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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 22, 2009

Front Page Photo by Jim Lewis

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS


Alaska: Governor Accepts Half of Stimulus Package Funds; Alaska vows to be part of the solution, not the problem - Governor Sarah Palin submitted her federal economic stimulus appropriation bill to legislators Thursday to provide jobs and needed infrastructure improvements in Alaska under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Governor Palin is accepting just 55 percent of the available stimulus funds, all for capital projects. This amount includes the funds the state accepted last month for Department of Transportation projects.

"We will request federal stimulus funds for capital projects that will create new jobs and expand the economy," Governor Palin said. "We won't be bound by federal strings in exchange for dollars, nor will we dig ourselves a deeper hole in two years when these federal funds are gone. For instance, in order to accept what look like attractive energy funds, our local communities would be required to adopt uniform building codes. Government would then be required to police those codes. These types of funds are not sensible for Alaska."

The legislation does not include funding requests for government operating programs. Governor Palin has indicated the state will not stand in the way of local governments or other entities pursuing stimulus funds directly from the federal government. - More...
Sunday - March 22, 2009

Alaska: Community Leaders Criticize Palin's Decision to Reject Alaska's Stimulus Money; Needs of Alaskans are sacrificed for Palin's national ambitions; Governor Says She Looks Forward to Public Discussion on Stimulus Funds - overnor Palin's decision to reject millions of federal stimulus dollars allocated to Alaska drew criticism from community leaders at a press conference in Anchorage Friday.

Barb Angaiak, President of the National Education Association of Alaska (NEA-Alaska), called Palin's decision to reject more than $160 million of federal stimulus funds for Alaska education "logic-defying, dumb-founding, short-sighted ­ and a slap in the face to parents, children and educators across Alaska."

"Governor Palin has deliberately chosen to ignore the education needs of tens of thousands of children across Alaska. Her attempt to score short term gains will have long-term, dire consequences for our students and educators," Angaiak said. "Her message to our children is callously blunt: 'In the interests of my political agenda, you're on your own.'"

Bob Poe, Democratic candidate for Governor of Alaska, said: "This is a cynical effort on Sarah Palin's part to appeal to her ultra conservative national base in her campaign for President. This is why I decided to run for Governor in the first place ­ Alaska needs a governor focused on Alaska's well being, not on personal political ambitions."

Ethan Berkowitz, former Democratic leader of the Alaska House of Representatives, said: "This poorly considered decision hurts real people and sacrifices real opportunities, demonstrates a disregard for transparency in the public process, and is ultimately harmful to our efforts to build a gas pipeline."

Palin's position on rejecting stimulus money is "outrageous and troubling," said Alaska Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins. "It's very clear that Palin is sacrificing the needs of Alaskans for her national political ambitions," Higgins said.

Rob Rosenfeld, also a Democratic candidate for Governor of Alaska, was not able to attend the press conference, but issued a statement: "I am simply appalled with Governor Palin's recent decision to reject federal stimulus money at the very same time that Alaska experiences 3rd world living conditions. Rural Alaska is in a state of emergency. We must bring national attention to the conditions of Rural Alaska and to Governor Palin´s lack of interest in addressing the urgent needs of the people."

Friday, Governor Sarah Palin reaffirmed her desire to generate public discussion and to work with legislators on identifying any additional spending from the federal stimulus package that Alaska could sustain with state money once stimulus funds have expired. - More...
Sunday - March 22, 2009

Alaska: OPTIONS FOR OUT-OF-STATE INMATE HOUSING CONTRACTS BEING EXPLORED BY DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS - In February, the Alaska Department of Corrections sent out letters to Western states soliciting interest in competing for our out-of-state prison contract. The department has received several responses from both state systems as well as private contractors.

At present, the department houses 870 Prisoners at the Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. The department's contract with Corrections Corporation of America, which owns the prison, is renewed annually, on June 30.

"We are committed to providing the best and most efficient Correctional practice" said Commissioner Joe Schmidt. "We have received a number of responses to our queries and we are now evaluating those proposals. We are looking at a number of factors such as per bed costs, cost of transportation, and opportunities for reform." - More...
Sunday - March 22, 2009

Alaska: International team announces Jurassic marine reptile discovery - An international team of paleontologists announced that the skull of a marine reptile excavated last summer from the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard belongs to a new species of pliosaur, a top predator that patrolled the oceans 147 million years ago.

University of Alaska Museum of the North earth sciences curator Patrick Druckenmiller and University of Oslo paleontologist Jørn Hurum were members of the research team that discovered the fossil on the last day of their August 2007 field season. They returned in June 2008 to excavate the specimen.

After several months of cleaning and analyzing the specimen, the researchers team has determined that the pliosaur, dubbed "Predator X," was at least 50 feet long and weighed 45 tons. Its anatomy and overall structure suggest that it was the top marine predator in its day. - More....
Sunday - March 22, 2009


Alaska Science: The loneliest volcano in Alaska By NED ROZELL - In 1905, Louis Prindle was a 40-year-old geologist bushwhacking through eastern Alaska when he stumbled upon a crater covered with spruce trees. He took a photo of the oddity and continued on his wilderness trek to map the Fortymile country.

