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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 11, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jim HIll

Diamond Princess First To Dock At New Berth-3
With Lt. John Goucher at the helm, the Ketchikan Fire Department
welcomes the Diamond Princess Monday - the first to dock at Berth-3.
Ketchikan Fire Department photo by Jim Hill

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


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 1st. The tax will go up by twenty cents on a pack of cigarettes, or from the current rate of nine cents per cigarette to ten cents. This increase is the final increase in a series of phased-in increases established by the legislature during a special session in June of 2004.

The tax increase legislation did not include a floor stock tax which means cigarettes physically in the state on or before June 30th will be taxed at the old rate of $.09 per cigarette. Cigarettes imported into the state after June 30th will be taxed at the new rate of $.10 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.

The tax rate on cigarettes manufactured by nonparticipating manufacturers, those who did not sign the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), will increase from $.1025 per cigarette ($2.05 per pack of twenty) to $.1125 per cigarette ($2.25 per pack of twenty).

The Tax Division deposits cigarette tax revenue into both the School Fund and General Fund. The School Fund receives $.038 per cigarette. The remainder of the cigarette tax, including the entire amount of the cigarette tax increases passed during the special legislative session is deposited in the General Fund. In addition, the legislature may appropriate 8.9% of the receipts deposited in the General Fund to the Tobacco Use Education and Cessation Fund for tobacco cessation programs. - More...
Monday - June 11, 2007

Alaska: An environmental showdown over proposed Alaska road By KEVIN DIAZ - It's only a short hop by plane from the remote Alaska Peninsula fishing outpost of King Cove to the World War II-era airfield at Cold Bay, Alaska's third-longest airstrip.

If only the weather would cooperate, which much of the time it doesn't. Eleven have died on the treacherous air route since 1979.

Local villagers, searching for an overland route, have long been thwarted in their quest for a road -- not by the engineering challenges of the peninsula's mountains and wetlands, but because of the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge that blocks the way.

This week, in what could turn into the nation's next big environmental showdown, Alaska's congressional delegation will try to break the decades-long impasse with a proposed land swap: More than 61,720 acres of newly protected wildlife habitat in exchange for a seven-mile-long road easement through a narrow isthmus of the Izembek Refuge.

The land exchange would provide the first new wilderness area in Alaska in a quarter-century. - More...
Monday - June 11, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

People Watching
These two were spotted yesterday" people watching" down by the Creek Street bridge. The photographer said, "They were quite the tourist attraction."
Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

National: Immigration bill's demise suggests many OK with status quo By CAROLYN LOCHHEAD - The collapse of the giant immigration overhaul in the Senate might demonstrate that the dreaded status quo -- 12 million people living in the country illegally and more arriving each day -- is not really so dreadful after all.

The multitude of interests involved in the immigration debate -- business groups, ethnic lobbies, politicians in both parties and the American public -- in the end proved unwilling to yield enough to support the bipartisan compromise.

As California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who helped negotiate the failed deal, said, the current immigrant situation in the United States is a de facto amnesty. Even the most ardent advocates of a border crackdown concede that it will be impossible to apprehend and deport 12 million people living here illegally.

But as much as everyone complains about the situation, the enormous black market in labor operating openly in the United States serves the interests of many involved, however imperfectly. It is an amnesty without amnesty.

"Inaction, the status quo, is particularly helpful to employers of unskilled, undocumented workers, because they obviously aren't going to face the potential teeth of tougher employer sanctions," said Daniel Tichenor, a research professor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University and author of "Dividing Lines: the Politics of Immigration Control in America." - More...
Monday - June 11, 2007



