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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 18, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By RACHELE NULPH

Ward Lake
December 14th, a beautiful day at Ward Lake with a dusting of snow visible.
Front Page Feature Photo By RACHELE NULPH ©2018

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Alaska Historical: The original "Salmon Capital of the World";Karluk was Alaska's original salmon boom town long before Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER - Long before Ketchikan "appropriated" the title of Salmon Capital of the World in the 1920s, another Alaskan community was indeed the salmon capital of the world.

The original "Salmon Capital of the World";Karluk was Alaska's original salmon boom town long before Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER

An 80,000 haul, double seine, Karluk
Wickersham State Historic Site, ca. 1882-1930s -- Alaska State Library - Historical Collections
Photo courtesy Alaska State Library

Today, Karluk has a population of 47 people, but in the 1890 United States Census - the first one to attempt to enumerate the approximately 30,000 people in Alaska - the small village near Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island was the third largest community in Alaska, after Juneau (1,243) and Sitka (1,190). This was at a time when "Kichkan" had only 40 residents and was much smaller than Loring (200) and Metlakatla (821).

One interesting facet of the 1890 Census was that it determined that nearly half of Karluk's population of 1,123 people was listed as "Asian." The 523 Asian residents of Karluk were the cannery workers - primarily Chinese - brought to the community to help process one of the world's largest sockeye salmon runs.
Alutiiq Natives had lived at the mouth of the Karluk River for generations. An unofficial census done in 1880, determined that the year-round population of the area was 302 , with 277 being Native and 24 being mixed race. There was one white person living in the village in 1880. But by the 1890 census, the population had increased three fold because of the opening of a cannery in 1882.  In 1890, the census noted 542 Asians, 391 Whites, 167 Native Alaskans and 20 of mixed race.
"Thousands of fishermen and cannery workers joined the hundreds of Karluk villagers on the Karluk Spit, beginning in the 1880s," Anjuli Grantham wrote in on the Alaska Historical Society blog on Nov. 27, 2013 "The first cannery to open on Kodiak Island opened on the Karluk Spit in 1882. The Karluk Packing Co. was financed by the Alaska Commercial Company and founded by two former AC employees, Oliver Smith and Charles Hirsch."
Grantham noted that Smith and Hirsch originally salted, rather than canned, salmon.
"Yet, word quickly got out about the massive salmon runs within the Karluk River," Grantham wrote "This is not hyperbole- it wasn’t rare to catch 40,000 sockeye in a single beach seine set at Karluk in the 1880s and 1890s."

Grantham said the activity in Karluk boomed in 1889 when the Alaska Improvement Company opened another very large cannery on the beach across from the spit at the mouth of the Karluk River. Canning operations were strong through much of the 1890s and in 1898 the "improvement company" became part of the statewide Alaska Packers Association empire. Eventually, APA consolidated area operations at nearby Larsen Bay and shut down the Karluk operation, Almost immediately, the population of the village plummeted, eventually dropping into the 40s and 50s for the next several decades.
Just how big were the salmon runs during the Karluk heyday from the 1880s to the 1910s?
Upwards of four million salmon returned some years, according to National Marine Fisheries researchers Richard Gard and Richard Lee Bottorff. Gard and Bottorff published "A History of Sockeye Salmon Research, Karluk River System, Alaska, 1880-2010 " in 2014.
Gard and Bottorff noted that returns of more than four million salmon were recorded in the 1880s and 1890s and that the average runs for that period were well over three million salmon.
"Within recorded history, this run has, in peak years, exceeded 4,000,000 fish, a wondrous spectacle of nature," Gard and Bottorff wrote. "This abundance is particularly striking since, physically, the Karluk River is relatively small when compared with other notable salmon-stream systems of Alaska and the Pacific Coast."
- More...
Tuesday PM - December 18, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HALE

Good Morning Ketchikan
Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HALE ©2018


Southeast Alaska:
This art is ‘WILD by Nature’ By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN - About a year ago my friend Julienne Pacheco dropped by our house with an ocean-caught steelhead. Before we cooked it, she got out a filet knife and carefully separated the flesh from the glittering scales. She had a plan that would leave them glittering long into the future.

This art is ‘WILD by Nature’ By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Artist Julienne Pacheco, who makes jewelry out of fish skin and other natural materials, poses on the downtown Juneau Seawalk with earrings made out of arctic grayling dorsal fins.
Photo courtesy of Julienne Pacheco ©

It's a plan that, with time, experimentation and perseverance, has grown into a business called “WILD by Nature,” for which she makes jewelry using of all sorts of natural Alaskan materials, including fish skin.

