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February 11, 2007

Front Page Photo by Peaches Wallin

A Gray Juvenile Trumpeter Swan
Front Page Photo by Peaches (Naona) Wallin

Ketchikan: Construction estimate rises for Ketchikan bridge project - State highway officials have increased their estimate of the costs of a bridge project to the island containing Ketchikan's airport by a whopping $67 million. - Read this Anchorage Daily News story...
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National: How much should oil firms invest in alternative fuels? By DAVID R. BAKER - To most people, a half-billion-dollar investment in biofuel research looks like serious money.

That's the amount oil giant BP said last week it will spend to create an alternative energy research center with University of California Berkeley, the University of Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The research center represents the latest example of Big Oil pumping cash into the search for new sources of power. BP, in addition to the new Energy Biosciences Institute at Berkeley, plans to spend $8 billion over 10 years on its own alternative energy effort, which includes building solar cells and wind farms.

But, for BP and other oil companies reaping record profits, research on new energy sources is far from their biggest investment.

BP's earnings hit $22 billion in 2006. The company spent $15.5 billion during the year buying back its own stock, almost twice what it may spend on renewable power and alternative fuels in a decade.

Many renewable-energy advocates say that, for now, oil company commitment to alternative energy remains relatively small.

"While the rhetoric is promising, in the end, they're still oil and gas guys," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the Public Citizen watchdog group.

The companies counter that they don't want to dump money into technologies that may not pan out. - More...
Sunday PM - February 11, 2007

National: Ethanol production may raise food prices By MIKE MEYERS - Full fuel tanks could mean many more empty bellies within the next two decades, according to new research.

The number of hungry people worldwide could grow by more than 50 percent by 2020, as corn, sugar and other food staples are increasingly devoted to making fuel here and abroad, according to projections by economists C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer.

The same trend would bring much higher food prices to the United States and the rest of the developed world, the economists predict. The sharp increase in world hunger isn't inevitable, however. The economists say increased conservation could do more to wean the United States from foreign oil than all the corn-based ethanol plants now online.

Corn and ethanol producers dispute the claims.

"Based on the numbers and the amount of ethanol we're producing, there's not a negative implication for corn destined for the rest of the world," said Jeffrey Zeiger, executive director of the Alternative Fuels Institute, a nonprofit group in Watertown, S.D.

However, pork, poultry and egg producers are beginning to sound alarms of their own about ethanol's impact on food prices. - More...
Sunday PM - February 11, 2007


The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - IG: Pentagon misused spy reports before invading Iraq

Acting Defense Department Inspector General Tomas Gimble reported Friday that the Pentagon made "inappropriate" use of intelligence reports to convince the White House that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was plotting with al Qaeda to harm the United States. Gimble said then-military policy chief Douglas Feith "did not provide the most accurate analysis of intelligence to senior decision makers." Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the report is "a devastating condemnation" of Defense Department actions in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Another U.S. military helicopter crashes in Iraq

A U.S. Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed northwest of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing all seven on board. It was the fifth American helicopter lost in Iraq in less than three weeks. U.S. military authorities said the latest crash may have suffered mechanical failure, although an insurgency group claimed to have shot it down. The other four craft were confirmed to have crashed due to enemy fire. The aging helicopter fleet used in Iraq has been termed "tired iron" by U.S. troops. The CH-46 began flying in 1964 at the outset of the Vietnam War.

U.S. helicopters fire on Kurdish troops

U.S. assault helicopters fired on a Kurdish bunker in Mosul, Iraq, on Friday during an attack intended for members of al Qaeda. The U.S. military said the "friendly fire" incident killed five, but Kurdish officials said eight died and another six were wounded. U.S. and Iraqi authorities said the air attack was made after ground forces observed armed men in a bunker next to a building thought to be used to manufacture bombs. U.S. officials said they ordered the men to surrender before calling in the helicopter strike.

Astronaut charged with attempted murder in love triangle

Space shuttle astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted first-degree murder. Orlando, Fla., police said Nowak attacked Colleen Shipman because she thought Shipman was a rival for the affections of astronaut William Oefelein. Police found pepper spray, a knife, a steel mallet and a BB gun in Nowak's car. The astronaut was released on bail, ordered to stay away from Shipman and must wear a personal tracking device. NASA officials said they are reviewing their psychological testing procedures for active and prospective astronauts.

Drugs in hotel room where Anna Nicole Smith died

Former Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith - and the widow of oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II - died Thursday after losing consciousness in her Florida hotel room.

Police found prescription drugs in her room but a medical examiner found no pills in her stomach. Further tests will be made. Family members and acquaintances said they believe drugs were responsible for the demise of the 39-year-old former blue-jeans model. "She was too drugged up," Smith's mother, Vergie Arthur, said on network television. Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel, died suddenly five months ago from what a medical examiner said was a fatal interaction from methadone and two anti-depressant drugs.


