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May 22, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Point Alava Humpback Whale
Front Photo By Carl Thompson

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


Alaska: Alaska's Rep. Young promises reprisal for vote on Tongass By LIZ RUSKIN - The House voted Thursday to prohibit the Forest Service from spending federal funds to build new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest.

The Forest Service has lost an average of $40 million a year - and $48 million last year - to subsidize a dying logging industry that employs only 300 Alaskans, the sponsors of the measure said.

"Think of that: (for) every job, $150,000 in taxpayer subsidies for that one job," said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. He said he's all for logging "but not when the taxpayers are being ripped off."

The vote was 237-181. Most of the Democrats and 68 Republicans voted for it.

Alaska Congressman Don Young said he was "adamantly opposed to this sneaky amendment." - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Alaska: Alaska's congressman skeptical of global warming By LIZ RUSKIN - The world's leading climatologists may agree that burning fossil fuels is a significant contributor to global warming, but Alaska's congressman isn't buying it.

"I am a little bit concerned when everything that is wrong is our fault, that the human factor creates all the damages on this globe," Rep. Don Young said during a debate on the U.S. House floor last week. "That is pure nonsense."

Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin, suggested Young sounded like one of the "charter members of the Flat Earth Society."

The Alaska Republican was working to kill a statement in an appropriations bill saying Congress agrees that people are contributing to global warming and that carbon emissions should be limited.

Young said we need "a good study" and a debate among scientists. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Alaska: Cigarette Tax Will Go Up on July 1 - The Alaska Department of Revenue will begin collecting a higher rate of tax on cigarettes beginning July 1. The tax will go up by 20 cents on a pack of cigarettes, or from the current rate of eight cents per cigarette to nine cents. The increase is one of a series of phased-in increases authorized by the Legislature in 2004.

The tax increase legislation did not include a floor stack tax. Therefore, cigarettes physically in the state on or before June 30 will be taxed at the old rate of $.08 per cigarette. Cigarettes imported into the state after June 30 will be taxed at the new rate of $.09 per cigarette. These rates apply only to certain cigarettes manufactured by companies that are signatories of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), a 1998 agreement between 46 states and several major tobacco companies. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Ken Kiffer Retires....

Ken Kiffer Retires After Many Years of Volunteer Service
Photo courtesy NTVFD

Ketchikan: Ken Kiffer Retires After Many Years of Volunteer Service - Ken Kiffer, a charter member of the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department, will retire from his position as volunteer firefighter/EMT III with the department effective May 31st. Kiffer has been an active volunteer firefighter/EMT in the North Tongass area for many years. "Well more than he will admit to anyway," said Chief Hull. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Ketchikan: Let's Talk By VALERIE HENDEL - Imagine a group of adults and young people of various ages sitting around a table having a discussion. The picture shouldn't be an odd one yet it is. Now imagine a room full of adults and young people sitting around many tables and talking for hours. That was the picture on Wednesday, May 17th as sixty people gathered at Kayhi Commons for "Let's Talk!"

Let's Talk (Teens and Adults linking in Ketchikan) represented the first of a possible series of intergenerational discussions around the issue of teen drug use. The event was sponsored by PATCHWorks, Alaska ICE (Initiative for Community Engagement), and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District and was organized by Karen Eakes, Executive Director of PATCHWorks. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Match of the Month

Match of the Month
"Big Sister" Lu and "Little Sister" Janet
Little Moments, Big Magic.
Photo by Nancy Coggins

Ketchikan: Match of the Month Story and photo by NANCY COGGINS - If you thought only guys slapped High Fives, think again. There they were, "Big" Lu and "Little" Janet, enjoying a moment of connection, engaging in that familiar hand-slapping motion.

Lu meets Janet at school either to share lunch and recess, or later in the day to do projects together. They enjoy a wide range of activities from sports to drawing.

Favorite, shared sports at recess are playing basketball, doing pull-ups on the jungle gym, and running laps on the straight strip. On the jungle gym Lu and Janet play "shark" with her friends, and Lu admires Janet as she does her flips.

