Campaign 2006
Attention All
Local Candidates

For our 6th year as a community service, SitNews will again be providing a free web page to all local candidates. Send your photo, your campaign statement, your background information and your qualifications for the office you are seeking to

Deadline for publication on SitNews is Friday, Sept. 22, 2006. Submissions will be published in the order they are received.

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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 12, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Day of Remembrance
United States Coast Guard members end Monday's 9/11
remembrance event with a 21 gun salute.
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Ketchikan: Day of Remembrance - Fallen emergency response personnel and family members lost during the 9/11 tragedy were remembered on a rainy Monday evening in Ketchikan. On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, local church bells chimed in unison at 6:30 pm last evening. - More (Photos by Carl Thompson and Chris Schumacher, USCG)...
Tuesday AM - September 12, 2006

Charlotte Schafer

Charlotte "Choc" Schafer
Photo by Dick Kauffman

Virginia "Ginny" Clay
Photo by Dick Kauffman

Deborah Harney
Photo by Dick Kauffman

Karen Eakes
Photo by Dick Kauffman

Mike Harpold
Photo by Dick Kauffman

Matt Olson
Photo by Dick Kauffman

Ketchikan: Six Vie for 3 School Board Seats By M.C. KAUFFMAN - Voters will have an opportunity in just a few short weeks to elect three individuals to serve on the Ketchikan School Board for the next three years. Six candidates have filed to fill the three seats currently held by Choc Schafer, Mike Harpold and Deborah Harney. The local election will take place on October 3rd.

The six candidates who each would like to have one of those three seats had an opportunity last Wednesday to state their positions on various issues and why they would like to serve on the Ketchikan School Board during a luncheon forum held by the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce.

The six school board candidates are Charlotte "Choc" Schafer, Virginia "Ginny" Clay, Deborah Harney, Karen Eakes, Mike Harpold and Matt Olsen.

There were no time limits enforced on the candidates' opening statements or their responses to questions. The questions were posed by audience members and the forum began with each candidate giving an opening statement.

Opening Statements

In her opening statement, Deborah Harney spoke briefly stating that she has served as a member of the Ketchikan School Board for almost four years. She said she is the mother of three and her youngest is a high school Senior this year. Harney remarked that she is a small business owner and is out and about in the community often.

Thirty-eight year old Virginia "Ginny" Clay works at Tongass Substance Screening. Clay said she grew up in Ketchikan and has two boys in school - one just starting high school this year and one just starting the fifth grade.

Clay noted that she has been involved with Cub Scouts for nine years, with Little League for nine years and has served on the Little League Board. Clay said being a school board member will be a learning experience for her and she hopes that she can be a voice for the people of Ketchikan.

Karen Eakes was next to present her opening statement. Eakes, the current director of PATCHWorks, said she has lived in Alaska for 39-years, 33 of which have been in Ketchikan. Eakes said she and her husband raised two daughters and she was a teacher is the local school system for 22-years. After retiring in 1998, Eakes attended graduate school and remarked she had a wonderful experience and brought back a lot of what she learned to share with teachers in the Ketchikan district.

"I've been an advocate for education and learning all my life," said Eakes. She said that it has always been her plan and hope to run for the school board because she feels like she has something to contribute - her experience and her perspective working with kids.

Mike Harpold, a retired immigrations officer, said he and his wife have lived in Ketchikan for 22-years. The Harpolds have two daughters - one graduated from Ketchikan High School last year and one is a Senior this year.

Harpold was first elected to the school board in 1994 and served until 1997 at which time he was president of the school board. After leaving the board, the following year Harpold ran for City Council and was elected. He said he was very proud of his service on the Ketchikan City Council. "I was the swing vote for the intertie," said Harpold. "I still have my plaque for the first chip of wood on the first tree that was felled for the right-of-way on the intertie."

Harpold said, "My other big brag on the City Council, the lighted crosswalk out here at White Cliff Avenue. I personally wrestled Karl Amylon to the ground and held him there for two years, keeping Steve Schweppe, the city attorney at bay with my foot, until he finally relented and installed that lighted crossway." Harpold remarked, "That feat has not been replicated since."

