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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

April 19, 2006

Front Page Photo by Weston Davis

Discovering Southeast Alaska Songbirds
One of many Rufous hummingbirds that have
returned to Ketchikan this month.
Front Page Photo by Weston Davis

Ketchikan: Discovering Southeast Alaska Songbirds BY MARIE L. MONYAK - In keeping with the theme "Alaska Hummingbird Festival," the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center's Friday Night Insight program last week offered an enlightening presentation by Gwen Baluss.

As a U.S. Forest Service Wildlife Technician, Baluss was highly qualified to present "A Close Look at Southeast Alaska's Songbirds" as she works on bird studies encompassing all of the Tongass National Forest which includes visits to Mexico to follow the migratory birds.

Why birds migrate is the most commonly asked question according to Baluss and she was prepared with a well rehearsed answer. Explaining that migrating is a complicated process, Baluss narrowed the answer down to one important factor, food. She further explained, "Birds of course, have a very high metabolic rate and need to eat a lot so they live where the food is." - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

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National: Disaster declarations: 'The new pork' By THOMAS HARGROVE - Presidents have become dramatically more generous in issuing federal disaster declarations, offering politically popular aid to storm-damaged communities in what one expert calls "the new pork."

President Bush is the most munificent chief executive in U.S. history, averaging 53 disaster declarations a year. That's up from Bill Clinton's average of 47 declarations a year, which was a bump over George H.W. Bush's average of 39 a year, which was an increase from Ronald Reagan's 23 declarations a year.

Each of these four presidents issued the largest number of disaster declarations of their administrations in the year they sought re-election. The odds of that are 1 in 1,280 if political considerations were not involved, according to statisticians.

The dollar amounts at stake are enormous in a process that disaster experts complain has become highly politicized. Since 1989, the federal government has distributed $65.5 billion in public and private assistance as a result of these declarations, more than half of which was paid just in the last five years.

"It's the new pork," said Susan Cutter, director of the Hazards Research Laboratory at the University of South Carolina at Columbia. "Disaster declarations are a way you can pump federally mandated monies into communities without going through Congress." - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

National: Is Congressional Record for sale? By MICHAEL MALIK - Hanging in the lobby of its office in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a plaque honoring Universal Forest Products for its 50th anniversary.

"Universal is a great American business success story and it is my privilege to honor the company, its chairman, Peter Secchia, and its thousands of employees," reads the plaque, which hangs alongside other awards and photographs at company headquarters.

It's a copy of a statement that Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., inserted into the official Congressional Record on Feb. 1, 2005. - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

National: Many eyes on Stevens as justice turns 86 By MARGARET TALEV - As Justice John Paul Stevens turns 86 Thursday, he is the latest jurist-to-watch in what has become, during President Bush's second term, a vulturine pastime for ideological activists: predicting the next vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Think the battle for control of the nation's highest court ended with the recent confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito? Think again. - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

Alaska: Democrats File Lawsuit To Get 2004 Election Records - The Alaska Democratic Party filed suit in Superior Court Tuesday seeking to force the Division of Elections to release public records needed to verify the 2004 election results.

"We are asking the court to release these public records so that the people of Alaska can be assured that their votes were counted correctly," said Alaska Democratic Party Chair Jake Metcalfe. "The Division of Elections' numbers do not add up. The Division has refused to release the public records that would allow us to verify the results. All we ask is that the Lt. Governor and the Director of Elections follow the law and meet their obligation to Alaskans so every one knows why these numbers don't add up."

The Alaska Democratic Party has been trying since last year to get the public records of the election in order to find out why there are numerous errors and discrepancies in the state's reported results of the 2004 general election. The Division of Elections' latest excuse for refusing to release the election information is that it would create "security risks."

"Nothing we have asked for compromises security," Metcalfe said. ""Why is the Division of Elections is so reluctant to provide these public records? What are they trying to hide?" - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

Bird Art Exhibit...

Young Artists Create "Bird Art Exhibit"
Front Page Photo By MARIE L. MONYAK

Ketchikan: Young Artists Create "Bird Art Exhibit" By MARIE L. MONYAK - The Eleventh Annual Alaska Hummingbird Festival in Ketchikan has been ongoing since the beginning of the month and one of the delightful events is the Ketchikan High School Art Class "Bird Art Exhibit" at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center.

The blossoming artists from Louise Kern's art classes from grades 9 through 12 have created a colorful garden in the Discovery Center's main exhibit room.

Students chose between sculpting and drawing and the results were impressive to say the least.

Those who chose to draw used graphite and colored pencils or tempura paints for their vivid creations. Using Georgia O'Keefe and her brilliant works as their muse, the students succeeded in capturing the delicate lines and silky texture of flowers in full bloom.

