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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 11, 2008

Front Page Photo by Jacob West

Herring Cove Black Bear
Front Page Photo by Jacob West



Alaska: ALASKA STATE SENATOR INDICTED ON PUBLIC CORRUPTION CHARGES; SENATOR A IDENTIFIED - John Cowdery (R), a current member of the Alaska state Senate representing District ) - Anchorage, was indicted on charges arising out of a federal investigation into public corruption in the state of Alaska, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich for the Criminal Division announced Thursday.

jpg Alaska State  Senator  John Cowdery

Alaska State Senator
John Cowdery

A two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on July 9, 2008, charges Cowdery with one count of bribery and one count of conspiracy. The indictment alleges that Cowdery and his co-conspirators, including Bill J. Allen, the former chief executive officer of VECO Corporation, and Richard L. Smith, VECO's former vice president, corruptly offered and agreed to give financial benefits to another state legislator (State Senator A) to influence and reward State Senator A in exchange for State Senator A agreeing to perform official acts as a member of the Alaska State Legislature.

The indictment specifically alleges that VECO Corporation, which at the time was a multinational oil services corporation, had a significant financial interest in contracts with oil producers in Alaska and, consequently, supported certain oil and gas legislation pending in the Alaska state legislature in 2006. The indictment further alleges that, in exchange for $25,000 ­ characterized as political campaign contributions ­ Cowdery, Allen, Smith and others sought an agreement with State Senator A that would require State Senator A to vote in favor of the oil and gas legislation favored by VECO. Cowdery and the alleged co-conspirators agreed to this plan, according to the indictment, through a series of telephone calls and in-person meetings.

Friday Senator Donny Olson (D- Nome) acknowledged that Senator A as referenced in the federal indictment of Senator John Cowdery is indeed himself. He further stated that he has been willingly cooperating with the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office since their investigation began almost two years ago.

Regarding the news of the indictment of Sen. Cowdery , Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said in a prepared statement Thursday, "It was disturbing to learn that another public official has been charged with violating the public trust. I urge Senator Cowdery to step down, for the good of the state."
- More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

Ketchikan: Suit Filed to Stop Four Timber Sales on Largest National Forest - Environmental groups sued the U.S. Forest Service in federal court Thursday arguing that the agency has concealed impacts of old-growth logging to the environment and to subsistence hunting in four Tongass National Forest timber projects. At issue is whether environmental impact statements have thoroughly evaluated the effect of the projects on Sitka black-tailed deer - a species that is key to viability of the "Islands Wolf" (Alexander Archipelago wolf) and is among the most important subsistence foods in the area.

The four timber projects are: Scott Peak (Kupreanof Island, Petersburg Ranger District (RD)); Overlook (Mitkof Island, Petersburg RD); Traitors Cove (Revillagigedo (Revilla) Island, Ketchikan-Misty Fiords RD); and Soda Nick (Prince of Wales Island, Craig RD).

The plaintiffs are Greenpeace and Cascadia Wildlands Project, both of which have offices in Alaska. They say the Forest Service has violated bedrock environmental laws by deliberately ignoring their legitimate criticisms of how impacts to deer were assessed in the decision process and not providing a "full and fair discussion" of their concerns. While not a plaintiff in the suit, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game has repeatedly challenged these same flaws.

"The Forest Service has misapplied the science and has stonewalled all challenges," said Sitka-based Greenpeace forest campaigner Larry Edwards. "We have sought resolution for years. Now the courts are the only recourse." - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

Ketchikan: Partnership Benefits Tongass Public-Use Cabins - Friends of the Tongass Cabins and the Tongass National Forest have teamed up to ensure the continued development, operation, maintenance and public enjoyment of cabins on the nation's largest national forest.

Forrest Cole, Tongass National Forest supervisor, and Joe Parrish, director of Southeast Alaska Guidance Association - Friends of the Tongass Cabins, recently signed an agreement that will establish a framework for cooperation and coordination between the two organizations and aims to benefit users of Tongass cabins.

"The Tongass offers outstanding recreation opportunities and some of the most popular facilities are the cabins," said Parrish. "We believe these cabins are a unique and irreplaceable public treasure that will need active public involvement and private financial support in order to remain viable and be available for future generations."

The Friends of the Tongass Cabins has set several goals to help fulfull this mission. - More....
Friday - July 11, 2008


Alaska: New Research: One-Third of Alaska's Jobs are "Bad Jobs" - The federal poverty line does a poor job of measuring economic insecurity in the United States according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). In the typical state, 22 percent of people in working families suffer from economic hardship because their earnings and income from other sources, including public work supports and other public benefits, fall below the basic needs budget standard for where they live. By comparison, only 12.6 percent of Americans live below the federal poverty line.

