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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 15, 2006

Front Page Photo by Paul Perry

Holiday Packages For Our Troops
Members of the American Legion Auxiliary on Wednesday assembled
packages to send to local troops serving in Kuwait.
Pictured left to right: Kathy Ford, Susan Perry, and Linda Pratt.
Not pictured was Diane Fergerson.
Front Page Photo by Paul Perry

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


Alaska: Juneau Access Construction Contract Terminated - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on Thursday directed the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to terminate the construction contract for the planned 11-mile pioneer road to begin the Lynn Canal Highway. The governor concluded that the one-lane pioneer road the contract would build is not what Alaskans need and thus is not in the best interest of the state.

"Alaskans expect practical results and a transparent process. I am canceling this project because it would only achieve a narrow road, with incomplete segments including two major rivers without bridges and would not be open to the public when completed. I also believe the use of an emergency procurement was questionable and a more straightforward approach is appropriate," Palin said. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Alaska: 2006 Tax Refund For Alaska Telephone Customers - Acting Attorney General Craig Tillery advises all Alaska telephone customers of their eligibility to claim a telephone tax refund on their 2006 tax return. As a result of recent federal court decisions, the telephone tax refund is a one-time payment designed to refund previously collected excise taxes assessed on long-distance telephone usage.

By statute, Alaska's Attorney General serves as the public advocate for regulatory affairs, including regulated utility matters. The long-distance excise tax was originally created in 1898 to fund the Spanish American War. The IRS has collected a 3% excise tax since 1990 but a series of federal court decisions ruled that the tax has been unlawfully collected. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Ketchikan: Accounting to Gaming at the Internet Lounge By NANCY COGGINS - Jos Govaars owns the Crow's Nest Internet Lounge and operates it year-round for tourists and locals. In addition to the free monthly gaming events called Lan-Parties that appeal to the younger crowd, classes are taught including Accounting, Web Design, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Photo retouching using Adobe Photoshop software.

Govaars also rents out his large computer-filled room for birthday parties and other special events. As many as 16 guests can play games against each other. The Crow's Nest Internet Lounge has plenty of space for special events.

The Internet Lounge is also a great place to go to sell your items on eBay. Bring in your items, and Govaars' team will photograph and list them. When they are sold, he packages and ships them to the buyer and you receive your payment from Govaars. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006


National: Democrats confident of retaining Senate majority By MARGARET TALEV - Democrats said Thursday they expect to take control of the Senate next month as planned, after Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota survived emergency brain surgery hours earlier.

The Capitol's physician, Adm. John Eisold, said an operation to drain blood from Johnson's brain had been successful and that he was "recovering without complication." Nevertheless, the 59-year-old Democrat remained in critical condition.

Aides and lawmakers wouldn't say whether Johnson would be able to return to work when the Senate convenes on Jan. 4, 2007 - or even if Johnson was conscious after surgery. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

National: Travel industry spreads news about passports By DAVID ARMSTRONG - New federal regulations compelling U.S. and foreign citizens entering this country by air to carry passports will take effect Jan. 23 - and many would-be travelers are not prepared, uncertain how to go about getting a passport and increasingly pressed for time.

To help clear the air for airline passengers, the Travel Industry Association of America and Travel Business Roundtable have put up a how-to Web site.

The Web site provides background to Americans on the new regulations and details of how and where to get a passport and how to expedite processing of a passport application when time is short. The site also includes links for Canadian and Mexican citizens who will need to carry passports from their countries to enter the United States by air starting Jan. 23. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

National: Realistic looking checks used by scam artists By THOMAS STAUFFER - There's no such thing as a free lunch, even during the season of giving.

That's the first thought Delpha Andrusyk had after opening an envelope Monday that contained a check for $2,875 payable to her from USA Oil Refining LLC of Elkton, Md.

"Truthfully, I thought it a scam right off the bat," said the 87-year-old Tucson, Ariz. resident. "But it actually does look like a real check."

While USA Oil Refining is indeed a real company based in Elkton, Md., it's currently being used illegally by scammers apparently based in Ontario, said Chris Frye, an accountant with USA Oil Refining.

"She's right. It's a scam, and unfortunately, there are some people who are apparently falling for it," Frye said. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

National: Q-and-A on foods that make people sick By LEE BOWMAN - After a salad bar's worth of investigations into contamination of produce in several outbreaks this fall, officials still aren't sure they know exactly how spinach, tomatoes and maybe lettuce became targets of dangerous pathogens.

