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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 22, 2015

Front Page Photograph By DAWN HINK

Christmas Boat Parade
The "Sweet Dawn", an 18 foot Reinell, participated in the always popular Christmas boat parade held on December 20th in Ketchikan. It was the smallest boat of the five participating in the annual boat parade. Joing the owners, were their friends Jon and Adrienne and the Hinks' one year old, Hunter Hink. The 2015 Boat Parade was organized by SeaPro.
Front Page Photograph By DAWN HINK

Select your favorite Photo of the Month. The photographer with the most likes for the month will receive $100. Only LIKES on the SitNews' Facebook page will be counted. If you don't use FB, email your choice to the editor.
(Submit your photograph to be featured on the SitNews' front page. Email photo to editor@sitnews.us include your name and a brief photo description.)

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Ketchikan: Eddy Honored for 30 Years of Service with RurAL CAP - Local Ketchikan resident Merrideth (Mimi) Eddy was honored for her 30 years of service with the RurAL CAP early childhood program in Anchorage at the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP) Board of Directors' Luncheon this month.

Eddy Honored for 30 Years of Service with RurAL CAP

Merrideth (Mimi) Eddy (left) honored for 30 years of service. Eddy’s sister, MaryJane Rzegocki, from Seattle, was also able to attend the event in Anchorage.
Photo courtesy RurAL CAP

Eddy began her career at RurAL CAP as one of the first Head Start Home Visitors for the Ketchikan Head Start program in 1985. Starting out, she worked with families of children three years of age.  Eddy then transitioned to being one of the first Parents as Teachers (PAT) Home Visitors in 1999 when it was a pilot program between RurAL CAP and the University of Alaska - a birth to three years of age home based program known as Project Northern Lights.

In 2001, the Parents As Teachers service was recognized as a promising practice in serving families in their home environments and went on to become one of RurAL CAP's most rapidly expanding early childhood programs. The Parents As Teachers' program serves families with children from prenatal to 3+ years of age. 

Since 1985, Eddy has served many multi-generations of families in the Ketchikan community. Eddy's office it is a pictorial testimony to the impact she has made on the lives of many young children.

Eddy's sense of humor and her ability to relate to families, both with their unique strengths and challenges has endeared her to many. Eddy has attended many of her former students’ high school graduations forming life long bonds. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

Alaska: Alaska Small Business Opposed to Income, Sales Taxes - Two days after Gov. Bill Walker called for the biggest changes in Alaska’s tax system in 35 years, the representative association for the Alaska’s small businesses released the results from its annual survey of its members.

“All of us appreciate and sympathize with the enormous task the governor has with balancing the state’s books,” said Denny DeWitt, Alaska state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “What our ballot results hope to do is contribute to the debate by offering the opinions of those most affected by the final decision: The small-business owners of Alaska, who, unlike big companies and corporations, cannot absorb and spread increased costs over a wide pool of customers and clients."

Dewitt said, "NFIB members fail to see how the proposal to move $200 million out of the private sector through a personal income tax in order to prop up state spending protects or enhances the viability of Alaska’s fragile economy. Rather than expanding economic activity, it appears only to give government more control over an individual’s personal resources.” - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

Alaska: $253,000 in Grants Awarded to Support Vocational Projects in Alaska - The Alaska Community Foundation announced grant awards totaling $253,890 to 12 organizations across Alaska. These grants were made through the Vocational Fund for Alaska’s Future (VFAF), a grant program designed to help Alaskans, particularly those in rural Alaska, develop the skills needed to be competitive in the state’s resource-based economy. Applications were encouraged from Alaska nonprofits that focus on natural resource development training and skill-building, with a preference given to projects that benefit rural Alaska.

253,000 in Grants Awarded to Support Vocational Projects in Alaska

Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center located in Klawock
Photo courtesy POW Vocational and Technical Education Center

“The projects funded through this first cycle of the Vocational Fund for Alaska’s Future will enable people living in rural communities to develop skills that will help them to meet demands for skilled labor in their region and be better able to support their families,” said Katie St. John, Director of Programs & Grants at The Alaska Community Foundation.

Among the 12 organizations receiving grant awards is the Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center located in Klawock. The Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center was awarded $16,000 to host a five day Construction Academy for twelve local residents. The Academy will focus on a combination of basic construction skills along with the soft skills required to help their students succeed across industries.

