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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

April 07, 2006

Front Page Photo by Marie L. Monyak

Ketchikan Gymnastics Club Hosts Annual Exhibition
Beginner and Intermediate Classes of the Ketchikan Gymnastics Club received their medals and certificates of achievement at Thursday's Gym Show.
Front Page Photo By Marie L. Monyak©

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Gymnastics Club Hosts Annual Exhibition - The Ketchikan Gymnastics Club (KGC) held their 2006 Gym Show and Award Ceremony last week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The KGC is a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors and managed by Head Coach Rhiann Golder with the help of assistant coaches Aliyah Pipal, Alison Kelly, Calli Olmstead and Kim Cole.

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The annual Gym Show provides an opportunity for the student athletes to show off their progress and accomplishments for parents, family and friends prior to receiving their medals and certificates of achievement.

The beginner and intermediate classes of 3 through 10 year olds held their Gym Show on Thursday evening. Charming, adorable and precious are the words that come to mind while watching these young athletes exhibit their skills. The audience was so captivated and enamored by these young performers that many commented that their faces actually hurt from smiling for so long!

The 3 year old through preschool age group, clad in their colorful leotards followed one another single file across the floor performing their routine of forward and backward rolls, cautiously walking the balance beam and even attempting one complete revolution on the parallel bar with assistance from the coaches whenever a student discovered that gravity was preventing their much heavier bottoms from completing the turn.

The audience was hushed as though watching world class athletes performing in the Olympics when one gymnast who appeared to be about 3 years old broke the silence as she completed her turn on the balance beam and shouted into the audience, "I did it Mommy!" to the laughter and delight of all those present. Not to be outdone, another gymnast stopped in mid-routine, looked into the audience and asked, "Got your camera Dad?" The pure innocence of these young stars endeared them to everyone watching.

The next group to perform was Kindergarten through 10 years of age. A bit more advanced, they performed the same forward and backward rolls but added handstands and cartwheels to their act along with floor routines. Obviously a tad more self-conscious, the athletes tugged at their leotards, brushed hair from their faces and nervously darted glances at their parents seeking the encouragement they needed to perform publicly. As each student ended their routine they quickly ran from center stage, obviously relieved to be out of the limelight.

Allowing the young groups time for a break, the more experienced Pre-Team and Team Groups entertained the audience with their floor routines and more advanced skills on the uneven parallel bars. Since graduating from beginner and intermediate classes, these gymnasts exhibited more confidence and resolve in their demeanor as they performed. Even mistakes were applauded providing the inspiration needed for the athletes to complete their routines and feel satisfaction at performing under pressure.

Ending the evening's Gym Show, the Beginner and Intermediate students were called individually to center stage. With faces beaming with satisfaction equal to their parent's look of pride, the blossoming athletes climbed to the top level of the award stage to receive their medals and certificates of achievement to a rousing applause. - More...
Sunday - May 07, 2006

New Fire Station #8

NTVFD's New Fire Station #8
Photograph By NTVFD Chief Dave Hull

Ketchikan: North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department Opens New Fire Station #8 - If you have driven by the construction site for North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department's fire station #8 you might have seen trucks parked near the intersection. According to NTVFD Fire Chief Dave Hull, as of April 20th three rigs were moved from their former location at 12.5 mile North Tongass Highway to the new station 8 location at 13110 North Tongass Highway.

Hull said, "North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department is now officially in both of their new stations." NTVFD's other new station is located at 12.5 mile North Tongass. Regarding station #8 Hull said, "There is a lot of construction yet to do but thanks to Chuck Pool of Pool Engineering we are able to house our Tanker-8, Engine-8 and Medic-8 during the night time hours. During the day time when work is underway inside the building the rigs are moved to the bottom of the driveway and backed in each night."

