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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

September 23, 2005

Front Page Photo: Ripple Rock

Photo permission: Campbell River Museum

PhotoTAMING RIPPLE ROCK by DAVE KIFFER - Half a century ago, sailing the Inside Passage from Seattle to Alaska wasn't as safe as it is today. A pair of dangerous underwater peaks jointly called Ripple Rock created severe whirlpools in the waters near Vancouver Island, sinking numerous ships and claiming more than 100 lives. It took the largest non-nuclear explosion in history to finally end the threat.

Seymour Narrows, the location of Ripple Rock, was a hazard to navigation from the time the first sailing ships began charting the area.

In his diary of his 1792 voyage to Alaska, English Captain George Vancouver called the narrows one of vilest stretches of water in the world.

Over the next two centuries, more than 20 large vessels and 100 smaller craft foundered over the tides rushing across the twin underwater peaks of Ripple Rock near the Vancouver Island community of Campbell River. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005


National: War protests make for strange bedfellows By JOE GAROFOLI - Organizers expect more than 100,000 people to gather Saturday on the grounds of the Washington Monument, the centerpiece of a three-day weekend of anti-war events that will include interfaith services Sunday, and civil disobedience acts and congressional lobbying Monday.

However, groups backing the effort don't necessarily agree with each other on issues other than Iraq.

With a formality unusual for the anti-war movement, the two main groups organizing Saturday's demonstration have signed a three-page agreement covering everything from who will hold the lead parade banner to how big protesters' placards can be (3 feet by 3 1/2 feet). - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

National: Senate Republican leader's stock sale under investigation By RICHARD POWELSON - Two federal agencies are investigating Senate Republican leader Bill Frist's sudden sale of all of his stock in the hospital-management company founded by his father.

The HCA Inc. stock value dropped 14.2 percent a month after the Tennessee lawmaker directed the manager of his blind trust on June 13 to sell all HCA stock. His trust accounts with a variety of stocks last year ranged from $7 million to $35 million, public records show. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

Operation Alaskan Road

View along the Walden Point Road
project site, Annette Island.
Photo by Maj. Richard C. Sater,
U.S. Air Force Reserve

PhotoMetlakatla - Ketchikan: Operation Alaskan Road Wraps Up 2005 Season - Operation Alaskan Road 2005 is wrapping up for the season.

The eighth year of the road-building concluded today, with significant progress reported by the Joint Task Force undertaking the construction.

Operation Alaskan Road is part of a continuing effort to make good on a 60-year-old promise by the Alaska Department of the Interior, the Alaska Road Commission, and the Army Corps of Engineers to the Metlakatla Indian Community here to build such a road connecting the town with a ferry dock that will be built on the northeast side of the island. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

Alaska: Alaskan salmon industry reform urged By WESLEY LOY - Alaska's struggling commercial salmon industry can thrive only if it restructures, but it faces "fundamental obstacles" including lack of government leadership in making the needed changes, according to a new university study.

"For Alaska's salmon fisheries to become and remain profitable, we will have to find ways of catching salmon at lower cost and raising the quality and value of the harvests," the report says. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

Mt. Steller

A view of an enormous rock delta from the avalanche of Mt. Steller that registered on seismometers all over Alaska.
Ruedi Homberger photo, courtesy of Ultima Thule Lodge.

Alaska: If a mountain fell in the Alaska wilderness . . . by NED ROZELL - Jackie Caplan-Auerbach was checking earthquake activity at Alaska volcanoes from her Anchorage office on September 14th, a routine she performs every day at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, when she noticed a strange seismic signal on Mount Spurr.

A large shock to the earth-not as abrupt as an earthquake-had happened somewhere in Alaska. When Caplan-Auerbach saw the odd signal was even stronger on Mount Wrangell, she suspected there was a great avalanche somewhere in the restless corner of Alaska where the panhandle of Southeast meets the rest of the state. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

Alaska: Grizzly orphans stick together By DOUG O'HARRA - Ever since their mother was gut-shot and killed during the midsummer climax of Russian River fishing, a female bear cub has stayed by her wounded sibling, sometimes allowing the male with a gimpy leg to eat fish she has hauled ashore.

The male cub was shot in the leg the same weekend its mother died, perhaps in the same incident. Since then, the two half-grown orphan bears have remained at the river to feed on salmon. But it hasn't been easy.

The male bear limps and swims slower. Snatching fish appears to be more difficult. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005



letter Wards Cove Sale By Amy T. Thompson - Saturday
letter Upcoming Election By Robert McRoberts - Saturday
letter Fix Ketchikan's Water By Linda Hansen - Saturday
letter Farming seafood in open systems no longer justifiable practice By Scott Zimmerman - Friday PM
letter Say No to Consolidation By Don Hoff Jr. - Friday PM
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Hell on wheels
Tab, The Calgary Sun
Distributed exclusively to subscribers by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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September 2005
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National: Washington all but ignoring debate on climate change By BILL STRAUB - Katrina and Rita have kicked off a debate among scientists over the impact of global climate change on hurricane intensity, but it doesn't appear the environmental issue has grabbed the attention of Washington.

Scientists have been reluctant to cite climate change as the cause for the recent spate of Atlantic hurricanes in light of inconclusive data. But recent studies indicate that the increasingly violent nature of the storms over the past 35 years could be attributed to global warming.

One study appearing in the Sept. 16 issue of Science said rising sea-surface temperatures, a global warming effect, may contribute to the growing intensity of hurricanes. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

National: Katrina thrusts race and poverty onto national stage By MARC SANDALOW - Searing images of destitute people huddled on rooftops, freeway overpasses, and the floors of the Superdome and New Orleans Convention Center will remain vivid, for many Americans, long after the Gulf Coast is rebuilt.

Hurricane Katrina's winds ripped away barriers that kept one city's poor out of sight and, for most people, out of mind. As the world watched, the deadly storm thrust the nation's enormous economic disparities into plain view.

President Bush touched on the issue in his address to the nation last week and again at a prayer service at the National Cathedral. First lady Laura Bush talked about it in an interview this week. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have spoken forcefully about it on the floor of the House of Representatives. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

National: Experts: Parents need to limit kids' exposure to disaster coverage By LEE BOWMAN - As the nation approaches a fifth week of near-constant news coverage of Hurricanes Katrina and now Rita, mental-health experts are cautioning parents about exposing young children to the troubling scenes and sounds of disaster zones.

"We know from studies that have been done in the aftermath of other major traumatic events in our nation, such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks that children who spent a lot of time viewing television depictions of these events reported and experienced greater amounts of distress than children who viewed lesser amounts," said Dr. John Fairbank, an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and co-director of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

Washington Calling: Terrorists in your kitchen ... Drilling in the Arctic ... Other items By LANCE GAY - Is your mother's kitchen harboring a terrorist device?

In an information bulletin marked "for official use only," the Department of Homeland Security warns that terrorists might be plotting to turn kitchen pressure cookers into homemade bombs. The three-page memo alerts border security guards to be on the watch for people trying to smuggle pressure cookers into the United States.

The memo was obtained by military analyst William Arkin. A year ago, the government published a secret report on how terrorists might exploit a hurricane.


Expect Congress to approve oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in a budget package that Republicans are assembling. The vote is to come after Congress returns from its Columbus Day holiday next month. - More...
Friday PM - September 23, 2005

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