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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 11, 2008

Front Page Photo MIKE KURTH

Ketchikan Ratfish
Ratfish are related to sharks and are considered the missinglink between the bony and cartilaginous fishes because they have the characteristics of both.
Front Page Photo MIKE KURTH



National: Will economic crisis thwart Obama's immigration plans? By TYCHE HENDRICKS - The nation's economic crisis could make it tough for President-elect Barack Obama to deliver on his pledge to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, some analysts predict.

With unemployment rising, foreign workers are less welcome, say immigration restrictionists, who have vowed to oppose offering legal status to the nation's estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants.

But as the presidential transition goes into high gear, Democratic political insiders still believe that immigration reform has a good chance. Until a comprehensive bill is introduced in Congress, Obama's pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, will play a key role in refocusing the way the government handles immigration.

"Clearly the economy is job No. 1 for the new administration," said Frank Sharry, director of America's Voice, a pro-immigration advocacy group. "But we fully expect that by the end of year one, that they're going to take a hard run at immigration reform."

Others were not so sanguine. Yale Law School Professor Peter Schuck, an immigration expert, doubts lawmakers will take up the issue for a couple of years: "It's going to be on the back burner just because everything else is on the front burner. It's a very, very delicate political issue that nobody deals with with eagerness."

The weak economy -- the unemployment rate reached 6.7 percent in November, its highest level in 15 years -- combined with increased immigration enforcement, appears to be discouraging illegal immigrants from entering the country and impelling others to head home. Demographer Jeff Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center recently estimated that 11.9 million illegal immigrants are living in the United States now, down from an estimated 12.4 million a year earlier. The U.S. Border Patrol reported making 700,000 arrests over the past year, down from 1.1 million two years prior.

But the illegal immigration issue remains volatile, and the next Congress and new administration will have to decide what to do about the people in the United States without authorization and how to deter future illegal immigration.

Problems in the legal immigration system have festered for years. The agency granting permanent legal residence (the green card is the token) and citizenship has long been plagued by epic backlogs and dysfunctional computer networks. Major policy debates over appropriate levels of immigration and whether to prioritize family ties or economic contributions -- and high- or low-skilled workers -- remain unresolved after "comprehensive" immigration bills died in Congress in 2006 and 2007.

Obama supports allowing illegal immigrants to earn legal status, continuing tough border enforcement and establishing an electronic worker eligibility verification system. He has been largely silent, though, on whether to admit temporary foreign workers, as President Bush and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., proposed, or to accommodate new workers by expanding the number of green cards, as some labor advocates prefer.- More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

Ketchikan: First Book Southeast Alaska Receives Grant - First Book Southeast Alaska Chair Charlotte Glover announcewd today that First Book Southeast recently received a grant of $1000 from the Alaska Community Foundation and the Machamer Charitable Fund to provide books to enhance Tlingit and Haida Headstart programs around the region. First Book Southeast Alaska is providing funding for those programs in Klawock, Petersburg, Craig, Wrangell and Saxman.

First Book-Southeast Alaska is part of First Book's national network of volunteer led Advisory Boards who provide new books to children in need in communities across the country. First Book-Southeast Alaska works to promote and facilitate the distribution of new books to literacy programs in our region.

Access to books is essential to reading development. However, 60 percent of low-income families have no books for children in their homes. By providing children from low-income homes books they can take home and keep, First Book targets the only variable that correlates significantly with reading scores- the number of books in the home. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

Alaska Science: Don't forget the giants researcher says By NED ROZELL - Being a large mammal other than a human carries great risk, according to Terrie Williams, who has studied, among other creatures, African lions, mountain lions, and Stellar sea lions.

"Twenty-five percent of the world's mammals are endangered, and more than 50 percent show declining populations," Williams, a biology professor with the University of California, Santa Cruz, said on a recent visit to Fairbanks. She gave a lecture on the difficulties of being a mammal larger than about 50 pounds, one that is competing with humans and other animals for what it needs.