The Vocational Fund for Alaska’s Future is a Field of Interest fund at ACF established by Rio Tinto to support projects across Alaska that sharpen vocational skills and contribute to the competitiveness of Alaska’s natural resource development and overall economy. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015


Alaska Science:
A migratory house for villages on the move By NED ROZELL - As a river eats its way into Newtok, Alaska, residents are planning their moves to a new village site 12 miles away. One family will move into a house on skis with the ability to migrate as needed with self-contained water and electrical systems.

A migratory house for villages on the move

The new village site of Mertarvik, about 12 miles from Newtok, Alaska.
Photo courtesy Aaron Cooke.

In his dozen visits to Newtok, a village of about 354 people 100 miles west of Bethel, Aaron Cooke has seen why the villagers have voted to move.

"In the seven or eight years I've been visiting there, I’ve seen football fields that have fallen away," said Cooke, an architect for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks.

The Ninglick River claims an average of 57 linear feet of Newtok's land each year. If that loss continues, houses will fall into the water as soon as two years from now.

That prompted a call from a member of the Newtok Village Council to Cooke, who had worked on prototype energy-efficient housing for another village in the Kuskokwim River Delta. The people in Newtok had heard of his research center’s project in Atmautluak and wondered if he could design a similar one to be transported to their new village site. They had funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and they needed a house in less than one year.

Cooke said yes and got to work. He drew up a house with an adjustable foundation that rests on three long steel skis. The house has its own electrical systems that operate in concert with a generator and batteries. There is also a mini water-treatment facility inside.

"The concept isn't new by any stretch — think of a hunting or ice-fishing shack," he said. "We're taking a concept that's pretty simple and applying it to a complex problem." - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015


Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom Purcell

TOM PURCELL: Merriment, Generosity Define Christmas By TOM PURCELL - "I don't know why so many people get so bent out of shape at this time every year. I thought we were supposed to be merry."

"Ah, yes, you speak of the Christmas holiday. According to History.com, it is 'both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon.'"

"I thought it was the day we celebrate the nativity of Jesus Christ?"

"It is an important feast or holy day for Christians, who believe, as written in the Bible, that 'God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but may have eternal life.'"

"That's what I believe and the reason I go to Christ's mass — the origin of 'Christmas' — at my Catholic church every year."

"That's wonderful, but as History.com points out, Christmas traditions have evolved to include many secular and commercial components — some evolved from pagan traditions."

"Pagan traditions?"

"Look, long before Jesus was born, December was party time. Pagan sun worshippers celebrated winter solstice, the beginning of the end of long, dark days. They slaughtered cattle, ate excessively and consumed many adult beverages. "

"Sounds like Christmas dinner at my house."

"Well, the Bible doesn't say what date Jesus was born. Some scholars believe that He was born in the spring — but that, in the 4th century, Catholic popes moved his birthday to December 25 to coincide with winter solstice celebrations. Some religious scholars debate the theory, however."

"Interesting stuff."

"The Christmas tree originates from pagan traditions, however. It was born in the 8th century, when, according to Infoplease.com, 'St. Boniface cut down an enormous oak tree that was central to the worship of a particular tribe, but a fir tree grew in its place. The evergreen was offered as a symbol of Christianity, which the newly converted Germans began decorating for Christmas.'" - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Digital Holiday

Editorial Cartoon: Digital Holiday
By David Fitzsimmons ©2015, The Arizona Star
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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Questions, please contact the editor at editor@sitnews.us or call 617-9696
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letter U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - Alaskans came together in a year-long effort to provide the first tree from Alaska to stand tall as the “People’s Tree”. The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree currently gracing the West Lawn of our nation’s Capitol traveled over 4,400 miles from the Chugach National Forest by land and sea by the generosity of Alaskans who provided everything from ornaments to cranes to trucks, and many months of their time and care. You can see the labor of love Alaskans shared in the thousands of ornaments on the tree that were made out of recyclable materials and creative flair from people across the state. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

letter RE: Smoke and Mirrors By Michelle O'Brien - In response to the recent letter by Agnes Moran, my question would be: If you are so keenly interested in education, as you seem to have been in the last five years, why have you not run for the Board of Education? - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

letter Fear and loathing in the USA By Norbert Chaudhary - When I last dared to turn on my TV, talking heads were shouting in apocalyptic language that our leaders were destroying our country by wasting time and money on climate change rather than doing everything possible to make us "safe from the terrorists." - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

letter Scorched earth logging By Joseph Sebastian - Last November in Petersburg, Alaska's newest environmental group, "The Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community " [gsacc.net] gave a slide show on the latest industrial clearcut logging now taking place on Sealaska land, state forest land and other land grant interests. The show consisted of images from a recent overflight and Google-Earth satellite overviews of Sealaska lands on the Cleveland Peninsula and P.O.W.'s Election Creek, and other examples .Needless to say, the push by Senator Lisa Murkowski to privatize land from the Tongass National Forest in order to rapidly clearcut and export round logs as fast as possible, was shocking, upsetting and holds dire consequences into the future. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

