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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 28, 2010

Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH

Knudson Cove: Humpback Bubble Feeding
Front Page Photo by MIKE SMITH


Alaska: Alaska high court: Voters may see write-in list By DAN JOLING (AP) - The Alaska Supreme Court late Wednesday blocked a lower court's order and ruled that voters at polling places may see a list of write-in candidates.

Alaska high court: Voters may see write-in list

From left, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) Alaska, and Republican candidate Joe Miller laugh during a political debate Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 in Anchorage, Alaska. Murkowski is running a write-in campaign following her loss in the primary to Miller.
(AP Photo / Michael Dinneen)

The ruling was good news for the campaign of incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. She was defeated in the Republican primary by tea party favorite Joe Miller and is mounting a write-in campaign. Former Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams is the Democratic candidate in the Senate race. The high court ruled quickly after attorneys for the state Division of Elections petitioned for a review of a ruling issued earlier Wednesday by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Frank A. Pfiffner.

Pfiffner had granted a temporary restraining order stopping state elections officials from handing out write-in candidates' names at polling places. He said allowing them to do so would violate an administrative regulation and "smacks of electioneering at the polls."

The Supreme Court said the list of registered write-in candidates must be limited to names only, with no party affiliations or other information.

Besides issuing the emergency stay, the high court said it would expedite a state petition for review of the lower court ruling. It said responses from the state Democratic and Republican parties are due by Thursday afternoon on that point.

Early voting has begun, and thousands of votes have been cast.

Until the high court rules on the petition for review, the justices said all ballots cast by voters who are provided with the list of write-in candidates should be segregated from other ballots.

Murkowski's campaign was pleased with the high court's decision.

"This stay will ensure that Alaskans can continue to get the assistance they're entitled to under law," said her campaign manager, Kevin Sweeney.

The Alaska Democratic Party criticized the state Division of Elections' appeal to the high court.

"What the DOE has done continues to profoundly complicate this election," Party Chairwoman Patti Higgins said. "They are throwing Alaska votes into question by first, providing the list and second, appealing the temporary restraining order." - More...
Thursday AM - October 28, 2010

Alaska: VA Investigation Finds Hundreds of Alaska Veterans Traveling to Lower 48 for Health Care Treatment - A VA investigation conducted at the request of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, found that nearly 600 Alaska veterans, during a one-year period, were required to travel to the Lower 48 to receive health care services, even though the treatment may be available privately in Alaska.

A Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s report examined the referral of Alaska veterans for treatment at VA facilities in the Lower 48 from October 2008 through September 2009. The good news was that 96 percent of the 15,170 Alaska veterans who actually received health care services from the Alaska VA system received all of their health care in Alaska. But  591 of Alaska’s veterans were required to travel to the Lower 48 to use their earned VA healthcare benefits for specialty care – about half on more than one occasion. Most of the referrals were to the Seattle VA Medical Center, the Puget Sound VA Medical Center or the University of Washington Medical Center.

Murkowski, a member of the Senate Appropriations VA Subcommittee, requested the Inspector General review in response to complaints from Alaska veterans and their families that the VA was requiring veterans to travel Outside for health care services that could not be provided in federal facilities, even though those services might be available from private practice physicians and community hospitals in Alaska.

The report said that 63 percent of the Alaska veterans referred for care Outside lived in Anchorage or the Mat-Su Valley, 16 percent in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and 8 percent in Fairbanks. Only 46 of the 591 veterans referred for care Outside lived in Juneau, Ketchikan or Sitka, where the VA maintained no health facilities in 2008-2009. - More...
Thursday AM - October 28, 2010

Southeast Alaska: SEARHC to help enroll veterans for VA health care - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Alaska VA Healthcare System held the grand opening this week of the new Veterans Affairs Outreach Clinic located on the first floor of the Juneau Federal Building.

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) will partner with the Alaska VA Healthcare System in enrolling eligible veterans in Southeast Alaska so they can have access to the new VA outreach clinic. Having a VA outreach clinic in Juneau means veterans from Southeast will be able to stay in the region when they obtain VA primary care and mental health services instead of having to travel to Anchorage or Seattle for these types of services. Veterans will be able to receive basic primary care, urgent care, screening services, mental health services and referrals for specialized care at the new clinic. Tribal veterans also can continue to receive care at SEARHC, if they choose.