"Once you get past that (weight), you have to bring in your calories through large prey," she said. "The bigger you are, the more space you're going to need."

She showed images of three African lions, lounging with full bellies after a meal of some large animal on the hoof. She and her colleagues have estimated that lions rest for 80 percent of their day. During the other 20 percent of that 24-hour period, they need to bring in about 55 pounds of meat to maintain their metabolism.

"A failed hunt on one day means a negative (energy) balance," she said. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

Alaska Science: One more second of life in 2008 By NED ROZELL - You'll experience one more second of life in 2008. On December 31, 2008, at 2:59:29 Alaska Standard Time, the U.S. Naval Observatory will add a "leap second" to the world's clocks by inserting it at the U.S. Naval Observatory's Master Clock Facility in Washington, D.C. The leap second will show up on the Internet and on your GPS, as a change in Coordinated Universal Time.

People at the Naval Observatory have the responsibility of adjusting the nation's official atomic clocks, devices that keep time using an oscillation between a nucleus of an atom and surrounding electrons. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008


Columns - Commentary

DAVE KIFFER: When it Comes to Political Corruption, Alaskans Try Harder! - Alaskans were feeling pretty smug recently when Illinois leapt up and took away our position near the top of the political corruption hit parade in the national media.

Yes, we were having our little bit of limelight as a state apparently willing to re-elect a convicted felon to the US Senate, but it turned out that even we couldn't go there. Although, it was touch and go on that point for a few weeks after the election.

Thank goodness, Illinois stepped up the plate by offering up a sitting governor allegedly caught on tape offering to sell a seat in the US Senate. Only in Illinois could this be considered a "reform" candidate, swept into office as his gubernatorial predecessor was facing jail time for - wait for it - government corruption.

But we had a only a little time to savor getting bumped out of the spotlight. USA Today has now come up with a list of :most politically corrupt states. Not surprisingly Alaska (AKA VECOland) is pretty high on the list.

How high?

How about second?

Yep, according to the methodology used by USA Today, we are the second worst state for political corruption, per capita. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

JAY AMBROSE: Baby Boomer catastrophe - Whenever an organization has five words in its name, watch out for complications in its pronouncements. Don't suppose, for instance, that when the National Bureau of Economic Research says we've been in a recession since last December that it means we've been wallowing in misery all that time.

You'd think as much by the reactions of some commentators saying they knew how awful life was way back then, when in fact the bureau is giving us one specific technical definition of recession that mainly tells how some indicators had reached their peak late last year and have been slowly going downwards since.- More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

JOEL MATHIS and BEN BOYCHUK: Does news media need government bailout? - Does the news media need a government bailout?

Consider the news of recent weeks: Tribune -- owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune -- filed for bankruptcy. Scripps announced it would sell or close the Rocky Mountain News. The New York Times said it would borrow $225 million to keep its operations running. The Miami Herald is for sale. And everywhere else, it seemed, layoffs were cutting news staffs to the bone.

Can anything be done to save newspapers? Can American democracy thrive without them? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, weigh in. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008


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December 2008
Front Page Archives
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07 08 09 10 11 12 13
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Basic Rules

letterGas Prices By Ed Vitorino - Relating to the letter by Pam Kemble, I see a barge at Petro Marine every week. Sometimes it's every other week. I have reason to believe, from someone that works there, that Petro Marine sells fuel to these stations at a much lower price and it's the stations that are keeping them high. They were quick to react to the rising fuel prices and there should be no reason why they can't react to the lowering of prices. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

letter Lack of Response By Jennifer Brewer - Why haven't we heard or read any answers to our fuel price questions from Petro Marine or Anderes Oil? We deserve some answers as to why we're still being charged September fuel prices. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

letterGas Prices By Colleen Scanlon - I am down in Port Orchard, Washington on vacation and was shocked to find out that gas prices are $2.00 less a gallon here then they were in Ketchikan when I left last Friday. I understand that there is a cost to getting the fuel to Ketchikan, and that our supply takes longer to go through than it does in the "lower 48", but come on give me a break, this is downright outrageous. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