Hull asks that everyone please note the new location. Chief Hull said, "The North Tongass residents know well that dark stretch of road just north of the Guard Island Lookout." He said, "Thanks to Ketchikan Public Utilities a street light has been installed and will soon light up the intersection and the tanker loading area." Hull said, "Signs have also been placed at both stations to remind motorists that fire stations are near by. Plans call for the signs to flash yellow lights when calls are in progress." - More...
Sunday - May 07, 2006


Alaska: Rockets over Alaska for more than three decades By NED ROZELL - On a midwinter night almost 40 years ago, an American B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed into a bay near Thule, Greenland. From that event came an opportunity for a would-be rocket range in Alaska.

Rockets Over Alaska

A rocket launches from Poker Flat
Research Range in Interior Alaska.
Photo courtesy Geophysical Institute

"The Danes were not happy with the U.S. military at that point because the Danes thought that the United States had promised not to deploy nuclear bombs in Greenland," Neil Davis wrote in his new book, Rockets over Alaska: The Genesis of Poker Flat (Alaska-Yukon Press). "An immediate consequence of the bomber crash at Thule was that Denmark essentially threw the U.S. military out of Greenland."

A later consequence of the bomber crash was the creation of a facility to launch rockets in Interior Alaska. When the Danish government wouldn't let the military launch rockets from Greenland as part of a study of how nuclear blasts affected the upper atmosphere, a plan was waiting on deck.

Davis and his colleagues at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks had wanted to build a rocket range from which to study properties of the aurora. With sketches in hand and a lease available on land near Chatanika, 30 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Davis and his cohorts were ready when the federal government explored the possibility of a rocket range in Interior Alaska.

The Interior was a good choice for blasting rockets 60 or more miles into the sky. Few people live in the places where those rockets would arc to the ground, and most of that ground is federal land. Researchers who wished to retrieve their rocket payloads could also do it easier on the tundra of northern Alaska than from the ocean, the landing point of rockets fired from most other northern ranges.

With a verbal agreement for a good chunk of the $100,000 needed, "so began a crash program that would involve roughly half of the Geophysical Institute's staff before it was over in March 1969," Davis wrote. - More...
Sunday - May 07, 2006



letter Propaganda from British Petroleum By Mike Moyer - Sunday
letter Retired military officers, not felons By A. M. Johnson - Sunday
letter Back when "Dance Halls" were being built By Alan R. McGillvray - Sunday
letter Drinking, smoking and throwing trash from cars? By Michael Fitzgerald - Sunday
letter America Deserves Better! By Robert Freedland - Sunday
letter TAX REFORM FOR ALL By Robert J. Ransom, Jr. - Sunday
letter Which one of us is on heavy drugs? By Iliya Pavlovich - Sunday
letter RE: I'm an Alaskan Ad Campaign By Ralph Mirsky - Saturday
letter THANK YOU By Marie L Monyak - Saturday
letterWasteful and Reckless Spending By Robert D. Warner - Friday
letter Ketchikan's kindess and generosity By Carrie Allen - Friday
letter I'm an Alaskan Ad Campaign By Peter Bolling - Thursday
letter Energy from trees By Gordon Wadle - Thursday
letter Community Support Overwhelming, Thank you! By Ty Rettke - Thursday
letter Heroes?? By Susan Allen Wall - Thursday
letter Generals and felons By Sam Osborne - Wednesday
letter Oily Mess By Robert McRoberts - Wednesday
letter Wild salmon with pesticides or farmed salmon? By Mark Schindler - Wednesday
letter Spirit of cooperation By Eugene Martin Sr. - Tuesday PM
letter Controlled by big business interests By Dionne Jackson - Tuesday PM
letter Integrity and Ethical Behavior Part II By Jon T. Van Essen - Tuesday PM
letter Safety priorities By Tony Alenskis - Tuesday PM
letter RE: A Warning to Alaskans By Samuel Bergeron - Monday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Monday, May 8, 2006 @ 12:00pm TELECONFERENCE - The State Board of Education & Early Development will meet in special session. The public may offer comments and testimony at the Legislative Information Office, 50 Front Street, Suite 203. For more information, please call 225-9675.

