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Ketchikan Historical: Ketchikan's rainfall notoriety goes way back; In 1916 Visiting Writer Dubbed First City 'The Rainiest Town' By DAVE KIFFER - Perception is often reality, so although there may be some wetter places in America than Ketchikan (Little Port Walter, Kauai Island in Hawaii, the coast north of Yakutat) Ketchikan is generally considered the rainiest "town" in America.

And despite its efforts to market itself as other things, such as the Salmon Capital of the World, it has certainly been nationally known as the rainfall  champion since the late 1940s ( See "When Did Ketchikan Become the Rainfall Capital," SITNEWS, August 17, 2017)

Or maybe even earlier?

How about this headline from the January 12, 1916 edition of the international weekly magazine "Christian Herald" published in New York City.

"Ketchikan: The Rainiest Town in America."

The Herald was certainly international in scope with stories in that issue about the recent changes in China as it went from empire to republic, the World War in Europe, and a variety of stories on religious life in America and elsewhere.

But it also had a travel section and that month it was featuring Frank G. Carpenter's "Travel Story of Alaska."

Arriving by steamship, Carpenter naturally noted that it was a challenge differentiating Ketchikan and the Alaskan Panhandle from British Columbia from which it appeared to be "cut from."

He noted that Ketchikan was in a "marine paradise."

"I sailed for more than 500 miles through Canadian waters to Revillagigedo Island on the shores of which Ketchikan lies," Carpenter wrote. "The trip took me more than two days and the fare was $22."

His descriptions of the Inside Passage were particularly rapturous.

"I despair of giving you any ideas of the beauties of this voyage," he wrote. "There are all sorts of combinations of sea and sky, of evergreen slopes and snow-capped mountains, the color effects are beyond description and the sunsets indescribable in the changes and beauties."

And then he arrives in Ketchikan, which he describes as "an American town on piles."

"The houses are built on the rocks," he wrote. "It has no beach to speak of and the business part of the town rests upon piles. The streets are planked roadways upon posts and much of the freight is carried about on trucks and carts pushed by men. There are several drays hauled by horses, but horses are unpopular for their shoes roughen the planks and they shake the town as they trot through the streets."

Carpenter noted that the houses are "high on the cliffs above the harbor."

"It is so steep you have to climb stairways to reach certain streets," he wrote. "The Ketchikaners make you think of the tree dwellers, who have to climb ladders to get to their homes." - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021

Alaska - National: President Signs Legislation to Extend PPP Deadline - U.S. President Joe Biden last week signed into law the PPP Extension Act of 2021 - legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to extend the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31. The bill also gives the U.S. Small Business Administration an additional month through June 30 to process any backlogged applications.

“PPP has supported millions of small businesses through the pandemic, and it is clear that the program must continue to be a lifeline for small businesses and nonprofits,” said Senator Cardin. “It is vital that we in Congress continue working in a bipartisan manner to fine-tune PPP in the weeks ahead to make the program more fair and equitable.”

“The PPP has been an enormous success, sustaining millions of small businesses and tens of millions of American jobs,” said Senator Collins.  “To date, Maine small employers have received nearly 43,000 forgivable loans to help them stay afloat and continue to pay their employees, and our legislation will allow more small businesses to access this lifeline.  I am pleased that Congress acted before the PPP expired in order to prevent an interruption in the program and give small business owners this crucial two-month extension.  I encourage eligible small businesses that have yet to apply for a first or second draw PPP loan to contact their financial institution as soon as possible.” - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021


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Fish Factor: Mask requirement aboard fishing vessels still stands By LAINE WELCH - The mask requirement for all persons aboard fishing vessels still stands and Alaska’s U.S. Senators are adding their clout to have it removed.

A Coast Guard a Marine Safety Information Bulletin issued on March 22 states its authority to restrict vessel access to ports and operations if they fail to follow the rules as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

“Vessels that have not implemented the mask requirement may be issued a Captain of the Port order directing the vessel’s movement and operations; repeated failure to impose the mask mandate could result in civil and/or criminal enforcement action,” the Bulletin says.

