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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

SitNews Front Page Photo By TERRI JIRSCHELE

Keep Looking Up
Looking up, one will see one of nature's greatest optical phenomenons - the rainbow. Under this rainbow stretching from Revilla Island to Pennock Island is U.S. Coast Guard Station Ketchikan with Deer Mountain is in the background.
SitNews Front Page Photo By TERRI JIRSCHELE ©2021
To have your photo(s) featured on the front page,
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KETCHIKAN & POW ALERT LEVEL iNCREASED TO HIGH (RED)
STATE OF ALASKA CURRENT ALERT LEVELS BY REGION
(07/30/21)

Ketchikan COVID-19 Public Health Information - New Cases, Positive Cases Details (Local click here)
Back online -7/30/21

As of 07/30/21

11 new Ketchikan positives reported on 07/30/21

Ketchikan New Positive Cases last 14 days is 40

Active KETCHIKAN Cases 26

State Alert Level High
(Last Updated:07/30/21)
All regions of Alaska are now at the “orange” or “red” Alert Level. According to the ADHSS "all persons, including fully vaccinated persons, should wear a mask when in indoor public spaces.”

Editor's Note: The Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ceased reporting operations on July 23, 2021

Local Ketchikan COVID-19 reporting resumed on 07/30/21 by Ketchikan Publc Health.

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Ketchikan Historical: 93 Years in The First City! By DAVE KIFFER - Merta Smith Kiffer, my mother, would have turned 100 on July 26.

93 Years in The First City!

Merta Smith Kiffer
Photo courtesy Dave Kiffer©

Not that she wanted to live that long, she often said that 90 was about right. But she made it to 93 and not many people have lived in Ketchikan for more than nine decades. That's why her story is worth telling. It is a story of nearly a century in Ketchikan.

She was born on July 26, 1921, in a small house that still stands on Freeman Street next to Ketchikan Creek. Her grandfather, James Allen Hart, was a miner who had come to the area in 1894 and staked claims from Prince of Wales to the Unuk River to the Klondike.  He also managed the Schoenbar mine for several years and served on the Ketchikan City Council as well as town public works director. Shortly before the turn of the 20th century he brought his family north to join him in Alaska. Merta was named - sort of - after his wife Mertie, her grandmother.

Hart's daughter Edna grew up in Ketchikan and married Paul Smith, a tinsmith and plumber who worked in local canneries and mines. Paul's extended family was involved in several local businesses including Smith Electric and Schmolck Plumbing.

Paul Smith also worked on the new White Cliff School and that led the family to move out to Ketchikan's West End in 1926 where they lived in a house at the top of Austin Street. By the early 1930s, they were living at a house at the corner of First and Jefferson that would remain "in the family" for 50 years.

One of her neighbor's, growing up, was the slightly older Irvin Thompson who would go to the Naval Academy and would be the first Alaskan to die in World War II on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor. According to her sisters. Merta had a serious crush on the tall, handsome Thompson.

Besides Merta - the oldest - Paul and Edna's family included Alice, Dorothy, Patricia, Paul Jr. (Sonny, who died at age 6 when he was hit by a car on Tongass Avenue) and Larry.

Merta was in the first Kindergarten Class at White Cliff and she later went to Main School, where she graduated third in her high school class in 1938.

Like many girls her age, she was a babysitter, but she also spent a summer working at the Sunny Point Cannery and another summer working at "the stink plant" a salmon waste reduction plant in Ward Cove. After graduation, she worked as a telephone operator at Ketchikan Public Utilities and also at the Ketchikan General Hospital. She had planned to become a nurse and even had - through a relative - looked into going back east to St. Elizabeth's Hospital near Washington D.C. to study.

Instead, she met Ken Kiffer, the son of a local commercial trolling family that lived near Bar Harbor and her life went a different direction. They met while ice skating at Ward Lake. Reportedly, he got her attention by pushing her headfirst into a snow berm.

They were married in 1939 and their first child, also named Ken, was born in 1940. They also made plans to "homesite" a property in Clover Pass from the federal government. They built their home out of parts of an old cannery from Loring and Ken Kiffer's parents built a home next door.

During World War II, Ken Kiffer had a food production deferment from military service, although he - and many other location fisherman - were called up toward the end of the war because the military needed boat operators for an expected invasion of Japan. But the war ended before they were needed.

