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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 06, 2008

Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth

Wrecked Tender Annette
Marine life is starting to claim the vessel on the wrecked tender Annette in Ward Cove.
Diver pictured is Mary Kurth.
Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth


Alaska: Governor Announces Family Addition - Governor Sarah Palin announced she and her husband are expecting their fifth child.

"Todd and I are five times blessed and couldn't be happier," Governor Palin said. "We look forward to welcoming our new addition in May."
Thursday - March 06, 2008

National: For Democrats, it's a race again By CAROLYN LOCHHEAD - he attacks on Sen. Barack Obama's credibility, ethics and experience that pushed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to a convincing victory in swing-state Ohio and helped her cling to Texas came back full circle the day after.

Within hours, the Obama campaign struck back at Clinton's perceived penchant for secrecy and by late Wednesday had Mississippi surrogates accuse her of making "derogatory comments" about the South.

"She talked about change you can Xerox," said top Obama strategist David Axelrod. "Well you can Xerox your tax returns." Calling Clinton a "habitual nondiscloser," Axelrod suggested the tax documents might reveal shady sources of the $5 million Clinton loaned her struggling campaign last month.

Fasten your seat belts, Democrats, this race has just begun -- again.

"Little Super Tuesday" turned out to be no more decisive than big Super Tuesday a month ago.

Although both campaigns agree that Obama has a possibly insurmountable lead of pledged delegates -- the kind elected by voters -- veteran election hands say he cannot cinch the majority needed for the Democratic presidential nomination on those delegates alone, any more than Clinton can. - More....
Thursday - March 06, 2008

Business - Economy: Rising fuel costs force truckers to make tough decisions By VICKI LEE PARKER - Harold E. Funderburk has noticed more and more big rigs parked on the side of the road with "for sale" signs in their windows.

"They are just giving it up, selling their stuff and going to work for some big (trucking) company," the Raleigh, N.C. trucker said.

The high price of regular gasoline usually gets all the attention, but the price of diesel has been steadily climbing. This week, diesel nationally hit a record $3.68 a gallon.

If prices keep climbing, Funderburk said, he will park his semi, too.

"I'm going to make one more trip," Funderburk, 58, said this week. "When I get back, I'll make my decision."

The average tractor-trailer gets just 5 to 6 miles per gallon, and, at current prices, it can cost more than $700 to fill the empty tanks on most long-haul trucks. That's too much for many truckers to keep hauling goods.

Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in Grain Valley, Mo., estimates as much as 10 percent of the association's 161,293 members have parked their trucks.

"Right now they are likely spending $70,000 to $100,000 a year just for fuel," Spencer said. "We are talking about losing half of their net income for the year. They simply cannot survive."

The ramifications go far beyond the trucking industry. With most of this country's goods transported by truck, fewer drivers can lead to strained supplies while higher fuel costs can be passed along to consumers who are already paying more for food and other goods. - More...
Thursday - March 06, 2008

Alaska Science: The mystery of mammoth tusks with iron filings By NED ROZELL - A giant meteor may have exploded over Alaska thousands of years ago, shooting out metal fragments like buckshot, some of which embedded in the tusks of woolly mammoths and the horns of bison. Simultaneously, a large chunk of the meteor hit Alaska south of Allakaket, sending up a dust cloud that blacked out the sun over the entire state and surrounding areas, killing most of the life in the area.

The mystery of mammoth tusks with iron filings

Such is the scenario envisioned by Rick Firestone, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Firestone and his colleagues have found mammoth tusks and a bison skull with nickel-rich iron particles in them on one side, suggesting the metal fragments all came from the same direction.

Firestone's theory emerged when his colleague, Alan West of Dewey, Arizona, saw at a Phoenix gem and mineral show a mammoth tusk peppered with tiny bits of metal. Intrigued, West and Firestone looked at tusks owned by the same dealer in Calgary. By passing a magnet over mammoth tusks in Calgary, Firestone and West found seven mammoth tusks collected somewhere near the Yukon River and a bison skull from Siberia that had tiny iron fragments burned into them. The fragments also contained nickel.

"One in 1,000 tusks had this material in it," Firestone said.

Firestone also thinks he may have found the divot left by the ancient meteorite, an impact crater that is now occupied by a round body of water named Sithylemenkat Lake in the upper Kanuti River drainage. - More...
Thursday - March 06, 2008

Science - Technology: Toxin strategy balances science, practicality By MATTHEW D. LaPLANTE - The deadliest attack by international terrorists in U.S. history was carried out by men whose weapons of choice were simple box cutters. The worst domestic attack was brought on by a man driving a truck full of fertilizer.

Over the past decade, the United States has spent billions of dollars to guard against terrorist attacks. But a frantic search in Las Vegas and the Salt Lake City area after the discovery of ricin -- a deadly but easy-to-make poison -- in a hotel room is evidence that many of the most likely threats to American lives are small in measure, cheap in cost and nearly impossible to inhibit.

An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but several terrorism experts say there simply is no way of averting every potential threat. They say the government's "any threat at any cost" strategy is misguided at best -- and dangerous at worst. - More...
Thursday - March 06, 2008


Columns - Commentary  

Dan K. Thomasson: Taxpayers must pick up after the greedy - As home foreclosures mount and Washington struggles to find a solution to a dilemma that threatens to drag the nation into full-fledged recession, one thing seems inescapable: Ultimately, the taxpayers will be assessed for the greed of lenders and the self-indulgence of a couple of generations of Americans who want everything without struggle.

