State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Jonrowe diagnosed with breast cancer

ANCHORAGE - Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe was diagnosed with cancer and will undergo surgery Monday at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

A veteran of 20 Iditarods, Jonrowe, 48, said the diagnosis caught her off-guard because she has no family history of breast cancer, she eats well and exercises.

Jonrowe told more than 200 members of the Downtown Anchorage Rotary Club about her diagnosis at a luncheon Tuesday.

Jonrowe said she discovered a lump during a self-exam and had it biopsied last week. Doctors told her she had a less than 1 percent chance of it being malignant, she said. When she was diagnosis with cancer, Jonrowe was stunned.

Jonrowe said she won't know what stage her cancer is in until she consults with doctors Thursday.

Jonrowe has faced a string of setbacks in recent years. She and her husband, Mike, suffered serious injuries in a car crash on the icy Nenana River Bridge in 1996. Jonrowe's grandmother died in the accident.

Six months after the accident, Jonrowe competed in the grueling 1,100-mile Iditarod and took fourth place.

Jonrowe ran her first Iditarod in 1980 but has never won, though she's been a top-10 finisher in 11 races.

Jonrowe still plans to run next year's Iditarod, although she's going to take things day by day for a while. She'll focus on regaining upper-body strength after the surgery.

"I want to get well and get back on the dog sled right away."

Teen-ager killed in Anchorage collision

ANCHORAGE - A 17-year-old boy was killed Tuesday when a woman driving a van failed to obey a stop sign, Anchorage police said.

Michelle Pungowiyi, 28, was arrested and charged with manslaughter and drunken driving in the death of Chaz Crabb, a South Dakota teen-ager who was visiting his uncle.

Crabb was riding in a Chevy Suburban when the van hit it in Midtown Anchorage shortly before 6 a.m.

Crabb's uncle, Shaun Crabb, and grandparents Mary and Leslie Crabb were treated for minor injuries. Two passengers in Pungowiyi's van also received minor injuries.

Chaz Crabb lived with his grandparents in Arlington, S.D. He has spent the summers in Alaska, working as a deckhand on his uncle's halibut-fishing charter boat.

Coast Guard rescues four from life raft

KODIAK - The Coast Guard rescued four people Tuesday from a life raft after their boat caught fire and an explosion occurred in Shelikof Strait.

The Victor, a 105-foot wooden fishing vessel out of Seattle, caught fire 18 miles east of Cape Kuliak, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Victor was going to Prince William Sound from Bristol Bay to tender salmon when the fire broke out. Mike Thompson Sr., the ship's master suffered burns on his arms and hands.

Two crewmen launched the life raft. Michael Thompson Jr., who heard his father's cries for help from the engine room, helped his father from the vessel.

The Coast Guard in Kodiak sent a helicopter, which arrived about an hour later. The crewmen were forced to swim for the rescue basket but all managed to get in and were lifted to safety.

Thompson was flown to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, where he was being treated.

Compiled from wire service reports.

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