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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 24, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Cause of House Fire Still To Be Determined
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Ketchikan: Cause of House Fire Still To Be Determined by DICK KAUFFMAN - Throughout the day Friday officials were still investigating the cause of the fire at 618 Front Street which destroyed an unoccupied house Thursday afternoon. The home is owned by Jack Shay of Ketchikan.

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The Ketchikan Fire Department (KFD) responded to the fire call along with the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department and the South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department. The KFD received the call around 4 pm Thursday. The fire was under control within a couple of hours. According to the Ketchikan Fire Department, some of the windows blew out and firefighters had to also break windows to fight the fire.

The location of the building made it difficult to get firefighting equipment to the home. Firefighters had to walk up a board walk to get to the fire scene. According to Fire Chief David Hull of the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department, to provide water to fight the fire a 3 inch fire hose was stretched nearly 600 feet up the board walk and then split into two smaller 1 3/4 inch attack lines. He said the rear of the house was not readily accessible to the firefighers from the front. - More...
Saturday - June 24, 2006

Ketchikan - Statewide: Feds won't sanction Alaska over teacher qualifications By SitNews - Alaska will not face sanctions or have conditions placed on its federal grant that helps teachers become highly qualified, the U.S. Department of Education said this month.

Last month, federal education officials told Alaska and several other states that conditions might be placed on a federal grant if the states did not meet all the requirements of implementing the highly-qualified-teacher provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act.

According to the Alaska Department of Education, Alaska receives about $14 million a year in the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, which it disburses to school districts statewide to help teachers demonstrate that they are highly qualified to teach their subjects.

In response to the federal concerns and with the assistance of school district staff, officials of the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development moved quickly to provide the U.S. Department of Education with data from the 2005-2006 school year about the number and percentage of classes taught by highly qualified teachers in Alaska's eight largest districts. The data included special education teachers of core academic subjects, as the federal agency had requested.

On June 16th, the U.S. Department of Education said it is satisfied with Alaska's preliminary data and will not impose sanctions.

According to an Alaska Department of Education's Information Officer Eric Fry, preliminary data from eight large school districts, representing 75 percent of classes in the state, show that the percentages of classes taught by highly qualified teachers range from 62.5 percent to 98.7 percent. Fry said the eight districts are Anchorage, Kenai, Mat-Su, Juneau, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Kodiak, and Sitka. - More...
Saturday - JUne 24, 2006


National: The interstate highway system at 50 By MICHAEL CABANATUAN - Fifty years ago from a hospital room, President Dwight Eisenhower changed America with a flick of his wrist, sending it speeding down an on-ramp toward the future of an automobile-oriented society.

In signing the bill that created the nation's interstate highway system, Ike not only kick-started a nationwide freeway construction boom. He also fueled the country's then-burgeoning car culture, which helped drive family car vacations, suburban sprawl, long-distance commutes and frontage-road commercial districts laden with fast-food franchises and chain motels.

"It was no less than the rearrangement of the ways people live their lives," said Owen Gutfreund, director of the urban studies program at Barnard College in New York and author of "20th Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape." - More....
Saturday - June 24, 2006

National: Social Security reform may not be dead after all By MARY DEIBEL - So you thought President Bush's plan to overhaul Social Security with private accounts was dead?

After all, his top second-term priority went nowhere last year when almost all sides disliked the plan the more Bush explained it. And nothing has happened since his 2006 State of the Union call for a bipartisan task force to tackle the long-term solvency of Social Security and Medicare in the face of 76 million baby boomers' retirements.

Yet restructuring Social Security lives on as an issue:

- New Bush chief-of-staff Josh Bolten, in a series of press interviews, stressed his interest in paving the way for a renewed push on Social Security and Medicare. He says there's a "keen appreciation around here" of the need to count on more than Republican votes to pull off major changes to both programs. - More...
Saturday - June 24, 2006

Natonal: Speed bumps on the information highway By TOM ABATE - In this age of information, wealth and ideas flow through wires and cables just as wheat, iron and other goods once traveled over railroads and highways. Who controls today's digital thoroughfares, and whether they get to charge extra for safe and speedy passage, has emerged as a potentially defining debate for the Internet.

This issue is commonly referred to as "network neutrality," a slogan that leans heavily to one side of the argument. The debate centers on whether all Internet traffic should be given the same delivery treatment at the same price, as it has since the start of the Internet, or whether the companies that deliver the traffic to consumer's homes can charge heavy users more.

