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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 13, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

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Alaska: New refuge status would limit developers By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK - Some Alaskans are dusting off an old weapon to limit industrial development on state lands prized for fish and wildlife.

The weapon is new refuges. And two of them have been unsheathed this year on lands the mining industry is exploring.

The Legislature will review a proposal this year to create a 5 million- to 7 million-acre game refuge in Bristol Bay's headwaters, which would envelop the vast and controversial copper and gold Pebble mineral prospect, located in the headwaters of the world's largest sockeye fishery, subsistence fisheries and world-class sportfishing lodges.

The Bristol Bay refuge bill proposed by state Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, wouldn't take away Pebble's mining claims but it would prevent future dumping of mining waste.

Hundreds of miles away, other Alaskans are targeting the Tangle Lakes region, with its large Nelchina caribou herd, as a possible refuge.

Tensions over the Tangle Lakes are building.

At the popular lake-dotted hunting and recreation area along the Denali Highway, Nevada Star Resources Corp., a Vancouver, British Columbia-based mining company, has sunk $14 million to explore for platinum, nickel and other minerals. The company plans to spend another $4 million this year.

The Board of Game plans to review the Tangle Lakes refuge proposal again this fall after listening to testimony on it last week in Anchorage.

The Alaska mining industry and its advocates are worried.

Naidine Johnson owns mining claims in the area and is the longtime owner of the Tangle River Inn, which reaps business from mining firms that began poking around the hills in the 1990s.

"It's a horrible thing they are trying to do. They are trying to get the miners out," said Johnson of the refuge's advocates.

Refuges, however, have long been a tool to protect fish and animals on Alaska lands.

"The ability to set aside areas is right in our constitution," said Lance Trasky, a former habitat biologist who supports Stevens' bill to create a Jay Hammond State Game Refuge in the Bristol Bay headwaters.

"When people don't think there's enough protection, they want to ramp up the rules," added Larry Smith, a Homer builder and former state Board of Game member who is working with Stevens on the proposal.- More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007


National: The downside of efforts to control global warming By LES BLUMENTHAL - America's drive for energy independence and clean air could threaten orangutans, Sumatran tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses and the world's largest butterflies. All could be hurt as the rainforests of Southeast Asia are cleared to produce palm oil for use in biodiesel.

It's the downside of the crash effort to rein in global warming.

And the owners of what will be the largest biodiesel plant in the nation - at a deepwater port on Washington state's Pacific coast - are well aware of the environmental consequences of logging and burning some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world to provide the prime ingredient for a much-in-demand clean fuel.

"We recognize there are serious deforestation issues," said John Plaza, the founder of Imperium Renewables, which is building the plant in the Port of Grays Harbor. "It's not OK to clear rainforest to put palm down. But to demonize an entire industry doesn't do anyone any good. We need to solve these issues."

Already, the Europeans are considering banning the importation of palm oil for use in biodiesel, and a Republican leader in the Washington legislature wants to close a loophole in state law and make biofuel production using imported palm oil ineligible for an existing state tax incentive.

Meanwhile, oil palm growers, processors, traders, users and several environmental groups formed the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, which is developing regulations to ensure an eco-friendly supply of palm oil. Imperium and other U.S. biodiesel manufacturers have joined the roundtable. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007

Wrangell: Wrangell Wrestlers Show Their Stuff in Southeast Regional & State Tournaments By RENEE CLAGGETT - During the last weekend of February the Stikine Middle School Wrestlers traveled to Juneau for the Southeast Regional Tournament. The Cougars raised money through a raffle of donated items by local businesses, which allowed the entire team to travel. They arrived in Juneau with their full team and a group of supportive parents ready for action.

The competition started on February 23rd at 3:00pm at the Floyd Dryden Middle School in Juneau where teams from all over Southeast were preparing themselves for what would be a busy two days of wrestling.

Two mats were set up and Wrangell went out to establish themselves as one of the top teams after the first day of matches. Winning 21 out of 31 matches the first day Coach Brett Claggett was thrilled with their performances.

The matches started again Saturday morning, February 24th, promptly at 10:00am with crucial wins bringing several Cougars into the Championship and Consolation Rounds. At 85 lbs Ryan Reeves led off the Consolation Round for the Cougars battling Luke Clayton of Sitka. Reeves took 4th.

Trey Torvend at 115 lbs was the next Cougar to take the mat in the round. He faced Austin Nickerson of Craig and took 4th place.

In the 133 lb bracket, David Gillen faced off with Robert Barkoefer of Sitka and brought home the 3rd place medal. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007

Red king crab eggs hatch...

Under the microscope, the crab larvae more closely resemble miniature shrimp, with mouthparts the larvae use to swim.
Photo courtesy Alaska Sea Grant

Alaska: Red king crab eggs hatch in Alaska research program - On a recent Saturday morning, red king crab number 1008 opened a flap on her underside and released several hundred tiny newborn crab larvae, each only about the size of a sharpened pencil lead.

"I looked into the tanks and noticed that one red king crab had her apron (stomach flap) pressed down to the bottom of the tank so her eggs were fully exposed," said Celeste Leroux, an Alaska Sea Grant graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. "I took a sample from the bag that collects large particles leaving the tank, looked at it under the microscope, and discovered the hatch had begun."

The newborn Kodiak red king crab, called zoea (ZOO-EE-AH), are a first for the Alaska King Crab Research and Rehabilitation Program, a partnership between university, federal and state scientists, commercial fishermen, coastal communities and the Alaska Native-owned Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward. The program is focused on gaining the scientific knowledge needed to rebuild Kodiak red king crab and Pribilof blue king crab populations through hatchery enhancement of wild stocks.

