Kirsten Swann

An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Thursday rejected a plea agreement in the case of David Joseph Thomas, a 30-year-old man who previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the death of Eagle River 19-year-old Linda Anne Martz Bower.

Judge Kevin Saxby said elements of the agreement — which would impose a sentence of 75 years with 25 suspended, leaving Thomas eligible for parole in 14 years – “cheapens the crime.”

While marijuana businesses continue to crop up across the Anchorage Bowl, they’re nowhere to be found in Chugiak-Eagle River.

Instead, locals involved in the blossoming industry are setting their sights elsewhere.

“The zoning is the biggest issue,” said Eagle River resident Katherine Ferguson, who’s in the process of building several marijuana businesses with her husband, Adam Ferguson, and their business partner, Orlo Smith.

Community patrols, dog parks and ongoing water utility work dominated the conversation at a fast-paced Eagle River Community Council meeting April 13.

The proposal to form a new volunteer community patrol in Eagle River comes amid growing concerns with local crime. Spearheaded by Powder Ridge resident Cliff Cook and modeled after the Birchwood Community Patrol, the effort is still in the early stages, Cook said.

At a Saturday morning Easter egg hunt at Eagle River High School, the Easter bunny was just for show: Most of the eggs were delivered by a Robinson R44 helicopter instead.

Featuring candy dropped from the sky, the third annual ACF Church Egg Drop drew hundreds of families from Chugiak-Eagle River and beyond. Cars packed the high school parking lot, spilling out onto Yosemite Drive. Food trucks lined the curb, bounce houses swayed in the breeze and kids and parents flooded the high school field. The event was free and open to the public.

More than two and a half years after the murder of Eagle River teenager Linda Anne Martz Bower, grieving friends and family members packed an Anchorage courtroom to urge a judge to reject a plea deal for the man who strangled her.

“We would rather take the chances of a trial,” said Sheila Benjamin, Bower’s aunt, tearfully addressing Judge Kevin Saxby inside the Nesbitt Courthouse Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday evenings, hours after the last classes let out for the day, the band room at Mirror Lake Middle School again fills with music and voices.

This time, middle schoolers are just one part of the group. The other musicians are retirees and high-schoolers, college students, working adults and everyone in between. The Chugiak-Eagle River Community Band welcomes all comers.

Eagle River scientist Meagan Krupa has spent much of the past 17 years wading through streams and tributaries around the world, studying salmon and the communities that depend on them. Now she’s wading through data — taking a deep dive into the archives of the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF).

From her home on the hillside above Eagle River, Dr. Katie Ringsmuth looks out over Cook Inlet and thinks about Russian trading posts and Dena’ina bidarkas and the rich, abundant history of the land known as the Last Frontier.

While others see it as the end of the road, Ringsmuth sees Alaska as a leader at the crossroads – a cultural, economic and environmental bridge that has connected the globe for centuries. But so much of Alaska’s history remains unexplored. As an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska, Ringsmuth sees that firsthand.

It happened six months ago with hardly any warning at all.

Joshua Brooks, a sixth-grader at Mirror Lake Middle School, complained of a slight headache in the morning, his family said. By the middle of the day, doctors were poring over the results of his CAT scan and rushing him into surgery. By 3:15 p.m., he was gone. A fatal aneurysm, doctors said. He was 11 years old.

Now his sister, a sophomore at Chugiak High School, is organizing a blood drive in his memory.

For Chugiak-Eagle River voters, a four-way race for a vacant Anchorage Assembly seat may be the most pressing local issue in next week’s municipal election

Other ballot items include initiatives to expand the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Service Area and to repeal an Assembly ordinance expanding the local taxi industry. Five bond propositions totaling more than $100 million exclude Chugiak-Eagle River almost entirely.