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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 25, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Termination Dust
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

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Southeast Alaska: 74 Southeast Businesses Send Candidates Letter Supporting Ferries, Not Juneau Road - Seventy-five businesses from Haines, Juneau, and Skagway sent a message to gubernatorial candidates early this week asking for reliable and predictable ferry service in Southeast Alaska. The letter asks candidates to "run the ferry system more like a business" by reducing the gap between expenditures and revenues to provide affordable transportation to the communities of the region.  

The businesses range from art gallery owners to seafood companies, from boat builders to outfitters. The letter also explains that constructing a dead-end road to a new ferry terminal in the Lynn Canal is not a viable solution for the transportation needs of the region.

"Our next governor needs to understand that a lot of us in the business community think improving the ferry system is the best transportation option for coastal Alaska," says Jan Wrentmore of Skagway. "The economies of our communities depend on reliable, predictable marine transportation."

"The Haines Borough, Haines Chamber of Commerce, Haines Planning Commission and the Skagway city council have passed resolutions and sent numerous letters that we want improved ferry service, not an extension on the Juneau Road," says Darsie Culbeck, of Alaska Mountain Guides and Climbing School, Inc., Haines. "The next Governor needs to respect community sentiment and realize that there are better ways to spend our money than building a road in place of an existing public transportation system." - More...
Wednesday PM - October 25, 2006

National: Alternative fuel plans remain strong despite falling oil prices By MIKE MEYERS - The cost of a barrel of crude oil has fallen fast in recent weeks. Will interest in finding alternatives to petroleum tumble with the price?

It has in the past. But a number of observers believe the quest for alternatives has more staying power this time.

In the 1970s, two oil "crises" prompted private and public investments to produce oil squeezed from shale, autos propelled by batteries and factory machinery turned by the power of the sun. All encountered technical challenges and another hurdle: Oil prices ebbed and so did any chance of profit from the alternatives with the technologies then available.

"One of the problems of investing in these technologies are big capital investments up front. How will your investment do over time when oil prices are very volatile?" said Albert Walgreen, economist at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The energy agency predicts that the price of oil will average about $50 a barrel during the next quarter-century. If that forecast proves true, alternative energies that would have been wildly profitable with oil at $75 a barrel will instead be only modestly attractive. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 25, 2006


National: We're filling the car up more because we're filling out By LEE BOWMAN - Experts say that carrying around an extra 100 pounds in the trunk can cut a vehicle's gas mileage by about 2 percent.

But what about that extra weight carried up in the passenger compartment?

A new study calculated that Americans are pumping nearly 1 billion gallons of gasoline a year more than they were in 1960 strictly as a result of increased human body weight.

Sheldon Jacobson, director of the simulation and optimization laboratory at the University of Illinois-Champaign, watched gasoline prices break through the $3-a-gallon range last fall and wondered what effect human inflation might be having on demand. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 25, 2006

International: Experts: Iraq can't be stabilized unless militias are dismantled By ANNA BADKHEN - It is impossible to stabilize Iraq - and pave the way for a U.S. withdrawal - without dismantling the nation's Shiite militias, which have infiltrated the security forces and are using their official status to operate death squads, experts say.

Far less clear is who is capable of doing that job in a country that has become a minefield of sectarian allegiances and where the militias operate beyond government control.

"In the current environment, where so much blood is on the ground, I see no way not only of easily stopping the bloodletting, the death squads and other things, but also taking down the militias," said Wayne White, a former State Department analyst on Iraq.

The conundrum was illustrated last Wednesday when U.S. forces released, at the Iraqi government's request, a senior aide to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia leader. Iraqi and U.S. troops had captured the aide, Mazin al-Saedi, the day before on suspicion of having directed kidnappings, killings and torture of Iraqis and of attacking American troops. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 25, 2006

National: Online love turns deadly By JOHN COTE - Raymond Merrill bought a $5,000 engagement ring for Regina Filomena Rachid and declared in e-mails, "I have more kisses for you than there are stars in the sky."

Rachid's photos adorned his computer desktop and the walls in the San Bruno home he was fixing up. He had a stack of the Brazilian woman's glamour shots - one with her topless, her jeans seductively unzipped partway. Wedding plans were discussed, messages on his computer show.

Merrill, a 56-year-old divorced carpenter and musician, thought he had found love online.

Instead, authorities believe Rachid lured Merrill to Brazil and masterminded a plot in which he was drugged for about six days until he disclosed his bank account information, then was strangled and his body set on fire, according to Merrill's sister, a friend and Brazilian news accounts. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 25, 2006

Ketchikan Halloween Party

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National: Tips on keeping children safe this Halloween By JOSH SWARTZLANDER - It's not prowling zombies, werewolves or Frankensteins that should spook parents this Halloween.

