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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 29, 2007

Front Page Photo Hamilton Gelhar

'Red Sky in the Morning'
"Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning"
Ketchikan's Sunday sunrise looking south from the dock.
Front Page Photo by Hamilton Gelhar

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


National: Boomer doom: Falling victim to the culture of youth By LEE BOWMAN, LISA HOFFMAN and THOMAS HARGROVE - As America's baby boomers approach senior status, a troubling number are dying from causes that have marked the generation since the 1960s - drug abuse, suicide and accidents.

A new analysis by Scripps Howard News Service of death records for more than 304,000 boomers who died in 2003 shows the legacies of early and lingering drug use, a tendency toward depression at all stages of life and a stubborn determination not to "act their age."

All of those problems contribute to more deaths from drugs, suicides and accidents than seen in previous aging generations.

Most of the nearly 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 are still alive and will be for many years. By one Census Bureau projection, in 2050 as many as 780,000 members of the generation that said "never trust anyone over 30" will be at least 100 years old.

But no one, not even members of a generation with a lifelong bent for defying convention, can beat death. Boomers are now dying at a rate of roughly 1,000 a day. The Census Bureau estimates that nearly 21 million will die in the next 25 years.

In the mid-1990s, with the first boomer occupying the White House, the chronic diseases of aging - cancer, heart disease and the new scourge of human immunodeficiency virus - edged out violent death as leading contributors to the demise of boomers as the first wave emerged into their 40s. - More...
Monday - January 29, 2007

National: Boomers lead in suicide rates By LEE BOWMAN - Suicide among baby boomers has run ahead of the national rate at every stage of their lives, and experts are worried that suicide among the elderly, already high, may double in the next 20 years.

They warn that despite many advances in understanding and responding to suicide risk factors among Americans of all ages, the nation's youth-oriented culture, lingering stigmas toward mental illness and the medical system itself leave aging boomers in greater danger.

A Scripps analysis of the causes of death among boomers in 2003 found that 11,667 took their own lives, representing 37 percent of all suicides in the United States that year. By contrast, there were 3,988 suicides among 15- to 24-year olds that year, and 5,248 among people 65 and older.

Ninety percent of all suicides in the United States are linked to depression or substance abuse, problems that have plagued boomers since they were teenagers and remained more prevalent throughout their lives than among previous generations.

"One of the biggest things we're up against is the notion that it's normal to experience depression when you get older," said Jerry Reed, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Action Network. - More...
Monday - January 29, 2007


National: Black History Month Tells Story of Determination and Triumph By LOUISE FENNER - Each February, Black History Month tells of the struggles of millions of American citizens over the most devastating obstacles -- slavery, prejudice, poverty -- and looks at their contributions to the nation's cultural and political life.

jpg Carter G. Woodson

Carter G. Woodson
Father of Black History
Photograph courtesy
Marshall University

2007 marks the 81st annual celebration since Carter G. Woodson, a noted scholar and historian, instituted Negro History Week in 1926.  He chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and the black 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The first official Black History Month was announced in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford, who urged Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." 

Woodson, the son of former slaves in Virginia, realized that the struggles and achievements of Americans of African descent were being ignored or misrepresented.  He founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH), which publishes a scholarly journal and sets the theme for Black History Month each year.

ASALH has its headquarters in Washington, where Woodson lived from 1915 until his death in 1950.  His home is designated a national historic site.

The theme for 2007, "From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas," takes its name from historian John Hope Franklin's 1947 book From Slavery to Freedom, John Fleming, ASALH president, said in a telephone interview.

"Certainly, struggle has been an ongoing theme in our history from the very beginning," said Fleming, who is vice president of museums for the Cincinnati Museum Center.

He believes Black History Month should focus on both positive and negative aspects of the black experience.  "We were not slaves prior to being captured in Africa," said Fleming, "and while slavery was part of our experience for 250 years, we have a hundred-and-some years in freedom that we also need to deal with. That's not to diminish the slavery period, but it's not just the most encompassing thing." - More...
Monday - January 29, 2007

Asset Builder of the Month

Asset Builder of the Month: Monthly Grind
PATCHWorks presented the Asset Builder of the Month for January 2007 to the Monthly Grind and honored its producers
Peggy Hovik, Tom LeCompte and Cherry Rice...
Photograph courtesy PATCHWorks


Ketchikan: Asset Builder of the Month: Monthly Grind - PATCHWorks has selected the Monthly Grind as the Asset Builder of the Month for January, 2007. PATCHWorks Director Karen Eakes said, "As a community organization, the Monthly Grind has become a valued source of entertainment for Ketchikan's families and provides opportunities to build developmental assets in Ketchikan's youth by including them in its monthly shows at the Saxman Tribal House. Whether they are participating as performers, hosts, volunteers, poster designers, or audience members, youth are made to feel welcome at the Grind."

Eakes said, "By performing in the show, youth are exposed to the assets of Responsibility, Creative Activities, Personal Power and Self-esteem. Volunteering and working behind the scenes help youth learn the benefits of Service to Others, and meet the wonderful, responsible Adult Role Models who support them and make them feel welcome. Simply attending the Grind can expose young people to the assets of Cultural Competence and Interpersonal Competence as they socially interact with others. In addition, the Grind is an excellent example of how our Community Values Youth and encourages the asset of Family Support by providing an opportunity for families to enjoy evenings of fun and entertainment together." - More...
Monday - January 29, 2007

Match of the Month

Match of the Month
"Big Sister" Mylene and "Little Sister" Kym
Photograph by Nancy Coggins

Ketchikan: Match of the Month January 2007 - Ketchikan's Big Brothers Big Sisters' Match of the Month for January 2007, "Big Sister" Mylene and "Little Sister" Kym look forward to their weekly meetings during which they have lots of relaxing yet vibrant times together in the BBBS Ketchikan Community program. They had fun at a craft night at the library, helping to make cloth stars to raise money for the Friends of the Library's goal of a new library.