By the later 1940s, they had two additional sons, Jerry and Dick, and were still living in Clover Pass. Merta was pregnant with a daughter, Janet, in 1948 when she was found to have contracted tuberculosis. Two of her sisters also contracted the disease and all three spent time in sanitoriums in the Seattle area. A city girl at heart, she would talk fondly about those three years in Seattle, especially the time when she and two fellow "internees" snuck out of "the San" in Laurel Beach during a snowstorm and made their way into downtown Seattle to see her favorite musician, Louis Armstrong, perform.

Merta would not return to Ketchikan for good until 1951. By then, she had tired of living "out the road" and the family moved "to town." For a several years, they lived in Ketchikan's first public housing development, Alder Park, a collection of several large buildings at the corner of Tongass and Bryant Street where the Ketchikan Pioneer's Home is now.

In the late 1950s, Merta's father Paul became seriously ill with cancer, no doubt brought upon by the materials he had worked with for decades in construction and he and Edna moved South. Merta and Kenny purchased the house at First and Jefferson. Paul died just months after Merta's last son, David, was born in 1959.

During the winters, Kenny worked on "the pond" at the Ward Cove pulp mill. His three older sons would also work at the mill as well. Janet graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1966 and married a local logger. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021


Fish Factor: Crab shells from Alaska replacing metals & chemicals; Seafood scholarships; & Bristol Bay breaks it! By LAINE WELCH - Most people are unaware that the yarns and fabrics that make up our carpets, clothing, car seats, mattresses, even mop heads, are coated with chemicals and metals such as copper, silver and aluminum that act as fire retardants, odor preventors, antifungals and anti-microbials.

Now, crab shells from Alaska are providing the same safeguards in a bio-friendly way.

The metals and chemicals are being replaced by all-natural Tidal-Tex  liquid treatments derived from chitosan molecules found in the exoskeletons of crab shells.

The bio-shift stems from a partnership between Leigh Fibers of South Carolina and Tidal Vision,  the proprietary maker of the crab-based product which it began making in a 20 foot Conex van in Juneau six years ago. The company, which now operates near Seattle and has 22 full-time employees in three production facilities, expects to put up to 60 people to work within two years.

In July Tidal Vision opened its newest facility within Leigh Fibers’ headquarters, bringing its earth friendly technology into the heart of the U.S. textile industry. Leigh Fibers is one of North America’s largest textile waste and byproduct reprocessing businesses in North that dates back to 1866 and now services 25 countries.

“Partnering with Tidal Vision is a win-win for our company, our customers, and the environment,” said Eric Westgate, senior vice president. “Their Tidal-Tex product line delivers the key benefits that our customers look for in textiles at a lower price and is made from sustainable materials in the USA. At Leigh Fibers, we’re committed to advancing sustainable innovation and repurposing textiles for a cleaner, healthier planet.”

“Having a partnership with Leigh Fibers was really strategically advantageous for us because they produce the fibers that then get turned into yarns that then get turned into all sorts of woven or non-woven textiles for everything from the automobile industry to the carpet industry to the acoustic sound insulation industry to the mop head industry to the furniture industry. They are at the top of the supply chain and treating those fibers was the easiest way to have the biggest impact in the textile industry,” said Tidal Vision CEO Craig Kasberg.

Most of the raw product comes from snow crab and red king crab delivered to St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea where they are processed into frozen leg clusters. The shells are transported to the mainland where they are put through Tidal Vision’s zero waste, proprietary extraction process that produces chitosan in a flake form and is then made into the ready to use, liquid Tidal-Tex product.

Kasberg said it provides the same fabric protections as the manmade agents at far less cost.

“Our costs are minimal. They're basically just tied to the logistics and some of the freezer storage costs but it’s nearly a free input material,” he said.

All crustaceans have chitosan, a polysaccharide that is the second most abundant organic compound in the world next to cellulose. Because of its unique molecular makeup, Kasberg calls it a “turnkey chemistry solution” to displace often toxic synthetic methods.

“All these heavy metals need to be mined and refined, and then modified into these metal based chemicals. Whereas we're taking an abundant and even problematic byproduct from the seafood industry and with a really low cost extraction method, producing a biochemistry solution that can provide the same properties in these industries. Our inputs are tied to a byproduct,” Kasberg said.

Tidal Vision has tested a lot of crustacean “inputs,” Kasberg said, but Alaska crab shells pack the best chitosan punch.

