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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Front Page Photograph By SUSAN HOYT

Sitka Black-tailed Deer
Early morning sighting, south of Ketchikan.
Front Page Photograph By SUSAN HOYT ©2014
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Alaska - Nationwide:
Report finds 2013 U.S. seafood landings and value increased from 2012; Landings of wild salmon set new record - In the 2013 annual report, Fisheries of the United States 2013, released today, NOAA Fisheries announced that U.S. fishermen landed 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, an increase of 245 million pounds from 2012. Valued at $5.5 billion, these landings represent an increase of $388 million from 2012.

Fishing Vessel
Photo courtesy NOAA

The report shows that for the 17th consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of seafood landed, primarily walleye pollock. Dutch Harbor fishers landed 753 million pounds valued at $197 million.

For the 14th consecutive year, New Bedford, Massachusetts, had the highest valued catch --130 million pounds, valued at $379 million--due mostly to the highly valued sea scallop fishery. Sea scallops accounted for more than 81 percent of the value of New Bedford landings.

The report also shows that while national total of fish and shellfish landings remained about the same, total landings of wild salmon topped one billion pounds, setting a new record, up 68 percent from 2012.

Figures for recreational fishing activities remained strong. Nearly 9.5 million recreational saltwater anglers in the United States took more than 71 million marine fishing trips in 2013 and caught more than 430 million fish, of which, 61 percent were released alive.

Spotted seatrout was the top catch for recreational anglers, with 38 million fish caught in 2013. Atlantic croaker, black sea bass, summer flounder and red drum were the other most common catches for saltwater anglers.

Marine aquaculture production in the U.S. has been increasing steadily in recent years, about 10 percent a year from 2008 to 2012, the latest figures available. The top U.S. marine aquaculture species are oysters ($136 million), clams ($99 million), and Atlantic salmon ($77 million).

The report also shows that the average American ate 14.5 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2013, essentially unchanged from 2012. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 29, 2014


Former Ketchikan Residents Called to Serve In Manitoba By MARY KAUFFMAN - What do you do after you've dirt biked across the desert of Wendover, walked away from a small plane crash in the wintry mountains of Idaho and survived a brown bear attack in the wilds of Alaska.... you move to Thompson, Manitoba, Canada. Or at least that is what former Ketchikan resident Doug Burkman and his wife Patricia did.

Doug and Patricia Burkman pose for a photograph after hiking to the top of Ketchikan's Deer Mountain in 2012.
Photo courtesy Doug Burkman

Burkman, called to serve in Manitoba, is the new branch president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) in Thompson. Burkman and his wife are both serving as senior missionaries in Thompson. The LDS Church in this community covers a very large area including communities as far away as Norway House and Churchill with Thompson being the center point.

Burkman's adventures as an outdoorsman were the subject of an open house fireside earlier this month in Thompson where he presented photographs of the Alaska wilderness. Burkman's story had something for everyone. It was a “cautionary tale with a happy ending,” according to Burkman, who was attacked by a brown bear in the Alaska wilderness while bow-hunting. Burkman is a master bowman, and has taught many classes over numerous years on bow-hunting safety. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 29, 2014


New Report: Regulating Marijuana in Alaska Could Generate Millions in Tax Revenue - Passage of Ballot Measure 2 could generate more than $72.5 million in tax revenue in the first five years of legal marijuana sales, according to a new report from an independent research organization. It could bring in more than $8.5 million in the first year and nearly $24 million per year by 2020.

New Report: Regulating Marijuana in Alaska Could Generate Millions in Tax Revenue

The study was conducted by the Marijuana Policy Group, a collaborative effort between university researchers and economic research consultants, which does not take a stance on whether marijuana should be legal. The Washington Post reported that the Marijuana Policy Group received no payment for the study and chose to undertake it because the State of Alaska did not perform the research on its own. According to the group, Market Size and Demand for Marijuana in Alaska was prepared for the Voters of Alaska.

Alaska's Ballot measure 2 asks residents to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes. Due to Alaskan legislative policy, the state government is not allowed to fund studies related to the fiscal effects that may be caused by approval of Ballot Measure 2.

According to the study, the group estimated that 17.8 metric tons of marijuana flower will be demanded by Alaska state residents in 2016. Of this, 4.0 metric tons would be purchased through recreational retail outlets, if Ballot Measure 2 were approved. State tax revenues, if applied as described at $50 per ounce unit tax, would be equal to $7.1 million dollars tax in the first year. Revenues may be as low as $5.6 million, or as high as $8.6 million.

In a prepared statement Chris Rempert of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said, “The report confirms that regulating marijuana like alcohol would produce significant new revenue for our state. Generating new revenue is not the only reason to support ending marijuana prohibition, but it is a good reason."

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting the passage of Ballot Measure 2 which will be decided by Alaska voters on Novermber 4th.

