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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 31, 2006

Front Page Photo by Marie L. Monyak

Eric Bjella, Vice President of Marketing for First Bank
Photo by Marie L. Monyak

Ketchikan: Avoiding consumer fraud, deceptive practices and identity theft By MARIE L. MONYAK - Ketchikan, Alaska - The Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce held their weekly luncheon this past Wednesday and due to unforeseen circumstances the invited guest speaker could not attend.

As they say in the theatre, "the show must go on" and it did thanks to Eric Bjella, Vice President of Marketing for First Bank who filled the void with only a few hours notice. With assistance from Bob St. Clair, Vice President of Electronic Banking, the luncheon guests were provided with a timely, informative presentation on consumer fraud, deceptive practices and identity theft.

At a time when many merchants in Ketchikan are preparing for the tourist season and the influx of people it brings to town, Bjella and St. Clair's message was one of caution and common sense.

According to Bjella, passing counterfeit currency and falsifying merchandise returns are the crimes most perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals upon local merchants. "People [thieves] are getting more and more creative every day so the rest of us have to be a little more diligent in what we are doing and how we are conducting business," Bjella said.

Bjella referred to last year when First Bank sponsored a fraud prevention program that included a presentation by the FBI that addressed merchant issues and provided information about identity theft. He further stated that First Bank wants to ensure that everyone is aware that the merchant service at the bank is always willing, at anytime, to assist with questions regarding credit card fraud or theft. - More....
Friday - March 31, 2006

Broad Coalition Formed To Oppose...

Ketchikan: Broad Coalition Formed To Oppose Aerial Pesticide Spraying Permit - SITNEWS- Today, along with 46 concerned organizations and individuals, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) filed a request for an adjudicatory hearing with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), opposing the aerial pesticide spraying permit granted to Klukwan, Inc.

The broad coalition of interests includes city governments, federally-recognized tribal councils, Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Grand Camp of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood, commercial fishing groups and businesses, conservation organizations, the Alaska Nurses Association, and individual health care practitioners and subsistence users. This wide spectrum of interests has expressed strong concerns about the effects the pesticides will have on human health, fish, and wildlife.  

In Ketchikan, Susan Walsh, R.N., of the Alaska Nurses Association said, "Many pesticides have proved toxic to human health, so the Association has adopted a 'precautionary principle' toward them. That means DEC needs to prove beyond any doubt that these pesticides will not harm human health. The agency hasn't done that."

On March 1, 2006, DEC issued a permit to Klukwan, Inc. to spray pesticides by helicopter to kill "unwanted" alder and salmonberry in previously clearcut land owned by the Native corporation. Klukwan, Inc. plans to spray pesticides Accord (glyphosate) and Arsenal (imazapyr) over 1,965 acres on Long Island, near Prince of Wales Island. Two other chemicals, Competitor (a surfactant) and In-place (a drift inhibitor), will be mixed with the pesticides. The corporation received a similar permit last March, but withdrew the project after DEC put its decision on hold and granted a hearing to resolve widespread public concerns.  - More...
Friday - March 31, 2006

Peak oil pundit visits Alaska

Oil expert Kenneth Deffeyes spoke to a crowd at the
University of Alaska Fairbanks recently.
Photograph by Merri Darland

Alaska: Peak oil pundit visits Alaska By NED ROZELL - "Thirty years from now, oil will be little used as a source of energy," Kenneth Deffeyes told a crowd at the University of Alaska Fairbanks recently. "Our grandchildren will say, 'you burned it? All those beautiful molecules? You burned it?'"

According to Deffeyes, a hard-rock geologist and professor emeritus at Princeton University, the world's oil supply peaked on December 16, 2005, which means we've now removed and produced half of the oil that's there to be sucked out. And what does that mean?

Increasing levels of chaos, he said. When the demands put on a system approach the system's maximum output, things go a little crazy.

"We are close to the capacity of the system right now, so little things like hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico can cause wild fluctuations," he said. "Price volatility is on us in a big way."

