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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
August 31, 2008

Front Page Photo by CINDY BALZER

Fishing Bear at Herring Cove
Front Page Photo by CINDY BALZER



Ketchikan: Forest Service Chief Upholds Tongass Plan - U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell last week upheld Alaska Regional Forester Denny Bschor's decision on the 2008 Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment. The Forest Service received 15 appeals and comments from several entities.

The forest plan amendment was completed in response to the Tongass National Forest's own five-year plan review, and a Ninth Circuit Court decision in 2005. Bschor signed the record of decision for the amendment on Jan. 23, 2008. He selected Alternative 6 from the Final Environmental Impact Statement, with four modifications. The Forest implemented the plan mid-March, 2008, as allowed.

"We have a management plan on the Tongass designed to help stabilize timber supplies for the many businesses in Southeast Alaska," said Bschor. "The plan also includes our commitment to continue to improve the forests, watersheds, and habitats for wildlife and fisheries, which supports subsistence as well as a growing recreation-based tourism for the region."

"This decision validates the time, energy and effort that the Forest planning team and resource specialists put into digging through the analysis and research to satisfy the Ninth Circuit Court decision," said Tongass Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. "I'm very eager to finally see a plan for the Tongass get implemented on the ground, so we can get back to the business of managing and caring for the natural and cultural resources across the Forest." - More...
Sunday - August 31, 2008

Alaska: Plan is to certify the primary election September 16 ­ 18 - The Alaska Division of Elections announced Friday it now has 100% of the precincts reporting election results. Updated election results have been posted to the Division of Elections web site.

Due to the closeness of the election results in the Republican race for United States Representative, the Division received numerous inquiries about the number of absentee and questioned ballots still to be counted, when the results will be updated and the process for a recount. In an effort to answer these questions, the Division provided this information:

Absentee Ballots

The Division sent out approximately 9,120 Republican absentee ballots. As of Election Day, approximately 4,900 of those sent out have been returned. For the remaining ballots, if they were postmarked on or before Election Day, the Division has up to 10 days, if mailed within the United States, or up to 15 days if mailed from overseas, to receive and count those ballots. - More...
Sunday - August 31, 2008

Ketchikan: Taquan Air Recognized - Ketchikan floatplane operator Taquan Air was awarded the Medallion Shield August 15 at a function in Anchorage hosted by the Alaska Air Carriers Association and the Medallion Foundation. Senator Ted Stevens and FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell made the presentation to Taquan Air president and CEO Brien Salazar.

Senator Stevens (left) and FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell (right) present the Medallion Shield to Taquan Air president and CEO Brien Salazar.
Photograph courtesy Alaska Air Carriers Association

The Medallion program was developed with federal funding to raise the bar for air safety in Alaska. To date Alaska Airlines, Era Aviation, PenAir, Wings Airways and Taquan Air have qualified for shield status. This follows a comprehensive five step "star" process that establishes a safety culture throughout a participating carrier's operation, said Salazar. Taquan received its first Medallion star in 2004. Carriers receiving the Medallion Shield are recognized for exceeding FAA standards for maintenance, pilot training, and risk management.

Former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey described the Medallion program as unlike anything else in the country. It is now being considered for introduction nationally. Medallion is described as a dynamic system that provides analytical tools and a system of checks and balances to proactively manage flight risks and hazards. This includes use of flight coordinators, flight risk assessment standards, written weight and balance requirements, and participation in the Capstone navigational instrumentation program. - More...
Sunday - August 31, 2008

Politics: Sarah Palin: The 'Joan of Arc' of Alaska politics By TOM KIZZIA - Sarah Palin was a hockey mom, small-town mayor and rising young Republican star in Alaska in 2003 when she ran afoul of her party's establishment over ethics reform and was cast into the political wilderness.

But she came charging back as an ethics crusader to win the governor's office in 2006 (including a landslide primary victory over the incumbent Republican governor) and has remained one of the most popular local politicians in America even as she continued to take on such powerful figures as the oil companies and the leaders of her own state party.