Their end-of-the-day projects have included watching Lorax on Dr. Seuss Day and following the progress of two Iditarod mushers, Jeff King and Mitch Seavey, on their trip to Nome. Yet one day turned out to be extra special for Lu because she went to hear Janet sing with the kids' choir as part of the Jazz and Cabaret program through First City Players. She said she felt such pride watching her (as if she were a member of her own family) -- "an amazing feeling." - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006


Fish Factor: Largest salmon fishery at Bristol Bay votes to tax themselves By LAINE WELCH - With a tally of 410 'yeas' and 297 'nays', fishermen from Alaska's largest salmon fishery at Bristol Bay voted to tax themselves to fund their own regional marketing group.

The vote, released Friday by the state Commerce Department, represents 38
percent of Bristol Bay's 1,865 drift net permit holders. It means that starting this summer, the fishermen will fund their own Regional Seafood Development Association (RSDA) with a one percent tax on their salmon landings. The tax could infuse between $700,000 and $1 million each year into programs and projects aimed at boosting the value of the Bay's salmon fishery.

"RSDA Bristol Bay hip, hip hooray!" was the reaction of Bob Waldrop, who for the past year has led a tireless team of interim directors in pushing for the regional group. Under state authority created in 2004, RSDA's can fund and create their own marketing programs, product development, new infrastructure - anything to boost the visibility and value of their region's fish.

Many state officials and industry insiders had predicted that there was "no way" Bristol Bay fishermen would ever agree to tax themselves to pay for the new RSDA concept. Fisherman and long-time industry advocate Robin Samuelson said he was "surprised and elated" at the strong showing.

"A 58 percent approval rating -that's a strong statement by the Bristol Bay fishermen," Samuelson said. "It shows they have faith in the fishery and they recognize the need for change. They are willing to pay to improve the quality and value of our salmon to a world class level. Now fishermen and processors can work together to increase prices and profitability for everyone. If you don't have top quality, you have nothing to sell." - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Ketchikan: The Arts This Week - This week in Ketchikan there will be auditions for The Fish Pirate's Daughter. Come join the cast of The Fish Pirates Daughter, a First City Players production, now in its 40th year of running. An original Ketchikan melodrama. Roles available for both men and women. Auditions are being held at the First Lutheran Church on Tues., May 23rd and Thurs. May 25th beginning at 6:30pm. Call the First City Players at 225-4792 for more information.

The Rubber Band performs their farewell performance on the Kayhi stage, Friday May 26. This local teenage band takes the stage at 7pm, doors at 6:30. Admission is free, donations gladly accepted. CDs on sale as well. Call 225-9815 for info.

Pedagogued features artwork by students, faculty and staff from the UAS Ketchikan campus on display now at the Mainstay Gallery, 716 Totem Way, below Yoga Haven through the red double doors. Display on through May 26th. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006



letter Time to return to the gold standard? By Peter Morici - Monday
"YES" on the Cruise Ship Ballot Initiative By Carrie L. James - Monday
letter Wrong about the "vigilante" groups By Erni Grace - Saturday
letter RE: New Guest Worker Program No Substitute For Cracking Down By David Levin - Saturday
letter New guest worker program no substitute for cracking down By Mike Harpold - Friday
letter Palin is Party's Brightest Hope By Lysa Maher - Friday
letter Computer Users Over 60 By Lisa Pearson - Friday
letter Guard Won't Solve Illegal Immigration Problem By Neil Gray - Friday
letter Ketchikan By Marvin Seibert - Friday
letter Paintball! Sunday May 21st! By Gregory Vickrey - Friday
letter Revilla High School was there for me. By George Jackson - Friday
letter National Security, Needles, and Haystacks By Alan Lidstone - Friday
letter Good job, Trixie! By Vicki O'Brien - Thursday
letter Life really is easy By Greg Harris - Thursday
letter AQUARIUM OF DEAD FISH By Robert McRoberts - Thursday
letter A winner of a plan? By Al Johnson - Thursday
letter War on terror with a border open By Paul Groh - Thursday
letter Illegal Immigration By Charles Mayer - Thursday
letter MORE ON THE AQUARIUM OF DEAD FISH By David G. Hanger - Wednesday
letterIsn't It Amazing How... By Jerry Cegelske - Wednesday
letterAn Open Letter on Illegal Immigration By Byron Whitesides - Tuesday
letter Pesticides found in Alaska By Carrie L. James - Monday
letter Republicans need to rely on more than Fear! By Robert Freedland - Sunday
letterPLEASE BE COURTEOUS!!! By Alan R. McGillvray - Saturday
letter Democrats need to call for more than revenge By Lucille Moyer - Saturday
letter A wonderful man By Anita Hales - Friday
letter ALS CAN STRIKE ANYONE By Linda (Teal) Kreider - Friday
letter Some things never go out of style By Chris Elliott - Friday
letter JOIN US SUNDAY MAY 21st - NEW PAINTBALL PARK By Bobbie McCreary - Friday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Columns - Commentary