The recent study, Working Families and Economic Insecurity in the States: The Role of Job Quality and Work Supports, provides information on job quality and the economic security of working families in the states in the first half of the current decade. The report also quantifies the important role that public work supports-benefits for workers such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and child care assistance-play in helping workers make ends meet.

To determine how much income a working family needs to "make ends meet", the authors of the report, Rebecca Ray, Shawn Fremstad and Hye Jin Rho, use basic family budgets that take into account the actual costs of goods and services needed to have a decent - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

Alaska: REGISTRATION DEADLINE FOR AUGUST PRIMARY IS JULY 27, 2008 - Do you need to register to vote? Have you moved? Do you need to change your political party affiliation? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have until Sunday, July 27, 2008 to register or update your existing voter registration for the Primary election on August 26, 2008.

Voter registration is available at any Division of Elections regional office, at municipal clerk's office, at the Division of Motor Vehicles and at many of the libraries. Registration applications are also available at the Division's website.

The Division of Elections regional offices will be open the weekend of the registration deadline to assist voters. Offices will be open on Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, July 27 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. for voter registration. The Division of Elections also accepts voter registration application submitted by mail or by fax. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

Ketchikan: Hospital Foundation Sole*Stice a Success - This year's Sole*Stice netted over $37,000 for the Ketchikan General Hospital Foundation. Only in its second year, the Sole*Stice shoe auction and sale was a sold out event at the Ted Ferry Civic Center Friday, June 20th.

Practical rain boots, needle sharp stiletto heels, and furry mukluks were among the 25-plus lots of shoes auctioned along with Coach bags and scarves. In the mix were designer shoes from Manolo Blahnick and a ruby red pair of heels designed by Carlos Santana and autographed by cooking queen Rachel Ray.

Hundreds of pairs of shoes were available during the Silent Auction. Purses, scarves, and shoes were also available at a Shoe Boutique. Unsold shoes were available for purchase the next day at the offices of corporate sponsor GCI.

A "flip-flop" quilt created and donated by Foundation Board member Sheila Kleinschmidt was on display. Colorful, quilted flip-flops, border squares, and inner stripes were available for sponsorship. Donor names will be embroidered on the chosen portions and the quilt displayed in the outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Student Makes Honors List - University of Alaska Southeast student, Robert Boyd, made the UAS Chancellor's List for the Spring 2008 Semester.

A student must be admitted to a program, earn a 4.00 grade point average, and complete at least 12 credit hours during the semester to make the Chancellor's Honor List. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008



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Basic Rules

letter Plow Energy Revenue Windfall Into Renewables and Power Transmission Systems By Sen. Lisa Murkowski - Everyone in Alaska knows that the current record prices for fossil fuels are a two-edged sword. They are fattening the state's treasury while shrinking Alaskans' pocketbooks and driving "energy refugees" from villages as fuel costs pass the point of endurance. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

letterWe're All on the Same Page By Tom Irwin - As we celebrate 50 years of statehood, we are reminded more than ever of the many leaders who stood before us and helped guide this great state to where it is today. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

letterGasline project must put Alaskans in driver's seat By Rep. Beth Kerttula and Rep. Berta Gardner - Last year when the Legislature passed sweeping oil tax reform we finally ensured a fair deal for our resources and created a simpler, more transparent process - but we also did much more. By taking a strong stance and fulfilling our constitutional mandate to maximize the benefits of our natural resources, we turned a crucial corner for resource development in Alaska. We put Alaskans in the driver's seat, and as we prepare to vote on the TransCanada gas pipeline proposal, we are determined to protect Alaskans' right to steer our own course. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

letter Private Use of Electric vehicles in Ketchikan By Chris Wilhelm - In response to Joy Barry's remark on all electric vehicle use, nothing seems better suited for Ketchikan! We can nearly eliminate, yes, eliminate petroleum dependency in the First City by having electric cars. Except in extreme months of dry or cold weather, our electricity is generated by falling water, which these days looks pretty cheap and easy. Thanks to KPU's hydroelectric facilities our electricity is not dependent on any country's oil production levels. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

letter Ketchikan's New Fire Station By Anna Marie Mestas - Members of the South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department would like to thank Senator Bert Stedman, Legislative Aide Miles Baker, Representative Kyle Johansen and the Ketchikan Legislative Liason for their efforts to secure State funding for a new fire station. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

letter Anderes Oil Team By Diane Daniels - Congratulations to all of the Anderes Oil teammates and to the coaches as well, Dennis Pope, Rick Erickson, and Tory Korn the team could not have done it without the support of coaches, parents and the local community. - More...
Friday - July 11, 2008

