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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 17, 2007

Front Page Photo by Saunya Alloway

Born to Dive
L to R: Mary Kurth, N. Massey, Lon Rake, Mike Kurth, and Brian Short
"There's lot of diving going on in Ketchikan" said Mike Kurth.
This photograph was taken at South Point Higgins Beach.
Front Page Photo by Saunya Alloway

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Alaska: March 31 Deadline to Apply for 2007 PFD Fast Approaching - The deadline to apply for the 2007 Permanent Fund Dividend is rapidly approaching. The 2007 application period will close at midnight, March 31.

PFD Director Deborah Richter encourages applicants to file online, "Applying online is fast and efficient. Applicants immediately receive a confirmation number - proof that the PFD Division has received their application." As of March 13, over 377,000 Alaskans had applied online.

Every Alaskan can apply online for their 2007 PFD. Alaskans who register for a myAlaska account can electronically sign their PFD application through the state's myAlaska program. Visit to learn more about the electronic signature program and to set up a myAlaska account now. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007

National: Walter Reed whistleblower still wants Army career By M.E. SPRENGELMEYER - Army Spc. Jeremy Duncan still jokes around like he always has - only now, one of his replacement teeth sometimes pops out of place when he smiles.


Army Spc. Jeremy Duncan 30, is at
the center of a nationwide scandal over the care given to wounded veterans.
SHNS photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre

His left ear is missing and the prosthetic is in the shop. Part of his jaw is made out of titanium. And the good-luck dragon tattooed on his left bicep was nearly wiped away by shrapnel and surgeries.

But that hasn't stopped him from fighting to stay in the military, and these days he still acts like the same West Virginia smart aleck who kept his battle buddies in stitches before "all this."

To Duncan, "all this" means the war in Iraq, where he made it through his first roadside bomb attack in October 2003 and barely survived the next one in February 2006.

"All this" means his torturous recovery from a broken neck, shattered jaw, arm surgeries, leg injuries, vertigo and a host of other problems.

And lately, "all this" means suddenly becoming one of the most famous wounded warriors in the country after he helped sound an alarm about shoddy living conditions at a transitional housing unit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

That still-unfolding scandal, which started with his description of the black mold in his living quarters, has sparked a national outcry and a spate of ongoing, official investigations.

In just a few short weeks, it has shaken the highest ranks of U.S. army leadership, including the ousters of the hospital commander, Army surgeon general and even the Secretary of the Army. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007


National: Web site to help soldiers deal with stress, depression By JUSTIN BERTON - Here's a future scene from the Iraq battlefield, circa July 2007: A U.S. soldier battles against the enemy all day long. At night, after returning to base, he's troubled by what he's seen. But he knows better than to speak up.

Just outside the view of his fellow soldiers, he logs on to a virtual therapy Web site provided by the military called He knows that if his comrades see him talking with one of the shrinks on base, they would lose trust in him, label him a head case. A medical file soon would contain records of the visit. If he ever wanted a promotion, he'd have to explain the weakness of his mind.

Or that's the thinking among the male-dominated, therapy-averse troops, according to researchers, therapists and military psychologists who met at the fifth annual Military Suicide Prevention Conference in Hollywood, Fla., last week. Attendees discussed how to stem military suicides - in 2005 alone, the last year for which there are confirmed figures, 22 service members killed themselves in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Although the suicide rate among soldiers in combat is comparable to that of the general male population of the same age group, concern is growing in the military that, due to the traumatic events of recent U.S. wars, both active soldiers and veterans are psychologically vulnerable. A study of troops returning from the Iraq war, published in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that 16 percent of them met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder within one year of returning home. The disorder has been defined as a lingering anxiety or depression triggered by past extreme traumatic events, such as serving in combat. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007

National: Report finds more girls than boys inhale dangerous stuff By LEE BOWMAN - Huffing has become much more complicated than boys sniffing model glue in paper bags.

A new government report released Thursday says more girls than boys used substances ranging from nail polish and hair spray to air fresheners to get high in 2005.

"When we think about a young person huffing, a vision comes to mind of a young boy hiding in his room. Or so I thought," said Harvey Weiss, executive director of the National Inhalant Coalition. "When it comes to huffing at the youngest ages, more girls than boys are misusing common household products to get a fast, inexpensive, temporary high."

The coalition presented the new data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that shows in 2005, more than 600,000 youth started using inhalants, including 337,000 females and 268,000 males.

"Among new inhalant initiates, girls start huffing at a much earlier age than boys. This means that parents, health professionals and educators must start talking with preteen girls about the dangers of inhalants before it is too late," Weiss said. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007

First International Polar Year was an edgy affair
The 1882 IPY station near today's town of Barrow. image from "The Expeditions of the First International Polar Year, 1882-1883," by William Barr.

Alaska: First International Polar Year was an edgy affair By Ned Rozell - During the first International Polar Year of 1882-1883, an American stole food from his comrades, and it wasn't the first time. The act was all trip leader Adolphus Greely could stand. He ordered three other men, two with bullets in their guns and one with a blank cartridge, to aim at the chest of their comrade and pull the trigger.

