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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 30, 2005

Front Page Photo by Dick Kauffman

Gravina Bridge story spans country; Waterman trial set for early 2006; A tale of two school projects; Port bond defeated, new plan floated and more...
Governor Frank H. Murkowski and First Lady Nancy Murkowski hold up a Parade Magazine distributed nationwide in November during a visit to Ketchikan.
Parade's front page article featuring Ketchikan's bridge was titled:
"A Visit To The Bridge To Nowhere".
Front Page Photo By Dick Kauffman


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PhotosKetchikan: YEAR IN REVIEW: 2005 By DAVE KIFFER

Gravina Bridge story spans country

2005 was the year in which Ketchikan and its "bridge to nowhere" were national news.

Stories about the proposed $315 million dollar Ralph M. Bartholomew Veterans Memorial Bridge were in dozens of newspapers , television shows, and national magazines including Readers Digest and Parade Magazine.

The focus of most of the stories was that the hard-link to Gravina and Pennock islands was a poster child of federal government "pork barrel" spending. Local officials countered that the bridge had been promised more that 30 years ago when the airport was moved to Gravina and that the project was important for economic development because improved access could open up land on Pennock and Gravina.

The bridge - and another major bridge for Knik Arm near Anchorage - were included in a $286 billion federal highway bill in the summer of 2005. But the resulting publicity storm led the US Senate to remove the "earmarks" for the bridges while leaving the funding in the budget.

That means that it will be up to the Governor and the state Legislature to decide where to spend the $450 million in "bridge" money. Gov. Frank Murkowski put $90 million for the Gravina bridge and a similar amount for the Knik bridge in the FY 2007 state capital projects budget. But legislators outside of District One have indicated that Gravina bridge funding may not be a state priority.

Local officials are lobbying the Legislature to fund the bridge.

Waterman trial set for early 2006

Although the murder of Craig resident Lauri Waterman occurred in late 2004, the first degree murder trial of her 17-year-old daughter Rachelle was delayed until January 17, 2006.

In the meantime, both of Rachelle Waterman's co-defendants, Brian Radel and Jason Arrant, pled guilty in 2005 and agreed to testify against her. The trial has been tentatively set for Craig, but Judge Patricia Collins is surveying residents to see whether a fair trial can be held there. If not, the trial will likely be moved to Juneau.

Prosecutors say that Rachelle Waterman, Radel and Arrant planned the murder, which was then carried out while Rachelle Waterman was in Anchorage. Rachelle Waterman denies that she conspired to kill her mother.

A tale of two school projects

Two construction projects dominated local education news in 2005.

The Schoenbar Middle School remodel project dragged into its third year with no end in sight as the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the school contractor, McGraw Custom Construction, continued to battle over problems arising with the remodeled building, which was originally supposed to be completed in 2004 and now won't likely be ready for occupancy before the fall of 2006.

The project cost was originally set at $9.5 million but has risen to more that $14 million and is expected to go higher.

In the interim, the Schoenbar seventh and eighth graders have been housed at a variety of locations including Ketchikan High School and the Plaza Port West shopping mall.

Meanwhile, the $12 million dollar Fawn Mountain Elementary School located near Mountain Point on the South Tongass Highway was completed between March and December of 2005. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005

IFA Exceeds 200,000 Passengers
The M/V Prince of Wales and M/V Lituya
arriving in Ketchikan...
Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

Ketchikan - IFA Exceeds 200,000 Passengers - The Inter-Island Ferry Authority has enjoyed a fourth year of sustained high demand reports general manager Tom Briggs. Passengers will top 56,000 for 2005 on the M/V Prince of Wales between Hollis and Ketchikan. The vehicle count is expected to reach 13,450. "We are delighted with the way traffic is holding, in spite of economic challenges in the region we serve" said Briggs. Traffic on the Hollis-Ketchikan route is higher than between any other two points receiving ferry service in the state, according to Briggs. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005

Ketchikan: LeConte to Sail for Ketchikan - The Alaska Marine Highway System announced Thursday that the M/V LeConte was expected to depart Bellingham, WA Thursday night at 6:00, en route to Ketchikan following emergency repairs to its propulsion shafts at Todd Shipyard in Seattle. The LeConte will resume its published schedule from Juneau on Sunday morning, sailing for Haines and Skagway at 9:00.

"We are especially pleased that the work in Seattle has been completed in a timely manner, which has allowed us to get the LeConte back on schedule on January 1," said Captain John Falvey, AMHS General Manager. "The repairs to the shaft couplings were expertly done, approved by the American Bureau of Shipping, and the vessel was certified for passenger service by the Coast Guard in Bellingham today." - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005



