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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 25, 2007

Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth

Brian Short holds a Puget Sound King Crab while diving in Tongass Narrows.
(The crab was released after posing for the picture)
Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth

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Ketchikan: 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.

"Economic development 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, John Sund.

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 or . 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 fifth year

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 date

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 to stability."

Iran captures British sailors and marines

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 territorial waters.

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. - More...
Sunday AM - March 25, 2007

Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth

Sea Lion Ballet
Brian Short watches a sea lion ballet.
Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth

National: Iraq 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 a piece.

"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.


Basic Rules

letter AMHS Southern Gateway Shuttle Ferry Needs to be Operating in 2008 By Mike Round - Sunday AM
letterDog Breeders By Margaret Cloud - Sunday AM
letter Neckameyer is right on with his Islamofacisist remarks By Bob Harmon - Sunday AM
letter Roads on Gravina By Mike Salee- Saturday PM
letter School Superintendent By KJ Harris- Saturday PM
letter New airport in lieu of bridge By Edward Brown- Saturday PM
letter School Board Controversy By Diana Chaudhary - Saturday PM
letter KPU Dividend? By Mike McColley- Saturday PM
letter Daylight Savings Time By Ken Levy- Saturday PM
letter How Ketchikan "used to be" By Jeanine Miller- Saturday PM
letter Some explaining to do... By Jon Hurley- Saturday PM
letter Dog Breeders By Kara Jeanne Blazier- Saturday PM
letter Re: IT errors at PFD By Glen Thompson - Saturday PM
letter Tourism money and city projects By Christy Smith - Saturday PM
letterAn accurate, technical explanation of the PFD data loss By Norm Snyder - Thursday AM
letter Finding Peace... By Mark Neckameyer - Thursday AM
letter GLOBAL WARMING AS AN INDICATOR By Ken Bylund - Thursday AM
letterGang 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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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: Iraq."

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 about it.

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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