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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 13, 2006

Front Page Photo courtesy Ryan Harris

Local "Terrorist's" Weapon of Choice: Slingshot & Metal Bearings
Pictured: Right wheel horse Jack who was slightly injured.
Front Page Photo courtesy Ryan Harris

Ketchikan: Local "Terrorist's" Weapon of Choice: Slingshot & Metal Bearings By M.C. KAUFFMAN - With great strength, experience and a cool head, driver Ryan Harris was well equipped to take control of what could have been a potentially dangerous situation for 30 passengers aboard a Seahorse Ventures tour today.

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This potentially dangerous incident began when a person using a slingshot loaded with 1/4 inch stainless steel ball bearings began shooting at the horse-drawn trolley at the Totem Heritage Center. Harris said the metal bearings hit the horses causing extreme excitability and slightly injured his right wheel horse, Jack.

Harris said metal bearings were also entering the trolley and he immediately decided to move the tour out of the danger area. A big man at 280 pounds and 6'2", Harris had his hands full as the horses were agitated.

Harris said, "The horses were so excited that it bordered uncontrollable and I sustained a fractured clavicle from the pressure [put] on my shoulder controlling the horses during the remainder of the tour." However, Harris maintained a steady and assuring hand and was able to manage the horses for the remainder of the tour which involved delivering his passengers safely for unboarding.

At the time of the incident, another employee quickly searched the area by following the line of shot. This employee reported he was also shot at with the metal bearing flying over his head.

The Ketchikan Police were contacted and Harris said the police have found an alleged suspect, a minor, as well as the slingshot. Harris said from their employee's report he looked 20. No information was available from the police today regarding the incident.

At the time of the incident 18 locals and 12 tourists were on board the trolley plus the driver and the narrator. Among the passengers were children. One metal bearing was recovered in one of the passenger's shoes said Harris.

No passengers or bystanders were injured. All can be thankful to the trolley driver - Ryan Harris, the hero who saved the day - and for the horse-drawn trolley tours' well-trained horses. - More...
Sunday PM - August 13, 2006

National: U.S. scrambling to cover weaknesses in air safety By ZACHARY COILE - Despite billions of dollars spent bolstering airport security since 19 hijackers commandeered four passenger jets using box cutters on Sept. 11, 2001, counterterrorism officials say America remains vulnerable to the type of alleged terrorist plot foiled by British authorities this week.

"There are always gaps in security," said aviation security consultant Cathal Flynn, a retired Navy rear admiral who was associate administrator for civilian aviation security at the Federal Aviation Administration during the Clinton administration. "It all depends on the organization and the capabilities of the terrorists."

Security officials, since at least the 1988 explosion of Pam Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, have tried to get ahead of those terrorist capabilities. For example, U.S. officials in recent years have become increasingly worried about terrorists using shoulder-fired missiles against passenger jets. The Department of Homeland Security is testing technologies on planes and on the ground that could jam such missiles' targeting systems. But the technologies may prove too costly for the government or industry to install, Flynn said. - More...
Sunday PM - August 13, 2006


The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - British foil plot to use liquid explosives on airliners

British officials announced Thursday the arrests of 24 people in England suspected of plotting to use liquid explosives hidden in carry-on luggage to destroy as many as 10 airliners flying from Britain to the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security posted for the first time its highest threat alert for flights headed from the United Kingdom to the United States, and all other flights were raised to the second-highest alert level, causing long lines at dozens of airports. Most liquids are now banned from carry-on luggage. Meanwhile, five Pakistanis and two Britons of Pakistani origin were arrested in Pakistan under suspicion of being "facilitators" of the plot. U.S. officials described the sophisticated plot to strike multiple targets simultaneously as a hallmark of al Qaeda.

