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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 07, 2017
Tuesday PM

Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN

Full Beaver Moon
 There was a full moon on November 3, 2017 at 9:22 PM. The Full Beaver Moon's reflection lights the way to Ketchikan's Guard Island. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the name of the full moon in November is "Full Beaver Moon"; that is when beavers become active as they get ready for winter. 
Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN ©2017

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: Alaska methamphetamine-related deaths surge fourfold  - In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic, Alaska is one of several states seeing a surge in methamphetamine use and methamphetamine-related deaths. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Section of Epidemiology released a report today on the health impacts of methamphetamine use in Alaska.

Alaska methamphetamine-related deaths surge fourfold

Ice Methamphetamine Bag
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Drug Enforcement

Alaska experienced a fourfold increase in methamphetamine-related mortality from 1.4 per 100,000 persons during 2008–2010 to 5.8 per 100,000 persons during 2014–2016. Rates were highest among people aged 45–54 years and among people living in the Gulf Coast, Southeast, and Interior regions of the state. Methamphetamine-related deaths affected all regions, races, and age groups in Alaska. 

The rate at which Alaskans sought hospital care for amphetamine poisoning (including methamphetamine) during 2015 and 2016 increased nearly 40 percent. Rates were highest in Anchorage (18.2 per 100,000 persons), followed by the Northern (14.4), Matanuska-Susitna (13.8), Gulf Coast (9.3), Interior (7.1) and Southeast (8.8) regions. The total inpatient cost associated with amphetamine poisoning during 2015 and 2016 exceeded $5.3 million.

During 2015– 2016, 200 hospital discharge records were identified with a primary or secondary diagnosis of poisoning by amphetamines (including meth), and the rate of amphetamine-related outpatient hospital services in Alaska increased by nearly 60%.

People aged 25–29 years accounted for the highest rates of amphetamine-related hospital care, by age, for all years reviewed, and Alaska Indian and Alaska Native people accounted for the highest rates of amphetamine-related hospital care and mortality, by race, for all years reviewed.  - More....
Tuesday PM - November 07, 2017

Alaska: State Appeals Roadless Rule to D.C. Circuit Court - In the final days of the President Clinton administration, the United States Department of Agriculture adopted one of the most far reaching land management rules of all time when it placed 58 million acres of National Forest into a protected classification that prohibits timber harvest, road construction, and indirectly nearly all development. This single action removed two percent of the entire United States land mass from the pool of lands that can be economically developed nationwide. The State yesterday appealed the district’s court unfavorable decision upholding the rule to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Since our prior agreement with the federal government exempting Alaska was dismantled by the Ninth Circuit, the State was left with no recourse but to continue its challenge to the Roadless Rule,” said Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth. 

“This rule has an enormous negative impact on the Tongass National Forest and Southeast’s economy. It’s important we keep fighting to preserve Alaskans livelihoods and options for responsible development,” said Governor Bill Walker.

Alaska was disproportionately affected by the Roadless Rule as the Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the country and includes by far more restricted Roadless areas than anywhere else. Largely as a result of this rule, the State’s once vibrant timber industry is struggling to survive. Utility companies, mining enterprises, and southeast communities that may want to improve access through road construction have also faced significant harm. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 07, 2017

Fish Factor:
Fresh Look At Frozen Fish; Five Alaska ports rank in top ten for seafood landings and values By LAINE WELCH - Alaskans pull home packs of fish from their freezers all year round and know it will cook up nutritious and delicious. Yet there is still a perception that fresh seafood is always better than frozen. 

A Sitka fishermen’s group has set a course to counteract that stereotype, and prove that properly frozen fish has clear advantages over the ‘fresh’ fish sold to consumers. 

More than 80 percent of the fresh fish/shellfish enjoyed by Americans are imports and can sit for a week or more before being purchased at retail counters. And most people don’t know that a boat may be out at sea for days or weeks before it comes in with fish. 

“We want to tell consumers exactly what that fish went through from being caught to being frozen, or being flown fresh to you,” said Alyssa Russell, Communications Manager for the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. 

ALFA has been promoting the merits of flash-frozen fish since 2009 when it launched Alaskans Own, a Community Supported Fishery where customers can pre-order local catches. 

“As we started expanding our CSF program and selling our fish in bulk to the Lower 48, we realized it is still a stereotype in many places that fresh seafood is better quality than frozen,” Russell said.  

The fishing group decided to get backup to prove what most Alaskans know: unless you’ve just pulled a fish out of the water, the next best option to preserve its goodness is to freeze it.

ALFA partnered last summer with Ecotrust and Oregon State University to put the truism to the test.   Aided by a $100,000 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture grant from the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion program, the team conducted a blind taste test with more than 100 subjects who sampled portions of never frozen and flash frozen salmon and black cod. 

“We found was that customers liked frozen fish as much or more than they liked the fresh fish from the local grocery stores,” Russell said.

The study also utilized a new device by Seafood Analytics called a Seafood Certified Quality Reader (CQR) that uses an electric current to measure fish freshness. 

