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High Alpine
A high alpine northern view of Deer Mountain, at mid-morning on a rainy August 17th. It was clear and sunny at the 2,000 elevation and above.
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Southeast Alaska:
High-Ranking Alaskans Call on U.S. State Department to Intervene with Canada over BC Mine Threats; Kerry Asked to Invoke the Boundary Waters Treaty By PAULA DOBBYN - A broad coalition of Alaskans, including the state’s bipartisan congressional delegation and some of its largest commercial fishing organizations, urges U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene with Canada as large-scale mine developments in British Columbia near Alaska’s southeast border rapidly advance.

jpg High-Ranking Alaskans Call on U.S. State Department to Intervene with Canada over BC Mine Threats

The request comes in the wake of the Mt. Polley mine disaster in B.C. and with the Canadian province’s approval of a large-scale mine called KSM (Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell) near Alaska. KSM is one of several Canadian mine projects, located near international rivers flowing from B.C. into Southeast Alaska, that threaten Alaska’s multi-billion-dollar seafood and visitor industries and pose unacceptable risks to the environment.

This month’s catastrophic accident at the Mt. Polley mine underscores the risk Southeast Alaska faces from large-scale B.C. mine development, including five acid-generating projects located in the Unuk, Stikine and Taku River watersheds, some of Southeast Alaska’s most productive and lucrative salmon-bearing rivers. The five mines are part of a larger mineral development push by B.C. Premier Christy Clark who has pledged to create eight new mines and expand nine more by next year.

The newly constructed Red Chris mine, located in the Stikine River watershed, upstream from the Alaska communities of Wrangell and Petersburg, is set to start operations soon. Red Chris is owned by Imperial Metals, the same company that operates Mt. Polley, and is currently being blockaded by citizens of the Tahltan First Nation.

The tailings dam breach at Mt. Polley unleashed an estimated 2.6 billion gallons of mine wastewater and 6 million cubic yards of sand, contaminated with tons of copper, nickel, arsenic and lead, into waterways leading to the Fraser River, one of Canada’s biggest salmon producers. The massive Aug. 4 spill coincided with the annual return of an estimated 1.5 million salmon to the Fraser River.

“This failure may affect salmon stocks managed under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. A similar failure at mines proposed near the Unuk, Stikine and Taku Rivers would directly affect fishery stocks upon which commercial and recreational fishermen depend, as well as the subsistence and cultural needs of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of my state,” wrote Sen. Mark Begich in a letter to Sec. Kerry this month.

Alaska fishing and tribal leaders agree and are also calling on Sec. Kerry to act with urgency.

“Our culture, food security and livelihoods depend on wild salmon. Although the mines are in Canada, the fish rely on transboundary waters as part of their life cycle and these waters know no borders. The State Department needs to ensure that these fish and the rights of our tribal citizens are respected,” said John Morris, Jr., co-chair of the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group, an organization representing a broad section of Southeast Alaska’s federally recognized tribes.

Dale Kelley, executive director of Alaska Trollers Association, also urges State Department action. - More...
Thursday PM - August 21, 2014

 


Saxman:
Begich Urges Administrative Action to Retain Saxman’s Rural Status - U.S. Senator Mark Begich has urged the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture to make a final determination, as authorized under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), that Saxman is a rural community for subsistence purposes.

In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Begich also asked for expedited adoption of a new regulation for rural determination proposed in April 2014 by the Federal Subsistence Board (FSB).

“The FSB at long last made a common sense decision by proposing significant changes that greatly simplify the rural determination process,” said Begich. “The proposed rule in essence would have the FSB determine which communities in the state are non-rural—meaning that all communities and areas not identified would be considered rural. The proposed rule has numerous advantages over the one currently in place, including removing the fear of rural communities that their rural status might change as a result of a mandatory review every 10 years.”

Referencing the recent lawsuit filed by Saxman to keep its rural status, Begich also urged the secretaries to use their authority to take administrative action “rather than requiring Saxman or your Departments to unnecessarily expend scarce financial resources on litigating Saxman’s right to a subsistence priority.” - More...
Thursday PM - August 21, 2014

Southeast Alaska: Forest Service Announces Big Thorne Timber Project Decision By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Tongass National Forest announced its decision today to approve what has been the controversial Big Thorne timber sale. The U.S. Forest Service's decision to approve the Big Thorne timber sale will be the largest industrial project in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest since the pulp mill era.

