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March 04, 2007
Front Page Photo by Peaches (Naona) Wallin
Family mourns loss
of Dick Kauffman
P. Kauffman, 74, founder of SitNews Passes - Richard Paul
Kauffman, founder of SitNews, died at Ketchikan General Hospital
at the age of 74, on Wednesday morning, February 28, 2007.
Kauffman was born July 17,
1932, in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania to George and Geraldine Knorr
Kauffman. After graduating from high school he joined the United
States Army and served in Army Intelligence as a cryptologist
in the U.S. occupied German Zone. After being honorably discharged,
he later was employed by the CIA and continued to serve his country
in Japan. Kauffman later became an employee of the Federal Aviation
Administration and was the FAA Air Traffic Manager at Ketchikan
International Airport from 1983 until his retirement in 1999.
Kauffman received a distinguished service award from the FAA
upon his retirement after 38-years of service.
He is survived by his wife
of 26 years, Mary C. Kauffman of Ketchikan; daughter, Yvonne
Kauffman of Anchorage; brother George Kauffman III of Sugarloaf,
PA; and sisters Karen Minos of Raleigh, NC and Joan Crawford
of Penrose, NC. Kauffman is also survived by three adult grandsons
Koji Gailey, Kenji Gailey and Seiji Gailey all of Anchorage;
and four nephews and five nieces. - More...
Saturday - March 03, 2007
Budget Amendments Include $28 Million for Intertie - The
Swan Lake - Tyee Lake hydroelectric intertie project would receive
$28 million under Governor Sarah Palin's proposed budget amendments
released Thursday. If the project funds are approved this year
by the Alaska Legislature, the intertie will go online in the
last quarter of 2009.
The Swan Lake Project
is located approximately 22 air miles northeast of Ketchikan,
Alaska, on Falls Creek which drains from Swan Lake to Carroll
Inlet on Revillagigedo Island.
Front Page Photo by Mike Martin ©
The project stalled for lack
of funding in the fall of 2004. At that time $55 million had
been spent and the project was over half-way complete. This made
funding for the hydroelectric intertie stand out as a priority.
The Four Dam Pool Power Agency
has requested $46.2 million to complete the 57-mile project which
connects the Tyee Lake hydro facility south of Wrangell with
the Swan Lake hydro facility near Ketchikan. The project is fully
permitted, the Right-of-Way has been cleared and 50% of the micropile
foundations have been installed. A combination of federal, state
and local funds have financed the project so far. When complete,
the line will enable 63 million kilowatt-hours of surplus Tyee
Lake hydropower to be delivered to Ketchikan.
Unlike many other parts of
Alaska, the Southeast region would never directly benefit from
the energy a natural gas pipeline could provide. The huge potential
of hydropower in the future makes a regional hydroelectric power
grid the equivalent of a gas pipeline to Southeast Alaska. Also,
exporting power to the North American power grid in the future
would help the rate payers of Southeast Alaska.
Representative Kyle Johansen
(R-Ketchikan) said Wednesday he is extremely pleased the Governor
recognizes the importance of this project. "The time is
now for this intertie," Johansen said. "For more than
a decade, Southeast Alaskans have been frustrated that the energy
equivalent of 5 million barrels of No.1 heating fuel goes unused
annually in the form of excess water spilled over the top of
the dam at Tyee Lake."
"The Governor sent a clear
message in her 'State of the State' Address and in her comments
last fall at Southeast Conference supporting funding for completing
the Swan Lake - Tyee Lake hydroelectric intertie," said
Johansen. "Alaska must invest in stable sources of clean
and renewable energy, like hydro, for the future of its residents
and businesses. By taking this first step in completing an eventual
Southeast regional power grid, Governor Palin is producing results
that will benefit Alaskans in the region for decades." He
said, "This helps individual Alaskans and businesses struggling
with high energy costs from diesel fuel. It will spur economic
development while also being better for the environment."
Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka)
also praised Gov. Palin's $28.0 million FY 08 Capital Budget
amendment for the Swan Lake-Lake Tyee electrical intertie. -
Sunday - March 04, 2007
Southeast Alaska: Juneau-Lynn
Canal Highway $11 Million Materials Contract Cancelled
- At Governor Sarah Palin's direction, the Department of
Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) cancelled
a materials contract related to the Juneau-Lynn Canal Highway
project, totaling nearly $11 million. The cancelled contract
was for concrete girders which would have been used to construct
bridges on the Juneau-Lynn Canal Highway.
"The concrete girders
contract committed millions of dollars to a project that is still
under review and lacks the necessary permits to proceed,"
said Governor Palin. "In my opinion, DOT&PF acted prematurely
in awarding the girder contract."
