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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

April 27, 2006

Ketchikan's first woman career firefighter....

Ketchikan's first woman career
firefighter hired by KFD
Gretchen Skillings
Photograph courtesy John Goucher

Ketchikan: Ketchikan's first woman career firefighter hired by KFD by VALERIE HENDEL - On May 1st, 2006, Gretchen Skillings will begin her duties as a City of Ketchikan career firefighter becoming Ketchikan's first woman to be hired as a firefighter. No stranger to the department, Skillings has served for thirteen years as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and five years as a dispatcher. She has been an active part of volunteer firefighter service since June 2004 and received her Firefighter II certification last year.

Firefighters pepper Skillings' family tree and include her father, retired Ketchikan Fire Department Chief Dave O'Sullivan, uncle Frank Gregorchuk who also served in Ketchikan, and O'Sullivan's step-father.

When Chief Dave O'Sullivan was asked what he thinks about his child becoming a firefighter, he admits he's "pretty proud of her" although he neglects to mention the 'My Daughter is a Firefighter' bumper sticker on his R.V. Of her three siblings, it was Skillings' brother who as a child dressed up as a firefighter. But Skillings liked that her dad was a fire fighter. "I thought it was cool. We were used to the shift work and the scanner going off all hours." And of course there were the 4th of July parades! When asked if it ever occurred to O'Sullivan that one of his daughters would become a firefighter, he casually responded, "No reason not too. She's been in it awhile and she had to compete against other people."

The position vacancy at Ketchikan Fire Department was advertised nationally and qualified applicants were selected for review. Those who passed written exams were put through pass or fail physical testing. The same test is applied to all applicants and includes timed runs, aerial climb, obstacle courses, and dummy drag. "I'm small but I'm strong," says Skillings. "Traditionally in the past we think only of big strong guys as firefighters. But there's so much more going on now. It's not all about brute strength. There is the whole strategy of fighting the fire and knowing fire behavior. And things are done in teams. I know I can do the physical stuff." - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

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U.S. Politics


Alaska: Governor Says Tax Credit Rate Too High; Urges restoration of "balance" in original 20/20 proposal - The Alaska Senate passed the Petroleum Production Tax bill (SB 305) on Tuesday that encourages new oil exploration and production and generates additional revenue for the state.

SB 305 highlights as passed by the Alaska Senate: 22.5% tax rate on production with a 25% credit rate for capital expenditures; Progressivity. State receives more revenue when the price of oil rises above $50 per barrel. (Based on today's oil prices, the state can take in an estimated $1.6 billion per year in additional oil revenue.); Provisions to protect Cook Inlet oil and gas production. and; New tax rate takes effect April 1, 2006.

SB 305 was originally requested by Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski. On Tuesday the Governor expressed his continued support for the administration's original petroleum production tax proposal, which sets the tax rate at 20 percent and the tax credit at 20 percent. He also expressed concern over setting the tax credit rate too high, which could result in considerable risk for the state. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

Alaska: Yellow Pages, Inc. to Stop Sending Check Solicitations and to Provide Consumer Refunds - Alaska Attorney General David Márquez announced Wednesday that Yellow Pages, Inc. (YPI), d/b/a, a Nevada-based company located in Anaheim, CA, has agreed to stop sending check solicitations, which, when cashed or deposited, purport to obligate the consumer to pay for any of YPI's goods or services. Under the settlement agreement entered into between YPI, the State of Alaska and 27 other states, YPI has also agreed to pay $535,000 in costs and will provide customer refunds.

YPI sells business directory services primarily for its online Internet directory. To solicit business, YPI allegedly sent check solicitations to consumers consisting primarily of small businesses, churches, and schools across the country. If the recipient deposited the check it was signed up by YPI for the company's directory services. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

National: Bush, senators look to bring down gas prices By JAMES ROSEN - President Bush and lawmakers from both parties vied with one another Tuesday to demonstrate their concern over escalating gasoline prices in a barrage of speeches, news conferences and bill introductions.

In a move aimed at boosting gas supplies and loosening tight markets that have driven retail prices upward, Bush ordered a temporary freeze on oil companies' deposits into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and granted a 20-day waiver of clean-air regulations for refineries. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

National: Program will track salmon in the ocean By LES BLUMENTHAL - Scientists hope to unravel one of the great mysteries surrounding Northwest salmon by installing a network of sophisticated acoustic receivers off the coast to track fish implanted with tiny transmitters as they journey thousands of miles through the Pacific Ocean.- More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

National: Domenici outraged by oil company profits By JAMES W. BROSNAN - Sen. Pete Domenici, upset that oil companies are spending big profits on big payments for executives instead of exploration and investment, says he will back repealing $2 billion in tax incentives for the industry, authorizing tougher fuel economy standards and expanding federal authority to investigate price gouging.- More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

National: GOP leaders to put weak lobbying bill to House vote By ZACHARY COILE - House Republican leaders plan a vote on a lobbying reform bill this week, but critics say the toughest provisions already have been stripped from the measure and claim it won't change the cozy ties between lobbyists and lawmakers that have fueled recent ethics scandals in Congress.- More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

