State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2002

State warns of PSP danger from Excursion Inlet mussels

ANCHORAGE - State environmental officials Tuesday issued a warning about paralytic shellfish poisoning in Excursion Inlet mussels.

Seven people experienced symptoms, and one person had to be hospitalized, after eating mussels from the inlet about 40 miles west of Juneau, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Mike Ostasz, an environmental health worker with DEC, said a group of cannery workers gathered mussels in the area Sept. 2 and ate them that evening. He said within minutes some in the group developed classic symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning, including numbness of the face and lips.

One person had to be taken to Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Tests of the mussels showed levels of 6,000 and 7,000 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue, well above the PSP standard of 80 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue.

DEC said the warning does not apply to commercially grown and harvested mussels and other shellfish, found in grocery stores and restaurants. Those foods are tested regularly before marketing.

Princess to unveil smaller cruise ship

ANCHORAGE - Princess Cruises is adding a smaller vessel to its Alaska lineup next summer.

The new 595-foot Pacific Princess carries 688 passengers. The cruise line's largest vessel, the Star Princess, is 950 feet long and carries 2,600 passengers.

Princess bought the new, smaller vessel from Renaissance Cruises, which went bankrupt last year.

Princess says the ship will make 10, 11-day tours out of San Francisco. Stops will include Victoria or Vancouver, Ketchikan or Sitka, and Juneau and Skagway.

State looks to recoup firefighting costs

KENAI - The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is looking to recoup the costs of fighting nine fires this year in the Kenai-Kodiak area.

The forestry office in the Kenai-Kodiak area is seeking to recover $55,477 in fire suppression costs from the people responsible for the blazes. Most of the fires were in the Anchor Point and Homer areas.

Dry grass in areas that had been cleared of spruce bark beetle killed trees contributed to the spread of those fires, officials said.

More than half of the 51 wildfires in the Kenai-Kodiak area were caused by escaped controlled burns. Ten percent were caused by campfires. And 2 percent were caused by children with matches, said Sharon Roesch, fire prevention officer. Other fires were caused by lightning, power lines and vehicles.

Minto man stabbed at camp

FAIRBANKS - A woman has been charged in the stabbing of a Minto man, according to Alaska State Troopers.

David Titus, 48, was stabbed four times last week at a hunting camp 25 miles from Minto. He received cuts under his right eye, his forehead and right shoulder blade.

Victoria Cross, 44, of Nikiski was charged with stabbing Titus. Titus has said he does not know the woman and doesn't remember if anything may have provoked an attack.

Cross was charged with third-degree assault and is being held on $50,000 bail. The high bail was because of 11 prior convictions for assault and prostitution, according to the complaint.

After Titus was stabbed, his friends duct-taped his wounds and put him in a boat to get medical help, according to Minto Village Public Safety Officer Samuel Flyinghorse.

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