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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 11, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Thomas Basin
Front Page Photo By Carl Thompson

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


National: Debt ceiling rising to $9 trillion By MARY DEIBEL -  Raising the U.S. debt limit once provoked government shutdowns and roiled financial markets, but no more: Congress and President Bush are preparing to raise the debt ceiling to just under $9 trillion next week with little public notice.

Here, in Q&A format, is a look at the issue:

Q: What is the national debt?

A: It's the difference between what government spends and collects in taxes, fees and other revenues. The Treasury covers the debt by auctioning $20 billion or more a week in U.S. bonds, bills and notes as older federal securities come due. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

National: The national debt through history By MARY DEIBEL - The national debt, inherited at the Republic's founding, grew steadily the first 192 years to $1 trillion. Now it's soared to $8.2 trillion the last quarter-century and it's about to swell again:

1791: The United States was $75.5 million in the red, mostly from Revolutionary War debt, when the first Congress finished President George Washington's budget.

1794: The Washington administration had the federal government assume all state debts run up since the Revolution. Sin taxes proposed to retire the resulting $78.4 million national debt sparked the Whiskey Rebellion. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

National: Politics, not policy, killed deal on U.S. ports By MARC SANDALOW - The collapse of the Dubai port deal was a victory for the politics of fear.

Democrats saw an opportunity to exploit the terrorism anxieties that have been used against them for the past two elections. Republicans faced the prospect that following their president could cost them the November midterm elections.

The result was an extraordinary bipartisan consensus to stand up to President Bush and shut Arabs out of U.S. ports, killing a deal that security experts generally agreed presented no threat.

Fear of foreign investment has been a factor in American politics at other times over the past century: the United States confiscated German assets prior to World War I, and Congress expressed alarm over Japanese investments in the 1980s and Chinese investments in the past few years. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

National: Senators ready to open checkbook for immigration reform - The Senate Judiciary Committee approved doubling the size of the Border Patrol on Thursday by adding some 12,000 new agents. As part of the same immigration reform bill, lawmakers approved keeping tens of thousands of additional illegal immigrants behind bars until they can be deported.

"We have a lot of catching up to do," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said. "We're going to have to make a massive investment."

The committee will return Wednesday to continue writing the immigration bill, which started at 305 pages and has been growing ever since. With dozens of potential amendments awaiting, Senate leaders still hope they can vote on the bill the week of March 27. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Alaska: Liberty and security clash in Alaska fishing village By ALEX deMARBAN - If Osama bin Laden ever makes a sneak attack on Dillingham, he might be in big trouble.

That's because the quaint fishing community in southwest Alaska, population 2,400, recently installed about 80 surveillance cameras at the port and around town, courtesy of a $202,000 Homeland Security grant. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Unusable donated items cause
huge financial burden
Ketchikan Salvation Army Thrift Store
Photograph by Marie L. Monyak

Ketchikan: Unusable donated items cause huge financial burden By MARIE L. MONYAK - The Salvation Army is an international non-profit social service organization that has been in existence for over a century. Just some of the services offered in Ketchikan by our local chapter are disaster relief, holiday assistance, worship services, emergency assistance, services for the aging, the Christmas Kettle campaign, food and nutrition services and the soup kitchen.

According to the Salvation Army web site, over 30 million people have been aided in some form by the services they provide. Also, important to know is that 83 cents of every dollar donated goes directly toward client services which is among the highest percentage of any non-profit in the world. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Southeast Alaska: Search continues for missing fishing vessel & crew in Southeast - The Coast Guard, with the assistance of the Civil Air Patrol and Good Samaritans are searching for a fishing vessel that issued a mayday call in Southeast Alaska Friday.

At 6:45 Friday morning personnel at the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in Juneau heard a mayday call on channel 16 stating "Going down, two hands on board Point Gardner." - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Alaska: RFP for "Telling Alaska's Story" Campaign Released - The office of Governor Frank H. Murkowski is soliciting proposals to gather baseline information to begin work on a national public relations campaign to tell Alaska's story to the nation.

The effort is the first step in the governor's proposed national education campaign announced during his State of the State Address in January. The request for proposals was posted on the state's online public notice system Friday. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Glacier, bay, glacier, bay, glacier, Glacier Bay
An ancient tree stump, still standing
in place in Glacer Bay.
Photo courtesy David Finnegan.

Alaska: Glacier, bay, glacier, bay, glacier, Glacier Bay By NED ROZELL - During the last 11,000 years, Glacier Bay has been filled with ice and has lost its ice at least three times, according to scientists who sample the remnants of ancient forests first identified by naturalist John Muir in Glacier Bay National Park.

Daniel Lawson and David Finnegan have collected hundreds of samples from trees that grew within the bay between advances of the ice. Both men work at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, New Hampshire. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Ketchikan: Tongass Releases Annual Monitoring Report - The Tongass National Forest recently released its annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report for fiscal 2004. The report is a summary of forest-wide monitoring programs.

Tongass resource specialists gather results of monitoring efforts throughout the forest into the report which addresses areas such as air quality, biodiversity, fish habitat, heritage resources, recreation and tourism, scenery resource, wildlife, soil and water, and much more. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Alaska: Stedman Renews Commitment to Solving Retirement System Shortfall - Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), chair of the Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee, on Friday introduced two committee substitutes to revenue sharing bills that prevents further growth of the unfunded liability in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).

