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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 05, 2005

Front Page Photo by Marie L. Monyak

'Winter Art Walk'
Mystery man behind the art, Ray Troll.
Front Page Photo By Marie L. Monyak

Ketchikan Lifestyle: Winter Art Walk By MARIE L. MONYAK - Parking in the downtown area was scarce on the evening of Friday, December 2nd for the annual Winter Art Walk, which was coordinated by the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council.  Difficulty in finding a parking space proved to be an indicator of a very successful event.  Local men and women, bundled in layers of wool, fur and down, didn't appear bothered by the frigid cold nor the parking challenges.

Over thirteen galleries, museums and shops stayed open late to accommodate the cheerful holiday shoppers.  Hot beverages to ward off the chill flowed freely, accompanied by hors d'oeuvres and a wide variety of homemade, mouthwatering desserts. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

Grounding of the Princess Sophia

The Grounding of the Princess Sophia
Photograph Courtesy Alaska State Library;
Historical Collections

Historical: The Grounding of the Princess Sophia By DAVE KIFFER - There was a light dusting of snow on downtown Juneau as John Fraser "Jack" Pugh waited at the steamship wharf for the arrival of the Canadian Pacific steamship Princess Sophia shortly after dark of Oct. 22, 1918.

This was a welcome relief for residents of the Capital City as the late summer and fall of 1918 had been one of the wettest periods on record, according to the Alaska Daily Empire. Just a few days before, a large hillside above South Franklin Street had collapsed sending tons of debris onto several businesses and homes.

The rain no doubt reminded Pugh - the head of the US Customs Service in Alaska - of his previous posting, more than a decade before, in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

National: Able Danger saga stirs new 9/11 claims By JAMES ROSEN - It's either the grandest conspiracy since the JFK assassination and the grassy knoll or much ado about nothing.

Able Danger, a top-secret military program set up in 1999 to probe the al Qaeda terrorist network, is rekindling fierce debate about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Nutcracker Photo Gallery
Photographs by Carl Thompson
Military intelligence officers and contractors who ran the clandestine mission, a computer data-mining operation within the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, claim that more than a year before the attacks, Able Danger identified four of the plot's 19 hijackers and produced a chart that fingered ringleader Mohammed Atta, displayed a photo of him and contained the names of up to 60 al Qaeda operatives around the globe.

Those claims contradict the findings of the 9/11 commission set up by Congress, which in its final report last year spread blame for the attacks across the government but concluded that none of the 19 hijackers, some of whom had lived in the United States for months before Sept. 11, were identified until after the tragedy.

Kristin Breitweiser, a New Jersey woman whose husband died in World Trade Center's south tower, said she and other relatives of some of the 2,986 Sept. 11 victims have met with the military officers who worked on Able Danger, which the Pentagon ended in early 2001.

"It's very upsetting to hear people tell you that your husband and the father of your children didn't have to die because we had information to stop the attacks," Breitweiser said in an interview.

Part of the problem in untangling the Able Danger web is that the computer-based program was designed to search "open source" documents - everything in the public domain - for patterns and links among al Qaeda terrorists, but the program as a whole was classified. So, while at least some of its original material was public, it became secret after entering an Able Danger database.

Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a Bronze Star recipient and former Able Danger operative who first came forward with details of the program, says Pentagon lawyers thwarted the team's attempts to pass on their findings to the FBI before the attacks. And he claims that after the attacks, staff members of the 9/11 panel met with him and other Able Danger officers, but then failed to adequately pursue their leads.

"The 9/11 commission may not have 'connected the dots' as completely as they could and should have - and that is my concern and the concern of others working this issue," Shaffer said in an e-mail to Sept. 11 family members before the Pentagon issued a gag order two months ago, forbidding him and other former Able Danger officers from discussing the program publicly.

Navy Capt. Scott Philpott, who led the Able Danger mission, said in a statement before the Pentagon gag order: "My story is consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000."

After initial refusals to comment, Pentagon officials have acknowledged that Able Danger existed. Army Maj. Eric Kleinsmith told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 21 that he had complied with orders to destroy 2.4 terabytes of computer data produced by Able Danger - 2,400 gigabytes, or about one-quarter the size of all the books in the Library of Congress.

Kleinsmith and other Pentagon officials have cited privacy laws, which they say prohibit the government from maintaining secret files on U.S. citizens or non-citizens in the country on legal visas. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

Quilting Classes

'Quilting Classes'
Front Page Photo By Elizabeth Flom

Ketchikan: Quilting Classes - Peggy Gelbrich, quilting enthusiast and former Ketchikan resident, was at the Silver Thimble Quilt Shop over the weekend teaching quilting classes for Spin Wheel, Pieced Pyramids, Crazy Quilting, and Ton of Bricks. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

PhotoAlaska: Alaska food travels worldly distances By NED ROZELL - When my wife returned from the store recently, I picked through the bags to see where our groceries came from. Of 15 food products with their origins identified, none were from Alaska. The closest was a package of vegetarian hot dogs that began life in Vancouver, BC, 1,400 miles away. Bananas from Peru, which needed to ride in a heated car to survive the drive home from the store in Fairbanks, had traveled 6,420 miles. Our cheese came from Oregon, 1,600 miles away. The yogurt had moved 3,300 miles cross-country from New Hampshire.

Not counting the mileage to and from distribution points, those 15 items combined to travel 39,624 miles to get to our home in Fairbanks (a straight line around the planet is about 25,000 miles). That's an average of about 2,600 miles for each chicken breast and stick of butter; everything we ate came to us from as far as Wisconsin. While not random - my wife buys mostly organic food - the survey showed a reality of Alaska life: most of our food moves a long way before it reaches our plates.

