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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 11, 2008

Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS

Hidden Inlet
Front Page Photo By JIM LEWIS



Alaska: Democrats in Alaska say Palin misleads By GEORGE BRYSON - Two Alaska state leaders have lashed out at the public record of Gov. Sarah Palin, saying that the Republicans' vice presidential pick made rape victims pay for their own forensic tests when she was mayor of Wasilla.

Speaking to a teleconference audience of reporters as part of the "Alaska Mythbusters" forum coordinated by Barack Obama supporters, former Gov. Tony Knowles and current Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein -- both Democrats -- accused Palin of misleading the public in her new role as the vice presidential running mate of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Knowles said the town of Wasilla forced rape victims to pay for their own forensic tests when Palin was mayor.

Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill -- signed into law by Knowles -- that banned the practice statewide.

"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece. - More...
Thursday - September 11, 2008

National: For voters, terror is no longer a top issue By MATTHEW B. STANNARD - Seven years ago this week, the roar of exploding planes and the spectacle of collapsing buildings riveted the nation's attention on a single topic -- terrorism -- and in the terrible aftermath, it seemed that focus would never waver.

But it has. Just 2 percent of Americans identified terrorism as their nation's top problem in a Gallup survey in early August -- the lowest level since the 2001 attacks. And in new poll results released Wednesday, just 38 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat worried that they or their families would become victims of terrorism -- a nine-point drop since the question was asked last year and the lowest level since mid-2005.

"The majority of Americans are now not fearful of terrorist attack," said Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief. "Americans do not report to us that terrorism is the top issue for them in this election. It is the economy."

In a separate question in the most recent poll, when asked to pick from a short list of issues the one that would be most important in deciding their vote for president, about 42 percent of people picked the economy, Newport said. Just 12 percent picked terrorism, putting it in a tie with the Iraq war, health care and energy. - More...
Thursday - September 11, 2008

Alaska Science: Volcanologists step on familiar but different ground By NED ROZELL - Jessica Larsen knows an island in Alaska's Aleutian Chain so well that you could drop her off blindfolded anywhere on its eastern lobe and she'd know where she is. But today you'd have to give her a few minutes to study the horizon, since ash a few feet thick now covers part of Umnak Island.

 Volcanologists step on familiar but different ground

The ash plume from the recent eruption of Okmok volcano.
Photo by Jessica Larson, Alaska Volcano Observatory/Geophysical Institute.

During the last decade, Larsen has spent days and weeks of her life-totaling about six months-on the island, making the green Aleutian landscape one of the most enduring in her mind's eye. A volcanologist with the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Volcano Observatory, Larsen's trips to the island were to study the eruptive history of Okmok volcano. Then, on July 12, Okmok blew an ash cloud 50,000 feet. Rising molten rock met the water of a lake, turning some of the green island into a moonscape.

"It's exciting, and at the same time it's surprisingly difficult," Larsen said of the explosive eruption. "I've been on that island so much, and had my favorite places on there, but now it's totally different."

Larsen remembered the upper reaches of Crater Creek, with waterfalls flowing down from a crater, lupines that held water droplets, and the melancholy songs of Lapland longspurs, snow buntings, and white crowned sparrows. Things had changed when she surveyed the island by helicopter recently.

"The sentimental side of me is sad because the flowers are covered with ash now, but the scientist is excited," she said. "The opportunity is once in a lifetime."

Janet Schaefer is a geologist with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys whose work is funded by the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Like Larsen, she visited the island shortly after the eruption and saw a familiar place in a darker shade.

"It was one of my favorite spots in Alaska," she said of "the Gates" region where Crater Creek leaps from two waterfalls from the old caldera of Okmok Volcano. "It turned from this heaven on Earth with beautiful tundra flowers and a waterfall to this black, devastated gates-of-hell kind of place." - More...
September 11, 2008


Columns - Commentary

Jay Ambrose: How Obama could further America's decline - Barack Obama argues enough is enough, that we ought to sack non-issues like his saying a pig with lipstick is still a pig and the contention that this was a back-handed slap at Sarah Palin.