The concrete girder contract was part of a rushed process and
was signed on December 4, 2006, the day Governor Murkowski left
office. The cancelled materials contract was announced on Wednesday,
The governor's office has also considered DOT&PF's purchases
of roughly $9 million of piling and culvert materials. DOT&PF
has assured the administration that the materials could be used
on other public projects in the state. The benefits of cancelling
these contracts are less clear, in part because partial contract
performance has already occurred. - More...
Sunday - March 04, 2007
Alaska scientists aim at offering climate
Is Sea ice outside Shishmaref safe for travel? In a new program,
Alaska scientists will try to take existing information from
NOAA and make it more useful to everyday people.
Front Page Photo by Ned Rozell
scientists aim at offering climate services By NED ROZELL
- Seasons are not what they once were in Alaska. Ice roads on
Alaska's North Slope have a shorter lifespan than they had 30
years ago. The extent of sea ice hugging the northern coastlines
gets smaller every year. These changes affect Alaskans and people
who work in Alaska, and a few scientists just received funding
to make climate science user-friendly for those people.
"If I'm buying boats to
move oil to villages on the west coast of Alaska, I need to know
if I should buy boats to handle broken ice or no ice at all,"
said Dan White, the head of the Institute of Northern Engineering
at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. "Right now, there
are no climate services that tell you what kind of ice to expect
in five years off the coast of Alaska."
White, along with John Walsh of the International Arctic Research
Center, Fran Ulmer of the Institute for Social and Economic Research
at UAA, and Craig Gerlach of UAF's Department of Anthropology
are among the scientists involved with a project to make National
Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration products more applicable
to people affected by climate change in Alaska. They've teamed
to create the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.
Sunday - March 04, 2007
Fish Factor: Pre-season
Halibut Prices Raise Eyebrows By LAINE WELCH - Prices paid
for halibut prior to the March 10 start of the fishing season
have raised eyebrows among both buyers and fishermen.
Each year fishery scientists
conduct surveys in the winter to collect tissue samples from
the spawning grounds, and during the summer to collect data on
the halibut stocks. The research includes various areas - this
year occurring off the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia,
in the Central Gulf of Alaska and in Bering Sea waters along
the Aleutian Chain.
The researchers have special
permits to offload and sell the halibut they catch in local ports.
The landings are quite low, and prices intend to be inflated.
But the pre-season landings do give an indication of market interest,
and they can be summed up in a word: high.
In early February, 7,000 pounds
of halibut crossed the Homer docks and fetched $6.55/lb for all
sizes. "That compared to an average price last summer of
$3.77/lb. So there was a big jump interest over the winter,"
said Claude Dykstra, survey manager for the International Pacific
Halibut Commission which conducts the annual research.
At Dutch Harbor, two deliveries
in early February of 8,500 pounds and 10,000 pounds were broken
out by size classes. Halibut weighing 10 to 20 pounds paid $3.60/lb;
20 - 40 pounders got $3.95/lb and larger sizes received $4.35/lb.
The average price paid in Dutch during the summer was $3.41/lb,
One major Kodiak buyer said
the pre-season landings by researchers have little bearing on
the actual market. However, he agreed there is no doubt the halibut
market will be strong, adding that prices are likely to hit $5/lb
in some areas. "But when there's that much of an increase
in value, it can go sour really fast and buyers will be extremely
cautious," he said.
Starting prices for halibut
last year approached or topped $4.00 a pound in major ports and
seldom dipped below $3.00 during the eight month season. The
statewide average price for 2006 was $3.71/lb. Alaska's 2007
commercial halibut fishery has a catch limit of just over 52
million pounds. The Halibut Commission has a call out for several
research charters starting this summer, preferably for vessels
over 55 feet. Contact the IPHC for more information at (206)
634-1838 or www.iphc.washington.edu .
Fast food features fish sandwiches
Fast food giant McDonald's
is using interactive, online computer games to lure more folks
to enjoy its Filet of Fish sandwich.
The new multi-media ad campaign
allows consumers to 'interact with the brand' by challenging
gamers to go 'head to snout' with one of the ocean's most competitive
creatures the dolphin. In a game of 'Aquatic Tennis' (which
would more correctly be called volleyball), 'man and dolphin'
try to bang a fish sandwich past each other. In 'Ocean Commotion,'
man tries to balance a sandwich on his nose longer than the more
adept dolphin. And in a popular repeat from last year called
'Sharkbait,' players try to keep the Filet o Fish away from a
swarm of hungry sharks. All games are timed, allowing gamers
to compete with one another. The promotion, in both Spanish and
English, also offers wallpapers, cell phone ring tones and t-shirts.
Nearly all of McDonald's fish sandwiches are made from Alaska
pollock, and the company claims to sell more than 300 million
sandwiches each year. (www.filetofish.com) - More...