Marion Owen thinks it would be wise to start changing that. Owen produces the UpBeet Gardener Radio Show from her home on Kodiak Island, and is a co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul. She has written an "Alaska Food Policy" statement, which she has sent to lawmakers. In her ideal Alaska, "I'd have every school in the state equipped with attached greenhouses, and villages with greenhouses monitored by people paid to do so," she said. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

Fish Factor

Laine Welch: Second International Smart Gear Competition Begins - Alaska might boast the world's most abundant and best managed fisheries, but it was glaringly absent last year when it came to offering good ideas for cleaner fishing. The World Wildlife Fund hopes to lure Alaskans as well as others from around the world to participate in its second International Smart Gear competition which began recently.  The best idea will net the winner $25,000; two runners up each will receive $5,000 cash prizes.

Accidentally catching sea birds, marine mammals, sea turtles, small fish or non-target species with fishing gear - called bycatch - is a major problem around the world.  The WWF believes working with the industry is the best way to achieve mutual goals that protect marine life and promote sustainable fisheries. "We want to inspire and reward new ideas to reduce bycatch. Our thinking is that we can accomplish a lot more by working together to change fishing to make it smarter," said Kim Davis, director of WWF's marine conservation program.  - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005



letter Find a better argument.... By Marcia Hilley - Monday
letter A Third Proposal By Patrick Jirschele - Monday
letter ANWR or Bust? By Virginia E, Atkinson - Monday
letter How will a bridge benefit our lives and assist our travel? By Peg Travis - Monday
letter A Proposal By Patrick Jirschele - Sunday
letter A Second Proposal By Patrick Jirschele - Sunday
letter RE: A Gift of Life (SitNews 12/2/2005) By David J. Undis - Sunday
letter Alaska Sportsman magazines By Peter Sullivan - Saturday
letter Gift of Life Story By Karen Lybrand - Saturday
letter Re: Gift of Life By Dave Kiffer - Saturday
letterIntolerant Christophobes By Pat Long - Saturday
letter Community Priorities By Walt Bolling - Friday
letter We did just say "NO" By Charlotte Tanner - Friday
letter U.S. Shrimp Industry By Joey Rodriguez - Friday
letter HELP! By Jerry Cegelske - Thursday
letter Readers: Does anyone remember? By June Allen - Thursday
letter Tolerance is Foreign to 'Christophobes' By Bob Lynn - Thursday
letter Hard Choices Await 2006 Legislature By John Harris - Thursday
letter A suggestion By Michael Nelson - Wednesday
letter Bridge to Somewhere By Virginia Atkinson - Wednesday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Monday, December 05, 2005
5:30 pm
- The Ketchikan Borough Assembly will hold a regular meeting in the City Council Chambers.
pdfAgenda & Information Packets

Thursday , December 08, 2005 - The Ketchikan Legislative Liaison will meet at noon in the City Council Chambers to discuss community projects and a fly-in to Juneau. The meeting is open to the public.

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Columns - Commentary

Steve Brewer: Too lazy to make an excuse? Here you go - Now that the holidays are upon us, let's talk about one of America's dark secrets: Many of us plan to play hooky from work.

We're all overwhelmed and time-crunched during the holiday season, and the weekends are jam-packed. When are you supposed to do the Christmas shopping? When can you find time to cook a 20-pound turkey and scrub the shower and otherwise prepare for the annual in-law invasion?

You won't admit it (certainly not to your boss), but you've probably held back a sick day or two for this very reason. You call your workplace, put on a hoarse voice, maybe even cough into the receiver a few times. You say you've "caught a bug" or "woke up feeling lousy" or some such tripe, then quickly hang up to avoid pointed questions about your recovery time. Then it's off to the mall for shopping and funnel cake, with only a smidgen of traditional holiday shame. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

Marsha Mercer: In the age of the national strategy - I have issues with clutter.

I would say I have a clutter problem, but problems are so last century. Nobody acknowledges problems anymore. I tackle my issues by buying a book on conquering clutter.

Does that get rid of the clutter? Alas, no. It gets me a vision of pile-free tabletops and organized closets. It gets me a plan, steps, encouragement, hope.

It gives me a strategy. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

Ben Grabow: Processing information...the useless kind - Just the other day, while avoiding actual work, I came across this interesting headline: "Ignoring Useless Information Aids Memory". Immediately after reading this headline, I knew I would never forget such an intriguing fact about human memory. And about an hour after reading this headline, I realized I had missed an important meeting.

I did not, at the time, put two and two together.

Beneath the headline, an article explained that people with a high capacity for memory don't necessarily have more storage room; rather, they are better able to filter out what's important and what's not. Good information in, useless information out. If there's any truth to the article, it suggests that the reason I personally struggle with appointments, deadlines, and deliverables in the workplace is not because there is too much office minutiae in my head, but because I can't ignore the irrelevant. - More..
Monday - December 05, 2005

Dale McFeatters: Propaganda for profit - Without knowing more details - and upcoming Senate inquiries may take care of that - it's hard to say that disclosures that the U.S. military paid to plant stories in the Iraqi press are any kind of big deal, although it does sound as if, as usual, we overpaid.

Propaganda is a legitimate and at times even useful tool of war and diplomacy, and it's not like the United States gets a fair shake - at least what we consider fair - in the Arab press. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

John Hall: Fine print of victory - Those who said the Bush administration would offer an exit strategy for Iraq last week were wrong.

Instead, what the nation got was a strategy report of some importance. "Victory in Iraq," a 35-page document from the White House National Security Council, is as candid and heavy a read as Washington has produced since the war began.

The NSC said the United States cannot fail in Iraq, but suggested that so many things were stacked against it there that many years will be needed to achieve victory. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005

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