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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
June 19, 2007

Front Page Photo by Hamilton Gelhar

A Day For Families
The 7th Annual Family Day Celebration picnic and barbecue took place Saturday, June 16th at Ward Lake. This annual Ketchikan event provides children and families an opportunity to celebrate together in a safe, alcohol-free and drug-free environment.
Governor Sarah Palin, assisted by her daughter, proclaimed the day Family Day.
Front Page Photos by Hamilton Gelhar

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Alaska: Emergency Regulations Signed Extending Senior Cash Benefits - Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell signed emergency regulations Monday evening that extend the cash benefits to the state's seniors for one additional month, as requested by Governor Sarah Palin on May 23, 2007.

The emergency regulations will allow the Department of Health and Social Services to pay the same benefits for the month of July as currently available under SeniorCare.  That program will end on June 30, 2007.  The new component will be named the Senior Benefits Program.  This will be a temporary solution until the Alaska Legislature convenes regarding senior assistance legislation during a special session that will begin June 26, 2007.

"Financial assistance for our seniors continues to be a priority for me," said Governor Sarah Palin. "I am hopeful that the Legislature will find an equitable solution when it reconvenes in a special session later this month." - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

Alaska: Emergency Signal Leads Coast Guard to Pilot, Wrecked Aircraft - The Coast Guard transported a pilot with minor injuries to Homer, Alaska Friday after his single engine aircraft ran off a runway.

At around 11 a.m., the Coast Guard received a signal from an aircraft Emergency Locator Transmitter in the vicinity of Perl Island, Alaska. A Coast Guard C-130 airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak was diverted to investigate and located a plane on the island near a group of cabins. There were no signs of distress. - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

National: Traveling can help cure medical costs By TRACY CORREA - Three years ago, James Dodd of Hanford, Calif., weighed more than 400 pounds.

He had trouble breathing at night and doing work around his house. He was desperate for help.

But when Dodd, 54, started looking into lap-band weight-reduction surgery for relief, his insurance company denied coverage, calling the procedure "experimental."

An Internet search for alternatives turned up Bajanor Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, where doctors perform the procedure for $7,200 -- less than the $37,000 he said he was quoted at the time.

He got the surgery and is happy with the results, despite serious complications.

"Everything in life is a risk," said Dodd, now recovered and slimmer. He said he also could have had complications in the United States, adding, "It would have bankrupted me here." - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

A shaky September in Yakutat Bay

A shaky September in Yakutat Bay
A photo showing shoreline uplifted during a massive 1899 earthquake near Yakutat. From the 1912 USGS paper, "The Earthquakes at Yakutat Bay, Alaska in September, 1899."
Courtesy USGS

Alaska: A shaky September in Yakutat Bay By Ned Rozell - More than a century ago, eight prospectors were panning the glacial sands near Hubbard Glacier when Earth starting shaking and never seemed to stop. A few days later, they had survived a natural phenomenon they probably should not have.

Geologists Ralph Tarr and Lawrence Martin, in the area a few years later to study the marvelous glaciers, saw things like mussels "resembling clumps of blue flowers" on rocks 20 feet above the ocean. They saw so much evidence of a giant earthquake they interviewed a few prospectors in Yakutat and included their stories in a 1912 government paper, "The Earthquakes at Yakutat Bay, Alaska, in September, 1899."

When Tarr and Martin arrived in Yakutat, prospector A. Flenner was working as a carpenter there six years after the series of large earthquakes, the biggest being a magnitude 8.0 that happened on Sept. 10, 1899. Flenner had been panning for gold in the area that day.

"Mr. Flenner stated in 1905 that after the first shock on September 3 they rigged up a home-made seismograph, consisting of hunting knives hung so that their points touched and would jingle under a slight oscillation," Tarr and Martin wrote. "With this instrument (rude, perhaps, but more delicate than their own perception) they counted 52 shocks on September 10, up to the time of the heavy disturbance (the 8.0 earthquake) that caused so much damage." - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

Sitka Race

Gorman wins Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race
The Sitka (Alaska) Traditional Canoe Club (Kaduksháki Yís) paddles its Tlingit warrior canoe Kaasadá Heeni Yaakw' (Canoe From Indian River) during the inaugural Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race on Saturday, June 16, 2007, in Sitka, Alaska. The Kaasadá Heeni Yaakw' crew finished eighth overall in the short-course race.

Alaska: Gorman wins Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race - Race co-founder Mark Gorman claimed the overall title in the inaugural Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race on Saturday.

The race for any human-powered watercraft benefited the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society, which is renovating a historic boat house so it can be used as a museum. The entrants used kayaks, rowing sculls and two Tlingit warrior canoes (which usually have crews of between 10 and 14 paddlers). Most of the competitors were from Sitka, but there were two from Juneau, one from Kodiak, one from Salt Lake City, Utah, one from Couer d'Alene, Idaho, and one from Adelaide, South Australia, who joined the crew of one of the warrior canoes.

