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July 20, 2006

Front Page Photo by Janet Spear

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Ketchikan: Construction Under Way on Bostwick Timber Access Road - Work has begun on the 7.2-mile Bostwick timber access road on Gravina Island that will connect the Lewis Reef Road on the westside of Ketchikan International Airport with the Bostwick Bowl in the middle of Gravina Island. The road will provide access to a state timber sale currently being negotiated with Pacific Log and Lumber. Work on the road is being funded through Governor Frank H. Murkowski's "Roads to Resources" initiative.

"This is exactly the type of project our 'Roads to Resources' funding was intended to bring to construction," Murkowski said. "This initial 5.7 mile phase of the road will access state timber that will allow local mills to keep running through the winter. In addition, we will see other timber sales made possible with this road."

The current construction, a $1.193 million contract with Ketchikan Ready-Mix, will be into timbered lands by October 15 and will be completed by December 15. The contractor is currently stripping overburden and will begin drilling soon. The project is being managed by Greg Staunton of the Division of Forestry in the Department of Natural Resources. - More...
Thursday - July 20, 2006

Ketchikan: CITY COMPLETES NEW VIEWING DECK - Visitors and residents have a new viewing deck on Ketchikan Creek thanks to the efforts of the City of Ketchikan Public Works Department and Historic Ketchikan.

The viewing deck is on Park Avenue next to the former Ketchikan Public Utilities Water Warehouse, which is one of Ketchikan's oldest commercial structures. The Water Warehouse was built in 1912 and is generally unchanged from its original design.

Historic Ketchikan first became interested in the Water Warehouse and the deck potential five years ago, when the city was considering tearing down the building putting in a small parking lot.

"We worked with the city to come up with a better plan," said Historic Ketchikan President Terry Wanzer. "The garage that was attached to the warehouse was in bad shape and it made sense to remove it and create the viewing platform." - More...
Thursday PM - July 20, 2006

Alaska: Senators grill nominee about Alaska pipeline By LIZ RUSKIN - Drue Pearce, a former Alaska legislator, is President Bush's nominee to be the new federal coordinator for construction of an Alaska gas pipeline. But she got a scolding at her confirmation hearing Thursday that seemed more aimed at the Alaska Legislature.

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, was frustrated that the Alaska Legislature has not endorsed the governor's gas pipeline contract with the state's three major oil companies.

"What's the holdup?" he asked Pearce.

The governor's contract includes a new method of taxing the companies on the oil they extract. Pearce said that component has troubled legislators but "they do appear to have critical mass to move forward on an oil tax change." - More...
Thursday PM - July 20, 2006


Alaska: Denali weather station reports back on the Web By NED ROZELL - Yoshitomi Okura stopped into the office the other day. His cheeks had the color of rare steak; they were the cheeks of someone who has spent lots of time on the snow in summer.

Denali weater station reports...

Yoshitomi Okura on Denali with components for a weather station at 18,733 feet on the mountain.
Photo by Tohru Saito.

Okura had just reached the summit of Denali for the seventeenth straight year, information he only gave up when prodded. He wanted to talk about the repair of Alaska's highest weather station, which now informs me via the Web that the temperature at 18,733 feet on North America's highest peak is 3 degrees Fahrenheit. It's 66 degrees here at 450 feet in Fairbanks and 99 degrees at LaGuardia International Airport during an East Coast heat wave.

Okura has been involved with the Denali weather station ever since he and a group of Japanese climbers in 1990 installed an aluminum tetrapod amid granite boulders a few steps off the West Buttress climbing route. In 1999, the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks started maintaining the station in partnership with the National Park Service, and each year a group has climbed the mountain with the goal of fixing the station. The station breaks often because it sits so high in the atmosphere and absorbs such extreme weather. In January 2003, the station stopped transmitting after it recorded a 188-mile gust of wind. Wind is just one of the challenges facing a weather station that sits high enough that the jet stream sometimes dips down to blast it in midwinter.

"Icing, winds, temperature, flying rocks, whatever, there's a lot that can go wrong up there," said Kevin Abnett, the founder of Polartronix. Abnett designed a radio telemetry system for the station that works on a tenth of the juice required to power a cellphone. The station transmits weather information to Cantwell, where a microwave transmitter relays the signal to UAF, where the information is posted on the Web.

To repair the station this summer, a group of eight climbers from Japan and the International Arctic Research Center were on the mountain from June 8 to 27. The climbers followed the West Buttress route, the most popular snowpath up the mountain, and they all reached the summit after pausing for a few hours at the weather station site.- More...
Thursday PM - July 20, 2006

Whale rescue expert...

A humpback whale tows Alaska crab pot gear - originally set near Kodiak - through the warm waters off Hawaii. Humpbacks migrate annually between Alaska and Hawaii. Photo: Ed Lyman/NOAA

Alaska: Whale rescue expert teaching - and learning - in Alaska - NOAA whale disentanglement expert Ed Lyman left the warm waters of Hawaii for a 'summer' with NOAA Fisheries' Alaska Region in Juneau. Lyman's goal in Alaska is to pass on disentanglement techniques that he has learned over more than a decade and 42 separate whale disentanglement efforts.

