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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

October 26, 2020

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Southeast Alaska: Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest exempted from national “roadless rule” By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Trump administration is opening up over half of the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska to logging and road construction, according to a final rule the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted Wednesday.

Becoming effective yesterday when published in the Federal Register, the finalized rule will allow commercial logging companies to construct roads and harvest timber in about 9.4 million acres in one of the planet’s biggest temperate rainforests, removing protections put in place in 2001 during the Clinton administration via the Roadless Area Conservation Rul

Wednesday's announcement o fthe final federal action exempting Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from a national “roadless rule” represents hard-won liberation from inflexible federal mandates and a victory for the people of the state, said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. 

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has again acknowledged that the Tongass should be exempt from one-size-fits-all-national roadless policy,” said Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy. “This will help build community resilience and support economic recovery in a region that’s been hit hard by the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism and other industries relying on responsible use of our natural resources and beauty.”

“It is immensely gratifying to see the Trump Administration act on what I and four previous governors have so long argued: Alaska is a unique land whose potential for our state and nation can best be realized only when we’re free from the unthinking application of one-size-fits-all national rules, in violation of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the Tongass Timber Reform Act,” said Governor Dunleavy.

“The Tongass is home to many Alaskans who want what most Americans take for granted—the opportunity to live, work, and raise their families in the communities in which they grew up,” said US. Senator Lisa Murkowsk (R-AK)i, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “A full exemption from the Roadless Rule means access to more affordable and renewable energy to power homes and schools, access to technology at a time when more Americans are logging online for health care and education, and access for transportation and recreation to promote jobs and economic activity in the region—all while ensuring continued good stewardship of our lands and waters. I thank the USDA and Forest Service team for recognizing that one-size-fits-all federal policies are not appropriate in Alaska, and sometimes simply do not fit at all.”

“Alaskans in Southeast have seen their opportunity to harvest timber, advance vital renewable energy and mineral projects, build basic infrastructure and connect communities stifled for too long as a result of the 2001 Roadless Rule,” said U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

Sullivan said, “These opportunities are finally back on the table with the finalization today of a full exemption for the Tongass from this overly-burdensome and out-of-touch regulation. I will always fight to take control from bureaucratic D.C. agencies and put it into the hands of Alaskans who rely on our lands to make a living and understand intimately the important balance of conservation and local economies. I commend Secretary Perdue and the administration for working closely with Alaskans throughout this process and bringing us to this historic day.”

“This is a great day for the State of Alaska, our economy, and Alaskans' right to govern themselves,” said Congressman Young (R-AK). “For years, I have said that the one-size-fits-all Roadless Rule was a disaster for Alaska."

Young said, "This Congress, I have been working closely with the President and senior White House staff to secure a Roadless Rule exemption for the Tongass. Not only has the Roadless Rule put an unconscionable economic and social burden on Southeast Alaska, it also violates ANILCA and the ‘no more’ clause by locking up land from the people of Alaska. Today's ROD is incredible news for our state and our economy, particularly in Southeast. I want to thank the Administration for working with me, our Congressional Delegation, Governor Dunleavy, and, most importantly, for listening to Alaskans. We know that this is the right thing to do, both for our economy and the health of our forests. I very much look forward to lifting the Roadless Rule and unleashing our state’s full potential. In Congress, I will always stand up for our right to manage our own lands.”

Imposed by then-President Clinton, the 2001 Roadless Rule prohibited road building and timber harvest, with limited exceptions, on Forest System lands managed for multiple use. Aimed at limiting logging impacts, the rule’s collateral damage included blocking other uses that could benefit from roads, including recreation, mineral development, tourism, subsistence and sport hunting, extension of utilities, search and rescue activities, and more.

After the state petitioned to exempt 9.2 million acres of the 17-million-acre Tongass from the rule in 2018, the Forest Service began an extensive environmental review process to guide creation of a new, state-specific roadless rule. As part of that process, the state established the Alaska Roadless Rule Citizen Advisory Committee to involve representatives of Southeast Alaska’s various interests, including Alaska Natives.

