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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 20, 2006

Front Page Photo by Bill Hupe

Dedication Potlach: The Honoring of Ancient Traditions
Totem Heritage Park; Dedication Potlach; wrapping in blankets
Front Page Photo by Bill Hupe

Ketchikan: Dedication Potlach: The Honoring of Ancient Traditions By BILL HUPE- The sky was cloudy and grey as I arrived for the Dedication Potlach at the Totem Heritage Park on August 6th. Arriving early, there was ample opportunity to examine the clanhouse and the totem poles. One particular pole always demands my attention - an eagle above a man - standing near the water's edge, with Tongass Narrows as a scenic backdrop. The day was a rare treat, as Potlaches are normally held after the last harvest rather than in Summer. This meant many more family members and dance groups, including the Haida Children's Group from Prince of Wales, could attend and the event could be held outdoors.

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The people coming to witness the Dedication Potlatch poured into the makeshift ampitheatre, first filling the available chairs, then surrounding the recently completed Clanhouse, and finally spreading out along the other new structures. As one of the elders pointed out, a handful of people were expected, not over 500.

The ceremony began with a backdrop of bald eagles calling from the trees and to the beat of drums. Many of the Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian peoples present were in ceremonial regalia and entered in a Grand Entrance, displaying their primarily black robes. These robes represent "Clan Crest". The gathering became silent as the Potlach opened with a prayer. - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006

Alaska: Governor Signs New Oil & Gas Tax Bill - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski on Saturday signed into law HB 3001, the historic reform of the way Alaska taxes its oil and gas. The much-debated bill changes the state's oil and gas production tax from a gross tax to a net profits tax.

"We expect to see significantly increased investment in oil and gas exploration and development resulting from this change in our taxation philosophy," Murkowski said. "Such investment is crucial to the future of oil production on the North Slope and to critical state services that are dependent on the revenues oil production generates in Alaska."

"This reformation of Alaska's production tax to incentivize substantial oil and gas development is the first step to ensure a bright and prosperous economy for Alaska over the next 40-50 years," he said. "The next step is to finalize and approve the gas pipeline contract, which will provide the foundation for building the pipeline. Having the pipeline infrastructure to monetize our gas will provide Alaska not only the jobs and revenues from gas production, but will also extend the operating life of the state's oil pipeline by 20 years." - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006

Alaska: Governor Proposes to Use New PPT Revenue to Pay Back Budget Reserve Account - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski announced Saturday that he proposes to pay back the state's primary savings account with the additional revenue that the state will get because of the passage of the governor's oil tax increase.

"This recognizes the obligation the state has under Alaska's Constitution," Murkowski said. "When voters approved creation of the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) in 1990, it included a requirement that monies borrowed from it be repaid. That has not yet happened, but now would be a good time to start."

Quoting the Governor's news release, since 1994, prior administrations have used more than $3.8 billion from the CBR to cover annual spending. Another $1.4 billion is owed to cover previous borrowings and other transfers, bringing the total due to $5.2 billion in inherited debt. - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006


Alaska: New Oil "Tax" Charges Alaskans For BP Pipeline Failures; Gives Away $5+ Billion In State Revenue Say Alaska Democrats - Alaska Legislative Democrats Sen. Hollis French, Rep. Les Gara and Rep. Harry Crawford highlighted what they call the oil company giveaways in the oil tax bill Governor Murkowski signed Saturday. "Giving away $5 billion in oil company handouts shortchanges our schools, our state, and our future," says Rep. Les Gara. Administration estimates about the revenue the new legislation may provide don't factor in the cost of most of these givebacks.

French, Gara, and Crawford stated in a news release Saturday that one of the most controversial is a subsidy to BP, in the form of deductions and credits which will require the state to pay a portion of BP's costs related to the recent pipeline shutdown, and BP's failure to maintain its pipelines. They say those costs are likely to exceed $100 million. Under existing law, and the Democrats' oil tax proposal, BP would not have been allowed to charge Alaskans for those costs. "This is a gift to BP for doing the wrong thing," said Sen. French.

Quoting their news release, perhaps the greatest defect in the legislation Governor Murkowski signed Saturday is that it allows oil companies to avoid taxes by hiding their profits. It taxes a percentage of the profits oil companies report to the state. "If Enron can cook its books, you know Exxon and BP can too. That's going to cost Alaska billions," says Rep. Harry Crawford (D-Anchorage), who sponsored legislation to tax oil companies on the sales value of their oil, and not profits. - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006

Alaska: BP failure 'shocked' Stevens By RICHARD MAUER - U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens says he was "shocked" by BP's failure to maintain its North Slope pipelines and for not living up to the image the company has cultivated of a careful environmental steward.

Expressing his displeasure through words and an occasional thump on the lectern, Stevens told reporters at a news conference Thursday in Anchorage that BP's assurances to high-level officials have proven hollow in light of two recent spills and the company's emergency shutdown of a huge portion of Prudhoe Bay.

"I am disturbed not only by the fact that over the years, when I've taken members of Congress up there - particularly senators and people from the administration - we've been briefed that this is the safest area in the world, and how it's been maintained, and how they've got special procedures to check for corrosion and erosion and any sludge inside the pipeline.

"As a matter of fact, it just wasn't done. And somehow or other, the regime for management failed to recognize it hadn't been done."

