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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 21, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By KEN ARRIOLA

Upper Silvis Lake
Watershed from Twin Peaks, Achilles, Northbird, and Mahoney Mountains supply the hydro for the Beaver Falls hydro-electric generators.  Past 10 days, freezing temperature and precipitation, yield 2 plus feet at higher elevation.
Front Page Feature Photo By KEN ARRIOLA ©2018

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Alaska: BLM Releases Draft EIS For Oil Lease Sales in ANWR Coastal Plain By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Thursday released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program for public review and comment. 

Congress specifically identified the Coastal Plain for its potential for oil and natural gas resources in Section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA). Quoting a BLM news release, oil and gas from the Coastal Plain is an important resource for meeting our nation’s energy demands and creating employment opportunities for Alaska’s North Slope residents.

"An energy-dominant America starts with an energy-dominant Alaska, and among the scores of accomplishments we have had at Interior under President Donald J. Trump, taking these steps toward opening the 1002 section of Alaska's North Slope stands out among the most impactful toward bolstering America's economic strength and security," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "For decades, Alaskans on both sides of the aisle have overwhelmingly supported opening the 1002 to energy exploration and development. I commend the President for giving Alaskans a voice again in how their public lands are used and for his commitment to responsible development of the Coastal Plain."

"This draft reflects thousands of hours of work that demonstrate a commitment to the development of these documents and the range of alternatives," said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. "We look forward to a very robust public comment period to better inform our final decision."

“A 1987 Interior report to Congress fulfilling our requirements under ANILCA recommended the Coastal Plain for oil and gas development. Since completion of that report, numerous oil fields have been discovered near the Coastal Plain and oil field technologies have changed significantly,” said Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash. “The depth of expertise in arctic resources and issues from tribal members, state, local and federal agency staff was integral in developing a comprehensive Draft Environmental Impact Statement.”

The publication of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Notice of Availability in the Federal Register on Dec. 28, 2018, will officially begin the 45-day public comment period. The release of the Draft EIS is the next step in implementing the provisions in the Tax Act for establishing and administering a competitive oil and gas program for the leasing, development, production, and transportation of oil and gas in and from the Coastal Plain area within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"Alaskans have anticipated the release of the draft environmental statement for decades," said Alaska Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy. "My administration and Alaskans overwhelmingly support ANWR development, and we are eager to inform and educate our fellow Americans that it will be done utilizing the highest environmental standards and safeguards to protect its land, waters and wildlife."

“This is a significant milestone in Alaska’s long journey to responsibly explore and develop the 1002 area in ANWR,” Dunleavy said. “The potential oil discovered will spur new jobs and investments for generations to come, extending the life of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.” 

“Continuing engagement with the communities most affected by this process is key in developing a comprehensive analysis,” said acting State Director Ted Murphy. “We received substantial input in the development of this draft from cooperating agencies and stakeholders throughout Alaska, our nation and Canada, and I look forward to continuing that engagement in this comment period.”

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young (all R-Alaska) issued prepared statements yesterday after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the oil and gas leasing program on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). 

“One year ago, Congress directed the Department of the Interior to open the Coastal Plain for responsible energy development, and today marks a major step forward to making this a reality,” Sen. Murkowski said. “I appreciate the extensive time and attention the Department has dedicated to gather and consider feedback from all Alaskans, particularly the Inupiat and other stakeholders in the Alaska Native community. This input and cooperation will ensure we build a strong leasing program that helps us realize our tremendous energy potential without harming our environment or way of life.”

Murkowski is chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She authored the second title of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Congress passed exactly one year ago. The Act allows surface development of 2,000 federal acres of the non-wilderness Coastal Plain (0.01% of ANWR) for responsible energy development, which could bring an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil to market. New production from the 1002 Area will refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System while also creating high-paying jobs, generating billions of dollars in revenues for the state and federal treasuries, keeping energy prices affordable for families and businesses, and strengthening national energy security. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By JERRI YOUNG

Reflection of M/V Columbia
Front Page Feature Photo By JERRI YOUNG ©2018


Criminal Charges Filed in Alaska in Conjunction with the Seizure of Websites Offering DDoS-For-Hire Services that Facilitate Internet Attacks - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced yesterday the seizure of an internet domain associated with DDoS-for-hire services, as well as criminal charges against a Pennsylvania man who facilitated the computer attack platform.  This case was brought as part of an FBI investigation that led to the seizure of 15 websites, resulting in criminal charges filed from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Alaska and the Central District of California. 

The sites, which offered what are often called “booter” or “stresser” services, allowed paying users to launch powerful distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks that flood targeted computers with information and prevent them from being able to access the internet.  Booter services such as named in this action allegedly cause attacks on a wide array of victims in the United States and abroad, including financial institutions, universities, internet service providers, government systems, and various gaming platforms. The action against the DDoS services comes the week before the Christmas holiday, a period historically plagued by prolific DDoS attacks in the gaming world.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska charged David Bukoski, 23, of Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, with aiding and abetting computer intrusions.  The charging documents allege that Bukoski operated Quantum Stresser, one of the longest-running DDoS services in operation.  As of Nov. 29, Quantum had over 80,000 customer subscriptions dating back to its launch in 2012.  In 2018 alone, Quantum was used to launch over 50,000 actual or attempted DDoS attacks targeting victims worldwide, including victims in Alaska and California.  On Dec. 19, pursuant to seizure warrants issued by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the FBI seized the domains of 15 booter services, one of them being, the service operated by Bukoski.