The CDC mask requirement has been interpreted by the Coast Guard to apply to “all forms of commercial maritime vessels,”  including cargo ships, fishing vessels, research vessels and self-propelled barges.” It requires “all travelers” to wear a mask, including those who have been vaccinated, according to National Fisherman which added, “Why commercial fishing vessels have been included in a requirement written for airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares, trolleys, and cable cars has yet to be explained by the Coast Guard.”

“Senator Murkowski and I have been pressing this relentlessly on a call with the Coast Guard commandant, a call with the White House guy who's supposedly in charge of all the CDC issues, we had a meeting with the head of the CDC, we are trying to explain to them how, no offense, but just how stupid this is and how uninformed it is,” Senator Dan Sullivan said last week at a ComFish forum. “And it could be a safety issue, not with regard to COVID, but with having to wear masks when you're out on the deck of a ship in 30 foot waves trying to bring in gear or pots. So, we're going to continue to work on that one.”

“The CDC has planted their heels on this one as I understand it,” echoed Doug Vincent-Lang, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “Certainly, from a realistic standpoint, it makes no sense. So we're on the front side of that conversation.”

Vincent-Lang added that he is speaking with members of other coastal states and hopes to garner support to overturn the mask requirement.

“I think to the extent that we can form some kind of a unified position on this issue across more states, we stand a better chance of changing it. Because this is a CDC guidance which can be changed depending upon how they get policy direction from the White House. And if they hear from other coastal states in addition to Alaska, they'll probably be more inclined to do it,” he said.

Feedback on the masking rule can be given at wearamask@uscg.mil - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021


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Alaska: 'Another season without tourism in Southeast Alaska is simply not an option' - The Alaska State House last week passed Senate Joint Resolution 9, sponsored by Senator Jesse Kiehl (D-Juneau), to encourage the United States Congress and the President Biden to temporarily pause federal laws currently blocking all chance of large cruise ships visiting the state. The Passenger Vessel Services Act requires large cruise ships to stop in at least one international port. On February 2, 2021, the Canadian government closed its ports to cruise ships for the entire 2021 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The resolution calls on Congress to grant an exemption to a federal law that requires cruise ships to stop at a foreign port in order to sail to Alaska. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has banned cruise ships carrying more than 100 people from sailing in Canadian waters, effectively preventing a tourism season here. 

As cruising resumes elsewhere in the world, Alaska workers and businesses need the opportunity for COVID-safe commerce. SJR 9 recognizes the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s October, 2020 framework for cruise ships in U.S. waters. That order requires stringent health measures to keep US ports safe. 

“With over 2 million visitors to Alaska every year, many Alaska families depend on a successful tourism season to put food on the table and a roof over their heads,” said Sen. Kiehl. “In 2019, tourism was responsible for $4 billion of economic activity in Alaska. We can’t afford to miss a second season in a row. With vaccination becoming widespread, we have the tools in place to keep Alaskans and visitors safe. That can give Alaska workers and businesses a chance.”

“Coastal Alaska's economy relies on tourism from cruise ships, which brought 90 percent of our visitors in the year before the pandemic,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). “Another lost season could be a fatal blow to many businesses hanging on by a thread, and I implore our federal partners to find common-sense alternatives that help businesses get back on their feet.”

“During the pandemic, Alaskans have found creative ways to keep their businesses floating and communities safe,” added Rep. Sara Hannan (D-Juneau). “The federal government also needs to get creative and find a way to bring back cruises this summer. Another season without tourism in Southeast Alaska is simply not an option.” - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021


 

Alaska: Governor Moves to Exert Control Over Alaska Lands and Waters - Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden  asserting state management of the more than 800,000 miles of navigable rivers and 30 million acres of navigable lakes in Alaska, expressing intent for the State to exercise its authority to manage them and the related submerged lands under state law.

