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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 09, 2006

Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

 'Peril Strait'
Front Page Photo By Lisa Thompson

Ketchikan: Losses in sales tax could result in mill rate increase; Chamber hears more about Port Expansion Project - By MARIE L. MONYAK - Councilman Lew Williams was the invited guest speaker at the weekly luncheon for the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce Wednesday. William's presentation was about the Port Expansion Project and he provided those in attendance with a handout containing a great deal of statistical information on Ketchikan's sales and property tax, the general fund and community agency funding.

Front Page Photo by Dick Kauffman

City Councilman Lew Williams
Photograph by Dick Kauffman

The Port Revenue Bond and Berth III are high interest topics in Ketchikan and as a result the luncheon came close to standing room only as business owners took time from their busy schedules to attend.

Williams began, "I want to explain why the City Council feels the way they do about the port expansion project and talk about how we can relieve the congestion downtown and make room for the new panamax ships."

"We will be down 100,000 [cruise ship] passengers this summer because we just don't have room for the ships," Williams said. He further explained that the City has been able to keep the property tax mill rate down in the past due to sales tax revenues directly related to the tourism industry.

To further understand the direct correlation between tourist spending and the City mill rate over the last twenty years one only need look at the statistics provided in William's handouts.

"All we want is to keep what we had," Williams appealed to the audience. "Anything we lose in sales tax we have to replace with a mill rate increase." Besides locally owned businesses that cater to tourists, the influx of stores owned by non-residents greatly contribute to the sales tax revenue. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

Craig: Teen walks as prosecutor decides whether to appeal - By KORRY KEEKER
JUNEAU EMPIRE - Read this story...
Juneau Empire -

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National: Bush signs Patriot Act reauthorization - U.S. President George Bush signed the USA Patriot Act reauthorization, giving law enforcement tools the president says are needed to fight terrorists.

In a ceremony at the White House today, Bush signed the bill passed by Congress after a lengthy reauthorization fight. The original bill originally was to expire Dec. 31, 2005, and when Congress could not agree on changes to the measure, short extensions kept it active. The last extension was set to expire tomorrow.

Under the measure signed Thursday all aspects of the bill become permanent except provisions regarding so-called roving wiretaps and the seizure of some business records written to expire after four years.

Bush said, "The Patriot Act was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support." In his comments today, the President said the Patriot Act has strengthened our national security in two important ways: First, it authorized law enforcement and intelligence officers to share vital information. "Before the Patriot Act, criminal investigators were often separated from intelligence officers by a legal and bureaucratic wall. The Patriot Act tore down the wall. And as a result, law enforcement and intelligence officers are sharing information, working together, and bringing terrorists to justice," said Bush. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

National: FBI finally complies with law on missing children By THOMAS HARGROVE - The FBI, for the first time, has complied with a 1990 act of Congress by issuing a public accounting of 662,196 lost, runaway and kidnapped children reported by police to state and federal authorities last year.

Fifty-eight percent of the missing children reported to federal authorities in 2005 were girls, according to the FBI report, and 33 percent were black - a disproportionately high percentage that surprised advocates for missing children.

"These are very interesting and important statistics," said sociologist David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. "This shows a pretty dramatic over-representation of black kids."

The FBI in the last two weeks released the records at the request of Scripps Howard News Service. The records show that missing-children cases - at least those actually reported to the FBI - have been declining during the past 10 years, down from a peak of 791,687 cases in 1995.

But the number of cases bumped up 7 percent in 2005 after several police departments began for the first time to immediately report missing children. These departments admitted they'd been violating federal law by delaying their reports to the FBI - often in hopes the children will return home on their own - or by entirely ignoring cases of suspected runaways. Missing-children advocates warn that police must intervene quickly - usually within hours - to prevent homicides in stranger-abduction cases. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

Ketchikan: Local Employer Receives Award for Acts of Compassion - The University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Campus has been honored by The Compassionate Friends as a recipient of the Compassionate Employer Recognition award.

