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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 11, 2008

Front Page Photo By Dave Smith

Fun in the Sun
Enjoying the sunny weather last week at Settlers' Cove are (L to R) Emmie Smith, Kaylee Smith, Abby Daniels, Alex Daniels, Max Varela, Alyssa Jackson, Tommy Varela, Christopher Smith, Kyle Smith, and Zoe Smith
Front Page Photo By Dave Smith



Ketchikan: Flights Resume Today After Cancellations Due To Volcanic Ash - Alaska Airlines announced it has resumed operations this morning between the state of Alaska and Lower 48 states and is adding flights to help reaccommodate about 5,200 passengers affected by earlier cancellations.

The airline had to cancel flights to and from Adak, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, Alaska, late Sunday and early Monday as a safety precaution due to the pattern of ash at altitude created by the eruption of Kasatochi volcano in the Aleutians Islands.

According to information provided on the Alaska Volcano Observatory's website, a large drifting ash cloud from previous ash emissions on August 7 continued to be observed in satellite data over the weekend. This ash cloud drifted over the Gulf of Alaska and parts of Southeast Alaska.

As of early Monday, 44 flights were canceled, including flights between Alaska and Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. The airline is monitoring the ash pattern on a continuous basis and will re-evaluate operations throughout the day and evening based on the latest conditions. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

Southeast Alaska: Coast Guard Resumes Search for Two Juneau Pilots - The Coast Guard continues to search Monday for two missing pilots from Juneau who didn't return from Young Lake Saturday afternoon as scheduled.

Two Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk search and rescue crews from Air Support Facility Cordova and Air Station Sitka will arrive in Juneau this morning and expand on the existing search area if the weather improves. Additionally, an Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter, Alaska State Troopers and the Civil Air Patrol aircraft are assisting in the search.  Coast Guard Station Juneau will be conducting water shoreline searches throughout the day. 

The Coast Guard is searching a 1,000 square mile area stretching from Mansfield Peninsula to the north and the northern section of Glass Peninsula to the south and an area west of Juneau to Hawk Inlet.

Rescue crews have been searching through heavy patches of fog and scattered rain showers throughout the weekend which have limited the efforts. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

Alaska: Aircraft Crashes on Baranof Island; Downed aircraft with two deceased located - A Coast Guard rescue crew from Air Station Sitka responded to a signal from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon in the vicinity of Peril Strait on the north side of Baranof Island approximately 30 miles north of Sitka around 11:15 p.m. Sunday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched to investigate the signal and located a downed aircraft with two deceased people inside. The aircraft, a Baron-55, was approximately 200 feet up on a hillside in dense forest.

Names of the deceased are being withheld until notification of next of kin. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

Alaska: Changes to Mileage Plan Program Announced by Alaska Airlines - Alaska Airlines has announced changes to its Mileage Plan program, including new award levels and increased fees. The changes, which the airline is detailing in letters to its frequent fliers, will begin Nov. 1, 2008.

"Our program has always been one of the most generous in the industry, with lower award levels and more robust benefits than any other carrier," said Steve Jarvis, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing, sales and customer experience. "With the current state of the industry and impact of fuel prices on our bottom line, we're forced to refine our program to make it viable for our airline while maintaining its strong value for our customers."

Jarvis noted that airline frequent flier programs were created during a time when costs were lower. "When Alaska Airlines introduced its popular 20,000-mile 'Saver' award 13 years ago, we were paying less than $20 a barrel for crude oil. [In July] oil touched $145 a barrel," Jarvis said. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

Alaska: Investigation Into Alaska's Soaring Gasoline Prices Called For; Alaska's Prices 75 Cents Higher than National Average - Anchorage Senators Bill Wielechowski (D) and Bettye Davis (D) today called for an investigation into the price of gasoline in Alaska, which is the highest in the nation.

The two senators called on Attorney General Talis Colberg to probe why prices in Alaska are about 75 cents above the national average, when Alaska has one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the nation and most of the gas used here is produced locally.

"How is that people in Wichita, Kansas, pay 84 cents less for a gallon of gas than we do in Anchorage, when their gas tax is three times ours," Senator Wielechowski said today. "Alaskan drivers deserve to know why they're paying so much for fuel. Are we getting gouged?"

Nationally the average price for gasoline is $3.88/gallon. In Alaska, the average is $4.62/gallon, with costs higher than $6/gallon in some rural areas. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008


National: Oil fight could trigger a federal shutdown By ZACHARY COILE - House Republicans, who've been hounding Speaker Nancy Pelosi for weeks over her refusal to allow a vote on new domestic oil drilling, are plotting a high-stakes confrontation this fall that could shut down the federal government.

After Congress returns Sept. 8, it will have to pass a temporary measure to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30. Democrats are likely to include in the measure an extension of the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling, which would otherwise expire at the end of September.