Despite some of the most aggressive corporate and public-health responses yet seen, the food source of the latest E. coli outbreak linked to Taco Bell restaurants may never be pinpointed. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006


Basic Rules

letter Fuel Prices By Ken Lewis - Saturday PM
letter Christmas lights and displays By Cindy Inouye - Saturday PM
letter RE:The State Jet By Charlie Johnson - Saturday PM
letter Plane wreckage? By Josh Stamm - Saturday PM
letter Jet By Frances C. Natkong - Saturday PM
letterGood Deeds By Mark Neckameyer - Saturday PM
letterSallie Mae should change its name to Bullie Mae By C. Victoria Patrick - Saturday PM
letter As long as we are holding auctions... By Hunter Davis - Thursday
letter The State Jet By June Allen - Thursday
letter Army Recruitment ad By John Harrington - Wednesday
letter High Fuel Cost By Joseph J Chadwell - Tuesday AM
letter The price of gas and public officials By Craig Moen- Tuesday AM
letter Ketchikan Community Concert Band concert By Judith Green- Tuesday AM
letter Army Recruitment Ad on Top of Alaska News Page? By Dan Mortenson- Tuesday AM
letter Stopping abuse of any form. By Janelle Hamilton- Tuesday AM
letter High Cost of Oil and Gas - Give us a break! By Janelle Hamilton - Saturday
letter Outrageous Salaries! By Robert D. Warner - Saturday
letter High cost of fuel By R.K. Rice - Saturday
letter Christmas Lights Around Town By Diana Chaudhary - Saturday
letter Ketchikan Lions Club By Jim Sundahl - Saturday
letter Apology owed to NTVFD By Liz Hook - Saturday
letter Will Ketchikan's gas prices ever go down? By Richard John Jr. - Saturday
letter Ketchikan's high gas prices By Jon Van Essen - Saturday
letter RE: House Approves Measure to Preserve WWII Internment Camps By Shirley A. Weiss - Saturday
letter The Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Concert By Judith Green - Thursday
letter Senior center By Gretchen Klein - Thursday
letter RE: Gas Prices By Jerilyn Lester - Thursday
letter Thank you to those who serve By Anita Hales - Thursday
letter About KPU giving Bad Service By Scott Willis - Thursday
letter When do we get help!! By Laurie Price - Wednesday
letter Gas prices By Chuck Moon - Wednesday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Statistically Speaking - I love statistics.

When I was a little kid, I memorized reams and reams and reams of sports "stats".

And even though I sometimes have trouble remembering my current telephone number (225- uhh, 08, uhh 70) and my various passwords and pin numbers, I can still spout Ty Cobb's lifetime batting average (.367), Wilt Chamberlain's 1961-62 scoring average (50.4) and the fact that Sandy Koufax struck out 382 batters in 1965.

Now that I am older, natch, I have reached the point where weather stats are of great interest.

No, I do not watch the Weather Channel 24-7 (although "Storm of the Century" is very compelling TV!). But I do like to keep track of our local weather info (Highest ever Ketchikan temp: 96 degrees in 1913; lowest ever temp: minus 8 in 1916!). - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Steve Brewer: Reassigning assembly duty - Grumpy dads everywhere dread the approach of the holidays. To us, the gift-giving season means one thing: "ready-to-assemble."

We'll spend the waning days of the year hunched over a random collection of parts that don't fit together so well, trying to assemble them into something useful. We'll try to decipher instructions written in a secret code by someone with only a rudimentary grasp of English, while we simultaneously keep one eye on televised bowl games. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Ann McFeatters: Judge's patience with FEMA at end - The judge's outrage comes hurtling through his words, demanding the government respond to his order that cutting off rental aid for thousands of Katrina victims just weeks after the deadly storm struck was unconstitutional, premature, incredible and "Kafkaesque."

But his fury is not new. It's been building for months. And all that seems to happen is that government lawyers file appeals. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Clifford May: President Bush can still avoid defeat in Iraq - I was privileged to serve as one of the "expert" advisors to the Iraq Study Group (ISG), along with former ambassadors and CIA operatives, retired military officers and distinguished academics. It was a stimulating, edifying and - ultimately - disappointing experience.

We were divided from the start: A minority thought the mission was to find a way forward in Iraq; a majority thought the mission was to find a way out of Iraq, a way to manage what they view as America's inevitable defeat. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Deroy Murdock: Look for ISG report in fantasy section of bookstores - Among the many shortcomings in the widely panned Iraq Study Group (ISG) report is its blame-Israel-first mentality. If only the Jewish state would surrender more land to the Palestinians and hand Syria the now-occupied Golan Heights, grateful Iraqis would burst into song, defuse their Improvised Explosive Devices, and build a safe, free, and prosperous republic. The fact that so many of them are doing the opposite is - what else? - Israel's fault.

"Iraq cannot be addressed effectively in isolation from other major regional issues, interests, and unresolved conflicts," the ISG report declares. America cannot "achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict." - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Dale McFeatters: More than you want to know - The best book ever written about the United States came out Friday. It comes out every year - this is the 126th - and goes by the deceptively bland title "Statistical Abstract of the United States."

The prose is lean and spare - in fact, there is almost no prose - but the 1,400 tables and charts compiled by the Census Bureau is jammed with information about who we are, what we do, where we live, what languages we speak and whether we eat our broccoli. (We do: 5.7 pounds per person per year.)

Like the blurbs on a book jacket, the Census teases us with a few facts.

We watch too much television (our judgment, not the government's) - 65 days' worth a year.

In 2005, Internet users made 92 million purchases online and created 13 million blogs.

Yes, there is grade inflation. Almost half of incoming college freshmen had an A average in high school compared to 20 percent in 1970. In 1970, an overwhelming percentage of kids went to college to develop a "philosophy of life." Now, the same percentage wants to be "very well off financially." - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

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