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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 04, 2008

Front Page Photo by Cindy Balzer

Jakers, a red-tailed hawk, enjoyed the day at Ward Lake with its handler
from the S.E Alaska Wildlife center Saturday.
Front Page Photo by Cindy Balzer


Alaska: Lawmakers taken aback by Clark's guilty plea By WESLEY LOY (ADN) - The only solace state legislators could take from yet another public corruption bust was that at least it wasn't one of their own guys this time.The mail and wire fraud charge unveiled Monday against Jim Clark, who was chief of staff under former Gov. Frank Murkowski, marks the first time the federal investigation has jumped into a separate branch of government - the executive branch. - Read the rest of this Anchorage Daily News story...
Monday PM

Alaska: Ex-Alaska Gov.'s top aide to plead guilty to fraud By Yereth Rosen ( Reuters) - A top aide to former Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski admitted on Monday to fraud as part of a wide-ranging corruption conspiracy that has ensnared several state politicians and implicated many of Alaska's top political figures. - Read the rest of this Reuters' story....
Monday PM

Alaska: Stevens Presses DHS on Proposed Cruise Ship Rule; Calls lack of federal assistance for erosion control a "national shame" - Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) today questioned Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about his Department's delay in deciding whether to exempt Alaska from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's proposed foreign-flag cruise ship rule under the Passenger Vessel Services Act.

At a Senate Appropriations subcommittee budget oversight hearing, Senator Stevens stressed that this interpretative rule would impact cruise ships making stops in Alaska and could crippled the economy of tourism-dependent communities in Southeast Alaska.

"That publication in the federal register was under the heading of 'Hawaii Coastwise Cruises,'" said Senator Stevens. "We were very surprised when it was published that it applied to cruises along the Alaska coast originating in Seattle. As a matter of fact, if that regulation is adopted, none of the cruises this summer can go to Alaska, because they all stay in Alaska waters for longer than 48 hours. The net result would be that all the cruise ships would move to Vancouver, because they could stay in Alaska as much as they want. Now, this is getting very close. It's two months ago now that I raised this with your people when you first published it."

Secretary Chertoff assured Senator Stevens that his Department would make its decision quickly and he would personally review any rule changes.

"We've certainly seriously taken on board the issues that you pointed out. I believe that a final version of this is being presented to the Commissioner for him to review and make a judgment on it," said Secretary Chertoff. "I will personally look at it before it goes out.I will make sure this thing gets out quickly. I took on board your view on this. I communicated that to the Commissioner. I think we will get this resolved very quickly."

Senator Stevens responded: "I hope so, because I think the bell is tolling on cruise ship activity for Alaska. That is substantially what's left of our economy in Southeast Alaska. The government closed down all harvesting of timber. The mines have been protested by extreme environmentalists. There is no economy left in Southeast Alaska except tourism. And they (tourists) all come in on these cruise ships." - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008

National: A fight over ban on loaded weapons in national parks By LES BLUMENTHAL - With a showdown looming, a House panel chairman says he's prepared to block any effort by the administration to lift the current ban on carrying loaded weapons in national parks.

It's not an idle threat.

As chairman of the House Appropriations interior subcommittee, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., oversees the National Parks Service's annual budget and is in a position to prevent the administration from dropping the Reagan-era ban. While Dicks is usually reluctant to add legislative provisions to his spending bill, he's ready to make an exception in this case even if it prompts a presidential veto.

"Every now and then something rises up that needs to be fought, and this is one of them," Dicks said.

The ban and efforts by the National Rifle Association to lift it have emerged as a major Second Amendment issue this election year. Democrats say Republicans are using it as a wedge to exploit gun issues in an already heated political atmosphere. Republicans say they're just trying to protect the rights of gun owners.

The dispute already has interrupted consideration of a massive public-lands bill in the Senate. - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008

Alaska: State's Online Checkbook Provides Information & Transparency to Alaskans - The State's new Online Checkbook, a free and publicly searchable database to view the State's payment and revenue information is available. Since February 5, 2008, Alaskans can go online to view the State's posted current fiscal year spending information. The Department of Administration's Division of Finance has implemented this new tool in response to Governor Sarah Palin's call for departments to find ways to provide more information and transparency to Alaskans.

"Governor Palin understands that Alaskans want access to their government," said Commissioner Annette Kreitzer. "We are making this information available in the best form we can for Alaskans. We'll continue to refine the tool, and respond to suggestions for improvement." - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008

Alaska: Sweeping Changes to Consumer Protection Laws Offered by Personal Information Protection Act - The Alaska House of Representatives last week unanimously passed HB 65, legislation offering sweeping expansions and reforms of the state's consumer protection and identity theft laws. The Personal Information Protection Act, sponsored by Representatives John Coghill (R-North Pole) and Les Gara (D-Anchorage), contains seven articles that deal with areas of personal information and the rights and protections consumers have and can expect from individuals and businesses that handle their personal information.

