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March 15, 2021

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Ketchikan Historical: A Tale of Two Totems; Campbell poles graced downtown Ketchikan for two decades, ended up in Switzerland By DAVE KIFFER - For more than two decades, a pair of non "traditional" full-sized totem poles stood on Mission Street in front of a local jewelry store in downtown Ketchikan. They were as much a part of the downtown as the Welcome Arch and are still remembered by people who lived in Ketchikan between the 1930s and the 1950s.

A Tale of Two Totems

Totem poles in front of Billingsley Jeweler, Ketchikan - Sept 1949
Photographer: Coltman, Don
Copyright status Public Domain
Courtesy City of Vancouver, CA archives

Then suddenly, they were gone. Only to show up again, nearly 6,000 miles away in Geneva, Switzerland, where they remain to this day.

The poles even had a moment of Hollywood fame, appearing in the 1954 movie "Cry Vengeance" which was filmed in Ketchikan the year before. At one point, one of the main characters is being "tailed" by another character. When the tailee stops and turns around, the tailer quickly jumps behind one of the poles to hide, although he has already been spotted.

Locals of a certain age still call them the Billingsley totems, although they were carved by Sydney Campbell, one of the original founders of Metlakatla on Annette Island.

Because the leader of Metlakatla, Anglican missionary William Duncan, was bent on eradicating as much Tsimshian culture from his flock as possible, Campbell was an outlier. A traditional Native carver who - because of his status - was still allowed to create Native art, but only if it was for sale outside of Metlakatla.

Campbell was born in either 1847 or 1849 in the Hudson's Bay Company post Fort Simpson, B.C. (now Lax-Kw'alaams). He would have been around eight to 10 years old when Duncan arrived at Fort Simpson. It is not known exactly when he joined Duncan at his new village of Metlakatla, which Duncan established in 1862.  Records show that Campbell was made a member of the Anglican Church in Metlakatla in 1883. But Campbell was part of the community that relocated from Metlakatla B.C. to Annette Island and founded new Metlakatla in 1887.

Tsimshian historian Dr. Mique'l Askren Dangeli wrote about Campbell in her 2006 University of British Columbia master's thesis on Metlakatla photographer B.H. Haldane. She noted that Campbell's Sm'algyax name was "Neeshlut" and he was a member of the Gitzontk, an exclusive society of carvers at Fort Simpson. He was occasionally referred to as "Chief Neeshlut" based on his status in the community.

Another sign of his status, according to Dangeli, was that photographs of Campbell in regalia in both old Metlakatla (1880) and New Metlakatla (1930) show that he was one of the few who had been to allowed to retain his regalia despite Duncan's banning of it in the new community. Photographs by Haldane also showed Campbell in the company of other carvers, another violation of the rules that Duncan set for the new community.

Campbell also had a significant role in efforts by members of the community to take some control away from Duncan in the 1910s. The main issue was education. A significant number of residents were unhappy with how Duncan was running the community school and wanted the US government to establish a government school, separate from the religious one that Duncan had been running since 1887.

In 1910, they petitioned the federal government and William Lopp, the Alaska Superintendent of the Bureau of Education, held a meeting in Metlakatla.

"At the end of the meeting, Sydney Campbell stood up and sang a Tshimsian grieving song that was used at the death of a chief, signifying the end of Duncan's rule and their approach for governmental assistance," Dangeli wrote in 2006.

William Lopp also noted the song in his 1911 report to officials back in Washington D.C. Lopp referred to the song as a "mournful, funeral dirge only sung on occasions of great distress when their chief was dead and they were asking other chiefs for help."

Duncan would continue to oppose what was called the "government school" but one was finally built in 1915, three years before Duncan died.

A little more than a decade later, in 1930, Haldane would take several photos of the 90-year-old Campbell, with models of totems  - including two very similar to the ones that were carved in Ketchikan. He was also photographed with visiting anthropologist Viola Garfield. Garfield would later write "The Wolf and the Raven" one of the standard works on Southeast Alaska totem poles.- More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021

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Ketchikan: Ketchikan Wellness Coalition awarded $300,000 grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support Filipino health equity - Ketchikan Wellness Coalition (KWC), in partnership with Filipino community members and PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, was recently awarded a $300,000 Community Solutions for Health Equity (CSHE) grant offered by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health-focused philanthropic foundation in the nation. The $300,000 grant is issued over three years and will support community engagement and changes within local health systems aimed at improving Filipino community health outcomes. The grant application process was highly competitive receiving over 1,000 nation-wide applications in the first round, of which there were 27 finalists and only ten grant recipients.

