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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 31, 2006

Front Page Photo by Kathy Schultz

Third Annual Pennock Island Challenge Raises Funds
for the American Diabetes Association

Start of Pennock Island Challenge swimming event.
Front Page Photo by Kathy Schulz

Alaska: Federal agents raid legislative offices - Federal agents swarmed legislative offices around the state Thursday, executing search warrants in a coordinated series of raids that appeared to target the longstanding relationship between the oil-field service company Veco and leading lawmakers. - Read this Anchorage Daily News story...

Alaska: FBI Searches 6 Alaska Lawmakers' Offices By MATT VOLZ - Federal agents raided the offices of at least six Alaska lawmakers Thursday in an investigation of large oil field services company, officials said. - Read this Washington Post story...

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Ketchikan: Third Annual Pennock Island Challenge Raises Funds for the American Diabetes Association By NANCY COGGINS - The opening of the third Pennock Island Challenge's 8.2-mile long-distance swim race began in the open waters of the Inside Passage on Sunday, August 6th. Twenty-one swimmers were off at 10 AM to face the challenge of swimming around Pennock Island to raise diabetes awareness and research funds for the American Diabetes Association.

"Nobody, no town, no state across this nation holds a swim in open waters to benefit the American Diabetes Association (ADA) like Ketchikan!" exclaimed Phoebe O'Connell from ADA.

For map lovers, Pennock Island is at the southern end of the Alexander Archipelago in the Tongass National Forest in front of the small town of Ketchikan, Alaska. The island is flanked on its west side by Gravina Island, the site of Ketchikan's airport, and Revillagigedo Island on its east side, the location of the town of Ketchikan.

On that cloudy day, salmon were jumping and swimmers, splashing! Swim Race Director, William Schulz, had again orchestrated Ketchikan's Pennock Island Challenge (PIC) swim event that helps ADA come closer to a cure for diabetes. Each swimmer in the 55- to 60-degree Fahrenheit water with his/her support kayak leaving buoy #2, began swimming across the south end of Pennock Island, going from west to east. Then they would swim northwest up the east channel (between Pennock and Revillagigedo Islands) to the top of the island, and finally southeast down the west channel between Pennock and Gravina Islands.

Schulz had publicized the event on the Ketchikan ADA Team's Pennock Island Challenge on Team ADA website which had been designed by Rainforest Web Design and was hosted by the people at The information that this Pennock Island Challenge swim was open to solo swimmers and 2- to 4-person relay teams was picked up by at least by a dozen other websites long before its registration closing date of July 15, 2006. Prospective swimmers could have read about the Pennock Island Challenge swim race at websites such as "The Swimmer's Ear," "United States Masters Swimming," "Ocean Ducks," "Google Groups: AKMS," or "Ketchikan, Alaska Online."

After first discovering the Pennock Island Challenge on one of these websites, both a 4-person relay team (Carrie Demmay, Scott Griffith, Kristin Jones and Laurie Lucas) from Juneau, Alaska, and a solo swimmer (Michelle Macy) from Portland, Oregon, became participants in the Pennock Island Challenge swim. The team's journey here started last year when they had contacted Martin Reichgott, the Ketchikan Killer Whales Swim Club Head Coach, who encouraged them to come; this year the four of them came and swam in the event.

Macy became one of the three Pennock Island Challenge solo swimmers after lots of emailing back and forth with Schulz. She won a prize for having traveled the greatest distance to take the PIC challenge. She started practicing for the race at the beginning of July, but after her experience in the PIC, she would not recommend (for most people) starting training so close to the race date. By planning ahead, next year, Michelle hopes to avoid some of the soreness she experienced this year, and she'll be better prepared overall.

Macy summarizes, "Though Swimming the Pennock was definitely an amazing physical challenge, it was the people I met, either by supporting the event or participating, who made it unforgettable. I felt truly sad to leave on Monday, as I felt so welcomed in Ketchikan." - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006


Alaska: Governor Murkowski Outlines Gas Pipeline Process; Producers Agree Legislative Leadership Can Join Negotiations - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski on Wednesday outlined the process by which the gas pipeline contract can proceed to ratification.