Rempert said. “Passage of Ballot Measure 2 will not only bolster Alaska’s economy, but also enhance public safety. Regulating marijuana would take tens of millions of dollars in marijuana sales out of the underground market where profits benefit criminals who aren’t paying taxes. It would also ensure marijuana is properly tested, packaged, and labeled, and that cultivation and sales are tightly controlled. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 29, 2014


Columns - Commentary

MICHAEL REAGAN: Quarantine Questions - To quarantine or not to quarantine?

That is the legal and medical question of the hour.

Should the good people coming back to the USA after helping fight Ebola in West Africa be forced to undergo a 21-day quarantine?

The defense department obviously thinks so.

It has announced that all U.S. military personnel returning from West Africa will be required to undergo "controlled monitoring" for 21 days to make sure they aren't carrying the deadly virus.

The men and women serving in the military is a separate issue. They didn't choose to go to the Ebola hot zone.

They were ordered to go, and when they return stateside they'll be ordered to undergo what is essentially a quarantine. It's called the military.

But the doctors, nurses and other health workers who volunteered to go to West Africa are another matter.

So far, depending on what state they live in and what their state health officials require, they may or may not be forced to comply with a 21-day quarantine when they return.

The legalities of mandatory quarantines for civilians are vague and still must be sorted out.

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was forced by the state of New Jersey to stay in a tent while being tested for Ebola, looks like she's willing to become a test case.

She's threatened to sue Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And now she's back at her home in Maine and refusing to abide by health officials there to comply with a "voluntary" quarantine.

Saying she is in perfect health and showing no symptoms of Ebola, Hickox insists she's not a risk to the public. She told NBC's "Today" show she believed that the quarantine policy was "not scientifically nor constitutionally just." - More...
Wednesday PM - October 29, 2014

jpg Political Cartoon: VOTE

Political Cartoon: VOTE
By Milt Priggee ©2014,
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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letter Playing Politics with Health Care By Biil Walker - Last November, Sean Parnell denied basic health care coverage to thousands of Alaskans when he announced Alaska would not participate in Medicaid expansion to allow anyone with an income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify for insurance coverage. An Alaskan making $18,580 or less or a family of four making less than $38,330 would have qualified. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Now More Than Ever Alaskans Should Trust Bill Walker On The Gasline By Stephen McAlpine - When it comes to the natural gas pipeline project, the best thing that can happen for Alaska is having a new governor who will give the Parnell administration’s deal a fresh look. When gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker says that the oil and gas producers are currently in the driver’s seat, he is not exaggerating. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Why Republicans Should Vote for Bill Walker By Rick Halford - I have been a Republican for fifty years, spending about half of that time in public office. My service included four years in the State House and 20 in the Senate, during which I served as House Majority leader, Senate Majority leader, and Senate President. I concluded my time in public office as Republican National Committeeman. As a legislator, I got to know Bill Walker, both as a strong advocate for an LNG project and as a municipal leader. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Walker left a few thing out... By Joe Balash - Bill Walker left a few things out of the story during his stroll down memory lane. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Respect: A native Value By John Moller - At the top of each of our native/tribal values is Respect. Our Governor no sooner stepped off the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) stage following his address to the AFN when our AFN President started criticizing him for not working with the native community. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Re-elect Governor Parnell By William Hopkins - In 2009 the previous administration removed the Kennicott from service two weeks of every month, crippling service to Yakutat and to the westward run along the Alaska Peninsula to Dutch Harbor. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2914

