- - Sunday, April 17, 2011

ALASKA

State says no need to test fisheries

ANCHORAGE | Federal and state of Alaska health officials say North Pacific fish are so unlikely to be contaminated by radioactive material from the crippled nuclear plant in Japan that there’s no reason to test them.

Dangerous levels of radiation have been reported off the coast from the Fukushima reactor complex.

But a spokeswoman for the federal Food and Drug Administration tells the Anchorage Daily News that the ocean is so huge, and Alaska fisheries so far away, that there is no realistic threat.

Alaska’s food safety program manager, Ron Klein, says the FDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have demonstrated that Alaskans have no cause for worry. Mr. Klein says that based on the work they’re doing, no sampling or monitoring of fish is necessary.

COLORADO

Mom on Facebook sentenced in drowning

GREELEY | A Colorado woman who was playing games on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a bathtub has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Fort Lupton was sentenced Friday. Her sentence includes five years of mandatory parole after her prison term. Johnson was charged with child abuse that knowingly or recklessly caused death. She pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse last month.

Johnson said she found her baby face-down in a bathtub in September. She told investigators she had been playing the game Cafe World on Facebook in another room while her son was alone in a bathtub full of water.

The Greeley Tribune reported that Johnson said her son, Joseph, was independent and wanted to be alone in the tub.

GEORGIA

Study: Half of supermarket meat may have staph bug

ATLANTA | A new report estimates that half the meat and poultry sold in the supermarket may be tainted with the staph germ.

That estimate is based on 136 samples of beef, chicken, pork and turkey purchased from grocery stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Flagstaff, Ariz., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Researchers found more than half contained Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can make people sick. Worse, half of those contaminated samples had a form of the bacteria resistant to at least three kinds of antibiotics.

Proper cooking should kill the germs. But the report suggests that consumers should be careful to wash their hands and take other steps not to spread bacteria during food preparation.

IDAHO

Digger readied in bid to find lost miner

MULLAN | Mining company officials brought in a remote-controlled digging machine Sunday to help try to reach a worker missing since a tunnel collapsed deep inside an Idaho mine.

The special digger must be disassembled before being taken more than a mile below the surface, where it will be put back together, according to Hecla Mining Company officials. Officials said the machine should be underground by Sunday evening, but it was unclear how soon the process of reassembling the device would be finished or when rescuers would be able to put it to work.

The roof of a tunnel at the Lucky Friday Mine collapsed Friday as two brothers were working, trapping one of the men but the other was able to escape, according to officials and family members.

Officials have not had contact with 53-year-old Larry Marek, a 30-year mining veteran, since the collapse and his condition was unknown. The brother who escaped, whose name wasn’t immediately available, wasn’t injured.

TEXAS

Vehicle accident blamed in fireman’s death

EASTLAND | A state trooper says a preliminary investigation shows a Texas firefighter died after being hit by a vehicle after he fled a firetruck trapped in a wildfire-consumed pasture.

Senior State Trooper Phillip “Sparky” Dean told the Associated Press on Sunday that Eastland volunteer firefighter Greg Simmons was killed by blunt force trauma. Trooper Dean cites a preliminary autopsy report by a medical examiner in Fort Worth.

Mr. Simmons was found on a roadside, but Trooper Dean says investigators don’t yet know if he was hit by a firetruck or car Friday in an area where a 3,000-acre fire caused thick smoke with nearly no visibility.

An Eastland County official initially said Mr. Simmons jumped from a firetruck, apparently was overcome by smoke and fell in a ditch before fire reached him.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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