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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 09, 2007

Front Page Photo by Cindy Balzer

Ward Lake High Tide
Front Page Photo by Cindy Balzer

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


Alaska: Moratorium barring Bristol Bay oil and gas development lifted -" Both Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) today welcomed the news that President George W. Bush had lifted the moratorium barring oil and gas development in federal waters off Bristol Bay and the Aleutians Islands. Senator Stevens commended President Bush's decision to remove the presidential moratorium on oil and gas development in Bristol Bay.

It is gratifying that the federal government is again looking north to Alaska to provide the energy our nation needs," Palin said. "Development in the Bristol Bay region could provide the jobs, economic diversification and energy the people of this region need. If we can be sure it will not threaten the fisheries that are the foundation of the region's economy and way of life, I'm all for it."

"We, in Alaska, have a strong track record of providing nearly 20 percent of our nation's domestic supply of oil energy for decades ­ and it is clear that we have the resources and capabilities to continue doing so for decades more," Palin said.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that the Minerals Management Service, responsible for mineral development more than three miles offshore, would include the North Aleutians Basin in its proposed 2007-2012 five-year leasing plan. That plan also includes lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

The North Aleutians basin had been blocked from federal sales since 1990 under U.S. Senate appropriations rules, repealed in 2003, and under presidential moratorium lifted today. Leasing would be limited to the area offered in 1988's Lease Sale 92, which was cancelled and the $96 million in lease bids returned to bidders following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. After local governments, Native organizations and residents sought state help in diversifying their economy, the state held a successful onshore lease sale in October 2005. The state raised $1.26 million in bids from both industry giant Shell and an independent oil company, demonstrating industry interest in the area.

At the request of local residents after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Senator Stevens sought a provision in the Fiscal Year 1990 Interior Appropriations bill prohibiting the Department of Interior from expending funds to conduct offshore oil and gas preleasing, leasing, and related activities in the North Aleutian Basin (also known as Bristol Bay). President George H. W. Bush subsequently issued an executive order prohibiting leasing, which President Bill Clinton extended through 2012.

In 2003, dire economic conditions in the region prompted local boroughs, Native organizations, and Bristol Bay residents to express their support for the removal of the congressional moratorium. Pursuant to their request, Senator Stevens worked with his Senate colleagues to remove language from the Fiscal Year 2004 Interior Appropriations bill prohibiting funding for new leasing activity in Bristol Bay. The removal of this provision, however, did not immediately open the area for oil and gas exploration and development. The presidential moratorium remained in effect until President George W. Bush's decision to lift it.

Senator Ted Stevens said, "President Bush's decision to lift this moratorium is welcome news for people who live and work in the Bristol Bay region." Stevens said, "The federal government, the State of Alaska, and local communities will now be able to work together to evaluate oil and gas potential in this area. The decision gives residents of Bristol Bay the opportunity to look for new energy sources within their own region to meet their needs." - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

 Bird Flu Not Found in Alaska

Testing Shows Bird Flu Not Found in Alaska in 2006
Ketchikan: Ward Lake Duck
Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

Alaska: Testing Shows Bird Flu Not Found in Alaska in 2006 - Wildlife officials in Alaska are reviewing data gathered in 2006 on avian influenza in the state. With all the results from various avian flu sampling efforts having returned from laboratories, scientists can safely conclude that Asian H5N1 was not found in Alaska in 2006.

At the beginning of 2006, scientists were concerned that a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, known as Asian H5N1, might show up first in wild birds in Alaska and then spread into the rest of North America. Because Alaska is considered an avian crossroads where migratory birds from several continents mix, the state was thought to be a likely entry point for the disease into North America. State and federal wildlife managers made plans to sample wild birds and prepare possible responses should Asian H5N1 turn up in Alaska. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Alaska: Downed Aircraft in Cook Inlet Recovered, Search Continues For Pilot - Responders to the downed Cessna aircraft today have located the plane about two and a one half miles offshore in northern Redoubt Bay at about 1:41 p.m. The plane has been recovered but the pilot, Randy Crawford, was not aboard.

The automated aircraft ELT activated and was located by the on scene search aircraft. The plane was submerged in the water up to the tail section.  

The aircraft was recovered by the tank vessel Seabulk Nevada that was transiting Cook Inlet and responded to the Coast Guard Urgent Information Broadcast (UMIB). They visually confirmed the tail number of the aircraft and recovered the plane. The vessel hooked up their crane to the tail section and hoisted it on board intact. Once the plane was dewatered and secured to the deck they confirmed that the pilot was not on board. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007


National: A new emphasis on counterinsurgency By JAY PRICE -Even before President Bush reveals his plan Wednesday for fighting the Iraq war, one thing is clear: The underlying theme is counterinsurgency.

Less than a month ago, the Army and Marine Corps published a new counterinsurgency manual, the first in 20 years. And the new commanding general in Iraq is Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, one of its two main authors and a longtime advocate of using counterinsurgency doctrine in Iraq.

