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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 14, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By BOB FULTZ

Bob's Three Bears
 Former Ketchikan resident Bob Fultz shared his Anchorage visitors on Halloween Night. Since this photo, the photographer reported the young bears and their very huge mother bear have likely gone to den as they appear to no longer be posing futher concerns visiting neighborhoods. Good news for the bears...
Front Page Feature Photo By BOB FULTZ ©2017

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Alaska: Survey finds most Alaska high school students underestimate the risk of prescription opioids   - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services recently released its 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results, and finds teens’ opinions around prescription and illicit drug use concerning.

Less than half of Alaska high school students report they think taking prescription drugs, including opioid pain medications, without a doctor’s prescription or using the medication differently than prescribed is a serious risk. Seven percent of high school students report use of prescription drugs, including opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin, without a doctor’s prescription or differently than prescribed during the past month. Nearly two percent of Alaska teens currently use heroin.

“The more we know about the opinions and behaviors of Alaska teens, the better we can respond with relevant information about prescription opioid use,” said Dr. Jay Butler, Chief Medical Officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. “Using pain medication like Vicodin or OxyContin without a prescription can be extremely dangerous. Our department is working diligently with local agencies and schools to provide teens and their families with accurate information about the safe use and disposal of prescription opioids.”

In addition to prescription opioid use, preliminary YRBS results show that Alaska high school students see low risk in using marijuana. Most high school students (66 percent) believe there is minimal or no risk in using marijuana weekly. Among students who drive, 16 percent admitted to driving after using marijuana. 

The YRBS survey results showed some positive behavior changes among Alaska teens, including decreases in cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and sexual activity during the past decade. When comparing survey findings from 2007 and 2017, a greater percentage of high school students in 2017 feel that their teachers care about and encourage them. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017

Alaska: 44 Attorneys General Seeking Repeal of Dangerous Federal Opioid Law - Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth was one of 44 state and territorial Attorneys General to send a letter Monday to congressional leaders urging them to repeal a 2016 federal law that took away an important tool in fighting the opioid crisis. The law, known as the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016” (P.L. 114-145), prohibited the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from immediately suspending a drug manufacturer or distributor that poses an immediate danger to public health or safety. 

“The federal and state governments need all the tools we can get to help fight the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Lindemuth. “What the 2016 law effectively did was remove the ability to hold drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for their actions. I join my fellow attorneys general in urging Congress to repeal this dangerous law.”

Nationally, more than two million people in the United States had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids in 2016. Between 2009 and 2015 in Alaska, 774 drug overdose deaths were recorded according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Of those deaths, 512 had a prescription drug noted as either the primary or contributing cause of death.  - More...
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017

Biographer profiles scientist-explorer of northeast Alaska By NED ROZELL - In the early 1990s, Janet Collins was hiking in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when she saw “Camp 163” labeled on her map. Intrigued, she later looked up Camp 163 in Donald Orth’s Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Her curiosity led her to Ernest Leffingwell, the subject of a biography she has written and Washington State University Press recently published.

Biographer profiles scientist-explorer of northeast Alaska

Janet Collins’ book cover portrays Ernest Leffingwell in the fur clothing he preferred for during his time on the North Slope early in the 20th century.
Image courtesy Washington State University Press

In the early 1900s, Ernest Leffingwell lived for nine summers and six winters in a cabin on Flaxman Island, a wedge of sand off Alaska’s northern coast 58 miles west of Kaktovik. He mapped the coastline there, as well as inland spots like his Camp 163. He was the first person to describe and sketch underground ice wedges. He named the Sadlerochit oil formation that is the reservoir of the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. And he wrote about oil seeps that led government officials to create what is now the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Not many people knew who Ernest Leffingwell was, but a few Alaska scientists appreciate what Leffingwell left behind, most of it written up in a 250-page report for the U.S. Geological Survey in which he described how to live and work in the Arctic.

Collins, a former director of the Huxley Map Library at Western Washington University, has now assured a few more people will know the scientist who absorbed the Arctic by living there in the early 1900s. Her book is “On the Arctic Frontier: Ernest Leffingwell’s Polar Explorations and Legacy.”

In the detailed, 300-page work, Collins focuses on Leffingwell’s time in extreme northeast Alaska. For him, it was a busy, rewarding decade in a life that spanned 96 years.

He sailed north 111 years ago on an expedition to the northern coast of Alaska as part of a group of men who were trying to find evidence of a land mass in the Arctic Ocean. They found none. Everyone left except Leffingwell, who was a geologist, teacher and veteran of the Spanish-American War. He built a cabin on treeless Flaxman Island in 1906 using wood from the ship that brought him there and had run aground. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017



Alaska: Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey Has Made Formal Request for Iditarod Dog Drug Tests - Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey made a formal demand last week for test results from race organizers that allegedly showed his dogs tested positive for a banned substance in this year's competition.

Seavey said the effort is important to ensure fairness, due process, to determine the testing process and methods, what results show, and the chain of custody of the samples that were taken as part of the determination by the Iditarod Trail Committee that four of his dogs in this year's event tested positive for the opioid pain reliever Tramadol.

"This effort isn't just to clear my name. The outcome of this is important to every musher, every dog, our fans, our sport, and our sponsors," Seavey said. "This is a demand for information for public transparency and to preserve the name of a sport that is part of me, part of my family, and part of history and tradition."

