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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Wednesday
December 27, 2017

Front Page Feature Photo By RUTH CORREA

Nature's Snowman
What appears to be a snowman was photographed recently at Harriet Hunt Lake. This is a natural lake with an average depth of about 25 feet with a total shore line of 4 miles. The lake sits at an elevation of 643 feet.
Front Page Feature Photo By RUTH CORREA ©2017


Photos of the Month

New Tax Law: Who Gains and Who Loses Under the New Tax Law - By Penelope Wang and Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports - Now that the House and Senate have passed the $1.5 trillion tax bill, which President Trump is expected to sign into law soon, millions of Americans are wondering how the new rules will affect their finances. - More...
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Ketchikan: In the Face of Political Uncertainty, Tongass Transition Collaborative Stress Importance of Local Partnerships - Earlier this month, members of the Tongass Transition Collaborative (TTC) met with U.S. Forest Service (USFS) leadership and staff to discuss their vision for the future of the Tongass National Forest and implementation of the Tongass Land & Resource Management Plan. Throughout the meeting, a theme emerged around the importance of local partnerships and collaboration to achieve shared goals for forest management.

In the Face of Political Uncertainty, Tongass Transition Collaborative Stress Importance of Local Partnerships

A tiny glimpsy of the nearly 17 million acres of the Tongass National Forest.
Photo courtesy US Forest Service

According to the Tongass Transition Collaborative charter, this is a diverse group of stakeholders who are concerned with management of the Tongass National Forest. They have come together to help achieve a successful transition to primarily young growth forest based management. To achieve Secretary Vilsack’s July 2,2013 memorandum 1044-099 to “speed the transition away from old-growth timber harvesting and towards a forest industry that utilizes second growth... in a way that preserves a viable timber industry that provides jobs and opportunities for residents of Southeast Alaska

According a TCC news release, at the national-level, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Chief of the USFS have recognized the importance of identifying opportunities for collective action through partnerships and engagement with states, non-governmental organizations, Native villages, and local citizens that share a vision of healthy forests and communities.

To achieve this vision, those attending the meeting acknowledged, it will be necessary to work effectively with partners to promote a sense of shared stewardship and responsibility.

Regional Forester, Beth Pendleton, emphasized alignment with these objectives for the Alaska Region of the USFS: “There is a growing focus in the Region to achieve common goals related to all parts of the [USFS] mission…not just on the National Forest, but with programs that serve the entire state, including forest health, the cooperative fire [management] program, and state and private forestry.”

On the Tongass National Forest, the Tongass Transition Collaborative members stated significant progress has been made due to this collaborative approach to management. Building on consensus recommendations put forward by the multi-stakeholder Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC), partnerships have emerged with the USFS, State of Alaska Divisions of Forestry and Economic Development, the Alaska Forestry Association, conservation organizations, Sealaska Timber, and University of Alaska Trust Lands, among many others.

Quoting the Tongass Transition Collaborative news release, these partnerships have resulted in successful implementation of robust forest inventory and data collection for over twenty thousand acres of young growth, workforce development training, seasonal and permanent employment opportunities for local residents, coordinated timber sale planning between multiple landowners in the region, and a Good Neighbor Authority timber sale that will provide 29 million board feet of young growth timber with a portion of proceeds benefiting habitat restoration on the Forest. 

The Tongass Transition Collaborative members said these actions represent an important shift in the culture of conflict surrounding Tongass forest management to one that embraces solutions that are inclusive of diverse viewpoints and seek opportunities for effective, efficient implementation of management decisions.

During a round of reflections at the meeting, Forest Supervisor Earl Stewart reflected on how the situation has shifted over the past five-ten years, and the opportunity to build on the progress that has been made. He left the group with a challenge: “Do not fail to recognize that the table could be much larger, the issues we take on could be much larger, and the opportunities for Southeast Alaska could be much more lasting.” - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017



Alaska: Alaskan microgrids offer energy resilience and independence - The electrical grid in the contiguous United States is a behemoth of interconnected systems. If one section fails or is sabotaged, millions of citizens could be without power. Remote villages in Alaska provide an example of how safeguards could build resilience into a larger electrical grid. These communities rely on microgrids -- small, local power stations that operate autonomously. Nine articles in the recent issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, from AIP Publishing, provide the first reviews of energy technologies and costs for microgrids in Alaska.

Alaskan microgrids offer energy resilience and independence

Wind turbines supply renewable energy to microgrids across Alaska.
C
REDIT: Chris Pike, the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks

"The integration of renewable resources into microgrids is an active area of research," Erin Whitney, a researcher at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks said. "Alaskan communities are at the forefront of thinking about integrating sustainable, local, and often renewable, energy into their power generation portfolios."

Unlike the Lower 48, Alaska's terrain makes it difficult and cost prohibitive to establish a large-scale electrical grid. Instead, microgrids provide permanent, self-sufficient islands of electricity that can produce up to 2 megawatts of electricity for remote communities. Alaskan microgrids provide electricity for more than 200 communities and generate more than 2 million hours of operating experience annually.