Last month, the Forest Service issued its final environmental impact statement, identifying a full exemption from the national roadless rule as its preferred alternative. Its issuance of a final Record of Decision (ROD) and the final Alaska Roadless Rule today formally establishes the rule as federal policy, effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.

Quoting a news release from Governor Dunleavy, final implementation of the Alaska Roadless Rule eliminates regulatory uncertainty that had inhibited many previous potential activities in the Tongass, and opens the way for a variety of projects, which themselves will be subject to rigorous federal permitting processes under the National Environmental Protection Act.

"It’s clear that this decision is what the Forest Service essentially admitted it to be in its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) - a politically mandated choice that ignores Southeast Alaskans, fishermen, Tribes, hunters, businesses, subsistence users and the vast majority of public comment in Alaska and across the nation,” said SalmonState executive director Tim Bristol.

Bristol said, “This decision is an ill-fated attempt to create a past that collapsed on itself, and ignores the actual, articulated needs of Alaskans, as well as the innovative leadership we need to be able to adapt to the challenges climate change presents.”

"96 percent of comments, overall, and 90+ percent of local, in-person subsistence testimony was in favor of maintaining protections for the Tongass. In addition, every single Tribe has resigned as a cooperating agency in protest over the way their valuable input has been ignored in this process. In a letter renouncing their status as cooperating agencies to the Forest Service Oct. 13, five Tribes wrote that “our participation in this process has not actually led to the incorporation of any of our concerns in the final decision. We refuse to endow legitimacy upon a process that has disregarded our input at every turn." said Bristol.

Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska program director, Defenders of Wildlife, released a prepared statement saying, “The U.S. Forest Service has taken an ax to one of the most popular and effective measures we have to conserve our national forest lands. Stripping roadless protections will destroy habitat for species like northern goshawks, brown and black bears, and the Alexander Archipelago wolf. With nearly 1 million visitors a year, clearcutting the forest will jeopardize wildlife and the real economic drivers of Southeast Alaska - fishing and tourism.”

Adam Kolton, Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League released a prepared statement Wednesday saying, “In yet another sweeping attack on an iconic American landscape, the Trump administration today removed two-decade old protections for old-growth trees and habitat in the Tongass National Forest. This presidentially directed move, to gut roadless protections for our nation’s largest and most biologically rich national forest, is a calamity for our climate, for wildlife and for the outdoor recreation economy of Southeast Alaska."

“This new Trump plan sets in motion the potential clearcutting and export of centuries old Sitka spruce, cedar and western hemlock trees, unleashing the equivalent of two million cars worth of carbon pollution while costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in new subsidies for logging road construction," said Kolton.

Kolton said, “Stewarded by the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peoples for millennia, and set aside as a national forest by President Roosevelt in 1907, the Tongass is America’s Amazon. Its lush islands, towering trees, glacial fjords and estuaries support some of the highest concentrations of bald eagles, brown bears and wild salmon anywhere in the world.

“Taking an axe to old-growth protections for the Tongass is among the most reckless and irresponsible of the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks. It’s bad news for hunters and anglers, for the tourism and fishing industries in Alaska, and for anyone who cares about protecting our planet’s biodiversity and climate,” said Kolton. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

A real “Schooner of Beer”; Ketchikan’s floating brewery operated for nearly a decade

A real “Schooner of Beer”; Ketchikan’s floating brewery operated for nearly a decade
The Alumna, a wooden four-masted schooner built in 1901 by KV Cruse in the Simpson Shipyard in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Dave Kiffer Photo Collection


Ketchikan: A real “Schooner of Beer”; Ketchikan’s floating brewery operated for nearly a decade By DAVE KIFFER - For a town that loves its alcohol as much as Ketchikan does, it is somewhat surprising that there have been only a few efforts to commercially brew alcohol in Ketchikan. A decade ago, a brewery operated briefly in the Downtown area on Mission Street and in the past couple of years, two brewing operations have either opened or announced plans to.