letterGas prices and the Palin factor By Mike Isaac - Gas prices are coming down but I am paying $1.89 or .50 more than people up in Wyoming (70 miles away) and down in Denver and Grand Juction (180 miles away) but at least Im paying less than those down in the Vail area. However I find it funny that people always want to blame Governors in the Republican party for gas prices, but you never here them blame the DEMS in states like New York and Washington or credit Republicans in states like Wyoming. - More..
Thursday - December 11, 2008

letter Christmas Tree By Alan R. McGillvray - Am I the only person to notice the Christmas tree and its location is so far out of view that no one may gaze upon it unless parked facing west on the City dock? Which by the way would run counter to the way the parking spaces are laid. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

letter Palin out of touch By Penny Eubanks - In the 12/10/08 front page Ketchikan Daily News article "Palin compares Alaska, Canada" shows how out of touch Palin is with Southeast Alaska and Alaska in general. In her interview with CTV's Canada AM she attempts to show her knowledge of Alaska's proximity to Canada when she states "We drive through your country to get even to our own state capital". Much like her VP campaign interview when she attempts to show her capabilities in foreign affairs by stating that you can see Russia from Alaska! - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008

Thursday - December 11, 2008

letter Gas prices By Pam Kemble - I would like to know how many barges have come in to deliver fuel in the past month. I have reason to believe that it is at least two. That would be two while the price of fuel has stayed at the $3.75 mark. That would be two when the price of fuel has been under $3.00 down south. - More...
Tuesday - December 09, 2008

letter Bridge to Nowhere By Diane Guzman - The bridge to nowhere has been built. - More...
Tuesday - December 09, 2008

letter Please! Your help is needed this Holiday season By Rita Carro - Two Ketchikan people are fighting for their lives and need your help. Many of you may already know that both John and Brenda Murphy (Owners of Ketchikan Welding and Murphy's Custom Metal Art) are both battling Cancer. These two people have helped many and have lived in Ketchikan for many years. - More...
Tuesday - December 09, 2008

letter HMO: prescription management By David Jancauskas - I am truly saddened by the deplorable service of the "big box" prescription service and their homage to something called Merck-Medco. - More...
Monday - December 08, 2008

letterBudget Reality By Charles Edwardson - The budget process has started for Ketchikan and we have to shave off a half-million dollars. One of the suggestions from staff is that possible positions need to be cut at the city level, - More...
Monday - December 08, 2008

letterWater rates being raised for local processors By Kevin Kristovich - I read a recent article in the Friday issue of the Ketchikan Daily News in regards to the city considering raising the water usage rates on local processors. - More...
Monday - December 08, 2008

letterThanksgiving Storms By Jan Cadero - I love David Kiffer's stories. Yes, I remember well the storms we had on several Thanksgivings. I lived on Second Avenue and David lived on First Avenue. It wasn't any big deal to have shingles flying by your windows, or the bricks off the neighbor's chimney landing on your roof or in your yard, scary stuff, but we all survived it. I think those storms would be classified as hurricanes today. - More...
Monday - December 08, 2008

