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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 16, 2015

Front Page Photograph By ELMER J. GUERRERO

Bar Harbor Rainbow
Front Page Photograph By ELMER J. GUERRERO

Select your favorite Photo of the Month. The photographer with the most likes for the month will receive $100. Only LIKES on the SitNews' Facebook page will be counted. If you don't use FB, email your choice to the editor.
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Ketchikan: Still no sign on 5th day of search for missing hiker by LEILA KHEIRY, KRBD - Rescue crews and family members of 22-year-old Justin Nathan continued searching for him on Sunday, the fifth day that he has been missing on Deer Mountain, but found no clues. - Read or listen to this KRBD news report...
Nov. 12, 2015 -

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Southeast Alaska: Double Murder Investigation Underway in Juneau - Shortly after noon on Sunday, the Juneau Police Department received a 911 call from a residence located in the 2700 block of Roger Street. The male caller reported finding two deceased people inside the residence. Juneau Police Officers and Capital City Fire Rescue personnel responded to the residence and two people, a male and a female, were pronounced deceased by ambulance personnel.

The preliminary invesigation identified the two deceased as Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire, a 34-year-old Juneau resident, and 36-year-old Juneau resident Robert H. Meireis. The investigation revealed that both Tonsmeire and Meireis were shot and the case is being investigated as a double murder. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015

Alaska: Board of Regents Adopt a Tuition Increase and FY 17 Budget - Tuition was the main topic during public testimony presented to the University of Alaska Board of Regents at its November meeting in Anchorage. Representatives from student government organizations across the system presented varying degrees of support for a tuition increase, with some campus student organizations fully supporting the proposed nine percent increase and others wanting to hold that line at five percent.

Student leaders agreed that students should help the university face the looming budget shortfall. "I personally support the tuition increase to help fund the financial gap,” said Kenai Peninsula College representative Jayce Robertson. “However, the tuition increase should only be a portion of financing the gap. Please keep close to your hearts and minds that the backbone of the university is the students."

The testimony was reflected in the Board’s final action. After robust discussion, the Board of Regents voted in favor of a five percent across-the-board increase for the academic year beginning Fall 2016. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015

Alaska - National: U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Combat Domestic Violence - U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) last Thursday praised the U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of their bipartisan bill which they recently introduced, to help combat domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The Pro bono Work to Empower and Represent (POWER) Act mandates that each year, the United States Attorney in each judicial district across the country work with domestic violence service providers or coalitions and an area volunteer lawyer project to hold at least one event which promotes pro bono legal services. The purpose is to reinforce a critical way of empowering survivors of domestic violence, engage citizens, and help lift victims out of the cycle of abuse. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, cosponsored the bill.

Also critically important to both Senators is addressing the high rates of domestic and sexual violence among the Native American and Alaska Native populations in their states – so the bill includes a provision requiring many United States Attorney’s offices to work with the Native populations in their judicial district in planning and holding an event every few years with a focus on addressing these crimes in Indian Country and among Native populations.

Senators Sullivan and Heitkamp, both former attorneys general of their states, both say they understand how the legal system can help prevent the probability that victims will again be abused, and that a lack of access to legal services is one of the leading obstacles for women with children in getting out of domestic violence situations. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015


Alaska first with comprehensive approach to drone privacy & use guidelines - The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Legislative Task Force has unveiled its privacy and use guidelines for Alaska’s drone operators prior to the holidays with the personal rights of citizens in mind. With as many as one million drones soon to be under Christmas trees and then in the skies, the task force is emphasizing privacy this season, adding to its ongoing focus of safety.

Alaska first with comprehensive approach to drone privacy & use guidelines

A DJI Phantom UAV for commercial and recreational aerial photography
By Lino Schmid,

“The public’s number one concern is privacy, and it is mine as well,” Representative Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, said. “Enormous opportunities abound in this fast-evolving industry, and I want Alaska to get a piece of that pie, but we must first ensure the privacy rights of Alaskans are protected as we welcome this new technology that can save lives, save money, and save time.”

Co-chaired by Rep. Hughes and Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), the task force is comprised of private industry members, State of Alaska department officials, public members, and individuals with technology and aviation expertise, and began work on the guidelines last spring. Personal privacy rights have been in the forefront of concerns raised by the public to the task force.