A major reason for the debate is the Internet's stunning growth - and the new uses to which companies and their customers are putting it. A system once used almost exclusively for e-mail is now eyed by businesses that want to send huge video files as large as 75,000 e-mails. The result is a growing traffic jam that threatens everyone's deliveries. - More...
Saturday - June 24, 2006



letter 4th of July fireworks By Steve Corporon - Saturday
letter Fed up with break-ins! By Mike Brownstead - Saturday
letter Coming to grips with our broken borders By Mike Harpold - Saturday
letter FIVE MINUTES TO SAVE A LIFETIME By Dennis Archambault - Saturday
letter Fireworks on the 3rd By Jackie Williams - Friday
letter 1931 Ford roadster By Lynn Claughton - Friday
letter Major newspaper sharing state "secrets" By Mark Neckameyer - Friday
letter Global Warming Jihadists were out yesterday in full force. By Marvin Seibert - Friday
letter Flags Across America By LeiLani Lake - Thursday
letter Marines and sailor charged with murder an outrage By Ash Gee'd - Thursday
letter Big Fan By Carl Thompson - Thursday
letter Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants By Tom Proebsting - Thursday
letter Political Stew By Walt Bolling - Wednesday
letter Strange Things are Done as Summer Fun! By Jerry Cegelske - Wednesday
letter Every ecosystem IS a petri dish By Dr. Ann Hupe - Wednesday
letter Free Electronics Recycling this Friday and Saturday By Gregory Vickery - Wednesday
letter National Education Assn: Annual Convention By A. M. Johnson - Wednesday
letter Grandma Hjorteset By June Allen - Tuesday
letterFireworks on the night of July 3rd? By Tom LeCompte - Monday
letter Structure Fire and Firefighter Training Exercise By Chief Scott R. Davis - Monday
letter Cut fuel use and curb population By John Seager - Monday
letterThe flip side of the gas contract; Are we looking at both sides now?  By Sen. Kim Elton - Monday
letter Ketchikan Baseball By Neil Gray - Monday
letter Ketchikan becomes a large Petri dish in the summer.... By Robert Glenn - Monday
letter "Sometimes nothing is really something" By Wayne "Buzz" Allen - Monday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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June 2006
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Alaska: Governor Calls Second Special Session - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski is calling the Alaska Legislature into special session beginning July 12, 2006 to consider his proposals to revise oil production taxes and amend the Stranded Gas Development Act.

"We have two main objectives on which we are working with legislators in this special session," Murkowski said. "We want the oil production tax revised because we are losing $3.2 million each day under the current tax regime. And we would like the Legislature to give us the authorities we need under the Stranded Gas Act to return to the negotiating table with the producers and seek revisions to the contract." - More...
Saturday - June 24, 2006

National: Survey finds a billion doctor visits By LEE BOWMAN - Americans went to the doctor more than a billion times in 2004, only slightly less often than they went to the movies, according to government surveys released Friday.

There were more than 1.1 billion visits to doctors' offices and hospital emergency and outpatient departments, or an average of 3.8 visits for every man, woman and child, according to reports issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By contrast, the motion picture industry reported 1.51 billion movie tickets sold in 2004; the meat industry, about 38 billion hamburgers consumed. - More...
Saturday - June 24, 2006

Washington Calling: Rummy on a rampage ... vacationing at home .. more items By LANCE GAY - Over the bitter objections of the Pentagon, Congress is putting together plans to elevate the head of the National Guard to a four-star general and make him a sixth member of the exclusive Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The proposal has bipartisan support in Congress after the Hurricane Katrina debacle. Lawmakers contend deploying National Guard troops would have been done more speedily if prior approval from sundry Army panjandrums had not been required. Marines, once an arm of the Navy, got their representative as one of the masters of the universe so the National Guard deserves one as well, the argument goes.

Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is adamantly opposed to the idea, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was perfectly dyspeptic when the senator personally broached the idea to him.


It looks like tapped-out consumers facing higher interest rates, higher gasoline prices and higher airplane ticket prices are planning to vacation close to their McMansions.

A Conference Board survey forecasts a slow tourist season. The business group finds fewer families are using the Internet this year to map out their vacation plans and says vacation intentions are at a two-year low. - More...
Saturday - June 24, 2006

Week In Review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Eight Americans charged in shooting death of Iraqi man

Seven Marines and a Navy corpsman were charged with murder Wednesday in the shooting death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, an Iraqi killed April 26. The troops entered the town of Hamdania, west of Baghdad, in a search for insurgents. When they did not find anyone to arrest, the men allegedly pulled the unarmed Awad from his home, randomly, and shot him. Authorities said they also planted a shovel and a Russian-made AK-47 rifle near Awad's body to make it appear he was an insurgent setting explosives. The eight could face the death penalty if convicted.

Top former Bush official convicted in Abramoff scandal

A federal jury in Washington on Tuesday convicted David Safavian, the top procurement officer in the Bush administration, of lying and obstruction of justice for covering up his dealings with fallen super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. During the eight-day trial, prosecutors said Safavian provided insider information to Abramoff in exchange for lavish trips, including a round of golf at world-famous St. Andrews in Scotland. The verdict makes Safavian the highest-ranking federal official convicted in the scandal so far.

Bodies of two U.S. soldiers recovered in Iraq

The bodies of two Army privates were recovered Tuesday after they were missing for four days following an insurgent attack on their guard post at a hydraulic bridge over a Euphrates River canal south of Baghdad. Iraqi officials said the insurgents tortured Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., before beheading them. Thousands of U.S. forces searched the neighborhood in hopes of recovering the men. A third man, Spc. David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Mass., died in the attack. - More...
Saturday - jUne 24, 2006

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