letter Oil Prices By Mark Neckameyer - Oil prices are still zooming up. All time record hit today of $147.00 a barrel, the stock market crashed and as it costs too much for me to drive my small SUV around town so I have to ride my bike most of the time.. Barak Obama again today warned against trying to "drill our way out of this mess". Senator Obama said it is foolish to drill as it would take seven years to start harvesting oil from any drilling begun now. - More...
Friday - july 11, 2008

letterDo your part to lower demand for oil By Joy Barry - About two months ago I was feeling pretty dismal about the rising cost of oil. I lamented to my husband that soon he wouldn't be able to go to work anymore because he wouldn't have the gas money to get there! We would love to buy an all-electric car (a perfect option for Ketchikan where we can't drive very far anyway), but that is way out of our budget at the moment. We currently don't even have the funds to get a more fuel-efficient gasoline car. I was about to descend into despair when suddenly a bright light bulb appeared over my head. I recalled the energy crisis in the seventies when my dad traded in his motorcycle for a bicycle and began pedaling to work. He continued to use his bicycle as his main transportation for his entire career. I realized that there are other ways of getting around besides driving! After all, automobiles are a fairly recent invention when you consider the entire history of the world. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letter Your Stimulus Check By Jessica Peavey - While I fully agree that the system is backwards, it's still more money than we had before. I can't complain about that. It is unfortunate that the people who need this most, (low income/no income) will either never receive this money, or they will only get a minimum of what was expected. It's all based on what you do now(tax year 07), not what you have paid into the past. (unfortunately) The IRS counts EARNED income- things that you do to bring income into the home. In certain situations, they count UNearned income.(as long as you have some sort of EARNED income to go along with it) SSI, disability, social security, Veterans benifits, etc. are counted as UNearned income. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letterSURVIVING THE BIGGEST WAVE EVER By Jim Pound - Great story. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letter Response to 1st place Anderes Oil and Allstars By Scott Kline - In addition to all the boys that played, I would also like to point out that fiesty girl Brooke Simmons. The tournament games that I did get a chance to watch Brooke smacked a couple of home runs and threw some heat while on the mound. - More...
Wednesday - July 09, 2008

letter WE NEED TO SAVE THE BEACH! By Kathleen Wiechelman - On Monday, July 7th, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly will consider two items relating to the Borough s proposed purchase of South Point Higgins Beach. Item 9e would put a bond issue before the voters of Ketchikan in October 2008, which, of course, may or may not pass. If it does pass, it would cost the people of Ketchikan $5,000 in attorneys fees, in addition to other related costs. Item 9d would take $400,000 from the Borough s land trust account towards the purchase of South Point Higgins Beach and leave the remaining nearly $800,000 of the purchase price mandated by the owner Alaska Mental Health Trust to be raised by community organization Ketchikan Beaches Association and its partner Southeast Alaska Land Trust. This option would give the citizens of Ketchikan a much better chance than the bond issue option of turning South Point Higgins Beach into a public park for the use of current residents, as well as future generations. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter Property Taxes: Fair or Unfair? By Jerilyn Lester - I agree with Mr. Warner. I agree with Mr. Warner. I think Ketchikan's elected officials just blew it when instead of cutting the mill rate they just inflated the appraisals for the houses. That not only makes it harder to make all our payments, it makes it just almost impossible to keep our heads above water with the price of gas and food. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter IBU TA contract proposal By Robert Rice - Governor's office: "We are committed to a long term vision for improving working conditions for state workers" Annette Kreitzer, commissioner. What a totally one sided, self serving press release. I guess you believe that omissions that present a totally slanted view is not just a rationalization for lying. These one sided half truth-lies are exactly why most people in this country consider our government to be completely untrustworthy. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter Congratulations to 1st Place KLL Andres Oil By Linda Hansen - I want to congratulate the Ketchikan Little League Andres Oil for taking 1st Place this year. Great job with all the teams. We are so proud of all the boys. - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter EXXON VALDEZ PLAINTIFFS LOOK TO THE FUTURE By Rochelle van den Broek - If you are due to receive compensation in the Exxon Valdez case, would you rather give the tax man up to $35% of your settlement, or keep it yourself for later down the road? - More...
Monday - July 07, 2008

