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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 11, 2006
Front Page Photo by Marie L. Monyak

University Graduation Marks Sacrifices, Successes
2006 University of Alaska Southeast, Ketchikan Graduates
Front Page Photo By Marie L. Monyak©

Ketchikan: University Graduation Marks Sacrifices, Successes By MARIE L. MONYAK - The University of Alaska Southeast, Ketchikan Campus, held their commencement exercise this past Saturday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. The hall was filled to capacity with proud parents, family members and well wishers happy to show their support of the graduates.

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The beginning strains of Pomp and Circumstance signaled the start of the processional of cap and gown clad graduates to the stage. With invited guest speakers seated on one side of the stage and graduates on the other, Director of Ceremonies and Interim Campus Director Cathy LeCompte welcomed the guests and spoke briefly before introducing University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor John Pugh who offered words of wisdom and experience to the anxious students.

Special guest, University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton offered a brief congratulatory speech followed by the keynote speaker, University of Alaska President's Professor of Education Technology Jason Ohler. LeCompte aptly described Ohler as a storyteller and he didn't disappoint. As a professor of technology Ohler spoke with enthusiasm about what the future can bring. He began by saying, "I carry my cell phone on my belt everywhere I go. Twenty-five years ago, that was Star Trek!" Ohler continued, "You are pioneers, my charge to you is that you can no longer be closed minded." He spoke about the future of technology and jokingly told the audience that he would have liked to have been at the school board meeting many years ago when the decision on the table was if students should retire their slates and begin to use paper. Ohler compared that past scenario to a future one where a child would ask his parents for a new robot and the parental response would be; borrow your sibling's. The child's verbal volley would be that he can't because the robot is specifically programmed for its owner. Ohler's message was one of excitement and jhmna wondrous new future for the graduate provided they remained open-minded.

Board of Regent, Robert Martin was next to offer words of praise for the student's achievements ending with the maxim; "Someone once told me the best teacher is experience. Don't believe them, the best teacher is someone else's experience!"

The time had come for the conferring of degrees signaling the end of an academic year but a new beginning for the graduates. The cum laude designation signifies students in either the Associate or Bachelor degree program who have achieved a 3.5 grade point average while the magna cum laude designation signifies those who have achieved a grade point average of 3.8 or higher. The designation PTK indicates members of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. - More...
Thursday - May 11, 2006

Alaska: Governor Releases Natural Gas Pipeline Contract - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski Wednesday released the proposed contract between the State of Alaska and BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc.; ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.; and ExxonMobil Alaska Production, Inc. for an Alaska Gas Pipeline project. Speaking to a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature, convened for the first day of a special session to address gas pipeline related issues, the governor highlighted the merits of the gas pipeline project and the importance of acting now to move the project forward.

"In April of 2005, I outlined six principles that would guide this negotiating process," said the governor. "They included a fair share of revenue, state equity ownership in the pipeline, jobs for Alaskans, access to the gas for Alaskans and new explorers and an expandable pipeline. We have negotiated a contract that achieves all of those objectives." - More...
Thursday - May 11, 2006

Ketchikan's Bowl for Kids Sake
Event Raises Over $16,000

Team Bee Bop Boogie Bowlers
Photograph by Amy Lloyd

Ketchikan: Ketchikan's Bowl for Kids Sake Event Raises Over $16,000 By NANCY COGGINS - The Bowl for Kids' Sake event held in Ketchikan in April raised more than $16,000!

With more than 100 bowlers having collected pledges, fifty-two sponsors, including Campaign Sponsor Southeast Stevedoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Southeast Alaska (SEAK) is on track to bring even more caring adults into the lives of Ketchikan youth for 2006. Ketchikan will be able to fund 16 more matches of mentors with children in our community thanks to the efforts of the bowlers.

Ketchikan's Bowl for Kids' Sake event was a high-energy day for sponsors and bowlers alike. One participant exclaimed, "It was just fabulous to see how many Littles and Bigs took part."

She was right; the bowler turnout was great! There were some very imaginative bowling-team names: Bee Bop Boogie Bowlers, Burning Orange, Chamber Chargers, Different Strikes, Hot Shots, Little Rascals, Spunky Monkeys, Super Brothers, Team Union, The Admirals, The Boys, The Chicklettes, the Skinner Gang, and Havin' Fun! Then, the more traditional: Alaska Pacific Bank, Alaskan & Proud, First Bank, First Bank - Totem Branch, Ketchikan General Hospital, ReMax, RIPC, Safeway, and Wells Fargo. - More...
Thursday - May 11, 2006


Alaska: International team of scientists discovers new primate genus By MARMIAN GRIMES - In January 2006, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society were in the forests of Tanzania searching for a grayish, tree-dwelling primate that had been identified in photographs as a new species the previous summer.

Link Olson, mammals curator at the UA Museum of the North, and Kyndall Hildebrandt, UAF undergraduate research technician, are pictured in Olson's molecular lab at the university. Olson and Hildebrandt conducted molecular analysis of Rungwecubus kipunji in the lab.
Photo by Jonathan Fiely, University of Alaska Museum of the North

Half a world away, in a laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Assistant Professor Link Olson and undergraduate biology major Kyndall Hildebrandt were looking at DNA test results that pointed to an even more notable finding.