letter DOI IG to audit possible use of federal funds by State for predator control By Rick Steiner = The U.S, Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Inspector General (IG) announced Monday (attached) that in its upcoming 5-year audit of annual funding provided by DOI to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG), it will address issues raised in a complaint filed last year that Alaska is using federal funds to support its controversial predator control program, in direct violation of federal policy. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

letter Get a Healthy Start to the New Year By Susan Johnson - Every year, millions of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. Do a Google search, and you’ll find health related resolutions are among the most common: lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, stop smoking, drink less, watch less TV, reduce stress. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 22, 2015

letter Smoke and Mirrors By Agnes Moran - The administration and school board of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District (KGBSD) have been creating discord with the Borough Assembly over “in-kind contributions” to draw the community’s attention away from what it should be focused on, student achievement. Under this administration and school board our children are failing to thrive. - More...
Friday PM - December 18, 2015

letter Boundary Waters Treaty By Frederick Olsen, Jr. - The United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group (UTTMWG) issued a letter to Alaska Governor Walker requesting that the Governor stop the process of developing a Statement of Cooperation with British Columbia on the SE Alaska Transboundary Rivers until his office formally requests the involvement of the US Department of State under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help protect the rivers vital to our economy and traditional cultures and way of life. - More...
Friday PM - December 28, 2015

letter State Budget By Lance Clark - Maybe I'm doing the math wrong, I hope, but there's approximately 750 thousand people in Alaska and our state budget is around $11 billion a year. That turns out to be $14,667 per person. I have no idea how we can even pretend we can afford that. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Alaska is Cold By John Suter - President Obama is going to send Alaska its share of refugees. Now is not the time to increase cost in the state budget that will incur by bringing in these refugees to the state when the state must do all that it can do to cut cost to balance the budget. A way the state can cut cost is to offer these refugees a free one way airplane ticket with a hand full of cash to fly to another state like California where they have hot dry deserts that is a similar type of country to where they came from and they will feel more at home. They need to know that Alaska is cold by their standards year around and they would not be happy here when they could live in sunny California that welcomes them with open arms of welfare, health care and everything else that they may need. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Dave Kiffer Truckin' By Melissa Muller - Dave Kiffer hit all the high points with his recent column "Ktown Economy just keeps on Truckin'. With the state's economy going up in smoke, it's time to do more than straight thinking. There is a new high tide mark being set and Ketchikan needs to roll with it. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Hillary Clinton Plans a Corporate "Exit Tax" By Wiley Brooks - This is Mrs. Clintons answer to stop American Companies from re-incorporating overseas. For too many politicians the answer is always the same - “we’ll punish those “expletives” for making a profit. An “exit tax” will just be added to the cost of the products we buy and make it more difficult for American companies to compete in the global market. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 16, 2015

letter Revenue options: Thanks for participating By Dan Ortiz - To me, government by the people and for the people is more than just a theoretical concept. I believe this famous phrase from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address must be put into practice for government to work. That’s why I’ve been going door to door, mailing out surveys and holding meetings in the communities I represent. At our town meeting on December 1st, I shared my revenue survey results and asked attendees to fill out a questionnaire on Governor Walker’s proposed endowment fund model. - More...
Friday AM - December 11, 2015

letter Open Letter: ADF&G Commissioner Cotten By Rick Steiner - You may have seen the Fall update released last week by NPS on the Denali wolf population, which showed a slight increase in numbers, but a continued decrease in viewing success. This year, only 5% of the park visitors were able to see wolves, thus some 500,000 paying visitors were deprived this opportunity. - More...
Friday AM - December 11, 2015

letter REDDI report followup By Shawn Kimberley - Almost immediately after posting my letter, I was contacted by the Captain of the Alaska State Troopers. The gentleman I spoke with was the commander of the entire southeast region. After a fairly long conversation, I would honestly say that I believe that he is a good man and a good leader. After our conversation I feel like he is here to help improve all aspects of our community. We discussed the situation thoroughly. What came out of that conversation was a complete surprise to me. Not only was the outcome something positive, But it restored my faith in the Alaska State troopers organization. He did not try to make excuses, He did not try to dance around the subject. Instead he owned up the actions, or in my opinion the lack of action. And was very polite and thankful to me for my part in trying to help correct a dangerous situation. - More...
Friday AM - December 11, 2015

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