There have certainly been plenty of "home brewers" in the First City over the decades, but commercial operations have been rare. One of the most notable was the Pilsener Brewing Company of Alaska, which operated here from 1935 until 1943, when it became impossible to get the raw materials to operate because resources were going to the war effort in World War II.

Much of the details of the Pilsener Brewing Company's operations are lost in the fog of history. What remains are the ads that it placed in the local papers, the Daily Fishing News and the Chronicle. And every so often an old bottle with the company labels such as Alaska Lager Beer or Golden Rhine Beer or Snowcap Pilsener Beer shows up on EBAY or some auction site.

There are also the memories of Ketchikan old-timers, such as bush pilot Herman Ludwigsen, 92, who moved to Ketchikan as a nine-year-old in 1936.

Ludwigsen remembers the brewery was across the street from his home near 1500 Tongass Avenue, next to Columbia Cleaners and Edwards Wire Rope.

"This big German guy owned Golden Rhine," Ludwigsen said recently. "He saw that I was a young, growing up punk, so he gave me a bunch of free beer tickets to take down to the Alaska Steamship Dock and give to everybody. I can remember that real well, I remember walking in there (the brewery) and upstairs it smelled awfully good."

Files at the Tongass Historical Museum contain a single article about the Pilsener Brewing Company. The headline “Brewery Ship Expected From South” focuses on the brewery’s interesting historical oddity. Part of its operations were on a converted sailing ship.

The article, in the Ketchikan Chronicle on November 9, 1934, noted that the $175,000 operation was led by Brew master Konrad Lux and was funded by the Pilsener Brewing Company of Washington.

“Indications from orders placed for the locally-produced beer lead the enterprisers to advance the opinion that the firm is assured of success,” the Chronical reported. “Orders have been coming in from the entire coastal portion of the territory.”

The story notes that it is cheaper to produce the beer locally than it is to ship it in and that the territory can expect between $20,000 and $35,000 annually in tax revenue from the operation. Federal taxes could generate between $40,000 and $50,000 as well. Local taxes would be between $200 and $300 daily, the company estimated.

The ship, the 215-foot Alumna, was previously engaged in the timber hauling trade, the Chronicle noted. That is an important point because some more recent local references to the brewery ship refer to it as a different sailing ship, the Meteor. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

Steller sea lions and mercury

Steller sea lions and mercury

A male Steller sea lion raises its head amid others on Southeast Alaska’s coast.
Photo by Michelle Trifari


Alaska: Steller sea lions and mercury By NED ROZELL - Within their bulbous bodies, Steller sea lions of the western Aleutian Islands seem to carry more mercury than sea lions closer to mainland Alaska.

By looking at tiny bits of fish and squid, a graduate student is trying to find out where that mercury is coming from.

Steller sea lions drape their chocolate bodies over rocks lining the Alaska coast. From those rocks, they plop into deep ocean water and suddenly become graceful, among the most powerful swimmers in the sea.

Full-grown male Steller sea lions are heavier than the largest bull moose and can live 20 years. Females weigh half as much, despite being just a few feet shorter than the 11-foot males.

Numbers of Steller sea lions in the western Aleutian Islands of Alaska crashed in the 1970s and 1980s. Government officials listed them as endangered in 1997. Sea lion groups in other areas of Alaska are not endangered, but there is something going on with sea lions in the western end of the Aleutian arc, near Attu, Shemya and Buldir islands.

Michelle Trifari, in her work for a master’s degree, will try to tease out the answers in labs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Using samples of fish and squid netted during commercial fishing trawls from 2013 to 2015, Trifari will “work down their food chain to try to figure out where the mercury might be entering,” Trifari said.

