Matt Tunseth

A black bear on campus forced Gruening Middle School to briefly go into “stay-put” mode Wednesday morning.

Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad said the department got a call at around 8 a.m. about a bear in a dumpster behind the school. Officers quickly arrived on scene, as did biologists from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

A brief brush with the seafaring life has given Eagle River High School science teacher Mark Van Arsdale a new appreciation for the work done by scientists working every day in some of the most far-flung and inhospitable parts of the planet.

“Definitely a take-home for me was in a day and age when we can Google any information, the sheer amount of labor that goes into producing scientific knowledge is overwhelming,” said Van Arsdale, who last month spent two weeks aboard a 121-foot research vessel in the Gulf of Alaska as part of the NOAA Teacher at Sea program.

A resolution that would give the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Department more flexibility in how it allocates its funds was introduced at the Anchorage Assembly Tuesday.

If adopted, the ordinance will change the formula managers use to spend the one-mill property tax levy used to fund the department.

According to parks director John Rodda, the change is needed in order to meet the department’s operating budget for next year.

Staff additions and increased oversight have improved the way the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department handles its finances, according to a recent municipal audit and the department’s new chief.

Residents living north of Anchorage have long yearned for a permanent home in Chugiak-Eagle River. Now, plans for a local cemetery are being resurrected thanks to progress in Girdwood at the southern end of the Municipality of Anchorage.

According to several people familiar with the discussions, the hope is to combine the two communities’ work in an attempt to bring a pair of new cemeteries to a municipality rapidly running out of gravesites.

Chugiak schooled West Valley on the court Wednesday night, but it was the Mustangs’ teachers who were in the spotlight.

Before the match (a 3-0 Chugiak win), each of the team’s 11 players presented a candy lei to a teacher who had inspired them through the years. Head coach Bobbi Mason said the event was something she did in college and wanted to bring to Chugiak.

“We’re really trying to give something back,” Mason said.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan spent Wednesday making the rounds in Chugiak-Eagle River.

He also ate a few, too.

Sullivan sat down for pepperoni pizza at the Eagle River Ale House, where he also made off with a handful of homemade cookies during a casual pop-in at the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Sen. Sullivan also made stops at the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center and the Alaska Laborers Training Center in Chugiak during an upbeat spin through the community.

Maddy Brandl’s nickname was “Strong,” so it’s fitting the race held in her honor will benefit a pair of kids who are as tough as they come.

Kiyah Tuttle is a 16-year-old who’s interested in wilderness survival and has a passion for karate. Phoenix Mendoza is a 3-year-old heck-raiser who loves cartoons and tussling with with his football player brothers. Aside from their energetic personalities, Kiyah and Phoenix have something else in common.

They’re fighting for their lives.

Kiyah’s story

A historic run came up one game short Saturday as Eagle River fell 46-14 to Soldotna in the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division II Football Championship at a rainy Machetanz Field in Palmer.

Eagle River quarterback Ryan Adkins said he was proud of Eagle River’s historic run, which saw the Wolves post their best record in school history, defeat Chugiak for the first time and make their first playoff appearance. But the senior — one of 16 seniors of the team’s roster — admitted he wanted more in his final game in navy and silver.

Parks and recreation board members want to move forward on at least on area dog park by next spring.

At Monday’s meeting of the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors, the board agreed to tentatively work toward putting a plan in place to create a dedicated off-leash dog park at Peters Creek Park.

Parks director John Rodda said he thinks that if the board decides to go ahead with the plan, work could begin next spring.

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