Matt Tunseth

Ric Davidge brought his own cameraman to film his Thursday appearance at the South Fork Community Council meeting.

There weren’t a lot of highlights.

The chairman of the Alaska Veterans Foundation got more than an earful during his first appearance before the council in whose backyard he wants to build a facility to house up to 100 homeless veterans.

“This community is completely against your proposal,” council chair Karl von Luhrte told Davidge.

Nobody seemed to disagree.

Chugiak football lost twice this week — once on the field, and once off.

On Wednesday, the Mustangs learned they’d have to forfeit what had been a 42-6 Chugach Conference win over Wasilla on Aug. 31 due to the use of an ineligible player. On Friday night, the Mustangs got more bad news when Bartlett steamrolled its way to a 73-13 Chugach win at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.

“It’s on me,” said first-year Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers of the Wasilla snafu, which resulted from the Mustangs using a kicker in too many quarters in one week.

Summer’s over and local boards and community councils are gaveling back into action.

Most local advisory groups elect to skip meetings in June, July and August due to members being busy, but September brings a full return starting with the Thursday, Sept. 6, meeting of the South Fork Community Council. The meeting at 7 p.m. at Eagle River High School on Yosemite Drive is the first of five area council meetings scheduled this month, according to information posted on the Federation of Community Councils homepage.

A pair of local young women will be wearing tiaras for the next year after winning titles at the Miss Alaska USA pageant Aug. 4 in Anchorage.

Neither expected to win.

“I think I said out loud, ‘What?’” said Chugiak’s JoEllen Walters, who was crowned Miss Alaska USA at the event held at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. “Then I cried.”

Like Walters, Miss Alaska Teen USA Meghan Scott was surprised when she heard Audrey Johnson’s name called instead of hers as the first runner-up.

Michailia Massong, waist-deep in a muddy bog Friday afternoon, fought to hold her best friend’s head above water.

“Don’t you dare give up on us!” she pleaded, as Luna, her 13-year-old American quarter horse, shivered in a swamp a half-mile off Birchwood Loop in Chugiak.

Luna had unexpectedly bolted during a routine ride and wound up stuck. The two had been struggling to get out of the bog for two hours. Massong was getting colder by the minute. Luna’s gums were turning pale, her breathing was becoming labored.

Berries have been bringing bunches of pickers to Arctic Valley, where the fall hiking and gathering season is well underway.

On a recent weekday, more than a dozen people scoured the mountainsides in search of blueberries, which can be readily found in the area. The trails leading into the Chugach Mountains also hosted a few hikers and mountain runners, who flock to the wide-open ridgelines offered high above the valley.

Chugiak-Eagle River’s delegation in the Anchorage Assembly thinks government has better things to do than banning plastic bags.

“I’m kind of the persuasion the major function of government is to protect our rights, not to change our conduct,” said Fred Dyson, who joined assemblywoman Amy Demboski as the lone votes against a ban on retail plastic bags that passed by the assembly at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Gymnasts flew into action for first high school meet of the season Aug. 23 at Chugiak High.

Emily Rand led the way for a high-flying Chugiak team with wins in both the balance beam and floor exercise.

“I’m really excited for this season,” said Chugiak head coach Wendy Wiltfong.

Wiltfong said she’s got about 20 athletes in the program, with about 10 of those having previous gymnastics experience.

Ryan Adkins threw for 259 yards and six touchdown passes and Eagle River raced to its best start in program history with a 65-15 Northern Lights Conference win over Kodiak Saturday in Eagle River.

“It means a lot,” said Eagle River’s Quanard Cox, who ran for a touchdown and caught another in front of a large Homecoming Day crowd at The Wolves Den. “Now we’ve got to just keep pushing and pushing.”

Eagle River is 3-0 for the first time in the school’s 13 seasons of varsity play. More importantly, the Wolves improved to 1-0 in the four-team Northern Lights Conference.

With a massive hurdle to fish passage in the Eklutna River now gone, it’s up to local utilities to take the next step toward restoring the river to its natural state.

In the first week of August, a yearlong project to remove an abandoned diversion dam in the Eklutna River Valley was completed. Although the dam removal hasn’t restored water flow into the river, it’s a major step toward returning the 22-mile stretch of prime salmon habitat to its natural state.

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