letterSoutheast Alaska Herring Stocks By Andy Rauwolf - The National Marine Fisheries Service recently posted a request for comments in regard to the listing of Southeast Alaska Herring Stocks as threatened or endangered. The deadline for comments is this coming Monday, December 8th. Your voices need to be heard. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letterDrop out rate By Jacquie O'Sullivan - My husband and I recently returned from Spain. While there I read an article about drop out rates there. They have a program identifying those that may drop out of school early. They identify these kids and get them into vocational programs in their early teen years while they are still interested in finding a job they may be interested in. I agree we need to offer more vocational training and stop concentrating on college to many of our kids. We also need to do more to encourage these kids to stay in school. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letter Opportunists By Jason Johnson - Mr. Hanger has a valid point, but why just go after the Gas Peddlers in good old Ketchikan when there are other opportunists doing business in the First City as well. Although it has been several years since I lived along the Narrows I hear from reliable sources that some purveyors of Tax Return preparation are up to their old tricks! - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letter Landing's Community Chrismas Largess By Al and Carol Johnson - Every year for the past several, Kay and Terry of the Landing have by far, exceeded the norm for giving. It is so hearting to review the front page of The Local Paper to read of the schedule of giving these two successful business people present to our community. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letter Gas Prices By Cathy Geer - I have three points: (1) Sarah Palin can stop the price gouging! She can make it state law to stop or prevent price gouging. Florida's Governor did so after all the price gouging of Hurricane Andrew in 1989. We have not had a natural disaster, but the law would prevent gouging. There is a price gouging law in Louisiana and Texas after checking state gas prices. Why not in Alaska? - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letterGas prices By Melissa Kwasney - I thought I would share with all of you the price of gas down in Wyoming, Casper actually. Today it is $1.36 a gallon -- that's right folks, $1.36 a gallon at a gas station there.I guess we still need to get more barges here in Ketchikan to even get closer to$ 3.00 a gallon for gas. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letter You are invited Ketchikan! Come to the 2nd Annual KYI Activity EXPO, Potluck and . . . By Bobbie McCreary - On Thursday, December 18th from 5:30 - 8:30 pm at the Ted Ferry Civic Center there will be a Youth Art Auction. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letterPrice Gouging By Jerilyn Lester - Mr. Young, yes I am bringing up Palin because if she and her cohorts in Anchorage wanted to bring down the hammer on the prices down here she could, but since she has washed her hands of anything in Southeast Alaska that isn't going to happen. It is up to the Governor who was supposed to looking into the price gouging in Alaska, but I gather that since the price came down on the mainland that is all there is going to be of that. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letterHard Times Ahead By Robert McRoberts - I worked so hard all summer, I missed summer. How we forget. I did force myself to take some R&R. My daughter and I went south to get some parts rebuilt. But it was worth it -- the vacation part. This has been the year of change for all of us. As we change, we are being lead by the old timers who grew up thinking the old stubborn way. Now my generation is moving in and making change. Look around at the age of people running their own businesses. Sure a few are hand-me-downers. My generation is ready to take charge and break a few old rules to get things working better. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008

letterGHOST TOWN KETCHIKAN By David G. Hanger - A brief aside to Robert Thompson; the price of gasoline in Southeast is still $3.70 or better, and the price is still dropping everyday down here. I am quite aware of the actions of the state government respective gas price gouging; I read their report, and my response to that is it is so much blather and whitewash. The price of gasoline is still way too high. Nor do I expect the state government to do anything about this problem at all until some time possibly in March or April during the time the legislature is in session, at which point I expect them to bandy platitudes while doing absolutely nothing about this very serious problem. If you possessed the tax returns of your local gas jockeys, you would have some idea how much they are ripping us off; they are getting rich at the expense of the well-being of the overall economy. A century or so ago they hanged people for stuff like that. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter Library, pool, fire station...??? By Charles Edwardson - I read Rodney Dial's assessments on the taxes we pay and I learn more from his articles (assuming that they are accurate) than I do from listening to the Borough Assembly or the Ketchikan City Council.when they discuss their dreams on how to stabilize our economy in Ketchikan. (How a new library will assist in doing that I have yet to make the connection. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letterJust Say No to Higher Taxes By Dustin Hofeling - Now is not the time to be building a larger library and pool. Real wages are decreasing as the cost of living is increasing. A simple understanding of economics teaches that you don't spend more money when less is coming in. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter Gas Price Questions By Phil McElroy - In my teens, I worked for a gas station in Idaho when the price of gas was 35 cents per gallon. I moved to Ketchikan (1969) and got a job at City Center gas station and was taken back by the increase in price, roughly 30 cents more per gallon. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter RE: Gas Price Gouging By Zak Young - Are we still stuck on the fact that Palin is the whipping girl?? Are we still bringing her up as the cause of everything negative that we do not agree with??  For You.. .Ms. Lester, it seems so!! - More...
Sunday - November 30, 2008

