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January 02, 2007
Year In Review
Jet Crash Top Story In 2006
Firefighters man fire hoses next
to the crashed L-39 MS Jet.
Story By DAVE KIFFER / Front Page Photo by MARIE MONYAK
Year In Review: Jet Crash Top Story In 2006 By DAVE KIFFER
- Some newsworthy events happen every year. Elections, crime,
storms, and other relatively normal events can be expected to
make local headlines.
But the most newsworthy event
in 2006 in Ketchikan was completely unexpected: the crash of
a military jet into a trailer park near Carlanna Creek in January.
Ketchikan residents faced a
major emergency on Jan. 25, when a military jet crashed into
a trailer park next to the A& P supermarket. Although at
least three trailers were damaged or destroyed, there were only
minor injuries on the ground. But pilot Steven "Butch"
Freeman of Texas was killed after ejecting. Eyewitnesses said
it appeared that Freeman attempted to steer the plane away from
more densely populated areas before ejecting.
Eyewitness accounts and a report
by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Freeman
- ferrying the Czechoslovakian made privately owned L-39 from
Sitka to Bellingham - was trying to land at the Ketchikan airport
in rapidly deteriorating conditions.
Visibility had dropped to only
a couple hundred feet when the jet came out of the clouds over
Tongass Narrows and skipped twice on the water not far from Peninsula
Point. Apparently realizing he was going to crash, Freeman steered
the jet toward a vacant rock pit on the north side of Carlanna
Creek before ejecting. The jet hit in the rock pit and then bounced
across the creek where it hit the trailers. Freeman's body was
found in the woods near the creek.
By year's end, the NTSB had
not issued an official cause for the crash.
A Juneau jury declared a mistrial
on Feb. 14 in the first degree murder case of Craig teenager
Rachelle Waterman who is accused of arranging to have two former
boyfriends murder her mother. Jurors deadlocked 10-2 for acquittal.
The case had generated national
attention, and Court TV coverage, because Waterman had kept an
internet blog detailing her anger at her life in "small
town, nowhere Alaska." Many readers felt that she showed
little remorse in her blog after the murder of her mother.
Her former boyfriends - who
actually carried out the murder while Rachelle was out of town
- pled guilty and were sentenced to 99 year prison terms. They
testified against her at the trial. The state indicated it planned
to retry Waterman, but shortly after the trial the judge threw
out key evidence including Waterman's recorded confession. No
decision to retry had been announced by the end of the year.
In March, in other crime headlines,
a grand jury indicted Earl Pickering on first degree murder charges,
stemming from the death of his estranged wife Carolyn in November
2005. Pickering was also charged with violating a restraining
order. Trial was set to begin on January 9.
The replacement school for
White Cliff Elementary opened on schedule in January. The $14
million facility was built on time and on budget. At year's end,
a community running facility was still under construction behind
The never-ending Schoenbar Middle School reconstruction project
bumbled on into its third year, but - with most construction
completed by mid December - it was hoped that school would start
as planned shortly after the first of the year. In spring of
2006, the Borough took control of the project from the original
contractor and gave the remediation work to another contractor.
The original $9 million cost of the project was approaching $20
million by year's end. Lawsuits involving the project were set
to go to trial in January of 2008. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2007
realignment is more a whimper than a shout By MARC SANDALOW
- Anyone who followed politics in 2006 heard that the midterm
election was a cry for change.
Voters demanded a change of
course in Iraq; rejected the leadership of President Bush; or
turned against a do-nothing, ethically challenged Congress. Many
thought this meant that the status quo was unacceptable.
That's a good story line, but
it does not explain why 93 percent of House seats and 94 percent
of Senate seats did not change party hands. The incumbent or
the incumbent's party was returned to office in 432 of 468 races
- 435 in the House and 33 in the Senate.
True, the outcome did produce
profound changes. Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois will hand the
speaker's gavel Thursday to Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
In the Senate, Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who called
the Environmental Protection Agency a "Gestapo bureaucracy"
and global warming a "hoax," will be replaced as chairman
of the Senate Environment Committee by California Democrat Barbara
Yet the perception that the
results profoundly altered the nation's red-blue divide is probably
as simplistic as the assumption that a tidy red-blue divide exists
in the first place.
The nation was evenly divided
in 2000, when it took five weeks to determine a winner of the
presidential election. It was only slightly more favorable to
Republicans in 2004, when Bush defeated John Kerry. And in November,
it tilted modestly in the opposite direction as Democrats outpolled
Republicans by about two percentage points in the congressional
elections. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2007
case for bipartisanship is growing By CAROLYN LOCHHEAD -
hen President Bush squares off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
this year, don't be surprised if Mr. Conservative Republican
steps left and Mrs. Liberal Democrat steps right, and the two
wind up holding hands at more than one bill-signing ceremony.
Sure, there may be plenty of
unfriendly investigations and vetoes littering the way, but the
politics of a lame-duck president and a tightly constrained opposition
Congress could make for some eyebrow-raising nuptials.
