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April 09, 2006

Front Page Photo by Marie L. Monyak

Fill'er Up With Waste Vegetable Oil
John Holstrom pouring Waste Vegetable Oil in fuel tank of the M/V Hadar.
Front Page Photo By Marie L. Monyak©

Ketchikan: Fill'er Up With Waste Vegetable Oil By MARIE L. MONYAK - Fuel Prices on the Rise ~ Petroleum Production Tax ~ Hybrid Cars ~ Drilling in ANWR ~ Exxon's CEO's $400 Million Retirement Package ~ Biodiesel ~ Energy Crisis ~ Fuel Shortage ~ and on and on. Fuels, primarily fossil fuels and all related topics are the fodder for countless headlines in recent weeks. Americans are raging and they want answers and solutions.

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The ordinary citizen depends on big business, politicians, scientists and researchers to find solutions and answers to their everyday problems yet throughout history it's been the common man, the average person, that's come to the aid of their fellow man. When a person has a need that can't be fulfilled they see it as a problem but when historic figures like DaVinci, Jefferson, Franklin, Edison and Bell had a need, they perceived it as a challenge.

One man in Ketchikan, Alaska has that same drive to find a solution for today's most talked about problem; the high cost of fuel and the reported shortages. He has successfully converted a City of Ketchikan municipal vehicle and his own personal motor vessel to operate on 100% vegetable oil. Not Biodiesel, not Ethanol, just plain waste vegetable oil that is generated daily by millions of restaurants.

Meet John Marshal Holstrom of Ketchikan; 40 years old, divorced, father of two teenagers, fisherman and boat owner who is employed by the City of Ketchikan Public Works Department as a Mechanic. One day Holstrom had a conversation with a coworker about the high cost of home heating fuel and the use of alternative fuels. That conversation led Holstrom's coworkers, Dennis Spurgeon and Bob Sivertsen, to order a conversion kit they had read about, a kit that would enable early model diesel engines to utilize vegetable oil as a fuel source.

The kit arrived in October of 2005, a very busy time for the Public Works department so it was put on the back burner so to speak. In March of this year, Holstrom read an article in the Anchorage Daily News that said the City of Anchorage was interested in creating a pilot program to convert city vehicles to burn Biodiesel as a main fuel source. The article spurred Holstrom to action knowing that the City of Ketchikan didn't need a pilot program, they already had the conversion kit sitting on a shelf, albeit a little dusty.

There's one major difference between what Anchorage and Ketchikan are doing. Anchorage is discussing the use of Biodiesel, a blend of diesel and used cooking oil, generally a 90/10 or 80/20 mix, whereas the conversion Holstrom is using calls for 100% used cooking oil.

Last month Holstrom and his coworkers successfully completed the conversion in one week on a City of Ketchikan, 1996 Ford F-800 Landfill Recycle Drop-box Vehicle. Holstrom explained that the reason it took a week was because he had to fabricate the tank mount and various parts. Speaking excitedly, Holstrom said, "The first thing we did was get the truck to operating temperature while it was sitting in the garage. As usual, we could smell the diesel fumes and feel the irritation in our eyes. Once the engine was warm we flipped the switch to vegetable oil and the smell of diesel dissipated and all we could smell was french fries!" That's right, french fries! Keep in mind that they were using waste vegetable oil (WVO) from local restaurants.

It should be explained that because vegetable oil tends to congeal at colder temperatures it must be warmed. The vehicle must be started first on diesel until the WVO has warmed sufficiently to flow freely, then with the flick of a switch the engine begins burning the WVO held in an auxiliary tank. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

Chamber Members Tour Newest IFA Ferry

IFA General Manager Tom Briggs standing next to name plaque from Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington, builders of the Stikine.
Photograph by Marie L. Monyak ©

Ketchikan: Chamber Members Tour Newest IFA Ferry By MARIE L. MONYAK - The members of the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce attending last week's luncheon on Wednesday were treated to a tour and delicious lunch aboard the newest Inter-Island Ferry, the M/V Stikine. Funded by federal and state grants and built by Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington, the Stikine cost $17 million; several more than its sister ship the M/V Prince of Wales. The higher cost of steel and additional features accounted for the difference in costs; the most noticeable is the enclosed bridge wings which will allow for safer docking and undocking. A third generator and more powerful bow thruster are the other upgrades on the Stikine.

The Inter-Island Ferry Authority (IFA) is a joint effort between Wrangell, Petersburg and four communities on Prince of Wales Island (POW); Craig, Klawock, Coffman Cove and Thorne Bay who formed a public corporation under Alaska's Municipal Port Authority Act. The goal of the IFA is to provide the much needed transportation between the island communities in Southeast Alaska. When the M/V Prince of Wales came on-line in 2002 it ran a scheduled route from Hollis to Ketchikan. Beginning May18th, the new M/V Stikine will operate between Coffman Cove, Wrangell and Petersburg thereby providing service to all the communities in the coalition. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

Alaska: Alaska lawmakers pass, repeal hike in oil tax By WESLEY LOY - House lawmakers Sunday night narrowly voted to increase the tax rate on oil to 21.5 percent, but rescinded the action a short time later.

The flip-flop reflected intense political maneuvering on a sweeping oil tax reform bill under debate in the House.

