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call early, don't wait until you run out of water.
August 01, 2007
Homing Pigeon Hitchhikes With Fishing Fleet
Sher Schwartz with Ozzie and some of her other birds.
Front Page Photo by Bruce Schwartz
Homing Pigeon Hitchhikes With Fishing Fleet By HEIDI EKSTRAND
- In some cases the Thomas Wolfe quote is true - "you can't
go home again." Especially if you can't FIND your way home
A homing pigeon released in
the Smithers, B.C. area in late June flew northwest and ended
up hitchhiking aboard three commercial fishing boats for a week
near Prince of Wales Island in July instead of flying south to
its home near Vancouver, B.C.
One of the boats eventually
brought the bird to Ketchikan and it was delivered to Sher Schwartz,
who has her own loft of homing pigeons. From the leg bands on
the bird, Schwartz was able to track down its original owner
near Toronto, Ontario, who had sold the bird two years ago to
the current owner near Vancouver.
The tale of the "flippy
flyer" started early in the week of July 9, when the bird
landed on Bruce Wallace's seiner, the "Odyssey," fishing
near Kendrick Bay on the southeast end of Prince of Wales Island,
and made himself at home in the wheelhouse.
"I've had lots of birds
land on the boat, that's not unusual," Wallace said. "But
I've never had one walk into the wheelhouse and take over the
The leg bands identified the
bird as a "homer," and Wallace and his crew shuffled
their way around the wheelhouse, depending on where the bird
was perched. The bird flew off after a day or two and Wallace
didn't think much more about it until he later heard another
fisherman hailing on the VHF radio asking if anyone had lost
a pet bird?
That was Jock McIlraith, skipper
of the seiner "Mary Louise B," fishing at Scott Point,
a few miles north of Kendrick Bay.
The pigeon spent three and
a half days on McIlraith's open flying bridge, dining on a rice
diet. At one point the bird flew off, then spotted a predatory
eagle flying nearby and, like a boomerang, "he came right
back to the boat!" McIlraith said with a laugh.
After three days, McIlraith
assumed the bird would stick around, but it eventually flew off
"I've never been a birder,
but this might do it," he said. "I really got attached
to that bird. I was sorry to see him go."
At the end of the week, on
Friday July 13, the bird landed on the "Nestor," a
longliner fishing for blackcod in the Caamano Point area, about
35 miles north of Kendrick.
Skipper Jim Widmyer and his
son Jesse Widmyer also got attached to the bird during its weekend
stay, with the bird tame enough to sit on Jesse's finger. They
had tentative plans to keep the bird and take it home with them,
but agreed to hand it over to Schwartz's care on Monday July
16 when they delivered their catch in Ketchikan. - More...
Wednesday - August 01, 2007
Oscar Dyson to survey endangered Pacific right whales - The
NOAA research vessel Oscar Dyson departed from Dutch Harbor,
Alaska Tuesday to survey endangered North Pacific right whales
in the Bering Sea. Scientists from NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science
Center and from Russia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and South
Africa will track whales visually and acoustically to assess
their abundance, distribution and use of habitat.
North Pacific right
Photo Courtesy NOAA
"We collaborate internationally
with whale researchers," said Dr. Phil Clapham of NOAA's
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, who will be the scientific lead
on the expedition. "We have worked with the international
experts participating in this expedition for some time. Whales
travel the oceans: science is best served when information, techniques
and skills of whale research are shared internationally."
The first leg of the Bering
Sea survey, on the Oscar Dyson, will last for two weeks, to be
followed by a second two-week leg aboard a chartered fishing
vessel. The Oscar Dyson is the first in a series of new NOAA
vessels built to meet international standards as acoustically
quiet ships. The quieting technology allows the Oscar Dyson to
track marine mammals and fish with very little or no disturbance
of the species being studied.
The survey is funded by the
U.S. Mineral Management Service, and is part of a four-year project
to assess seasonal distribution, relative abundance and movement
patterns of right whales in and adjacent to the North Aleutian
Basin area of proposed oil and gas lease sales, and to characterize
right whale habitat, foraging behavior, health, and prey distribution.
Wednesday - August 01, 2007
Benefits Program Takes Effect Today - In a special session
June 26, 2007, Alaska legislators passed the Senior Benefits
Program, which begins August 1st, with payments ranging from
$125 to $250 a month, depending on a senior's income level. Because
of the short turnaround time required for implementing the program,
current beneficiaries will continue to receive $125 a month,
followed by supplemental payments to those seniors eligible for
higher benefit levels under the new program as soon as applications
can be processed.
The Department of Health and
Social Services expects about 10,700 seniors will likely qualify
for the new program. About 6,700 low-income seniors were enrolled
in SeniorCare when the program ended June 30, 2007. To ensure
a seamless transition for seniors already enrolled in SeniorCare,
the department is working diligently to make sure they apply
for the new benefit. New applicants are also encouraged to apply.
