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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 23, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By MARK HILLBERRY

Golden Sunrise
A stunning golden sunrise Monday moring over Ketchikan. This photograph was taken from the M/V Aurora.
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Alaska sees 34 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2016 - Motor vehicle traffic fatalities are on the rise this year in Alaska, and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) would like to remind travelers to drive with care as the holidays approach.

As of Nov. 21st Alaska has had 75 traffic fatalities in 69 fatal crashes in 2016, according to the ADOT&PF Alaska Highway Safety Office. This compares to 56 fatalities in 53 fatal crashes for the same date in 2015.

Traffic fatalities are on the rise nationally, as well. Preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show traffic fatalities rose by 10.4 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015.

According to NHTSA, it is too soon to conclude what is causing this nationwide increase, but many point to a dramatic increase in the number of miles driven in recent years stemming from lower fuel prices and to the proliferation of drivers using smartphones or other technology while driving.

According to the Alaska Highway Safety Office, driver behavior contributed to about 75 percent of traffic fatalities in Alaska on average in recent years. The office’s data show these behaviors include impaired driving, speeding, and non-use and/or improper use of restraints, such as seatbelts.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities reminds Alaskans to follow safe driving practices. These include driving for conditions, using seat belts and headlights, not driving while impaired, and staying back from snow and ice removal equipment.

According to the Alaska Department of Public Safety, distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America's roadways. In 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 450,000 more were injured in distracted driving crashes. You're 23x more likely to crash if you text while driving according to the Alaska Public Safety Department.

The Alaska Legislature passed a law in 2012 making it illegal to send or read a text message while you are driving. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

Southeast Alaska: Craig Tribal Association Helps Improve Emergency Services in Craig - Efforts by the Craig Tribal Association (CTA) to upgrade the City of Craig Dispatch Center culminated this week with the issuance of a purchase order to acquire a Motorola MC 5500 radio dispatch console.

“The console will greatly increase the operational ability of the City of Craig dispatch center” Craig Police Chief Robert Ely said. “Once installed and operational, the console will allow the Craig Police Department to communicate across new radio platforms, and better serve first responders. Dispatchers will be able to control and monitor multiple radio channels, send pages, patch channels together, and continue to monitor telephone calls to the dispatch center.”

Funding for the $180,000 purchase comes from the Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund. The Craig Tribal Association also secured funding for a local driver’s education course for students preparing to test for their learner’s permit and provisional license. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

Southeast Alaska:
Christianson of Hydaburg Appointed Chair of the Federal Subsistence Board in Alaska - Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott praised U.S. Department of the Interior’s announcement Wednesday that Secretary Sally Jewell appointed Anthony Christianson of Hydaburg to Chair of the Federal Subsistence Board in Alaska.

Anthony Christianson of Hydaburg, Alaska
Photograph courtesy The Nature Conservancy - Alaska Chapter

“As a life-long Alaskan with deep personal knowledge and experience with subsistence needs and policies, Anthony is an excellent selection to lead the Federal Subsistence Board,” Governor Walker said. “Subsistence and wildlife management are deeply important in Alaska, and I commend Secretary Jewell for appointing an individual who can effectively represent the interests of varied stakeholders.”

Lt. Governor Mallott agreed: “Anthony is the perfect choice to chair the Federal Subsistence Board. He has contributed his life to working with and for Alaska Native peoples and the community of Hydaburg to make Alaska an even better place to live. His previous experience as a representative of rural Alaskans on the Board indicates that he will bring a needed and important perspective to its continued critical work.” - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016


Alaska: REMINDERS WHY PALIN WOULD BE TERRIBLE INTERIOR SECRETARY - With Sarah Palin’s name being floated as a potential Secretary of the Interior in President-Elect Donald Trump's administration, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) points to her record as Alaska Governor as cause for concern. Her fervid fossil-fuel advocacy, leading “Drill, Baby, Drill” cheers in the months leading up to the disastrous BP Gulf of Mexico spill, is only a small sample of what could be expected if she becomes America’s chief natural resource protection official according to this public employees advocacy group.

“Elevating Sarah Palin’s abysmal record on the environment to a national level would be an unmitigated disaster,” said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor and PEER board member, who obtained the internal Alaska Department of Fish & Game emails after Palin’s office asked for $468,000 in search fees to release them. “Sarah Palin as Interior Secretary would be like having the fox operate a KFC franchise in the henhouse.”

