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December 16, 2021

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Klawock Bay Sunset
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U.S. Congress 2020-2021: Bills passed one chamber

U.S. Congress 2020-2021: Bills that have passed the House & Senate and become Law

U.S. Congress 2020-2021: Bills Introduced

Alaska: Dunleavy Administration’s FY23 Budget Prioritizes Public Safety, PFD, Education and Infrastructure Budget; Priorities achieved again without job-killing new taxes Posted & Edited by MARY KAUFFMAN - Governor Mike Dunleavy released the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget yesterday, continuing his commitment to invest in the priorities most important to Alaskans such as public safety, education, infrastructure development and the PFD.  The budget was prepared with input from all state departments and continues the trend of smaller government with a 7% decrease in overall state spending compared to the FY19 budget.

“The budget is more than a collection of numbers and financial data, it reflects both the values and aspirations of the Alaskans it was created for,” said Governor Dunleavy.

Dunlevy said, “Keeping Alaskans safe, educating our children for the challenges ahead, developing infrastructure and creating jobs are the policy goals built into the spending plan. It also continues the focus on funding the PFD in a manner consistent with Alaskans’ expectations. The 2022 PFD, based on the 50/50 Permanent Fund constitutional amendment, will distribute more than $2,500 to every eligible Alaskan, without imposing new taxes. There is also funding to complete the overdue 2021 payment. This approach to the PFD will eventually involve the people through a constitutional amendment that protects it for future generations.” 

Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) released a prepared statement following the Governor's budget announcement yesterday.

Stutes wrote, “The Alaska House Majority certainly supports a number of the priorities and projects discussed by the Governor today. However, we need to carefully review his budget proposal to ensure that it pencils out, uses federal funds wisely, and that the new revenue projections are realistic."

"It is important to remember that a slight rise in the price of oil, changes in the stock market, and one-time funding from Washington do not fundamentally change Alaska's fiscal reality. We need to make the tough decisions on a fiscal plan in order to provide sustainability in budgeting and the PFD." wrote Stutes.

She concluded her prepared statement saying, "We look forward to working with the Governor and our colleagues in the Legislature in the coming session to get the job done for Alaskans.”

Governor Dunleavy’s FY23 budget package includes:

2022 PFD Payment & 2021 PFD Remainder Payment

  • $1.7 billion for a 2022 PFD payment of $2,564 to all eligible Alaskans. The amount reflects the Governor’s proposed 50/50 dividend plan
  • $795.6 million to fund the remainder of the 2021 PFD using the 50/50 plan
  • Does not exceed the 5% POMV draw for the 2022 PFD or the 2021 remainder PFD (estimated at $1,200 for every eligible Alaskan)

Public Safety

  • $2.9 million for an increase of 10 new Village Public Safety Officer positions and to give existing VPSO’s a 5% raise – with the overall goal of increasing VPSOs to 100
  • 15 new Alaska State Trooper positions (appropriation will be worked out with lawmakers during the 2022 session)     
  • $5.1 million to purchase new equipment for body cams, vehicle cams for law enforcement
  • $750 thousand to fully fund new state criminal prosecutor positions in the Department of Law 
  • $1.0 million for additional support staff in the Alaska Department of Corrections to support correctional officers
  • $1.8 million in supplemental funding to the Alaska Court System for audio/video equipment to resume jury trials and a full five-day work week
  • $1.4 million to expand booking capacity at Hiland Correctional Center
  • $6.3 million for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs

The Alaska Department of Public Safety and the Alaska State Troopers are committed to meeting our mission of ensuring public safety and enforcing fishing and hunting laws across Alaska. Public safety is job number one for the Dunleavy Administration, and this new initiative is evidence of that,” stated Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. 

