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Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Sorry, Mat-Su commuters. The Alaska Railroad won't be starting a test run of scheduled rail service between the Valley and Anchorage any time soon.

Railroad officials in February confirmed they were evaluating possible off-season weekday passenger rail service from the Valley to Ship Creek and back, pegged to a seemingly plum property acquisition in the center of Wasilla along the tracks and the Parks Highway.

But along with a difficult financial climate, the railroad has realized that the Wasilla location comes with steep challenges, including a sight-blocking curve and potential gridlock in one of the busiest intersections in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough...

Zaz Hollander

A 55-year-old Tok man died Tuesday in a single-vehicle rollover on the Alaska Highway, Alaska State Troopers said.

Michael Verhoff was driving a 2008 Ford F-150 when he crashed at Mile 1357 of the highway, troopers said. The crash occurred about 44 miles from Tok, toward Delta Junction, in the area of the Gerstle River.

A passing motorist reported the accident just after 1 p.m., troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. A trooper and Tok emergency medical personnel responded. Verhoff was declared dead at the scene...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- The Mat-Su Borough has denied a permit necessary for a Meadow Lakes company that operated for years without permits to continue supplying gravel to a big Parks Highway project.

B&E Construction officials expected to get the permit, especially after Mat-Su Borough officials last month urged borough staff to make it a priority so the $2.9 million Machen Road extension project could stay on schedule.

Now Central Gravel Products outside Palmer has the contract, owner Nickie Jordan said Wednesday...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Alaska State Troopers say a 19-year-old man stabbed his 66-year-old foster mother to death with a steak knife during a brief struggle early Monday after he'd set a fire in the residence they shared near Wasilla.

Troopers responded to Mollie Ragonesi’s dying call for help at 5:18 a.m. Monday, according to court documents. They say Ragonesi was apparently stabbed in the neck by foster son Kenneth Adams after getting involved in an altercation between Adams and another man in the home.

“Mollie was able to leave the room and call 911 before she finally collapsed on the kitchen floor,” Trooper Andrew Adams wrote in a sworn affidavit filed at the Palmer courthouse Tuesday...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Wasilla is considering a ban on off-road vehicles in city limits.

The city where it's not unusual to spot four-wheelers motoring through downtown for grocery pickups has for years allowed all-terrain vehicles and snowmachines within several main corridors, such as Knik-Goose Bay Road, the Parks Highway and Lucille Street.

But now officials here say the city's growth has outpaced its ability to allow people to zoom around even on those roadside trails. Especially on those trails, actually. KGB, as it's called, runs through one of the fastest-growing parts of the Mat-Su Borough...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Wasilla is considering a ban on off-road vehicles in city limits.

The city where it’s not unusual to spot four-wheelers motoring through downtown for grocery pickups has for years allowed all-terrain vehicles and snowmachines within several main corridors, such as Knik-Goose Bay Road, the Parks Highway and Lucille Street.

But now officials here say the city's growth has outpaced its ability to allow people to zoom around even on those roadside trails. Especially on those trails, actually. KGB, as it’s called, runs through one of the fastest-growing parts of the Mat-Su Borough...

Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- Frustrated Meadow Lakes residents lashed out at the Mat-Su Borough Assembly on Wednesday night for lax treatment of a company that operated a gravel pit and debris dump on North Pittman Road for years without permits.

B&E Construction was four days into the $2.9 million Machen Road extension project along the Parks Highway in mid-June when a borough officer discovered the company's gravel permit expired in 2010 and shut the operation down, delaying the road work.The officer was at the site because state and borough officials in April halted a construction and demolition dump that B&E had operated without a permit since 2008 despite several complaints from nearby residents...

Zaz Hollander

A Palmer Superior Court judge this week sentenced a 54-year-old Wasilla man to more than 160 years in prison for sexually abusing his two daughters over more than 10 years.

The convicted man abused two of his children -- a biological daughter and a stepdaughter -- for 12 years starting when the youngest was 9 years old, according to court documents. His charges reflect two victims, but prosecutors say the abuse included a third. (Although the man is identified in court records, it is the policy of Alaska Dispatch News not to publish identifying information about victims of sexual abuse.)

A jury in March convicted the man of 29 counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of incest...

Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- Frustrated Meadow Lakes residents lashed out at the Mat-Su Borough Assembly on Wednesday night for lax treatment of a company that operated a gravel pit and debris dump on North Pittman Road for years without permits.

B&E Construction was four days into the $2.9 million Machen Road extension project along the Parks Highway in mid-June when a borough officer discovered the company’s gravel permit expired in 2010 and shut the operation down, delaying the road work.The officer was at the site because state and borough officials in April halted a construction and demolition dump that B&E had operated without a permit since 2008 despite several complaints from nearby residents...

Zaz Hollander

A Palmer Superior Court judge this week sentenced a 54-year-old Wasilla man to more than 160 years in prison for sexually abusing his two daughters over more than 10 years.

The convicted man abused two of his children -- a biological daughter and a stepdaughter -- for 12 years starting when the youngest was 9 years old, according to court documents. His charges reflect two victims, but prosecutors say the abuse included a third. (Although the man is identified in court records, it is the policy of Alaska Dispatch not to publish identifying information about victims of sexual abuse.)

A jury in March convicted the man of 29 counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of incest...

Zaz Hollander

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