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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Front Page Feature Photo by DOUG BURKMAN

Ward Lake Reflections
Ward Lake reflections photographed Wednesday, 10/17/18.
Front Page Feature Photo by DOUG BURKMAN ©2018



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Alaska: Walker Suspends Re-election Campaign, Endorses Democrat Mark Begich - In an open letter addressed to all Alaskans, Governor Bill Walker announced today that he is suspending his campaign for re-election for Governor.

With more time, he said he was confident that he and the newly appointed Lt. Governor Val Davidson could deliver a message and a campaign that could earn a victory. With only 18 days before the election, Walker said he did not believe he could win a three-way race.

In his announcement, Walker said Alaskans deserve a competitive race and Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy. Walker said in his announcement that on balance, it is his belief that despite his many differences with Mark Begich, his stance on many important issues more closely align with his priorities for Alaska. - More...
Friday PM - October 19, 2018

Alaska: NOAA Winter Outlook favors warmer temperatures for much of Alaska & U.S. - A mild winter could be in store for much of the United States including Alaska this winter according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, above-average temperatures are most likely across the northern and western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.

NOAA Winter Outlook favors warmer temperatures for much of Alaska & U.S.

Additionally, El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing. “We expect El Nino to be in place in late fall to early winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North.”

El Nino is an ocean-atmosphere climate interaction that is linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the U.S. can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North.

Other climate patterns that can affect winter weather are challenging to predict on a seasonal time scale. The Arctic Oscillation influences the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and could result in below-average temperatures in the eastern part of the U.S. The Madden-Julian Oscillation can contribute to heavy precipitation events along the West Coast - which could play a large role in shaping the upcoming winter, especially if El Nino is weak, as forecasters predict. - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018

Alaska: ACLU of Alaska Wins Suit Over Kenai Borough's Discriminatory Invocation Policy - The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska (ACLU) announced it has prevailed in their suit against the Kenai Peninsula Borough on behalf of Lance Hunt, Iris Fontana, and Elise Boyer, three Kenai residents who stood up to challenge the Borough Assembly’s unconstitutional restrictions on who may offer invocations at the beginning of the their public meetings.

Iris Fontana, a former resident of Ketchikan, and Lance Hunt each gave separate invocations in the summer of 2016, when the Borough Assembly allowed invocations on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lance, an atheist, invoked the Assembly members’ common humanity to solemnize its July 26 meeting: he encouraged the Assembly members to overlook differences and to have empathy for one’s neighbors. Iris, who read an invocation prepared by The Satanic Temple at the Assembly’s August 9 meeting, encouraged the Assembly members to use innate, human reason to guide their deliberations.

 


In direct response to Lance and Iris’s invocations—and to prevent them and other community members from giving similar invocations in the future—the Assembly adopted unconstitutional and discriminatory restrictions to limit the honor of publicly solemnizing Assembly meetings to members of religious associations that are established and regularly meet in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Elise Boyer is of Jewish faith and like all others of that faith were excluded from giving invocations because there is no established Jewish temple within the Kenai Peninsula Borough where they can worship.

In the Superior Court decision, Judge Andrew Peterson declared the invocation policy a violation of the Alaska Constitution’s Establishment Clause. He noted the Kenai Peninsula Borough invocation policy “stemmed from intolerance” because it was designed to “exclude minority faiths or beliefs.” - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018

Alaska: Former Employee of Alaska Dept. of Juvenile Justice Charged with Possession of Child Pornography - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Dennis Weston, 54, of Anchorage, charging him with one count of sexual exploitation of a child – possession of child pornography.  

The indictment alleges that in June 2018, Weston knowingly possessed, by means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce, visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, located on a computer or digital device.  Weston is a former employee of the State of Alaska Department of Juvenile Justice, who had previously worked at the McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage.

If the public has any further information or concerns about the activities of Weston, please contact the FBI at (907) 276-4441.

If convicted, Weston faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018


Three Millions Pounds of Frozen Moose

Three Millions Pounds of Frozen Moose By NED ROZELL
In winter, moose like this one require about 30 pounds of frozen twigs each day to survive.
Photo By NED ROZELL


 
Alaska Science: Three Millions Pounds of Frozen Moose By NED ROZELL - The magnificent creature was fooled by vocal plumbing — similar to its own but much smaller — imitating the groan of a receptive female. The bull moose grunted twice, then strode through spruce trees at the far side of a river. Brushing branches away with its antlers, it emerged, expecting to see a cow moose.

I knelt and plugged my ears with my fingers. My friend raised his rifle and shot. Twenty minutes later, as daylight faded, we found the bull moose dead beneath a small spruce tree.

We pulled out our headlamps and began the work of processing an animal as large as a grand piano. We pushed up our sleeves with a sense of gratitude, anxiety at making the correct cuts, and the knowledge that we would not be slipping into our sleeping bags any time soon.