The Big Thorne Project is located on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska near the towns of Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove on the Thorne Bay Ranger District of Tongass National Forest, approximately 40 miles northwest of the City of Ketchikan. The project area covers approximately 232,000 acres.

On August 19, 2014, Forrest Cole stated in his conclusion of the Big Thorne Project's Final Supplemental Information Report (SIR), that based on his careful review of the Interagency Wolf Task Force Report regardign the Statement of Dr. David Person, the review of the Big Thorne Project design, including the modification of the small OGRs and the implementation of the legacy forest structure, and the review of the USFWS 90-day finding on Alexander Archipelago wolves for ESA, that he found that there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns that require the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Big Thorne Project.

 

The Big Thorne Project was initiated in 2010 with online publication in the Schedule of Proposed Actions. A Notice of Intent was filed in the Federal Register in February 2011 and scoping information was sent to over 400 individuals, organizations, tribes, and agencies. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was distributed in October 2012 for a 45-day public review. The Record of Decision was signed June 28, 2013 and distributed with the Final EIS and numerous appeals followed.

Big Thorne would put more than 120 million board feet of old-growth timber on the chopping block say concerned conservation groups.

“The Forest Service’s approval of the largest, most aggressive timber sale in 20 years is contrary to its stated goal of ramping down old growth clear-cutting in the Tongass. We will not stand idly by while the Forest Service flouts essential safeguards for the Sitka black-tailed deer needed by local hunters and wolves,” said Tom Waldo, Senior Staff Attorney in the Juneau office of Earthjustice.

“The Forest Service’s promise to end old-growth logging in the Tongass rings much more hollow today in light of this announcement. The decision to move forward with Big Thorne raises sobering questions about the agency’s commitment to a sustainable forest and to the region’s vital fishing and tourism industries. We’re talking about the largest Tongass old-growth sale in decades that will cost taxpayers more than $102 million and hurt the region’s top economic drivers, and yet once again the Forest Service has elected to keep the status quo and support the timber industry to the detriment all others in southeast Alaska,” said Kristen Miller, Conservation Director at Alaska Wilderness League.

The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council says the Big Thorne sale conflicts with the organization’s current work to promote a local wood economy and support the region’s $2 billion fishing and tourism industries and allowing such sales to continue will not only accelerate the decimation of old-growth in the Tongass and greatly increase the expanse of degraded wildlife habitat, but it could also lead to an endangered species listing for the Alexander Archipelago wolf, the first ever listing of wildlife species in the Tongass under the Endangered Species Act.


 

“We support increasing the number of jobs per log cut on the Tongass, and are working to keep forestry dollars in our communities,” said Malena Marvin, Executive Director with Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. “Big Thorne will export long-term jobs for short term profits, and do so at a completely unsustainable rate. That’s not progress.”

For years, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council has worked with regional partners to develop community-scale forest projects that support local businesses. The organization advocates for responsible logging of second-growth trees and selective use of old-growth. The group works to promote local wood businesses by publishing an annual directory of community-scale sawmills on the Tongass. SEACC is also collaborating on the production of an informational video highlighting local sawmills around Southeast Alaska.

“Our track record shows that we’re not opposed to all logging, just industrial-scale old-growth, export-oriented clearcuts like Big Thorne,” added Marvin. “We want our kids and grandkids to have family-wage timber jobs on the Tongass, and we’re asking the Forest Service to craft sales that honor that long-term goal.” - More...
Thursday PM - August 21, 2014

Alaska: Alaska Commercial Seafood Industry Urges the Federal Government to Respond to Russia's Embargo on U.S. Seafood Imports - Leading companies from Alaska's $6 billion seafood industry today announced their support for a ban on Russian seafood imports to the United States and urged Russia to rescind its August 7th ban on U.S. food imports.

"We did not start this fight, and we hope the Russians will call off their embargo. But a U.S. ban will signal to President Putin that America will not sit idly by while Russia disregards international law and tries to coerce the world into ignoring its transgressions through retaliatory actions," said Terry Shaff, President & CEO of UniSea Inc.