letter Re-elect Sean Parnell Governor By Andrée McLeod - It’s been said that it’s wiser to deal with an undesirable but familiar situation than to risk a change that might lead to an even worse situation.
- More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Vote Bill Walker and Byron Mallot By Andy Rauwolf - I have known Bill Walker for close to five years, and the more I get to know him the more convinced I am that when he becomes Governor it will be the best thing that has happened to our state since the oil pipeline went into service. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Vote Walker and put Alaska First. By John Harrington - Five years ago, I met Bill Walker for the first time. I was impressed. He is authentic and knowledgeable, with concrete plans to grow this great state of ours. I am pleased to promote his candidacy for Governor. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Bill Walker for Governor By Paul Radford - I am a big fan of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott’s Unity ticket for many reasons, but today I want to talk about the threat to our Permanent Fund. Our present Governor has committed us to deficit spending of $7 million PER DAY out of Alaska’s budget reserves, and his ten year plan projects continuing deficits with no relief in sight. Our reserves will be gone long before ten years, but it seems as if he has no other plan to increase revenue than to hope big oil companies will start producing more on the North Slope when it suits them. Just weeks after big oil companies spent $14 million in advertising to defeat Ballot Measure 1, Exxon Mobil told state regulators not to expect an increase in oil production on the North Slope … so much for hoping! - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Pro Walker By Bob Fultz - How do you really ever know what makes one tick and where they get their drive to succeed? For me the first place I look is the way they were raised and then getting to know their story. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Vote for Walker Nov. 4th By David Streit - As we draw near to Election Day my family and I wanted to take a moment to say “Thank you” to Mr. Bill Walker for making a difference in our state this campaign season. Because of you Bill, we Alaskans have a rational home team choice this November. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Vote for Forrest Dunbar By Linda Sharp - Young's Congressional staff are pedaling fast to cover for him. He is either way too pompous and self-righteous, or slipping mentally. The effect is the same. He should be out of office. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Fire Don Young By R.K. Rice - Don Young used to just seem like a bumbling embarrassing, powerless, senile old grouch. Now he has gone to another level. Just plain EVIL. Parents of children who tragically take their own lives, are already filled with guilt, the unanswerable question why, and a terrible unrelenting sadness. Thanks Don for making it worse, for these thousands of friends and families, who are living with this tragedy. How could anyone in their rational mind, or anyone with a heart, vote for you? - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter False charges against Stevens seated Begich By Andy Rauwolf - LEST WE FORGET: Eight days after being found guilty in a federal corruption trial, Senator Ted Stevens was narrowly defeated by Mark Begich. Prior to sentencing the charges were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct, including false testimony submitted by two of the Federal prosecutors and the withholding of evidence by the prosecution that would have cleared Stevens. The six Federal Prosecutors involved were cited for criminal contempt. The youngest of the six, Nicholas Marsh, was found hanging in his basement in September of 2010. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Let's vote for Dan Sullivan By Alan R. (Rudy) McGillvray - The reasons I say "Let's vote for Dan Sullivan." are multitudinous, but I am going to focus on the 3 men from Fairbanks who have failed to realize that to re-elect Mark Begich is going to destroy Fairbanks. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter What's at stake for Southeast Alaska By Emily Chapel - Alaskan’s love fish! Instead of “mama” or “dada” my son’s first word was “fishy” – and I was okay with that. During the summer months, we regularly spend long hours on the boat, fostering our love for fish. I am sure we are not alone in these pursuits. Our community’s sentiments around fish are summed up in Ray Troll’s piece “Fish Worship, Is it Wrong?”. Since it is such a beloved resource and lifeblood, it is also important that we know the potential pressures that may create changes to the way we utilize, and see fish. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Chere Klein for House By Wynn Hopkins - The privilege of voting is a sacred trust. Both HD36 candidates are exemplary citizens who have had long-standing positive influence here. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Vote Chere Klein November 4th By Kathleen Yarr - Candidate Dan Ortiz called Southeast Alaska, (District 36) a special place. He's right; it is a pretty place. Economically, however, it's not so pretty. The gap between people who have government salaried and benefitted positions or government-funded, non-profit salaried and benefitted positions and people who don't is widening, and I'm curious to know what he's going to do about this problem. Everyone cannot work for the government. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Dan Ortiz: Leadership By David Mitchel - I have observed Dan Ortiz coach, teach, parent, and be a leader in our community for 20 years. He has an unrivaled integrity, excellent work ethic and firm convictions. Dan has the intelligence and communication skills to strongly represent our district. He is his own man and doesn’t want to blindly follow a series of partisan policies that divide our country and just don’t make sense for Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Voting for Dan Ortiz By Joel and Ann Jackson- One Person Makes a Difference: In 1986 I took Ketchikan High School business class learning about the stock market and investing. I joined the Air force in the winter of 1987 and following the lessons learned in my business class I invested in stocks. After finishing my service I was able to use the money I had invested to help buy a home and start my path towards the American dream. The man who taught me and encouraged me was/is Dan Ortiz. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Vote for Ortiz By Judity McQuerry - I am supporting Dan Ortiz for Alaska State House. Dan is running as an independent sending a message that party labels and unquestioned party loyalty do not make for good government. His only interest is what will be BEST for Southern Southeast. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Legalizing Marijuana? By Lucy Mahan - As I sift through the points and counter points of legalizing marijuana, a few questions remain unanswered. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Who is blowing smoke now? By Chris Snyder - There has been a lot in our local press regarding ballot measure #2, but the tone of the letters has been quite one-sided. I suppose this makes sense given the currently illegal status of marijuana. There are a lot of people who, given the nature of their employment or position in the community, don't feel safe going on the record. This is a shame because it limits honest debate and allows the prohibitionists to play REALLY fast and loose with the facts. Well...I've never urinated on command for anyone but my doctor and I'd like to point out some of the liberties the "No on 2" folks have been taking. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

letter Marijuana infused candy presents danger to children By Kalie Klaysmat - With Halloween coming on, and the November election just days away, it is a good time to consider the dangers that will be presented by marijuana edibles should ballot measure 2 succeed. Today, marijuana edibles have come a long way from the homemade brownies of the 1960s. Edibles have become commercialized and are being manufactured as lollipops, gummy bears, candy bars, fudge and any number of other child attracting forms in addition to the more familiar cookies and brownies. If ballot measure 2 passes, marijuana edibles will present a real and present danger to Alaskans. - More...
Monday PM - October 27, 2014

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