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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 21, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By KENNON CALIWANAGAN

Ketchikan's Northern Lights
Front Page Feature Photo By KENNON CALIWANAGAN ©2017


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Fish Factor: Economic Value of Alaska's Seafood Industry By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s fishing fleet of 9,400 vessels would span nearly 71 miles if lined up from bow to stern. 

Economic Value of Alaska's Seafood Industry

Photo courtesy: “Economic value of Alaska’s seafood industry” report by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute compiled by the McDowell Group. 
Download the 38 page Report (PDF)

And Alaska’s fishing industry catches and processes enough seafood each year to feed every person on the planet one serving; or a serving for each American every day for more than a month. 

Those are just a few of the fish facts highlighted in the annual “Economic value of Alaska’s seafood industry” report by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute compiled by the McDowell Group. 

The report breaks down the numbers of fishermen, processors, species caught, values and more by region in a colorful, user-friendly way that can provide every Alaskan with a better understanding of the seafood industry, especially policy makers. 

Here are some highlights: 

The Alaska fishing industry employs nearly 60,000 workers, of which nearly half are fishermen. 

Thirty -six percent of those fishermen live in south central Alaska towns such as Anchorage, Homer, Kenai and Cordova, more than any other region.

Most of Alaska’s fishing boats (2,688) are between 23 and 32 feet in length.

Southeast Alaska residents own the most fishing vessels at nearly 2,700 and they also own more fish quota shares than any other region.

Seafood processing is the largest manufacturing sector in Alaska, accounting for 72 percent of manufacturing employment. Processing includes 169 shore-based plants, 73 catcher-processors and more than a dozen floating processors.

At Kodiak, fishing accounts for nearly 40 percent of all jobs; 48 percent of all processing workers are year-round residents, the highest number in the state.   

Salmon accounts for the greatest economic impact in terms of jobs, value and income, with pollock a close second. Alaska pollock is the largest single species U.S. fishery by volume.

Seafood is by far Alaska’s top export - more than two billion pounds went to 105 countries in 2016, valued at over $3 billion. Exports account for about two-thirds of the sales value, with the rest going to U.S. markets. 

Globally, Alaska pollock provided 44 of world supply in 2016, Alaska salmon provided 14 percent, cod at 16 percent and Alaska crab at 29 percent. 

Since statehood in 1959, Alaska’s seafood industry has harvested nearly 170 billion pounds of seafood. The largest harvest ever was in 2015, topping six billion pounds.

Of the numerous fishery taxes and fees, 40 percent goes to state coffers and is distributed at the whim of the Alaska legislature ($58 million in 2016), and 31  percent goes to local governments where the fish was landed. - More....
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

Historic Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact Signed

Governor Bill Walker signs the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact Thursday in Anchorage as Valerie Davidson, Commissioner of Alaska Health & Social Servies, and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott look on.
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor

Historic Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact Signed - Alaska Governor Bill Walker used an appearance Thursday at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage to sign a historic compact between the State of Alaska, tribes, and tribal organizations. The compact will allow tribes and tribal organizations to provide child welfare services and programs that previously were delivered by the Alaska Office of Children’s Services.

The historic compact with Alaska Tribes and Tribal Organizations will strengthen the state’s child welfare system and reduce over time the disproportionate number of Alaska Native children in foster care. The compact – signed at the 51st annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention –  recognizes the authority of Alaska Tribes to provide child welfare programs and services on behalf of the Alaska Office of Children’s Services, providing greater local oversight of family services.

“Supporting Alaskan families is crucial to building a Safer Alaska,” Governor Walker said.

Walker said, “My administration is committed to reducing the disproportionate number of Alaska Native children in our foster care system. This compact is the first of its kind for both Alaska and the United States. I thank the Department of Health and Social Services, Department of Law, and Alaska Tribes and Tribal Organizations for crafting this unique new partnership. Every day, Alaska’s Tribes and Tribal Organizations provide essential services to children and families. This compact builds on that great experience, and incorporates their values, culture, and traditions into our child services system.”

