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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 17, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN ©2016

Deer Mountain Termination Dust
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Southeast Alaska: Kake Oyster Farmer Creates $375,000 Scholarship Endowment for Southeast Alaska Students - The family of Robert E Henderson has donated $220,000 and just over 30,500 shares of stock from his estate to create the University of Alaska Southeast Robert Henderson Memorial Award for Mariculture & Fisheries. The endowment will provide scholarships and research experiences for UAS students studying in the fields of mariculture and/or fisheries.

Robert E Henderson
Photo credit Henderson Family

Recipients must be enrolled full-time in either a 2-year AAS or 4-year baccalaureate degree. Current qualifying degree programs would include fisheries technology, biology, marine biology or fisheries with an interest in mariculture/aquaculture.

Oyster Farmer Tom Henderson, Barbara Cave, Kathy Crenshaw, and Anne Swenson established the scholarship fund in memory of their late father Robert E Henderson of Haines.

Robert “Bob” Henderson of Haines was a beloved high school science teacher, farmer and former mayor of the Haines Borough. He was also known as the father of the town’s $8.7 million permanent fund and continued to help manage it long after his retirement. He was a tireless volunteer throughout the community and left his 14 acre homestead to the American Bald Eagle Foundation under the condition that it be used for agriculture. - More...
Thursday PM - November 17, 2016

Alaska: Judge Sides With Governor: Walker Has Authority to Cut PFD - Today the Alaska Superior Court ruled in favor of Governor Bill Walker's veto cut of the permanent dividend fund from $2,052 per Alaskan to $1,022. Superior Court Judge William Morse's decision followed arguments presented by both sides in the case today in Anchorage.

Governor Walker responded in a prepared statement to the Superior Court’s decision upholding his veto of PFD funds. Walker said, “My decision to veto half of this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend money was one of the most difficult and uncomfortable actions I have taken so far as Governor. However, given our $3.5 billion deficit, the action was necessary. Using part of the Permanent Fund earnings is the cornerstone of the plan to fix Alaska’s fiscal crisis. I am pleased with the timeliness of the Superior Court ruling, as it allows us to continue focusing on resolving our budget deficit and creating a sustainable future for all Alaskans.”

Alaska Senator Bill Wielechowski (D) announced in September that he along with former Senators Clem Tillion, and Rick Halford filed this lawsuit saying the Governor's action was unconstitutional and sought to compel the Permanent Fund Corporation to transfer the amount necessary to pay all Alaskans a full PFD. The plaintiffs demanded a full dividend payout for 2016 and asked the court to order the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. to transfer funds from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve account to the Dividend Fund and to then be disbursed to eligible residents in the form of a supplemental PFD check.

Both sides had urged an expedited resolution to the lawsuit over the Governor's decision to cap the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) checks at $1,022 and arguments were presented by both sides in the case today in Anchorage. - More...
Thursday PM - November 17, 2016

Southeast Alaska - BC:
For First Nations people, effects of European contact are recorded in the genome - A study of the genomes of 25 individuals who lived 1,000 to 6,000 years ago on the north coast of present-day British Columbia, and 25 of their descendants who still live in the region today, opens a new window on the catastrophic consequences of European colonization for indigenous peoples in that part of the world.

Partners from Canada's northwest coast, from left, Barbara Petzelt, Harold Leighton, Bill Pahl, Wendy Pahl, Yvonne Ryan and Joycelynn Mitchell, collaborated with an international team of researchers on a genetic study of First Nations peoples -- both present day and ancient.
Photo courtesy the Metlakatla First Nation

The study is reported in the journal Nature Communications.

"This is the first genome-wide study - where we have population-level data, not just a few individuals - that spans 6,000 years," said University of Illinois anthropology professor Ripan Malhi, who co-led the new research with former graduate student John Lindo (now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago) and Pennsylvania State University biology professor Michael DeGiorgio.

The research team included members and representatives of the Canadian aboriginal communities of the Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla First Nation, Coast Tsimshian people whose oral histories indicate they have lived in the region for millennia. A previous study by Malhi and representatives of these First Nations showed a direct maternal link between ancient individuals buried in the region and the indigenous people living there today, an ancestry long claimed by the Metlakatla First Nation, one of the groups that participated in the study.

The new study confirms the previous findings by analyzing the exome, the entire collection of genes that contribute to a person's traits.

"Oral traditions and archaeological evidence to date have shown that there has been continuous aboriginal occupation of this region for more than 9,000 years. This study adds another layer of scientific data linking the actual ancestral human remains to their modern descendants through their DNA over a span of 6,000 years," said Barbara Petzelt, an author of the study and a liaison to the Metlakatla community. "It's exciting to see how this tool of DNA science adds to the larger picture of Coast Tsimshian pre- and post-contact history - without the taint of historic European observer bias."

In the new study, the team found that variants of an immune-related gene that were beneficial to many of those living in the region before European contact proved disadvantageous once the Europeans arrived. - More...
Thursday PM - November 17, 2016


Southeast Alaska:
Project tests method for monitoring ice conditions By SUE MITCHELL - Along Alaska’s southern coast, harbor seals use icebergs from tidewater glaciers as platforms to give birth, nurse, molt and avoid predators. As these glaciers melt and thin, some may retreat onto land and no longer calve into the ocean.

