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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Wednesday - Thursday
March 7-8, 2007

Front Page Photo Jim Hamp

Dying from emphysema, Jim Hamp issues tobacco warning
Pictured: Jim Hamp

Ketchikan: Threatening note surfaces in another local school - Ketchikan School Superintendent Harry Martin announced this afternoon that a similar note to one found at Schoenbar was found written on a stall in the girls' restroom at Houghtaling Elementary School Thursday afternoon. - More...
Thursday PM - March 8, 2007
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Southeast Alaska: Dying from emphysema, Jim Hamp issues tobacco warning - Tobacco has taken its toll on Haines resident Jim Hamp. His wife and mother both died of tobacco-related cancers, and Hamp is dying from emphysema.

A longtime charter and commercial fisherman, Hamp, 68, now has to wear a nasal cannula (a plastic hose that pumps oxygen from a tank into his nose) and rarely has the energy to visit his boat. Some days he barely has the energy to reach across the kitchen table. After smoking for 50 years, Hamp said he'd trade all the pleasure he got from cigarettes for one more good day of breathing. Now that he's dying, Hamp wants to warn young smokers about what awaits them.

"Tobacco is just a matter of time. It doesn't matter who you are," Hamp said. "Why tempt how long? You're playing with your life."

Even though he sold cigarettes when he was growing up, Hamp said he didn't start smoking until after he went to college. He said both of his parents smoked and it was the accepted thing to do. When he was in the military, more than 200 of the 244 soldiers in his company smoked. Within a year of starting, Hamp said he was smoking 1 1/2 packs a day. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007

Ketchikan: Regular School Day At Schoenbar Thursday Says Superintendent - Thursday will be a regular school day for students attending Schoenbar Middle School according to a memo released by Superintendent Harry Martin this afternoon.

Absenteeism was high at Schoenbar Middle School Wednesday after leaks of a threatening message penciled in one of the bathrooms became public knowledge. According to the written message, there would be a shooting at the school on March 7th.

Questions were raised by some parents who chose to keep their children home from school on Wednesday as to why they weren't notified of the situation by the school district. In a letter to SitNews, Ketchikan resident Mike Ross said, "The school should have advised parents about this threat, and the fact that they did not is alarming!"

Regarding how the Schoenbar parents learned of the penciled threat, Shauna Lee wrote, "I simply can't believe that it had to be parents calling parents!"

Ketchikan resident Bob Grace wrote that he thought it was inappropriate to keep this kind of information from parents. Grace asked, "Why where the parents not notified? Why where the police not notified? "

According to Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett, an investigation by the Ketchikan Police Department on Wednesday did not find that the written threat was one with an intent to be carried out. Dossett added that two officers were located on the middle school campus Wednesday and officers would also be present Thursday. - More..
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007


Alaska: 'Bridge to nowhere' becomes railroad to North Pole By KEVIN DIAZ - First came Ketchikan's "bridge to nowhere." Now a railroad to North Pole?

Critics of congressional "earmark" spending took aim Wednesday at a $4 million expenditure for the proposed Northern Line Extension, an Alaskan railway that will link the village of North Pole (pop. 1,778) to the village of Delta Junction (pop.840).

Citizens Against Government Waste, an "anti-pork" watchdog group backed by Arizona Sen. John McCain - a Republican presidential contender - highlighted the project in their 2007 "Pig Book," a compilation of pork-barrel projects in the federal budget.

The 80-mile rail extension takes its place among 2,658 projects worth $13.2 billion that the nonprofit group questions in the defense and homeland security spending bills passed by Congress for this year.

The railroad money, intended for preliminary engineering and environmental study, is just a fraction of the $209 million that Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, helped steer into the state last year as Appropriations Committee chairman.

"He's proved once again that he's one of the alpha porkers in Congress," said David Williamson, vice president of the anti-pork group.

Stevens' spokesman Aaron Saunders defended the Alaska spending, arguing that the group's claims are misguided. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007

Alaska: Alaska bear hunt de-clawed By ALEX DEMARBAN - Persuaded by a flood of public testimony, the Alaska Board of Game has unanimously reversed a vote allowing bear hunting on state lands near one of the world's premier bear-viewing areas.

"It's a clear win for photographers and a clear win for the bears," said John Toppenberg, head of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance in Anchorage, after the vote.

he Alaska Game Board voted two years ago to allow the hunt on land - two parcels totaling about 95,000 acres - south and east of McNeil River State Game Sanctuary.

