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arrowWebmail Letters“I’m happy that our Alaskan fishermen will finally be able to receive equal opportunities for aid under the PPP program in the same way that other businesses have been able to do,” Stedman said.

Stedman said, “Southeast Alaska relies on fishing as a huge part of our economy and food supply, and this program will help alleviate some of the stress from the major loss in revenue due to circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The structure of commercial fishing businesses using self-employed independent contractors meant crew member payroll was unintentionally ineligible for compensation under this program originally.

Stedman urged those fishing businesses who can to apply by the June 30 deadline. However, he said his office will continue working with lenders and leaders to extend the deadline for those businesses who recently became eligible under this rule. 

“Many folks are currently out on the fishing grounds and will not be able to apply for this relief,” Stedman said.  “My office will work with the congressional delegation to seek an extension.”

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young (all R-Alaska) also praised the rule. Over the past several weeks, the Alaska Congressional Delegation has pressed the Trump administration for the change – which included sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza, to request the solution published Thursday. 

While commercial fishing businesses have been eligible for PPP loans, before Thursday’s fix they were not fully able to take advantage of the PPP due to the Department of Treasury’s previous treatment of their employees. Fishing crew members are generally considered self-employed independent contractors by the Internal Revenue Service. Even though these crew members are functionally employees, the previous rules did not allow commercial fishing businesses to account for their employee’s wages when calculating payroll costs when applying for a PPP loan. This led to reduced loan amounts. Today’s rule allows these businesses to account for their crew member’s wages when applying for a PPP loan. - More...
Thursday PM - June 25, 2020


Federal Judge Sends Logging Project on POW Back to the Drawing Board

Federal Judge Sends Logging Project on POW Back to the Drawing Board
Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMANPrince of Wales
Photo Courtesy U.S. Forest Service


Southeast Alaska: Federal Judge Sends Logging Project on POW Back to the Drawing Board Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - A federal court opinion issued Wednesday vacates the largest logging project in the national forest system by the Forest Service in a generation on Prince of Wales Island, in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason spells out the consequences for the U. S. Forest Service’s failure to adhere to environmental laws that require public participation, following a March 2020 decision where the Court ruled that the Forest Service had illegally approved the timber sale.

The Forest Service had approved 67 square miles of logging on Prince of Wales Island to be accessed by 164 miles of new roads over a period of 15 years, including up to 23,000 acres of old-growth forest. The forest supervisor signed off on the final environmental review for the project in March 2019.

The U.S. Forest Service had green-lighted a sweeping 15-year logging plan over a 1.8-million-acre project area across Prince of Wales and surrounding islands, part of a program dubbed the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis. While the plan also included restoration and recreation projects that plaintiffs were supportive of, the lawsuit specifically challenged logging and road-building. It would have been the largest timber sale on any national forest in 30 years, allowing for 164 miles of new road construction and the logging of enough trees to equal a forest three times the size of Manhattan, or 67 square miles. Opponents said more than half the planned logging acres would have targeted old-growth trees.

The ruling throws out the Forest Service’s record of decision and environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Prince of Wales project entirely, requiring the agency to prepare a complete new EIS before proceeding with logging plans or roads on Prince of Wales Island. The ruling is a victory for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and seven other conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice. The order does not hinder the Forest Service’s ability to proceed with recreation and restoration projects that were part of the EIS. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020

Alaska: District Court Rules Alaska Native Corporations Eligible For A Share of $8 Billion CARES Funding - Today U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ruled that Alaska Native Corporations can receive a share of the $8 billion in funding set aside for Tribal governments that Congress approved in March. 

The court decision deeming Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) eligible for tribal assistance appropriated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was welcomed today by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young (all R-Alaska).

“When we passed the CARES Act and included $8 billion for tribes within the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, we fought hard to ensure all tribes were included in the final bill. We also made sure that every Alaska Native entity would be able to expend the available resources necessary to meet the unprecedented public health crisis by including the broad, typically-used, 45-year-old definition of “Indian tribe” which includes Alaska Native Corporations,” said the Alaska Congressional Delegation in a joint statement. “The statute is unequivocal on this point, and we appreciate that the District Court judge now read the law as we wrote it so that Alaska Native communities across the state have the option to use all vehicles available.”