Several SEARHC staff members recently went through training with the VA so they can help veterans complete their enrollment paperwork. There are nearly 7,800 eligible veterans living in Southeast Alaska, but only about 1,800 currently are enrolled in the VA system. SEARHC will work with the VA to reach out to the nearly 6,000 eligible veterans who are not enrolled. Many Alaska Natives serve their country through military service, and helping them access this clinic will honor that service. - More...
Thursday AM - October 28, 2010


Health - Fitness: The many meanings of a yawn By LEE BOWMAN - Ho-hum. Although everyone yawns, not everyone finds it easy to "catch" a yawn.

Studies have shown that only 50 to 60 percent of us will yawn when someone else yawns in our sight. Being susceptible to contagious yawning appears to be an outside window on the extent to which someone is empathetic and able to distinguish one's own mental state from that of others.

A 2007 study found that psychology students were more susceptible to contagious yawning than a group of engineering students.

Everyone -- and most higher species (vertebrates), from apes to lions to dogs -- yawns. The average human is estimated to yawn 240,000 times in a lifetime, often starting when we're still in the womb. But researchers have shown yawns are contagious only among chimpanzees and humans. - More...
Thursday AM - October 28, 2010

Personal Finance: Obama tax cuts little noticed by public By KATHLEEN PENDER - Even if Congress extends the Bush-era tax cuts, federal taxes for almost all Americans will go up next year unless Congress extends several Obama-era tax cuts that also expire at the end of this year.

Most Americans don't even realize their taxes went down since Obama became president. In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, only 8 percent of respondents said they thought the Obama administration has decreased taxes for most Americans.

Although most Democrats in Congress favor extending the Bush tax cuts for couples making less than $250,000 and singles earning less than $200,000, they seem less enthusiastic about preserving all of Obama's tax cuts for individuals.

The cuts were part of the 2009 federal stimulus act, which has been criticized -- mostly by Republicans -- for failing to energize the economy.

The biggest was the Making Work Pay credit. This credit is worth 6.2 percent of earned income, up to a maximum credit of $400 per person per year ($800 for a married couple), in 2009 and 2010. The credit phases out above $150,000 in income for married couples filing jointly and above $75,000 for everyone else. - More...
Thursday AM - October 28, 2010



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letter Ballot Measure 1: Increase Number of Legislators and Districts; Senate Joint Resolution 21 By Carolyn V Brown - The League of Women Voters of Alaska encourages voters to weigh the facts of Ballot Measure 1. At statehood, 1959, the Alaska Constitution mandated 20 Senators and 40 Representatives to serve in the Alaska Legislature to serve a population at that time of 225,000. The current population of Alaska is 691,000 (in 2008 - 2009) and the number of members in the Alaska Legislature has remained the same, as the population tripled.  In 1959, each Representative served 5625 Alaskans; however, in 2010, each Representative is asked to represent 17,275 Alaskans. If Ballot Measure 1 is not approved by the voters, the number of voters in each legislative district could increase to approximately 18,000. - More...
Thursday AM - October 28, 2010

letterPro Joe Miller By Glen Thompson - In this year’s US Senate race, Alaska is fortunate to have three fine citizens to choose from.  They each bring experience, skill, and aptitude to the table.  They are also our friends and neighbors.  We should bear this in mind when our political discourse tends to devolve into personal attacks.  During my recent six years in elected office, it was rare to find an elected official who put themselves ahead of their constituents.  We generally agreed on our desire for success, we just disagreed on how to go about it.  Personal attacks merely serve to deflect from the issues and there are not many saints walking amongst us. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 27, 2010 

letter Lisa Murkowski By Ken Arriola - I truly find it hard to believe that Lisa Murkowski's two term tenure in the Senate has earned her the misfortune of being ousted for an all but unknown candidate. - More...
Wednesday - October 27, 2010