Launched in 2019, the Community Solutions for Health Equity (CSHE) grant program “is focused on elevating the voices of communities of color and other communities left out of discussions when local health care systems in the United States are creating policy.” Ketchikan is home to a large Filipino population—10.3% of City of Ketchikan residents compared to 3.9% in Alaska overall. Dr. Charlie Jose, a PeaceHealth medical provider, shared his excitement for the program, “I am thrilled to be part of this initiative that will help improve health equity and access for Filipinos in Ketchikan. Navigating health care for anyone can be difficult, let alone patients from marginalized communities. It will be great to help Filipinos get better connected with our health care system.” - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021

Ketchikan: Fast Ferries sold for $5 million, headed to Spain - The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) finalized the sale of the AMHS vessels Fairweather and Chenega on March 10, 2021, to Servicios y Concesiones Maritimas Ibicencas S.A. of Ibiza, Spain. The sale price for Chenega was $3,111,111, and the Fairweather sold for $2,063,333, for a total of $5,174,444.

"This sale is a significant milestone in our long-term vision to reshape the Alaska Marine Highway System," said DOT&PF Commissioner John MacKinnon. "Selling the fast ferries is a move to right-size the fleet and lets AMHS redirect funds used for their storage to operations. This moves us toward our goal of a more sustainable and affordable level of service for Alaskans."

The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) will transfer the proceeds into its Vessel Construction Fund, an account used for future AMHS vessel maintenance and construction. The buyer has taken possession and plans to transport the vessels to Spain in the coming weeks. The buyer has enlisted a heavy-lift ship to pick up the two ferries in Ketchikan and transport both vessels via the Panama Canal to their new homeport in Spain. - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021

Alaska: Governor Introduces Legislation to Revitalize Alaska Marine Highway Board - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced legislation last week to revitalize the Alaska Marine Highway board following recommendations from the 2020 Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Report. The legislation (HB 134) aims to repeal the Alaska Marine Transportation Advisory Board and establish the Alaska Marine Highway Systems Operation and Planning Board.

“As we continue efforts to restructure and modernize the Alaska Marine Highway System, it is imperative the long-term operations and finances are addressed,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Our goal remains the same, to create a more reliable and efficient marine highway system to serve coastal Alaska for years to come.”

The Alaska Marine Highway Systems Operation and Planning Board created in HB 134 would consist of members serving staggered terms and require a short and long-term operations plan to be provided to the governor, legislature, and the public. The short-term reports will address Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) financial information, cost savings and strategies, scheduling, maintenance, regulatory compliance and other matters. Additionally, the long-term plans will cover objectives, planning assumptions, fleet planning, and a timeline for major operations milestones. - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021

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Fish Factor: 2021 Salmon Harvest Projected to be Big Thanks to Pinks By LAINE WELCH - Alaska’s salmon harvest for 2021 is projected to be a big one with total catches producing a haul that could be 61% higher than last year, due mostly to an expected surge of pinks.

Fishery managers are predicting a statewide catch topping 190 million fish compared to 118.3 million in 2020. The break down by species includes 46.6 million sockeye salmon (a 203,000 increase), 3.8 million cohos (1.4 million higher), 15.3 million chums (6.7 million more), 296,000 Chinook (up by 4,000) and 124.2 million pink salmon (a 63.5 million increase).

In its report titled Run Forecasts and Harvest Projections for 2021 Alaska Salmon Fisheries and Review of the 2020 Season, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game provides breakdowns for all species by region.

Along with the projected 49% increase in pink salmon catches, Bristol Bay will again rule the day with sockeye runs to the region’s nine river systems expected to exceed 51 million fish and a harvest of 36.35 million reds, 13% higher than the 10 year average.

Other highlights: the Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest of 28 million is predicted to be in the average range. The total all-species take for the region is projected at 40.2 million fish.

At Copper River, the sockeye catch is projected at a meager 844,000 fish and 13,000 Chinook salmon.

