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July 24, 2006

Front Page Photo by Joseph Zemchak

Car Carrier vessel taking on water south of Aleutian Islands
Crew of Cougar Ace sucessfully hoisted to safety

Singapore flagged vessel Cougar Ace, a 654 foot car carrier 
Front Page Photo by USCG Petty Officer Joseph Zemchak 

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U.S. News
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Alaska: Car Carrier vessel taking on water south of Aleutian Islands - The Singapore flagged vessel Cougar Ace, a 654 foot car carrier owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, remains disabled Monday evening and listing at 90 degrees 230 miles south of the Aleutian Islands. The Cougar Ace left Japan on July 22, with 23 people on board.

The Cougar Ace is a Singapore homeported vessel, carrying 4,813 vehicles, en-route to Vancouver B.C. The vessel is carrying 430 metric tons of fuel oil and 112 metric tons of diesel. According to the USCG, there is a sheen extending 2 miles from the vessel.

A crewmember from the Singapore based container ship Cougar Ace contacted the North Pacific Search and Rescue Coordination Center at 11:09 p.m. Sunday. The crewmember reported Sunday night that the Cougar Ace was taking on water and listing 80 degrees. One crewmember has a broken leg. There were no other reported injuries Monday according to the United States Coast Guard. All crewmembers were wearing survival suits. - More...
Monday PM - July 24, 2006

Ketchikan: Body of Man Found Near 5th Avenue - Public Safety Director Rich Leipfert said Monday that on July 21, 2006 at approximately 5:00 p.m. the Ketchikan Police Department received a report that a body was found in the woods near Fifth Avenue.

Leipfert said a male was located with what appeared to be a self inflicted injury. The subject has not been positively identified. The body was sent to the Medical Examiners Office in Anchorage for identification and an autopsy. The investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information may call the Ketchikan Police Department at 225-6631.
- Page..
Monday PM - July 24, 2006

National: Senate to debate drilling for oil, gas By ZACHARY COILE - The Senate is expected to decide this week whether to open vast areas off the coast of Florida to oil and gas drilling, a debate with billions of dollars in energy royalties at stake that could affect the ability of coastal states like California to prevent drilling off their shores.

Senate Republicans want to allow drilling in Lease Area 181, a portion of the eastern Gulf of Mexico south of Florida's Panhandle that is believed to contain one of the nation's largest untapped reserves of oil and natural gas. Proponents claim that opening the new area could help rein in the high energy prices consumers are paying and reduce America's dependence on foreign sources. ....

Among the bill's opponents is Sen. Ted Stevens, the powerful Alaska Republican lawmaker who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee.

Stevens supports offshore drilling, but was angered that Senate Republican leaders did not include Alaska among the states that will share in the billions of dollars in revenue. He said he plans to object on the Senate floor. - More...
Monday PM - July 24, 2006

Alaska: Governor Orders Flags Lowered for Guardsmen - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski ordered Alaska State flags to half-staff Sunday in honor of the two Alaska Army National Guard soldiers who died in Mississippi Thursday.

Sergeant First Class George William Dauma, Jr., 37, of Fairbanks, and Staff Sergeant William Franklin Brown, 54, of Barrow were killed and two others injured when a semi-truck rear-ended their Humvee around 10:45 p.m. on U.S. highway 98 near Camp Shelby, Mississippi, according to Mississippi Highway Patrol. - More...
Monday PM - July 24, 2006


Fish Factor: King Crab Season Officially Underway August 15th By LAINE WELCH - Alaska's crab season in the Bering Sea will officially get underway with the August 15 start of the golden king crab fishery. Just 14 crabbers own rights to that deep water fishery under the new quota share system that began last year, although only eight boats usually participate. Golden king crab, which is slightly smaller than red kings and has a more delicate, sweet flavor, is one of Alaska's most stable stocks and for years has maintained a catch of 5.7 million pounds.