“The internet has become the nerve system of modern life, including modern business and government operations,” said U.S. Attorney Schroder.  “Against that backdrop, it is essential for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to act swiftly and decisively when criminals attack any part of that system, especially the end users.” - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

Alaska: 2019 CHIEF JUDGE OF COURT OF APPEALS & PRESIDING JUDGES APPOINTED - Chief Justice Joel H. Bolger of the Alaska Supreme Court announced the appointment of Judge Marjorie K. Allard as Chief Judge of the Alaska Court of Appeals for a two-year term, from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.

Judge Allard has served on the Court of Appeals since January 2013. She is replacing Chief Judge Mannheimer, who is retiring at the end of January 2019.

Judge Allard received her B.A. from Yale University and her law degree from Yale Law School.

Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Allard served as an assistant public defender at the Alaska Public Defender Agency and as an assistant public advocate at the Office of Public Advocacy.

Judge Allard also taught legal research and writing at Stanford Law School and served as a clinical instructor at Santa Clara Law School.

The Court of Appeals is headquartered in Anchorage. The chief judge serves a two-year term.

Chief Justice Bolger also announced the appointment of four presiding judges: Superior Court Judge Trevor N. Stephens for the First Judicial District; Superior Court Judge Paul A. Roetman for the Second Judicial District; Superior Court Judge William F. Morse for the Third Judicial District; and Superior Court Judge Michael A. MacDonald for the Fourth Judicial District.

The chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court appoints a presiding judge for each of the four judicial districts. The appointments are for a one year term and cover a calendar year period, and incumbents are eligible for reappointment.

In addition to regular judicial duties, the presiding judge of each judicial district has the administrative responsibility to supervise the assignment of cases and administrative actions of judges and court personnel, to keep current the business of courts, to review and recommend budgets, and to review the operation of the trial courts in the district to assure adherence to statewide court objectives and policies.

Judge Stephens was appointed to the superior court in Ketchikan in 2000. Prior to his appointment Judge Stephens worked in private practice, as an assistant public defender, and as an assistant district attorney and district attorney. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By CHRIS MADEWELL

December Sunset
As viewed from the Ketchikan Airport.
Front Page Feature Photo By CHRIS MADEWELL ©2018


Alaska Science: Listening to the heartbeat of Alaska By BETH GRASSI- Across Alaska and a sliver of western Canada, 280 seismic stations silently do their jobs. Hidden in dark holes drilled into rock in boreal forest, northern tundra and mountaintops, the instruments wait patiently for the next tremor.

The EarthScope Transportable Array of seismic monitors is now embedded across Alaska and Canada, adding 196 new stations to existing networks. The stations have spent the past year recording even the smallest earthquakes, sounding out an unprecedented level of detail about Alaska’s rumblings and transmitting that information in real-time.

EarthScope, its national office housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, is a National Science Foundation program focused on mapping the dynamic geological structure of North America. The Transportable Array is hundreds of seismic stations deployed in a grid; it has leapfrogged its way every two years across swaths of the continent for more than a decade. Now, it’s Alaska’s turn.

Technicians and engineers with EarthScope partner Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology finished installing new stations and upgrading existing stations in fall 2017. The grid spacing is about 50 miles between stations, from Southeast Alaska to the North Slope.

Each station consists of a small borehole drilled into rock that houses a seismometer, which records vibrations in the ground. The boreholes are about nine feet deep; the surrounding rock shields the sensitive seismometer from surface noise.

The stations have proved durable in the harsh northern environment. Max Enders, station deployment coordinator at IRIS’ Alaska office, said bears are sometimes curious about this strange new thing in their environment.

“A little chewing by a bear can really damage a delicate seismic cable, even if it just bites the cable once or twice,” he said. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

2019 Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Recipients Announced

2019 Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship
Recipients Announced

L to R: Evelyn Nutt, Julia Spigai, Phillip Smith, and Sarah Short.

Ketchikan: 2019 Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Recipients Announced - The Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Fund announced that four Ketchikan students have been selected to receive 2019 Sam Pitcher Music Scholarships. This is the 16th year these scholarships have been awarded.

The students are 9th graders Sarah Short and Julia Spigai, and 10th graders Evelyn Nutt and Phillip Smith. The scholarships are for $700 each to help recipients attend summer music programs. All plan to attend the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, although Evelyn Nutt is also considering the UAF Summer Music Academy. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, goals and musicianship. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

Ketchikan: "Circle the Hospital with Prayer” set for Christmas Eve - This is the seventh year of what has become a Christmas Eve tradition in Ketchikan.

