Matt Tunseth

Though she’s a gifted multisport athlete, Bekah Smith’s biggest strength might be what’s between her ears.

“She is very deliberate in her attention to detail,” said Smith’s club volleyball coach Rachel Vandermartin during a National Letter of Intent signing ceremony Jan. 11 in the Chugiak High library.

A year ago, the family of Linda Anne-Martz Bower thought it might finally be nearing closure in the case of the 19-year-old woman’s 2014 murder.

But the wheels of justice grind painfully slowly — a process that’s tearing up those who want to see justice for the man who has admitted killing his former girlfriend.

You can’t drive to Juneau, but area lawmakers still want a road map for the upcoming legislative session.

Alaska State House representatives Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River/JBER), Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) and Cathy Tilton (R-Chugiak/Butte/Knik) attended a Town Hall meeting Saturday, Jan. 6 in order to learn what their constituents would like addressed in the Capitol.

“Our purpose is not to talk at you, our goal is to listen,” Saddler said at the outset.

Armed and angry, Chugiak-Eagle River residents say it’s time to get tough on crime.

“I feel safer in some Asian countries than I do in my own neighborhoods and my own community now, and that’s why we’ve decided to take a stand,” said Rep. Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) during a community crime forum held Jan. 6 in Eagle River.

Reinbold called the meeting, which filled the community meeting room at the Eagle River Town Center building and drew a crowd roughly twice as large as the one at a legislative Town Hall meeting immediately before and also focused heavily on crime.

Editor’s note: This week’s special edition contains a recap of the Chugiak-Eagle River news and sports we covered in 2017. We hope you enjoy this chronological look at the year that was and wish our readers a Happy New Year in 2018.

The Star’s regular weekly features will return next week.

JANUARY

Birders eye the sky

(UPDATED 12 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5)

A man was shot in Eagle River early Thursday morning, and the Anchorage Police Department is looking for the person they say shot him.

Sheri Boggs has been warming holiday hearts — and hands, feet and heads — since 2010.

And she’s not slowing down.

“Oh my gosh, it’s grown exponentially,” Boggs said the Saturday before Christmas during an interview at the Star offices in Eagle River.

She’s got a hit show on Netflix, but Britney Young is just another kid from Eagle River when she comes home for Christmas.

“I’ll go to Walmart with my dad, and he gets recognized like crazy, not me,” said Young, a 2006 Chugiak High grad whose dad, Fred, is a longtime area basketball coach who used to be the head hoops coach at Eagle River High and now coaches football at East.

Roger Spackman is stepping down, but he isn’t going anywhere.

After four years as the Chugiak High head football coach, Spackman resigned earlier this month — ironically, so he could focus more on coaching.

“Mostly it’s that I want to coach but not be a head coach,” said Spackman, who compiled a 25-14 record (.641 winning percentage) during his four seasons leading the blue and black — including back-to-back Railbelt Conference titles the past two seasons.

It’s no secret attendance at high school hockey games isn’t what it used to be.

Unless we’re talking Chugiak-Eagle River.

“It’s night and day, isn’t it?” said Chugiak head coach Rodney Wild after his hockey team pulled out a 3-2 Cook Inlet Conference nailbiter over its biggest rival in front of a spirited crowd inside the McDonald Center Thursday night.

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