One can only hark back to when zero-down loans didn't exist and the rule of thumb was that a mortgage payment should not exceed one-quarter of one's monthly income. In 1961, my house in Denver cost $15,000 and I needed $3,000 down to qualify. That amount of front money wasn't easy and required several years of apartment living to save, even when the first child arrived and two salaries suddenly became one because pregnancy then meant automatic job termination. - More...
Thursday - March 06, 2008

Mary Beth Brown: John McCain's Best Choice for VP - "The American Dream is being dealt with and considered on your own merits. In America it doesn't matter where you came from, it matters where you're going." These words summarize Condoleezza Rice's views on the American dream, and we believe that if Sen. John McCain is to win the difficult race he faces this fall, he should closely consider the merits of this most extraordinary woman as his running mate.

Recently we were in Washington, D.C. to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference and we couldn't help but notice a certain buzz and excitement about one individual in particular. It wasn't buzz about any of the presidential candidates, and they all attended. The buzz was about the possibility of Condoleezza Rice being chosen to strengthen the Republican ticket as vice president. Whenever her name came up, it was as if a light bulb went off in people's minds. Their eyes looked up in thought, and then they said with a smile, "Yes, that's a great idea!" - More...
Thursday - March 06, 2008

Dale McFeatters: When campaigns turn nasty - The two Democratic presidential candidates are threatening to -- choose your political cliche -- come out punching, take the gloves off, go negative, attack.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign even has a term for the strategy -- "the kitchen sink" -- as in throwing everything, including the sink, at Barack Obama. It worked for her in Texas and Ohio.

She was hardly on the high road even before Tuesday's game-saving victories, having earlier accused him of plagiarism, suggested he might be a Muslim and mentioned that one of his fund-raisers was being tried on corruption charges. - More...
Thursday - March 06, 2008



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Basic Rules

letter Bridge By Stephen Smeltzer - I see some folks have not given up on a bridge. The reason Juneau and Sitka didn't have a problem with a bridge, was because they don't have an international waterway running between Revilla and Gravina. Also they connected to DEVELOPED communities, or to an out of the way airport. How many airplanes do you think will end up being "caught" by this bridge, or how many tugs with tows will get hung up on this bridge? Seems this has happened in San Francisco, when a huge ship side swiped one of the Golden Gate bridge supports. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Dead Humpies By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - There is nothing like beating a dead humpy to death. There is not going to be a bridge to nowhere in Ketchikan, Alaska, move on with more important problems in Ketchikan. There are only 50 or so people that live on Gravina Island. Open more land for whom? Build a bridge on speculation? That is insane. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterTribute to a Great Lady, Helen Finney By Phyllis Yetka Hobson - Thank you Mr. Kiffer for the lovely thoughts of a lovely lady. Helen Finney was indeed the "Grand Dame" of Ketchikan. She was also one of my role models. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Annette Island Expansion By Philip Doherty - The United Fishermen of Alaska are opposing any expansion of the waters and fishing rights around Annette Island. UFA has just sent this letter to the Department of the Interior: - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterCommunity's youth By Eileen Small - I am so glad my kids are grown and graduated!!! I shipped my final "baby" home to college in Houston this past year. I dealt with all these same problems: what to do with young adults in a boring climate, Kay-Hi and the total fiasco that Revilla has become, all the "same-old-same-old" for YEARS. Personally, I never found anyone in a position to make a solution who actually gave a damn - from mayors to school board and so on. I don't really see that anyone elected in this town cares --- though it does look nice to say you do on a campaign poster when one is running for a position in local government, huh?!!! - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterHelen Finney By Jill Lukin - I am saddened to hear of Helen's passing, I met Helen years ago while I had my hair salon in Ketchikan. I always looked forward to Helen's next perm or haircut at the Salon to just get caught up on everyday events... and where she was off to on a new adventure. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Ketchikan school budget By Charles Edwardson - I received some very good feedback from my last letter, on the school activities budget. I was encouraged to approach the borough assembly and the budget committee and present my thoughts. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Bridge that won't Quit By Charlotte Tanner - All you people comparing this bridge from Revilla to Gravina, to bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge are ridiculous. When a person drives across the Golden Gate Bridge that person can keep on driving, all the way up to Alaska if they choose to do so. Now if you drive across a Bridge to Gravina I guess someday you may get farther than ex Governor Murkowski's property, and over to Clarence Strait, but that will take awhile. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Celebrating By Mark Neckameyer - I was just now watching TV showing "citizens" of Palestine romping and cheering in the streets, firing guns in the air celebrating that two of their extremist, going to heaven to get virgins, gunmen killed seven defenseless Israeli students. I know that not all extremists are Muslim but it sure seems like all Muslim nations, the adult men there anyway, can certainly be classed "extremist". - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Governor's May baby By John Suter - In a couple of months Governor Palin will have a baby girl. I understand that she is going to name her daughter Lyda Green Palin. With this act she will ask, now, can we all get along? - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Dog Park Needed By Kimberly Morton - My boyfriend and I have a pit bull and a pit bull mix in town. We love taking the dogs out to D1 loop and the beach by our house for the dogs to run. We spoil our dogs and they go to work with my boyfriend every day and are two of the most socialized dogs in town because we take them everywhere. The one problem I have found though is there is no "dog park" in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letter Clean Election Law By Megan Kearl - In a letter published March 3, Representative Gabrielle LeDoux voiced her support for a "Clean Election Law" for Alaska, stating that it could give candidates more time to discuss policy, free candidates from the constraints of money-driven elections, prevent candidates from becoming "indentured to special interest groups" who give contributions, and help "worthy" candidates enter the election process who wouldn't otherwise have the funding. While these are admirable goals, Alaskans will likely be disappointed with the actual results of Clean Elections. - More...
Thursday PM - March 06, 2008

letterKETCHIKAN'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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