The Compassionate Friends is the world's largest self-help bereavement organization, providing friendship, understanding and hope to families that have experienced the death of a child. For 2006, 65 employers across the country and Puerto Rico are receiving Compassionate Employer Recognition for going above and beyond the normal policies of most companies in helping an employee after the death of a child.

UAS Ketchikan employee Karen Pitcher nominated the campus after the unexpected death of her son, Seming "Sam" Pitcher. Her nomination stated that "My co-workers immediately offered support. I was made to feel that I could take as much time off from my job (as an administrative clerk) as I needed. In addition to cards and food, co-workers made significant financial donations which went partially to offset burial expenses and also to help establish The Sam Pitcher Memorial Music Scholarship Fund. UAS Chancellor John Pugh authorized that the Ketchikan Campus be closed the afternoon of the funeral so that employees could attend. I feel the University couldn't have been more supportive and has continued to be sympathetic and supportive to me in these years following the death of my son." - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

Sweet Second Saturdays


Folk dancers at last month's Sweet Second Saturdays dance.
Photograph by Sharon Allen

Ketchikan: DANCING AT THE CROWS NEST GROWS; SWEET SECOND SATURDAYS BECOMING A HIT IN KETCHIKAN By SHARON ALLEN - It sounds like a Valentines Day's Dance, but it's not just for Valentines. And it's at the Crow's Nest, so most people in Ketchikan immediately assume they can't attend . . . but they can.

In fact, everyone is invited and the more the merrier. The music is almost as eclectic as the performers. No one is really sure which musician will show up that night with which instrument - sometimes it's the Rubberbands, other times it is Patty's Leather Breeches, and on some other night, it's just a strange mix of crazy musicians from Ketchikan and the surrounding areas.

For instance, at last month's dance, Carlene Allred was on fiddle, Heidi Hays was on fiddle, Christine Mander was on recorder and guitar, Terry O'Hara was on mandolin, and Dave Rubin was on guitar, just to name a few. They are all great musicians and great friends. The music played seemed to have a lot of Scottish and Irish old time tunes in it, although sometimes they add in some newer tunes once in a while. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006


Opinion Poll
Web Polls Are Not
Scientific Polls

On April 11th city voters will have an opportunity to vote on the City of Ketchikan's $38.5 million port improvement bond. How would you vote?

Cast Your Vote

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letter Voice for Naha Country By Lisa Grogan- Thursday PM
letter TIME FOR SOME HEADS TO ROLL By David G. Hanger- Thursday PM
letter Re: Troubled Youth By Stephen Smeltzer- Thursday PM
letter Looking for Mark Wheeler By June Allen - Thursday PM
letter Retirement Insecurity: Bad for Alaskans By Sen. Johnny Ellis - Wednesday PM
letter Troubled youth By Rhonda Ball - Wednesday PM
letter Students Must Take Quick Action to Avoid Being Hosed By C. Victoria Patrick - Wednesday PM
letter Insecure Americans By Virginia E. Atkinson - Wednesday PM
letter Sallie Mae should change its name to Bullie Mae By C. Victoria Patrick - Wednesday PM
letter SCHOOL BOARD MEETING PUBLIC AWARENESS By Charles Edwardson - Tuesday PM
letterMore ideas and thoughts on the Permanent Fund By Rudy McGillvray - Tuesday PM
letter Media Reporting of Per Diem Scandalous by Rep. Vic Kohring - Tuesday PM
letter INFORMING THE VOTERS By Bobbie McCreary - Tuesday PM
letter Next Alaskan Generations will Reap Billions by Sen. John Cowdery - Monday PM
letter CONNOR PIHL INSIGHT KUDOS By Pete Ellis - Monday PM
letter Criminal DNA Database Expansion Working In Alaska by Rep. Tom Anderson - Monday PM
letter Fun with Math - Alaska Airlines By John Maki - Monday PM
letter "APPLAUSE" regarding the School District's financial scrutiny By Rick Grams - Monday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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March 09, 2006 - Thursday - 5:30 - 7:30 pm - Planning for the Newtown Area. Everyone in Ketchikan is welcome.
pdfKetchikan Historical Assoc. Flyer

