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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 17, 2006

Front Page Photo by Jim Lewis

Traitors Cove Black Bear
Front Page Photo By Jim Lewis

Pioneers of Southeast Alaska: The Passing of a Legend, Bruce Johnstone By LOUISE BRINCK HARRINGTON - On August 17, 2006 Bruce Johnstone passed away at the age of 97. There are many stories that Bruce has told over the years, and many more stories that people can tell about his adventures. The Ketchikan Daily News will probably have an obituary, but as I reflect on my memories of Bruce, it seems more fitting to honor him and his memory by retelling some of his stories.

Bruce Johnstone in his younger days.

I heard about Bruce Johnstone before I met him. When I interviewed him for the first time and learned that he'd grown up in various fjords and bays in British Columbia and Alaska, I knew I wanted to write about him. "The Boy Who Hunted Bear" was first published in a local publication, Inside Passages, in 1993.

The Boy Who Hunted Bear - When Bruce Johnstone was eleven years old he went bear hunting.

The year was 1920 and times were hard for the Johnstone family, who had moved to Alaska with several children and few resources. - More...
Thursday PM - August 17, 2006

Pioneers of Southeast Alaska: Bruce Johnstone By LOUISE BRINCK HARRINGTON - In 1994 my husband and I bought an old classic yacht, the DUCHESS, and invited Bruce to accompany us on a trip around Revillagigedo Island. When he agreed to go, we stocked up on food and fuel, started off and I wrote the following story about the trip for The Alaskan Southeaster Magazine.

The Man Who Hand-logged, Hunted, Trapped, Prospected and Became an Alaskan Pioneer - White mist covers the mountains and settles along high granite ridges as the DUCHESS chugs her way into Rudyerd Bay. It is September and patches of devils club are turning yellow and orange, bright against an evergreen backdrop; cottonwoods shimmer like gold in the fall sunshine, and red alder leaves float into a rain-washed stream. - More...
Thursday PM - August 17, 2006

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Alaska: Primary Election August 22nd - Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman and the Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster remind Alaska voters that Tuesday, August 22 is Primary Election Day.

Alaskans have three ballots to choose from for the Primary Election:
Combined ballot with ballot measures - available to any registered voter. Displays all Alaska political party candidates except Republican candidates;
Republican ballot with ballot measures - available to registered Republicans or Nonpartisan and
Undeclared voters. Displays only Republican candidates; or
Ballot measures only ballot ­ available to any registered voter. Displays only ballot measures, does not include any candidates. - More...
Thursday PM - August 17, 2006

Alaska: Grizzlies too close to home in Anchorage suburbs By MEGAN HOLLAND - When longtime Indian, Alaska resident Doug Drum walked out his back door one morning this summer and was charged by a brown bear that had blood dripping from its face, he thought of Sweetpea, his beloved pygmy goat.

As he escaped the bear, he knew that 50-pound Sweetpea had not.

Brown bears have killed and eaten Sweetpea, Nancy and Peaches - all pygmy goats - as well as Patty, a reindeer, and two unnamed miniature sheep in the past several weeks in Drum's five-acre pet pen.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Drum, who has lived at his Indian home off the Seward Highway for 35 years. "There are more bears this year than I have ever, ever seen."

And the bears he and his neighbors are seeing are not the usual black bears but the larger, more aggressive brown bears - which can be up to 9 feet tall and weigh up to 1,400 pounds. Brown bears have prowled Drum's property at all hours for the past several weeks. Mothers with cubs. Adult males. He's counted five at once in his backyard.

For the first time in memory for residents, some of whom have been on the land for decades, brown bears are coming into the yards and porches of homes in Bird and Indian, just off the Seward Highway 25 miles south of downtown Anchorage. The bears have devoured livestock, raided backyard freezers for ice cream and led families to walk the winding dirt roads in packs.

Some residents accept it as the price for living on the edge of the half-million-acre Chugach State Park. Others are frustrated and frightened. All are asking why the brown bears that haven't been here for decades are suddenly showing up.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates 55 to 65 brown bears live in the park and around the Anchorage Bowl. A half-dozen have taken to roaming among anglers to steal fish at Bird Creek, which runs through Bird. State biologists last week set up traps to catch one young brown bear that has flattened at least two tents in the nearby campground, one of which had a family in it at the time. No one was injured. - More...
Thursday PM - August 17, 2006


Alaska: Do melting glaciers make for bad oysters? By NED ROZELL - The rate of melting of Alaska's glaciers into the Gulf of Alaska has nearly doubled since 1995. In July 2004, passengers on a small cruise ship in Prince William Sound came down with stomach flu after eating local oysters. Some scientists think there's a connection between the two.

Hubbard Glacier calves into Disenchantment Bay.
Fresh water entering the Gulf of Alaska through glacial melt and other sources seems to be making the northern ocean fresher and warmer.
Photo by Ned Rozell.

Tom Royer is an oceanographer with Old Dominion University in Virginia. Before he moved there, he was at the University of Alaska from 1969 to 1998. One of his duties for all those years has been to take readings of the temperature and the saltiness of the Gulf of Alaska. That long-term record shows that the ocean there has changed since measurements started in 1970.