Cockrell said, “These additional resources to address the high rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, human sex trafficking, MMIP, and other important issues impacting Alaskans are welcomed in our efforts to make Alaska a safer place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Statehood Defense

  • $10 million increase for the Statehood Defense program
  • Alaska must fight President Biden’s effort to shut down our resource-based economy

General Obligation Transportation and Infrastructure Bond – $310 million

Ports and Harbors:

  • $175 million – Knik Arm Port Infrastructure
  • $10 million – Port of Nome Deep Draft Port project
  • $8.3 million – Craig Harbor improvements
  • $5 million – Seward Freight Dock Expansion and Corridor Improvements

Surface Transportation:

  • $25 million – Juneau Access Project
  • $22 million – Northern Access to University Medical District


  • $14.1 million – Wasilla Airport Runway and Terminal
  • $7.5 million – Ketchikan International Airport Terminal
  • $6.5 million – Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport Taxiway Construction

Education, Public Safety & Community Infrastructure Projects:

  • $18.5 million – University of Alaska Fairbanks – Bartlett Hall and Moore Hall Modernization and Renewal
  • $5 million – Nenana Fire Hall
  • $5 million – Craig Mariculture Infrastructure
  • $6.5 million – Kenai River Bluff Stabilization


  • $200 to $250 million to replace the Tustumena with federal highway funds
  • New AMHS budget creates an unconstrained sailing schedule allowing all AMHS vessels to operate by maximizing the use of federal transportation dollars
  • The All-Alaska Highway Safety Initiative – targets improvements to bring down crash rates beginning with the 15-mile section of the Seward Highway between Potter Marsh and Bird Creek

“This budget invests in transportation for Alaska, improving safety, supporting our economy, connecting our communities and providing jobs. A safe and efficient transportation network benefits us all, our families, businesses, and industries,” said Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

Alaska: Senator Begich Condemns Alaska Redistricting Board’s Latest Actions to Gerrymander the State - Yesterday, the Alaska Redistricting Board met by teleconference and established a litigation subcommittee that placed Chair John Binkley and Board member Bud Simpson as the sole members, despite the unembellished objections and recommendations from other board members.

Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage), who has over 30 years of experience of reapportionment in Alaska, responded with a prepared statement to establishment of the two member subcommittee.

Begich wrote, “I am deeply disappointed in the decision made today by the redistricting board forming a “litigation subcommittee” and placing Chair Binkley and Member Simpson as the sole members despite objections. In typical John Binkley fashion, this proposal ramrodded through over the objections and recommendations of other members of the board, underscores the length Chair Binkley, Board member Bethany Marcum, and Board member Bud Simpson will go to gerrymander this state."

John Binkley was appointed as the board chairman by Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche (R-Kenai).

“Our constitutional forefathers sought to create a reapportionment process that was to be fair and guided by wisdom. I have seen none of that in today’s meeting or the chaotic process that ended the Board's deliberation on November 10," wrote Begich. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

A Deadly December; Two shipwrecks in 1979 took 40 lives, Caused largest oil spill before Exxon Valdez

  A Deadly December; Two shipwrecks in 1979 took 40 lives, Caused largest oil spill before Exxon Valdez
The Salinta on the beach
Photo c ourtesy of Captain Warren Good

Ketchikan Historical: A Deadly December; Two shipwrecks in 1979 took 40 lives, Caused largest oil spill before Exxon Valdez By DAVE KIFFER - It is not unusual for large storms to rage in Dixon Entrance every winter. But two storms that hit the boundary waters between Southeast Alaska and British Columbia in December of 1979 were unusually large and unusually deadly.

Two ships foundered and 40 people died in those storms. One also caused the largest marine oil spill the state had suffered before the Exxon Valdez went aground in 1988.

The first storm was from December 2-5, 1979. According to National Weather Service, it had sustained winds of 60 knots with gusts to 70 knots (80 mph). Waves were estimated at 30-40 feet. Caught in the storm was a 30-foot gillnetter trying to go from Prince Rupert to a small Native village to the north. The Salinta apparently lost steerage in the storm and eventually ran aground near Tree Point, some 40 miles south of Ketchikan. There were 10 people crammed on the 33-foot boat. They all died. Seven of the victims were children.

According to a story in the Dec. 10, 1979 Prince Rupert Daily News, the Salinta left Prince Rupert on Dec. 2, heading for Kincolth (now called Gingolx) a small village near the Alaskan border about 60 miles northeast of Prince Rupert.. On board were the captain, Roy Mostad (44), his three children, Tommy (13), Robert (9), and Tina (9), Judy Stevens (30) and her three children Lyle (7), Nadine (6), and Roselle (4), and Wendy Stevens (27) and her daughter Angie (4). The group had planned to visit relatives at the village and then return later in the day.

When they did not return, people in Prince Rupert assumed they had decided to stay longer in the village because of the weather.

