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June 16, 2006
Front Page Photo by Robert Gustafson

Mahoney Creek
Front Page Photo By Robert Gustafson

Ketchikan: PSSA Makes Living 'Off-the-Grid' More Comfortable By DICK KAUFFMAN - Living and working off-the-grid in remote areas of southeast Alaska has its challenges. However, with the development of a new Ketchikan-based company that provides independent power systems as well as fuel supplies, living and working in remote areas has become more comfortable.

PSSA Makes Living 'Off-the-Grid' More Comfortable
PSSA's vessel Spirit delivering fuel to Mink Bay
Photograph courtesy PSSA

Andrew Spokely, Vice-President of Power Systems & Supplies of Alaska (PSSA), spoke before the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce on June 7th about how this new company is meeting the needs of those who choose to live in remote areas in southeast Alaska. Before beginning his presentation, Spokely introduced his father and president of PSSA, David Spokely.

Prior to the development of the idea to form PSSA, father and son had researched and learned about powers systems said Andrew Spokely. There was a need behind the research, as David Spokely owned a place in a remote area around Moser Bay where there was no power source. Andrew Spokely said they later decided they would like to share what they had learned about power sources with others and decided to form their own outfit and supply solar panels, battery banks and other power supplies.

Thus the original intent to form the company, Power Systems & Supplies of Alaska, was born - to help homeowners in remote locations put together power systems such as batteries, solar panels, and inverters.

Spokely said, "Once we formed the company and spoke to potential customers, we realized that their biggest concern wasn't the solar panels or inverters, but was how to get fuel to supply their heating needs and the generators they already had." - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

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


National: House debates Iraq war By MARGARET TALEV - The House of Representatives on Thursday began its first formal debate on the Iraq war since the 2003 invasion, with GOP leaders saying Congress must restate its support for the mission and Democrats accusing Republicans of rigging the debate.

As the House argued, the Senate quickly brought up and shut down a proposal to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by year's end, a move engineered by Republicans to embarrass Democrats in that chamber.

In the House, a non-binding resolution, which lawmakers are not being permitted to amend, came up for discussion as the Pentagon announced a milestone of 2,500 U.S. troops killed in Iraq. The resolution could be voted on Friday.

The resolution may be politically difficult to oppose because it expresses the conviction the United States will prevail in a global war against terrorism, honors troops, and supports a free and safe Iraq.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who visited Iraq at the start of this month, said, "I came from Iraq believing even more strongly that it is not enough for this House to say, 'We support our troops.' To the men and women in the field, in harm's way, that statement rings hollow if we don't also say we support their mission." - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

National: Divisions among Democrats test Pelosi as leader - House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's ability to hold her caucus together is being tested as internal party disputes over war, ethics and its own leadership erupt into public view.

In an extraordinary show of toughness against one of their own members, Democrats voted 99-58 Thursday evening to strip Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat from New Orleans accused of accepting bribes, of his seat on the Ways and Means Committee. The vote allows Democrats to maintain that they do not tolerate impropriety, yet the sanction already has placed a strain on the caucus.

Pelosi has presided over a period of remarkable unity among members of a party not traditionally known for its harmony. Though critics warned when she became leader three years ago that a San Francisco liberal would encounter troubles leading a national party, the fault lines have not ruptured along traditional liberal-conservative lines, a friction to which Pelosi has paid careful attention.

Several factors have brought attention to party differences: members flexing their muscles during this week's debate over Iraq, black members complaining about efforts to oust Jefferson and a surprise bid for the No. 2 House leadership slot by a Pelosi ally.

Pelosi has personally involved herself in each of the disputes, and outside of Capitol Hill has so far kept them relatively low-profile affairs. - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006


Alaska: Sounds of Denali (and lack thereof) in park plan By NED ROZELL - Chad Hults hears everything in Denali National Park-a lonely sparrow singing on Ruth Glacier after a windstorm, the voices of climbers at Denali base camp, the thunder of glacial streams after a long winter, and the whine of millions of tundra mosquitoes.

Sound of Denali...

A microphone system set up near Broad Pass as part of Denali
National Park's soundscape monitoring.
Photo credit: Chad Hults

Hults, a physical scientist at Denali National Park, monitors the "soundscape" with microphones he places in various spots within the six-million acre park. National parks across the nation now include sounds, or lack of them, as resources the Park Service should protect.

