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May 15, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Carroll Inlet Rainbow
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Alaska: Alaska villages count new money, await more from oil tax bill By ALEX deMARBAN - Alaska villages count new money, await more from oil tax bill By ALEX deMARBAN - One of the biggest capital budgets in Alaska history will keep several villages afloat another year, providing money to pay for such things as fuel, water and mounting debt.

Top Stories
U.S. News
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Hundreds of millions more dollars to reduce energy costs and build schools in rural Alaska may be added, if the Legislature passes an oil tax bill in special session.

Some appropriations came in a whirlwind of last-minute votes at the end of the regular session late Tuesday, leading to speculation that Alaskan Bush lawmakers supported the Republican leadership on oil taxes in exchange for rural projects.

It's true in a way, said Rep. Woodie Salmon, D-Beaver, who supported Gov. Frank Murkowski's plan to tax oil company profits at the lower-end rate of 20 percent. Rural Democrats representing some of the state's poorest districts, he said, are aware the governor can strike projects with a line-item veto. - More...
Monday - May 15, 2006

National: National Guard troops have been to the border before By LISA HOFFMAN - President Bush's imminent deployment of U.S. National Guard troops to the border with Mexico is far from the first time a commander-in-chief has sent a large contingent of citizen-soldiers there.

In fact, it is almost 90 years ago to the day that Guard troops were dispatched in the greatest number ever to the often-troubled region.

At that time, Mexico was embroiled in a civil war. Seeking to boost his bona fides at home as a warlord to be reckoned with, the legendary Pancho Villa staged a nighttime cross-border raid on the town of Columbus, N.M. Seventeen Americans died in that March 9, 1916, attack.

Outraged, President Woodrow Wilson ordered 10,000 Army soldiers to chase Villa and his bandits into northern Mexico. To back up the regulars, Wilson asked the governors of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to send National Guardsmen to help protect the border from other raids, according to Army National Guard's first official history, titled "I Am the Guard."

By May 11, 1916, more than 5,200 U.S. citizen-soldiers were headed for the border. As the crisis deepened, and Germany began to court Mexico as an ally, Wilson ordered a nationwide Guard call-up. In all, more than 158,600 Guard troops took up positions along the 2,000-mile demarcation line. - More...
Monday - May 15, 2006

National: National Guard troops pushing for more education benefits By MARA LEE - Before Lisa Linton signed on the dotted line for her underage son to join the National Guard, she asked his recruiter question after question.

"I thought I had covered everything," she said.

While her son, Kenneth Rich, 22, has been in Iraq, serving with the 163d in Evansville, she found out she hadn't.

Spc. Rich, like all soldiers in the National Guard or Reserves, can get money for college only while he's actively drilling. He chose to start drilling during his senior year in high school, and his six-year commitment ends in August 2007. Because he was deployed to Iraq and couldn't go to school this year, he won't have time to finish on the Guard's tab.

"I was under the impression that they would pay for four years of my son's college, period," Linton said. - More...
Monday - May 15, 2006

Jazz Night Concert

Jazz Night Concert Tuesday
Soundwaves Jazz Club performing in May of 2005
Photograph by Dale Miller; Courtesy McPherson's Music

Ketchikan: Jazz Night Concert Tuesday - Do you need to add a little fascinating rhythm to your step? Then all the rhythm you'll need to get those toes tapping will be provided to you Tuesday evening by several of Ketchikan's brightest youth jazz bands as they present their annual Jazz Night Concert.

Performing together each year, these youth jazz bands raise funds for a memorial scholarship that was established in the spring of 2000 in honor of Jerry Galley. Performing in the Jazz Night Concert Tuesday will be the talented youth jazz groups the Kayhi Jazz Ensemble, the Soundwaves Jazz Club and the Windjammers Jazz Club. Roy McPherson is the conductor. - More...
Monday - May 15, 2006

People of Ketchikan

People of Ketchikan

Senior Jesse Ball and his very strong date, Elizabeth Martinez, as she prepares to carry him off to the prom. Both Ball and Martinez attend Revilla High. They said they had the greatest night at the prom which was held last weekend.
Photograph by Michael W. Ball

Fish Factor: Crab rationalization program's first report troubling By LAINE WELCH - By design, the slower pace of a "rationalized" fishery is supposed to help preserve and protect the stocks. But that was not the case for the first fishery that operated under the new Bering Sea crab plan.

The industry received the troubling news in a report just released by state biologists titled: "Estimates of Red King Crab Bycatch during the 2005/2006 Bristol Bay Red King Crab Fishery with Comparisons to the 1999-2004 Seasons." The report concluded that data collected "provided no indication that the first fishery completed under the crab rationalization program achieved the goal of reducing bycatch and discarding females and sub-legal males."

Based on observer data obtained during last fall's three month fishery, an estimated 5.8 million king crabs were returned to the sea, or a whopping 68 percent of the total catch limit. Small male crabs made up the largest component of discards at 53 percent, while females accounted for 35 percent of the bycatch.

Even more troubling was the amount of legal sized male crabs that were tossed overboard - 20 percent of all captured, according to crab biologist Doug Pengilly with the AK Dept. of Fish and Game in Kodiak, who co-authored the report with biometrician David Barnard. That adds up to nearly 700,000 crabs, or 3.6 million pounds out of the 18.3 million pound catch limit.

A practice called high grading was a main driver behind the dump of market size crab. "The real correlate with whether a legal crab was retained or not was its shell condition," said Pengilly, referring to the new or old appearance of the crab shells. Many industry reports said the number of barnacle encrusted king crab was also quite high. Simply put, processors paid higher prices for better looking product and the result was wide spread high grading.

