State Briefs

Posted: Monday, April 07, 2003

Blackhawk crew sends out anti-drug message

JUNEAU - Valley residents near Floyd Dryden Middle School can expect a slightly noisier morning than most on Tuesday.

A Blackhawk helicopter, part of the National Guard Counter Drug Support Program, will land on Adair-Kennedy Memorial field at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to deliver an anti-drug message to Floyd Dryden students, said principal Tom Milliron.

"It's kind of a late notice, but we're going to take advantage of them coming in," Milliron said.

Members of the National Guard will talk to middle school students about the importance of remaining drug-free.

"They'll emphasize the fact that they need a clear mind to do the job they do," Milliron said.

The helicopter will leave the school around 11:40 a.m. The event is not open to the public.

Drivers in training

JUNEAU - Princess Tours is training its 85 local driver and guides in preparation for the 2003 tour season. The drivers and guides are firefighters, teachers and others from the community - many of whom have worked for Princess for several years, the company said.

The training will take place on city streets with Princess motor coaches and mini-buses. The training should be completed in about five weeks, said Kirby Day, director of shore operations for Princess Cruises and Tours.

Princess motor coaches also will be on the road next month as the company begins its annual support of SeaWeek for Juneau schools. The company has provided transportation for the program for the past 11 years.

Alaska seafood closer to earning organic label

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska seafood industry could be labeling wild-caught fish as "organic" for marketing purposes within the year, according to Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office.

"Wild salmon from the pristine waters of Alaska are as close to 'natural' or 'organic' as any product of any type anywhere," Murkowski said Friday. "Alaska salmon is as wholesome, if not more, than any other organic product on the market."

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and Murkowski introduced the legislation Thursday to allow Alaska salmon and other wild-fish products to be labeled organic food. The amendment was added to the Senate's appropriations bill approved Thursday.

The legislation allows the secretary of agriculture to develop regulations to designate wild-caught products as organic. Currently, wild-caught fish can't use this as a marketing tool.

Wild fish couldn't be considered organic because their food supply can't be traced as organic.

Under the amendment, the secretary of agriculture must consult the National Organic Standards Board, processors, consumers and the secretary of commerce, before designating wild seafood as organic for labeling purposes. The Alaska seafood industry has been working to get wild fish recognized as organic for several years.

Testimony continues in Ketchikan murder case

JUNEAU - Prosecutors tried Friday to establish a timeline to show Jose M. "Che" Mateu murdered his father in Ketchikan three years ago. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, closely questioned prosecution witnesses who they claim botched the case.

Mateu, 20, is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the January 2000 shooting death of Jose R. Mateu. The trial is his third. Two trials in Ketchikan ended with hung juries.

Assistant Public Defender Julia Moudy challenged the conclusion of Dr. Franc Fallico, acting chief state medical examiner, that Mateu died shortly after eating dinner. Mary Woodley, Che Mateu's mother and Jose Mateu's ex-wife, testified she talked to her son and ex-husband the night troopers say the elder Mateu was shot.

A former co-worker of the elder Mateu, Renata Kline, testified she spoke on the phone with Jose Mateu twice on the night of Jan. 13. Mateu, a furnace technician on call that night, placed the second call at about 9 p.m. and said he was turning off his pager and turning on the phone next to his bed.

Group takes over former Wards Cove plant

The "son" in E.C. Phillips and Son, Cliff Phillips, is one of a group of Ketchikan fish processors who now own the E.C. Phillips and Son processing plant there.

Wards Cove announced the closure of its nine fish processing plants in Alaska on Dec. 12. The Seattle firm Zachary Scott & Co. has been working with Wards Cove to find buyers for the plants, including the two in Ketchikan.

"Cliff and his group have deep roots in the Ketchikan community and decades of experience in the fish processing industry," said Wards Cove Packing Co. Chairman Alec Brindle in a statement released Friday by the company.

Longtime Wards Cove employee Larry Elliot will serve as president of E.C. Phillips and Son. He will oversee the company's main processing plant and cold storage facility in Ketchikan, as well as a buying station in Craig, company officials said.

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