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April 18, 2007

Coast Guard Responds to Vessel in Distress
Station Ketchikan Coast Guard personnel assist
the vessel Lorelie L near Ketchikan Tuesday
Front page photo courtesy of USCG Station Ketchikan

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Ketchikan: Coast Guard Responds to Vessel in Distress - The Coast Guard responded to a distress call from a vessel taking on water with one person onboard near Ketchikan Tuesday afternoon. 

A 47 foot motor life boat and 25 foot response boat were deployed from Station Ketchikan, and an HH-65 helicopter was deployed from Air Station Sitka, to assist the captain of the Lorelie L, who had notified the Coast Guard that he was attempting to navigate his flooding vessel into Hidden Bay.

The captain of the Lorelie L then anchored the vessel near Kendrick Island to await tow. The vessel's bilge pumps were reportedly keeping up with the rate of flooding.

The 25 foot response boat arrived on scene and escorted the vessel to the Kendrick Bay Lodge where the owner/operator will attempt repairs. The Coast Guard reported injuries at this time, and the cause of the flooding is unknown. - More...
Wednesday - April 18, 2007

Alaska: House Passes Voc-Ed Account, Tax Credit Bills - The Alaska House of Representatives today passed a pair of bills to help the state gear up for a looming shortage in skilled and trade labor, in response to the continuing growth in the construction industry. The bills, HB 2 and HB 61, come at a time when the construction industry is estimated to spend $7 billion on projects across the state this year. Sponsored by Rep. Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake), the bills establish a vocational education account within the general fund and expand the state's education tax credits for businesses to promote post-secondary voc-ed programs.

"Construction and commerce are booming throughout the state, yet our skilled workforce is graying and our K-12 education system just doesn't have enough funds to prepare our students to fill that critical gap," Neuman said. "Industry, unions and even the academic community have told us over the past few years that there's a problem brewing in our schools, and these two pieces of legislation show that we in the Legislature are doing what we can to help.

"The vocational education account will allow schools to fund programs and begin to reinforce the emphasis that was once a core part of the system," Neuman said. "On the other hand, the state can't simply do it all for industry. By expanding our education tax credits for business to include voc-ed programs, we're helping both the state and industry by allowing them to partner with school districts to help build and guide the curriculum to best meet Alaska's present and future needs." - More...
Wednesday - April 18, 2007


Alaska: Hunter survives bear mauling By MEGAN HOLLAND - Hunter Lynn Keogh stood over the brown bear he had just shot and marveled at the animal. It was beautiful, the perfect spring pelt, a deep honey, fully-furred coat.

The bear had just barely woken up from its winter slumber when Keogh shot it as it emerged from a brushy den on the side of a snowy mountain in the Oshetna River valley.

But as Keogh and his hunting partner approached and Keogh began pulling the dead bear clear of the winter den, the situation quickly turned from the perfect spring day hunt to a nightmare: From within the grizzly's winter hideaway, they heard the unmistakable deep growl of another bear.

Seconds later, the second animal charged out of the den straight for Keogh.

The hunter was able to fire one round from his rifle before the bear was on him. It bit Keogh from his legs up to his scalp and was chewing on his head when Keogh's hunting partner, Ray Bendixen, fired three rounds into the grizzly's skull. He shot it dead with a small-caliber rifle meant to kill vermin. - More...
Wednesday - April 18, 2007

National: Students are often in turmoil, so how to spot real danger? By JILL TUCKER - Cho Seung-Hui was different from his classmates at Virginia Tech. Students said he wasn't outgoing and he refused to talk.

Professors said his writings were dark and dwelt on violence.

Yet, at colleges everywhere, there are students who fit that description.

Some are moody post-adolescents, testing the waters of adulthood and stretching the boundaries of social acceptance.

Others are on the edge, capable of hurting themselves, or in Cho's case, others too.

The hard part - especially on campuses with tens of thousands of students - is figuring out which is which.

It's not always easy finding the disturbed or dangerous student, university officials say, but it's possible to separate the moody artists from the truly disturbed. - More...
Wednesday - April 18, 2007

National: Diapers go green as flushables By SALLY KALSON - Bags of sopping, smelly diapers have long been an occupational hazard of parenthood, not to mention a mainstay of landfill tonnage and laundry loads.