Arctic grayling had been Pacheco’s favorite fish since she was gifted a metal print of one after volunteering as part of a fundraiser for Trout Unlimited. A few years later, she asked a colleague to take close up photos of arctic grayling and other fish she had caught while working and fishing in Western Alaska.

Initially, she hoped to print the photos on metal plates and inlay them into a belt buckle. She also wanted to create earrings, her “jewelry of choice” since first donating her hair to Locks of Love.

She knew there were artists making jewelry with fish leather, she said, but she wanted to develop a technique to retain the beauty of the scales — and, instead of printing photos, that’s what she ended up doing with WILD by Nature.

“Fish are beautiful. And they're all different; they all shimmer in a different way. King salmon shimmer purple-gold. Arctic grayling are very unexpected. You see them in the river and they look brownish — mottled brown gray. Then you land them and the sun hits them and they’re teal, and red, and blue and their eyes shimmer purple green, like they're wearing '80’s eye shadow,” she said. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 18, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By KEITH JEWETT

Berth One: December Sunrise
Front Page Feature Photo By KEITH JEWETT ©2018


Southeast Alaska: Humpback Whales Linger in Sitka Sound By SEANNA O'SULLIVAN - The Allen Marine tour boat pushed off the dock at the Sitka Crescent Harbor on a clear crisp October afternoon with University of Alaska Southeast researchers, alumni and supporters of the university in search of humpback whales. It didn’t take long to find them.

In just minutes, in Sitka Sound within clear view of Mt. Edgecumbe, whale spouts came into view, shooting up along the horizon. Eager watchers stepped up to the rail on the leeward side, cameras and phones in hand, quickly realizing that the spouts circled the vessel, too many to count. Humpbacks lounged on the surface of the water, rolling gently in the waves and occasionally raising their flukes as the captain cut the engine and let passengers observe quietly for the next 45 minutes.

The tour was part of a UAS Alumni & Friends excursion set to highlight the extensive work of the University of Alaska Southeast Whale Researcher and Marine Biology Professor Jan Straley, Madison Kosma, a current graduate student studying humpback whales feeding at hatcheries and her former student Ellen Chenoweth, Ph.D., now a UAS Adjunct Professor and Research Advising and Mentorship Professional for University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Straley, who has been documenting whale behavior for the past 40 years, occasionally broke the silence onboard to describe the behavior on the feeding ground and share some observations from her research. 

“The whales in Sitka Sound are getting ready to migrate to the breeding ground.  About 94% of whales who feed in Southeast Alaska and Northern British Columbia go to Hawaii.  The remaining 6% go Mexico. But she notes that they are noticing an increasing trend of humpbacks lingering in Sitka Sound later in the winter. 

The researchers noted that they are seeing fewer calves, skinnier whales and more whales staying longer into winter feeding on herring, partially migrating and returning or possibly not migrating at all. 

Their observations align with recent reports from officials in Hawaii. Honolulu’s Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary indicating fewer sightings of the whales returning to Hawaiian waters.

“We are concerned that the offshore warm water anomaly known as “the blob” and other ocean conditions has had a negative impact on humpback whale prey.” added Chenoweth, noting that the longer the whales stay in Alaska the more they will feed upon prey like herring, which are the primary food available in the winter. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 18, 2018



TOM PURCELL: All Along, Google's Been Googling Me - I thought Facebook knew too much about me, but it turns out Google is even worse. 

Google, like Facebook, makes its money by targeting ads at us that reflect our interests and needs. The more both know about us, the better they're able to target us with ads we're likely to click. 

But Google knows a lot more about me than I thought - plenty more than Facebook.

Since I created a Google account - I use Gmail and Google Docs for my rental-property business - I have freely provided Google with lots of personal information.

I've told Google my name, birthday and gender. It knows my phone number and password. It tracks my email correspondence, photos or videos I've saved, documents I've created in Google Docs, any calendar events I've noted, any contacts I've added. 

But Google also collects lots of data that I didn't know I was providing. 

"When you use our services - for example, do a search on Google, get directions on Maps, or watch a video on YouTube - we collect data to make these services work better for you," reports Google on its "Data Transparency" page. 

That's where things get a little bit creepy. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 18, 2018


JOE GUZZARDI: As Deadline Nears, Trump Keeps Banging Head Against the Wall - The din emanating from Congress these days is decidedly not in the Christmas spirit. The White House confrontation that pitted President Trump against his arch-enemies - Senator Chuck Schumer and soon-to-be House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi - stopped short of an all-out brawl, but offered zero encouragement that all parties were on the verge of a compromise on anything, least of all a Southwest border wall or legislative solutions to asylum loopholes.