After 62 years of federal delay and obstruction, the State of Alaska is asserting its management rights over the vast network of navigable waters and submerged lands it received at statehood and will move aggressively to promote their use and enjoyment to serve the interests of the Alaska people. 

“For too long, we have waited for federal land managers to fulfil their duty and acknowledge that the Alaska people, and not their bureaucracies, are the true owners of Alaska’s navigable waters and submerged lands,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Despite clear legal evidence and common sense, the federal government has failed to loosen its chokehold on these areas. With today’s action, we are asserting our rights and unlocking Alaska.”

Additionally, Governor Dunleavy directed Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Corri Feige to send letters to the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture telling them to cease management oversight of such lands within federal conservation units and refer all users to state authorities.

“We at DNR have worked with our federal counterparts for many years to secure quiet title to Alaska’s submerged lands beneath navigable waters,” said Commissioner Corri Feige. “Unfortunately, our good faith efforts have been met with delay, denial, and resistance that have cost the state time and money, and further deprived many Alaskans of the opportunity to enjoy their statehood birthright. The administration’s initiative reflects the truth that these resources are Alaska’s, to be enjoyed by Alaska without federal interference.”

The Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service manage more than 200 million acres in Alaska. In the past, they have managed hundreds of thousands of acres of submerged lands within the boundaries of federal conservation system units (CSUs) as if they are part of these units, creating access and management conflicts for Alaskans trying to use these waters and navigate across the state. - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021


 

 

Alaska - National: US deaths normally change less than 2% each year; in 2020, they rose nearly 23% - Extended surges in the South and West in the summer and early winter of 2020 resulted in regional increases in excess death rates, both from COVID-19 and from other causes, a 50-state analysis of excess death trends has found. Virginia Commonwealth University researchers' latest study notes that Black Americans had the highest excess death rates per capita of any racial or ethnic group in 2020.

The research, published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, offers new data from the last 10 months of 2020 on how many Americans died during 2020 as a result of the effects of the pandemic -- beyond the number of COVID-19 deaths alone -- and which states and racial groups were hit hardest.

The rate of excess deaths -- or deaths above the number that would be expected based on averages from the previous five years -- is usually consistent, fluctuating 1% to 2% from year to year, said Steven Woolf, M.D., the study's lead author and director emeritus of VCU's Center on Society and Health. From March 1, 2020, to Jan. 2, 2021, excess deaths rose a staggering 22.9% nationally, fueled by COVID-19 and deaths from other causes, with regions experiencing surges at different times.

"COVID-19 accounted for roughly 72% of the excess deaths we're calculating, and that's similar to what our earlier studies showed. There is a sizable gap between the number of publicly reported COVID-19 deaths and the sum total of excess deaths the country has actually experienced," Woolf said.

For the other 28% of the nation's 522,368 excess deaths during that period, some may actually have been from COVID-19, even if the virus was not listed on the death certificates due to reporting issues.

But Woolf said disruptions caused by the pandemic were another cause of the 28% of excess deaths not attributed to COVID-19. Examples might include deaths resulting from not seeking or finding adequate care in an emergency such as a heart attack, experiencing fatal complications from a chronic disease such as diabetes, or facing a behavioral health crisis that led to suicide or drug overdose.

"All three of those categories could have contributed to an increase in deaths among people who did not have COVID-19 but whose lives were essentially taken by the pandemic," said Woolf, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health at the VCU School of Medicine. - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021

Obituary: Nevin Stanley May - Nevin Stanley May (84) died peacefully at home on March 28, 2021, surrounded by family.

Born in Prentice, WI, Nevin came to Ketchikan in 1967. In his words, “I thought it was the greatest place you could imagine. It was wide open, you could do just about anything you wanted. Logging was going full blast and you could hardly find a tourist. Work was plentiful, logging and the pulp mill kept everyone busy.”

