Glenn Highway motorists might see black smoke rising from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Saturday, but it’s only a drill.

The Anchorage Police Department sent out a Nixle alert shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday warning the public there will be a firefighting drill on base between 9 a.m. and noon. There will likely be thick black smoke rising over the base during that time.

Two very different tales unfolded Friday as Chugiak and Eagle River got their 2018 high school football seasons underway.

In Houston, the Wolves broke things open in the second half to roll to a convincing nonconference win over the Hawks, while at Chugiak a young Mustangs squad found itself learning a brusing lesson against a determined East side.

WOLVES DEVOUR HAWKS

Division II Eagle River dominated Division III Houston at Houston High, turning an 8-0 halftime lead into a 42-12 blowout.

Chugiak swept the “Battle of the Bridge” cross country running dual with Eagle River on Friday, Aug. 10 at the Beach Lake Trails in Chugiak.

Daniel Bausch won the boys’ 3-kilometer race in 9 minutes, 47 seconds, followed by the Mustangs’ Hyrum Nelson (10:08) and Miles Dennis (10:52). Tucker Lien was the top Eagle River finisher in 12:08.

Chugiak’s Adrianna Proffitt won the girls race in 12:11, finishing 13 seconds faster than teammate Breanna Day. Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould was third in 13:04. Myah Smith (13:53) led Eagle River in fifth.

Boys

An Alaska State House member with deep pockets and a union-aligned newcomer hoping to replace her are leading the local fundraising race as the primary election season enters the home stretch.

According to 30-day reports filed with the Alaska Political Offices Commission, Senate District G hopeful and current State House Rep. Lora Reinbold had raised $51,472 through the July 20 filing deadline — with more than $30,000 of that coming from Reinbold herself.

There’s no surer sign of fall than the annual closure of the Albert Loop Trail at the Eagle River Nature Center.

The popular trail was closed Thursday and will remain off-limits until freeze-up, according to an announcement sent out Thursday.

Since 1997, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources has closed the trail near the Eagle River in Chugach State Park due to the presence of spawning salmon. The salmon attract bears, who use the bridges and beaver dams near the trail to fish.

Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers stood in the rain at midfield on the team’s first day of football practice.

“Well, it’s not the first day …” Landers said.

He meant he’s been preparing for the 2018 season since getting the job this spring, but Landers could have been going much further back.

In fact, Landers’s first practice as a Mustang came nearly two decades ago when he strapped on the pads as a freshman in 1994.

“This is where I was born and raised, and I bleed black and blue,” he said.

As the team’s fifth head coach since 2005, Bob Adkins knows much of his job is trying to grow tradition at a program that’s had precious little success over the years. It’s a challenge the UAF grad welcomes.

“You have to build a culture because when you build a culture the kids know what to expect,” he said.

Chugiak has a distinctively new look this season, but in many ways it’s still going to be the same old black and blue at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.

Gone are the team’s star player, its head coach and several key cogs from last year’s state semifinalist squad. But the sidelines still won’t look that much different, with a former Mustang taking over the head coaching job and plenty of pieces returning from a team that spent much of 2017 atop the statewide football poll.

Eagle River wants to make history.

A perennial also-ran, the Wolves have never reached the state playoffs since beginning varsity play in 2006. But with a speedy, senior-laden group on Yosemite Drive this season, that could change.

“We set our goal to make the playoffs,” said quarterback Ryan Adkins.

What was once the scene of heartbreak is being transformed into a place for healing.

A new memorial bench is being built on the St. John Orthodox Cathedral property near South Birchwood Loop where the body of a 19-year-old overdose victim was dumped in 2017.

“I think it’s pretty cool a place that was once known as somewhere kids used to drive down and get high is now going to be a spot of reflection and hope,” said Alaina Thiessen, whose son, Zac Schneider, was found lying dead on the ground on May 16, 2017.

A Chugiak man has been charged with weapons misconduct after he allegedly shot a black bear while intoxicated.

According to Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad, police were called to Rusticate Drive at around 2 a.m. on Thursday. Oistad said officers determined Jacob L. T. Stephan, 33, shot and killed a black bear that was eating out of a dumpster, but that the shooting was illegal.

“The situation in which Stephan killed the bear did not constitute ‘defense of life and property,’” Oistad wrote in a Tuesday email.

Nearly every person running for local political office showed up for a candidates’ forum last week in Eagle River for a fast and furious introduction to the community.

“It’s going to be like a speed round,” promised chamber treasurer Julie Estey, who served as emcee of the chamber’s Aug. 1 lunch forum at the Eagle River Ale House.

A Utah hiker was rescued from the mud at the base of Thunderbird Falls on Friday.

According to the Alaska State Troopers, Owen Hagland, 25, reportedly fell while trying to climb the falls and got stuck in the mud. Troopers were notified at around 5:15 p.m., and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group was called to the scene. Rescuers were was able to get Hagland out of the mud, troopers said; he was reportedly cold but uninjured.

(Updated Aug. 8, 2018)

An upset-minded Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks squad fell just short in its attempt to upend the Alaska Baseball League regular season champion Mat-Su Miners Wednesday, falling in the first two games of their best-of-three ABL playoff series at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.

The Chinooks — who qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons since moving to Chugiak in 2012 — dropped the Aug. 1 opener 5-4 and fell in the second game 5-3 the following day.

Vehicles stolen

On July 23 at around 3:33 a.m., police received a report that a motorcycle had been stolen from the bed of a pickup truck on Aurora Borealis Road. As of Monday, the bike had not been recovered.

This week’s Greater Eagle River Garden Club Garden of the Week is located at the home of Robert and Amnuay Wrentmore on 10931 Kaskanak Drive. The business Garden of the Week is the Eagle River Brown Jug. To submit a garden for consideration, email chriswood_ak@yahoo.com

The key to a healthy garden is rich, fertile soil. Establishing a good source of compost and adding this to your garden nourishes both the garden plants and the creatures that live in healthy soil. Applying compost to your soil can help stabilize the pH at the level most plants prefer.

When you make your own compost, you are doing what nature is doing all the time naturally around us — only faster. The soil-dwelling microbes are doing the work of decomposing. This slow process by the microbes releases nutrients at a rate that plants can use them.

A gnarly battle over a small ski area’s liquor license isn’t over yet.

In June, the Alaska Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office was supposed to review a recreational site alcohol license for the Arctic Valley Ski Area’s Alpenglow Lodge. However, due to a high number of items on the board’s agenda, the issue was moved to the board’s August meeting in the Interior.

It sounds like the name of a 1960s girl group: Christy Marvin and the Lady Train.

But no. It was the story of the women’s race Saturday at the Crow Pass Crossing.

Marvin captured her fourth straight victory in the 22-mile backcountry marathon in Chugach State Park, finishing with a collection of bee stings on her left leg but no course record in the wilderness run from Girdwood to the Eagle River Nature Center.

Marvin placed 12th overall in 3 hours, 32 minutes, 21.6 seconds, matching the 10th-fastest time ever recorded by a woman.

Sheryl Loan and Jason Lamoreaux captured the Tour of Anchorage titles Sunday after the fifth and final race of the annual bicycle stage race.

The victory marked Loan’s 12th Tour of Anchorage championship — by far the most in the history of the event, which dates back to 1984 Next on the list is Tim Lamb, who owns a record eight men’s titles, the last of them coming in 2003.

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