State Briefs

Posted: Friday, August 09, 2002

Cruise ship hit by illness leaves Vancouver

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - After two consecutive sailings hit by contagious illness, and a week of intensive sanitation by 650 cleaners, Holland America's Ryndam cruise ship left Thursday afternoon for Alaska with a full passenger load of 1,300 people.

In late July, the Ryndam experienced an outbreak of a flu-like illness, and 163 passengers and seven crew members became ill with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Less than a week later, the same ship, loaded with a new group of passengers, had another outbreak of the same Norwalk-like virus. When it arrived in Vancouver last week, 200 passengers and 31 crew members were sick.

The Ryndam was docked for the week while crews thoroughly cleaned the ship with chlorine and hydrogen peroxide solutions. Health Canada officials said Wednesday they were satisfied the ship had been properly disinfected and was ready to sail.

Among those boarding the freshly sanitized Ryndam, Catherine Nicol said she knew of the two viral attacks aboard the ship before she left her Edmonton home, but said she wasn't concerned about a third wave of illness sweeping over the ship.

"We'll probably have the cleanest cruise of the year," said Nicol, who didn't bother taking out cancellation insurance in case of illness.

Tour of Juneau bike race on tap this weekend

JUNEAU - The seventh annual Tour of Juneau three-day stage bicycle race begins today on streets and highways around the area.

Motorists are urged to be aware of bicyclists on the road in the following locations:

• Today, starting at 6:30 p.m.: The Cordova Street and Blueberry Hills vicinity. Bicyclists will be climbing the hill from the south end of the Douglas Bridge to the top of Jackson Road.

• Saturday starting at 10 a.m.: North Douglas Highway from the Eaglecrest bus turnaround to 12 mile.

• Sunday starting at 10 a.m.: Glacier Highway from the ferry terminal to 33 mile; Lena Loop Road; Old Glacier Highway near the Auke Village Recreation Area.

The Tour de Juneau includes riders from Juneau and other communities around Southeast Alaska; Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; and Washington state. They accumulate points from the three stages, with the highest cumulative point totals determining the men's and women's winners.

Auditions set next week for Juneau opera

JUNEAU - The Juneau Lyric Opera has announced auditions for its fall production of Gian Carlo Menotti's classic Christmas opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors."

Auditions will be held Wednesday, Aug. 14. Call 789-4604 for an audition time and location. Bring two copies of the music. The casting director recommends singers memorize a song that shows off their voice. Be prepared for some movement and wear comfortable clothes.

The roles available are: Amahl (boy soprano), the Mother (soprano), King Kaspar (tenor), King Melchior (baritone), King Balthazar (bass), the Page (baritone), and there are chorus roles.

Rehearsals begin at the end of October, and the production will be staged Dec. 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14. William Todd Hunt will serve as music director and Terry Cramer will be the stage director.

Corpse set ablaze near Girdwood

GIRDWOOD - The burned body of a young woman was found along a dirt road near a popular trail north of Girdwood early Thursday. Alaska State Troopers and Anchorage police were investigating the woman's death as a homicide.

Three suspects were taken into custody late Thursday, but Anchorage police were releasing little information about them.

Authorities did not release the name or address of the victim but said she was in her early 20s.

Her body apparently had been dumped on Crow Creek Road less than half a mile from the Crow Pass trail and deliberately set afire, authorities said.

An autopsy was being done to determine the cause of death, troopers said.

"It's weird. It's in my back yard," said Kurtis Kramer, 26, who lives at mile 4.5 Crow Creek Road. "It freaks me out being so remote."

Compiled from local and wire service reports.

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