According to an article in the Dec. 12, 1979 Prince Rupert Daily News, Mostad was not known to tell many people about his comings and goings and it was not unusual for him to be gone for long periods, according to a friend who asked to remain anonymous. But when families didn't hear from the two women on board, they became worried.

After there was no word from the boat for three days, relatives called Kincolith and found out the boat had never arrived. They alerted the Canadian Coast Guard on the 5th. A search by both US and Canadian authorities found the Salinta ashore near Tree Point, about 45 miles north of Prince Rupert and a similar distance south of Ketchikan. The boat was broken in half.

When rescuers reached the boat, they found three bodies, including Mostad's, still on board. Coastal and dive searches in the following two weeks eventually found four more bodies, but those of three of the passengers were never found.

After inspecting the remains of the boat, Canadian and US Coast Guard officials determined that it had lost its ability to steer and that had caused it end up dozens of miles northwest of its intended destination. It was also determined that several of the people on board had died of exposure, indicating that they had likely still been alive when the ship grounded. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

Arctic Report Card: Climate change transforming Arctic into ‘dramatically different state

Arctic Report Card: Climate change transforming Arctic into ‘dramatically different state
As Arctic tundra warms and thaws, incursions of shrubs and small trees have created new habitat for beaver, which create ponds and wetlands that further transform the once-frozen landscape.
Photo Courtesy of Kenneth Tape/University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute

Alaska: Arctic Report Card: Climate change transforming Arctic into ‘dramatically different state - NOAA’s 2021 Arctic Report Card documents the numerous ways that climate change continues to fundamentally alter this once reliably-frozen region, as increasing heat and the loss of ice drive its transformation into a warmer, less frozen and more uncertain future. 

This year’s Arctic Report Card is the 16th annual volume of original, peer-reviewed environmental observations and analysis that documents rapid and dramatic shifts in weather, climate, terrestrial and oceanic conditions in the circumpolar region. Compiled by 111 scientists from 12 nations, it was released today during a virtual press conference hosted by the American Geophysical Union during its fall meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“The Arctic Report Card continues to show how the impacts of human-caused climate change are propelling the Arctic region into a dramatically different state than it was in just a few decades ago,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “The trends are alarming and undeniable. We face a decisive moment. We must take action to confront the climate crisis.” 

The Arctic Report Card is organized into three sections. Vital Signs provides annual updates on seven topics: Surface Air Temperature; Terrestrial Snow Cover; Greenland Ice Sheet; Sea Ice; Sea Surface Temperature; Arctic Ocean Primary Productivity; and Tundra Greenness. Other Indicators explore topics that are updated periodically. Frostbites report on new and emerging issues, and topics that relate to long-term scientific observations in the Arctic.  - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

Analysis: 2021 Arctic Report Card reveals a (human) story of cascading disruptions, extreme events and global connections By Matthew Druckenmiller, Rick Thoman, and Twila Moon - The Arctic has long been portrayed as a distant end-of-the-Earth place, disconnected from everyday common experience. But as the planet rapidly warms, what happens in this icy region, where temperatures are rising twice as fast as the rest of the globe, increasingly affects lives around the world.

On Dec. 14, 2021, a team of 111 scientists from 12 countries released the 16th annual Arctic Report Card, a yearly update on the state of the Arctic system. We are Arctic scientists and the editors of this peer-reviewed assessment. In the report, we take a diverse look across the region’s interconnected physical, ecological and human components.

Like an annual checkup with a physician, the report assesses the Arctic’s vital signs – including surface air temperatures, sea surface temperatures, sea ice, snow cover, the Greenland ice sheet, greening of the tundra, and photosynthesis rates by ocean algae – while inquiring into other indicators of health and emerging factors that shed light on the trajectory of Arctic changes.

As the report describes, rapid and pronounced human-caused warming continues to drive most of the changes, and ultimately is paving the way for disruptions that affect ecosystems and communities far and wide. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

SitNews Front Page Photo by SHELIA PEMBERTON

December Sunset
Photo taken in the Mountain Point,area ,South Tongass.
itNews Front Page Photo by SHELIA PEMBERTON
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Alaska: Defense Authorization Bill That Would Bolster Alaska & National Security Passes Senate - U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted in favor of S. 1605, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), helping it to pass the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 89-11. 

This year’s NDAA authorizes $768 billion for national defense, including $740 billion for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) annual budget to ensure the Pentagon can compete and thrive amid strategic competition. The bill prioritizes military members and their families, training and readiness, strengthening defense technology, addressing high rates of suicide among the military community, and more. As in previous years, Senator Murkowski was able to prioritize Arctic security provisions. 

