Matt Tunseth

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.

Police say they’re unaware of an organized “smash-and-grab” ring targeting vehicles in Anchorage area parks, but at least one municipal department believes otherwise.

“It’s well known that from Girdwood to Mirror Lake there is a massive smash-and-grab group,” Anchorage Parks and Recreation director John Rodda told the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors on Aug. 13.

Rodda said he believes the brazen group uses similar techniques and appears to include the same people time and time again.

The votes are in. Now what?

Tuesday night’s primary elections narrowed the field for November’s general election, where Chugiak-Eagle River Republicans appear to have strong financial and electoral factors in their favor over Democratic nominees. In all four area races, the Republican nominees will enter the race with a substantial lead over their opponents — a factor that proved decisive in the primaries.

Three new administrators are starting work at two local high schools this fall.

Eagle River High has a new head principal in Tim Helvey, who is moving from an assistant principal role at Chugiak High. Helvey is replacing Marty Lang, who spent seven years as principal at ERHS.

Helvey’s hiring was announced in June.

Some lessons are harder to learn than others.

Chugiak’s football team suffered a crushing 39-36 overtime loss Saturday to Service in a game first-year head coach Ryan Landers said was encouraging despite its heartbreaking ending.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said Landers, who fell to 0-2 in his first season leading his alma mater.

Warm-ups are over.

After their second straight rout of a Division III opponent, the Eagle River Wolves football team will face their first major hurdle of the season Saturday, Aug. 25 when Northern Lights Conference foe Kodiak visits town for homecoming at the Wolves’ Den in Eagle River.

“This was just a step along the way,” said Eagle River head coach Bob Adkins after his team thrashed defending Alaska Division III champion Barrow 50-3 in a nonconference clash Saturday afternoon in Eagle River.

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