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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 30, 2007

Front Page Photo by Peaches Naona Wallin

'Sunrise Over Tongass Narrows'
Front Page Photo by Peaches (Naona) Wallin

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Ketchikan: GCI To Offer Local Telephone Service; KPU Looks at Financial Impact By MARY KAUFFMAN - By April 2007, GCI will begin offering phone service in Ketchikan providing local consumers one more option for services. In a January 10, 2007, letter to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, GCI Tariffs and Licenses Manager Jennier Robertson stated that GCI will begin service to Ketchikan's 225, 228 and 247 exchanges on April 15, 2007.

GCI's entry into the Ketchikan phone market was made possible through an agreement between GCI Communications Corporation and the City of Ketchikan (doing business as Ketchikan Public Utilities). Under the agreement, GCI will use facilities owned and operated by Ketchikan Public Utilities - a publicly owned telephone service that has been the predominate phone service provider in the Ketchikan area for many years.

Phone service options were expanded for local consumers when the Ketchikan City Council approved the adoption of an interconnection and resale agreement with GCI Communications Corporation on July 12, 2006. Later the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) approved the resale and facilities interconnection agreement between GCI and the City of Ketchikan (Ketchikan Public Utilities) on November 14, 2006.

In its approval of the agreement, RCA noted the proposed interconnection agreement between the City of Ketchikan (KPU) and GCI establishes the rates, terms and conditions for local interconnection, number portability, dialing parity, access to rights of way, local resale, and collocation. The terms of the agreement were also determined by RCA to not be discriminatory to a third party and to be consistent with public interest, convenience, and necessity.

As GCI continues preparations to provide an additional phone service option to local consumers, KPU Telecommunications is looking at the financial impact this might have on their current phone operation, as well as any possible impact on electric and water consumers.

In a memorandum addressed to City Manager & KPU General Manager Karl Amylon and to the Ketchikan City Council, City Finance Director Bob Newell addressed the possible financial impact this new phone service option might have on Ketchikan Public Utilities.

In Newell's memo dated January 18th, the City Finance Director clarified that he based his financial impact analysis on a forecast prepared by GCI regarding its plans for the next three months. As a caveat Newell wrote, " Unfortunately, the forecast is incomplete and lacks many of the details necessary to do an adequate analysis. Therefore, we have been forced to make certain assumptions that may not reflect what will actually take place."

One assumption is that GCI will have 1,905 local customers by June 2007. This would represents approximately 20 percent of KPU's current local phone customers. Based on this assumption and the assumption that 70 percent of GCI's projected customers will be business customers and 30 percent will be residential customers, Newell projected that KPU Telecommunications would lose $426,000 annually in billing revenue from its former customers and would gain $341,000 annually in billing revenue from GCI for wholesale services. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 30, 2007


National: A debate in Congress over habeas corpus By BOB EGELKO - One of the Bush administration's most far-reaching assertions of government power was revealed quietly recently when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified that habeas corpus - the right to go to federal court and challenge one's imprisonment - is not protected by the Constitution.

"The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas," Gonzales told Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Jan. 17.

Gonzales acknowledged that the Constitution declares "habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless ... in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." But he insisted that "there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution."

Specter was incredulous, asking how the Constitution could bar the suspension of a right that didn't exist - a right, he noted, that was first recognized in medieval England as a shield against the king's power to dispatch troublesome subjects to royal dungeons.

Later in the hearing, Gonzales described habeas corpus as "one of our most cherished rights" and noted that Congress had protected that right in the 1789 law that established the federal court system. But he never budged from his position on the absence of constitutional protection - a position that seemingly would leave Congress free to reduce habeas corpus rights or repeal them altogether. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 30, 2007

National: Senate begins hearings on proposals to cut emissions By ZACHARY COILE - The Senate, showing a new enthusiasm for the fight against global warming, begins hearings this week on competing proposals by lawmakers to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

Last year, the Republican-led Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held regular hearings on whether global warming was a hoax. But Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who now chairs the panel, is staging a rare open-microphone hearing Tuesday, where senators will offer their ideas for tackling climate change.

Calls for action will probably grow when the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change issues a report Friday in Paris that is expected to show increased certainty among scientists that human use of fossil fuels is causing warming. The report also includes projections about the damage that various regions could suffer from rising sea levels, heat waves and droughts.

The Democratic takeover of Congress, combined with growing calls from industry, religious leaders and the public for action, has dramatically improved the chances for legislation that could set limits on carbon-dioxide emissions, raise fuel economy standards, and require greater energy efficiency for buildings. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 30, 2007

Fireworks over Deer Mountain

Fireworks Over Deer Mountain Photo Gallery
An unidentified person or persons, perhaps celebrating the accent to the top of Deer Mountain set off a dazzling display of fireworks Saturday evening.
Photo Gallery by Carl Thompson

National: Pro-impeachment lawmaker in no hurry to push the matter By ROB HOTAKAINEN - If campaign talk means anything, there'd be at least one sure vote on the House Judiciary Committee to impeach President Bush if the matter ever came up.

It would come from freshman Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the Minneapolis lawyer and former state legislator who got a plum assignment when he was named to the storied House panel earlier this month. It has jurisdiction over impeachment.

At a rally last October, Ellison said Bush has been "running amok" and needed to be reined in: "There is one way that you can truly hold this president accountable, and it's impeachment."

But for the time being, anyway, Ellison seems in no hurry to push the matter.

"My opinions really have not changed over time, but the circumstances that I'm in have," he said. He said he was "a step before impeachment," and that his emphasis as he learned the ropes in Congress was on a broader range of human- and civil-rights issues.

Democratic leaders have made it clear that they don't intend to move to impeach Bush. But pro-impeachment groups continue to press their case. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 30, 2007


Basic Rules

letter "RECONNECTING TIES" UPDATE By Terrance H. Booth, Sr. - Tuesday AM
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


The Ketchikan City Council will hold a regular meeting in the City Council Chambers on Thursday, Febuary 1, 2007 at 7:00 pm
pdfDownload the Agenda & Information Packet
(Click on each item on the agenda to download its information packet)


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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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