“The starting molecular weight of the chitosan is higher,” he said.

Tidal Vision hopes to build more partnerships and expand to other countries within the next few years.

The company also features a line of other chitosan-based products including water clarifiers and a game animal spray that prevents spoilage and keeps insects away.

“Our goal as a company is to create positive and systemic environmental impacts   with our chitosan technologies,” Kasberg said. “We're still on the ground floor of Tidal Vision’s potential today.” - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021


 

 

Alaska: Alaska DOL receives reports of fraudulent text, email messages -  Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter announced recent reports of fraudulent text and email messages being sent to individuals regarding unemployment insurance. The fraudulent messages advise the recipients their benefits cannot be paid due to incorrect information on file and instruct individuals to click on provided links to resolve the issue.

The Alaska Unemployment Insurance program is not sending these messages. If you receive a message asking you to click a link, you are urge not to do so. The department has noted that senders include, but may not be limited to, the following: - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021

National: Why America has a debt ceiling: 5 questions answered BY STEVEN PRESSMAN - Another big fight is brewing over the U.S. debt ceiling, which is a statutory limit on how much the government can borrow to pay its bills. In an interview, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans won’t agree to lift the debt ceiling in “this free-for-all for taxes and spending” environment. Congress suspended the debt ceiling in 2019 for two years, ending July 31, 2021.

The U.S. Treasury can take emergency measures that allow it to keep borrowing without an increase in the limit until as late as November. But if the ceiling isn’t raised by then, the U.S. faces either drastic across-the-board spending cuts or the prospect of an unprecedented default – with potentially dire economic consequences. Economist Steve Pressman explains why we have a ceiling – and why he thinks it’s time to abolish it.

1. What is the debt ceiling?

Like the rest of us, governments must borrow when they spend more money than they receive. They do so by issuing bonds, which are effectively IOUs with a promise to repay the money and make regular interest payments. Government debt is the total sum of all this borrowed money.

The debt ceiling, which Congress established a century ago, is the maximum amount the government can borrow. It’s a limit on the national debt. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021

National: This is what happens to child migrants found alone at the border, from the moment they cross into the US until age 18 By RANDI MANDELBAUM - A record number of child migrants have arrived alone at the United States’ southern border this year.

As of June 30, 2021, with three months remaining in the U.S. government’s fiscal year, 95,079 children left their countries and crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without a parent or legal guardian, many escaping dangerous and/or exploitative situations back home. This exceeds the previous high of 76,020 unaccompanied minors seen in the full 12 months of fiscal year 2019.

Behind these numbers are individual children, many of whom have suffered from repeated trauma. Legally, the U.S. is obligated to care for these children from the moment they arrive until they turn 18, according to carefully defined procedures.

But as someone who has worked with young migrants for years, I know the government often struggles to do so, especially when the immigration system is overwhelmed by high numbers of children.

Arrival and the first 72 hours

Government officials designate a child as “unaccompanied” if they are “alone” when they arrive at the border without lawful status. “Alone” is defined as without a parent or legal guardian, so even children who arrive with a grandparent or aunt are considered “unaccompanied” and separated from these caregivers. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021


A trip to a ghost forest of Southeast Alaska

A trip to a ghost forest of Southeast Alaska
By NED ROZELL
A “ghost forest” lies at the toe of La Perouse Glacier in Southeast Alaska. In the past, the glacier ran over the rainforest trees. Two people are also in the photo.
Photo by Ben Gaglioti


 

Southeast Alaska: A trip to a ghost forest of Southeast Alaska By NED ROZELL - Recently I flew from Fairbanks to Yakutat, a wild corner of Alaska located at the elbow where Southeast connects with the rest of the state.

From there, I climbed into a smaller plane with scientist Ben Gaglioti. The pilot landed on a beach. From there, Gaglioti and I hiked to a “ghost forest” exposed at the terminus of La Perouse Glacier. This is the first time I’ve helped on a field expedition in some time. I am excited to see this wild country.

For background on some of the things I will be reporting on, here is a portion of a column I wrote about Gaglioti’s work last February:

As a few scientists hiked a path between the ice towers of a Southeast Alaska glacier and crashing ocean waves in 2016, they topped a ridge and saw massive tree trunks poking from gravel ahead. The dead, sheared-off rainforest stems pointed toward the ocean like skeletal fingers.

In this “ghost forest,” not visible to fisherman or others passing by on ships, the researchers had stumbled on something they just had to study.

