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Daily Sitka Sentinel Newspaper Archives Mar 30 2015, Page 1

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Daily Sitka Sentinel (Newspaper) - March 30, 2015, Sitka, Alaska 75 Cents Volume 76 No. 59 Sitka, Alaska Monday, March 30, 2015 6 Pages A h o m e - o w n e d n e w s p a p e r s e r v i n g S i t k a s i n c e 1 9 4 0 • w w w. s i t k a s e n t i n e l . c o m / sitkasentinel Scenic Surfing 7 5 Daily Sitka Sentinel Years Appeals Court Supports State On Yup’ik Fishing Bill On Move For UA Regents Residency Rule Groups to Appeal Tongass Timber Project Decision Sentinel Special Final Four Set Sports Lincoln Continental Regaining Traction Continued on back page Sitka Forecast for March 31 43 º / 40 º Rain Likely Winds: SE 5- 10 MPH Senators Try to Limit Gov’s LNG Plan FERTILE SHORE – Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game released this map showing areas of herring spawn ( drawn in heavy lines) in Sitka Sound today. They noted approximately 19 nautical miles of active spawn in the Hayward Strait area, in the Siginaka Islands and on the Halibut Point Road system south of Old Sitka Rocks. The next aerial survey is scheduled for Tuesday morning. ( Map provided by ADF& G) A Lincoln Continental concept car is shown at the New York International Auto Show today in New York. Thirteen years after the last Continental rolled off the Continued assembly line, Ford Motor Co. is resurrecting its storied nameplate. The production version of the full- size sedan goes on sale next year. ( AP Photo/ Mark Lennihan) KETCHIKAN, Alaska ( AP) — Conservation groups plan to appeal a federal court ruling that allowed a logging project to proceed in the nation’s largest forest. The Ketchikan Daily News reports environmental groups fighting the Big Thorne sale in southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest plan to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court. U. S. District Judge Ralph Beistline on March 20 ruled in favor of the U. S. Forest Service. The agency last year approved selling 6,000 acres of oldgrowth trees for logging as part of the timber project on Prince of Wales Island west of Ketchikan. Environmental groups raised concerns about how the logging would affect wolf and deer populations. But Beistline ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show that the Forest Service didn’t follow proper procedure before mak ing its final decision. Tuesday Deadline To Apply for PFD ANCHORAGE, Alaska ( AP) — Alaskans are almost out of time to sign up for their share of the state’s oil wealth this year. Tuesday is the deadline to apply for the 2015 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. The payout is based on the five- year average of the fund’s statutory net income. Last year, the $ 1,884 payout distributed to Alaskans was more than double the amount of the $ 900 checks received in 2013, but short of the record payout of $ 2,069 in 2008. RACHEL D’ORO, Associated Press ANCHORAGE ( AP) — The Alaska Court of Appeals on Friday ruled against 13 Yup’ik Eskimo fishermen who challenged their convictions of illegal king salmon fishing on the Kuskokwim River during a poor run in 2012. In siding with the state, the appellate court said protecting king salmon stocks supersedes the argument by plaintiffs that the state had a duty to accommodate their cultural and religious beliefs. The fishermen maintained they have a spiritual right to fish for king salmon when restrictions are in place — a defense based on a free exercise clause of the Alaska Constitution. In its ruling, the appellate court said the religious exemption sought would Saudi- Led Forces Hit Aden Ports By AHMED AL- HAJ Associated Press SANAA, Yemen ( AP) — Saudi- led naval forces imposed a blockade on Yemen’s ports as coalition airstrikes on Monday repelled an advance on the southern port city of Aden by Shiite rebels and forces loyal to a former president, in what appeared to be the most intense day of fighting since the air campaign began five days ago. The move to block ports appeared aimed at preventing the rebels, known as Houthis, from rearming, and comes after the coalition achieved full control of the skies and bombed a number of rebel- held airports. The rebels are supported by Iran, but both Iran and the Houthis deny Tehran has armed them. As night fell, intense explosions could be heard throughout the rebelheld capital Sanaa, where warplanes had carried out strikes since the early morning. Military officials from both sides of the conflict said that airstrikes were targeting areas east and south of the third largest city of Taiz, as well as its airport, while naval artillery and airstrikes hit coastal areas east of Aden. “ It’s like an earthquake,” Sanaa res- Jed Delong