Mercury — an element released when we burn gas and oil, as well as when volcanoes erupt and permafrost thaws — in high concentrations is bad for living things like Steller sea lions and people.

Scientists found 10 percent of the sea lion pups they worked on at western Aleutian rookeries had mercury in their hair exceeding toxic levels. They also found mercury levels in Pacific cod and arrowtooth flounder were much higher in the western Aleutians than the same fish sampled in the central Aleutians, around Adak and Amchitka. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020



Ketchikan: When JFK Came to Ketchikan; Future president was most likely laying the groundwork for his eventual campaign By DAVE KIFFER - Among Ketchikan residents of a certain age there is a strong memory of John F.   Kennedy coming to Ketchikan in 1960 and speaking to a packed audience at the Coliseum Theater shortly before he became President.

The event itself did happen, but Kennedy  wasn't yet running for President when he visited Alaska for the first time.

On November 10, 1958, Kennedy  stepped off a Pacific Northern airplane from Seattle at Annette Island. He was flown to Ketchikan on Grumman Goose piloted by Bob Ellis.

Ellis - with help from local Democratic leader W.O. "Bo" Smith - introduced Kennedy  to the more than 500 people who crowded into the Coliseum Theater to hear the young US Senator from Massachusetts speak.   Kennedy  had just been reelected to the US Senate by what was then the largest margin in Massachusetts history and was being touted as a likely contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960. 

Politlcs was the heart of Kennedy's Alaska visit - which would also include stops in Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks. But he was looking toward an election on November 25 and not the presidential race in 1960, although that was likely in the back of his mind at the time.

Kennedy was in Alaska to speak in support of the two long-time Alaskan politicians who were seeking to become Alaska's first US Senators in January of 1959, longtime territorial Governor Ernest Gruening and longtime Alaskan delegate to Congress, E.L. "Bob" Bartlett. 

Alaska was sent to become a state on January 3rd and   Kennedy  wanted to make sure the Alaskan Senatorial Delegation was firmly Democratic.

The fact that the most prominent politicians in the soon to be state were Democrats seems far-fetched 60 years later, but Alaska was perceived as a "blue" state in its early years. In fact, Alaska statehood was delayed in the 1950s, because Republican politicians in Congress objected to a "Democratic" state being added. It wasn't until Hawaii - then a solid GOP stronghold - was ready to statehood that the two were voted in as a "package deal" to not upset the political calculus in Washington D.C.

Kennedy's 1958 arrival in the First City was heralded with a front-page story and photo in the Thursday , November 6, edition of the Ketchikan Daily News.

The story of speech also received coverage in the afternoon edition of the Monday November 10 edition of the Daily News. But it was not the lead story.

The Daily News used a rare full-page headline to announce to its readers "Fish Traps to be Abolished."

The federal government - after supporting the use of the traps for decades - was finally bowing the concerns of most Alaskans who had opposed the traps for many years. But it was a somewhat empty gesture. The Alaska Constitutional Convention, which was soon to be the basis of the new state government in January, had already declared that fish traps - except those on Native land - would be abolished when the state took over management of its fisheries.

Still, the  Kennedy  visit was front page news in the local newspaper under the headline "New State Should Join Democratic Trend - Kennedy". - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020


Analysis: Why sleep experts say it's time to ditch daylight saving time By MICHAEL S. JAFFEE - For most of the U.S., the clock goes back one hour on Sunday morning, Nov. 1, the “fall back” for daylight saving time. Many of us appreciate the extra hour of sleep.

But for millions, that gain won’t counter the inadequate sleep they get the rest of the year. About 40% of adults – 50 to 70 million Americans – get less than the recommended minimum seven hours per night.

Some researchers are concerned about how the twice-a-year switch impacts our body’s physiology. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the largest scientific organization that studies sleep, now wants to replace daylight saving time with a move to a year-round fixed time. That way, our internal circadian clocks would not be misaligned for half the year. And it would eliminate the safety risk from sleep loss when transitioning to daylight saving time.