Ben Gaglioti ponders the ecology of ancient landscapes at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Water and Environmental Research Center. He is leading a study on the ghost forest near the tongue of La Perouse Glacier, which flows from the St. Elias Mountains almost all the way to the Gulf of Alaska.

On that trip when he and his fellow researchers first saw the gray trunks of huge trees clipped off 20 feet above the ground, Gaglioti guessed their fate: La Perouse Glacier had run them over, after first shoring up the stems with gravel from its own outwash. The glacier had since shrunk backward, revealing the stumps.

Gaglioti and his colleagues — including UAF’s Dan Mann and Greg Wiles of the College of Wooster in Ohio — used tree corers to learn when the trees died, which told them about when the glacier advanced. They matched the growth rings with living rainforest trees that were nearby, but out of the glacier’s path.

They found that La Perouse Glacier bulldozed the trees some time between 1850 to 1866, around when the Civil War was happening and Abraham Lincoln was president.

By coring other living trees in the area, including western hemlock, Sitka spruce, Alaska yellow cedar and mountain hemlock, the scientists found that the ghost forest had established itself in the path of La Perouse Glacier by about the year 1206. That was many centuries before the glacier rumbled forward to consume them.

Why did the glacier overrun the trees?

About the time La Perouse Glacier was advancing, most of the world was experiencing cooler temperatures. Researchers call the period — from about 1250 to about 1900 — the Little Ice Age. Global temperatures then averaged several degrees cooler than previous centuries. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021


A trip on the Stikine

A trip on the Stikine
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN
Silt bars and driftwood trees formed beautiful patterns
along the Stikine Delta. The delta is the largest in North America
and is a well-known spot for migratory birds.
Photo by Mary Catharine Martin. ©2021

 

 

Southeast Alaska: A trip on the Stikine By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN - Each year, my partner Bjorn and I take a river trip. Parenthood (we have a two-year-old and a five-month-old) has also meant that we’re also thinking low-key. COVID meant we were dreaming of travel.

So it felt pretty natural, earlier this year, to find ourselves talking about the Stikine — the fastest free-flowing navigable river in North America, which has its start in the Sacred Headwaters of the Klappan Valley in British Columbia (also the source of the Skeena and the Nass Rivers), then crosses the border and flows into the ocean near Wrangell and Petersburg. In Lingít, the river is named “Shtax’heen,” which translates as silty, cloudy, or bitter river, Wrangell-based poet Vivian Faith Prescott has told me.

Here in Alaska, the Stikine delta — the largest delta in North America — is a stopover for tens of thousands of migratory birds. Each fall, Alaskans travel up the Stikine to hunt moose (as do Canadians.) And the Stikine is a vital salmon river, with runs of all five species of Alaska salmon and many other fish besides. Southeast Alaska’s three transboundary rivers — the Taku, Stikine and Unuk — produce 80 percent of its king salmon.

In short, the Stikine is essential to life in the region, as it has been for thousands of years. It has a deep cultural history as a long-standing trade corridor for the Tlingit and Tahltan Indigenous peoples, whose traditional territories encompass the river (something highlighted by a digital production that was one of my favorite efforts of 2020, When the Salmon Spoke.)

If you, too, are dreaming of paddling, fishing on or seeing an international river, it’s hard to do better than the Stikine.

The trip

Six years ago, Bjorn and I floated down the Stikine with a couple of friends — Bjorn’s old fishing boat captain and her son. We all met in Wrangell and then flew over the border to Telegraph Creek, the only permanent town on the river, via small plane.

On the road from more populated areas of British Columbia, cars arrive by driving alongside the “Grand Canyon” of the Stikine — a 45-mile stretch of roaring river tackled only by the most daring and skilled of whitewater kayakers, and by a few tour boats, like the one operated by Jim Leslie and family out of Wrangell — Alaska Waters, Inc. The stretch of river below Telegraph Creek, a town of a few hundred home to mostly Tahltan people, is much gentler. There are a few small bumpy sections of river (though that may change with fluctuating water levels) but nothing that required serious know-how.

After we made our way from the airstrip, down through old Telegraph Creek (which, at the time, was blocked by a landslide) and to the water, our first major sight on the river was a rock formation known as “the Three Sisters.” The stretch of river after it was relatively easy to navigate.

