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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 29, 2006

Pan Am Sikorsky S-42B, 1940

Pan Am: Once Ketchikan's Link to the Outside World
Four-Engine Pan American Sikorsky S-42B, 1940
Fueling at Ward Cove. Pan American ran passenger flights through
Ketchikan from June 20 - November 8, 1940.
Otto Schallerer Photo - Donor: Don Dawson - THS
Photograph courtesy Ketchikan Museums

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Ketchikan: Pan Am: Once Ketchikan's Link to the Outside World A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - In 1991, the original Pan American World Airways ceased operations. After going under in December of 1991, Pan American World Airways' name was purchased out of bankruptcy court.

Pan Am hasn't flown any flights since 1991, but the company has continued to maintain a small presence while negotiations continued with the government of Libya over payments due the airline from the Libyan-sponsored bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Those negotiations ended last year with Libya agreeing to pay Pan Am and its insurance companies more than $30 million.

The last checks from those payments are going out to creditors and former employees this month and that is the end of Pan Am, which brings a nostalgic pang to Ketchikan old-timers because for two generations Pan Am was Ketchikan's main air link to the Outside world.

Pan Am was founded in 1927, a scant five years after Ketchikan saw its first commercial airplane flight, Roy Jones' "Northbird" in 1922.

Originally Pan Am was a merger of three smaller air companies and served the Miami to Havana mail run. It was founded by the legendary Juan Trippe who had plans to create a world-wide airline empire. He succeeded.

While other fledgling American airlines were concentrating on domestic routes, Trippe rightly saw a lucrative future in international flights. Initially, Trippe concentrated on routes in the Caribbean and South America, primarily using the first of the Pan Am Clippers or flying boats.

But he also had an eye toward Pacific routes and he was encouraged in that direction by Charles Lindbergh. Almost immediately after returning from his famous solo Atlantic crossing in 1927, Lindbergh turned his attention toward the Pacific and Asia. He believed in a mostly overland route that would take advantage of northwest Alaska's proximity to Russia.

In the summer of 1931, Lindbergh and his new wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, pioneered what later was called "The Great Circle Route," which remains the fastest route from New York to Tokyo.

The journey was chronicled in Morrow-Lindbergh's best selling book "North To the Orient." The couple flew - Morrow-Lindbergh was also a pilot - from Long Island north into Canada's Northwest Territories to Nome. They crossed over the Bering Sea into the Russian Far East and then down to Japan and China.

"The Arctic, my husband remarked as we studied the globe, heretofore had been explored chiefly for its own interest," Morrow-Lindbergh wrote in "North to the Orient." "But why the Orient?.The indisputable importance of future air routes between America and Japan, China and Siberia." - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

Drifting House Boat


Coast Guard Station Ketchikan retrieves a drifting houseboat from the Tongass Narrows.
Photo courtesty United States Coast Guard

Ketchikan: COAST GUARD RESPONDS TO DRIFTING HOUSEBOAT - Coast Guard Station Ketchikan deployed a 47 foot motor life boat crew to retrieve a drifting houseboat from the Tongass Narrows Tuesday morning.

After dewatering 1200 gallons of water the vessel was returned to its mooring. - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

Alaska: Bill vetoed that would prevent implementation of same-sex benefits - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin vetoed a bill which would prevent the Commissioner of Administration from implementing a court order to provide same-sex benefits without first getting specific statutory authority from the legislature. Palin vetoed HB4001 late Thursday afternoon under the authority vested in her by Article 11, Section 15 of the Alaska Constitution. This is the Governor's first veto.

"The Department of Law advised me that this bill, HB4001, is unconstitutional given the recent Court order of December 19th, mandating same-sex benefits," said Governor Sarah Palin. "With that in mind, signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office." - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006


Alaska: Three more soldiers from Fort Richardson killed in Iraq - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin expressed sadness this week with the news that three more soldiers from Fort Richardson were killed in Iraq. A total of nine soldiers with Alaska ties have been killed this month, making December the deadliest month on record.

"This month has been a particularly devastating one for Alaska's troops and their families," said Governor Palin. "It is a somber reminder that our soldiers, our neighbors, are in harm's way every single day fighting a ruthless enemy so that others may know freedom." - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

National: Democrats face outcry over 'earmarks' By LISA MASCARO - Democrats may have released a fury in their attempt to set new standards for the so-called earmark process.

Some lawmakers have vowed to battle for pet projects that they believe are worthwhile and should not be tarnished by the Washington scandals that brought heightened scrutiny to earmarks.

Case after case unfolded over the past two years - including now-imprisoned California Republican Rep. Randy Cunningham trading bribes for earmarks and the Alaska delegation's $220 million earmark to connect a small island on which Ketchikan is located with an airport that became famously known as the "bridge to nowhere."

Democrats are considering new rules that, among other things, would require members to put their names on earmarks and disallow last-minute earmarks that get slipped into bills without debate. - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

Science - Technology: New system will warn planes of in-flight icing dangers By LEE BOWMAN - An upgraded aviation weather forecasting system put in place this month for the first time tells airline dispatchers, air traffic controllers and pilots how likely it is that a plane will encounter severe icing conditions.

The new warnings, posted by the National Weather Service's Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Mo., allows pilots of properly equipped aircraft to fly through areas with light icing, rather than making wide detours around regions with potential icing conditions. This could save the industry more than $20 million a year from injuries, damaged aircraft and extra fuel.

