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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 10, 2005

Front Page Photo by Peach Wallin

'Ho Ho Ho'
Front Page Photo By Peach (Naona) Wallin

Week In Review

Saddam: 'Not afraid of execution'

In a rowdy court session in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein told the judge at his trial that "I am not afraid of execution." Saddam also appeared to threaten the judge. "When the revolution of the heroic Iraq arrives," he said, "you will be held accountable." The first witness testified that Saddam's agents carried out random arrests, torture and killings. The trial was later adjourned until Dec. 21 after Saddam refused to attend to protest his treatment in prison.

9/11 Commission cites inadequate security steps

The 9/11 Commission reported that the government is taking inadequate actions to fight terrorism. The report came a year after the panel issued its recommendations to prevent more attacks like the ones on Sept. 11, 2001. The panel gave failing grades for the U.S. response to its urgings to "improve airline passenger prescreening" and to create "standards for terrorist detention." It said the U.S. strategy "makes it harder to build the necessary alliances" to work against global terror networks.

Bush touts improved Iraq economy

President Bush gave the second in a series of four speeches to try to bolster public support for the U.S. presence in Iraq. The president conceded that reconstruction has proceeded with "fits and starts," but contended that economic progress is spreading. "In places like Mosul and Najaf, residents are seeing tangible progress in their lives," Bush said. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

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Washington Calling: Tax cheats ... Hillary's choppy waters ... other items By LANCE GAY - Tax-avoidance is soaring, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS inspector general says that while prosecutions are up 18 percent in the last four years, at least $30 billion in taxes is lost because of citizens who fail to file - a 33 percent increase over the last three years.

The agency estimates that 7.4 million wage-earners did not report their taxes in 2003 - and that figure does not include an estimated 5 million illegal aliens who are paid in cash and are part of the flourishing "black economy." Investment banker Bear Stearns says cracking down on employers who pay their workers "off the books" could bring in $35 billion in federal taxes.


As she sets a path for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is facing choppy waters steering along what looks to be a very determined middle course. Her refusal to endorse an immediate withdrawal from Iraq has angry peace advocates vowing to picket her appearances. Meantime, from the other side, the American Legion is blasting her support of federal legislation against burning the American flag, contending it's just a clever political move to defuse efforts for an enforceable constitutional amendment. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

Alaska: AIDEA Declares Dividend to State - At its December 5th meeting in Anchorage, the Board of Directors of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) voted to make available the sum of $16,649,500 as the annual dividend to the State.

After reviewing the 2005 audited financials showing increased revenues and a robust operating profit, the Board approved a dividend nearly twice the amount of last year's of $8.8 million. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

Ketchikan: UAS Ketchikan Renovation Project Moves into Phase Two - Administration and other business offices have moved into the newly renovated Ziegler Building on the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Main Campus, located at 2600 Seventh Avenue.

Student services, advising, the student resource center, registration, the book store, billing, personnel and all other administrative functions have moved from the Paul Building to their new permanent home on the first floor of the Ziegler Building. Phone numbers have remained the same. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

Alaska: Man sentenced for theft and illegally installing septic systems - Gerald R. Olson was fined and sentenced in Palmer Superior Court Friday for theft and illegally installing septic systems. Olson, who resides in Fairbanks, pled guilty to one felony and four misdemeanor counts.

Under the terms of a plea agreement approved by the court, he will pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $48,649, spend 90 days in jail, and be on probation for 5 years. One of the conditions of Olson's probation is that if he is to be self-employed, he must be licensed and bonded and have the approval of his probation officer.- More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

PhotoAlaska: Valdez to send boat lift to hurricane-stricken Louisiana - Residents of Valdez, Alaska are in the spirit of giving this holiday season - helping fishermen in Plaquemines Parish get back on the water by donating a surplus Marine Travelift® to the parish government.

A Marine Travelift is a mobile boat hoist, often used by marinas, shipyards, fishing ports and naval installations - a new, 60-ton unit would cost between $250,000 and $300,000. Parish officials plan to use the Travelift to recover commercial and recreational boats damaged or displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

Columbia Glacier...

