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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
February 01, 2007

Front Page Photo by Ruth Hart

'Great Blue Heron at Ward Lake'
Front Page Photo by Ruth Hart

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


Ketchikan: City of Ketchikan Agrees to Pay $39,000 Settlement to Resolve Federal Clean Water Act Violations (SitNews)- The City of Ketchikan has reached a $39,000 settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency for alleged Clean Water Act violations related to the City's discharge of wastewater.

The City of Ketchikan owns and operates a wastewater treatment facility that discharges treated wastewater into the Tongass Narrows. The wastewater treatment plant is part of a sanitary sewer system that receives domestic wastewater from residential and commercial sources. The City's wastewater treatment facility serves a population of approximately 8,000.

According to the EPA, the discharge from the City of Ketchikan's facility exceeded the fecal coliform bacteria, copper, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), pH and total residual chlorine effluent limits on numerous occasions. The effluent limits are set fourth in the City of Ketchikan's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

"It's our job to ensure protection of water quality in Alaska," said Marcia Combes, Alaska Operations Office Director for EPA. "That's why we make sure that cities like Ketchikan are following the requirements set forth by their discharge permit. We're happy to see that the City is making strides to upgrade their facility." - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007

Alaska: Judge Refuses to Halt State's Predator Management Programs (SitNews) - Alaska Superior Court Judge William Morse yesterday denied a Motion for Preliminary Injunction brought against the Board of Game's predator management regulations.

"We're pleased that the judge found that the current regulations are valid," said Matt Robus, Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The lawsuit, filed last fall by "Defenders of Wildlife", a national environmental organization, challenges the Board of Game's regulations that allow aerial and ground-based wolf reduction programs in certain areas of the state, to encourage the growth of moose and caribou populations.

"This ruling allows us to keep on track with our ongoing programs," Robus said. "This is the time of year when daylight and weather conditions combine to improve the effectiveness of our permittees in taking wolves, and this is an important piece of our wildlife management efforts." The plaintiffs had asked Judge Morse to issue an injunction shutting down operations being conducted under the predator management regulations. "The predator reduction plans adopted by the Board of Game are designed to provide Alaskans the social and economic benefits of increasing the size of depleted moose and caribou populations," said Robus. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007


National: Tracking the route of catastrophic ice-age floods in Northwest By LES BLUMENTHAL - Congress is reviving legislation to create a trail that would trace the route of catastrophic ice-age floods that left scars across the Pacific Northwest.

Visitors could drive the 600-mile trail and stop at interpretive centers and roadside pullouts to learn about the floods that were unleashed when an ice dam in what's now Montana collapsed, draining a lake the combined size of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in two days.

The trail would cost $8 million to $12 million to create, and the National Park Service would oversee it.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the measure Wednesday.

"The size and scope of what happened here is hard to fathom," Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the prime sponsor of the bill, said of the floods. "This is one of the most unique events in the geologic history of the Earth. We usually see things like this on other planets."

Similar legislation cleared the Senate last year but died when the session ended before differences with the version that the House passed could be resolved. Cantwell said she expects the measure to pass Congress this year. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007

National: In GOP, growing concern about war's impact on electoral prospects By MARC SANDALOW - The bloodshed in Iraq already has cost the Republicans control of Congress, devastated the Bush presidency and made Democrats the favorites heading into the 2008 presidential campaign.

With no end in sight to the nearly 4-year-old war, there is widening concern among Republicans that losing what was described widely in 2003 as "the biggest gamble of the modern presidency" could hurt their party's electoral prospects for a generation to come.

The safety of the troops and security of the nation naturally are at the forefront of the debate over the way forward in Iraq. Lawmakers from both parties have exhibited deliberate caution, frustrating many constituents who want Congress to play a more aggressive role. The Senate has put off a vote on a nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq until at least next week, and the House is waiting for the Senate.

Yet the potential political consequences form an unmistakable backdrop to decisions being made on Capitol Hill, which many compare to consequential votes cast 40 years ago during the Vietnam War.

Republicans have held advantages over Democrats on national-security matters since the 1960s, presenting themselves during the Cold War and the post-Sept. 11 years as the more competent, muscular, military-friendly party, less tolerant of America's aggressors and more willing to use force.

Iraq may be changing the perception.

"In times of war, the instinct is to trust Dad more than Mom, and the Republicans have benefited from that," said James Pinkerton, a former aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and a fellow at the nonpartisan New America Foundation. "But if Dad keeps wrecking the car, then there may be reason to change." - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

Ward Lake: Great Blue Heron
Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

International: Leading scientists ready to issue global warming report By MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT - Humans have already caused so much damage to the atmosphere that the effects of global warming will last for more than 1,000 years, according to a summary of a climate-change report being prepared by the world's leading scientists.

The draft, seen by the Toronto Globe and Mail on Tuesday, also says evidence that the world is heating up is now so strong that it is "unequivocal" and predicts more frequent heat waves, droughts and rain storms, as well as more violent typhoons and hurricanes. It concludes that the higher temperatures observed during the past 50 years are so dramatically different from anything in the climate record that the last half-century period was likely the hottest in at least the past 1,300 years.