letter MAN UP By David G. Hanger - By concise do you ( Laura Plenert) mean a sound byte that is not visible? Or are you concerned with something that is not quite precise enough for your taste? The devil is in the details, so I am told. It is simple fact, for example, that the leader of a goon squad is also a goon. That is an unfortunate fact in this instance, to be sure, because the man is running for U.S. Senator, but the leader of a goon squad is also a goon. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 27, 2010

letter What Will Alaskans Remember about November 2nd, 2010? by Ken Bylund - Too many of today's Politicians run for office to initiate a career with the primary objective of keeping that coveted position for life... their product is generally legalized bribery and generating a confused issuance of useless drama. Question - do they represent the people? Have our veterans, past and present, risked their lives and died for this travesty? Did we the people ask for this welfare state, or was it just a scheme to insert a Burmese Monkey Trap into our culture? If we don't learn to let go of the bribe... we will be sharing that cook-pot with the frog. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 27, 2010

letterRE: Great Job, Seniors By Judith Green - WOW how nice - life in Ketchikan needs to be at the top of the list of positives for us all. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 27, 2010

letterKetchikan Packing Company By Bruce Anderson - Would anyone have any info on the Ketchikan Packing Company. My grandfather ran it and had an old codfishing schooner- the Fanny Dutard, that he towed behind the Narada between Seattle and Ketchikan with empty cans for the cannery. He also built and had floating salmon traps. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 27, 2010

letterJoe Miller, the RIGHT Choice By Sandy Powers - Sometimes I almost wish I were a Democrat. It would be easier to stomach the political articles appearing right and left - but mostly left - in Alaska's media. Newspapers wield an undue amount of influence on political outcomes. And so, misleading headlines such as AP Becky Bohrer's recent "Missteps Cost Miller" are disturbing in their bias. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 26, 2010

letter Great job, seniors! By Michael Cron - I would like to take a moment to commend the senior class at Ketchikan High School. This last Thursday, the high school held a pep assembly that included the traditional "senior walk-in," where the seniors enter the gym to cheers and walk around the basketball court a few times. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 26, 2010

letter Privacy outweighed by public's significant interest By A. M. Johnson - The "Retired" judge, appointed by Frank Murkowski, rules on a weekend that: "I hold that although Mr. Miller has a legitimate expectation of privacy in those documents, Mr. Miller's right to privacy is indeed outweighed by the public's significant interest in the background of a public figure who is running for the U.S. Senate," the judge said. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 26, 2010

letterPro Joe Miller By Richard Easbey - Amen, Debbie Nance. It's hard to say who should be more ashamed of themselves: Lisa Murkowski for her sleazy attempt to hijack the election, which she lost to Joe Miller fair and square ... or Alaskans who apparently prefer to be welfare queens and stay on the government teat rather than to make Alaska self-sustaining and prosperous. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 26, 2010

letterRE: The News Media and Transparency By Tom Barrett - Regarding Ken Bylund's letter: well put, and in very few words. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 26, 2010

letterPro Scott McAdams By Bob  McLaughlin,II - If you were one of the voters who turned out in large numbers on Stedman Street for the caucus (2008), to put an end to the Bush/Cheany administration, and turned out to vote in November 08 for President Obama, then you should know what your vote did and how it affects you every day.- More...
Saturday AM - October 23, 2010

letter"Old school" tax and spend By Doug Gosnell - So, Lisa wants to "make history" as a write-in candidate? Of all the republicans now sitting in congress, Lisa has one of the worst conservative voting records. Of 319 house and senate republicans in congress, only 11 had a worse conservative voting record than Lisa. - More...
Friday PM - October 22, 2010

letterRE: Miller Time By Laura Plenert - Mr. Hanger, why can you never be concise in your comments?? And why are you always calling names and blaming others for everything?? Your points might be taken seriously if you weren't always accusing and could keep it to a couple of paragraphs. - More...
Friday PM - October 22, 2010

letter Pro Joe Miller By Debbie Nance - Lisa Murkowski, I have a question. The voters made their choice known and Joe Miller won, yet here you are insisting that you know better. How many other times have you decided you knew better than those you represent??? - More...
Friday PM - October 22, 2010

