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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 01, 2007

Front Page Photo by Terri Jirschele

Berth III Construction
Berth III, looking from Tongass Narrows. New City Float Dolphin.
Front Page Photo by Terri Jirschele

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Bombings escalate in Baghdad

More than 180 Iraqi civilians were killed or found dead in and around Baghdad Thursday in one of the bloodiest days of the U.S. occupation. Worst hit was the Shiite neighborhood of Shaab, where two suicide bombers attacked a public market, killing at least 80 and wounding more than 100 others. On Friday, radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement: "I renew my call for the occupier (the United States) to leave our land. The departure of the occupier will mean stability for Iraq, victory for Islam and peace and defeat for terrorism and the infidels."

Captured British sailors apologize for trespassing

Two of the 15 British sailors and marines captured by Iranian forces last week have apologized for straying into Iran's territorial waters. "We trespassed without permission," Royal Marine rifleman Nathan Thomas Summers said on state-run television Friday. "Obviously we trespassed into their waters," said sailor Faye Turney in a broadcast Wednesday. Britain vigorously denies this. "All it does is enhance people's sense of disgust. Captured personnel being paraded and manipulated in this way doesn't fool anyone," said Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Pentagon admits mistakes in reporting Tillman's death

The Pentagon said Monday that mistakes were made by nine high-ranking Army officers in how the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman was reported to his family. No criminal acts were committed, officials said. Tillman quit football to become an Army Ranger after 9/11. He was killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2004. Tillman's family first was told that he died from enemy fire, and didn't learn the truth for five weeks. "We as an Army failed in our duty to the Tillman family, the duty we owe to all the families of our fallen soldiers: Give them the truth, the best we know it, as fast as we can," said Acting Army Secretary Peter Geren. Family members want Congress to investigate.

Gonzales was involved in firings, former aide says

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that Gonzales was wrong to deny involvement in the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys last year. "I remember discussing with him this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign," said Kyle Sampson. He said the eight were fired because they were not "loyal Bushies." Gonzales said Friday he doesn't "recall being involved in deliberations." President Bush still supports his longtime Texas friend. "The president believes the attorney general can overcome the challenges that are before him," said White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino.

White House spokesman Tony Snow has liver cancer

White House press secretary Tony Snow's cancer has returned and spread to his liver, a tearful colleague announced Tuesday. "He told me that he beat this thing before and he intends to beat it again," said shaken deputy press secretary Dana Perino. Doctors operated on Snow Monday to remove a cancerous growth in his abdomen, only to discover the disease had spread to his liver and elsewhere. "My message to Tony is, 'Stay strong; a lot of people love you and care for you and will pray for you,' " President Bush said.

Ambassador nominee sunk by swift-boat donation

President Bush withdrew his nomination of businessman Sam Fox to be U.S. ambassador to Belgium on Wednesday following a wave of angry criticism by Democrats over Fox's $50,000 contribution to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that undermined Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid. The group ran TV spots accusing the lawmaker of lying about his Vietnam War record. "The White House made the right decision to withdraw the nomination. I hope this signals a new day in political discourse," Kerry said. - More...
Sunday - April 01, 2007


Washington Calling: Furtive evildoer ... puppy program ... cost overruns By LISA HOFFMAN - Despite the nation's post-9/11 scramble to protect America from sophisticated chemical and biological attack, it remains possible for an evildoer to assemble a fertilizer bomb on U.S. soil and wreak destruction of the magnitude Tim McVeigh did 12 years ago.

The common fertilizer ammonium nitrate - which McVeigh and his accomplice mixed with fuel oil and packed into a rental truck that brought down the federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 - still is unregulated by the federal government. The fertilizer industry and farm interests, among other lobbies, have successfully batted away multiple attempts to do so.

This past week, a bipartisan alliance of House lawmakers decided to try again, introducing a measure that would give the Department of Homeland Security the power to oversee the sale and purchase of the fertilizer. This version is a watered-down sequel to earlier bills, but its odds of passage are likely little better.


Speaking of homeland security, one of the feds' cutting-edge programs is under attack on Capitol Hill. At issue is the "Puppy Program" of the Transportation Security Administration, which is selectively breeding canines with exceptional sniffing talent to produce a long-term dog force for use in detecting explosives or other nefarious items at airports around the country.

This has raised the hackles of Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who says the government should get its nose out of this multimillion-dollar business. "I've got nothing against puppies," Flake said, but "surely this is a job better suited for the private sector."