I am a neurologist at the University of Florida. I’ve studied how a lack of sleep can impair the brain. In the 1940s, most American adults averaged 7.9 hours of sleep a night. Today, it’s only 6.9 hours. To put it another way: In 1942, 84% of us got the recommended seven to nine hours; in 2013, it was 59%. To break it down further, a January 2018 study from Fitbit reported that men got even less sleep per night than women, about 6.5 hours.

The case for sleep

Problems from sleep shortage go beyond simply being tired. Compared to those who got enough sleep, adults who are short sleepers – those getting less than seven hours per day – were more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and depression.

Children, who need more sleep than adults, face even more challenges. To promote optimal health, six- to 12-year-olds should sleep nine to 12 hours a day; teens from 13 to 18, eight to 10 hours. But a Sleep Foundation poll of parents says children are getting at least one hour less than that. And researchers have found that sleep deprivation of even a single hour can harm a child’s developing brain, affecting memory encoding and attentiveness in school.

Sleep impacts every one of our biological systems. Serious consequences can result with poor sleep quality. Here’s a short list: Blood pressure may increase. Risk of coronary heart disease could go up. Our endocrine system releases more cortisol, a stress hormone. We become more aroused by “fight or flight” syndrome. There’s a reduction of growth hormone and muscle maintenance. There’s a higher chance of increased appetite and weight gain. The body has less glucose tolerance and greater insulin resistance; in the long term, that means an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Political Cartoon: Campaign anxiety

Political Cartoon: Campaign anxiety
By John Darkow ©2020, Columbia Missourian
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jpg Opinion

Defend Alaska Elections – Vote No on 2 By John Sturgeon, Chair
and all co-chairs of Defend Alaska Elections - We write because Alaskans urgently need to know the truth about Ballot Measure 2. Much has been written about the well-documented dangers of ranked choice voting – thrown-out ballot percentages that reach 30%, a computer system that fails to establish a majority winner in 61% of elections, and massive increases in outside spending and partisan attacks that follow in its wake. But little has been written about the dark money fueling Ballot Measure 2.

As Alaskans head to the poll in a matter of days, you deserve the truth. Ballot Measure 2 is being funded by dark money and out-of-state billionaires. In fact, over 99% of their funding is from dark money sources and 99.5% of it comes from entities in the lower 48.

Many of you may be surprised by these figures. Millions of dollars in advertising has been spent claiming the measure is a solution to dark money. The truth is that Kathryn Murdoch and her highly paid consultants in Alaska could care less about dark money. How could they when every paycheck they cash is funded entirely by dark money? - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Opinion

"Yes" on Ballot Measure 1: Fair Share By Merrick Peirce - I want Alaskans to know about the kind of people I've had the pleasure of working with over the last year and a half as our little group of Alaskans worked to give you the opportunity to vote on whether or not we receive a Fair Share of Alaska's oil- with Ballot Measure One.

I am not going to write about the benefits passage of Ballot Measure One will bring Alaskans.  I simply want you to understand the kind of Alaskans we are.

One of them is Vic Fischer.  Vic helped write the Alaska Constitution.  Vic is the only delegate who wrote our Constitution who is still living.  Vic knows our history because he's lived it.  This  story tells you what a fighter Vic is.  We had organized a sign waving event.  A simple event where we hold signs and wave at passing cars.  Vic came, despite a problem he had with his leg.  But there he was, at 96 years young, climbing a highway embankment, in some discomfort, so he could help, one more time. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Opinion

No on Ballot Measure 1 - Fair Share Act By Chelsea Goucher - Please join me in voting “no” on ballot measure 1. The so-called “fair share act” seeks to reconfigure Alaska’s oil and gas tax structure by amending the current regime established by Senate Bill 21, or the More Alaska Production Act (MAPA).

