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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 30, 2009

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Ward Lake: Beaver
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS



Alaska: Trident Seafoods pays over $112,000 for failing to properly report hazardous chemicals - Trident Seafoods Corporation (Trident) has settled with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and agreed to pay a $61,354 penalty for violating the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) by failing to properly report the storage of ammonia at four facilities.

Today's settlement addresses violations related to Trident facilities in the Alaskan towns of Kodiak, Akutan and Petersburg, as well as a Trident facility in Seattle, Washington, all which store ammonia in amounts above the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act reportable quantities. The four Trident facilities process seafood.

Specifically, Trident failed to file Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms with local emergency response entities in Alaska and Washington.

In addition to paying the penalty, Trident agreed to perform a Supplemental Environmental Project, providing over $23,000 in emergency response equipment to first responders in Kodiak, Alaska and over $28,000 in response equipment to responders in Akutan, Alaska. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

Alaska: Still no confirmed cases of "swine flu" in Alaska - As of Wednesday, April 29th, there have been no confirmed cases of swine flu, HINI influenza A, in Alaska according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The Center for Disease Control reported 109 cases of swine flu in the United States with one death in Texas as of today.

Nine countries have officially reported 148 cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection on Wednesday according to the World Health Organization. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths. The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (13), Germany (3), Israel (2), New Zealand (3), Spain (4) and the United Kingdom (5).

The World Health Organization on Wednesday raised the swine flu pandemic threat level to level 5 of 6. The Alaska Department of Health and Socal Services Emergency Operation Center announced it is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to organize the medical response to this outbreak.

The state of Alaska has about 80,000 courses of antiviral medications in a state stockpile at this time. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services had already sent around 10,000 of those courses to 22 acute-care hospitals throughout the state in preparation for a possible flu outbreak. These hospitals are located throughout the state, from the North Slope to Western Alaska to Southeast Alaska.

The department plans to begin shipping additional supplies of antiviral medications in the next day or two, with shipments arriving in Alaska communities within the week. Finally, DHSS has ordered approximately 20,000 additional courses of antiviral medications to be shipped to Alaska from the Strategic National Stockpile. This supply should arrive in about a week. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

National: More defenses available to fight epidemics By DAVID PERLMAN - The rapid spread of the influenza virus called swine flu to the United States and other nations has changed what was a serious epidemic confined to Mexico into a potential "pandemic" -- a disease that threatens to spread around the world before it is stopped.

However, the emerging health crisis, which recalls a long history of similar epidemics that have turned into major global threats, may not get that far. Experts in communicable diseases say there are now many lines of worldwide defense that could quickly end this new swine-flu threat.

"We have a lot more tools to combat a pandemic of flu viruses today than we have ever had before," said Dr. Tomas Aragon, who heads the University of California-Berkeley center for infectious diseases and emergency readiness.

Besides the relatively new influenza antiviral drug Tamiflu, which is known to be effective against this version of swine flu, Aragon noted, scientists are now able to determine the specific genetic subtype of a flu virus involved in an outbreak, which helps them develop highly specific vaccines.

There are also many new drugs available to fight the virus, as well as antibiotics to combat secondary infections. Tamiflu and another anti-viral drug called Relenza are now stockpiled by the government and are being released as needed, Aragon said.

By raising the pandemic alert level on swine flu from Phase 3 to 4 on Monday and to 5 on Wednesday, the World Health Organization confirmed that the disease was now spreading through human-to-human contact and that community-level outbreaks outside of Mexico had been found. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

National: Kiss a pig? Swine better have the mask By LEE BOWMAN - So far, it appears that American pigs are at more risk of catching "swine flu" from humans than the other way around. No cases have been found in pigs yet, while more than 100 human cases have been confirmed in the U.S., with many more suspected.

Farmers are being urged to take extra precautions to keep any possibly infected people away from their pigs, while scientists try to figure out if the animals are even susceptible to the virus.

