Day and landed the Ford F-150 grand prize at the end of the season.  - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Ketchikan: CHINOOK SHORES LODGE STAFF COMPLETE FAST RESCUE BOAT TRAINING, EARN UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA SOUTHEAST CREDITS - ßKetchikan-based Chinook Shores Lodge announced lodge owner Jeff Wedekind and employee Søren Heinecke successfully completed MTR 228 Fast Rescue Boat (FRB) training at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). The course combined classroom instruction and testing at the UAS Ketchikan Campus with hands-on training in Tongass Narrows.

Approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), UAS MTR 228 FRB meets requirements established by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. The course is a two credit elective within the University’s Marine Transportation Occupational Endorsement program and offers training for mariners seeking to advance in the wide variety of positions and vessels within the marine industry.

“Chinook Shores Lodge is dedicated to promoting a culture of safety throughout the organization and participation in the University’s Maritime program demonstrates our commitment to maintaining standards as established by the Coast Guard,” said lodge owner Nadra Angerman. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Ketchikan: Alaska Sportfishing Lodge Earns Sustainability Certification - Steamboat Bay Fishing Club has been awarded the sustainable tourism certificate from Alaska Green Adventure (AGA). Opened in 2009, Alaska Green Adventure is the state's only sustainability certification program run by Alaska Travel Industry Association for hospitality and tourism businesses operating in Alaska. The program recognizes businesses that are engaging in business practices that benefit economic, environmental, and social sustainability.

The businesses certified by Alaska Green Adventure are leaders in the tourism industry. They are progressive companies that believe that outstanding Alaska experiences can also be sustainable and of benefit to visitors and hosts alike," says Sarah Leonard, President & CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA).

"Not only does the vitality of our business depend on the health of the environment, but we also want future generations to have the opportunity to enjoy the Alaskan fishing tradition for a long time to come," Steve Cockrell, General Manager. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017


Columns - Commentary


jpg Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Save Your Back, While There Is Still Time! - I have witnessed my 13-year-old son Gideon wrestle with his unwieldy school backpack often enough to nod knowingly when I encountered the NBC News story "Why Bags Are Wrecking Our Backs."

Although much of the online report does focus on youngsters and their hefty textbooks, adults face life-changing dangers as well. And it's not just backpacks; poorly designed or overly stuffed purses, briefcases, tote bags and wallets can all contribute to back pain and related ailments.

In our hectic world, some materialistic people are convinced that a "Fanny Pack" is designed to carry the equivalent of a woman named Fanny. ("Hi, I'm Fanny. And this is my conjoined twin Nanny. C'mon, let's get on with this marathon!")

Improper loads can lead to disc compression, damage to the soft tissue of the shoulders, nerve damage, poor posture and headaches. ("And involuntarily pulling the wrong voting machine lever! It wasn't MY fault I lost in 2016! It was Givenchy and Prada and all those handbag designers and their unergonomic wares!")

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 75-85 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. So apparently 15-25 percent have no idea what the heck back pain is! I'll bet they DO experience WRITER'S CRAMP, from penning all those syrupy family Christmas letters. ("The maid fussed about having to dust all the gold ingots George received for his bonus, but at least juggling them doesn't bother George's back in the least. Sorry about your single-wide and the tornado.")

Unfortunately, some women choose appearance over function with handbags. Occasionally, they do get the positive reinforcement they crave. ("Hey, look at that lady and her gorgeous big handbag. I wonder, is she leaning because she lost an earring or because she's pecking for corn?")

Self-styled "supermoms" are particularly guilty of injuring themselves by loading up for every possible contingency. They refuse to venture outside the house without tools for: sewing on a button, doctoring a skinned knee, applying sunscreen, changing a tire, removing weasel spit, administering Bat Shark Repellent, etc.

These moms are a blessing in their prime; but once they've suffered with back pain for years and died an agonizing death, it leaves the survivors with feelings of guilt. ("Doesn't she look natural?" "Yeah, the casket is so full of coupons, Pepto-Bismol, lint removers and hair dryers, she barely fits in.") - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: NFL Stunt

Editorial Cartoon: NFL Stunt
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Opinion - Letter

Demand tax fairness By Rodney Dial - The recent letter by former Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst details the greatest economic threat our community will likely ever face. Citizens of all political persuasions should give it consideration. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Increasing Nonprofit Organization's Efffectiveness By Deborah Hayden - During September we heard often from candidates for borough Assembly that they wanted to increase the ability of nonprofit organizations to operate in a business-like manner or to be more self-sufficient. For the past three years, the Strengthening Nonprofits Collaborative has been engaged in projects that will enhance nonprofit operations in both these categories. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

WE ARE CONTINUING TO PROTECT ALASKA’S TRANSBOUNDARY WATERS By Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott - One of the best parts of my job, and one of the most challenging, is to keep working toward Alaska goals that are not easily and quickly achieved. Perhaps my role as an elder has given me patience in dealing with an ever-changing political landscape at the local, national, and international level. But that’s not to say I don’t get frustrated and impatient like you do when incremental movement seems agonizingly slow. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Are there more hunting restrictions on POW targeted on non residents? By Chas Edwardson - My name is Charles Edwardson a native born Ketchikan resident and also an Alaska native, there is no distinction of separation in my view, although both perspectives need to be understood. I am also a dual resident having a home on Prince of Wales and in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: Open Letter to the NFL players By Joe Ashcraft - The pushing of the false narrative that the NFL players are protesting the flag, the anthem, or the American military brings into question the motives of any individual doing so. - More...
Thursday AM - October 12, 2017

Opinion - Letter

It’s Past Time to Achieve Parity Regarding State Education Funding: An Open Letter to Representative Ortiz By Dan Bockhorst - On October 23, the Alaska Legislature will convene its 12th session during your 3 years in office (3 regular sessions plus 9 special sessions) – far more sessions than during any other three-year period in the State’s history. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

AMHS Needs Forward Funding By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The Alaska Marine Highway System needs forward funding. I don’t think I need to say it twice. If money is allocated to the AMHS for its future expenses, the AMHS can properly plan sailings which would: capture revenue from tourists (including those considering traveling with their RV’s or vehicles), allow businesses to send employees to neighboring islands, and provide more advance planning options for Alaskans. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

SB54: Essential step in addressing public safety By Jahna Lindemuth & Walt Monegan - Crime is on the rise. We’ve been hearing a lot from Alaskans about their cabins, cars, shops, and homes being broken into. People feel scared and that fear is warranted.  The crime statistics confirm what we have been hearing in all of our Alaska communities.   As Alaska’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Public Safety, public safety is our highest concern. We agree action is needed to protect Alaskans. Passing SB54 during the special session is an important first step in this direction. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

NO WORRIES THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL JUST GET YOU TO HEAVEN THAT MUCH SOONER By David G Hanger - Some five hundred eighty-six casualties, 58 dead by gunshot, hundreds upon hundreds wounded by one man’s gunfire, and, wow, did those first responders do one hell of a job. (It took how long to even figure out where the shots were coming from?) You may have to go clear back to World War I to find a single tactical engagement that cost 586 US casualties. And you definitely have to go back to the first day of the First Battle of the Somme to find so many casualties inflicted in so short a time; the Newfoundland regiment, and that was accomplished by trained soldiers with multiple weapons and weapons systems at their disposal. Time to change USA to FFZ, as in free-fire zone. . - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Open Letter to the NFL players By A. M. Johnson - Following is an anonymous letter, author unknown which should be printed in every newspaper across this great Nation. It will not be but it should. - More...
Saturday AM - October 07, 2017

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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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