I agree, and I am much taken by the argument of a number of commentators that ours is a nation in decline and that political seriousness and attention to major questions is crucial.

Where I may differ with some of the commentators is how far along we are in our slide downwards and why and what the chief issues are. Where I differ with Obama is on his ideological druthers, which I see as the heart of the problem, not part of the solution.

I do believe decline is taking a long, hard look at us, and I think the danger is best treated with a healthy dose of realism, a willingness to face up to such facts as the indisputable one that our entitlement programs -- our welfare state -- will crush us if we don't do some restructuring. - More...
Thursday - September 11, 2008

Joel Mathis & Ben Boychuk - Has media fumbled the election? - If there's one thing most Americans can agree on in these otherwise-divided days, it's this: The news media is biased.

A storm of media coverage accompanied Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's ascension to the GOP presidential ticket -- and a storm of GOP outrage about that coverage quickly followed. The New York Times and MSNBC were singled out for particular scorn by conservatives, and the anger proved an effective rallying point for Republicans.

But liberals have complaints of their own. They say the press has handled McCain with kid gloves. They suspect Washington reporters would rather attend cocktail parties with politicians rather than investigate corruption or challenge obvious lies. And don't even get them started on Fox News. - More...
Thursday - September 11, 2008

Dale McFeatters: Platforms afloat on a sea of red ink - On Sept. 30, the federal government will end its fiscal year with a deficit -- the excess of spending over revenues -- of a near-record $407 billion. The all time record was $413 billion in 2004.

This year's deficit is double last year's and the news only gets worse. The Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 at $438 billion but the head of the CBO says the deficit will likely be over $500 billion, perhaps as high as $540 billion. It certainly will reach that if Congress goes ahead with a second stimulus package and its annual pullback of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

These deficits are financed by borrowing from anybody who will lend us money, including -- maybe even especially -- foreign governments and sovereign wealth funds.

This issue should be front and center for Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama because those deficits are the black hole down which their campaign promises could disappear. And those promises are generous. - More...
Thursday - September 11, 2008