Now there's a flushable diaper on the market that hopes to make rank diaper pails a thing of the past and help save the planet as well.

gDiapers - the "g" is for "green" - not only flush, but the manufacturer says they contain no plastic or latex, no elemental chlorine, perfumes, inks or dyes; that they biodegrade in 150 days, compared to 500 years for a plastic diaper, so even if tossed in the trash they're still better for the earth; and that wet diapers (not soiled ones) also make for good compost. - More..
Wednesday - April 18, 2007

King Crab...

King Crab
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Ketchikan: King Crab - The Wrangell-based king crab boat the F/V Marauder brought about a thousand live crab this week to Ketchikan which are being sold live down by Salmon Landing until Wednesday evening. The F/V Marauder's crew is Levi Dow and Chip Jackson and her Skipper is Steve Thomassen. - More...
Wednesday - April 18, 2007

Ketchikan: SHOPPERS CAN REGISTER TO WIN WEEKLY "FAMILY MEALS FOR A YEAR" AT TATSUDA'S IGA - TATSUDAS'S IGA today announced it is launching a new in-store event designed to inspire and support an initiative for Ketchikan families to share more meals together. The event, IGA Hometown Family Meals, will take place April 22-May 5, at the 633 Stedman St. location. During this two-week timeframe, Tatsuda's IGA will offer valuable savings on brand-name consumer sponsor products, as well as the opportunity for shoppers to register to win one of two national grand prizes of weekly "Family Meals for a Year." Both national grand prize packages will be awarded by random drawing from all U.S. entries in the form of fifty-two $50 IGA gift certificates.

IGA Hometown Family Meals is the premiere marketing event in the year-long 2007 IGA Family, Friends & Food marketing program. Though the IGA Hometown Family Meals event is centered around the national sweepstakes, Tatsuda's IGA owner Bill Tatsuda stressed that the event is truly designed to demonstrate to families the benefits of sharing meals together. "In today's busy times, we often don't sit down in our homes and eat our meals together as a family," Tatsuda said. "We're participating in this national IGA event because we think it is important to take the time to share meals together, engage in family meal planning, and to develop favorite family recipes. We hope this event will spark a community-wide family meals initiative that will beneficially effect Ketchikan and the families who live here." - More...
Wednesday - April 18, 2007


 Public Meetings

The Ketchikan City Council will hold a regular meeting on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 7:00 pm in the City Council Chambers.
Agenda & Information Packets (pdf) - Click on each agenda item to download the information packet.

The Assembly/School Board Liaison Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, April 19, 2007, at noon in the City Council Chambers, 334 Front Street. The committee will be discussing items of mutual concern to the Assembly and School Board. The public is invited to attend.

Basic Rules

letter "Family" By Julie Steiner - Wednesday PM
letter Ketchikan School Board By Rick Krueger - Wednesday PM
letter Penalties for dumping By Gavin Piercy - Wednesday PM
letter Margaret McCombs Story By Carolyn Frye - Wednesday PM
letterEarth Day By Tara Wilhelm - Wednesday PM
letter Virginia Tech Shootings By Glenn A. Bell - Wednesday PM
letter McCombs: Free to Roam By Amanda Chandler - Monday PM
letter Jim Elkins By Taylor Gregg - Monday PM
letter Honesty and character By Al Johnson - Monday PM
letterDo We Really Need a New Public Library? By Robert D. Warner - Monday PM
letter Ketchikan Garbage By Sonia Streitmatter - Monday PM
letterWorld Port, Superintendent, Library... By Robert McRoberts - Monday PM
letter Schools etc. etc. By Bill Thomas Sr. - Saturday
letter Open Letter: TLMP By Robert Pickrell - Saturday
letter DISCLOSURE APPROPRIATE By Pete Ellis - Saturday
letter Faith By Gregory Vickrey - Saturday
letter Chamber Lunch By Laura Plenert - Saturday
letter New Library building By Signe Markuson - Saturday
letter Thanks for Making Ketchikan Better! By Jerry Cegelske - Saturday
letter "Do we really need a new public library?" By Robert Fruehan - Saturday
letter Alaska Coins By Tom LeCompte - Saturday
letter Swan death: What a shame By Amanda Martin - Saturday
letter New Running Track! By Becky Maynard - Wednesday PM
letterA Time to Refocus By Michael Spence - Wednesday PM
letterDo We Really Need a New Public Library? By Robert D. Warner - Wednesday PM
letter Driving Team Announced! By Tom LeCompte - Tuesday PM
letterDon Young Guest of Honor at Pork Dinner By Carol Cairnes - Tuesday PM
letter Tongass Roads By Joan Hurliman - Tuesday PM
letter Swan Death over Easter By Terri-Lee Gould - Tuesday PM
letter In the interest of "facts" By Penny Marksheffel - Tuesday PM
letter Thanks Jim for your caring... By Anita Hall - Tuesday PM
letter A Bridge to Somewhere By John Maki - Tuesday PM
letter Trash By Rebecca Simpson - Tuesday PM
letter Bridge to Where? By Charlotte Tanner - Tuesday PM
letter Coming Home to Ketchikan By Aisha Marshall - Tuesday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Beware the 'Curse' of the State Quarters - Alaskans have until April 22 to weigh in on which design they think is best for the Alaska state commemorative quarter that the US Mint will produce a year from this fall.