“Not only did consumers prefer the frozen fish, but the flash-frozen products also rated higher in quality and freshness, as measured by the CQR,” said the Ecotrust  Fresh Look at Frozen Fish report, which called the results “telling.”


Nearly one-quarter of all fresh seafood at supermarkets goes to waste, the report says, a figure that would be reduced if more Americans accepted frozen choices. 

Armed with the fresh vs. frozen results, Russell said ALFA will create a multi-media outreach campaign including materials for industry members and other seafood stakeholders. The campaign also will highlight how choosing frozen fish directly benefits Alaska fishermen because it gives them more market options.

 “It takes a lot of the risk out of the market,” Russell said. “They can choose to target a different kind of fish or wait to sell until the market changes, or choose not to fish when the weather is bad because they have more flexibility as to how their fish will be stored.”

“The ultimate goal,” she added, “is to support small boat communities, fishermen and sustainable fisheries. We feel that one way to do that is to build recognition that frozen fish is high quality.”

Seafood Super Power:

Alaska is the nation’s super power with five Alaska ports ranking in the top ten for seafood landings and values. 

“Dutch Harbor keeps its long-time title, 20 years strong now, as our nation’s top fishing port for the amount of seafood landed (770 million pounds), and New Bedford, Massachusetts is hanging strong claiming for the 17th consecutive year the highest valued catch ($327 million) mostly due to the highly valued sea scallop fishery,” said Ned Cyr, director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology, referring to the annual Fisheries of the U.S. report for 2016. 

Other Alaska ports making the top 10 list are the Aleutian Islands at #2second, thanks to the Trident plant at Akutan, the largest seafood processing facility in the U.S.  

Kodiak dropped a spot to fourth place, followed by the Alaska Peninsula at #7 and Naknek at #9. Other Alaska ports making the top 50 ports for seafood landings and/or values are Ketchikan, Sitka, Bristol Bay, Petersburg, Seward, Cordova, Kenai, and Juneau.

 Alaska led all states in seafood volumes at 5.6 billion pounds and values at $1.6 billion. 

Alaska pollock accounted for 30 percent of U.S. fish poundage, and 21 percent of the value. Nearly 97 percent of all U.S. salmon landings were from Alaska.

The U.S. continues to import most of its seafood - 5.8 billion pounds in 2016, up slightly.  Whatever its source, Americans are eating less of it. 

U.S. seafood consumption fell last year to 14.9 pounds per person, down from 15.5 pounds in 2015. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 07, 2017


Columns - Commentary


jpg Michael Shannon

MICHAEL SHANNON: Any Chance Conservatives Will Finally Fight Back? - The best moment for conservatives during the Claremont Institute's panel discussion on "The Resistance and the Violent New Left" came at the end during the question period. An appeaser popped up and asked the panel how can "we" encourage more "leaders" like Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski to run for office instead of "embarrassing" candidates like Alabama's Roy Moore?

His question was met with dead silence from the panel of William Voegeli and Angelo Codevilla (of the Claremont Institute), Michael Walsh (author and media critic) and Henry Olsen (Ethics & Public Policy Center).

After a lengthy pause Codevilla leaned over toward the microphone and observed Moore "hasn't lost yet" and we can "vote and hope," which was the conclusion of the optimism portion of the event.

In a single anecdote the audience saw the problem confronting conservatives today. We are assailed from without by, in Codevilla's words, "a compact ruling class," - where establishment Republicans are full participants - along with bike-lock swinging members of Antifa functioning as storm troops. While inside the GOP accommodationists and other Quislings want to restore tranquility by electing more politicians whose first instinct is preemptive surrender. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 07, 2017

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: If We Can't Discuss Issues, How Can We Solve Them? - "I'm afraid to discuss politics and current events with anyone except my wife and best friends, and it's regrettable that millions of Americans feel the same way."

"Ah, yes, you speak of the Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, a new national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults. It finds that 58 percent of Americans are afraid to share their political beliefs in the current political climate."

"You got that right. We used to have civil discussions about a variety of issues down at my neighborhood's pub, but now people jump down your throat if you don't support the prevailing groupthink of the day."

"Do you have any examples?"

"Sure. I happen to think that a tax system designed to unleash the economy is a good strategy to generate the government revenues we need to fund our programs. If I argue that point, I am labeled an uncaring conservative who favors the rich and hates the poor."

"That is regrettable."

