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July 28, 2006

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Alaska: Key lawmaker calls Alaska gas line deal flawed By RICHARD RICHTMYER - A key state lawmaker who is chairman of a committee considering Gov. Frank Murkowski's proposed natural gas pipeline contract said this week that it needs a major overhaul before the Legislature should even consider endorsing it.

Sen. Gene Therriault, a North Pole Republican who heads the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, in a 52-page letter laid out what he said are major flaws in the contract, which would set state tax, ownership and other terms if Alaska's big three producers build a pipeline for the North Slope's huge reserves of gas.

Murkowski and his top aides negotiated the contract in private with BP, Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobil for more than two years. They unveiled the draft deal for public review and comment in May.

Therriault, whose committee is playing a key role in the Legislature's review of the proposed gas deal, was one of a handful of lawmakers the Murkowski administration briefed as the contract negotiations occurred.

He said he felt compelled to express his misgivings in writing before the public comment period ended Tuesday.

"Some of these concerns I've expressed to the administration over the past year and a half," Therriault said.

Therriault is not the only public figure who has big problems with the draft contract, which has become the dominant issue in an election season where the governor's office and 50 of the Legislature's 60 seats are on the ballot. - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Ketchikan: Commercial Marijuana Grow Operation Discovered - Rich Leipfert, Ketchikan Public Safety Director, said SEANET Investigators along with Ketchikan Post Troopers and the Ketchikan Police Department served search warrants at a duplex on Roosevelt Drive around 8:00 pm Monday in reference to a suspected marijuana grow operation.

Leipfert said during the service of the search warrant it was discovered that one apartment had approximately 20 ounces of processed marijuana drying in seven separate locations in the master bedroom. The value of this processed marijuana in Ketchikan is approximately $12,342. Evidence of a marijuana grow operation was also found in the basement of the residence said Leipfert in a news release.

In a second apartment, two rooms were found to have a combination of dirt and hydroponic methods for growing marijuana. Leipfert said those rooms had a total of 202 marijuana plants, in three different stages of growth. "This is considered a commercial grow operation that could produce an estimated 200,000 dosage units of marijuana. Multiple prescription drugs and over $19,000 in cash were also seized from the residence," said Leipfert.

No charges have been filed as of yet, and the investigation is continuing. - Page....
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Biologist sees value...

Biologist George Schaller on a recent visit to Fairbanks.
Photo by Ned Rozell

Alaska: Biologist sees value in unchanged landscape By NED ROZELL - George Schaller has studied gorillas in Rwanda, lions on the Serengeti, pandas in China, antelope in Tibet, and many other animals in wild places around the planet, but he thinks the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is unique among them. He recently visited there for the first time in half a century.

"On the Sheenjek (River), we climbed the same cliff I climbed in 1956, and looking out there was no difference-no roads, no buildings, no garbage dumps.

"I'm sure there are rain forests in Brazil where you can walk for a few days without seeing people or big changes to the landscape, but sites like (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) that are ecologically whole are extremely rare."

Schaller, possibly the most recognized biologist in the world, traveled to Alaska this summer from his home in Connecticut for a trip through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with author Jon Waterman, University of Alaska Fairbanks students Betsy Young and Martin Robards, Forrest McCarthy from the University of Wyoming, and Gary Kofinas of UAF. Most of the group drove the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse, took a trip down the Canning River by raft, and then flew to Arctic Village and the upper Sheenjek River. Schaller had not been to the latter two places in 50 years, since he joined biologists and naturalists Olaus and Mardy Murie and others on a trip there that resulted in the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. - More...
Thursday - July 27, 2006


National: GOP fights to keep control of Congress By JOHN E. MULLIGAN - November's midterm congressional elections hold implications for the final chapter of the Bush administration, for the ideological makeup of the judicial branch of government and for such crucial policy issues as the war in Iraq.

A relative handful of Senate races is therefore attracting huge investments of political money and energy - by the White House, by political stars of both parties, and by national groups representing a host of interests, from federal tax cuts to environmental activism.

President Bush's dismal popularity ratings and the deepening public unease with the war in Iraq have inspired some Democrats to hope for the kind of historic victory that the Republicans scored when they seized both houses of Congress in 1994. - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Hot Zone: Civilians in the cross fire By KEVIN SITES - Israeli air strikes are taking a tremendous toll on civilians in southern Lebanon - including an attack on a bus filled with women and children that left three dead and 13 injured, many of them severely.

At Jabal Amel Hospital in the southern city of Tyre, where most of the victims were taken, Rhonda Shaloub is wheeled into a recovery room next to her 15-year-old niece, Radije, following emergency surgery.

Their faces are both mummy-wrapped with gauze bandages. There are openings only for their noses and mouths. What can be seen of their faces is deeply disturbing. There is blood seeping at the edges of Shaloub's bandages, while Radije's lips are stitched with medical sutures, the skin on her chin speckled with red tissue damage caused by the blast. - More...

Health & Fitness: Physical fitness requires mental toughness By EUGENIE JONES - Many fitness battles - to exercise or not to exercise - are fought, won or lost from the neck up. Before we can pry our buttocks from their deeply contoured positions on the living sofa, we must have the mind to do it.

