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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Friday - Saturday
June 15, 2007

Front Page Photo by Elizabeth Flom

Welcome Home
Sgt. Lisa Thompson returned home Thursday from the war after a year-long tour of duty serving in Afghanistan. Pictured with Sgt. Lisa Thompson is her husband, Carl Thompson.
Photograph by Elizabeth Flom

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


Fish Factor: Alaska salmon fishermen now officially classified as agricultural producers By LAINE WELCH - Alaska salmon fishermen are now officially classified by the federal government as agricultural producers. As 'farmers of the sea,' they can be included in various programs under the US Dept. of Agriculture's Farm Bill, The bill is revised every five years and policies established in this latest version will last through 2012. With a budget of nearly $95 billion the USDA is the nations' premier food agency, and as the many measures in the Farm Bill are tweaked this year by Congress, fishermen need to make sure their ideas and needs are included.

"Fishermen need to have parity with fish farmers in any kind of support or other programs," said Mark Vinsel, executive director of the United Fishermen of Alaska. "Another key component is Country of Origin Labeling of wild and farmed fish. There may be efforts to undermine that and we can't have any backsliding on that. We would also like to see all product forms covered by COOL, especially canned salmon."

Fishermen can, for example, push for more U.S. seafood to be included in the nation's school lunch program. Under the Farm Bill, they can also apply for low cost loans to help improve their business or modernize equipment, and other programs available to our nation's farmers.

"These include such things as marketing programs, loan deficiency payments, cooperative marketing associations. There are a number of things we've discussed with various fishing groups and the state of Alaska as far as more inclusion of fishermen into USDA programs," said Chad Padgett, director of the Farm Service Agency in Palmer.

UFA's Vinsel pointed out the average age of Alaska fishermen today is just over 50; for family farmers it's closer to 65.

"That's alarming for the food production industry. We need to look for ways to make producing foods a viable career option for the next generation. That's an important part of the farm bill and farmers are addressing it very aggressively. We hope everything that is done to benefit farmers also applies to fishermen," he said.

Vinsel added that when it comes to making things happen in Washington, D.C. "it is critical for non-resident Alaska fishermen to contact their Congressional representatives, especially if they are members of the farm committee."

Fishing top job for danger

Those who make their living from the sea still top the list of the most dangerous jobs, especially crabbers. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 48 fishing related deaths occurred nationwide in 2005. Based on the relatively small number of commercial fishermen, that puts the fatality rate at 118 per 100,000 ­ or about one of every 5,400 workers.

While the annual on the job death rate for fishermen is still quite high, it has declined more than 50 percent since 1990. The decrease is especially notable in Alaska, said Jerry Dzugan, director of the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA). - More...
Friday PM - June 15, 2007

Front Page Photo by Elizabeth Flom

Welcome Home
Sgt. Lisa Thompson holds a United States' flag which was colored and presented to Thompson by Emily.
Photograph by Elizabeth Flom

National: Global warming future: Drought, wildfire, floods, pestilence By GLEN WARCHOL - Top climate scientists offered Western governors an assessment on the impacts of global warming that sounded like something out of the Old Testament: drought, wildfire, floods and pestilence.

More importantly, the governors themselves put to rest any remaining doubt on a human role in the problem.

"Are there any respected scientific organizations left that dispute what you are saying?" asked Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., adding, "and you can't say the White House and Congress."

"Where there is skepticism, it is coming from an increasingly small number of individuals who have some kind of ax to grind," of a moral or religious point of view, said Christopher Field, director of global ecology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "There is not a reputable organization in the world that opposes the core conclusions."

The scientists' briefing Tuesday only reinforced what the Western Governors' Association that represents 19 Western U.S. states had been hearing during the three-day conference. Greenhouse gases spewed by automobiles and coal- and gas-fired power plants are increasing Earth's temperature. Global warming of even a few degrees causes flooding in coastal cities, deadly urban heat waves, longer and more severe droughts, and possibly the onslaught of tropical diseases, such as malaria. - More...
Friday - June, 15, 2007