"At Denali, the sounds of wolves howling, marmots whistling, white-crowned sparrows singing, water rushing through streambeds, wind in the aspen trees, and absolute stillness and quiet are among the natural sounds that are potentially impacted . . .", park managers wrote in Denali's backcountry management plan of January 2006.

About six years ago, former Denali ecologist Shan Burson started setting out microphones in the park as part of a national effort to monitor sounds in parks. At Denali, backcountry hikers had used visitor comment forms to complain about noises in the park, mostly from flightseeing aircraft.

"The noise is something like camping on a flight path," wrote one backpacker.

Five companies with permits to land on glaciers within the park did so about 9,000 times in 1999. Landings per year increased to about 15,000 by 2005. - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

Alaska: Citations grow as garbage feeds Alaskan bears By PETER PORCO - A growing number of Anchorage homeowners are finding themselves slapped with $110 citations for luring bears with their garbage.

As of Thursday, state biologists and Anchorage police had written about 15 citations this year, including one "pending" in Ocean View because the person fled in his truck before the ticket was handed to him, authorities said.

The fines are coming in bunches. Since last Friday, biologist Rick Sinnott of the state Department of Fish and Game has issued at least nine tickets. - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

Everyone has to commit...

Everyone Has to Commit
Nurse Manager Bev Crum and Nurse Norma Burton discuss
a patient medication list.

Ketchikan: Everyone Has to Commit; Medication Reconciliation Success in SE Alaska Region - When asked about medication reconciliation, Dr. Ernie Meloche jumps in the air and claps his hands with joy. As an emergency room physician at Ketchikan General Hospital, he understands the value of this process to help him provide the best patient care. Dr. Meloche can depend on the list because every ER nurse participates in updating medications. "Everyone has to commit, so I can trust," he says.

The ER team at Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) began updating patient allergies in LastWord about a year ago. They expanded that to full medication reconciliation early this year in response to JCAHO safety goals and the 100k Lives Campaign.

According to RN Wanda Sonnenburg, computers at the bedside make the process easier and more complete because they can enter medications directly into LastWord rather than writing them on paper. Nurses Jessi Pilcher RN and Jason Harris RN agree. They used to handwrite only the medication name, but by using LastWord, nurses record all information including dose, route, and frequency. - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

Ketchikan: KGH Joins IHI in Celebrating 100k Lives Campaign Successes - As the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) celebrated saving an estimated 122,300 lives across the country through its 100k Lives Campaign, Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) announced that its own efforts in conjunction with the program have dramatically improved its quality of care locally.

"The campaign was embraced by our caregivers, and though we were already accomplishing most of these interventions, 100K gave us the incentive to formalize them and carry them out in every single case. We are thrilled to be a part of this heartwarming success story," said Patrick Branco, KGH CEO. - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006



letterHappy Father's Day By Bob Ciminel - Sunday
letter New Agenda for the Democrats - Ideas, not Policies By Tom Proebsting - Sunday
letter Have A Happy, Healthy Tourist Season By Marie L. Monyak - Saturday
letter Why?Why?Why? By Joan Hurilman - Friday
letterHistoric Ketchikan Article By Dave Kiffer - Friday
letter Open Letter to the Ketchikan School Board By Shelley Stallings - Thursday
letter Peter York By Gigi Pilcher - Thursday
letter Baseball & Ketchikan's Volunteers By Travis Sharp - Thursday
letter Visiting Ketchikan By Sherry Freeman - Thursday
letter Thou Shalt not Disagree By Alan Lidstone - Thursday
letter Environmentalists Messed Up By Robert McRoberts - Thursday
letter Eminent Domain-Give Me Back My Property, Dude! By Tom Proebsting - Thursday
letterAvian Flu and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness By Jim Hill - Wednesday am
letter School Board members are interested By Tom LeCompte - Wednesday am
letterPlease support Mr. Eklund By Connor Pihl - Wednesday am
letter Global Warming By Marvin Seibert - Wednesday am
letter Consider ramifications of supporting actions of superintendent By Wendy Gierard - Tuesday
letter An awesome principal!!! By Rhonda Bolling - Tuesday
letter Peter York - A life well lived and appreciated By Lynne Miller - Tuesday
letter A capable administrator; A valuable asset By Doug Edwards - Tuesday
letter Let's stay focused on keeping good people in the right positions By Peter Bolling - Monday
letter A fair process is not limited to private meetings By Susan Doherty - Monday
letter Let's stick to the FACTS, ISSUES and PROCESS By Karen Pitcher - Monday
letter Baseball By Justin I. Williams - Monday
letter Hello from Kanayama! By Bonnie Sullivan - Sunday
letter Is America Veering to the Left? By Tom Proebsting - Sunday
letter A passion for baseball By Tracy DeBruler - Sunday
letter Facts? By Rob Thomas - Saturday
letter"Concerned Horde of Citizens" then as now By A.M.Johnson - Saturday
letter "Veiled" threats By Rick Krueger - Saturday
letter Re: What Are They Thinking...Kiffer By Bobbie McCreary - Saturday
letter Mean-spirited, public apology owed By Gigi Pilcher - Saturday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Ketchikanites, Ketchikanians, Rainbirds, Wet Heads? - A while back I was at a gathering and someone stood up and addressed the group as "my fellow Ketchikanites."