A harbor seal rests on an iceberg in Southeast Alaska’s
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
Photo by Jamie Womble

Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the National Park Service have successfully tested a method to measure how much floating ice exists and how it is changing. Their work may help scientists and policymakers better understand how changing ice conditions affect the harbor seals.

For eight years, NPS employees collected aerial photos of seals and ice in Johns Hopkins Inlet, a fjord in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. To develop a way to process the information in the photos, the park employees worked with scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute under a Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit grant.

“This is the first study to develop a semiautomated method that can be used to systematically quantify glacier ice habitat in tidewater glacier fjords from aerial photographic imagery,” said Jamie Womble, a wildlife biologist with Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. - More...
Thursday PM - November 17, 2016

Climate change limits access to subsistence resources

Early breakups, which can challenge dog teams such as this one crossing Lake Minchumina in central Interior Alaska, are among the climate changes to which subsistence hunters are being forced to adapt.
Photo by Miki Collins

Alaska: Climate change limits access to subsistence resources By JEFF RICHARDSON - Climate change is creating a variety of new obstacles for Alaska subsistence hunters, but access — not threats to wildlife — is perceived as the biggest challenge, according to a recent study.

Those results, gathered from University of Alaska Fairbanks-led interviews from four rural indigenous communities, were published last month in the science journal Climatic Change. Of the 47 important relationships identified between climate change and the availability of subsistence resources, 60 percent focused on hunter access. That far outpaced resource distribution (28 percent) and wildlife abundance (13 percent) among the responses.

Todd Brinkman, the lead author of the study, said respondents in Fort Yukon, Venetie, Wainwright and Kaktovik all reported growing challenges accessing wildlife during the past 30 years. They included more rotten ice on oceans, rivers and lakes; erratic conditions during the longer “shoulder seasons” between summer and winter; irregular changes in river hydrology hindering navigability during the summer; and more prevalent wildfires, which wipe out long-established traplines.

“It’s just a more unstable and unpredictable environment now,” said Brinkman, an assistant professor at the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology.

The findings may emphasize the need for a new focus by resource managers looking at challenges for subsistence hunters in the North. Much of the research emphasis has previously been on how climate change could affect key wildlife populations, such as caribou, moose and sea mammals. - More...
Thursday PM - November 17, 2016


Columns - Commentary

SUSAN STAMPER BROWN: Anti-Trump Riots and America's Lost Generation - Watching the recent anti-Trump post-victory riots on television and the temper tantrums on social media, it's become obvious that, without Divine intervention, the ever-fearful Millennial generation will become known as America's Lost Generation.

As someone who has been forced to face a few of her biggest fears against her will, I can say with some authority that while everything you fear will probably never come to pass, those things which do can make you better. Safe spaces are the last thing these crybabies need.

During his first inaugural address in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to fear before a justifiably fear-ridden nation during the Great Depression telling them, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Depression-era Americans were dealing with real fears like massive unemployment, homelessness and starvation. Families lucky enough to have jobs lost 40 percent of their income. Many people lost all their savings when banks collapsed, leaving millions homeless and hungry and resulting in a 50 percent rise in parents turning their kid's over to custodial institutions to prevent starvation.

Additionally, upwards of 250,000 kids too young to leave home hitchhiked or rode the train rails in search of work or a better place to survive, unlike today's coddled snowflakes blessed with full bellies and equipped with the latest iPhones who are currently in meltdown mode due to groundless fears over a duly elected president.

After the election, despondent snowflakes lit up social media with fear-filled updates about the world ending and how a Trump presidency would ignite racism. Meanwhile, many so-called "love trumps hate" Trump haters were burning cities, vandalizing cars and attacking innocent bystanders, sometimes simply because they were white, or, God forbid, Republican. - More..
Thursday PM - November 17, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Pollsters of 2016

Editorial Cartoon: Pollsters of 2016
By Dave Granlund ©2016,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter My impressions... By Rodney Dial - It's been a month since I was elected to the Borough Assembly. I thought I would give an update on what I have learned and my impression of your local government. - More...
Thursday PM - November 17, 2016

letter AMHT Open to Federal Buyout - But Questions Linger By Rebecca Knight - The Alaska Mental Health Trust develops resources it owns to fund its operations. Controversy is churning this year in Southeast Alaska over AMHT’s threat to immediately log forestland it owns within communities unless, by mid-January, Congress passes a bill exchanging those lands for 21,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest. The threatened logging in the communities would ruin cherished viewsheds and, because the slopes are steep, jeopardize residences and domestic and municipal waters supplies. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 15, 2016

letter A Commitment to Prevention By Susan Johnson - One of the greatest, under-appreciated, benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which remains the law of the land until amended, repealed, or replaced, is access to preventive care services. According to the CDC, potentially preventable chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease, cancer, diabetes) are responsible for millions of premature deaths each year among Americans. Because health problems impact productivity, they are a major drain on the economy, resulting in 69 million workers reporting missed days due to illness each year. This loss of productivity reduces economic output by $260 billion annually. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 15. 2016