surfs at Sandy Beach this afternoon as herring begin to spawn along the shore near Halibut Point Road. ( Sentinel Photo by James Poulson) have to apply to all Yup’ik subsistence fishermen, an action that would have hurt the king run. The court noted that a Yup’ik elder testified on behalf of defendants that subsistence fishing for kings “ is sacred to all Yup’ik fishers” and that whole families participate in that activity. “ Given this record, we conclude that it was not error for the district court to find that the defendants had essentially asserted a religious right to ‘ unfettered’ subsistence fishing,” the court wrote. Plaintiffs’ attorney, James J. Davis, said he believes an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court is warranted, but will check with his clients to see how they want to proceed. Davis called Friday’s ruling disappointing and said it ignored the state’s decision to open up the river to all Alaskans later in the summer of 2012, with scores of kings caught incidentally. Davis also believes the state could have done a better job in future planning to prepare for low runs. The fishermen have long main tained that during low runs of kings, the state could allow a subsistence pri ority to Yup’ik fishermen or press ac tion against commercial pollock trawlers that catch thousands of kings each year as bycatch off Alaska’s coast. BECKY BOHRER Associated Press JUNEAU, Alaska ( AP) — The Senate Resources Committee advanced legislation Friday that temporarily would restrict participation by a statesponsored corporation in an alternate gas pipeline project proposed by Gov. Bill Walker. The bill, which Walker has said he would veto, could get a vote on the Senate floor next week. House Speaker Mike Chenault, the bill’s lead sponsor, said earlier in the day that he was fairly confident legislators would have the votes needed to override any veto. Supporters of the bill see it as a way to reaffirm the state’s support for Alaska LNG, the major liquefied natu ral gas project the state is pursuing with BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mo bil Corp., TransCanada Corp., and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., and give it a chance to succeed. They say they’re worried the governor’s new proposal will cast a shadow of uncertainty over Alaska LNG. Critics of the bill say it could tie the state’s hands in negotiations on Alaska LNG and that the state shouldn’t pin all its hopes on JUNEAU, Alaska ( AP) — A House committee has moved a bill that would create regional residency requirements for the University of Alaska governing board. The House Education Committee moved a new draft of Rep. Lynn Gattis’ bill after debating and ultimately deciding against a provision to reduce the number of regents from 11 to 9. Board of Regents Chair Jo Heckman said reducing the number of members would make the board’s work more difficult, and only save about $ 10,000. The bill calls for regents from at least six communities. The new ver sion also specifies that a regent must live in the community they represent for two years, but if they move after that, they can serve the remainder of the eight- year term. Iran Nuke Talks Near Deadline By GEORGE JAHN and MATTHEW LEE Associated Press LAUSANNE, Switzerland ( AP) — Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program reached a critical phase Monday with diplomats struggling to overcome substantial differences just a day before a deadline for the outline of an agreement. With Tuesday’s target date for a framework accord just hours away, the top diplomats from the five per manent members of the U. N. Security Council and Germany were meeting with Iran to try to bridge remaining gaps and hammer out an understanding that would serve as the basis for a final accord to be reached by the end of June. “ We are working late into the night and obviously into tomorrow,” said U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Lausanne since Thursday in an intense effort to reach a political understanding on terms that would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. DEE- ANN DURBIN AP Auto Writer DEARBORN, Mich. ( AP) — Elvis Presley had one; so did Clark Gable. It was even the sedan of presidents. Then the name vanished amid an invasion of newer luxury cars from Europe and Asia. Now, the Lincoln Continental is back. Thirteen years after the last Continental rolled off the assembly line, Ford Motor Co. is resurrecting its storied nameplate. The new Continental debuts in concept form at this week’s New York auto show. The production version of the full- size sedan goes on sale next year. After more than a decade of toying with alphabetical names like LS and MKS to be more like its foreign rivals, Ford’s 98- year- old Lincoln brand is embracing its heritage. It’s