"We will call a special session for September 19," Murkowski said, "but that call is contingent on an affirmative indication that it would be productive from legislative leaders who are polling their members. We have also proposed that legislators, named by the legislative leadership, be involved in negotiating the specific points of the contract that the Legislature identifies. The producers have agreed to do that." Murkowski said recent meetings with producers and legislators have resulted in a list of issues to be negotiated, including the term of fiscal certainty, dispute resolution/mediation, work commitments, project labor agreements and the reserves tax.

Murkowski said administration officials would also be briefing gubernatorial candidates on the status of gas pipeline contract negotiations in the near future. He noted it would be irresponsible to drop the contract, given the great progress that has been made and how close it is to completion. - More....
Thursday - August 31, 2006

Alaska: Bloggers help smoke out senator over stalled bill By MARGARET TALEV - An unusual collaboration between Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Internet bloggers this week led a senator to publicly acknowledge that he'd been blocking a vote on a government accountability bill.

The admission by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, also offered a glimpse into the increasing role that online pundits play in U.S. policymaking.

Stevens' confirmation that he was behind the legislative "hold" on the bipartisan legislation came a day after Frist, R-Tenn., posted a Web log entry asking colleagues to cooperate with bloggers who were trying to identify who was using the legislative maneuver to stall a vote. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

Alaska: New oil tax mitigates oil field shutdown in Alaska By RICHARD RICHTMYER - The partial shutdown of Prudhoe Bay could cost the Alaska state treasury $500 million to $2 billion, depending on how long production remains crimped, officials estimate.

But thanks to a new oil tax, there still will be plenty of money to run the government, they said.

Alaska gets most of the money it uses to run state government from oil royalties and taxes on North Slope oil production. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

Ketchikan: Body Identified - The Anchorage-based State Medical Examiner has positively identified the remains recovered in the Tongass Narrows as those of Daniel Eugene Carter, age 48, of Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006


 Match of the Month
""Big Sister" Jessica and "Little Brother" Patrick On Ketchikan docks before boarding Sun Princess cruise ship...
Photo by Nancy Coggins

Ketchikan: Match of the Month by NANCY COGGINGS -"Big Sister" Jessica and "Little Brother" Patrick, who are matched in the School Program of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast - Ketchikan (BBBS of SEAK - KTN), share little moments of big magic. On Fridays, their favorite activities range from swinging at recess, reading a book, and drawing or creating other artwork inside the classroom. Patrick just loves his sign, "Patrick's Room," that they colored together. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

National: Bush the invisible man of GOP efforts to keep control of Congress By EDWARD EPSTEIN - George W. Who?

President Bush has become the invisible man of the Republican Party's effort to keep control of the House and Senate in November's midterm elections.

The Web sites of the party's candidates in the most competitive races across the country either give only a passing nod to the president or don't even mention Bush, whose popularity has been weighed down by the war in Iraq, high gas prices, economic anxieties and lingering memories of last August's Hurricane Katrina.

With about nine weeks to go before the Nov. 7 election, the Bush online invisibility mirrors a strategic divide between Republicans who want to keep the congressional elections as local as possible and Democrats who want to turn the midterm vote into a national referendum on the president and his policies.

Democrats need 15 seats to take back the House that they lost to the Republicans in 1995 and six seats to control the Senate. Polls show they at least have a shot, especially in the House. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

National: Medical care a key issue in immigration debate By RACHEL BRAND and ROSA RAMIREZ - Illegal immigrants' use of medical care is at the white-hot center of the immigration debate.

The common refrain: Hospitals are groaning under the burden of patients who are undocumented. They flood emergency rooms and the state picks up the tab.

That drives up Medicaid costs, the argument goes, which is bankrupting states, robbing other programs and pushing U.S. citizens to the bottom of the waiting list for services.

The reality is that the costs of Medicaid and hospital charity are, indeed, spiraling upward, but illegal immigrants contribute only a small share of the uninsured, underinsured and working poor who are increasingly relying on government and charity help.

