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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
November 01, 2007

Front Page Photo by Olivia Torres

Trunk or Treat
The Trunk or Treat event was presented by Rotary 2000.
The Boys and Girls Club Halloween Trunk brought smiles to all!
Front Page Photo by Olivia Torres
View a Photo Gallery by Olivia Torres

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


Alaska: Alaska Wolf Tests Positive for Rabies - Tests performed by the Alaska State Virology Laboratory (ASVL) confirmed the 17-month old female wolf from a pack that killed six dogs in Marshall, Alaska last week has tested positive for rabies.

The pack entered Marshall last Thursday, October 25th and killed three adult dogs and three pups in one dog yard. One wolf was killed and several others may have been wounded by residents of the village. Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Wildlife Veterinarian Kimberlee Beckmen said it is possible other wolves in the pack have the disease as well.

"Rabies virus is present in saliva, and when several animals eat from the same source, the virus can be quickly spread to other members of the pack," Dr. Beckmen said. "However, rabies is extremely rare in wolves in Alaska." - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

Alaska Science: Lessons learned on an Arctic journey By NED ROZELL - In my job as a science writer, I often sit in on lectures in which scientists describe their work. Those talks range from informative to incomprehensible (to me, at least), but sometimes they stand out because the scientist as human being emerges from behind the PowerPoint. Such was the case when Matthew Sturm gave a recent presentation on his group's trip by snowmachine last spring from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Baker Lake, near the western shore of Hudson Bay in Canada.

Lessons learned on an Arctic journey...

Dan Solie heads toward Old Crow up the Porcupine River during a long scientific traverse in Spring 2007. Photo by Henry Huntington.

Sturm studies snow for the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory out of Fort Wainwright, and he has had the confidence and credibility over the years to ask agencies to fund winter traverses that adventurers would drool over. Last spring's trip covered 2,200 miles, and six other travelers and Sturm were on their snowmachines arcing north of the Arctic Circle for 45 days starting in mid-March.

Along the way, the team took snow and ice measurements in one of the most remote regions of the continent, and they did plenty of other science on the way. But Sturm didn't focus on the physics of snow in his talk. Instead, he shared personal observations, including a nice description of the Arctic, "an ice-choked ocean surrounded by a ring of continents, (with) the land . . . pushed just far enough south that snow and ice melt away each summer." - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

Ketchikan Public Library Open House

Ketchikan City Council members Marty West-White, center, and Jason Harris, right, listen to Library Director Judith Anglin McQuerry at Ketchikan Public Library's Open House held Tuesday. The Open House offered the community an opportunity to receive information about the new library building process, take a tour of the library and ask questions of library staff and the Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library.
Photo courtesy Friends of the Library.

Ketchikan Public Library

Ketchikan Council member Sam Bergeron, center, discusses the new library building with Friends of the Library members Margo Miller, left, and Danita Nelson, right.
Photo courtesy Friends of the Library.

National: Feds plan to survey -- and maybe clean -- ocean dump By JUSTIN BERTON - The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a stewy body of plastic and marine debris that floats an estimated 1,000 miles west of California, is a shape-shifting mass far too large, delicate and remote to ever be cleaned up, according to a researcher who recently returned from the area.

But that might not stop the federal government from trying.

Charles Moore, the marine researcher at the Algalita Marina Research Foundation in Long Beach, Calif., who has been studying and publicizing the patch for the past 10 years, said the debris -- which he estimates weighs 3 million tons and covers an area twice the size of Texas -- is made up mostly of fine plastic chips and is impossible to skim out of the ocean.

"Any attempt to remove that much plastic from the oceans -- it boggles the mind," Moore said from Hawaii, where his crew is docked. "There's just too much, and the ocean is just too big."

The trash collects in one area, known as the North Pacific Gyre, due to a clockwise trade wind that circulates along the Pacific Rim. It accumulates the same way bubbles gather at the center of hot tub, Moore said.

A 2-liter plastic bottle that begins its voyage from a storm drain in San Francisco will get pulled into the gyre and take weeks to reach its place among the other debris in the Garbage Patch.

While the bottle floats along, instead of biodegrading, it will "photodegrade," Moore said -- the sun's UV rays will turn the bottle brittle, much like they would crack the vinyl on a car roof. They will break down the bottle into small pieces and, in some cases, into particles as fine as dust.

The Garbage Patch is not a solid island, as some people believe, Moore said. Instead, it resembles a soupy mass, interspersed with large pieces of junk such as derelict fishing nets and waterlogged tires -- "an alphabet soup," he called it. - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

National: Dictionary editors have fun with 'word of the year' By VIRGINIA LINN - The words "grass station" may leave many of you scratching your heads, but to the editors of Webster's New World College Dictionary, the phrase is hot -- so much so that the publication this week deemed it the 2007 Word of the Year.

