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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 04, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

'Winter Sky'
A scenic sky view just south of Mountain Point.
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson


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National: Disaster and coal go together By DIANA NELSON JONES - The news from Upshur County has been a melancholy backdrop for kids from coal towns, wherever they may be and however old.

Through its history of boom and bust, automation, layoffs, close calls and tragedies, coal has resided as a deep cultural vein, a bonding element for generations of all but a few counties of West Virginians. It's as ever-present as tragedy.

In this picturesque Barbour County seat of 2,900, everyone knows someone who has worked in the mines and almost everyone has relatives who did. Many know at least one miner who has been injured or killed in an explosion or a cave-in.

In the past few decades, Barbour County has watched the mines play out. There is one deep mine left in the county, according to Joe Mattaliano, the county's economic development director who served for 38 years as the city manager.

In nearby Buckhannon this week, Crites Electric, Domino's Pizza, McDonald's and other businesses displayed simple messages on their roadside signs: "Pray for the miners."

Each time the outline of West Virginia popped onto a TV screen, with the dot for Tallmansville, the buzz died and heads turned to stare. Unsaid, and unsettling, was the paradox of men rendered helpless in a mighty-man's job.

"There should be a monument to miners," said Mattaliano. "They helped us win World War II, crawling underground, keeping the steel mills going." - More...
Wednesday PM - January 04, 2005

National: Sago Mine safety record not spotless By DAN FITZPATRICK AND MICHAEL A. FUOCO - Four times in the last six months, federal inspectors raised concerns about an accumulation of "combustible" materials at the Sago coal mine in West Virginia and asked the owner specifically to clean up any coal dust, an explosive powder that is highly susceptible to spontaneous combustion when dispersed.

A closer look at the owner's safety record shows that International Coal Group's operation of the Sago mine was not spotless. But if anything, ICG improved safety performance in the last quarter of 2005 after acquiring the mine from Anker West Virginia Mining Co. last year.

"It appears under the new leadership there has been a significant improvement to the safety, at least it appears so," said Larry Grayson, chair of the mining and nuclear engineering department at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

While the mine received a total of 208 citations and more than $24,000 in fines from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration in 2005, a threefold increase from 2004 when there were 68 citations and $9,515 in fines, it received fewer citations in 2005's fourth quarter (46 violations) than it did in the third quarter (70 violations).

The number of "significant and substantial" violations, which carry higher fines and indicate that federal inspectors found something that could cause a serious safety problem, also fell in the fourth quarter compared with the third, from 42 to 18. Most serious were issues involving breathable dust, methane control and roof-fall prevention, violations that carried fines of about $250. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 04, 2005



letter Southeast Alaska - The Ultimate Travel Destination By Susan Walsh - Wednesday PM
letter What's in a name? By Chris Elliott - Wednesday PM
letter Would You Like A Tour of Schoenbar? By Jackie Williams - Wednesday PM
letter Fireworks By Cecelia Johnson - Wednesday PM
letter World Government By Bob and Miriam Harmon - Wednesday PM
letter An open letter to Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens By John Sodrel - Wednesday PM
letter A New Year's letter to my sisters By Angela Salazar - Tuesday PM
letter Lake Harriet Hunt Trash By Jerry Cegelske - Tuesday PM
letter Trash By Steve Smeltzer - Tuesday PM
letter A Newspaper's responsibility to Protect Its Readers By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday PM
letter PBS' biased, inaccurate portrayal of people and events By Iliya Pavlovich - Tuesday PM
letter Guard rails and trees falling from the hills By Rhiann Golder - Tuesday PM
letter A Ketchikan 'Auld Lange Syne' By Tori Jackson - Tuesday PM
letterWould enjoy better maintained roads By Caroline Luckey - Monday
letter Faculty vs. Staff in Education By Robert D. Warner - Monday
letter Stimulating the economy By Jay Jones - Monday
letter Dangerfield Earned Respect By Al Johnson - Monday
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Wednesday, January 4, 2006, at noon - The Ketchikan Legislative Liaison CPL Committee will meet in the City Council Chambers to discuss the priority of community projects for submittal to the Legislature. - The meeting is open to the public.

Saturday, January 21, 2006, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Public Hearing - Petition by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough for Legislative Review - annexation of approximately 4,701 square miles to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. City Council Chambers, 334 Front Street, Ketchikan, AK
Summary & Annexation Petition & Exhibits

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Columns - Commentary

Barbara Bova: Why children from our country aren't being adopted - For the past several years I've seen many acquaintances and friends adopting children from overseas. At first children were adopted from Europe, then the Baltic States, and now Asia and Africa.

What's wrong with babies born here in the United States of America? Why are people opting to go to other countries to adopt their children?

The Administration for Children and Families estimates there are 132,000 children in foster care in the U.S. waiting to be adopted, as of 2004. And the number is growing. Most of them will never find loving parents. Yet the number of children being adopted from overseas keeps swelling.

I found this fact difficult to understand, so I turned to a friend of mine who has adopted 10 children from foreign countries. I asked why he had to go to Africa, India and Asia - such a long way to find a child when we have so many here waiting for someone to adopt them.

His answer was shockingly honest and opened my eyes to the terrible situation we have here in our country with our unwanted children.

"All my kids," he wrote me, "came from orphanages (a dirty word in the U.S.) and yet, none of them were 'drug babies.' All of them were born to parents who loved and attempted to care for them. Each was placed in the orphanage by a loving mother who hoped and prayed that someone would adopt them and give them a better life." - More...
Wednesday PM - January 04, 2005

Steve Brewer: Step right up, it's the amazing new Winter Cold Diet - Hello, friends. Today, I bring you great news about an AMAZING NEW DIET PLAN that could allow you to lose 5 pounds in a single week!

I know you've heard this sort of thing before. We're all deluged by advertisements touting the latest diet fads and spouting incredible results that only the most gullible and desperate dieters would ever believe. But my diet plan is different because it REALLY WORKS!

In only one week, with virtually no exercise, you can drop a few unwanted pounds and get back into those jeans that have been just a little too tight for the past six months. You can look trimmer and feel better about yourself. You can amaze your friends and family.

I'm a perfect example of how this new diet plan works. In only one week, I lost 5 whole pounds. I had to cinch up my favorite belt by an entire hole! And, so far, I've kept it off!

How did I do it? I caught my first cold of the winter. After a week of misery, I got on the scales to find the pounds had magically disappeared. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 04, 2005

Michael Fumento: Iraq pullout tougher than it seems - Everybody's talking about it, but few seem to realize how exquisite a maneuver reducing U.S forces in Iraq is - unless you just want to cut and run as does Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha. It isn't a simple math formula such as, "I think we can replace the U.S. forces man-for-man when the Iraqis are battle-ready" as Iraq's finance minister Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi has suggested.

Regardless of battle-readiness, the Iraqi Security Forces are almost entirely light infantry. They have little armor or artillery, no close air support, virtually no air reconnaissance, a couple of dozen small boats for a navy, and not even the proper bureaucracy to make sure men are even paid. Without all of these, they have no hope of prevailing.

Some American assets can move to Kuwait, such as fighter/bomber support. But even shorter-range helicopter gunships, the awesome AC-130 fixed-wing gunships, and A-10 "Warthogs" must be based in-country.

Why Iraqis are not being trained with and given heavy weapons is a good question, with the apparent reason that if a civil war breaks out we'd rather they have access to nothing bigger than a RPG or mortar. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 04, 2005

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