"This order is imperative and absolutely necessary for any chance of life," Greely wrote.

His men carried out the command, and Greely's scientific party, conducting a scientific mission in Canada's high Arctic and starving on the retreat, was down to seven men. Two years earlier, when the group had set out for the Arctic, it numbered 25.

The first International Polar Year in 1882-1883 had a mission similar to the fourth, which began March 1 and extends to March 2009: An effort of scientists to monitor the Earth's polar regions. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Democrat Time Zones By Ken Lewis - Wednesday AM
letter Ward Serrill Film Playing in Ketchikan By Susan Doherty - Wednesday AM
letter If the speed limit in Ketchikan is too slow for you... By Janelle Hamilton - Wednesday AM
letter Re: What Message are we sending? By Sharyl Whitesides -Yeisley - Wednesday AM
letter Kanayama Exchange By Amber Leslie Williams Baldwin - Wednesday AM
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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Ketchikan: Group to Hold Peace Vigil and "Parade of Black Umbrellas" Today - A local peace committee is organizing a vigil and march Saturday to coincide with the four-year anniversary of the U.S. war against Iraq.

The event takes place Saturday, March 17, beginning at 11 a.m., at Ketchikan's City Park.

The event will get underway with music and speeches. A march to downtown Ketchikan and back will follow at approximately 11:30. Participants will carry black umbrellas as a statement against the on-going violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, brutal wars that have cost the lives of thousands of American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007

Washington Calling: A faint showing on ethics ... Committee votes ... More By LISA HOFFMAN and LEE BOWMAN - Despite the perception that GOP ethical lapses helped propel them back into control of Congress, Democrats didn't put their money where their rhetoric was when they had the chance.

This past week, Dems voted only a small increase in the budget of the House ethics committee, even though the bipartisan leaders of the panel had asked for an extra $1 million above its $6 million allocation in light of new oversight duties designed to give the panel more punch.

Democrats chose instead to put the $1 million in the new committee they have created to examine climate change and energy independence.

Meanwhile, Republicans also are complaining that House leaders have been slow to issue guidance to lawmakers on what they can and can't do under new ethics rules.


Some of the most important votes on Capitol Hill take place in committees, where it is not uncommon for lawmakers to oppose a measure when it's before a committee and then support it when it reaches the House or Senate floor.

But those committee votes might as well take place in secret because, unlike for floor votes, no system exists to make the panel tallies quickly public. You almost have to be there to count them yourself if you want to know how your congressman voted.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, wants to change that so "every vote a member takes (is) more transparent." Under his bill, every House committee would have to post the votes on its Web site within 48 hours.

Don't hold your breath for the House to embrace the idea. Not only would this data reveal the both-sides-of-the-same-issue votes, but also how often lawmakers are absent for committee business.


Does this plastic make me look fat? A new study from the University of Rochester in New York warns that phthalates, a common class of chemicals found in plastics, soaps, etc., already tied to reproductive problems, may also be contributing to wider bellies in men. That's because the stuff suppresses testosterone levels that contribute to leanness. Federal scientists are also studying the health effects of the unpronounceable chemicals. Still unexplained: NFL linemen, pro wrestlers.


In an age of plastic surgery and miracle cosmetics, most American women aged 30 to 69 say they feel "about 40," according to a new Roper poll done for Prevention Magazine. But 85 percent of them would rather reveal their exact age than how much they weigh.


Unintended consequence? A new NASA study reports that Earth may be heating up in part because mankind acted to curb one type of air pollution - dust and aerosols - that in the past acted as a "sunscreen" for the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space.

Research shows that Earth ended a decades-long trend of reflecting more solar energy right around 1990 - just when new curbs on aerosols began to kick in. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007

Week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Suspected 9/11 mastermind confesses

Suspected terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed bragged to a special military review panel in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, planned 30 more around the world and that he, personally, beheaded U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. The Pentagon Wednesday night released a censored 26-page transcript of the confessions made during a closed-door hearing late last week. "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said. The military is holding a series of hearings to determine if 14 terrorist suspects can be held indefinitely.

Gonzales admits mistakes in purge of U.S. prosecutors

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales admitted Tuesday that "mistakes were made" in the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year, but vowed he would not resign amid the growing furor. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to prepare subpoenas, if necessary, to compel five Justice officials and six of the fired prosecutors to testify whether politics was involved in the dismissals. Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire became the first Republican to say publicly that Gonzales should step down. Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' chief of staff, quit this week.

Pentagon chief regrets anti-gay remark

Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace said he regrets his remark that homosexuality is immoral. "I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views," Pace said. In an interview Monday with the Chicago Tribune, Pace said he supports the Pentagon's current "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays, although the military is not "well served by saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way." Gay-rights groups and several prominent members of Congress, including Republicans, criticized the Marine general's comment as insensitive. - More...
Saturday AM - March 17, 2007

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