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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 23, 2006

From Iwo Jima to Icy Strait...

From Iwo Jima to Icy Strait,
the long, colorful history of the Acushnet

Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER
Front Page Photo By PA3 Christopher D. McLaughlin, USCG

Ketchikan: From Iwo Jima to Icy Strait, the long, colorful history of the Acushnet By DAVE KIFFER The Ketchikan based cutter Acushnet celebrates its 60th birthday in the US Coast Guard this week, but it faces an uncertain future.

The Coast Guard is doing an environmental assessment on both the 62-year-old Acushnet and the 63-year-old Kodiak based cutter Storis. It hopes to decide in the next few months whether the ships should be surplused and whether or not other ships will be home-ported in Ketchikan and Kodiak to replace them.

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According to the posting in the May 24 Federal Register, the Acushnet and the Storis have become "increasing costly to support. Excessive maintenance problems stemming from the age of the vessels result in reduced reliability and increase operating costs. The vessels have reached the end of their service lives. The USCG intends to decommission both vessels and report them as surplus property to the General Services Administration."

The register report also states that the GSA would then either transfer ownership of the vessels to another state, local or federal or international entity or scrap the ships. Part of the study will also determine whether or not the replacement ships will go to Ketchikan and Kodiak.

The Acushnet began its sea life during World War II as the USN Shackle, a rescue and salvage ship.

The 213-foot Shackle was built at Basalt Rock Co. in Napa, California between October 1942 and February 1943. It was commissioned on Feb. 5, 1944 with Lt. Charles Jenkins as its first commander.

"Following shakedown out of San Diego, Shackle proceeded to Pearl Harbor..she continued to Midway where she cleared the entrance channel of the USN Macaw, a submarine rescue ship that had gone aground," according to the US NavSource website. "Brief duties at Eniwetok, Guam and Saipan followed and in late 1945, she commenced preparations for the assault on Iwo Jima." - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

Election News: Knowles, Palin in November By KYLE HOPKINS, TOM KIZZIA and KATIE PESZNECKER, Anchorage Daily News - Former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin knocked embattled incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski out of office in the Republican primary race for governor Tuesday, setting the stage for a general election showdown with former two-term Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles and for a potential shake-up in her own party. - Read this ADN Story... - August 22, 2006

Election News: Palin upsets Murkowski; Governor receives 19 percent of vote By ANDREW PETTY, JUNEAU EMPIRE - Sarah Palin, former Wasilla mayor and mother of four, was the clear choice of Alaska Republican voters, as of press time late Tuesday night, to be their nominee for governor in the November election. - Read this Juneau Empire story... - Wednesday - August 22, 2006

Election News: Democrats give Knowles another run for governor By ANDREW PETTY, JUNEAU EMPIRE - Former Gov. Tony Knowles will get a chance for a third term in office, as voters showed strong support for the Democrat over challenger Rep. Eric Croft in Tuesday's primary election. - Read this Juneau Empire story... - Wednesday - August 22, 2006


Medical: Give me two 'Medicare specials' and a side of surgery By LEE BOWMAN - Americans are increasingly being asked to consider how much health care is worth to them.

Not to be confused with health itself - which is priceless - politicians, employers and even some insurers are attempting to make the pricing of medical care "transparent" to consumers.

The idea - bolstered by a growing amount of quality-data and consumer-satisfaction surveys - is to encourage patients to make more informed decisions about their care.

In an executive order issued Wednesday (Aug. 23), President Bush directed the four major federal agencies that oversee health plans for government workers, the military, veterans, the disabled and elderly to compile information about the quality and price of care, and share it with the public.

Although health-care spending accounts for more than 16 percent of the national economy (and that's expected to rise to 20 percent or more in the next decade), few people know how much a medical encounter will cost when they walk in the door. - More....
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

National: Planning to retire early? Here's help By PATRICIA SABATINI - If you're counting on retiring early, you're going to want to look closely at your annual Social Security statements. What you see may shock you.