Palin, 44, has been the Joan of Arc of Alaska politics, charging into battle against long odds on such big local issues as oil taxes and construction of a natural gas pipeline -- only to see her opposition crumble. Just days after her 2006 primary victory, an FBI investigation into political corruption involving the oil industry and Republican legislator burst into view with surprise raids of legislative offices. As criminal indictments and convictions followed, Palin's outsider status helped her maintain consistently sky-high approval ratings. - More...
Sunday - August 31, 2008


Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: Down the Political Rabbit Hole - YYes, Boys and Girls, that giant wooshing sound you heard Friday morning was
indeed the sound of 650,000 Alaskans simultaneously spitting out their morning coffee.

Suffice it to say, no one, other than Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's immediate family had a clue that she would be nominated to be Sen. John McCain's running mate.

Oh yeah, there were all those favorable articles in the New York Times and those photos in People and Vogue, but really, it wasn't all that serious, right? Turns out it was.

We weren't the only ones that were surprised. The "chattering classes" of the national media immediately began weighing in with "yeas" or "nays" and a heck of a lot of "huhs???"

There was a quickie internet poll on Aol.Com that found a slim majority of respondents favored the decision. But the same poll found that nearly 90 percent of the respondents knew either "little" or :"nothing" about Palin.

Talk about a blank slate.

Of course we in Alaska know quite a bit about our governor. Some of it good, some of it bad.

That's the way it is in a small state like ours, everyone seems to know everyone else. We are used to being on a first name basis with our leaders. - More...
Sunday - August 31, 2008

TOM PURCELL: Grateful for a Do-Nothing Congress - "That's it. I'm running for Congress. Where else can an adult accomplish so little and get paid so well?"

"Ah, yes, you speak of a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, the 110th Congress has passed fewer public laws -- 294 -- than any session of Congress in 20 years."

"What the heck has the Congress been doing?"

"Passing lots of decrees and resolutions -- public pronouncements that mostly don't mean much. So far, the 110th Congress has passed more than 1,900 of those."

"What kind of resolutions?"

"Take Senate Resolution 440. It recognizes soil as an essential natural resource. It also praises soil professionals for playing a critical role in managing our nation's natural resources."

"That's fair enough. America's dirt has been underrated for years."

"Then there is Senate Resolution 262. It designated July 2007 as National Watermelon Month."

"If our Congress is going to praise dirt, it ought to praise the stuff that grows in it." - More...
Sunday - August 31, 2008