According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, as Governor, Palin repeatedly but unsuccessfully sued the Interior Department, mainly to try and block or reverse Endangered Species Act protections for Alaskan wildlife. She also steadily retreated from addressing climate change, first establishing an Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and then walking away from it, eventually ending up as a functional climate-denier.

“It is hard to imagine a more divisive pick who seems predestined to mire Interior in more conflict and litigation than it has ever seen,” remarked PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, also noting the conflict between Ms. Palin’s “Young Earth” beliefs and the work of geology, paleontology and other specialists working inside Interior. “As a creationist, she might have a tough time overseeing the U.S. Geological Survey.” - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom Purcell
TOM PURCELL: How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner Politics - Thanksgiving may get ugly this year.

God only knows what may happen when a progressive liberal Democrat discovers he's sitting next to a cousin or uncle who is a conservative Republican.

But there's no need for mashed potatoes to fly.

In 2009, Harry Stein, an author, columnist and contributing editor to the political magazine City Journal, offered me advice on how people of differing political opinions can navigate Thanksgiving dinner.

Stein, an erstwhile '60s radical who evolved into a conservative, faced a similar dilemma at a dinner party a decade ago. When the guest next to him discovered his conservative/libertarian thinking, the fellow said loudly, "I can't believe I'm sitting next to a Republican!" - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

jpg Susan Stamper Brown

SUSAN STAMPER BROWN: Don't Let the Election Ruin Thanksgiving - If Americans figured out how to get along after the Civil War, there is no excuse for people canceling their Thanksgiving Day plans because of the 2016 presidential election.

If that's the case, obviously, their problems extend far beyond politics.

After the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln had to deal with a bloodied nation divided by war and understood the only way to restore unity was repentance, followed by thanksgiving.

So, he set aside the last Thursday of November as a day of "thanksgiving and praise...with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience" to "fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union." - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

jpg Will Durst

WILL DURST: Holiday Heartburn - And now a public service announcement for all you prodigal sons and daughters making the pilgrimage back home for the annual Turkey Day reunion. Prepare for some ultra ugliness out there, people. Expect extra enmity. You are entering enemy territory and should anticipate the landing area will be mined.

We're not talking about the normal stomach spasms associated with tryptophan poisoning by over sampling the turducken or Aunt Hoogalah's dupamouche. Beware the bubbling casserole dish nowhere near any apparent heat source.

This is more about the turmoil that could result from intermingling with family members who went down a different presidential preference path. It is said that people felt sort of passionate about this past election. It is also rumored that the Pacific Ocean is moist. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

jgp Danny Tyree

DANNY TYREE: Will The Election Ruin Your Thanksgiving Dinner? - According to the New York Daily News, the 2016 presidential election is dividing families on Thanksgiving.

Don't be surprised if the occasion brings empty seats at the table, heated debates, awkward silences and (at potluck meals) a confusing array of dishes labeled "Not my casserole" and "Not my cranberry sauce."

The earliest Thanksgivings I remember took place when the Vietnam War was escalating and the Sexual Revolution was exploding, so I have enough perspective to realize that holiday tension is not unprecedented. When Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, we were still in the midst of a war that pitted brother against brother. (Granted, that has morphed into a battle of brother-trapped-in-a-sister's-body against sister-trapped-in-a-brother's-body, but things are basically the same.) - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Standing Rock Thanksgiving

Editorial Cartoon: Standing Rock Thanksgiving
By Steve Sack ©2016, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter 7 Ways to Give Back to Your Community This Thanksgiving By Mary Wong - Giving back to the community is always important, but this is especially true around Thanksgiving. While most people look forward to spending time with family and friends feasting on turkey and stuffing and watching the parades and football games, for others it’s a very different story. Many people are alone this time of year. Others are homeless. Some are sick. Sadly, not everyone has a place to go and people with whom they can spend the holiday. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

letter Seaweed aquaculture By Frances C. Natkong - Why are they now doing a study on our seaweed/kelp. Soon that will be all gone as well. Is nothing safe? Interrupting the sea life when sea life depends on kelp to live and us too. I'm not very happy with this! Not at all. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

letter Keep Public Lands in Public Hands! By Glenn Ferren - The Mormon Senator from Thompson Falls (Jennifer Fielder) works for the American Lands Council, Ken Ivory, and the LDS church. The ultimate goal of this group is to turn our public lands into prime real estate for wealthy individuals (Wilks brothers, ex), corporations in the real estate business (Weyerhaeuser, ex), and organizations looking to acquire hundreds of thousands of acres (LDS, ex). - More...
Wednesday AM - November 23, 2016

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. - 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. - 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. - 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. - 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. - 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. - 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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