For Prince William Sound, the total salmon harvest forecast calls for 59.7 million fish, of which nearly 55 million are pinks.

Upper Cook Inlet fishermen are projected to take just over 2 million salmon this summer, including 1.64 million sockeyes. 

At Lower Cook Inlet the all-salmon forecast calls for a harvest of 3.2 million fish, of which 1.8 million are pinks.

Kodiak fishermen are expected to haul in 25.6 million salmon, including two million sockeyes and 22.5 million pinks.

At Chignik, a catch of 3.1 million salmon is projected of mostly pinks.

Fishermen at the South Alaska Peninsula could have an “excellent” haul of pink salmon of nearly 13 million.

For the Arctic-Yukon Kuskokwim region, managers predict below average fisheries across the board, including a catch of just over half a million chum salmon. - More...
Monday PM - March 15, 2021

How did dogs get to the Americas? An ancient bone fragment found in Southeast Alaska holds clues

How did dogs get to the Americas? An ancient bone fragment found in Southeast Alaska holds clues
A bone fragment, found in Southeast Alaska, belongs to a dog that lived about 10,150 years ago, a study concludes. Scientists say the remains, a piece of a femur, provide insight into the question of when dogs and humans first entered the Americas, and what route they took to get there.
Credit: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo


Southeast Alaska: How did dogs get to the Americas? An ancient bone fragment found in Southeast Alaska holds clues - The history of dogs has been intertwined, since ancient times, with that of the humans who domesticated them. 

But how far back does that history go in the Americas, and which route did dogs use to enter this part of the world? 

A new study led by the University at Buffalo provides insight into these questions. The research reports that a bone fragment found in Southeast Alaska belongs to a dog that lived in the region about 10,150 years ago. Scientists say the remains -- a piece of a femur -- represent the oldest confirmed remains of a domestic dog in the Americas. 

DNA from the bone fragment holds clues about early canine history in this part of the world. 

Researchers analyzed the dog's mitochondrial genome, and concluded that the animal belonged to a lineage of dogs whose evolutionary history diverged from that of Siberian dogs as early as 16,700 years ago. The timing of that split coincides with a period when humans may have been migrating into North America along a coastal route that included Southeast Alaska. 

The research will be published on Feb. 24 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Charlotte Lindqvist, an evolutionary biologist from UB, was senior author of the study, which included scientists from UB and the University of South Dakota. The findings add to a growing body of knowledge about the migration of dogs into the Americas.

"We now have genetic evidence from an ancient dog found along the Alaskan coast. Because dogs are a proxy for human occupation, our data help provide not only a timing but also a location for the entry of dogs and people into the Americas. Our study supports the theory that this migration occurred just as coastal glaciers retreated during the last Ice Age," says Lindqvist, PhD, associate professor of biological sciences in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. "There have been multiple waves of dogs migrating into the Americas, but one question has been, when did the first dogs arrive? And did they follow an interior ice-free corridor between the massive ice sheets that covered the North American continent, or was their first migration along the coast?"

"The fossil record of ancient dogs in the Americas is incomplete, so any new remains that are found provide important clues," says Flavio Augusto da Silva Coelho, a UB PhD student in biological sciences, and one of the paper's first authors. "Before our study, the earliest ancient American dog bones that had their DNA sequenced were found in the U.S. Midwest." - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021

Egegik Fish Camp to National Geographic Camerawoman: A Conversation with Erin Ranney

Egegik Fish Camp to National Geographic Camerawoman: A Conversation with Erin Ranney
Erin Ranney filming sea lions.
Photo courtesy of Erin Ranney©.



Alaska: From Egegik Fish Camp to National Geographic Camerawoman: A Conversation with Erin Ranney By BJORN DIHLE - Erin Ranney might be best described as a force of nature for nature. When she was 13 years old, she began working on a setnet operation in the Egegik district in Bristol Bay. She fished alongside her aunt, who is a year older than her, and did her best to shoulder all the responsibilities that came her way. Erin had already been to fish camp near Yakutat when she was very young, but Bristol Bay was another beast entirely.

“It was full on,” Erin said.