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October 7, 2008

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Basic Rules

letter Developing Alaska's Workforce By Click Bishop - Yesterday on Labor Day we honored the dignity of human labor. In Alaska, that means honoring the approximately 397,000 Alaskans in our workforce ­ the lifeblood of the land of opportunity that is Alaska. Our great state has been built by the blood and sweat of all the individuals who envisioned a grand future for themselves and their children. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letterTHE STENCH OF ONE-PARTY RULE By David G. Hanger - No, I'm not changing my mind about anything; I am done with Alaska politics and writing about the subject. This is just closing out a little bit of old business. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letterSarah Palin -- the barracuda By Bill Taylor - Now that John McCain has selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, there are several issues that should be addressed. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letterMeandering... By Donita O'Dell - Mr. Garcia's letter was so meandering that I cannot be 100% sure what he was saying. Is he even writing in English? However it seems pretty clear that Mr. Garcia has a bone to pick with a sizeable portion of our community, based on their ethnicity. I find the sentiment sickening . Frankly, I am shocked that the editor of Sitnews has posted his letter. If this is the quality of opinion that is given a stage on this website, I hope I am not the only one who will cease to participate. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letterWhat is Crab Mentality? By Heizelle Jones - It's interesting how people come up with analogies to discribe a person, point of view or thing. What I would like to know is, What characteristics do Crabs and Filipinos have in common? - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter Smelly Rat By Linda Burger - The smelly rat I refer to is "troopergate." Much has been said about Sarah Palin abusing her power. Looking closer at the issue, it comes to light that the involved trooper has had several incidents that truly scares me as a citizen: - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter VA doctors' accoutability By Berton Galloway - Wow wouldn't that be great if Ketchikan General Hospital would do that! I was a long time employee for the hospital. I went in for a minor surgery and 5 surgeries later my life is ruined. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letterVerification on residency for energy relief By Joey Tillson - There are actually a few different factors to verify residency in the State of Alaska. The first one being documentation that is also required by the permanent fund division. How a person verifies residency in our state is to provide documentation such as pay stubs, DMV license applications, rental leases, travel documentations, etc. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter Some in Ketchikan react to nomination with concern, ire By Audrey Ofedahl - Way to go Sarah Palin!!! I for one am thankful that Sarah is the VP nominee and believe she will do a wonderful job just as she has proven to do here in Alaska. I regret that the article I just read in The Juneau Empire states that some in Ketchikan react to Sarah's nomination with concern and ire. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter Dog Attacks By Marina Hinkle - Many of us are dog lovers, and it seems an old Ketchikan tradition for many dog owners to allow their faithful companions to run free. Most of us tolerate this with little or no complaint. There are, of course, the occasional close calls along Tongass Highway, or the unfortunate dog that is hit and killed by a car. I have never understood this behavior of dog owners, but I am not here to change the beliefs or practices of others. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter Bridge By Jerilyn Lester - Mr. Thrush, I wouldn't mind riding the ferry if 1. it wasn't so expensive and 2. I would be able to get to the airport even in bad weather. The bridge should have been built but where it actually landed is of no real importance. We should have had the opportunity to have it. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letterGas Prices By DeAnn Karlson - I read the letter regarding the local price of gas, and I too have some questions. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter Palin Slaps Alaskans in the Face By Jennifer Brewer - I listened to Governor Sarah Palin's acceptance speech as John McCain's running mate. I was proud and happy for her; at least until the "Bridge to Nowhere" came up. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letterMcCain - Palin By Signe Markuson - I am SO Pleased with John McCain to choose Alaska Govenor Sarah Palin as His choice for VP running mate. My Spirit is filled with Joy in REAL HOPE for this Nation and its People. - More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter Sports Facility By Scott Kline - Mr. Gwynn, I for one would rather my tax dollars go for a facility that promotes the well being of today's youth rather than it be spent on rehab for today's and tomorrow's youth.- More...
Tuesday - September 02, 2008