In his book, "The Long Emergency," James Howard Kunstler wrote of the event that Deffeyes said happened last December: "At absolute peak, there will still be plenty of oil left in the ground-in fact, half of the oil that ever existed-but it will be the half that is deeper down, harder and costlier to extract, sitting under harsh and remote parts of the world, owned in some cases by people with a grudge against the United States, and this remaining oil will be contested by everyone." - More...
Friday - March 31, 2006

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Alaska: Analysts see oil's gain in Alaska, not tax pain By RICHARD RICHTMYER - Oil industry profits in Alaska would reach several billion dollars a year, even at tax rates much higher than those Gov. Frank Murkowski has proposed in his oil-tax reform legislation, according to a new analysis by the state Revenue Department. Murkowski is seeking to replace the state's oil and gas production tax with a 20 percent tax on profits while at the same time allowing companies to deduct from their taxable income 20 percent of the amount they invest in Alaska oil field development.

Oil industry executives, in public testimony before the Legislature, said a higher rate than the governor has proposed would create an unfavorable business climate and thwart investments. Some legislators make a similar argument.

However, the Revenue Department shows profits remaining high even at tax rates exceeding what the governor or Legislature have proposed. Its study, released this week, shows that when oil prices are at $60 a barrel, as they recently have been, industry profits in Alaska would slip to about $6.5 billion next year from about $6.9 billion under the governor's proposal. - More....
Friday - March 31, 2006

Alaska: Governor Praises Reinstatement of Kensington Permit - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski Thursday praised the action of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in reinstating Coeur Alaska's 404 permit for the Kensington mine. The 404 permit deals with construction activity for the mine's tailings disposal facility.

"I was very pleased to learn that the Corps has reinstated Coeur's 404 permit for the Kensington, allowing construction at the mine to continue," said the governor. "This is welcome news for the employees currently working at the site, who were facing potential layoffs. The Corps action reaffirms the sound science that has gone into the environmental planning for the Kensington mine."

The governor thanked the Corps, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, the state Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, the Congressional Delegation and the employees and staff at Coeur Alaska for their efforts in bringing this issue to a successful conclusion. - More...
Friday - March 31, 2006

Alaska: Questions put halt to Alaska gambling bill By RICHARD RICHTMYER - A legislative push to legalize card rooms where gamblers can bet against each other on poker and other games hit a snag this week when members of a Senate panel laid out a laundry list of questions and concerns about the proposal.

The Senate's initial tepid response to the card-room bill, which narrowly passed the House last year, was the latest setback for proponents of expanded gambling in Alaska. Last week, a legislative task force voted against the idea of the Legislature creating a new agency to oversee and regulate gambling.

The card-room bill, sponsored by Rep. Pete Kott, R- Eagle River, passed the House 22-18 last year. It must clear the Senate before it becomes law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee picked up the bill during its meeting Wednesday but tabled it after members from both parties expressed misgivings about several key components.

"There are a lot of questions, and I can't tell you what the (committee) vote might be until we get more information," Sen. Ralph Seekins, the panel's chairman, said after Wednesday's meeting. - More...
Friday - March 31, 2006



letter Support bond with YES vote on April 11 By Zig Ziegler - Saturday AM
letter Time Right to Move Legislature? By Mike Moyer - Friday PM
letter Democrat majority in 06? By Mike Isaac - Friday PM
letter RE: Tom Proebsting/Katrina By Neil Gray - Friday PM
letter RE: Some Just Don't Get It By Robert McKinstry - Friday PM
letter Child abuse: Weak reply By A.M. Johnson - Friday PM
letter Regarding the Moose lodge permit, and tax collections... By Ty Rettke - Friday PM
letter RE: MARIJUANA LAWS By David G. Hanger - Friday PM
letter Ketchikan has a reputation for being very friendly By Marie L. Monyak - Friday PM
letter Not to worry... By Charlotte Tanner - Friday PM
letter War on Drugs/War on Terrorism. By Virginia E. Atkinson - Friday PM
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 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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National: Definitions clouding immigrant bill debate By CAROLYN LOCHHEAD - The immigration debate roiling the Senate and the country often boils down to one charged word: amnesty.

