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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 10, 2011

Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

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Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS


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Southeast Alaska: Passage of Lands Bill Not Supported by Governor's Citizen’s Advisory Commission on Federal Areas - In a letter to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Wes Keller, Chairman of Alaska's Citizens' Advisory Commission of Federal Areas said the Commission has concluded that Sealaska Corporation's land entitlement under Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) can be met with the currently selected lands in the existing withdrawals and that neither S. 730 nor H.R. 1408 will accomplish this in a manner that is fair and equitable to all the residents and communities who depend on the resources in the Tongass National Forest. In the letter, Keller included detailed reasons why the Citizens' Advisory Commission of Federal Areas cannot support passage of S. 730 or H.R. 1408.

Forty years after the passage of ANCSA, Keller wrote the Commission has agreed it is well past time for Sealaska's selections to be finalized and its lands conveyed; however after much deliberation, the Citizens' Advisory Commission of Federal Areas concluded that the corporation's land entitlement can adequately be met with lands from the ANCSA withdrawals areas added by Congress in 1976.

The Citizens' Advisory Commission of Federal Areas has been working since 2010 to impartially evaluate and understand the impacts of the proposed legislation intended to finalize the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) land entitlement of Sealaska Corporation. The commission has met with representatives and shareholders of Sealaska on several occasions to discuss the provisions of S. 881, the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization Act and most recently S 730 the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act. The commission also carefully examined Congressman Don Young's (R-AK) similar companion bill, H.R. 1408 of the same title. The Commission has also conferred with

In 2010, the commission formed a subcommittee to analyze S. 881 and submitted detailed comments and recommendations to Senator Murkowski's office. A number of those recommendations were incorporated into the current bill, S. 730.

Most recently, at its October 28, 2011, meeting the full Commission, after hearing additional public testimony, adopted the recommendations of the subcommittee. Those recommendations were submitted to Murkowski in the letter dated November 04, 2011.

In the letter to Senator Murkowski, it was noted by Chairman Keller that the Commission was increasingly frustrated in their deliberations by the lack of data available to objectively and throughly assess the benefits and impacts of the proposed Sealaska selections outside of the existing ANCSA withdrawal areas. For example, conflicting claims about whether the original withdrawal areas contain sufficient timber to sustain Sealaska's timber program could not be confirmed because there are no publicly available timber appraisals. Comparative economic data are also unavailable.

Chairman Keller wrote in the letter that the Citizens' Advisory Commission of Federal Areas does continue to support the completion of Sealaska Corporation's land selections and the conveyance of lands that will provide continued essential economic opportunities for the corporation, its shareholders and Southeast Alaska.

However Keller wrote that after much thought the Commission concluded that the corporation's land entitlement can be adequately met with lands from the ANCSA withdrawals areas added by Congress in 1976.

In the letter, the following reasons were stated as to why the Citizens' Advisory Commission of Federal Areas cannot support passage of S. 730 or H.R. 1408:

It is highly probable that revisions to the Tongass National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan (TLMP) would be required in order for the U.S. Forest Service to meet the goals found in that plan. Harris Sherman, Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) testified before the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests that S. 730 would hinder efforts to implement the Southeast Alaska Transition Strategy developed to implement the Tongass plan.

Failure to implement this strategy would in turn impact the ability of the Forest Service to provide an adequate timber supply for local processing by existing mills and associated jobs, something the Fore Service already struggles with. Keller wrote that while the Sealaska timber harvest program certainly provides valuable jobs in the region, its emphasis almost exclusively on round log export provides little timber to local mills or jobs for in state process of timber. According to Keller's letter, Sealaska has made it clear that emphasis will not change. - More...
Thursday AM - November 10, 2011

Column - Commentary

jpg Tina DupuyTINA DUPUY: Congress: Still Working Hard at Being Ineffective Useless Seat-Warmers - I asked an Occupier in DC named Rob Wohl, why the movement he's a part of is resonating with people - why as over 3,000 Americans have been arrested in demonstrations and even journalists and vets have endured tear gas and rubber bullets, the movement is still growing.

His answer? "Because we are analytically correct."

What does that mean? Apparently, they believe they have the facts on their side. History certainly is. And as author Michael Lewis said when asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement, they also have justice on their side.

New census data released shows we have record high poverty in this country. It's up to 16 percent or 49.1 million Americans (that's over five New York Cities). We have the worst wealth inequality in the industrialized world (meaning we're on par with some third world countries). We have the highest health care costs in the world. And a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute notes, "U.S. productivity grew by 62.5 percent from 1989 to 2010, far more than real hourly wages for both private-sector and state/local government workers, which grew 12 percent in the same period." Basically Americans are working much (much) harder for much (much) less. Pair that with the fact U.S. businesses are making record profits and that's why Americans have taken to the pothole-laden streets to protest.

It's not just about the bank bailout. It's not just about Wall Street. It's about the goal of the wealthy to milk their fellow citizens until they're completely dry. And while regular Americans are condescended to about their proverbial bootstraps, the U.S. government has helped the wealthy at every turn. So it's no surprise they've won. And now that people are brittle and dusty — there are encampments all over the country.

The question isn't, "Why are there so many people sleeping in parks?" The question is, "Why aren't there more?

In the wake of this massive protest - right in the middle of the tenure of the lowest rated House in our nation's history - a group of men and women whose approval rating of 9 percent is hovering just above the margin of error - what do they do? They pass another symbolic (think: busy work) nonbinding resolution to reaffirm "in God we trust" as the national motto.

