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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 25, 2006

Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

Harbingers of Spring
Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

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U.S. News
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Ketchikan: Young hopes Alaska directs funds to bridges By KYLE HOPKINS - In a rare Anchorage news conference Thursday, Rep. Don Young urged state lawmakers to help pay for the big bridges in Anchorage and Ketchikan and blamed Sen. John McCain for spoiling public opinion of the embattled projects.

Speaking to reporters and, later, the Palmer Rotary Club, Young riffed on the highs and lows of the previous year in Washington - from the war in Iraq to Dick Cheney's shooting accident to his ever-changing beard. - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

National: Privately funded trips pose dilemma for lawmakers, staffs By MICHAEL DOYLE - awmakers and their staff find facts, sometimes in the most opportune place.

Like Hawaii, in the dead of winter.

In January 2005, with Washington's average high temperature hovering around 42 degrees, the American Association of Airport Executives convened in Kona, Hawaii. Average high temperature at the resort: about 80 degrees. For their civil aviation conference, the airport executives flew out a staffer for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

National: War funds likely to win quick OK from Congress By EDWARD EPSTEIN - Congress may huff and puff this week when it starts debating President Bush's latest request for money to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - a $72.4 billion plan that will boost total spending on the conflicts to the range of $400 billion - but quick and overwhelming approval is expected.

Still Bush's use of an emergency budgeting technique that circumvents the normal budgeting and spending process has increasingly angered members of Congress and, critics say, is being used to hide costs of the fighting. - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

International: How the Shiites differ from the Sunnis - it's theological By JACK EPSTEIN - Despite fear of civil war and raging gunbattles between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, the two main branches of Islam have generally lived in peace - especially during the past century when religious scholars sought to create accords on many of the Islamic traditions that unite them.

The theological schism between the two main branches of Islam stems from arguments over the prophet Muhammad's successors as caliph, the spiritual and temporal leader of Muslims. - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

International: Qatar's vast wealth aimed at knowledge economy By OMAR EL AKKAD - Everything about the Cornell medical college campus is state of the art.

The halls are immaculate and bright. Massive egg-shaped lecture halls were designed by Japanese architects endowed with a virtually limitless budget. Classroom walls are made of floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, so students and teachers can write ideas down wherever they're standing.

At the touch of a button, a massive computer screen rises out of a classroom table, enabling students to study digitized tissue samples without a microscope. Private security staff monitors the entrances and exits. In many ways, this is the best education money can buy. - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

Scientist see changes...

Scientist sees changes on warmer North Slope
From left, Yuri Shur of the University of Alaska and Torre Jorgenson of Alaska Biological Research, Inc. stand in front of an ice wedge exposed by river erosion west of the Colville River. Ice wedges, which take thousands of years to form, are melting on Alaska's North Slope.
Matt Bray photo.

Alaska: Scientist sees changes on warmer North Slope - Truck-size wedges of underground ice that have remained in place for thousands of years on Alaska's North Slope seem to be thawing, according to a scientist doing work for an oil company there.

Permafrost scientist Torre Jorgenson of Alaska Biological Research, Inc. was checking out an area west of the Colville River recently when he noticed water-filled pits that weren't in Navy photographs of the area from 1945.

"We were doing baseline studies on permafrost stability for ConocoPhillips and were looking at lake erosion, but when we saw the historical photos we said 'Wow, there's a lot going on here,"' Jorgenson said.

Walking in hip boots on the tundra surface of the North Slope, Jorgenson and his colleagues-Erik Pullman of Alaska Biological Research and Yuri Shur of the University of Alaska Fairbanks-saw many waterholes on the tundra. Some were new pits with bright green tussock heads nodding into them; the vibrant color indicated the tundra plants were getting a temporary blast of nutrients and water as the ice wedge beneath them thawed. Other, older pits had drowned tussocks in them. - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

Unemployment tax...

Bruce L. Garrison, a field tax auditor from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division
Photograph by Marie L. Monyak

Ketchikan: Employers Can File Unemployment Tax Online By MARIE L. MONYAK - Bruce L. Garrison, a field tax auditor from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division, was the speaker at this week's Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Garrison was present to discuss on-line filing, rates, options and the background of the Unemployment Tax Program.

"We have three tax offices in the State, in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau with two smaller offices in Kenai and Wasilla. We also run the UI call center from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. We have a job service that provides job training and we even have a job fair coming up, here in Ketchikan, on March 10th," Garrison said.

He continued, "I work out of the Juneau field tax office where we have three auditors and I come to Ketchikan a couple times a year. I'm always available to help with any questions, you can call for any reason."

Garrison related to the audience that unemployment insurance came about in 1933 because of the Great Depression and two years later in 1935, the Social Security Act was passed.

He further explained, "Unemployment Insurance is a trust fund based on an insurance plan. We keep a trust fund large enough to pay one year's unemployment, as the fund shrinks, rates go up and as the fund increases, rates go down. We have to set premiums high enough to cover the trust fund." - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006