The Coast Guard has caught a lot of flak lately for cost overruns and defects in a new fleet of patrol vessels, but one new piece of technology worked just as billed recently. When a cruise-ship passenger went overboard 30 miles off Fort Lauderdale, a computer model called the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System was able to pinpoint his likely location. Despite powerful Gulf Stream currents that carried him more than 15 miles from where he went in, he was rescued in good shape within eight hours.


Yoko Ono will flit into town next week calling on one and all to hang "wishes" on 10 trees across the city and "imagine peace." She'll be at the Hirshhorn Museum, where she will demonstrate how to write a wish on paper and then tie it to a tree. The widow of the late Beatle John Lennon says this is a way for the public to participate in the "art-making process." This is part of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, but "public artists" should be warned that tying a wish or anything else on one of those sacred pink trees will get you a trip to the petal-pokey. - More...
Sunday - April 01, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Local government By Alaire Stanton - Sunday
letter Parents Should Know By Diana Chaudhary - Sunday
letter Superintendant's Firing By Dan Williamson - Sunday
letter Time to recall By Alisha Greenup - Sunday
letter Ketchikan's school board By Walt Bolling - Sunday
letter Bridge to nowhere By Ken Leland - Sunday
letter Correction By Dave Kiffer - Sunday
letter Superintendent Martin By Al Johnson - Sunday
letter Levy-Lewis . . . The Battle of the Rock! By Tony Gwynn - Sunday
letter Walter Reed Army Hospital is no Ketchikan General By Mark Neckameyer - Sunday
letter Dogs, kids... and volunteering By Scott Kline - Sunday
letter RE: Puppy Mills and Breeders By Margaret Cloud - Sunday
letter Breeding dogs By Erin Bellon - Sunday
letter Annette Island By Jeff White - Sunday
letterSuperintendent Martin By Amy T. Thompson - Friday AM
letter Tongass Forest Plan By Hannah Wilson - Friday AM
letter I'm voting 'no' April 3rd By Senator Kim Elton - Friday AM
letter"Yes" on April 3rd By Rep. John Coghill - Friday AM
letterStand up and take a bow By Judith Green - Friday AM
letter OPEN LETTER TO SITNEWS' READERS By Robert D. Warner - Thursday
letterSchool Board Recall, Where Do I Sign? By Karen Owings - Thursday
letter Thanks Ketchikan for your support By Sara Sivertsen - Thursday
letter Re: Dog Breeders By Margaret Cloud - Thursday
letter VA Hospitals, Health Care, Hillary... By Rebecca Clark - Thursday
letter Dog Breeding Letters By Kerry Watson - Thursday AM
letter Dogs & Breeders By Kevin Mackey - Thursday
letter Puppymills and Breeders By Maggie Garmle - Thursday
letterKetchikan School Superintendent By Bill Thomas Sr. - Wednesday
letter Ketchikan school board's lack of focus By Chas Edwardson - Wednesday
letter Open Letter to the Ketchikan School Board By Debra Azure - Wednesday
letter Family Night at Ketchikan Public Library, Children's Library By Christy Moss - Wednesday
letter Pet Food By Charlotte Glover - Wednesday
letter Sealaska: Voting No By Don Hoff, Jr. - Tuesday PM
letter Talk about propaganda! By Anita Hales- Tuesday PM
letter Finding animals... By CJ Hoggard- Tuesday PM
letter Military Hospitals, War and ... By Amber Leslie Williams Baldwin- Tuesday PM
letterDog Breeders By Kara Jeanne Blazier- Tuesday PM
letter The best dog... By Dain Ellis- Tuesday PM
letterAMHS Southern Gateway Shuttle Ferry Needs to be Operating in 2008 By Mike Round - Sunday AM
letterDog Breeders By Margaret Cloud - Sunday AM
letter Neckameyer is right on with his Islamofacisist remarks By Bob Harmon - Sunday AM
letter Roads on Gravina By Mike Salee- Saturday PM
letter School Superintendent By KJ Harris- Saturday PM
letter New airport in lieu of bridge By Edward Brown- Saturday PM
letter School Board Controversy By Diana Chaudhary - Saturday PM
letter KPU Dividend? By Mike McColley- Saturday PM
letter Daylight Savings Time By Ken Levy- Saturday PM
letter How Ketchikan "used to be" By Jeanine Miller- Saturday PM
letter Some explaining to do... By Jon Hurley- Saturday PM
letter Dog Breeders By Kara Jeanne Blazier- Saturday PM
letter Re: IT errors at PFD By Glen Thompson - Saturday PM
letter Tourism money and city projects By Christy Smith - Saturday PM
letterMore Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: I Grocery Shop Therefore I Am - You can date a local by how they refer to Ketchikan grocery stores.