I could have made that up as satire and I'd get a letter saying I was being too harsh.

Time spent on a bill (of which there are FOUR versions) reaffirming a phrase already on every denomination of money, every courthouse and most public buildings is about as contemptuous as this body of seat-warmers can get. - More...
Thursday AM - November 10, 2011


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letter APOC runs amok! By John Harrington - David Scott violated the rules when he sent an email before he filed ‘an intent to run for office’ with APOC. At least so says the Alaska Public Office Commission! - More...
Thursday - November 10, 2011

letter State Commission’s Rejection of S. 730 Merits Praise By Myla Poelstra - On October 28, 2011, the State of Alaska Citizen’s Advisory Commission on Federal Areas held a public meeting where testimony was taken on S. 730 and HR. 1408, the Sealaska Land Bills, now before Congress. - More...
Thursday - November 10, 2011

letter Schoenbar Lego Robotics Club By Frankie Urquhart - I want to publicly thank all of the people who helped out with the Schoenbar Lego Robotics Club Indian Taco Fundraiser two weeks ago. I would like to thank A&P who was so generous and donated almost all of our food; Ketchikan Daily News for running our advertisement for the event; Carrie James-Dodson and Dan Dodson for organizing and cooking at the actual event, and all the parent and student volunteers who donated their time to help. I also wanted to thank all of the community members who turned out to support this program. - More...
Thursday - November 10, 2011

letter Obama Jobs Bill By A.M.Johnson - If Lisa's continued reign were up for a vote today I suppose we both would vote in opposition to her, however for different reasons. - More...
Thursday - November 10, 2011

letter Party Politics By Chris Elliott - Wow! The wealthiest Americans have a responsibility to invigorate infrastructure? As for the Jobs Bill, how has that worked out for us taxpayers in the past? The only thing shovel ready in the last few years has been the rhetoric. - More...
Thursday - November 10, 2011

letter Ketchikan Visitors Bureau building By Joseph Wharton - Recently there has been media coverage of the impending move and replacement of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau building located on berth two. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the status of this project. - More...
Monday PM - November 07, 2011

letter Party Politics By James Guenther - The American taxpayer has once again been thrown under the proverbial bus. The unemployed will remain unemployed. The obstructionists have blocked, once again, a bill that is intended to put Americans back to work and to restore our aging infrastructure. - More...
Monday PM - November 07, 2011

letter The road ahead: Reflections on Native suicide summits By U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski - I took the opportunity of AFN this year to convene a field hearing through the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, with the intent of taking our dialogue on Native youth suicide to a next phase, one of informed national involvement. We in Alaska have been living with the harrowing reality for years, but I wanted to bring a Senate spotlight to our soil to fully bring about movement to fight this epidemic. And the focus lasted beyond that single event. Following the hearing, First Alaskans Institute helped facilitate a community visioning dialogue that focused on youth leadership development -- to empower the brothers, sisters and friends of our most vulnerable Alaskans. The following Tuesday, I spoke at the Alaska Area Action Summit for Suicide Prevention, a group that included many of the same dedicated people who participated in the field hearing. - More...
Monday PM - November 07, 2011

letter Arthur Yates Memorial Hospital Building By Doris Tobin Bordine - I, too, think the building should be preserved. I fully agree with Mary Henrikson that it could be used as a visitor center. If it is, I would be willing to donate a visitor's sign-in book that we had in the magazine office/store for signing since the 1940s. It has a copper tooled cover and is about 12' x 18' in size with maybe 50 pages. It now resides in our family cabin at Willard (near Stevenson) Washington. My daughter-in-law has laminated some of the pages. Comments made by the visitors are precious. - More...
Monday PM - November 07, 2011

letter Smokey Johnstone By Doris Tobin Bordine - Smokey Johnstone's granddaughter is looking for anyone who knew her when she and her husband Scotty lived on Square Island, Spacious Bay from 1959 for several years. Her granddaughter is writing a book about their experiences. Smokey was an artist as well as a writer. - More...
Monday PM - November 07, 2011

letter Ketchikan's Fishing Fleet By Angelo Martin - Just after I made a point about the fishing fleet, I read an article about how more space for the present boats are needed. This has been a problem for years. The cruise ship industry gets it all. - More...
Friday AM - November 04, 2011

letter Re: Yates Building By Alan R. McGillvray - I find that I agree with Mary Hendrickson about the Yates building. I too say, we need to preserve this building. - More...
Friday AM - November 04, 2011

letter Septic Tanks - How Often to Pump? By Shelley Stallings - Attached is a septic pumping schedule from Ohio State University Extension Service. It shows that the frequency of pumping septic tanks depends primarily on 2 criteria: 1. number of people in household & 2. size of tank. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2011

letter Yates building as Ketchikan visitors' bureau By Mary Ida Henrikson - The demolition of the Yates Building is abhorrent.  It is the center of how Ketchikan identified itself.  It is place where the Alaska Sportsman magazine was edited and published, establishing a creative core around which Ketchikan rotated and thrives to this day.  There were writers who shared frontier experiences and words of wisdom and survival, many of which have become legend.  Artists like Beth Eberhart from Pennock Island created covers and our many local photographers shared their idea of place.  Later the Morning Raven Gallery and the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce were quartered there; both promoting Ketchikan. In front of the Yates Building is the original location of the Ketchikan Rain Gauge. The Ketchikan King Salmon Derby sign was there and served as a backdrop for the winners and their prizes. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2011

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