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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

March 29, 2006

Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

Tongass Narrows
Skies were sunny Tuesday as reflected in the vivid blue waters of the Tongass.
Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

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U.S. News
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Southeast Alaska: Alaska timber projection study reveals market trends - A recently completed economic study of timber demand projections for the next two decades in southeast Alaska explains four alternatives describing how the forest products industry could develop. The peer-reviewed study now in process of being published, Timber Products Output and Timber Harvests in Alaska: Projections for 2005-25, was prepared by Pacific Northwest Research Station scientists Allen Brackley, Thomas Rojas, and Richard Haynes.

"The projections of future demand are represented in our study by four scenarios," explains Brackley, a research forester based at the Alaska Wood Utilization Research and Development Center in Sitka, Alaska. "The first scenario projects a future very similar to the recent past. The second one assumes that lumber production increases and is stimulated by marketing and promotion programs that recognize the unique characteristics of lumber produced from the region. Scenarios three and four assume that an integrated industry returns to southeast Alaska.

"In 2015, the projected derived demand (a 5-year average based from 2013 to 2017) for forest products from southeast Alaska ranges from 37.9 to 299.0 million board feet (Scribner C-log scale), and the maximum projected derived demand in 2025 is 360 million board feet. An implicit assumption of all the scenarios is that an economically viable timber supply is available in southeast Alaska." - More...
Wednesday - March 29, 2006

Alaska: Premiers & Governor Commit To Next Steps on Alaska Gas Pipeline Project; Enhanced ferry service between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert discussed - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski hosted Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, and John van Dongen, Minister of State for Intergovernmental Affairs representing British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, in Anchorage Tuesday for the Alaska-Canada Regional Summit. The purpose of the summit was to discuss issues of mutual importance to the four northern governments.

Construction of a $20 billion natural gas pipeline along the Alaska Highway to bring Alaska's vast North Slope gas resources to market was the major focus of the meeting. The leaders agreed to the need for a strategic action plan to facilitate efficient permitting and construction in Canada.

"Our four governments are committed to expeditiously advancing this project," said Murkowski. "In order for Alaska to maximize benefits from its gas, that gas must get to consumers in the most cost-effective manner possible. Our Canadian partners are a critical link in that chain. We must work together to realize the benefits of the gas pipeline project for our people." - More...
Wednesday - March 29, 2006

Alaska: Report finds cruise ships cause stress for seals By PAULA DOBBYN - A new federal study on cruise ships and harbor seals confirms what subsistence hunters and others have long suspected: When the giant ships get too close, the marine mammals become distressed.

But whether harbor seal numbers are declining because of ship traffic remains unknown.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report on Monday on seal behavior in Disenchantment Bay, a Southeast Alaska fjord that cruise ships take passengers to for close-up views of Hubbard Glacier.

The study found that when the large ships got closer than 1,600 feet, seals were more likely to jump off the ice floes they haul out on. The closer the ships got, the more likely the seals were to dive into the water. - More...
Wednesday - March 29, 2006

Controversial Emerald Bay Timber Sale...

Emerald Bay Area
Photo courtesy Sitka Conservation Society
Wrangell, Meyers Chuck, Ketchikan: Controversial Emerald Bay Timber Sale Challenged By SitNews - The long-time struggle by residents of Wrangell, Meyers Chuck, and Ketchikan to maintain the hunting, fishing, and recreational uses on the Cleveland Peninsula took a dramatic turn last week when several local, regional, and national conservation organizations stood up for concerned Wrangell, Meyers Chuck, and Ketchikan residents by filing a lawsuit on the Emerald Bay Timber Sale.

Filing of the lawsuit on March 23rd followed the announcement by the United States Forest Service in February 2006 of the rejection of two appeals that would have blocked timber sale and the harvesting of 16.4 million board feet of timber on the Cleveland Peninsula located northwest of Ketchikan. The appeals rejected in February 2006 assered the Forest Service had not adequately analyzed the project's economics and effects on wildlife. Regional forester Dennis Bschor rejected the appeals.

Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole originally signed the Emerald Bay Record of Decision in November 2005, approving the harvest of approximately 16 million board feet of timber from 600 acres on the Cleveland Peninsula. According to the Forest Service, the proposed 600-acre project, which is located approximately 40 air miles north of Ketchikan within the Ketchikan - Misty Fiords Ranger District, would provide nearly 90 jobs in Southeast Alaska. - More...
Wednesday - March 29, 2006

Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

Ketchikan Sea Gull
Front Page Photo By Lisa Thompson

Alaska: State agencies detail state preparations regarding avian flu - The Directors of Alaska Wildlife Conservation and Alaska Public Health and the State Veterinarian today provided detailed briefings to legislators regarding the State's cooperative and coordinated efforts regarding Asian H5N1 avian influenza, and introduced the state's new interagency website that provides Alaskans with a single source for all state information related to avian and pandemic flu.