Reducing energy costs is the driving factor for implementing renewable energy in remote grids. According to Whitney, many Alaskan communities are motivated to find local energy solutions to reduce the cost of shipping expensive diesel fuel to power their microgrids.

"Some communities are so remote that they can only get fuel delivered once or twice a year when the ice melts and a barge can move up the river," Whitney said. "This situation translates into some of the highest energy costs in the nation."

Whitney explains that oil and local, renewable resources can work in tandem to supply electricity to microgrids. A diesel generator typically provides base power generation, while renewable energy sources reduce the load on the generators and save fuel, lowering energy costs. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017


TFCU Vice President wins National Award

Rachel Guyselman
Photo courtesy TFCU


Ketchikan:
TFCU Vice President wins National Award - Tongass Federal Credit Union’s Vice President of Operations, Rachel Guyselman, was awarded the Emerging Leader Award from Credit Union National Association earlier this month.

Guyselman received the first ever Emerging Leader Award for her accomplishments in the credit union industry. She was chosen for this national award out of many nominations from all over the United States.

Her accomplishments include creating the credit union’s first marketing plan, increasing social media followers and awareness, and creating a career progression program for front-line branch staff.

Guyselman is also an active community volunteer. She serves on the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce board, is a member of Rotary 2000, is the Vice President of Public Relations for First City Toastmasters, and is a VITA Tax Volunteer.

Guyselman has been with TFCU for over three years and has been in the financial industry for ten years. As winner of the award Guyselman received a scholarship to attend the Emerging Leader Institute in San Diego. Guyselman said she had a great time and met several credit union peers, including one from Anchorage. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

 

 

Arctic: Arctic saw 2nd warmest year, smallest winter sea ice coverage on record in 2017 - A NOAA-sponsored report shows that the warming trend transforming the Arctic persisted in 2017, resulting in the second warmest air temperatures, above average ocean temperatures, loss of sea ice, and a range of human, ocean and ecosystem effects.

Arctic saw 2nd warmest year, smallest winter sea ice coverage on record in 2017

An iceberg floats in the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
Photo Credit: NOAA

Now in its 12th year, the Arctic Report Card, released recently at the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting in New Orleans, is a peer-reviewed report that brings together the work of 85 scientists from 12 nations.

While 2017 saw fewer records shattered than in 2016, the Arctic shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago. Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the rate of the global temperature increase.

One chapter in the Arctic Report Card shows, using historical data, that the current observed rate of sea ice decline and warming temperatures are higher than at any other time in the last 1,500 years, and likely longer than that.

The Arctic Report Card provides an annual update on how the region is faring environmentally, and compares these observations to the long-term record. This information can be used to inform decisions on adaptation by of local, tribal, state and federal leaders as they confront both the obstacles and the possibilities posed by a changing climate to economic growth, national security, public safety and natural resource conservation.

“The rapid and dramatic changes we continue to see in the Arctic present major challenges and opportunities,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator, who led the press conference to release the report card.

Gallaudet said, “This year’s Arctic Report Card is a powerful argument for why we need long-term sustained Arctic observations to support the decisions that we will need to make to improve the economic well-being for Arctic communities, national security, environmental health and food security.” - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017


 

Columns - Commentary

 

jpg TOM PURCELL:

TOM PURCELL: Reformed, But Not Simplified - If only tax simplification were true.

You see, one of the promises of the Republican tax-reform bill was that taxes would become way simpler for the majority of Americans to file - that we'd be able to file our taxes on a form the size of a postcard - but that isn't entirely so.

Sure, the standard deduction will almost double, from $6,350 to $12,000 for single filers, from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples who file jointly.

That means many lower- and middle-income taxpayers will be able to file their taxes simply.

But for many of us, tax filing will be just as complicated as it has always been - if not more so.

An H&R Block representative told FiveThirtyEight: "While much attention has been given to the increase in the standard deduction, many taxpayers will still be required to file multiple forms and worksheets for various sources of income and credits that aren't going away."

Well, that's just great.

The tax code is still incredibly complicated - so complicated that, according to the National Taxpayers Union, Americans spend 7.64 billion hours and $227.1 billion complying with it every year.

Consider: When the income tax became law in 1913, the tax code was 16 pages long. Now it is nearly 75,000 pages long!

I remember stumbling upon my father's 1959 income tax return a few years ago - boy, was filing easy for him that year.

In 1959, the code ran about 15,000 pages - one-fifth its current size. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

jpg DAVE KIFFER

DAVE KIFFER: FOOLS GOLD! - Just about once a week, I get an email that reads something like this:

Dear Mr. Kiffer. 

I am coming to Ketchikan on 7-17-18 on the Plus-Sized Princess.
I will be in Ketchikan for six or seven hours.
I want to pan for gold. 
Can you tell me where to find gold in Ketchikan?
Sincerely, Buckminster "Bucky" Dimmsdale.