"Times have changed from the days when Alaskans could be reasonably sure that handing over their personal information wouldn't result in fraud or identity theft. Thanks to the Internet and the sheer volume of forms and businesses that now have access to our personal information, it is important to have guidelines on how that personal information is handled," said Rep. Coghill. "You want businesses and other organizations to be able to use that information, however, if someone reaches inside and accesses it, you need the ability to freeze your personal information and have some recourse," said Coghill. - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008

Alaska: Better Business Bureau Warns Against Online Dating Sites - For those people looking to find the man or woman of their dreams, Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that complaints against matchmaking and online dating services are on the rise and many consumers across the U.S. have gone looking for love but only found a headache.

The stigma that using dating sites was geeky or sad has fallen away as more people have found happiness by meeting people on the Internet. As new companies and service become more popular over time, growing pains become more apparent as well.

Consumer complaints filed with BBB on dating services increased 73 percent in 2006 over the previous year, reaching 2,525 complaints altogether. While final complaint numbers for 2007 are still forthcoming, early analysis shows that the number of complaints in 2007 are expected to again reach record-breaking levels for the industry. - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008


Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Hey Youngster! - I can't remember how many times I heard that call, usually while I was wandering aimlessly in the aisles at one of our local supermarkets.

It was an announcement that I was about to get an audience with Helen Finney.

I don't mean to make it sound like Helen Finney was the "queen" of Ketchikan. Far from it. She was much more of a down to earth, roll your sleeves up and "get cracking" kind of person. But she certainly was a "grand dame" of Ketchikan.

When I think of Helen - something I have been doing all week since I heard she had finally succumbed to leukemia - I think of a variation on that famous Robert Kennedy quote "There are those that look at things the way they are and ask 'why' and "I dream things that never were and ask 'why not.'"

For Helen, the next step would be to immediately say "and what I can I do about it?" Then she would add "and how can I get you to help me?" - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on Primary Bonding - The electronic interplay between the chemical elements oxygen and carbon results in highly polarized primary bonding. Since the atomic symbols for these elements are O and C, respectively, it also affords a chemical tableau for commenting on the contest, between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

A limited word-count, not to mention recently weakened First Amendment protections in our country, and on university campuses in particular, will curtail explicit politico-chemical punditry. For the rest of this commentary, you're on your own.

Carbon and oxygen are two of the most essential elements to life, and they can team up with other elements to form molecules of unlimited variety - from DNA to Goop. Most people know that carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but it has its beneficial side as well - it is a key component of syngas, which is essential for converting petrochemical waste into productive energy. - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008

Bill Steigerwald: Cool News About Global Warming - You've no doubt seen the stories about strange snowfalls in Saudi Arabia. A brutal winter in China. The heaviest snow cover in North America, Siberia and elsewhere since 1966.

And if you are a vigilant observer of the global warming debate, you know how inconveniently cold it is in the Arctic this winter for Al Gore and his army of climate alarmists.

But how cold is it, Johnny?

Well, NASA says recent satellite images show that the allegedly endangered polar ice cap -- which will melt completely one of these summers and kill off all the polar bears if we don't slash our greedy carbon footprints and revert to the lifestyles of medieval peasants -- has recovered to near normal coverage levels. - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008



