Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Teenager injured in highway accident

JUNEAU - Police are investigating a North Douglas Highway accident that came to their attention early Monday when a 19-year-old man showed up at Bartlett Regional Hospital with injuries.

The man, who police did not identify, showed up at the emergency room bleeding from the face at 1:13 a.m. after friends drove him to the hospital, police said. He reported that he had been in a car accident.

Early in the investigation officers reported they believe alcohol and excessive speed were contributing factors.

Police found the man's car in the 9800 block of Douglas Highway, officers reported. The car apparently struck an embankment and a fire hydrant, rotated 180 degrees and ended up on its side, wedged among several trees. Police later located an 18-year-old man they believe was in the car. He was checked by medical personnel, they reported.

Wal-Mart alters store plans after complaints

ANCHORAGE - Wal-Mart is offering changes to a planned Supercenter and Sam's Club in Muldoon after residents complained the retail giant would destroy the quiet and charm of nearby neighborhoods.

Wal-Mart proposes a Supercenter close to DeBarr Road, rather than building next to a 1950s subdivision along Old Harbor Road, a neighborhood with some original ranch houses and big yards and trees. The retail chain would put a Sam's Club, which is smaller, near Old Harbor instead.

Wal-Mart also says it will shield the neighborhood from the sights and sounds of its business with an 85-foot width of trees and other plants and a large berm.

A community meeting last week showed the changes have still not won the hearts of many Muldoon residents in the debate. Talk included whether the city should be working with Wal-Mart on design when some people do not want the stores at all.

Wal-Mart is trying to pay more attention to local residents when it builds stores across the country, said Eric Berger, the company's Northwest regional community affairs manager.

"We have just found over the past few years that communities want a more unique design," he said.

Era Aviation founder dead at age 85

ANCHORAGE - Carl Brady Sr., the founder of Era Aviation, has died at his Anchorage home. He died Saturday at age 85.

Brady taught flying in the Army Aircorp and founded Era Aviation in 1958. He also was a former state representative and state senator during the 1960s.

Brady was born in Oklahoma and raised in Arkansas. In 1948, on his first visit to Alaska, he brought with him a Bell 47A helicopter and set up a commercial helicopter business.

Era opened a base at Merrill Field in Anchorage in 1958. The company expanded into the Kenai in 1962. It eventually would grow to employ more than 800 people and play a strong role in the Alaska and Gulf of Mexico petroleum support industry, according to the company's Web site.

Over the years, Era strengthened its customer base by serving communities including Juneau, Kodiak, Valdez, Cordova, Homer and Kenai.

Brady also served as president of the Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Republican Party.

Pastor is removed from ministry

FAIRBANKS - A priest accused of sexual abuse was removed from ministry in Fairbanks, according to a letter read at Sunday services to parishioners throughout the diocese.

Bishop Donald Kettler said in the letter that he made the decision after reviewing the diocese's internal investigation, which included testimony from McCaffrey.

McCaffrey had been on administrative leave since May in response to an allegation that he sexually abused a minor about 25 years ago.

Earlier this month, a woman raised in Tununak, a village on Nelson Island, filed a civil lawsuit against McCaffrey, saying he molested her several times over a yearlong period starting in 1978 when she was 10 years old.

The lawsuit had named the Diocese of Fairbanks and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province as defendants. The church organizations hid his acts from scrutiny and knew or should have known about McCaffrey's sexual misbehavior, said the suit filed by Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa.

McCaffrey, 62, is living with the Oregon Jesuit community in Portland and has been told of Kettler's decision.

Mat-Su school to be closed for the year

ANCHORAGE - Su Valley High School will be closed for the entire year because its building may not be able to withstand heavy snows or earthquakes, Mat-Su officials said.

The decision to close Susitna Valley Junior/Senior High School results from an investigation commissioned by school officials that found major problems with the roof and some interior walls.

"The roof system was found to be severely deficient for snow loading. If there was more than 18 inches of snow and there was an earthquake, it would be a real danger," Mat-Su Borough manager John Duffy said Friday in an e-mail he sent to the mayor and assembly members.

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