For example, I tend to immediately think the name "Wingren's" when I think of local grocery stores.

My mother, on the other hand, still occasionally refers to something Downtown as "near the Piggly-Wiggly."

If my great-grandfather were still around, I'm sure he'd patiently explain that some place was "a couple of doors down from 'Clark and Martin.' " So it goes.

I have a friend who calls the store next to the mall "SeaMart." Another friend calls it "Carrs." Only a real cheechako would call it its current name "Safeway."

It's probably no surprise, then, that I tend to mark life changes by grocery stores.

Growing up in the West End of Ketchikan, I have fond memories of the two West End stores, :"Wingren's" and "Log Cabin," as they were called in the 1960s. They were both located on the bottom floors of the two 10 story, concrete bunker apartment buildings that towered over our daily lives (they were the "Wingren" and the "Austin" buildings then). - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007

Preston McDougall: Chemical Eye on Capitol Flora and Fauna - Readers who join us here each week, know that I was on Capitol Hill recently, listening to the Iraq debate in the U.S. House of Representatives. I also paid a visit next door. I wasn't prepared for what I saw - it was a jungle in there!

Literally. Since I didn't have a pass to the Senate chamber, I crossed First Street and toured the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory. It was my maiden voyage through this myriad of flora from all corners of the planet, and quite a few interesting niches as well. My flight was the last one to Nashville, so I had time for a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour.

Although there is a fascinating World Deserts exhibit - featuring numerous cactus species with more barbs than the House debate - this is no uncharted desert isle. I grabbed a map at the front desk, and made notes on it as I explored this haven from the politically rough weather across the street.

In the West Gallery, it is your sense of smell that does most of the exploring. Seeds of all kinds are grouped in displays that tell the story of spices, such as Asian curry with its blend of turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cloves and fennel seeds. I have often wondered how roots and seeds of less-than-tantalizing plants (except for fennel - I love fennel) ended up as key ingredients to delicious entrées. If not for the courage of the fearless crew (in some ancient kitchen) tandoori ovens probably wouldn't be so popular in London. - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007

Bob Ciminel: One Thing About Trains . . - I received an email recently from one of my two loyal readers asking when I was going to write another article about the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which used to be my home away from home before my company put me on the road. Case in point, I just came back from three wonderful days in Minnesota where I had the opportunity to experience a blizzard. You know, I'm almost positive that when I hired on with my company I distinctly told them that I did not want to go north Interstate 40 in any month with an "R" in it. They must have forgotten.

But, getting back to the Blue Ridge Scenic, this is the start of the railroad's 10th season, as well as my 10th year as a conductor. However, I work as a brakeman most of the time. I find that stubborn locomotives or cranky engineers are easier to deal with than 400 impatient passengers. Besides, a conductor is really just a brakeman who can read and write. In fact, the definition of a conductor is "a brakeman displaying pencils."

Many of my fellow volunteers enjoy dressing up in their conductor uniforms and hob knobbing with the passengers, whereas I, on the other hand, get infinitely more enjoyment emptying the sanitary tanks. That is a job requiring skill and coordination, as well as a stomach made of iron. I think I'm beyond iron though because as I look in the mirror these days I see lead. - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007

Rob Holston: Pets, Kids & a 50-pound Rock - I recently took my daughter's pet bird to the veterinarian's. As I waited in the vet's office for Tika's appointment, I picked up a Science Diet book and thumbed through. It was then I discovered the stark similarity between they way Americans take care of their pets and the way they take care of their children and themselves. I was also struck by an obvious (to me) contrast. Science Diet is committed to formulating the absolute best possible food for your pet cat or dog throughout the various stages of life that the spectrum of a dog or cat's longevity requires. Human "food" manufacturing companies are primarily interested in profit and offering a huge amount of choices, some of which are healthy and many of which are not. Wisdom is the ability to discern proper choices and make them and this pet food book seemed to display wisdom that should be applied to human lives as well.

The section of the Science Diet book that caught my attention was "Obesity Facts". I thought, 'Here's a health concern Americans share with their pets.' The book stated that 50% of dogs & cats are overweight or obese. I thought, 'A recent study shows that in just 4 years, overweight & obese American children will increase from the present level of 25% to 50%.' It is scary for me to see this feeder system generation face such obesity risks, not just for them as children, but also for the adults, which they will become. If the present epidemic levels of diabetes, heart disease and stroke are alarming now, the next generation will be far more disposed to premature death and disability than the present generation of adults. That is VERY alarming! - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007

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