The bill, when it first hit the House floor Saturday, contained a 20 percent tax on oil company profits, the same rate Gov. Frank Murkowski proposed. The Senate passed a bill April 24 with a 22.5 percent tax rate. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006


Ketchikan: Quilt Raffle brings Women's Diagnostic Imaging Suite Campaign
$2,100 closer to its goal - Ketchikan General Hospital Foundation is $2,100 closer to meeting its goal to raise funds necessary to create a Women's Diagnostic Imaging Suite thanks to the generosity of three local quilters.

Quilt Raffle...

Patti Mackey held the winning raffle ticket for the quilt.
Photo courtesy KKGH

This queen size quilt was constructed by Shiela Kleinschmidt together with an anonymous Ketchikan quilter in 2005, and machine quilted by Mary Luther Goodwin in 2006. From the start, the project was intended to be contributed to a local or statewide fundraiser for breast cancer research or diagnostic equipment. "It seemed natural to donate this quilt to the hospital's foundation to supplement their fundraising efforts to establish a Women's Diagnostic Imaging Suite in Ketchikan" said local quilter Sheila Kleinschmidt.

The pattern is from "The Quilt for a Cure" Sampler Book by Marti Michell, renowned quilter. The original "Cure" quilt was made from a fabric line specifically manufactured for the quilt. A portion of the funds from the purchase of those fabrics go toward finding a cure for breast cancer. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

Ketchikan: Fire department must have rapid access to buildings during an alarm - "Fire Prevention and the prevention of catastrophic fire loss are two of our most important jobs here at the Ketchikan Fire Department," said Jim Hill who is the Assistant Fire Chief of the Ketchikan Fire Department.

Hill said, "As professional firefighters, we pride ourselves in our rapid response times and our thorough knowledge of hazards in our surrounding community. The fire we prevent may not only save the lives and property of our tax-paying public, but it may be the fire that injures or kills one of us." He said, "Over the years, thousands of people have died and there have been billions of dollars in lost revenue because of fire and its effects on the rest of the community. The City of Ketchikan is no exception."

"The fire department must be able to gain rapid access to buildings during an alarm," said Hill. "Failure to do so can cause delays in the discovery and suppression of hostile fires that could not only destroy a local business, but the fire could spread (especially in our downtown area) and cause catastrophic damage to the other businesses around it. The results would affect all of us economically as well as threaten the lives of our residents and visitors." - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006



letter School belongs to entire community By Karen Hollywood - Tuesday PM
letter Misconceptions By Doug Gregg - Tuesday PM
letter Responsible school board needed By Eileen Small - Tuesday AM
letter Taxes on oil By Alan R. McGillvray - Monday
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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Fish Factor: Larval crab from the laboratory to the wild By LAINE WELCH - Batches of baby king crab could soon be growing in Kodiak Island waters, and scientists will be carefully nurturing their growth and progress.

If all goes according to plan, the project will be the first in Alaska to advance larval crab from the laboratory to the wild. The crab will be hatched from ten Bering Sea females this fall at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery at Seward, a first for that facility which until now has only raised and provided spat for oysters and clams. By next summer, as many as 200,000 tiny king crab may be transplanted at Trident Basin, not far from downtown Kodiak.

"We'll be putting them in predator avoidance structures so the little critters won't end up as cod bait," said Brian Allee, director of the Alaska Sea Grant College Program, a sponsor of the project. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

Columns - Commentary

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on Saving Sussex (It's too late for Wales) - This in from Kingsport, Tennessee: A senior VP at Eastman Chemical Company worries that there are not enough skilled workers to replace a looming wave of retirees. Similar sentiments have been expressed elsewhere in the US, and across Western Europe.

And this, from Brighton, England: The Vice-Chancellor, or VC, at the University of Sussex has announced a plan to axe most of the chemistry faculty, and cease their world-renowned chemistry program. Similar actions have already been taken at the University of Exeter and in Wales at Swansea.

In response to these facts, a logical question might be "What's wrong with this picture?" But that's too cliché for me. My question is "Where's Waldo?" - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

John Hall: Politics, oil and dictators - The eight years after 1977 are remembered for many things, but some people are looking back on it as the golden era of American energy efficiency.

Congress found out it could set standards for fuel economy in motor vehicles and get dramatic results.

Then, when prices got lower as oil supplies increased, it found out the public would abandon conservation and go right back to guzzling gas. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

Bob Ciminel: Sometimes, We Get It Right - What do an abandoned coal mine and a nuclear power plant 75 miles away have in common? The answer is water.

Generating electricity requires a lot of water, about 25 gallons for each kilowatt-hour. The most common thermal electric generating plants (fossil and nuclear) are only about 35% efficient. What that means is a 1,000 megawatt power plant has to dissipate over 2,800 megawatts in waste heat to the environment. In world of thermodynamics it's called the law of "there is no such thing as a free lunch." I won't bore you with the details, so you'll have to push the "I Believe button" and take my word for it. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial: America's fighters deserve better than this - You're a 25-year-old staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve who lost a leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq. Back home, just as you've learned to walk on your new artificial limb, you get a notice saying you owe Uncle Sam $2,231 in disputed pay. The snafu takes 18 months to resolve, but not before a bad credit report prevents you from getting a home loan. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

Steve Brewer: 'Dumb list' for work-at-home crowd - I read an article recently called "Dumb Money Moves People Make" that listed stupid things you can do to wreck your home finances.

Most of the "dumb moves" centered on being careless with personal identification numbers or other financial information, leaving one susceptible to identity theft. Very good advice, but that wasn't what grabbed me. - More...
Tuesday AM - May 09, 2006

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