BP shuts down critical Alaska oil pipeline

Heavy corrosion inside a 20-year-old pipeline forced petroleum giant BP to shut down the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, oil field this week. BP President Bob Malone issued a public apology for the maintenance oversight that will stop 400,000 barrels of crude a day, or 8 percent of domestic crude production. The company said it does not know how long the 16-mile pipeline will be idle or even how much of it has been damaged. The shutdown comes at a time of uncertain Middle Eastern oil supply and production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico that still have not fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina.

[SitNews' Editor's Note: Senior BP corporate officials called Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski late Friday to inform him that aggressive testing of flow lines and transit lines on Prudhoe Bay's western half provided sufficient evidence that the company could safely operate that half of the field. BP officials asserted that they were confident that there would be no repeat of the corrosion and leaks that prompted the company to shut down the eastern half last Sunday.

Murkowski said, "The shutdown of the eastern side reduced daily production by approximately 200,000 barrels. Daily production from the western side currently totals approximately 120,000 barrels, but we are assured that can be ramped up to about 190,000 by the end of August."]- More...
Sunday - August 13, 2006

Washington Calling: Powder hoax prevention ... water bill scofflaws ... and more By LISA HOFFMAN - As the five-year anniversary of the deadly anthrax attacks approaches, government researchers say they're developing a quick way to determine whether powder found in the mail or elsewhere is toxic or a hoax.

The National Center for Toxicological Research, which is part of the Food and Drug Administration, say they've employed a technology called mass spectrometry to determine in as few as three hours whether a suspicious substance is a bioterror agent, or, say, baking soda.

Current techniques for an accurate determination can take more than 24 hours. - More...
Sunday PM - August 13, 2006

Aladdin Jr.; Iago (Alexandra Souter)
and Jafar (Katrina Monta)
Front Page Photo by Bill Hupe

Arts & Entertainment

Ketchikan: "The Ketchikan Theatre Ballet Presents Movement Creations"
and the First City Player's Performance: "Aladdin JR."
By BILL HUPE - "Movement Creations" highlighted the work of the Ketchikan Theatre Ballet in four pieces which featured the talents and creativity of a troupe of hard-working and talented children, which augurs well for continuing the high entertainment standards we have here in Ketchikan.

The first piece presented was "Rain Drops", where the dancers were costumed in BP Trash Bags -- topical considering the past week's problems on the North Slope. Then we were transported to Times Square for a rendition of "New York, New York", featuring masks that the dancers themselves had designed with intricacy and care. Next came "Airplane Adventures", and the final creation, the humorous and immensely entertaining "Searching Fiction: Scooby's Adventure", which included a fish conga line. Each piece reflected a different mood, emotion and rhythm to highlight the young talent.

After a brief intermission, "Aladdin Jr." began. I had not been sure what to expect, having only seen "The Lion King" musical of the recent spate of Disney animation features-turned-musicals. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. - More...
Sunday PM - August 13, 2006



letter Cruise Ship Ballot Measure Gives Alaska A Fair Share By Gershon Cohen - Sunday
letter Some Thoughts on Consolidation By Samuel Bergeron - Sunday
letter White Cliff Project - Questioning Funding Rationale By Lynne Miller - Sunday
letter White Cliff School Renovations and Sales Taxes By Robert D. Warner - Sunday
letter Sales taxes / Gas line/ Visitors tax By Robert MacRoberts - Sunday
letter Quality care for those living in nursing homes By Jane Marshall - Sunday
letter White Cliff Project Yes, Funding Method No By Samuel Bergeron - Friday
letterGuard Island Heritage Meeting & Lighthouse Tour By Rob Holston - Friday
letter Yes, to White Cliff Center By Alaire Stanton - Thursday
letter Sales Tax By Jim Wingren - Thursday
letter Yes to sales tax increase By Kathy Bolling Graham - Thursday
letter What would you do? By Peter Klein - Thursday
letter How and Why? By Mark Neckameyer - Thursday
letter Baseball is... By Ken Lewis - Wednesday
letter The answer is... By Charlotte Tanner- Wednesday
letter No to Sales Tax Increase By Samuel Bergeron - Tuesday
letter Clothes for kids? By Tori Jackson - Tuesday
letter Alaska's Oil By Robert H. Shipman - Tuesday
letter French chickened out By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday
letter What Not To Wear By Chris Elliott - Monday
letterBinkley's letter regarding priorities and ethics By Al Johnson - Monday
letter ON CONSOLIDATION By David G. Hanger - Sunday
letter Honest Leadership Will Restore Trust By John Binkley - Sunday
letterBoon-Doggles By Don Hoff Jr. - Saturday
letter Baseball By Michael McColley - Saturday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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August 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: O Where, O Where is Delaware? - Several folks have asked how my annual License Plate Bingo battle is going, so time for an update as we head into the dog days of August.