Those seafood companies endorsing the ban include Alaska General Seafoods, Alyeska Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, UniSea, Westward Seafoods, and the members of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.

Some Alaska seafood companies say that such a move would not only further squeeze Russia's faltering economy as Russia threatens European stability, but would support America's sustainable, high-quality fisheries. The Alaska seafood industry is seeking support from the Alaska congressional delegation for the ban, as well as from the United States Trade Representative. It also seeks diplomatic efforts to immediately end Russia's ban on U.S. seafood products.

Russia has been a major market for U.S. seafood products such as salmon roe, hake, Alaskan pollock, and others. The U.S. has been an important market for Russian products including crab, Russian pollock, salmon, caviar, and others. - More...
Thursday PM - August 21, 2014

jpg Political Cartoon: Boob Vote

Political Cartoon: Boob Vote
By Larry Wright ©2014, CagleCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.
School starts September 02, 2014 (Ketchikan)

      

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letter Alaska's Fisheries By Mead Treadwell - Imagine this: two of Alaska’s GOP candidates for US Senate have virtually no experience with Alaska’s commercial fisheries! They have skipped debates – like the one traditionally scheduled during Kodiak Crabfest – where questions have been asked and answered statewide on fisheries every election for decades. Just this week, one candidate skipped a statewide television debate beamed to 26 rural radio and TV stations, most of which are on Alaska’s coast. - More...
Tuesday - August 19, 2014

Vote for Agnes Moran By Kathleen Yarr - Please vote for Agnes Moran for State House, District 36. Agnes is diligent in her research of womlocal issues and has a broader knowledge and understanding of issues specific to District 36 (Ketchikan, Wrangel, Hydaburg and Metlakatla) than any of the other three candidates. As a two-term borough assembly member, she has the most governmental experience and has often taken a lot of flack for her well-researched positions on various issues, but she also listens to her constituents, and will change her mind when presented with new information that warrants it Agnes is not concerned with being popular; she's concerned with doing what's best for us. Not one to sugarcoat things, Agnes is willing to make the tough calls when needed. - More...
Monday - August 18, 2014

letter Redoubt Lake issue By Michael A. Baines - We are profoundly disappointed and frustrated that the trustees of the defunct Sheldon Jackson College have filed a notice to appeal a recent federal decision rejecting their claim to 160 acres by Redoubt Falls and surrounding areas near Sitka. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Vote Chere Klein for State House By Bill and Linda Auger - As small business owners, we believe that government should be working to support business . . . providing the infrastructure for those businesses to survive and thrive . . . instead of businesses working to support government. Chere Klein will bring that perspective to the House of Representatives in Juneau for District 36. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Vote for Patti Mackey By Katie Montgomery - I would like to encourage the voters of District 36 to Vote for Patti Mackey this Tuesday August 19. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Chere Klein for House By William and Wynn Hopkins - Were the Alaska House District 36 contest based on popularity, personal philosophy or great ideas, the voter could be in a quandary. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter I question Sealaska corporation spending $50,000 in the Governors race By Dana Leask-Ruaro - How can Sealaska represent that this $50,000 independent expenditure is in support of “Byron Mallott's efforts to work tirelessly on Alaska Native issues” when the Political Action Committee that this money was donated to (Mallott-One Alaska) used these funds for an anti-Parnell campaign? - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter “Yes” on Ballot Measure 1 By Lisa Weissler - On August 19th, Alaska voters will act as legislators. Through Ballot Measure 1, Alaskans have the power to repeal the law currently governing Alaska’s oil and gas production tax, known as Senate Bill 21. A “Yes” vote repeals the current tax and reinstates the system that was in effect from 2007 until 2013, known as Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES). Just as legislators need to be informed before they vote, so does the voting public. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Can Alaskans Be Conned Again? Vote Yes Ballot Measure 1 By Hal Gazaway - "Vote no” says if Prop one passes, the Big Three oil companies will leave Alaska. They report oil company contracts are on hold until August 20, 2014. Oil and service companies have advised their employees “on August 20th we will see how many pink slips we will have to give out.” This is an old tactic. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Listen To The Advice Of Senator Stedman. Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 1 By Dan Ortiz - The most important issue facing Alaskan voters who participate in the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, August 19th is Ballot Measure 1. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Lodging regulations for residents By Christina Martinez - In this day and age you think the residents of Ketchikan and the Outer Prince of Wales Borough would push for lodging regulations in Ketchikan. In the winter months the local residents from out of town are the bread and butter to an already dying economy - but in the summer it is worsened by the almost 100 percent increase in lodging rates. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter Response to "My rights" By Judith Green - In response to Janalee's well thought out and well stated view, I am sorry I missed the Council Meeting. I did not attend any of the council meetings, and I do not know the details of this last meeting, yet I am saddened that any of our officials in our community would have left such a distaste (for this beautiful member/ citizen of our community) from a public hearing/ meeting. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter RE: Fed Up By Amanda Mitchell l - What you are going through does sound very frustrating. I would like to share our experience and I have some suggestions. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014