Gorman rowed a single scull to cover the event's 17.7-nautical-mile alternate, bad-weather long course from Sitka Sound to the end of Silver Bay and back in 3 hours, 26 minutes, 38 seconds. The course was switched just before the start because of blustery winds and heavy chop on the race's original course from Sitka Sound to Nakwasina Bay and back. - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007



Public Meetings

Thursday - June 20, 2007 - 7:00 pm: The Ketchikan City Council will hold a regular meeting in the City Council Chambers.
Download the agenda (pdf). (Once downloaded, click on the agenda items to download the packets.)

Basic Rules

letter Alaska State Pension Investments By A. M. Johnson - Monday PM
letter Gravina Road By Michael Spence - Monday PM
letter Every Other Tuesday!! By Tara Wilhelm - Monday PM
letterCruise Ships' Diesel Exhaust By Randy M. Lake - Monday PM
letter Ketchikan's Road to Nowhere By Ken Levy - Monday PM
letterRoad 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 More Letters/Viewpoints
letter Send Your Letters For Publication To:


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Columns - Commentary

Jay Ambrose: At war with good sense on energy - If you are a Democrat and your party has taken control of Congress, and if you then have a chance to craft a bill refocusing U.S. energy policy, you know exactly what to do, even if common sense is on its knees pleading, "Please, please, don't."

First off, you make sure you penalize domestic oil companies by raising their taxes and calling it an end of subsidies. This demagogic move will elicit cheers from people who don't understand the difference between gross profits (high) and profit margins (reasonable) while hurting the domestic industry in competition with the foreign industry and cutting back on exploration that could help bring oil prices down.

Next, you cook up a provision mandating that utility companies produce 15 percent of their electricity with such renewable energy sources as wind and solar by 2020 even though trying would be excruciatingly expensive and likely unsuccessful. The technology just isn't there yet, and Congress can't change that with legislation, although it could look to nuclear energy to do considerably more of the heavy lifting. - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Salvaging a Mideast settlement - The Bush administration, generally impetuous in most of its undertakings, has been uncharacteristically glacial about brokering an Arab-Israeli settlement and ushering into existence an independent Palestinian state. It is coming up on five years since President Bush announced his support for a two-state solution and a road map for getting there.

But when the radical Hamas forcibly took control of Gaza, leaving President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party in charge of the West Bank, the larger of the two fragments of Palestinian territory, the White House acted rapidly.

The White House reiterated that it would deal only with Abbas as the legitimate, elected leader and not Hamas. It lifted economic sanctions, allowing the release of $86 million in U.S. aid, largely for rebuilding the security services, and it is providing another $40 million in humanitarian aid through the United Nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had a lengthy White House meeting with Bush on Tuesday, including a 90-minute session of just the two of them. - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

Paul Campos: Seeking justice in judicial compensation - Recently, Chief Justice John Roberts devoted his entire annual report on the federal judiciary to complaining about how little federal judges are paid. (Trial court judges are paid $165,000 per year, while appellate court judges and Supreme Court justices subsist on annual salaries of $175,000 and $203,000, respectively).

Roberts is playing the role of an administrator trying to wheedle a pay raise out of Congress for his department, so a certain amount of hyperbole in his rhetoric is to be expected. Still, Roberts' description of the situation as "a constitutional crisis that threatens to undermine the federal judiciary" is a bit much.

Roberts focuses on the fact that judicial salaries haven't kept pace with the salaries of what he calls "senior law professors at top schools." And this is true -- while the salaries of such persons have nearly doubled in real terms over the past 40 years, judicial salaries have declined slightly.

Roberts also points out that federal judges now make about as much as new law school graduates hired by top firms, and only a small fraction of what the senior partners in those firms take home. - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

Dan K. Thomasson: Courts need to summon common sense - A young man of 17 engages in a consensual Clintonesque sexual activity at a party with a 15-year-old girl and is put away for 10 years and must register as a pervert.

A Washington, D.C., administrative judge sues a cleaning establishment for $54 million for a missing pair of pants and actually gets his case heard.

A prosecutor and judge team up to throw the book at a former vice presidential aide in a blatant political show of force over something that occurs almost daily in this city.

How much more evidence is needed to prove that the American judicial system is in sad need of a transfusion of common sense? Actually, there are plenty more examples ranging from gross incompetence to malicious disregard for justice in the daily operation of the nation's courts at all levels.

The most disturbing of these travesties has been the celebrated Duke University lacrosse case that ultimately resulted in the destroyed legal career of the imprudent prosecutor, Michael Nifong, who brought unimaginable pain to innocent young men and their families. - More...
Tuesday - June 19, 2007

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Ketchikan, Alaska

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