Alaska Native children have been disproportionately represented in the state’s foster care system for decades. While only 19 percent of Alaska children are Native or American Indian, 55 percent of Alaska children in out-of-home foster care are of Native decent, and 61 percent of Alaska Native children in foster care will ultimately be placed in non-Native homes. - More...
Saturday PM - October 26, 2017

Alaska Tribes Unite to Protect Their Indigenous Ways of Life from Mega Mines - The United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB) and Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC) announced their intent this week to formalize their efforts to protect their indigenous ways of life and the watersheds that sustain them. Both tribal consortiums have been working to stop proposed mega mines in their respective regions: Pebble in Bristol Bay and multiple Transboundary mining threats in Southeast Alaska.

Alaska Tribes Unite to Protect Their Indigenous Ways of Life from Mega Mines -

SEITC Chariman Frederick Olsen Jr., SEITC Secretary John Morris and United Tribes of Bristol Bay President Robert Heyano hold the Memorandum of Agreement uniting the two groups in their efforts to stop proposed mega mines in their respective regions.
Photo Courtesy Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission

Kicking-off the Alaska Federation of Natives Conference week in Anchorage, the entities held a joint-reception on October 17. Together, the two groups include almost 30 federally recognized-Tribes spanning the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, Alutiiq, Tlingit, Ts’imshian, and Haida peoples who continue living their way of life in tune with natural cycles and keeping alive customary and traditional practices.

Designed to support each consortium’s mission to protect the indigenous way of life from the threat of mine development, the groups signed a formal Memorandum of Agreement, which marked a historical unification of Alaska Native tribes. The two entities released the following statements:

“Our Tribes uniting their efforts to protect our peoples’ way of life from the mega-mines threatening our continued existence as indigenous people is an exciting and historic development,” said Robert Heyano, President of UTBB. “Our Tribes are under siege, but the unification of our people is a powerful move to defeat these toxic projects.”

Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission Chairman Frederick Olsen, Jr. said: “Our groups share the value of ensuring the health of our homelands, and of the pristine lands and waters that support our traditional cultural practices and economy. With this agreement, we hope to amplify our voices throughout Alaska and across the Canadian border and together we can preserve our way of life for generations to come.”

United Tribes of Bristal Bay’s member tribes represent 80 percent of the population of the region in fourteen Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq indigenous communities in Bristol Bay. UTBB’s mission is to protect the lands and waters that support the traditional way of life of the indigenous people of Bristol Bay by advocating against unsustainable large-scale hard rock mines like the Pebble project. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017


Alaska Science:
Wolves a defining part of Alaska landscape By NED ROZELL - The wolf tracks appeared as they always do, as a surprise.

Wolf tracks stamp the new snow on a hillside trail near the Tolovana River.
Photo by Ned Rozell

On a day between fall and winter, with the leaves fallen and browning but the ground not yet hard, I was walking with my dog and an AM radio. We were descending a four-wheeler trail on a hillside 20 miles from the nearest town, Minto.

The dog was exercising its need to move after a summer of walking across the state. The radio was there so I could listen to my Yankees, playing in Houston, where there was not a half-inch of snow on the ground.

Before I saw the rounds of hand-size tracks, heading toward us from the basin of the Tolovana River, Cora had tipped me to sign of her ancestors’ passage.

There on the cold, wet ground was a shallow wound of scratch marks similar to the ones Cora likes to make. The earth showed the rake of four chisel points, as wide as my outspread fingers.

There, I imagined the broad, muscled shoulders of a creature three times the size of Cora, who weighs 38 pounds. My scrappy hiking partner must have pictured it too. She sniffed the torn forest floor with unusual, silent contemplation. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017


Columns - Commentary


jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: Laundry, Laundry, Laundry! By DAVE KIFFER - Recently, I went to a charity auction and clearly the most popular item was a Roomba.

Well, it wasn't an actual Roomba, which is a specific brand of robotic vacuum cleaner. This was a different brand, but since it promised to be "just as good" as a Roomba people were still interested in it. It went for $300 and I'm pretty sure that you could buy one on-line for half that, but that's the way that charity auctions work.

"$375 for a store bought lemon meringue pie? Count me in!!"

We always pay more because we are trying to help out our charity. Actually, some of us are also there because we are hoping against hope to snag a bargain that everyone else is too alcohol-addled to recognize.

Alcohol. of course, is always a big thing at these sorts of auctions, because nothing unloosens a wallet like 12 gallons of box wine!

And the more savvy of us figure that our fellow attendees will eventually get too drunk to make wise decisions. Unfortunately, those wise decisions rarely involve underbidding. But you can always hope.

Anyway, this particular "not-Roomba" was popular - and overpriced - because we are all sick to death of sweeping or vacuuming our floors.

