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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 25, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

Tongass Sunrise
Thursday's sunrise as viewed from the airport.
Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

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Ketchikan & Statewide: Statewide, Alaska's Population Increased; No longterm growth in Southeast - Alaska's statewide population increased by 6.6 percent, or 42,520 people, in the six years from July 1, 2000-July 1, 2006, based on new population estimates released in December 2006 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development utilized the federal figures to calculate growth estimates released today for the state and by boroughs, census areas and places.

The population gain in Alaska was slightly faster than the 5.9 percent growth in the same period for the United States as a whole. The number of people living in the state climbed from 627,533 at the time of the July 1, 2000, to a provisional July 1, 2006, estimate of 670,053. - More..
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

Alaska: Governor Submits Ethics Bill to State Legislators; Focuses on Restoring Trust in Government - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced today the introduction of her ethics bill into the State House and Senate Chambers.

"This bill cleans up our executive house and provides greater transparency," said Governor Palin. "We need to assure Alaskans that we are working for them and ensure that they have no doubt as to the intent of our decisions. As we work closely with the legislators on ethics reform, I look to swift passage so that we may also tackle PERS / TRS and the gasline bill this session." - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

Alaska: Governor Palin Honors Eight Fallen Paratroopers - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin today offered her condolences to the families of the eight paratroopers who died on Saturday in Iraq. Four paratroopers with the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team and four from the 25th Infantry Division were killed in separate attacks.

In the first incident, soldiers were repelling an attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center (PJCC) in Karbala, Iraq. An illegally-armed militia conducted the attack using grenades, small arms and indirect fires.

In the second incident, Fort Richardson paratroopers were conducting a mounted patrol when their Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb near Karmah, Iraq.

"Our state is affected deeply by the loss of these brave soldiers," said Governor Palin. "Todd and I extend our deepest sympathies to their families and friends. These fine men risked their lives to protect our freedom and they will stay in our hearts forever." - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

Alaska: Too young to drive? By ZAZ HOLLANDER - Joshua Smith, 7, was riding a powerful snowmobile made for an adult-size rider when he lost control and crashed Jan. 13.

The little boy died the next day.

His death raises difficult questions in a part of the state where young children riding big snowmobiles is a fairly common sight:

How young is too young? At what age should children be allowed to ride adult machines that go from 0 to 60 mph faster than some cars? - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007


National: GOP in House call Dems heavy-handed By EDWARD EPSTEIN - Rep. Nancy Pelosi publicly and repeatedly pledged before November's election that if Democrats won a House majority and she became speaker they would treat Republicans with respect and comity and would foster bipartisanship.

Instead, three weeks into a session in which the strong-willed Pelosi has rammed through important legislation and major rule changes, increasingly exasperated and angry Republicans are asking when the new Democratic speaker and her leadership team will keep their pledge to create a less-partisan, more-open atmosphere.

Democrats counter that their much-ballyhooed "Six for '06" legislative package, which included items such as raising the minimum wage and fostering embryonic stem cell research, was a hurried exception to the deliberative, inclusive fashion in which they expect to run the House over the next two years. They also say that the same Republicans guilty of heavy-handed behavior when they ran the House shouldn't be so quick to criticize the new majority just getting its feet wet.

"Whine me a river," one senior Democratic House aide said, referring to GOP gripes. - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

Business - Economy: Push to conserve oil could affect prices By SHAWN MCCARTHY - President George W. Bush is not alone in promising policies that would slash oil demand - the European Union and China have also set ambitious efficiency targets.

And that concerted action by the world's three leading energy consumers could put a damper on demand for crude oil and downward pressure on prices over the long term.

While Bush talks about ending dependency on imported oil from the Middle East, Canada is the largest single supplier to the United States - exporting as much crude to the U.S. as the Persian Gulf countries combined. And it is the high-cost producers, such as Alberta's oil sands companies, that would be hit hardest by weak demand and soft prices.