"To date, H5N1 has never been found in Alaska or anywhere in North America, and there is no evidence that anyone, anywhere has caught it from a wild bird," said Matt Robus, Fish & Game's Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation. "At this point, there is no need to stop hunting and eating wild birds in Alaska. We are working closely with federal, state, and local officials to ensure that if the Asian H5N1 flu virus makes its way to Alaska, that it is detected early."

Robus, Department of Environmental Conservation's State Veterinarian Bob Gerlach, and Department of Health and Social Services' Public Health Director Dr. Mandsager each spoke regarding steps their departments are taking to detect and respond to any appearance of Asian H5N1 avian flu in Alaska. - More...
Wednesday - March 29, 2006

Scientists in dogged pursuit...

A team of sled dogs embarks on the Arctic trek that will enable researchers to collect snow samples.
Credit: GoNorth!

Alaska: Scientists in dogged pursuit of snow research embark on Arctic trek - An expedition into the frozen Arctic using dogsled teams kicked off March 12th from Alaska to help NASA find out how much snow blankets the Earth. This NASA-funded trek is one leg of a multi-sponsor five-year Go North! expedition made up of multiple dogsled treks that will explore the Arctic in pursuit of environmental samples and observations.

Seven explorers, including scientists and teachers, will mush from Circle, Alaska, across the Arctic through May with two dog teams of 25 polar huskies with names like Ginger, Jupiter and Hershey, to collect samples of hydro-meteorological snow data. The samples, to be gathered in five communities spread across the Alaskan Arctic, will be analyzed to help validate snow pack observations from NASA's Aqua satellite. - More...
Wednesday - March 29, 2006

Capitol access

Rendering of the subterranean visitor center as viewed from the Capitol East Front Plaza after CVC Completion
Credit: Architect of the Capitol

National: Capitol access a lesson in excess By BARBARA BARRETT - Here's a lesson about history and democracy:

Try to get something done in Washington, and there's a good chance it will take longer and cost more than anyone ever imagined.

Consider the subterranean visitor center being built in the bowels of the Capitol.

The project is nearly $300 million over budget and more than two years behind schedule.

There have been scads of construction upgrades, congressional committee hearings, a scathing report from the Government Accountability Office and - this being America - even a lawsuit about the truckloads of rock being placed inside. - More...
Wednesday - March 29, 2006



letter Some just don't get it. By A.M. Johnson - Wednesday
letter Denial of the Moose Lodge permit By Charlanne Heath - Wednesday
letter Balance by Rep. Ralph Samuels - Wednesday
letter Open Letter to Senator Elton By A.M. Johnson - Wednesday
letter Financial abuse? By Carol Deaton - Wednesday
letter Katrina Victims Face Insurance Nightmare By Tom Proebsting - Wednesday
letterMore Work To Do! By Jerry Cegelske - Monday PM
letterDraft is last thing needed By Devin Klose - Monday PM
letter Jet is good, fast ferries are bad By Sen. Kim Elton - Monday PM
letter Time Right to Move Legislature to Mat-Su By Rep. Mark Neuman - Monday PM
letter Annual launch fee increase By Ty Walker - Saturday PM
letter Time for a draft By Patrick Jirschele - Saturday PM
letter Support the Ketchikan Kanayama Student Exchange program please! By David Bergeron - Saturday PM
letter Our School by Emily and Paul - Saturday PM
letter City Park Needs Attention By Pat Sunde - Saturday PM
letter Last thoughts on the Perm Fund By Alan R. McGillvray - Saturday PM
letter A plethora of confusion By Kevin Mackey - Saturday PM
letter Take pride in KETCHIKAN By Jerry Cegelske  - Saturday PM 
letter Ghosts? By Jennifer Brewer - Saturday PM
letterCost of expansion? By Robert McRoberts - Saturday PM
letter After living in Ketchikan... By Rob Glenn - Saturday PM
letter Support port improvement project with a Yes vote By Chris Herby - Thursday
letter A CERTAIN BRAND OF SELFISHNESS By David G. Hanger- Thursday
letter State Must Focus on Oil Tax By Rep. Kurt Olson- Thursday
letterSpraying on Long Island will be a violation of our Human Rights By Carrie James- Thursday
letter ALTERNATE ENERGY SOURCES. NOW! By Peter Stanton - Thursday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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April 11, 2006 Special Election Port of Ketchikan Improvements Project - Detailed Project Description;
Ask A Question, Get an Answer; Special Election Information; and much more...

