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Front Page Photo by Sherry Hassell

Good-bye Nordby Building
Once moved back 30 feet decades ago to make room for the road, the condemned Nordby Building is being demolished as Ketchikan moves forward with a new berth.
Date of photo: May 02, 2007
Front Page Photograph by Sherry Hassell

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Alaska: AGIA Team Discusses Must-Haves & Introduces Consultants; Releases White Paper & Prepares for Producer Media Blitz - Members of the State's AGIA (Alaska Gasline Inducement Act) team held a press conference today to discuss AGIA's must-haves and introduce natural gas pipeline experts who serve as consultants to the State of Alaska.

"Nothing in AGIA or the process of AGIA prevents the producers from developing gas this very second," said Governor Sarah Palin, who is traveling today. "They are not. After 30 years, at today's projected gas prices, Alaskans deserve to have reasonable demands. The days of low expectations are gone."

"The state's must-haves either protect Alaska's financial future, or Alaskans gas needs, or are procedural in nature," said Department of Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Marty Rutherford. "We know the producers are saying 'Don't use must-haves, let us tell you what you need.' To this day, we don't know which must-haves bother the producers. In all of our individual meetings with them and throughout public testimony, we have never been given the specifics of what they don't like - is it the jobs for Alaskans, gas for Alaskans, pipeline expansion opportunities?"

The twenty must-haves stated within AGIA fall within one of three categories: Protecting Alaska's Interests, Meeting the Needs of Alaskans, and Procedural. - More...
Thursday - May 03, 3007

National: BP executive admits company withheld documents By KEVIN DIAZ - A top BP executive has acknowledged that the company withheld key documents last year from lawmakers who were investigating whether cost-cutting measures were a factor in the pipeline corrosion that caused Alaska's largest onshore oil spill.

In a letter disclosed by congressional Democrats Wednesday, BP America Chairman and President Robert Malone also said that he's "troubled" by the extent of the frustrations expressed by oilfield workers in the period leading up to last year's North Slope oil spill.

Malone, who took over at BP America after the March 2006 spill in the Prudhoe Bay oilfield, said, "We need time to determine how the concerns and frustrations expressed by workers were ultimately resolved."

His letter, dated Monday, was released as leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed to postpone a hearing on the Alaska oil spill until May 16.

Malone asked for more time to prepare for the hearing after facing new questions from committee leaders suggesting that company scrimping might have compromised testing and maintenance that could have prevented the 201,000-gallon spill. Subsequent inspections turned up corrosion in another transit pipeline, leading to a partial shutdown of the field in August. - More...
Thursday - May 03, 3007


National: Bill would outlaw gas price gouging By LES BLUMENTHAL - With some analysts predicting gasoline prices could reach $4 a gallon by Memorial Day, Sen. Maria Cantwell is introducing legislation to outlaw price gouging in petroleum markets and set stiff fines and criminal penalties for those caught violating the law.

Similar legislation sponsored by the Washington Democrat was defeated on the Senate floor by three votes in late 2005. Cantwell said an informal vote count this time shows she likely has the votes to pass it.

"We need to be aggressive," Cantwell said in an interview Tuesday. "We need to pass a federal law to go after people who manipulate the market to drive up the price."

Cantwell has asked the Senate Commerce Committee to consider her legislation as soon as next week.

The average price of gasoline in the Puget Sound region, for example, is already nudging $3.30 a gallon. - More...
Thursday - May 03, 3007

National: Windmills: a source of energy but with some problems By LEE BOWMAN - Although thousands of giant windmills are generating power at wind farms in 36 states, a new government-sponsored environmental study says more attention needs to be paid to potential impacts on wildlife and humans as new complexes are built.

Commercial wind-generating capacity has quadrupled to more than 11,000 megawatts since 2000, enough to power more than 3 million average homes for a year. Yet wind turbines produce only about 1 percent of the nation's electricity.

President Bush and other wind-energy advocates think it's possible that wind energy could eventually meet up to 20 percent of the nation's power needs. But the study from the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science assumes that wind's share of the mix will increase to a maximum of 7 percent by 2020. - More...
Thursday - May 03, 2007

International: World has 15-year window to curb emissions, experts say By MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT - A panel of scientists organized by the United Nations says the world probably has only 15 years left to stabilize the growth in greenhouse-gas emissions and, at that point, will have to cut releases in half by 2050 to avoid extremely damaging warming of the planet.

The conclusion, contained in a draft summary of a report from the group of scientists known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says big cuts in emissions could be achieved through such steps as imposing carbon taxes, improving automobile efficiency and using renewable fuels.

The draft summary is circulating among environmentalists and was obtained by the Toronto Globe and Mail.

It says fighting climate change won't cost more than 3 percent of the world's economic output, or about $2 trillion. However, it also says many actions to reduce emissions would actually save money, such as switching to efficient lights - a step recently announced by Canada - because the reduced electricity bills more than offset the cost of the new bulbs. - More...
Thursday - May 03, 3007


Public Meetings

KETCHIKAN BOROUGH LOGO CONTEST COMMITTEE: The Borough Logo Contest Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, May 3, 2007, at 12:00 p.m. in the Borough Conference Room, 344 Front Street, in order to discuss contest submissions. The public is invited to attend.