The monkey wasn't just an example of a new species; it belonged to a new genus.

"A new genus in any living mammal group is noteworthy," said Olson, who also serves as the curator of mammals at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. "Finding a new genus in the best-studied group of living mammals is a sobering reminder of how much we have to learn about the planet's biodiversity."

This is the first time in 83 years that scientists have identified a new genus of living African primate. A paper detailing the discovery is slated to be published in the journal Science on June 2, 2006 and appears today in the online edition of the journal, Science Express. - More...
Thursday - May 11, 2006

National: Deadline approaches for Medicare drug sign-up By LEE BOWMAN - A six-month roller-coaster ride for America's seniors concludes Monday - the last day to sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage without financial penalty.

About 10 million people likely will have signed up, meaning roughly 90 percent of the Medicare population will enjoy coverage from some source. It is a historic level of enrollment for a new government program, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

But the massive $1.3 trillion benefit has been a work in progress as bureaucrats have tinkered with flaws and struggled to assemble a competent workforce of telephone and in-person counselors able to guide thousands of seniors daily through menus of up to 40 possible plans.

Outside government investigators reported that they were given incomplete and sometimes wrong information from the 1-800-MEDICARE operators most of the time they called the hotline several months ago. Medicare officials insist the program has gotten better since then. - More...
Thursday - May 11, 2006



letter Guard Island Lighthouse By Rob Holston - Thursday PM
letter ALS Advocacy Day and Public Policy Conference By Linda (Teal) Kreider - Thursday PM
letter My experience at Revilla By James Llanos Jr. - Thursday PM
letter Emergency evacuation plan? By Laurie Price - Thursday PM
letter No to legalization By Starr Small - Thursday PM
letter Attitude Regarding Revilla By Eileen Small - Wednesday
letter Revilla Students Should Be Allowed Choice By Chris Elliott - Wednesday
letter Thanks For Helping to Keep Ketchikan Clean By Jerry Cegelske - Wednesday
letter THE ALASKA-CANADA BOUNDARY DISPUTE(S) ARTICLE By Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas - Wednesday
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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National: Tax cut bill delivers temporary relief By MARY DEIBEL - The $69-billion tax cut bill Congress plans to send President Bush by the weekend should save 18 million households from being hit this year by a parallel income tax originally aimed at the wealthy.

But the temporary patch in the Alternative Minimum Tax leaves open what happens to less-than-rich taxpayers it could trip up next year and as many as 1 in 3 taxpayers by 2010.

Absent 2006 changes, the U.S. Treasury estimates 22 million households would owe the Alternative Minimum Tax. As for 4 million taxpayers Treasury says paid it for 2005, they're likely to be caught again this year despite the temporary fix.

The bill's other centerpiece extends through 2010 today's lower tax rates for capital gains and dividends from sales of stocks, bonds and other assets.

Those rates, which had been scheduled to expire starting in 2009, are currently 15 percent for taxpayers in top brackets and 5 percent for people in the 10- and 15-percent brackets, or couples with taxable income of $59,400 and single filers $29,700 in 2005. Better-off taxpayers will be able to claim the 15 percent capital gains and dividend rate through 2010, while those in the 10- and 15-percent bracket will see these taxes drop to zero from 2008 through 2010.

Taxpayers who own stocks through retirement accounts don't claim capital gains and dividend tax breaks because their accounts are largely sheltered against taxation until the money is withdrawn in retirement, when it's taxed like pay as ordinary income up to a 35 percent marginal rate.

That's largely why the non-partisan Tax Policy Institute estimates that middle-income households would get average tax cut of $20 from this tax-cut package while 0.02 percent of households with incomes over $1 million get average tax cuts of $42,000.

However, middle-income taxpayers preparing to sell their principal residence stand to benefit, too, if their profit on sale of their home exceeds the $500,000-a-couple, $250,000-a-single-taxpayer exemption. Those limits can easily be breached for longtime homeowners and people in hot housing markets, says senior analyst Bob Scharin with professional tax publisher RIA.

The 4 million taxpayers who stand to get hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax again in 2006 should do advance planning with their investments, Scharin says, because capital gains and dividends can push them above the income thresholds for this parallel tax system. - More...
Thursday - May 11, 2006

Alaska: BP acts on fear of leaks in Alaska By WESLEY LOY - BP shut down two North Slope oil pipelines because of internal corrosion damage, halting the flow of 22,000 barrels of crude daily.

The shutdown follows the March 2 closure of a major Prudhoe Bay oil field pipeline that sprang a leak and spilled an estimated 201,000 gallons, or 4,790 barrels, of oil onto the tundra. Corrosion was blamed for eating a hole through the inner pipe wall, leading to the largest oil spill ever on the Slope.

The leak, which has drawn scrutiny from federal pipeline regulators, members of Congress and criminal investigators, prompted BP to conduct a flurry of extra inspections in the vast pipeline web across the North Slope oil fields.

However, those inspections were not what led to discovery of corrosion problems in the two additional pipelines BP is shutting down, said Maureen Johnson, a BP senior vice president.

Rather, it was BP's regular, long-term corrosion monitoring along the two pipes, each of which has well-documented corrosion problems and had deteriorated despite aggressive and expensive chemical treatments that add a protective coating to the steel pipe inner walls, Johnson said. - More...
Thursday - May 11, 2006

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