National: Senators optimistic on immigration after White House meeting By MARGARET TALEV - A bipartisan group of senators emerged from a meeting with President Bush on Tuesday more optimistic than before about the prospects for creating a national guest-worker program and a permanent residency application process for some of the nation's roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants.- More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006



letter Murkowski Must Show His Cards By Sarah Palin - Thursday
letter A UNIQUE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN By David G. Hanger - Thursday
letter Aerial Spraying By Andreas Lenz - Thursday
letter Alaskans deserve full disclosure new bill would provide By Rep. Berta Gardner - Thursday
letter Drugs By Kayleigh Martin - Wednesday
letter Integrity & ethical behavior lacking By Jon T. Van Essen - Tuesday
letter Positive examples needed By Bruce Dixon - Tuesday
letter Pesticide Spraying By R.K. Rice - Tuesday
letter Kohring has his allegiances confused By Peter Bolling - Tuesday
letter Re: $3.00 a gallon By Ken Lewis - Tuesday
letter Palin Shows She Can Lead Even Her Political Opponents! By Ed Middleton - Tuesday
letter RE: Twilight zone By Catlin Rettke - Tuesday
letter 71st General Assembly of the Central Council of Tlingit- Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska By Dana Ruaro - Tuesday
letter"Twilight Zone" By Jerry Cegelske - Monday
letter A Warning to Alaskans by Rep. Vic Kohring - Monday
letter Aerial Pesticide Spraying By Mark Schindler - Monday
letter Long Island A Subsistence Area By Jean Bland - Monday
letter The true hero, Bill Blackwell By Eric Muench - Sunday
letter Addiction to oil By Joseph Prows - Sunday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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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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Columns - Commentary

Ann McFeatters: FEMA: Still unprepared - Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine, and Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, have done the nation a good service. Sadly, it may not mean much in the long run.

Collins and Lieberman, who believe in civility as they work on homeland-security issues, do not engage in the petty partisanship that has become the hallmark of Capitol Hill. After Sept. 11, 2001, they have tried to sort out the unbelievably stupid bureaucratic wrangling that has made a mockery of the nation's domestic-security efforts. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

Clifford May: Break the oil monopoly - A hundred years ago, Americans could use typewriters, the telegraph and primitive telephones. Today, Americans have computers, the Internet, cell phones, satellite television and radio, DVDs, iPods, email and instant messaging.

A hundred years ago, Americans could have personal vehicles powered by internal combustion engines running on gasoline. Today, Americans can have personal vehicles powered by internal combustion engines running on gasoline. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

Dick Morris: Gas Prices: Bush's Rebound Fuel - As anyone remotely into New Age voodoo knows, the Chinese symbol for crisis is said to consist of the words "danger" and "opportunity."

Not conversant with Chinese, we must accept this derived wisdom on faith. But if that is indeed the symbol, it applies perfectly to the situation the Bush administration faces in the rapid escalation of gas prices.

A less elegant way of putting it is that the best cure for a headache may be a broken foot. In the pain in one's lower extremity, one forgets the discomfort up above. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

Dale McFeatters: Second thoughts on '05 energy act - Almost a year after passing the administration's energy bill, President Bush and congressional Republicans are finally asking: Was this law really necessary?

And the emerging answer, in the backlash over rising gas prices, is: No. At least for that part of the $12.3 billion measure that provides generous tax breaks and subsidies to the oil and gas industry.

In addressing what is now his second-biggest political problem after Iraq, Bush said, "Record oil prices and large cash flows also mean that Congress has got to understand that these energy companies don't need unnecessary tax breaks like the write-offs of certain geological and geophysical expenditures, or the use of taxpayers' money to subsidize energy companies' research into deepwater drilling." - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

John Hall: Terrorists try charm - It seems to be public relations week for the world's most hunted terrorists.

First came Osama bin Laden with an audiotaped call to arms to al Qaeda, his world jihadist movement. Then his Jordanian "Little Sir Echo," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, made his video debut, seated in a room somewhere in Iraq dressed all in black, interspersed with scenes of him leading masked "sons of mujahadeen" in training.

Both of them seemed to be reading from competing campaign scripts, full of catchy phrases about how the Muslims were repelling the crusaders, in al-Zarqawi's case how he has held the Americans off for three years in Iraq and, in bin Laden's case, how he is the master of everything in the world. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

Dan Thomasson: High gas prices becoming a Bush legacy -If the war in Iraq historically defines George Bush's presidency, the cost of energy is going to run a close second. To many Americans increasingly suspicious of the former oilman's motives for his Middle East policy, it is difficult to separate one from the other, gas from war.

In this auto-dependent nation, few issues are more volatile than soaring gas prices, especially when those controlling them are making heretofore unimaginable profits. The recent bonus afforded the chief executive officer of Exxon amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars in the wake of his company's most successful year. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

Michael Reagan: It's All Jimmah's Fault - Everybody's playing the blame game these days. The current target is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who seems to be standing in for President Bush - the man who his enemies say is responsible for everything that's gone wrong since the Biblical flood. ("Bush lied about the need to build an ark.")

South of our borders we have a nut job running oil-rich Venezuela and threatening to do all kinds of nasty things to us. In North Korea we have another nut job building nukes and rattling sabers, and in Iran there's still another whacked-out leader threatening to blow Israel off the map, for starters. - More...
Thursday - April 27, 2006

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