Harpold said he made an unsuccessful run for re-election to the City Council. A few months later he was appointed to the school board and the following year he ran for a school board seat and was elected. Harpold said he's been very proud of his service on the school board.

In her opening statement, Charlotte "Choc" Schafer said she has served on the school board for almost 6 years. Schafer said she believes there have been a lot of accomplishments during those six years.

"Because we are a board that works together, anything that happens has to be done by a majority of the board. But I am very proud that we switched to our program-based budget system. I think that works much better and we have a lot better budgeting process and depending upon where the money comes in, it's very easy to make adjustments up or down." Schafer said she would like to see the program-based budgeting continue.

Schafer said two of her daughters went all the way through the Ketchikan school district and came out with good educations. "I would like to have that available to all children," said Schafer. "I think the children in our community are the most important resource that we have and we ought to work to provide the best education possible for those students."

Matt Olsen began his opening statement saying he grew up and graduated from high school in Ketchikan. Olsen and his wife have a 22-month old daughter.

He is currently the Program Coordinator at the business department and networking department at the University of Alaska Ketchikan campus. Olsen said through his work experience he is familiar with the budgeting process - both budgeting for existing programs and deciding if new programs will be added.

Olsen said he's volunteered in activities such as sports, summer school, after-school youth activities and various student activities at schools.

Question 1: Why did you choose to run for the school board this year? What are your main priorities and what would you like to see changed?

Deborah Harney seeking re-election responded to the question stating she would like to see Schoenbar finished while she's still on the board. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 12, 2006

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National: War on Terror a Struggle for Civilization, Bush Says; President addresses Americans on a day of remembrance By MICHAEL JAY FRIEDMAN - In a nationally televised address commemorating the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush depicted the resulting conflict as "a war that will set the course for this new century" and a struggle "to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations."

The Oval Office address concluded a day in which the president and senior officials participated in ceremonies at each of the three sites attacked by the 9/11 terrorists.

In New York City, the president and first lady Laura Bush attended a memorial ceremony held at the site of the former World Trade Center. Along with members of the New York City police and fire departments and thousands of others in attendance, Bush observed moments of silence at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., the times when terrorist-piloted airliners struck each of the twin towers. While in New York, the president and first lady also attended an interfaith religious service and visited with firefighters.

The president and first lady then flew to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where they observed a wreath-laying ceremony at the crash site of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93.

The president later attended ceremonies at the Pentagon, also struck five years earlier by a hijacked passenger plane. Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld were among the speakers there.

Americans marked the 9/11 anniversary at ceremonies held throughout the nation.


In his address to the nation, the president depicted a decisive ideological struggle against a "global network of extremists driven by a perverted vision of Islam." These extremists, he said, have murdered people of all colors, creeds and nationalities to advance their cause: "a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations."

Bush expressed confidence that free peoples and those who yearn to be free would prevail in this "struggle for civilization," and called the power of freedom one of the strongest weapons available to the United States and its allies. "The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower," he said.

The president said that the United States and partner nations have taken the offensive and that the nation "now is safer, but we are not yet safe." Bush numbered among the successes the defeat of Afghanistan's Taliban regime and the death or capture of most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks, including the believed mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 12, 2006


Alaska: Governor Supports Recommended Increase in Employer Contribution Rate for PERS, TRS - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski has directed his commissioners who serve on the Alaska Retirement Management Board (ARMB) to support the Buck Consultants actuarial valuation report's recommended increase in the employer contribution rate for Fiscal Year 2008. The ARMB met Monday to set the rate for the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) and Teachers' Retirement System (TRS).

The governor also announced that he would include funding to cover the increased cost of the higher rate in the Fiscal Year 2008 budget that he will recommend to the governor-elect. He will propose that the increase be funded from the additional revenue expected from the oil production tax reforms approved by the Legislature this past summer.

The actuary recommended increase for Fiscal Year 2008 will cost an additional $504 million for state and local governments, and school districts. The governor's proposal will mean that the state would cover $77 million in costs that local governments otherwise would have to pay.