The phrase -- a pun on "gas station" reflecting America's growing love affair with hybrid cars and vegetable-based fuels -- follows last year's esteemed champion, "crackberry," the word describing the addictive nature of the omnipresent BlackBerry.

"It just tickled our funny bone," Mike Agnes, editor in chief of the Webster dictionary, said of grass station. "It demonstrated how inventive American English speakers are with the language."

Whether other dictionaries agree remains to be seen. That other Webster conglomerate, Merriam-Webster, also chooses a word of the year but not until December (last year's was "truthiness"). Editors at the New Oxford American Dictionary choose a word of the year, too. It's due to be announced in mid-November. Its 2006 winner was "carbon neutral." - More...
Thursday AM - November 02, 2007

Health - Fitness: Want to improve your life? Get moving By JACK KELLY - You are more likely to be killed by your couch than by a stroke or an accident, says Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

There are 35 diseases, collectively known as Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS), associated with a sedentary lifestyle, she said. Each year, about 250,000 Americans die from them. Only heart disease (650,000) and cancer (550,000) kill more.

Since only 28 percent of Americans exercise regularly, an estimated 60 percent of the population is thought to be at risk for SeDS. The term was coined by Dr. Frank Booth, a professor at the University of Missouri. SeDS will add up to $3 trillion to the nation's medical bills by the end of the decade, he predicted in 2001.

Among the ailments clustered under the SeDS umbrella are arthritis, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, and osteoporosis.- More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

Health - Fitness: Talk helps your brain preserve memory By LEE BOWMAN - One in seven Americans over the age of 70 suffers from some degree of dementia, according to the results of a representative survey of men and women from all parts of the country.

The study was based on data from 856 people who took part in an aging and memory project through the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and Duke University Medical Center.

Each participant was assessed at home by a specially trained nurse and neuropsychology technician, using a typical memory evaluation format, along with a series of tests that measure memory, language, attention and problem-solving ability. A family member also was interviewed about how the person functioned in daily activities.

Based on that sampling, the researchers calculate that about 3.4 million people, or 13.9 percent of the population age 71 and older, have some form of dementia -- most due to Alzheimer's disease (70 percent) or stroke (17.4 percent.) That's about 30 percent higher than previous estimates based on data from regional samples. - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007


Columns - Commentary

Bonnie Erbe: Why we have high oil prices - In April of last year, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was asked why gas prices were surging ever closer to $3 per gallon. She told CNN: "We have two oilmen in the White House ... The logical follow-up from that is $3-a-gallon gasoline. It is no accident. It is a cause and effect."

How prescient was her thinking? I'd pick prescient over predictable. Not that the war between congressional Democrats and Bush Republicans over the price of oil is anything new. It's been going on since President Bush took office. But as oil nears $100 per barrel, as gas exceeds $3 per gallon nationally and as heating oil and natural gas spiral skyward in anticipation of winter, debate is brewing once again over who is at fault.

A smidgen of history is necessary here. Crude was trading at about $25 per barrel the year that George W. Bush was inaugurated.

Within a year, the price actually tumbled to around $17 per barrel. It has done little but climb, climb, climb ever since. The $100 barrel of oil is no longer unimaginable, it's coming and soon. How much of that is the Bush administration's fault? - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

Michael Reagan: Democrats: Get Off Hillary's Back, She's All Ours - Listen Barack Obama, John Edwards and all you other soon-to-be also-rans, lay off Hillary. She's well on her way to winning the nomination and we don't want anything to stand in her way, especially attacks on her character and integrity that might sidetrack her on the way to being your party's standard bearer.

So leave her alone, let her cruise her way to the nomination so we Republicans can have the pleasure of dissecting her in the general election campaign.

And she is about as dissectible as a politician can get, starting with her health care reform fiasco, her sleazy involvement in the White House travel office firings, her use of private detectives to smear and harass the women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct, and her most recent campaign finance shenanigans. - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Economy takes a licking, keeps on ticking - There was a rare moment at the White House on Wednesday. Good economic numbers came out and the Bush administration didn't try to take credit for them. Indeed, the president's chief economic adviser, Edward Lazear, and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez were pleased, as they should be, but as surprised as anyone else.

The economy, it seems, is just diverse and extremely resilient. Neither Lazear nor Gutierrez, as is ritual at the Bush White House, said the good news was due to tax cuts.

The economic omens seemed ominous enough. Energy prices are at ridiculous levels; home sales and construction are in the tank; and the mortgage market is in turmoil.