This regime is working. Established in 2013, MAPA is structured to take less from oil producers when oil prices are high, and more from producers when prices are low. This balances the interests of the State with the interests of the producers: a global recession that results in plummeting oil prices doesn’t necessarily cripple the State’s budget, and lower taxes when prices are high and the economy is booming means producers view Alaska as competitive and are rewarded at the margin for actually producing oil. MAPA also creates credits for smaller producers that encourage exploration and which effectively make it less expensive for them to get each new barrel of oil out of the ground; it does not give these credits to larger producers like Conoco or BP. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Opinion

Alaska's fair share By Ray Metcalfe As of October 26th, West Texas Crude is selling for $38.45. That means they are losing between $7.55 and $13.55 on every barrel. It also explains why 16 Texas producers have declared bankruptcy since January. (See oil patch bankruptcy monitor link.)

Calculations from ConocoPhillips show the combine production and delivery costs for Prudhoe, Kuparuk and Alpine oil fields to range between $22 and $25. As of October 26th, North Slope crude is selling on the West Coast for $41.64, which means every barrel of Alaskan's legacy field's Crude produces a net profit of between $16.64 and $19.56.

Take the lower profit number and times it by 500,000 barrels per day, and times that number by 365 days, and you get a net profit of over $3 billion; more than $4,000 per man woman and child in Alaska. Any other oil producing country would be keeping between 70 and 90% of that $3 billion. But you and I won't get any of it. In 2014, your bought and paid for legislators voted to give Alaska's fair share of North Slope profits to BP, Exxon, and ConocoPhillips. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Opinion

Dan Ortiz for House District 36 By Tony Gosnell - Rep. Ortiz has earned my vote again this election cycle. As a small business owner, I brought an issue to Dan’s office staff and asked for assistance in seeking a remedy for an oversite in the State Statutes. Rep. Ortiz heard my concerns. Ultimately it was a matter that would require a change be made in the language of the law. It was something that could not be corrected without effort. I first brought forward the issue in early 2018. I was able to watch the process over a two-year period via televised hearings and through extended correspondence the process of bringing a bill into law.

Through this experience I learned that Rep. Ortiz has a professional committed staff, and that Dan is responsive to his constituents and that he is willing to invest time and energy into small business issues as well as the larger Issues that we all read about in the paper. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Opinion

Vote Dan Ortiz for District 36 By Joe Williams, Jr. - I am in full support of Dan Ortiz as he is honest, tireless worker for Ketchikan.  A man of his word.  His agenda is all for Ketchikan.

I would like to say publicly THANK YOU DAN for representing Ketchikan. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020  

jpg Opinion

Ballot Measure 2 will disproportionally harm Alaska Natives. By Dana Leask-Ruaro - This 25-page initiative would replace our simple method of voting with a complicated scheme financed by Lower-48 billionaires, without Alaska’s unique diversity in mind.

One year after all Alaska Natives were granted US citizenship, the Alaska Territorial Legislature enacted a literacy law requiring that voters be able to read and write in English – effectively disenfranchising thousands of Alaska Natives. Measure 2 will have a similar effect.

Lower-48 billionaires cannot begin to understand what it’s like to vote in rural Alaska, where one might have to travel through difficult terrain by boat, plane, or four-wheeler to get to a polling location. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Opinion

The Peoples' Representative By Austin Otos - I have known Dan Ortiz for 15 years as a devoted teacher, local representative, and most importantly, a personal friend. The past three election cycles I’ve keenly followed Representative Ortiz and his assentation to be a staunch advocate for local issues within our State Legislature. His record clearly shows legislation that has directly benefited our local community. From supporting our burgeoning mariculture industry, to defending the Alaska Marine Highway System from drastic budget cuts, and protecting our state’s founders living in pioneer homes, Ortiz has dedicated his civic life to representing all of District 36.