Lyman is on currently on loan from NOAA's National Ocean Service Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary for two months. He has also worked with whales-mostly right whales-off Cape Cod.

"Trying to free an entangled, 45-ton animal that is still capable of moving is no easy task. It requires cooperation, coordination, skill, patience, and the right gear" said Lyman. "In addition, disentanglement efforts on large whales require working under a national permit that in itself requires trained, experienced and outfitted response teams to minimize the risk to the animal and to the disentanglers as much as possible."

Last winter in Hawaii, Lyman helped disentangle two humpback whales. One whale had dragged crab fishing gear and buoys all the way from Kodiak, some 2,500 miles.

While in Alaska, Lyman wants to learn more about Alaskan fishing gear, to better to free whales from such gear. Ultimately, Lyman hopes to help the fishing industry modify fishing gear and practices in order to prevent whale entanglements. Like everyone else, he said, fishermen do not want to have whales caught in their gear. - More...
Thursday - July 20, 2006



letter Mixed Messages By David Blasczyk - Friday
letterBostwick Timber Access Road By Chuck Moon - Friday
letter Munching on the Cruise Ship Ballot Initiative By Gregory Vickrey - Friday
letter Do Your Part! By Kara Steele - Friday
letter Taxes By Anita Hales - Friday
letter THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL By Allan Cline - Friday
letterSchool 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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National: Airborne soldiers to face military trial By MICHAEL DOYLE - Four soldiers from the Army's elite 101st Airborne Division, charged with raping a 14-year-old girl and murdering her parents and 6-year-old sister, are going to face justice, military-style.

That means they'll be judged by fellow soldiers who know the stresses of combat. It means they'll have certain legal protections that civilian defendants don't. And it means, if history is a judge, that they're likely to be convicted.

The four are Spc. James Paul Barker of Fresno, Calif.; Sgt. Paul E. Cortez of Barstow, Calif.; Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, whose mother lives in Chambersburg, Pa.; and Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, who's from a small town northeast of Houston. A fifth soldier, Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe, from a small town south of Ketchum, Idaho, has been charged with dereliction of duty but not with the rape and killings.

A former soldier, Steven D. Green, the alleged ringleader in the incident, has been arrested in North Carolina and charged in federal court.

The courts martial of the five active-duty soldiers will differ from Green's civilian trial because the Uniform Code of Military Justice has different rules and procedures from those used in civilian courts. - More...
Thursday PM - July 20, 2006

Columns - Commentary

Ann McFeatters: Economic smoke (and mirrors) signals - Irrational exuberance has fled. Cautious pessimism is back.

When former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan warned Americans some time ago that what goes up also comes down (high-fliers on the stock market), he made headlines. The avuncular guy who turned the economic wheel and made us feel better about our money for two decades was worried about the long term.

Now we have a new man with his finger on our economic pulse, Ben Bernanke, who just gave the nation a much-awaited report on the country's fiscal health.

He said that despite fearsomely high oil prices that are being passed on to consumers in nearly every venue, he's optimistic the nation will control the inflationary spiral that seems to some to be inevitable.

He also said that economic growth in the United States seems to be slowing. - More...
Thursday PM - July 20, 2006

Clifford D. May: Ending the Mideast conflict prematurely would be a mistake - Start with what's best for Lebanon. For years, Lebanon was occupied by Syria for the benefit of Syria. The Cedar Revolution forced Syrian troops to depart but as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has noted: "In some ways the Syrians never left."

Syrian agents have remained in place and several key members of the Lebanese government - including President Emil Lahoud - have appeared to take their marching orders from Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. And Hezbollah, funded and armed by both Syria and Iran, operates as a quadruple threat: a political party, a terrorist organization, a military force and, in parts of the country, a state within a state.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 calls for Hezbollah to be disarmed. That's great except for one small detail: Lebanon's military isn't up to the task, and no great power is prepared to do it for them. The only way the Hezbollah tiger gets de-clawed is if Israel uses the war Hezbollah has provoked to get the job done. - More...
Thursday PM - July 20, 2006

Betsy Hart: Married women demand too much from their men - In last week's column I sort of picked on the guys in college. This week I'm going after the women in marriage.

A recent study from University of Virginia researchers found that whatever our political views, women who are in long-term committed marriages with husbands who are emotionally involved, make most of the money, and help with the household chores in a way that's "fair" report the "highest levels of marital happiness."

Um gee, do ya think? I mean, what else is there?

These days men are supposed to "bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan ... "and get up in the middle of the night to chase down some unknown "noise" from somewhere in the house. And that's all while listening to and understanding our deepest feelings and emotions. But is it ever enough for us? - More...
Thursday PM - July 20, 2006

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