Seavey has consistently denied the allegations that he administered or that he had any knowledge that his dogs had been administered a banned substance. While the Iditarod Trail Committee did not have substantial evidence to assert that Seavey violated the rules of the Iditarod, Seavey seeks to be relieved of the suspicions these drug tests have instigated.

He has pointed out a series of problems with the allegations that four of his dogs showed signs of Tramadol. These include: - More....
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017

Alaska: Sex Offender Convicted of Receipt of Child Pornography - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that on November 8, 2017, a federal jury in Fairbanks convicted Tommy Hanson, 54, of receipt of child pornography. Hanson was found guilty after a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline of the District of Alaska.  Sentencing is scheduled for January 19, 2018, in Fairbanks, Alaska. 

Because Hanson was previously convicted of possession of child pornography, the maximum penalty for the defendant’s conviction is not less than 15 years imprisonment and up to 30 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, a term of supervised release of five years to life, and a $100 special assessment.

According to evidence presented at trial, in 2007 Hanson pled guilty to the possession of child pornography and was sentenced to 96 months imprisonment.  In that case, Hanson admitted to the use of newsgroup binaries to receive thousands of images of depicting child sexual exploitation, and then backing those images up to CD-ROMS.  

Following his release from imprisonment in 2012, Hanson was subjected to a term of supervised release.  As a condition of his release, Hanson was not to possess computers without the approval of the probation office, and if found in possession of any computers, the devices were subject to search. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017


Columns - Commentary



JEFF LUND: Protect the pancreas this time of year - Halloween marked the official beginning of over-indulgence season which lasts until the weekend in January that ends up being the death-knell for the Resolution. It’s ridiculous to assume that after two entire months of treats which have been validated under the guise of celebration, that one would be able to successfully kick it all the morning of the new year. 

For teachers, the new year really starts in August, so life resolutions are made then. At least I do and I feel I am operating at a great level. It’s a good thing too, because I have to be on my game for the holidays.

In addition to ensuring eight hours of sleep each night, I switched my morning intellectual intake from ESPN to a couple of podcasts that deal with health and fitness. They aren’t boring self-help nonsense, but almost like some morning bro-time with dudes who enjoy crushing life and optimizing their existence. How do you not have a good day after ingesting an hour of motivation with your eggs and coffee? - More...
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017


ARTHUR MARTIN: Taking Care of Our Own…. Stop Giving Money to Foreign or Out of State Organizations! By ARTHUR MARTIN - I was watching a You Tube video recently and an ad for one of those animal support campaigns came on. You know the one that pulls on your heartstrings and messes with your emotions by showing clips of dogs and cats in cages while simultaneously playing Sarah Mclachlan’s “In the arms of an angel” in the background?

I’ve seen enough of these types of commercials now that they actually make me temporarily angry. To the point that I have to either quickly turn off the commercial or leave the room. Now, before you judge me as neurotic let me explain.

The reason why these types of ads upset me is because they are the epitome of virtue signaling (a term I have used in the past).  - More...
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017

jpg Political Cartoon: Good Old Days

Political Cartoon: Good Old Days
By RJ Matson ©2017, Roll Call
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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American Flag By A. M. Johnson - What was the more most exciting and memorable vision for this American citizen on Veterans Day? Without a doubt it was the number of young members of our society running, walking with large American flags on the edge of North Tongass highway. What a thrill to meet these young folks proudly holding the flag, waving it in response to the horn honking, the smiles and cheerful waves they offered to passing motorist, I among them. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 14, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Veterans Day 2017 By Dan Weber - The world was a dangerous place during World War I.  It was even more dangerous during World War II.  And, it was frightening enough during the Cold War that ensued.  Then came the Korean War and Viet Nam.  And, now our valiant soldiers are maimed and die in far away deserts and barren lands as we seek to stem the threat posed by Jihad. - More...
Saturday PM - November 11, 2017

Opinion - Letter

In observance of Veterans Day By Rep. Dan Ortiz - Ninety-nine years ago today, the guns fell silent on the Western Front in Europe, marking the end of World War I. The armistice with Germany had come into effect. Over nine million soldiers were killed in World War I, and another twenty-one million were wounded. After more than four years of warfare marked by death in casualty counts never before seen in modern warfare, the fighting stopped. Armistice Day later became known as Veteran’s Day, when Americans take time to reflect on the myriad of sacrifices made by our soldiers. - More...
Sataurday PM - Nvember 11, 2017

Opinion - Letter

Emergency Room Medical Costs in Ketchikan By Mike Carney - Ketchikan Gateway Borough Residents: From time to time you hear of important issues in the town we live in, this is an issue you should all be aware of. If you have had the unfortunate occasion to visit our emergency room facility at PeaceHealth, it will add insult to injury when you get all the bills. I will tell you my story. I was out hunting and scraped my eye on an alder branch. I tried to wait it out until I could get to the eye doctor. That didn’t happen and I ended up in the emergency room early the next morning. I was dealt with in an orderly fashion and I saw a doctor that I had seen many times before. He is local and works for PeaceHealth. I was there about 40 minutes and I was thankful it was such a quick turnaround. - More...
Thursday PM - November 09, 2017

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

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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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