This decision is based on the Indian Self-Determination Act, which is about providing government services to Native people by partnering with Tribes, including ANCs. Congress intended to get these CARES Act funds to the same entities that deliver public services to American Indians and Alaska Natives quickly. This is not a major change in federal Indian law – it is about ensuring an adequate response to the public health crisis in Alaska. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020


 

Alaska: Group Has Grave Concerns About NPS Final Rule Restoring Hunting and Trapping in Alaska National Preserves Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - A group of former National Park Service (NPS) managers, all with extensive experience managing national parks, monuments and preserves in Alaska, sent a letter on June 19th to the Department of the Interior on behalf of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. The letter expresses the group’s grave concerns about the NPS final rule on hunting and trapping on National Preserves in Alaska - which will be effective July 09, 2020. This rule, they say, allows hunting practices that include killing black bear sows with cubs at den sites; killing wolves and coyotes, including pups, during denning season; and harvesting brown bears over bait.

In the letter, the group describes the rule as an “affront” to the very mission of the National Park Service and all NPS employees who have worked to protect the resources and values of national preserves in Alaska.The signers requested that the NPS abandons its implementation of the rule;or at a minimum, suspend the effective date and open a new public comment period so that the agency can provide updated data.

The letter goes on to describe Alaska as “the last place in the United States, if not the world, where large intact ecosystems have been designated for protection, so that they function naturally with little to no direct influence from man … Alaska is our nation’s last best chance to ever achieve such a lofty goal.” 

Coalition member and former Alaska Regional Director Rob Arnberger says that it is the duty of the NPS to “preserve and protect Alaska’s vast pristine areas for the benefit of all Americans, both current and future generations. We are utterly appalled that NPS has adopted this final rule, which is so contrary to its mission.”

Coalition Chair Phil Francis says the Coalition supports legally authorized sport and subsistence hunting in national preserves in Alaska that are regulated by practices that align with long delineated NPS laws, regulations, and policies. However, “this final rule is an extraordinary and completely unjustified reversal from the previous NPS decision regarding management of sport hunting in Alaska’s national preserves,” says Francis. “It creates a harmful precedent that could have serious consequences affecting NPS authority to manage hunting, when authorized, in park units in many other states.”

The National Park Service (NPS) announced the final rule on May 20th that amends its regulations for hunting and trapping in Alaska national preserves, removing prohibitions adopted in 2015 on harvest practices, which are otherwise permitted by the state of Alaska and federal law. This rule provides for Alaska residents who rely on state law to engage in their traditional hunting practices.
 
Having reconsidered its prior position in light of a review of the relevant authorities and of the associated impacts, NPS determined its 2015 rule conflicts with federal and state laws which allow for hunting and trapping in national preserves.
 
The final rule affirms the state of Alaska’s role in wildlife management on Alaska national preserves, consistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) policies guiding the federal-state relationship in the management of fish and wildlife. - More...
Thursday PM - June 25, 2020


Not all came back; Local man was on Navy sub that disappeared in WW II

Not all came back; Local man was on Navy sub that disappeared in WW II
By DAVE KIFFER
During her three-year war career, Gudgeon sank 14 ships totaling over 71,372 tons, placing her 15th on the honor roll of American submarines. For her first seven war patrols Gudgeon received the Presidential Unit Citation and she earned 11 battle stars for World War II service.
Photo U.S. Navy


 

Ketchikan Historical: Not all came back; Local man was on Navy sub that disappeared in WW II By DAVE KIFFER - Some 850 men and women from Ketchikan took part in military service in World War II. Six died in the war and five were buried with honors, either in Ketchikan or at military cemeteries elsewhere. But one "local" man who died in World War II, Jerome Richard Rice, isn't buried anywhere.

Jerome Rice was lost with 59 other crew members on the submarine USS Gudgeon when it disappeared in the western Pacific in 1944.

That Rice never returned home is not usual in the submarine fleet. The mortality rate in the 30,000 men of the American "silent service" in World War II was 20 percent. The overall mortality rate for soldiers and sailors in that war was 2.5 percent. It was worse if you were a submariner for one of the countries that came on out on the wrong end of the score. For example, of the 40,000 men who served on German U-Boats, only 10,000 survived, a staggering loss of 75 percent.

But even if American submariner losses were lower, anyone who signed up for US sub duty - and it was all volunteer - knew they had a much greater chance of not coming home than other sailors in the war.

And if Rice had survived the war, would he have returned to Ketchikan? Well, the historical record on him is limited. It's not even clear if Ketchikan was his long-term home. His father, Maurice Rice, was a lieutenant commander at the Ketchikan Coast Guard base from 1941 to 1945, so the Navy considers Jerome Rice's hometown to be Ketchikan.

According to the 1930 census, Rice was born in New York. According to the 1940 census, he was living, with his family, in Cleveland. But by 1944, his father was clearly in Ketchikan and - as far as the United States Navy is concerned - Rice is one of the six Ketchikan men who died during service in World War ll.

