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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 04, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Early Morning Light
Ketchikan Thursday morning...
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

UpdatedKetchikan: Group works to secure long-term public access to Coast Guard and South Point Higgins Beaches By VALERIE HENDLE - Life in Ketchikan is defined by water and the vitality of the town and its people seems linked to it. On a very rainy Sunday in early December, twenty-five people attended a meeting of the Ketchikan Beaches Association (KBA) in an effort to secure long-term public access to the Coast Guard and South Point Higgins beaches located north of Ketchikan.
Group works to secure public access...

Coast Guard Beach
Front Page Photo by Ardath Piston

This work-group meant business with the home-based meeting area set up with three long work tables and a multitude of chairs lining the periphery. A power point presentation and worksheets sat poised at the head of the tables.

There are no easy labels to attach to those who attended the December 2nd meeting. "These are people who care deeply about their community," says Soren Wuerth, English Teacher. "They're here on a rainy Sunday to work."

Carrie Dolwick, the group's Coordinator, presented the day's agenda as chili bubbled on the stove. This gathering of concerned citizens organized around a shared vision - "the acquisition and maintenance of our community beaches." In addition, says Dolwick the group works "to provide opportunities for residents to participate in the land use and planning process in order to protect natural areas for permanent access and recreation."

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The Ketchikan Beaches Association's most immediate concern at this time is "Planning for a formal solution to provide long-term public access to the Coast Guard and South Point Higgins Beaches." Located north of town close to North Point Higgins Elementary School, these beaches have been popular spots for public education and recreation and many Ketchikan residents have become deeply attached to this bit of publicly accessible undeveloped coastal land.

"Both beaches are used for beachcombing, walking dogs, family camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, collection of edible and medicinal plants, clam digging, and kayaking," says Ardath Piston, one of the Ketchikan Beaches Association's co-chairs. In addition, the area is site to numerous outdoor programs and campouts for the Elementary students and Boy Scouts. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2006

Alaska: The eLandings Fisheries Reporting System Reaches the Fifteen Thousand Mark: ADF&G to expand the program - The eLandings system, Alaska's new electronic commercial fisheries catch reporting system, hit the 15,000 mark at the close of 2006. After 16 months of operation, the revolutionary reporting system is proving to be very successful. It replaces the old carbon copy receipt system, eliminates reporting duplication, and increases efficiency for harvesters, processors, and managers.

The eLandings system allows seafood processors and buyers to record landing information, individual fishery quota account transactions, and production reports on a single web-based electronic report. Processors using the system no longer have to spend time reproducing and mailing the information to the various state and federal agencies involved with monitoring and managing the fisheries.

"We are pleased that it's being so well-received and proud to be involved with developing this successful state-of-the-art, innovative system," said Gail Smith, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) eLandings Project Manager. "There are many benefits. The system is free to processors and buyers interested in using eLandings and we also help set-up the system and provide onsite training." - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2006

Alaska: Alaska Supreme Court Decision Saves Millions of Dollars in Potential Liability to State Retirement System - Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg announced Tuesday that the Alaska Supreme Court issued a decision late last week that will save the state from paying millions of dollars of unanticipated cost-of-living-allowance (COLA) payments to state retirees living outside Alaska.

In 2003 three participants in the retirement systems filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a class of approximately 10,000 nonresident retirees alleging that class members were entitled to receive a ten-percent COLA under the TRS/PERS retirement systems. The plaintiffs argued that allowing resident retirees to claim the COLA violated their right to equal protection by penalizing non-resident retirees for living out-of-state and thus infringing on their right to travel.

The lead plaintiff in the case had retired to Hawaii. He argued that because Hawaii had a higher cost of living than Alaska, he had the same right to COLA payments from Alaska's retirement system as a retiree who lived in Alaska. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2006


Ketchikan: Local Radio Station Uses Airwaves to Help Children Fighting Cancer and Other Deadly Diseases - Radio station Gateway Country will host the 3rd Annual Country Cares for St. Jude Kids® Radiothon on February 1st-2nd, 2007 from 6:00 am until 7:00 pm on-air. The radiothon raises money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®, the world's premier center for the research and treatment of cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. Last year, Country Cares raised nearly $30 million in pledges nationwide. Gateway Country and its sister station KTKN helped contribute to that total, thanks to an overwhelming amount of support from generous, Ketchikan listeners.

This year, Gateway Country will join hands with many local businesses, organizations and individuals to collect funds and help St. Jude in their strides toward abolishing cancer and other terrible diseases, so that children can live the normal, healthy lives that they deserve. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2006

Health- Fitness: Keep your brain and body working hard to avoid dementia By LEE BOWMAN - Are crosswords and number puzzles, brainteasers or memory games part of your New Year's fitness regime?

Regularly exercising the mind - along with the body - can pay off with improved mental performance among people of all ages, numerous studies have demonstrated in recent years.

The first evidence that people need to "use it or lose it" when it comes to mental acuity was drawn from large "look back" studies involving thousands of seniors. After five or 10 years, when a significant number of the elderly subjects had developed dementia, researchers compared their habits with those who had not experienced a cognitive decline.