When he said "Ketchikanites" it sounded - due to all those k's and t's - like a furball being coughed up.

That got me thinking. Is there a better way to describe the collective noun that is us? What do you call a group of local residents?

The only other name that comes to mind would be "Ketchikaners" and that doesn't sound a whole lot better. I suppose you could also try "Ketchikanians" but doesn't seem to work very well either.

What do you think? - More...
Saturday - June 17, 2006

Betsy Hart: Whoever said kids are supposed to make parents happy? - "Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?" Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert asks in Time magazine this week in anticipation of Father's Day on Sunday.

Gilbert eventually arrives (well, sort of) at the right answer: It's the wrong question to ask.

But it's the perfect question for our "all about me" culture. Isn't everything I do in life supposed to make "me" happy - right now?

Gilbert writes that psychologists have found that people are less happy when they are interacting with their children than when they are doing a variety of other activities, like eating or shopping.

Gee, do ya think?

In fact, "an act of parenting makes most people about as happy as an act of housework." - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

John Hall: No strings commitment - In his surprise visit to Baghdad last week, President Bush extended his commitment to the new government in Iraq indefinitely and asked for very little in return.

The president indicated on his return no immediate plans to remove any of the 132,000 troops from Iraq. He said he had stood firm in his commitment and was determined not to be defeated in Iraq by the "international jihadist movement."

For Iraq's newly installed prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, this meant that all he had to do to keep U.S. troops on his soil last week was to extend his hand, shake Bush's and smile. Bush asked him to "set an agenda" and "do some hard things," but he didn't get much more specific than that.

On his return, the president said he had won a vague promise from al-Maliki to make things better for Iraq's discontented Sunni minority. - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

Marsha Mercer: Time and tide wait for politicians - Heaven help the metaphor that wins the favor of a politician in an election year. It never gets a rest.

As Henny Youngman might say, take the tide, please!

From the mouths of politicians, tides turn, rise, surge, spread and are being rowed against. The tide is in.

President Bush often talks about the tide turning in Iraq, where his critics see nasty cesspools. In politics, it's all in the metaphor.

"The tide is turning" is one of those phrases like "we'll stand down when the Iraqis stand up" that say less than meets the ear. What constitutes "standing up," anyway?

The stand-down-up phrase leaves the impression there will be an observable moment when Americans can leave Iraq with a good conscience. But if, as Bush now says, the violence in Iraq isn't going away ever, how will we know when Iraqis have stood up? - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

Dale McFeatters: Facing up to the Iraq war - Although it did so largely for the wrong reason, the House finally held its first full-scale debate on the war in Iraq, culminating in a 256-153 vote opposing an arbitrary date for "withdrawal and/or redeployment" from Iraq.

The point of the exercise was for the Republican leadership to trap Democratic critics of the war into votes that could be used against them in the elections this fall. Republicans came armed with 74 pages of White House-supplied talking points and prepared to road-test such campaign charges as "defeatist" and "cut and run."

While partisan at times, the debate was far more serious than one might expect based on past rhetoric. In part, this was because of the somber milestone of the 2,500th U.S. military death. And in part it was because both parties - especially the Republicans - have an uneasy sense that the voters are no longer buying simpleminded rationales for the war and are starting to ask hard questions about what exactly we're doing in Iraq and how long we're going to be there doing it. - More...
Friday - June 16, 2006

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