letter Respose to "Almost Famous" By Marshall H. Massengale - Ketchikan watching via Internet has become for me something of an engaging hobby over the last more than a year and a half as the direct offshoot of having gotten to know, online at least, some truly wonderful people who happen to live there and who own and operate one of the borough's well-known float plane services. Of course, aside from exchanging e-mail regularly with my friends, I enthusiastically count Dave Kiffer's column in SitNews, together with the rest of the online journal's content including the various commercial Website links advertised along its margins, amongst my favorite windows into the K-Town world. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter At what point do we hold the line on new taxes? By Rodney Dial - In three locations in my previous letter 12 was listed when it should have read 1/2 % (one-half percent) this is due to a formatting error when my MS Word document is converted into a SitNews letter. The proposed tax increase to build the new pool will take the sales tax rate to 6.25 to 6.50 %. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter It was never about the 'facts By Robert Thompson - Well Mr. Hanger is expressing his opinions again without regard to information or facts. In a Sitnews' letter he says: - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letterGas Price Gouging By Jerilyn Lester - This is the first time in my 25 year history in Southern Southeast that I have been ashamed. The people that own the gas storage and the stations are keeping the price up so that we go broke just trying to get to work two jobs just to pay for the gas to do so and the oil to heat our homes. The price of oil has gone down to between $40 and $50 a barrel and we are still paying $3.75 a gallon for gas and more than that to heat the house. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter New Library = New Taxes By Dan McQueen - With the falling oil prices it's going to be pretty tough for Ketchikan to get the money from the State. A recession seems to be unavoidable at this time. Now is not the time to try and get the taxpayers of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough to accept any new taxes! - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008

letter The future of Ketchikan By Rodney Dial - The country is going through the worst economic disaster since the great depression, with most thinking that it will get worse before it gets better. During times like these consumer spending on non essential items all but stops. This presents the real likelihood that Ketchikan will take a severe economic hit next tourist season. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Hoonah Community Forest Project By Chris Erickson - On October 1, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game implemented the first early closure of the doe hunting season in the history of Northeast Chichagof Island. It was an unsettling announcement for those of us living in Hoonah and Tenakee, two communities which rely heavily upon subsistence hunting. More unsettling is the drop in the deer population which prompted the early closure. To those of us who make our living as hunting and fishing guides operating on the northeastern tip of Chichagof Island, this drop is all too apparent. During trips in the field, deer sightings during peak activity times of early morning and late evening, once numbering a dozen or more, are so rare as to be worthy of mention. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Ketchikan Fire Stoppers By Jim Hill - The Ketchikan, North Tongass, and South Tongass Fire Departments; with assistance from the State of Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety, presented the Juvenile Fire-setter Intervention Specialist-I class November 17th and 18th at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letterGas Prices By David Hanger - Gas prices continue to fall, $1.69 a gallon now, everywhere but Southeast. The gougers are despicable; more despicable are the gutless politicians who lack both the fortitude and the concern to do anything about it. Another example of Sarah Palin's "reform" standards? - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Vocational Education Important By Amy L. Schroeder - Thank you to Charles Edwardson for broaching the voc-ed situation at K-High. I am a subscriber to the "every job is important and it takes a special person to do it" theory. I find that not only in Ketchikan, but all around is still the myth that if a child entertains higher academic schooling that his/her life will be rewarded somehow more richly. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Library cost clarification By Heidi Ekstrand - I was thrilled to see Ms. Jones' letter here with her thoughts, ideas and concerns on funding issues for local construction projects. The more people creatively involved in our community issues the better the outcomes will be. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

letter Thank You Senator Stevens By Dan McQueen - Senator Stevens, thanks for all you have done for our Great State! I am proud to know ya! - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2008

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