Murkowski said, “The NDAA is one of the most critical pieces of legislation that Congress passes each year, ensuring our troops have the training, equipment, and resources needed to carry out their missions. This year’s bill includes a well-deserved raise for our troops and prioritizes improving the lives of our servicemembers and their families. It will improve military healthcare, aid spouses’ access to meaningful employment, and provide much-needed reform for military justice."

“We provide resources to maintain a strong and robust global presence - including for our force posture in the Indo-Pacific - improve and increase readiness, and bolster the capabilities of our allies, such as Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, to counter the growing aggression of Iran, Russia, and China," she said.

“I’m pleased this bill supports my efforts to build out America’s leadership as an Arctic nation. I thank Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young for their efforts to boost the defense budget and to help include provisions to create an Arctic Security Initiative, reduce suicides on rural, remote, and isolated installations, and authorize construction on a new National Guard Readiness Center,” said Senator Murkowski. 

Murkowski pointed out the many provisions that she and the Alaska congressional delegation added to the FY22 NDAA. 

“This bill specifically helps troops in Alaska. It directly addresses Alaska’s alarming suicide rate among servicemembers, authorizes funding for a new National Guard Readiness Center, and provides for upgraded cold weather clothing and equipment for our Arctic troops. In light of the recent announcement that Anchorage will be the home of the newly established Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, we are codifying important technical changes for the center – including its name, location, and establishment – into law.” 

Murkowski also spoke to the amendments she added to the bill, including several adopted during Senate floor debate. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021


People signing a petition in support of the ballot initiative at Sealaska Heritage Institute on Wednesday, Dec. 15.
Photo by Kylee Watts, courtesy of SHI.

Southeast Alaska: PETITION TO RECOGNIZE TRIBES SUPPORTED BY SHI TRUSTEES - Sealaska Heritage Institute’s (SHI) Board of Trustees has moved to support a ballot initiative that would create an equal government-to-government relationship with the State of Alaska by officially recognizing Alaska tribes in the law.

The initiative does not propose any legal changes to the status of tribes.  Tribes have already been recognized by the federal government, the Alaska Supreme Court and the Attorney General of Alaska.  

But, formal recognition of tribes would allow for a shift toward respect, cooperation and strategic alliances in funding for education, healthcare and public safety. 

Such recognition is long overdue, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“Alaska Native people have lived on this land for more than 10,000 years. We were here when the Russians came. We were here when the Americans colonized our land. We were here when Alaska became a state. We are simply asking the voters of Alaska to formally recognize our existence in state law,” Worl said.

Alaska has more federally recognized tribes than any other state in the nation. Alaskan tribes account for 40 percent of all tribes in the country and bring in millions of federal and private dollars into the state because of their status as tribes. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

Small Rockslide
This rockslide was photographed in the Wolff Point area of North Tongass Highway shortly after it occurred on December 9, 2021. Only one lane of the North Tongass Highway was block while the rocks were cleared away.
According to Darin Silkworth, retired USFS soil scientist and past data base manager of the Tongass National Forest Landslide GIS (geographic information system) Layer, these kinds of rockslides generally happen in the winter months during periods of freezing and thawing. Water enters cracks in the bedrock and freeze, thus expanding the cracks. Eventually, it may slide even more.
SitNews Front Page Photo by DARIN R. SILKWORTH©2021
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Southeast Alaska: 20th Anniversary of IFA To Be Celebrated With FREE Passenger Travel For One Week - The 20th Anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Inter-Island Ferry Authority will be on January 13, 2022.

The IFA wishes to take a week to celebrate and honor their founders, employees, champions and customers. Their celebration week will commence on Saturday, January 8, 2022 and end on Friday, January 14, 2022.

During this week, passenger travel will be discounted 100%, YES that means FREE. Vehicles will continue to be charged at current rates.

Call to book your reservation in advance at 866.308.4848. Online booking will not be available. - More...
Thursday - December 16, 2021

Alaska: Peter Pan Seafood celebrates first year under new American ownership, unveils new look; New brand takes company back to its roots -  In January 2021, Peter Pan Seafood, a company with deep Alaska roots, was acquired by a new, American ownership group. One year later, the company has delivered on the promises it made under new ownership. Leaders at the company are excited about a prosperous first season with successes such as increasing its workforce, leading the Bristol Bay industry by announcing fish prices in advance of the fishing season, creating new value-added products under Peter Pan’s brand, and now marking another milestone by unveiling a new brand identity. 

