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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

August 14, 2006

Front Page Photo by Diane Burnham Church

Happy Lituya Riders
Front Page Photo By Diane Burnham Church

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


Alaska: Little leaks, big mess By DAVID BAKER - Prudhoe Bay, the nation's largest oil field, sits at the edge of the Arctic Ocean on a stretch of land so flat that only the occasional well, pumping station, caribou or Quonset hut breaks the horizon.

Oil production began here in 1977 and has since spread a web of pipelines across the land, most of them running in clusters of three or four that rest on stilts above the tundra. The field has 1,500 miles of pipe, some carrying oil, some water, some natural gas and others a mixture of all three.

What passes for civilization here is the community of Deadhorse, less a town than a large equipment yard with a few small hotels and an airstrip. Summer lasts three months, melting ice within the top few inches of tundra and dotting the landscape with small lakes. Plants dubbed Arctic cotton sprout white tufts in the grass before the snow starts falling again in September.

For the past week, the engineers and crews who work in this open and cold landscape have been less concerned with pumping oil out of the ground than with preventing serious environmental damage.

One week ago, an inspection crew found a spill spreading beneath one of the main pipelines in the area. Four other spots on the same line were leaking oil into the insulation surrounding the pipe - potential spills in the making.

Not much crude escaped, just 17 barrels on a patch of damp earth smaller than a backyard pool. But discovery of the spill and the weakened sections of pipe forced the partial closure of America's largest oil field, shook world oil markets and threatened drivers with another round of record gasoline prices, with experts predicting Californians could pay another 20 cents more per gallon. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006

Alaska: Push to drill in Alaska's refuge By KEVIN G. HALL - Proponents of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are seizing on the partial shutdown of oil giant BP's Alaska drilling operations to renew their push in Congress to expand petroleum exploration and production.

Domestic drilling will be on the agenda when Congress returns in September. Negotiators in the House and Senate will begin trying to narrow their differences on two bills that call for expanded drilling on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

Neither of these bills has provisions for drilling in the wildlife refuge, but Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chairman of the House Resources Committee, is expected to hold hearings on the American-Made Energy Freedom Act. The bipartisan House bill proposes to open 1.5 million coastal acres of the 19 million-acre refuge to limited drilling.

The U.S. Geological Survey thinks there's a 50 percent chance that 10.3 billion barrels of oil lie below those 1.5 million acres. More than 15 billion barrels already have been pumped out of nearby Prudhoe Bay. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006


National: Questions and answers about cease-fire pact By LISA HOFFMAN - As a shaky ceasefire took effect Monday morning, Lebanese and Israeli officials met at the war-ravaged border between their two countries to set in motion a military disengagement and, perhaps, a measure of peace.

But so delicate is the situation, and so uncharted the road ahead, that a true end to more than a month of warfare between Israel's troops and Hezbollah guerilla fighters remains difficult to discern.

Even President Bush, as he cast the agreement as another step toward democracy in the region, reflected the unease that accompanied the hard-won ceasefire that, at least for now, has ended 34 days of bloody battle.

"We certainly hope the cease-fire holds," Bush said.

Here's a first look at what is known - and unknown - about the terms of the truce and its immediate future. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006

International: From 'fat little kid' to Israel's worst nightmare By PATRICK MARTIN - To Israel and many in the West, he's public enemy No. 1, head of an organization that President Bush says is on "the A-team of terrorists," the man running what Israelis call a "state within a state" in Lebanon, and posing a constant threat to Israel.

But to most Lebanese, and many in the Arab world, Hassan Nasrallah is an Islamic hero, a modern-day Saladin, vanquishing Israelis and galvanizing the public in a manner reminiscent of Egypt's much-beloved Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The reality, of course, is more complicated.

Hassan Nasrallah's declared goal is to rid Lebanon of all Israeli presence and to work within the Lebanese political system to advance the cause of his largely impoverished Shia people. (Although he clearly dreams of doing much more: of taking the Islamic campaign to Jerusalem one day, of ridding the region of Israel, of opposing the United States at every turn.)