Stevens said he was even more disturbed when he learned at a recent briefing by company officials and government regulators that BP unknowingly allowed corrosion to eat away 81 percent of the steel shell in portions of one of its major transit pipelines.

"We should've known every time there was 1 percent gone," Stevens said. BP's normal policy is to replace pipe when corrosion has reduced its walls by 60 percent, he said. - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006



letter MURKOWSKI VOTE NEEDED By Pete Ellis - Sunday
letter Vote for Jim Elkins On August 22nd By Larry Buster - Sunday
letterCruise Ship Industry Tax By Dave Person - Sunday
letter YES! for Proposition 2 By Susan Walsh - Sunday
letterYES VOTE ON 2 ESSENTIAL By Pete Ellis - Sunday
letter Cruise Ship Industry & Taxes By Alan R. McGillvray - Sunday
letter No to Consolidation By Don Hoff Jr. - Sunday
letter Scrap the Swan Lake -Tyee Lake Project By Don Hoff, Jr. - Sunday
letter"Yes" on 2 By Patricia Hickox - Sunday
letter KIC Tribal Health Clinic's Mission By Rose Johnson - Sunday
letter KPU for who? By Charlie Reynolds - Sunday
letter American Pit Bull Terrier Day By Scott Fulton - Sunday
letter American Pit Bull Terriers By Tina Greenup - Sunday
letter Thank you Mr. Hupe By Nathan Buendia - Saturday
letter YES on Proposition 2 Cruiseship Initiative By Eric Muench - Friday
letter Pro Elkins By David Hull - Friday
letter Good govenor? By Janelle Hamilton - Friday
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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National: Gel-filled bras OK, but lip gel banned from baggage By LISA HOFFMAN - Don't try to bring a tiny tube of lip-moisturizing gel on board an airliner these days, or wear thin gel inserts to make your shoes more comfortable. And leave your cold and cough gel-caps at home.

But, ladies and cross-dressing gents, no one will check if you wear your gel-filled bras right onto the plane.

Despite the fact that these hugely popular undergarments are owned by millions worldwide, and have the capacity to carry enough liquid or gel explosives to make a terrorist smile, the Transportation Security Administration has not included them on the new list of items forbidden from carry-on baggage.

In the travel tips listed on the agency's Web site - - mention is made of "gel-filled bras," but mostly in the context of those worn as prosthetics by breast-cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies.

Such passengers are urged to pack their bras in their checked baggage, but also advised that those with "medical gel" prosthetics will be allowed through security checkpoints. The agency says it is "reaching out" to women's medical associations to spread the word about the policy.

"We recognize it's a sensitive issue," said TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser. - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006

The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - U.N. cease-fire ends violence in south Lebanon

Israel stopped military operations against an unexpectedly tenacious Hezbollah guerrilla movement Monday following a U.N.-imposed cease-fire that ended a month of hostilities that killed more than 900 people and demolished much of south Lebanon. Thousands of refugees streamed back to the former battleground to survey damage to their homes and businesses. Hezbollah, Syrian and Iranian officials declared victory over the Israeli army.

Suspect arrested in JonBenet Ramsey murder

American schoolteacher John Mark Karr, 41, was arrested in Thailand on Wednesday in the 1996 killing of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, one of the most sensational murder cases in U.S. history. "It's very important for me that everyone knows that I love her very much and that her death was unintentional, and that it was an accident," Karr told reporters. Asked if he was innocent of the crime, Karr replied, "No." But prosecutors urged the public not to jump to conclusions. Karr's ex-wife questioned whether he was even in Colorado at the time of the girl's death.

Judge strikes down warrantless-wiretap program

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor declared Thursday that the National Security Agency's program of monitoring international telephone calls without court warrants is unconstitutional. "There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," Taylor said in a stinging 43-page decision. Within hours, Justice Department officials appealed her ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "I strongly disagree with this decision. Strongly disagree," said President Bush. "This country of ours is at war." - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006

Washington Calling: Growing U.S. military presence in Africa ... Dogs for vets ... More By LISA HOFFMAN - It's not getting much attention, but the U.S. military is expanding its presence in Africa, a continent the Pentagon worries is capable of becoming the new terrorist breeding ground.

In Djibouti, in the wild frontier of the Horn of Africa, U.S. forces are increasing Camp Lemonier from 88 acres to nearly 500. The camp is headquarters for the U.S.-led Horn of Africa anti-terror task force, which includes about 1,500 personnel, including special forces.

On the opposite side of Africa, the U.S. Navy is stepping up visits to Atlantic coast ports, especially in the strategically critical Gulf of Guinea. Now as much as 15 percent of U.S.-bound oil passes through there, and as much as 25 percent will in coming years, as Nigeria's oil industry grows.

The Navy recently wrapped up a three-month visit to the region and says it intends to spend more than 130 "ship days" there this year.


For those with too much time on their hands, now comes the "Fat Clock." Go to, and you can watch America get fatter and fatter, almost by the second.

The Web site, devoted to good health and fitness, uses data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to calculate the collective amount of weight that adult Americans together are gaining every tenth of a second. It's not a pretty sight.

The site's founder, public-health advocate Charles Stuart Platkin, hopes the visual demonstration will help prod more of us to put down the Cheez Doodles and exercise. - More...
Sunday - August 20, 2006

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