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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 23, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Ketchikan Waterfront
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

National: Bush Warns Failure in Iraq Would Be "Grievious and Far Reaching" By STEPHEN KAUFMAN - There is still time for the United States to help to shape the outcome of the conflict in Iraq, President Bush said, adding that allowing extremists to seize control of the country would be tantamount to ignoring the lessons of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks upon New York and Washington.

Speaking in his annual State of the Union Address to the U.S. Congress in Washington on January 23, Bush said "the consequences of failure [in Iraq] would be grievous and far reaching." - More...
Tuesday PM - January 23, 2007

National: Democrats give stinging response to Bush address By MARGARET TALEV - In a stinging Democratic Party response to President Bush's State of the Union address, freshman Sen. James Webb of Virginia said Bush "took us into this war recklessly" and "we are now as a nation held hostage to the predictable and predicted disarray that has followed."

Webb, whose Marine son is serving in Iraq, said Bush has lost the support of the majority of the country and the military. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 23, 2007


Coast Guard Cutter Acushnet To Be
Crowned Next "Queen of the Fleet"

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Ketchikan: Coast Guard Cutter Acushnet To Be Crowned Next "Queen of the Fleet" - With the de-commissioning of the Coast Guard cutter Storis on Feb. 8, 2007, the Ketchikan-based Coast Guard cutter Acushnet will be crowned the next Coast Guard "Queen of the Fleet".

The title "Queen of the Fleet" is a distinction given to the oldest commissioned cutter in the fleet. The Acushnet will celebrate its 63rd birthday Feb. 5, 2007.   

Acushnet was originally commissioned as a Diver Class Fleet Rescue and Salvage Vessel, USS SHACKLE (ARS 9) for the U.S. Navy Feb. 5, 1944.  On August 23, 1946, Acushnet was commissioned as an Auxiliary Tug (WAT) in the US Coast Guard.  That same year, two other U.S. Navy Diver Class vessels: the Escape (ex-ARS 6) and Yocona (ex-SEIZE ARS 26) also joined the Coast Guard fleet as Auxiliary Tugs (WAT).

 Unlike any other ship in the Coast Guard, Acushnet has served in the Navy and Coast Guard as a Fleet Rescue and Salvage Vessel (ARS), an Auxiliary Tug (WAT), an oceanographic vessel (WAGO), and a medium endurance cutter (WMEC).  It is the second Coast Guard cutter to bear the name Acushnet and will be the oldest medium endurance cutter still in operation after the Storis.

 While both sister ships, Yocona and Escape, have been decommissioned, Acushnet continues to serve as a medium endurance cutter in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

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Ketchikan: Rep. Johansen appointed to four Finance subcommittees - Representative Kyle Johansen (R-Ketchikan) has been appointed to the Administration, Community & Economic Development, Environmental Conservation, Transportation and Public Facilities House Finance Subcommittees.

"These Subcommittees do the real heavy lifting during the Operating Budget process. We meet every day and comb through the detail budget books of these State Agencies. It is a very intense process for us and for the Departments," said Johansen. - More....
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

Ketchikan: IFA to Serve Metlakatla - The Inter-Island Ferry Authority's M/V Stikine will be providing daily Ketchikan- Metlakatla- Ketchikan service from February 20 through March 1, announced IFA general manager Tom Briggs. Alternate service to the Annette Island community will be provided during the period when the M/V Lituya will be out of service for a scheduled overhaul, said Briggs.

The Stikine will depart Ketchikan at 11:30am, arriving Metlakatla at 1:00pm, departing Metlakatla at 1:30pm and returning to Ketchikan at 3:00pm (times are stated in Alaska Standard Time; Metlakatla observes Pacific Time). Metlakatla-Ketchikan fares on the Stikine will be the same as those in effect on the Lituya. The IFA will collect fares aboard the vessel. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

Alaska: Alaska Permanent Fund returns 5.6% for second quarter - The Alaska Permanent Fund returned 5.6% for the second quarter of the fiscal year, according to unaudited figures released Monday. This brings the return for the fiscal year-to-date to 9.6%. The Fund grew by $2.1 billion in the quarter, ending December 31 with an unaudited value of $36.4 billion.

The stock rally that started mid-year continued through the second fiscal quarter, and the Fund's stock portfolios contributed the most to the total return. Non-domestic stocks were the strongest asset class in the Fund, returning 11.4%, and domestic stocks returned 6.9%. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

Alaska: Minimum Wage Debate Starts In Juneau - Today six Alaska House Democrats launched their effort to increase Alaska's minimum wage, which has stagnated since 2002. Alaska once had the nation's highest minimum wage, reflecting the state's high cost of living.

"Fuel costs have gone up. Food and medical costs have gone up. The level of pay for people who work and still struggle to make ends meet should go up too," said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007


National: Bush To Call for 20 Percent Reduction in Gas Consumption by 2017 By STEPHEN KAUFMAN - In his annual State of the Union Address to the U.S. Congress, President Bush plans to propose lowering the U.S. consumption of gasoline by 20 percent within 10 years by replacing current fuel sources with alternatives, such as corn ethanol, and increasing the efficiency of cars, light trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

The president will speak at the U.S. Capitol at 9 p.m. EST on January 23.

