Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Attorneys move to dismiss suit

JUNEAU - Attorneys for the city and the Juneau Empire have asked for the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit filed by a Juneau man.

Jake Olivit Sr., acting as his own attorney, filed a suit in June against the city, City Attorney John Hartle, the Empire and reporter Tony Carroll, claiming a Dec. 3 article defamed him, invaded his privacy rights and violated his civil rights. The story was about a suit Olivit filed against the city in December 2004, in which Hartle was quoted.

Eric Kueffner, of the Faulkner Banfield law firm, is representing Hartle and the city. In his motion for dismissal, he wrote that that the article "for the most part ... simply recited facts from pleadings the Mr. Olivit himself had filed."

He wrote that none of the statements attributed to Hartle were defamatory.

Leslie Longenbaugh, of Simpson, Tillinghast, Sorensen and Longenbaugh, representing the Empire and Carroll, also sought dismissal in her response to the suit, denying Olivit's claim that the Dec. 3 article was "full of lies."

The article stated that the December lawsuit against the city, which also named the police department and officer Paul Comolli, was the fifth lawsuit Olivit had filed against the city.

Mayoral candidate gets to keep radio show

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Public Offices Commission sees no problem with a radio personality keeping his show, even as he plans to run for Anchorage mayor.

In an advisory opinion, APOC said Jack Frost can stay on the air but can't discuss his mayoral campaign, or anyone else's.

For two hours every weekday, Frost has the ear of whoever might be listening to Anchorage's self-proclaimed liberal talk radio outlet, KUDO-AM.

A few months ago, when Frost, a self-proclaimed conservative, was pondering a second campaign for mayor of Anchorage, he asked APOC whether his air time would cause problems.

"It appears an attorney doesn't have to give (up) his profession to run for office, our current Mayor didn't have to sell his apartments to run for Mayor, nor would a journalist be required to give up his job to run for Mayor," Frost wrote in a letter to the panel.

"Since the show is an educational program, and a normal part of my profession, could I continue operating, as long as I'm not using the show to promote my campaign?"

That's no problem, APOC said in the opinion issued at its last meeting. But if Frost discusses his mayoral campaign on the radio, the air time becomes a reportable, and probably excessive, campaign contribution.

Harbor planned for village of False Pass

ANCHORAGE - Mariners will have another safe haven on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula under plans for a new harbor at the tiny village of False Pass.

Officials with the Aleutians East Borough said construction of the $12.8 million harbor could begin this year and be complete by fall 2006.

"Harvesters around Alaska will soon be able to permanently and temporarily moor their vessels safely in False Pass with convenient access to both the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea so they can participate in a variety of fisheries," borough administrator Bob Juettner said Monday. "This is something that's been needed for years."

The harbor will have space for 88 boats between 30 and 100 feet in length.

False Pass, with just 62 residents, is on the eastern shore of Unimak Island on the first strait connecting the North Pacific to the Bering Sea. It is 646 miles southwest of Anchorage.

According to the state's community information summaries, False Pass got its name because the Bering Sea side of the strait is extremely shallow and cannot accommodate large vessels.

The community has no protected anchorage, Juettner said. A half-moon beach offers some natural protection in summers but not winter.

Former state Sen. Don Gilman dead at 71

JUNEAU - Don Gilman, a former Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor and state senator, died Monday at age 71.

"Don Gilman was a good friend and a tireless public servant," Gov. Frank Murkowski said in a news release. "I knew and respected him as a statesman, a leader and an advocate for the people of the Kenai Peninsula Borough."

Gilman moved to Alaska in 1968 and was well known as an educator, a businessman and a public servant. He served as Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor from 1975 to 1980. He was elected to the state Senate from 1980 through 1984.

In 1987, Gilman was again elected borough mayor, serving two terms until 1996.

He led the Kenai Peninsula Borough response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill and helped establish the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council. He also worked to increase protections for the Kenai River, and he served as co-host of the Kenai River Classic fishing tournament for several years.

The governor said state flags would be lowered until July 27 to honor Gilman.

Waste-plant work plan mandated

RICHLAND, Wash. - Officials with the U.S. Department of Energy at south-central Washington's Hanford nuclear reservation must submit an outline by Sept. 2 for halting work on the massive waste treatment plant at the site, according to a memo by agency officials in Washington, D.C.

The plant is the federal government's largest construction project, but skyrocketing costs forced the department to announce plans to halt some construction late last month.

The move came as a congressional subcommittee requested an investigation into the rising costs of the plant, which is being built to treat millions of gallons of radioactive waste left from Cold War-era nuclear weapons production.

The Energy Department's Office of River Protection must submit a comprehensive plan to agency headquarters outlining an orderly halt to construction on the plant.

The plan is due Sept. 2, said Charles Anderson, principal deputy assistant secretary for environmental management, in a memo to Roy Schepens, manager of the Office of River Protection.

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