letter True Tongass ‘transition’ would increase local jobs per log cut By Malena Marvin - In its latest statement on the direction of the much-awaited Tongass transition, the Forest Service says the future is now for the Tongass National Forest. We couldn’t agree more, and we’re happy to see the agency working with local people to chart a course toward a more prosperous and sustainable future for Southeast Alaskan communities. - More...
Wednesday AM- August 13, 2014

letter My rights are like "a child asking for candy" By Janalee Minnich Gage - Last Thursday night I attended the Ketchikan city council meeting regarding the integrated access to the new performing arts center, and it is hard to imagine how it is that after 24 years that we still have no concept of what ADA law is or about. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Thank You By Chere Klein - Thank you to Metlakatla Indian Community, Mayor Hudson & the entire Metlakatla community for being so welcoming to all the visitors at your Founder's Day celebration events & feasts. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Tax Increases By Greg Harris - I hope this finds you all healthy and happy as its been a couple years since I've been on the rock. After reading Mr. Dial's letter concerning tax increases proposed and passed I couldn't help myself, I just had to comment. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Fed Up! By Susan Cody - I have lived in my Ketchikan residence at the dead end of a city street for over 4 years. There are more than 10 trash cans near the front of my house for the residents that live in this area. For the past 3 summers I have drilled holes in all of the trash cans, paid for and installed reinforcements to keep the bears from spreading garbage. Although 3 of my neighbors are bear proofing and helping the situation, the majority of my neighbors don't. They simply do not take the 2 seconds to latch them. For the last couple summers I would just pick up all of the garbage, but this year I am fed up with it all. It seems as though they expect me to continue cleaning it up. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Chere Klein for District 36 By Peggy Wilson - I’d like to tell you why I am ENDORSING CHERE KLEIN for District 36 House of Representative; and why it’s important you vote for her August 19th over other candidates currently running. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 13, 2014

letter Vote for Klein By K.A. Swiger - I will be voting or Chere Klein on August 19th. I hope you do too. I have known Chere for many years, serving on chamber committees with her and have seen her many community involvements. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 13, 2014

letter Moran for State House By Steve Ortiz - I believe that southern southeast Alaska would be well served by electing Agnes Moran as its State Representative. Agnes brings multiple years of leadership, experience, and dedication to District 36. Her work history with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and previously Cisco Systems demonstrates that she produces innovative actions and an ability to solve difficult issues for large organizations. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Vote for Chere Klein By Renee Schofield - I'll be voting for Chere Klein. As a small biz owner, she understands the need for diversity, clarity and simplicity in laws that affect small businesses. That matters a great deal to me. As a small business owner, incorporated in Alaska, but working nationally, I need representation that will grow with me. I think Chere can do that. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter FairTax By Kathleen Perera - I agree with Wiley Brook's letter to you dated August 6, 2013. Our country was able to be financial stable for over half of its life WITHOUT the IRS and income tax. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter The Fair Tax By Pat Burkett - Wiley Brooks letter of August 6, 2014, is informative and timely. It is of interest to me that the writers of our Constitution rejected taxing income and believed that a tax on consumption was the proper way to fund government. Taxing consumption puts individuals in charge of their money and the amount of taxes they pay because there is no tax on spending for basic necessities due to the rebate provision of the Fair Tax. Therefore, it is discretionary spending that is taxed, and that spending is under our own, immediate control, not that of the IRS to take out before we ever get our paychecks. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 13, 2014

