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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 16, 2018

Lieutenant Governor Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson (left), Director of Rural and Native Affairs Barbara Blake (center), and Governor Bill Walker (right) participate in the swearing-in ceremony.

Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson
sworn in as Alaska Lieutenant Governor

Byron Mallott resigns as Lieutenant Governor effective immediately.
Lieutenant Governor Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson (left), Director of Rural and Native Affairs Barbara Blake (center), and Governor Bill Walker (right) participate in the private swearing-in ceremony in Anchorage.
Photo Courtesy Office of the Governor

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Alaska: Byron Mallott resigns as Lieutenant Governor effective immediately; Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson sworn in as Lieutenant Governor By MARY KAUFFMAN - Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced this afternoon that Byron Mallott has resigned as Lieutenant Governor effective immediately, and Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson has been sworn into the office during a private ceremony in Walker’s Anchorage office.

Governor Waller wrote in a statement, “It is with profound disappointment and sadness that I accepted the resignation of Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott.  Byron recently made inappropriate comments that do not reflect the sterling level of behavior required in his role as Lieutenant Governor. I learned of the incident last night. Byron has taken full responsibility for his actions and has resigned."

Walker wrote, "As leaders, we must hold ourselves to the highest standards of conduct. "

"Valerie Davidson was confirmed as Lieutenant Governor-designee earlier this April. She was sworn in today as Lieutenant Governor. Doctor Jay Butler has been appointed Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services. Alaskans can be confident that Valerie Davidson will assume the duties of Lieutenant Governor with grace and dignity,” wrote Walker.

Newly appointed Lieutenant Governor Valerie Davidson wrote in a prepared statement, “Alaskans deserve the highest standards of conduct by their elected officials. While I am deeply saddened by the resignation of Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, I am profoundly disappointed by his conduct." 

Davidson said, "Respect for women, and the dignity of all Alaskans, is our responsibility. I stand ready to serve as your Lieutenant Governor.”

In the letter of resignation to Governor Walker dated today, Mallott wrote his resignation is "compelled by inappropriate comments I made that placed a person whom I respect and revere in a position of vulnerability."

Mallott wrote that he takes full responsibility for his action and apologized to and seek healing for the person he hurt. He wrote that he also seeks healing for his family, his staff, friends and all those who had placed their faith in him and have been let down by his behavior. He recognized that his actions have compromised Gov. Walker's ability to lead the state and express his remorse and sorrow in his letter to Walker.

"I believe Alaskans have the right to hold their leader to the highest standards of conduct I have fallen well short," wrote Mallott.

According to the Walker Mallott campaign, Mallott's resignation also applies to the Walker Mallott campaign. Though Mallott cannot remove his name from the ballot, Mallott will not accept the position of Lieutenant Governor if elected. 

According to the Alaska Division of Elections, although Election Day is not until November 6, the election actually begins on October 22 with early and absentee in-person, electronic transmission, and special needs voting. Accordingly, the general election ballot has been certified and printed, and Bill Walker and Byron Mallott appear together as candidates for governor and lieutenant governor on that ballot.

The Division of Elections has conferred with the Alaska Department of Law. Under state law, it is too late for a candidate to withdraw from the ballot; that must happen at least 64 days before the general election. Under the Alaska Constitution, a vote for governor is considered a vote for the lieutenant governor running with him or her. Even if a lieutenant governor withdraws, the gubernatorial candidate may remain on the ballot. Accordingly, if Governor Walker is re-elected, Byron Mallott will technically be elected along with him. However, given Mallott’s resignation, Governor Walker would be able to appoint a lieutenant governor successor consistent with state statute.

Alaska Gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy in response to the resignation of Lt. Governor Byron Mallott released a statement this afternooon saying, “As we, like all Alaskans, await details surrounding the resignation of the lieutenant governor, our campaign remains focused on restoring trust in state government."

Dunleavy said, “We need safe neighborhoods, a health economy and full Permanent Fund dividends. This campaign has always been about the people of Alaska, not politicians.” 

Alaska Senate Democratic Leader Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) said in a prepared statement, "I am truly disappointed by the event relating to the Lt. Governor. As elected public officials, we must maintain public trust and uphold integrity. I send my condolences to the victim of this event and the family members of Lt. Governor Mallott who are impacted." - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018


Fish Factor: Next year’s groundfish catches By LAINE WELCH - Catches for next year’s groundfish fisheries reflect ups and downs for Alaska’s key species -  pollock and cod – and the stocks appear to be heading north to colder waters.