"We know from the genetics that at some point back in time, the virus passed through a pig. But today, we don't know that it's in pigs at all, or even if it can any longer infect pigs,'' said Dr. Harry Snelson, a veterinarian in Burgaw, N.C. and communications director for the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

"At this point, infected humans are more a risk to pigs than pigs are to humans, it would seem,'' Snelson said.

Some animal rights and food safety groups critical of large industrial pig farming operations are claiming that such practices may have helped the new virus get its start in Mexico. So far, international teams of scientists investigating the flu's origins haven't reported evidence of such a disease pathway.

But pork industries in general and pig farmers in particular are caught in a crossfire of confusion over the outbreak. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009


Columns - Commentary

JAY AMBROSE: Overreacting to Swine flu? - Swine flu could soon be slaying scads of us, some think, and the Indiana health commissioner says don't shake hands with anyone. Vice president Joe Biden says try to avoid subways or planes. European governments say don't travel to the United States. And people are buying up protective facemasks left and right.

Maybe a deadly pandemic is in fact on its way - some reputable experts think as much. But maybe the much-cited example of the millions-killing Spanish flu of 1918 is less a guide to our immediate health future than the swine flu scare of 1976.

Gerald Ford was president that year. He got caught up in the panic, spent $135 million on productions of a vaccine, urged people to get shots and, according to one account I ran across, even appeared on TV getting a shot himself.

That was a brave thing to do, as it turned out. While the flu didn't kill anyone in the United States, the shots did kill and caused neurological disorders in yet more, leaving people paralyzed as a consequence of nothing but unwarranted dread.

It's reported that this current flu is dissimilar in a variety of ways, and it's said, too, that the slight signals of the moment could portend something large and awful, especially since this flu is easily spread by human contact.

The last time I looked, Mexico was reporting more than 2,000 cases and 170 deaths (although the World Health Organization said confirmed fatalities were in single digits). There had been one death in the United States -- a Mexican child -- but nowhere else. New cases were cropping up in various spots around the world, though not in large numbers. The reported concern was that even if the flu is not yet fiercely virulent -- it so far seems mild -- it could mutate into something worse. -More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

Arts & Entertainment

Ketchikan: Author John McCormick to Attend Book Signing; Book signing to take place at Parnassus Books in Ketchikan, May 1, 2009 - During Ketchikan Alaska's annual 'Art Walk' author John McCormick will be signing books at the popular Creek Street book store Parnassus Books. The event is the opportunity for local residents to explore the local shops, who have opened their doors for the season to see what new arts are on display.

Author John McCormick talks about the event. "I did several books signings last fall shortly after the release of 'Some Secrets Shouldn't Die', but during the busy holiday season few people were able to attend. I am hoping that I can answer questions about this book and the sequel that will be coming out this fall, 'Old Secrets Never Die'." - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009