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Alaska: House Finance Passes Petroleum Production Tax Legislation; House Speaker asked to delay vote until the contract is released - The Alaska House Finance Committee passed the Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 305, Oil and Gas Production Tax, Saturday morning, by a vote of 9-2.

The Committee Substitute is a combination of SB 305, as passed by the Senate, and the House Resources, HB 488, retaining provisions from both bills. The House Finance version retains the 20/20 credit rate in both the oil and gas tax rate and the investment credit rate. The Committee Substitute retains progressivity, which allows a higher tax rate at higher prices.

The bill also includes a provision to reduce the Cook Inlet oil tax rate to 5%.

House Finance Co-Chair Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) said, "We are trying to ensure that Alaska is open to investment by both producers and explorers. We hope to see, with this proposed tax structure, more exploration. This is a step forward in Alaska's future and an opportunity to capture a higher return for our resources when prices are high." He continued, "The House Finance Committee has done its best to be fair with industry while representing the best interests of Alaska."

"The package that Finance has proposed is a bill that keeps the tax rate low enough to attract more investment to Alaska, yet captures Alaska's fair share. With progressivity, we protect Alaska's interests as prices increase. We've done our best to strike the delicate balance," said Representative Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage).

Committee Substitute SB 305 now moves to the House floor for consideration.

On the heels of a Superior Court decision Friday (PDF) requiring Gov. Frank Murkowski to release a controversial pipeline contract to the public and Legislature, two Alaska legislators have asked House Speaker John Harris to delay a vote on oil tax reform until the contract is released.

Sen. Hollis French and Rep. Les Gara (both D-Anchorage) have sent a letter to Harris urging him to postpone the historic vote on the Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) until Legislators have an opportunity to see the long-disputed contract. French had filed the injunction that led to the court's decision.

"Legislators on both sides of the aisle have argued all along that the governor was illegally keeping the contract out of public view," French said. "Now that a superior court judge has affirmed our position, it would be irresponsible to vote on PPT without knowing what's in that contract."

"We can't make this historic vote with half the information," Gara said. He added some of the PPT proposals, including the governor's, would reduce oil revenues to the state by upwards of $1 billion as some have argued concessions are needed to seal the pipeline deal. In February, after agreeing to link oil taxes with a potential gas contract, the governor reduced his oil tax proposal by $1 billion. - More...
Sunday - May 07, 2006

Washington Calling: Cutting the bureaucracy ... robots in combat ... and more By LANCE GAY - GOP calls for a "Sunset Commission" that would recommend closing unneeded federal agencies are gaining momentum on Capitol Hill.

Republican leaders vow to put the measure up for a vote on the House floor before leaving for summer vacation, and believe they now have enough support.

This wouldn't be any ordinary commission, but a panel with teeth. It would operate like last year's base-closing commission. Lawmakers couldn't tinker with the final recommendations, but would have final say on whether the package is accepted or rejected. - More...
Sunday - May 07, 2006

The Week In Review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Goss resigns as CIA director

In a surprise, CIA Director Porter Goss resigned Friday. "He has led ably," President Bush said. He didn't name a successor. Goss, a former congressman from Florida and head of the House Intelligence Committee, had been CIA director only since September 2004. Goss was described as having poor relations with the CIA's clandestine service.

A million people march for immigration

More than 1 million mostly Mexican and Hispanic immigrants and those in sympathy with their cause marched in at least two dozen major U.S. cities Monday in the national "Day Without Immigrants" boycott that also shut down thousands of businesses. The event was meant to demonstrate the vast size of the nation's growing immigrant presence and to urge Congress not to pass legislation punishing illegal immigrants. The largest demonstrations occurred in Los Angeles and Chicago, where police estimated crowds at 400,000 in each city. - More...
Sunday - May 07, 2006

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