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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 23, 2006

Front Page Photo by Rick Grams

Young Bald Eagle
Front Page Photo By Rick Grams

Ketchikan: Governor Praises Shipyard For Achievements; Cutting edge of technology starting in Ketchikan By DICK KAUFFMAN - Referring to the new $28 million high-tech vessel the Alaska Ship and Drydock has been chosen to build for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Governor Frank H. Murkowski said, "It's pretty exciting. The cutting edge of technology is starting out right here in Ketchikan."

Governor Praises Shipyard...

Governor Murkowski & Rep. Jim Elkins at the Schoenbar Middle School Project site, July 14th.
In addition to visiting the Alaska Ship and Drydock, Governor Murkowski also toured the on-going Schoenbar Middle School construction project, and attended a community barbecue at the local A&P Market.
Photo By Dick Kauffman

Speaking to employees at the Alaska Ship and Drydock recently during a visit to Ketchikan, Governor Murkowski said constructing this unique loading and unloading vessel could really establish - particularly with the military - an opportunity. "The fact that you folks are given the challenge of putting this together is certainly a testimony to your capabilities and expertise," said Murkowski.

The vessel that Murkowski was referring to is the new high-tech shape-shifting vessel the shipyard will be constructing for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The construction is funded by the Office of Naval Research and the United States Navy will be working with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to test the vessel by putting it to work ferrying workers and materials in the construction of the Knik Arm Bridge.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough selected Lockheed Martin Corporation as the contractor to engineer and complete the preliminary design of the vessel and Guido Perle & Associates is completing the final design of the vessel. Alaska Ship and Drydock in Ketchikan was selected to build this high-tech "barge" and "high speed" mode vessel.

Top Stories
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The design in this new ferry incorporates commercial lift boat technology that will allow the ferry to change from the SWATH mode to a barge mode. The boat will be able to lower and raise its center deck and in the barge mode it could be used as a landing craft and would require little infrastructure for docking.

In the barge mode, the vessel operates with as little as 3 feet of draft, while in the high-speed mode, the vessel may operate in sea state 4 and travel at 20+ knots. The vessel will demonstrate new naval technologies that may be used in the next generation of military landing craft according to project information. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

Alaska: Rates fall, but Native Alaskan infant deaths still high By ALEX deMARBAN - Despite decades' worth of efforts, Alaska Natives continue to have some of the highest rates of infant death in the nation, according to a 10-year review recently released by the state Division of Public Health.

The rates have steadily fallen over the years, but for every 1,000 Alaska Natives born between 1992 and 2001, 11.4 died before their first birthday, said review co-author Brad Gessner.

That's almost double the rate of non-Native infant deaths in Alaska - about six for every 1,000 live births during that period, he said.

Alaska health care providers have battled high infant-mortality rates for decades, especially in the Bush. The review, conducted by a panel made up mostly of doctors and health officials, attempts to analyze every infant death in Alaska as part of that effort, Gessner said. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

National: Time to tweak the Social Security number? By NICHOLAS BEADLE - It is the nine-digit key to your life - and B.J. Ostergren has more than 18,000 of them.

For the past four years, the 57-year-old former insurance adjuster has lost sleep to gain boxes crammed with public records, many plucked from county clerks and recorders' Web sites. They have one golden kernel: Social Security numbers, usually partnered with enough information to open a fraudulent line of credit - or worse.

From her home in Hanover County, Va., she writes and calls the holders of the numbers she turns up, many of whom did not know their records were online. Her Web site, the Virginia Watchdog, has a page devoted to political leaders whose Social Security numbers she has found with ease.

Some of her best finds: former CIA chief Porter Goss, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush - and their wives.

"We're just spoon-feeding criminals," Ostergren said.

Over the past seven decades, the Social Security number has evolved into the primary identifier in nearly every facet of American life. Because of that, many believe it is time to add a few more keys to the chain - or completely change the lock. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006


National: Social Security number getting kicked off campus By NICHOLAS BEADLE - There was a time when American college students had a better shot at collecting a crop of Social Security numbers than making an A on their next test. Many schools generously placed the numbers on class rolls and ID cards, and professors used partial numbers when they posted grades on classroom doors.

That was roughly four years ago, when half of the country's colleges used the nine-digit tracker for the social-welfare program as students' default identification numbers.

Most universities have all but eliminated the use of Social Security numbers on campus. Others are making the switch.

"It would absolutely stun me that any institution is using the Social Security number as the main identifier today," said Barnak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. "Frankly, it's not even so much a choice anymore."

The number was once a convenient - and more protected - method of identifying students when universities' recordkeeping was bound to pen and paper, Nassirian said. Universities had to keep track of the number to monitor income for financial aid. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

National: Social conservatives pose challenge to GOP candidates By MARGARET TALEV - They promised social conservatives that they'd promote morality and patriotism, and this week Republican leaders in Congress tried to show that they keep their word.

With Republicans looking to conservative voters to fend off a Democratic takeover in this fall's elections, the House of Representatives worked its way through an "American Values Agenda," which included votes to ban gay marriage and take away federal courts' jurisdiction on Pledge of Allegiance lawsuits.