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Basic Rules

letterKPU ADVISORY BOARD By Charles Edwardson - I have recently been nominated and placed and the KPU advisory board. My main interest in sitting on this board is to understand Ketchikan Public Utilities (KPU) and to understand the sale of the publicly owned utility - KPU PHONE DIVISION - and the discussion of the sale of a company you and I own, without you or I involved in the discussion. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letterDeermount Parking By Jennifer Tavares - My family & I live on Deermount St. where the speed limit is currently 25 MPH. The city is considering removing parking on half of my street, which my neighbors and I feel this will encourage speeding even more. I have been speaking to Chief of Police Ed Talik about my concerns. Mr. Talik and the other police officers have been extremely helpful in watching our neighborhood for people going too fast. I was unaware the limit on many residential streets are 25 - I always thought in these areas it was 20 MPH. Water St, Woodland, Baranof- every little road the limit is the same as the main street Tongass Ave. I don't understand why in areas where families live and little children play the speed limit is 25, and downtown where the "tourists" visit in the summer is 20! Does this make any sense at all?!?
- More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letterAwaiting enlightenment By Charlotte Tanner - Mr. Stump says in his letter that: "by logging over-mature, decaying, primarily hemlock stands, the industry was creating a better, greener, healthier forest for the future." This is an interesting viewpoint. I've lived in SE Alaska since 1968, if indeed, the logging that has taken place has created a better, greener, healthier forest, I'd sure like to know where it is? Perhaps Mr. Stump could enlighten me. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letter Why, Why, do we give up our Rights By Randy Williams - Someone please tell me what has happened to us, have we become so corporate that we have forgotten how important our food sources are to us as Alaska Natives. I ask again, where is our leadership to stop this greedy money grubbing theft of our traditional food sources. I usually don't write in the Sitnews unless I'm discussing Gaming and all the money that is made in almost every State but Alaska with the exception of Metlakatla and they could make so much more if they really addressed gaming the way it should be, but that's another subject. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letter"Nanny State" is no longer a metaphor By Jay Jones - Commissioner LeDoux's letter disappointed me although it was expected. The State of Alaska has determined that large amounts of parents are incapable of raising their own toddlers correctly. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letterLIMBAUGH LOONIES AND BECKBRAINS By David G. Hanger - One Connie Emmert hails that the tea party movement has been "a huge success!" So successful that using her base numbers a total of less than three one-hundredths of one percent of the citizens of this country participated. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letterHigh rents not always a simple case of greedy landlords By Mary L. Dahl - I understand the frustration of a tight budget and paying rents that eat up a big chunk of that budget. It is tough to get ahead under those circumstances. However, the problem of high rents is not always a simple case of greedy landlords bilking the tenants. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letterRental Costs By Marcia Hilley - We have been landlords in Ketchikan since 1975. Ohhh the stories we could tell! However the only one who cares is another landlord! The tenants I have now are working single parents. They pay their rent each month and I haven't raised their rent since they moved in... - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letterHigh Rent By Dave Jensen - There were generations contributing to the cost of housing in Ketchikan. Most people move here to work, or to make money. Some plan to leave with a sack full of cash (retirement). People that grew up here may have the same idea. I say some because there are always those that have no incentive to provide for themselves. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letterHigh Rent Costs By Chris Barry - To those that scream buy a house, I say 'WAKE UP MORONS'! - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letter OUTRAGEOUS prices By Aimee Perry-Mazzella - I am an avid reader of this website to keep up with the "Hometown News" and felt compelled to respond to this issue. - More...
Thursday - April 30, 2009

letter RE: HIGH RENTAL COSTS By Zak Young - Mr. Steiner has a valid point, which is very simply "BUY A HOUSE, END OF STORY!" - More...
Saturday - April 25, 2009

letter School Districts Will Pilot Ideas for Publicly Funded Preschools By Larry LeDoux, Alaska Education Commissioner - Giving our children high-quality care from birth to age 6 is one of the best ways we can prepare them for success at school -- and throughout their lives. The Palin administration will help more Alaska parents achieve this level of care, whether their children are at home or in preschools. - More...
Saturday - April 25, 2009

letterFiddler Problem By Rodney Dial - RE: The fiddler on the roof carving on Creek St. not being in compliance with zoning laws.- More...
Saturday - April 25, 2009

letterCommercial crab restrictions By Trygve Westergard - I heard a rumor that fish and game opened Bostwick Bay along with some others to commercial crabbers? Why was this opened? - More..
Saturday - April 25, 2009

letter Parking By Rhett Jackson - I agree with Jackie Keizer; parking on Deermount is already strained to the max as these old city houses weren't planned as well as other newer homes. If the city would buy the rock quarry behind Deermount and turn it into a parking lot that might be an option but one has to wonder if taking the parking off Deermount by fiat caters to folks who aren't residents. I would have to bring my car up the 48 steps to my house if this happens. - More...
Saturday - April 25, 2009