The bulk of Alaska’s fish catches come from waters from three to 200 miles offshore with oversight by federal fishery managers. Their advisory arm, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, reviews stock assessments for groundfish each October and sets preliminary catches for the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea and updates them as new data become available.

If the proposed catches get the go ahead in December, the Bering Sea pollock harvest will increase slightly to nearly 1.4 million metric tons, or over three billion pounds of pollock.   

For Pacific cod, Bering Sea the catch could be reduced to 350 million pounds, a drop of 64 million pounds from this year.  

The cod numbers might change due to big differences between the 2017 and 2018 survey results in southeastern and northern waters, where large numbers of fish appear to be migrating. Over the year, the cod biomass dropped 21 percent in the southern region but increased 95 percent in the northern area. 

The northern cod are genetically similar to the southern cod, making it unlikely that the fish hail from Russia or the Gulf of Alaska, said NOAA research biologist Ingrid Spies in a presentation to the Council last week.

“What happens to those fish in the north is still an open question,” NOAA scientist Grant Thompson told Undercurrent News. “Are they spawning up there? Are they maturing and dying? “It’s kind of uncharted territory.” 

The numbers are more straightforward for pollock and cod catches in the Gulf of Alaska and reflect declines for both species. Proposed pollock catches show a 34 percent drop 228 million pounds, a drop of 118 million pounds from this year. For Gulf cod, next year’s catch is likely to be down 5.5 percent to 27.2 million pounds, a decline of 1.6 million pounds. 

One of the brightest Gulf of Alaska findings is the continuing upward trend of sablefish (black cod) seen over several years. The preliminary sablefish catch for 2019 was boosted by 40 percent to nearly 36 million pounds. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

Alaska Science: Serpentine Hot Springs stone points raise questions By NED ROZELL - Stone spear points from Serpentine Hot Springs on the Seward Peninsula hint that ancient people may have migrated northward between ice sheets from warmer parts of America, bringing their technology with them.

Heather Smith, an anthropologist at Eastern New Mexico University, wrote a recent paper based on spear-point fragments she and others found near Serpentine Hot Springs during the summers of 2010 and 2011.

In her study, she wrote the stone points represent “either Clovis groups moving north through the ice-free corridor to northern Yukon and Alaska, or the interaction of Clovis groups with humans already present in the northwestern Subarctic and Arctic.”

Found only in North and South America, fluted points were part of a famous find near Clovis, New Mexico, that scientists radiocarbon dated to be about 13,000 years old. Anthropologists have found fluted points in several places in Alaska, including near Serpentine Hot Springs.

In chipping those fluted points with other stone, bone or antler tools, Pleistocene hunters etched a groove in the bases to attach spears of wood with sinew. Despite being thin and appearing brittle, these fluted points were stout enough to penetrate the hide of a bison or caribou.

The Alaska fluted points are somewhat similar to those first found near Clovis, New Mexico, but showed a modified design from the original Clovis points, which are 1,000 years older.

Part of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Serpentine Hot Springs is a mystical landscape of toothy granite tors jutting from low tundra plants. In a nearby draw are a few well-kept buildings, one with sleeping quarters and a workshop and another covering a hot springs pool, often visited by people from Shishmaref, about 40 miles north.

Years ago, Bob Gal, a former National Park Service archaeologist, found spear tips a few miles from the hot springs. Ted Goebel, an anthropologist at Texas A&M University, traveled to Serpentine Hot Springs in the summers of 2009 to 2011. The latter two years, Goebel’s crew chief at the dig site was Heather Smith, who was then earning her Ph.D.

The points they unearthed at Serpentine Hot Springs were useful in that they were buried, allowing the scientists to better tell how old they were by comparing them to charcoal found next to them. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018



ARTHUR MARTIN: The Sexism of “Binary Living” AKA The Politics of “She-Sheds and Man Caves” By ARTHUR MARTIN - I’m trembling….
I’m shaking….
I’m convulsing….

