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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 07, 2009

Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES

Ketchikan: Waterfront Sunset
Front Page Photo by MIKE GATES


Alaska: Salazar Conditionally Approves Shell's Exploration Plan For Certain Chukchi Sea Leases; Drilling Contingent on Shell Adherence to Stringent Environmental Requirements -Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) has approved, with conditions, Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.'s Exploration Plan to drill three exploratory, information-gathering wells in the Chukchi Sea.

"A key component of reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil is the environmentally-responsible exploration and development of America's renewable and conventional resources," said Salazar. "By approving this Exploration Plan, we are taking a cautious but deliberate step toward developing additional information on the Chukchi Sea."

In 2008, Shell's subsidiary paid $2.1 billion for leases during Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193. The 2008 sale was included in the previous Administration's 2007-2012 Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program to cover leasing for oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf for that five-year period. It was the first least sale in the Chukchi Sea in over 15 years. The MMS estimates that the Chukchi Sea contains mean technically recoverable reserves of 15 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Exploration Plan now approved allows Shell to drill up to three exploration wells during the July-October open water drilling season.

Shell proposes activities using one drill ship, one ice management vessel, an ice class anchor handling vessel, and oil spill response vessels. The closest proposed drill site is more than 60 miles to shore and approximately 80 miles from Wainwright, Alaska.

"Our approval of Shell's plan is conditioned on close monitoring of Shell's activities to ensure that they are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner," added Salazar. "These wells will allow the Department to develop additional information and to evaluate the feasibility of future development in the Chukchi Sea.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell welcomed the news that the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) has approved Shell's 2010 Chukchi Sea Plan of Exploration.

"I appreciate the acknowledgment from the Department of the Interior that responsible development can take place in the Arctic," Governor Parnell said. "Alaskans need these jobs and Shell is well prepared to explore for and develop oil and gas basins critical to our domestic energy security."

Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) contains an estimated 27 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. The available oil is more than twice the amount that has been produced on Alaska's North Slope since the Trans Alaska Pipeline System went online in 1977. Counting its OCS reserves, Alaska likely has more than 30 percent of the nation's recoverable oil and gas. - More...
Monday - December 07, 2009

Fish Factor: More fish for lunch in schools; Get smart! ; & Fish jobs By LAINE WELCH - More of America's school kids will be eating fish for lunch now that top quality pollock has been added to the government's Commodity Processing Program. Under the program, states and recipient agencies can contract with commercial food processors to convert raw bulk USDA commodities into more convenient, ready-to-use products, such as fish sticks, nuggets and portions.

"States have certain entitlement dollars based on the number of free and reduced lunches they serve, and those entitlement dollars can be used to purchase commodity products," explained Pat Shanahan, program director for the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers trade group. "The state's orders are all combined into one purchase by the USDA, so it allows schools to get the cost benefits of a large purchase."

In the case of pollock, GAPP worked hard to make sure the USDA included the term "once frozen" in its purchase specifications, which pretty much guarantees that the fish will come from Alaska. In contrast, most of the pollock caught by Russian fishing fleets is frozen and shipped to China, where it is thawed again and refrozen into blocks for reprocessing.

"Anything thawed and frozen twice loses quality," Shanahan said. "You're going to have moisture loss, flavor loss, mushier texture, and if the product has fat, you'll have oxidation. So you need more to cover it up." - More...
Monday - December 07, 2009

Alaska: Alaska Joins Legal Battle to Ensure Right to Bear Arms - At the direction of Governor Sean Parnell, the State of Alaska announced last week that it has joined the legal battle to prohibit state and local governments from denying individual Americans their right to bear arms, which is provided under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Attorney General Dan Sullivan, along with his counterparts in three dozen other states, recently signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Alaska had previously joined other states in successfully petitioning the court to hear the case, in which Chicago firearm owners challenge a handgun ban in the city.

Last year, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the high court overturned a similar handgun ban in the nation's capital, which is a federal enclave. That ruling did not resolve whether such a ban would be permissible when imposed by city governments or state legislatures. - More...
Monday - December 07, 2009


National: Bill Introduced to Rein in Early Cell Phone Termination Fees - Thursday, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN), Senator Russ Feingold (WI), Senator Jim Webb (VA), and Senator Mark Begich (AK) introduced the Cell Phone Early Termination Fee, Transparency and Fairness Act. The legislation follows Verizon Wireless' decision to double their Early Termination Fees from $175 to $350 for certain subscribers who end their contracts early. The bill would set limits on Early Termination Fees (ETFs). It would also require wireless providers to pro-rate ETFs and clearly notify customers about the fee, not only at the time of purchase, but for the duration of their contracts.