But, the Commerce Department reported this week, the economy grew at a robust 3.9 percent in the third quarter, the highest growth in a year and a half, and that's coming off a good second-quarter growth of 3.8 percent. - More...
Thursday AM - November 02, 2007



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Basic Rules

letter Landless By Michael Nelson - I agree with Vernon Grant and Aan Kadax Tseen. I worry that the Landless issue will one day just fade away, but I do want to at least challenge Sealaska to throw its significant weight and influence behind the landless issue the way that it did the descendant and leftout vote (my apologies to Sealaska's elders). - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

letter ANB-ANS By Cecelia Johnson - This year ANB-ANS Camp 14 had the opportunity to elect officers who will lead our camp and keep it going. - More...
Thursday AM - November 01, 2007

letterBus stop problems By Carrie Mueller - I ride the bus to and from the library bus stop every day of the work week with my 4 1/2 month old son. I can't even count how many times we have had to stand in the wind and rain to get away from the homeless people that sleep there because they are smoking and coughing all over the place. I refuse to subject my infant son to the smoke and uncleanliness that they bring to the bus stop. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letter Professionalism/ Common Courtesy By Jim Lowell - Having just retired from the US Navy "SeaBees" in July 2007, I had been job hunting for 6 months prior, trying to make sure I had a job I could immediately start after retirement. Oh, I had my share of rejections, and even turned down a job back home in Ketchikan (now I regret it!!!) - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letter Landless By Vernon Grant - I agree, Sealaska has an announcement on their website: Bill to Fulfill ANCSA Land Entitlement Introduced in Congress. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letterSchoenbar Music Fundraiser By Doug Edwards - Last Friday night I had the privilege to attend the Schoenbar Music's dinner fundraiser. What a great time it was...good food and excellent entertainment. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 30, 2007

letter Bus Stop Benches By Paul Ripplinger - I can not believe someone would stoop to removing the benches from the bus stop at the library or any bus stop! Why don't you get rid of all bus stops! The only thing you did was make it more inconvenient for the people that need the benches! I may not have the right answer but removing the benches was far from being good. Drunks, homeless, and perverts will just find other places to camp out. (Other bus stops?) - More...
Tuesday AM - October 30, 2007

letter KETCHIKAN SKIING By Pete Ellis - As Craig Moen indicates there are ski areas on the island and, in even more ancient times, there were even more locations. At one time we had a ski area on the Perseverance Trail complete with a ski tow hauled in and set up with Frank Klepser having been the principal motivator for that endeavor. Long before that and near the top of Deer Mountain there was a ski lodge built by some earlier local pioneers who hauled the lodge material all the way up the mountain in order to take advantage of those slopes. Unfortunately it burned to the ground and was never re-built but it must have been a major undertaking and challenging source of winter recreation. The remains of the lodge are still visible in the summers when the snow has disappeared and in the area that now serves as a lookout over the channel prior to a climb on up to the top. I have never seen any pictures but presumably some exist and should be located. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Landless in Ketchikan By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - The Sealaska Corporation newsletter sent October, 2007. Southeast Alaska Lands Bill: Fulfillment of a Promise to Alaska Natives: Good for the Economies, Good for the Environment story. The U.S. Government owes Sealaska Corporation 85,000 acres of land to fulfill their obligation to Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). The act promised that the Native people of Southeast Alaska would gain ownership of productive, culturally significant lands. With that said. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Oil tax debate fault lines wide By Sen. Kim Elton - I've yet to see a multi-national oil and gas company operating in Alaska more interested in our bottom line than their bottom line. That's why I'm a bit of a skeptic when I hear them urge us: 1) to cut or freeze oil taxes right now; so 2) they'll invest more; with 3) the ephemeral promise state revenues bump up later. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Burman's Bears By Rhonda Bolling - I wholeheartedly agree with Penny and Marty's comments on the Burman Bears story. What a fun read! Thank you Heidi Ekstrand for submitting this for us all to read. I was actually very impressed with Dr. Burman's wit and creative knack for story-telling as well. I think Outdoor Life or Outdoor Sportsman (or another big magazine) should pick this story up. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Burman's Bears By Kim Murray -Excellent story by my old friend Heidi. I always enjoy the articles on Sitnews and it's even better when written by someone you know. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Being Alaskan Native, My Philsophy By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - This is my philosophy of life on being an Alaskan Native. Life is nothing but choices of whom you are and going to be. There are leaders, managers and followers. Real Native leaders are willing to take risks and cross the line on important issues that affect his or her family, clan and tribe. Managers usually won't take risks. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letterPolar Bears and Global Warming By Matt Reid - Polar bears are suffering from global warming although it is hard to see now.Steve Amstrup, a polar bear biologist is from Alaska, and probably does not want the light to show on his studies but they are shining bright and you should all read them - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Soap box By Amber Williams-Baldwin - Yes, young kids do stupid stuff. But who do you think they learned it from.. or lack of learning it from? I always like to think that kids reflect their parents. So you know the hot headed football player you hated, the pretty blonde who was always better then you complex etc... these are their kids! Or that's what I like to think anyway. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

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Ketchikan, Alaska

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The Borough Assembly on Monday night, Oct 15th considered a motion to begin foreclosure on RKG immediately. The Assembly voted 5-1 Monday evening to postpone the vote until November 5, 2007...
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