letter Wake up Ketchikan! By Tony Gwynn - While I admire Ketchikan Little League board member's aspirations of a baseball facility that would match a professional team's spring training site, I wonder if it's time to stop dreaming of a pot of free gold and instead concentrate on reality. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter Energy assistance by Bill Meck - I have read many of the complaints of discrimination regarding the executive order signed by Governor Sarah Palin for the "Energy assistance package" recently and find there were many flaws regarding the process of which residents of the state of Alaska were qualified. Including those who have been residing in the state continually since as long as March of 2007 or those who had paperwork that may have been filed for the annual Permanent fund dividend checks improperly. It is also not limited to those who may for one reason or another have their wages garnished but will be in need of the stimulus over the next six months or longer to come. Every person I have spoken with including a person whom works in our local legislative office in Ketchikan has given their opinion that there are going to be many people who are going to be "left out in the cold" this winter so to speak. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter Let's Stop the Illegal use of Drug Cycle By Terrance H. Booth, Sr. - A very sad and depressing report on illegal drug use for Indian Country, USA. I know action has been taken but it is time to safe and preserve our future who are the youth. More needs to be done about it for the Native Drug Dealers are killing our youth and our future. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter 2007 Taquan Air Plane Crash By Mike McComb - If you read the entire accident report you will find that the pilot was previously suicidal and also taking anti-depressant medication at the time of the accident which would NOT allow him to be legal to fly an aircraft. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letterPoke'em in the eye By Edward Brown - Throwing our most senior senator under the bus is not called for. He should be presumed innocent until the verdict or plea comes in. The trial will not end until 2 weeks before the general election. Ted is worthy of one more primary vote by all patriotic Alaskan voters. This can be our thank you to Ted with his 40 years of service to our state. - - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letterKetchikan vote Democrat? By Chris Arteaga - In the wake of Senator Stevens indictment, Ketchikan should reconsider its staunch support of Republican candidates. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letterNorth Point Higgins Repaving? By Debbie Rahr - Just wondering why we are repaving North Point Higgins when there are worse roads that need fixing. This doesn't make sense to me. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter Crab Mentality By Jose Garcia - Not only Filipinos in Ketchikan, or other Alaskan cities, but the entire country where Filipinos conglomerate; having been, and mostly in cities where the onslaught of Filipinos have ekked their living to fuse themselves in the American Dream, there is still that old tradition of crab mentality embedded in the sinews of their sublimal instincts. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letterKetchikan gas prices By Karen Ramsey - Ketchikan-area gas stations have been charging $4.45 a gallon for unleaded gas since about the third week of July. Today, August 25, the news media reported that the average price in the U.S. is $3.69 a gallon. I wonder how long it will take for stations here to start reflecting that downward trend of the price of oil and gas. Will we drivers in Ketchikan have to suffer the fate of paying at least 70 cents more per gallon than the national average for a lot longer? I hope not. Even in Honolulu where drivers usually pay even more exorbitant prices for gas than we do, the most expensive gas station today is charging $4.34. Gas stations in Ketchikan, please give us a break soon! - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter Why take a chance on Joe Biden? By Mark Neckameyer - In the business world we are so very careful in vetting people who will have responsible management positions. People who have fiduciary responsibility like CFOs and Treasurers are thoroughly investigated and any impropriety is reason for a negative conclusion. Police officers are checked out back to high school friends' opinions of them and senior military officers, those in control of nuclear weapons especially are very carefully screened. even to the point of having psychological examinations and lie detector testing before they are retained. Why in the world would the Democrat Party pick for a Vice Presidential candidate, someone the proverbial heartbeat away from being the most powerful person on Earth, someone with so many serious character flaws? - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter RE: energy relief Yes or NO By Robert Bates - First of all I would like to say that I understand Mr. Tillson's concern about non-residents not getting the relief for the rise of fuel prices. But my concern with having applications being filled out by non-residents is the fact that there are a lot of seasonal workers in the state that might try to take advantage of that and fill them out as well, thus taking money from the people who live here year round. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter Kanayama Exchange By Haley Widness - I am saddened by the argument over who should participate in the Ketchikan-Kanayama Extchange Program. I am an alumni of the program and felt that it was one of the best experiences I have ever had the privilage to be a part of. It is not a matter of who is popular or smart, but more of a matter of commitment. At times I didn't want to fundraise or go to class, but I kept a good attitude about it and went eventhough I might not have felt up to it. At the very begining I signed a contract to that commitment. In the end it was very worth it and I had the time of my life while meeting so many new people and learning new things. It is a great program and I hope that it continues for many years to come. I thank all those who have supported this program in the past and continued support in the future. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter GREAT JOB GIRLS By Jodi Warmuth Rosenthal - I live in Jackson, Wisconsin and Anna Warmuth is my niece. I found this letter online and I need to say that I am very proud of Anna and the rest of the Girl Scouts who worked so hard on this clean up project. - More..
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letter Doesn't make me a Democrat By Mike Isaac - Somehow my defense of Ted Stevens and my dislike of John McCain the RINO republican from AZ makes me a Democrat according to Kris Hansen's letter dated 08/09/08 -- and someone trying to sway voters of Alaska???? - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letterBridge? By Thomas Thrush - Mrs. Lester, I agree with the bridge concept, but to me it was pork, to Gravina? - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

letterSen. Stevens By Robert Glenn - Jerilyn Lester, if you read the about me section you will see that I did live in Ketchikan for 3 years (year round, not only for summer). Never once did I miss a flight because I had to take the ferry over to the airport. I missed more flights because I would be sitting there at the airport and listen to the plane fly over because of weather. - More...
Thursday - August 28, 2008

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