The task force examined common scenarios and decided an illustrated, easy-to-understand format was best. “I am very happy with the final product – it will be a great tool for educating the public. It’s user-friendly and applicable to all ages and skill levels of drone operators,” Hughes said. Non-drone users will find it helpful as well. The guidelines answer questions such as when does a flying drone breach privacy, what if my neighbor is sunbathing on her deck and my son is flying his drone, and can I shoot a drone down if it’s flying over my house? - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2015

Alaska: Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative Grant Program Announced - The Alaska Historical Society has announced the Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative Grant Program to fund projects that document, preserve, and educate about the history of the Alaska seafood industry. Grants of up to $1,000 are available to individuals and organizations, and are meant to jumpstart cannery history projects in Alaska.

“Nothing is more important to the identity of coastal Alaska than our connection to fishing and processing, but relatively little has been done to promote or preserve this history,” explains Project Director Anjuli Grantham. “For example, only two canneries are listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Alaska, even though hundreds of fish processing sites are scattered across Alaska’s shoreline.”

The vision of the Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative is to inspire communities, businesses and individuals to raise the profile and enhance the preservation of seafood industry history in Alaska. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015


Alaska Science:
Weird world of northern dinosaurs coming into focus By NED ROZELL - During Patrick Druckenmiller's not-so-restful sabbatical year, he is flying to museums around the world. In Alberta a few weeks ago and London now, the University of Alaska Museum’s curator of earth science is looking at bones of dinosaurs similar to ones found in northern Alaska. The more he squints at them and chats with experts, the more he thinks far-north dinosaurs are like Alaskans compared to other Americans: kind of the same, but a little off.

Weird world of northern dinosaurs coming into focus

Pat Druckenmiller, dinosaur guy of the University of Alaska Museum, ferries a boat across the Colville River near the spot rich with dinosaur bones.
Photo by Greg Erickson.

"When we really reexamine the fauna, (northern Alaska) is a very weird place," Druckenmiller said.

The mini tyrannosaur, duck-billed swamp-stompers, armor-headed planteaters and other dinosaurs found in northern Alaska hint of a story that is theirs alone. That tale is separate from the one we learned as kids, told by fossils found in Montana, Alberta, Mongolia and other more-exposed and easier-to-get-to places.

Druckenmiller's examinations of the duckbilled dinosaurs found in Alberta led to the recent declaration of a new Alaska hadrosaur species due to slight but significant differences in body structure.

"They're close but they're different," Druckenmiller said. "It’s true for fish, dinosaurs and mammals. There's no obvious gene flow between areas."

The story of the northern dinosaur is late in arriving because Alaska is late in being explored. But paleontologists have filled the basement of the university museum with the world's largest collection of polar dinosaur bones and tracks encased in rock. Researchers are using them to write a separate narrative for the creatures who lived in a place of extremes 70 million years ago. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015


Columns - Commentary

jpg Dave Kiffer
DAVE KIFFER: The Drizzling World of Hairy Potheads - Well, we've all survived another "Argh-tober" in Our Fair Salmon City.

Yes, this one was a little on the wet side with 30 inches of liquid sunshine lightly cascading down upon us.

Still, that pales in comparison to the 42 inches that drizzled down in October of 1974. Yecch!

But 30 inches was still about 10 inches wetter than a normal Soptober. And it featured three days in which we had all-time record water dumps, led by the 7.21 inches that careened down on us on October 8, one of the top five wettest days in Ketchikan.


Speaking of which, our friends up in The People's Republic of Juneau just suffered through an October in which they got - drum roll please - a total of 7.21 inches. Yes, that was for the entire month. We got that in one day. Go figure.

The easy thing would be to feel sorry for ourselves and sit around crying over spilt rainwater. But we Ketchikandians are nothing if not resourceful, especially in the direction of attempting to make a buck off our troubles. - More...
onday PM - November 16, 2015

jpg Jeff Lund

JEFF LUND: A byproduct of freedom - Now that the lights get shut off on my days well before bedtime, I was thinking about how much pre-sunset freedom I had just weeks ago. But now, unless I want to hike or fish in the dark, I have to find other productive ways to fill the hours. I went online and waded through the political and social scenes on a couple newspaper and magazine websites starting with the Wall Street Journal and ending up at a piece in The Atlantic about saving schools by killing sports. I guess that doesn’t sound like a long journey because Wall Street is in New York which is on the Atlantic Ocean, but that’s not the point.

