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July 14, 2006

Front Page Photo by Tom LeCompte

Pennock Island Sunset
Front Page Photo By Tom LeCompte

Ketchikan: Manager Talks About Borough's Positive & Challenging Developments By DICK KAUFFMAN - The shortage of timber and electricity, the re-opening of the veneer mill at Ward Cove, AMHS jobs moving to Ketchikan, the Schoenbar reconstruction project, and the Gravina Access Project were all topics Ketchikan Borough Manager Roy Eckert spoke about Wednesday during the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Manager Talks About Borough's Positive...

Borough Manager Roy Eckert
Photo by Dick Kauffman

Timber, Electricity & Veneer Mill

Eckert told the Chamber audience Wednesday perhaps one of the biggest things facing the Borough currently is the timber supply issue. Eckert said Renaissance Ketchikan Groups plans to get the veneer mill back into operation at Ward Cove. "Right now they're having to count on the majority of timber supply out of Canada." He said, "Right now we have more timber here than we know what to do with and we have to go to Canada to get it [timber]. It doesn't make sense."

Eckert said the timber issue remains in flux. He said, "The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and others have filed six different lawsuits too which are now in the Ninth District Court of Appeals with the remainder in the Alaska Federal District Court." Eckert said they are watching these lawsuits. "They all have the same goal which is to limit the annual timber harvest to 50 million board feet annually." He said the veneer mill would use almost all that and would use 60 million if they ran two shifts which they want to do which would leave none for Mr. Sealy or any other timber company. "We just can't have that small amount," said Eckert. The timber issue is very serious he said.

A Chinese firm recently purchased the Skenna pulp mill near Prince Rupert, British Columbia. "It looks like they're going to be putting that [pulp mill] back into operation," he said. "That's going to work very well with the veneer mill here. They're not going to have a veneer operation down there." Eckert said, "It will not affect the timber supply that Mr. [Jerry] Jenkins [President of the Renaissance Ketchikan Group] has already sewn up down in Canada."

Eckert said, "In fact, the Chinese will probably pick out the veneer grade and send it up here."- More...
Friday PM - July 14, 2006

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Alaska: Foes of Alaska tax on cruises step up efforts By PAULA DOBBYN - Critics of a cruise-ship head tax are ramping up their million-dollar campaign to defeat an Alaska ballot measure next month that would impose a $50-per-passenger fee and other requirements on the giant vessels.

Glossy brochures urging Alaskans to vote no on Ballot Measure 2 showed up in mailboxes across the state this week.

"It's Bad for Alaska," the pamphlets declare.

They feature three prominent Alaska business owners and a Juneau, Alaska, artist explaining why they think the ballot measure, if voters approve it in the Aug. 22 primary, will hurt the state economy.

A majority of the Anchorage Assembly agrees. In a 10-1 vote, the Assembly passed a resolution this week that says, while not opposed to a cruise-ship tax in principle, members view the ballot measure as not in the best interests of Anchorage or the state. Janice Shamberg cast the dissenting vote.

"We had no documentation telling us why it was bad" for the economy, Shamberg said Thursday.

The measure would raise an estimated $50 million a year from head taxes alone. Cruise ships would also have to turn over 33 percent of their gambling revenue after taxes and prizes, and pay a state corporate income tax. - More...
Friday PM - July 14, 2006

International: Experts say U.S. help is key in containing the violence By ANNA BADKHEN - As the fighting in the Middle East threatens to expand into a regional crisis, only one power seems to be able to contain the conflict, experts say: the United States.

"No one can do it except for us," said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute in Washington. "If we don't do it, this thing can become a broader regional conflict."

After mostly watching from the sidelines as Israeli troops attacked Hamas strongholds in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, the White House weighed in Thursday with strong support of Israel's attacks on Lebanon and a warning to Syria to rein in Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon and Hamas militants in Gaza.

But some experts say President Bush's diplomatic options may already be stretched too thin to mediate effectively and prevent major bloodletting.

The United States' ability to mediate as Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah "show that (they) can inflict greater harm on the other, and (are) not afraid of the harm that can be inflicted on them" is thwarted by Washington's lack of influence over any of the participants other than Israel, said Robert Malley, an expert on the region with the International Crisis Group.

"The real awkwardness is that the United States doesn't have leverage over (most of the warring) parties. It also has no contact with them," said Malley, who was a key member of then-President Bill Clinton's negotiating team at Camp David in 2000. - More...
Friday PM - July 14, 2006

Weather Stations...

Hal Needham of the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute installs a weather station on the Brevig Mission School as part of the Arctic Climate Modeling Program.
Photo by Ned Rozell.

Alaska: Weather stations for Seward Peninsula schools part of grant program By NED ROZELL - Greg Finstad and his crew with the University of Alaska's Reindeer Research Project had endured a rough day on Alaska's Seward Peninsula, driving 65 bumpy miles to the village of Teller only to find the wind blowing so hard that they couldn't launch a boat on Grantley Harbor to help out a reindeer herder.