The statements estimate how much your monthly benefit checks will be reduced if you decide to start collecting before your full retirement age, and the drop-off can be sizable depending on your age.

You can retire any time between age 62 and your "normal" retirement age - which ranges from 65 to 67, depending on the year you were born - and still collect benefits.

But the penalty for cashing in early can be stiff.

The hits for retiring at age 62 range from 25 percent for people born in 1944 to 1954 to 30 percent for people born in 1960 or later.

An individual planning to retire this year at age 62 (born in 1944), for example, who is set to collect a monthly benefit of $1,000 at the full retirement age of 66, would see that check cut to $750. Someone born after 1960 would see benefits slashed to $700.

The penalty softens each month that you delay taking benefits. The same 62-year-old would collect $867 by waiting until age 64 to retire.

People who wait beyond their normal retirement age earn credits toward a fatter payout. Today's 62-year-old who holds out until age 70 would collect $1,320 a month compared with the $1,000 he would get at normal retirement age. - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

Ketchikan: Division of Probation and Parole advertising for Probation Officers - The Division of Probation and Parole is advertising for Probation Officer positions at this time on Workplace Alaska for Ketchikan, Anchorage, Palmer, Juneau, Kenai, and Bethel Probation Offices.

According to the Division's Chief Probation Officer James C. Gay, many of these positions are new and are a result of the continuing growth in many Alaskan communities and the ongoing need to address the continuous increase in criminal behavior. - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

Ketchikan Waterfront - 1947
Creator: Haddon, E. P. - Contributor: Alaska Resource Library and Information Services
Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Arts & Entertainment - This week in Ketchikan professional salsa dancer Amauri Fernandez will teach salsa to dancers of all abilities Friday night from 7-9pm at the rec center. A $5 suggested donation is accepted, no experience or partner necessary. Call 225-2211 for more information.

Our Town: The Life and Times of Ketchikan, the museum's annual summer display, on now through September 30th at the Tongass Historical Museum, 629 Dock Street.

Auditions for fall musical Oliver! The First City Players will be holding auditions for the fall musical Oliver, running November 3, 4, 10, 11, and 12 at Kayhi. Auditions will be held August 28, 29, and 30. Roles are available for 19 men and boys, 8 women, and large chorus of men, women, and children. Interested actors must call the First City Players to arrange an audition date and time, 225-4792. - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006



letter Support Your Locally-Owned Businesses By Mark O'Brien - Wednesday
letter Medical Costs By Pat Long - Wednesday
letter Pleased with vote By Douglas J. Thompson - Wednesday
letter Living in a vacuum? By Vicki Harsha - Wednesday
letter Eye of the Beholder Letter By Rob Glenn - Wednesday
letterThis Will Only Take A Minute! By Marcia Hilley - Tuesday
letter Gaming? By Lonnie Guthrie - Tuesday
letter Get out and Vote! And support Postal Ballots By Michael Spence - Monday PM
letter Yes! Yes! Yes! on Cruise Ship Ballot Initiative #2 By Carrie L. James - Monday PM
letter Watch out for Proposition 2 By Anita Hales - Monday PM
letter Eye of the Beholder By Chris Elliott - Monday
letter Obvious flaws exposed by Mr. Dial By A. M. Johnson - Monday
letter Let's make a change By Michael Moyer - Monday
letter Consolidation and Other Community Based Issues...exercise your vote By Bobbie McCreary - Monday
letter DUMP MURKOWSKI IN MIDSTREAM By Charlotte Tanner - Monday
letterLittle girls should look like little girls and not like a streetwalker!!! By Delaine Broome - Monday
letter RE: KPU - For the people? By Floyd Crocker - Monday
letter Alaskan vote could raise taxes on cruises By Rob Glenn - Monday
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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August 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Jason Love: Cell Phone Chirps - The Buddha said that we're not punished for our anger but by our anger.