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Basic Rules

letter KETCHIKAN'S SMALL BOAT HARBORS By Bill Tatsuda - Tom Fisher's viewpoint in Sitnews on February 27, 2008 touched on some important issues concerning Ketchikan's small boat harbors. Now that the State of Alaska is no longer responsible for small boat harbors, what are we doing to develop and preserve our harbors? After the State's deferred harbor maintenance funds have been spent, how are we going to perform effective routine maintenance and put aside funds for major repairs and future improvements? We are facing a new paradigm, because we are now supposed to be responsible for our harbors. It can no longer be business as usual at the Harbor Department. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Magnitude of Ketchikan's education budget issues By DeAnn Turner - I wanted to provide Mr. Edwardson with some additional information regarding the KGBSD budget he commented on after the article in the KDN's. I participated in the KGBSD budget sessions. There were several notices in the newspaper announcing the dates the budget sessions were to be held and that they were open to the public. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Re: Ketchikan School Board: Come on guys! By Dave Lieben - Having served on the School Board for three years, I came to accept that we were often blamed for everything that happened in the school district, whether we had anything to do with it or not. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Exxon should accept responsibility By Louise Clark - When a huge corporation such as Exxon has the audacity to show such reckless disregard for our beautiful state, the people the environment, and the wildlife it is my firm belief that, that corporation must be banned from doing any kind of business in this state ever again. If that is not possible they should be banished for a minimum of 50 years and then they must show good faith of their responsibility before being allowed back again. After all they are not the only oil company around, furthermore, I think all the people in the United States should band together and demand corporate responsibility for their actions because an oil spill is not the only disaster that can happen and Exxon is trying to set an example whereby a large corporation is not responsible no matter what they do. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter RE: Oil rich Alaskans struggle to heat homes By Mike Isaac - Melissa O'Bryan nailed it! In two short paragraphs Ms. O'Bryan said so much about the direction the Republican party is going and the self serving people that have taken it over. Heating oil (diesel fuel) and crude oil prices are all going up and a check from the government won't change that but might help the senator get re-elected. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Bridge definitely needed By Sandra V. Browne - I fully agree the bridge is definitely needed. Mr. Hoff was not here the night that all the emergency equipment was called to the airport and had to sit on this side and wait for the airport ferry because it wasn't on our side. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter Build the Bridge! By Vanessa Nowland - I've read all the opinions about a bridge being built in Ketchikan, and boy are there a lot of them! I have a few questions for the people out there that are so against it and refer to our bridge as the "Bridge to Nowhere" - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letterHelen Finney By Nellie Cleveland - For all of my life, I will consider myself and everyone who knew her to have had our lives been made more magical by Helen Finney. She was a friend indeed! - More...
Tuesday PM - March 04, 2008

letter DOTPF dances out fantastic statistics By Sen. Kim Elton - The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is losing street cred faster than Idaho Senator Larry Craig. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Oil Rich Alaskans Struggle to Heat Homes By Melissa O'Bryan - It's refreshing to see how Alaskans are depicted in the media. This is a copy of a letter I sent to Senator Tom Wagoner, Kenai regarding his comments in an AP article. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Clean Elections By Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux - A Clean Election Law should be the linchpin of a new political climate in Alaska. We have weathered the storms of indictments, public distrust, and scandals. We have enacted comprehensive ethics reforms; are scrutinizing conflicts of interest in regards to who can vote and when; and even modified fund raising practices during session. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letterALL NATIVE CHAMPIONS By Marcia Brendible - The MAC Intermediates Are Intermediate Division ALL NATIVE CHAMPIONS! 5 games 5 wins! - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letterKetchikan School Board: Come on guys! By Charles Edwardson - I am writing to offer positive criticism again; I would like to see it as positive criticism. In my experience though this is virtually a non existent concept with all I have criticized. Whether it is the city council, borough assembly, KIC board, or now the Ketchikan school board. - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Thanks By Marie- Jeanne Cadle - I want to say thanks to Deb & Hunter Davis for paying to neuter the dog I am fostering (He's adoptable - see SitNews classifieds). It's not cheap to care for and get shots, medical attention, etc for dogs you don't own and their financial asistance is greatly appreciated! - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letterDemocrat Veep Remarks By Mark Neckameyer - Ketchikan resident Noam Ploomb wonders if I will address his critique of my tongue in cheek recommendation of Fidel Castro to be the Democrat Veep and so I will. First of, it was clearly "tongue in cheek" as to be Vice President you have to be native born but I think I do have some logic and experience to share so here goes; - More...
Monday AM - March 03, 2008

letter Bridge needed By Forrest Mackie - Don Hoff is my friend, but why does live in Tennessee and tell us what we need and don't need. We do need the bridge for our future expansion and to move into the future. I don't think that Gravina is the proper place for the hardlink though. I don't remember Juneau or Sitka having this much trouble getting their bridge. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letterHigher moorage rates By Peg Travis - AMEN! Tom Fisher. We agree, higher moorage rates and less maintenance on harbor facilities, so where is the money going? - More..
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letter Memories of Helen Finney By Lynne Miller - Sweet memories of Helen permeate my kitchen here oh so many miles away from Ketchikan. I see Helen Finney's smiling face in that beautiful picture next to the notice of her passing published in the Ketchikan Daily News and I smile at all the sweet memories of times we shared together. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letterVP Candidate Suggestion By Robert D. Warner - The recent suggestion for a Democratic Vice Presidential candidate by Mark Neckameyer could likely be a significant improvement over the current ticket of Bush and Cheney, but who wouldn't be? My feeling is that historians will rate Bush and Cheney at the bottom of the list of respected administrations and certainly below the rankings of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

letter"Thinking about the real America" By Bob Harmon - I am a retired Alaska school teacher but I have lived and visited and vacationed around our great nation and I wonder about Mr Ferrall's "Brooklyn" being the "real America". It is a dank, brokendown city populated from what I saw by new immigrants who move out to Long Island, New York, California or Florida as soon as they learn English and learn a trade. Even their only decent sports team bailed on them 50 years ago. - More...
Sunday PM - March 02, 2008

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