"It's getting fresher, water temperatures are increasing, and it keeps warm water in the upper layers," Royer said. "The bottom line is that everything's getting fresher and warmer."

Those higher temperatures might have something to do with the oysters that caused people to get sick on the Prince William Sound cruise ship. A group of physicians found a type of bacteria that thrives only in water warmer than 59 degrees F (15 degrees C) in the oyster beds that supplied the cruise ship on Prince William Sound. The presence of the bacteria in Prince William Sound was a new northernmost record; the closest people had found the bacteria before 2004 was in the Pacific about 600 miles south.

"Rising temperatures of ocean water seem to have contributed to one of the largest known outbreaks of V. parahaemolyticus in the United States," ten researchers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005.

Royer thinks the physicians are right on with their hypothesis. Recent sea-surface temperatures near Seward, which is downstream of Prince William Sound as far as ocean currents are concerned, were the highest since measurements began in 1970. Water temperatures several times jumped above the 59 degrees favored by the harmful bacteria.

Including glacial melt, snowmelt, and rainfall runoff, the Gulf of Alaska is the largest freshwater discharge system in North America, Royer said, about 62 percent greater than the output of the Mississippi River. All that fresh water acts like a cap on top of the saltier ocean beneath. This causes more heating of the upper layer by the sun and less mixing with denser, saltier water below. In general, the more fresh water dumped into the northern ocean, the warmer the ocean becomes, Royer said. - More...
Thursday PM - August 17, 2006



letter Helping the underdogs By Anita Hales - Thursday
letter Governor Murkowski, Washington's next Gov? By Charlotte Tanner - Thursday
letter Washington's next Gov? By Frances Natkong - Thursday
letter Consolidation: Are you serious? By Rick Grams - Wednesday
letter KPU - For the People? By Marie L. Monyak - Wednesday
letter Alaskan tug & packer built in 1919 By Richard Varlay - Wednesday
letterAmerican Pit Bull Terrier Day By Tammy Sivertsen - Wednesday
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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August 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Jay Ambrose: A Mike Wallace ambush - Mike Wallace, master of the ambush interview, was himself ambushed in his "60 Minutes" dalliance with the president of Iran, coming across as the outwitted victim of a media-savvy politician using the occasion to spread outrageous propaganda made to sound reasonable.

Even his usual show-biz panache - cultivated as a radio and Broadway actor, quiz show host, celebrity interrogator and on-air mouthpiece of a cigarette company - seemed to escape him as his guest stayed on message, denied the undeniable and insisted he would walk off the set if he couldn't continue his filibuster.

"Oh, really?" Wallace asked at one point - not exactly what you would call a precise, pointed question - but then Wallace lacked any of the kinds of powerful, surprise queries he has so often employed in his made-for-broadcast voice, looking a guest squarely in the eye as the poor soul disintegrated into embarrassed mush before millions of viewers.

I've never been a fan of this style of "gotcha" journalism. It strikes me as unnecessarily deceitful and less an exercise in substantive investigation than entertainment meant to appeal to the worst in us, to the schadenfreude residing in our breasts, the pleasure of seeing others hurt. All the advantages belong to the "60 Minutes" producers, who can edit content for dramatic effect, deciding themselves what context is or is not crucial. The interviewee - instead of somehow deserving this problematic means to a supposedly good end - may have been guilty of nothing more than naivete in submitting to the set-up. - More...
Thursday PM - August 18, 2006

John Hall: Hezbollah defeated? - Lebanon is the latest in a string of successes the Bush administration has claimed in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and around the world.

President Bush said Israel "defeated" the Hezbollah force before a United Nations cease-fire was imposed. Not even Israel agrees with that.

The Israelis know this was at best a draw. It is the first round of what could be a long war. Hezbollah may be rearmed and refinanced by a wealthy and ruthless Iran. Its path surely will be expedited and cleared by its neighbor, Syria. And this continuing war is likely to be enabled by a U.N. force that just doesn't get it.

The Israelis fear the U.N will once again look the other way as Hezbollah rearms and strengthens itself with more advanced rockets and longer-range missiles.

These will be used in the next round against Israel, which was surprised at how tough and resilient Hezbollah has become. All these years, it was quietly building its forces into a deadly killing machine despite international laws against it. - More...
Thursday PM - August 18, 2006

Dale McFeatters: Secure in our discomfort - Yeah, yeah, I know. It's serious business and it's all being done for our own safety, but, admit it:

Haven't you ever wondered if at least some of the airport security measures aren't part of a secret government program to see how much humiliation the flying public can take before it rebels? How long before some fed up patriot stands up and yells, "I want to be somebody! I want to wear shoes! I want to smell good!"

First, the Transportation Security Administration, following the lead of the Brits, banned all liquids and gels from our carry-on baggage.

Toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, bath soap, mouthwash - TSA is contradicting everything your mother drilled into you about personal hygiene. Wearing clean underwear - "because you never know what might happen" - is, I believe, still allowed under TSA rules.

Baby formula is allowed, but the parents can be required to taste it first, to which the baby is probably thinking, "Serves them right."

Suntan lotion is prohibited, skin cancer apparently not being one of the hazards TSA guards against. - More...
Thursday PM - August 18, 2006

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