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March 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Ann McFeatters: Are global events spiraling out of control? - Iran threatens to withhold oil and gas to cause us "harm and pain" because of our efforts to keep it from developing nuclear weapons. North Korea pays no heed to our admonitions to stop trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Iraq is descending into chaos. Peace in the Middle East seems as elusive as ever. Nuclear Pakistan is angry that President Bush gave nuclear India a sweeter deal than it got, permitting India to import nuclear fuel and technology despite thumbing its nose at the non-proliferation treaty.

Sudan is a tragedy in fast forward. China's government plans to jack up military spending. And so on.

Is all this a blip on the radar screen of history, or is it a bad harbinger? - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

Dan K. Thomasson: Bush suffers losses in public-relations war - In the public-relations war, President Bush seems to have won one and lost one, dodging the bullet on the warrantless wiretapping issue while suffering a major defeat in the matter of outside control of U.S. ports.

It's not terribly surprising that public reaction to the prospect of an Arab nation with links to terrorists managing six major American harbors would stimulate an overwhelmingly negative response from voters. Nor is it at all curious that both houses of Congress would then set out to upset the deal with the United Arab Emirates. The House Appropriations Committee made that clear with a 62 to 2 vote to deny the contract.

More disconcerting to civil libertarians, however, is the at least temporary capitulation to the White House by the Senate's Republicans over bypassing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor calls between the United States and overseas locations. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to set up a separate panel to oversee the program rather than undertake a major investigation into whether the president had violated the law as charged by many Democrats. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

Betsy Hart: Torturing the world with our children - I can count the number of first-run, "grown-up" movies I've seen in theaters over the last 10 years on about two fingers.

Now kids' movies - I have seen them all, of course.

I remember talking to a then-colleague of mine years ago, before I'd had the first of my four kids, and asking if he had seen some movie I now forget. A father of four young boys, his response was, "Let's see, movie theaters - now, is that the place where you go in and you sit down in these comfortable chairs, and you watch something in front of the room? I remember those!"

Point taken. And that's where I am now, too.

So, I have not personally witnessed the phenomenon I'm hearing regularly discussed and lamented, but I'm not surprised about it: toddlers and other very young children being taken by their parents to "R"-rated films, movies that are horror features or include incredible violence or sexual scenes. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

Jay Ambrose: Bias all around - Not only do we have Jay Bennish pretending to be a geography teacher while aiming to indoctrinate his students in radical politics, but we have Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" pretending to be an unbiased journalist while misleading his audience about Bennish.

On the basis of watching Lauer interview Bennish, many in the audience could easily have concluded that the Denver-area teacher finds himself suspended and in danger of losing his job only because one or two surprising remarks he made to his students were taken out of context. He was trying to stimulate thinking, you see, and he happily accepted replies, making everything OK.

In the old days, TV journalists might get away with such bamboozlement, but we live in the age of the Internet and talk radio when thousands of us were able to listen to 20 minutes' worth of a radical rant taped by a student. Taken as a whole, the material was far more damning than Lauer or a preceding summary on the show so much as hinted. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

Dale McFeatters: Expensing our wars - In a small, but symbolically significant move, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Judd Gregg. R-N.H., is considering treating the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a regular budget item.

The Bush administration has spent $440 billion so far on those wars, $120 billion of it this fiscal year, and the meter is running at the rate of $4.5 billion a month in Iraq and $800 million a month in Afghanistan.

The wars have been funded in a series of five emergency spending measures. The emergency bills, as their name implies, are intended to deal with sudden, unexpected and short-term emergencies like Katrina. The bills are passed outside the regular appropriations process and are carried off budget, which, while completely transparent, tends to minimize the apparent cost. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2006

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