Matt Tunseth

A Chugiak couple was without a home Saturday after fire tore through much of their house on McManus Drive.

B.J. Lebeck and Brian Johnson were enjoying a leisurely afternoon when the fire broke out.

“I was watching TV, waiting for the snow to quit so I could plow the driveway,” Johnson said Sunday outside the remains of his former home.

He tried to fight the blaze, but the flames moved too fast.

“I hit it with two fire extinguishers right off the bat and called 911,” he said.

At that point, the couple knew they were out of time.

Chugiak locked up the No. 2 spot in the Cook Inlet Conference hockey playoffs with a 5-2 win over Eagle River on Saturday night at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

"I think the two best games we've played this year have been against Eagle River," said Chugiak coach Rodney Wild, whose team will face No. 7 East on Tuesday in the first round of the CIC playoffs.

Combined with a 7-1 win over the Wolves in December, Saturday's victory gave the Mustangs a season sweep over their biggest rivals.

The Anchorage Police Department is making an effort to be more visible in Chugiak-Eagle River.

“You should be seeing more officers,” said Nora Morse, a special assistant to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz last week.

Morse spoke at a meeting of the Chugiak Community Council, where she presented the results of a recent community policing survey. According to Morse, the survey showed residents want more patrol during late night hours, want the same officers assigned to the area as much as possible and want to see increased traffic patrols in residential areas.

The debate over a plan that could bring more high density housing to Eagle River is bringing representatives from local community councils together.

One of the most notorious intersections in a notoriously tricky traffic town is set for an overhaul – and the state wants to hear what people have to say about it.

A meeting is planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 in the Eagle River Town Center (12001 Business Boulevard) to discuss plans to revamp the intersection of the Old Glenn Highway and Eagle River Road, a fix that’s the first phase in a larger Eagle River Traffic Mitigation project.

“We’ve come up with some conceptual improvements we wanted to present to people,” said Dean Karcz, a project manager with PTS Inc.

The long and winding saga of the very short Aurora Borealis Road continues to twist its way through the public process.

The old road — which links neighborhoods on the north and south sides of Peters Creek just west of the Glenn Highway — has some problems. The biggest is that it’s not really a road.

“Probably six decades ago this road was punched in,” said Eagle River Street Maintenance general foreman Mark Littlefield in a Monday interview.

Finding a job in a challenging economy isn’t always easy, but the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is trying to make the task a little less daunting.

“Our goal is to develop the workforce of Alaska,” said Anne Velardi, who works as a community development specialist for the department, which maintains a Job Center office in Eagle River’s Parkgate Building.

Wasilla remains the class of Alaska girls basketball, but Saturday’s clash with Chugiak proved the Mustangs aren’t far behind.

Chugiak gave the top-ranked and defending Class 4A champion Warriors all they could handle, coming up just short in a 44-37 nonconference loss at Chugiak High.

“I think at the end we chipped away and started to play well,” said Chugiak coach Ryan Hales, who wasn’t interested in talking about moral victories.

The end of a bitter cold snap ushered in the second straight weekend of heavy snow as winter's triumphant return to Southcentral Alaska continued Saturday, Jan. 21.

The Glenn Highway was briefly closed in both directions early Saturday afternoon as the dry, drifting snow played havoc with visibility on roads in Anchorage and Eagle River. Numerous cars found the ditch, and police took the added step of asking people to stay home as the storm dropped between six inches and a foot of snow in the area.

Chugiak’s hockey team took senior night literally Friday.

All of the Mustangs’ goals came courtesy of seniors as Chugiak routed Soldotna 7-0 in a nonconference hockey game at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

Zach Krajnik had the hottest hand for Chugiak, netting four goals and two assists. Classmate Andrew Beckett had two goals and fellow senior John Hammer also found the net.

“We’re just trying to get better every game,” said Krajnik, who scored three goals in the second period and one in the third.