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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 15, 2007

Tongass Narrows' Sunrise
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

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


National: Opposition to more troops sparks new moves in Congress By ZACHARY COILE - Democrats in Congress plan to crank up pressure on President Bush by voting this month on a resolution opposing his plan to send 21,500 more troops into Iraq and following up quickly with efforts to pass tough restrictions on future war funding.

Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., an influential member of the Appropriations Committee and top ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warned last week that he might seek to close the controversial U.S. prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba as a condition of approving more money for the war.

"If he wants to veto the bill, he won't have any money" for the war, Murtha said at a forum of anti-war Democrats.

Democrats have been galvanized by the negative public reaction to Bush's proposed troop increase and the opposition of many Republicans in Congress. A new Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq.

Pelosi, D-Calif., is under pressure from her party's most liberal members to cut off all funding for the war unless the money is tied to a withdrawal of U.S. forces. For now, the speaker is opting for a more cautious strategy of first pushing a nonbinding resolution that would serve as a rebuke of Bush's planned increase in the number of troops. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

National: Oberstar replaces Young as the go-to transporation guy By KEVIN DIAZ - Jim Oberstar hadn't received so many press calls in years. But in the early days of the Democrats' takeover of the U.S. House, a lot of people on Capitol Hill were suddenly curious about the powerful new Transportation Committee chairman from Minnesota.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, so Oberstar scheduled a news conference, a rarity during his 12 years in the minority party.

"Where have you folks been?" the 17-term congressman asked a Capitol hearing room packed with reporters, an unusual sight for a politician used to laboring behind the scenes on the minutiae of transportation funding.

With billions of dollars in federal money now under his purview, the 72-year-old Iron Ranger is a hot commodity, both among lobbyists and the journalists who track them.

From airline mergers to bike paths, Oberstar is expected to put an outsized imprint on how Americans get around in the future. If you're a railroad tycoon looking for a federally backed loan, you have to talk to Oberstar; if you're an airline lobbyist looking for a new route or an acquisition, you have to talk Oberstar.

"It's very good to be Jim Oberstar right now," said his new Washington communications director, Duluth, Minn., political consultant and former journalist John Schadl, whose job it will be to manage Oberstar's profile.

For years, Oberstar has played second fiddle to former Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young, R-Alaska. Both have been adept at garnering special projects for their districts in a process known as "earmarking," a process under new scrutiny from Oberstar's fellow Democrats. But the world of transportation spending has its own set of rules, and few know them better than Oberstar. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007


National: Crucial passport deadline coming up By JON W. SPARKS - Time is running out for vacationers or business travelers planning to head out of the country without a passport.

People winging it between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda will have to produce a passport starting Jan. 23. The requirement does not include Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

Alaska: Free oil welcomed despite ties to Chavez By ALEX deMARBAN - A controversial gift of heating fuel from Venezuelan oil company Citgo is finally warming homes in rural Alaska.

In Gambell, Jennifer Apatiki's husband hauled home a 55-gallon drum of free heating oil shortly after Christmas. The fuel, courtesy of Citgo, kept her warm in subzero temperatures in recent days.

"It was a great way to start a new year," she said.

As part of its program to donate heating fuel to poor Americans, Citgo, headquartered in Houston, Texas, pledged this year to give away 1 million gallons of heating fuel in Alaska Native villages. More than 11,000 homes are eligible for 100 gallons each. The $5.2 million gift drew a hail of criticism from people around the country because of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez's combative attitude toward U.S. policy, especially after he called George Bush the "devil" in a speech at the United Nations. The Venezuela government owns Citgo.

The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, a Native regional nonprofit corporation representing four eligible villages, chose not to participate because of Chavez's political views. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

Alaska: Custom painter finds fancy niche with vehicles By ZAZ HOLLANDER - Reality television collided with this country's obsession with engines to forge a new kind of celebrity, one with grease under his nails.

The cult television series "American Chopper" showcases father-son motorbike masterpieces on the Discovery Channel, while the "Overhaulin'" series turns clunkers into gleaming classics on TLC.

But that kind of fame has so far eluded Perry Cowles - unless you count the motorcycles he painted that ended up in a show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Cowles practices the art of automotive painting and restoration from a quiet, out-of-the-way shop a couple of miles northeast of the Wasilla, Alaska city limits. His house, wife and 3-year-old son are but a few dozen steps away from his businesses, Vital Signs and The Chop Shop. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

National: Young mother dies after radio station contest By RYAN LILLIS - A 28-year-old mother of three died from water intoxication hours after competing in a radio station contest to see which contestant could drink the most water without urinating, according to preliminary autopsy results.

