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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 31, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

American Coot
Although the American Coot swims like a duck, it does not have webbed feet. The American Coot has lobes on either side of its toes to help it paddle. The American Coot also has a more chicken-like beak than a flat duck bill. They have short tails and wings, and run across the water to take flight. In the winter, the farthest North west the American Coot goes is the British Columbia area.
Front Page Photo by Jodi Muzzana

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


Ketchikan: One killed in North Tongass Highway Crash -  Alaska State Troopers say an early-morning vehicle accident on the North Tongass Highway Saturday has killed a 24-year-old woman.

Alaska State Troopers along with the North Tongass Fire Deptment responded to a two vehicle accident at about Mile 10.4 North Tongass Highway.

The Investigation revealed 61 year old William Kacenas of Ketchikan, was driving southbound in his 2004 Chevrolet Flatbed plow truck when he met a north bound 2002 Volvo operated by 24 year old Kelly Nausid, also of Ketchikan. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

Alaska: Alaska state senator asked to resign in wake of scandal By SEAN COCKERHAM - The state Senate minority has sent a letter to Anchorage Sen. John Cowdery asking him to resign from public office because he has been implicated in the Veco bribery scandal.

"Now that we are approaching the regular session, and with it seeming the majority does not intend to do anything, we felt it was appropriate to say something," Senate Minority Leader Gene Therriault, R-North Pole, said.

Therriault said the letter was hand-delivered to Cowdery more than a week ago. He said the only other copies went to state Senate President Lyda Green and Senate Majority Leader Gary Stevens.

Green, R-Wasilla, said Cowdery has not been charged with any crime and she feels "it is probably very premature" for lawmakers to call for his resignation. She also indicated that she expects Cowdery to serve in the coming legislative session and to continue in the position of Senate rules chairman. The 2008 session begins on Jan. 15. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

Washington Calling: Grave success.... God returns... Congressional bowl By LISA HOFFMAN - It took years of pounding out hundreds of letters, but the 88-year-old widow of a Pearl Harbor survivor and the dogged son of another World War II veteran can now claim victory in their quest to guarantee all vets the right to a government-provided grave marker.

Vivian Mansfield, of Cullom, Ill., and Tom Guzzo of West Hartford, Conn., found final success recently when Congress adopted a measure that permanently erased an old and obscure rule that said any grave with a privately purchased headstone was not eligible for a bronze plaque the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs gives to those with VA-issued headstones.

That rule, which dated to the Civil War era, prevented Mansfield from affixing a bronze plaque identifying her husband of 55 years a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack. She and Guzzo found partial success in 2001 when Congress passed a temporary change, which was due to expire in December.

Now, the families of as many as 20,000 veterans a year will have a permanent right to the benefit. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

Fish Factor: Seafood industry highlights from 2007 By LAINE WELCH - Looking back at past 'fish retrospectives' I found it striking that the same introduction written five years ago still applies today:

"Commercial fishing in Alaska remains a vibrant industry that each year provides more than half of our nation's seafood. Alaska's fish stocks are the envy of other countries around the world, and its management programs are regarded as a model for sustainability."
What more needs to be said?

Here is a sampler of Alaska seafood industry highlights from 2007, in no particular order or priority, followed by my annual picks of top fish stories:

The Alaska "brand" became a poster child for seafood healthfulness and purity at a time when food contaminants, especially from China made world headlines.

"Wild" became a bigger draw than "organic" according to national consumer surveys. Nearly 40 percent of Americans said they stopped buying particular foods in response to safety concerns, compared to 9 percent in 2005.

Omega 3 fatty acids became the hottest food additive, and scientists said omegas from wild fish is best.

Alaska's salmon harvest produced 212 million fish, making it the 4th largest catch on record. The dockside fishery value of $374 million is an increase of $28 million from 2006.

Prices also were up for salmon fishing permits across the state.

The world's first solar powered salmon fishery operated all summer at Lummi Island, WA. Reef netters used solar panels to charge batteries that run the fishing gear.

Alaska halibut prices started out in March at $5/lb in major ports and remained in 'nose bleed' range for the eight month season. Halibut quota shares in prime areas (Central Gulf) were fetching $27 per pound and could go higher, brokers said.

Bering Sea red king crab quota shares were on the board at $28-$30 per pound; snow crab was closer to $10.

Dutch Harbor held onto its ranking as the nation's #1 port for the 18th year in a row. Kodiak remained at 4th place.

Construction began on a new, ultra modern marine facility at Dutch Harbor, replacing docks and buildings that date back to World War II.

Another groundbreaking at Ketchikan saw the start of the Oceans Alaska Marine Science Center, which aims to expand Alaska shellfish growing into a global industry.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Exxon's final appeal of the $2.5 billion punitive damages award from the 1989 Prince William Sound oil spill. A hearing is set for mid-February. - More...
Monday - December 31, 2007


On Religion: A look at the 'pew gap' and other top stories of 2007 By TERRY MATTINGLY - It was a simple commercial, with Mike Huckabee posed in front of a set of scandalously empty white bookshelves that, when framed just right beside a Christmas tree, formed a glowing cross behind the candidate.