The length of Rice's service on the USS Gudgeon is also unclear. All we know for sure is that Rice was on the ship when it disappeared in 1944. During the war, it was normal for submariners to do at least three "patrols" on a ship before cycling into a shore side duty. Since the Gudgeon underwent major overall and brought on an entirely new crew before its ninth patrol, it was likely that he was on the ship for its 9th, 10th, 11th and final patrols.

While Rice's own history has been a challenge to trace, the Gudgeon, one of the most honored ships in the war, has a clear history. The Gudgeon is credited with being the first American submarine to sink an enemy warship in World War II on January 27, 1942. The long-range Tambor-class sub scored 14 confirmed kills of 71,000 tons, making it 15th in terms of US subs during the war before it disappeared in early June of 1944 and was presumed lost.

It was built at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, some 25 miles northeast of San Francisco in the upper reaches of San Pablo Bay.

Construction began in November of 1939 and it was launched in late January of 1941, nearly a year before Pearl Harbor.  The 307-foot submarine had a crew of 6 officers and 64 enlisted men. It had a speed of slightly more than 20 knots on the surface and approximately 8.75 knots submerged.  At 10 knots it had a surface range of 11,000 nautical miles. It could stay submerged up to 48 hours.  It carried a total of 24 torpedoes and had six forward tubes and four aft tubes. The overall cost of the submarine was $6 million.

The Gudgeon's first mission was to visit Alaska on its way to Pearl Harbor.  First , it undertook a shakedown cruise off California and then on August 28, 1941 headed to Seattle and then further north. It was part of a mission to assess Alaskan ports for their suitability as naval bases and along the way it stopped in Sitka, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. It reached Pearl Harbor in early October where it underwent training exercises. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020


Plan Opens Oil Drilling in Alaska’s
National Petroleum Reserve

Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN
National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A)
Photo courtesy BLM


 

 

Alaska: Plan Opens Oil Drilling in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN - Yesterday, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy praised the U.S. Department of Interior’s publication of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a new National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) Integrated Activity Plan (IAP). The final EIS selects Alternative E as the preferred alternative, which would open 18.6 million acres for oil and gas leasing. 

“I want to thank President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt, and the Department of Interior for working closely with Alaskans to better balance federal land usage in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska,” said Governor Dunleavy. “My administration welcomes the responsible investment and development that will occur as a result of this action.”

“As Americas only Arctic State, it was refreshing that the Federal Administration considered Alaska’s science and our local understanding of the subtle environmental nuance that is Alaska’s North Slope when making this critical decision in its EIS for the conservation of the environment and the security of this Nation. I feel confident that the oil and gas resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska can be developed in a manner conserves the fish and wildlife resources and their uses,” said Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The NPR-A is estimated to hold 8.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiated the EIS in November 2018 to determine the appropriate management of BLM-managed public lands in the NPR-A. The BLM issued a draft EIS on November 2019 and the final EIS comes after a 75-day public comment period. A Record of Decision will follow the publication of the final EIS and impact any future BLM Alaska lease sales within the NPR-A.

“Turning the oil industry loose on America’s biggest undeveloped frontier would be a disaster for our climate and Alaska’s wildlife,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Drilling oil and gas wells in the Western Arctic would do immense harm to Arctic wildlife already under siege from the climate crisis. We can’t let that happen.”

Yesterday’s final “integrated activity plan” from the Bureau of Land Management opens up sections of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska protected from oil leasing by the Obama administration. Quoting a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity, the final plan adopts a preferred alternative that was not included in the proposed plan and turns over even more land than the 18.3 million acres under that proposed plan.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the plan would offer oil companies the area around Teshekpuk Lake, which has been protected habitat for caribou herds, polar bears, millions of migratory birds and subsistence hunting for Alaska Natives. The protected habitat area around Teshekpuk Lake is adjacent to the Willow oil-project site that ConocoPhillips is currently seeking approval from the BLM to develop. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020


 
Columns

jpg RICH MANIERI

RICH MANIERI: DEFUND POLICE MOVEMENTS MISS THE BIG PICTURE - In case you missed it, 106 people were shot in Chicago last weekend. That’s not a typo – 106.

If mainstream news organizations still covered the news, instead of only the news that serves or refutes an agenda, we might have heard more.

Of the 106 people shot, 14 – including a 3-year-old boy – were killed.

When asked about the catalysts for such violence, Chicago police Superintendent David Brown boiled it down – “gangs, guns and drugs.”

