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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

November 17, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By TERRI JIRSCHELE

Sunrise in the Tongass
Front Page Feature Photo By TERRI JIRSCHELE ©2018

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Southeast Alaska: Forest Service Restarts 45 day objection period to Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project - The Tongass National Forest published a new Legal Notice yesterday that restarted the objection period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and draft Record of Decision (ROD) for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POW LLA) Project. The comment period was restarted because an incomplete email address for submissions was included in the original legal notice published in the newspaper of record on November 2, 2018. A new legal notice, with the appropriate correction, was published on November 16, 2018, which restarted the 45-day objection period.

The Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project draft Record of Decision proposes to authorize (on the Thorne Bay and Craig Ranger Districts, Tongass National Forest) a wide array of site-specific activities and management strategies including:

  • old- and young-growth timber harvest;
  • precommercial thinning and wildlife habitat improvement;
  • watershed improvement and restoration;
  • recreation facilities maintenance, improvement, and development;
  • other infrastructure and non-infrastructure activities; and invasive plant management (including manual, mechanical,
  • and herbicide treatments).

There would be no commercial harvest of old-growth stands in the area “North of 20 Road” and within VCU 5280. The Selected Alternative also includes measures to minimize impacts to or improve wildlife habitat on National Forest System lands adjacent to communities to benefit subsistence users. - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018

Fish Factor: Another 300,000 pounds of old Alaska fishing gear being removed & recycled By LAINE WELCH - More shipping containers filled with plastic fishing nets, crab lines and other gear left Dutch Harbor last week for recycling plants in Europe, and two more will soon follow from that port and Kodiak. 

“We’re accepting trawl and crab line and halibut gear and all of it is going to Bulgaria to be sorted,” said Nicole Baker, founder of Net Your Problem and the force behind the recycling effort that began loading and shipping gear last year.  

“I expect that three more containers from Dutch will be going to Europe in the next few weeks, so we should have seven containers by the end of 2018. That would tie the amount that was recycled last year,” Baker said.

That will add up to nearly 300,000 pounds of old fishing gear again being removed from landfills and storage lots. All end up at a recycling company in Denmark called Plastix, where the materials are made into new products.   

“Once the nets get there, they grind them up and melt them down and turn them into pellets that are resold to plastics buyers to turn into water bottles or phone cases or whatever you might choose to make out of it,” Baker explained.

Fishing gear made from combined plastics also is included in the program. 

“We can also recycle what I call mixed plastics which is normally what crab line and some types of halibut line are made out of,” she said, adding that nylon-based gear used primarily in gillnets and seines is the only plastic not accepted yet.

“I am currently working with some nylon recyclers to try to add that to the suite of materials that I can accept, maybe next year or the year after,” Baker said.

Funding for the ongoing project comes from the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the recycling push also is a growing partnership with fishermen and local companies. 

Baker, who was a fisheries observer for five years and currently works as research assistant at the University of Washington in Seattle, hopes to expand her recycling footprint in and outside of Alaska.

“If you have gear to recycle and you don’t have a program already established, don’t let that stop you from reaching out,” she said. “I’m in the process of starting new programs in Alaska and also, hopefully, on the west coast.”  - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018

Alaska: Increased hunter safety encouraged in Alaska - The Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Department of Public Safety encourage hunters to increase their safety awareness and prepare accordingly for their hunts.

Coast Guard 17th District personnel have responded to four separate search and rescue cases over the last two weeks relating to hunters needing assistance in the Alaskan outdoors. These search and rescue cases have stretched from Kodiak to Hoonah to Juneau. 

With the Alaska hunting season in full swing and set to continue, the Coast Guard, ADF&G and DPS encourages all hunters to follow the below safety recommendations. By preparing for changes in weather and taking steps to minimize the inherent risks, hunters can improve their chances of a safe hunt. - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018


Alaska: Alaska Pollock Spawning Season May be Earlier Under Climate Change - A new study using an unprecedented 32-year data series reveals that spawning time of Alaska pollock-- target of the Nation’s biggest fishery-- varied by as much as three weeks over the past three decades in the Gulf of Alaska. The new study found clear evidence that the changes were driven by both climate and fishing.

