Northwest Digest

Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, March 03, 2005

Geoduck farmer sues to stop fishery

KETCHIKAN - A geoduck clam farm leaseholder on Wednesday sought a court order to block the Department of Fish and Game from conducting a commercial fishery on its farm sites and others in southern Southeast Alaska.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski took the matter under advisement, said Lance Johnson, an assistant attorney general.

Etolin Enterprises received leases for two farm sites near Wrangell on Feb. 7. Its lawsuit was a response to the department's Feb. 11 announcement that some 27 geoduck sites in the region would be open for harvests of wild clams by qualified commercial divers as soon as Tuesday.

According to the department, the one-time fishery's goal was to ensure that farm sites did not have significant populations of wild geoducks.

The goal stems from an Alaska Supreme Court ruling last year that the department lacks authority to give aquatic farmers exclusive rights to harvest wild stocks from their lease sites.

Etolin Enterprises' lawsuit claims a fishery could cause irreparable harm to its farm site by disturbing the sea floor.

In addition, the lawsuit claims the fishery would violate the state constitution's "sustained yield" principle for managing natural resources.

The state's lawyers also deny that the fishery would violate constitutional provisions, including the sustained yield principle.

"The overall harvest is estimated to be much less than 2 percent of the biomass of geoducks in the regions affected," according to the states filing.

Settlement reached in priest abuse case

ANCHORAGE- The Roman Catholic Church and a woman who accused a Nome priest of molesting her in the 1970s have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit she filed against the church, her attorney said.

Attorney Ken Roosa said Wednesday that the two sides have reached a binding agreement. The paperwork is being finished on the settlement expected to be in the $1 million range, he said.

Elsie Boudreau, identified in court documents as Jane Doe 1, sued the Rev. James Poole, the Diocese of Fairbanks, the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, and the Alaska Jesuits in March last year.

Boudreau went public because she felt it empowered her and would help others to come forward as well, Roosa said.

Boudreau accused Poole, a Jesuit, of kissing and fondling her dozens of times, starting in 1978 during summer visits to Nome and lasting until she was 16. The abuse included heavy petting and having her lie on top of him, the lawsuit says.

Poole, 81, founded KNOM radio in Nome. He first arrived in Alaska in 1948 as a seminarian. He was assigned to Holy Cross, Pilot Station, Marshall, Mountain Village, St. Marys, Barrow and Nome over a 40-year career. Poole now lives in a Jesuit retirement community in Spokane, Wash.

Boudreau said in a recent interview that she decided to sue after discussions with Fairbanks Bishop Donald Kettler about counseling that bothered her. The bishop put parameters on paying for counseling, she said.

The Diocese of Fairbanks and the Jesuits confirmed that they were working on a settlement with Boudreau.

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