And then, amid the national cacophony of calls to defund and/or abolish local police departments, overhaul the criminal justice system, release criminals from prison, and the establishment of police-free zones by anarchists in big cities, the superintendent said something really interesting.

“There are too many violent offenders not in jail, or on electronic monitoring, which no one is really monitoring,” Brown said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We need violent felons to stay in jail longer and we need improvements to the home monitoring system.”

It sounds as if the last thing law enforcement in Chicago needs is fewer resources. And despite efforts by a sympathetic media and others to explain away what “defund” the police really means, Chicago’s mayor seems to understand.

“When you talk about defunding, you’re talking about getting rid of officers,” Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s first black female mayor, told the New York Times.

In September, Lightfoot, a Democrat, told Edward McClelland, of Chicago Magazine, that “we’ve got to stop treating black and brown folks like they’re expendable. A militarized response to the violence isn’t what people want, and more to the point, it’s not effective.”

Earlier this month, as McClelland wrote, Lightfoot called in the National Guard to deal with rioting and looting following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

It’s easy to speak out against a militarized response, until your city is on fire.

In the same interview with the Times, Lightfoot said there is a “cultural dysfunction” within the Chicago police department. But even she realizes taking officers off the street will do nothing to curb the city’s epidemic of violent crime.

When it comes to law enforcement, trying to do more with less is never a sound strategy.

Reform is necessary. Bad cops need to be weeded out and not shielded by unions. Better engagement is needed between local police departments and minority communities. Cops are not social workers, nor should we expect them to be. But policing will never be an exact science. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020


jpg Political Cartoon: What A Mask Reveals

Political Cartoon: What A Mask Reveals
By Bob Englehart ?2020, PoliticalCartoons.com
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


      

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jpg Opinion

Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic response to Alaska Congressional Delegation regarding the Reality of Racism By Siqiñiq Maupin - Recently the Alaska Congressional delegation, Don Young, Dan Sullivan, and Lisa Murkoski shamefully attempted to utilize this moment of racial spotlight to benefit their own profit interests, by implying  that global banks' decisions to divest from the fossil fuel industry in Alaska is racially fueled. Banks around the world are divesting from activities that contribute to climate change AND they are listening to Indigenous Peoples calling for the protection of our ways of life. Both Gwich’in and Iñupiat Peoples have made official resolutions to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, therefore divesting from oil and gas development in the Refuge is answering the calls of Indigenous Peoples, it is the right thing to do.  

Today we are in a revolution. The world is finally waking up to the long fought battle against racism.  Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities have been subjected to subtle and violent racism since the onset of colonialism that has been both systemic and very very personal. Yet, in the last few weeks we are seeing the possibility of real change. We are seeing Justice demanded and taken. 

While Arctic Slope Regional Corporation supports drilling in the Arctic Refuge, they are not a tribal entity nor do they require or practice consensus from their Iñupiat shareholders.  Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic (SILA) is an Iñupiat organization, and while we respect the complex relationship of regional corporations and our Native peoples of the North Slope, we also recognize that regional corporations, by definition of law are not tribal entities and do not meet federal tribal consultation standards/requirements. Alaska Native corporations are beholden to shareholders (who may or may not be tribal members), they are not necessarily accountable to tribal membership. When Alaska’s congressional delegation sides with the corporations rather than the Alaska Native nations it is for blatant interest in oil and gas profits, not people and definitely not for racial equity. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020

jpg Opinion

It’s Past Time for Ketchikan to Mandate Masks By Ghert Abbott - Following the events of last week, it is clear that a single COVID-19 sufferer disregarding the existing state restrictions is all that it takes to threaten an outbreak with “wide community spread.” In light of this fact, the question naturally comes to mind: why hasn’t the City Council and the Borough Assembly passed ordinances mandating the wearing of facial masks?

With the premature end of most lockdowns, COVID-19 infections are once again increasing across the country, including in California, Oregon, and Washington state. A COVID-19 vaccine is nowhere on the horizon and is likely several years away, so our town will be dealing with this health threat for some time to come. More COVID-19 cases will come here and slip through our state’s inadequate detection system – it is a simple inevitability. When that happens, it would be better for Ketchikan if there was an additional line of defense against “wide community spread” in the form of universal mask wearing. A number of U.S. states, cities, and towns have already implemented mandatory mask laws or are preparing to do so. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020