This decision would have taken effect this July, opening the way for a hunt in October for the first time in 22 years.

The board bowed to public testimony provided at the meeting, which began Friday, as well as thousands of letters and e-mails that overwhelmingly opposed the hunt, Chairman Cliff Judkins of Wasilla said.

"Thirty years ago, you could have handled these issues just on biology," he said. "Today you can't. This is what the public wants, and viewing is a recognized use."

Every summer, thousands of tourists visit the sanctuary and nearby areas on the Alaska Peninsula to photograph bears as they snatch fish from rivers and loll in grass.

Opponents said hunting these bears is unethical because they're relatively used to people and won't run from hunters. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007

A trans-Arctic snowmachine journey...

A trans-Arctic snowmachine journey for science
Matthew Sturm and his partners camping about 50 miles southwest of Buckland on a snowmachine traverse in 2002. He and four others will travel across Canada's Arctic beginning in March.
Photo by Matthew Sturm.

Alaska: A trans-Arctic snowmachine journey for science By NED ROZELL - On a sunny day in mid-March, five men on snowmachines will pull out of a building on Fort Wainwright and ride down a snow ramp to the frozen Chena River. After leaving Fairbanks on March 15, they will continue on for 45 days, when they will have ridden almost all the way to Hudson Bay in Canada. Along the way, they will stop at village schools, soak up the history and the mystique of the barrenlands in northern Canada and collect samples of snow and soot from some of North America's most remote country.

Matthew Sturm of the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory on Fort Wainwright is the leader of the trek across North America's Arctic.


Basic Rules

letter Schoenbar incident By Rebecca Clark - Thursday PM
letterSchool Superintendent, Wrong Plan for Wednesday Morning By Reggie Reinhardt - Thursday PM
To the Manly Mark Neckameyer By Ken Lewis - Thursday PM
The Iraq War By Ken Levy - Thursday PM
letter Organ donation By David J. Undis - Thursday PM
letterOliver North By Neil Kinunen - Thursday PM
letter Our President By Sarah Harney - Thursday PM
letter Gravina logging road By Eric Tyson - Thursday AM
letter Schoenbar: A Reality Check By Shauna Lee - Wednesday PM
letter School should advise parents & police By Mike Ross - Wednesday PM
letter Trees are a renewable resource By Forrest Mackie - Wednesday PM
letter Thank you Dick. By Dave Kiffer - Wednesday PM
letterAl Gore! Are you Kidding me! By Scott Kline - Wednesday PM
letter AIRPORT SHUTTLE By Ken Levy - Wednesday PM
letter Job Well Done, Dick Kauffman By David Landis - Tuesday PM
letter Bostwick Bowl By Rob Sanderson Jr. - Tuesday PM
letter Shooting threat at Schoenbar? By Bob Grace - Tuesday PM
letter Gravina Viewpoint Appreciated By Gregory Vickery- Tuesday PM
letter Good-Bye Dick By Tom LeCompte- Tuesday PM
letter Gravina road By Scott Adler- Tuesday PM
letter Tribute to Dick Kauffman By Diane Gubatayao - Tuesday PM
letter Rest Peacefully Dick By Gretchen Klein - Tuesday PM
letter Forgotten Heroes By Ken Levy - Tuesday PM
letter Our loss By Cecelia Johnson - Tuesday PM
letter Goodbye Dick By Tamela McColley - Tuesday PM
letter Litter in Ketchikan & Organ Donation By Kathy Morris - Tuesday PM
letterLast Chance To Save Public Beaches By Eric Muench - Sunday PM
letter Youth Sports By Kelli Carlin-Auger - Sunday PM
letter Bostwick Road/Gravina Island By Erin Murphy - Sunday PM
letter Airport Shuttle & Bridge By MJ Cadle - Sunday PM
letter 3rd Ave Bypass By Sonia Streitmatter - Sunday PM
letter Time to dust off the soap box! By Tom Scott - Sunday PM
letter Dick Kauffman By Dan Hart - Sunday PM
letterGoodbye Dick By Anita Hales - Sunday PM
letter Dick Kauffman By MJ Cadle - Sunday PM
letter Organ Donation By Janet Cadero - Sunday PM
letterOrgan donation By MJ Cadle - Sunday PM
letter Worst President in American History By Ken Levy - Sunday PM
letter The Forest Service's TLMP revision By Stephen Todd - Wednesday AM
letter The only bridge Ketchikan needs... By Michael Spence - Wednesday AM
letter Our Forgotten Heroes By Ralph Mirsky - Wednesday AM
letter "Bridge to Nowhere" By Robert D. Warner - Wednesday AM
letter Government with wrong priorities for Gravina Island By Amy Kay Snider - Tuesday PM
letter Open Letter to Assembly & City Council By David G. Hanger - Tuesday PM
letter Eyes on Gravina By Roberta McCreary - Tuesday PM
letter Heroic Last Gift By David J. Undis - Tuesday PM
letter Litter By Janelle Hamilton - Tuesday PM
letter Academy Awards By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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"Me and Jon (Holmgren, the mechanical wizard of the trip who owns a machine shop in Fairbanks) were sitting around his shop one day and I said, 'I'm 54 years old, and I love the Arctic, but I don't feel like I'm educated about the Arctic. Before I die, I want to see the barrenlands.'"

