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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 25, 2007

Front Page Photo by Mike Kurth

Giant Dendronotid
Mary Kurth enjoys a water dance from a Giant Dendronotid
at the South Tongass Lift Station dive site.
Photograph by Mike Kurth

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


Ketchikan: House Resolves to Oppose Fed's Air Fuel Tax - The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday in opposition to federal legislation that will increase the price of aviation gas and jet fuel by fifty-cents per gallon. House Joint Resolution 18, sponsored by Rep. Kyle Johansen (R-Ketchikan), stresses Alaska's dependency on general aviation as a means of transportation, commerce, medical needs, supplies and goods. The federal legislation, known as The Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007, or NextGen, would increase the price of aviation gas from 19.4 cents per gallon to 70 cents per gallon and aviation fuel from 20.1 cents per gallon to 70 cents per gallon.

"The NextGen legislation is not favorable to Alaskans, especially air taxi services in Ketchikan," Johansen said. "The increase in cost of aviation fuel would be detrimental to general aviation pilots and the small businesses that provide vital transportation links throughout Southeast Alaska and across the state." - More...
Wednesday AM - April 25, 2007

Alaska: Governor Palin Addresses Revenue Sharing; Municipal Leaders From Around the State Join Palin to Urge Legislation - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin continued to stress the importance of municipal revenue sharing to state legislators Tuesday. During a press conference in the Governor's press room, mayors, assembly and council members from across the state were present to listen and to support Governor Palin's plan to ensure that communities receive revenue sharing and PERS relief this upcoming fiscal year.

Municipal Revenue Sharing is a necessary source of funding for the municipalities of Alaska. Revenue Sharing provides tax relief to the residents of larger communities, while also providing smaller communities with the funds to support basic municipal services.

"Many communities across the state depend on revenue sharing to survive," said Tim Bourcy, AML President and Mayor of Skagway. "Revenue sharing provides smaller communities with the funds to get by on a daily basis."

Governor Palin has continued to support revenue sharing and PERS relief. She showed her support by including $48 million for revenue sharing and $78 million for PERS relief in the proposed FY08 operating budget.

"I have been consistent in my belief that services are best provided at the most local level possible. It is the most responsive level of government that can best prioritize the services and projects supported by Alaskans. Today, there are certain extraordinary circumstances and costs that have a real negative impact on our ability to meet Alaskans' needs. This year, oil prices have placed the state in a position to assist local governments in providing relief. When this state can afford it, we should pass that relief on," said Governor Palin.

The Governor continued by stating, "This [revenue sharing] is something the state could afford back when oil was $9 a barrel." - More...
Wednesday AM - April 25, 2007


Alaska: Legislature Approves Forward Funding for Education - Tuesday morning the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to forward fund one of the Legislature's top priorities, education. Senate Bill 61 deposits a billion dollars of surplus general fund revenue into the Public Education Fund for the fiscal year 2009 operating budget.

Forward funding provides school districts with a firm amount of money to base their budgets on instead of having to estimate how much money will be coming from Juneau.

"Every member of the Legislature made good on their commitment to Alaska's school children with this bill," said Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D - Bethel). "Senator Bert Stedman and I worked with the House Finance Committee Co-Chair's Mike Chenault and Kevin Meyer to craft a bill that gives school administrators some peace of mind about next year's school budget." - More...
Wednesday AM - April 25, 2007

National: Reid's words on war ring loudly By LISA MASCARO - Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's blurted statement last week that the Iraq war is lost may have damaged his party's standing as it heads to a showdown with President Bush.

Or he may have delivered just the kind of straight talk many Americans want about how badly the war is going and get public opinion - and some Republican votes - on his side.

Either way, his comment isn't fading away.

Pummeled all weekend for a statement critics say undercuts the troops, Reid attempted to shore up his credentials as a hawk. He reminded reporters that he was the first Democratic senator to vote for the 1991 invasion of Iraq.

"I'm not some kind of pacifist," Reid said. "I have been saying the same thing for weeks: Unless we change course in Iraq, nothing good will come of it."

Congress is preparing to give final passage to the Iraq bill with withdrawal language that won slim majorities in both houses. As Bush presses the case for his promised veto, the White House said Monday that Reid "seems to be in a state of confusion."

Matthew Bennett, a spokesman for Third Way, a progressive think tank, said Reid "was drawing a line in the sand and saying: 'We will not be pushed around. You do not have a rubber stamp in Congress.' " Third Way helped Reid with a speech he delivered Monday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The Nevada lawmaker refused to back away from his comment that the "war is lost," but he steered toward a broader argument against Bush's strategy for a troop surge, saying military officials do not believe the war can be won by warfare alone. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 25, 2007


 Public Meetings

The Ketchikan School Board will hold a regular meeting on Wednesday - April 25, 2007 at 6:00 pm in the City Council Chambers.
Download the Agenda & Information Packet pdf