What a Big does with his/her Little is an open-ended choice as long as it's safe and healthy for the child. Mylene and Kym's more athletic activities have included ice skating at Ward Lake and winning a Tiki trophy for a relay race staged at Mylene's company picnic.

There are so many things to do in Ketchikan - even in the winter - and Mylene and Kym have just begun to scratch the surface. They've attended a local concert and the play "Oliver," gone to see the "Ant Bully" movie, and participated in the BBBS cruise ship luncheon. They have also had fun at a BBBS campfire on Refuge Cove beach, potting plants, playing Scrabble®, making Christmas crafts and going to the Blueberry Festival. - More...
Monday - January 29, 2007


Basic Rules

letter SS George Washington & SS Denali By Michael Naab - Monday PM
letter RE: SS George Washington By Michael Spence- Monday PM
letter Elected Officials By Charlie Johnson - Monday PM
letterWhy is this happing in Ketchikan? By Tracy Lindahl - Monday PM
letter Health Insurance By Alan Lidstone - Sunday PM
letter North American Union By Darlene Hall - Sunday PM
letter Airport Shuttle By Signe Markuson - Sunday PM
letter Ketchikan Taxman By Robert McRoberts - Sunday PM
letter Democracy/Liberty: Surprise to some, old news to others By Iliya Pavlovich - Sunday PM
letter History of Steamships By Pat Bundy - Sunday PM
letterAirport Shuttle Response By John Harrington - Friday PM
letterTax Increases By Charlotte Tanner - Friday PM
letter 57% property tax increase By Mike Isaac - Friday PM
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary  

Dave Kiffer: Alaska's Third Largest City!?! - Back when I was a young lad in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a momentous event happened in the First City.

There was a rare stagnant period in what is normally exponential state government growth. When you combined that with a boom in the timber industry, Ketchikan briefly outstripped Juneau as the third largest "city" in Alaska.

It was cause for local celebration and even the "Welcome Arch" was changed to reflect us as "Alaska's Third Largest City."

Of course it didn't last. By the mid 1970s, Juneau was back on the bureaucratic boom town binge and now - three decades later - it has - according to the latest state census stats - even edged ahead of Fairbanks as the second largest city in the state.

Not that that really means much. Being the second largest city in Alaska is an honorific as meaningful as being the largest building in Topeka, Kansas.. After all, both Juneau and Fairbanks (at around 30,000 population each) could fit into one of Anchorage's (282,000) tiniest neighborhoods.

Ketchikan's growth did not keep up, of course, and we were relegated to duking it out with other second tier cities like Sitka, Kenai, Kodiak and Anaktuvuk Pass.

In recent years, Sitka has even shown up ahead of Ketchikan on a lot of population lists. That is only because they cheated.

They consolidated their city and borough areas into a single government and that has allowed their "Bity" or "Corough" to claim a population in the upper 8,000s, where as the City of Ketchikan is still floating somewhere around 7,500 (but it rises to nearly 15,000 when the summer jewelry store employees arrive!).

If Ketchikan "consolidated" we'd have an official population of more than 13,000 and that would leave Sitka in the dust. We'd be Number 4 again!!!!! - More...
Monday AM - January 29, 2007

Tom Purcell: Why Groundhog Day Should Be Outlawed - Punxsutawney Phil must be stopped. The lovable little groundhog must be stopped.

You know Phil. Every Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, he is yanked from a tree stump in Punxsutawney, Pa. If he sees his shadow, his organizers allege, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't, spring will be just around the corner.

Millions have enjoyed this primitive ritual for years, but now there's a problem.

Groundhog Day evolved from Candlemas Day, a Christian tradition commemorating the purification of the Virgin Mary. As this tradition evolved in Germany, it got ever more colorful.

Germans soon believed that Candlemas Day could also predict the weather. Somewhere along the line they began yanking a hedgehog out of a tree stump, and the tradition was born. When German immigrants settled in Punxsutawney in 1887, they brought the tradition with them.

Now we have a problem.

How, in this day and age, can any government body impose on our diverse society any celebration that has its roots in a Christian faith? Aren't the people of Punxsutawney providing their de facto support of one religion over the others? Isn't their outmoded event offensive to those who practice no religion? - More...
Monday AM - January 29, 2007

Parnassus Book Review  

Mary Guss: Fugitive Wife by Peter C. Brown - If you are in the mood to curl up one of these winter days with a good historical yarn set in Alaska, you could do much worse than Fugitive Wife by Peter Brown.

The story opens in June of the year 1900, shipside amid the hustle and bustle of the Seattle docks during the Nome gold rush. Watching the loading is the book's protagonist, Esther Crummy, a farm wife from Minnesota, on her way to visit her sister in Ballard. She turns out to be in the right place at the right time to find herself instead offered a job aboard one of the ships bound for Nome, as the horse handler. Esthre agrees to take that job in very short order, making the reader think she's either crazy or full of adventurous spirit. The truth turns out to be something quite different.

The story of the voyage to Nome, through Dutch Harbor and up the Bering Sea is used as a time to introduce the readers to the characters in the story then to Nome as it existed in the middle of the gold rush. Just as everyone is making their initial way in Nome, a hundred pages into the novel, the author frustratingly yanks the reader from back to small-town Minnesota five years earlier. The next 100 or so pages are used to fill the reader in on Esther's history and the reason she has "left her husband" as she previously announced to fellow traveler Nate Deaton of the Cape Nome Company. At that point the reader is not thrilled about turning back from people and places newly met and full of interest, but has no other choice than to go along for the ride. - More...
Monday AM - January 29, 2007

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