Erin is a third generation Bristol Bay commercial fisherwoman. Her grandpa has fished all over Alaska and retired from the Bay just this last year. Her step grandma still fishes the bay. Erin’s dad began setnetting in the Egegik district when he was just 13, buying a site just a mile from where Erin’s is today. During one of his first seasons, he caught over fifty thousand pounds of sockeye by himself and bought a wooden Bryant drift boat and permit. Later, he used the money he made from fishing to earn a college degree in biology. Both her parents — her mother also has a degree in biology — imparted their love of the natural world, their work ethic and their commitment to conservation in Erin and her siblings.

“Growing up, everything was a biology and science lesson. My parents taught that if you’re going to take something from nature, you should protect nature, and make things better for the next generation. Eventually all my siblings, aunts and some grandparents all fished on the same beach. No internet, no phone—the lack of connection to the outside world really made us close. Fish camp is a really cool way to grow up,” Erin said.

Commercial fishing also offered Erin the means to gain financial independence at an early age. After earning a scholarship for her undergraduate degree in wildlife ecology, she was able to use her savings from fishing to pursue her dream career. She had watched Travis Rummel and Ben Knight’s “Red Gold,” a documentary about Bristol Bay and the proposed Pebble Project. She was impressed with the film’s effectiveness in helping people to care about the future of Bristol Bay.

Erin had an epiphany: “I could spend eight years writing a paper that not many people may read, but I realized I could use visual images to share these scientific findings and conservation messages.”

She enrolled in a wildlife documentary production Master’s Degree program in England. Afterward, she returned to Bristol Bay and apprenticed with the gator-wrestling and king salmon- whisperer wildlife camera operator Mark Emery. Since then, she’s worked on films with National Geographic, BBC, PBS and other big networks. Erin keeps busy in the wildlife film industry but, regardless of how enticing a potential film offer, she returns each year to her setnet site in the Egegik district. Her dad and sister fish the two sites nearest her. Erin loves the lack of connection to the outside world and the community that fish camp offers. Fishing has taught her a lot she applies to her wildlife film making.

“You learn that you can work in all weather, and that you can do a lot more than you might have thought you could,” Erin said.

Erin is in the process of releasing her own film. Her grandmother, Gayle Ranney, was one of the early female Alaskan bush pilots. Erin took six months off from her normal work schedule to film four different locations in the Alaskan wilds, including the Gulf of Alaska and Bristol Bay, where her family members once had camps and fished. Many years had passed since some of these places had been used. It was a wild experience, she said, though the post-filming production work feels more difficult than the months she spent with brown bears, bugs and the often-rough weather. Erin is hoping the film will be released sometime in the next year. - More....
Monday AM - March 15, 2021



PETER ROFF: MORTGAGE MARKET BATTLE MEANS HOME BUYERS WILL PAY MORE - The low interest rates we’ve experienced over the past few years have made it possible for millions of Americans to buy new homes, refinance properties, and pull out some equity to ease the pinch caused by the lockdowns.

Families have been able to increase their liquidity and pump billions into the economy when it was desperately needed. Consumers, real estate agents, lenders, and mortgage brokers have all benefited. So Thursday’s speech via Facebook by United Whole Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia, in which he delivered essentially an “ultimatum” to his company’s brokers and partners, seems odd.

Ishbia told brokers they had to make a choice – either work with UWM or else. Anyone working with Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage and Fairway Independent Mortgage wouldn’t be getting any more business from him.

Some might call that the hard sell. Others might say it’s the kind of threat that could provoke intervention by federal regulators looking for evidence of restraint of trade. Either way, it’s a bad deal for consumers who have or who planned to capitalize on the current low rates. - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021


TOM PURCELL: LOONEY TIMES - Is the world finally coming to grips with the wrongs I endured as a child growing up in the 1970s?

I came of age before 24-hour cable news channels sensationalized childhood abductions and made every parent in America terrified that their kid was likely to become the next victim.

We ‘70s kids were in constant physical danger – real danger.

We built wood ramps that we jumped our Spyder bikes off of – without any thought of a helmet or elbow pads.

We roamed freely anywhere we wanted all day long and had to navigate the outside world without a single adult chaperoning our every move.

Somehow, I survived growing up without losing a single arm or leg. But now, more than 40 years later, I’m wondering if my young psyche was permanently traumatized by television cartoons. - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021


FINANCIAL FOCUS: Resilience Is Key to Meeting Financial Goals Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS® - In just about any endeavor, you’ll benefit by showing resilience – and that’s certainly true when it comes to achieving your financial goals.
You can demonstrate this resilience by answering these questions: What is your specific goal? What obstacle do you face in achieving this goal? How can you overcome this obstacle?