Basic Rules

letter Re: Roads on Gravina By Mike Sallee - Tuesday PM
letter"Wilson Clinic" By Janet Spear
letter Quick hits By Gregory Vickrey - Tuesday PM
letter Devaluing Milk, Bread, and Human Life... By Martha Leftwich
letter Info on Hays Surveys By Anita Hales - Tuesday PM
letterWhatever happened to...... By Virginia E. Atkinson - Tuesday PM
letter Civil discourse By Bill Thomas Sr. - Tuesday PM Sr. - Tuesday PM
letter In Regard to Civil Discourse By Vicki Harsha - Tuesday PM
letter RE: Politicians won't stand up to gun lobby By Thomas McDonald - Tuesday PM
letter RE: New America By Mike Isaac - Tuesday PM Sr.
letterWho Paid For The Gravina Road Poll? By Jerilyn Lester - Monday PM
letter Renewable energy fund beginning of political commitment By Sen. Johnny Ellis and Rep. Bill Thomas - Monday PM
letter RE: A new America By Ty Rettke - Monday PM
letter Civil, dignified? By Carl Thompson - Monday PM
letterResponse to Virgina Tech Shootings By Sara Schroeder - Monday PM
letter Civil discourse? By Jessica Mathews - Monday PM
letterOut of control spending By Ed Fry - Sunday
letter"Honesty and Character" By Al Johnson - Sunday
letter Perpetuate Tribes Not Corporations By Don Hoff Jr. - Sunday
letter KGB Budget Review By Glen Thompson - Saturday
letter Do we need a new Public Library? By Judith L. Anglin - Saturday
letter Civil discourse By Wendy Gierard - Saturday
letter Thanks for making Ketchikan better! even at the Rock Pit... By Bobbie McCreary - Saturday
letter Family Activities By Carl Webb - Saturday
letter Explanations? By Charlotte Tanner - Saturday
letterA new America By Mike Isaac - Saturday
letter Integrity? By Rick Krueger - Saturday
letter Virginia Tech Massacre By Gavin Piercy- Saturday
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Jason Love: Aging - I'm at that age where things are starting to fall apart. Doctor Lynn said that my warranty must have expired.

I won't give my age for religious reasons, but let's just say that my pants are up around the navel. That's how you can tell a man's age: The beltline starts in adolescence around your knees and creeps ever upward until the paramedics finally pull the pants over your head and pronounce you dead.

Memory is also on the skids. Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you were there? I took it to the next level...

"Why the hell am I in Target?"

I wanted to ask a clerk, but they're never helpful that way. I shopped for two hours and still don't know if I got what I needed. So it goes.

My grandpa reached the age where you stop caring altogether...

"Grandpa, will you pass the yams? The yams? THE YAMS."

Oh, he heard us just fine; grandpa had simply moved on from passing yams. He also backed into traffic without a peek, figuring that he had lived so long he must be invincible.

I'm not there yet, but my math has gone from a B in trigonometry to this: Save $2.15 on four cans of tuna ... Four goes into ... Something cents per ounce ... Do I really NEED tuna?

Math loss comes from having too much stuff in our heads. By middle age, math is squeezed out by user names, passwords, credit cards, PIN codes, bank accounts, phone, fax, cell, pager, lyrics to songs we don't even like!

Some say a child is born the moment it's conceived, but I beg to differ: Can you imagine tacking nine months on to your age?

When I was growing up, guys wanted to look like Robert Redford. Now we're all trying not to look like Robert Redford. Sure, wrinkles make you look distinguished -- FROM YOUNG PEOPLE. - More...
Monday - April 23, 2007

Tom Purcell: Distressed ­ American Sensibility - I will be 45 this week and it's official: I have turned into my father.

The world makes less sense to me every day. My fellow man puzzles me more every day.

I cite exhibit A: crappy stone walls. I know a woman who paid $10,000 to have a small stone retaining wall built along her driveway.

Now I used to be a stonemason -- I rebuilt close to 200 such walls during my high school and college years -- and I was shocked to learn that hers was a new wall. It was buckling and full of gaps. Not one stone was properly cut or faced.

It's the latest craze, she told me -- walls that have an old, authentic look. This is because people suddenly want the outside of their homes to look as "distressed" as the inside.

"Distressed furniture" is the latest trend in interior design. People are buying brand-new tables and dressers, bringing them into their garages, kicking and scratching them, then covering them in a lumpy, flaky paint. - More...
Monday - April 23, 2007

Steve Brewer: Tackling the repository of stuff - Somewhere in your home - spare bedroom, attic, basement, garage - is the Repository of Stuff We Don't Use Anymore.

It's a mystical place of letter sweaters and souvenir ashtrays, baby clothes and broken crockery, Magic Eight-Balls and eight-track tapes, outgrown toys and outmoded phones and old jeans that will fit again after we drop 20 pounds (yeah, right).

Once in a blue moon, someone in your household will feel compelled to clean out this accumulated detritus. We could make better use of that space, the thinking goes, and we'll never, ever need this stuff again. Why not get rid of it?

This is an admirable ambition, but, as with so many things, it's easier said than done. Parting with your old stuff is a hard, dirty job that requires elbow grease, grit and resolve. Not to mention backache medication and frequent hot showers and, quite possibly, an expensive divorce.

At our house, the Repository of Unused Stuff was in our three-car garage. I don't want to say how much dusty stuff we had piled up, but there was barely room for two vehicles. You do the math. - More...
Monday - April 23, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Bad neighbors make for good fences - The U.S. government, goaded by Congress, has made many demands of the Iraqi government, and now the Iraqi government, in the person of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has made one of its own. He has demanded that the United States halt construction of a three-mile wall to surround a Sunni neighborhood to protect it from adjacent Shiites.

The enclosure is one of at least 10 planned as part of the nearly 3-month-old security crackdown. U.S. forces call them "gated communities," but the walls are dreary Jersey barriers and 12-foot-tall cement slabs.

Al-Maliki's office says the walls will further divide an already bitterly divided nation. The prime minister issued his order while on a tour of surrounding nations, and the confusion surrounding it makes you wonder how much he is in touch with what's going on in his own capital.

According to the Associated Press, Iraq's chief military spokesman said that al-Maliki was responding to exaggerated reports and that the barrier-building would continue. However, the U.S. ambassador said the American forces would respect the prime minister's wishes. - More...
Monday - April 23, 2007

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