A guest at the Reindeer House, I told Greg about a weather station we had installed on top of Teller's school as part of the Arctic Climate Modeling Program. The station was broadcasting weather information to the Internet, and showed the current Teller wind speed was 24 miles per hour with gusts to 41.

Finstad bookmarked the Teller weather station on his laptop, and I felt a bolt of satisfaction. Here, a researcher in the field was using one of the weather stations installed by our crew from the Geophysical Institute, and he'd check the wind speed with it the next day to see if he and his crew would make the drive back to Teller. - More...
Friday PM - July 14, 2006

Carving continues on Kootéeyaa
Project Wellbriety totem pole
Tlingit master carver Wayne Price of Haines gets on his knees to work on the Kootéeyaa Project Wellbriety totem pole.
Photo by Charles Bingham

Southeast Alaska: Carving continues on Kootéeyaa Project Wellbriety totem pole - The Kootéeyaa Project Wellbriety totem pole is taking shape at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Mt. Edgecumbe campus in Sitka, and all community members are invited to take part in the carving of the pole.

The Kootéeyaa Project totem will represent the Native journey to wellness, the SEARHC substance abuse and prevention treatment programs, and the process of transformation to and the continuing journey of "Wellbriety." Wellbriety is part of a national movement that uses a Native journey to wellness - one that links physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health - as part of its process of healing the total person.

"Wellbriety Kootéeyaa means healing, hope, unity and forgiveness for Tlingit people and anyone who is working on the healing of mind, body and spirit," said Kootéeyaa Project chairwoman Roberta Kitka, a drug and alcohol treatment specialist at SEARHC's Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center and Déilee Hít Safe Harbor House. - More...
Friday PM - July 14, 2006


The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - Israeli military clashes with Lebanon following Hezbollah attack

Hezbollah militants crossed the Lebanese border with Israel on Wednesday to seize two Israeli soldiers, prompting a series of bloody exchanges that left at least 85 dead on both sides, although most of the fatalities are Lebanese civilians. Israel imposed a naval blockade against Lebanon and repeatedly bombed Beirut International Airport and several Lebanese military bases. Hezbollah and its sympathizers fired hundreds of rockets into Israel. The European Union criticized Israel for using "disproportionate" force. President Bush strongly defended Israel's attacks, but also worried over the fate of the new popularly elected government in Beirut. "Israel has a right to defend herself," Bush said.

Bush agrees to Geneva Convention protections for detainees

The Bush administration reversed itself on Tuesday and declared all detainees at Guantanamo Bay and all other U.S. military facilities will be entitled to the protections outlined in the Geneva Conventions. The decision was in reaction to the Supreme Court's 5-3 vote that Bush's creation of military tribunals to judge the detainees violated both U.S. and international law. "We want to get it right," said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. Congress began hearings this week into how to proceed with statutory authority for handling detainees.

Woman fatally crushed in Big Dig tunnel collapse

Twelve tons of concrete ceiling panels fell from a Big Dig tunnel under downtown Boston Monday night, fatally crushing Milena Del Valle, 38, and forcing her husband to crawl through their car's window to escape. The tragedy prompted a massive criminal and engineering investigation into what, and perhaps who, was at fault in the failure of the $14.6 billion Big Dig system, the most expensive highway project in U.S. history. The tunnels were ordered closed and engineers found at least 242 cases of loose bolts and other structural failures. Federal and state officials have begun criminal investigations. Gov. Mitt Romney took control Friday of inspections to restore public trust, he said.

Eight bombs kill 200 train commuters in Bombay

A carefully orchestrated series of eight bomb blasts killed at least 200 people and wounded 700 more as they rode Bombay's commuter trains Tuesday evening. Indian government officials said Thursday the prime suspect is Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating in Kashmir, and distributed names of photos of three young men wanted in the case. The group was blamed for similar well-timed bombings, including attacks in New Delhi last year and on India's Parliament in 2001. India and Pakistan are in dispute over Kashmire. Pakistani officials quickly denied involvement in the latest bombings. - More...
Friday PM - July 14, 2006



