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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 19, 2006

Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

Front Page Photo By Jodi Muzzana

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


Alaska: Alaska Brown Bears Gain Global Internet Audience - Armchair travelers, take note. Now all you need to watch brown bears fishing at the famed McNeil River Falls is an Internet connection.

Thanks to a collaborative effort among the Pratt Museum, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the National Park Service, the National Geographic Society, RealNetworks, SeeMore Wildlife Systems and others, images from remote camera aimed at bears inside the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary can now be viewed live on the Internet.

Simply click on the Pratt Museum's website to link to National Geographic's WildCam Grizzlies Web page, where the live video is hosted.

Right now the cameras are active from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. Alaska time. From 1 to 5 p.m. daily, the camera is controlled by an interpreter at Homer's Pratt Museum who pans the McNeil Falls and zooms in on bears catching salmon or competing with each other over prime fishing spots. At other times, the camera cycles through a series of preset positions to provide a variety of views. The remote video system is shut off at night to conserve solar power.

Pratt Museum Director Heather Beggs said the camera has created a lively scene at the museum since the bears first showed up in early July. Crowds huddle around to watch the bears and to listen to the Lake Clark National Park interpreter who leads a discussion about bear biology and behavior. "People at the museum are just glued to that screen," Beggs said. Elsewhere in the world, "people are really excited we are bringing this into their living room." The Pratt Museum's summer hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily.

Another interesting feature of the National Geographic website is a companion blog that has gathered comments from bear viewers all over the world, including some who say they are homebound and unable to travel to view bears in the wild, Beggs said. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006

National: Bush vision, and Mideast region, appear near collapse By MARC SANDALOW - The Bush administration's notion that toppling Saddam Hussein would stabilize a turbulent region is among the casualties of this week's Middle East carnage.

The death toll in Lebanon and Israel, which exceeds 250 in the past week, is a grim reminder that the sectarian violence in Baghdad 500 miles to the east is but one of many hotspots in a region that has been plagued by violence for more than 1,000 years. The oft-stated hope that a new Iraqi government would swiftly transform the region's fractured politics has been realized with unintended consequences: an emboldened Iran; the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections; and Syria's departure from Lebanon. The familiar strain has been hatred between the Arabs and Israelis and a widely held assumption that the situation will grow worse before it improves.

"Unless and until you solve the Arab-Israel conflict, you are going to have instability in the region," said Steven Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Some scholars view the situation from the opposite direction. Coit Blacker, director of Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, believes that "there is no answer to the Arab-Israel conflict until the nature of politics within the region changes substantially." - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006


International: Russia has connections to douse latest flareup By ANNA BADKHEN - It sells weapons to Syria and is helping Iran build a nuclear reactor. It rolled out the red carpet for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, and says it is talking to Hezbollah, even as the Lebanon-based militia continues to lob rockets into Israel.

Now, as world leaders and the United Nations scramble desperately to seek a diplomatic solution to the escalating Middle East crisis, one country - Russia - may be in the best position to find a way out.

"Out of all the major powers in the world, Russia perhaps is the one that has the connections to all the parties involved," said Murhaf Jouejati, director of the Middle East Studies at George Washington University. "They would have the most leeway."

And Russia appears ready to use those connections.

At the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations he hosted in his hometown of St. Petersburg last weekend, President Vladimir Putin said he was using "all channels" to secure the release of the three Israeli soldiers who were abducted by Hamas and Hezbollah, according to the Russian Ria Novosti news agency.

"We have ... two-way communication with all the parties involved in the conflict," Putin said. "We have normal, lively contacts almost constantly."

Russia has also said it would send troops as part of an international peacekeeping force to the region, an idea floated on Monday by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Britain. - More....
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006

International: Civilian killings, unending violence appear unstoppable By ANNA BADKHEN - When Iraq's new unity government was installed two months ago, hopes rose that the sectarian violence tearing the country apart would end.

When Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed last month and Iraq's new leaders quickly followed up with a plan for national reconciliation, hopes rose that the insurgents would lay down their arms and join the political process.

And when all of that failed to stop the bloodshed, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched a security crackdown in Baghdad, which included 50,000 Iraqi police and troops manning checkpoints and patrolling the streets.

None of it has worked.

At least 695 Iraqis have been killed this month in sectarian or insurgent-related violence, according to the Associated Press. Just this week, more than 120 people were killed in spectacularly gruesome examples of Sunni-Shiite violence. On Tuesday, a suicide bomber lured day laborers into his van in Kufa, a Shiite holy city south of Baghdad, and then blew up the van on a busy street, killing at least 53 people.

"Iraqis had hoped for good news when al-Maliki formed his Cabinet," the government-owned newspaper Al-Sabah said in an editorial this week. "We regret to say all we have is bad news." - More...
Wednesday PM - JUly 19, 2006

Real Bearded Santas

"Real Bearded" Santas Hold Summer Convention
Jim and Connie Wingren and US Marines
Photo courtesy Jim & Connie Wingren

Ketchikan: "Real Bearded" Santas Hold Summer Convention - Ketchikan's Father & Mother Christmas, best known to locals as Jim and Connie Wingren, recently returned home after attending the first ever "Real Bearded Santa's Convention".

