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May 28, 2007

A Tale of Two Cruise Ships: A Feature Story by Dave Kiffer

A Tale of Two Cruise Ships
Whatever Happened to the Rotterdam and the Polar Star?

Photo: Rotterdam V
Photo courtesy

CorrectionKetchikan: 2007 King Salmon Derby: Week One - Unofficial Results ...
Tuesday AM - May 29, 2007

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Ketchikan: A Tale of Two Cruise Ships; Whatever Happened to the Rotterdam and the Polar Star? A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - In the twenty-first century, nothing becomes obsolete faster than old cruise ships.

In earlier days of "cruising" it was not unusual for venerable liners like the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth to sail the oceans for decades. Now - in an time of on board climbing walls and ship-wide wi-fi - passenger liners seem to be outdated the minute their keels hit the water.

The era of "industrial" cruising also means that ship size also increases so rapidly that cruise lines are already planning newer, larger vessels even before vessels already in production are launched.

With that in mind, here is the story of two ships that were around when the Alaska cruise industry started to boom more than three decades ago.

Unlike many of their fellow ships, the Rotterdam and the former Polar Star have not been scrapped on the beaches of India or the Mediterranean, but only the Rotterdam - soon to become a floating visitor attraction in its namesake city - has a bright future. The Polar Star sits nearly abandoned in a West Coast harbor.

The Rotterdam in this story is not to be confused with the Rotterdam currently plying Alaskan waters. The current Rotterdam is the sixth vessel of that name to sail for the Holland America Lines and was put into service in 1997 to replace the aging Rotterdam V.

The fifth Rotterdam went into service in 1958. Writing for the Maritime-Matters website, cruise ship expert Peter Knego said that the Rotterdam is "arguably the most magnificent and well-preserved vintage liner in existence."

"Launched by Queen Juliana in a gala ceremony on 13 September 1958, and completed the following summer, the Rotterdam was the last great Dutch 'ship of state', employing the finest artisans from Holland in her construction and fitting out process," Knego wrote.

The nearly 750 foot ship made her maiden voyage from Rotterdam to New York on September 3, 1959 powered by twin turbines that churned out more than 38 thousand horsepower and moved the ship at a cruising speed of 21.5 knots.

Although Holland America Line initially used the ship for its trans-Atlantic passenger crossings, it became clear by the mid 1960s that the jet airplane was going to overtake the passenger ship as the primary mode to long distance transportation. By 1969, the ship had been converted to a full-time cruise ship and the accommodations - originally 665 first class and more than 800 tourist class - were converted to just under 1,300 cruise ship berths.

Even in an era when ocean cruising was considered a luxury, the Rotterdam was more luxurious than most ships. - More...
Monday - May 28, 2007


Fish Factor: Program tracks fish from deck to dinner plate By LAINE WELCH - Contaminants and chemicals... antibiotics and additives... growth hormones and genetic modifications - if "you are what you eat, " headlines connecting these phrases with foods have people more concerned than ever about what they are putting into their mouths.

A recent study by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) tried to quantify the impact that food scares are having on purchasing habits. The FMI survey found that consumers who were "completely" or "somewhat confident" in the safety of supermarket foods declined to 66 percent, down from 82 percent in 2006. That same year, 38 percent of Americans stopped purchasing a particular food in response to food safety concerns, compared to just nine percent in 2005.

Most recently, adulterated feeds imported from China have sickened and killed many pets. Feeds with the same ingredients have been widely fed to pigs, poultry and fish.

Is there any way to guarantee that what we are eating is safe?

Knowing where foods come from is a good place to start. A simple, affordable web based system called ScoringAg can trace any product's origin and journey in just seconds, assuring it comes from reputable suppliers.

"We can pinpoint ingredients, fish, crops, animals, containers, fowl - anything that might need to be traced, including machinery," said William Kanitz, co-creator of the one of a kind system that reduces record keeping to simply hitting a button and filling in data fields.

"ScoringAg can do a 'trace up' of who received the product, or a 'trace back' to where it originated, all within a few seconds," Kanitz said from his office in Sarasota, FL. "The system operates 'at the speed of commerce,' whether you're at the packing plant or on the farm or a fisherman out on the ocean."

