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Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- The Wasilla City Council this week postponed a decision on a contentious proposed ban on off-road vehicles.

The council tabled an anticipated decision in a unanimous vote Monday night, despite two hours of public testimony largely opposed to evicting off-roaders from the city. Council members say they’ve also been hearing from scores of residents begging for an end to all-terrain vehicles and snowmachines in the city.

The council will discuss the city's existing regulations governing off-road vehicles at a meeting Sept. 8 as members decide how to handle the issue.

Wasilla already has a more than 15-year-old ATV law on the books that, among other things, requires helmets, institutes a 10 mph speed limit and places restrictions on riders under 16...

Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- The dinosaur questions hit Sabrena Combs as soon as she donned her bright orange apron and stood in front of the beige “Ask Me About the Fair!” sign on Friday.

Combs coordinates a team of 24 fellow volunteers who answer questions about the Alaska State Fair and help the hordes navigate what turns into a city of 300,000 over a two-week period.

Top questions last year involved the location of the diaper-changing station for the first half of the fair and the “pork chop on a stick” booth the second, according to Dean Phipps, the fair’s marketing and communications director.

Early indications this year show the new “Age of the Dinosaurs” exhibit is shaping up to be a contender...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- The Alaska Farm & Food Facebook group usually stays pretty calm and pastoral.

But the immediate and angry response to this humdinger of a question blazed right past the posts on when to pick pumpkins, artichoke-threatening aphids and pictures of chickens for sale.

“I heard the cows in Wasilla from the dairy farm are free to get or hunt is this true(?)” one curious gentleman innocently asked Tuesday night.

Hundreds of commenters jumped into the fray with a mix of outrage, killer-cow jokes and a few people wondering the same thing.

“Ur going to hunt a cow? Like a moo cow? Why?” one dismayed group member wrote...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Eric Feige, the Chickaloon pilot who served two terms representing a sprawling Mat-Su state House district known for its conservatism, was losing his bid to try for a third.

Jim Colver, a Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly member and surveyor from the Hatcher Pass area, appeared to be the Republican who will face Democrat Mabel Wimmer in November’s general election, according to early results posted Wednesday.

Colver's signs blanketed the massive district that stretches from Whittier and Valdez to Palmer-area subdivisions to Delta Junction and Glennallen. He wore his pickup tires down to the metal threads driving its far-flung reaches...

Zaz Hollander

Kenai Peninsula Borough rescuers snagged four men out of the frigid, rain-swollen waters of the Kasilof River on Monday after their small boat flipped and started sinking, leaving them clinging to a nearby bridge.

The men, all from out of state, set out around 7 a.m. Monday in a drift boat for a fishing trip, authorities say. Guide Justin Derks and the three others put in just below a busy boat launch, according Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters.

Rescuers say they were immediately swept into the fast-moving water swollen by recent rainfall and pinned against a pillar of the bridge, located at about mile 109 of the Sterling Highway...

Zaz Hollander

Alaska State Troopers say a 55-year-old man apparently drowned near Dillingham after his boat’s motor exploded and threw him into the water.

The man, whose name is not being released until next of kin are notified, was working on the motor in the area of Ralph Slough when the explosion occurred, troopers said in an online release posted Wednesday. He was not wearing a personal flotation device.

Troopers say they were notified just before 11:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- A Palmer Superior Court Judge on Tuesday delayed the murder trial for Jacob Allen Dvorak, the 17-year-old accused of shooting 45-year-old Frank Pushruk and then pushing his body off a bluff above the Matanuska River in March.

Dvorak at the time allegedly told Alaska State Troopers he killed Pushruk and dumped his body as punishment for sexually assaulting a teenage girl a few days earlier...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Ten passengers on a Princess tour bus suffered minor injuries when it was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer on the Parks Highway Monday afternoon, authorities said Tuesday.

One Princess guest had to be flown by a LifeMed Alaska helicopter to the hospital, a company spokesman said. Both drivers were also hurt; the semitrailer's driver was also medevacked.

An investigation continues into the crash, Alaska State Troopers say. No charges or citations had been filed as of midday Tuesday.

The bus was headed from Mount McKinley Lodge north of Trapper Creek to Denali National Park and Preserve with about 44 passengers...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- State officials say the company that operated an illegal gravel pit and construction demolition debris dump in Meadow Lakes now has to move the waste to a permitted landfill.

The permit B&E Construction needed to continue on-site storage of a debris pile more than two-stories tall fell through after Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation officials say the company twice failed to submit complete paperwork.

The company can request an informal review or more formal hearing within 15 or 30 days, respectively. A company official said he hopes to work with DEC on a solution...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Community Health Systems, the company that owns Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, says hackers originating in China may have stolen personal information from 4.5 million customers across the country.

Mat-Su Regional, a 74-bed facility just off the Parks Highway between Palmer and Wasilla, is the only hospital in Alaska run by CHS, one of the country’s largest publicly traded hospital operators.

The Mat-Su hospital itself was not part of the data theft, but it's possible a small physicians clinic the hospital operates on Bogard Road was involved, according to Cathy Babuscio, the hospital's human resources director and facility compliance officer. Babuscio said Monday she expected to know more within the next few days...

Zaz Hollander

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