The loneliest volcano in Alaska By NED ROZELL

Mount Prindle, a dormant volcano reaching more than 5,000 feet, sits alone in Alaska's Fortymile country.
Photo by Ned Rozell

Mount Prindle, named for Louis by another geologist, is one of the loneliest volcanoes in Alaska. While most of Alaska's volcanoes make up the curve of the Aleutian Islands, with bunches of others on the Alaska Peninsula, in Cook Inlet, and in the Wrangell Mountains, Prindle stands alone in the Fortymile River country close to the Canada border, about 50 miles northeast of Tok.

Louis Prindle's orders were to satisfy miners' demands for maps of the upper Yukon and Tanana river regions. With hundreds of miles to cover before ending his summer expedition in Fairbanks, he didn't spend much time exploring the stadium-size volcano tucked in the upper reaches of the East Fork River.

The volcano piqued the interest of others who followed Prindle, including JB Mertie, another U.S. Geological Survey geologist on a mapping mission. In 1931, Mertie wrote about "a little volcanic cone, with a well-developed crater, which . . . is so well preserved that it may well be of recent age."

Mount Prindle has a sharp-edged crater about 200 feet deep and an open spout on one wall of the crater where lava flowed down to the valley floor of the East Fork River. Spruce trees grow inside the crater and tundra covers the outside wall of the volcano. It still looks like a young volcano, though. One that the boreal forest has not yet overtaken, and other geological forces have not yet bulldozed.

Helen Foster of the USGS was part of a team that traveled to the volcano in the 1960s. In an attempt to discover the date of Prindle's last eruption, she noted a coating of volcanic ash that blanketed the crater. The ash, known as White River Ash, is from another volcano that erupted in the area about 1,900 years ago. From the ash coating and the dating of other rocks she collected at Mount Prindle, she estimated that the volcano was possibly several million years old, but might have last erupted around the birth of Christ. - More...
Sunday - March 22, 2009


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Feb. - March 2009
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Basic Rules

letterQuestions for the Mayor By Rodney Dial - Dear Mr. Kiffer, you seem like an intelligent and gifted writer, and a decent Mayor. However, I am at a loss to understand two of the beliefs you seem to govern by: 1. That it is never a good time for government to build or buy something, so it is always a good time to build or buy something, and 2. Your apparent belief that quality of a thing equals quantity of cash directed at it. - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letterGlobal Warming By Charlotte Tanner - Carl Gatto states " "Global warmers" also predict no more agriculture in California, and in ten years the oceans will be toxic and all life could die. And yet, we're halfway to the much-feared "doubling of CO2" in the atmosphere, and none of these disasters has even begun to appear". - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letter Shouldn't have voted for McCain By A. M. Johnson - Much to my dismay, prophecy's predicted have come true and I find myself in a rare position of having to concede that my vote for John McCain was in error. - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letterPalins By Frances Natkong - Excuse me, enough already about the Palin's, Bristol and Levi. There's more to worry about these days than whether or not they stay together or break up......sheeshhhhhhhhh. Give it a rest. I for one am so tired of hearing about this. - More...
Sunday PM - March 22, 2009

letterBuffett Not Good Enough By Chris Elliott - Another ridiculous editorial in The Seattle Times. This one, Gates Foundation should open up, by Pablo Eisenberg, a senior fellow with the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, was published March 17. Mr. Eisenberg states that while the Gates Foundation will increase its giving by an additional $500 million in 2009, it would be well-advised to have an enlarged board of four to eight additional members who are not part of the Gates family or their personal advisors and retainers to assure public accountability and because the decision-making process (deciding where the money goes) requires broad perspectives, a wealth of experience and interests beyond family concerns. Warren Buffett is a member of the Gates Foundation board. There's a guy we all know is clueless. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2009

letterTIME FOR SOME CLIMATE REALISM By Rep. Carl Gatto - We try to stay informed, read the newspapers, watch the news on TV, and still we missed a major event that affects our future and our pocketbooks. 700 scientists, economists, and public policy experts from 20 countries met in New York City in early March of this year. They concluded that global warming, if it is occurring at all, is probably natural rather than man-made. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2009

letterDog poop on the sidewalks - GROSS!!! By Carrie Mueller - I would like to confront dog owners in downtown Ketchikan. Since I never actually see them when it counts, I will hopefully reach all of you inconsiderate, so called "dog owners" here. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 17, 2009

letter A Trillion Dollars By Ken Leland - A Trillion Dollars is a Million Million Dollars.Imagine all the wealth of a million Millionaires confiscated by the government and handed out by Congress to spend however they want. - More...
Tuesday - March 17, 2009

