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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 29, 2008

Front Page Photo By LINDA WILLIAMS

Back in the mountain near Leask Lake...
Front Page Photo By LINDA WILLIAMS



Fish Factor: Alaska's coastline one million pounds cleaner By LAINE WELCH - Marine debris clean up efforts in Alaska reached a milestone this year.

The Juneau-based MCA Foundation removed over one million pounds of debris from Alaska's 34,000 miles of shoreline since its program began in 2003.

"People ask how much is a million pounds? Think of it as getting four 747 cargo planes worth of trash off of the beach. It's a lot of junk and a real accomplishment," said program coordinator Bob King, adding that the group picked up almost 150 metric tons of trash just this year.

The Foundation has partnered with more than a dozen groups and communities to pick up debris from the Panhandle to points far west.

"We had clean ups this year in Juneau, Prince William Sound, Sitka, Kodiak, the Pribilof Islands, Aleutian Islands, Bristol Bay, Shelikof Strait, Yakutat and Port Heiden.

"We had one of our biggest projects in Norton Sound," King said. "We pulled almost 100,000 pounds of trash off of St. Lawrence Island with crews from Gambell and Savoonga hired by the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. And on top of that, they picked up another 20,000 pounds off of Golovin."

One innovative partner is the Alaska Brewing Company which provides 'brew crews' and donates one percent of its Alaskan IPA sales to a program called the Coastal CODE (Clean Oceans Depend on Everyone).

The marine debris in Alaska differs from other places in the nation, King said, where 60 percent comes from land based sources, such as beach litter or urban storm drains. A whopping 30 percent is cigarette butts and other smoking related trash. In Alaska, it is mostly fishing related ­ but not necessarily from Alaska fishing operations.

"There has been intensive fishing going on in the Bering Sea for over 50 years, and there also are currents that bring over a lot of debris from Asia. So many of the nets picked up are scraps from old high seas drift nets, and trawl nets that are not a type used by our domestic industry," King explained.

Disposal varies depending on the location, King said, as certain communities have landfill capacity but many in rural Alaska do not.

"We are working with some recyclers in the Seattle area and the Port of Seattle has been very helpful in putting together a program where fishermen can drop off their old nets and have them disposed of for free or at a low cost," King said. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

Columns - Commentary

MARTIN SCHRAM: Media must let candidates speak - As we enter the final daze of the marathon presidential race of 2008, there is one last campaign reform that we in the news media still have time to push.

It is about us, not them.

With just a handful of days remaining until the votes are cast and counted, we need to remember that ultimate truth about the closing messages of the campaign: It is their messages, not ours that the voters need to hear.

It is the final themes, assertions and promises of the campaign tag teams of John McCain-Sarah Palin and Barack Obama-Joe Biden that the people deserve to hear most of all.

What the voters do not need to hear is the final diversions and gotchas of our poll-obsessed television interviewers and anchors, nor the unadulterated (which seems to mean non-adult) opinions pundits of the airwaves, ether and newsprint.

What the interviews should not be about -- and what the voters do not need to hear -- is candidates being push-pulled, again and again, by those inane and interminable made-for-TV questions about the latest public opinion polls. No more questions, please, about what Candidate X or Y or O or McC thinks of the numbers. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

DALE MCFEATTERS: Sen. Stevens - driving off the bridge to nowhere - Sen. Ted Stevens is an institution in Washington, D.C., and Alaska, where he moved before it was a state. He is legendary for the hundreds of millions of dollars he directs to his state, which leads the nation in its per capita share of federal funds and, say watchdog groups, pork per person. (Stevens was behind the notorious "bridge to nowhere.") He is a seven-term senator and the Senate's senior Republican.

And that, perhaps, is the problem. His age, 84, and seniority have apparently brought him an almost imperious sense of entitlement. How else to explain the predicament he is now in.

On Monday, a jury in the nation's capital found him guilty of seven felony counts of corruption for hiding from the public and his Senate colleagues more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations and repairs. And some of it was really penny ante stuff for a man of his stature -- a gas grill, a toolbox, a massage chair that he improbably claimed had been on loan to him for seven years, underreporting the value of a gift dog.

At the trial, this master of legislative minutiae said that he had left his wife in charge of the work on their house -- done for free by employees of an oil services company -- and that he had assumed she was taking care of all the bills. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008


Basic Rules

letter Fixing 8(a) Abuses By Albert K. White - There was an editorial in the Opinion section of the Ketchikan Daily News recently on Fixing 8(a) Abuses. This article was republished from the Anchorage Daily News on 0ctober 7, 2008. The republished article frustrated me because it goes back to spreading only one side of the information building up opinions that are biased to the issues reported. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letterHarley Riders By Brian Stewart - Like Wow! The Ketchikan Harley Riders Association brought Christmas to over 700 children last year and has been doing it for over 19 years. And now, to the best of my knowledge, our first congrats from the Mayor! - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letterNon Partisan Crack Pipes By Ken Lewis - Liar, Liar Fiber Optics on Fire... If anything is abundantly clear to me about this 2008 Presidential Campaign, it is this; all journalist and talking heads should have to live up to the same standards of the Major League Baseball Players they love to burn at the stake! Yes that is right, Drug Test Them All. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letter Why Gas is Costing Alaskans By Jeff Whitesides - I have heard complaints several times lately about the expensive gas prices here in K-town. Well this is my theory on the matter; they are stealing our dividends. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letterGas prices By Todd Phillips - Sorry about the confusion. It takes 4 weeks for the gas to get here by barge, of course more than one barge comes, maybe a week later or so. My point was that it is mixed also with preexisting gas and the price is adjusted. You may have noticed that the prices have come down 3 times in the past week. It was the same going up as well, at one point we had cheaper gas than Seattle. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letter Gas Prices By David Korkowski - I read with interest all the controversy on the cost of gas in Ketchikan. I am currently visiting in Colorado. When I arrived gasoline was $3.42 a gallon, as I looked today the price had dropped to $2.69 a gallon, a $0.73 decrease. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letter It's time for everyone to speak up By Frances C. Natkong - I would like parents, relatives and friends of the 2/3rd grade class in Hydaburg City School District to know what has been going on at the school in Hydaburg. The 2/3 class has been without a teacher since school started in September, their teacher is on maternity leave until the end of November. I went to the school board meeting when they discussed whether or not to hire a substitute teacher, they voted not to on the CEO's recommendation. I don't think they have the children of Hydaburg's best interests in mind when they choose to make decisions like this. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008