Wednesday - August 01, 2007
to Oil, Natural Gas Seen as Central to Global Stability By
DAVID MCKEEBY - Reliable access to affordable oil and natural
gas is a cornerstone of international security, but in today's
energy market, disruptions in the supply chain can have thorny
diplomatic and security consequences.
"We have a serious problem,
America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable
parts of the world," President Bush said in a State of the
Energy independence, long touted
by U.S. officials, is a goal that might be achievable through
technology advances. But for the foreseeable future, security
and energy experts agree, fossil fuels and the integrated global
supply chain that delivers them to global markets will make "energy
security" a critical transnational concern for the 21st
The world currently consumes
approximately 86 million barrels of oil per day, and the U.S.
Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that by 2030
demand will grow by nearly 50 percent, to 118 million barrels
per day. EIA expects that as much as 70 percent of this growth
in demand will come from emerging economic and political powers,
like China and India.
The United States produces
70 percent of the energy resources it uses and it remains the
world's single largest consumer of petroleum products, using
20 million barrels per day, according to EIA.
As domestic oil production
continues to decline, EIA estimates that the United States will
be importing 27 million barrels per day by 2030, if circumstances
remain the same.
"The scale and scope of
this challenge threatens our long-term security," Energy
Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a February speech. "And
that threat only promises to grow more pressing over time as
traditional sources of energy become more stretched and demand
continues to grow."
For this reason, says Daniel
Yergin, president of international energy consulting firm Cambridge
Energy Research Associates, lawmakers must look beyond fossil
fuels as a mere commodity.
True energy independence, Yergin
argues, is best found in an energy security system that is rooted
in market stability and international cooperation in responding
to global supply disruptions.
For years, the international
community has worked to avoid disruptions by seeking multiple
supply sources, encouraging open markets and maintaining strategic
reserves. These are necessary, but insufficient, steps to ensure
future energy security for three reasons, Yergin argues.
First, exploration is expanding
into more remote and potentially unstable regions of the world,
he said. Even in leading energy production regions, like the
Middle East and Latin America, future political turmoil could
endanger global energy supplies. - More...
Wednesday - August 01, 2007
Arts & Entertainment
Arts This Week - This week in Ketchikan the Blueberry Arts
Festival will take place from 10am-5pm at the State Office Building
and surrounding area (415 Main St.) on Saturday, August 4. Fun
is to be had by all with artist, food and game booths, the blueberry
pie eating contest, slug race and weigh-in, trivia and spelling
contest, Juried Art Show gallery exhibit, battle of the bands,
great blueberry race, CHARR's beer festival, and much, much more!
Click on the graphic to download a schedule of events (pdf).
Annual Blueberry Dish Contest!
Enter this annual culinary celebration of all edible things blueberry.
The Arts Council will begin accepting dishes on Friday, August
3rd and the official deadline to submit blueberry dishes is by
2pm, August 3rd at the Mainstay Gallery. Call 225-2211 for more
The Blueberry Juried Art Show opening reception and Best Blueberry
Dish Tasting: Join us on Friday, August 3 from 5-7pm for some
amazing visual art works and tasty blueberry treats. The Juried
Art Show features works from established and emerging artists
from the Ketchikan area and beyond working in a variety of media:
stained glass, oil, jewelry, textile, wood carving and more.
The Juried Art Show is on display Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm through
August 31. During the opening reception dishes from the Best
Blueberry Dish contest will be available for tasting. This event
is free and open to the public. Call 225-2211 for more info.
The 10th Annual Gigglefeet
Dance Festival. Celebrate the joy and diversity of community
dance, performing for two nights at 7:30pm on Friday, Aug. 3
and Sunday, Aug. 5 in the Kayhi Auditorium. Featuring a variety
of styles and genres ranging from traditional and classical
forms to contemporary, belly-dancing to tap. Local and visiting
choreographers will participate. Co-sponsored by the First City
Players, Ketchikan Theatre Ballet, and the Arts Council, with
the generous support of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity
Cruises. Tickets available now at Soho Coho, McPherson Music,
Tongass Business Center, Madison Hardware, First City Players
and the Arts Council call 225-2211 for tickets and information.
Calling all Poets, Writers
and Storytellers for the 17th Annual Richard Brautigan &
Dick Whittaker Memorial Trout Fishing in America Poetry Slam
and "Ode to A (insert subject matter here) Contest".
The contest will take place on Blueberry Arts Festival Sunday,
August 5th, at 2pm at the New York Café, at the New York
Hotel, hosted by Alaskan Writer Laureate, John Straley. First,
second, and third place prizes will be given for readings of
original works pertaining, or not pertaining, to this year's
theme. Call 225-2211 for more information.
Rootbeer Float Party to end
the Summer Reading Club!!! Join the fun at the library this Friday,
August 3rd at 4:30pm. Call 225-0370 for more information. - More...
Wednesday - August 01, 2007
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