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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 27, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

"Birds of a Feather"
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

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U.S. News
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Alaska: Results of the 2007 Salmon Capacity Survey Released - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has completed its annual preseason survey of salmon processing capacity in the state. The survey finds that the salmon purchasing and processing capacity for the upcoming season is expected to exceed the projected statewide harvests of sockeye, pink and coho salmon in most areas of the state, including Bristol Bay. Prince William Sound, Southeast/Yakutat, and Kodiak should have more than enough capacity to process the large harvests forecast in those areas.

Seventy of the largest salmon processors in Alaska were surveyed to obtain estimates of the 2007 salmon capacity by area and species. Excess or insufficient capacity was identified by comparing the capacity from the survey to the department's 2007 preseason forecast of salmon harvests. Capacity is defined as a combination of the physical processing capacity and the intent of buyers and processors to purchase and process salmon. This forecast represents only an approximation of the numbers of salmon the ADF&G expects may be available for harvest; historically, the actual harvests have varied widely from the forecasted returns. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007

Alaska: New illness surfaces as vaccine succeeds By ROSEMARY SHINOHARA - A vaccine given since 2001 has nearly wiped out seven of the worst strains of pneumococcal disease among Alaska children. But different strains not covered by the vaccine are on the rise among Native children, says a report published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The bacteria cause pneumonia, blood infection, meningitis and other diseases.

Non-Native Alaska children are not getting the new diseases at increased rates, said Dr. Rosalind Singleton, a pediatrician with the Alaska Native Tribal Consortium and a researcher for the federal Centers for Disease Control in Anchorage. She and colleagues wrote the journal report.

The researchers don't know where the newly blossoming strains came from, and can only speculate as to why they are surfacing at increased rates just in Native children. One possibility is that the new strains may be more easily transmitted in small village houses than in urban housing, said Singleton. And for children in villages without plumbing, hand-washing could be more difficult, she noted.

Alaska Native children are still better off than before, with about a 40 percent decrease in pneumococcal disease, said Singleton.

The bacteria cause serious illnesses, particularly among children and elders, said Singleton. If it invades the lungs, a child may get pneumonia. In the bloodstream, the disease is called bacteremia. In the covering of the brain, the bacteria cause meningitis. The bacteria can also cause middle ear and sinus infections. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007


National: Shrill rhetoric over the Iraq war bill By CAROLYN LOCHHEAD - The escalation of the Iraq war is occurring not just in Baghdad but also in Washington, where increasingly shrill rhetoric from the White House and congressional Democrats is aimed at squeezing the moderates in both parties who ultimately will determine if and when U.S. troops come home.

From Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's "the war is lost" comment last week to President Bush's characterizations of any limits on his war authority as "wrong for our troops and wrong for our country," both sides have steadily hardened their positions.

After narrow Senate approval Thursday of an enormous war spending bill containing withdrawal deadlines, Democrats promised to send the $124.4 billion legislation to the White House for Bush's assured veto on Tuesday - the four-year anniversary of the "Mission Accomplished" speech the president delivered aboard an aircraft carrier while wearing a flight suit.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino responded that the bill represents "Mission Defeated." Republicans said the deadlines were tantamount to surrender.

An unstable combination of personality, principle and political pressure pits a president determined not to relinquish any control over the war against an increasingly aggressive Democratic-led Congress backed by voters who want U.S. troops to leave Iraq. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007

National: Budget woes plague heart of U.S. wind-research effort By TODD NEFF - Solar is sexier. Hydrogen gets the hype, and it's not even a renewable energy.

But energy experts know only wind - a power source so old and familiar the Phoenicians had it licked - can satisfy 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs in the foreseeable future.

President Bush's 2006 Advanced Energy Initiative cited the 20 percent figure as a goal, saying the country should "dramatically increase the use of wind energy." Without major advances in wind and related technology to boost output, reliability and transmission while cutting costs, experts say such a leap may never happen.

The heart of America's wind-research effort lies just south of the Boulder County, Colo., at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Wind Technology Center. A walk around the facility gives reason to fret.

Years of flat or declining budgets and congressional earmarking for such projects as community wind turbines in Michigan, Massachusetts and other states have left the center with outdated equipment and staffing at roughly half that of historical highs. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007

Backyard Glaciers

Backyard glaciers on the wane in Alaska
A resident of the Goldstream Valley north of Fairbanks installed this sign warning trail users of a small glacier that formed in her yard.
Photo by Ned Rozell.

Alaska: Backyard glaciers on the wane in Alaska By NED ROZELL - On late winter nights in the Goldstream Valley north of Fairbanks this past winter, a woman named Hilary went for walks on the snow-covered trail outside her house. During a time of year when silence dominates, she heard something strange-the sound of running water.

Water was percolating up through the ice of nearby Goldstream Creek, and flowing in fan-like channels over the ice. Not long after it hit the surface, the water froze. Ice accumulated over the days until it created a small glacier that crept to within a few feet of a woodpile on Hilary's porch. At about the same time, water began seeping into the first story of her house.

"I'm someone who appreciates nature, but there's a certain line where what's beautiful and awesome becomes a threat," Hilary said.