letter We profess; we teach. We are faculty. By Rod Landis - Friday
letter A Ketchikan 'Auld Lange Syne' By Colleen Scanlon - Friday
letter Native or Indigenous By Don Hoff Jr. - Friday
letter Ketchikan 'Auld Lange Syne' Article By Melissa Miller - Friday
letter First Place Winner By Darlene Guzman - Friday
letterHow about an alternative? By Rick Grams - Tuesday PM
letter Portal to somewhere! By David Hull - Tuesday PM
letter RE: Unanswered Questions By Peg Travis - Tuesday PM
letter Vote for Rob Sanderson Jr. - Where experience counts!! By Kevin Kristovich - Tuesday PM
letter "Indigenous" By Janelle Hamilton - Tuesday PM
letterVote for Rob, He's the man for the job!! By Kevin Kristovich - Monday PM
letter Unanswered Questions By Jay Jones - Monday PM
letter Remember the men and women in uniform By David M. Korkowski - Monday PM
letter Letter To Santa By Jerry Cegelske - Friday PM
letter Holiday Blues & Networking By George Miller - Friday PM
letter Town Tree is Beautiful By Al Johnson - Friday PM
letter Holiday Wishes By Karen & Charlie Jones - Friday PM
letter Heartfelt Thanks for Those who Supported the Toy Drive! By Tyla Williams - Friday PM
letter Thanks to KTGW/KTKN - Gateway 106.7 By Samantha Kuzakin - Friday PM
letter 2005 By Joseph Branco - Friday PM
letter Ketchikan Youth Court By Karen Lybrand - Friday PM
letter Guard Rails & Free Speech By Penny Eubanks - Friday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006
5:30 pm - The Ketchikan Borough Assembly will hold a regular meeting in the City Council Chambers.
Agenda & Information Packets

Wednesday, January 4, 2006, at noon - The Ketchikan Legislative Liaison CPL Committee will meet in the City Council Chambers to discuss the priority of community projects for submittal to the Legislature. - The meeting is open to the public.

Saturday, January 21, 2006, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Public Hearing - Petition by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough for Legislative Review - annexation of approximately 4,701 square miles to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. City Council Chambers, 334 Front Street, Ketchikan, AK
Summary & Annexation Petition & Exhibits

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December 2005
Click on the date for stories and photos published on that day...
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04 05 06 07 08 09 10
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18 19 20 21 22 23 24
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Ketchikan Columnist

Dave Kiffer: Vox Populi #7 - A lot of readers had thoughts on my column on whining about aging.

Natch, they were mostly my more senior readers who felt that they were aging more rapidly than me and that I was a "piker" for even suggesting that someone in his mid 40s should be grumbling about the march of time.

There were also several fun suggestions about how to determine whether one had "aged" or not. Such things as remembering when the West End grocery giants were "Wingrens" and "Log Cabin" or when fast food meant "Toot and Tell" or "Mattles" - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005

Columns - Commentary  

Bob Ciminel: The Changing of the Guard - We buried my father on Monday, December 12th. At age 86, and beset with heart problems and prostate cancer, Dad held on as long as he could. He went peacefully, early in the morning, while sitting in a recliner at his new home in the Asbury Heights assisted living center. He had just moved in on December 5th and passed away on December 8th. Perhaps he relaxed too much.

Dad had been living alone since Mom went into a skilled nursing facility in April. After 62 years of marriage, that had to leave a huge void in his life. I've only been married 34 years, but I know it would be hard to begin life as a bachelor again. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005  

Michael Reagan: Barking Up The Wrong Tree - The Democrat appeasement hounds are in full cry thinking they have the president up a tree, cornered and powerless to save himself and his party from being chewed to bits.

They had better take a second look - that's not a tree he's climbing, but the polls - where he's quickly moving up into a position that will all but guarantee a crushing loss for defeatist Democrats in the 2006 House and Senate races. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005  

Ann McFeatters: What New Year's reolutions are being made now? - Most resolutions are not worth much, but as we face what we all hope and pray will be a far better year than nasty 2005 was, it's a near certainty what some resolutions made in Washington will be.

Here's predicting that President Bush will resolve to spend a little more time vetting his next Supreme Court nominee, who won't be named Harriet, and will be careful what he says about what's been accomplished when he gets on board an aircraft carrier. And the next time there's a natural disaster and he's on vacation, he'll be quicker to leave the ranch. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005  

Marsha Mercer: Who wrote the book of love? - The buzz about baby boomer decrepitude finally sent me back to the gym.

It was empty, a pre-New Year's lull, and the radio played classic rock. The music was good, mostly. I knew the words. I forgot about advancing age.

Two 20-something guys came in. One was recounting the plots of obscure - to me - '80s sitcoms. Then they started imagining what they'd do if they won free shopping sprees in a music-video store. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005  

Dan Thomasson: The FBI and domestic spying: Reason to be wary - The FBI, it seems, has been keeping an eye on any number of domestic organizations that appear to have little to do with its stepped up counterintelligence assignment - shades of Cointelpro, "Commie" hunting, black-bag jobs, and a variety of other notorious activities from the '50s, '60s, and '70s that made the bureau the scourge of any protester who might disagree with prevailing government policy in a demonstrative fashion.

The difference, of course, is that the word "terrorism" has been substituted for "communism" (at least in most cases) as the stated reason for checking up on such groups as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an admittedly pain-in-the-rear group who would discourage us from such violent activity as milking cows. This comes at a time when the bureau's reputation for ferreting out truly dangerous folks who might be plotting another assault on America is under attack from a half-dozen quarters, including Congress, where former allies have been disillusioned by one failure after another. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005

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