Changes in spawn timing have major ecological and management implications. Timing is critical to survival of newly hatched fish as it determines the conditions they encounter. Many marine fish, like pollock, are adapted to spawn in time for offspring to meet the rapid increase of their plankton prey in spring. If they arrive too early, there may not be enough food; if they arrive too late, the young fish will have less time to grow and will be small compared to their predators and competitors.

Because most mortality happens during the first few weeks of life for pollock, changes in spawn timing that affect larval survival can strongly affect recruitment success--how many fish are available to the fishery two or three years later.

“To effectively monitor and manage pollock populations, managers need to understand what causes changes in spawn timing. With ongoing warming of the world’s oceans,we need to know how changing climate conditions interact with other processes, like harvesting, to influence spawning time,” says Lauren Rogers, the NOAA Fisheries biologist who led the study.

Toward that end, Rogers’ team investigated how pollock spawn timing has shifted over warm and cool periods and large shifts in age structure in the Gulf of Alaska.

“The strength of our study is comprehensive information from an amazing 32-year time series of larval fish size, age, and abundance, validated with maturation data from spawning females, and combined with at-sea process studies, laboratory experiments, and age readings. Using these resources, we were able to test for effects of climate and age structure on both mean spawn timing and duration, and forecast spawn timing under different scenarios of warming and fishing mortality,” Rogers says. - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018

Alaska: Complaint Alleges Over 16 Pounds of Heroin Seized - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Thursday that an Anchorage man has been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges, arising from the seizure of over 16 pounds of heroin in Anchorage.

Don Deviet Frye Sr., 53, of Anchorage, was named in the indictment charging him with attempted possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.  Frye’s arraignment hearing has been set for Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, at 3:00 p.m.

According to the criminal complaint, a suspicious package was intercepted on Nov. 6, 2018, originating from “David Johnson” in California, to be delivered to “Robert Johnson” in Anchorage.  The package weighed approximately 27 pounds and was postmarked with $168.95 in postage.  A trained narcotics detector dog examined the package and subsequently indicated the presence of controlled substances.  A search warrant was obtained and executed on the package, and located inside were two “Christmas-themed” cardboard boxes that contained approximately 7,638.94 grams of heroin.

On Nov. 7, 2018, law enforcement officers conducted a controlled delivery of the package to the intended address, and observed Frye receive and take the package inside the residence.  Once law enforcement received indication that the package had been opened, officers converged on and secured the residence, where Frye was the sole occupant at the time.  At the time of his arrest, Frye was in possession of a torn plastic baggie, a glass pipe, and a knife.  - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018

Alaska Science: Century-old blast still a mystery By NED ROZELL - In 1908, a colossal blast incinerated a swath of wilderness deep in Siberia, at about the same latitude as Anchorage.

The explosion that July day registered on seismic recorders all over the world. Within minutes, 80 million trees lay flat and scorched in a circle 60 miles wide. Scientists calculated the shock was more than 1,000 times stronger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

What happened? That’s a great question. Nineteen years after the event and 91 years ago, Leonid Kulik, curator for the meteorite collection at the St. Petersburg Museum, traveled to the Stony Tunguska River to find out. From the distant evidence, he expected to see a crater where a meteorite crashed into Earth.

He found none. Those that have followed him over the years have not found expected nickel or iron deposits. Nor have they collected any space rocks like those fired into the snow when the Chelyabinsk meteorite exploded above the Ural Mountains in 2013.

If the Tunguska event was not from a heavenly body crashing into or exploding just above Earth, what was it?

Gunther Kletetschka last visited the site in summer 2018 trying to find out. A specialist on Earth’s magnetism and meteorite impacts affiliated with Charles University in Prague, Kletetschka is now doing work with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. He gave a recent talk about his travel to Siberia.

At the Tunguska blast site, Kletetschka hiked to a few Siberian larch trees that remained standing after the 1908 blast. The shock waves killed most trees, but a few took the hit and remained upright, maybe because pressure waves came straight down upon them instead of at an angle.