Kanitz said his company is creating a program for Alaska Quality Seafoods that tracks fish from deck to dinner plate using text messages via cell phone.

The ScoringAg system, which meets U.S. labeling law requirements, is affordable to the world's poorest producers. The cost depends on how often it's used.

"The system is based upon the cost of reuse. It's very individualized and the more you use it the cheaper it gets. The initial cost is $10, and 55-cents per record or location," Kanitz said.

He added that ScoringAg is one simple tool that can help reassure customers that their food is safe.

"If I want to purchase something, I usually ask a few questions about it - is this stuff fresh and where did it come from. And that's what our system answers, all at the speed of Google." - More...
Monday - May 28, 2007


Basic Rules

letter We will do anything for our children EXCEPT... By Al Johnson - Monday PM
letter Jewelry Ring Conspiracy By Ken Lewis - Monday PM
letter Downtown business By Marie-Jeanne Cadle - Monday PM
letter Telling it like it is... By Kelli Murphy Mcloone - Monday PM
letter Disability access issues By Kevin Gadsey - Monday PM
letter RE: Newtown gets the shaft By Michelle Rosen - Monday PM
letter Honor the troops and bring them home By Charlotte Tanner - Monday PM
letter Gas Prices By Kevin Mackey - Monday PM
letter Maggie By Jim Burris - Monday PM
letter Jewelry store ordinance By Jessica Mathews - Monday PM
letter Fuel prices in Ketchikan By Marlene Thibert - Monday PM
By Bill Tatsuda - Saturday PM
letter Gas Prices By Carol Naranjo - Saturday PM
letter Newtown Gets the Shaft By Bobbie McCreary - Saturday PM
letter Honoring Our Nation's Fallen Heroes By Rep. Don Young - Saturday PM
letter Jewelry store ordinance By Rodney Dial - Saturday PM
letter Gas Prices....possible solution By Michael Branco - Saturday PM
letter Memorial Day By Sen. Ted Stevens - Saturday PM
letter CKF By Chris Elliott - Saturday PM
letter Jewelry Store Limitations By Neil Gray - Saturday PM
letter Memorial Day By Anita Hales - Saturday PM
letter Ketchikan school board has sure deteriorated By Geoff Brandt - Saturday PM
letter Rainiest cities By Robert Fruehan - Saturday PM
letter Rainfall in the lower 48 By Melissa O'Bryan - Saturday PM
letterWheelchair access By Liz Lybrand - Thursday PM
letter Superintendent Failed District Report Card By Mike Harpold - Thursday PM
letter Gravina Clean Up By Jerry Cegelske - Thursday PM
letter What's up with the gas prices? By Jerilyn Lester - Thursday PM
letter Newtown gets the shaft By Tom Ferry - Thursday PM
letter Keep the crap off the highway. By Robert McRoberts - Thursday PM
letter Maggie By Jennifer O'Connor - Thursday PM
letter Good Try Mark Neckameyer By Charlotte Tanner - Thursday PM
letter Rainfall in the lower 48 By Andy Williams - Thursday PM
letter Citizens for Ketchikan's Future By Chris Elliott - Tuesday
letter Be Careful What You Wish For -- Fewer Jewelry Stores? By Ed Purvis - Tuesday
letter Citizens for Ketchikan's Future - Right on! By Bobbie McCreary - Tuesday
letter Jewelry Store Initiative By Hunter Davis - Tuesday
letter CFK JEWELERY STORE ORDINANCE By Charles Edwardson - Tuesday
letter Citizens for Ketchikan's Future By Janet Engle - Tuesday
letter Jewelry Stores By Pattie Fay Hickox - Tuesday
letterPDQBach? By Judith Green - Tuesday
letter Superintendent Failed District Report Card By Brenda Loughman - Tuesday
letter Good try Jimmy Carter! By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday
letter "Mickey Mouse and Eisenhower" By Bob Harmon - Tuesday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Tom Purcell: For Memorial Day - The Veteran's Spirit - When he was told he had only weeks to live, his response was telling. He was calm and at peace. At 83, he told his children, he'd lived much longer than he expected.