An elected officials first responsibility is to those who they serve, not a political institution. District 36 once again needs a candidate that works for the people, not a political party. With political partisanship dividing our state and country at historical levels, we need a truly independent representative that works across party lines and enacts legislation beneficial to our Southeast region. I believe Ortiz has the best interests of younger generations of Alaskans in mind when stabilizing our PFD system. The number one thing I hear from people is Dan’s responsiveness to constituents. No matter if you reside in his most rural community to the most populous, he treats all people equally. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

jpg Opinion

Reelect Dan Ortiz By Carrie Starkey - I write this letter in support of Dan Ortiz’s reelection to the District 36 House seat. As the previous executive director for the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, I had an opportunity to work with Dan on many occasions, and always found him to be a strong advocate for our region and its businesses. From my experiences at the Chamber, it is clear to me which of the current candidates has a history of advocating for our local business owners and operators.

Representative Ortiz was always available for work with the Chamber, and proud to work along side us in any capacity. Not just in

his attendance for every Chamber event to which he was invited, but the work that he did within my time there, advancing the interests of our community and businesses in partnership with the Chamber. Not the least of these was his effort to bring about a legislative change that specifically allowed our Chamber to operate a Race Classic in conjunction with the R2AK annual boat race. As our ferry system faced threats, I watched him work tirelessly with Alaska state officials and our partners in Prince Rupert, with whom he holds good relationships and have achieved positive change. Through his membership, presentations, participations, and eagerness to partner with the Chamber on anything we needed, I came to see Representative Ortiz as a strong ally to the business community of Ketchikan, and our region as a whole. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

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"No" on Ballot Measure 2 - Defend Alaska Elections By Charlie and Becky Huggins - This September, our nation celebrated the 233rd anniversary of the signing of our Constitution, the best and most consequential political document in human history. Framed by our Founders, amended to enshrine our most cherished rights, further improved to expand liberty to all following the bloodiest war in our history and in the 20th century, the Constitution has endured as our guide in this experiment in self-government.

Now, Ballot Measure 2 – an initiative backed by Outside billionaires – would do away with some of the basic principles behind this great charter.

The American conception of republican government is one where the people rule. We do not have kings or emperors. We elect our representatives and, when we are unhappy with how they govern, we can replace them.

Currently, that process is simple and straightforward. Every Alaskan is entitled to one vote and has the right to exercise that vote for whomever they want. If the billionaires from New York and California pushing Ballot Measure 2 have their way, however, Alaska’s “one person, one vote” model will come to an end. In its place, will be a complicated new scheme of ranking candidates.

The winners under this new scheme will be the insiders – those with the most time, resources, and know-how to game the system. The losers will be everybody else. If you are not interested in playing along with their new game, and only prefer to vote for one candidate, then your ballot is at risk of being discarded entirely. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

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The Case Against Ballot Measure 2 By John Sturgeon - "How are you voting on Ballot Measure 2?”

It’s a question many Alaskans have yet to answer. You’ve probably heard it has something to do with ranking candidates and putting everyone into one big primary. But despite the millions spent by out-of-state billionaires to prop up Ballot Measure 2, they really haven’t explained much.

There’s a reason for that.

The truth is that the dangers of Ballot Measure 2 – all 25 pages and 74 sections – can’t be conveyed in 15-second soundbite. What I’m about to tell you will take a few minutes to read, but it’s critical that you know why this initiative would be an unmitigated disaster for our democracy.

In 2016, Maine become the only state in the country to utilize ranked choice voting after 388,273 voters in a state of 1.3 million people approved the measure. What followed was a travesty. The very next election, a moderate congressman named Bruce Poliquin won his election by a margin of 2,632 votes. Unfortunately, the ranked choice computers didn’t agree with Maine’s voters.

