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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

September 02, 2006

Front Page Photo by Elizabeth E. Harrison

Murphy's Landing
Front Page Photo by Elizabeth E. Harrison

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


Alaska: U.S. Migratory Bird Testing Reveals No High Threat; MORE THAN 13,000 WILD MIGRATORY BIRDS TESTED IN ALASKA - More than 13,000 wild migratory birds have been tested in Alaska without detection of the highly pathogenic avian influenza strain that has caused the deaths of more than 200 million birds worldwide.

The U.S. departments of Agriculture (USDA) and the Interior (USDOI) announced the progress of the expanded bird-testing program August 29, achieved through cooperation between federal, state and nongovernmental nature organizations.

In mid-August, the secretaries of the two agencies visited sites in Alaska, where most of the sampling has been conducted because of the northernmost state's position on the bird migration flyways from Asia to the Western Hemisphere, according to a USDA news release.

"Guided by the national and wild bird surveillance and early detection plan," said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, "our collaborative efforts have comprehensively sampled and tested high-priority species throughout Alaska." - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

Ketchikan: PIPS' Marsden & Wife Charged With Money Laundering Millions By DICK KAUFFMAN - Bryan John Marsden, 58, is back in the news yet again. Known in Ketchikan, statewide and worldwide for his PIPS "2% Plan" where investors are told they will get paid 2% per day on their investment, he and his wife Phan Sew Ken, 55, are in lockup in Malaysia awaiting trial. Both were charged in Malaysian courts Thursday with 48 counts of money laundering involving RM34.2 million (9.34618 million USD).

Marsden was one of nine ordered in August 2005 by the State of Alaska's Administrator of Securities Division to stop selling the PIPS investment in Alaska. Earlier in April 2005, Alaska Attorney General David Marquez issued a warning that PIPS is an illegal Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme is an investment swindle in which high profits are promised from nonexistent sources and early investors are paid off with funds raised from subsequent investors. PIPS gained international attention and several state securities administrators issued orders against PIPS.

According to the New Straits Times of Malaysia, angry words and tears flowed freely when Phan Sew Ken and her British husband were produced at the Sessions Courts in Seremban and Kuala Lumpur Thursday to answer charges of money laundering. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

National: Bush opens bid to sell Iraq war to midterm voters By EDWARD EPSTEIN - Democrats - who came up on the short end of the national security debate in the 2002 and 2004 elections - reacted quickly and harshly to Bush's speech to the American Legion convention in Salt Lake City. They said Bush was resorting to his administration's usual election-year scare tactics and charged that Iraq has made the United States less safe by diverting resources from the real war on terrorism.

Bush, whose low standing in public opinion polls has left him shunned by GOP candidates in some parts of the country, plans several more speeches in coming days, timed both to the campaign for the Nov. 7 midterm congressional elections and to the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. His current series of talks on Iraq and terrorism will conclude with an address to the U.N. General Assembly, scheduled for Sept. 19. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006


National: A date moving from realm of current events to that of history By LISA HOFFMAN - In Suffolk, Va., Sept. 11 will be marked by a procession of residents bedecked in red, white and blue in honor of the 9/11 terror victims and U.S. troops at war. In St. Louis, people wearing yellow T-shirts will form a human ribbon in the middle of Anheuser-Busch Sports Center.

A 7-ton granite globe, which will serve as a monument to those who have served in the war on terrorism, will be dedicated in Corpus Christi, Texas. And somber memorial services will be held at the sites of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.

But the fifth anniversary of that shocking day also will bring the International Milk Conference in LaCrosse, Wis., a talk by actress Lauren Bacall about her role in "How to Marry a Millionaire" at a tony New York City nightspot and the first ESPN broadcast of "Monday Night Football."

The date that once seemed eternally exclusive to memories of the worst enemy attack against the U.S. homeland now is moving from the realm of current events to that of history. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

Alaska: LETTER CONFIRM'S LEGISLATURE'S ROLE IN JET'S PURCHASE - Just how did the Governor get that Jet? A letter issued this week by the Alaska Department of Public Safety confirms that Governor Frank H. Murkowski, in May, used language included by the Alaska Legislature in a budget bill to finance the purchase. According to the Alaska Department of Public Safety letter, the state still owes $2.6 million on a "line of credit" the state secured to pay for the Governor's Westwind II Executive Jet.