Early Termination Fees are budget-busters. In the wireless phone business, the combination of long term contracts and substantial early termination fees - that range from $150 to $350 - have the effect of keeping customers from switching providers, even when those customers are dissatisfied with their service or move their work or home to areas with inadequate service.

"Changing your wireless provider shouldn't break the bank," said Klobuchar. "Forcing consumers to pay outrageous fees bearing little to no relation to the cost of their handset devices is anti-consumer and anti-competitive."

"Consumers should not be punished with exorbitant cancellation fees if they want to change cell phone service providers," Feingold said. "This is a basic issue of fairness. Just as I was successful in eliminating unfair termination fees for service members deployed overseas, I hope to find the same success with this common sense proposal."

"At a time when families are taking steps to reduce expenses, this legislation will provide transparency and fair safeguards for American consumers," said Webb. - More...
Monday - December 07, 2009

Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Char and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Dos By DAVE KIFFER - Don Quixote would have gone completely stark, screaming bonkers.

As our train rumbled across the high Spanish plains north of Zaragosa, windmills dotted the horizon for as far as the eye could see.

And they weren't the small wooden ones of Miguel de Cervantes time either. These were the throughly modern 90 meter mega spinners of today's energy thirsty world. Every hill was apparently alive with the sound of "whup, whup, whup," although all we could hear was the clickity clack of the RENFE trail zipping across the country at 150 kilometers an hour.

Even Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" along the Ebro River were topped with the giant party pinwheels. So much for my stereotype of the rustic Spanish countryside.

It was also interesting that there wasn't much empty space there. With the exception of one small area that resembled the badlands of South Dakota, everything was farms, villages and factories. In America, we tend to forget that the old world doesn't have the wide open spaces that we do, which is why the endless vistas of America tend to fascinate the Europeans so much.

Still, it was a great train trip, we had left the hubbub of Barcelona and were speeding toward the start of our Basque tour in San Sebastian cheerfully munching our Jamon Iberica sandwiches and enjoying three times the leg room we'd been granted on the flight over from Seattle. - More...
Monday - December 07, 2009


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Questions, please contact the editor at or call 617-9696.

Letters will soon be updated. Thank you for your patience.

letterOBAMA'S CZARS By Al Johnson - We in the hither land do not have access to the background of many of the persons who have direct control over our daily lives who serve at the pleasure of the President. It is interesting to read of these Czars' varied backgrounds. I don't know about the rest of you, but to me their positions are contrary to what I understand the Constitution and Bill of Rights laid out as our National guidelines. You make the call. - More...
Monday PM - November 30, 2009

letterThanksgiving Away By Jeff Lund - Ten years and change ago, I made a decision I do not regret.

I left home to pursue a college degree and a career away from the sprawling metropolis that is Klawock, Alaska population 750. - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letter Yes we need a Community Police Officer on site at our schools! By Bobbie McCreary - This is so obvious it is hard to imagine that anyone cannot see the value of a SRO (school resource officer) assigned to Ketchikan High School! Especially when that officer is well disposed to forming a trust relationship with, and really cares about working with, our youth to make our schools safe. - More...
Friday - Novembr 27, 2009

letter Alaska Oyster Cooperative By Eric R Wyatt - On Thursday, November 19th, the Alaska Oyster Cooperative was formed, in Naukati Bay on Prince of Wales Island.  A interim-board of directors approved the Articles of Incorporation.  The six member board consists of oyster and clam farmers, who plan to operate the local shellfish nursery and a new shellfish processing facility in Naukati. - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letter Ward Cove By Carol Cairnes - I just read a Viewpoint on SitNews suggesting that a prison be built at Ward Cove. Because of the contamination on the site it can not be used for human habitation. The area has some serious restrictions on it that are known to anyone who reads the EPA reports. - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letterTea Party Slogans By Monica Gaita - You gotta be kidding with this NONSENSE... right??? - More...
Friday - November 27, 2009