He fought in World War II, after all ­ the "big one" as he called it. He described the terror he felt wading onto the beaches of Sicily as gunners tried to mow him down.

While driving a munitions truck along the sand one day, a German fighter pilot targeted him. He jumped behind his .50-caliber machine gun and began firing at the German. He hit the plane -- he saw its window shatter -- but the German managed to release his payload.

The bomb was headed right at him. When it detonated, he knew, it would ignite the munitions he was hauling. The explosion would be spectacular. He didn't panic -- didn't yell or scream. He thought only of his mother ­ the agony she would know when she learned her son had died in battle.

But the bomb was a dud. Recounting the story years later, he laughed at how it soaked him when it hit the surf. He laughed at how he'd survived his first scrape with death.

He survived three other invasions. In one, he took shrapnel to the back of his knee. He plucked out the hot metal and kept moving. - More...
Monday - May 28, 2007

Bob Ciminel: Goofing Off - It has been over a month since my last article appeared in Sitnews. I know many of you probably appreciate that, but there are one or two readers who actually look forward to my articles. I offer the lame excuse that I've been living out of a suitcase since mid-April. The wife and I took a long awaited vacation to Switzerland in April, and I came back to spend two weeks in Kansas on business. The trip to Kansas did have fringe benefits as I was able to spend a weekend with our newest grandchild in Council Bluffs, IA.

A lot has happened in the month-and-a-half I've been out of touch. It now costs a small fortune to fill the gas tank on the SUV. Both "USA Today "and CNN have gotten on board with the global warming hysteria. Empress Pelosi and King Reid finally allowed a military funding bill that President Bush won't veto to move forward in the House and Senate; however, as usual it is filled to the brim with pork that will not be used to "feed" our troops. Enough cynicism, though, let me tell you about Switzerland.

To say we rode a few trains would be an understatement; we rode trains everywhere we went. And when we weren't on a train, we were either on a bus or a lake steamer on our way to or from a train station. In short, we circumnavigated Switzerland, starting in Zurich and working our way clockwise around the country, with brief sorties into Germany via Lake Constance and Italy via Lake Locarno. We rode the Bernina Express, the Glacier Express, and the Golden Pass; slow speed cog railways up and down the mountainsides, and high speed trains that blasted through the tunnels burrowing beneath the Alps. I never thought I would say I was tired of riding trains, but by the time our trip was over I was tired of riding trains and actually looking forward to the nine-and-a-half-hour flight back to Atlanta. Oh, and it is true; you can set your watch by the departure times of the trains that ply Switzerland's rail systems. - More...
Monday - May 28, 2007

Jason Love: Norton Virus - It was a typical day -- chop wood, carry water -- when I got a pop-up from Symantec: "Your Norton virus definitions are about to expire. Renew now?"

I thought virus definitions went on forever like the giant tortoise or Dick Clark. Evidently, they have to be renewed any time Norton demands "payment."

The Internet was such a good idea on paper. Now we tiptoe through the day afraid of spyware and macros and worms -- oh, my. It's enough to make you become a plumber.

What do hackers get out of the virus anyway? They're not even around to enjoy their evil. It's like ordering a pizza to someone else's house:

"I'll bet they're opening the door right now ... I'll just bet ..."

Norton promotes itself the same way our government does: "malicious threat" ... "security risk" ... "buy this or die!" Norton is even now spreading new viruses should we fail to pony up. So it goes.

But we have to guard our computer, because that is where we store our brains. I myself wouldn't know to use the bathroom if it weren't for Office Calendar.

Have you ever walked in to find your computer thinking? What is it whirring about? Norton?

The whole thing was prophesied by the 1986 thriller "Maximum Overdrive," in which machines reign terror on B-rate actors. You don't believe that appliances have a life of their own? Then how do you explain the cords being tangled up when you get home?

You can't walk into a public bathroom without lights turning on and toilets flushing. One day we'll go to leave the restroom and hear a voice boom out behind us: "Don't you give your back to me!"

I clicked the Norton update button because it was either that or click the Norton update button. A moment later: "Norton has detected a newer version of your software. Upgrade now?" - More....
Monday - May 28, 2007

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