Alaska Democrats said Friday that the purchase of the jet could easily have been prevented.
Sen. Gretchen Guess (D-Anchorage) said, "We could have easily prevented the Governor's Jet purchase. Alaskans would be right to say we should have done that when we had the chance." - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

Health-Fitness: H5N1 Flu Does Not Pass Easily to Humans, Study Finds By CHARLENE PORTER - Hundreds of Cambodian villagers tended sick birds around their homes, but showed no evidence of infection with the H5N1 virus when tested by an international team of researchers, according to a study published in the October edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"This study provides evidence of the low transmissibility of the H5N1 virus from infected poultry to humans, even in circumstances in which human-poultry interactions are regular and intense," says the study conducted by researchers at the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, Australia National University, CDC and others.

The H5N1 virus is a highly pathogenic avian influenza strain that has spread to pandemic proportions among Asian birds, with more than 200 million dead. It has been found in domestic and wild birds in more than 50 countries and in regions other than Asia, and has killed more than 140 humans. Because this particular flu strain previously infected humans only rarely, international health officials warn that if H5N1 becomes easily transmissible among humans, an influenza pandemic could sweep the world. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

I.G. Pruell from
Illustrated Annual,
The Mining Journal,
January 1907, Vol. 7 no. 5.
Photograph courtesy Ketchikan Museums

Pioneers of Southeast Alaska - I. G. "Gus" Pruell By LOUISE BRINCK HARRINGTON - Today when you walk around Ketchikan you see jewelry stores galore, rows and rows of them. But think about this: back in early 1900s there was only one.

It was owned and operated by Gus Pruell.

When I. G. "Gus" Pruell arrived in Ketchikan in 1900, he did a little prospecting and then went to work for Tongass Trading Company. While at Tongass he continued to prospect and also worked at a gold mine south of town.

With a dream of one day opening a local jewelry store, he needed to stock up on gold nuggets and whatever other gems he could find.

When he arrived in the First City on March 1, 1900, Pruell later told the Ketchikan Daily News, "There was a big black rock with a tree on top on what is now Front Street, near the corner of the present Ingersoll Hotel.

"Next to the rock was a blacksmith shop where John Durkin sharpened tools for miners. In those early days Ketchikan was mostly mud streets and shack buildings."

In 1904 he bought property at 520 Main Street and built a home. (The house is still there, now owned by the Thorsen family.)

In 1913 Pruell made two major changes in his life. He married Laura Y. Young, whom he met at the Miners and Merchants Bank where she worked and he did business.

And the same year he fulfilled his longtime dream. With the help of his friend and partner, Bert Berthelsen, Pruell bought a curio and jewelry store known as Kirmse's, a going-concern that occupied space in the Stedman Hotel building. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

Formation flying makes migration less of a drag...

Canadian Geese Formation Flying

Alaska: Formation flying makes migration less of a drag By NED ROZELL - Migrating geese, cranes and ducks signal the end of summer as they fly in a wedge toward warm places, like a spear hurled out of Alaska. A physics question comes to mind amid the melancholy reflections the snowbirds inspire: Why do birds fly in formation?

Larry Gedney, a former associate professor of geophysics at the Geophysical Institute who died in 1992, explored the question in this column over a decade ago. Gedney wrote of the myth that the lead goose was breaking trail for his flock-mates, much like a front-running bicycle racer allows teammates to decrease wind resistance by drafting directly behind. When the lead goose got pooped, he would give a honk and another would take his place at the tip of the V.

But birds aren't bike riders. According to an article in Science, in a proper V all birds experience approximately the same amount of benefit from their neighbors. Although it doesn't seem plausible, even the leader at the tip of the formation benefits from the wind currents produced by the birds directly behind it. - More...
Ssturday - September 02, 2006



