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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 14, 2010

Front Page Photo by MARIE-JEANNE CADLE

Sunrise Paddle
The paddler in this December photo is John Autry.
Front Page Photo by MARIE-JEANNE CADLE


Ketchikan: Ketchikan's First Midwinter Medieval Feast - Ketchikan's very first Midwinter Medieval Feast was held Saturday, January 9th. The feast was organized by a newly formed non-profit, the Ketchikan Medieval and Renaissance Society or K-MARS.

Ketchikan's First Midwinter Medieval Feast

Bill Thomas was chosen as king of the feast. Thomas then picked Carol Shay to be his queen. Her husband Steve Shay was allowed by the king to sit with them.
Photo courtesy Anita Hales

After a blessing by medieval monk, "Brother" Gene O'Brien, the feast consisted of food from recipes from the medieval period, about 1000 to 1600 AD. Guests dined on tasty doucettes, a pork pie; cock-a-leekie soup; compost, a medieval vegetable dish and spiced pears. Guests ate with their hands, assisted only by a knife and a bread roll known as a trencher. Many guests came dressed in period costume.

A king of the feast was chosen by lottery. Bill Thomas was chosen by Adryan Shull who picked his name from a basket. Thomas then picked Carol Shay to be his queen. Her husband Steve Shay was allowed by the king to sit with them.

Chamberlain Rod Landis gave some medieval history and was master of ceremonies for the entertainment. - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010

Ketchikan: 5th annual Alaska College Goal Sunday - Across Alaska students planning to attend college in the fall are gearing up for the 5th annual Alaska College Goal Sunday - January 31, 2010. On that day Alaska's students and their families will gather at 24 locations across the state seeking guidance as they apply for financial assistance.

"The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the first and most important step for financial aid. It is the only way for students to access federal and most state support in the form of grants and low interest loans. In addition, it is also a requirement for many scholarships and private financial aid resources. However completing the form correctly with detailed income, tax, and other information can be a daunting task. To surmount the financial barriers to higher education many must first overcome the paperwork." ---Gionna Thornton, Site Coordinator, Prince William Sound Community College, Valdez

Annually scheduled in proximity to Super Bowl Sunday - and to income tax season - College Goal Sunday provides expert guidance in completing a key form that can be daunting-the FAFSA. - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010

Alaska: Governor Urged to Join Anti Gouging Efforts; Several Democrats say tax suspension not enough - Several Democratic legislators on Tuesday applauded Gov. Sean Parnell's attempts to hold down fuel costs for Alaskans, but urged the governor to go further, and join their efforts to end fuel price gouging in Alaska. The governor wants to extend the eight cent fuel tax suspension, but the Democrats' proposal could reduce gasoline costs by as much as 54 cents per gallon.

"Alaskans are paying too much for gas," said Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) who is a sponsor of HB 68 which would prohibit refineries from charging excessive or exorbitant prices. "The real problem is that Alaska's two major refineries have no competitors and can charge whatever they want."

Despite being the nation's largest oil producer per capita, Alaska gasoline and diesel prices have consistently been the highest in the nation, even when the state tax was suspended for a year. According to the latest report from AAA, including state taxes, Alaskan gas prices are 63 cents higher than the national average. The average Alaskan gasoline price is $3.30 per gallon excluding state taxes. Hawaii, which produces no oil, has the second highest prices at $2.92 per gallon. In Washington the price is $2.51. - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010

Alaska: Governor Submits Veterans Loan Legislation - Governor Sean Parnell transmitted legislation this week to renew the Veterans Mortgage Loan program. If passed by the Legislature, voters in the 2010 general election would be asked to approve $800 million of state-guaranteed bonds. The bonds would be issued by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation for the purchase of mortgage loans made to qualifying military veterans.

Alaska is home to 75,000 veterans. The loan program is designed to provide the lowest possible interest rates without imposing income criteria for eligibility. - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010

National: Feds order collection firms to open books on debt sales By ISAAC WOLF - Federal authorities have issued a sweeping order for some of the nation's largest debt collecting companies to open their books.

In its first investigation of the $60-billion consumer debt resale market, the Federal Trade Commission has directed the nine companies that buy the most second-hand debt to turn over essentially all purchase and sales records for a six-month period in 2009.


That's just one part of a sweeping request included in a 15-page demand for information issued by the FTC in late December and obtained by the Scripps Howard News Service this week. Sent to the country's nine largest purchasers of unpaid credit card bills, hospital fees and other debts, the request is formally known as an "Order to File a Special Report."

The FTC's examination focuses on a segment of the debt collection industry that has mushroomed in the last decade and is drawing criticism for some of its practices. A Scripps Howard News Service investigation beginning in November documented serious problems spawned by this market.

The Scripps articles showed that when old credit card and other debts are sold, the new owners frequently do not receive documentation of the original debt. That, in turn, can lead collectors to use bad information to try to collect unsubstantiated debt, sue consumers without proof and damage their credit scores.