Recent discussions in the Oval
Office have taken some surprising turns, say Democrats who have
visited Bush there since the election.
"He's all into switch
grass," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., who co-chairs
the moderate New Democrat coalition, describing Bush's fresh
fascination with alternative fuels. Tauscher said Bush pointed
out that he was the first president to acknowledge America's
"addiction to oil" and seemed "very engaged and
wants to move forward" on a new approach to energy.
Facing a Democratic-controlled
House and Senate for the first time in his presidency, an unpopular
war, and wholesale desertions within a Republican Party already
looking past him to 2008, Bush stands at the bleakest point of
his tenure at the White House. But analysts say he can find solace
in history, which warns foes never to underestimate even the
most down-and-out president. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2007
for wheat is creeping northward By GEORGE BRYSON - Are there
amber waves of grain in Alaska's future? Given the current rate
of global warming, the answer might be yes.
That according to a new study
that predicts that higher temperatures in North America will
make it difficult to grow some varieties of wheat in the Lower
48 states by 2050.
By the same measure, however,
the more northerly latitudes of Canada and Alaska should be ideal,
according to an upcoming report by the International Maize and
Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico City.
Unfortunately for Canada, climate
isn't everything. Soil conditions matter too. And the rocky terrain
and thin soils of the eastern provinces - what geologists call
the Canadian Shield - aren't considered suitable for grain production.
But Alaska is a different story.
The fertile loam of the Matanuska Valley "has the color
and consistency of Hershey's cocoa and is rockless two feet down,"
geology buff John McPhee wrote in "Coming into the Country,"
his nonfiction best seller on Alaska.
A colony of federally funded
farms that sprouted around Palmer during the Great Depression
tried to take advantage of those conditions. While some of them
succeeded, a majority didn't - and Alaska has remained mostly
Still, the strawberries that grow
in the Matanuska Valley are "delicious enough to make you
drunk," McPhee added. "You can grow ... wheat, barley,
alfalfa, oats and white sweet clover eight feet high. Peas are
particularly sweet and aromatic. There is virtually no need for
What there is a need for here,
farmers say, is a longer growing season and a slightly drier
climate in the wet regions of Southcentral Alaska.
That could be in the offing
if global warming continues, according to the Mexico City study,
which is currently undergoing peer review and not ready for publication.
Arts & Entertainment
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2006
This Week - The Opening Reception for Been There, Bought
That: art from off the rock is debuting at the Mainstay Gallery
on Friday, Jan. 5 from 5 - 7 pm. This fun exhibit will feature
works collected by Ketchikan patrons from destinations outside
of Ketchikan. Cultures and media will abound - see works from
Bali to Boston complete with background tales of the meaning
of the piece or why it was purchased. Been There, Bought That
will be on display through Friday, January 26.
Nathan & The Zydeco
Saturday night dance January 13th and concert Sunday, January
On Sale Now!
Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas tickets now on sale for the
Saturday night dance January 13th and the Sunday, January 14th
concert. Workshops are available for the dance as well. Call
the Arts Council to sign up and to get tickets 225-2211.
Nathan Williams plays zydeco,
the fast and furious accordion-driven dance music of the Creole
people of South Louisiana, a relatively modern style that emerged
after the Second World War. With its trademark rubboard percussion,
electric guitars and R&B influences, zydeco is distinct from
the fiddle-driven music of neighboring Cajuns.
Out of Line the 21st Annual Wearable Art Show tickets are on
sale now. Shows will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February
1, 2 and 3. Call 225-2211 for more information or tickets.
Annual Jazz & Cabaret Festival. Tickets for the Jan. 26,
27, and 28 performances are on sale now through the First City
Players. Call 225-4792.
Workshops & Classes:
Zydeco Dance Workshops: Zydeco
style dance workshops will be offered January 11 and 12 in preparation
for the Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas Torch Nights performance
on January 13 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Beginning workshops
will be at 6:00pm and 7:30pm on Thursday, Jan. 11 and again at
6:00pm on Friday, Jan. 12 for about an hour. An advanced workshop
will be offered at 7:30pm on Friday, January 12. Space is limited
and workshops are $10 each get 3 people signed up and the
4th person is free! Call the Arts Council at 225-2211 to sign
up. Tickets for the Jan. 13 (Ted Ferry dance) and 14 (Kayhi concert)
are on sale now.
Jazz & Cabaret vocal and
instrumental workshops with Anne Phillips, Bob Kindred, Paul
Meyers and Matt Perri begin January 15. Available workshops include
Cabaret Vocals I, II and III, Jazz Instrumental Ensemble, Electric
Blues Guitar, Jazz & Gospel Choir and Jazz 'n Salad. Register
with First City Players now through January 12 at 716 Totem Way
or call 225-4792.
Bigfoot Pottery Studio is Moving
to the old Physical Graffiti building, upstairs. Classes and
the studios will be available again this month. Call Erik at
617-2378 for more information. Check here for class availability
then, too. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2007