Due to my White “Cis” Patriarchal Privilege I was blind-sided (no offense to blind people) recently with a term I have never heard before, “She-Sheds.” For years I gloated to my wife over my regal, rules-free “man-cave,” free from her feminine OCD. In one such recent argument about me not putting my shoes “away” and my complaining about how strict her rules are. 

I indignantly argued, “Yes, you own and run the entire house, BUT my dearest…” I exclaimed in between puffs on my Peterson Amber briar pipe, “I OWN the Man Cave and no rules of yours apply there! In fact, after I make an addition to the back room, I’m going to put a patio in the backyard with a BBQ pit and I’ll put my shoes where ever I want there!” I put my pipe-down on the cedar table and picked up my martini (stirred not shaken, dirty and with two olives) savoring a taste with a smug grin spreading on my handsome rugged face. 

“Not so fast…” she answered back in a dangerously silky tone and approached me. 

“I already told you last month, I’m building a she-shed in the back yard.” 

My smile slowly disappeared and changed to indignation and then confusion, “You said no such thing!” I exclaimed puffing out my chest and slamming the martini glass on the table watching drops from the drink spill onto my pipe and then on the glossy tabletop. “And what the hell is a She-Shed?” 

“You’re such a typical male millennial!” she scoffed, putting her hands on her hips glaring up at me.

“A she-shed is a small bungalow, my own private retreat, that will help me ‘shed’ all the stress of living with you Arthur,” I noticed that she let out a loving sigh after she said my name. “Good” I thought to myself, “she still respects and adores me.” Picking up my pipe again I sized her up, “Ok….” I began, “ but what the hell is a bungalow?” 

“Ugh!!” She exclaimed, snatched the pipe out of my hand and stormed off. 

“What did I say?” I replied, confusion fully replacing my demeanor. 

So here I am, dear reader, sitting in my man cave over looking the backyard, which will no longer have the 3-Piece BBQ Island with the 32 inch BBQ Grill I envisioned. - More....
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Elizabeth Warren

Political Cartoon: Elizabeth Warren
By Nate Beeler ©2018, The Columbus Dispatch, OH
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Salmon initiative isn’t the answer By Frank Murkowski - If Ballot Measure 1 passes, our fisheries, oil, gas, timber, minerals and even tourism would be severely restricted. The state's annual Permanent Fund  dividend would be significantly reduced over time. There would be no gas line, further oil development or new mines. Without the jobs and revenue from resources, state services would be severely curtailed. Specifically, where would the money come from for education, police protection, the environment and yes, even the quality of our Alaska lifestyle? The worst scenario would be a state in chaos facing bankruptcy.

There are many legitimate concerns about the condition of our wild salmon runs. My purpose in presenting this issue is to suggest how we can increase our wild Alaska salmon runs and to insure the adequacy of the food chain on which our salmon depend.

Are our wild stocks really in decline as the advertisements would tell us, or is it a cyclical issue? Some of us have been here long enough to remember the days before statehood, when the Department of Interior regulated our salmon fisheries and they did a poor job. In some areas, our salmon fisheries were on a self-imposed limit set by the fishermen. With statehood and state-run management, the runs began to return. We imposed a historic mandate — to manage seasonal openings, but only after there was evidence of an adequate return to spawn. The state has done a credible job in managing escapement on overall salmon fishing. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Action Needed to Make Alaska Safer By Debra Call - During the past several years, we have continually heard devastating reports about crime in Alaska. The headlines seemed to get worse and worse, until finally news outlets started reporting that Alaska was the most dangerous state in the country. Women in Alaska are murdered at three times the national average. Domestic violence and sexual assault are statewide epidemics. It is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, recent headlines have only underscored these unacceptable trends. We all mourned with Kotzebue and prayed for Ashley Johnson-Barr and her family. And we all watched with outrage as the Schneider case unfolded.

I've mourned with my fellow Alaskans, but there is something deeper. As an Alaska Native woman, I know that while the statewide statistics are devastating, the reality for too many Alaska Native women and rural communities can be even worse. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A No Vote for Ortiz By Micheal McColley - Dear Dan Ortiz you seem to forget that you helped the governor take the Permanent Fund and split it in half between the people of Alaska. You seem to forget there is a new guy running for governor who wants to put the Permanent Fund back.