letter Gravina bridge response to editorial By Michael Spence - Monday
letter Theft of Our Lands in Ketchikan - The Dark Days By Don Hoff Jr. - Saturday
letter Gravina Island Clean-up Begins By Jerry Cegelske - Saturday
letter It's a wash... By Chris Elliott - Thursday
letter Farewell By Tyrell Rettke - Thursday
letter Protecting our Rights on the Stikine River By Renee Claggett - Thursday
letter White Cliff Center project By Karen Eakes - Thursday
letter Thanks for your support! By Gregory Vickrey - Thursday
letter James's Last Trip to Alaska By Doug Barry - Thursday
letter WHITE CLIFF DEMOLITION? By Pete Ellis - Wednesday
letter DAHL AND NEEDHAM KUDOS By Pete Ellis - Wednesday
letter Last Visit To Alaska By Neil Gray - Wednesday
letter Responsibility falls on owner By Kelly Needham - Wednesday
letter Last Visit to Alaska By ML Dahl - Tuesday
letter Pit Bulls By Michael Moyer - Tuesday
letter Gatorade is not the problem By Al Johnson - Tuesday
letter Forced Conversion Frees Hostages? By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday
letter Last visit By Kelly Needham - Tuesday
letterElkins has earned his place in Ketchikan's roster By June Allen - Saturday
letter Grounded Vessel By Jennifer Brewer - Saturday
letter My last trip to Alaska By Peter James - Saturday
letter Bully breeds By Kelly Needham - Friday
letter Support Your Locally-Owned Businesses By Mark O'Brien - Wednesday
letter Medical Costs By Pat Long - Wednesday
letter Pleased with vote By Douglas J. Thompson - Wednesday
letter Living in a vacuum? By Vicki Harsha - Wednesday
letter Eye of the Beholder Letter By Rob Glenn - Wednesday
letterThis Will Only Take A Minute! By Marcia Hilley - Tuesday
letter Gaming? By Lonnie Guthrie - Tuesday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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HOT ZONE: An unusual tourist attaction: VC tunnels from the war By KEVIN SITES - When U.S. troops first deployed in large numbers to Vietnam in the mid-1960s, one of the first steps of the Army's 25th Division was to build a large base in the Cu Chi District.

They hoped to counter the strength and influence of the Viet Cong or VC (Vietnamese communists allied with the north) in the region, who were in easy striking distance of Saigon only 37 miles away.

But it wasn't until many weeks later that the Army realized it had built the camp on top of part of the Viet Cong's underground tunnel network - allowing VC to pop up from camouflaged hatches inside the American perimeter and attack the Americans while they slept. It was if they had set up their tents on the mounds of stinging ants.

Having difficulty finding and fighting the VC in their elaborate tunnel network that spider-webbed through the countryside for 124 miles, the United States began using chemicals like the infamous herbicide, Agent Orange, to defoliate the area.

When that failed, they began sending soldiers called "tunnel rats" into the underground network to find and destroy the VC, but more often than not, it was the tunnel rats who ended up dead. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

Washington Calling: Musical chairs ... West Wings meet ... vanishing nonprofits By LISA HOFFMAN - As a prime motivator to get out the vote, both the red and blue ends of the political spectrum are pointing to the congressional power shuffle to come if Democrats take back control of Capitol Hill.

The Christian Coalition of America sees peril, and sees promise, in the fact that some of the more liberal Democratic lawmakers in Washington would ascend to pivotal committee chairmanships if seniority is used to decide such posts.

Among the ascensions in the Senate: Ted Kennedy, of Massachusetts, would lead the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; Carl Levin, of Michigan, would head Armed Services; Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, would run Judiciary, and John Kerry, of Massachusetts, would lead Small Business.

In the House: George Miller, of California, would be education committee chairman; John Conyers, of Michigan, Judiciary; Charles Rangel, of New York, Ways and Means; David Obey, of Wisconsin, Appropriations; and Barney Frank, of Massachusetts, Financial Services. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

Week In Review By THOMAS HARGROVE and MICHAEL COLLINS - Kentucky plane crash kills 49

A Comair commuter jet crashed in Lexington, Ky., early Sunday morning when the pilot tried to take off on the wrong runway, killing 49 of the 50 people on board. The crash was the worst domestic aviation disaster in nearly five years. Federal investigators are looking into whether a number of factors, such as runway lights, markings and a repaving project, confused the pilots and caused the Atlanta-bound plane to attempt take-off on a short runway that is meant only for small planes. Investigators also said there was only one air-traffic controller in the control tower at the time of the crash, even though two are required under Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Iran ignores nuclear deadline

Iran stepped up its confrontation with the West on Thursday by defying a U.N. deadline to halt production of nuclear fuel. A resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council in July had given Iran until Thursday to stop the enrichment of uranium or face possible economic sanctions. But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the country would never give up its nuclear program, setting the stage for a confrontation with the United States and its European allies. Diplomats plan to meet next week in Europe to begin work on sanctions.

Syria pledges to stop arms shipments to Hezbollah

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that Syrian officials have promised to increase border patrols and cooperate with the Lebanese army to stop weapons shipments to Hezbollah. Annan said Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to establish joint patrols with Syrian and Lebanese troops. The Aug. 11 U.N. resolution that established the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah requires Lebanon to "secure its borders and other entry points" and to stop any weapons shipments not authorized by the Lebanese government. - More...
Saturday - September 02, 2006

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