After nearly two weeks of chaos, the algorithms decided voters actually preferred Poliquin’s opponent, Jared Golden. But here’s where it gets crazy. Over 8,000 voters had their ballots thrown out because they didn’t want to rank candidates they didn’t like. Others simply made a mistake when filling out the 25-bubble ballot. This meant Golden was declared the winner with less than 50 percent of the vote. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020

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Oil Industry Lies Again By Sharman Haley - The October 14 ADN op-ed by Kim Reitmeier claiming the oil tax initiative would cost jobs, and the economic analysis by the American Action Forum (AAF) on which he relies, are fatally flawed. The two academic papers at the heart of the projection are based on Texas and Lower-48 oil field data. The academic conclusions are mis-applied to Alaska. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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Confirm Amy Coney Barrett By Laura Antonsen - Her background, experience and performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee inspire hope that Amy Coney Barrett will become an impactful legal heavyweight on the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Senate should confirm her. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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Open letter to the Ketchikan School Board By Allison Brown - I am writing this letter to the board to express concern and frustration of the complete incompetence of the leadership in the district. At a time when the communities emotions are at al all time high, there is absolutely NO reason that a text, email etc. should have been sent out with inaccurate information. That is NOT a mistake that is taken lightly. Causing fear and panic in this already trying time is unacceptable. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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Dan Ortiz has misled the voters By Hans H. Antonsen - The most misleading word on a political candidate’s campaign poster right now is the term “Independent”. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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"The Student Behind the Mask" By Steve Speights - About two weeks ago I was talking with a friend that teaches at Ketchikan High School, he made the comment that this year is so much more difficult both for the students as well as the teachers. He said that the students seem more down, there's no laughter in the hallways. He said that many of the teachers are having a hard time recognizing their students, because of the mask thing. - More...
Monday AM - Octobr 26, 2020

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COVID, CARE Funds and KGBSD Building Ventilation Systems By Mark O’Brien - Germany is investing $488 million in an effort to improve air circulation in public buildings. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), a professional association seeking to “advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration” has established guidelines for building administrators to refer to when dealing with coronavirus-related issues. The United States Congress earmarked Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARE) funds to states to help with the added expense to get buildings better prepared to cope with the transmission of this virus. As a retired elementary teacher with twenty-three years here in Ketchikan, I am concerned with the air quality that students and staff cope with on a daily basis. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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BALLOT MEASURE 2 OFFERS A BETTER PATH FOR RURAL ALASKA By Sen. Lyman Hoffman, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, Sen. Georgianna Lincoln, Sen. Albert Kookesh, Rep. John Lincoln, Mayor Mamie Pardue, Abel Hopson-Suvlu, and Reid Magdanz - This November 3rd, we urge rural Alaskans to vote YES on Ballot Measure 2. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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Ballot Measure 2 Would Improve Our Election Process by Knocking Down Barriers to Competition of Ideas By Jason Grenn - Would the Founding Fathers recognize our polarized and dysfunctional political system? As Election Day approaches, the airwaves overflow with negative advertising and nary a solution to the problems that plague our state. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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Al Gross for U.S. Senate By Laine Welch - Alaskans should not be surprised that it took Dan Sullivan a decade to say he opposes the Pebble Mine. That came only after the Pebble Tapes revealed mine backers boasting about how Sullivan was hoping to “ride out the election” and that “he’s off in a corner being quiet.” - More...
Monday AM - Octobr 26, 2020

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The FDA and CDC Promised Transparency in the Vaccine Approval Process. Here's How Congress Can Hold Them to It By U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan and Lisa Murkowski - The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on the health and economic well-being of families and communities across the country, and this virus will remain a significant threat until a safe and effective vaccine can be made available to all.- More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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Past time for a new noise ordinance in the City of Ketchikan By C. Gellings - It is well past time for a new noise ordinance in the city of Ketchikan. If you confront someone about a noisy activity before 11am they will give you the most banal answer as to why they are going to do it anyway. - More...
Monday AM - October 26, 2020

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