Paper Mache sculptures of hummingbirds were made by students who preferred the reward of creating art with their hands. The realistic birds appeared as though suspended in space prompting viewers to expect one to zoom by at any moment. - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006



letter Release Election Records By Hunter Davis - Wednesday
letter A fate worse than global warming? By John M. Crisp - Wednesday
letter Cheap labor; Price of gas By Robert Glenn - Wednesday
letter Litterbugs By Jenny Smiley - Wednesday
letterKind and Generous People By Jerry Cegelske - Tuesday PM
The "Younger crowd By Rick Grams - Tuesday PM
letter To All of my Eagle-Eyed Readers By Bob Ciminel - Tuesday PM
letter RE: Plug Into Shore Power By Dave Kiffer - Tuesday PM
letter Thought Provoking By A.M. Johnson - Tuesday PM
letter Immigrants/Amnesty By Virginia E. Atkinson - Tuesday PM
letter The Oil in the ground belongs to the people of Alaska, not BP By Samuel Bergeron - Monday AM
letter Alaskans should not be overly concerned as bird migration resumes By Matt Robus - Monday AM
letter Night of High School Music-ians! By Judith Green - Monday AM
letter God Speed, Lisa By Dave Kiffer - Monday AM
letterAerial pesticide spraying of Long Island By Carrie L. James - Monday AM
letterRe: Drug abuse affects everyone By Catlin Rettke - Monday AM
letter Plug In To Shore Power By Steve Smeltzer - Monday AM
letter Kudos to Sen. Ted Stevens By Rudy McGillvray - Monday AM
letter Open Letter to Sen. Stevens By Mike Jones - Monday AM
letter Abortion- Last resort, or murder? By Catlin Rettke - Monday AM
letter Immediate crisis of rising and high CO2 By Russ George - Monday AM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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April 20, 2006, Thursday - 7:00 pm - Ketchikan City Council regular meeting. City Council Chambers
pdfAgenda & Information Packets

April 24, 2006, Monday, 5:30 pm - Special Assembly meeting/ work session to discuss the borough budget.
Agenda & Information Packet

April 25, 2006, Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. - Teleconferenced CONSTITUENT MEETING with
, REP. ELKINS & REP.WILSON at the Legislative Information Office,
50 Front Street, Suite 203, Ketchikan. This is an informal teleconference for members of the community to discuss issues or concerns with local legislators. Contact the LIO at 225-9675 for more information.

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April 2006
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Fish Factor: Proposed Measure Would Provide Affordable Health Insurance For Fishermen By Laine Welch - Fishermen and their families could soon have access to affordable health insurance if a proposed measure gets the nod from Congress.

Representatives Barney Frank and John Tierney of Massachusetts have introduced legislation that includes funding for fishermen's health care. It calls for funding at three different levels, according to J.J. Bartlett, president of the Fishing Partnership Health Plan based in Newton, MA.

"The first level would be for research and strategic planning so the fishing community in each state would have the opportunity to gather demographic information on their fishing families, and create a plan suited to their state. The next level is for implementation of the plan, and the third tier is for ongoing operation. It is a gradual progression of funding that would allow every U.S. fishing family the opportunity to research, plan and then run a health care program in their own state," Bartlett said in a phone interview. - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

Alaska: Summit helps local officials and industry leaders prepare for pandemic influenza - An estimated 300 state officials, local government leaders, heads of private industry and other stakeholders from Alaska gathered in Anchorage for the Pandemic Influenza Summit on Thursday, April 13. The goal of the summit, co-sponsored by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) , was to focus attention on the need for Alaska's leaders to plan, prepare and respond in the event of an influenza pandemic.

"A flu pandemic could present particularly difficult challenges for Alaska because our state depends on a transportation infrastructure and suppliers far from our local communities for everything from medical supplies to food items and heating oil," said Alaska Health and Social Services Commissioner Karleen Jackson . " Pandemic planning needs to address how schools, businesses, public agencies, faith-based organizations and others participate in the event of a world-wide outbreak." - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

Health-Fitness: The hurting of America By LEE BOWMAN - "Ouch."

It might as well be the national motto, for all the times Americans say that, or worse, each day.

In the United States during a typical year, as many as 1 person in 3 gets injured, more than 2.6 million are hospitalized, and nearly 50 million are hurt badly enough to seek medical attention.

Injuries are responsible for more deaths among children, adolescents and young adults than all other causes combined, and claim the lives of some 150,000 Americans of all ages each year.

Beyond the human toll, there's a financial tally as well. A new report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that the lifetime costs of injuries occurring in the United States in a single year exceed $406 billion in medical expenses and productivity losses. Such losses include lost wages and fringe benefits, and the inability to perform household responsibilities. - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

Health-Fitness: You act out what you eat By LISA RYCKMAN - There are many things that might be said about people who love cheese curls, chief among them that they have orange fingers and smell like spit-up.

But that's just one woman's opinion.

Dr. Alan Hirsch has a completely different take on the matter. When a trial attorney asked to use Hirsch's research about food preferences and personality to help pick a jury, Hirsch had a warning:

"I told him not to pick people who like cheese curls," he says. "They're very moral, have very high standards and see things in black-and-white. You don't want this person on a jury, especially if your guy might be guilty. The one word that describes them is 'integrity.' " - More...
Wednesday - April 19, 2006

Ketchikan: Arts This Week - The Monthly Grind is scheduled for Saturday, April 22nd at 7pm at the Saxman Tribal house. Live local talent, dessert and coffee, all for just $5 per adult, and $1 for kids. Buy a ticket, bring a homemade dessert and get a refund.

There are two Friday Night Insight Programs scheduled this weekend at the SE Alaska Discovery Center from 7 - 8pm. On Friday April 21st the program is Invasive Plants in Ketchikan: Nip them in the bud! Pam Fletcher, Invasive Species Coordinator for the Tongass National Forest will discuss the invasive species found in Ketchikan. On Saturday, April 22nd there will be a Video Presentation and Q&A with Terry Fifield to celebrate Alaska Archeology Month. The Bookstore will be open both days. - More...
Thursday - April 20, 2006

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