Posted: Monday, September 27, 2004

Washington residents die in Yakutat

YAKUTAT - Two Washington residents died when their vehicle plunged into the Situk River.

Killed on Thursday were Ralph McSpadden, 50, and his wife, Korrine McSpadden, 47. Their hometown was not available.

Yakutat Police Chief John Nichols told KINY-radio that police received a report at 6:12 p.m. of a vehicle in the lower Situk River.

Police found the McSpadden's vehicle partially submerged in a canal.

The vehicle may have been hugging the edge of the roadway, police said. The soft embankment apparently gave way, flipping it.

The McSpaddens were trapped inside the cab. Emergency workers pulled them from the vehicle and transported them to Yakutat's medical clinic, where they were pronounced dead, Nichols said.

The McSpaddens have fished commercially out of Yakutat for several years, Nichols said.

Tapeworms appear in Interior moose meat

FAIRBANKS - Hunters have been showing up at the Department of Fish and Game with moose meat or organs infected with tapeworms but officials say the parasites should not harm people.

Game officials say the meat is infested with one of the three tapeworms typically found in Alaska moose and caribou. While they might not be appealing to the eye, they should not affect taste or hurt the meat.

The tapeworms typically appear as white, fluid-filled cysts, sometimes the size of golf balls. Humans cannot become infected with any of the three tapeworms by eating the meat of moose or caribou, according to Fish and Game veterinarian Kimberlee Beckmen. People can, however, contract one form through dogs if the dog eats raw game meat.

Most hunters want to know two things, she said.

"They come in and ask what is it and is it safe to eat the meat," said Beckmen. "That's always the question they really want to know."

One reason more hunters may be seeing tapeworm cysts, Beckmen said, is the expanded antlerless moose hunt on the Tanana Flats. Hunters have killed more than 400 cow and calf moose, mostly cows, as part of a hunt to reduce the moose population on the Tanana Flats.

Many of the kills have been old cows. The older a moose is, the more chance it has to become infested with parasites, Beckmen said.

Fairbanks may buy out homes in flood area

FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks North Star Borough officials may team with a federal agency to purchase homes in an area chronically flooded by the Tanana River.

The borough and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service have agreed to purchase easements on properties at risk for flooding along the river near Salcha. The agency has $850,000 to purchase easements.

The borough assembly approved the arrangement last week.

The voluntary plan would pay property owners the assessed value of their home and demolish or move the home, said borough land management director Paul Costello.

Sharon Benerth, one of the homeowner, said the plan could work but that she has questions.

Benerth in 2002 watched through the trap door of her home's crawl space as water rose underneath. Within 10 minutes, the river had reached the top of her hip boots.

"I knew I wasn't getting out of there," she said.

The house stayed upright and after water receded, she and her husband mucked out river silt and rebuilt the downstairs.

Last year, another ice jam on the Tanana River sent floodwaters into the Salcha neighborhood.

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