Many of the troops expected to fight there this year will watch Bush's speech for hints of whether a widely expected troop increase means they will leave earlier or return later. However long they are there, the new emphasis on counterinsurgency -which has been described as armed social work -means they will do more to protect and improve the lives of Iraqi civilians.

There probably will be fewer patrols sallying forth from large bases. Instead, there will be a stronger push to take neighborhoods and hold the turf for long periods. Also, there will be more efforts to win over Iraqi civilians by learning social networks, building personal relationships and creating jobs. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Alaska: Alaska's beluga whales in decline By DON HUNTER - A new and gloomy federal assessment of Cook Inlet's beluga whales projects a one-in-four chance the population could go extinct within 100 years, and better than a two-in-three probability the whales will vanish in 300 years unless something happens to improve the odds.

That's a splash of cold water for agency biologists who had hoped a virtual end to subsistence whaling several years ago would have produced a solid recovery trend by now.

"At least for the data we have since the end of the period of high harvests, the population hasn't increased ... and the fact that it appears to be declining further is certainly a concern," said Rod Hobbs, one of the biologists who produced the review.

"And at the moment, we don't know of any other mechanism acting on the population that would keep it from increasing."

The "status review and extinction assessment" by the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle says annual surveys of the Cook Inlet belugas suggest only a marginal likelihood that their numbers will increase, and a 65 percent chance the population will shrink. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Science - Technology: Scientists use amniotic fluid as a source of stem cells By LEE BOWMAN - Scientists have derived a new source of stem cells from human amniotic fluid and have used them to develop muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells in the laboratory.

"Our hope is that these cells will provide a valuable resource for tissue repair and for engineered organs, as well," said Dr. Anthony Atala, senior researcher and director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

He and colleagues at Wake Forest and Harvard Medical School reported their findings on the broad potential of amniotic stem cells in a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The new cell lines may represent a compromise between the use of stem cells derived from discarded human embryos, which have the potential to develop into any type of human cell, but carry ethical concerns for some people, and adult stem cells, which can be induced to develop into other types of cells, but have less flexibility and more problems with universal acceptance in their new hosts. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

The state of the state
Brooks Range
Photo courtesy Fish & Wildlife

Alaska: The state of the state by NED ROZELL - Alfred Brooks was a geologist who traveled thousands of miles in Alaska and left his name on the state's northernmost mountain range. Twenty years before his death in 1924, he also left behind a summary of what Alaska was like one century ago, when "large areas (were) still practically unexplored."

In his 1906 government report, "Geography and Geology of Alaska. A Summary of Existing Knowledge" Brooks pointed out misconceptions about Alaska that endure today. He wrote in his introduction:

"If facts are presented which may seem elementary, it is because even well-informed people have been known to harbor misconceptions in regard to the orographic features, climate, and general character of Alaska. Those who read about the perils and privations of winter travel and explorations are apt to picture a region of ice and snow; others, again, who have personal knowledge of the tourist route of southeastern Alaska, regard the whole district as one of rugged mountains and glaciers." - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad Responds to Call For Missing Man - At 5:18 pm Monday, the duty officer of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad received a call from the Alaska State Troopers requesting assistance in locating a missing 18 year old male who was thought to be in the Carlanna Lake Area.
According to information provided by Jerry Kiffer of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, a hasty team and canine unit was dispatched to meet with the on-scene trooper. The team arrived at the scene at 6:12 pm Monday. As little was known about the young man or his state of mind, the team was instructed to stand by until they could be briefed by a trooper. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

December's Monthly Grind Wraps Up
17th year With Sellout Crowd

Muskeg Sally
Front Page Photo by Susan Batho & Bill Hupe

Ketchikan: December's Monthly Grind Wraps Up 17th year With Sellout Crowd By BILL HUPE - Winter's darker days didn't hinder Ketchikan and Saxman residents from packing the Saxman Clan House for the show that wrapped up the 17th year of The Monthly Grind.

Tundra Tom was our Host for the evening, and brought a slightly more somber note to the festivities than is normally seen. This was appropriate as The Ketchikan Homeless Shelter is running on the budgetary edge because of the extremely high heating oil prices, and this Grind's proceeds were being donated to the shelter. Nearly $1000 dollars from this evening was raised by the Arts Council.

December's show opened with "the House Band" (tonight featuring members of the Lutheran Church Choir) continuing a December Grind tradition of leading the crowd in an acapella/round performance of Dona Nobis Pacem in the original Latin (translation: Give us peace).

The Tongass School Carolers followed, a group of eleven young singers performing several Christmas carols. Their director let us all know how much time and effort the children had put into their preparation for the performance, and it showed. Their parents had every right to be proud, and this was evidenced by the multitude of flashes and video recorders running. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas!

Arts This Week
Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas!

Ketchikan: Arts This Week - This week in Ketchikan the Zydeco 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.

Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas! Direct from Lafayette, LA, get ready for a band that's hotter than Tabasco sauce on a crawdad. The boys will be performing their raucous brand of accordion driven Zydeco for two nights in Ketchikan: a dance at Ted Ferry Civic Center, Sat., Jan. 13, including dancing, and no-host bar and Creole cuisine care of Chef Tim, beginning at 8pm, doors at 7pm, and a second concert at Kayhi on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at the Arts Council, Soho Coho, McPherson Music, Tongass Business Center, and Madison Hardware. Call 225-2211 for tickets and to sign up for Zydeco dance workshops. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Tribal Members, It's Time for Change By Albert White - Tuesday PM
letter ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS By Peter Ellis - Tuesday PM
letter NTFD -Tax Cap - Consolidation By Cheryl Henley - Tuesday PM
letter Micro-managing the war By Anita Hales - Tuesday PM
letter Shut Down Of Airport Shuttle By Ken Levy - Tuesday PM
letter NTVFD/I was wrong By Mary Henrikson - Tuesday PM
letter Litter on Ketchikan's roadways By Kathie Morris - Tuesday PM
letter Get back to the fundamentals of governing By Randy Williams - Sunday PM
letter Airporter By Cynthia Grant - Sunday PM
letter Public critisisms of KIC By Charles Edwardson- Sunday PM
letter Re: Micro-managing a war By Rick Grams - Sunday PM
letter Micro-managing a war By Anita Hales - Saturday PM
letter Basic Roles and Responsibilities in Government By Samuel Bergeron - Saturday PM
letterPoint Higgins/ CGB Trail Update By Carrie Dolwick - Saturday PM
letter NTVFD Fee Increase By Mary Henrikson - Saturday PM
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Dousing a Dangerous Development - The petty dictators of airplane discipline gave travelers an early Christmas present recently by allowing us to take water on plane flights again.

Water had been banned you remember because it was dangerous. At least that was the theory.

Some really clever miscreants in Britain had been foiled in their attempt to create some sort of water-based bombs and blow up a whole bunch of airplanes. Therefore we were forced to hand over our Dasanis and Purple Mountains at the gate

Good thing too. The beverage service on flights was getting so bad that people were BYOBing so much liquid that the overhead bins were getting too full of spritzer and airline toilets were flushing so often that it was a challenge keeping the planes aloft. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Jay Ambrose: President Bush, the stealth humanitarian - Whether it's helping get the homeless into homes, fighting malaria and other diseases in Africa or spending on U.S. poverty programs, President Bush is breaking records - and getting no credit for it.

You might say he's a stealth humanitarian, someone whose heartlessness is constantly preached while his accomplishments are persistently ignored.

But then you stumble on the Bush ambition regarding chronic homelessness. He wants to end it, and the consequences of administration efforts to date are amazing - significant percentage drops in such cities as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Denver and Portland, Ore.

The basic idea of the program being endlessly advocated by a Bush appointee, Philip Mangano, is for cities to combine federal, local and charitable funds to put the chronically homeless into their own apartments and assist them with social services instead of dealing with them piecemeal so they too often end up in jails, hospitals and other facilities. As various news accounts explain, you save money this way, but here's the real gold: You save lives. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Lawmakers in search of self-restraint - The House, it turned out, was serious about ethics reform; the Senate perhaps less so.

The House banned a number of lobbyist-provided benefits that many lawmakers seemed to have come to think of perks of their office - gifts, meals, travel, the use of corporate jets. It did not venture into the trickier, more ambiguous world of lobbyists doing political fund-raising.

The most significant reform involved earmarks - lawmakers' personal pork projects often quietly slipped into spending bills in the dead of night and often done so at the behest of a generous lobbyist.

The projects might themselves be fine, even worthwhile. The problem is that no congressional panel has scrutinized them for their merit or relative priority in a tight budget. A particular project may be a laughable waste of money, but usually it doesn't come to light until too late, after the bill has been passed. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

Martin Schram: There's a huge loophole being left in ethics reforms - Nothing is as deceptively euphoric as Washington in full flower. And in the first days of 2007, the cherry trees, the Congress and the idiots of the nation's capital were all blossoming.

We saw the blooming cherry trees - a result of botanical confusion that 70-degree winter days meant spring had sprung.

We saw the blooming of a new Congress - as in the first hours of the first day, Democrats made a show of rushing ethics reforms through the House they now control. By a vote of 430-1, as still-embarrassed Republicans had no choice but to go with the flow, the House members voted to ban themselves from taking freebees from lobbyists - no meals, gifts or travel. It was a morality show designed to demonstrate that the evils and abuses symbolized by Tom DeLay's pal Jack Abramoff are now ancient history.

Then we heard the blooming idiots. They were the pols, pundits and think-tank denizens who gushed that these showy ethics flourishes, once adopted by the Senate, will fundamentally change the craft of politics in the nation's capital. But, in fact, it will fundamentally change nothing. Because it misses the main point about how Washington really works. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007

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