It was early May and stands of birch, poplar and alder trees were just beginning to green up. We watched moose moving along gravel bars—one night a bull woke us when it stamped past our tent and, then, swam across the river. It was easy to get lost in the quiet and wildness of the landscape.

But the Stikine watershed is also the site of vast stretches of mining claims and development. The entire corridor of the Iskut, the Stikine’s largest tributary and one of its most important salmon spawning systems, is covered in claims. Mining isn’t new to the region: What is new is the scale and number of the claims, the amount of waste they would generate and are generating, and the consequences if any of those mine waste dams fail. The Red Chris, one of the largest, is partly owned and operated by Imperial Metals, the company responsible for the 6 billion gallon Mount Polley mine waste spill in the Fraser River watershed in 2014 — and has the same dam designed. Though the causes are manifold — salmon stocks are crashing all over B.C. — since 2014, the Fraser’s famed sockeye run has plummeted.

Back in that sunny May of 2015 on the Stikine, however, we leaned back in our boats, looked up at the blue sky, or watched snow-capped mountains as we floated by at five or six miles an hour. Occasionally, we’d turn our boats to navigate through a choppy stretch of river. We were worried we were floating too fast, so we made sure we had extra time to explore river bars and sit at campfires. One morning we woke and saw the tracks of two wolves that had walked through our camp during the night.

When we were still in Canada we watched three Alaska Department of Fish and Game employees beach seine juvenile Chinook. They aimed to collect 50,000, they said, and tag them with coded wire. King salmon on our transboundary rivers have been suffering in recent years — Unuk Chinook are declared a stock of concern, and the Board of Fish is set to declare Taku and Stikine Chinook stocks of concern as well at its next Southeast-focused meeting in early 2021. Back in November, ADF&G predicted the Stikine would see only 9,900 returning Chinook in 2021.

One afternoon we headed to Fowler Hot Springs, also called Choquette Hot Springs.
We paddled up a calm slough that ended in sandbars, bear and moose tracks, and a faint path over a steep, muddy bank, pulled up our boats and followed along a small creek, testing the water with our hands until it warmed. We saw dozens of small toads, sometimes right where the hot water bubbled up from the sandy ground. Brown bears had been using the warm pools to wallow in.

That evening we camped at the outflow of the Great Glacier and walked up to the glacier itself the next morning.

Crossing the border from Canada into the United States on the Stikine River was the first time I’ve ever seen the lines on a map made manifest. Trees along the line of the border have been clear cut for a width of about ten yards, in straight lines as far as the eye can see. - More...



 
Columns
Commentary

jpg BEN EDWARDS

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Here’s a look at the ‘New Retirement’ Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS® - Once you retire, what can you expect from your life? You might be surprised by the things that current retirees are saying about their lifestyles, priorities, relationships and hopes for the future. And you also might find this knowledge quite helpful as you prepare for the day when you become a retiree.

First of all, retirement today is far different – and potentially far more rewarding – than was the case a generation or so ago. Of course, people are living longer now, but the new retirement environment isn’t just about longevity – it’s also about using one’s time in a meaningful way, deepening connections with family and contributing to communities. All these capabilities fit into a framework of four key “pillars”: health, family, purpose and finance, described in a study by Edward Jones and Age Wave called Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes, which also looks at how attitudes and opinions have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the study’s findings is a piece of good news: 76% of Americans credit the pandemic with causing them to refocus on what’s most important in life.

And one important element in the life of retirees is, not surprisingly, their optimal well-being in their retirement years. The overwhelming majority of retirees say that all four pillars are essential to this well-being. Let’s look at these pillars and see what you can do to support them: - More....
jpg Dave Kiffer

DAVE KIFFER: Off The Rock Again - Wow, I just traveled South and back, and boy am I out of shape.

No, this isn't the old joke about flying in from Seattle and "boy are my arms tired."

Although that it is part of it.  When you don't travel for a while, you forget how tiring it is.

No plane ever seems to leave Ketchikan a decent hour. More often than not you are rousing yourself in the pre-dawn darkness so you can get to the ferry - and wait - and then get to the terminal - and wait - and go through security - and wait some more - before your flight. Zzzzzzzzz.

