"Powdery" Letter From Ghana creates confusion

Tue, 18 Mar 2008 Source: KLEW CBS

Clarkston, Wa, USA - A letter from Ghana caused a big stir at the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce in Washington state on Monday.

Monday morning, Kristin Kemak, Executive Director of the Chamber, opened a letter from Ghana when a white powdery substance fell out.

"I was a little stunned and I called over the assistance from the Hells Canyon Visitors Bureau to take a look and we both were a little concerned," said Kemak.

Kemak called in authorities, who taped off the building and waited for postal inspector France Bega to arrive from Spokane.

"Late this morning, we had a report of a envelope with a powder in it, called in from the Clarkston Chamber or Commerce," said Clarkston Fire Chief Steve Cooper. "We responded down, secured the building, vacated the building and waited for the United States Postal Inspector to come down and sample the powder that was in that envelope, to clear it, to allow folks to return to the building."

At about 3:00 p.m., the inspector cleared the letter saying it contained sodium palmitate, a soapy substance.

"There is nothing in the letter inside that indicated it was a hoax," said Cooper. "The product wasn't something that would be used as a hoax. Probably, just the additional glue they used to seal the envelope."

Kemak said the office doesn't often get international letters and is relieved that the powder was harmless.

"The letter was basically asking for donations, of supplies, like school supplies, notebooks, clothing," said Kemak. "I don't think we will be shipping any supplies."

Source: KLEW CBS