Basic Rules

letter Response to headline: "Hospital fires temporary doctor" By Patrick Branco, Lorrie Mortensen and Kate Vikstrom - Friday
letter18,000 Alaska children have no health insurance By Rep. Les Gara - Friday
letter Acquiring Coast Guard Beach By Carrie Dolwick - Friday
letter School board conduct By Eugene Martin - Friday
letter Outrage By A.M.Johnson - Friday
letterIn Defense of Webb By Tom Ferry - Friday
letter "Getting" vs "The Buck Stops Here" By Charlotte Tanner - Friday
letter Ethics and Professionalism vs. Apology By Ralph Mirsky - Thursday PM
letter Serious questions about the missing $200,000 of Borough money By Anita Hales - Thursday PM
letter Some Mean and Short Sighted People By Jerry Cegelske - Thursday
letter Open Meetings By Michael Spence - Thursday
letter Letter of appreciation By A. M. Johnson - Thursday
letter Wilson Clinic and New Horizons By Patrick Branco - Thursday
letter Recycle Bins By Carol Baines - Thursday
letter A LONG OVERDUE THANK YOU!!! By Dugan Daniels - Thursday
letterWebb's Apology By Jason Moore - Thursday
letter Fiscally Responsible Goverment By Ed Fry - Monday PM
letter Apology By Carl C. Webb - Monday PM
letter Janelle Hamilton will be missed By Frances Natkong - Monday PM
letter Big Changes are Coming. By George Miller - Monday PM
letter Missing $200K By Hunter Davis - Monday PM
letter Does anyone remember... By James Gropper - Monday PM
letter Wilson Clinic and other names By Marcia Hilley - Monday PM
letter Re Immigration Reform By Mike Isaac - Monday PM
letterSerious questions about the missing $200,000 of Borough money By Mary Lynne Dahl - Friday
letter Immigration Reform? By John Maki - Friday
letter Re: Wilson Clinic By Dave Kiffer - Friday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Jason Love: Paintball - It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. My community lived in relative peace -- shopping, sunbathing, recreational surgery -- while in the hills of Simi Valley underage kids were being gunned down by paintballs.

I'm a pretty peaceful dude. If I were king, our troops would shower the Middle East with LSD until they all discovered oneness. There would be no Us and Them, just Brothers of the Blue and Green Marble.

"This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius..."

You can see, then, why I might balk at the idea of paintball, and by "balk" I mean make the sound of a chicken. Still I showed up at Paintball USA, where players poured in wearing camouflage and motocross helmets. I looked for, but could not find, Mad Max.

Mike Schwartz, owner of Paintball USA, Close Encounters, says that it's like playing G.I. Joe but in real life. I myself was into PlaySkool, and casualties were rare. Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down.

At the sign-in desk we found Art, head referee. Art would not divulge his surname but swears that he is not running from the government. Art, in fact, had the hyper-organized feel of a Green Beret and probably knows the truth about Roswell.

Art wasn't the tallest guy in town, but you got the feeling that should you cross him, he could skeletonize you by hand. Remember Vavoom from Felix the Cat? The one who started avalanches with his voice? That's how Art covered the rules.

Thursday PM - May 03, 2007

Tom Purcell: Exploiting the American Prom - Proms sure have gotten expensive these days.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, high school kids spend nearly $4 billion annually for dresses, accessories, flowers, beauty products, limos and other prom-related items. The average couple spends upward of $1,000 for the one-time event.

That got me thinking about my own prom in 1980.

I didn't know my date very well. She was in my photography class, pretty and, more important, available. We arranged a pre-prom meeting to get to know each other. We played tennis on a blistering-hot day, then headed back to her house for something cold to drink. After she berated her sister for drinking all the Tang, she turned her turret on me.

"I heard about you, a regular class clown," she said. "You better not show up in a limo, wear a top hat or cane or do anything else to embarrass me."

I knew right away things were going to work out fine.

Still, I wanted to impress her. I was running a stone-masonry business in those years and was making a lot of money for a kid.

I figured I'd use some of my dough to impress her.

I bought her the finest corsage in our high school (it cost $45, a lot of money then). I bought a box of frozen steaks, snacks and other refreshments for the after-prom party. But my investments turned out to be bad ones. - More...
Thursday PM - May 03, 2007

Clifford D. May: What the deep thinkers are thinking - For their May/June issue, the editors of Foreign Policy magazine asked 21 "leading thinkers" to propose ideas to "save the world" - or, failing that, to come up with "one solution that would make the world a better place."

Almost all the thinkers assigned to this task do their thinking at think tanks, universities and activist organizations. Is there nowhere else that sages can be found? I mean that as a question, not a criticism.

Foreign Policy's thinkers tackle a diverse list of dilemmas - from poverty to gender inequality to climate change to terrorism. I think their solutions range from the innovative to the far-fetched. See what you think:

Amy Myers Jaffe, a fellow in energy studies at the Baker Institute in Texas, notes that oil is no longer owned primarily by private companies. Instead, government-controlled oil companies "now command close to 80 percent of the world's remaining reserves." As long as we are dependent on these oil-baron states - e.g., Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Russia - they will have power over us.

Her solution: "shift the automobile fleet to plug-in, hybrid electric vehicles." The technology already exists, she says. We just need to get the cars on the road sooner, rather than later. I'd add: Abolish taxes on liquid fuels that can serve as alternatives to gasoline.

John Arquilla, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, argues that "nearly six years into the first great armed conflict between nations and networks"- global terrorist organizations - "the nations are still fighting the last war." - More...
Thursday PM - May 03, 2007

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