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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 09, 2012

Front Page Photograph by JIM LEWIS

Anna’s Hummingbird
This November hummingbird was photograph in Ketchikan's Millar Street area today. These birds should be long gone but a few are still hanging around feeders.
Front Page Photograph by JIM LEWIS ©2012
(Please respect the rights of photographers, never republish or copy
without permission and/or payment of required fees.)

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Ketchikan: KIC Members Gather for Annual Meeting and Special Election - A special election is scheduled Sunday, November 11th, for Ketchikan Indian Community members to consider eight constitutional amendments as well as hold their annual meeting.  Both events will take place at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.  Polls will be open from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm and the annual meeting is scheduled to start at 1:00 pm and conclude shortly before 7:00 pm.

KIC Members Gather for Annual Meeting and Special Election

Harvey Shields leads the Cape Fox Dancers at last year’s annual KIC meeting.
Photograph by Cliff Guthrie, Ketchikan Indian Community

The special election to consider eight constitutional amendments is being held after nearly two years and many hours of work by the Ketchikan Indian Community's Constitution Committee.  After the 2010 annual election KIC was obliged to hold a second election when a 1979 version of their constitution was inadvertently discovered.  At that time it became clear to most that a modernization and reformation of the governing document was needed.

The KIC Tribal Council, sitting as the constitution committee, spent many hours and held numerous public hearings for its members culminating in eight proposition questions which will appear on the ballot.  These propositions range from refinement of jurisdiction language to approving amended bylaws which coincide with the changes in the constitution.

During this special election KIC members will, for the first time, use an electronic ballot scanner much like the State of Alaska and local governments use for its elections.  This will result in quicker tabulation and improved accuracy of the results as well as reduced costs associated with staging an election.  It’s believed that KIC is the first Tribe in Alaska to use electronic ballot scanning for its elections.   There will be no more burning the midnight oil as results will take only moments to tabulate. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2012

Ketchikan: Rare bird sighting in Ketchikan By MARY KAUFFMAN - The first documented sighting of an Ash-throated Flycatcher was recently made in Ketchikan. According to avid bird watcher Steve Heinl and an Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist, he along with his friends Will Young and Andy Piston made this rare sighting in Ketchikan's Millar Street neighborhood Wednesday.

Rare bird sighting in Ketchikan

Heinl's photograph represents the first documented record for Alaska of the Ash-throated Flycatcher. 
Photograph by Steve Heinl

"I figured that people that live in the Millar Street neighborhood have been wondering what the people with binoculars and cameras have been doing wandering up and down their street for the past three days," said Heinl.

"Like many birds found far out of their normal range, this bird is a young bird that was hatched this year, and basically migrated in the opposite direction that it should have migrated," Heinl wrote in an email to SitNews.

Heinl said two "birders" from Fairbanks actually traveled to Ketchikan specifically to see this bird and add it to their Alaska list. A "birder" is a person who identifies and studies birds in their natural habitats or a bird watcher.

While the Ash-throated Flycatchers are fairly common throughout most of the western United States and Mexico, they would be rare in Ketchikan and southeast Alaska. Heinl's photograph represents the first documented record for Alaska of the Ash-throated Flycatcher.  - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2012

Alaska: Alaska Native Voters Defend the Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act; Cite Continuing Need for Act’s Protections - Four Alaska Natives and four tribal governments represented by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) requested this week that a federal court in Washington, D.C. allow them to join Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, in defending the constitutionality of provisions of the Voting Rights Act challenged by the State of Alaska. The case is Alaska v. Holder.

Since 1975, Alaska has been one of just three states covered in its entirety by Section 4(f)(4) of the Voting Rights Act. That provision applies to Alaska because on the coverage date, more than five percent of its voting-age citizens were Alaska Natives, the State conducted English-only elections, and less than 50 percent of eligible citizens either were not registered to vote or did not vote. Because of its coverage under Section 4(f)(4), Alaska is required to provide all voting information statewide in Alaska Native languages at every stage of the voting process from registration through casting a ballot. Alaska also is required to comply with Section 5 of the Act, which requires the State to show that any change in its voting policies or procedures does not have either the purpose or the effect of discriminating against minority voters.

In 2006, Congress reauthorized Sections 4(f)(4) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act for an additional 25 years. Congress extended those provisions under its broad enforcement powers to protect the right to vote under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. In exercising its broad authority, Congress held nearly two dozen hearings with nearly 100 witnesses in 2005 and 2006.

Three of the attorneys representing the Alaska Native voters and tribes, Natalie Landreth, Laughlin McDonald, and Dr. James Thomas Tucker, were among the witnesses who presented evidence of the continuing need among voters, including Alaska Natives, for the Act’s protection from discrimination in voting and other areas including education that impact the right to vote.

