Kirsten Swann

Chugiak resident Z.W. “Ski” Kowalewski is many things — a World War II veteran, a pilot and now, at 96, an author.

On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, he sat behind a table in the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center lobby, signing copies of his military memoir, “A Sailor’s Life in World War II.” The slim paperback volume recounts Kowalewski’s 20-year career with the U.S. Navy; it includes stories from the air, the sea and places in between.

“Some of them are even true,” he said, laughing.

Following the fatal Feb.

State senators Anna MacKinnon and Shelley Hughes, along with representatives Dan Saddler, Lora Reinbold and Cathy Tilton, sat behind a table at the front of the community room at the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center Saturday and fielded questions from the public on everything from budget cuts to the Alaska Permanent Fund to public safety, health care costs and education funding.

The town hall meeting lasted more than two hours, but attendee Dick Lochner walked out after 30 minutes.

A vacant, wooded lot at the corner of Fire House Lane and Eagle River Road may soon be going to the dogs — literally.

“It just seemed like it would be ideal for a dog park,” said Brian Fay, chair of the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors.

In an ongoing quest to end maintenance and liability concerns along Aurora Borealis Road, local road supervisors are floating a new option – replacing a central slice of the route with two cul de sacs and a private driveway.

Nine years ago, back when the end of the school day was the best part of it, Brian Walker II never imagined he’d end up where he is now.

As a teenager growing up in Eagle River, he said, he sometimes wondered where he belonged. He sometimes felt lost. Adrift. School career days were uninspiring. The future? From where he stood, it seemed fuzzy and distant.

“I was pretty disconnected from my culture for a while,” said Walker, an Alaska Native who grew up in Eagle River. “Going into high school, it really didn’t get easier.”

Recent community development has turned a spotlight on the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department: Is the all-volunteer force growing quickly enough to handle the needs of the burgeoning area it serves?

The topic came up during recent community discussions about future housing projects and again during a review of a proposed new substance abuse recovery center off Eklutna Lake Road.

In an ongoing push to modernize local water systems and prepare for future growth, the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility is moving forward with several infrastructure projects throughout the Chugiak-Eagle River area.

The projects range from water pressure upgrades to new reservoirs. Some are slated for construction this year; others are still in the early stages, according to municipal officials and public documents.

One project – a North Eagle River reservoir – is inadvertently linked to controversial plans for a high-density housing development at Carol Creek.

Chugiak Iditarod veteran Jim Lanier has withdrawn from this year’s race, citing a torn meniscus and a few decades of wear and tear from the trail.

Lanier ran his first Iditarod in 1979, finishing 16 times in the decades since. He’s started 19 Iditarods, finishing the first 16 he entered.

Knee pain is nothing new, said Lanier, who has finished at least one Iditarod in five different decades. Recently, though, the knee “really acted up.”

“I fought it for a while,” Lanier said by phone Friday. “It got a little better, but not better enough.”

With a unanimous vote Feb. 14, the Anchorage Assembly approved a yearlong extention to the management contract for Eagle River’s Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center.

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