No federal law requires collectors to verify the alleged debt owed by a consumer or to transfer the proof of the debt to the new debt purchaser, the Scripps report found. - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010

National: Debt collectors have an advantage over debtors By ISAAC WOLF - As the debt-collection industry files numerous lawsuits each year to recover unpaid bills, it's banking on a simple fact: The vast majority of those sued will never appear in court to defend themselves.

Only one out of 10 defendants in collection cases attend the court dates, according to some industry experts and judges.

"The system is broken," said Jane Santoni, a Towson, Md., attorney who represents people sued by debt collectors.

When calls and letters to past-due debtors don't work, debt collectors have one option to turn up the heat: Lawsuits. Collectors file hundreds of thousands of collection lawsuits each year, according to expert estimates. - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010

National: Debts packaged and sold, sometimes illegally By ISAAC WOLF - Bad debts have become big business.

For decades, credit-card companies and other firms would eventually give up after attempting to collect from deadbeat customers. Now, companies are packaging and selling many of those overdue accounts for pennies on the dollar to debt collectors. The collectors then aggressively pursue the debtors to repay, or they turn around and resell those same debts to other collection firms.

This secondary debt market has mushroomed in recent years into a $60 billion industry. But the explosive growth has been accompanied by concerns over the business practices of the debt collectors. Government officials and consumer watchdogs question the industry's often-shoddy recordkeeping, and say overly aggressive collectors sometimes break the law when going after old debts.

"There are people who are attempting to get debt from consumers when they have no proof who the actual consumer is, no proof about the actual debt or the actual contract that incurred the debt, yet that has not stopped the debt-collection industry from going full steam ahead," says Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. "What these companies are interested in is collecting as much debt as humanly possible." - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010

Health - Fitness: Zinc in denture adhesives blamed for nerve damage By SARAH AVERY - Zinc in denture adhesives has been blamed in dozens of cases of nerve damage, including that of a North Carolina man who says 20 years of using the glues caused him to become disabled.

About 40 million Americans have dentures and use adhesives to secure them, and the products have long been considered benign. The American Dental Association said in its statement it knows of no confirmed cases of dental glues causing nerve damage.

The products, Poligrip brands from GlaxoSmithKline and Fixodent from Procter & Gamble, use zinc as a bonding agent. Scientists have only recently drawn a possible link between the zinc-containing denture creams and neurological problems. Glaxo says its product is safe if used properly. - More...
Thursday - January 14, 2010


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letterOpen Letter to Sen. Begich: PAY BACK By Andy Rauwolf - Dear Senator Begich, Thank you for your letter explaining your vote for health care reform. A few weeks ago, I contacted your office expressing concerns that the House plan did not include any regulations for tort reform. Shortly thereafter, you appeared on national television and stated that "tort reform was tried and had failed in Alaska, and doctors had actually left the state because of tort reform." Which study came up with those statistics, and who funded the study? By then, you surely knew that since Texas instituted tort reforms, hospitals there reported 70% fewer lawsuits, doctors averaged a 21% reduction in premiums, Texas added 1,887 new physicians specifically as a result of lawsuit reform, billions of dollars were cut from defensive medicine spending, and 430,000 additional Texans have health insurance today as a direct result of liability reforms, all at no cost to Texan taxpayers! - More...
Friday - January 15, 2010

letter ENVIRONMENTALISTS, GIVE US A BREAK By Charles Edwardson - I live in Alaska and love southeast. I have lived in the Tongass National Forest all of my life. My mother is Haida and our family is from Hydaburg. I am 1/2 Alaskan native and the other half a native of Alaska (there is a slight difference). I have four daughters and a beautiful wife who was also born and raised here. We graduated from Ketchikan High School together, got together, and have built our life here in southeast. I own five or six acres on Prince of Wales Island and fished of the west coast of Prince of Wales Island for many years, and worked in the timber industry at the Ketchikan pulp mill in the off season and also the canneries around town prior to fishing. I now teach at the University of Alaska and run my own construction company in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterEnough is Enough By Rob Holston - I just returned home from the Enough is Enough meeting at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. An estimated 300 people were in attendance. Hats off to Cathy, Zig and the other organizers and participants. The only downer was finding out at the end that the city had NOT donated the Ted Ferry Civic Center for this important event. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letter"Enough is Enough" Meeting By Carol Baines - I wasn't at the "Enough is Enough" meeting Tuesday night regarding the high suicide rate and other problems in Ketchikan. - More..
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterExpand your horizons By Roberta Shields - Now, now Ms Richardson aren't you being "judgmental" regarding Mr. Borders and his hyperbole about his dog being a democrat. His thoughts on the subject were actually quite amusing and by the tone of your response must have hit a sensitive nerve. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterRepublicrats By Chris Barry - Just a reminder to all those republicrats out there, if you claim to be a democrat, then no matter what you say, you accept what the elected democrats are doing 100%. The same goes for Republicans. If you claim allegiance with a particular party, then you allow yourself to be lumped in with them and their political views. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterDemocrats By Don Borders - I could tell by the tone of Lou Ann Richardson's voice, written in her viewpoint reply, she was hurt when she "picked up" the brush and "painted on" her democratic shoes, she must have felt much pain when finished. I had tears of joy and then pain for her streaming down my face as I read her painfully emotional rebuttal. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterRE: Democrats By Stacey Stone - At first I was interested in what Ms. Richardson had to say about how she is hard-working and a democrat. - More...
Thursday PM - January 14, 2010