letter Keep those school doors open By Linda Koons Auger - Sunday PM
letter Permanent fund issues By Gregg Erickson - Sunday PM
letter American Ports By Martha Leftwich - Sunday PM
letterYoung By Peg Travis - Sunday PM
letter Stand up for our Cops By Licha Kelley-King - Saturday
letter Border crossing By Hunter Davis - Saturday
letter Alaska Clearing House By Don Hoff Jr. - Saturday
letter A million choices wouldn't fix the problem By Dinah Pearson - Saturday
letter To flee evil temptations... By Rob Holston - Saturday
letter Moving the southern terminus By Neil Gray - Saturday
letter Background checks By Virginia E, Atkinson - Saturday
letterExterior light for emergencies By Jerry Cegelske - Thursday PM
letter Moving Marine Highway Southern Terminus Foolish By Doug Barry - Thursday PM
letter Progress is the keyword By Frances C. Natkong - Thursday PM
letter Get Involved By Bill Thomas Sr. - Thursday PM
letter Drug Abuse Among the Youth By Libby Johnson - Thursday PM
letter It begins with the family By Sandra Rusin McCray - Thursday PM
letter Dock project By Anita Hales - Wednesday AM
letter What's wrong with you people! By Rick Watson - Wednesday AM
letter Drug problems By Wanda Pew - Wednesday AM
letter Ketchikan's troubled youth By Renee Tacker - Wednesday AM
letter Ketchikan In The 50's By Pat Moore - Wednesday AM
letter If ALL parents showed an interest? By Neil Gray - Wednesday AM
letter No one solution to the drug/drinking problem By Ben Rosenfeld - Wednesday AM
letter "All that they can be" By Mark Neckameyer - Wednesday AM
letter Pressure to Pass ANWR By Rob Glenn - Wednesday AM
letter Golden Gate Bridge By Mary Currie - Wednesday AM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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March 01, 2006, Wednesday - 6:00 pm - Teleconferenced CONSTITUENT MEETING with SENATOR STEDMAN,
at the Ketchikan Legislative Information Office, 50 Front Street, Suite 203. Snacks will be served! - This is an informal teleconference for members of the community to discuss issues or concerns with local legislators.  Persons interested in attending may contact the LIO at 225-9675.

March 01, 2006, Wednesday - Tongass School of Arts & Sciences begins enrollment for Fall 2006 school year. Enrolling Kindergarten - 6th grades. TSAS Information pdf

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February 2006
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Week In Review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Bombing of shrine escalates Iraqi violence

The bombing Wednesday of the 1,200-year-old Askariya shrine ignited intense violence throughout Iraq and renewed tensions between the Shiite majority and Sunni minority. More than 100 people died in the two-day aftermath, including the execution-style killings of 47 civilians forced off a bus near Baghdad. Sunni leaders claimed more than 150 of their mosques were attacked throughout Iraq and 25 imams were killed or abducted in reprisal. At least 11 U.S. troops died. Violence subsided Friday when authorities imposed a rare daylight curfew.

Arab bid for U.S. ports starts firestorm

Disclosure that the Bush administration gave approval for a United Arab Emirates firm to take over six U.S. seaports put the White House on a collision course with an angry and unified Congress. Critics complained that the UAE government controls Dubai Ports World and should not operate the shipping terminals in Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia. The White House announced Thursday that the company agreed to delay assuming control of the ports, defusing an immediate showdown with Congress.

U.S. athletes stumble at 2006 Winter Olympics

Personified by two stumbles that cost U.S. star Sasha Cohen a gold medal in women's figure skating Thursday, American athletes have suffered unexpected defeats throughout the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Failures among American ski and skating teams guarantee that the United States won't come close to its haul of 34 medals at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City - an American record in a Winter Olympiad. Speedskater Joey Cheek, who took the gold in the 500-meter and silver in the 1,000-meter races, was elected by the U.S. team to carry the American flag during the closing ceremony Sunday night. "I feel like I'm not really worthy," Cheek said.

Libby challenges legality of his prosecution

Former vice-presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Thursday challenged the legal authority of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in a bid to have his indictment tossed out in the CIA-leak investigation. Libby lawyers argued that Fitzgerald did not follow normal Justice Department procedures when subpoenaing reporters and offering immunity to witnesses.

Talks stall on Iran nuclear deal

Russia's efforts to de-escalate Western tensions with Tehran by offering to enrich uranium for Iran's growing nuclear energy program stalled Monday. Iranian officials continued to claim it has only peaceful intentions, but moved slowly in reacting to Russian initiatives for a compromise. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said negotiations were in a "current blind alley." - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

Washington Calling: China's new sub ... bum answers from the IRS ... and more By LANCE GAY - It's long been feared at the Pentagon that China might use its new wealth to build a blue-water navy. Well, there's some proof in the American trade publication Imaging Notes, which has published satellite pictures of the first of a new generation of Chinese ballistic nuclear subs, the Xia.

The picture shows the sub docked at the Chinese navy base near Qingdao, as well as a submarine tunnel built under the mountain to protect the undersea fleet. There's a picture in the magazine of the submarine tunnel's entrance as well, and a Chinese attack submarine nearby.


The odds of getting a bum tax answer from IRS agents: 1-in-3.

The agency has a goal of at least 80 percent correct answers for taxpayers calling assistance centers during the tax-filing season.

But in an annual test, the IRS inspector general found that only 66 percent of responses were correct.

P.S. Arguing you were given the wrong answer by the IRS is no defense for taxpayers who are audited.


Prospective admirals and captains have been told to put their scrambled eggs on hold. The Navy says it's scrapping the 2007 promotion selection board convened this month because the process was contaminated. An investigation is under way into what exactly happened, but Chief of Navy Personnel Vice Adm. John Harvey said he had no choice but to scuttle the current panel and convene a new one to ensure that no bias could later be charged about who got promotions and who didn't.


Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., is declaring a jihad against proposed National Park Service rules that would allow the agency to permit noise and air pollution in parks on the grounds that some manmade forms of pollution are merely a "natural characteristic." He says the new regulations aim to eliminate restrictions on cars causing changes in air quality, views and soundscapes in the parks. - More...
Saturday - February 25, 2006

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