letter Machinations, part II By Rodney Dial - I wasn’t going to write another letter again so soon, but couldn’t believe what happened between my last letter on June 24th and the Ketchikan City Council meeting on July 24th. - More...
Thursday - August 07, 2014

letter The Importance of Integrated Access to the Performing Arts Center By Janalee Minnich Gage - I am concerned about Ketchikan's support quality integrated access to the performing arts center. I am an active member of the First City Players, which has been an integral part of my life even while I was out of town working for the past 10 years in public service. In many ways it is my refuge, my release and my savior. The arts keep me grounded and involved as a community member; it is my therapy. First City Players has always been about my ability not my disability. They have strived to be inclusive and have gone out of their way to provide a place for anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of the program. I think the City should want to support this. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Thanks with meaning! By A.M. Johnson - A couple of things on my mind that warrants following up on. The first is the line crew of the KPU who are installing new poles on North Tongass. I pass these fellows several times a day. What is most noticeable is the intense attitude of the crew. From the foreman and I suppose the safety watch on the operation to the full crew. There is no slack time. Everybody appears professional with no lost movements. I thank them for their diligent and safe work area that they provide for their selves and the driving public. Good job!! - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Four Friends By Garnet Dima - Four of my friends are running for the House District 36 seat. All four candidates vying for the House District 36 seat are truly wonderful people. They are longtime residents of Ketchikan who want nothing but the best for souther Southeast Alaska. Each of the candidates is smart and hardworking. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Moran for House District 36 By Bobbie McCreary - Vote for Moran, the best person to speak for Southeast. I have observed Ms. Moran's ability to speak with a strong voice for issues or projects she has carefully researched and determined appropriate for the Borough to support. She will make sure she is well informed and then will go to bat to lead the charge for what we need in Southeast. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter TWO OF THE 3 ALASKA REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR THE U.S. SENATE SUPPORT THE FairTax® By Wiley Brooks - An issue that deserves our attention has recently surfaced in the debates between the Republican Party candidates who hope to unseat Senator Mark Begich in the November 4 General Election. That issue is the 100 year old income tax system which can only be described as a ridiculous complex and intrusive mess. It is burdensome to tax filer, destructive to the economy and custom designed to invite political motivated abuse and corruption. It is broken beyond repair and the time has come to correct a 100 year old mistake. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Big business & Ketchikan's dock By Bob Brown - Big business is dictating the dock we load and unload , and the City of Ketchikan is going along with it. On July 29th, I brought my bus down for the tour that I was assigned to wait for. We must give our sellers time to sell enough before loading . I normally would have someone come out to back me but instead the Harbor Master came out and tells me I'm too big to be on the dock while Princess buses are there so was told to remove myself for a time while they get to bring more buses down. This has never happened before this year. WE had all been given a space no matter what. They argue that they should bring their buses down first and make us wait and then let us come on the dock. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter SB21: ?A Bad Deal for Alaska By Hal Gazaway & Barbara Gazaway - In the oil revenue debate we've heard and read misleading statements and distorted facts. As long time Alaska residents, business owners, and grandparents, we are very concerned about Alaska’s future economy. The “Vote No on Proposition One” group paints an “almost too good to be true” picture if SB21 prevails in August. The group repeatedly alludes to Alaska’s partnership with the oil companies, assuring us that this new deal (SB21) will result in more jobs as well as economic growth. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Prop 1 By Paul Hovik - Just say No to "Oiligarchy" - Vote Yes on 1! - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

letter Women Legislators Weigh In On Oil Tax Referendum By Senator Lesil McGuire, Senator Anna Fairclough, Senator Cathy Giessel, Representative Mia Costello, Representative Lynn Gattis, Representative Lindsey Holmes, Representative Shelley Hughes, Representative Charisse Millett, Representative Lora Reinbold, Representative Peggy Wilson & Representative Tammie Wilson - The discussion around oil tax reform and Ballot Measure 1 has benefitted from many informed and passionate voices from across the state. As women who serve in the Legislature and who voted for the bill that created our new tax policy, we want to lend a unique perspective on why we voted to pass Senate Bill 21 and why we will vote NO on 1 this August. - More...
Wednesday - August 06, 2014

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