Nevin began his storied career as a commercial troller soon thereafter and continued for more than 40 years, selling the F/V Cheryl in 2012. Through his years fishing, he made friends (and probably some enemies too writes his family) with local, state, and federal politicians, and helped to shape some of today’s fishing regulations. He co-founded the Alaska Trollers Association and was a board member for several years. He was also a member of the Seafood Producers Co-Op, and served as chairman of the board from 2001-2002. - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021



 
Columns
Commentary

 

jpg BEN EDWARDS

FINANCIAL FOCUS: How Much Risk Should You Take Before Retirement? Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS®- If you’re planning to retire in just a few years, you may be getting excited about this next phase of your life. However, your ability to enjoy retirement fully will depend, at least partially, on the resources you can draw from your investment portfolio. So, while you still have time to act, ask yourself if you’re comfortable with your portfolio’s risk level.

Your relationship with risk can change noticeably over time. When you started saving for retirement, you may have been willing to take on more investment risk, which translated into a relatively high percentage of stocks and stock-based mutual funds in your investment portfolio. As you know, stocks offer the potential for greater returns than other assets – such as bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs) – but they are also typically more volatile and carry more risk. But when you were many decades away from retirement, you had sufficient time to recover from market fluctuations. (Of course, there are no guarantees – it’s possible that some stocks will lose value and never regain it.) - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021
jpg LISA NELSON

LISA NELSON: BEWARE OF A FEDERAL BAILOUT OF STATES - A year after the first COVID-19 shutdown, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act – the $1.9 trillion coronavirus legislation that truly has little to do with coronavirus at all.

The third of its kind since 2020, the bill was proposed with the intention to provide COVID relief and bailout states with federal funds. But in this case, the third time isn’t the charm as once again, federal decision makers have turned to quick fixes that create long-term issues rather than long-term solutions.

Our recent history teaches us a federal bailout of the states threatens to further harm taxpayers, federalism and ultimately the states themselves. This third state bailout, with less than 10% going to COVID relief and only 1% going to vaccine distribution, proves that this will be the case again.

Since the first discussion on federal bailout of the states began in 2020, hundreds of state lawmakers addressed the policy problems with a federal bailout. State leaders were concerned with the federal “solution” prescribed to help them, because a state bailout wrongly rewards those who have made poor financial decisions at the expense of prosperity states. - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021


jpg Political Cartoon: Infrastructure repair and rebuild

Political Cartoon: Infrastructure repair and rebuild
By Dave Granlund©, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

jpg Political Cartoon:  Biden's New Paradigm

Political Cartoon:  Biden's New Paradigm
by Rick McKee©, Counterpoint
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

jpg Political Cartoon: Capitol Police Officer Evans' Tribute

Political Cartoon: Capitol Police Officer Evans' Tribute
by Dave Granlund©, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

      

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jpg Opinion

ARPA fed funds By Rep. Dan Ortiz - The State of Alaska has received significant federal relief funding during COVID-19. We have received funds in three tranches - the CARES Act in March 2020, CRRSA Act in December 2020, and ARP Act in March 2021.

The most recent federal appropriation bill, American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, provides an additional $1.45 billion to Alaska. $250 million of that amount will go straight to local governments and $370 million will go to school districts.

In general, the specified uses for federal relief funds have become more flexible over time; the CARES Act had a narrow requirement and short timeline for what the funds could cover, whereas the ARP Act generally has more flexibility in spending power. For example, the CARES Act funding was unable to backfill lost revenue, which was particularly harmful to port communities. Because of the lack of a tourism season, the City of Ketchikan was paying big infrastructure costs while simultaneously losing $33 million in revenue, primarily in the form of sales taxes from visitors. - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021

jpg Opinion

Systemic Racism By Hannah Ramiskey - While reading the Wall Street Journal on March 5, 2021, I came across an article by Jeffrey H Anderson concerning President Biden’s response to a reporter who asked if he believed that there was ‘systemic racism in law enforcement’. President Biden replied, “Absolutely”. Later, President Biden stated that “his administration would make evidence- based decisions guided by the best available science and data.” Mr. Anderson takes issue with the President’s statements.