letter Protests By Rob Holston - I'm just finishing up a great vacation in Kauai and viewing nightly "Not My President" protests in the streets of major cities. I don't recall that similar protests by Republicans broke out when President Obama became President Elect. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 15, 2016

letter Democratic Party Wrecked By David G. Hanger - Hillary Clinton, just disappear, I never want to hear your name again. You are the biggest loser in the history of this country, and your vanity and incompetence have just sent the whole kit-and-kaboodle over the cliff. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 15, 2016

letter No Position For LT. GEN. Flynn (Ret.) By Donald Moskowitz - We have to support Donald Trump so he can hopefully perform well as President. He won the election, and a large segment of the U.S. population has spoken. I agree with many of the policies he wants to implement, and I believe he will stop the nasty rhetoric that he used in the primaries and the general election. I am convinced his rhetoric was contrived to draw attention to himself and away from other candidates. Every time he said something controversial he received extensive and free media coverage and he was in the spotlight. He played the media very well. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 15, 2016

letter AN OPEN LETTER TO BENEFICIARIES OF THE ALASKA MENTAL HEALTH TRUST By Amy Simpson - Tens of thousands of Alaskans are beneficiaries of the Alaska Mental Health Trust. If you yourself are not a beneficiary, you almost certainly know someone who is. Every Alaskan who experiences an intellectual or developmental disability, mental illness, chronic alcoholism or other substance use disorder, traumatic brain injury, or Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia is a beneficiary of the Alaska Mental Health Trust.

The Alaska Mental Health Trust was established at statehood to ensure that the State of Alaska had the resources to provide services to Alaskans with mental and cognitive disabilities. The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is a public corporation that was created in 1992, as part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by beneficiaries. It is responsible for ensuring that an integrated comprehensive mental health program is provided to beneficiaries. The Board of Trustees must preserve and protect the trust corpus (the principal). Trust income can be used to provide for the integrated comprehensive mental health program, as well as administrative expenses of the Mental Health Trust Authority. - More...
Thursday PM - November 10, 2016

letter Open Letter to deceitful Republicans: Until next time By Tuckerman Babcock - Dear Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, Louise Stutes, and Paul Seaton, First, congratulations on your re-election. We are sorry you have chosen to part ways.

You won your elections running as Republicans in your respective Districts. That was an illusion, a false picture you presented to the voters of your districts.

Because of your recent actions abandoning your team and joining with the House Democrats, we invite you to drop the pretense that you are Republican and leave the Republican Party. - More...
Thursday PM - November 10, 2016

letter Thoughts on the Election By A. M. Johnson - The election has been held, the results are known. Best wishes to the successful candidate.

This District 36 House election for me personally has to have been the hardest to make a determination. That said as the goal of dealing the the state budget gap is so huge as to require a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice on the part of elected officials in a true dedicated effort to bring the deficient down over a reasonable amount of time. In my opinion, the thinking to success will require reviewing conditions know to exist during the depression of the 30 s to gain perspective. Perhaps conditions are not that sever, yet, they sure as heck are not very rosy. Will or would either Dan or Bob be able to deal with what will be required?
- More...
Thursday PM - November 10, 2016

letter Alaska remains solidly Republican By Tuckerman Babcock - Alaskans just won a more hopeful future for our state with President-elect Donald Trump. It means we won a stronger Supreme Court. It means we won with a more friendly Department of Interior. It means we have hope to unwind the disaster that is Obamacare.

Nationally, Republicans won the President, the US Senate and the US House. We even added three more Republican governors, bringing the total to 33. - More...
Thursday PM - November 10, 2016

letter Thanks Ketchikan By Brent Cunningham = Young Life Alaska would like to thank the community of Ketchikan for their wonderful support of the Young Life ministry. It was so wonderful to see so many folks in attendance at the recent Young Life Fundraising banquet.

Thank you also for welcoming Ashley Wardrop to the community of Ketchikan. Ashley is Young Life’s first ever full time staff person in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - November 10, 2016

letter Make Mental Health a Priority By Susan Johnson - Many of us ignore physical symptoms - an aching tooth, a shoulder which locks up, early signs of diabetes or high blood pressure. Maybe we’re afraid of the dentist, don’t want to face possible surgery, or don’t want to deal with medications and lifestyle changes.

We may also ignore signs of depression and other mental illnesses for a variety of reasons. We might feel mental illness is a sign of weakness, or fear that friends, family, or employers would judge us or discriminate against us. Already, too many Americans experience prejudice, discrimination, abuse, and victimization based on a mental health diagnosis. And for too long, Americans paid for health insurance that did not recognize that treatment for mental health and substance use disorders is as essential as other medical treatment. - More...
Thursday PM - November 10, 2016

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“Hundreds of Alaskans have reached out to my administration saying health care costs are increasingly unaffordable,” Governor Walker said. “This law will provide relief from large premium hikes for

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