Since our thoughts guide and influence our behavior, it's important to focus in on those attitudes and convictions we need to possess and to chuck the ones which do us absolutely no good. - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Entertainment: What's in store for the 2006 class of 'American Idol'? By DANNY HOOLEY - After the "American Idol" tour ends in September, what becomes of the wannabes? The last big moment for an "Idol"-er may be that killer version of "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Here's a rundown on what's ahead for the 10 touring finalists and a best guess as to their chances of stardom.


THE LATEST The winner's blustery "Do I Make You Proud," released June 13, immediately hit the top of the Billboard singles chart . . . but didn't stay there (it falls to No. 39 this week). If his untainted soul-belting past is more your style, Hicks' self-released albums from 1997 and 2005 are fetching as much as $100 a piece on the Internet. His debut major-label debut on 19 Recordings/RCA is due Nov. 14. - More..
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006



letter If You Want My Vote By Samuel Bergeron - Thursday
letter Ketchikan Concrete Classic By Tracy Mettler - Thursday
letter Picturesque City By Bill Thomas SR. - Thursday
letter Four years is enough By Charlotte Tanner - Thursday
letter Don't forget your year-round customers By Jean Bland - Thursday
letter Protesters & Baseball By Scott Kline - Thursday
letter The Government is Here to Help By Alan Lidstone - Thursday
letter Tax or Not to Tax or even Tax Higher By Marvin Seibert - Thursday
letter Intertie By Norma Lankerd - Wednesday
letter Nouri al-Maliki By Mark Neckameyer - Wednesday
letter All Stars selection By Vanessa Ohlson - Wednesday
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
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Columns - Commentary  

John Crisp: Ignoring inconvenient messages - I've probably spent too much time lately reading books with depressing titles like "Our Final Hour" by Martin Rees, "The End of Oil" by Paul Roberts or "The Long Emergency" by James Howard Kunstler. These are writers who aren't afraid to look unflinchingly at an event that most people are unwilling to contemplate, but which nearly everyone, at some level, must know is coming: the peak of worldwide hydrocarbon production, particularly oil and gas. There's disagreement about whether that peak is occurring right now or whether it will occur in 10, 20 or 30 years, but nearly everyone who thinks about things like this agrees that it will happen in the lifetimes of many people who are alive today.

The peak of worldwide production doesn't mean the end of oil, but it does mean that there will be less and less of the cheap, sweet crude that has shaped the modern world, which is largely based on the inexpensive transportation of goods and people by means of the internal combustion engine. Unfortunately, the best remaining oil reserves belong to countries that won't be all that sympathetic to our plight. As time goes on, oil will become harder and harder to extract until we reach a point of diminishing returns: It will take more energy to extract the oil from the ground than the oil itself contains. - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Michael Reagan: A Time to Crow - We were right all along, and that gives us the right to say "we told you so."

Nobody wanted to listen when former Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and a lot of American conservatives warned that you cannot negotiate with terrorists such as Arafat, Hezbollah and Hamas, or their sponsors in Syria and Iran. We were accused of being warmongers and told that the future of Israel lay not in defending itself, but in making concession after concession to an enemy sworn to demolish the Jewish state and drive its people into the sea.

Goaded by the peace-at-any-price crowd who can never recognize evil when it stares them in the face because they don't recognize that evil exists, Israel attempted to mollify the anti-Israel United Nations and the hand-wringing liberals here and abroad by playing nice with their sworn enemies. - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Dick Morris & Eileen McGann: True Friends of Israel Cannot Let The Dems Take Power - Ten years ago, on April 18, 1996, Israel attacked Hezbollah in Lebanon for 16 days in an operation called Grapes of Wrath. The global condemnation of Israel was fierce, especially when it bombed a U.N. refugee camp, killing 107 people, an attack that Tel Aviv said was a mistake.

At the time, the United States did nothing to stop the tide from turning against Israel and President Clinton said, "I think it is important that we do everything we can to bring an end to the violence."

In private, Clinton seethed at the Israeli attack, saying he had discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres the possibility of concluding a military defense treaty with his nation, pledging U.S. aid in the event of an attack. - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Will Durst: The Fratlomat - It was quite a performance the president put on at the G-8 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia this year. If you, like me, understand the phrase "quite a performance" to mean "whoa, dude, chill." Maybe a switch to decaffeinated is in order. "Yo, Blair." That's how he hailed the prime minister of Great Britain at a photo op at the closing of the conference. "Yo, Blair." Sounds like how I might greet one of my friends, but you know what, I'm not the president of the United States of America at a major world summit. Which, as Martha Stewart says, is a good thing.

Bush then proceeded to mumble some spurious advice to Tony Blair with a mouth full of partially masticated roll, answering once and for all why his staff goes to such lengths to keep him corralled like a roping calf in Crawford, Texas, where chewing with your mouth open is considered an art form as well as a compliment to the chef. We've got some spoiled fruit running the country and he's loose and playing frat boy diplomat with the big kids and everything is going horribly awry, people! - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

Dale McFeatters: Cheaper gas -- but keep it out of sight - The noisy fight over whether to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has always been something of a distraction in the quest for that elusive, perhaps mythical, goal of "energy independence."

If greater domestic production of oil and gas is in the national interest - and most people, at least in the abstract, seem to believe it is - then it makes more sense to exploit reserves closer to the markets than the remote coasts of Alaska.

Congress, seeking to defuse the political issue of high gasoline prices, is moving toward lifting drilling restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico, brushing past the fact that this would have no effect on energy prices for years to come. - More...
Thursday AM - July 27, 2006

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