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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 21, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

The Ketchikan-based USCG cutter Acushnet passes from Nichols Passage
into Tongass Narrows at the South end of Pennock Island.
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

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Ketchikan: Public Comment Period on Amendment of Tongass Forest Plan Extended to April 30 - Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole announced Tuesday an extension of the public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and draft amended forest plan that responds to the Ninth Circuit Court decision of August 2005, and the 2005 mid-term review of the plan.

The comment period, originally set to end April 12, has been extended to April 30, 2007 by Regional Forester Denny Bschor. Bschor said he decided to extend the comment period because severe weather throughout Southeast Alaska has forced district rangers to reschedule some of the public meetings/hearings, and has delayed some of the Forest's Tribal consultation efforts.

Forest Supervisor Cole noted that this extension of the comment period will also give everyone additional time to review and comment on the small old growth reserve changes that were posted to the website in mid March. Part of this ongoing effort to update the small old growth reserves was included in the DEIS and the remaining proposed changes are available at Cole added that, while the 1997 Forest Plan included maps of small old growth reserves, they had not received enough analysis to see how well they met forest plan standards and guidelines.

"Since 1997 we have been reviewing and modifying these small reserves, mostly with non-significant forest plan amendments associated with site specific project decisions. In conjunction with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our ranger districts, we have reviewed the entire set of small old growth reserves. The changes we made have been posted on our website", Cole said. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 21, 2007

Ketchikan: Forest Service Issues Scratchings Timber Sale EIS Decision - Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole recently approved the Scratchings Timber Sale Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), allowing the harvest of up to 21 million board feet of timber from approximately 866 acres on Suemez Island, about 12 miles southwest of Craig, Alaska.

"This timber project is part of our ongoing effort to actively manage the Tongass National Forest, to help small, family-run wood products businesses in southeast Alaska keep operating and maintain some local jobs," said Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. "In addition, I plan to offer the purchaser the opportunity to test-market Alaska's proven superior wood in the Continental United States. Regional Forester Denny Bschor has authorized me to allow some of the smaller diameter and utility logs to enter interstate commerce, probably to Washington State."

This harvest will support more than 100 jobs in the local communities, along with a significant number in the Lower 48 if Alaska logs are processed in other U.S. mills. In his decision, Cole dropped all plans for harvest in the Suemez Inventoried Roadless Area. Approximately six miles of forest system roads and four miles of temporary roads will be constructed on Suemez Island in support of this project. All newly constructed roads and about 11 miles of existing National Forest System (NFS) road will be placed in storage or decommissioned upon completion of timber harvest. Approximately 10 miles of existing NFS road will remain open for public use. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 21, 2007


National: THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF DEFENSE SPENDING SINCE WORLD WAR II BY JAMES ROSEN - As the Iraq war enters a fifth year, the conflict that President Bush's aides once said would all but pay for itself with oil revenues is fueling the highest level of defense spending since World War II.

Even with past spending adjusted upward for inflation, the $630 billion provided for the military this year exceeds the highest annual amounts during the Reagan-era defense buildup, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

When lawmakers approve a nearly $100 billion emergency spending bill in the next few weeks, Congress will have appropriated $607 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with about 75 percent going to Iraq, according to a new Congressional Research Service study obtained by McClatchy Newspapers.

Less than three months after assuming control of Congress, Democrats are moving away from their election-campaign pledges to restrict or eliminate funding for Iraq.

"Nobody wants to be labeled anti-military for the crime of cutting the budget," said Winslow Wheeler, an analyst at the Center for Defense Information in Washington. "It makes supporting whatever the military services request a political necessity amongst both Democrats and Republicans."

Bush appealed to lawmakers Monday to pass the war supplemental measure without adding troop-withdrawal dates. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 21, 2007

National: House Dems prepare for vote on war-spending bill By EDWARD EPSTEIN - Only two things are certain as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic deputies prepare for this week's House vote on a war-spending bill that seeks the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by Aug. 31, 2008.

One, even with a full-court press for votes, passage will come narrowly, if at all. Two, President Bush says that if legislation setting any sort of deadline for ending U.S. involvement in Iraq makes it to his desk, he will veto it.

With the war entering its fifth year and with the narrowly divided Senate virtually deadlocked because its rules require 60 votes to pass anti-war legislation, the House debate takes center stage this week.

Pelosi's Democrats have a 233-201 majority in the House, which has one vacancy, and only a handful of Republicans are expected to cross their party's leaders and vote for the $124 billion war-spending bill that has been sweetened with billions in domestic spending.

The legislation, called the supplemental appropriation, would provide money to pay for the war effort through the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30. It would set a timetable tied to performance benchmarks for the Iraqi government that would pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by the end of next summer. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 21, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

Common Golden Eye
This Common Golden Eye duck was photographed by the Ketchikan airport ferry. This duck along with several others were diving and eating the mussels off of the side of the pilings. They also eat small fish and plants. As expert divers, they quickly dive under the water and then they pop back up to the surface, water rolls off their flattened backs in large
pearly drops and water is unable to penetrate the surface of their compact and oily plumage. Being expert divers they only like to be in company of other diving ducks, such as Merganzers and Buffleheads. They spend a lot of their time in the water, but when it is time to nest, they do so deep in the hollow of a tree, safe from predators.
Front Page Photo & Text by Jodi Muzzana

Ketchikan: KIC/OVS Health Board Officers Announced - The Ketchikan Indian Community/OVS health board officers for 2007 are: Cecelia Johnson, Chair; Joe Williams, Vice Chair; Caroline Luckey-Secretary; Chuck Denny, Treasurer.; Martha Johnson, Tonia Nebl, and James Llanos.