Sunday - March 04, 2007
Week In Review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Army secretary
quits over Walter Reed scandal
Army Secretary Francis Harvey
stepped down Friday amid widening complaints about squalid conditions
for outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a primary
facility for treating troops injured in the Iraq war. President
Bush ordered a comprehensive investigation into conditions first
reported by The Washington Post. The Army on Thursday announced
that Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, hospital commander, was fired
for failing "to address needed solutions for soldier outpatient
care." Bush said he wants to know if "similar problems
have occurred at other military and veteran hospitals."
Violent storms kill 26 in South
A huge storm front stretching
from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico spawned tornadoes and violent
winds Thursday that killed at least 26 people in Southeast and
Midwestern states. A tornado struck Enterprise High School in
southern Alabama, killing eight students when the walls and roof
were blown off a wing of the school. Enterprise Mayor Ken Boswell
said parts of his town look like a war zone. At least six people
died and several homes were destroyed in Newton, Ga. Police said
storms killed a young girl in Missouri. Heavy snows closed roads
in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota.
Bus plunges off Georgia highway
Four Bluffton University students,
the driver and his wife died Friday morning when their chartered
bus fell from an overpass onto Interstate 75 in Atlanta, in an
accident that injured 29 others. The bus was carrying the baseball
team of the Mennonite-affiliated college to play its first game
of the season in Sarasota, Fla. Classes were called off at the
1,150-student campus located 50 miles south of Toledo, Ohio.
Kennedy historian Schlesinger
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. suffered a heart attack while dining with
his family in New York City and died Wednesday. He was 89. Among
Schlesinger's books is "A Thousand Days" which chronicled
the Kennedy administration for which he worked as a speechwriter,
"Robert Kennedy and His Times" and "The Age of
Jackson." He coined the phrase "imperial presidency"
in his strong criticisms of the Nixon administration and spoke
bitterly in opposition to America's current war in Iraq.
Anna Nicole Smith's body returns
to the Bahamas
Former Playboy playmate Anna
Nicole Smith's body was flown to the Bahamas Friday, ending a
bizarre legal battle between her boyfriend and estranged mother
over where the model would be buried. Tourists and fans cried
"Anna! We love you!" as her coffin was delivered to
the Mount Horeb Baptist Church in Nassau. She was buried at Lakeview
Memorial Gardens, next to the grave of her 20-year-old son, Daniel,
who died in September of an apparent drug overdose.
Wall Street stumbles in 416-point
The Dow Jones industrials average
plummeted 416 points Tuesday following deep declines in Chinese
and other Asian markets amidst fears that U.S. and Chinese economies
were facing recession. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
issued a calm assessment for Congress Wednesday, assuring lawmakers
that the markets "seem to be working well." Investors
calmed down Wednesday and Thursday, but started another, milder
round of selling Friday. The Dow dropped more than 120 points
Friday. - More...
Sunday - March 04, 2007
madam telling tales? ... Red Menace! ... Blame at GAO By
LISA HOFFMAN - Iraq, Iran, the bilious stock market - all undeniably
matters of great moment to official Washington. But nothing can
compete with an alleged high-priced hooker operation threatening
to release the phone numbers of 10,000 clients.
That's what is concentrating
minds here, as more details emerge about Deborah Palfrey, whom
authorities say ran a $2 million business that recruited young
women in college for $300 assignations with high-rolling clients.
Busted on racketeering charges, Palfrey is considering selling
client contact information as a way to raise money to pay for
her legal defense.
According to the charges, Palfrey
hired only women with at least some college education, and employed
more than 130 over the past 12 years for "Pamela Martin
and Associates," as the operation was named.
Palfrey denies the charges
and says she ran a legal escort service.
The Government Accountability
Office is prolific in churning out reports that point out the
flaws and flubs in federal agencies. Now, the auditing outfit
finds itself on the other end of the blame-throwing, as GAO employees
accuse management of trying to stifle efforts to organize union
membership for 1,500 GAO analysts.
Lawyers for the International
Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers have accused
the unit's chief, Comptroller General David Walker, of breaking
the rule that he must not disparage the union campaign. Walker
denies doing so, but 21 members of Congress, who aren't so sure,
have written to remind him of it.
Also percolating is an effort
in Congress to create an inspector general at the hugely influential
GAO, which, unlike most federal agencies, largely escapes oversight
It's been a while since the
Red Menace has raised its ugly head in Washington, given the
sorry state of the Communist Party around the world. But Texas
GOP Rep. Pete Sessions found cause to red-bait last week, writing
House colleagues to warn them that the Communist Party USA was
strongly backing the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make
it easier for workers to organize against employers' wishes.
Didn't do much good, apparently, given the bill passed on a largely
party-line 241-185 vote Thursday. - More...
Sunday - Marych 04, 2007