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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 08, 2016

Front Page Feature Photo By RACHELLE SPEIGHTS

Tongass Sunrise
Front Page Feature Photo By RACHELLE SPEIGHTS

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PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center welcomes new General Surgeon - Julie A. Conyers, MD, has joined PeaceHealth Medical Group's General Surgery at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. A general surgeon with more than 20-years’ experience, Dr. Conyers says she chose to specialize in general surgery after she “fell in love with it” during her third year of residency. Her practice encompasses a wide range of procedures but she has particular expertise in advanced laparoscopic procedures for breast cancer surgery.

Dr. Julie Conyers, General Surgeon, PeaceHealth Medical Group - Ketchikan, Alaska

“Working with patients to together make the best decisions about their care,” is Dr. Conyers’ philosophy and she “looks forward to meeting other providers in the community and getting to know them as they entrust their patients to my care.”

Dr. Conyers most recently served as vice chief of staff for Tahoe Forest Multispecialty Clinic in Truckee California. She was also in private practice in California, Idaho, and Colorado and was Chief of Surgery at Saint Luke’s McCall Hospital in McCall, Idaho.

Dr. Conyers received her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and her medical degree from the University of Colorado, School of Medicine in Denver. She also completed her residency in Denver at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital where she was named Most Outstanding Intern. - More...
Thursday AM - December 08, 2016

Alaska: Legislation Prefiled to Enshrine Permanent Fund Dividends in the Alaska Constitution - Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) has pre-filed a bill in advance of the 30th Alaska legislative session which would allow Alaskans a vote to safeguard the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) in the state’s constitution. The principal or “corpus” of the fund is already constitutionally protected and cannot be spent. However, the earnings of the fund can be appropriated by the legislature for any purpose. Sen. Wielechowski’s bill would not preclude the use of the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund by the legislature, but would require PFD checks to be paid first, utilizing the current formula and ensuring that the full dividend gets paid out every year.

“Article 8 of the Constitution already states that development of our common resources must be ‘for the maximum benefit of the people,’” said Wielechowski. “The vast majority of our resource wealth already goes to the government to spend as it wishes. This simply gives Alaskans the ability to ensure that we and future generations will always receive a small part of the benefits from our resources.”

This will be the third time that Sen. Wielechowski has proposed a bill to constitutionally protect the Permanent Fund Dividend. In 2013, SJR13 was referred to the State Affairs Committee but never received a hearing. Last session, SJR1 passed through the Senate State Affairs Committee, but stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it died at the end of the 29th legislative session last spring. - More...
Thursday AM - December 08, 2016

Endangered Steller sea lions continue to decline in 2016 in the western Aleutians By KATIE DOPTIS - Endangered Steller sea lions in the western Aleutian Islands continued to decline in abundance in 2016 by nearly seven percent. The latest report was released Tuesday and shows a concerning trend in abundance for Steller sea lions living in the western Aleutians.

Endangered Steller sea lions continue to decline in 2016 in the western Aleutians

Steller sea lions
Photo: NOAA Fisheries

The species is made up of two distinct populations: the Eastern Stock and Western Stock. The Eastern Stock begins at Cape Suckling, Alaska and follows the the coast to California. The Western Stock extends west of Cape Suckling, through the Aleutian Islands and into Russian territory.

"The Eastern Stock is doing gangbusters, particularly in southeast Alaska and BC [Canada],” said Alaska Fisheries Science Center research biologist Lowell Fritz.

With the Western Stock it gets more complicated. Overall, the U.S. Western Stock of Steller sea lions increased slightly this year. That’s due to sea lions living in the eastern portion of the Western Stock’s range -- that area has seen population increases since 2003.

But Steller sea lions living in the western Aleutians have “continued to decline west of Samalga Pass to Attu Island,” according to Center research biologist Katie Sweeney. Center scientists along with biologists from the state of Alaska and Russia don’t know why.

The decline in abundance in the western Aleutians is alarming with a 94 percent decrease in the last 30 years. - More...
Thursday AM - December 08, 2016


Alaska Science:
Alaska's birds have amazing set of winter survival tricks By NED ROZELL - Biologist Susan Sharbaugh, formerly of the Alaska Bird Observatory, once spoke about the strategies birds employ to survive in our season of darkness and cold. She talked about the flighty birds that split, and the hardy few that stay. I thought I knew something about birds, but she kept delivering facts that were new to me. Among them:

Alaska's birds have amazing set of winter survival tricks

A common redpoll on a 40-below day in Fairbanks
Photograph by Ned Rozell

Arctic terns, those of the 25,000-mile annual migration from Antarctica to the Arctic and back, can live 35 years.

Northern wheatears spend their summers with musk oxen and their winters with zebras.

Blackpoll warblers fly from Eastern Canada to South America without stopping.

One of the many tools birds use to migrate — besides the metal bits in their heads that help them sense Earth's magnetism — is their ability to use infrasound. Infrasound consists of frequencies too low for us to hear. The aurora, volcanoes, underground nuclear detonations and stormy seas emit infrasound waves.

"Birds flying over the Rockies can hear the surf of both the Atlantic and Pacific," Sharbaugh said.

Sunlight can penetrate birds' skulls and help calibrate their internal clocks.

Migrating birds are born with an internal compass and a direction in which they have an urge to fly. "That arctic warbler nestling is going to fly from Tangle Lakes to the Philippines by itself."

Alaska blackcap chickadees are larger than the same species in the Lower 48. "We have Boone and Crockett chickadees," Sharbaugh said. "Chickadees here are about 12 grams; in Seattle they're 8 grams."

Alaska chickadees have more feathers than Lower 48 chickadees.