Hunter reports for 2018 are still trickling into the offices of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, but my friend is now in the group of successful moose hunters for the year. In 2017, 23 percent of general-season moose hunters reported success in Alaska.

The largest members of the deer family live anywhere there are trees and shrubs in Alaska, from the Alaska Peninsula to the Beaufort Sea. There is a healthy population of about 175,000 moose in the state, with peak numbers in Interior river valleys.

In defending her master’s thesis recently at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Tessa Hasbrouck noted that about 29,000 Alaskans and non-residents hunt for moose each fall in Alaska. They harvest more than 7,200 of the giant creatures — a mature bull can stand six feet at the shoulder and weigh 1,600 pounds (the same as a grand piano). An animal that size will result in 700 pounds of sliced and wrapped meat. Each year, about 3.5 million pounds of Alaska moose makes its way into freezers.

That’s a lot of Alaska-grown protein that was not transported up the Alaska Highway by truck. Hasbrouck reported that more than 90 percent of surveyed rural households in Alaska used moose.

She also noted that hunters fire a lot of dollars into the Alaska economy. Moose hunting equates to about $78 million each year for state businesses. A good deal of that is in the form of gasoline for trucks, boats and four-wheelers. - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018


 
COLUMNS/COMMENTARY

jpg RICH MANIERI

RICH MANIERI: A Civics Test to Graduate High School? Absolutely - It was an inspiring lecture. One of my finest. And then, I brought up D-Day.

Spend enough time in the classroom and you learn to read students' faces. They say so much.

"I'm bored." "I'm thinking about something else." "I just broke up with my girlfriend." I'm homesick." "I'm hungry." And, of course, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

The latter - along with the unmistakable sound of crickets - was the reaction to my mention of the day Allied forces invaded Europe in 1944.

This particular encounter with students took place several years ago at another university but I haven't forgotten it. It went something like this.

"So, on D-Day...."

Nothing.

"Does everyone know what D-Day is?"

Still nothing. Not one hand in the air.

"The invasion of Europe by the Allies?"

Blank stares. "Anyone? Anyone?"

"How about World War II?"

"Oh, yeah!" one student exclaimed, as if we'd made some great breakthrough.

Those few moments in that classroom were indicative of a much broader and very disturbing issue - the appalling knowledge gap among young people about American history and America in general.

A study released earlier this month by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation showed that in a sample of 1,000 American adults, only 36 percent would pass a U.S. citizenship test. Those 65 and older who were surveyed scored the highest. But only 19 percent of those 45 and younger passed the test. Oh yeah, and 60 percent of those surveyed did not know which countries the U.S. fought against in World War II.  - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018


jpg Political Cartoon: Eat the Poor

Political Cartoon: Eat the Poor
By Pat Bagley ©2018, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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jpg Letter / Opinion

SUPPORT BALLOT MEASURE 1 By 58 Scientists & Managers - We the undersigned are retired state and federal agency scientists and managers with considerable experience in salmon biology, habitat and management in Alaska; 

Alaska boasts world-class salmon resources, and these resources support vital subsistence, commercial, sport and personal use fisheries; 

These fisheries feed countless Alaskans, create important jobs and revenues for our local villages and communities, support Alaska’s tourism industry, and feed people around the world; 

Salmon occupy a critical role in the food chain and ecosystem where they support other species important for subsistence, personal use, tourism and guide industries; 

The repeal of the Alaska Coastal Management Program in 2011, along with related efforts to accelerate state and federal permitting efforts, have dangerously eroded salmon habitat protection in recent years; - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018  

jpg Letter / Opinion

Support For Dan Ortiz By Eric and Heather Muench - We support Dan Ortiz for reelection to the State House because he is independent and not the puppet of big-shot leaders of either party, That leaves him able to support legislation that is best for Ketchikan and for Alaska.

He had a long history of service to the community before entering politics, and has done a good job of supporting Governor Walker's efforts to get Alaska back to a strong financial position.

His opponent, on the other hand, seems to have no idea how to do that and has made statements parroting the most conservative Republican positions, does not support strong public schools, and thinks that a broad-based State revenue structure would simply (in his own words) "grow government". That apparently means he would leave vital State services like highway maintenance, State troopers and fish and game management understaffed. - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote No on Ballot Measure 1 By Andy Rauwolf - As a 50 year resident involved in commercial salmon harvests and conservation issues, I can attest to what former Governor Murkowski stated in his Oct. 13-14 point of view article.

Alaska does not have a problem with salmon habitat in its streams and rivers. As commercial fishermen, we pay 3 ½ % from every fish we catch that goes directly into fisheries enhancement.