letterParking for residents By Bobbie McCreary - I strongly support Jackie Keizer's comments and put in my own plea. Please, look first to a more global, city-wide parking plan first and do NOT take a piecemeal approach to parking issues. If you "squeeze" parking in one place, it will just "pop up" in another. We all know there is inadequate parking space allocated in the central part of town to park the vehicles driven by people who live there. - More...
Thursday - April 25, 2009

letter Tea Party Report By Connie Emmert - A PajamasTV report estimates that about one million people came out for the Tax Day Tea Parties across the nation!  What a huge success!  Not only that, but a Rasmussen poll this week showed that 51% of Americans viewed the tea parties favorably, while only 33% viewed them unfavorably. - More...
Thursday - April 25, 2009

letterRemoval of Parking on Deermount St. By Jackie Keizer - I am writing in regard to the notice that appeared in the Weekend Edition stating that "the City of Ketchikan Joint Safety Committee is soliciting input from the public regarding removal of on-street parking for all the north side of Deermount Street." - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letterThe High Cost of UAS Administration By Robert D. Warner - Rapidly rising costs for higher education are a major worry to college students and their parents who struggle to find funds to cover these increases. - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letter Man Caused Disasters By A.M.Johnson - U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has demonstrated yet another shallow or corrupt example of the "Kenyan's" cabinet talent, by claiming that the "War on Terror" is really a "Overseas Contingency Operations" and then this. - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letter Re: Drivers By Alan R. McGillvray - Well by now, we should all know that there are two ways to drive on the roads and streets, around and about Ketchikan; either WAY TOO FAST, or WAY TOO SLOW. - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letterContempt for "tea baggers" By Richard Easbey - Well, well, well. In David Hanger's screed published 04/21/09, he manages to parrot just about every DNC talking point/leftist ad hominem I've seen since last Wednesday's Tea Party. And he starts off magnificently with the elitism and snobbery which only a leftist is capable of, with his remark about Republicans not reading. Yep, that's right, Dave. Those of us who don't agree with statists like yourself are just a bunch of dummies. Thanks for clearing that up. Oh, and by the way: calling us "tea baggers" is so last week. What is it with the left's obsession with this particular sex act? What are you, 12? (If you don't know what "tea-bagging" is, ask a middle schooler.)  - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letter RE: THE FIZZLE IN THE DRIZZLE By William H. Davis - Mr. Hanger, you have an opinion. Great. Americans can voice that opinion in anyway that they want to, be it in a letter to the editor or standing on a soapbox...on a street corner. Either way is perfectly acceptable under the law. - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letterRE: Timber Industry Retooling By Dave Abeyta  - I'm in agreement with Keith Stump's comments & information. I've spent half my working life (15 years) in the northwest logging industry & one thing is for sure forest management is an imperfect science in the works. The Forest Service sends out well intentioned, college educated people to tell loggers what's best for the forest. In spite of what the preservationists think we loggers care about what is best for the trees so they will be there for us & our children. - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letter Reply to High Rental Costs By Mark Steiner - Buy a house, end of story. - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letter High Rental Costs By Katherine Wood - I too think rental costs in Ketchikan are extreme. I have two children and I am renting on my own for the first time. It is such a struggle, not fun at all. I am a hard working person who has a fairly good job and I can never get ahead. It makes me sick when I talk to my mom in Oregon who rents a 3 bedroom 2 bath brand new house with a 2 car garage, a grassy front yard with a fenced grassy back yard and a dog and she only pays $750 a month. I pay $1007 a month not including utilities and that's in a 2 bedroom 1 bath APARTMENT in a four-plex. - More...
Thursday - April 23, 2009