Unlike chickadees farther south, Alaska chickadees have a more elaborate feather structure, with "extra little hooks that grasp together and hold more air." - More...
Thursday AM - December 08, 2016


Columns - Commentary

jpg Danny Tyree
DANNY TYREE: Pearl Harbor: The 75th Anniversary - When I was a preschooler, I lived across the road from Rufus Foster. I still attend church with his widow.

One of many memorable things about Mr. Foster was that, as a 19-year-old from the hills of Tennessee, he was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese sneak attack.

December 7 marks three-quarters of a century since that attack, and I have to wonder if we truly remember the lessons of the tragedy.

We pay lip service to military preparedness and diplomatic solutions; but in a million ways large and small, America remains an accident waiting to happen.

In a world of widely shared personal data, porous borders, massive power grids and the Internet of Things, there is no room for complacency.

Young and old, public and private sector, management and labor ---- we're all flirting with disaster.

We hear of product recalls with mind-numbing frequency. High government officials are accused of "extreme carelessness" with state secrets. Restaurants are at the center of epidemic outbreaks. Suicide prevention hotlines for veterans go unmanned. Anthrax samples are shipped to labs haphazardly. Economic bubbles are treated as if they'll never burst. People giving off warning signs are allowed to "go postal" in the workplace.

Yes, "stuff happens." But lightning strikes, earthquakes and other so-called "acts of God" are only part of the problem we face.

Negligence, incompetence, laziness, denial, unpreparedness and other factors exacerbate potential crises.

Kicking the can down the road, passing the buck, taking shortcuts, engaging in juvenile jurisdictional wrangling, administering wrist-slap punishments and carrying on Ol' Boy Network shenanigans all make our infrastructure, food supply and identities a little more vulnerable. - More...
Thursday AM - December 08, 2016

jpg Editorial Cartoon: Futile Recount

Editorial Cartoon: Futile Recount
By Rick McKee ©2016, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696
Sitnews reserves the right to edit.

letter Making an Enrollment List and Checking It Twice By Susan Johnson - Applications usually require supporting information and documents. Job applications, school applications, car insurance applications, scholarship applications, loan applications, and of course health insurance applications, require you to have certain information available to complete the process. While no one likes completing applications, it tends to go much more smoothly if you’re prepared. - More...
Thursday AM - December 08, 2016

letter How to Put Building Permits on a Fast Track By U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan - President-elect Donald Trump has made investing in U.S. infrastructure a priority. This country urgently needs to build and repair roads, bridges, airports, pipelines and rail lines. But a huge roadblock is the federal permitting system. Even with a more business-friendly administration, a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan won’t accomplish much unless Congress reforms the way public-works projects are approved. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 06, 2016

letter Giving Thanks By Nina Kemppel - As we approach the season for giving thanks and the time when we reflect on how grateful we are for the blessings in our daily lives, I want to acknowledge all of the individuals, community members, organizations, and visionaries whose generosity and service has made Alaska a place we are proud to call home. Despite the challenges our state has undergone this year, I find that we at The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) are in a fortunate vantage point to see how Alaskans have come together to weather the storm and have supported their communities now more than ever. At ACF, we witness your generosity every single day. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 06, 2016

letter KCCB in the Plaza Mall By Judith Green - QUESTION: What is a great way to utilize the open space in the Plaza Mall during the month of December? YES, filled with Chrismas music from the Ketchikan Community Concert Band. Many of us were thrilled to hear the sounds of music coming from that space Saturday. The KCCB gave us heart warming sounds as we went about visiting the local artisans and their creative, hand made items. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 06, 2016

letter Public Lands By Joe Ashcraft - It is interesting that the letter from Fielder is in a Ketchikan on line forum, soliciting for state control of federally administered lands in a different state. Maybe it had to do with corporations in Alaska wanting to trade for lands with uncut timber; lands now belonging to others. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 06, 2016

letter KCC's Historic Christmas program By Judith Green - Ketchikan Community Chorus has put together a program that is fun, interesting, informative, and professional. There is the musical director and conductor and the chorus, of course: all local people who gather together to practice together because (?) they enjoy music. Once again we are not disappointed in the wonderful program they present for the community to enjoy. - More...
Tuesday AM - December 06, 2016

letter RE: President Elect must Divest By Laura Plenert - Just wondering - does this include Presidents that come into office with literally nothing and walk away millionaires??? - More
Tuesday AM - December 06, 2016

letter The President-Elect Must Divest By Ghert Abbott - For the last 40 years it has been the norm for the president to divest himself of his business holdings and transfer the capital to a neutral third party who would then invest said capital in a blind trust. In this way administrations have avoided massive conflicts of interest, in which political or regulatory decisions could be made for the benefit of the president’s business holdings or purchased through doing business with the president. Such corrupt bargains are the norm in many third world countries, where presidents preside over shadowy business empires that are protected and enriched by the government. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 29, 2016

letter Women's March January 21st By Mary L. Stephenson - With the popular vote, the Democratic party was left stunned to learn Hillary Clinton would not be President and the moral fiber of the nation is left in limo. A movement underway is the Million Women (Men and Children) March on January 21st in Washington DC. The many days after the elections, we took to the streets in a peaceful way, to unite as a populous and introduce ourselves to newly elected President Trump. We can lose our foothold on (individual and family) health, education, out-of-poverty, community safety, local economy needs and environment issues. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 29, 2016

letter RE: Protests By Hallie Engel - In response to Rob Holston's letter, dated November 15, the reason there were no large-scale protests after the election of President Obama might have something to do with the fact that he wasn't endorsed by the KKK, he never bragged about sexually assaulting women, and he never called Mexican people rapists, amongst other things. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 29, 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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