But the strategy doesn't look so smart to many GOP incumbents facing close races.

To be sure, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, conservative activists and many Republican incumbents in safe seats say that voting on these ideological issues is essential to restoring credibility with their party's base. That in turn, they say, should improve turnout at the polls.

"Folks want to at least see that we're talking about issues we say we're going to talk about," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.

Said Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council, "It's essential to address them before they go back before voters again." - More..
Sunday - July 23, 2006

Front Page Photo by Mimi Eddy

Up A Tree
Front Page Photo by Mimi Eddy

The week in review: Lebanon 'torn to shreds'

The death toll mounted to more than 300 in Lebanon in the Israeli assault. Thirty-four Israelis also have been killed, including 19 soldiers. Lebanon's prime minister, appealing for an end to the fighting, said his country "has been torn to shreds." Mass evacuations of U.S. citizens began. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for an immediate cease-fire and warned of a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is to leave Sunday for the Mideast, said that she would meet with allies in the region to promote "stability and lasting peace." - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

Washington Calling: Nixing scissors on planes -- again? ... Border dustup ... More By LISA HOFFMAN - You may have to unpack those manicure scissors from your baggage.


Less than seven months after the Transportation Security Administration reversed its ban on small scissors, screwdrivers and such from passenger cabins on commercial airliners, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., slipped an amendment into a House bill for the TSA that would make such items verboten again. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006



letter Breakfast of champions By Judith Green - Sunday
letter The most picturesque city in all of Alaska By Jay Hamilton -Sunday
letterWho's eating the "cash cow"! By William Schultz - Sunday
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 - Wednesday
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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July 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Slumming With The Locals - Garrison Keillor was in town this week and that qualifies as a celebrity sighting.

Although it's fair to say that Meg Ryan who was in seen buying popcorn downtown recently is a bigger one. The difference was that Keillor floated into town with much publicity, while Ryan was hiding under a baseball cap and relatively incognito (except that she was accompanied by her "people."). Either way neither one is nearly as famous - or as important to life as we know it - as "Brangelina."

It's summer in Ketchikan and that means that celebrity sightings are the talk of the town.

It's not that we get hundreds of the beautiful and famous. We are not Cannes or St. Tropez or even Waterfall Resort for that matter. If we did get lots of celebrities we probably wouldn't even bat an eye at a "B lister "or a minor government official. But since we don't get that many, we make a big deal out the ones that show up. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye from A to B - When you're late - for a very important date - the shortest path from A to B is always under construction. Or so it often seems.

For my family, having crisscrossed the country numerous times on four wheels, the U.S. system of interstate highways is familiar territory. We have worn out many tires and several editions of the Rand McNally Road Atlas. It is all that we have needed to plan our road trips, no matter where we have gone in the US or Canada. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

Bob Ciminel: Ah, Sweet Humidity! - I've just returned from a road trip to my old stomping grounds along the Mississippi north of New Orleans. I haven't been there since 1996. I wasn't expecting to see a lot of changes. The beauty of southern Louisiana is that change rarely occurs. It is, as one pundit put it, "200 years of history unmarred by progress." If you look at a map, you can see why; southern Louisiana is not attached to the continental United States. At least nothing south of Baton Rouge!

I was not disappointed by the absence of change. We older folks don't like change, which is why most of us are conservative - at least those of us not receiving a Social Security check. However, I was disappointed to learn that Fabacher's Restaurant, located along the levee in St. Rose, LA, had closed. Fabacher's served the best bread pudding in the world, and I haven't eaten bread pudding since we moved away in 1994. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

Rob Holston: Kashi - Kashi GOLEAN Crunch is about as good as it gets as a way to start your day with a truly nutritious breakfast cereal. For America, this simple fact could save the nation billions of dollars. How can a breakfast cereal do that? Simple, one decision at a time. If you're like me, you have been disappointed with many breakfast cereals that you've tried. This one's too sweet, or worse yet, this one's got aspartame (artificial sweetener) yuck! This one is too grainy, too mushy too? I'm not against mush; the Montana colloquialism for oatmeal is "mush". Natural oat meal is very high on my list of great breakfasts, but when it comes to a cereal that goes "crunch" and is good for America, Kashi GOLEAN Crunch is about as good as it gets. Here's why. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

Newsmaker Interviews

Bill Steigerwald: America and World Affairs - Whenever a fresh war breaks out in some dusty corner of the globe, it's a good bet Sky Foerster can explain what's going on and why. Foerster, who is as well-traveled and experienced as he is educated, is president of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization devoted to promoting greater understanding of important international issues. A former U.S Air Force intelligence officer in southeast Asia, he is a former defense department security and arms-control adviser in Washington and Europe and received a Doctor in Philosophy degree from Oxford University. I talked with him July 18 as the Israeli-Lebanon border was a war zone.

Q: What's the state of world affairs? Is the glass half full or half empty?

A: I am very worried. There are a lot of things to be happy about. The global economy is growing. All projections are that the economy will grow as a result of globalization, substantially, over the next decade or so. But the things that worry me the most are the radicalization of conflict and the continuing conflict over not only ideology but, increasingly, natural resources -- water and energy, particularly oil. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006

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