Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Activists plan Constitution vigil

JUNEAU - A "Protect the Constitution" vigil to protest wire-tapping by the National Security Agency and the Bush administration will be held at 4:30 p.m. today at Marine Park.

The protest in Juneau is one of as many as 250 "Constitution vigils" held across the country today and sponsored by and local peace activist groups. Juneau People for Peace and Justice has also been involved in organizing the local vigil by hanging up and handing out flyers.

"It is a pretty large national event," volunteer Paul Nelson of Haines said.

Nelson, one of the vigil's coordinators, said it will be a peaceful demonstration and that the organizers have "no intention of any civil disobedience."

Judge dismisses church abuse lawsuit

FAIRBANKS - A judge on Tuesday dismissed a civil lawsuit filed against the Fairbanks Catholic diocese and another Catholic organization by a woman who claimed to have been sexually abused by a priest.

Nome Superior Court Judge Ben Esch ruled the woman, who claimed she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the Rev. James Poole more than two decades ago, waited too long to report the alleged abuse.

"This will be seen as unjust by many people, but is, I believe, required by the laws of the state of Alaska and the decisions of the Alaska Supreme Court," Esch wrote.

"If Christ were on Earth today, I don't think he would have served a statute of limitations defense against a priest," said Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa, who defended the woman.

He called Esch "a decent man, but respectfully we think he is wrong, and we plan to file an appeal."

Search resumes for Agent Orange

FAIRBANKS - The search has resumed for six barrels that might contain the cancer-causing chemical Agent Orange believed buried on a property in Tok.

A year ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the owner of the property failed to agree on terms for coming onto the property. John Terwilliger, owner of Nugget Construction, wanted the corps to pay thousands of dollars to move heavy equipment from the land. The equipment must be moved so that steel-seeking equipment can be used to locate the barrels.

Agent Orange is a herbicide that has been linked to cancer in Vietnam veterans.

Terwilliger now wants to expand a shop on the property and can't proceed with the project until he knows there is no Agent Orange, or other toxic substances, located in the soil that might be stirred up during construction.

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