Yes, this isn't as bad as having to get to the airports down South or up North waaaaaaaay early because you have no idea whether the TSA line is 10 minutes or 10 miles long. There is really no such thing as a long TSA line in Ketchikan. Although going South this time, I did find myself in line behind some people who were having trouble accessing their not so "smart" tickets on their phones. And the TSA process itself was a little slow because they were training a new guy and so I ended up taking EVERYTHING out of my carry-on for a hand inspection. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021

jpg RICH MANIERI

RICH MANIERI: THE MEDIA IS MISSING THE STORY ON VIOLENT CRIME - “It’s interesting when people die,” wrote Don Henley in the anti-media-sensationalism song “Dirty Laundry” back in 1982. Not much has changed since. There are more media outlets and platforms than ever, but tragedy still sells.

Mass shootings generate extensive media coverage, and understandably so. Murders committed in unusual or sensational circumstances get covered because true crime with a twist is interesting.

The problem with violent crime, especially if we rely primarily on one news source for our information, is that we tend to see the world through a straw.

According to FBI numbers, there were 25% more murders in 2020 than in the previous year. Through the first three months of this year, shootings are up 18% compared to last year. Among big cities with violence issues, Chicago leads the pack. In the first six months of the year, Chicago has seen some 336 homicides – 33% more than in 2019. You’ve never heard about most of these shootings and you’ve heard even less about incidents in which there were no fatalities. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021


jpg Political Cartoon: Crime Thug Match

Political Cartoon: Crime Thug Match
by Dick Wright©2021, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication for Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

jpg Political Cartoon:  Smoke and Climate Change

Political Cartoon:  Smoke and Climate Change
by Daryl Cagle ©2021, CagleCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication for Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

jpg Political Cartoon: Climate Bill

Political Cartoon: Climate Bill
by Steve Sack©2021, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MN
Distributed to subscribers for publication for Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

jpg Political Cartoon: Child Tax Credit

Political Cartoon: Child Tax Credit
by Bob Englehart© 2021, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication for Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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jpg Opinion

70% of Sealaska shareholders live below poverty line By Dominic Salvato - Sealaska shareholders used to be the cake and management the frosting. Fifty years of ANCSA and things are reversed. Shareholders are the frosting being spread thin and getting thinner.

Future drawings of the Sealaska Plaza look wonderful, but they shouldn't come until after shareholders' basic needs are met. As many as 70% of shareholders live below the poverty line.

Sealaska elites can afford to spend shareholder money on anything they can dream up. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on executive salaries and bonuses proves that. A million dollars plus a year for the board to meet once a month is ridiculous.

Management is so blatant in changing the rules for their resolution it equated to management mocking concerned shareholders. The TRUST resolution (money grab) would have failed if subjected to the same rules as the long overdue term limits and discretionary voting resolutions.

Yet here we are, standing still while shareholder assets are converted into private wealth for Sealaska Elitists. It's been going on for decades. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021

jpg Opinion

Open Letter to Alaska State Legislators By Michael Goehring - I am writing today in response to your May 7 letter sent to the Honourable John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, expressing your concerns about the potential impacts of abandoned, active, and future mines on shared waterways between BC and Alaska.

From the perspective of the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC), it is important to underscore the shared responsibility British Columbia, Alaska, and natural resource industries on both sides of the border hold to ensure the highest standards of environmental protection and transboundary water quality are in place.

As neighbors, we have a shared interest in responsible resource development that effectively balances environmental stewardship and economic development. We share your concern with declining salmon populations on both sides of the border and we have a shared obligation and duty to consult, accommodate and engage in partnerships with Indigenous nations on natural resources and other matters.

I would like to clarify for you the status and nature of the regulatory framework that governs British Columbia’s mining industry. Contrary to assertions in recent media reports that referenced your letter to Premier Horgan, British Columbia’s mining industry meets among the highest regulatory standards in the world for environmental assessment, operational permitting, compliance and enforcement, and post-closure monitoring and reclamation.

Over the past five years, the Government of British Columbia has made substantial changes to the regulatory regime governing mining. This includes changes to the Mines Act, the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines, BC’s water quality guidelines, and the creation of independent review boards for tailings management. - More...
Sunday PM - July 18, 2021

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Sine Die By Rep. Dan Ortiz - On Monday June 28th, the Alaska House of Representative was able to come together for a final passage vote of the state budget, averting a looming government shutdown. The budget totals $4.5 billion in state unrestricted general funds, which is very similar to previous year budgets, continuing the six-year trend of flat spending.