The plan for a trip was born. Sturm, Holmgren, Glen Liston, Henry Huntington, and Dan Solie will begin their spring journey by riding from Fairbanks to Circle on the Yukon Quest trail. From Circle, they'll follow local trails to Fort Yukon, and then ride up the Porcupine River, cross the border into Canada, and visit the village of Old Crow. From there, they will traverse eastward, hitting settlements including Fort McPherson, Deline on Great Bear Lake, then to Kugluktuk on the south shore of the Arctic Ocean. From Kugluktuk, they will proceed southeast to Daring Lake. That leg of the journey is along a path of interest to northern history buffs. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007

National: Poll: Americans find federal government 'sneaky' By THOMAS HARGROVE - Americans increasingly suspect the federal government has become cloaked in secrecy, a concern they don't have with their local and state governments.

People also overwhelmingly believe that their federal leaders have become sneaky, listening to telephone conversations or opening private mail without getting court permission, according to a survey of 1,008 adults commissioned by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

By a 2-1 margin, people want FBI agents and other investigators to obtain search warrants before monitoring private communications, even if they suspect terrorism. And more than a quarter of the people in the survey said they suspect their own phone calls and letters have been intercepted.

Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University conducted the survey as part of the newspaper editors group's observance of national Sunshine Week, which begins March 11.

The poll found that concerns about federal secrecy are rising.

Twenty-five percent believe the federal government is either "very open" or "somewhat open," while 69 percent said it's either "somewhat secretive" or "very secretive."

That's a shift from a similar poll last year, when 33 percent thought the federal government is open and 62 percent thought it was secretive. About 6 percent and 5 percent were undecided in the 2007 and 2006 polls. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007

National: Senate defeats amendment on bargaining rights By JAMES ROSEN - - The Senate on Tuesday narrowly defeated a bid to prevent the nation's airport screeners from gaining collective bargaining rights.

The measure, offered as an amendment to a broader bill implementing all the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, was defeated 51-46. All 50 Democratic senators, plus Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, opposed it.

The legislation grants collective bargaining rights to the 45,000 employees of the Transportation Security Administration, most of whom are airport screeners.

"Collective bargaining will tie TSA's hands with needless red tape and create a homeland security disaster," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. who sponsored the amendment. "This earmark for the labor unions will force us to negotiate with unions on daily security decisions before we can act to save American lives." - More...
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007

Health / Fitness: Study casts doubts about high-tech lung scans By MAURA LERNER - When it comes to cancer, early detection is supposed to help save lives.

But with lung cancer, it may do more harm than good, according to a new study by the Mayo Clinic and several other centers.

The scientists found that routine checkups with high-tech computed tomography scans had no effect on the number of people dying of lung cancer, even though the devices were able to detect more tiny tumors.

At the same time, the CT scans picked up suspicious nodules that turned out to be harmless in nearly three out of every four people, and led to a tenfold increase in lung surgeries in the study group, said Dr. Stephen Swensen, a Mayo Clinic radiologist and a co-author of the study. The study followed more than 3,200 former or current smokers for almost four years.

The report, in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, is the latest in a series of contradictory findings about the usefulness of CT scans in fighting lung cancer.

Last October, another team of scientists reported just the opposite in the New England Journal of Medicine: that routine CT scans can prevent up to 80 percent of lung cancer deaths by detecting tumors early enough to be treated.

The new study concluded "these findings ... should raise doubts about the premise underpinning CT screening for lung cancer, and also raise concerns about its potential harms if pursued on a wide scale."

In medical circles, a debate has been raging for years over whether CT scans should be used routinely to check for lung cancer, which kills about 162,000 Americans a year - more than any other type of cancer. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 07, 2007

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