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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 29, 2009

Front Page Photo by SAM SODERSTROM

Sunrise Over the Tongass Narrows
This photo was taken on Saturday, December 26, 2009.
Front Page Photo by SAM SODERSTROM


Ketchikan: NTFD Presents Fire Fighters Awards for 2009 - The North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department (NTVFD) held its annual awards ceremony December 12th. Awards, voted on by members of the department, are intended to acknowledge extra efforts made by members throughout the year according to information provided by Chief Dave Hull.

NTFD Presents Fire Fighters Awards for 2009

Greg Brown, NTVFD Firefighter of the Year. The award was presented by Chief Dave Hull.
Photo courtesy NTVFD

The recipient of the Firefighter of the Year Award went to Greg Brown. Brown was nominated by his peers for his eagerness to lend a hand and for his ability to remain calm during stressful situations said Hull. It was Brown's ability to stay calm during a recent call where despite being momentarily short handed on a fire scene, due to the fact all other personnel were required on a related medical call, Brown was able to supervise the extinguishment of the fire said Hull. While only an official member of the department for a short period of time, Brown has a long-standing relationship of offering his services and skills to the department whenever help is needed said Hull. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

Ketchikan: AMHS Reschedules Matanuska's Return from Overhaul - The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Matanuska will return to the 11-vessel fleet on January 26, 2010, following an extensive overhaul period in Ketchikan.

The ship was originally slated to return to service Jan. 12. Passengers previously booked to travel aboard Matanuska have been reassigned to sail aboard the Taku.

While the Matanuska remains in overhaul status, the ferry Taku and its crew will continue to provide service along Matanuska's regularly scheduled routes.

During the ship's overhaul that began Nov. 14, engineers have been upgrading the vessel's controllable pitch propeller (CPP) system. When the installation is complete, the vessel will be equipped with the most current CPP model. The CPP provides the highest propulsive efficiency for any speed and load condition. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

National: The year of our discontent By CARLA MARINUCCI - The 2009 political year began on a high note of "change" and "hope" and ended in a thud of stalemate, despair and public fury over the economy, health care reform and the war in Afghanistan.

No wonder it may go down as the year of the angry voter.

Americans will remember 2009 as much for the grassroots protests -- at "Tea Party" rallies and town hall meetings crashed by conservatives to demonstrations by public-option-favoring anti-war progressives -- as the Beltway grudge matches that characterized President Barack Obama's first year in office.

But even as they put the year in the rearview mirror, Americans shared common ground across the political divide, with deepening worries about their jobs, their disintegrating savings accounts and their changing health care.

The common message for their state and local elected officials: Do something.

"Voters are angry; I think they're beyond anger," says Democratic strategist Darry Sragow. "They're desperately unhappy and desperately pessimistic, and they have given up hope. This is beyond malaise." - More....
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

National: 2009 was one of worst years in U.S. auto industry's history By DON HAMMONDS - The year 2009 was undeniably one of the worst in the auto industry's history, and we're not just talking about the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler and the overall poor sales.

There were shuttered nameplates such as Saturn, Pontiac and possibly Saab. There were longtime car dealerships forced to close. There were sudden reversals in fortune for brands like Toyota, which, along with plunging sales, was plagued with recalls and safety issues.

There also were unexpected sales flops like Honda's $19,800 hybrid Insight.

According to trade publication Automotive News, Honda initially hoped to sell 90,000 this sales year, then downsized that goal to 60,000 because of the poor economy. Since the launch in March, only 17,530 have been sold, which equals an annual sales rate of about 25,000. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

National: Internet stats ... By LISA HOFFMAN - The proportion of U.S. homes able to go online has mushroomed from 18 percent with Internet access in 1997 to 62 percent in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Of those in 2007, the most recent year for which data was available, 82 percent said they used a high-speed connection.

Other insights: The states with the highest Internet use were Alaska and New Hampshire; the lowest were Mississippi and West Virginia. Only about 35 percent of senior citizens were online, compared with 73 percent of those 18-34 years old. By race, about 73 percent of Asians had Internet access at home, while 69 percent of whites, 51 percent of African-Americans and 48 percent of Hispanics did.

However, a new survey shows that the United States is so far behind in the average speed of Internet downloading that it will take 15 years to catch up with South Korea, which boasts the fastest download time. - More....
Tuesday - December 29, 2009


Health - Fitness: Progress in early detection of Alzheimer's By LEE BOWMAN - Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's can start assaulting brain cells many years before any outward signs of the damage are displayed.

That makes it difficult for doctors trying to come up with early diagnosis and possible interventions for millions of Americans.

Until recently, assorted memory and mental-processing tests were about the only tools doctors had to determine the onset of dementia, and it is often hard to distinguish whether the problem is caused by the tangles and plaque buildup of Alzheimer's, a stroke or some other medical condition, or even an adverse drug reaction.