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Basic Rules

letter Good pool facility important By Zig Ziegler - Over the years I have helped many people find homes in Ketchikan. One of the most important things I have learned, especially for people with families, is that Ketchikan has a number of amenities that make us a desirable place to live. For people who are considering a move here, they not only look at whatever the employment opportunities might be, but several factors weigh in their decision. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Mayor Race By Liz Hook - It is with some relief that I see that Dave Kiffer has filed to run for Mayor. I have been worried that no one would file against Mayor Joe Williams. Mayor Williams has done a good job in many of his functions. However, I have serious concerns related to several of the Mayor's past actions while serving as Mayor for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Palin - McCain Ticket: A Reality Check By Bill Taylor - Now that Governor Palin and Senator McCain are on the campaign trail it is time for a reality check. I am curious how others feel about John McCain taking a back seat on the Republican ticket. It is a little disconcerting that the gentleman who is supposedly running for president, someone who has spent 26 years in the U.S. Congress, has been totally overshadowed by his vice presidential choice who, at the time she gave her acceptance speech, the American people had known for slightly more than 26 hours. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letterChurch & State By David G. Hanger - Dave Kiffer, I don't care what Joe Williams' religion is, but instead of talking about public policy it was he who chose to impose his religious mumbo-jumbo on me. I have met only one individual in public life who insists on imposing his self-righteous religiosity on others, and that is Mayor Joe Williams. He clearly thinks he is better than anyone "unsaved" or not "chosen," and the rest of us are just succubi and incubi who really don't exist or matter at all except as "evil" entities. Mayor Williams shoved his religion in my face, and I sure will call him on that. Personal religious obsession has absolutely no place in discussions of public policy, and I am disgusted a year-and-a-half later that it was. Like I said, send Mayor Williams home to pray; that is where he and it belongs. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Sarah's Bridges to America By Edward Brown - Without spending our hard earned dollars, Sarah Palin has bridged us again to a nation which for over 150 years has treated our state like their possession. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter ALASKAN BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE By Ken Bylund - Startling, this surge in our mob of 'me firsts'. Remembering the arguments here when the two hundred million dollar Bridge to Gravina Island was in the planning stage, many others in Ketchikan were pushing for a bridge to the mainland so ground transport & commerce could flow onto Revilla Island; a lot of us raised our eyebrows and nodded, more ROI there than an air/sea traffic hazard across to that sparsely populated shoreline. Today we might all focus on a reasonable argument for a hydroelectric source at Mahoney Lake, a shelved project that would provide ROI for all of us, every family on the grid. But we continue to argue 'it would've been nice to have a bridge to the airport.' - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Go Palin!! By Robert Glenn - Mr, Thrush I am not sure if you were asking who my senators were because you were being sarcastic or just really didnt know. So they are Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer. I never said that Alaska should not get money, I just did not feel that they needed a bridge to Gravina. Why not build a bridge to some place where you could cross into the Americas ( I mean once you get a bridge to North America you can drive all the way down to South America if you wanted, and people could drive to Ketchikan.) But a bridge to Gravina goes where? (NO WHERE) - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Didn't the Obama gang take High School Civics? By Mark Neckameyer - Their crazy, off base claims and charges, some of which are just impossible, make you wonder if they had civics ever!. Have you heard the Obama "Talking Point", must be an official talking point as all his apologists say it the same way. They claim, "McCain voted with President Bush 90% of the time". Huh? Presidents don't vote so what the heck are they talking about? President Bush can't vote on laws, ever! - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Palin By Kimberly Groves - Until last Friday, I was undecided, an Independent, if you will. I did not feel as though either candidate represented my views. However, when I found out Sarah Palin was on the John McCain ticket, I registered with the Obama website as a supporter, bought some stickers, signed up for phone call duty, and rounded up my donationall after spitting out my morning coffee, that is. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Troopergate By Gary Lufrano - I am a registered Republican, with a VERY open mind. I NEVER even heard of Sarah Palin before last week. - More....
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Bridge v. Ferries By Jerilyn Lester - I agree with you Mr. Thrush that our roads are in horrible shape especially where the cruise ship passengers don't see. I agree that they need to be fixed and I would like to see that extra 35 million dollars that Palin put out to bid, should have come down here, would have done a fine job in fixing those roads, making sure the pipes were in good shape and maybe even had some left over. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Racism, whatever the language is wrong! By Marie-Jeanne Cadle - I agree with Ms. Linne that Ms. O'Dell should have focused on the point in rebutting Mr. Garcia's letter - if she, like others of us could have figured out what the point was. Ms. Linne asks if Ms. O'Dell speaks more than one language. I am not sure if Ms. Linne thinks that reading or writing additional languages would help Ms. O'Dell to understand Mr. Garcia's rant or have compassion for his difficulty communicating. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Plane Crash By Marshall H. Massengale - Pursuant to having read the NTSB report and Mike McComb's comments, it is interesting to note that while the NTSB were able to gain access to the pilot's medical records after the fact, the FAA in approving his flying credentials in the first place, apparently did not. Had they verified the pilot's medical history against his application, the FAA would most likely have discovered discrepancies providing cause for rejection. - More...
Tuesday - September 09, 2008