letterHigh Rental Costs By Zak Young - I read the letter about the high cost of rentals in Ketchikan, and myself am in the mad dash search for an apt due to circumstances beyond my control, and am having the same issues. The writer hit the nail on the head! I usually am a person who tells it how I see this is what I see!! - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letterUnbelievable Renters By Susan Hoyt - I read the letter "Unbelievable Rental Costs". I am not defending high rents but I must add that I have had my share of great renters and I thought I might share just a couple stories. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letterTHE FIZZLE IN THE DRIZZLE By David G. Hanger - This "tea bagging" nonsense is a classic example of that old adage, the difference between Democrats and Republicans is Democrats believe what they read; Republicans just don't read. Believing what one reads has always exemplified stupidity; one must follow the footnote trail to determine the writer's ideology, method, and motivation, none of which has anything to do with belief. Not reading epitomizes and enhances ignorance, and ignorance is certainly the primary message broadcast by the "tea baggers." - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letter Regarding Tax Day Tea Party By Connie Emmert, Laura Antonsen, and Dick Coose - Thanks to all of you who came out to the sign waving Tax Day Tea Party!  It was a great turn out, and you were true patriots for standing out there in the cold and wind.  We and our fellow tea party patriots across the country made history and surely we have begun to make an impact in congress. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letterTax Tea Party By Eileen Small - Ms. Gay, there is a petition circulating in support of the tea party's concepts. I have one copy in my office if you'd like to drop by and sign. Also, there will be a "like event" on July 4 and you are definitely welcome to come. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letter"Tea Party" By Lou Ann Richardson - Ketchikan's "tea party" made one of the New York Times Op-Ed articles, (Gail Collins, 4/18)....along with Texas. We're famous yet again. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letter Open Letter: Refund anticipation loans By David G. Hanger - On behalf of the consumers and the taxpaying citizens of the state of Alaska, first and foremost, but in this instance contributing to the enhanced well-being of the citizens of all of the states, I respectfully request the immediate outlawing of refund anticipation loans, an abomination that has brought loan sharks and incompetents into the fields of accounting and of tax preparation, thereby degrading the standards of this profession to an embarrassing degree, while bilking the consuming public for high fees and high rates of interest, constituting as much as 20% to 30% of a taxpayer's refund, for a loan that lasts no more than five to ten days. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letter Re: Drivers By Doug Johnson - I share some of Mr. Harper's frustrations. I see just as many over cautious drivers driving well under the speed limit for no apparent reason. Maybe they lack the driving skill necessary to manipulate the corners at speed, maybe they have no place to go and don't care how long it takes them to get there. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letterALASKA AIRLINES TICKETS By Chas Edwardson - If it cost me let's say 300 dollars to get from here to Seattle, I would probably go there at least 4 to 5 times a year just to dry off. Ironic? total= 1200 to 1500 bucks. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letter Tickets By Heather Wills - Exactly, we don't have that option here, we don't have any options here and they know it. Alaska airlines has a Monopoly in Southeast Alaska and they know it, it's not just Ketchikan that gets the shaft either, tried flying out of Juneau lately? - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letter Re: Drivers By Floyd Crocker - A classic case of road rage, Give yourself a few more minutes and enjoy the trip. - More...
Tuesday - April 21, 2009