At the same time, it gives operators of smaller planes more precise information about the icing conditions they are likely to encounter on various routes and at different altitudes.

Icy weather, including ice pellets and cloud droplets that freeze to the skin of an aircraft on contact can affect air travel anywhere in the country, particularly during colder months. When ice builds up on aircraft wings, it can increase drag on the aircraft and make it more difficult to keep aloft.

The FAA approved the original ice-warning system, called the Current Icing Product, in 2002, but the displays were less detailed and warned only that icing was possible, with no probability information. And unlike the new version, the maps could not be accessed by pilots in the cockpit. - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006


Basic Rules

letter Airporter Replacement Suggestion By Shelley Stallings - Saturday AM
letter Airporter service By Bill Thomas Sr. - Saturday AM
letter Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Elections- January 15, 2007 By Robert A. Sanderson, Jr. - Friday
letter Don't push the taxpayers By Rodney Dial - Friday
letter Thank You Airporter For Your Years of Service By Shannon Nelson - Friday
letter Revised Fuel Price Study By Ken Lewis - Friday
letter Fuel prices By Mary Henrikson - Friday
letter Wood Removal By John Beck - Friday
letter 600 Children By Peter Bolling - Friday
letter Political Sportsmanship By Robert Freedland - Friday
letterFirst we must have honesty By Carol Christoffel - Friday
letter Community Christmas Sing-Out By Judith Green - Friday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Jason Love: Salsa Dancing - They say you can tell a man's lovemaking skills by the way that he dances.

No wonder I don't have children.

You know those guys who throb across the floor, gentle but mannish, totally in sync with their partner? That's not me. I'm the guy who remains seated for the safety of other dancers. Some people say that I have two left feet, but it could be as many as three or four.

You have to feel, then, for Jay Byam, professional dance coach who, due to anti-discrimination laws, had to welcome me into his class. Jay teaches salsa three times a week, starting with el bá sico: one, two, three, five, six, seven (you pause on the fourth beat or suffer Jay's wrath).

For the sake of us gringos, Jay sometimes counts with a slower, more Frankenstein-like, "Boom boom boom, boom boom boom..." - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

Martin Schram: Bush's worst yet to come - There are two schools of thought about the tradition that highly trained professional pundits practice this week, every year, by unveiling their New Year's predictions.

Some say these predictions are not worth the paper they are written on. But I say they are. Punditry predictions are worth the price of one slim piece of newsprint - if not in its pristine form, then certainly after the accrued accumulation after the newsprint is recycled as lining in birdcages.

It was more than a few years ago that this pundit got out of the prediction business - not because of an inability to produce anything resembling accuracy, but because it had become increasingly impossible to accurately predict anything optimistic or uplifting. It had gotten to the point that the predictions were sounding even darker than the news. - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

Bonnie Erbe: Pope's message brings up questions about God - Pope Benedict's Christmas message was one of great import, no matter one's spiritual bent. "Does a 'Saviour'" he questioned, "still have any value and meaning for the men and women of the third millennium?" This, he queried in his Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message to 10,000 faithful in St Peter's Square," Reuters reported.

Sounds to me like a man on a mission, a worried man on a worrisome mission. Would you be asking these questions if business were good, if your flocks were growing? He went on: People should not allow technology to trump theology. "Mankind, which has reached other planets and unraveled many of nature's secrets, should not presume it can live without God." Implicit in the positing of this presumption is the subliminal fear technology will lead to just that end.

Truth be told, Christianity is wilting if not dying in the continent that propelled it to global prominence, Europe. Europeans pay lip service but eschew church services. Christianity's growth markets are on other continents. - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

Dale McFeatters: Just one of those days - Our resolution is not to treat New Year's as any more than it is.

New Year's is not a celestial event like the solstices and the equinoxes. It is of no particular religious or historical significance. It marks an arbitrary change in the calendar; it could just as easily be some other date.

New Year's Eve is a peculiarly forced and joyless occasion that one doesn't so much celebrate as survive. It has odd rituals like the masses who cram into Times Square and stand chilled and numb for hours to watch an illuminated ball for 10 seconds.

New Year's Eve even has a semiofficial costume - a really stupid-looking party hat. Be honest: You hate noisemakers. - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006

Editorial: Goal of sustainable fisheries can still be attained - This month, Congress finally got around to reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which regulates American coastal fisheries. In this, its third, overhaul, as in previous instances, the focus of the act has changed. In the 1970s, when foreign "factory ships" were scooping up thousands of tons of fish almost within sight of the U.S. shore, the act declared an exclusive U.S. "economic extraction zone" within 200 miles of the coast. In the '80s and '90s, when the American fishing fleet expanded to the point that Congress had to authorize a huge boat-buy-back program, the bill aimed to conserve stocks from overfishing by U.S. fishermen. American fishermen had moved into the "ecological niche" created by the departing foreigners.

This latest iteration of the law, in the wake of several alarming studies contending that the commercial fishing industry worldwide is headed for collapse by midcentury, strengthens oversight by introducing a schedule for rebuilding depleted stocks, such as cod. Now scientists, rather than the industry, will set catch limits. The bill also strengthens measures against illegal fishing, rife on the high seas. - More....
Friday - December 29, 2006

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