After a banner first year, Peter Pan leaders are looking to the future, and they’re doing it with a new look. The company has unveiled a new brand identity that harnesses the original spirit of the company, the connection to the company’s storybook namesake, and honors the fishermen, employees, and customers who have contributed to Peter Pan’s 123-year legacy in Alaska. 

“The new brand image and Peter Pan logo symbolizes a bold step toward a bright new future,” said Rodger May, Peter Pan owner and chief growth officer. “Peter Pan has been around for 123 years, and we want to be around for many, many more years to come.” - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021  

Alaska: $10.75 million granted out to 90 nonprofits in the first round of distributions from ARPA; Application for Round Two Now Open - The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) and the Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) have awarded a total of $10.75 million to ninety-nine nonprofits in the first round of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund grants.  Deadline for applying for round one funds was November 19, 2021.

Quoting a news release from the Alaska Foundation, Alaska’s nonprofit sector continues to play an essential role in the state’s pandemic response and recovery by delivering programs and services that address the needs of their local communities. The ARPA Nonprofit Recovery Fund grant awards will enable the nonprofit sector to provide ongoing support and critical services to their communities and help mitigate the lingering health and economic impacts of COVID-19. 

“Alaska’s nonprofits have worked hard to help our communities get back on their feet. It’s great to see funds reaching these important organizations,” said DCCED Commissioner Julie Anderson. “I appreciate ACFs experience and enjoyed working with them in the review of applications and distributions of these grant awards.” - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

SitNews Front Page Photo by RACHELLE SPEIGHTS

Tongass Sunset
This photgraph was taken on December 6, 2021 from the Madison Lunber & Hardware's parking lot.
SitNews Front Page Photo by RACHELLE SPEIGHTS ©2021
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Fish Factor: More ups than downs in 2022 catches for Alaska fishermen By LAINE WELCH - Fisheries are driven by numbers and there will be more ups than downs in 2022 catches for Alaska fishermen based on poundages set by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. 

The NPFMC is a federal advisory panel that has the herculean task of managing six fishery management plans (FMPs) covering 140+ species within 47 stocks and stock complexes, including setting annual bycatch limits. Their jurisdiction includes waters from three to 200 miles offshore where more than 60% of Alaska’s fish catches by volume are harvested.

A .78 share of the value of those fisheries goes to non-residents, nearly all from Washington state.

Seattle is home port to nearly 300 fishing vessels and all but 74 make their living in Alaska.

Back to the numbers for some hallmark species: 

For Pacific cod in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, the catch for next year was increased by 20% to just over 330.5 million pounds.      

Cod catches in federal waters of the Gulf of Alaska was increased by nearly 40% to 54 million pounds. 

Also getting huge hikes is the so called “head and gut” fleet of 19 Seattle-based bottom trawlers that have been making headlines for their annual takes/tossings of more than four million pounds of halibut bycatch (which comes off the top of all other users). The big boats, which include seven owned by Western Alaska Native groups, target flounders, cod, perch and Atka mackerel. All but one were upped by 20% or more. Their most important catch, yellowfin sole, was increased 25% to 550 million pounds.       

Pollock catches in the Gulf of Alaska were increased to nearly 310.5 million pounds, a nearly 26% boost.

On the downside, the world’s largest food fishery – Bering Sea pollock – will be reduced by 19% next year to 2.4 billion pounds. 

All combined, Alaska’s state/federal fisheries produce two-thirds of the U.S. seafood harvest and Alaska is home to nine of the top 20 U.S. fishing ports by value. If it were a country, Alaska would rank 8th for wild harvests on a global scale. 

The 2022 catches must be approved by the U.S. Commerce Department which almost always rubber stamps the NPFMC recommendations. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

jpg Ketchikan Borough Alert Level 11/22/21-12/13/21

Statewide COVID-19 DATA SUMMARY – Dec. 15, 2021

Alaska's Covid-19 Alert Levels at Borough Levels

Alaska COVID-19 Data Dashboard Update


Columns - Commentary



MICHAEL REAGAN: DECLARING WAR ON THE UNVAXXED - I’m sick and tired of wearing masks.