Scientists have worked with some general measurements of brain-volume loss as a marker for disease, but without much precision. Over the past several years, though, researchers have begun to make strides using various brain-imaging tools to look at structures inside the skull.

Working through data compiled by numerous participants in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, scientists have made enough comparisons between images from scans and autopsies to start to understand what changes in the size or even energy consumption of different parts of the brain might mean. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

Science - Technology: Computer hackers in 2009 showed increasing sophistication By ALEJANDRO MARTINEZ-CABRERA - Security experts describe the typical hacker of 2009 as more sophisticated, prolific and craftier than ever. If anything, criminals will be remembered by the sheer number of attacks they unleashed upon the Web.

While the year didn't see many technological leaps in the techniques hackers employ, they continued to expand their reach to every corner of the Internet by leveraging social media, infiltrating trusted Web sites, and crafting more convincing and tailored scams.

Although there were a handful of firsts -- like the first iPhone worm -- most attacks in 2009 were near-identical to tactics used in prior years, changing only in the victims they targeted and their level of sophistication.

One of the most preoccupying trends was personalized attacks designed to steal small and medium business owners' online banking credentials. The scheme was particularly damaging because banks take less responsibility for the monetary losses of businesses than of individual consumers in identity theft cases. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

Science - Technology: It was a decade of tweets, iPods,Wi-Fi and more By ADRIAN MCCOY - In 2000, the only ones tweeting were the birds. In the age of Twitter, tweeting has a new meaning -- to post messages on Twitter.

The Twitter phenomenon was one of many cyber-culture developments that shaped life in the first decade of the 21st century. Social networking and downloading or streaming music made the Web a hub for socializing and for entertainment.

Personal technology found its way to the world stage. Cell phone cameras captured history, such as the Iranian election protests. Skillful use of social networking sites and the Internet played their first major role in the election of a U.S. president.

Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 most influential developments of the decade: - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009


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

letterRE: Speak up (O.K.) By James J. Schenk - Thank you Chaz Edwardson for your intelligent response to a problem that may face a lot of people soon. The loss of any job in a community such as Ketchikan is a tragedy, believe me I know. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterPROPOSED SMOKING TAX By Teri J. Wilson - The following is an open letter to the Members and Mayor of Ketchikan Gateway Borough: With disgust I read the article in the newspaper of Monday, December 21, 2009, wherein the borough is considering a cigarette tax, the supposed reasons for this are to discourage underage smoking and to create a new revenue source. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterRE: Obama's Czars By Gail Calhoun - I appreciate Mr. Johnson's letter of Nov.30, 2009, which compiled the new leaders in Obama's circle. I feel like this list is very informative. It offers the reader background information, and anything that offers more clarity is needed, because too much is filtered out of the news that is available these days. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterBob Norton By Ken Leland - Like Neil Gray, I was also saddened to read of Bob Norton's passing. I knew that he gave a good fight until the end, yet was always upbeat despite his illness. I fondly remember those days at KTKN in the 80's when we worked at the radio station. He and Tom Allison used to collaborate on some very creative radio ads, and they always came to me as the station engineer to ask for my response. They always cracked me up! I will always remember his "Gramps" characterizations and some of the other zany pieces they put together. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letter RE: Pay raises, and other goodies By Mike Kling - Congress does not vote on COLAs. It is set by a fixed formula based on the CPI (comsumer price index). There was no increase in the 2009 CPI, therefore no COLA increase for 2010. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterWhite House Immersed In Pork Barrel By Donald A. Moskowitz - When President Obama was campaigning for President he made a solemn pledge he would eliminate or reduce earmarks. He broke that promise during the push to implement the new healthcare program. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterMake a difference By Carol Alley - Reach out, offer understanding, if you want to make a difference. - More...
Tuesday - December 29, 2009