letterLetters of Support for EPA Assessment By Kenneth Carpenter - Our nonprofit received as a donation the 347 Bawden Street property. As you all know, this was your former hospital and was built with asbestos in the building. The asbestos has hampered the development of the property for several owners. The first step in rehabilitating this property is to remove the asbestos. Remodeling or demolition legally requires abatement, which is removal of the asbestos and other hazards such as lead. Your health is our #1 priority with this project, the health of the future sites occupants is our second, and meeting the best needs of the community is our third. Our immediate goal is abatement, however assessment must take place first. For nearly a year we have been working with the EPA to achieve this goal. Currently the EPA is evaluating our request for Site Assessment of the building. Abatement funding is dependent on assessment, and assessment funding is based on community support. All they need is a letter of support for our project from your City Mayor, KGB Mayor, Tribal Council or Governor in order for assessment and abatement to begin. I wrote to all of your elected government leaders and they all have not responded to date. - More...
Monday - March 16, 2009

letter Trillion-Buck Rogers of the 21st Century By Al Johnson - As a senior citizen looking at the fiscal shenanigans being fostered on the American Public by the uncertified holder of the Office of President, my frustration on how this reckless future debt will be paid was antagonizing. - More...
Monday - March 16, 2009

letterUnderstanding Million, Billion, and Trillion By Charlotte Tanner - We read about how billions, and trillions are being thrown around as "bail-outs", etc. I have never had one inkling what these figures actually meant. They are much too large for my mind to grasp, so I did some googling. This one website had these neat definitions, they kind of give me a feeling for what our government is promising various corporations, and other entities. WOW! - More...
Monday - March 16, 2009

letterPEPPERMINT PATTIES By David G. Hanger - On a nice, sunny day a rich man goes for a walk down a sandy beach. The wind gusts suddenly, and up ahead are three children; a middle class child, an upper middle class child, and a lower middle class child; who in the course of playing five feet off the shore have fallen over a shelf into deep water and are drowning. Noticing that the gusting wind has chilled him a bit, the rich man turns and goes home to get a sweater. Once home he gives his dog a bone, just for being such a good, good boy. The three children, of course, drowned. - More...
Thursday - March 12, 2009

letter Native Oratory Contest: THANK YOU! By Cara Wallace - Thank you to everyone who made Ketchikan's first Native Oratory Contest (held on February 16) a success! The Native Oratory Contest was a contemporary way of celebrating Alaska Native peoples' oral traditions. Oral traditions tell us who we are and where we come from, they connect us to our ancestors, affirm our relationships with one another, and help us navigate the future. One of Alaska's most famous orators was Elizabeth Peratrovich, who spoke with conviction, honesty, poise and eloquence when she addressed the territorial legislature to advocate for our collective civil rights. It was especially fitting that we celebrated the exchange of Native knowledge, ideas and history on the same day Alaska honors Elizabeth Peratrovich's legacy. - More...
Wednesday - March 11, 2009

letter Southeast CHAMPS scrounging for money By Charles Edwardson - I have written about the activities' fund in this publication more than a few times and as predicted I did not actively do anything about it, or think about it much until the time came when my kid needed support for her extracurricular activity. Guilty as charged and so is the school board. So I reached into my wallet and slapped down another thousand bucks as do many parents and faithful fans. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterKetchikan to Hyder link By Gary Benedict - Pete Cessnun and Ken Eichner told me years ago about a route up to LeDuc Glacier from around the Rudyard Bay area. At the start of the work on what was to become the Granduc Copper mine there was a road grubbed out from the Behm Canal to where there is now the head of an 11.5 tunnel that comes out at the Granduc mill site. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterLet's get real!! By Robert D. Warner - Recently there have been several letters to SitNews pushing this issue of building a hard link to the mainland. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterRe: Over the Horizon By Alan R. (Rudy) McGillvray - Well, as I said before, we have many more ridges that the wind blows across than we do lakes that drain into our inland waterways. Also, we have many more inland waterways that have a lot of tidal action. Both may be used to generate electricity, and in the case of wind-power, could be online before the permitting process for a new expensive dam is even read by the permitting authority. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter Financial crisis explained in simple terms By Al Johnson - There was a time when you couldn't find anybody that voted for Jimmy Carter. It seems to becoming that way for "Dear Leader". - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letterAMHS Survey By Kristine Bellanich - Anyone interested in voicing their opinion about the AMHS, new Alaska class ferries, I urge you to take the survey. The state is trying to switch over all newer ferries brought online into 'daytime' ferries with no staterooms, sitting room only and what seems to be switching from kitchen/ cafeteria stlye to vending for meals. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter GUN BILL GOING NOWHERE By Donald Daugherty - I'm glad to see opposition to the gun bill. Americans have every right to bear arms to protect themselves. IF every law abiding citizen in the country were to turn their guns in, only the criminals would have them. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter Gun bill By Richard Lippart - I'm sorry to say that our country is coming to this, thanks to anti-gun people. But, I can say that as a service-member and avid hunter, if you dare think you can make me turn in my guns and wait for the local law enforcement, you're sadly mistaken. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

letter Economy By Robert McRoberts - Every one is losing their job. We have messed up our economy so bad. What happened? Being a contractor, I can see how we can not afford to hire help. I wish I could hire help but I hate the idea of putting so much money out to hire other people. I get so little in return. If they have an accident I end up paying. I lose by putting out so much for just the pride to be a employer. Maybe it's just a little guy theory, but if every one was responsible for their safety we would all work safer. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009

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