Matt Tunseth

Two very different tales unfolded Friday as Chugiak and Eagle River got their 2018 high school football seasons underway.

In Houston, the Wolves broke things open in the second half to roll to a convincing nonconference win over the Hawks, while at Chugiak a young Mustangs squad found itself learning a brusing lesson against a determined East side.

WOLVES DEVOUR HAWKS

Division II Eagle River dominated Division III Houston at Houston High, turning an 8-0 halftime lead into a 42-12 blowout.

An Alaska State House member with deep pockets and a union-aligned newcomer hoping to replace her are leading the local fundraising race as the primary election season enters the home stretch.

According to 30-day reports filed with the Alaska Political Offices Commission, Senate District G hopeful and current State House Rep. Lora Reinbold had raised $51,472 through the July 20 filing deadline — with more than $30,000 of that coming from Reinbold herself.

Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers stood in the rain at midfield on the team’s first day of football practice.

“Well, it’s not the first day …” Landers said.

He meant he’s been preparing for the 2018 season since getting the job this spring, but Landers could have been going much further back.

In fact, Landers’s first practice as a Mustang came nearly two decades ago when he strapped on the pads as a freshman in 1994.

“This is where I was born and raised, and I bleed black and blue,” he said.

As the team’s fifth head coach since 2005, Bob Adkins knows much of his job is trying to grow tradition at a program that’s had precious little success over the years. It’s a challenge the UAF grad welcomes.

“You have to build a culture because when you build a culture the kids know what to expect,” he said.

Chugiak has a distinctively new look this season, but in many ways it’s still going to be the same old black and blue at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.

Gone are the team’s star player, its head coach and several key cogs from last year’s state semifinalist squad. But the sidelines still won’t look that much different, with a former Mustang taking over the head coaching job and plenty of pieces returning from a team that spent much of 2017 atop the statewide football poll.

Eagle River wants to make history.

A perennial also-ran, the Wolves have never reached the state playoffs since beginning varsity play in 2006. But with a speedy, senior-laden group on Yosemite Drive this season, that could change.

“We set our goal to make the playoffs,” said quarterback Ryan Adkins.

What was once the scene of heartbreak is being transformed into a place for healing.

A new memorial bench is being built on the St. John Orthodox Cathedral property near South Birchwood Loop where the body of a 19-year-old overdose victim was dumped in 2017.

“I think it’s pretty cool a place that was once known as somewhere kids used to drive down and get high is now going to be a spot of reflection and hope,” said Alaina Thiessen, whose son, Zac Schneider, was found lying dead on the ground on May 16, 2017.

A Chugiak man has been charged with weapons misconduct after he allegedly shot a black bear while intoxicated.

According to Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad, police were called to Rusticate Drive at around 2 a.m. on Thursday. Oistad said officers determined Jacob L. T. Stephan, 33, shot and killed a black bear that was eating out of a dumpster, but that the shooting was illegal.

“The situation in which Stephan killed the bear did not constitute ‘defense of life and property,’” Oistad wrote in a Tuesday email.

Nearly every person running for local political office showed up for a candidates’ forum last week in Eagle River for a fast and furious introduction to the community.

“It’s going to be like a speed round,” promised chamber treasurer Julie Estey, who served as emcee of the chamber’s Aug. 1 lunch forum at the Eagle River Ale House.

A gnarly battle over a small ski area’s liquor license isn’t over yet.

In June, the Alaska Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office was supposed to review a recreational site alcohol license for the Arctic Valley Ski Area’s Alpenglow Lodge. However, due to a high number of items on the board’s agenda, the issue was moved to the board’s August meeting in the Interior.

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