"If I was a producer, I would be really, really concerned," said Paul Ting, a long-time Wall Street energy analyst who now runs his own consultancy. "There's not going to be demand destruction, but there will be erosion, and that is going to be a big problem for them." - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

National: Bill would nip microchips in humans By ALAN GATHRIGHT - For years, people have been implanting tiny microchips under their pet's skin so that if Rover's collar slips off, there's still a way to find him if he wanders away.

Now a state lawmaker has added a twist to that concept with a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to require two-legged critters to have a microchip implanted under their skin.

Under the bill, employers could not track workers' movements, for example. - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

National: Cell phone didn't set man ablaze, probe finds By MATHAI CHAKKO KURUVILA - Days after saying that a cell phone in a pants pocket set a sleeping man ablaze, Vallejo, Calif., fire investigators have ruled out the phone.

Investigators from Nokia, one of the world's largest cell-phone manufacturers, flew out to Vallejo, inspected the phone in question made by their company and convinced investigators that the phone didn't spontaneously combust, as fire officials initially said. - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

Eichner selected for Trimble Memorial Award

Ken Eichner Selected For
Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award

Photo courtesy HAI

Ketchikan: Eichner Selected For Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award - Ketchikan resident Ken Eichner, founder of TEMSCO Helicopters (Timber, Exploration, Mining, Survey, Cargo Operations), has been selected by Helicopter Association International (HAI) as this year's recipient of the Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award.

Eichner is an Alaskan aviation pioneer pilot who has spent his career navigating through the high altitude and mountainous terrain of Southeast Alaska. Eichner received his Commercial Certificate in 1960, followed by a Rotorcraft rating in 1962.

Eichner helped form the Ketchikan Volunteer Search and Rescue Squad (KVRS). He went on to found TEMSCO Helicopters with one PA-12 floatplane and one Hiller UH-12C. Previously, Eichner ran a bus company. When he decided to launch TEMSCO his wife and son thought they would keep the company running while dad "fooled around with helicopters." Quickly, helicopters and rescuing others became the family's number one priority.

Eichner himself made many rescues. During his first rotor wing rescue, Eichner landed in the White River Valley to save a local minister. Another rescue involved a stranded goat hunter. Eichner and a colleague flew in treacherous winter weather, set up camp for two days in a cave, and flew the hunter to safety once visibility improved. Still another involved an airline crash in Ketchikan, which prompted Eichner to put TEMSCO's entire inventory in the air to help. Eichner personally rescued the flight's delirious second officer. - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

Over $39,000 donated...

Over $39,000 Donated by KGH Auxiliary
Members of the Ketchikan General Hospital Auxiliary
Photograph courtesy KGH

Ketchikan: Over $39,000 Donated by KGH Auxiliary During its annual meeting on January 13th, the Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) Auxiliary voted to donate equipment totaling $39,773 to the hospital.

The Hospital Auxiliary raises funds by operating a gift shop in the hospital's lobby, staffed entirely by volunteers. Carolyn Wilsie, Auxiliary President, said "Our shop's buyer, Margaret Lynne, does an extremely good job finding new things for the shop, keeping the merchandise fresh and appealing." - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007

Ketchikan: Temporary parking disruption at hospital - Work will begin on Monday, January 29th, to repair the fireproofing in the hospital's parking structure. This will necessitate the closure of the upper parking garage, which is typically reserved for patients and visitors only.

Instead, several spaces in the lower parking garage will become patient and visitor parking. In addition, many of the spaces in the outdoor parking lot adjacent to the main hospital driveway, as well as near the Wilson Building, will be marked for patients and visitors only. - More...
Thursday PM - January 25, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Modest Proposals By Chris Elliott - Thursday PM
letterShuttle To Airport By Ken Levy - Thursday PM
letter Open Letter to Congressman Young: NO on North American Union By Mike Jones - Thursday PM
letterMore on Ketchikan's Property Assessment Increase By Sandy Powers - Wednesday
letter Mural Unveiling & Renovation Celebration By Marty West - Wednesday
letter Full Plate of Issues Will Get 90-Day Test by Rep. John Harris - Wednesday
letter Tax Cap Needed By Dan McQueen - Wednesday
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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