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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 02, 2007

2006 Year In Review

2006 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

Ketchikan: 2006 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.

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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.

Waterman mistrial

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.

School(s) Open?

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 school.


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

National: Midterm 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 Boxer.

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

National: The 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

Our Troops

Jonathan Clouse

SFC Jonathan Clouse
SFC Jonathan Clouse of Ketchikan is serving
his country in the United States Army.

Our Troops Home Page

Alaska: Range 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 unplowed.


Basic Rules

letter Richard Jackson for President of KIC & Bergeron For Tribal Council By Samuel Bergeron - Wednesday PM
letter NORTH TONGASS EMS - FIRE FEE INCREASE By Ken Bylund - Wednesday PM
letter The thrill of victory By Chris Elliott - Wednesday PM
letter Tax increase for NTVFD By Jennifer Brewer - Wednesday PM
letter Airport Shuttle CLose Down By Neil Gray - Wednesday PM
letter Airporter Service By Ken Leland and Bob Kern - Tuesday PM
letter Will you get more service with doubled fees? By Ed Fry - Tuesday PM
letter Beware This Credit Card Scam By Sen. Con Bunde - Tuesday PM
letter First we must have honesty By Frances C. Natkong - Tuesday PM
letterShiites Blew It With Saddam Execution By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday PM
letter Welcome back By Bill Thomas Sr.- Tuesday PM
letter Truth and Consequences By Glen Thompson - Sunday PM
letterAirporter and Related Needs By Shirley McDonald - Sunday PM
letter Loss of Airporter Bus By Ken Levy - Sunday PM
letterTaxes By Robert McRoberts - Sunday PM
letter Airporter Replacement Suggestion By Shelley Stallings - Saturday AM
letter Airporter service By Bill Thomas Sr. - Saturday AM
letter Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Elections- January 15, 2007 By Robert A. Sanderson, Jr. - Friday
letter Don't push the taxpayers By Rodney Dial - Friday
letter Thank You Airporter For Your Years of Service By Shannon Nelson - Friday
letter Revised Fuel Price Study By Ken Lewis - Friday
letter Fuel prices By Mary Henrikson - Friday
letter Wood Removal By John Beck - Friday
letter 600 Children By Peter Bolling - Friday
letter Political Sportsmanship By Robert Freedland - Friday
letterFirst we must have honesty By Carol Christoffel - Friday
letter Community Christmas Sing-Out By Judith Green - Friday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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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 pesticides."

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. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2006

Arts & Entertainment

Ketchikan: Arts 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 Cha Chas
Saturday night dance January 13th and concert Sunday, January 14th

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

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