Lydia Gray will never forget Dec. 31, 2008.

No, the Eagle River resident didn’t attend the best New Year’s party of her life or celebrate a special anniversary. That was the day Gray received perhaps the most frightening news an expectant mother can get: doctors had detected a defect ­— heart disease ­— in her unborn baby.

Gray said she and her husband, David, were stunned.

“We were in a shocked state of mind,” Gray said. “You’re numb.”

Doctors performed open-heart surgery just 10 days after her baby boy was born. Today, young Qunilan is a normal 2-year-old.

Day after day, year after year, some things are guaranteed to never change — the sun will always rise, the people in our lives will come and go, and every April 15 the tax man will be knocking at the door. Though there are things in life that we cannot control, there are many more that we can. As we reflect on our lives, many will think of the people who raised them: influential teachers, a neighbor, a scout leader who made an impact in their lives. The years will inevitably pass, and we will lose touch with friends and family members.

Vandals and thieves have been using Eagle River’s parks as a criminal playground, racking up thousands of dollars in damages during a summer-long series of sometimes-brazen acts.

“So far it’s been well over $10,000 in damages,” Eagle River Parks and Recreation Manager Val Barkley said on Monday, Sept. 12.

The most recent incident occurred at Town Square Park, where thieves made off with seven brass animal figurines that were attached to fencing near the park’s flower beds.

Chugiak snapped a two-game losing streak with a 35-7 Homecoming win over Colony Saturday, Sept. 10 in a non-conference football game at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
“This is really a confidence booster for us,” said Chugiak lineman Kody Trombley.
Justin Schneider ran for two touchdowns and Jacob Wenzl, Dylan Timberlake and Wayde Snell had one each for the Mustangs, who built a 35-0 lead early in the third quarter and cruised past the 0-5 Knights.
Chugiak (2-2 CIC, 3-2 overall) scored twice in the first quarter, getting touchdown runs from Timberlake and Wenzl.

Chugiak's homecoming festivities get underway at 1 p.m. today with a girls flag football game against South.
A homecoming float parade will immediately follow the flag football game, followed by a non conference football game between Chugiak and Colony.
Chugiak enters the game with a 2-2 record, while the Knights are 0-4.
Check www.alaskastar.com after the game to find out who won.
 

Chugiak earned a sweep over Eagle River at Chugiak on Friday, Sept. 9.
The Mustang boys won 106-35, while the girls pulled out a 109-53 win.
Chugiak’s girls swept every event, while the boys won every event but one.
Double winners for the Chugiak girls included Samantha Burke (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke) and Amanda Vikdal (50 free, 100 back).
Double individual winners on the boys side included Grant Ensign (200 free, 100 back), Andrew Espe (200 IM, 100 fly) and Ethan Espe (50 free, 100 breast.

West handed Eagle River its 12th consecutive defeat with a 39-13 Cook Inlet Conference rout at Anchorage Football Stadium on Friday, Sept. 9.
The Eagles used two touchdowns in the final 3:40 of the first half to take control of what had been a close game.

Having to go dipnetting in a ponytail might have been the worst part of Scotty Sandback’s hair-raising adventure.

“I did not like that,” said Sandbeck, who said he normally wore his long, black hair parted to one side or — when it was windy — covered with a hat.

But during a dipnetting trip to the Kenai Peninsula, he had no choice but to pull the hair back in order to make sure it stayed out of his way as he scooped salmon.

Classy, solid and well-acted, “The Debt” is a rare bit of meaty, intelligent filmmaking during the ordinarily dreary final days of summer.

Jim Reeves thinks he’s got the perfect name for the newest team in the Alaska Baseball League.

“How about the ‘WolfStangs?’” Reeves quipped last week, suggesting a combination of the area’s two high school mascots, the Wolves and Mustangs. “I think I’ll put that one in there.”

Small swim meets aren’t all that much fun, which is why Wasilla was invited to join East and Chugiak on Sept. 2 for a meet at East High.

“With the smaller teams it makes it more fun for the kids,” said Chugiak coach Jessica Kopischke.

East swept the boys and girls team competitions, while Chugiak was second in both and Wasilla third.

Kopischke said coaches may try to invite outside teams to Cook Inlet Conference duals in the future.

“It might be a trend,” she said.

Chugiak 3, Dimond 2

Chugiak picked up a key Cook Inlet Conference win with a five-set (16-25, 27-25, 25-21, 11-25, 16-14) win over defending state champion Dimond on Sept. 2 at Chugiak. The Mustangs improved to 3-0 in the CIC with the win.

Anna Matthews led the charge for the Mustangs with 12 kills, 18 digs and two blocks, while Karlee Kavanaugh added seven kills, four blocks and 23 digs for the Mustangs.

 

Palmer 3, Eagle River 0

Palmer was a rude visitor to Eagle River High on Sept. 1, handing the host Wolves a 25-15, 25-21, 25-13 loss.

Thanks to six forfeits, Eagle River High’s tennis team defeated Bartlett 7-1 on Sept. 1.

The girls doubles team of Karolena Williams/Mary Stone blanked Jasmine Wright/Krista Davis 6-0, 6-0 for the Wolves’ lone victory in which a match was actually played.

Individual competition among local cross country runners seems to be working out well for their respective teams.

After watching members his team laugh after committing a backbreaking penalty late in their 20-7 loss to Dimond on Sept. 2 at Dimond Alumni Field, Eagle River flag football coach Matt Turner screamed at his players from the sidelines.

“That’s not funny!” Turner yelled.

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