Connie Wingren said, "More than 500 Santas, Mrs. Clauses and Elfs were in attendance at the convention." She said many great workshops were presented enabling Santas to "hone" their skills. "It was a very uplifting experience and it was great to see so many men and their wives who truly believe in Santa and the Sprit of a Christ filled Christmas," said Wingren.

The convention, hosted by Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santa's (AORBS), was held in Branson, Missouri from July 6th through the 9th. On the morning of July 7th, Wingren said there was a Santas' Parade held at "Kringle's" shopping mall which made the national news and the Wingrens were featured in a news brief on the Springfield, Montana ABC affiliate KSPR on the evening news on July 7th. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006



letter School Board & Superintendent By Mike Harpold - Wednesday
letter JO Softball Tournament By Mandi Bolshakoff - Wednesday
letter Taxes, War, & Immigration --- Also have a little fun! By Marvin Seibert - Wednesday
letter Support Troops, Not The War By Janelle Hamilton - Wednesday
letter Pup Has A Happy Home By Frances C. Natkong
letter I Hate Taxes By Samuel Bergeron - Wednesday
letter Freedom By Lou Ann Richardson- Wednesday
letter Alaskans Locked Out of Construction Jobs by Senator John Cowdery - Wednesday
letter A Warning Alaskans Should Heed By Tony Knowles- Wednesday
letter Selection Process Explained By Dinah Pearson- Wednesday
letter Thank you Everyone For Your Generosity and Care! By Vicki Inkster- Wednesday
letter Questions By Sheryl Whitesides - Wednesday
letter Little League Involvement By Neil Gray- Wednesday
letter Refreshing commentary By Glen Thompson- Wednesday
letterLittle League: Get Involved in the Process By Dave Timmerman - Tuesday
letter It's called competition By Dinah Pearson - Tuesday
letter Difficult Visitors By Trene' Elliott - Monday
letter Independence Day - For the Record. By Rick Watson - Sunday
letter Dockside Diner By Laurie Price - Sunday
letter School Superintendent By Jon Hurley - Sunday
letter Hooray for FREEDOM loving people By Charlotte Tanner - Sunday
letterCruise 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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Health & Fitness: Study finds effects of serotonin on weight loss By LEE BOWMAN - The brain chemical serotonin activates some cells that curb appetite and blocks others that normally increase hunger at the same time, according to a new study into the effects of several weight-loss drugs.

Working with mice, researchers from several institutions sought to learn whether serotonin acts on specific brain circuits in the hypothalamus region that are known to regulate the body's energy balance.

Their tracer experiments showed that receptors for serotonin dot specific nerve cells within these circuits. And they found that both serotonin and drugs like fenfluramine and sibutramine (Meridia) that change levels of serotonin acted on those brain cells to reduce the release of one protein that stimulates appetite and aids the release of another protein that helps curb the desire to eat.

The findings, published Thursday in the journal Neuron, reinforce the role of serotonin in affecting a key molecular pathway that controls weight, in addition to its better-known function as a regulator of sleep, mood and emotions. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006

Health & Fitness: Immigrants aren't clogging hospital ERs, study finds By LEE BOWMAN - A new study counters the impression that communities with lots of uninsured, immigrant or Hispanic residents put a drain on hospital emergency departments.

Instead, the Center for Studying Health System Change in Washington reported that such communities generally had lower rates of emergency department use than those with low numbers of uninsured or non-citizen residents.

The center found that emergency department use in 12 nationally representative communities varied considerably in 2002 from the national average of 32 visits per 100 people. Nationwide, visits to emergency rooms increased by 26 percent between 1993 and 2003, to some 114 million a year. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006

Health & Fitness: FDA approves new contraceptive injected in arm By ERIN ALLDAY - A new contraceptive that is implanted in the upper arm and remains effective for three years will be made widely available in the United States early next year, filling a gap in birth control options for women since Norplant was taken off the market in 2002.

The new contraceptive, called Implanon, is a matchstick-size device that doctors inject into the underside of a woman's arm, where it releases a continuous dosage of the synthetic hormone progestin over three years. The device is 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.

Implanon, made by Organon of Roseland, N.J., joins the ranks of increasingly advanced birth control options on the market for women. In the past five years, new birth control devices have included a skin patch that is changed once a month, an intrauterine device that releases low-dose hormones and lasts five years, and a product called the NuvaRing, also made by Implanon, that is inserted into the vagina once a month and releases progestin.

The birth control pill, the most popular form of contraception for women, also has undergone dramatic changes over the past 20 years, with a wide range of pills available with a variety of hormone dosages. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006

Health & Fitness: Hospitals: Alternative medicine gains, language skills lag By LEE BOWMAN - Fifteen or 20 years ago, acupuncturists, massage therapists or meditation therapists were about as welcome as patent medicine salesmen around most American hospitals.

But with at least 40 percent of adults in this country using alternative medicine in some fashion, the bastions of traditional, Westernized health care are opening their arms to some of the more widespread complementary and alternative services.

A new report released this week by Health Forum, a data-gathering subsidiary of the American Hospital Association, found that more than a quarter (27 percent) of hospitals responding to a survey mailed last winter report that they offer alternative medicine services to their patients.

The report is based on nearly 1,400 responses to a survey designed to take a close look at the types of programs and services being offered.

These can range from alternatives to painkillers for post-operative pain or lower back pain to stress management programs to augment the care of heart and cancer patients. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 19, 2006

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