letterKPU TELEPHONE SALE: SPEAK UP By Charles Edwardson - WHAT do the Ketchikan telephone division employees think?? Last year I ran for city council. I went to several forums with telephone division employees at these meetings. I asked about the sale of the division and none of them spoke up. I told them I would stand with them, but not for them. They would not express their likes or dislikes about the pending sale -- in confidence I was told they feared for their jobs. This made no sense what so ever to me. Grown men and women (THEORETICALLY) represented by some phantom union that supposedly protects their interests, scared to lose jobs?? Guess what guys,, you're going to anyway if the utility sells so what have you got to lose? (Speak Up) - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter RE: Stimulate not Obliterate By Don Borders - Rhonda Green is correct in the position she wrote about on Sitnews Viewpoint. When I came to this town, I had to pay large deposits on the Electric and Telephone service. Nevertheless, I was happy to get them as other communities in Southeast Alaska had neither. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterOpen Letter to Sen. Begich By Rodney Dial - Dear Senator Begich, I am writing you in this forum because you seem unwilling to respond to those who question your support of the health care reform bills. My question for you is this: Since you support the Senate Health Care Reform plan, which is designed to comply with the President's mandate that the reform be "deficit neutral" (if that is even possible), can we expect you to stand by ALL elements of this bill? Specifically, this legislation requires congress to cut Medicare by $480 Billion over the next ten years. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter Open letter to Sen. Begich By Jay Jones - Could Sen. Mark Begich please explain to me this part of the Health Care Bill you just voted for? "Section 3403 it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterAnother chance! By Al Johnson - Is it not the time for Senator Beigch to come to our local community's assistance? It would seem so. I believe all it would take would be the local Moderate/liberal Republicans jointly with the "Everything is free and all for Me" Democrats, in a bipartisan way, approach Senator Begich to make his vote for National Health Care worth something. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBridge to Nob Hill By Rhett Jackson - The article, Pelosi snares millions in earmarks for her area from defense bill By JOE GAROFOLI, contained a piece of data interesting to Ketchikanites: The earmarks include $54 million for a flood-control project that will raise two trestles used by the Napa Valley Wine Train. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterOur Community Spirit is Showing! By Bobbie McCreary - The Ketchikan City Council tackled the very difficult challenge of balancing their budget in tough economic times, with an uncertain future of tax revenues ahead. Beyond the wisdom of the council members, what impressed me was how the community stepped forward to give what they could to help. To help save jobs, employees offered to take furlough days without pay. To help protect the City's revenue, Kevin Gadsey withdrew his request for a donation of the rental fee at the Ted Ferry Civic Center for a SAIL event and offered his personal donation to cover this cost instead. This modeling of the community pulling together was really inspiring. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterCut equally or not at all By Beth Antonsen - This letter is written to encourage all of you to reconsider the recent cuts to the non-profits. It is commendable that you have decided to reinstate some of the non-profits to 90% of their budgets but there are still two vital agencies you have left at 50% in cuts. Please, if you are going to cut the agencies do it equally the same to all, including to the Visitor's Bureau. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBob Norton By Neil Gray - I was very saddened when I received the news of Bob Norton passing away Monday. Beginning back in the 1970's Bob and I not only were working partners on the air and in Kayhi Sports on KTKN Radio, but became good friends. I'll always remember the days Bob and I covered Kayhi Basketball and Senior League Baseball. He was an excellent color commentator (and filled in play by play when I lost my voice), but one of the best stats man I ever had. He delveloped into a very good play by play man as well. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterParenting podcast By Inge Kummant - As a teacher and the parent of a teen, I often have the challenges of parenting on my mind. If you are a parent, did you know that there is a podcast and radio show available online from the award-winning, well-established, tried and true Love and Logic Institute? - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterWhat happened with the Christmas Lights? By Terry Miles - As everyone might have noticed, the Christmas "Snowflake" Lights that we've enjoyed in the past that hang on the power poles along Tongass Ave. are, at best, let's say, "Random", this year. I was wondering why? In years past the decorations hung from at least every other power pole. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterBeautiful lights By Laurie Hodne - For the family that lives on 2nd Ave that went to obvious extensive work in your light/music display for us to enjoy, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!! - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letter Christmas Spirit By Ken Leland - As a long time Forest Park resident, I applaud your efforts and appreciate your obvious Christmas Spirit. I am disappointed that there is someone who would rather act as Scrooge and spoil it for you and all of us who appreciate your efforts. Please don't let this person or persons dampen your Christmas Spirit. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterPuppy scams By Kathy Brendible - I read the BBB article on puppy scams and I was also a part of that. After reading the article it sounds exactly like what happened to me just last Christmas. I also thought I was buying a bull dog from a breeder, but the exact same thing happened . They said to send money by Western Union and I did . They said that the puppy was going to be shipped and it never showed and I never got any information on the shipping. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Kristin Coffin - Mr. Reed, I completely agree with you! I have two dogs of my own, and have thoroughly enjoyed using the local dog parks in WA and OR while completing graduate school. One of my concerns regarding a move back to town is the lack of open, safe space for my dogs to run and play. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Kim Morton - The trail at D2 loop is the best place we have found for walking our dogs. You can hit the right side and walk for miles and miles, or go to the left and they have an open area that is usually free (but sometimes there are 4 wheelers in the area). It 's a great place because you can keep an eye on your dogs but it is sheltered in by the trees. Also we have never had any problems with people getting angry about off leash dogs because there is no rule against it. Hope to see you out there. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

letterRE: Dog Park By Chris Barry - Mr. Reed, it is nice to have a confirmation that there are some responsible pet owners in Ketchikan that have a desire to let their pets run loose without bothering others. I love being around dogs, and I've always enjoyed having dogs (currently I don't have one). I would support having a pet designated area such as a dog park for multiple reasons that I am sure many locals will agree with. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009

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