letter Candidate for Borough Assembly By Tyrell Rettke - While I have used SIT News many times to express various views and as a means to communicate various events that I have been a part of, today it is my honor to use it as a way to introduce myself to the entire community in more detail than ever before. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letterCruise Ship Funds and Energy By Rodney Dial - May I respectfully suggest that some of the Cruise Ship Tax Proceeds that the local government is now recommending be spent on art and beautification, be invested as follows: - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter An Alaskan a Heartbeat Away From McCain? By Chris Arteaga - As a born Alaskan, I felt a surge of pride when I heard that Governor Sarah Palin had been selected as the Vice Presidential nominee. Suddenly, my friends were calling me asking for the inside information on my home state's governor; it is truly a glorious moment for anyone who loves Alaska. Then I watched her nomination speech and my roots Revillagigedo Island were outraged. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letterThe Stench of Vitriol By Sandy Powers - What happened to good editorial judgment as to appropriate content in opinion letters to be published? David Hangar's letter clearly violates Sitnews' own standards of propriety and decency stated under Basic Rules and Spirit of Viewpoints . - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter Governor - Vice President By Frances C. Natkong - After watching the GOP Convention and Gov. Sarah Palin last night my conviction to vote for Obama held fast. I don't agree with anyone, much less the Gov. who says Ketchikan's Gravina Bridge would have been a "Bridge to Nowhere!" - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter Focus on the Point By Tami Linne - I read Donita O'Dell's letter, and Mr Garcia's letter. I am just wondering if Ms. O'Dell can read and write in two or three different languages?? - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter Ferries vs Bridge By Thomas Thrush - I agree on the main part of Ms. Lester's rebuttal to me about the funds. It should have been spent down here, but, how about making the remaining 2 or so miles of North Tongass highway, South Tongass highway, and the main road in town nice to drive on, all the way. And while they are at it make sure the piping is going to last more than a few months to dig the road up again. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter SARAH PALIN -TOO TOUGH? By Ken Bylund - This morning, one of the many desperate CNN analysts said that Sarah had bullied Barack Obama; those reporters are very close to being exposed with trying to bend reality to match their desires. Democracy is supposed to be about 'rule of majority' in that the people select representatives that are periodically elected to office for the purpose of fixing problems, not creating conflict. The needs start with the care and good of American Citizens around the world, not about sparing the feelings of those who hate us; our representatives job is to investigate the truth, wherever it may lead them, then inform and rally support via arguments based on honest, reasonable, and rational discourse... and yet, we are inundated with these "un-elected talking heads" doing everything in their power to steer the majority toward weakness and dependence. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter Where's the change? By Mike Isaac - Since it became clear that John McCain could be the President of the United States, I have always felt not only that he would sell this country out with the now dead Bush, McCain, Kennedy amnesty plan that would have added up to 30 million mostly low income people to our 300 million, but do little for issues like energy and the economy. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter Pres. GWB on "Maverick" John By Mike Sawyer - "John is an independent man who thinks for himself. He's not afraid to tell you when he disagrees. ... No matter what the issue, this man is honest and speaks straight from the heart," President George W. Bush addressing the Republican National Convention. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter The Stench of [Complaining] By Katie Parrott - Things are not so black and white, Mr. Hanger. Not one of our elected boneheads, as you so endearingly call them, is infallible, nor are their decisions always going to be infinitely wise and the outcomes perfectly judicious. How presumptive can you get? (An honest question.) - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter Retorical baloney By Jeff Hendrickson - As usual, Mr. Hanger spouts his one-sided retorical baloney. Attacking someone's religious stance is a new one for him and an all new low, as well as utterly rediculous. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter What Palin Hasn't Said By Jerilyn Lester - If Ms. Brewer hasn't noticed, Palin would really like Southeast Alaska, Ketchikan in particular, to dry up and blow away. The money that she brags that she has vetoed is mostly the bridge, but the rest of it is money that was supposed to come down here. - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letterPicking Sarah By Julie Kay Smithson - Like the rest of America, the media is abuzz with talk of Sarah Louise Heath Palin.- More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

letter Befuddled By Misty Archibald - I read Mr.Garcia's and I must admit that I am befuddled. What is it exactly that you're trying to say? - More...
Friday - September 05, 2008

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