No, that's not his real name. I'm not callous enough to hold someone up to public ridicule from the three people besides me who actually read my ramblings just because this Mr. Dimmsdale sent me an email.

And why is it that people feel a need to tell you their "nick" name when it is an obvious shrinkage of their full name. You know, Joseph "Joe" Jackson, et al. There should be a rule that says you only do that when it's not an obvious cognomenal contraction. Like Joseph "Aloysius" Jackson, et al. Otherwise, you don't need to tell me that someone named Buckminster - if that is indeed someone's real name  - goes by "Bucky."

But, as usual, I digress.

Back to the personages who wants to find "gold" in Ketchikan. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017


jpg Political Cartoon: Ungrateful UN

Political Cartoon: Ungrateful UN
By Rick McKee ©2017, The Augusta Chronicle
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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jpg Letter / Opinion

New Tax Bill By Norbert Chaudhary - I would like to thank Senator Lisa Murkowski for the wisdom, foresight and the unwavering loyalty she has shown standing with President Trump in his quest to Make America Great Again! Our Dear Leader is the most honest, humble and God fearing President this nation has ever been blessed with.  - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

THE DUCHESS LIES AGAIN By David G Hanger - The Duchess of the Duchy of Murkowski, once referred to as Alaska, one Lisa Oil-louski Murkowski, wants you to chortle your shorts over this massive tax ripoff Donnie Two Scoops just signed off on. It’s the Christmas present that is going to save you and all of Alaska from fiscal and economic disaster. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Historic Opportunities for Alaska in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski - This holiday season, Alaskans can have a renewed sense of hope for good jobs, larger paychecks, stronger growth, and enduring prosperity. The reason why is today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes two historic opportunities for our state.

The first - and perhaps most unexpected, at the start of this year - is the opening of the 1002 Area within the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Set aside by Congress in 1980, Alaskans never gave up on its incredible potential for energy development, and our longstanding efforts finally succeeded this week. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Alaska Marine Highway thoughts By A. M. Johnson - Some interesting community member thoughts have been brought to my attention and worthy I believe, of public discussion. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 19, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Violence Prevention By Agnes Moran - Alaska leads the nation in per capita incidence of sexual assault and domestic violence. Unfortunately, as the recent headlines in the Ketchikan Daily News indicate, Ketchikan is not exempt from these statistics. Women in Safe Homes (WISH) is working to eliminate violence in our community through community partnerships and primary prevention and education programs. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

President Trump should sign ANWR legislation to boost Alaska’s economy, nation’s energy dominance By Gail Phillips - Alaskans are on the verge of seeing the oil-rich coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) opened to leasing for the first time – a three-decades-long quest that was, until now, stifled by environmental it and the blocking-and-tackling tactics of Democrats in Washington, DC. - More...
Saturday AM - December 16, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

AMHS PROBLEMS PLAGUE SOUTHEAST ALASKA COMMUNITIES By Mary Lynne Dahl - My husband and I are frequent customers of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. We have been sailing on the Ketchikan – Prince Rupert run about 6 round trips per year for 16 years, mostly in winter. We have become very familiar with many of the boats and crew over these years. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

These are the Facts By Rep. Dan Ortiz - This letter is in direct response to a December 4th letter to Sitnews submitted by David Nees of the Alaska Policy Forum, out of Anchorage. Mr. Nees states that the numbers I used in my Dec. 1st letter to Sitnews are “inaccurate and misleading.” - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Speechless By A. M. Johnson - I am speechless!! Why so? You ask. I am speechless because of the act of congress to hide, fund and approve of sexual acts performed by elected representatives of Congress. To then hide that action behind a screen not openly viewed by the tax paying public. I am so speechless along with frustration over the extent of abuse towards woman being aided by elected women. Tragic that the intent is to protect abusers over the pain suffered by the victims' being paid off with OUR money. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

IN JERRY’S WORLD By David G Hanger - Ghert Abbott is spot-on with his commentary about Federal income tax policy, but he is also too polite. This is not tax reform. This is not even tax or economic policy. This is pure theft by some of the biggest pigs this world has ever produced. - More...
Thursday PM - December 07, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

RE: Alaska's Fiscal Situation By David Nees - In a December 1 opinion piece Rep Ortiz opines that he is unfairly being accused of wanting to implement an income tax and has not done enough to cut spending. He then lays out exactly the same argument as the Walker administration with the inaccurate misleading cuts of 44% and huge loss of state jobs. - More...
Monday PM - December 04, 2017

jpg Letter / Opinion

Tax the Rich By Ken Leland - Jerry Cegelsky is right, after spending your lifetime building an estate through hard work and sacrifice, sometimes failing in your endeavors, but always keeping on that path to financial stability and security in your declining years, with health issues for yourself and your Family to deal with along the way, it's not an easy path, but you deal with it. - More...
Monday PM - December 04, 2017

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