I’m sick and tired of vaccine mandates.

I’m sick and tired of hearing the dire warnings and broken promises of politicians and incompetent public health officials.

For almost two years they’ve ordered us around like children and told us what individual freedoms we must sacrifice if we are to ever win the war against COVID-19.

Now a new variant, omicron, has knocked us backwards again.

Though it’s not as lethal or as transmissible as the delta variant, the media have rebooted their panic machines and America is masking up and locking down once more.

Corporations are telling employees to work from home. Broadway plays are being closed. Holiday parties are being canceled.

Without a vaccination card, you already can’t do some things or eat inside some restaurants.

The almighty Dr. Fauci even says if you invite your brother to Christmas dinner, you should make him show you his vax card before you let him in the door. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

JASE GRAVES: ARE YOU TOO OLD FOR SANTA CLAUS? - Children all over the United States are currently wringing their iPhone-calloused hands over the possibility that Santa Claus might not make it this year because he’s trapped in a delayed shipping container somewhere off the coast of California.

The situation is a little different at my house. With three daughters in their mid-to-late teens, my wife and I are starting to wonder how much longer we should renew our private contractor partnership with Old Saint Nick.

When the girls were younger and asked me if there really is a Santa Claus, I always answered them with great sincerity and insight. I told them to go ask their mother.

Seriously, though, our family has always operated with the understanding that Santa Claus exists in the reality of our imaginations – along with the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the U.S. Government’s prudent use of taxpayer dollars.

For us, Santa represents the very real fun of Christmas. And I’m not sure I’m ready to stop giving him credit as the bringer of gifts, stuffer of stockings and nibbler of Christmas cookies in a strategically careless way so that he leaves a few crumbs as evidence.

Although our girls are well into their eye-rolling teen years, there is still something magical about seeing their shining faces as they bound toward the tree on Christmas morning – even if we have to wait for them to get their hair “selfie-ready” and adjust their sports bras first. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021


TOM PURCELL: THE MERRY RETURN OF CHRISTMAS CARDS - Christmas card trends are telling — they speak to the mood of the country — and this year’s trend offers some positive news.

According to the Washington Post, hand-written “snail-mailed” Christmas cards are all the rage, particularly among millennials who all of the sudden are spending more on Christmas cards than baby boomers.

We baby boomers came of age well before everything went digital.

I still have and cherish the hilarious hand-written letters my friends and I shared during our college years in the ‘80s, when we were spread all over the nation.

One of my most prized possessions is a letter my grandfather wrote in 1921. He died when my dad was only 3 years old, but the old letter offers a connection to the grandfather I wished I had got to meet.

For a long time, Christmas-card writing was a big social event.

The card itself didn’t matter so much as the funny notes my friends would write and the pleasure and enjoyment we would experience when the cards arrived in the mail. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021


FINANCIAL FOCUS: Don’t avoid ‘taboo’ topics with older parents Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS® - If your parents are getting close to retirement age, or are already retired, it may be time to talk with them about financial and aging issues, some of which may involve difficult conversations. For the sake of everyone in your family, don’t avoid these “taboo” topics.

You'll need to be careful about approaching these subjects with your parents. Mention ahead of time that you’d like to talk to them about their future plans and reassure them that you want to understand their wishes, so their affairs will be taken care of as they would like.

If your parents are agreeable, choose a location comfortable for them and ask whom they might like to invite (or not invite). Then, think about how to open the conversation, preferably not with what they want to do with their money – this could be interpreted as your seeking information about your inheritance or being skeptical about their financial decisions. Instead, build a broad-based discussion about their vision for their aging years. A series of shorter conversations may allow you to cover topics more comfortably, one by one, rather than trying to solve everything at once. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021


jpg Political Cartoon: Warming pole

Political Cartoon: Warming pole
by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star, Tucson, AZ
Distributed to subscribers by CagleCartoons.com

jpg Political Cartoon:  Christmas Warning

Political Cartoon:  Christmas Warning
by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star, Tucson, AZ
Distributed to subscribers by CagleCartoons.com

jpg Political Cartoon: Vaxxed for Christmas

Political Cartoon: Vaxxed for Christmas
by Guy Parsons©2021, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers by CagleCartoons.com

jpg Political Cartoon: Build Back Better Frankenbiden

Political Cartoon: Build Back Better Frankenbiden
by Dick Wright, PoliticalCartoons.com
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jpg Political Cartoon: Christmas Inflation

