Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Speaker Hastert has Rep. Young's support

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JUNEAU - U.S. Rep. Don Young did not join the call for House Speaker Dennis Hastert's resignation over a former Florida congressman's messages to underage boys.

Meredith Kenny, the Alaska Republican's spokeswoman, said Young supports Hastert and will continue to do so until more is known.

"He is not calling for the speaker to step down because we don't know all the facts yet," Kenny said Tuesday.

Young, who is running for re-election, is dodging comment on the scandal itself. Rep. Mark Foley resigned Friday and checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation program after reports surfaced over explicit instant messages he had written in 2003 to teenage boys who once worked as House pages.

"It's not in his character to comment on someone else's personal problems. Well, not problems, someone's personal matters," Kenny said. "He's not going to get involved in this."

The Alaska Democratic Party on Tuesday released a statement urging Young to ask Hastert to resign because of the speaker's failure to take action.

Young's Democratic challenger in the Nov. 7 election, Diane Benson, did not join the state party in demanding Hastert's resignation on Tuesday. She said, however, the nation should expect accountability of its congressional leaders.

Man charged in school meat-cleaver assault

TELLER - A contract worker from Anchorage was assaulted with a meat cleaver as he worked on a fire prevention system at the school in Teller, Alaska State Troopers said.

Guy Robinson, 28, needed stitches to close cuts he suffered when he was attacked by Shawn Pushruk, 19, who was charged with assault.

Teller, population 263, is 72 miles northwest of Nome. It has one school, the James C. Isabell School, for grades kindergarten through 12.

Robinson was working on a control panel just inside the front door when he detected someone behind him, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. Robinson told troopers that Pushruk asked what he was doing.

"The next thing he knows, Shawn Pushruk's hitting him in the back," Wilkinson said.

Pushruk had been drinking alcohol, Wilkinson said.

Robinson fled down the hall and locked himself in the school office.

Troopers from Nome tracked Pushruk to an abandoned Teller house. He was transported to Anvil Mountain Correctional Center to await arraignment in Nome Superior Court.

Robinson was treated at the Teller Clinic with eight stitches before boarding a plane back to Anchorage, Wilkinson said.

N.J. man surrenders in Alaska murder case

ELMER, N.J. - A former New Jersey Department of Transportation worker has surrendered to authorities in Alaska who charged him with a decade-old murder there.

John Thomas Carlin III, 49, of Elmer, is being held on $500,000 bail in Alaska for the murder of Kent J. Leppink, 36, of Anchorage. He turned himself in to Alaska authorities on Monday.

The victim was shot several times with a handgun in May 1996, most likely in the wilderness near Hope, New Jersey authorities said. The New Jersey State Police major crimes unit had been working on the case with Alaska authorities for the past year.

Leppink had been living with Carlin in Anchorage at the time of the murder. Both men were romantically involved with the same woman, who also lived in the same home with the two men.

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