Unfortunately, all signs point to a continued downward press in world king crab markets. Blame it on the jumbos coming in from the new Russian fishery in the Barents Sea, said market expert John Sackton.

"That Russian crab has had a huge impact on the crab market, and I don't see any change in that situation this coming year," he said.

The crab was transplanted to the Barents Sea by Russians about 60 years ago, and since then the stocks have boomed. The region, saddled atop Russia and Norway, now supports a fishery that is about the same size as Alaska's, and it's likely to get even bigger. The king crab, which has only been arriving on world markets in recent years, is huge ­ the average weight is ten pounds, but it can top 20 pounds, compared to about six pounds for Alaska red king crab. And nearly all of it is coming into the U.S.

"That's taken the high end of the market and pushed it down really hard because there is such an over supply," Sackton said, adding that this summer wholesalers are selling the jumbo crab to retailers at $7.65- $7.75 per pound, far lower than last year.

Market analyst Ken Talley agreed. "Prices for the large red kings are beginning to strengthen a bit, but only for the (most popular) 6-9 and 9-12 size sections. All the rest continues to be an over supply and there simply is no home for it with the cheap red kings around," Talley said. [King crab is sold by the number of legs per 10 pound box, so 9-12 means the legs are close to one pound each. The Barents Sea crab is mostly 4-6, 6-9 size sections. The most common sizes coming out of Alaska are 12-14 and 14-17 sections.]

The total U.S. supply of king crab is about 27,000 metric tons (60 million pounds), of which Alaska in 2005 provided only about 12 percent (3,000 ­ 4,000 tons). All the rest comes from Russia. Sackton said a wild card is the status of the king crab market in Japan, where smaller crab is preferred. Alaska typically provides roughly 2,400 ­ 3,000 tons to Japan.

On a brighter note, the crunch in the king crab market is not likely to be permanent. "Anytime new crab comes into the world market, it throws things off kilter for awhile. A lot of old timers will remember in 1991 the serious depression of king crab coming from the Russian Far East fishery. Two or three years later, there were record prices," Sackton said. - More...
Monday PM - July 24, 2006

Hospital "grows" its own lab technicians

Hospital "grows" its own lab technicians
Tom Loughead, KGH interim lab manager; Travis Tacker, MLT student; Valerie Polansky, Program Director for MLT Online, St. Petersburg College.
Polansky visited the KGH Lab
during her recent Alaska cruise.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan General Hospital

Ketchikan: Hospital "grows" its own lab technicians - Separated by 5,000 miles, Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) and St. Petersburg College (SPC) Medical Laboratory Technology Online Program, collaborate to train "home-grown" lab professionals for Alaska hospitals. KGH lab employee Travis Tacker will enter the program in August. He joins Wrangell student Roxanna "Roxy" Coblentz who is currently doing her clinical work at KGH under the same arrangement.

Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLTs), after completing college prerequisite courses such as biology and chemistry, must complete a two-year Associates Degree of coursework as well as clinical experience. When Coblentz, a clerk/phlebotomist in the lab of Wrangell Medical Center for 19 years, was looking for a way to become certified as an MLT, she discovered the online training available from the Florida college. She then approached the KGH lab about providing the clinical hours and mentorship. She began the program in 2004, and is now very close to finishing. Without SPC's online program and the KGH collaboration, both Coblentz and Tacker would have to travel to Anchorage or the lower 48 states for their classwork. - More...
Monday PM - July 24, 2006

Ketchikan: Ketchikan General Hospital Named 2006 Most Wired Hospital - PeaceHealth has once again been named one of the "100 Most Wired" health systems in the nation, according to the results of the 2006 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study released today in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine which has named the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems since 1999.

"This award gets more sophisticated every year. PeaceHealth won because of systems that span the entire enterprise-not because of any one piece. I would like to thank the many, many people across PeaceHealth that have contributed to this success," said John Haughom, PeaceHealth Senior Vice President for Clinical Quality and Patient Safety. - More...
Monday PM - July 24, 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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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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