Matt Tunseth

“You may ask, how did this tradition start?”

— “Tradition,” Fiddler on the Roof

 

Back in the early 1980s, a cadre of bleary-eyed coaches chugged coffee before class at Chugiak High. One morning, the men were joined by the school’s new orchestra teacher Philip Burch, a man whose quick wit and genial grin had quickly gained him entry into the gruff group. As the men shot the breeze, the music teacher took out his bow and started to play.

There was a fiddler in the group.

It’s a good thing the daylight hours are getting longer these days, because someone shot the lights out Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

In the finale of a star-studded weekend, players put on a stunning offensive display as two teams made up of some of the best senior basketball players in Alaska combined to score 217 points in 40 frenzied minutes of play at the boys Class 3A/4A Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Senior All-Star Game.

Local community councils are always looking for new members to help shape public policy.

“We love to hear everybody’s input,” Eagle River Community Council member Julie Ebben told the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce on April 4.

Ebben said the council needs members to serve on local boards and commissions, including the parks board and the Chugiak-Birchwood-Eagle River Rural Road Service Area board.

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is hopeful financing for a long-dreamed-of Alaska megaproject could be in place by the end of the year.

“Definitely by December we want to have definitive agreements,” AGDC vice president for communications Rosetta Alcantra told the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce at its April 4 lunch forum at the Eagle River Ale House.

The start of the high school track and field season is always a slippery season. With outdoor tracks still covered in snow and ice, coaches have to scramble to get in workouts and figure out where their athletes will work best as the spring wears on.

“This year it seems we’re pretty far behind the others,” said Eagle River coach Matt Turner, who said his school’s track likely won’t be usable for at least another week or more.

“We’re never going to get out there,” Turner quipped.

Talent overflowed the building Friday as the din of orchestral music floated out the doors of Eagle River High School and into the bright evening sun; on the sidewalk outside the school, pastel chalk drawings welcomed visitors to the school, which for one night each year transforms into an after-hours hot spot that’s almost too cool for school.

Put on by the school’s Fine Arts department, the annual Fine Arts Cabaret is a springtime celebration of the talent department chair Jacob Bera sees every day at the school on Yosemite Drive.  

Nobody can say Dr. Deena Bishop doesn’t like to get her hands dirty.

The Anchorage School District superintendent got an impromptu lesson in pottery -- and persistence -- Thursday, April 5 when she stopped by an Eagle River High School classroom to help honor a civics-minded fine arts student.

“This was my thrill of the year so far!” Bishop exclaimed after ERHS student Analisa Cederberg helped the superintendent “throw” a small bowl on a potter’s wheel in the school’s second-floor arts room.

Dick Griffith is a doer, not a talker.

“I don’t know anything,” said Griffith, a longtime Eagle River Nature Center benefactor and a living legend among Alaska’s outdooring set.

The gruff Griffith knows a hell of a lot more than he lets on. The 90-year-old “adventurer’s adventurer” has compiled an almost unreal resume of rambling during his nine decades, including legendary pioneering trips down the Grand Canyon, death-defying treks across the Arctic and a laundry list of exploits in the Alaska backcountry.

As it looks to expand its footprint in Alaska, GCI will continue to spend money on improvements to telecommunications infrastructure statewide.

“It does take a significant investment,” the company’s senior director of corportate communications told the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce at its luncehon Jan. 17 in downtown Eagle River.

Covered in bandages like a mummy, Kolton Hala just couldn’t help himself when a server at Garcia’s Mexican restaurant in Eagle River delivered the customary hot-plate warning before serving him and his friends last year.

“I said, ‘It’s okay, I’ve been burned before,’” recalled the Chugiak teen, who suffered third-degree burns to his upper body and face in the fall of 2016.

Hala lost a lot that October night — he spent a month in ICU, left school and missed out on starting a new job — but his sense of humor has remained fully intact.

Pages