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March 25, 2007
Brian Short holds a Puget Sound King Crab while diving in Tongass
(The crab was released after posing for the picture)
Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth
Ketchikan counts on shellfish By LAINE WELCH - Construction
is set to begin this summer on the Oceans Alaska Marine Science
Center near Ketchikan. The new non profit was created last year
when the state and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough donated 28 acres
to build the facility, which aims to be the hub for building
a global shellfish industry for Alaska shellfish.
is the primary thing. If we look at what the opportunities are
in for year round, sustainable jobs in Southeast, Prince William
Sound, the Kenai Peninsula and along the Aleutians, the shellfish
industry is one of the best options we have. A focus will be
on how we can help the industry grow," said project manager,
Alaska currently has 34 shellfish
farms throughout Southeast Alaska and 27 in the South Central
region (Prince William Sound and near Homer). Values last year
(primarily oysters) totaled just over $676,000, split almost
evenly between the two regions.
Sund said if the dive fisheries
for geoduck clams, sea cucumbers and urchins are included, total
shellfish values for Southeast Alaska top $7 million. Research
economists estimate the region's shellfish value could reach
$50 to $100 million if production was increased through aquaculture.
Sund believes the state could
enjoy similar financial gains and points to New Zealand as an
example. "The green mussel industry there struggled for
years until they formed a collaboration with the government and
researchers and learned how to freeze the mussels. That took
them into the world market from $18 million to a $100 million
industry," he said, pointing to similar successes with cultured
scallops in Japan, clams in Florida, and oysters and geoduck
clams in British Columbia.
Ray RaLonde, an aquaculture
expert with Alaska Sea Grant, agrees that shellfish aquaculture
provides huge opportunities for Alaska..
"Right now there is growing
demand for Alaska shellfish - what we lack is enough production,"
RaLonde said, adding that co-operative farming is the best way
for the fledgling industry to move forward.
In Ketchikan, projects are
already underway even before the Oceans Alaska facility is built.
"We don't need a building to help move the research projects
and our mission forward," Sund said.
The Oceans Alaska board is
seeking an executive director. Contact is firstname.lastname@example.org
or www.oceansalaska.org . Also, the state Dept. of Natural Resources
is accepting applications for shellfish and sea plant farms through
April 30. - More...
Sunday AM - March 25, 2007
The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - War in Iraq enters
The U.S. military occupation
of Iraq entered its fifth year Monday, prompting President Bush
to appear on television seeking support for the mission to build
a stable democracy in the Middle East. Bush said there are signs
the increase of 30,000 additional troops has improved security
in Baghdad. "The new strategy will need more time to take
effect," the president said. More than 3,230 U.S. troops
have died in Iraqi operations, which have cost taxpayers at least
$400 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that most Americans
oppose Bush's "war without end in Iraq."
House sets 2008 withdrawal
The House narrowly approved
a $124 billion spending bill Friday to fund Iraqi military operations
while also calling for an end to combat before September 2008.
The 218-212 vote put House Democrats in confrontation with President
Bush over who has authority to wage war. House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi said Americans "have lost faith in the president's
conduct of this war." Bush angrily denounced the vote and
promised to veto the legislation if it passes the Senate. "Today's
action in the House does only one thing: it delays the delivering
of vital resources for our troops," Bush said.
Iraq deputy prime minister
injured in bombing
In a major breakdown in security,
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie was seriously wounded
Friday in a suicide bombing near Baghdad's heavily fortified
Green Zone. Police said the bomber detonated himself as al-Zubaie
and others were leaving a mosque in the courtyard of his home.
A nearby car bomb also detonated. Nine people were killed. On
Thursday, a rocket exploded about 50 yards from where U.N. Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon and Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were holding
a news conference. Moments before the attack, the prime minister
said Ki-moon's visit showed that the city is "on the road
Iran captures British sailors
The Iranian navy Friday seized
15 British sailors and marines who had boarded a merchant ship
in Iraqi waters of the Persian Gulf, prompting official demands
in London for the return of the men and their vessels. The Britons
were part of an international task force assigned to protect
Iraqi oil terminals. Britain's Defense Ministry said the sailors
were "engaged in routine boarding operations" of merchant
shipping in Iraqi territorial waters. Iranian officials said
they captured the men because they were operating inside Iranian
Sanctions proposed for Iran
The five permanent members
of the U.N. Security Council agreed Thursday to proposed sanctions
against Iran for refusing to suspend its uranium-enrichment program.
A final vote is expected Saturday. The package would ban all
arms exports from Iran, prohibit any weapons sales to the country
and freeze the financial assets of 28 individuals and organizations
who are involved in Iran's nuclear and long-range-missile programs.
Sunday AM - March 25, 2007
Sea Lion Ballet
Brian Short watches a sea lion ballet.
Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth
war spending at $5,500 per second By BARTHOLOMEW SULLIVAN
- The $100 billion Congress authorized to pay for the continuing
war in Iraq translates into $5,500 per second through Sept. 30,
and could purchase 111 Queen Mary 2 cruise ships at $900 million
"This war is a grotesque
mistake," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in bringing the debate
to a close Friday afternoon. Earlier, Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas,
received sustained applause when he said, "Frankly we all
want our troops home - when the job is done."
Congress voted 218-212 to authorize
spending $100 billion for the war effort and another $24 billion
for various "sweeteners," including agricultural subsidies
and hurricane relief. The bill sets September 2008 as a date
to bring the troops home, a provision President Bush cited in
his promise to veto the measure should it reach his desk.
To put the appropriation in perspective,
the $100 billion Congress agreed to spend on the Iraq war through
Sept. 30 is equivalent to:
- $331.73 for each of the 301,443,094
residents of the U.S.
- 4.6 million times the $21,587
per capita income of the U.S.
- 2.07 million Mercedes Benz
SLK350 Roadster automobiles.
The vote came after floor debates
that began on Thursday.
"Setting a date certain
for withdrawing from Iraq is a dangerous idea," said Rep.
Roger Wicker, R-Miss. "Our enemies will simply adjust their
tactics and wait us out. The consequences of such a withdrawal
will be far-reaching. It would signal defeat for the United States
and embolden terrorists in Iraq and around the world; it would
enable al Qaeda to establish a beachhead in Iraq from which to
operate; and it would be a catastrophe for the people of Iraq
and the region." - More...
Sunday AM - March 25, 2007
Washington Calling: IEDs
... Durbin vs. rat ... Purple Heart stamp ... More By LISA
HOFFMAN - After shoveling $5 billion into the super-secret outfit
created to come up with better ways to detect, defang and deter
deadly roadside and car bombs in Iraq, Congress is getting antsy
to see some results.
troops are now finding about
half of the IEDs planted by insurgents before they detonate,
House and Senate leaders say they're not happy that the task
force, created in 2005, has so far spent just a fraction of its
budget and has little to show for even that.
Look for congressional auditors
to weigh in soon - before decisions are made on how much of next
year's $4 billion budget request should be approved for the organization.
Meanwhile, now comes "CSI:
U.S. Marines are applying crime-scene
detective skills to gather evidence from the aftermath of IED
explosions to help in the prosecution in Iraqi courts of the
perpetrators. So far, they've processed about 50 crime scenes
and provided evidence that led to two guilty verdicts.
Pardon, can you spare a few
tons of yellowcake?
As the United States moves
back toward building new nuclear-power plants for the first time
in decades, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Thomas
Neff warns that beyond their big capital costs, new nuke plants
may not be so cheap to fuel, either.
The world price for uranium
has gone from $10 to $85 a pound in just a few years, and only
a trickle of the stuff is still being mined in the United States.
Leading producers: Australia, Canada, Namibia and Kazakhstan.
A growing appetite for uranium in China, India and Russia is
also helping run up costs and sap supplies.
Counterintuitive though it
may seem, the National Democratic Club is one of the last few
smoker-friendly venues on Capitol Hill. So who was spotted there
recently? House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio, a notorious
chain smoker, whose office said he was there on a goodwill mission
to build bridges over the raging partisan divide in Congress.
Given that the Capitol Hill Club, the GOP's counterpart hangout,
is smoke-free, others wondered if Boehner might not have sought
out the Democratic outpost as a friendly smokers' refuge.
If so, he likely won't have
long to enjoy it. The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, an association
of gay and lesbian Dems, is raising a stink about the smoking
policy and aims to push the club to stub out the practice.
Sen. Dick Durbin took a forceful
stand against rats on Capitol Hill recently, but now it's the
Illinois Democrat who's getting a drubbing. It wasn't a lobbyist
or a lawmaker of the opposing party Durbin whomped, but a real
rat he confronted in the townhouse he shares with three other
members of Congress. Beat it to death with a golf club, and bragged
That ticked off People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who suggested the legislators
clean up their "Animal House"-like abode, which they
admit has all the ambience of a frat house. PETA flayed him for
making light of beating an animal to death and suggested the
roomies clean up their home and yard, and use humane traps.
It took a mighty effort last
year, including bulldog tenacity by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
And the Military Order of the Purple Heart won its battle to
get the U.S. Postal Service to re-issue the special, first-class
Purple Heart stamp when postage prices last rose. Now, with first-class
stamps set to increase from 39 cents to 41 cents this spring,
the group hopes the postmaster general will issue the stamp in
perpetuity, in honor of those who have shed blood on the battlefield
for their country.- More...
Sunday AM - March 25, 2007
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