Columbia Glacier - September 2005

Alaska: Alaska's Columbia Glacier continues on disintegration course; Glacier has shrunk by nine miles, now at midpoint of retreat - Alaska's rapidly disintegrating Columbia Glacier, which has shrunk in length by 9 miles since 1980, has reached the mid-point of its projected retreat, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Tad Pfeffer, associate director of CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, said the glacier is now discharging nearly 2 cubic miles of ice annually into the Prince William Sound, the equivalent of 100,000 ships packed with ice, each 500 feet long. The tidewater glacier -- which has its terminus, or end, in the waters of the Prince William Sound -- is expected to retreat an additional 9 miles in the next 15 years to 20 years before reaching an equilibrium point in shallow water near sea level, he said.

Pfeffer presented his latest findings at a news briefing at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union Dec. 5 to Dec. 9 in San Francisco. Pfeffer, CU-Boulder doctoral student Shad O'Neel and other researchers from CU-Boulder and around North America have been monitoring the glacier with time-lapse photography, aerial photography, satellites, seismometers, lasers and other instruments. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

Northern Lights...

Northern Lights - Ketchikan, Alaska
File Photo by Carl Thompson Oct. 2003

Alaska: Movement of Earth's North Magnetic Pole Accelerating Rapidly By MARK FLOYD - After some 400 years of relative stability, Earth's North Magnetic Pole has moved nearly 1,100 kilometers out into the Arctic Ocean during the last century and at its present rate could move from northern Canada to Siberia within the next half-century. If that happens, Alaska may be in danger of losing one of its most stunning natural phenomena - the Northern Lights.

But the surprisingly rapid movement of the magnetic pole doesn't necessarily mean that our planet is going through a large-scale change that would result in the reversal of the Earth's magnetic field, Oregon State University paleomagnetist Joseph Stoner reported last week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Calif. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005



letter Fisherman looking for tips By Lawren Keeler - Saturday
letter Ketchikan's Bridge? By Robert McRoberts - Saturday
letter Attitude of bridge or nothing is dangerously arrogant By John Stewart - Thursday
letter Plea to Governor is on behalf of middle school students By Jackie Williams - Thursday
letter If We Were To Build A Bridge... By Lawrence "Snapper" Carson - Wednesday
letter 64th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor By Jake Metcalfe - Wednesday
letter Victory? By Phil Stark - Wednesday
letter Ketchikan and Small Town America By Robert D. Warner - Tuesday
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 More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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December 2005
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Ketchikan Columnist

Dave Kiffer: Keep on (big) Truckin - My wife and I have both have a problem with big trucks, but for different reasons.

My wife is a cautious driver. She would prefer to be able to toodle from one end of town to the other without seeing large trucks bearing down upon her or filling up her rearview mirrors. And it's not just all the dump trucks and semis, it's also the seeming endless number of big SUVs and big pick up trucks that disturb her vehicular reveries.

I can understand that, but since this is a small island in Alaska with limited road space it is the imperative of every red blooded Ketchikan male to someday own a truck that is so large that its front bumper touches Beaver Falls at the same time the rear bumper is a couple of inches past Settlers Cove. In other words, Ketchikan is the wrong place to be if your idea of a "road hog" is a Yugo station wagon.

I am less worried about large trucks rolling over me, (it's quick, it's painless, it's a quintessential Alaskan way to go) than I am about how much these lorry leviathans take up parking and driving space in Ketchikan.

For example, I usually come and go from downtown via Bawden Street. Now Bawden is probably a little narrower than many streets in Ketchikan as it is hemmed in by houses on one side and a cliff on the other. It should be wider, but it isn't now and it ain't gonna ever be.

Fine, I can live with that. But not if every resident on the street buys a big honking truck with a super-duper cab and a bed long enough to comfortably sleep the Seattle Seahawks and their cheerleaders. And a freaking snowplow.

You've seen these trucks, They have names relating to gross tonnage and more tires than a Greyhound bus. Invariably they are bought because they are needed "to tow the family boat."

The family boat, of course, has been on blocks in the driveway for so long that no one is aware that it was not originally green, but that's another story. Anyway, these 10.5 tonners are now used to haul the groceries and the kids around. And in this day of "enhanced" gasoline prices, it costs just about two times the gross national product of Zimbabwe to fill them up each week.

In reality, I don't care whether the big trucks are a waste of precious declining worldwide resources. If I did I would sell my medium-sized SUV and buy a Fiat, which would save on resources because it would never leave the garage (Fix It Again, Tony!).

On the other hand, for months there was a big white mondo truck on Bawden Street with a pretty danged ironic "Live Green" bumper sticker, but I digress. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005

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