His tactics are both military and political; his power derives from his movement's successes and from his personal charisma and shrewd planning. To many, he epitomizes what an Arab leader should be at this volatile time in the Middle East.

The question is: Will he limit his ambitions to Lebanon and work within the system, or will he use his phenomenal new clout to advance some larger cause? No one knows for sure.

This spring, Nasrallah signed a remarkable memorandum of understanding with Christian political leader Michel Aoun, the former head of the Lebanese army and, very possibly, Lebanon's next president. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006



letter Gov. Murkowski has done a remarkable job By Gary Emard - Tuesday
letter Are you serious? By Rodney Dial - Tuesday
letter Jason Love's column By June Allen - Tuesday
letter White Cliff Community Center By Jean Bartos - Monday
letter Taxes By Laurie Price - Monday
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

Jason Love: Wine-Tasting: Not Just for Snobs Anymore - I owe a lot to wine. According to reports, it played a major role in my conception.

Unfortunately, I'm not much of an expert. When a waiter brings the wine list, I use the time-honored system of "eeeny meeny miny mo." Otherwise you run the risk of waiters raising an eyebrow and making French sounds through their nose.

They promised that I'd be safe at Bodee's, a six- or seven-star restaurant "nestled into a remote country location" (translation: somewhere near Middle Earth).

Bodee's owner Michele Cromer-Bentivolio lives on a ranch behind the restaurant and picks avocados during her commute. These she hands over to executive chef and man of the hour, Christopher Watson.

At the wee-lad age of 27, Chris has rubbed spatulas with top cheffing dignitaries and is personally in charge of everything digested at Bodee's. He and I conducted research in Bodee's "fern grotto" (translation: patio), where Chris lined up the wine white to red. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006

Bonnie Erbe: The secret to ending the wage gap - We now know the secret to closing the gap between men's and women's wages: promote more women to upper-level management. The Washington Post reports: "American women earn substantially more money and narrow the long-standing gender gap in income if other women in their workplaces reach the ranks of senior management." This finding was released at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and based on a review of 2000 Census data of 1.3 million American workers in nearly 30,000 jobs and 79 metropolitan areas.

Conservative women have long argued there is no wage gap. Liberal women insist there is, but find it to be a mite larger than the one revealed by sociologists. Conservatives say that among young women and men with equal educational credentials, women earn 98 cents for every dollar earned by men. They add that women's lifestyle choices (staying home to raise children, taking family leave time and/or working fewer hours) - not prejudice - dictate lower earnings. Liberals insist gender bias is still alive and well in the American workplace. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006

Steve Brewer: Family life often is the lesser of evils - Every family needs a balanced division of labor.

Each household has many tasks that must be done regularly, and it's only fair that spouses divvy them up, according to time and ability and personal preference. Once kids reach a certain age, many chores can be dumped on them, but it still should be equitable. That's the democratic ideal.

A pivotal moment in my marriage came early on, when my wife and I made the following pact: She would pay the bills and do the household paperwork, and I would do the laundry. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006

Dale McFeatters: Neptune, Pluto, Xena, Dasher, Dancer ... - If it's one thing we thought we knew, it's that the solar system has nine planets, beginning with closest-in Mercury and extending to farthest-out Pluto. But apparently we got ahead of ourselves, and the astronomers are saying not so fast.

The solar system may instead consist of eight planets, or 10, or 53, or some number in between. An astronomy conference now under way in Prague, Czech Republic, may decide to demote Pluto or promote a 10th, nicknamed Xena, to planethood.

Pluto's planetary status, always shaky since its discovery in 1930, received a blow last summer with the discovery by a Cal Tech astronomer of Xena, or 2003 UB313, farther out and slightly larger and brighter than Pluto. Like Pluto, it has a moon. - More...
Monday PM - August 14, 2006

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