Eleven of the past 12 years rank among the warmest since humans began taking accurate temperature measurements in the 1850s, a record of extremes so pronounced it is unlikely to be due to chance.

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, melting of snow and ice, and rising sea level," says the draft, which is being reviewed in Paris before its formal release Friday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007


Basic Rules

letterMolly Ivins By Jill Bohr Jacob - Thursday PM
letter Black History Month By Congressman Don Young - Thursday PM
letter Re: Why is this happening in Ketchikan? By Richard Hurley - Thursday PM
letter Thank You! By Dave Lieben - Thursday PM
letterLitter and the Slobs By Jerry Cegelske - Thursday PM
letterThe Forgotten War By Ronald Smith - Thursday PM
letter People need to just chill about the MLK Jr. Day parties By Mark Neckameyer - Thursday PM
letter Jazz and Cabaret Performance By Karen Eakes - Wednesday AM
letter Ketchikan Airporter By Bill Thomas Sr. - Wednesday AM
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
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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National: Minimum Wage Increase Passes Senate with Tax Relief for Small Businesses (SitNEws) - The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, a bill that will raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in three increments over a two-year period passed the Senate today 94-3. Also included in the bill was a series of tax relief considerations for small businesses to help them continue to grow and create jobs. Senate Democrats yielded to Republican demands to include tax breaks for small businesses to help cover the cost of increasing the minimum wage.

The House of Representatives voted on January 10th to increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 per hour in three $.70 increments over a two year span and sent the bill on to the Senate for their approval. From there, it will go to President Bush for signing which would enact it into federal law.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates this minimum wage increase will impose $4 billion in new costs on the private sector in 2009 and $5.7 billion in 2010, with costs increasing at roughly $5 billion per year thereafter. Small businesses will incur the bulk of these costs and could have been forced to lay off workers if offsets were not provided.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) voted for The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. "An increase in the minimum wage is overdue in this country. However, we couldn't just raise the minimum wage - we had to make sure our legislation would not harm small businesses, which play such a vital role in the economy of our State and the nation," said Senator Stevens. "The bill we passed today will protect these businesses and increase the wages paid to millions of hard-working Americans. It's a win-win for them and our State's small businesses." - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007

National: Bill to curb online sexual predators criticized By JOE GAROFOLI - Critics are ridiculing the latest legislative effort to combat online sexual predators, saying provisions of a law would be easy to circumvent and amounted to little more than political "window dressing" supported by the online social networking giant

But sponsors - including influential senators like John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. - say the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007 addresses a small, but important, part of ridding social networking sites of predators:

It tries to remove the known offenders trolling them.

Plus, the bill would make it a crime for anyone over the age of 18 to misrepresent his or her age with the intent to use the Internet to engage in criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Together, lawmakers said the provisions would give law enforcement more legal tools to ensnare convicted sexual offenders, should they try to prey upon minors again.

Introduced in the House and Senate, the bill requires convicted sexual offenders to register their e-mail and instant messaging addresses with the National Sex Offender Registry. The Department of Justice would make that information available to social networking sites, to compare with user profiles in their system.

In December, MySpace teamed up with the security firm Sentinel Tech to create a database technology to remove sexual offenders from online communities. This week, it donated the technology to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. MySpace is currently beta-testing the technology, and has already removed a few known sex offenders from its site. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007

Alaska: En route to visit a friend, he gets stranded By JOSEPH DITZLER - Charles Keeter stood knee-deep atop his sunken snowmobile in a chilly creek for nearly three hours until a passing pilot caught sight of a flare.

The pilot landed on skis in a swampy area nearby and snowshoed an hour to reach Keeter, who fired the flare, according to a news release by the Alaska State Troopers.

The unidentified pilot left no record, apparently, of his identity.

The pilot made contact with Keeter, then returned to his aircraft, took off and landed somewhere to phone troopers, according to a dispatcher in Wasilla.

In response to the rescue call, Sgt. Mark Agnew hopped into a Piper Cub at Wasilla airport, flew to the site and landed on the same frozen marsh, covered in 4 feet of snow, where the first pilot had landed.

He too snowshoed to the creek where Keeter, jogging in place atop his snowmobile, waited for help.

"At least I think he was glad to see me," Agnew said.

Keeter, 41, told trooper he was headed for a friend's cabin when the ice atop the creek gave way and the snowmobile sank, Agnew said. Only its windscreen was visible above the water.

Keeter, in insulated bib overalls, boots and a black Carhartt jacket, was prepared for the weather. "It was fairly warm," the sergeant said. "It was probably 15 or 20 degrees above."

Using an ax he brought with him, Agnew cut down three small trees and laid them from the solid ice across the 15 or 20 feet of open water to Keeter's snowmobile. Keeter fastened the butt ends to the handlebars with a strap; he doffed some of his clothing and tossed them to Agnew in order to have dry clothes once he made his way off the snowmobile, Agnew said. - More...
Thursday PM - February 01, 2007

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