Basic Rules

letter Thank You Dr. Walton and staff By Agnes Moran - Sunday PM
letter Welcoming Letter to the Tourists By Carol Christoffe - Sunday PM
letter KETCHIKAN BOROUGH Airporter BUS.. A Solution? By Gigi Pilcher - Sunday PM
letter No Bridge By Don Hoff Jr. - Sunday PM
letter Pro Family Choice By Charlanne Heath - Sunday PM
letter RE: Children Without Choices By Dave Kiffer - Sunday PM
It IS different By Dinah Pearson - Sunday PM
letter Child abuse in Cars? By Ron Currit - Sunday PM
letter Bring your rubber boots & help clean up By Gretchen Klein - Sunday PM
letter Why is this happening in Ketchikan By Tony Gwynn - Sunday PM
letterTHANK YOU KGB MAYOR AND ASSEMBLY MEMBERS By Reggie Reinhardt - Thursday PM
letterNo Different Than Child Abuse By Carl Webb - Thursday PM
letterProposed Waterfront Zoning change By Ed Purvis - Thursday
letter Charitable Gaming Legislation By Vicki O'Brien - Thursday
letterBarge litter to Canada By Ken Lewis - Thursday
letter Family Choices By Dinah Pearson - Thursday
letter Response to "Litter and Slobs" By John Kiser - Thursday
letter "Metlakatla Moon" By Judith Green - Thursday
letter Second Hand Smoke in Cars By Rob Holston - Thursday
letter Children Without Choices By Carl Webb - Tuesday PM
letterRevised Tongass National Forest draft Management Plan By William E. Brown - Tuesday PM
letter Litter, and Unclean Streets In Some Areas By Carol Baines - Tuesday PM
letter 'Take Off' By Chris Elliott - Tuesday PM
letterPublic Beaches Under Threat By Eric Muench - Monday
letter"Take Off" By Karen Pitcher - Monday
letter Trashing of Alaska By Anita Hales - Monday
letter Airport Shuttle Needed By Ken Levy - Monday
letter Very Proud By Veta Mutart - Monday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


The Ketchikan School Board will hold a regular meeting in the City Council Chambers on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 6:00 pm
pdfDownload the Agenda


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Pelosi under fire for Air Force plane

House Republicans, angered by weeks of tough floor tactics by Democrats, on Thursday began a barrage of criticism against Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposed use of expensive Air Force aircraft to provide non-stop transportation to her California home. Because of the distance, Pelosi's aircraft must be larger than the commuter-sized craft used by former Speaker Dennis Hastert. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., said Pelosi's request for a C-32, the military version of the Boeing 757, is "an extravagance of power that the taxpayers won't swallow." White House spokesman Tony Snow said the controversy is "silly." - More...
Sunday PM - February 11, 2007

Washington Calling: Street gangs in military ... Potty parity ... Morse Code By LISA HOFFMAN - The FBI says it has uncovered members of the Bloods, Crips, Hells Angels, Black Disciples, Mara Salvatrucha and nearly every other U.S. street gang serving in uniform on military bases stateside and overseas.

At Fort Lewis in Washington state, for instance, nearly 130 gang and extremist group members have been identified since 2005, with many believed responsible for criminal misconduct on base. At Fort Hood in Texas, the Army has identified 23 gang-bangers since 2003, including one soldier, who was a Gangster Disciple leader, convicted of two aggravated robberies.

In its Jan. 21 report, the FBI said the gang members "constitute only a fraction of military personnel," but are increasing in the ranks and posing both a crime and national security threat.

The military services say some of the increase can be explained by a greater focus on the problem, which they say they are actively battling at installations in Germany, Japan and Iraq, as well as at Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Bliss, Texas.


Forget Iraq, Iran, health care and the outsourcing of jobs overseas. Rep. Edolphus Towns is taking on an issue of truly earth-shaking importance: potty parity.

Draping the subject in more elegant language, the New York Democrat has just introduced H.R. 693, the Restroom Gender Parity in Federal Buildings Act of 2007.

It would, he promises, bring women the last full measure of equality, by mandating that any building anywhere in the country that receives $1.5 million or more in federal funds must have a two-to-one ratio of women's and men's restrooms.

"Most women who have ever attended a sold-out sporting event have a story about important plays they've missed because they were standing in line, waiting for the restroom," Townes said in announcing his legislation. "Meanwhile, their male companions were able to zip in and out of the washroom." (Not to mention zip up.)


No matter what comes of immigration reform, the recent swell of newcomers has already changed the American landscape in ways only now beginning to be understood. A study by the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board finds that immigrant workers are a big factor in reducing clogged roadways - although they make up less than 14 percent of the work force, they represent 40 percent of large carpools, and are more likely than other workers to bike, walk or take public transport.

Researchers at Ohio State University and Cornell University found that increased Hispanic and Asian immigration into the United States reduced the number of interracial or cross-ethnic marriages involving native-born Hispanic and Asian-American men. The drop of about 5 percent in the last decade ended what had been a decades-long trend of more marriages to whites. But with the immigration influx, these men found greater numbers of potential brides from their own groups.


Tap out a dot and a dash Feb. 22 to mark the end of a long era in telecommunications. That's the last day that Federal Communications Commission rules mandate that people seeking an amateur (ham) radio operator's license are required to demonstrate proficiency in Morse Code - the long and short key first developed for the telegraph back in the 1840s.

The United Nations' committee that oversees communications signals dropped the requirement four years ago, but protests by nostalgic American hams delayed the U.S. government's move to drop the code test until now. - More...
Sunday PM - February 11, 2007

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