At the site, Kletetschka cored two standing trees that survived the blast and the years after it. One was 14 years old in 1908, the other 131. Back in a lab, he analyzed the wood samples using X-ray fluorescence.

He saw levels of calcium usually present only in the bark of living trees was deep in the center of the blast survivors. He concluded that pressure waves may have pushed tree fluids from the living phloem layer near the bark into the dead wood of the interior. - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018



PETER FUNT: Give Trump Credit When Due - Stuck in a hotel room watching CNN the other day, I happened to catch live coverage of Donald Trump's short speech about the "First Step Act," concerning criminal justice reforms. I was bowled over. If I had been reading an unlabeled transcript I might have thought the speaker was Barack Obama. 

Imbalances and outright abuses in our criminal justice system are a plague on society. And here was Trump, the law-and-order president, urging passage of legislation to limit mandatory sentences, especially for drug offenses, and advocating new funding for sweeping anti-recidivism programs. 

Trump also said this: "Today's announcement shows that true bipartisanship is possible." Yes! He's correct - and that's big news. 

I kept expecting Trump to put his foot in his mouth by shifting to "criminals" in the migrant caravan, or ranting about "crimes" he believes were committed in election recounts. He did not. He was entirely reasonable and on message - albeit with a prepared text - about a vitally important issue. 

When it ended, however, I had a sinking feeling. What if mainstream media were to under play, or even ignore, this very positive news? After all, members of Trump's team, most notably Kellyanne Conway, have stated repeatedly that media dwell on Trump's problems and fail to give appropriate space to meaningful achievements.  - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018


MICHAEL SHANNON: Four Weeks from Oblivion, GOP Congress Slumbers On - The session of Congress that occurs after the just-completed election and before the swearing in of the new Congress in January is called a lame duck session. It will last four weeks.

These are the last weeks Republicans will be in control of both houses of Congress and the White House. This was supposed to be a golden age of conservative accomplishment. In reality, it was two more years of the Can't-Do Caucus telling voters what they promised on the campaign trail at home can't be done in D.C.

Next year the charade will be over, because the left will control the House.

This brief session will constitute another "Gohmert moment," which I've named after Louie Gohmert, the genuine Texas conservative congressman. 

When Gohmert first entered Congress, he and other freshmen were excited about the prospect of passing truly conservative legislation. That was before he met the timid, country club conservatives who comprise House leadership.

Gohmert explained at his first GOP House conference the leadership's caretaker conservatives were worried. They acknowledged the campaign has promised big things. But in Washington there was "a small chance" Republicans might lose the majority in two years. To play it safe, leadership wanted to do small things, win the election and keep the majority. - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Uncle Sam and Facebook

Political Cartoon: Uncle Sam and Facebook
By Bruce Plante ©2018, Tulsa World
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.
Related News: FaceBook Unfriends Uncle Sam: Zuckerberg’s Plan To Avoid Taxes


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Lifting the ‘Roadless Rule’: Unique opportunity for Southeast Alaskans By Heidi Hansen, Deputy Commissioner DNR - From the North Slope to the Panhandle, and the Interior to the Peninsula, rural Alaskans are prioritizing their access – to each other, the rest of Alaska and the world.

Cost is often the limiting factor. But not always.

Many community leaders want to improve access without jeopardizing the unique character and resources of their communities. It’s literally a fight for survival for some small communities. For others, it’s part of a long-term plan to become more sustainable.

One of the regions where the state of Alaska is working with local communities and stakeholders to increase rural access and connectivity is Southeast Alaska, where the U.S. Forest Service is taking a fresh look at how it manages roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest.

Many Southeast Alaska communities are largely surrounded by inventoried roadless areas of the Tongass and are disadvantaged by the national “Roadless Rule” when it comes to creating new jobs and access to services like transportation, renewable energy and high-speed internet.