Hilary and her landlord installed a plastic pipeline to divert the water from her house. It flowed like a river back to the frozen creek and eventually slowed to a trickle. Her little glacier continued to grow until the warmth of spring finally began shrinking it. The change of seasons saved her woodpile from the ice. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007


Public Meetings

KETCHIKAN BOROUGH LOGO CONTEST COMMITTEE: The Borough Logo Contest Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 12:00 p.m. in the Borough Conference Room, 344 Front Street, in order to discuss contest submissions. The public is invited to attend.

Basic Rules

letter Serious questions about the missing $200,000 of Borough money By Mary Lynne Dahl - Friday
letter Immigration Reform? By John Maki - Friday
letter Re: Wilson Clinic By Dave Kiffer - Friday
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  

Dave Kiffer: April IS the Cruelest Month! - I'm pretty sure that T.S. Eliot was not thinking of my adolescence when he penned "The Waste Land" but he wasn't far off.

April was always a bad month when I was in my teens.

For example, I was "broken up with" three straight Aprils in high school. Each year by the same young woman. But I guess that was more a case of "if you don't succeed, try, try (and fail) again."

When I got to college, my major long term relationship broke up in - you guessed it - April. Post college, I had two other significant relationships run aground in - drum roll please - April.

Even these days I always issue a silent sigh of relief when an April passes without my long-suffering wife Charlotte serving me papers.

To be sure, not all my relationships have ended in April. When you have had as many end as I have over the years, the simple laws of probability deem that occasionally one may happen in another month. For example, I have found December, September and July to be pretty danged cruel in their own rights. But, as usual, I digress.

I think that part of the problem is that in Alaska we have a boom or bust mentality toward relationships. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007  

Star Parker: First debate of Democrats: Hillary loses - The first debate of the 2008 presidential campaign was an unimpressive affair.

Poor management of the event by MSNBC didn't help. Certainly, to try and be understanding, conducting a meaningful discussion with eight candidates, at least one of whom should not have even been up there, is not easy.

My guess would be that, simply as result of standing first in the lineup, and several aborted attempts by moderator Brian Williams to uniformly ask each candidate one quick question, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got more air time than anyone else.

If I were any Republican candidate, I'd be feeling good about my prospects after watching this field of Democrats. The views of the group were almost monotone in their uniformity and lack of freshness, originality and boldness.

Among this underwhelming crew, I think Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton distinguished herself as the clear loser.

I say this because I think the senator from New York was the only candidate whose inconsistencies were particularly glaring. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007

Dan K. Thomasson: Bush increasingly alone on war - I met an old friend and colleague on K Street the other day and she looked a bit weary. She told me that her son's tour in Iraq had been extended because of President Bush's surge and she expressed concern that his planned wedding although a year away might have to be postponed. Actually, the wedding worry was just a cover up for what really bothers her nearly every minute of every day - his safety.

She was too much a trouper not to present a facade of confidence about his welfare. Besides, it would be bad luck to even discuss it. Instead she talked about some of the interesting aspects of a foreign assignment that under any other circumstance would be a wonderfully educating experience in the cradle of civilization. She detailed some of the problems of accommodating more and more troops, including make shift sleeping arrangements and lack of equipment, an old story in this war.

"He had to lend his sidearm to his superior who didn't have one," she chuckled, shaking her head. "Did you know that the Iranians have disbursed new kinds of bombs that can pierce any armor?" She explained as though she were an old veteran herself, that "of course the more armor you put on, the slower the vehicle becomes, making it more vulnerable."

Then suddenly she stopped, looked at me and asked quietly, "Why is this president so stubborn?" In her tone was the unmistaken note of motherly despair, one that is now echoed by millions of other Americans who can see no end to or even reason for this debacle the president so glibly calls "winnable." There can be no victory, nearly every expert agrees, only continued chaos as long as American troops are present. - More..
Friday - April 27, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Bald, stubby and chubby: is that presidential material? - The 2008 presidential race has just started, but already it has the potential to be a victory for the common man, the balding, overweight, jowly common man, a large - but largely ignored - portion of the electorate.

Conservatives are flocking to the partially raised banner of Republican Fred Thompson, supposedly because he's solid on all their core issues. Some of us are hoping there are other reasons: He's bald. And jowly.

Fellow Republican Rudolph Giuliani is bald and, better yet, sometimes evinces what looks like a rudimentary comb-over. Democrat Al Gore, should he get in, has a growing bald spot.

Maybe these candidates will reverse a lamentable failing of American voters: They do not vote for bald candidates. You have to go back to Dwight Eisenhower to find a bald president, and he had to win World War II just to stand a chance. It did help, however, that his opponent both times was also bald. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841, to find a really bald president.

John Edwards has alienated many voters of a certain maturity, not for his $400 haircuts but because he has the hair to spend it on.

Also in the race are candidates who have a natural appeal to a large and, well, expanding voting bloc, those who are overweight or prone to it. Newt Gingrich, Bill Richardson, Gore are - pick your euphemism - stout, burly, chubby; in any case, they show a healthy fondness for the groceries, rather like most American males of their vintage. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007

Editorial: No more clocks in post offices - Tired of being told it takes too long to get to a service counter, the United States Postal Service has decided to remove all clocks from the walls of its 37,000 post offices. That'll solve the problem!

This is part of a growing disdain of customers in much of retailing that includes stores of all kinds removing their clocks and subjecting customers to headache-inducing, pounding rock music. - More....
Friday - April 27, 2007

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