letterNational Mentoring Month By Joann Flora - January is National Mentoring Month. This is a great time to look around and assess the needs for youth mentoring in our community. Kids need an average of five positive adult role models while they are growing up if they are to be prepared for adulthood. - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

letterDemocrats By Lou Ann Richardson - Wow, doesn't Mr. Borders paint all Democrats with an overwhelmingly broad brush. I guess in his world, if you're not like him, you're a dog. Mr. Borders, your dog isn't a Democrat, he's a dog. But, if in your world all Democrats are basically lazy, free-loading dogs, it indicates to we lifelong hardworking Democrats that you have little else in your life that's truly meaningful and helpful and instead, adhere to hateful, incendiary rantings and arrogant bigotry. - More...
Tuesday - January 12, 2010

letterAudit/Investigation Needed at Public Library By Robert D. Warner - Recent letters to SITNEWS describe waste and careless spending of $1.4 million dollars for planning and blueprints by the public library. One letter called this spending "obscene." Isn't it time for the Mayor and City Council to launch a complete investigation as to why and how this money was squandered? Today, we do not even have funding to provide essential safety and security in our local high school. - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010

letter$$$$ if Kpu sells ????? By Brad Cota - Do the residents of Ketchikan get a dividend from the sale of KPU telephone? As a public utility, I do believe the owners are the residents of the city of Ketchikan. We're voting to sell or not to sell, but we're not voting on what happens to the money? Does anybody know where the money is going? - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010

letterMy Dog's life By Don Borders - My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants, 24/7/365. His meals are provided at no cost to him. He visits the doctor once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him. He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep. If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep. He receives these accommodations absolutely free. He is living like a king, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head; Holy Cow, my dog is a democrat! - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010

letterKPU Sale By John A. Beck - I am responding to the letter by Mr. Edwardson. The sale of KPU Telephone is a much discussed item around our breakroom table. My personal view, and I have stated this in front of the City Council, is how can a resident of the City vote on a sale if the price and the buyer is not disclosed. Let me sell your house but the price will surprize you. The whole thing stinks. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterFine qualities, yet NOT SUBJECT TO CONSIDERATION By Jose Garcia - The purpose of this letter is to react on how the HR Manager of the Ketchikan Borough composes letters to job applicants. It appeared to be vague and rather not within the norms of an equal rating good ethics, much more coming from the government employee as such. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterHigh school cop By Robert McRoberts - We've got to make up our mind about this. I've heard people say just having the cop car parked outside the school is a deterrent. I feel the students are use to the cop and they know how to avoid the cop now. What I would like to see is what has been accomplished by having a cop at the high school for the last few years. How much drugs have been confiscated and have the people that supplied the drugs been caught? This is where I feel we are wasting money if nothing is done. If we're not going to make life a living hell for the cooks and the dealers that supply the kids, we are wasting our time. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterMake a difference, Healthy Living! By Terri Bermudez - Recently I did a PSA radio ad, what I feel is a honest attempt to reach out to an addict, or someone who may still be suffering with Meth addiction. I learned the hard way, and believe me it does not need to end up like my situation did. Long story short, I was BAD. I sold drugs in this little town to SUPPORT MY METH habit. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterEvan Bolling's Rants By Richard Easbey - Time to get a new schtick Mr. Bolling. - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letterRE: Obamas Czars (Ooooh Please) By Bill Nelson - When I was in Biology class, Evan, we respected our teachers, classmates and the learning institution enough that we were not disruptive or trying to draw attention to ourselves. We were there to learn, Evan, can you say the same? - More...
Wednesday - January 06, 2010

letter Officer in our Schools - SAFETY FIRST By Roberta "Bobbie" McCreary - Thank you Chas for speaking out about our responsibility to support measures that protect our youth... we DO need to make our community safe for our youth and we DO need to take our community's rep down a few points (quite a few actually). What about our rep as the community in the US that has highest per capita prescriptions for the drug OxyContin? How do we stack up with meth labs, domestic violence, drop outs? Not so good, I'm told. - More...
Monday PM - January 04, 2010

letterRE: Obama Czars (Ooooh Please) By Evan Bolling - When I was in biology class, we would have "periodic" lab hours (lame pun, I know). I strolled into class one day, rather groggy but was immediately stimulated by the congested smell of formaldehyde, latex and VERY raw pork. "Heck Yes! We are going to be dissecting pig fetuses today!" I said out-loud. We picked and pried at all the little parts inside, and that is exactly what Al Johnson's article "Obama Czars" is in desperate need of, a painstaking dissection. - More...
Monday PM - January 04, 2010

letter Be a part of the Solution By Diana Chaudhary - You are right Teri J. Wilson.... there are a lot of serious problems in our community and it sounds like you have ideas on how to solve them. I would urge you and everyone else with concerns and ideas to come to the Community Conversation on January 12th to participate in a discussion that will address not only problems, but also what is currently being done or needs to be done to help solve those problems. - More...
Monday PM - January 04, 2010

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