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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 14, 2008

Front Page Photo By Zachry "Zak" Young

Herring Cove: Black Bear
Front Page Photo By Zachry "Zak" Young



Alaska: Governor to Turn Over Inquiry Findings to Branchflower; Special Counsel Asks Public to Call in With Information - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced Wednesday she will turn over findings of an inquiry by the Alaska Department of Law regarding the termination of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The findings were made available to Steve Branchflower, a retired state prosecutor, who was selected earlier this month by the Legislative Council to investigate the termination of the former commissioner and allegations it might have been related to Monegan's refusal to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten, the Governor's former brother-in-law.

Immediately following the Legislative Council's move to hire Branchflower, Attorney General Talis Colberg ordered the preservation of all state documents that might be relevant to the investigation. The Department of Law has conducted informal interviews with staff from the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Governor. Branchflower has requested that interview notes and tapes resulting from the meetings be delivered to his office.

Governor Palin this afternoon released a recording of a telephone conversation between Boards and Commissions Director Frank Bailey and an Alaska State Trooper from Ketchikan. Quoting a news release, the recording shows Bailey acted inappropriately by suggesting that he was speaking for the Governor and the First Gentleman.

"I am truly disappointed and disturbed to learn that a member of this administration contacted the Department of Public Safety regarding Trooper Wooten," Governor Palin said. "At no time did I authorize any member of my staff to do so."

"It is apparent that comments I made to a Department of Public Safety official regarding Trooper Wooten improperly and incorrectly implied that I was acting on behalf of the governor and/or her husband," said Bailey. "That was wrong."

"At no time did either the Governor or Todd Palin direct me, or imply that I should try to influence any employee to have Trooper Wooten fired," Bailey added. "In fact, with the exception of the briefing with the Governor's security detail immediately after the election, I have never discussed Wooten with the Governor."

Today Steve Branchflower, Special Counsel to the Legislative Council, Alaska State Legislature, activated a tip line for Alaskans with information that could help the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the firing of former Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.
- More...
Thursday - August 14, 2008

Alaska Science: Tiny Aleutian island has big impact By NED ROZELL - An island smaller than Alaska's largest airport has frustrated thousands of people trying to get into or out of Alaska. Kasatochi volcano is one of three volcanoes rumbling in the central Aleutians in August 2008, along with Mount Cleveland and Okmok.

Tiny Aleutian island has big impact

The former crater lake on Kasatochi Island in the Aleutians. Island overall shot created by Dave Schneider, copyright Digital Globe.

Kasatochi, about 80 miles northeast of Adak island in the central Aleutian chain, has spewed an ash cloud that twisted eastward over the North Pacific, scattering planes and canceling flights because pilots know that flying a jet through an ash cloud can cause engines to seize.

Kasatochi is an unlikely source of plane diversion. Before this eruption, the 717-acre green island with slopes that rose steeply to an aquamarine water-filled crater looked like the set of a monster movie. Though biologists saw streams of bubbles in the caldera lake a few years ago, there was no modern record of it erupting. There was one "dodgy report" of the volcano erupting in 1760, but the recent eruption was a "complete and utter surprise," said Jon Dehn, a volcanologist with the Geophysical Institute.

The eruption was also a shock for two biologists who were studying seabirds on the island for the whole summer. Ray Buchheit and Chris Ford weren't interested in being interviewed a few days after a charter boat captain got them off the island with only hours to spare, but Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Supervisory Wildlife Biologist Vernon Byrd described what he knew of the scene:

Buchheit and Ford were staying in a cabin on one of the few relatively flat spots on the island and had felt shaking for a few days. On the day of the eruption, the ground rocked for about 10 minutes straight, and they heard rocks falling within the caldera. They radioed their contact in Adak to let her know.

Refuge staff spoke with scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage and decided to hire Al Giddings, a charter boat captain from Adak, to get the biologists off the island, because he could get there before anyone else. - More...
Thursday - August 14, 2008


Alaska: August 2008 DMV Registrations Mailed Late - The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reports that registration renewal notices for vehicles with August 2008 expirations were mailed by the contractor almost a month late. "The notices are just now starting to hit customers' mailboxes," said Stacy Oates, Administrative Officer for the division.

Whitney Brewster, DMV director, said, "This unfortunate situation is being remedied and we regret any inconvenience it has caused our customers. We are working to ensure that registrations are handled quickly for all those affected by this delay."

The normal requirement for customers who choose to renew by mail is to send the notice and registration fees by the 5th day of the month in which the registration expires. However, since the August 2008 notices weren't mailed until after July 5, the DMV is working to process mailed-in renewals within one working day of receipt. - More...
Thursday - August 14, 2008

Alaska: Former Alaska Businessman Pleads Guilty to Public Corruption Charges - William Weimar, 68, a former owner of an Alaska-based company, has pleaded guilty to making $20,000 in illegal payments to cover consulting and advertising expenses incurred by a candidate running for an elected position in the Alaska state legislature, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced this week. Weimar also admitted that he manipulated and structured the illegal payments to avoid currency reporting requirements for financial institutions under federal law.

Weimar pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick at the federal court in Anchorage to a two-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud and structuring financial transactions. In court documents, Weimar admitted to conspiring with the candidate, the owner of a company that provided consulting and advertising services to the candidate, and others by paying the consultant approximately $20,000 in 2004 for expenses incurred by the candidate's campaign. Weimar admitted that he, the candidate, and the consultant agreed to make these payments in a manner that concealed the payments and deceived the public. Weimar admitted to making these payments to secure the candidate's election to the Alaska state legislature, to deprive the public of the honest services that the candidate would provide as a state legislator, and to gain the candidate's official support for legislation that would benefit Weimar's ongoing financial interest in a private prison project.

At sentencing, Weimar faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for Oct. 29, 2008. - More...
Thursday - August 14, 2008


Ketchikan Regular Election
October 7, 2008

City Council Candidates Filed

3 Seats open, 3-year term:
Peter R. Ellis (08/12/08)
KJ Harris (08/12/08)
Marty West (08/12/08)
Jason Harris (08/14/08)

1 Seat open, 1-year term
Lew Williams III (08/13/08)

KGB Candidates Filed

Borough Mayor - 3 Year Term
Joe Williams (08/01/08)
Dave Kiffer (08/08/08)

Assembly: 3 year term, 3 seats open:
Justin L. Carro (08/05/08)
John A. Harrington (08/07/08)

School Board: 3 year term, 2 seats open:


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Basic Rules

letter Crossing Guards By Chris Elliott - I drive through town on my way to work every morning and want to say Thank You to the crossing guards who smile and interact pleasantly with the tourists and with us locals. - More...
Wednesday - August 13, 2008

letterAbandoned Vehicles By Rodney Dial - The Troopers share Mr. Johnson's concerns regarding abandoned vehicles, and we to want them removed as soon as possible. If it were as simple as filing charges we would do so in every instance. - More...
Wednesday - August 13, 2008

letterMoser Bay trail By Kathy Paulson - A word of thanks: I like to offer an overdue thank you Mike Sallee for the cedar chip trail behind our lot at Moser Bay. - More...
Wednesday - August 13, 2008

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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