letterKFD Dispatchers By Dave Hull - I want to start off by saying that the Ketchikan Police Department and Alaska State Troopers dispatchers deserve all the accolades given them for the performance of their duties. In fact, they can't be given enough. I have been involved with emergency response for the last 34 years and have taken great comfort many times in the calm, warm voice coming out of my handheld radio speaker. Just knowing someone is there when I key the microphone is of great reassurance. I must object, however, that one group has been left out of the honors recently bestowed by the Borough Assembly. The group I am referring to is the dispatchers with the Ketchikan Fire Department. They are still there filling in when needed and doing an excellent job but were referred to as 'others' in the proclamation. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterUnbelievable Rental Costs - Letter removed by request.
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterHelp save the Dungeness! By Lloyd Gossman - Everyone needs to help stop the Ketchikan area summer commercial Dungeness crab fishery. It hasn't taken place for 20 years because it was a bad idea back in the day and it's a bad idea now. As of now, this fishery is scheduled to start on June 15th, right when most of the Dungeness are soft shelled and reproducing. Millions of pounds of Dungeness will be wasted because of the high mortality rate of the soft-shelled crab. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterRE: Timber Industry Retooling By Keith Stump - I read, with some dismay and perhaps even some amusement, Mr. Hjerpe's attempt to pan Sen. Murkowski's Southeast Alaska Timber Industry Retooling and Restructuring Act. Amused by yet another OIE ("Outside Instant Expert") postulating and perpetuating ad nauseam something somebody told them was true (but really isn't), and dismayed that others with equal ignorance will possibly believe it and extend the vicious cycle of propaganda. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letter Hydaburg School By Frances C. Natkong - On April 9, 2009, the Board of Education of Hydaburg City School District met in a regular school board meeting and voted unanimously to retain the present CEO of Hydaburg school. There was one board member absent that night so was not counted in the vote. Their logic in retaining the CEO is "he's saving the district money and it's not feasible to hire a superintendent at this time." I've done some computing and both the CEO and his significant other's salaries combined are outrageous! The school board hired SERRC to do a superintendent search and that was not brought up at the meeting, the president skipped right over that on the agenda (more money going out without just cause). It makes me wonder how much was spent on the superintendent search and why weren't any of the candidates for the position even considered? - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letter Three if by mandate By Ken Lewis - And then there was dark! Can one of the smarter people on this Island explain in real terms what House Bill 19 will do for evening outdoor activity in South East Alaska? My fear is the Snooze Alarm Junkies are trying to steal another hour of our evening outdoor activity time, for the sake of fewer hours separating Anchorage and a Hash Bar in Socialized Europe. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterClose Encounter of the Squirrel Kind By Joseph Miller - Just wanted to say, we had a squirrel encounter last night. Two of our flying squirrel friends found their way into my home. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterTruth Scenario! By Arilee Bird - Chas Edwardson, I raise you high for your succinct portrayal of what's gone on for years. I used to spit my coffee like you, and then have morning 'incredulous blowouts', and finally started wondering: "Where the heck do I get in line for these outrageous handouts?" Lie like a rug, devise a devious hell-bent-for-failure plan, sell the council and Ta-Dah! Make big lying 'doo-doo', and come out of it with big bucks, and smelling somewhat like a rose, but leaving a stench. Apparently if one is not part of the "inner circle" that keeps it going. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letter Drivers By David C Harper - May or may not be a stupid pet-pieve of mine, but why do 99.99% of drivers either drive too fast, or waaayyyyy too slow? It seems most are confused as to which driving habits they should use during each season. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterTea Party By Gay D. Peters - I did not know the Tea Party was going to happen here or I would have been there. I do not check this web sight all the time. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterALASKA AIRLINES TICKETS By Julie Steiner - I wanted to respond to Kim Morton's letter from April 6 - I agree with her 100%. We live in a town that the only way out is by ferry or plane. I have a big family, and trying to buy airplane tickets costs a ton of money. Oregon - Washington - why are they getting these deals on Alaska Airlines when they have a whole lot more choices on which airline to choose - we sure don't have that option here. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letter Landless settlement due years ago By Anita Edenshaw - I am a landless share holder, most of my family didn't live long enough to see the long awaited settlement, and it's about time people quit playing games and settle. Get the landless people who are willing to put the time and effort in fighting for our land or money. It's long over due. Have them inform the shareholders on the progress if any at all times. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

letterCombat Somali Pirates By Donald A. Moskowitz - The Somali pirates continue to wreak havoc on commercial shipping off the coast of Africa. There are about 20 ships with over 300 hundred hostages currently being held by the pirates for ransom. - More...
Thursday - April 16, 2009

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