It seems that every year since the Nixon administration, the Federal Justice Department has examined whether people of different races were arrested to a degree that was disproportionate to their involvement in crime. The report released in January 2021 concluded that there was ‘no statistically significant difference by race between how likely people were to commit serious violent crimes and how likely they were to be arrested.’ The data suggested that police officers and sheriff’s deputies focus on criminals’ actions, not their race.

The WSJ article goes on to report that the NCVS is the nation’s largest crime survey. It is based on a survey of about 250,000 U.S residents who are asked if they have been a victim of violent crime in the last six months. The data is gathered from victims and is not based on police records. The victim’s responses were compared with arrests by police, supplied by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Supporting Program. “It found that for non-fatal violent crimes that victims reported to the police, whites accounted for 48% of offenders and 46% of arrestees. Blacks accounted for 35% of offenders and 33% of arrestees, Asians 2% of offenders and 1% of arrestees. None of the differences between the percentage of offenders and percentage of arrestees of a given race were statistically significant.” (Data on fatal crimes is not available as murder victims cannot identify their assailants). - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021

jpg Opinion

Utilize the Police Department to protect and serve, not imprison and fine By Alexander Coker - The war on drugs has been a complete failure. It has somehow shifted to a war on the downtrodden. The Alaska Libertarian Party firmly believes laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm.

When addressing sexual relations between two consenting adults, the government does not have the responsibility nor authority to intervene. The same goes with lower level drug possession.  Alaskans desire their autonomy and should be able to choose to do with their bodies as they wish, as long as they do not effect others. - More...
Monday PM - april 05, 2021

jpg Opinion

Where is the Wisdom? By Louise Clark - I simply have to ask once again, where is the wisdom? I see the boats going to Sitka for the sac roe fishery yet again.

My people lived here for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years and feasted every spring on the wonderful delicacy of the herring eggs. They never harmed the massive numbers that came every spring for not only the humans, but every creature from the sky, land and sea. They savored and enjoyed the bountiful masses of herring that once came.

Unless you lived here in the 1930s or 40's you have no conception of what a true biomass of herring looked like. I remember as a child watching in awe because it literally looked like you could walk across to Pennock Island on the backs of the massive amounts of herring swimming by for days to their spawning grounds. - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021

jpg Opinion

Selective Service registration deserves a full hearing in Congress By Edward Hasbrouck - A Supreme Court case challenging the requirement for men, but not women, to register with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft is forcing Congress to make a choice it has been avoiding for decades: End draft registration, or expand it to young women as well as young men.

The choice is not between continuing male-only draft registration (which is likely to be found unconstitutional) and expanding registration to women. The real choice is whether to expand registration to women or to end it entirely.  Bills for each of those options were introduced in the last session of Congress, and are likely to be reintroduced within the next few months as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

This is a choice about militarism, not a choice about gender equality. Expanding draft registration to women would bring about a semblance of equality in war (although women in the military would likely still be subject to disproportionate sexual harassment and abuse). Ending draft registration would bring about real equality in peace and freedom. - More...
Monday PM - April 05, 2021

jpg Opinion

SAVE THE KETCHIKAN BUREAUCRATS, KILL THE TOWN By David G Hanger - Let’s start with a dose of historical reality. A year ago your then “Dear Leader” assured everyone this pandemic was no big deal and would all be over in a few weeks, despite the historical reality that the Spanish Flu (apparently in fact the Fort Reilly, Kansas, Flu)lasted two-and-a-half years and more before it cleared out. By late spring, early summer 2020, at the latest, it should have been obvious to anyone that not only 2020 but also 2021 were completely wiped out. The real question is 2022 and beyond, about which there remains considerable uncertainty. - More...
Monday PM - March 29, 2021

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