Each of the four designs has something to recommend it.

You can choose either the polar bear/midnight sun coin or the grizzly bear catching a salmon coin.

You can choose either the dog sled/Big Dipper/McKinley coin or the gold panner/McKinley coin. I favor the latter two designs but I'm sure that some of my good friends in the "Save the Sculpin" community would prefer we celebrate an Alaskan free of any human habitation.

As someone who was born shortly after Alaska became a state I think it is important to celebrate the fact that people (both Native and White) have created the state that we all enjoy. Without them, Alaska would be about as noteworthy as Greenland.

But, as usual, I digress.

Still, before you reach out and click Governor Palin to her your preference, keep in mind that at least some folks out there think the quarter series is CURSED! - More...
Monday - April 16, 2007

Tom Purcell: Why Spring Taxes Me - I hate spring. I hate the sunny weather and chirping birds and neighbors smiling and humming, while they spread mulch in their planters.

I hate the buds on the trees and the sweet smell in the air. I hate the way the sun falls gently over the hills at dusk.

I hate everything about spring, because I'm self-employed.

Every year this time I'm a nervous wreck about my taxes. I worry that I'll owe more than I think I will, and I will. I worry that I'll not get everything organized and tallied up for my accountant in time, and it's always close.

This is because our income tax system is complex. It is complex because drunk people (members of Congress) designed it so that a bureaucracy (the IRS) will convert the incomprehensible into the unfathomable (the tax code) in order to punish productive Americans (the self-employed) all in the name of good fun.

To comply with our onerous tax rules, I have developed a highly effective accounting technique: the Big Box Methodology. From the beginning of January through the end of December, I toss every bill, receipt, expense, etc. into a big cardboard box. - More...
Monday - April 16, 2007

Michael Reagan: National Health Care Can Kill - John Edwards and his rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, may disagree on some things but they both support a universal health care system, their way of describing what is really socialized medicine.

Anybody who is fighting any disease, including cancer, would be smart not to vote for John Edwards. That includes his wife Elizabeth, because if she votes for her own husband and he establishes universal health care, her chance of survival will decrease by 20 percent.

This startling statistic is borne out in a blockbuster article in The Wall Street Journal by Dr. Scott Gottlieb. Dr. Gottlieb, a physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served recently in senior roles at the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Noting that more than 260,000 women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer this year, he explains that thanks to earlier detection and clinical research, survival rates have never been higher.

Writes Gottlieb: "Between 1990 and 2002, deaths from breast cancer declined 2.3% annually. Today nearly 98% of women with early-stage breast cancer survive at least five years. Many will live long, full lives." - More...
Monday - April 16, 2007

Dale McFeatters: AMT, the stealth tax increase - Congressional Democrats are prepared to take on - or at least they're talking about taking on - a tough issue that President Bush and the Republicans ducked for the past six years, the alternative minimum tax.

The AMT is a stealth tax that unless Congress, as it usually does, patches it on a year-by-year basis, imposes higher taxes on a growing number of people. Last year, it snared 3.4 million taxpayers; this year the number is 23 million.

The AMT was enacted in 1969 in a spasm of outrage over a handful of millionaires who legally escaped paying any income tax. The AMT would ensure that every taxpayer paid at least some income tax; in that, it more than succeeded.

The problem was that the AMT was never indexed for inflation or adjusted for Bush's tax cuts. Thus, its reach keeps growing and for some tax brackets will completely gobble up the Bush cuts.

The AMT is generally described as a parallel tax code. When taxpayers reach a certain income level, they are required to fill out two income-tax forms, the AMT and the regular 1040, and pay whichever is higher, almost inevitably the AMT. The AMT disallows most exemptions and deductions and permits only limited medical deductions. It is especially punitive to large families in high tax states. - More...
Monday - April 16, 2007

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