Fishery managers are also concerned about increased pot lifts in the red king crab fishery. "If more legal crabs are being discarded, that results in an increased number of pot lifts to get to the catch quota. That also increases the handling mortality of female and small crabs," Pengilly said. - More...
Monday - May 15, 2006


National: Liberty University speech threatens McCain's maverick image By MARGARET TALEV - From a Baptist stronghold in Lynchburg, Va., to New York's liberal Greenwich Village, Sen. John McCain is embarking on a marathon week of college commencement speeches that may foreshadow the challenges the Arizona Republican faces in positioning himself to run for president in 2008.

McCain's speech Saturday at the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg set off a debate over how much of a party maverick the senator really is, whether he will lose his appeal to independents later if he courts Christian conservatives now, and whether evangelicals would really rally behind a figure they spent years distrusting.

Already, McCain's fence-mending with Falwell has sparked debate among many students and faculty at two institutions in New York where McCain will speak next week: Ivy League Columbia College, where McCain's daughter Megan attends classes, and the liberal New School, where McCain's friend, former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, is president. - More...
Monday - May 15, 2006

Newsmaker Interviews: Unions Work to End Secret Ballot By BILL STEIGERWALD - Is the secret ballot on its way to becoming extinct in union elections?

It could happen if Sen. Ted Kennedy and his pro-union allies in Congress have their way, says David Denholm.

Denholm is president of the Public Service Research Foundation (, which is based in Vienna, Va., and studies the influence of unions on public policy. He says two similar bills -- S. 842 in the Senate and H.R. 1696 in the House -- have been introduced that would change the way union elections are conducted, and not for the better.

The legislation, introduced last year, carries the Orwellian name "Employee Free Choice Act" and has been picking up hundreds of co-sponsors and someday could become law. I called Denholm on Wednesday to find out what's going on.

Q: The Employee Free Choice Act sounds like something anyone could be in favor of, or applaud. What is it?

A: The Employee Free Choice Act -- I should say the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act -- would take away the right of workers to a secret-ballot vote on whether they wanted to be represented by a union. The normal process, the process established by the National Labor Relations Board under the National Labor Relations Act, is that the employees who want union representation have to petition for an election. That can be done by signing authorization cards. The cards have to be signed by 30 percent of the employees in what's called the bargaining unit, the unit of employees the union seeks to represent. Then the next step is for the NLRB to schedule and conduct a secret-ballot vote on whether or not a majority of the employees want union representation. That's the normal process. It's a government supervised secret ballot and there are some rather strict rules on employer and union interference in the balloting process. - More...
Monday - May 15, 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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Columns - Commentary  

Dave Kiffer: Warning: This Warning May Make You Crazy - I was at my favorite office supply purveyor last week, when I noticed something odd on the pens I was buying. They came with a disclaimer which read in part "please remove cap before use. Failure to remove cap will prevent proper operation."

Well, duh.

I made a smarty pants comment about it at the check stand and the award-winning customer service representative April replied "well, there's your next column."

Well, double duh on me!

A few weeks ago, I was reading a sleeping pill label (slow day!) and I noticed that amongst the warnings was that the product "could cause drowsiness."

One would hope so, but I like the fact they qualified it with a "could." Even a "should" was apparently too definitive. I assume they have been sued in the past by someone who was not drowsy while operating heavy machinery after taking a sleeping pill. Go figure. - More...
Friday - May 12, 2006

Dale McFeatters: NSA knows if you forget to call Mom - What else is the Bush administration not telling us?

It turns out that since shortly after 9/11 the National Security Agency has been secretly amassing the calling information of tens of millions of subscribers to three major phone companies, according to USA Today.

The three companies covertly cooperating with the NSA - AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth - are said to have an aggregate 200 million subscribers. A fourth company, Qwest, declined, insisting that the NSA first get a court warrant, which the agency refused to do, said USA Today. - More...
Friday - May 12, 2006  

Michael Reagan: GOP Better Hope "It's The Economy, Stupid" - A week before he died I asked Lyn Nofziger if the White House was arrogant or just plain stupid.

"Both," he said.

Nofziger was one of the nation's most astute political analysts and a White House aide my father Ronald Reagan greatly admired. If you need proof that Lyn knew what he was talking about, you need only consider the White House policies on illegal immigration, which are both incredibly stupid and incredibly arrogant. - More...
Friday - May 12, 2006  

Dan K. Thomasson: Democrats need to call for more than revenge - If you are one who believes returning control of the House to the Democrats this fall would bring some civility back to Capitol Hill, perhaps you should reassess your thinking. From every indication the venomous partisanship would not only not disappear but increase in ferocity, at least for the next two years.

House Democratic leaders have practically assured us of that as their prospects have soared, promising a series of investigations into President Bush's handling of everything from the conduct of the two wars, terrorism and Iraq, to formulation of energy policy. One senior Democrat, the seemingly perpetually angry John Conyers of Michigan who would head the House Judiciary Committee in event of a Democratic victory, is even openly talking about hearings to impeach the president. - More...
Friday - May 12, 2006

Steve Brewer: Some new disorders - Modern life drives us all a little crazy, often in unexpected ways, which means perpetual job security for the psychiatrists who give new names to mental malfunctions.

For shrinks, the bible is a book called the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV," or "DSM-IV," which details the assorted ways people can go loony. The latest edition is - no joke - 943 pages long.

As you can tell from that "IV," the "DSM" is updated every few years to include more of our delusions and dementias. In between updates, people in the mental-health field write long papers about illnesses they've discovered and argue over which should be included in the next edition. - More...
Friday - May 12, 2006

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