"This is an important milestone and a great source of pride for fishermen and the Kodiak community," said Jeff Stephan, manager of the United Fishermen's Marketing Association based in Kodiak. "Many individuals, organizations and officials have worked hard toward this moment for many years. It's satisfying to see it finally happen." - More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Tongass Plan Amendment By Mike McKimens - Tuesday AM
letter 20th Anniversary for Ketchikan -Kanayama! By Dan Patton - Tuesday AM
letter Laws associated with the Bostwick road and pits By Gregory Vickrey - Tuesday AM
letter Schoenbar incident By Michael Moyer - Tuesday AM
letter Re: What message are we sending? By Rebecca Clark - Tuesday AM
letter Gravina Documentation, etc. By Gregory Vickrey - Tuesday AM
letterWhat message are we sending? By Ken Montero - Monday AM
letter Bottom line... By Mark Gatti - Monday AM
letterGravina By Anita Hales - Monday AM
letter God Bless You Dick By Miguel Torres - Monday AM
letter "300" By Mark Neckameyer - Monday AM
letter 'Alaska scientists aim at offering climate services' By Pete Ellsworth - Monday AM
letter Disaster Plans Needed Now! By Sonia Streitmatter - Monday AM
letter New Daylight Savings Time By Ken Levy - Monday AM
letter Natural Gas, logging, roads and so on. By Robert McRoberts - Monday AM
letter Schoenbar incident By Rebecca Clark - Thursday PM
letterSchool Superintendent, Wrong Plan for Wednesday Morning By Reggie Reinhardt - Thursday PM
letter To the Manly Mark Neckameyer By Ken Lewis - Thursday PM
letter 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
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

John Crisp: What to call those Americans who died in Iraq - Recently, two declared presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, got in trouble for the same mistake: They used the term "wasted" to refer to the more than 3,100 American lives lost so far in Iraq. Both quickly apologized.

Columnists and bloggers took up the subject. Some of them pointed out the apparent contradiction between McCain's hawkish position on the war and his clumsy characterization of its costs. Others questioned whether Obama is all that "articulate," after all.

When the subject came up on Bill Maher's "Real Time" on March 2, the plain-spoken Maher argued that words matter, and that nothing is gained by using unduly positive language to describe our losses in a war that was unnecessary, ill advised, and poorly conceived from the beginning.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., one of Maher's guests that night, opposes the war, as well, but he argued that adding to the pain of families that have lost loved ones in Iraq by using terms like "wasted" is unconscionable.

We find ourselves in a bad double bind. On one hand, the war has turned from its dubious beginnings into a chaotic disaster. No one knows how to get out. The best its supporters can offer is a thin glimmer of hope. On "Meet the Press" on March 4, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said that Gen. David Petraeus and a surge of 21,500 troops are our "last best chance." While the violence and chaos continue, other vague reassurances come from those who have been wrong about the war all along. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Democrats rally around war plan - Democrats are beginning to rally around a broad plan for addressing the war in Iraq, thus filling an awkward gap in their political agenda, namely that they didn't have one.

The Senate and House plans vary in detail but both would set dates for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops, far enough off to give President Bush's surge a chance to work but before the presidential election so that the party won't have to face the voters having done nothing about an unpopular war.

The House plan, which would be attached to a $100 billion funding bill for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, would begin pulling combat troops out in March 2008, and have them all gone by that September.

The Senate plan, in the form of a joint resolution, would begin the withdrawal sooner and have most out by March 31, 2008.

Both would allow some U.S. forces to stay behind to train Iraqi troops, conduct counterterrorism missions and protect the U.S. diplomatic mission. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007

Dan K. Thomasson: Same old story, same old FBI - This has become an all too familiar story.

The FBI is caught red handed in an abuse of power. Once again a shocked FBI director, Robert Mueller, apologizes, takes full responsibility and promises swift reform while congressional "watchdogs" - at least that's what they are supposed to be - pledge immediate inquiry and threaten reorganization of the bureau.

It is, of course, an idle threat made by lawmakers who have only themselves to blame for this latest example of FBI arrogance, an incredible misuse of authority granted it to fight terrorism in the wake of 9/11, an improbable event that succeeded partially because of FBI incompetence. The fact that agents pried into the lives of tens of thousands of Americans without justification is hardly startling given the history of the organization and the failure of Congress over the years of scandal to rein it in. In fact, the inevitability of it was warned repeatedly during debate over the Patriot Act. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007

Steve Brewer: Boys, do as I say, not as I appear to do - All parents worry about setting a good example for their children, and it isn't always easy.

Children are watchful little rascals, and they have impeccable timing. Do something you've cautioned them against - drinking directly from the milk carton, for instance - and they will walk in on you in mid-guzzle. Guaranteed.

If you drop a brick on your foot and unleash a string of curses, you can bet your child will be within earshot. If you're drunkenly watching porn late at night, long after they should be asleep - well, you get the idea.

Being a parent is more than not getting caught engaging in bad habits, however. It's also teaching good behavior to the kids. Personal hygiene, for instance. Good study habits. Using one's blinker. Avoiding a life of crime.

One important area is teaching them how to work. We want our kids to become responsible, job-holding adults, so they can afford high-quality elder care for us in years to come.

We teach our kids to work by showing them how we work hard ourselves, and that's where I've got a problem. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 13, 2007

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