Which is actually our great-great-great-great-great grandparents fault.

Which is actually our great-great-great-great-great grandparents fault.

Why, you ask?

Well, once upon a time everyone had dirt floors. And when everyone - including our great-great-great-great-great grandparents -  had dirt floors they didn't given a flying fickle finger about dirt on them because..... well, because EVERYONE HAD DIRT FLOORS.

They also had dirt streets too and the dust from them covered pretty much anything that wasn't in motion, so they really didn't care about that either.

But then - all of a sudden - they did.

Someone, clearly not one of MY great-great-great-great-great grandparents, got all uppity and hoity toity and built themselves a floor and pretty soon everyone else was building floors too.  Because that's the goal of every human life. To copy every other human life.  Otherwise you might miss out something. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Trump Attacks

Editorial Cartoon: Trump Attacks
By Nate Beeler ©2017, The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Opinion - Letter

Slashing education budgets is short-sighted By David Lovell - The legislature is now considering several reasonable revenue-raising options.  The alternative to a thoughtful revenue increase is to further cut spending and wreak further damage on the University of Alaska.  Slashing education budgets is an extremely short-sighted way to solve fiscal issues.  We're in this mess because for too long, public services have depended on revenue from unstable markets for things like fish and oil that we take out of our land and waters to ship out of the state. The only way out of it is to grow our human resources and attract employers who need highly skilled workers.  New businesses, bringing new jobs, would also be generated by graduates with the confidence and skills nurtured in college. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Firewood Warning By Cheryl Henley- I have driven by a place with large rounds of yellow cedar that had a sign for sale. I called the number, and ordered a cord of firewood, split and delivered for $250.00 cash. I was so happy to get it, and then ordered 2 more cords. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Uranium scandel By A. M. Johnson - I am compelled to offer an apology for the number of submissions by myself in recent weeks. The news cycle is providing the gist for the thinking which results in frustrations over open traitorous actions by high level placed politicians who are trampling the trust placed on their positions. Must like the current scandal among Hollywood elites, these political elites are allowed to skate free from crimes and high misdemeanors. Those frustrations are compelled to be stated. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017

Opinion - Letter
AMHS Needs Forward Funding
By Rob Holston - I certainly agree with Rep Ortiz re forward funding….. but see a larger problem…… OVERPRICED FARES! AMHS used to be the economical way to get to the lower 48…. no longer. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 18, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Taxes By Lance Clark - So let me get this straight, Mr. Ortiz says we're 2.4 billion dollars short and that's why we need new taxes. If my math serves me right, and correct me if I'm wrong, that's about $4800 for every person in the state figuring there is around a half of million people in Alaska. This doesn't count the money the state is already taking in just how much more they want. We have a spending problem, not an income problem. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 18, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Time to Cut the Fat By A. M. Johnson - Representative Ortiz has been very active in keeping the folks advised of upcoming subject matter regarding the budget shortfall gap. Never too much information and seeking more has been his byword. I thank him for the efforts. Often he and I serve as contrarians to ideas each present. While we pretty much are on opposite on most subjects government or social, there are moments we seem to agree. It all takes place in a gentlemanly process to which we are both pleased. - More....
Wednesday PM - October 18, 2017

Opinion - Letter

POW Hunting regulation By Mike Carney - Thanks Charles Edwardson for being able to see what is taking place on POW. I hunted POW for years as did many others that do not anymore because of the silly hunting regulation that divide Ketchikan from POW. When the Fed's made the rule that kept Ketchikan residents off federal lands in different places on POW the problems started. All it did was make some legal hunters into none legal hunters. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: Tax Fairness By Lance Clark - I don’t think Ortiz, Walker, and company care about fairness.  They just want MORE money from anywhere they can find it, regardless of the implications down the road, or who they hurt along the way. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Special Session Survey By Rep. Dan Ortiz - On October 23rd, the legislature will convene for its third special session to discuss potential revenue sources. Below, I have outlined two options that I will most likely have the choice to vote on during that session. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE:Demand Tax Fairness By Jon Bolling - Mr. Dial's October 12, 2017 letter to SitNews merits a clarification. While it is true that some areas of Prince of Wales Island are not legally obligated to support local schools, the cities of Craig, Klawock, and Hydaburg are subject to the same required local contribution requirement to fund their schools as is the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. - More...
Saturday PM - October 14, 2017

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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