And, lo, the former Southern Baptist pastor told the voters: "Are you about worn out by all the television commercials you've been seeing, mostly about politics? I don't blame you. At this time of year, sometimes it's nice to pull aside from all of that and just remember that what really matters is a celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and our friends. I hope that you and your family will have a magnificent Christmas season. And on behalf of all of us, God bless and merry Christmas." - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

Entertainment: Best films of 2007 were sprinkled throughout the year By BETSY PICKLE - It's tradition for studios to bring out their big guns in the last few weeks of the year. They want all the people who honor the year's best -- everyone from Academy members to film critics -- to have movies fresh in their minds when they're voting or coming up with lists.

But something happened in 2007 -- something wonderful. There were exceptional films sprinkled throughout the year. There were so many that nothing I saw during the year-end blitz moved me enough to depose one of my earlier favorites. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

Business - Economy: 2008 will repeat as the Year of the Refinance By HOLDEN LEWIS - World climate has Ice Ages, and baseball had a Dead Ball Era. Mortgages have their defining epochs, too.

In 2003, when mortgage rates dropped below 5.5 percent for a time, it was the Year of the Refinance. 2004 through 2006 constituted the Era of the Exotic Mortgage, when homebuyers were eager to get any type of loan so they could grab houses before prices were out of reach. 2007 was the Year of Reckoning, when home prices went down and the foreclosure rate went up. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

Columns - Commentary

John Adams: What to look for in sports world in 2008 - With 2007 quickly coming to an end, it's time to look ahead to what will happen around the sports world in 2008:


LSU beats Ohio State in national championship game.

New England Patriots win Super Bowl to complete perfect season.

Three members of 1972 Miami Dolphins are hospitalized following suicide attempts.


Michael Waltrip banned from Daytona 500 after plutonium discovered under his hood during routine inspection.

Tennessee athletic department adopts more lenient drug policy for student-athletes: five positive tests and you're out. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007



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Basic Rules

letterGlad Benches Removed By Kristen Gilliard - To my fellow SitNews' readers, I'm so sorry to have to disagree with all of you Library Bench Bullies. I would like to express a bit of insight on what really goes on out there while your just driving by or just walking by. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

letter Ferry System By Rebecca Simpson - I do hope people notice the bad ferry system that is due out next spring and summer. It is nice we have this website to start off with but it needs to go to the higher up as once it's written one may see more response and can respond to this issue. The ferry system needs to more convenient for us locals. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

letterKatrina animal vicitms still need homes By MJ Cadle - A friend of mine who has been actively involved in the animal rescue efforts in and near New Orleans since shortly after hurricane Katrina reminded me recently that they are still looking for homes for animals rescued in the aftermath of Katrina. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

letter Library location, benches & homeless By Carol Christoffel - As a former resident of Ketchikan, I follow events from time to time. I am frankly amazed at the possible location of the library to one of the steepest and most inaccessible areas of downtown. I also note, with some dismay, an INHOSPITABLE message being sent with the removal of library benches at the bus stop. I have noted that many people have defended the right of the citizens, including the homeless, to rest while waiting for the bus. What I have not noticed is any public response from elected City Council to these concerns. - More...
Monday AM - December 31, 2007

letter Residential Sprinkler Systems By Andy Rauwolf - Right now, Ketchikan's officials are considering a mandate that would require the installation of fire sprinkler systems in all new homes. While their goal is admirable, the solution is not! Requiring sprinklers in new single family homes will price homes out of reach for many potential homeowners. It will enrich sprinkler manufactures but will not prevent tragedy where it is likely to occur, because new homes are least likely to have fires. - More...
Friday AM - December 28, 2007

letterLibrary location By Loren Stanton - To say that I was shocked at the headline that announced the Ketchikan City Council chose the top of main hill for the library would be an understatement. I immediately thought about the parking problem. Every spot in that parking lot is taken up on days where there is grand jury (One day every week), a trial (many times year round) or a heavy court day (Tuesdays, Fridays etc.) Every parking space in the area is rented and claimed. I rent a spot downtown just so that when I go to court I know I will have a spot within a half a mile of the court building! Sometimes someone is using my spot that I pay for and that does not make me happy. - More...
Friday AM - December 28, 2007

letter A little "snowy" advice for the drivers.. By Jessica Peavey - To the "gentleman" who was following behind me on 12/27 around 4:30pm from about 12miles north to ward cove (where I was FINALLY able to pull over); Well Happy Holidays to you too buddy! I am assuming that your middle finger out the window as you passed me in your giant 4x4 was your way of telling me to have a wonderful new year. Oh wait, I remember the old saying about assuming things.... - More...
Friday AM - December 28, 2007