However, there are big problems with the ocean food chain. By our own observations the enormous biomasses of herring that the governor referred to that we took for granted in the past have been reduced to small pockets here and there. - More...
Thursday PM - October 18, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Salmon initiative isn’t the answer By Frank Murkowski - If Ballot Measure 1 passes, our fisheries, oil, gas, timber, minerals and even tourism would be severely restricted. The state's annual Permanent Fund  dividend would be significantly reduced over time. There would be no gas line, further oil development or new mines. Without the jobs and revenue from resources, state services would be severely curtailed. Specifically, where would the money come from for education, police protection, the environment and yes, even the quality of our Alaska lifestyle? The worst scenario would be a state in chaos facing bankruptcy. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

A No Vote for Ortiz By Micheal McColley - Dear Dan Ortiz you seem to forget that you helped the governor take the Permanent Fund and split it in half between the people of Alaska. You seem to forget there is a new guy running for governor who wants to put the Permanent Fund back. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Politics With Coffee By Judith Green - Thank you, Dan Ortiz, for offering to meet constituents over coffee. And staging these coffee chats during the daytime on Saturdays. Much appreciated. - End of Letter...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Deeply Flawed Supreme Court Justice By Donald Moskowitz - The Republican controlled Senate rammed through the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court out of fear of losing control of the Senate in the upcoming mid-term elections. The vote was along party lines, 49 Republicans and one Democrat for him, and 48 Democrats against him. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 16, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Alaska's Independent Spirit By Gavin Hudson  - I have read many times over the years that Alaskans are notoriously difficult to poll and that we do not neatly fit into one category. I believe this stems from a fiercely independent spirit held by each and every Alaskan. We are a strange and interesting mix of urban and rural. Corporate and Tribal. Inland and Coastal. Progressive and Conservative. There are so many competing interests that ebb and flow throughout our state. But in our hearts, we are all hard working Americans who want good clean air to breathe and water to drink. We want a strong economy that provides good jobs. We all want good schools, roads, marine highways, and a functioning government that works as hard as we do to ensure we all get a fair shake. But still, we are difficult to categorize.  - More...
Friday PM - October 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Ballot Measure 1 Could Affect Your Home Too By Neil MacKinnon - There's a good chance you've heard of Ballot Measure 1, but if you're like most Alaskans, you're probably still wondering, "What does it do?" The ballot measure language itself is lengthy and extremely technical. Let me explain in simpler terms what it does, and why First Things First Alaska Foundation firmly believes you can stand for salmon and stand for Alaska without Ballot Measure 1. - More...
Friday PM - October 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Yes on Ballot Measure 1 By Tim Bristol - The Alaska Policy Forum is part of a nation-wide network of Koch brothers-funded extreme right-wingers advocating for the privatization of public education, “right-to-work” laws and elimination of most safeguards for our air, land and water, and its recent claims that those who are advocating for updates to Alaska’s existing salmon habitat permitting laws are “outsiders” is a classic deflection. The fact is, large-scale industrial development poses real risk to Alaska’s wild salmon runs, and now is the time to modernize salmon habitat laws. - More...
Friday PM - October 12, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Dunleavy is the one who is untrustworthy By Barbara McDaniel - In Mike Dunleavy’s recent column, “A Deficit of Trust,” the former, partial-term state senator blames others for his own failures as a legislator, a very common but deceitful defense tactic. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

False personal attacks on Mark Begich By Deborah Bonito - Given the current lack of public trust in our political system and the dangerous lack of honesty and accountability in the current national political discourse, it is important that our campaign set the record straight on the Lt. Governor’s disappointing decision to knowingly launch false personal attacks on Mark Begich - someone he has known personally for decades.  - More...
Tuesday PM - October 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Our Progessive Senator By Rex Barber - Hence forth the name Lisa Murkowski will be synonymous with Obama. Clinton and traitor. She voted present on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. This is the very act which defines a cowered. If she didn't want to vote for the man at least she should of had the [courage] to say NO!!! (I guess no dosn't mean no) - More...
Tuesday PM - October 09, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Vote Yes on Prop 1 By Robert K. Rice - In response to “Tracking the outside money by Larry Barsukoff. The facts on the money raised are as follows: Supporting Prop 1 $475,000; Opposing Prop 1 $8,670,000. Follow the money. - More...
Friday PM - October 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Political Winds of Change By Austin Otos - The 2018 Ketchikan Gateway Borough municipal election has come to a close. With 6 candidates running for office, our community had the opportunity to vote for a wide array of individuals. Thankfully, Ketchikan chose 2 candidates that represent the future of our community. Voters were clear that newer and younger voices take precedent over experience and past ideals. - More...
Friday PM - October 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Murkowski By Rob Holston - Lisa Murkowski may be a fine woman but she’s just not the right Senator for Alaska right now. - End of letter...
Friday PM - October 05, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Roadless Rule Public Comment Period By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The US Forest Service is seeking public comment on exempting the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule. The comment period ends on October 15th. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 03, 2018

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