Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2004

Fast ferry open to public Saturday

JUNEAU - The Alaska Marine Highway will open its first fast vehicle ferry to the Juneau public on Saturday.

The Fairweather, just delivered from its shipyard in Bridgeport, Conn., will be open to the public from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Auke Bay ferry terminal.

The 235-foot catamaran, homeported in Juneau, will carry 250 passengers and up to 35 vehicles. For five days a week it will make separate trips from Juneau to Haines and Juneau to Skagway. Two days a week it will travel between Juneau and Sitka.

The Fairweather will generally travel at 32 knots, or 36 mph. The vessel employs a twin-hull design made of lightweight aluminum. It is powered by four medium-speed diesel engines, each driving a waterjet propulsor.

The Fairweather cost $40 million and will replace the ferry Taku, which will be sold.

The Fairweather sailed from the Derecktor shipyard in Connecticut in early March. After traveling along the eastern seaboard, through the Panama Canal, and up the Pacific coast, the vessel docked in Seattle. It headed for Alaska waters on Thursday morning and is expected to arrive in Ketchikan tonight.

It will then travel up the inside passage to Juneau, with plans to dock at noon at the west end Alaska Marine Highway berth in Auke Bay.

Perseverance Theatre announces new finale

DOUGLAS - Perseverance Theatre announced Thursday that it is postponing the world premiere of its new musical, "The Long Season," until spring 2005 and will fill the final slot in its 25th anniversary season with the West Coast premiere of Julie Jensen's new comedy "WAIT!"

"Delays are not unexpected when you are dealing with new work," said Executive Director Jeffrey Herrmann, "especially when it is something as complex as a musical."

"WAIT!" will be directed by Anita Maynard-Losh, who first met Jensen at a national theatre conference in New York in 2002. It stars Ekatrina Oleksa, Emily Windover, Doniece Falcon and Chris Kauffman. The play opens May 7.

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UAS holds talent show at Pioneers' Home

Juneau - The University of Alaska Southeast Student Alumni Association will sponsor a talent show at the Juneau Pioneers' Home at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 27.

The show will include 15 to 20 college students and faculty, performing belly dance, spoken word, comedy, swing dance, mime, juggling, skits and songs on piano.

"Some of the students are into the social science field, and some are into liberal arts, and I wanted to reach out to the community," said UAS non-traditional student and SSA member William Branlund. "This is way for them to give back and interact with the community and the people who helped build this college."

Second woman accuses priest of sexual abuse

FAIRBANKS - A second woman says she was molested by the Rev. James Poole, a Jesuit priest and founder of Catholic radio station KNOM in Nome.

The new allegations come a week after another woman filed a lawsuit claiming she was sexually abused by Poole for seven years, starting when she was 10 years old and living in Nome.

The second woman, who lives in Anchorage, has hired an attorney, said the Rev. Richard Case, chancellor for the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese.

The diocese learned of the latest allegations Monday after the woman contacted the Anchorage Archdiocese's victim advocate, Case told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Poole was pastor at St. Joseph's Parish Council during the 22 years he lived in Nome and managed radio station KNOM.

Poole left Nome in 1986, when he was reassigned to Tacoma, Wash, serving as a hospital and nursing home chaplain until 2002. Now 80, he is retired and living in a Jesuit home in Spokane, Wash.

Since the lawsuit was filed in Bethel March 15, KNOM has sent out letters to 29,000 supporters nationwide and 159 former station volunteers, said station manager Tom Busch.

Both letters detail information about the lawsuit, which was filed by an Alaska Native woman against Poole, the Fairbanks Diocese and the Jesuit Oregon Province. The unnamed plaintiff is identified as "Jane Doe."

"I wanted as many people as possible to hear it from us first," Busch said. "I want to do everything to keep on the good work that KNOM does and prevent the mission from being seriously harmed by the actions of one individual who may have committed improprieties."

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