Now that the dust is settling from Friday’s big shaker, the Anchorage fire chief wants people to check on their neighbors.
“I’m asking you guys to work through your community councils to do neighborhood welfare checks,” chief Jodie Hettrick asked Anchorage Assembly members during an emergency meeting of the assembly held Sunday at the Municipality of Anchorage’s emergency operations center in downtown Anchorage.
Damage was widespread in Chugiak-Eagle River Saturday as residents worked to dig out from Friday’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.
Water pipes burst, pictures and dishes fell off walls, windows blew out and several homes suffered structural damage that ranged from minor to major — including a home on Dome Circle that apparently suffered a collapsed garage and one on Ptarmigain Boulevard where an entire room on the side of a large two-story home completely broke away from the main structure.
Friday’s earthquake may have been a boon for the producers of an upcoming PBS documentary featuring survivors of the 1964 Good Friday quake.
“I did send them an email asking if they did that for PR,” joked Eagle River’s Dan Kendall, whose story is chronicled in Season 2 of “We’ll Meet Again,” a series executive produced and presented by Ann Curry.
The documentary brings people together who haven’t seen each other in many years. In Kendall’s case, he was reunited with former Little League teammate and neighbor Rudolph “Bucky” Svein, who now lives in Washington.
The lights came back up before the sun did Saturday in Chugiak-Eagle River, where at 4 a.m. Matanuska Electric Association announced power had been restored to all areas following an outage that began with a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that ripped directly through the cooperative’s power grid.
With its mix of urban living and rugged terrain, the Chugiak-Eagle River area is in many ways an ideal representation of issues facing neighboring Chugach State Park.
“This area is a great example of a Petri dish of some of the issues we have parkwide,” said Chugach superintendent Kurt Hensel during the Nov. 19 meeting of the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors.
Chugiak’s Amy Demboski will be stepping away from her position on the Anchorage Assembly to take a job as deputy chief of staff for Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy.
“I am going to be working in the governor’s office,” Demboski said on her afternoon radio show Monday. “And I’ve said this for a long time, if I chose to leave the Anchorage Assembly I would only do so if I truly believed it could help more Alaskans than just the people in my district. It has been an incredible privilege to serve the people of Chugiak-Eagle River. I’m just truly humbled by the opportunity.”
Municipal officials are in talks with an Oklahoma nonprofit that could result in a big windfall for Chugiak-Eagle River taxpayers and a permanent buffer zone for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
According to Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Department director John Rodda, the department was recently contacted by the Tulsa-based Compatible Lands Foundation (CLF), which according to its website purchases conservation easements “from willing landowners, prohibiting incompatible land uses but allowing open space activities such as farming, ranching, and hunting.”
In 2012, Birchwood residents were shocked to learn about the massive scope of of a planned Matanuska Electric Association substation expansion in their neighborhood. Public opposition forced MEA to temporarily pull the plug on the plan, and the cooperative has since taken “a big giant step back” in an effort to jump-start the undertaking.