It’s true the Forest Service has approved some development activities in roadless areas, but the process is unpredictable and the outcomes uncertain. Often, the approvals are so limited in scope that the ability to meaningfully advance a multi-phase infrastructure project is severely hamstrung.

Advocates for the Roadless Rule focus on its implications for timber harvest. But even in parts of the Tongass where the rule doesn’t apply, timber sales face severe regulatory and economic hurdles, as well as legal challenges. Lifting the Roadless Rule won’t change that.

The state of Alaska has supported exempting the Tongass from the national rule for decades and continues to litigate for that outcome.

As a matter of policy, we support lifting the rule to create more opportunities for the 34 communities located in the Tongass. - More...
Saturday PM - November 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

In observance of Veterans' Day By Rep. Dan Ortiz - This year marks the 100th year since the end of World War I. The guns fell silent on the Western Front in Europe, and the armistice with Germany had come into effect. Over nine million soldiers were killed in World War I, and an additional twenty-one million were wounded. After more than four years of warfare marked the highest casualty counts 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. As we celebrate the long weekend, let us remember what we are observing: Veteran’s Day. It is a time for Americans to remember the sacrifices made by those who have served our great country in the United States Armed Forces. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Proposed Distillery at The Old Firehouse By Shauna Lee - Finally, after a long period of stagnation, I’ve seen the spark of change here in Ketchikan and it’s made me feel quite optimistic about our future. Businesses like Nibliks, SoHo Coho, Chinook and Company and Ketchikan Dry Goods have brought new life into the downtown core with their updated design aesthetic and merchandise that encourages our local dollars to stay local. Venues like the New York Café, the Bawden Street Brewery and the Fish House have brought us new menu offerings and the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry right here in our hometown. It’s an exciting time for the First City and I feel like we are on the precipice of a new era where we leave old outdated ideas behind and embrace what our future could be. So how do we keep this momentum going?

As a business person I have learned over the years that I am more successful when I reach out to other local businesses and organizations. Working with my fellow colleagues rather than against them, has been a recipe for success. I want to help other companies become successful because when their boat rises, I get to ride the same high tide. That is why I want to encourage the City of Ketchikan to support the proposed distillery at the old Ketchikan Fire Department location. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Lone Independent By Austin Otos - With the 2018 state elections coming to a close, the Alaska State House District 36 chose, yet again, an unaffiliated candidate to represent them in the state congress. For three consecutive terms, Dan Ortiz has inched out his opponents ranging from a well-connected political staffer, to a longstanding Ketchikan city council member, and finally our districts local republican chairman. Going into the 2018 Alaska state house, Ortiz will be the only unaffiliated representative in a sea of red and a pond of blue. The Republican running on restoring a full permanent fund dividend and reforming local property tax contributions to the state wasn’t enough to persuade voters of District 36. What mattered to voters more were the candidate’s actions such as door-to-door engagement, one-on-one personal communication, and community outreach.

Our brand of independence is an anomaly distinctly found amongst the residents who inhabit southeast Alaska. Being geographically isolated to islands and limited in resources, residents of southeast must work creatively together in order to accomplish community goals. I truly believe that partisan politics and blind party affiliation disrupts representation, siphoning individuals into two polarized groups. - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

100 Years After WWI Ended By Donald and Elizabeth Moskowitz - WWI ended on November 11, 1918. In commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the end of WWI my wife, Elizabeth Ann (Jones) Moskowitz, and myself, wish to acknowledge the service of WWI marines Alton Christmas Jones (wife's father) and William Howard Jones (wife's uncle) who fought in France and Belgium during September 1918 to November 1918.  

They fought in many WWI battles, including Belleau Wood, the Verdun operations, Aisne-Marne Offensive, Meuse-Argonne Offensive, St. Mihiel Offensive, and the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge. William Howard received the French Croix de Guerre and the U.S. Silver Star for his service at Blanc Mont Ridge, France on October 3, 1918. The Silver Star award stated "by lying down in the middle of the road using his automatic pistol so effective that he staid the enemy counter attack until remainder of group could get in line." - More...
Friday PM - November 09, 2018

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