GOP lawmakers warn they may try to block the measure -- or pressure President Bush to veto it -- if Democrats won't allow the drilling ban to lapse. If neither side gives in, it would force at least a temporary shutdown of the government.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led Republicans during the last government shutdown in 1995 that ended up bruising his party's image, said he thinks Republicans should force the showdown. He believes that the public, frustrated with high gas prices, would side with Republicans in demanding more oil exploration. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

Science - Technology: Shellfish to invade Atlantic from Pacific By DAVID PERLMAN - Pacific Ocean shellfish -- the mussels and snails, the clams and cockles -- are heading for a mass invasion into the North Atlantic that could alter the entire ecology of both oceans as sea ice vanishes from the warming high Arctic, two California scientists predict.

It has happened at least once before, the scientists say -- about 3.5 million years ago, when a relatively brief period of natural global warming kept the Bering Strait open and hundreds of species of marine life migrated from the Pacific through the ice-free Arctic Ocean to colonize the Atlantic. The genes of many animals -- both shelled and finned -- formed hybrid species after that long-ago invasion during the Pliocene epoch.

Geerat J. Vermeij of University of California Davis and Peter D. Roopnarine of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco describe what they call "the coming Arctic invasion" in the current issue of the journal Science.

According to climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which monitors global warming and its effects, the Arctic Ocean will become virtually ice-free by 2050 as global warming continues. And many climate experts and scientists, including Vermeij and Roopnarine, calculate that it's likely to be under way in little more than 20 years. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008



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Basic Rules

letter Unsung Heroes By Dave Hull - To the unsung heroes who stopped to help an accident victim near Fire Station 8 on August 11th: Just about noon on August 11, 2008, there was a vehicle accident just below Fire Station 8 at 13110 North Tongass Highway. I first became aware of the situation when a gentleman, a little short of breath from running up the driveway, entered the station and told me there was a car in the ditch just below us. Upon my arrival I found several people attending to the driver of the vehicle, keeping the driver calm and not allowing the driver to move. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

letter Why are we stuck on only selling unfinished raw products? By Ed Brown - Why are we stuck on only selling unfinished raw products ? Our shortsighted leadership can result in AK squandering its jobs and abundant resources. Where is the leadership from our federal and state delegations? Especially when it comes to our reversing the squandering our states resources? - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

letter Another whipple Creek "Prize" By A. M. Johnson - Well I did it! I stopped at the Alaska Trooper's office to voice my concern at a new "Arrival" at the Whipple Creek pull out. A Cherokee Jeep, Ak Lic: EPP299 black and full of junk has been parked there after it sat at the entry of the mobile home park for a few days prior. - More...
Monday - August 11, 2008

letter Positive changes at the Alaska Marine Highway System By James Beedle - This administration inherited an Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) spiraling out of financial control and lacking operational stability. In the four fiscal years from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2007, the amount of state funds needed for operations escalated from $43.5 million to $94.2 million. During this period, budgets and operating plans were submitted to the legislature for approval and then routinely changed again and again. In 2006, the legislature became so concerned, it passed language in a bill stating that the AMHS should operate within the budget and operations approved by legislators. We're doing just that, and we're making positive, beneficial changes that Alaskans are likely to embrace. - More...
Saturday - August 09, 2008

letterAMHS schedule By Michael Moyer - Isn't that nice the new ferry schedule is out?!! Too bad that's not the issue! No one ever really cared that the schedule was late in the first place. It's where the ferries are scheduled to travel that was, and still is, the issue. - More...
Saturday - August 09, 2008

letterPolitical Humor & Road Flowers By A.M.Johnson - During the current political season, issues of many colors - -Whoops! Is that a politically correct statement? -- are being bantered about. - More...
Saturday - August 09, 2008

letter Agia equation really can add up By Sen. Kim Elton - Does 1+1=1?

When it comes to the gasline, hopefully so. A week ago, the legislature actually added one to one to enhance getting to one. We figured the TransCanada highway gasline project plus the ConocoPhillips/BP project makes it more likely we get one pipeline that delivers natural gas from the North Slope to North American markets. - More...
Saturday - August 09, 2008

letter Bob's Last Wish By Carroll Parr -Mackie - Of course there should be a "Plaque" for Bob. It would be the "decent" thing to do. - More...
Saturday - August 09, 2008

letterGrilling with Ted By Kris Hansen - Ahhhhhhhh, as they say in California, "Dude"-- please don't post rhetoric that is not backed up by truth. You obviously are a democrat trying to sway the voters of Alaska. The Democrats and no other are behind the Stevens' debacle. - More...
Saturday - August 09, 2008

letter Aircraft Accident By Jerry L. Kiffer - As most have heard we had an accident involving a Cessna 210 going into the water short of the airport here in Ketchikan last week. The rescue of the two persons on board was accomplished by swift reaction of local 135 pilots who were backed up by our rescue service and local civilians. - More...
Monday - August 04, 2008

letterBob's Last Wish By Beverly Reeves - He was born Charles R. Hirsh in Juneau Alaska May 14th 1984. Everyone called him Bob. He was stricken with leukemia at the age of 11 and lost his battle May 24th 2005. He was 21 years old. - More...
Monday - August 04, 2008