Ann McFeatters: Facing a full-fledged energy crisis -The uh-oh letter came in a plain white envelope, no indication of the bolt of lightning inside.

It was from the electric company, announcing that the "average" residential customer's bill will increase 41 percent, meaning about $800 more a year. I am not average. My bill will go up about $1,500 a year - if I use no air conditioning at all this summer.

The letter explained that the "prices for the fuels used to generate electricity (coal, oil and natural gas) have all increased substantially in the past few years." Another increase is likely a year from now.

The company (motto: "We're connected to you by more than power lines") advises that the best thing to do is conserve energy in such ways as not wasting hot water, keeping the thermostat low in the winter and high in the summer, and turning off lights when leaving a room. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Dan K. Thomasson: Our unhealthy dependence on illegal workers - Here's something to ponder: If we manage to expel all the illegal immigrants from south of the border, who's going to build the fence to keep them out?

That in the old nutshell is the dilemma of today's society where tens of thousands of industrious but undocumented workers perform the chores most of our citizens can't or won't. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Marsha Mercer: What it takes to patrol the border - President Bush made it sound easy.

Send the National Guard to the Southwest border until 6,000 new Border Patrol agents are in place. A year or two, max.

But recruiting, hiring and training 6,000 Border Patrol agents in a couple of years is a tall order. In the 5 1/2 years since Bush took office, the patrol has grown by only 3,000 to about 12,000 agents.

Patrolling the border is tough, dangerous work in an inhospitable part of the world - and not just anybody can qualify.

Think you have what it takes to be a Border Patrol agent? - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

John Hall: Liberty or security - Although it depends on how the question is stated, people responding to public opinion polls usually choose security over liberty. That's the real post-9/11 thinking.

President Bush, the security president, has been doing a Bode Miller imitation, schussing haphazardly toward the bottom of the slope in these same surveys. It seems the people have gotten tired of him, but not of his eavesdropping policies.

An ABC/Washington Post survey found a substantial majority, close to two-thirds, unconcerned about news reports that the NSA had been secretly collecting long-distance phone records of tens of millions of Americans to analyze calling patterns in an effort to identify terrorism suspects.

When the story broke in USA Today, a cascade of predictions said it would undermine the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Hayden was head of the NSA when the Bush administration authorized it to use secret wiretaps without a court order to track al-Qaeda suspects in the United States and abroad. - More...
Monday - May 22, 2006

Dale McFeatters: House budget: Borrow, then borrow more - The Republican-run House has spared itself the embarrassment of being unable to agree on a budget by narrowly approving a blueprint for spending $2.8 trillion in fiscal 2007.

Even then it only passed in the wee hours Thursday on a promise to several GOP moderates that several billion in projected cuts in education and health programs would be quietly restored down the road.

And to get an acceptable number the House budgeted only $50 billion next year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - it's likely to be twice that - and leaving out the long-term costs altogether. It also omits the annual cost of capping the Alternative Minimum Tax.

The budget assumes future, politically improbable cuts in education and veterans medical care while scrapping for this election year cuts President Bush had asked for in such politically popular programs as Medicare, Medicaid and farm subsidies. - More...

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