letter Write-in Lisa Murkowski By Lyle Simpson - I am a lifetime Alaskan (over 70 years) and I have never seen a campaign as dishonest as the one launched by Joe Miller. His attacks on Lisa Murkowski misrepresented her stand on issues and then he had the audacity to lie about her financial disclosure claiming that she has investments that actually do not exist. Yet, he has not bothered to file his own disclosure statement which was due 6 months ago. what is Joe hiding? He presents himself as a fiscal conservative yet he used the very system that he rails against when he collected farm subsidies for several years. Joe denied taking subsidies but was forced to admit to them when the facts became known. Where is the transparency he promises? How can Alaskans trust Joe when he has lied so much throughout his campaign. - More...
Thursday AM - October 21, 2010

letterWrite-in Lisa Murkowski By Olga Simpson - Alaskans need to be united against outside interest groups who are trying to buy our U.S. Senate seat. Thousands of dollars from Californians, Nevadans, Pennsylvanians and many other outsiders are being poured into Joe Miller's campaign for Alaska's Senate seat. Previous involvement from outside groups have prevented us from utilizing our State's natural resources. Once again these OUTSIDERS want to involve themselves in Alaska's business by removing our influential Senator Lisa Murkowski. As a native born Alaskan, she knows ALL of Alaska well. Every vote she has cast during her tenure has been in Alaska's best interest. - More...
Thursday AM - October 21, 2010

letterKGBSD vs local nonprofits By Agnes Moran The Ketchikan Gateway School District (KGBSD) has secure sources of funding from the local, state and federal governments. The KGBSD needs to rein in their spending. They need to put off implementing expensive programs such as providing Apple laptops to every high school student until the local economy improves. KGBSD should not be competing with local nonprofits for local charitable resources. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letterThe Challenge of Fixing Our Economy By Mary Lynne Dahl - As I think about my vote in the upcoming election, I cannot help but make a few comments. I am neither Democrat nor Republican. I am not impressed with or interested in blasting any candidate. I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate, for what it's worth. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letterWrite-in LISA MURKOWSKI By Vicki Harsha - It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote my first letter to Sit News asking for answers from either Joe Miller or his supporters. I am still unable to get a response to my questions from his campaign. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letter What’s Right For Alaska? By Connie Emmert - Remember how “Hope and Change”  turned out to be something other than what Obama’s voters bargained for?  I think about that every time I hear Lisa say she’s going to do “what’s right for Alaska”.  What does that mean?  It’s an ambiguous phrase. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letter Write-in LISA MURKOWSKI By Jonna Cragun - This is my choice. because it's best for Alaska.. and I'm a democrat. The other candidates are too green to get what Alaska needs at the DC level. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letterWHO’S REALLY LYING? By Andy Rauwolf - Lisa Murkowski has accused Joe Miller of lying about her record and her vote on health care, repeatedly stating that Joe said she voted for the bill.   I have searched the Web, including Senator Murkowski’s website, and nowhere can I find a video clip or recording of Joe Miller stating she voted for Obamacare.  What Joe has said is taken directly from Lisa’s statements from videos, namely:  “It’s not so much that the government run plan is in and of itself a bad thing … what we have to have is a government run plan that actually works.” This and other recorded statements she has made leave little doubt that Lisa Murkowski is supportive of some form of government run health care which will ultimately lead to the end of private sector health insurance. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letter MILLER TIME By David G. Hanger - That short step to jackboots, brownshirts, and storm troopers has now been taken by this nut job, Joe Miller. I think now you can clearly see that what I said then is not in any sense an exaggeration of current circumstance. He has his own hired goons and thugs who now handcuff and kidnap anyone who asks questions of this man who wants to be our Senator, but refuses to answer any questions whatsoever about his past. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letter Standing water on the roadway By Laurie Price - With monsoon rains of late I have notice more standing water on the highway. It could be an easy fix if the state would muck out the grass and dirt build up from under the guard rails allowing for proper drainage. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 20, 2010

letter 'Personal Responsibility' By Virginia E. Atkinson - Bullying in this country is so out of control thanks to too much negative news coverage and all the copy-cats coming out of the woodworks 'cause they have that strong desire for a few minutes of fame and shame. Bullies ought to be treated like any other criminals 'cause it involves individuals harming others around them. - More...
Wednesday PM- October 20, 2010

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