In his comments on energy, Bush is expected to discuss technological developments that are designed to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil and decrease carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global climate change, according to the White House. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

International: Iran Nuclear Program Actions Could Spur Further Isolation By STEPHEN KAUFMAN - The news that Iran has barred 38 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors is "another example" of the Iranian government's attempts to "dictate the terms" to the international community, and the Iranian government risks becoming even more isolated because of it, according to a State Department official.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said January 22 that even if the IAEA is able to work around Iran's decision, "it's another indication that Iran continues in its defiant attitude toward the international community. They just don't get it." - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

International: Afghan Security Forces Make Impressive Gains By JACQUELYN S. PORTH - Defense Secretary Robert Gates, reviewing the training of the Afghan national army, recently said not only is he very impressed, but the army's progress exceeds U.S. expectations.

Gates and Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were in Kabul for a three-day visit in mid-January on the secretary's first trip to Afghanistan. Although gains have been made, he said during a January 17 press conference in Washington that Afghan and U.S. officials still are hoping to accelerate the process in training and equipping the army. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

International: Baghdad Security Tops U.S. Agenda, General Petraeus Tells Senators By JIM FISHER-THOMPSON - President Bush's new strategic direction in Iraq -- involving the deployment of additional U.S. Army and Marine brigades aimed, in part, at securing Baghdad -- is now the best plan for stopping that troubled nation's slide into sectarian chaos, Lieutenant General David Petraeus told senators January 23.

The general testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination by the president to command U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. If confirmed by the full Senate, Petraeus will replace General George Casey as commander of Multi-National Forces - Iraq. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Property value increases excessive By Tyrell Rettke - Tuesday
letter Increased Property Taxes By Michael Spence - Tuesday
letter Read My Lips By Glen Thompson - Monday
letter More Bureaucracy, Less Learning at UAS By Robert D. Warner - Monday
letter Ketchikan Property Tax Assessments By Hunter Davis - Monday
letter Property Tax Hike & the Cruise Ship Tax By Dan McQueen - Monday
letter Thank you By Colette Milam - Monday
letter Proposed container fee from State of Washington By Judith Green - Monday
letter A day to remember JFK By Ken Levy - Monday
letter Ketchikan assessment headaches By John Harrington - Friday PM
letter TAX GLUTTONS By Ken Bylund - Friday
letter Let's walk the talk when it comes to the kids in Ketchikan. By Patti Fay Hickox - Friday
letterRacism Report Card By Carol Christoffel - Wednesday PM
letter Proposed container fee legislation will increase cost of groceries By Bill Tatsuda - Wednesday PM
letter At what price glory? By Valerie Cooper - Wednesday PM
letter The Internet Economy By Rick Grams - Monday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary  

Dave Kiffer: Totems - In the last few years, we've all watched our Downtown turn into something different than we all remember. Part of that is just the one constant in all our lives: Change.

Nothing ever stays the same, no matter how comforting that sameness is. I have watched many familiar businesses close or move out of downtown and it saddens me, but unfortunately it is as inevitable as the weather.

Recently, I have also been to far too many funerals for my liking. Six people I have known have died since October. This is a change I could do also do without. Each loss leaves an empty space and Ketchikan is the poorer for it.

When I was in Ireland years ago, I was impressed by a poem by one of the great Irish writers John Montague in which he compared the "old people" around his youth to "dolmens" or Irish standing stones. The old people were immutable, always there. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

Martin Schram: Fanning the flames of misinformation - It is a problem long recognized but rarely admitted: We in the news media too often end up fanning the flames when we cover the fires.

But our craft's dilemma becomes far worse when the fires we cover were set by arsonists in our midst.

And that is what happened this week. Just days after the consensus presidential frontrunners got off to their way-too-early start of campaign 2008, a small but ever-ready segment of the news media sparked the first brushfire so quickly that even the traditional political dirty tricksters got caught with their matches down.

A little-known conservative publication, Insight Magazine, which is owned by a company controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, which also owns The Washington Times, put on its Web site an item that it presented as truth, even though it was an unverified, and ultimately untrue, non-fact. Insight Magazine reported that Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, during in his childhood in Indonesia, had been educated at a madrassa, one of those highly religious schools at which fundamentalist Islamic teachings stress militancy and hatred - schools that have produced many Islamic extremists. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

Jay Ambrose: Getting serious about Social Security - Now that House Democrats have given us 100 hours of razzmatazz - the speedy, unreflective passage of six bills that the Senate will mercifully either kill or amend - maybe they will do something responsible, something desperately needed, something crucial for the country. Maybe they will address the restructuring of Social Security.

More than likely, they won't.

It's easy enough to slap energy and drug companies around because, well, who likes them, anyway, and how many voters get it that the consequence of enacting this vindictive legislation in the years ahead would be boosted oil prices and fewer life-saving drugs? The other initiatives were likewise the stuff voter-approval dreams are made of. But reworking Social Security in substantive fashion is not. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007

Dale McFeatters: The year's official nadir - This past Monday is the most depressing, miserable day of the year, according to a British psychologist, thanks to a dismal convergence of unpaid holiday bills, lapsed New Year's resolutions, the now dissipated glow of Christmas and bad weather-induced lethargy.

And maybe there's something to that 24-hour perfect storm of moodiness. We have days for everything else, why not designate the fourth Monday in January as Blue Monday, a day to be dedicated to moping and self-pity, comforted only by the thought that - if Dr. Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University is right - things have gotten as bad they're going to get for the year and will begin taking a turn for the better on Tuesday.

The drawback to that melancholy observance is that the large army of shrinks, diet gurus, fitness nuts and TV morning show guests - among them Dr. Arnall himself - dedicated to bucking people up will ruin Blue Monday for the rest of us. He says we can snap ourselves out of our funk by resolving to change our behavior "such as giving up smoking, eating better, exercising more and getting that new job." Oh thanks, doctor. We would have never thought of any of that on our own. - More...
Tuesday- January 23, 2007

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