Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2005

Fairbanks crowd pays tribute to victims in unsolved crimes

FAIRBANKS - Leilani McNulty and other Fairbanks residents staged a public tribute to the victims of unsolved murders and missing people, including McNulty's husband, who was killed 11 years ago during a robbery.

About 50 people gathered Tuesday at noon, formed a circle in a plaza and held hands during a prayer. They tossed flowers into the Chena River. They wept.

The range of emotions went from anger that their loved ones' killers have not been found to awe that they are not alone.

"There's so many people who are going through the same thing we are," said Angelo Jimenez, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force whose stepson, Eric Trinidad, was gunned down in January in a South Fairbanks apartment building.

"It's hard to believe there are so many killers running loose," Jimenez said.

Community activist Shirley Demientieff organized the remembrance to bring together grieving families and highlight unsolved homicides and cases of missing persons in Fairbanks.

Most participants were friends and relatives of victims.

The event coincided with the 12th anniversary of the slaying of Sophie Sergie, a 20-year-old woman found dead in a University of Alaska Fairbanks dormitory. Her killer has not been found.

Adult-youth relationships fostered

JUNEAU - As part of an effort to create healthy relationships between youths and adults, an open mike for community members to sing and tell jokes and stories will be offered from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Valentine's Coffee House downtown.

The event, called Connections Cafe, wraps up Juneau Assets Awareness Week, sponsored by the Juneau Coalition for Youth, the Juneau School District, the YES Team, the Juneau-Douglas High School student government, the Association of Alaska School Boards, and Valentine's.

During intermissions Friday, sponsors will talk about the assets that adults can bring to youths, said Mara Early, one of the organizers.

Earlier this week, high school rock musicians and student leaders presented events at the middle schools. On Tuesday, about 20 local service agencies manned informational booths at JDHS.

Medical board revokes license of Anchorage doctor

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska State Medical Board has suspended the medical license of an Anchorage doctor.

The license of Dr. Gary S. Gerlay, 57, was suspended following an investigation by the Division of Occupational Licensing.

The agency concluded that Gerlay, 57, likely had abused prescription medication himself, had issued drugs to some patients without examining them, and had sexual relationships with at least two patients and made improper sexual advances to others.

Dr. Bradford Hare, a Utah pain management doctor who reviewed the investigation and six of Gerlay's patient files at the division's request, concluded that Gerlay posed "a clear and immediate danger to the public." Such a finding allows the board to suspend a doctor's license without holding a hearing.

Hare also said it is "highly likely that Dr. Gerlay has a personal substance abuse problem that has been interfering with his ability to safely and appropriately treat patients."

Gerlay's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said his client denies being impaired while on the job. He criticized the board for suspending Gerlay's license without a hearing.

State rejects floating fuel station

ANCHORAGE - Backers of a proposal for a floating gas station at Knight Island in Prince William Sound say they will appeal a state decision denying their application.

The Department of Natural Resources last week rejected the application to anchor a barge containing fuel and supplies for sale.

The application was sought by Water World LLC, a company formed by several Anchorage businessmen. Spokesman Marty Keef said if the appeal is rejected, the partners could sue.

The department rejected the permit application after reviewing the proposal, more than 500 written comments, and testimony by 45 people at a meeting in December.

Most comments opposed the project, with many people and agency officials saying that a commercial fuel barge would dramatically increase boat traffic in outlying areas, possibly threaten wildlife and marine habitat with spills or congestion, and violate management plans.

Supporters said the fuel station would reduce small spills in the sound because boaters would no longer need to carry extra fuel. Several people also said such an operation had long been needed, offering a haven to sport fishermen and other boaters in the western sound.

Bill could aid formation of Delta area borough

FAIRBANKS - House Speaker John Harris is pushing a proposal that would allow a new borough in the trans-Alaska oil pipeline corridor to exclude the value of the pipeline from state calculations of how much the borough's property is worth.

Backers of a new borough proposed around Delta Junction say the law could help keep them from needing a property tax.

The House district of Harris, R-Valdez, stretches into Delta, a Richardson Highway community 98 miles south of Fairbanks.

The state uses a borough's total value to determine how much local governments must contribute toward K-12 education funding. Boroughs are required to pay the equivalent of 4 mills of their total assessed property value toward education.

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