jpg Opinion

Captain James Cook statue in Anchorage By John Suter - I think now is the time to replace the Captain James Cook statue at Resolution Park with a AOC statue.  Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, congresswoman from New York. is the greatest intellectual of our time.  She is the mother of the Green New Deal that will save mankind from world extinction.  Now is the time to get onboard with this change before it is too late. - Letter link...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020

jpg Opinion

Response to Roger Marks: Oil profits in Alaska By Ray Metcalfe - Roger Marks: Last November 13th, you, in an op-ed printed in the Anchorage Daily News, accused me of misleading Alaskans in my November 5th article comparing ConocoPhillips' $26 per barrel net profit in Alaska with their profits "in the rest of the world." You said, "Metcalfe is comparing the oil profits in Alaska, where we produce 100% oil, with the combined oil and natural gas profits everywhere else." In response to another writer's similar comparison, you said, "it was like comparing apples to oranges."

So, as you wish, I'll compare Alaska's costs to three winning bids for production of crude, just like Alaska's pure 100% crude. 

BP formed a partnership with China's state-owned CNPC to make a costs plus $2 net bid to produce 100% pure crude from Iraq's Rumaila field. BP's bid required Iraq to reimburse 100% of all BP's hard costs plus pay BP $2 for every barrel produced. It makes no difference whether the price of oil is $25 per barrel or $100 per barrel, a net profit of $2 per barrel is what Iraq pays BP.

ENI, an Italian oil company that has interests on Alaska's North Slope, ttr>

jpg Opinion

RIGHT WING CRAZY TALK AND THE BOOGALOO BOYS By David G. Hanger - Let’s start out by noting that “defunding the police” as political mantra or slogan is almost as dumb as Trump holding a rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth. I rather imagine a whole lot more of you in the past week or so have learned something about both the Tulsa Massacre of 1921 and Juneteenth, the day the slaves of Texas learned they were free; the day of Jubilee.

That aside, I would encourage Mr. John Suter and many others of you to seriously evaluate which way your flags are waving. “Antifa,” for example, is not an entity in any sense of the term, not an organization; it is just a label. Rather than continuously slurping the kool-aid of the Joseph Goebbels School of Journalism and Propaganda that gives you nothing substantive except a severe case of Jello- brain, and otherwise parrot-like conduct and thought, try reading the police reports and the FBI reports of this series of demonstrations that have been occurring nationwide since Memorial Day weekend.

What you might have learned is that while there were many individual instances of looting and burning, there is no evidence of left-wing organizations of any kind coordinating dissenting activities. What you also would have learned is that there is a lot of evidence of violent right wing groups coordinating activities designed as ‘false flag’ operations with the specific intent of blaming someone else for their crap. The ‘Boogaloo Boys’ have already murdered two law enforcement officers, been involved in multiple nefarious actions, and are planning even more violent endeavors according to the Feds. Your ‘Boogaloo Boys’ are organized. They are also moronic, idiotic, and dangerously violent.

The people in the streets, your neighbors, for the most part are not. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020

jpg Opinion

Ketchikan City Council or Antifa what is the Diference? By Rex Barber - Progressivism, Communism, Nazism, Antifa, their foundation is all the same socialism and a profound hatred for America.  The marrow of these peoples sole is truly saturated with human excrement. Across America they pillage and riot completely immune from prosecution by the law . Simply because it fills the end goal agenda of the fore mentioned. Bring America to its knees and transform it into a socialist oligarchy.

And what does the Ketchikan City Council do when they have a chance to celebrate America and tell all these low lives to go pack sand. They side with progressivism, Nazism, Communism, and Antifa. All in the name of looking after are health? that lie didn’t even require the imagination of a pencil eraser. Covid 19 is here to stay no mask,  or amount 0f isolation is going to change it. Only common sense and hygiene by the individual will help.

The separation in our country between those who believe in liberty and those who believe in socialism has become great!! - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020

jpg Opinion

Please do not vote for Trump By Hallie Engel - Please listen to me. Consider my words carefully.

Donald Trump doesn't care if you die. He does not care. Not one bit.

Throughout his presidency, he has helped the wealthy and well-connected. He has not helped normal people, because he does not care about them.

Until the epidemic, the effects of this were somewhat harder to see. When it caused deaths, it was a little more indirect and could be blamed on other things. Now that we have a lethal virus making its way around the world, things have become much clearer.

Tens of thousands of Americans have died. Trump started by calling the virus a 'hoax' and downplaying its severity. Watch videos of his rallies for proof of this. When it became harder to deny how desperate the situation was, he began lying and floundering.

He started blaming Obama, who has been out of office for years. He began saying the virus would magically go away. He drafted his inexperienced and inept son-in-law to help. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020

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