During the reauthorization debate, then-Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman opposed the continued coverage of Alaska, claiming that the State was in full compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

However, a federal court disagreed. On July 31, 2008, United States District Judge Timothy Burgess issued a landmark injunction finding that Alaska’s Division of Elections had done little to provide Yup’ik-speaking voters in the Bethel region with equal opportunities to participate in the voting process through their failure to provide voting information in Yup’ik and denying election-day help from the person of the voter’s choice. In 2009, the Attorney General of the United States relied upon Judge Burgess’s findings and evidence of ongoing voting discrimination in violation of the federal Constitution to certify the Bethel Region for federal observers. Those federal observers help identify and document the State’s violations of federal law. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2012

Alaska: BP to Pay State $255 Million for 2006 Pipeline Spills and Shutdowns - The State of Alaska won a multi-million dollar arbitration award against BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. The announcement was made Thursday.

The dispute related to money damages for oil production shortfalls caused by the 2006 pipeline leaks and pipeline replacements in the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. BP admitted liability for purposes of the arbitration, but contended that the State suffered no losses and asked the arbitration panel to award zero damages. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2012

Alaska: House Majority Organizes for 28th Legislature; Chenault returns as Speaker, leadership & committee chairs announced - The Alaska House Majority Caucus has organized for the 28th Alaska Legislature. Representative Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, returns for a third term as House Speaker. Representative Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage is the new Majority Leader, and Representative Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, returns as Rules Chair. Representatives Bill Stoltze, R-Mat-Su/Chugiak, & Alan Austerman, R-Kodiak, are the co-chairs of the House Finance Committee.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to return as Speaker,” Chenault said. “The gavel comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility, and I am confident we will continue to respect and uphold the tradition and powers of the Speaker’s Office and Alaska State House.”

“We welcome five new members to caucus, and are eager to continue relationship building and educating each other prior to the start of session,” Pruitt said. “We will continue focusing on key issues – oil tax reform, affordable energy, quality education, public safety, and responsible investments – and are looking forward to working with the new Senate leadership and Governor to finally push Alaska forward.” - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2012


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letter Open Letter: KIC Language Program By Terrance H. Booth, Sr. - I am Tsimshian, formerly from Metlakatla, Alaska and heard through my son, Timothy R. Booth that (Ketchikan Indian Community) Language Program Services is facing cut back.  On the KIC website, you have a quote: "When you lose a language, a large part of the culture goes, too, because much of that culture is encoded in the language."  Kenneth L. Hale, linguist and activist on behalf of endangered languages. I truly believe the more we keep up on our languages we Natives have a clearer view of the world around us.  My immediate family particularly by grandchildren has been part of the Cultural Programs and has made a marked impression upon who they are as Tsimshian. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2012

letter Looking forward By Rep. Kyle Johansen - I would like to thank all the people who have helped me earn three terms in the Alaska State House of Representatives.  It has been the most rewarding professional experience of my life. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter Tsunami Letters By Tom LeCompte - I think any discussion of Lituya Bay should clarify what really happened there. As eloquently written by Hizzoner Dave a few years back, the Lituya Bay waves were more of a splash, albeit 1700 feet high, caused by pretty much the whole face of a mountain and glacier, way up in the back of the bay falling off into the water. The gigantic splash sloshed around the bay like a youngster sending splashes around the bathtub. When it reached the mouth of the bay it washed over th spit and carried a couple boats across and into the open ocean. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter Gas price relief, please! By Karen Ramsey - Just wondering how long it will take again for Ketchikan to see any relief in our gas prices around town. We’ve been hearing for at least a few weeks now that gasoline prices nationally have been falling, and the average today is $3.49 a gallon for unleaded. I for one do not believe the local stations are still charging $4.27 - $4.31 a gallon based on any higher-priced inventory they still have to sell off. That, of course, is the song and dance we always get by way of explanation for our inflated pricing. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter Broadway quality production By Deborah Hayden - Now that the electoral slaughter of our sensibilities is over, may I suggest one of the finest cures for your election-battered spirits you could possibly find: My Fair Lady. The delights, fun, superb performances, soul-restoring music and ingenious sets will fully heal you. You will laugh, guffaw and continue humming these songs to yourself for weeks to come. This is a Broadway quality production. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2012

letter In the future... By Dave Kiffer - I don't usually respond to letters about my opinion pieces because I feel that I have already had my say and that any responses to it are just part of the process and a "good thing" even if they call me a complete buckbrained eegit. - More...
Monday PM - November 06, 2012

letter Issue of abortion By Rob Holston - In response to Eric Muench, I feel that the issue of abortion is all too often confined to a description of a few "religious" faiths forcing their antiquated beliefs upon the rest of us. This is unfortunate in that the truth of the matter has to do with the destruction of a fetus. It is ironic that the political party that strives to diminish Big Government is "pro-life", yet ALL political parties agree that government's largest responsibility is to protect the people of the nation. So the debate SHOULD focus on when does a fetus become that person who deserves protection? - More...
Monday PM - November 06, 2012

letter CHALLENGE DAY By Diane Gubatayao - Challenge Day is approaching and we are seeking adult volunteers who are willing to dedicate a day to supporting our students. There are three separate sessions:  Tuesday, November 13th and Wednesday, November 14th at Kayhi and Thursday, November 15th at Schoenbar. - More...
Friday PM - November 02, 2012

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