It is brandished like a loaded gun by opponents of expanded legal immigration and ducked like deadly fire by supporters.

Democrats use it to attack Republicans and Republicans use it to attack Democrats - or Republicans, as the need arises. Its meaning is narrow or expansive depending on who is flinging it about. It simplifies deep complexities, promises easy answers to hard questions, sensationalizes an angry debate and obscures truth.

An entire glossary of code words and phrases has appeared for the Senate debate that will occur in the next weeks over what to do about the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country and the 500,000 who arrive each year.

They include: "comprehensive reform," "border security," "temporary worker," "earned citizenship" and "virtual fence," among others.

The discussion is all the more confusing because it does not break along easy-to-understand partisan lines. President Bush is allied with liberal Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. Business is holding hands with unions. Many conservatives support expanded legal immigration, while many liberals want tighter border controls. Democrats are torn. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein within a month did an about-face on guest worker programs, which she now embraces. - More...
Friday - March 31, 2006

National: Experts consider future demand for immigrant labor force By MARGARET TALEV - Pollster Sergio Bendixen was surveying legal immigrants this month about their attitudes on illegal immigration when he came across a man from India now working in Massachusetts as a demographer for a financial investment firm.

The demographer said he found the debate polarizing Americans and Congress ironic.

"He was saying that the United States, Europe and Japan have two things in common," Bendixen recalled. "They have aging populations, and the people that are in their 30s and 40s are having very few babies. That, 10, 15, 20 years from now, there would be a great shortage of manpower, and that there would actually be tremendous competition to see who could attract immigrants from Latin America, from Asia, from Africa, to come to these industrialized countries to do to the work that is needed to be done by younger people.

"He said it's going to flip," Bendixen said. "Instead of us talking about, in a sense, repressive immigration policies, we're going to be talking about what incentives we can offer people to come."

What to do about more than 11 million undocumented residents estimated to be living in the United States has suddenly taken center stage amid concerns about national security and job losses in parts of the country. - More...
Friday - March 31, 2006

National: Stem-cell issue headed for Senate floor By MARGARET TALEV - Americans who believe embryonic stem cells could one day cure their cancers, their parents' degenerative diseases or their children's diabetes may soon reach a crossroads: a final vote by Congress to lift President Bush's ban on federal funding for research on new embryonic stem cell lines.

Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Orrin Hatch of Utah, two Republicans leading a bipartisan coalition to force such a vote, say the issue should reach the Senate floor sometime in May or June after languishing for months.

They predict they have enough votes to lift the ban and say they believe Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., will make the push. But they say they are prepared to take matters into their own hands should he hesitate. - More...
Friday - March 31, 2006

National: Here's the path to happiness By THOMAS HARGROVE and GUIDO H. STEMPEL III - The keys to happiness are simple - grow up, get married, have children, go to church and try to forget about the wilder days of youth.

Only 52 percent of Americans say they are "very happy" with their lives, according to a Scripps Howard/Ohio University survey of 1,007 adult residents of the United States. Forty-three percent said they are "fairly happy," 3 percent said they are "not too happy" and 2 percent are undecided.

That might not seem sufficiently ebullient for a nation that embraces the pursuit of happiness as an inalienable right. But the survey found Americans with particular lifestyles - especially those having a family and planting roots in a community - are much more likely to say they have found contentment.

While wealth has a modest impact on well-being, other social factors appear to have greater influence.

"It's a lot of fun to see what the correlations are for happiness," said Glenn Van Ekeren, an elder care executive in Omaha, Neb., who has published three books on the secrets to happiness. "There are some real affirmations of life in this poll." - More....
Friday - March 31, 2006

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