letter Thank you for caring By Richard LaScala - I want to take a moment to thank the entire community for their prayers, love and support for my sister Theresa Howard, a nurse at Ketchikan Hospital, and her two children Ethan and Elisha. Your presence along with your generosity have helped ease the burden placed on them with the loss of Gregory Howard, a wonderful husband, father and strong member of the community. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter Crisis management leads to poor decision making By Charles Edwardson - I am not only concerned about the spending practices but the priority process in which the Ketchikan City Council implements the budget. Is it through a strategic plan or just what ever happens to be in front of them at the time? The cruise ship dilemma facing southeast should be top on the list on City Council, and Borough Assembly agendas but it appears little or no attention is being paid to this issue, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on a library though. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter One Bellingham boat all summer By Trygve Westergard - I was just looking at the summer schedule for the Alaska Marine Highway and noticed there was only one mainline boat running to Bellingham. I can't believe with the money being so tight that we are taking away one of the two boats on the money making run. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter Public bus stop benches... By Cheryl Jackson - I drove by the Ketchikan Public Library where the bus stop is, and to my surprise there were no benches there. Who decided to remove them and why? They have been there for many years as we all know. The tourists are gone. So, put back the benches for the people of this town! Downtown is empty. The beautiful docks are there, and walk-ways -- off limits to the general public for security reasons, I suppose. - More....
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter Thank You City and Citizens of Ketchikan By George Miller - We at Ketchikan Youth Court, wish to thank all in our community who donated time and resources to our work in 2007. Without you we could not make it. Ketchikan Youth Court helps youth who are in trouble for the first time to end up with a clean record, when they complete the youth driven requirements. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter Ketchikan Public Library By Signe Markuson - I was disappointed in the Ketchikan City Council's choice of location for the new library, but what ever the end of the matter is, I ask that they strongly consider the handicapped, transit system dependent, fire codes and tech upgrades and the future in their designing decisions of this community investment. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter Response to "Expense of Running a Local Business" By Vincent Borelli - Ouch! it is quite obvious I struck a nerve on this one. As I stated I don't want to offend anyone, just open your eyes. Does a non-biased, third party, citizens OPINION get you that worked up? Should we not make observations? - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter Trying to find carver By Christine Hagmeier - Does anyone know of a carver by the name of Charlie Weatherstun or Weatherspoon? He also goes by "Big C or Big Charlie". - More...
Wednesday PM - December 26, 2007

letter City Council Spending By Bill and Linda Auger - Voted on by the Ketchikan City Council Thursday, December 20:

1. Eighty-Five Thousand Dollars ($85,000) for a Hybrid Vehicle for the Meter Reader.

2. A New Library Building NOT on the bus route, built on a lot that MAY NOT have adequate parking WITHOUT a parking garage built on an adjacent lot. (Did not the city residents VOTE DOWN this project and location not too long ago?) - More...
Monday AM - December 24, 2007

letter Ketchikan Police Report By Michael Moyer - I enjoy reading SitNews. What a great way to bring local news to our region and the rest of the world. I am a bit concerned however by the way your Ketchikan Police Report is published. I have absolutely no concern about the press publishing a criminal charge as this is good gossip. Good gossip is gossip that helps to "police" our societies moral character. However, and this is the difference, publishing how a Police call was reported to police dispatch may influence the outcome of a trial and borders on predjudice and slander. The embelishment of reality is not needed in your attempt to manage our moral character. I assume that is why you are publishing any of this information in the first place. - More...
Monday AM - December 24, 2007

letterKeeping the spirit alive By Chris Elliott - A huge thank you to Don & Joyce Hazelquist for clearing driveways on Jackson Street with their snowblower. It's folks like them that make living in Ketchikan such a joy. - More...
Monday AM - December 24, 2007

letter Two sisters and Buddy By Kathleen Nelson - During the last 2 weeks our youngest daughter, Molly Benson and husband, Mike, have been staying here with us as they combine a business and family visiting trip. As we catch up on news about friends and other family in Ketchikan we continue to hear more stories about Molly's love for Mike's dog, Buddy. There is no doubt by anyone that Buddy enjoys an abundance of care and attention. However, on the very best days of all in his life, he goes to work with Molly at Murray Pacific. Undeniably he has gathered his own fan club there at the store, including customers and the "family" of employees. Consequently Buddy's day to day life with Molly might just be about the best a dog can have. Theirs has become another one of those special friendships between a young woman and her (husband's) dog. - More...
Monday AM - December 24, 2007

letterSnow on Sidewalks By Sonia Streitmatter - We live in Alaska. Sometimes it snows. Sometimes the city doesn't get around to cleaning all of the sidewalks. Sometimes owners of property abutting sidewalks don't clean their sections of the sidewalks, which is their responsibility. - More...
Monday AM - December 24, 2007

letter Cowardly Giants By Derek Flom - To those who thought it best to take away the benches at the bus stop, why stop there?? Why not take away the busses too, and with that the roads they drive on. Then you will be safe from all the hazards of public transportation, and most of all you will be safe from FREEDOM. This is the United States of America, land if the free and home of the brave. - More...
Monday AM - December 24, 2007

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