That's why I let go of things: bad umpiring in the World Series, Hummers taking up three lanes at once, politicians looting our treasury under cover of American flag.

But there is one thing I cannot tolerate, and that is the walkie-talkie cell phone.

We're hemmed in by people who used to be perfectly quiet, but now, thanks to "progress," can talk around the clock without lifting that heavy cell phone up to their empty heads. And we, the innocent bystanders, are caught in the crosstalk....

"Hi, Dave. This is Skip. I was just calling because silence scares me."

"Hey, Skip. I'm on the other line with my German shepherd. Let's talk three-way!" - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

Steve Brewer: Holy dust mites! Most homes are dirtier than we think - Do you know why, in war movies, soldiers smear mud on their faces before engaging the enemy? Because it makes them invisible.

For most of us (especially guys), dirt has magical properties. We can't see it. It can be right in front of us, and we look past it or around it or right through it without registering the thought, "Hey, it's dirty in here."

Oh, we can see filth when it's layered on really thick, such as in a service station restroom. Then we get all prissy about it, tiptoeing around and making faces and acting like our bathroom at home is always, always spotless. It's easy to get on your high horse when the cleanup is someone else's problem. - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

Reg Henry: If terrorists strike, clean underwear a must - You have heard the old joke: I just flew in from New York and, boy, my arms are tired. While it's not very funny, I must report that I flew in from Australia and my arms were tired.

My arms got tired from clutching my see-through plastic security bag, which I had read Down Under was required for international flights in lieu of the usual hand luggage.

In this bag, I had my passport and ticket, a pen for filling in the form declaring, among other things, that I never visited a farm during my stay, and one pair of clean underwear.

As it turned out, I was the only one on the jumbo jet with a see-through plastic security bag, let alone one that provided scenic views of underwear. Everybody else brought regular carry-on luggage (although not as much as usual). - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

Martin Schram: Iraq: Did U.S. troops die in vain? - President Bush is standing at the podium taking questions from the press, and time and again as you look at his glazed gaze you think you are watching a tragic twist on the old deer-in-the-headlights refrain.

The president looks frozen in place and time, like he has been trapped in the glare of his own headlights.

These moments happen in between the flashes of determination and even defiance as he keeps insisting it would be "a disaster" and a "huge mistake" to pull America's troops out of Iraq because it will embolden terrorists to strike us again and endanger our homeland. (What the leader-lite Democrats don't understand is that he is probably right.)

But between those moments it is clear that he has no idea of what to say or do to make victory happen, or at least to assure non-defeat. It is then that a freeze-frame panic in his eyes makes you think that perhaps he has finally gotten a clue, deep inside, of the once-unspeakable, horrible outcome that awaits the troops he commands. His fear: That due to the exponentially mounting failures of his Iraq war decisions, more than 2,600 of the bravest American men and women who volunteered to serve their country have died in Iraq, possibly in vain. - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

John M. Crisp: Victory in terror war provides an opportunity - At last, there may be some good news. In the current Atlantic Monthly (September 2006), James Fallows, who writes often on geopolitics, finds good reason to believe we're actually winning the "war on terror."

Based on interviews with some 60 experts on terrorism and jihad, Fallows argues that even though Osama bin Laden is still at large the capacity of al Qaeda's leadership to mount attacks against the West on the scale of 9/11 has been seriously undermined.

Fallows doesn't assert that there won't be further attacks; in fact, attacks of some sort are almost inevitable. But he argues convincingly that our anti-terrorism efforts have been reasonably successful and that al Qaeda no longer represents a serious threat to our culture. In fact, according to those he interviewed, the biggest threat is our own overreaction to the perceived capacity of al Qaeda to destroy us. For example, al Qaeda's greatest triumph wasn't 9/11, but our subsequent willingness to let ourselves be lured into the militarily, morally and politically dubious swamp of Iraq. - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006

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