Jennifer Lea Strange was found dead by a family member in her Rancho Cordova, Calif., home around 2 p.m. Sacramento County Assistant Coroner Ed Smith said Strange's mother and husband told coroner's officials the young woman had taken part in a radio contest that morning that was based on drinking large amounts of water. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

Silver Sea

Silver Sea in Vixen Inlet
Owned by Jim and Rod Bray
Front Page Photograph by Rod Bray

Ketchikan: BOATERS URGED TO RESOLVE TO BE SAFER IN 2007; Coast Guard Auxiliary offers four easy-to-follow tips for a safer year on the water - It's barely two weeks into the new year; many New Year's resolutions have already been cast aside like used wrapping paper, leaving those making the broken resolution discouraged and disheartened, and wondering if they'll ever make a pledge they can stick to.

Well, hope is on the way. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering boaters and water enthusiasts four easy-to follow tips for those who want to resolve to be safer boaters this year:

Always wear your life jacket: Statistics show time and time again that many boating fatalities could have been avoided, simply by wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket while boating is like wearing a seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle. Simply put, life jackets save lives! Resolve to wear one anytime you are on or near the water. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007


Basic Rules

letter The Internet Economy By Rick Grams - Monday PM
letter Tribal Council Vacant Seat By David Jensen - Saturday PM
letter Proposed addition of a paid firefighter/EMT II position By Kevin C. Murphy - Saturday PM
letter Simple Request By Joe Johnson - Saturday PM
letter The tides are changing By Myrna Gardner - Saturday PM
letterNTVFD...Show us the numbers! By Ed Fry - Wednesday PM
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

Michael Reagan: Iraq: Getting Down and Dirty - Just as predicted, President Bush has decided to send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq in a "surge" specifically designed to put an end to the killing and carnage in the Baghdad area.

Although I want to win the war in Iraq every bit as much as George W. Bush wants to win it, I have not been in favor of a surge in troop levels and I'm still opposed to one unless the troops are to be used for just one thing: to win.

And winning this nasty back-alley conflict, against an enemy that hides among the people in crowded urban neighborhoods, means being just as hard-nosed and determined as the insurgents have proven to be.

Our failure to get down and dirty in this war is the reason why we have reached this sorry state. We have been fighting with the hands of our troops tied behind their backs by both our own government and the government of Iraq. We are shackled by rules of engagement that the insurgents ignore. With them, anything goes. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on Wishful Thinking -At some point in this first fortnight of 2007, you may have already broken your New Year's resolution. It has only just dawned on me that I forgot to make one, so I'm good.

For many people, New Year's resolutions are an annual exercise in wishful thinking, which got me thinking about leaders who have misled entire communities down a garden path with a fruitless end.

Of course, I'm talking about several famous instances of "Pathological science: scientific studies based on non-existent phenomena." What did you think I was talking about?

This pseudo-medical title was the billing of a lecture given to an audience of researchers and managers at the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York, on December 18, 1953. The speaker was Irving Langmuir, who won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work done as a research scientist at GE. He was a Brooklyn native who told it like it was. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

Tom Purcell: On Meter Maids and Democrats - There are only two words you need to know to understand the meaning of government: meter maid.

Though maybe I'm still bitter.

I live in a wonderful suburban community, six miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Its main street is lined with pubs and shops and stores. I spend many days writing there in a coffee shop.

But my writing has been difficult of late ­ difficult because of our meter maid.

She's an extraordinary woman, a legend in these parts. No sooner does a meter pin drop and the meter "expire" than she is there. Park beyond the white lines? She'll nail you 15 bucks for that. Dare to park one second beyond the two-hour limit? She'll nail you 15 bucks for that, too.

I am punished repeatedly for these offenses. I thought it was funny at first ­ funny at how prolific our meter maid really is. But after thinking about what it really means, I don't think it's so funny any more.

My meter maid is a perfect reflection of what is so worrisome about government ­ a perfect example of the unintended consequences and perverse incentives that only government can create. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

Marsha Mercer: More dependent than ever - In his prime-time speech last week, President Bush asked the American people for more patience, sacrifice and resolve when it comes to the war in Iraq.

He should have addressed that plea to the Iraqis.

The president's new war strategy makes the United States more dependent than ever on the Iraqis to help us get out of Iraq.

The president's plan to send about 21,000 more troops into Iraq to fight alongside Iraqi military units against insurgents means Americans will be relying on the al-Maliki government and the Iraqi military in new ways. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Forget financial privacy - It's not just the FBI that may be surreptitiously looking at your banking and credit records. The Pentagon and CIA may be examining them as well.

In the case of the Pentagon, especially, according to The New York Times, this is "part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering."

The vehicle for this is a national security letter. Unlike the FBI's national security letters, compliance by a bank or lender is voluntary. But like the FBI's, it doesn't require a warrant or a subpoena to issue, simply the OK of a superior. - More...
Monday - January 15, 2007

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