It's difficult to pinpoint growth in the costs of caring for illegal immigrants, but one measure is emergency Medicaid - which has gone up 57 percent in the past six years. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006



letter It's a wash... By Chris Elliott - Thursday
letter Farewell By Tyrell Rettke - Thursday
letter Protecting our Rights on the Stikine River By Renee Claggett - Thursday
letter White Cliff Center project By Karen Eakes - Thursday
letter Thanks for your support! By Gregory Vickrey - Thursday
letter James's Last Trip to Alaska By Doug Barry - Thursday
letter WHITE CLIFF DEMOLITION? By Pete Ellis - Wednesday
letter DAHL AND NEEDHAM KUDOS By Pete Ellis - Wednesday
letter Last Visit To Alaska By Neil Gray - Wednesday
letter Responsibility falls on owner By Kelly Needham - Wednesday
letter Last Visit to Alaska By ML Dahl - Tuesday
letter Pit Bulls By Michael Moyer - Tuesday
letter Gatorade is not the problem By Al Johnson - Tuesday
letter Forced Conversion Frees Hostages? By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday
letter Last visit By Kelly Needham - Tuesday
letterElkins has earned his place in Ketchikan's roster By June Allen - Saturday
letter Grounded Vessel By Jennifer Brewer - Saturday
letter My last trip to Alaska By Peter James - Saturday
letter Bully breeds By Kelly Needham - Friday
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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August 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Jay Ambrose: Bush's incurious critics - Back in 1999 during an editorial writers' conference, I was chatting with a Texas journalist who had gone to the same church as George W. Bush, then running for president for the first time, and pushed her for any insights she might have into the man. Was he as intellectually klutzy as people were making him out to be? Did he have a brain?

He was a reader, she told me. The woman recounted a time Bush had spotted her with a book - I don't remember what it was now - and asked her about it. She recommended it to him, and two weeks later, he told her he had read it and shared a few thoughts with her about it.

As I recall, she provided other testimony of Bush's search for understanding in the world of books. Because I prize reading as among the most precious pursuits of the human species, I was impressed. Now that the White House has released a list of some of the 60 books Bush has read this year, are any of his most ardent critics similarly impressed? Of course, not. Their assumption all along has been that he never reads anything and now at least one - Bob Cesca, a blogger, writer and film director - states flat-out that Bush is lying. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

John Hall: Victory statement: Time to go? - "Each time I come, I see more progress," said British Defense minister Des Browne. He arrived in Iraq just after his military commanders had reported a mutiny by Iraqi troops.

It seems the Iraqi forces in the southeastern province of Maysan had refused to obey orders to go to Baghdad where they were needed. They apparently decided it would be safer in their home province than the unfamiliar ethnic and sectarian environment of the big city.

Since the British have such a delicious time reporting Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld's renderings, it was interesting to see stuff happening to his counterpart for a change. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

Clifford D. May: Iraqi lessons: What we can learn from our mistakes - We are where we are in Iraq, and it's not a comfortable place. We are where we are in Iraq because mistakes were made both in planning and executing the war. If we could do it all over again, what would we do differently?

We'd want to start with better intelligence - not just about whether Saddam Hussein had warehouses full of anthrax and nerve gas, but also about the state of the Iraqi nation after decades of abuse by a brutal dictator who privileged the Sunni minority, oppressed the Shiites and attempted to wipe the Kurds off the map.

It would have been helpful had the Pentagon, at the end of the Cold War, focused on the future. Instead of continuing to prepare for a war with the Soviet Union, additional special-operations forces might have been trained to battle insurgents and terrorists. Strategists could have foreseen that toppling a despotic regime would not be the hardest phase of future engagements. Preventing carnage and chaos while new institutions of government were pieced together would be where the road gets icy. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

Editorial: Don't start privatizing the IRS - The Bush administration's plan to turn over some back-tax collections to private companies is a bad idea from virtually every standpoint - except the private companies'. Not only would the strategy cost more than if regular IRS officers were employed. It would also expose the tax-collection system to the kinds of abuses that professionalized government was designed to end.

According to a recent New York Times report, the cases of some 12,500 taxpayers who owe $25,000 or less are about to be turned over to private collectors. Within a few years, private agencies will have tens of thousands of files in their hands. They will be paid from what they collect; they will also gain lots of very personal information about citizens. - More...
Thursday - August 31, 2006

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