letter Cruise Ship Taxes By Alan R. McGillvray - Saturday
letter Dissent in the 4th of July Parade By John Harrington - Friday
letter It's all about FREEDOM: the 4th of July Parade By Jacquie Meck - Friday
letter Become more active in Ketchikan Little League By Sharyl Whitesides - Friday
letter All Star Selections By Neil Gray - Friday
letter Selection Process for All Stars ByTami Linne - Friday
letter Tax and Spend - Why does government think they are entitled? By Marvin Seibert - Friday
letter Looking for mini dachshund By Frances Natkong - Friday
letter Parade Entrants By Vicki OBrien - Friday
letter Poor choice by the parade committee! By Rick Watson - Thursday
letter Parade By Cecelia Johnson - Wednesday
letter Respecting our troops on Independence Day By Elizabeth Schafer - Wednesday
letter Items Stolen By Vickie Inkster - Wednesday
letterKEEP IT SIMPLE By John Binkley - Tuesday
letter Why accept anything less than half of the oil profits? By Samuel Bergeron - Tuesday
letter Peace-niks By Anita Hales - Tuesday
letter The real end-game of the radical environmentalist By Marvin Seibert - Tuesday
letter Jim Pinkerton By Bert Blackmon - Tuesday
letter Rotary Youth Exchange By Marrissa Barker - Tuesday
letterState, Especially Rural Areas, Can't Afford to Wait on Oil Tax by Senator John Cowdery - Monday
letterOffended by the anti-war propaganda By Gerry Kay Olmstead - Monday
letter'Go to the gross' for oil tax solution By Rep. Ethan Berkowitz - Monday
(And We Thought Gateway Forest Products Was Bad)
By David G. Hanger - Saturday
letter The governor, the jet and right or wrong By Sen. Kim Elton - Saturday
letter Consolidation By Robert McRoberts - Saturday
letter Re: Offended by anti-war Bug! By Charlotte Tanner - Friday
letter Raw Data and Concerned Scientists By Jay Jones - Friday
letter Thank You All By Cindy Inouye - Friday
letterConsolidation / Round Two by Rodney Dial - Thursday
letter Dirty Bug By Dawna Vigil - Thursday
letter Legal machinations obscure our rights By Gregg Erickson - Thursday
letter Pipeline deal should benefit Alaskans for generations By Rep. Les Gara - Thursday
letter Freedom of Speech By Alan R. McGillvray - Thursday
letter An open letter to Sealaska and Sealaska's original shareholders By Michael Nelson - Thursday - Thursday
letter Offended by anti-war Bug! By Cindy Inouye - Thursday
letter Global Warming By Robert McRoberts - Thursday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Columns - Commentary

Ann McFeatters: A people's pay raise - A telling battle is brewing in Congress - the haves, the have-nots and the wanna-haves are squaring off.

It's that time of year when lawmakers realize they must raise their pay if they are to get an increase next year. If they wait until later this year, voters will be angry (one-third of the Senate and the entire House are up for re-election in November).

Members now make $168,500 a year. Cleverly, they don't actually vote to increase their pay - they merely have to do nothing, and a 2 percent raise goes into effect automatically. The House already has passively approved to raise its pay; the Senate wants to follow suit.

But Democrats, who have been stumbling in the dark looking for an issue to use against Republicans this November besides the war in Iraq, on which there is no unanimity, have rediscovered the minimum wage. It has been $5.15 an hour for nine years, meaning that millions of families work all year long and their wages still fall well below the official government poverty level. - More...
Thursday - July 13, 2006

Clifford D. May - A widening war: Israel is tested again - What must Hamas leaders have been thinking? Last month they sent guerrillas through a secret tunnel from Gaza into Israel where they launched an attack, killing two Israeli soldiers and kidnapping a third, 19-year-old Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Since no civilians were targeted, this was not an act of terrorism. It was an act of war.

Perhaps they had come to believe their own spin; their boast that it was "armed resistance" that had caused then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw Israeli soldiers and settlers from Gaza. Maybe they believed that more violence would lead to more Israeli concessions - especially now that Israel is led by a center-left coalition, the hard-line Likud Party having split and then collapsed over the wisdom of the Gaza withdrawal.

So far, at least, Israel's new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has proven Hamas wrong. He has responded to Hamas' military attack with a military counterattack. He returned Israeli forces to Gaza, ordering them to search for Shalit, and also to stop the missiles - hundreds of them - that have rained down on Israeli cities and towns virtually every day since the Israelis left Gaza. - More...
Thursday - July 13, 2006

Deroy Murdock: Saddam Hussein's Iraq had weapons of mass death - Like chanting Buddhist monks, the president's critics repeat 100 times daily: "Bush Lied - People Died." The "lie," of course, is that Saddam Hussein possessed Weapons of Mass Death. "There were none," Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., told colleagues June 21. "They were not there." Absent such munitions, the argument goes, U.S. involvement in Iraq is nothing but a blood-soaked misadventure unfolding on a collapsed facade of falsehoods.

Nevertheless, while the liberal press gently sleeps, evidence continues to mount that Saddam had WMDs, though perhaps not in quantities that would bulge warehouses.

"Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent," states a June 21 declassified summary of a report from the National Ground Intelligence Center. "Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist." - More...
Thursday - July 13, 2006

Dan K. Thomasson: A new bureaucratic no-man's land - When humorist Will Rogers appeared at the passport office as he prepared for a trip to Russia he was told that he couldn't receive one until he produced a birth certificate. Having come into the world before the turn of the last century in what was then Indian Territory, he said he didn't quite understand and was told by the pinch-faced bureaucrat that it was a document proving his birth.

Professing incredulity, the gum chewing, rumpled Oklahoman replied that he had never heard of such a thing. "Why back home," he said, "when folks saw you walking around they just sort of took it for granted that you had been born."

But that isn't enough to gain one much of anything these says, including access to Medicaid, the federal health care program for the indigent. Under a new federal law it is now mandatory that every applicant show proof of citizenship with either a passport or a birth certificate, a requirement that is aimed at denying service to illegal immigrants but, according to its opponents, is inevitably going to do the same thing to thousands of Americans who like Rogers have no record of when or where they were born. - More...
Thursday - July 13, 2006

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