Rather, cars are the biggest threat to trick-or-treating children, said Nancy Nord, commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"There are many more injuries on Halloween involving children being hit by cars than from flammable costumes and other things you might think of," Nord said Tuesday. "The other main type of injury you see are from trips and falls."

Four children are struck and killed by cars on an average Halloween in the United States, according to a study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's four times the fatality rate on an average day.

Children should wear bright clothing, Nord said. Costumes and treat bags should be marked with reflective tape, available in most hardware and sporting-goods stores. Children should avoid baggy pants and billowy skirts to avoid tripping, she added. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 25, 2006


Basic Rules

letter Free Money is a distraction for local governement By Michael Spence - Wednesday PM
letter Bridge By Jerilyn Lester - Wednesday PM
letter KGB School Lock-Down By Anne Lucas - Tuesday
letter TIME FOR CHANGE By James C. Eakes - Tuesday
letter RE: Tongass Construction By Cathy Geer - Tuesday
letter Promises, Promises: What Do They Mean at UAS? By Robert D. Warner - Tuesday
letter Getting hosed at the pump? By Wayne Kinunen - Tuesday
letter Metlakatla's Choice: A simple Yes or No By Virginia E. Atkinson - Tuesday
letter Martin and John Bugge By Pam Grender - Tuesday
letter RE: Adults think they know all the answers etc. By Frances C. Natkong - Tuesday
letter Gas Prices By Janelle Hamilton - Tuesday
letter SQUEAKY By BJ Orand - Tuesday
letter Hooray!!! for recovey By Patti Fay Hickox - Tuesday
letter Killer of a Whale By Greg Harris - Tuesday
letter Law enforcement in Ketchikan By Colleen James - Tuesday
letter Lots of Failing Parents By Rob Glenn - Tuesday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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SitNews Archives
October 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Commuter has the Midas Touch - A few days ago, I was driving into town from Settler's Cove. It was rainy and there were "puddles" in the low lying areas of the North Tongass Highway, so I was cheerfully hydroplaning around the corners at 50 mph.

Somewhere around the Lighthouse Grocery I had a thought.

"Geeze, this commute would really suck."

About a mile or so later, another thought occurred to me.

"Geeze-Louise! What commute? We're talking 20 minutes tops here."

Of course had I been coming in on South Tongass it would have been a good 20 minute wait just get past the "excavation" zone south of the Homestead. But - as usual - I digress. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2006

Ann McFeatters: The best revenge is voting - Five out of six Americans think Congress stinks. Can this republic be saved?

It's been a terrible, horrible year for the legislative branch. Lawmakers got virtually no work done, including passing the spending bills required by law, but they whined a lot.

We've lurched from one smelly scandal to another, month after month. Four Republicans who held influential posts in the House - Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California, Bob Ney of Ohio, Mark Foley of Florida and Tom DeLay of Texas - are gone in disgrace. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2006

Preston MacDougall: Chemical Eye on the November Ballots - I think I know why voter participation rates are so low among newly eligible voters, and it has nothing to do with the candidates.

Ballots are like multiple-choice tests, and once that diploma is in your hand, it is just human nature to steer clear of anything that looks or smells like a test. Unless, of course, you have been given the answers in advance.

It doesn't have a name yet, and it may have something to do with the proliferation of lottery-funded scholarships, but there seems to have been another recent evolution in human nature: if it will increase your GPA, just do it. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2006

Dick Morris: '06 Elex Back To Toss-Up - The latest polls show something very strange and quite encouraging is happening: The Republican base seems to be coming back home. This trend, only vaguely and dimly emerging from a variety of polls, suggests that a trend may be afoot that would deny the Democrats control of the House and the Senate.

With two weeks to go, anything can happen, but it is beginning to look possible that the Democratic surge in the midterm elections may fall short of control in either House. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2006

Dan K. Thomasson: Terrorism law faces challenges - The news photos of President Bush signing the latest anti-terrorist measure show a line up of dignitaries whose unsmiling countenances were properly grim for witnessing the execution of the American notion of justice.

Obviously some in the gathering, like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Vice President Cheney, don't see it that way. For them the potential shredding of civil liberties is necessary to save the nation from the terrorist hordes waiting to destroy us. One doesn't smile in triumph when the president is saving the lives of millions of Americans. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2006

Paul C. Campos: One thing those for and against Iraq war can agree on - Two groups of people should be opposed to the Bush administration's Iraq policy: those who are against the war and those who are for it.

Even the most ardent hawks now agree that things in Iraq are going badly. Thousands of Iraqis are killed every month by sectarian violence, U.S. casualties at the hands of the insurgency are soaring, Baghdad has electricity for an average of two hours a day (down from 12 hours two years ago, and 24 hours prior to the invasion), 60 percent of Iraqis say they believe attacks on U.S. troops are justified (up from 18 percent three years ago) and this past week the commander of our forces in the country admitted the latest attempt to quell the out of control violence of Baghdad's streets had failed. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2006

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