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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
March 26, 2009

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Mountain Point: Eagle
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS, jlewis[at]


Ketchikan: Volunteers Needed for Alaska Mass Rescue Exercise 2009 - Local volunteers are needed to participate in a large scale maritime mass evacuation exercise in Ketchikan on April 29, 2009. The exercise is being jointly planned by the City of Ketchikan, Alaska, Holland America Line, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Volunteers will role play passengers and crew that have been evacuated from a large passenger ship at sea. The main goal of the exercise is to practice accountability and shore side care for all the evacuated. A selected number of volunteers will be assigned as "injured" and processed through the medical response system, others will help exercise the Customs and Border Protection clearance procedures, and the remainder will test the ability of the response organization to account and track all evacuees. Although this exercise is based on a maritime incident, the processes exercised apply to all mass rescue events including airline or natural disaster incidents.

On exercise day, April 29th, volunteers will check in at 7:00 a.m. at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Exercise play is expected to end by 2:00 p.m. A light lunch and snacks will be provided. Volunteers will be required to attend a short meeting at 6:15 p.m. on April 27 or 28, 2009 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. At this meeting, role playing assignments and instructions will be provided. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

Alaska: ALASKA AIRLINES SUSPENDS ALL ANCHORAGE FLIGHTS DUE TO VOLCANIC ASH; Travelers advised to check status of flights - Alaska Airlines announced this afternoon the suspension of all flights into and out of Anchorage, Alaska, due to the mid-morning eruption of Mt. Redoubt. Weather reports indicate the ash clouds are moving north and near Anchorage, posing a significant risk to air travel. Flights will be suspended until daylight March 27, 2009.

Travelers are advised to check the status of flights before leaving home at or 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522). Specific information about flight changes related to the Mt. Redoubt volcano is available at

"We recognize these cancellations will significantly impact our customers intending to travel to or from Alaska," said Ben Minicucci, Alaska's chief operating officer. "These decisions are guided by our commitment to safety, and we are making every effort to re-accommodate customers whose travel plans have been disrupted." - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

Alaska: Alaska's Exports Remain Strong Says Governor; Alaska's 2008 exports at $3.6 billion - Governor Sarah Palin today announced another strong year for Alaska's trade performance. The value of the state's exports reached $3.6 billion in 2008, the fourth-best year ever for exports.

"Alaskans benefit from export activity. Given what is happening in economies around the world, it's clear that Alaska's economy remains strong and our resources are still highly valued," said Governor Palin.

The governor noted Alaska's international activity also includes more than just export of natural resources. International interest in Alaska creates jobs across the state. In addition to traditional export of goods and services, there are Alaskans working in the visitor industry, at the state's international ports and airports, and in education and language programs.

The $3.6 billion in Alaska exports represents an 11 percent decline from the previous year. World commodity prices and demand are beyond any state's control. The decrease in the value of the Alaska's 2008 exports comes as prices for key resources fluctuated worldwide. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

Alaska: Wayne Anthony Ross Named Attorney General - Governor Sarah Palin today announced the appointment of Wayne Anthony Ross as Attorney General.

Ross, currently in private practice, will fill the vacancy created last month by the resignation of Attorney General Talis Colberg. The governor thanked Acting Attorney General Rick Svobodny for his support and counsel during this transition. Svobodny will resume his position as Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Division.- More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

Alaska: Groups partner to provide stimulus information to Alaskan communities - Leadership of the Alaska State Legislature and the Denali Commission, in partnership with the Federal Executive Association, have announced the opening of the "Alaskan Clearinghouse," an office dedicated to helping Alaskan communities and non-profit groups navigate the grant opportunities available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Each of the partnering organizations will provide a staff member to the Clearinghouse, which will open on Friday, March 27 in Anchorage. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

National: Critics say Obama's 3 million jobs claim doesn't add up By MICHAEL COLLINS - It's a statistic President Barack Obama and his administration cite often to make the case for their economic recovery package: The plan, they argue, will create or save 3 million jobs.

But economists say jobs forecasting is a tricky exercise that is sometimes just a sophisticated guessing game. And some believe the Obama administration's numbers are overly optimistic, if not flat-out wrong.

"I don't disagree that jobs will be preserved and created in the Obama plan," said Bill Beach, an economist at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.

But, "I don't think they used the right approach," Beach said. "I think it's sloppy work. It will serve them badly." - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

National: 'Fish fraud' rampant in U.S., government auditors say By ISAAC WOLF - Mislabeled seafood is swimming into U.S. kitchens, sickening people and cheating consumers who aren't getting what they have paid for.

Unscrupulous seafood producers and distributors are committing "fish fraud," says a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. And there's minimal oversight to make sure that you are actually getting the fish you've paid for.

To beef up their bottom lines, the investigators found, seafood merchants cheat customers in three main ways: By providing portions that are too small, giving the wrong species of fish, or sidestepping country-specific taxes by first shipping the seafood through intermediate countries. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009


Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: Smoke Gets In My Eyes - I saw something unusual the other day.

A guy was standing at the airport ferry ramp - Nowhere side - smoking.

No, that wasn't what was unusual. Even with packs of cigarettes hovering around $6, plenty of people in Ketchikan still smoke.

But when he was done, he walked over to the gutter, reached down, and doused his burning "butt" in the water and then stuffed it into his shirt pocket. Presumably to throw away later.

What he didn't do was flick it into the gutter for someone else to deal with, which is pretty much how everyone else in Ketchikan seems to handle their dead "cancer sticks."

I'm not sure when it became okay to litter puff butts around but folks generally show no indication that they see anything wrong about that. These are frequently the same people who complain about McDonald's wrappers and dog poop on the sidewalks. Go figure. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

TOM PURCELL: The Unintended Successes of Big Government - Some folks worry that our government is getting too big. I worry that it won't get big enough.

Maybe I better explain.

The era of limited government is long gone in America -- especially if the birds currently running the joint have their way.

I figure if we can't beat them, we may as well join them.

Sure, I'm aware of the law of unintended consequences -- that government programs frequently achieve the opposite of their stated intent. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009

DALE MACFEATTERS: A replacement for the dollar? - It didn't take long for the other shoe to drop.

First, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said he had "worries" about the safety of China's vast holdings of U.S. government bonds. Then China's central banker, Zhou Xiaochuan suggested, without mentioning the dollar by name, that it was time to create a new global reserve currency.

The Russians have also called for the dollar to be replaced as the international standard and plan to propose this at next month's meeting of the Group of 20. The new currency would bring an end, the Russians said, "to the obsolescent unipolar world economic order." "Unipolar" means us. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009


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Feb. - March 2009
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Basic Rules

Update in Progress

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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