With the December 21 deadline to fund the Department of Homeland Security looming, President Trump's demand for $5 billion for wall construction versus the offer from Schumer and Pelosi to provide about $1.5 billion is the hang up. The $1.5 billion is like mere bus fare in today's spend-crazy Congress.

Immigration analysts are puzzled by why President Trump insists on tackling the toughest item on his agenda, the wall, when other deterrents to illegal immigration are more immediately within reach, namely E-Verify.

President Trump's signature issue has always been to build a wall to dramatically slow illegal immigration, and thus remove the jobs magnet from the unlawful entry equation. In 1981, the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy concluded all studies indicated that illegal aliens are attracted to this country by U.S. employment opportunities. Yet, nearly four decades later, Congress has consistently refused to act in American workers' best interests. Once, not that long ago, even Schumer saw the E-Verify light. Schumer in 2009: "...a biometric-based employer verification system with tough enforcement and auditing is necessary to significantly diminish the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the United States..." - More...
Tuesday PM - December 18, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: A Wild Ride

Political Cartoon: A Wild Ride
By Jeff Koterba ©2018, Omaha World Herald, NE
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Why the Texas ruling on Obamacare is on shaky legal ground By SIMON F. HAEDER & VALARIE BLAKE - A Texas judge has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. For now, his decision has no immediate effect except to toss another fire bomb at a law that has helped 20-plus million people gain insurance and expanded insurance for almost all Americans by such things as requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

Based on our expertise as health policy scholars, we argue that the ACA is well-settled law by now. This ruling will likely not undo the law. It does, however, add more uncertainty to the ACA while also showing how much Republicans continue to be willing to fight to destroy the law.

How did we get to the Texas verdict?

Republicans in Congress spent much of 2017 seeking to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. After repeated failed attempts, they celebrated a victory with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The tax bill included the repeal of the ACA’s individual shared responsibility penalty, or the penalty imposed on individuals who fail to purchase qualified insurance coverage.

Health policy experts agreed that this would destabilize the individual insurance market without destroying the ACA. And indeed, enrollment in the ACA insurance marketplaces has been decidedly lower this year. Yet, millions of Americans continue to enroll, and a number of states are moving toward expanding Medicaid.

Emboldened by the legislative success of GOP tax reform, however, 20 states, led by Texas and Wisconsin, renewed their efforts to have the ACA declared unconstitutional.

They got every wish. Texas Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional in its entirety.

Politics heavily shaped this case. Republican-led states sought a friendly judge in a Texas district court to yet again challenge the constitutionality of the ACA. And California took over the defense of the ACA when the Department of Justice refused to defend its own law.

While many experts anticipated that Judge O'Connor would rule against the ACA, legal experts from both sides of the aisle were baffled by his legal reasoning and the departing from well-established legal precedent. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 18, 2018

jpg Opinion

Pedestrian Safety When It Is Dark By Cheryl Henley - Parents' children getting off the bus after school when it is getting dark out are risking the possibility of the child of not being seen whether the child is walking off of the side of the road, or getting picked up. - More...
Friday PM - December 14, 2018

jpg Opinion

Alaska Consumer Protection Unit & CBD Alert By A.M. Johnson - In reading the Alaska Dept.of Consumer Protection Unit public piece in our local Sitnews online paper, it seems that you have not identified if you are addressing untested CBD products grown and processed in Alaska or CBD as a whole nation wide. While I note a comment regarding out of state (Or online) purchases, the unknowing reader would tend to believe that any and all CBD sold in Alaska is suspect. Suspect due to your worry that CBD is non tested product being fostered on to the public unaware. - More...
Friday PM - December 14, 2018

jpg Opinion

Towards the Restoration of our PFDs By Ghert Abbott - As we move towards what will hopefully be the full restoration of our PFDs and the complete elimination of the state government’s tax on the Permanent Fund’s earnings, I expect that we’ll hear the return of a number of arguments which were used to justify and sell this atrocious policy in the first place. These arguments are “the state government can’t afford a full PFD,” “a full PFD endangers the Permanent Fund,” and “if we don’t use the Permanent Fund’s earnings we’ll have to have a tax.” I shall answer these arguments in advance. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

jpg Opinion

Puppet Politicians By Donald Moskowitz - President Trump declared "almost a complete victory" after learning of the results of the mid-term elections. However, this is another fabrication used to bolster his ego and security. This is no victory because the Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and won the governorships of the key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

3 ways Facebook and other social media companies could clean up their acts – if they wanted to By Anthony M. Nadler & Matthew Crain - Facebook is in crisis mode, but the company can take major steps to fix itself – and the global community it says it wants to promote. Facebook founder, CEO and majority shareholder Mark Zuckerberg need not wait for governments to impose regulations. If he and other industry leaders wanted to, they could make meaningful changes fairly quickly. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

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