"If I argue that the best way to extend affordable health care to all is to keep most of it in the private sector and employ free-market strategies that can reduce costs and free up much-needed funds, I am labeled ..." - More...
Tuesday PM - November 07, 2017

jpg Political Cartoon: Tax Cut Turkey Trot

Political Cartoon: Tax Cut Turkey Trot
RJ Matson ©2017, Roll Call
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Opinion - Letter

Criminal Reform By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Earlier this week, the Alaska State House passed Senate Bill 54, “Crime and Sentencing,” with 32 yes votes and 8 nays. Broadly speaking, SB 54 is a partial repeal of SB 91, which was passed last year. Although I did not vote for SB91 at the time, there are some aspects of that criminal reform bill that are worth keeping, for example: programs like pre-trial services and tougher sentences on murder and rape. However, SB 54 makes some necessary changes to SB 91, which I’ve briefly outlined below: - More...
Tuesday PM - November 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

THE PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY OF GOD By David G Hanger - Down the road here three dozen miles or so some moron walked into a Baptist church and killed 26 people including 14 children. About 18 hours after the event, i.e. in time for the Monday morning talk shows and news shows it had been labeled “the worst mass killing in a place of worship in the history of the United States.” Within four hours of the event the governor of the state of Texas arrived on the scene and politicized it, then introduced his entourage who each had their little speech to give, followed by first responders, who once again grandiosely performed janitorial services. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 07, 2017

Opinion - Letter

150 years of the Army in Alaska By Capt. Richard Packer - I recently attended the 150-year commemoration of the transfer of Alaska, previously known as Russian America, from tsarist Russia to the United States. The original ceremony occurred in Sitka (New Archangel while under Russian rule) on October 18, 1867, and just like the modern ceremony, the U.S. Army was present for the first ceremony. - More....
Thursday PM - November 02, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Governor Walker’s Tax Proposal Would Create a Regressive Nightmare By Ghert Abbott - Governor Walker is right to champion a broad-based tax, as the only alternative to new revenue is the continued depletion of our state’s savings and further cuts to education, public health, law enforcement, and infrastructure. However, it is essential that any broad-based tax be fairly distributed and take into consideration the sacrifices that ordinary Alaskans have already made with the halving of the PFD. - More...
Thursday PM - November 02, 2017

Opinion - Letter

TAX POLICY IN THE LAND OF OZ By David G Hanger - I realize that only you, the Christian ayatollahs and mullahs of Ketchikan, and your inordinate knowledge and profundity gleaned only in some instances from divinity or seminary school, are the true arbiters of speech, thought, association, and fact, on any subject under the sun, and that you and your spies will continue working in the dark to ensure no one regresses from your expected norm. - More...
Thursday PM - November 02, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Hunting Regulations By Chas Edwardson - Recently I asked on this forum if anyone has heard about stricter hunting regulations for non federally qualified hunters on Prince of Wales Island. - More...
Thursday PM - November 02, 2017

Opinion - Letter

RE: It’s Past Time to Achieve Parity Regarding State Education Funding By Chris Elliott - Mr. Bockhorst hits the nail on the head. - Finis...
Thursday PM - November 02, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Lost fortunes and other dividend crimes By A. M. Johnson - Shocked,I am shocked to think our legislature realizing the results of action this article brings out, had no idea the projected action to extract funds from the Permanent Fund would result in this fiscal loss. - More...
Thursday PM - November 02, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Hunting on POW! By Frances C. Natkong - To you who come to our island to hunt to kill senselessly we have to live here no matter how much you spend coming here. You kill our deer and bear that we live off all year. I've seen deer and bear carcasses with the bear hides gone and the antlers gone all trophy hunters. - More...
Thursday PM - November 02, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Ketchikan School District's educational performance By A. M. Johnson - In an effort to continue the awareness of Ketchikan School District's educational performance, the following data has been mined from the state's report. The two segments of the report are given below for personal review on a statewide basis. - More..
Friday PM - October 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Honor All Veterans By Donald Moskowitz - On this upcoming Veterans Day our families wish to remember all of our veterans, including our family members who served in all of the major wars from the Gulf War to Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, the Spanish American War and the Civil War.- More...
Friday PM - October 27, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Say what... Byron "unhinged" perhaps? By Trevor Shaw - Before I get started, although I serve as the President of the Ketchikan School Board, I am speaking on behalf of myself as a private citizen and not as a representative of the Ketchikan School District. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2017

Opinion - Letter

If We Are To Succeed As A State, Alaska Can Never Go Back By Lt. Governor Byron Mallott - We need to have a serious conversation about our fiscal crisis.

Over the last 3 years, the Legislature has drawn down over $14 billion of Alaska’s financial reserves. With oil prices expected to stay essentially where they are, we won’t get that money back any time soon. We are down to the last of those reserves – barely $2.5 billion – as we go into the 2018 Legislature and the budget we must present to Alaskans. Governor Walker has called the legislature into special session multiple times over the last two years to pass a complete plan. The plan he presented – a complete plan – would have allowed us to close that gap in the first Legislature of his service. Instead, we find ourselves on the precipice of disaster. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2017

Opinion - Letter

AMHS - profitability By Laura Plenert - The AMHS is top management and overpaid staff HEAVY. It will never be profitable "as is". This is a picture perfect example of what is wrong with Government being in charge of a business that would be better as a private enterprise.

I have watched for years as the AMHS "system has CUT routes and services aboard their vessels. And yet they still cannot make themselves profitable. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2017

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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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