Basic Rules

letter Road to Nowhere By Carol Cairnes - Friday PM
letter Kanayama Exchange a 20-year tradition By Pat Perrier - Friday PM
letter Enough of the back room deals! By A.M.Johnson - Friday PM
letter Children are customers too! By Linda Williams - Friday PM
letter Special session: myths vs. reality By Sen. Kim Elton - Friday PM
letter Fools rush in By Jeff Beatty - Friday PM
letterApproach to energy independence is just dumb By Mark Neckameyer - Friday PM
letter Concerned and Angry Mothers By Ann Smith & Dawn Uttke - Tuesday PM
letter An Apology By Ardath Piston - Tuesday PM
letter Air miles By Amber Baldwin - Tuesday PM
letter RE: Good News for America By Byron Whitesides - Tuesday PM
letter Kiffer's Airline Upgrade Column By Gigi Pilcher - Tuesday PM
letterAlaskans 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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Washington Calling: Grim Iraq assessment ... AG's charm offensive ... More By LISA HOFFMAN - In remarkably blunt terms, a little-known but highly influential adviser to the top U.S. commander in Iraq is predicting that July and August could be among the deadliest months ever for American forces and Iraqi civilians.

That's the assessment of David Kilcullen, an Australian army veteran who is considered one of the world's top authorities on counterinsurgencies. Kilcullen is a personal adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and allied troops in Iraq.

A colorful character who stays out of the limelight, Kilcullen has been meeting with unit commanders to prepare them for what could be a savage offensive by insurgents in advance of the pivotal assessment Petraeus will make in September on the progress of the "surge" and prospects for the future.

Almost as striking as Kilcullen's blunt talk is where it was reported: buried deep in an in-house Army News Service article, which apparently escaped the attention of most in the non-military press. - More....
Saturday AM - June 16, 2007

Columns - Commentary

Michael Reagan: Going Down with the Ship - The S.S. GOP is sinking fast, and it looks like Skipper Bush is going down with his ship.

That's only fair ­ after all, he's the one who torpedoed his own ship with the immigration-reform-bill warhead. Not fair is the fact that he's taking his party down with him.

I can understand his stubbornness in sticking with this insane program that doesn't do a damned thing to plug the leaking borders that are allowing the United States to be flooded with all manner and shapes of illegal aliens, some of them terrorists who want to kill large numbers of Americans ­ he really has nothing to lose.

In less than 18 months he'll be history ­ one of those curiosities who at one moment wielded the vast powers of the presidency and the next found themselves with all the other John Q. Citizens. - More...
Saturday AM - June 16, 2007

Martin Schram: Heads in the sand on immigration - Our focus today is on folly and deceit underlying the government's ostrich-based policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

We are talking about, of course, the U.S. government's policy on illegal immigrants.

There are more than 12 million of them now, by the official estimates of the officials who enforce the policy that pretends these illegals don't exist. By the time you finish reading this sentence, these officials estimate that the number may have risen to 13 million.

(Don't be chagrined if you fell for the head-fake in the opening sentence. Of course, you are correct that the government's only officially stated policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the military policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the armed forces -- fight, bleed and die for America -- as long as nobody officially knows they are homosexuals. That policy is so inane that retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili has come around to saying it should be scrapped so gays and lesbians can openly serve. But today we are not talking about scrapping that policy. We are focusing on the other head-in-the-sand policy. The one that was forged not on homophobia, nor even xenophobia, but on an "economania" that was made in the USA.)- More...
Saturday AM - June 16, 2007

Tom Purcell: For Father's Day - The Window Fan - Even on the hottest nights of the summer, my father (the Big Guy) knew how to make our house ice cold.

We lived in a modest two-story home typical of the '60s and '70s -- red brick on the bottom, white aluminum siding on the top. There were four bedrooms upstairs and a master bedroom downstairs (my parent's room, which we added onto the back of our house in 1972).

Only one house in our neighborhood had air conditioning back then. It was locked up tighter than Fort Knox.

Most houses were wide open all summer. This allowed the outside sounds to come in and the inside sounds to go out.

I woke every morning to the sound of birds chirping, a dewy chill in the air. I'd hear sausage sizzling in a neighbor's kitchen. A screen door slamming, a car starting, a father lumbering off to work. - More...
Saturday AM - June 16, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Parenting and power tools - Let's be frank. Father's Day is kind of a me-too observance.

It follows Mother's Day by five weeks, and comes on the third Sunday in June, when there's a lot of other stuff going on. President Calvin Coolidge declared Father's Day a national observance in 1924 -- 10 years after President Woodrow Wilson had done the same for Mother's Day.

And, by the measure everybody understands -- money -- Mother's Day is way ahead. The estimated spending on Mother's Day this year was $15.7 billion; for Father's Day, it will be $9.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

The average person this year spent $139 on Mother's Day; for Father's Day, it will be $98. That's up $10 from last year, but then Mother's Day is up $17. - More...
Saturday AM - June 16, 2007

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