“Circle the Hospital with Prayer” started in 2011 when Rhonda Bolling was praying for a family friend. She felt led to ask others to join her to encircle the hospital to pray for her friend and all the patients, staff, and their families on Christmas Eve.

This is not a PeaceHealth event, it’s an independent project begun by Bolling seven years ago that has continued under her direction with the aid of her friends, family and community members.

Each year since, people have joined hands and circled the hospital to sing and say a prayer. It will continue again on Monday, Christmas Eve, when everyone is again invited to “Circle the Hospital with Prayer”. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018



RICH MANIERI: The Airing of Grievances - I am on record as a staunch supporter of Christmas. However, this time of year, I like to borrow just one component from another tradition - Festivus. 

If you're not familiar, Festivus was created by "Seinfeld" character Frank Costanza. One of the highlights of the made-up holiday was the "airing of grievances" which, I believe, is a worthwhile, real-life exercise, at least once a year. 

Thus, back by lukewarm demand, I give you my apolitical list of grievances, in ascending order, for 2018.

10. "Special Days" - I'm all for dedicating a day to honor an individual or event that played an important role in our country's history. But now we're just getting silly. National Pancake Day, brought to you by the good folks at International House of Pancakes. National Suckling Pig Day. National Hugging Day which, given the current climate, someone should consider postponing.National Ask a Stupid Question Day. Here's a stupid question: What are your plans for National Tortellini Day?

9. Pooh-poohing rules - This might not qualify as breaking news but the domestication of the canine continues. You know those signs people put on their lawns, "Please pick up after your dog" or those clean-up stations you see in apartment communities and public parks? Those aren't meant for "other people." Those are for you. 

8. Winter - It's late December and I think I've seen the sun for a grand total of 15 minutes since Nov. 1. Every year, I try to fool myself into thinking it's still warm outside by not wearing a coat deep into the winter. This has proven to be a flawed strategy. My mother said the other day that she "likes the seasons" and that's why she'll never move to Florida. Despite the fact that we share the same DNA, I would rather bake like a glazed ham under glass than endure another January. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018


JASE GRAVES: Have Yourself a Merry Little... Hedgehog - As Christmas approaches and homes are festooned with twinkling lights, decorated trees, and culturally inaccurate Nativity sets populated by what appear to be Scandinavian fashion models, my thoughts always turn to hedgehogs. Yes, hedgehogs. 

You see, at some point in the distant past (before bras, braces, boyfriends and other omens of my impending doom), my middle daughter declared that she'd like to have a real live hedgehog for a pet. While any normal person with any normal child might have been stunned by such a request, for us, this was vintage middle child. It ranked right up there with her aspirations to become a professional coin-operated claw machine performer. 

I just dismissed the idea as an innocent childhood fantasy because I naturally assumed that it was impossible, if not illegal, to own a hedgehog, not to mention that they were probably poisonous - and only existed in children's books. 

A few months later, I entered my yearly Christmas shopping panic, and I came across a Facebook post about a woman nearby breeding and selling hedgehogs. "Ludicrous!" I thought. This had to be one of those ironic Facebook hoaxes, like the one about Donald Trump actually being a Klingon. 

Sucker that I am, I called the number on the Facebook post (fully expecting to be connected to someone in Nigeria with an exciting investment opportunity), spoke to the hedgehog lady, and made arrangements to purchase my first hedgehog for about the price of a small private jet.  - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Obamacare ruling

Political Cartoon: Obamacare ruling
Bruce Plante, Tulsa World
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Accountability Protest By Linda Downs - Join Cody Eyre's Grandmother, Linda Downs as she leads a protest concerning the wrongful death of her grandson and advocating for law enforcement reform and accountability on the steps of the Capitol Building this Christmas Eve 6 PM - 7 PM.

This Christmas Eve marks the one year anniversary of Cody's passing after being shot at over 40 times by both Fairbanks Police and State Troopers after his mother made a wellness call concerning his safety. In the last year, the only evidence from the night of his death that has been released is a short video clip of the body camera footage that was given to the press. The family needs access to the rest of the evidence package including; the state autopsy report, the police report, his medical records, his personal belongings, the FULL body camera footage, the audio from all the officers involved, and the audio from the 911 call, so that a fair investigation into his death can finally begin. - More..
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

What Aristotle can teach us about Trump's rhetoric By ANTHONY F. ARRIGO - From Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats to Ronald Reagan’s reputation as the “great communicator” to Barack Obama’s soaring oratory to Donald Trump’s Twitter use, styles of presidential communication have varied over time.

But what is similar across all presidents is their ability to create persuasive messages that resonate with large segments of the U.S. population.

Whatever your opinion about Donald Trump, he is highly effective at doing this. The question is why, and how does he do it?

As someone who teaches rhetoric and communication, I am interested in how people connect with an audience and why a message resonates with one audience but falls flat with another. Whether intentional or not, Trump is using rhetorical strategies that have been around for more than 2,000 years. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2018

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. - 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

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