letterRE: Ward Cove Comprehensive Plan By Marina Keirn - Why not take the approach that the city of Seward took? When they needed to create sustainable income and job opportunities, they floated a bond and built a prison that was then leased to the State of Alaska. A prison with between 300 - 500 beds would create many opportunities for jobs as Correctional Officers, Medical Providers (Mental Health, Dental, Medical, etc.), Administrative staff, Maintenance personnel, and would also create more jobs in the community through increased demand for Food supplies, Office supplies, Mechanical Materials, Clothing vendors, etc. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letter Lesson three regarding Liberal vs Conservative By A. M. Johnson - Recently I read Vince Flynn's latest book "Pursuit of Honor". At one point during a Senate hearing between a Liberal Democrat Female Senator, who supports late term abortion and was berating the central character, undercover CIA agent, Conservative Mitch Rapp, for torturing a Muslim terrorist to gain information. In response the Mitch Rapp character stated the following. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letter"Going Rogue" By Andy Rauwolf - In response to the letter by Susan Round regarding the various definitions of the word rogue and how they may best apply to Sarah Palin: Susan, in reading the dictionary definitions you posted and which one would best apply to Sarah Palin, since the elephant is the symbol of the republican party, and "to separate from the herd" is considered to be a rogue, you need not look further. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letter RE: TEA Party Slogans Cheap and Shallow By Cindi Davis - Mr. Bolling, you have made SOME valid points. Capitalism does have its problems. However, it sounds like you are advocating dumping our grand experiment in liberty in favor of a socialistic nation. Our last 200 years of history would be rendered meaningless and eventually be as forgotten as any utopia. Our founding fathers would roll in their graves. We would lose the personality and identity we have as a nation. Perhaps socialism could be beneficial. Personally, I doubt it would work. However, let's look it straight in the eye and tell the truth: 1) President Obama's stradegies ARE very socialistic. 2) We are being asked as a nation to take part in a socialistic experiment. 3) We are being lied to and led like a bunch of children by a government who claims this isn't happening. - More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

letterHealthcare Reform By Chris Elliott - Last December I woke up after surgery in a room at Virginia Mason with a homeless female heroin addict in the other bed. I know this because a nurse patiently gathered the woman's medical history and current circumstances before the poor woman slumped across her food tray fast sleep. I'm pretty sure she didn't have health insurance. I'm pretty sure those of us with insurance are covering her in our premiums. (The Uninsured) - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterCell Phones for Soldiers Program By Ed Vitorino - Every year millions of Americans throw their used/broken cell phones in the trash and we all know that it ends up on a landfill. I know we all have them sitting in a drawer somewhere taking up space. What if i told you that we can recycle them and in return the recycling company gives the military members calling cards? - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterOh Sarah Palin..... By Evan Bolling - The much anticipated controversial autobiography, "Going Rogue" written by our very own claim to shame, Frm. Gov. Sarah Palin is now on the bookshelves. A sad day for Alaska, the literary world, and all sentient life too. We should have done a better job keeping the lid on this total embarrassment, but now she's a national satire. And in 2008 the most mocked person on Saturday Night Live. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterGOING ROGUE By Susan Round - The following definitions of the word ROGUE are provided by Merriam Webster Online Dictionary: - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterMillion Dollar Blunder at the Public Library? By Robert D. Warner - With the City Manager's plea to the City Council to increase properity taxes next year, it seems most urgent to end careless and wastefull spending. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterNot in my Backyard By Don Borders - Here in Alaska we are not so energy deprived that we need to go out on a limb to resolve the electrical power needs. We have not even started to explore the tidal influx as a power source where other nations in the world have done so and commissioned such systems to feed their power grids. We do have an abundance additional hydroelectric possibilites and thermal ones such as Chena Hot springs thermal system which has proven to be efficient and has won several awards in its design. So to embrace an "iffy" fringe technological concept just to generate power which would release all kinds of substances into our lean pristine air is just foolish. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterPebble Mine Views By Martha Jacobson - Regarding the Ketchikan Daily News editorial about eating your salmon in Seattle without the restaurant owner sharing views on the Pebble Mine - the issue is way more complicated than narrowing it down to some restaurant chef's political views. Way more! - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterTEA Party Slogans Cheap and Shallow By Evan Bolling - "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of everyone else's money" this becomingly trite slogan was at one point witty and creative. Witty because it employs an intelligent humor and creative because it cunningly neglects the obvious, making it a purely fantastic perspective. Fantastic, from the Latin phantasticius meaning imaginative, fantasy. The root definition has been included to avoid confusion in my intended meaning. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letterName calling By Tom Ferry - Mr. Warner, you say you would find it to be a privilege to vote for Obama's re-election. Hey that's fine , but if you did vote for him the first time and now the second time, you are not even close to being as I am "an independent conservative". - More...
Saturday PM - NOvember 21, 2009

letterLandless Issue By John Morris - I would like to respond to the folks who have this issue. I want you to realize that once you sign on with the ANCSA Corp, whether be regional or village, you are signing away all your aboriginal rights... that is what this Act has done. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

letter Socialism to classroom analogy By Evan Bolling - Al Johnson's socialism to classroom analogy is absolutely genius. Of course, however, if you think about it for even a second more it becomes totally ill conceived. - More...
Saturday PM - November 21, 2009

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