letter It Takes Courage to Cut the Budget By Robert D. Warner - Many of us are suffering "sticker shock" as we receive our current billing for property taxes. This should remind us that it takes real courage and hard work for our elected leaders to cut spending and reduce our taxes or keep increases modest and reasonable. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter IBU members not the bad guys By Diane Charrier - Instead of making it sound like the IBU members are the bad guys by all the things they (the state) wanted to give us, maybe you should of dug deeper to report all the things the state was trying to take away from us. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter IBU Contract Not Ratified: One sided By Ronald C. Currit - Your article titled IBU Contract Not Ratified seems to be only one sided, it only says what was offered BUT it does not say what was being changed or taken away. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter Ketchikan's new community library can't wait By Heidi Ekstrand and Susan Fisher - If all the stacks of books in the Ketchikan Public Library were spread apart so a person in a wheelchair could get up the aisles, and upper shelves were removed for a safe height, we'd need double the present space just for what we have - nothing new. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letter ANWR and NATURAL GAS By Mary Henrikson - This is a response to Marlowe Thompson and her frustrations over ANWR. I am confused by the standard statement that oil from ANWR won't get to market for 10 years. I worked on the The Trans Alaska Pipeline and it took a fraction of that time to build a pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. I can't help but feel technology has improved. I know oil companies must find and drill, but it sounds like they've a good idea where the oil is located and the Governor states the foot print will be the size of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). So the industrial layout will be smaller than Prudhoe, and if they tap into the trans-Alaska pipeline then it sounds like a 3-5 year project on the outside to the outside, and not nearly as intrusive. - More...
Wednesday - July 02, 2008

letterOutrage! Private Profit on public Alaskan Lands By Norbert Chaudhary - I read today of the plan by AP&T (Alaska Power and Telephone) (NOT an Alaskan Company - it is based in Port Townsend,Washington) to build a dam on PUBLIC LANDS in Southeast Alaska in order to sell electicity for PRIVATE PROFIT to Canada. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letter Statehood Day By Alan R. McGillvray - When I was a young sprout, wasn't even interested in girls yet, my younger brother and I were over at Minnich's house on 3rd Ave. up by the High School, playing around, when we heard the sirens go off. So we all knew that the STATEHOOD vote was up in the Senate of the U.S.A. govt. and it finally went in our favor. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letter Gasline, Energy & Salmon By Rep. Mike Doogan - Hearings, we got hearings.

The legislature held more hearings on Gov. Sarah Palin 's proposal to give TransCanada subsidiary TC Alaska a state license to build a gas pipeline from the North Slope. We met Tuesday afternoon in Palmer and Thursday afternoon in Soldotna, with public hearings on those evenings. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letterTrans Canada Pipeline By Ben Moffett - Way down here in New Mexico, where we have quite a bit of oil and gas too, we're pulling for Trans Canada Pipeline. - More...
Monday - June 30, 2008

letter Open letter: Gravina Access Priorities, Public Spending for Roads By Michael C. Spence - In my informed opinion, as long as the road system and infrastructure of Ketchikan on the Revillagigedo Island is poorly maintained, with vast areas either unpaved or pothole-ridden, it is a travesty to spend any more public money on roads on Gravina Island. For example, Tongass Avenue near the main post office, Tongass Highway from Revilla Road to Refuge Cove are a mess. Revilla Road is unpaved over much of the area above Ward Lake recreation area, as is South Tongass Highway from mile 8 to the end of the road at Beaver Falls. Both of the latter roads are frequently used by local residents and visitors. There is inadequate pedestrian access throughout the road system in Ketchikan, and critically inadequate in the downtown area where thousands of tourists and residents alike are on the streets during the Summer. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letter Our Fuel for the Future By Gov. Sarah Palin - Summer is officially here. And during this time, we like to put the winter months behind us and focus on the longer and warmer days. But we are in the midst of an energy crisis across the nation and in Alaska. And the warmer summer months will only provide a brief respite from the colder months and the increasing need for fuel which lay ahead. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letterCustomer service By Cecelia Johnson - I recently had a pleasant surprise walking into a business downtown, "Crazy Wolf Studio." I felt like a celebrity and I was treated with respect. Why the surprise? I am a local resident. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letter Instead of a tale of two cities, we have two different tales of floating cities By Sen. Kim Elton - Cruise ship compliance with Alaska's environmental laws likely is okay if the question is "can they do lunch?" Ask more relevant questions, though, and compliance apparently is more difficult to assess. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letter Oil from ANWR/ gas price reduction By Marlowe Thompson - I have no expertise in the petroleum business. I am retired and trying to convince my U.S. Representative Democrat Mike Thompson (no relation) to change his view and vote to drill in ANWR. He stated in a letter to me that it would take too long, 10 years, to get oil to the Lower 48 and would only lower the gas price about 1.5 cents. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

letterMoving Forward?? By Jerilyn Lester - It seems to me that Governor Palin is just intent on ripping Alaska off for all it is worth. First the Governor steals the money for the bridge promised to Ketchikan 30 years ago only to build another one across Knik Arm because it takes too long to drive around. Now the Governor is taking jobs and money out of the state and sending them to Canada. - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008

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