Alaska Permanent Fund filing deadline is midnight (Alaska Standard Time) on Friday, March 31, 2006.

April 13, 2006 at 5:30 - Democratic caucus for those interested in developing a local platform and organizing the local democratic party - IBEW building on Stedman, contact Micheal Hyre 617-0238 for information.

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March 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Wendy Williams: The waffle-stompers' windmills - For weeks now, journalists across America have been scratching their heads about out why the east end of Alaska Congressman Don Young's infamous "bridge to nowhere" appears to be ending up in Massachusetts's Nantucket Sound.

Young, a 17-term Republican, recently hit the national news because of his request for $223 million in federal funds to build a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska, across the water to lovely Gravina Island, population about 50. Lawmakers, thankfully, balked.

However, Young, a silverback reminiscent of crotchety and vindictive old Sen. Seabright B. Cooley in Allen Drury's 1959 novel "Advise and Consent," will probably not give up on trying to obtain money for the span, not to mention innumerable other projects for America's pork-rich Last Frontier.

But meanwhile, Young has turned his attention across the continent to Ted Kennedy land: beautiful Nantucket Sound. In question is the proposal by Cape Wind Associates to build a 130-turbine, 468-megawatt wind-power project on a shoal in the middle of what has become for Cape Wind a Devil's Triangle - the sides being the rich southern coast of Cape Cod, the richer island of Martha's Vineyard, and the even richer island of Nantucket.

For months, Young has been trying to get an amendment attached to a Coast Guard funding bill to prohibit offshore wind turbines within 1-1/2 miles of a shipping channel or ferry route. This seems strange. Offshore oil- and gas-drilling platforms can be within 500 feet of such a route. - More...
Tuesday - March 28, 2006

Jay Ambrose: The wrong side of history? - Hillary Clinton recently did it, I learned on reading a newspaper article.

She's hardly the only one, but when she said that Republicans seeking some tough measures dealing with illegal immigration were "on the wrong side of history," I found myself suddenly wondering whether this expression is growing in popularity or I am just noticing it more. Either way, I think those who use it are on the wrong side of careful thought, and ought to cut it out.

What does it mean to say someone is on the wrong side of history? Something like this, as best I can tell: History is moving discernibly and inevitably in a uniform, progressive, good direction, and if you hold to ideas or purposes contrary to that direction, you will find yourself more or less discarded, left by the wayside, a fossil of an era that was happily wiped out.

Though my scouting about indicates conservatives may use the expression as often as leftists, it clearly has deep roots in the thinking of Karl Marx, who supposed there was an economically determined class struggle the consequences of which were clearly predictable. - More...
Tuesday - March 28, 2006

Dale McFeatters: No perfect solution for illegal immigration - As Congress wrestles with reform of immigration laws, it has become clear that there's no good, single solution to the problem of illegal workers entering the country.

A House-passed bill greatly steps up border enforcement, but this would only slow, not stop, the flow, and, as with previous crackdowns, only move the problem elsewhere. In boasting of his own efforts, President Bush notes that during his term more than 6 million illegal border crossers have been caught and sent home, but this speaks more to the size of the problem than its solution.

There is no way we are going to round up and deport 10 million to 12 million people, the estimated size of the illegal population. Any meaningful reform has to address their presence. - More...
Tuesday - March 28, 2006

Paul Campos: Immigration laws have lost their moral, practical force - A striking feature of Anglo-American property law is that one can acquire good title to land by trespassing on it for long enough. In seeking to explain this doctrine of "adverse possession" - which goes back to the 13th century - Oliver Wendell Holmes made an acute point about the relationship between legal rules and human psychology.

"I should suggest," Holmes wrote, "that the foundation of the acquisition of rights by lapse of time is to be looked for in the position of the person who gains them. The connection is further back than the first recorded history. It is in the nature of man's mind. A thing which you have enjoyed and used as your own for a long time, whether property or an opinion, takes root in your being and cannot be torn away without your resenting the act and trying to defend yourself, however you came by it. The law can ask no better justification that the deepest instincts of man."

In downtown Denver this past Saturday I saw 50,000 people illustrate Holmes' point. This immense crowd was only one-10th as large as that which gathered in Los Angeles to protest a bill that would, among other things, transform anyone in the United States without proper documentation into a felon. Gazing at that sea of brown faces, I got a certain grim amusement from the thought of the panic that these gatherings must produce in the likes of Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and other demagogues who have been exploiting anxieties about illegal immigration. - More...
Tuesday - March 28, 2006

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