Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Man tries to swim away from police

JUNEAU - A 23-year-old man who tried to flee police early Tuesday was pulled unconscious from the Mendenhall River.

Joshua Welty, who police said had an outstanding parole violation, jumped into the river after a brief chase, according to police reports. At about 3:15 p.m., officers responded to a reported fight at Riverbend Housing in the 2800 block of Postal Way. They found Welty behind the complex and he fled on foot, police reported.

After a brief chase, Welty jumped into the river. Officers reported they kept him in sight as the current swept him downstream. About a quarter-mile downriver from where he jumped in, they pulled him out.

Capital City Fire and Rescue Crews treated him at the scene and took him to Bartlett Regional Hospital, police said. After he was released from the hospital, police lodged him at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Man charged with felony drunk driving

JUNEAU - A 24-year-old Douglas man was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on a felony drunken driving charge after he was injured in an accident at about 5 p.m. at the Douglas Bridge.

John Manolakakis was driving a vehicle that rear-ended a vehicle driven by an 18-year-old Douglas man while both were making a right turn onto the bridge from Egan Drive, according to police. Officers said the driver in front of Manolakakis had stopped for traffic that had the right of way when his vehicle was hit.

Manolakakis sustained a minor facial injury and was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital before police took him into custody on the drunken driving charge, police said.

Manolakakis had drunken driving convictions in 2001 and 2004, according to police and state court records.

Palin files letter of intent to run in 2006

JUNEAU - Former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin has filed a letter of intent to run for state office in 2006. Whether it's for governor or lieutenant governor remains to be seen.

Palin, a Republican, filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Monday. The letter does not require Palin to say which office she will seek, but allows her to begin raising campaign money.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Palin on Tuesday for comment were not immediately successful.

Candidates must file a declaration of candidacy before June 1, 2006, if they want to be on the ballot. A letter of intent must be filed with APOC before a declaration of candidacy is made.

The general election is Nov. 7, 2006.

Palin, 41, lost the Republican primary for lieutenant governor to Loren Leman in 2002. As chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation, she called for state Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich's resignation from the commission in 2003 over ethics violations.

Priest accused of sexual abuse

ANCHORAGE - A man who claims he was molested in his teens by a longtime Roman Catholic priest here filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the now retired clergyman and church leaders in Anchorage and Boston.

The plaintiff, identified only as Joseph Doe, is seeking at least $100,000 for pain and suffering, with the exact award to be determined at trial.

The lawsuit names the Rev. Francis Murphy, who was ordained in Boston before he was assigned in Anchorage in 1966. Other defendants are the archbishops of Anchorage and Boston and the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, Boston-based diocesan priests that the plaintiff asserts brokered Murphy's transfer to Alaska even though the group normally assigns priests to South American countries.

The plaintiff no longer lives in Anchorage and doesn't want to disclose his current whereabouts, said Ken Roosa, an Anchorage attorney who has represented others alleging past abuse by Alaska-based priests. The man, who is now his late 30s, began to face his emotional injuries stemming from the abuse only in the past two years, according to the 18-page lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Anchorage.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Murphy for comment Tuesday were not immediately successful.

The Archdiocese of Anchorage has said that at least five other people have previously accused Murphy of abuse.

Borough votes 'yes' to offshore oil leasing

ANCHORAGE - The six-village Aleutians East Borough Assembly has voted unanimously to allow offshore oil and gas leasing in Bristol Bay.

The resolution expresses support for offshore leasing so long as fish are protected, exploration is environmentally safe, and oil and gas companies provide business opportunities to local residents.

The borough is the closest local government to the offshore area, which may contain trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.

Shell oil company has talked of drilling offshore to find and develop the gas, a project that could generate hundreds of millions of tax dollars for local and state government.

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