What happened to all the marijuana taxes? Where did that money go? - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Politics With Coffee By Judith Green - Thank you, Dan Ortiz, for offering to meet constituents over coffee. And staging these coffee chats during the daytime on Saturdays. Much appreciated. - End of Letter...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Deeply Flawed Supreme Court Justice By Donald Moskowitz - The Republican controlled Senate rammed through the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court out of fear of losing control of the Senate in the upcoming mid-term elections. The vote was along party lines, 49 Republicans and one Democrat for him, and 48 Democrats against him.

Unfortunately they put the Republican Party ahead of the well being of the country. Based on the testimony I believe they confirmed someone who probably assaulted a female, and who either lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee (The Committee), or could not remember the assault because of his highly intoxicated condition. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Alaska's Independent Spirit By Gavin Hudson  - I have read many times over the years that Alaskans are notoriously difficult to poll and that we do not neatly fit into one category. I believe this stems from a fiercely independent spirit held by each and every Alaskan. We are a strange and interesting mix of urban and rural. Corporate and Tribal. Inland and Coastal. Progressive and Conservative. There are so many competing interests that ebb and flow throughout our state. But in our hearts, we are all hard working Americans who want good clean air to breathe and water to drink. We want a strong economy that provides good jobs. We all want good schools, roads, marine highways, and a functioning government that works as hard as we do to ensure we all get a fair shake. But still, we are difficult to categorize.  - More...
Friday PM - October 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Ballot Measure 1 Could Affect Your Home Too By Neil MacKinnon - There's a good chance you've heard of Ballot Measure 1, but if you're like most Alaskans, you're probably still wondering, "What does it do?" The ballot measure language itself is lengthy and extremely technical. Let me explain in simpler terms what it does, and why First Things First Alaska Foundation firmly believes you can stand for salmon and stand for Alaska without Ballot Measure 1. - More...
Friday PM - October 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Yes on Ballot Measure 1 By Tim Bristol - The Alaska Policy Forum is part of a nation-wide network of Koch brothers-funded extreme right-wingers advocating for the privatization of public education, “right-to-work” laws and elimination of most safeguards for our air, land and water, and its recent claims that those who are advocating for updates to Alaska’s existing salmon habitat permitting laws are “outsiders” is a classic deflection. The fact is, large-scale industrial development poses real risk to Alaska’s wild salmon runs, and now is the time to modernize salmon habitat laws. - More...
Friday PM - October 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Dunleavy is the one who is untrustworthy By Barbara McDaniel - In Mike Dunleavy’s recent column, “A Deficit of Trust,” the former, partial-term state senator blames others for his own failures as a legislator, a very common but deceitful defense tactic. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

False personal attacks on Mark Begich By Deborah Bonito - Given the current lack of public trust in our political system and the dangerous lack of honesty and accountability in the current national political discourse, it is important that our campaign set the record straight on the Lt. Governor’s disappointing decision to knowingly launch false personal attacks on Mark Begich - someone he has known personally for decades.  - More...
Tuesday PM - October 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Our Progessive Senator By Rex Barber - Hence forth the name Lisa Murkowski will be synonymous with Obama. Clinton and traitor. She voted present on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. This is the very act which defines a cowered. If she didn't want to vote for the man at least she should of had the [courage] to say NO!!! (I guess no dosn't mean no) - More...
Tuesday PM - October 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote Yes on Prop 1 By Robert K. Rice - In response to “Tracking the outside money by Larry Barsukoff. The facts on the money raised are as follows: Supporting Prop 1 $475,000; Opposing Prop 1 $8,670,000. Follow the money. - More...
Friday PM - October 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Political Winds of Change By Austin Otos - The 2018 Ketchikan Gateway Borough municipal election has come to a close. With 6 candidates running for office, our community had the opportunity to vote for a wide array of individuals. Thankfully, Ketchikan chose 2 candidates that represent the future of our community. Voters were clear that newer and younger voices take precedent over experience and past ideals. - More...
Friday PM - October 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Murkowski By Rob Holston - Lisa Murkowski may be a fine woman but she’s just not the right Senator for Alaska right now. - End of letter...
Friday PM - October 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Roadless Rule Public Comment Period By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The US Forest Service is seeking public comment on exempting the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule. The comment period ends on October 15th. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 03, 2018

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