Anyway, the journey was dark and it confirmed what I already knew about aspects of our American life.

A byproduct of freedom, is freedom. It’s the freedom for individuals to value sports more than school. It’s the freedom to peak in high school or not even finish it with a diploma. It’s the freedom to find loopholes, because government can’t regulate morality, and to establish or adopt anything that too closely resembles religious doctrine, is to infringe on our right to not have religion thrust upon us.

We have the freedom to be offended and use that as a trump card for any off-handed remark or display we don’t like. We have the freedom to make people who tell offensive jokes millionaires. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2015

jpg Political Cartoon: Paris

Political Cartoon: Paris
By Milt Priggee ©2015,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
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letter KGBSD Budget Restraint By Agnes Moran - The Ketchikan Daily News editorial of November 13, 2015, took note of the fiscal difficulties facing the State of Alaska and the federal government. It cautioned the City and Borough governments to reach balanced and sustainable budgets. The editorial pleads, "We should take this opportunity to ensure that we can live within our municipal means next year and in the foreseeable future." The Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District (KGBSD) must heed that excellent advice also. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015

letter Great ER in Ketchikan By Walt Hoefer - I lived in Ketchikan for 33 years. I have 3 kids and several grand kids living there. I had the chance to experience an eight hour stay in your ER back in June. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015

letter Cost of Obama's visit By Margaret Cloud - It was recently stated in a letter published on November 11 that the cost of Obama's visit to Alaska was $600 million dollars. That number is very wrong. The cost was just under $600,000 and was for Anchorage police overtime and other expenses. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015

letter 2D Bar Code & Privacy By John Suter - In regards to the 2D bar code on the back of the Alaska State driver’s license, the State of Alaska adding this 2D bar code is opening the door for Alaska State residents to be victimized. Many people have iPhones and you can go to the Apple Store to down load an App to scan the 2D bar code. Once someone uses this App to scan the 2D bar code, everything from birthdate, weight, hair color, address etc. is now stored into this person's iPhone. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 11, 2015

letter RE: Pesticides in our state By Jan Trojan - Excellent letter by the Wyatts! I raised the same issue here in Craig. I still have not received a letter back from the Governor. I do feel comforted that SEALASKA said not on SEALASKA Lands. I have also written both of our senators about the HB 1599 and not received a response from either if they would vote against. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 11, 2015

letter MARY POPPINS By Laura Plenert - Thank you First City Players, the magnificent cast and the behind the scenes folks of this weekend's production of 'Mary Poppins'. It was delightful from beginning to end. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 11, 2015

letter Open Letter To: Chief Admin. Officer and Chief Financial Officer PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center By Clement Plamondon - Dear Mr. Tonjes, You recently mailed me yet another survey & form letter (two actually) requesting my time to help you improve your organization & facility. In the past I have completed & returned these forms. I now realize that, not only are such surveys Not in any way improving the services you offer, they are detrimental in that they waste time, money & resources generating reams of unread reports, tons of wasted paper & terabits of less than useless data to be correlated & analyzed. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 11, 2015

letter The bees all died in sprayed areas By Rudy McGillvray - So starts my latest rant, and it goes like this. If we as a community allow our town , Borough, and state to spray all the wild bushes in our beautiful state we will have NO BEES. Most likely because the sprays contains nicotinic acid or a similar type that kills bees. In fact, if one bee comes into contact with nicotine, goes back to the hive, one bee can poison the whole hive, and kill it out of existence; which is why this is not my first letter to Sitnews about Bees, and why they aren't around anymore. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 11, 2015

letter RE: Permanent Fund By Norma Lankerd - Like I stated, it was my opinion (and) I'm sure the Alaskan Government probably used part of the dividend to pay for the president's visit to Alaska, where else would they get the ¢600 million to pay for the president to be in Alaska for 4 days and 3 nights? I know Alaska doesn't have that kind of $$ to squander. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 11, 2015

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