Matt Tunseth

Florida teenager Valerie Chapman watched in terror as her aunt ran toward her Saturday afternoon carrying the rotten carcass of a slimy, bloody pink salmon.

“It was disgusting,” said Chapman, whose aunt, Eagle River’s Laura Davidson, brought her up to Alaska this summer for a graduation present.

Taking part in the Slippery Salmon Olympics at the annual Bear Paw Festival in her aunt’s hometown, Chapman said, “seemed like a good idea at the time.”

It wasn’t.

Bears were spotted getting into trash in a neighborhood not far from the Bear Paw Festival grounds Saturday, July 15.

Laura Simkins lives on Echo Street, which is about a half-mile from downtown Eagle River. She recorded video of a black bear in a neighbor’s yard at around 3 p.m. Saturday, and said she hopes people will be wary of bears during the ongoing festival. Simkins said several bears had been spotted Saturday getting into bird feed and garbage cans.

Jake Moe and Allison VanPelt beat the heat — and the field — Saturday to claim victory in the Bear Paw 5K race through Eagle River.

Moe’s victory in 15 minutes, 39 seconds was his third straight and ninth overall.

“This is always my favorite race of the whole year,” said Moe, a 32-year-old from Anchorage.

Moe first won the race when he was just a teenager. Now he’s a father of three trying to hold off the field in the race he’s dominated like nobody else.

“Now I’m the one holding off the younger guys,” he said.

Some scofflaw’s shoreside snacks sullied the Eagle River Sunday, evidence of an ill-advised — and illegal — Chugach State Park camping trip that could have resulted in penalties ranging from fines to flesh wounds for the unseen camper(s) hidden inside the red tent pitched in a too-late-to-be-shady spot beneath the Briggs Bridge.

The Army picked the right morning to hold a big event.

“What a beautiful day,” said Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, who was in town to preside over a change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK).

Taking the unit colors under a dazzling blue sky Wednesday was Maj. Gen. Mark O’Neil, who has served as Brown’s chief of staff since May of 2016. O’Neil takes over for Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, who is retiring from the Army after 34 years of service.

A Chugiak woman accused of stealing roughly $180,000 from a local youth hockey association plans to plead not guilty during a scheduled arraignment Friday, July 14 in Anchorage.

The attorney for Jennifer Suchan said Tuesday cases such as his client’s aren’t always what they first appear, and urged the public to hold off on judging Mrs. Suchan before she’s given due process.

Now in its 32nd year, Eagle River’s Bear Paw Festival has grown from a small community shin-dig to a major summertime event drawing thousands of visitors to downtown Eagle River each year.

If they haven’t started already, locals will soon be strapping long-handled nets to the top of pickup trucks and the backs of motorhomes and heading south en masse.

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery — by far the state’s largest and most popular — opens July 10, a date many Alaskans keep in their heads like Christmas.

Lyndon Thomas has always been a daredevil. As a teen, he said he once flew his hang glider from the Chugach Mountains to Chugiak High School.

“Everybody thought I was 007,” he said with a laugh.

That was back in the late 1970s, when Thomas and a few of his buddies were just getting into the new sport. Back then, they’d launch from a spot near the old Wallace Homestead overlooking Chugiak and Eagle River.

The Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department responded to a house that was smoking but not ablaze Thursday, June 29 on Oberg Road in Chugiak.

Department chief Virginia McMichael said firefighters were called out after someone turned the electricity back on at the home.

“They had recently turned the electricity on, it appears, and the house filled with smoke,” she said.


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