a measure of the growing confidence at Lincoln, which is finally turning around a de cades- long sales decline. And it’s a nod to the importance of China, where customers know the Continental name and appreciate brands with a rich history. Ford CEO Mark Fields says the Continental always represented the best of Lincoln. Resurrecting it sets higher expectations, both within the company and outside of it. “ When we get a chance to work on an iconic nameplate like that, it’s a mixture of pride and a mixture of fear, because when you put that name out there, it’s got to deliver,” Fields told The Associated Press in a recent interview. The Continental was born in 1938, when Henry Ford’s son Edsel commissioned a convertible he could use on his spring vacation. Thrilled by the reception he got as he drove the elegant sedan around Palm Beach, Edsel made the Continental part of Lincoln’s lineup. The Continental soon became the pinnacle of American luxury. Warner Brothers gave Elizabeth Taylor a 1956 one project. The bill arose from an opinion piece by Walker in which the governor called for increasing the size of smaller, standalone gas line project, initially aimed at providing gas to Alaskans, and turning it into a project that would be capable of exports in case Alaska LNG faltered. Whichever project is first to produce a “ solid plan,” with conditions acceptable to the state, will get the state’s full support, Walker wrote. Or, he said, the two might be combined at some point. In a letter to Senate Resources chair Cathy Giessel, Walker reaffirmed his commitment to Alaska LNG and repeatedly used the word “ back- up” to refer to the alternate project. In the letter, he noted that a decision on whether Alaska LNG moves to its next phase “ is out of the State’s hands,” since any of the partners could pull out. He said having a backup is in keeping with how the companies do business. And he said in high- level conversations with the companies, all have indicated an understanding of his proposal and a willingness to keep moving ahead on Alaska LNG. During Friday afternoon’s hearing, Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D- Anchor age, said he wanted to hear what the companies had to say. He said he considered that critical to the discussion. But Giessel, R- Anchorage, said she hadn’t asked them. She disagreed with Wielechowski’s contention that the bill constituted a major policy change, saying she believed it merely substantiated the legislation passed by lawmakers last year setting out the state’s participation in Alaska LNG. The committee did hear from Deputy Natural Resources Commissioner Marty Rutherford, who said full fledged negotiations are under way re lated to Alaska LNG. She also spoke to many of the points outlined in Walker’s letter. Sen. Peter Micciche, R- Soldotna, said he hoped that parties could reach some sort of agreement over the weekend. Chenault, R- Nikiski, has said he has been pressing Walker for details on his plan and seeking greater clarity. He said now he has something in writing to look at but still had questions about some of the points made by Walker in the letter to Giessel. He said he spoke with Walker on Thursday and suspected he would try to talk with the governor again on this issue. Continental with a custom paint color to match her eyes. A darker historical note: John F. Kennedy was riding in the back of a 1961 Continental convertible when he was assassinated in Dallas. Continental sales peaked in 1990 at 62,732. But after that, Lincoln’s sales began slipping. Ford had acquired other luxury brands such as Jaguar and Volvo. Lincoln’s designs got dull and failed to stand out from lower- priced Fords. The Continental was also squeezed by competition from the midsize Lincoln LS, which debuted in 2000, and the bigger Town Car. Ford also underestimated the threat posed by German rivals, who were expanding their lineups, and newer Japa nese luxury brands. By 2000, Lexus was the top- selling luxury brand in the U. S.; last year, BMW was. To make its way back, Lincoln isn’t trying to be sporty like BMW or showy like Cadillac. Instead, Fields says, it wants to give drivers an experience that is elegant and serene. “ We want folks to get into our vehicles and — for lack of a better term — chill,” Fields said. The strategy appears to be working. Lincoln’s U. S. sales rose 16 percent last year, making it one of the fastestgrowing luxury brands in the market. The midsize MKZ was the brand’s top seller. Full- size sedans like the Continental are a tough sell in the U. S., where buyers tend to prefer midsize sedans or SUVs. U. S. sales of Lincoln’s current full- size sedan, the MKS, fell 24 percent last year. Continued on back page Continued on back page

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