Alaska Beat

AK Beat: New Russian military bases going up on Arctic island near Alaska

New Russian military bases going up on Wrangel Island: Russia has started constructing new military bases on Wrangel Island northwest of Alaska and on Cape Schmidt on Russia's Arctic coast with two sets of 34 prefabricated modules, The Moscow Times reported Monday, quoting a spokesman for the Defense Ministry. "On Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt, block-modules have been unloaded for the construction of military camps. The complex is being erected in the form of a star," said Col. Alexander Gordeyev, an official of the Eastern Military District. "The construction of the new Arctic bases, which will be the first new facilities established in the area since the Soviets abandoned their Arctic positions in the waning years of the Cold War, marks a milestone in Russia's militarization of the region," the newspaper said. "Wrangel Island is classified by the Russian government as a nature reserve and was never used by the Soviets as a military base. In late August, the Russian navy carried out an expedition to the island and planted a flag, which Pacific Fleet spokesperson Captain First Rank Roman Martov said 'heralded the station of the first ever naval base on (Wrangel Island).'" The base will consist of residential, commercial, administrative and recreational units, RIA Novosti reported.

Troopers search for missing Kasilof man: Alaska State Troopers are looking for Kasilof resident Leif Osmar, 38, who was reported missing by family members Wednesday morning. Osmar is believed to have gone kayaking sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday, troopers write. His truck was found near his family's fish camp near South Coho Loop Road around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Osmar's single-person kayak is around 13 feet long, with a light blue top and white bottom and black netting on the kayak. On Wednesday, a trooper helicopter searched the Kasilof River and inlet for Osmar. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to call troopers at (907) 262-4453.

Police seek driver who picked up murder suspects: The Anchorage Police Department is looking for the person who picked up murder suspects Samantha Herbert and Jerel Williams on the Glenn Highway, near Eklutna, after 4 p.m. Thursday. The two are accused of killing and robbing Christopher Fulton at his Reka Drive apartment, after which they allegedly fled. The two were later picked up in the Matanuska Valley. Detectives say they need to talk to the person who picked the two up, as well as anyone who may have additional information. Anyone with information can call 786-8900 or Crime Stoppers at 561-7867.

Human remains found north of Kodiak: Human remains were found Monday afternoon by a volunteer doing beach clean-up on the east side of Shuyak Island, roughly 70 miles north of Kodiak, according to Alaska State Troopers. The remains were skeletal, trooper spokesperson Megan Peters wrote, and couldn't be identified right away. The remains were forwarded to the State Medical Examiner Office to determine how long the person has been deceased, cause of death and identity, if possible, Peters wrote.

NWS warns of high waters after predicted heavy rainfall: The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement for parts of Southcentral Alaska early Wednesday morning, warning of high water in streams and rivers as an "extra-tropical storm system" moves toward the state pushing weather fronts before it. The statement, issued for the Western Kenai Peninsula and Western Prince William Sound said the storm system would likely be centered in Bristol Bay by Friday, and warned that "heavy rainfall will bring high waters to the streams and rivers of the Kenai Peninsula and North Gulf Coast late this week." Hardest hit will be areas in the southern and eastern portions of the Kenai Peninsula, the statement suggested, and heavy rain could linger through the weekend and into early next week, affecting Prince William Sound communities such as Valdez and Cordova. The weather service urged anyone planning to be on or near waterways to monitor conditions closely.

Alaska pollock fisheries seek FDA intervention over the label "Alaska": A fishing industry group has taken the fight over Russian fish to a new federal agency. According to industry site Undercurrent News the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers filed a formal request with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asking the agency to prohibit pollock not caught in U.S. waters from being marketed as "Alaska Pollock." The move comes as Alaska fisherman push back against Russian North Pacific fisheries following that nation's decision to ban on U.S. seafood as part of the ongoing dispute over sanctions related to Russia's activity in Ukraine. Some fishing industry groups, and some politicians, have called for the U.S. to ban imports of Russian seafood.