The budget forward funds the Alaska Marine Highway System for 18 months, giving more stability for future season schedules. The budget also includes an additional $2.5 million for Pre-K programs, funds to reopen the Wrangell Fish & Game office, funds for DIPAC and Crystal Lake Hatcheries, and a slight increase over the Governor’s compact to the University.

Unique to this year, the budget includes one-time federal COVID-19 emergency funds that will be given directly to local communities, provide tourism relief, and offset other small business and nonprofit lost revenue. - More...
Sunday PM - July 11, 2021

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Alaska's Budget By Senator Bill Wielechowski - The new fiscal year began on July 1st . With the Governor’s vetoes, the budget appropriates $4.3 billion in unrestricted general funds for state operating expenses and $240 million for the capital budget, which authorizes or leverages nearly $1.6 billion spending in federal funds for roads, bridges, parks, maintenance, and other important

The Governor’s Budget Vetoes

The Governor vetoed $889 million from the budget that passed the Legislature.

The Governor’s vetoes include: - More...
Sunday PM - July 11, 2021

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Base Dividends on resource revenue deposits to the Fund, instead of percent of Fund earnings. By Ray Metcalfe - Almost daily, I read where some legislator is pontificating over what we meant back when we, in the 11th and 12th Legislature, were setting up the Permanent Fund's management and Permanent Fund Dividend program. But so far, not one Legislator has bothered to ask.

When I was in the 11th Legislature, I was a member of the House Committee that proposed and wrote the first proposal for a dividend; the proposal the US Supreme Court threw out because of excessive residency requirements.

In the 12th Legislature, I chaired the House Committee through which the second Dividend proposal passed. It was Jay Hammond's bill, the one that legislators are still arguing over what we meant.

I also chaired the House State Affairs Committee that worked with its Senate counterpart drafting the investment strategy for the Alaska Permanent Fund. Acting against the political pressures of the day, we made the Permanent Fund a growth fund. The oil companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and Common Wealth North all wanted to get their hands on it. Had they had their way, there would be no Fund and no Dividend today.

Back then, many of us wanting it to be a growth fund had hopes that the Permanent Fund would grow until its earnings exceeded oil revenues. At that time, we hoped voters would pass an additional constitutional amendment committing all future revenues from the sale of resources to the fund, and authorizing the Legislature to draw out a fixed percent each year thereby creating an endowment to guarantee a stable economy with dividends included. - More...
Sunday PM - July 11, 2021

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Violation of our civil rights By Joe Bialek - It has been common knowledge for years that all major developing countries have possessed the ability to conduct germ warfare.

The Wuhan crisis is no exception.  Was a virus created in the lab and deliberately leaked into the local wet markets for experimentation on the people of Wuhan?  This is totally consistent with China's poor record on civil rights and it's complete lack of concern for all of the Chinese people.

The virus created in Wuhan is by no means a poor reflection on all Asians especially Asia-Americans.  It is simply a reaffirmation of the Communist Chinese Government's inhuman disdain for human life.  They are the ones to blame.

Now we the American people are required by our government to get the vaccine without being told what are the short/long term side effects. This is inherently a violation of our civil rights. - More...
Sunday PM - July 11, 2021

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RE: Ward Cove has Been Ketchikan's Economic Engine for 100 years By Terri Sims - My great grandfather was Eugene Wacker and my great grandmother Lillian Wacker, his wife. My mother was raised by her grandparents (Wackers) in Ward Cove and many of the children in the school photo would be her aunts and uncles she was raised with. I will send the article with the picture of the house to my mother who is 81 and determine if the house was the Wacker home. I also have some postcards for Wacker city made by my grandfather which are definitely not considered appropriate today but nonetheless are history. - More...
Sunday PM - July 11, 2021

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The United States Needs Allies By Donald Moskowitz -President Biden is working on reestablishing and nurturing our relationships with our allies in the world.

We are recommitting the United States to backing our European allies against the influence and territorial ambitions of Russia; and NATO is  the key organization positioned to  block Russian moves in Europe, and it is needed to help combat Russia's cyber attacks on our infrastructure.

In the Far East China is significantly expanding its military and reach in the South China Sea. Our support of Taiwan, The Philippines, and Japan is critical to containing China's ambitions in the region. As a counter weight to China, we should probably encourage Japan to embark on a limited build up of its military forces, especially its Navy and missile capabilities. Additionally, we have to counter China's pilfering of our intellectual property. South Korea needs ongoing  support to deter North Korean threats. - More...
Sunday PM - July 11, 2021

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