Here are some examples of how this resiliency process works:

Goal: Building sufficient retirement funds

To build sufficient retirement income, you need to invest in the financial markets through your 401(k), IRA and other accounts. But how should you respond when these markets go through periods of volatility? Your best defense is to remain invested. If you were to jump out of the market every time it dropped, you’d probably miss out on the rebounds that followed. Also, over a period of decades, the effects of short-term market fluctuations tend to diminish, so while the results of any particular day or week may not look good on your investment statement, the importance of these results may diminish in 10 or 20 years. - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021

Political Cartoon: Breaking News
by Rick McKee©,
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Political Cartoon: Democrats Non Covid Spending Porker
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Political Cartoon: Biden Fixes Immigration
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Port Ketchikan Cruise Ship Terminal Proposal By Robert Holston - COVID-19 and two years of Cruise Ship cancellations have caused a “perfect-storm” scenario for reconsidering the Port Ketchikan Cruise Ship Terminal Proposal. For Ketchikan to become the “Vancouver” of the Alaska cruise ship industry, is not as far fetched as it may first appear. There are several major factors that serve as an enticement to this idea. Discussion points to follow:

#1: By-PASS CANADA. Imagine direct flights from Chicago, L.A., New York, Miami, Phoenix, Denver and Seattle. Who knows when the next Keystone Pipeline demise will cause a tit for tat situation with Canada. Ketchikan International Airport is Ideally situated on the waterfront and could accommodate high volumes of passengers to be transported by dual purpose catamarans. These “tenders” would be designed to on and off loading two decks simultaneously to expedite transfer or passengers directly from the airport to waiting cruise ships or Ketchikan’s accommodations*, attractions or transportation network.

#2: ECONOMY OF OPERATIONS by the cruise ship industry will improve dramatically by seasonally home-porting their ALASKA ships in Ketchikan, Alaska. The round trip distance for Vancouver B.C. to Skagway, Alaska and return is 1,486 NM. The round trip distance for KETCHIKAN, ALASKA to Skagway, Alaska and return to Ketchikan is 550 NM. With national and worldwide emphasis on going green, the nearly 3:1 differential shows an obvious savings advantage in fuel and other operating costs. - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021

jpg Opinion

Where is the wisdom in this ruling? By Louise Clark - I cannot help but question the wisdom of sending many boats and people up the Unuk River to catch one bucket per family of ooligan, with the price of fuel I’m sure everyone can afford to do that much less if you even own a boat. Would it not make more sense to send one boat of qualified fishermen to get enough for many families? Especially the elderly who cannot do that anymore. - More...
Sunday PM - March 07, 2021

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Temporary fix proposed by Don Young addresses latest failure of the Jones Act By Paul Robbins, Jr. - While the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act would provide a needed but temporary reprieve for the numerous local economies that rely on cruise ship tourism, Representative Don Young fails to take aim at the true source of the problem and a bill that has plagued the American economy for over 100 years: The Jones Act. - More...
Sunday PM - March 07, 2021

jpg Opinion

Hug Your Trees By Donald Moskowitz - My wife and I are habitual tree huggers. We tend to all 24 of the trees on our property as often as possible, and they are wonderful trees. Back in 1978 our lot was devoid of all vegetation so we started planting trees soon after our house was constructed.  We planted all of the trees in the first 10 years, including maples, birch, crab trees, willows and pines.risk to the population. - More...
Sunday PM - March 07, 2021

jpg Opinion

2020 Southeast Conference Mid-Session Summit By Austin Otos - I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2020 Southeast Conference Mid-Session Summit via Zoom February 9-11th. The conference mainly focused on economic forecasts in key Southeast industries, economic resiliency, and economic strategies to rebound from the pandemic. The other topics in the conference included: local disaster preparedness/response, updates to mariculture and fisheries, this year’s state and federal legislative actions, and status on the University of Alaska system. I was able to attend sessions on: state legislator panel, federal updates from Lisa Murkowski and Don Young, Tourism, and fisheries/mariculture forecasts. - More...
Sunday PM - February 28, 2021

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