Basic Rules

letter Alaskans getting the short end of the stick By Melissa O'Bryan By Melissa O'Bryan - Sunday
letter Senior Benefits by Rep. Mike Hawker - Saturday
letter The senior class of 2007 had a party and...... By Ardath Piston - Saturday
letter Congratulations By Cecelia Johnson - Saturday
letter Slobcard By Glen Thompson - Saturday
letter Leaving The Path By Ken Levy - Saturday
letter Airline's special sale By Charles (Chuck) Moon - Saturday
letterGood News for America By Mike Isaac - Saturday
letter TOP TAX RATE TOO LOW By Paul G. Jaehnert - Saturday
letter Immigration Bill By Peg Travis - Saturday
letter Land Use Density Limitations By Rob Skinner - Wednesday PM
letter Bars or jewelry stores? By Mellanie Isner - Wednesday PM
letter LOOPHOLES IN IMMIGRATION BILL By Byron Whitesides - Wednesday PM
letter YOU'VE GOT SLOBCARD - YOU DESERVE IT, USE IT! By Jerry Cegelske - Wednesday PM
letter Immigration Bill By Jake Jacobson - Wednesday PM
letter The Great Pronouncer By Mike Sawyer - Wednesday PM
letter THE BANK(S)? TO NOWHERE By David G. Hanger - Monday
letter Clean Up & Poster Contest By Jerry Cegelske - Sunday
letter Immigration Bill: An Open Letter By Byron Whitesides - Sunday
letter Borrow and Spend By Robert Rice - Sunday
letter More Excuses at UAS By Robert D. Warner - Sunday
letter RE: Top 10 Reasons to Live in KTN By Charlotte Tanner - Sunday
letter Top Ten Reasons for Someone to live in Ketchikan By Kayleigh Martin - Sunday
letter Bus #8 Students By Yeda Hicks - Sunday
letter Gas Prices By Andy Williams - Sunday
letter More Letters/Viewpoints
letter Send Your Letter For Publication To:


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 Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: An Airline Upgrade You Don't Want - Tired of sitting in a cramped economy class on a long plane flight?

Try dying.

It seems that an elderly woman recently died on a flight from India to London and British Airways upgraded her corpse to First Class.

This, of course, was a horrifying turn of events for the other first class passengers who paid somewhere around 250,000 Indian Rupees (about $5,800) for the privilege of not being squeezed in with the steerage, uh, economy folks.

On one hand, it seems very unseemly to even try to sympahize with a group of wealthy people who are "inconvenienced" by what is truly a tragedy to someone else's family.

But on the other hand, you have admit that waking up from an in-flight nap to find that there is a deceased person in the next seat has got to be a pretty gut wrenching experience. - More...
Saturday - June 09, 2007

Bill Steigerwald: Why Not A Global Free Market For Workers? - No one really expected the bipartisan compromise reform bill that President Bush, Ted Kennedy and their allies assembled in the Senate to fix immigration.

The now-derailed "grand bargain" -- which most conservatives hated -- was, as Rudy Giuliani said, "a typical Washington mess."

It mixed a bunch of tougher border security measures and employer sanctions that would never be enforced with a bunch of drawn-out legal steps that would slowly but surely have provided amnesty for the up to 20 million illegal immigrants trespassing among us.

All of which begs the depressing question: Can we ever hope to develop a rational, humane, win-win immigration system that will allow millions of foreigners to come here to work or live (permanently or temporarily) without wrecking our economy or culture? - More...
Sunday - June 10, 2007

Michael Reagan: Pandermania On The Left - There's a little bit of the "gimmie" mentality in all of us, and it's that unattractive part of our psyche that demagogic politicians take aim at when trying to win our support.

The Democratic left wing (is there any other wing of that party nowadays?) is out in full hue and cry, hoping to evoke in the masses a deep yearning for whatever goodies the government can shell out. They think we all have our hands out and they strive to pledge to fill them with new and better government giveaways.

It's an interesting spectacle to watch as the various Democratic presidential wannabes try to move further left than any of their rivals in an effort to out-promise each other. Last week when Obama pitched his socialized medicine program, Hillary slipped around his left side with her Marxist solutions for every imaginable problem known to humankind (oops, I almost said the M word - mankind). - More...
Sunday - June 10, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Senate stalls, problem remains - Last month, a bipartisan group of senators emerged from weeks of meetings to announce a "grand bargain" on immigration reform. Their fellow senators didn't find it so grand, and on Thursday night the chamber fell 15 votes short of even agreeing to bring the bill to a final vote.

The defeat was an embarrassing rebuff for President Bush, made more so because it was administered by his own party. It was a victory only for those who are comfortable with the status quo on immigration for another couple of years.

The longer reform remains in limbo the less likely it is to pass before the 2008 election. And the Senate isn't even the biggest hurdle; immigration reform is much more controversial in the House.

For the moment, U.S. immigration policy consists of building more walls and barriers and hiring more border agents. But even support for that is likely to wane without the help of lawmakers who favored border barricades only as part of an ultimate broader reform. - More....
Sunday - June 10, 2007

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