letterGrilling with Ted By Mike Isaac - I have heard that Bush and his buddies in the Justice Department want to lock up Ted Stevens for his "bridge to nowhere" idea. The truth is Ted Stevens may be locked up and lose his seat in the Senate over a BBQ grill, trading a classic 1964 Ford Mustang for some run of the mill SUV and having his deck repaired on his little ski cabin in Girdwood that he paid for. Ted Stevens is a good man and not one of those bible thumping, right wing kooks that give Republicans a bad name. He not only looks out for Alaska but the other states as well. I would hate to think how much gas would cost here in California if the pipeline had not been built. - More...
Monday - August 04, 2008

letterAlaska "Roadside" flower By Carrie Beckham - On my way to work this morning, I noticed that the Jeep now has a homophobic slur spray-painted across the drivers side. - More...
Monday - August 04, 2008

letter Alaska "Roadside" flower By Al Johnson - On or around the 20th of July I contacted the State Police regarding What is now a trashed Jeep Cherokee, AK License EEP 229 located at the Whipple Creek pull out. I was advised that abandoned cars were the responsibility of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough enforcement officer. The State Trooper on duty volunteered to pass the matter on to the Borough enforcement officer. I thanked him and departed knowing the issue was being delt with. - More...
Friday - August 01, 2008

letter Rebuttal: The Other Presidential Candidates By Frank McEnulty - I couldn't be more different than Alan Keyes and the others that Tom Proebsting compared me to. First, I am not, nor have I ever been a bible thumper. - More...
Friday - August 01, 2008

letter GIVING AWAY MONEY AT ELECTION TIME By Rep. Mike Doogan - AGIA License in Peril: The bill to grant a state license for the gas pipeline is in the clutches - did I say clutches? I meant, of course, loving hands - of the Alaska State Senate where, I'm sure, a thousand plots are being hatched. I could list them all, but why bother. These things are like soap bubbles and last about as long. So let's talk about something concrete, like logistics, instead. If the legislature is to approve granting a license <> to a subsidiary of TransCanada, it must do so by midnight Aug. 2, which is the last of the 60 days the law allows for legislative review and approval. The way the votes seem to be distributed in the Senate, approval will take four days: send the bill to the floor, second reading, third reading, reconsideration. As I write this, there are four days left. What does that mean? It means the license's opponents have succeeded in stalling long enough that the slightest bobble could kill it. (Necessary disclaimer here: The license's opponents claim they haven't been stalling. But if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and talks like a duck ) Stay tuned. - More...
Friday - August 01, 2008

letter The Other Presidential Candidates By Tom Proebsting - The media has offered extensive coverage to presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. Every day reveals something new about the two mavericks. However, to be fair and balanced, there are other presidential candidates. There may be virtually dozens running for president, but only ten worthy of honorable mention. - More...
Friday - August 01, 2008

letter The Truth Abouts Cats & Dogs By Chris Elliott - I live on Jackson Street. While I sympathize with Mr. Griffin, I think Ms. Pitcher makes an excellent point. I don't remember cats being such a problem when I was a kid. I don't know if they were more apt to hang out at home or what, but there are a lot of cats running around our neighborhood now. On a nice day, when I've got my front door open, it's not unusual to have a cat poke his nose in. Often, when I go to work in the morning, I find little cat prints on the hood of my car. They get under our house and do whatever it is they do (stinking it up). I wish they would stay on their own property, but they're sneaky, and if you let them out, they're going to cat around. - More...
Monday - July 28, 2008

letter Thank You From the Family of Benjamin Noah Phillips By Karen Galloway - Words cannot express the gratefulness in our hearts as we try to write this thank you. We were (and still are) absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our friends, family and community members when our son and grandchild, "Baby Ben," was critically injured by a truck and had to be medevac'd to Harborview on June 9, 2008. That was the scariest thing any of us has ever experienced and those first few critical days were heart-wrenching. We live in a kind and caring community and your support has been more than awesome. - More...
Sunday - July 27, 2008

letter Neighborhood Cats By Karen Pitcher - I don't live in the Jackson Street neighborhood but I can really understand the frustration of the neighbor who was setting a trap for cats. The cats in my neighborhood also love to use my fenced yard as a large litter box and I get very tired of scooping up after them. Especially when I miss some and don't discover it until I've mowed over it. Yuk. - More...
Sunday - July 27, 2008

letter Energy: We can't just have a box of chocolates By Sen. Kim Elton - This week I'm giving my laptop's keyboard a break. I'm not putting more miles on the A,G, I, and A keys. Truth be told, I'm so tired of downloading and forwarding data on gas pipeline economics that I too need a short break from that acronym I'm not mentioning in this newsletter. - More...
Sunday - July 27, 2008

letter Alaska Driver's Manual By Jay Jones - To Chief Davis, I would hope that operators of Departmental Vehicles would already observe what is included in the second paragraph of your letter concerning pedestrians entering/occupying crosswalks, and that it would already be Department policy, as it is on page 60 of the Alaska State Driver's Manual. - More...
Sunday - July 27, 2008

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