Buck Consultants pegged the unfunded liability as of June 30, 2005 at $6.9 billion. Two primary reasons the liability has increased is because the previous actuary failed to properly calculate the medical liabilities for PERS and a change in the medical assumption is now being used that more accurately reflects rising medical costs.

These reasons are why the state hired a new actuary and underscore the fact that the actual liabilities for PERS and, to a lesser degree, TRS were not being properly calculated by the previous actuary (Mercer Human Resource Consulting), for a period of time. This issue is under review by the Department of Law and legal action is being considered to recover the costs to the PERS and TRS as a result of the errors made by Mercer in past valuation reports.

In addition to meeting the Fiscal Year 2008 increased obligation, the governor also will recommend that an additional $500 million be deposited in the PERS and TRS funds. This will help further pay-down the amount due to the system and accelerate the day when employer contribution rates can be stabilized. The governor urges the next administration to continue this pay-down plan.

In August the governor also pledged to use some of the increased revenue to pay back the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR), a savings account created by voters in 1990. To date $5.2 billion has been borrowed from the CBR, of which all but $46 million was borrowed by prior administrations.

"When our administration came into office in December 2002, we faced a budget that was $800 million in the hole. We also faced a retirement system that had a $4.4 billion unfunded liability. For too long the state spent more than it had and ignored the financial requirements of its retirement system," Murkowski explained. - More...
Tuesday AM - September 12, 2006



letter Not a critique By Craig Moen - Sunday
letter No to White Cliff Project By G. J. Williams - Saturday
letter Pride & Prejudice By Jennifer Brewer - Saturday
letter Stop Schoencliff By John Beck - Saturday
letter Admission to Alaska Tax By Doug Irish - Saturday
letter Retort: Divisions By Don Hoff Jr. - Saturday
letter Consolidation By Bill Thomas Sr. - Friday
letter Goodbye Bowling By Neil Gray - Friday
letterWhere are we going? By Robert McRoberts - Friday
letter Bully Breeds By Kelly Needham - Friday
letterKetchikan Chapter T&H Delegates By Robert A. Sanderson Jr. - Thursday
letter Proposed subdivision will deny public access to Herring Cove By Joan Beraldi - Thursday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Dave Kiffer: Cowered By Corvids - I can't go out on my deck anymore.

No, not because the fall weather has arrived. We have a mostly covered deck and I can sit there and watch the rain drip off the clogged gutters as well as the next guy.

I just can't use my deck because some area wildlife won't let me.

Allow me to explain.

As the oldest male of the species in our household, I am endowed with certain unalienable rights. Most importantly, I have the right to be bossed around by everyone else in the household. As you all know, if wife and son are unhappy, well then nobody is happy!

We also carry it a little further at 447 Hillcrest. If the cats are unhappy (say, for example they are hungry) then, once again no one is happy. This tends to manifest itself in 4 a.m furry alarm clocks plodding back and forth across one's previously pleasantly prone form.

They have to really work at it to make me up. I sleep so soundly (and lately) in the morning that people have been known to draw chalk outlines around me.

But eventually - when both cats are kneeding their claws into my clavicle or trying to stick their tongues up my nose - I must get out of bed to feed them.

Unfortunately, it is now not the just the indoor "pets" that commence upon regularly scheduled wake-up calls.

I've always been a bit of a softy towards the "wee creatures ('way craythures' for those of you reading along in Scotland) of the forest. Once upon a time, I actually left a carton of ice cream out for Millar Street garbage bear.

I don't want to encourage the Forest Avenue bear these days (he seems to like melons, go figure), but I have certainly been feeding the bird flocks the last several years (Madison Hardware has my bird seed container on auto-fill).

It's always entertaining - and educational - to put out some seed each spring and see what is migrating through our fair city.

Most years there are plenty of chickadees and juncos, every so often there is a kinglet or thrush or two. Of course, there are always plenty of our friends from the family Corvidae, the Steller's Jays.

This spring we saw an American Redstart feeding away on the deck. They are uncommon in these here parts, according to Robert Armstrong's seminal "Guide of the Birds of Alaska." Same with the "White-Crowned Sparrow" we saw on the deck last year. As usual, I digress.

Best of all, the deck seed "powers" what we call "Cat TV." - More...
Tuesday AM - September 12, 2006

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