The quick answer is pretty darn good, but then you've heard that before.

Just a quick refresher on the rules. You have to "collect" the license plates by spotting them on cars on Ketchikan streets. One year, I was missing North Dakota and naturally saw one in the Sitka airport parking lot of all places. Close but no cigar!

Last year, I came within one Delaware sighting of "running the table."

That was the closest I had gotten since 2001 when I came within a "West Virginia" of taking the whole enchilada. Yes, that year I even saw a Delaware license plate for the first and only time ever in K-town. - More...
Sunday - August 13, 2006

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on the Odds - There is no such thing as a sure bet. Exhibit A is a limping horse named Barbaro.

Prior to the start of the 2006 Preakness Stakes, at the Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore, the odds were even that Barbaro would win his second jewel on the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing.

Although it sounds like a numerical paradox, "even odds" simply means that the probabilities of two possible events occurring are exactly the same, or 1 to 1. In the case of a horse race, the odds that are usually posted are "winning versus not winning", although there are many other scenarios that people bet on, such as "placing", which means coming in first or second. - More...
Sunday - August 13, 2006

Ann McFeatters: Common tools of life can be used against us - No more pulling your toothbrush out for a quick brush on a cross-country flight. No more "self-hydrating" on long flights with a couple of bottles of water carried on board. No more using perfume or aftershave to freshen up before landing. No more carry-on luggage on some flights or electronic devices to pass the time. No use of contact lens solution to rest travel-weary eyes.

Long, wasted hours spent standing in security lines. Delays will be routine. The passenger next to you may well be a sky marshal.

And, once again, fear in the pit of your stomach if you send your children via plane to see grandma or send your son or daughter for a semester abroad. - More...
Sunday PM - August 13, 2006

Bob Ciminel: SPEAKING IN TONGUES - Let's face it; I'm not a religious person. Oh, I started out on the right path, but I forgot my GPS and lost my way - over and over again. Now don't get me wrong; I am not a bad person. I've never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, and I've never seen the inside of a jail - you can't do that and have a 35-year career in the nuclear industry, thank God! Fortunately, I married a fine Christian lady, who regularly attends church and prays for me. It must be working; I'm still here.

What brought this up was my recent trip to the Watts Bar nuclear plant located on the Tennessee River between Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was only there for four days, but it was refreshing to leave Atlanta's traffic and not have to board a plane. This was a true road trip; it's only 160 miles from my office to the plant. I pulled out of the Avis parking lot at 8:30 and pulled into my hotel driveway at 11; it was Interstate 75 all the way. - More...
Sunday PM - August 13, 2006

Dale McFeatters: But they'll keep trying - The value of constant vigilance was chillingly underscored this week when British authorities arrested 21 people in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners over the Atlantic.

The terrorism plan was said to be sophisticated and close to fruition. Perhaps mindful of past Bush administration announcements of terrorist plots broken up that on examination proved less than convincing, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said, "This is not a circumstance where you had a handful of people sitting around coming up with dreamy ideas about terrorist plots."

Security officials said the organizational details were consistent with an al Qaeda operation. And travelers paid the price in massive flight cancellations and delays as the chaos from the closure of much of Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, spread outward. - More...
Sunday PM - August 13, 2006

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