Political Cartoon: Christmas Inflation
by Rivers©2021, CagleCartoons.com
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jpg Political Cartoon: Meadows’ Texts

Political Cartoon: Meadows’ Texts
by Rivers,©2021 CagleCartoons.com
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jpg Political Cartoon: CNN Moral Authority

Political Cartoon: CNN Moral Authority
by Rivers©2021, CagleCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers by CagleCartoons.com


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jpg Opinion

Thank you, Legislators, for your fiscal responsibility By Carl Marrs - Instead of beating up the Legislature for failure to adopt a new dividend formula to replace the 40-year-old one we can no longer afford, we should be thanking them for passing another balanced budget that provides a reasonable dividend without resorting to further cuts to public services or new taxes to pay for it.

Every other state would love to be in Alaska’s position of being able to afford to pay for state government services without sales or income taxes with enough left over to pay out a dividend to all of its residents.

The key to doing this is to continue to abide by the statute which limits our Permanent Fund spending to 5% of its market value. This limit gave us $3.1 billion in revenue to spend for the current fiscal year. Along with significant oil and gas income, we had $4.7 billion in general fund receipts to pay for services.

The bipartisan House Majority came together with a pledge to not overspend our Permanent Fund earnings. They accomplished that in spite of pressure to overspend for a larger dividend which would not be sustainable in the future and would require major tax increases or new taxes.

Imposing taxes (sales and income) just to pay for a bigger dividend doesn’t make sense to most Alaskans. Sure, if we need taxes to pay for critical state services like schools, roads, police and prisons — like every other state — that may be a necessity in the future. But why would we set up more expensive bureaucracy to collect taxes just so we can send out a bigger dividend check? - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

jpg Opinion

Hatred Convulses The World By Donald Moskowitz and Elizabeth (Jones) Moskowitz - The spate of hatred perpetuated against Asian Americans in the United States (U.S.) through physical and verbal attacks; and the discrimination against LGBTQ, Black, Latino, Indian and Jewish Americans in recent years highlights the persecution of minorities in the U.S. and the world. Blacks and Native Americans in the U.S. have experienced this over the past 300 years. Other minorities in the world have been subjected to persecution and discrimination, and all of the wars in the world have had an element of hatred within them. Genocide has been committed against the Armenians by the Turks, in Rwanda by Hutus against the Tutsis, in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, and by the Serbs against the Bosnians.

Jews in the world, especially in Europe, have been persecuted over the millennia, and they experienced the largest genocidal massacre of all time. The Holocaust in the 1930s and 1940s perpetrated by Nazi Germany and the Nazi leaders (who amazingly claimed to be devout Christians'), along with the acquiescence of the vast majority of the German people, exemplified the European hatred of the Jews. An Anti-Defamation League study in 2019 documented widespread anti-Jewish behavior persisted against a miniscule Jewish population of 0.2% of the total European population. Greece was at 67% Jew hatred with Jews only 0.05% of the Greek population, Poland 48%, Ukraine 46%, Hungary 42%, Russia 31%, Spain 28%, Austria 20%, Italy 18%, France 17% and Germany 15%. The United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland were 5% to 15%. In comparison the U.S. was 14%, but attacks are increasing by neo-Nazis and Muslims. Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa were at 74% Jew hatred. - More...
Thursday PM - December 16, 2021

jpg Analysis

Political rage: America survived a decade of anger in the 18th century – but can it now? By MAURIZIO VALSANIA - Americans have an anger problem.

People rage at each other. They are angry at public officials for shutting down parts of society. Or for the opposite reason because they aren’t doing enough to curb the virus. Democrats vent their rage at Republicans. And Republicans treat Democrats not as opponents, but as enemies. More...
Saturday AM - December 04, 2021
jpg Opinion

Facing the Facts About Gun Violence in the U.S. By Laura Finley - A day after yet another tragic school shooting, I just finished teaching a criminology class about gun violence and how to reduce it in the U.S. I found that my students have many misconceptions about the scope and nature of the problem. I believe they are not alone, and that these misconceptions that many others may hold work against the development of thoughtful and effective policy. Although whole volumes can and have been written about this, I share here just a few observations.  - More...
Saturday AM - December 04, 2021

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