"I look forward to seeing these bills signed into law. I am proud that as chair of CRA and a member of the Finance Committee, I am in a position to bring revenue sharing and retirement system underfunding relief to the forefront of the conversation. Our communities need assistance for both of these issues. The committee substitutes reflect that these are necessarily intertwined issues but also makes clear how the funds are appropriated to cover each need," said Sen. Stedman. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

American Bald Eagle
Front Page Photo By Carl Thompson

If you've admired the majestic eagle displayed on KPU's van, it is from an original photograph by local photographer Carl Thompson. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Fish Factor: Snow crab catches double; prices creeping upward By LAINE WELCH - Catches of snow crab have doubled recently in pots being pulled from the Bering Sea, and prices are also creeping upward.

Alaska's snow crab fishery (opilio Tanners, or opies) opened last October in the Bering Sea, under the rules of the new "rationalized" management plan. The new plan gives quota shares of Bering Sea king and Tanner crab to harvesters and processors and extends the length of the seasons to months instead of days, which has been the case in recent years.

Most of the snow crab fleet waited until January, the traditional time of year to drop their pots. Through March 10, landings had topped 15 million pounds out of the 33.5 million pound quota. A total of just 60 boats registered to participate in the snow crab fishery this year, compared to more than 200 boats in previous years. Just 36 boats are out on the water now, and catches have really picked up, said Forrest Bowers, a biologist with the AK Dept. of Fish & Game in Dutch Harbor.

"Through February the fishing was hampered by sea ice and boats had to move around a lot. Catches were averaging 112 crabs per pot, but since last week they've been averaging 250 crabs per pot. I expect the catch will stay high into April," Bowers said. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 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

View Poll Stats


letter FEMA Wasted Much More Than Our Dollars By Bob Smither - Saturday PM
letter Drug problem trickles down By Ken Lewis - Saturday PM
letterThe World's Oil Supply By Don Hoff Jr. - Saturday PM
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

Dave Kiffer: Some Local History To Chew On - I was walking along Water Street recently when I noticed The Pizza Mill had closed down.

It gave a bit of a pause, because it had been one of my major high school hang outs.

I can't say I was surprised. The long-lived eatery that had been around more than 30 years had been pretty down on its luck the last few. In Ketchikan, the average lifespan of a restaurant seems to be about six months and the Pizza Mill had a good long run.

But it got me to thinking about the other local eateries that have stood the test of time, or at least my time. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on Do-It-Yourself Cancer Research - What do flying toasters, extra-terrestrials, and cancer, have in common?

The answer is computer screensavers. Ostensibly prolonging the life of the computer screen I was watching, I have been mesmerized by toasters with wings, found absolutely nothing intelligent hidden in radio telescope data, and scored a few hits in the fight against cancer.

The latter program - which searches the infinitely vast "molecular space" for suitably sized drug candidates to treat a variety of cancers - is the only one that my family has installed on our latest home computer. And, as Carl Sagan might have said, we are not alone. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Michael Reagan: Let's Play Ball - With baseball season just a few weeks away, the media focus is not on the coming season but instead on what a famed major league batting sensation did a long time ago.

Somebody once remarked that we Americans build our monuments to our heroes out of stone so we'll have something to throw at them when they prove to have feet of clay. The case of Barry Bonds proves the truth of that adage.

In a new book, "Game of Shadows," it is alleged that Bonds was using huge quantities of steroids from 1998 to 2002. Yet he has never failed a drug test. And as USA Today commented, "Just like everyone else, Bonds should have to flunk a test in order to draw a suspension." - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Bob Ciminel: Here's Looking at You Kid - Longtime readers of this column know that I am a big fan of the Allman Brothers Band as it existed in the early Seventies. Two albums, "Filmore East" and "Eat a Peach," to me, mark the band's highpoint. Once the band lost Duane Allman, after a tragic motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, it was never the same. True, Dicky Betts made a passable substitute on the slide guitar, but Duane was a virtuoso.

I bought "Eat a Peach" shortly after it debuted in 1972 and immediately taped two songs off it to play in the car on my daily 50-mile round trip commute to the power plant where I was working. Those two songs were "Melissa" and "Blue Sky." Being that my new wife - we'd been married about a year - was from South Carolina, the lyrics to "Blue Sky" were quite appropriate: - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

Dale McFeatters: A port deal gone sour - There's no getting around it. The Dubai deal ended badly for all concerned - except those members of Congress, Republican and Democratic, running for re-election who exploited it to puff up their national-security credentials.

The administration can be faulted for mishandling it. President Bush's aides never informed him that allowing an Arab firm to manage marine terminals at six U.S. ports was politically explosive, and Bush was blindsided as a result.

The American public was overwhelmingly opposed to the deal as presented to it, but the American public was also overwhelmingly misinformed about the specifics by politicians and broadcast talkers.

The deal was never about security; that was and would remain in the hands of the Coast Guard, Customs and port police. And it was never about American jobs that would have remained unchanged except for the name on the paycheck. The same company, DP World, will be shipping containers to the United States from the worldwide ports it manages; it just won't be unloading them here. In the face of Congress' noisy political opposition, DP World agreed to transfer those functions to a U.S. entity. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006

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