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Sept. - Oct. 2008
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letter TSAS-Still too high a price By Agnes Moran - I still have two major issues with Tongass School that have not been addressed by any of the responses to my original posting (What Price Mediocrity?). My first is that Tongass School does not educate all of its students equally and the second is that it has never lived up to the commitments it made to this community in the charter that it used to justify its existence. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letterTongass School of Arts and Sciences By Bethany Phippen - My family and I moved to Ketchikan in February from Oregon. My son who was in kindergarten at the time absolutely hated school and would do nothing to learn. We of course moved up here for my husband's job, and they got in contact with the Chamber for us who sent us everything we needed to know about Ketchikan. Tongass School of Arts and Sciences was the first school that I called in trying to make sure my son had a school to go to as soon as we arrived. They were very helpful in our decision making and just so happened to have an opening in the kindergarten. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 29, 2008

letter Tongass School of Arts & Sciences - A Good Choice By Wendy Gierard - With two students now graduated from the Tongass School, I can say that the educational proof is in the pudding. I have a child who just started middle school and is excelling this year, and I have a high school student who continues to excel in school, even given that she spent 3/4 of her middle school years bounced around the district. My children are critical thinkers. They are problem solvers. They learned these skills through the efforts of the teachers and staff at the Tongass School of Arts and Sciences. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letterOpen Letter: Public Library Issues By Robert Warner - Recently I learned that the Assembly is planning a work session to discuss issues related to building a new public library. There has been much public criticism about the selection of the old Main School site for this library. The site is isolated and difficult to reach, especially during long winter months with rain, ice and snow. Perhaps you would consider discussing some of the following questions at your meeting? - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letterSpending Head Tax Money By Jim Shoemaker - Many of us are on the same page as Ms. Price. The Ketchikan State Parks Advisory Board is in the process of submitting an application for a bus shelter at Totem Bight. Currently this is the terminus point of the north end bus run. Current rider ship figures support participation in the request for this funding. Our hope as this goes through the funding process you and and the many like you weight in with support. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letter Harley Riders By Dave Kiffer - Hmmm! First Judge Miller wins a brand new Harley-Davidson. Now, Captain Ludwig of the Troopers wins one. If I was suspicious, I'd think that the Harley Riders are trying to curry favor with local law enforcement. I guess I better become the District Attorney if I ever want to win that "Harley of my dreams!" - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letterThe View From 'Nowhere' By Janet Cadero - My sister, who lives in Ketchikan, just emailed me a link to David Kiffer's opinion piece in Newsweek. You go, David. Great piece. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letterThe View From 'Nowhere' By Rita Conley - Thank you Dave Kiffer for your Newsweek online opinion about "The Bridge to Nowhere." - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letter Good Neighbors By Char White - On my way to the Monthly Grind on 18 October, I found out first hand another reason why I love this town, we have good neighbors here. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letterGas Prices By Jim Wingren - Mr. Phillips, this is the same excuse that the Oil Supply Companies in Ketchikan use every time this happens. My point of contention in this excuse is that they didn't use the same process when gas prices were rising earlier this year. We saw the retail prices change anywhere from every three days to every 5 days during the rise of gas prices. Now if you use their same reasoning for pricing we should have seen prices rise only every six weeks, not every three to five days as was the case. The Oil companies at that time used the reasoning that they had to raise prices as it was going to cost them that much more to replace the fuel sold. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letterGas Prices By Melissa Kwasney - First of all I would like to thank Mr. Phillips for responding to all the price gouging letters to the editor. It takes a lot of courage to respond to 90% of the population. However I find flaws in his response, I have noted the gas pricing goes up 2-3 times a week, are these jet shuttled barges coming up from the south? I have also noted that in the 4 months since the prices started to come down, the prices finally came down .15 last week, that is not a 4-5 week window frame. In a town not far from us in Montana, they are now at 2.39, that is almost $2.00 cheaper than here. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letter RE: Gas Prices By Cathy Geer - Give me a break! There is not a "price gouging" law in Alaska. But there should be. Only our Governor can demand the gas prices go down and stop this gouging. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letter Gas Prices By Bonnie Sullivan - Okay Mr. Phillips, then why do the prices hike immediately following a barrel price increase, rather than waiting for the "4 to 5 weeks" after purchasing it at a higher price? - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

letterGas Prices By Jerilyn Lester - Hey everyone, did you all notice that the price actually went down? Well it was better. I looked the day after I filled up at 4.33 and the Chevron station had 4.17 and Carrs had 4.37. I was hoping that the Carrs price was a mistake and it was, because later in the day it went to 4.17. Still it has to feel really good to be paying 1.50 more than our neighbors in Seattle and I won't accept that it is the shipping. - More...
Saturday - October 25, 2008

letter Problem with way money spent By Robert McRoberts - I really have a problem with the way you have decided to spend money that was meant to make life better for the people who put up with the boat loads of tourist. For one, when you guys give money to the church it kind of goes against the laws of separation of church and state. - More...
Saturday - October 25, 2008

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