The health board meets once a month.

The representatives who travel on behalf of KIC/OVS are: Joe Williams-Alaska Native Health Board, Alternate: Caroline Luckey; Alaska Native Tribal Consortium-Caroline Luckey; Unafilliated Tribes-Joe Williams. - More...
Wednesday - March 21, 2007

Southeast Alaska: IFA Serves Little Norway Festival and POW Marathon - Start-up of the Inter-Island Ferry Authority's seasonal northern route has been moved ahead this year to accommodate Petersburg's legendary Little Norway Festival, according to IFA general manager Tom Briggs. The M/V Stikine will provide round-trip service between Coffman Cove, Wrangell and Petersburg's South Mitkof terminal on May 17, 18, 19 and 20, coinciding with the dates of the Petersburg celebration.

This will be the 49th year of the festival, which celebrates the signing of Norway's Constitution, the coming of spring and beginning of the fishing season. There is a parade, street dances, athletic events, rowdy Vikings, art, theatre, folk costumes, and lots of fine food.

The following week, the IFA will add Thursday, May 24 to its regular weekly Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday northern route schedule, for the convenience of those participating in the annual Prince of Wales International Marathon, which takes place Saturday, May 26. The 26 mile long course crosses Prince of Wales Island from Hollis to Craig. It is recognized as the premier running event in Southeast Alaska, attracting competitors from throughout the U.S. and internationally.

IFA service between Coffman Cove, Wrangell and Petersburg will continue four days per week through September 17. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 21, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Gang Type Activity in Ketchikan By Laura M. Warren - Wednesday AM
letter Never buy a dog from any breeder By Margaret Cloud - Wednesday AM
letter Just heard... By Rick Krueger - Wednesday AM
letter Daylight savings time & government health care... By Ken Lewis - Wednesday AM
letter Taxes and Bus Service By Rodney Dial - Tuesday AM
letter KANAYAMA BEGINNINGS By Bill Tatsuda - Monday AM
letterDowntown Sitka By Sarah Corporon - Monday AM
letter Looking for photo of an old boat (the "Famous") By Heidi Ekstrand - Monday AM
letter Gun Safety By Kerry Watson- Monday AM
letterGravina By Eric Tyson - Monday AM
letter EIS hearings in Saxman By Anita Hales - Monday AM
letter Defensive Driving in the Snow By Chris Elliott - Monday AM
letter Too many pit mixes in town By Tammy Sivertsen - Monday AM
letter Daylight Savings Time
By Ken Levy - Monday AM
letter Gravina Views By Robert McRoberts - Monday AM
letter AIRPORT SHUTTLE By Ken Levy - Monday AM
letter LIFE LESSONS By Jeff Wahl - Monday AM
letter Israel-Finding Peace with its Arab Neighbors By Tom Proebsting- Monday AM
letterMore Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

John M. Crisp: Is Al Gore a hypocrite? - If Al Gore is a hypocrite, does it matter? No sooner had "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Oscar for best documentary feature than the Tennessee Center for Policy Research accused Gore, when he's not flying around the world in a private jet to preach self-righteous sermons on excessive energy consumption, of living in a Nashville mansion that consumes about 20 times as much energy as the homes of average Americans.

But the case isn't clear-cut. The Tennessee Center for Policy Research supports principles on its Web site that are rigorously conservative and reflect a perspective that we don't ordinarily associate with concern over global warming. Their figures about Gore's energy consumption are construed to make him look as bad as possible. They also appear to be more or less accurate. Clearly, Gore, champion of energy efficiency and decreased consumption, does consume an awful lot of energy.

On the other hand, his defenders argue that by buying so-called "carbon offsets," Gore manages to compensate for his energy use, effectively "zeroing out" his impact on the environment, which is what he calls for in "An Inconvenient Truth." Few of us can make that claim. In fact, if all of the world's citizens were willing and able to do that, global warming wouldn't be an issue at all. Of course, not everyone accepts the "carbon offset" argument and, frankly, it does seem like a bit of a stretch.

It's important to remember that serious global-warming non-believers are likely to be unmoved by Gore's message, regardless of his personal lifestyle. Even if Gore lived in a log cabin powered entirely by wind and solar and drove an electric car, I suspect that his critics would be more likely to dismiss him to the lunatic fringe than to be persuaded by his message. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 21, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Greasing our way out of Iraq with pork - The best thing that can be said of the House Democratic leadership's bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that it is unlikely to pass the Senate, and in the improbable event that it does, President Bush will veto it.

The bill aims to do indirectly what its Democratic authors don't have the support or political will to do directly - pull U.S. troops out of Iraq. It would accomplish that goal by micromanaging the war and imposing on the Iraq is a series of difficult-to-meet deadlines - the preferred euphemism is "benchmarks" - that could have us out as early as the end of the year and gone in any case by August 2008.

And what is so magical about August of that year? It is the start of the presidential election campaign and, as the corruption and incompetence of the old Republican Congress fade in the public's memory, the war is the one reliable issue the Democrats have.

They won Congress last fall on an anti-war platform, and this bill would allow them to go to the voters in 2008 and say they delivered on what they promised. But there's nothing very honorable about how they plan to get to that point.

Bush asked Congress for $100 billion to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan plus $3 billion in standby disaster relief. The House bill proposes to give him $126.4 billion. - More...
Wednesday AM - March 21, 2007

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