Matt Tunseth

UPDATE (May 8, 2018) After this story was posted online, another report of a broken window was reported at the McDonald Center. According to Anchorage Police, facility was burglarized on May 5, when someone broke into the building by breaking the front window. Once inside, the miscreants broke a clock and poured juice from a fridge onto the floor. The center also had a window broken in mid-April.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Reports of vandalism aren’t on the rise in Chugiak-Eagle River, but statistics won’t un-break any of the windows at Fire Lake Elementary School.

Not many people can call themselves national champions. Zach Plucinski can do it in two countries.

On Sunday, April 29, the 17-year-old from Eagle River scored the first goal in the Notre Dame Hounds’ 5-1 win over Quebec’s Cantonniers de Magog in the final of the Telus Cup, Canada’s national Midget (18U) hockey championship.

“It was a really big goal,” Plucinski said Thursday by phone from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, where he attends the College of Notre Dame, an elite prep school known for turning out high-caliber hockey talent.

A partnership between one of Alaska’s most well-known cycling events and an Anchorage nonprofit is getting the conversation rolling about gynecologic cancers.

“We want to open conversations,” said Ali Tolman, program director for Let Every Woman Know Alaska.

Help wanted.

More than a year after an Anchorage Assembly memo called for broad changes at the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River, the center’s manager continues to issue optimistic financial reports. But one item still hasn’t been addressed: the two unfilled seats on the Fire Lake Arena Management Inc. (FLAMI) board of directors.

Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation board of directors member Brian Fay said that’s no fault of Mac Center manager Reid McDonald.

Sometimes when Michael Wright is practicing on the new organ at Eagle River Presbyterian Church, members of an Alcohol Anonymous group that shares the building will wander into the church to listen.

“It’s a really awesome experience,” Wright said during a recent interview at the downtown Eagle River church.

When Wright plays the new organ, the entire building resonates with heavenly chords that echo outside its walls into the streets beyond.

“You can hear it out in the parking lot,” said church administrative assistant Allison Denton.

A handful of area athletes have finalized their plans for the fall.

National Letter of Intent signings were held at Chugiak and Eagle River High Schools recently, with representatives from a cross-section of local sports.

At Chugiak High, senior Liam Baez-Terry was the guest of honor at a ceremony April 26 in the CHS library. Baez-Terry will run cross-country at Montana State University-Northern, an NAIA school in Havre, Montana.

Originally from Bethel, Baez-Terry said the small-town feel of the campus drew him in.

There wasn’t much sun, but there was plenty of fun at the second annual FOCUS Inc. 5-kilometer run in Eagle River.

“This is awesome,” said Eagle River’s Karen Kirk, who turned in the winning time in the women’s division on a cloudy but rain-free Saturday morning that featured plenty of awesomeness for everybody.

The event packed free coffee, a bouncy house, a DJ, free massage, rescue dogs, a fun run and a visit from the governor into a short section of Regency Drive in downtown Eagle River.

Ice fishing tents dotted the infield at Service High School, where athletes and coaches battled to keep from freezing in the always challenging springtime track and field conditions.

“I’d love to say we’re Alaskans and we need to be tough, but you worry about quads, you worry about hamstrings,” said Chugiak head coach Melissa Hall.

Along with the portable pop-up tents, athletes bundled inside winter parkas and sleeping bags to ward off the cold. Coaches like Hall said they continually stress the importance of keeping warm during early season outdoor meets.

On Earth Day at the Eagle River Nature Center, life was emerging from nearly every nook and cranny: Big, lazy mosquitos hovered, skittish butterflies fluttered and in the shallow ponds near the center trails, salmon fry fought over a few fledgling flies.

Sometime soon, even the bears will be about.

“We have not run into any bear sightings, but it’s definitely that time of year,” said ERNC operations manager Laura Krueger on Sunday, April 22.

One man’s journey toward autism awareness is helping raise the profile of an Eagle River organization whose mission isn’t always clearly understood.

“They’ve really helped walk me through the process in general of understanding what autism was,” said Michael Harlow, whose two children are on the autism spectrum.

Harlow’s wife first noticed their children having difficulty keeping up with their peers when it came to verbal communication. However, he was initially resistant to the diagnosis.

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