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AK Beat: Mat-Su mayor vetoes move to ease jet-ski traffic on lake

Alaska Dispatch News

Mat-Su mayor vetoes move to ease jet-ski traffic on lake: Mat-Su Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss has vetoed a ban on two-stroke motors at a secluded lake in the Susitna Valley. The ban, along with a 200-foot no-wake zone along the shore, was scheduled to go into effect on Crystal Lake in May 2016 in response to calls for more regulations from some residents. The Mat-Su Assembly approved the changes in twin amendments backed by a 4-3 vote in early August. DeVilbiss, explaining his veto, cited the size of the no-wake zone, the possibility that the ban could also affect boats and snowmachines, and reports from residents on both sides of the issue that things on the lake had been quieter of late. He also said he couldn’t just veto the two amendments that authorized the changes but had to veto the entire ordinance -- if the veto stands, it would erase a recent rewrite of the 1996 lake plan and regulations on the lake would go back to that original plan. As part of the proposed rewrite, the borough planning commission in May backed a 100-foot no-wake zone and expanded quiet hours but no ban. The mayor’s veto was to be up for discussion at Tuesday night's Assembly meeting. The mayor’s decision is likely to draw attention. There was almost four hours of public testimony on the topic when it came before the planning commission earlier this year, mostly in favor of a ban.

Bering crabbers back counter measures against Russian seafood import ban: A chorus calling for President Barack Obama to ban imports of seafood from Russia has grown to include Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, reports industry news site Undercurrent News. The move is in response to a recent Russian ban on U.S. seafood, which in turn comes in response to U.S. and international sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Alaska fisheries sell some $60 million worth of seafood to Russia each year and another $68 million to Ukraine, much of which ends up in Russia. In a statement backing the move, the ABSC alleged a spike in illegal, unreported and unregulated crab fishing in Russia’s waters in the past two decades: “The organization notes that since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been ‘an explosion of IUU crab fishing within Russia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ),’ in an effort to strengthen its argument for the ban,” Undercurrent reported.

Search locates missing fisherman, teen: An Anchorage fisherman and a 16-year-old boy missing nearly two days near the Parks Highway were found Saturday night safe but dehydrated, the Alaska State Troopers wrote in an online dispatch Sunday. Kao Saelee, 32, and the 16-year-old were reported missing when they didn't return from a fishing trip in the Talkeetna area. Troopers found the teenager on Saturday at about 3 p.m. near Mile 94 of the Parks Highway, the dispatch said. He told troopers he'd become separated from Saelee on Thursday evening. Troopers and friends of Saelee began an air and land search for the 32-year-old. A wildlife trooper spotted Saelee from the air at about 10:20 p.m. on Saturday night. Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said she didn't know exactly where Saelee was found. He was taken to the Parks Highway by ATV. Both were treated for dehydration at an area hospital. The incident comes less than two weeks after troopers gave up on a search for 71-year-old Jerry Warner. Warner went missing in early August after heading out to fish on Willow Creek just south of Goose Creek along the highway. He has not been seen since.

Army strike weapon explodes after take off: A test rocket launched from the Kodiak Launch Complex just after midnight Monday was destroyed soon after lift-off, according to a Defense Department press release and accounts from Kodiak Public Radio, KMXT. In a short statement, the Department of Defense said that the flight test of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon was cut short as a safety measure. “Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after lift-off to ensure public safety. There were no injuries to any personnel,” the release read. “Program officials are conducting an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the flight anomaly.” The test was conducted by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, as part of a program to develop and test conventional military technology. Eyewitness accounts of the explosion described a loud and brightly-burning fire at the Kodiak Launch Complex, roughly 25 miles from Kodiak, KMXT reports. UPDATE: Find ADN's coverage here.