What stood out was that those who avoided dementia kept their minds challenged in some way - reading, playing board games, playing a musical instrument, doing puzzles or learning a new language.

But those kinds of studies leave open the possibility that something else the seniors were doing protected their minds, or that people whose minds are sharper tend to do more mentally challenging things. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2006

Business - Economy: Pros and cons of reverse mortgages By CAROLE MOORE - Cash-challenged seniors who want to stay in their own homes have kept reverse mortgages high on the public radar. But not everyone thinks they're such a good idea.

In general, a reverse mortgage converts home equity into cash in several different ways, ranging from monthly payments to an equity line to one-time payouts - or a combination. The amount you can borrow varies according to your age, the value of the home, current interest rates and loan fees.

Reports suggest reverse mortgages can be a source of ready cash when it's needed, similar to other investments. But taking out a reverse mortgage isn't a no-brainer. Candidates for these mortgages should consider both the benefits and the drawbacks before jumping in. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2006


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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Columns - Commentary

Jason Love: Plant Lady - Some people have a green thumb; mine is more like jaundice yellow. Gardening has always confused me. Until second grade I thought birds came from birdseed.

Since then I've learned a little about horticulture, which, if I may, is one screwed-up way of saying "gardening." I've learned that there are outdoor plants, which like the sun, and there are indoor plants, which prefer daytime TV. Some plants thrive together, while others destroy adjacent roots (example: the Al-Qaeda hyacinthina).

Still, for all my lore, plants keep falling around me.

"You're going to be all right," I tell them. "The stalk is overrated anyway."

And they just give me that look: "What a buncha Bandini."

These plants have reason to be bitter. They've seen their friends disappear. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2007

Preston McDougall: Chemical Eye on the Web-Wired World - From me to you, Happy New Year!

And, if you have uploaded this commentary to your blog, or added to the information content on the Internet in some other way, congratulations on being a co-recipient of Time's Person of the Year for 2006 - for "founding and framing the new digital democracy".

The Internet changes everything, it's just that not every thing has changed, yet. But if it hasn't, it will.

A lot happened on the Internet in 2006. On the political front, Arianna Huffington's online creation - The Huffington Post - chalked up its first complete calendar year. And it became a lot easier to dispose of the deluge of campaign materials during all the elections - just hit delete. - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2007

Jay Ambrose: The surrender strategy in Iraq - Maybe a troop surge in Iraq will do little to win the war there, at least in and of itself, but the fierce opposition to the idea strikes me as less motivated by a desire to win by another strategy than a desire to get out, no matter what.

One of the most persistent criticisms of President Bush's conduct of the war, after all, is that he has failed to devote enough troops to the cause, and much of that criticism has come from many of the same people now insisting that increased manpower now will not help - that it will simply get more Americans killed to no avail.

But wasn't the same argument available about troop levels earlier, even if conditions have greatly changed? Why would more troops have worked then to prevent increases in the killing by suicide bombers but would not work to check this mayhem now? - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2007

Bob Ciminel: An Honest Mistake - When I proposed to my wife in December of 1970, she had just stepped off a plane from Germany. I know she was suffering from jet lag because she said, "Yes." I thought I'd have to get her drunk first.

We set a wedding date for June, despite my suggestion that we drive over to West-by-God Virginia, have a couple of beers, and find a Justice of the Peace. I'm not sure why I suggested West Virginia; they have perfectly good Justices of the Peace in Pennsylvania. Perhaps West Virginia's JPs offered 24-hour service and weekends.

At the time of our engagement, I was living with my parents near Pittsburgh, having recently said "Adios" to the U.S. Navy. The West Virginia state line was only 28 miles away and I knew the route well having made the trip many times as a teenager. West Virginia allowed eighteen-year-olds to drink "3.2 beer," but they rarely checked for identification. So, you get your driver's license at 16 in Pennsylvania, and you're only an hour from West Virginia where you can drink beer at 18. Road trip! - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2007

Dale McFeatters: A '50s-era standard's unwelcome return - An old fixture from the Cold War era of the 1950s is making a reappearance - the blast-zone map.

This was a map of your hometown with concentric circles imposed on it showing the degrees of damage from a nuclear explosion. In the immediate center, you were incinerated right away, while in the outer rings you would only suffer a slow, lingering death from radiation poisoning.

As children of that era, we vied to find our places on the map and, thanks to helpful Civil Defense propaganda, made such useful observations as: "We're fried, but you guys get to live a couple of days before all your flesh falls off."

And then the other day, there it was in my local paper, The Washington Post, a map of Virginia and Maryland, with Washington at the epicenter, with a large red ring around it helpfully labeled "50-mile fallout zone of a nuclear explosion in downtown D.C."

The point of this is that federal agencies have been quietly decamping the capital for more distant locales such as Winchester, Va., whose location 75 miles from the capital is a "geographic ideal," says the Post, "far enough from the capital to escape the fallout of a nuclear explosion - a distance often estimated at 50 miles - but still close enough that employees can get to the District relatively easily when they need to." - More...
Thursday PM - January 04, 2007

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