The Alaska Army National Guard is under new leadership.

Leon “Mike” Bridges, who was promoted to Brigadier General Jan. 6, took the colors from Brig. Gen. Julio “Randy” Banez during a change of command ceremony on Joint-Base Elmendorf Richardson on Saturday, Jan. 7.

Banez has commanded the Alaska Army National Guard since November 2009 and will retire Feb. 1.

A career National Guardsman, Bridges has served for more than three decades in Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory today. The advisory goes into effect at 9 p.m. tonight. According to a statement on the NWS website, between nine and 18 inches of snow are expected in the Anchorage area between tonight and Thursday afternoon.

Read more here: http://www.arh.noaa.gov/wmofcst.php?wmo=FPAK51PAFC&type=public

 Chugiak’s Anna Rix, a biochemistry and molecular biology-biological sciences major at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich., made the school’s fall semester Dean’s List with a 4.0 grade point average.

Warren Bert Elkins of Chugiak died of natural causes on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011. He was 59.

If there’s a post-Christmas sale, there’s a good chance Eagle River’s Sheri Boggs will be there.

After the holidays, Boggs takes advantage of reduced prices to load up on socks, gloves, hats and scarves.

The items aren’t for Boggs or her family. They’re for those who must endure Alaska’s harsh winters without a permanent residence.

This is the third year Boggs has supplied Anchorage’s Project Homeless Connect event with warm garments for clients.

One of the longest days of Ian Murphy’s life began ordinarily enough, with a routine trip to Chugiak High to drop off the family’s foreign exchange student.

17 hours later, Murphy was helping his fellow Chugiak Volunteer firefighters finish dousing the smoldering ashes of his own home.

“It’s always hard to watch something like that happen, but it really hits you in the gut when you’re looking at it and it’s yours,” said Murphy, whose family’s home in Peters Creek was destroyed by the Jan. 5 blaze.

CER Star January 12, 2012 Issue XLI Volume 2

Chris Parker led four Eagle River Wolves in double figures with 16 points to lead his team to a 72-53 Cook Inlet Conference win over South Friday night at Eagle River. The win moved the Wolves to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the CIC.

Also winning Friday night were the Chugiak girls, who got 11 points off the bench from Brandi Bookout to key a 46-38 win over Service to move to 2-0 in the CIC.

An early-morning house fire in Peters Creek left seven people — including a volunteer firefighter — without a home Thursday, Jan. 5.

According to Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief Clifton Dalton, a call came in at around 7:45 a.m. that a house on Deer Park Drive was ablaze. When crews arrived several minutes later, they found heavy smoke coming from the roof of the single-story house.

“It was burning undetected a long time before the residents were aware of it,” Dalton said.

Chugiak High senior Jessi McMullen, 17, helped the Mustangs to a second-place finish and was named to the all-tournament team at the Cactus Jam girls basketball tournament in Phoenix on Dec. 27-30. McMullen also added 10 points in Chugiak’s 64-39 CIC win over West Anchorage on Tuesday, Jan. 3. This is McMullen’s third year on varsity. She is the daughter of Greg and Carrie McMullen of Eagle River.

Hollywood has commandeered Sweden’s big literary export, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” without compromising the story’s Scandinavian roots or its top-of-the-world, Seasonal Affective Disorder sense of barrenness, even hopelessness.

It could have been transplanted Stateside for American audiences, but thankfully, what happens in Sweden stays in Sweden in David Fincher’s stark but enthralling adaptation of the first novel in late author Stig Larsson’s trilogy.

If you’re like most of us, your probably haven’t — but you’ve likely already been thinking about getting online to get in line for your annual cut of the state’s massive oil wealth payout.

Getting signed up early is always a good idea. Although the deadline this year isn’t until March 31, it’s easy enough to forget. And with so much money on the line (the 2011 dividend was $1,174, paid out to all eligible men, women and children in the state), nobody wants to be left out in the cold.

Missing the state tournament last year has Chugiak High’s girls basketball team more motivated for this season. But it won’t be easy getting there this year.

Only the top two Cook Inlet Conference teams will earn automatic state berths. Other automatic Class 4A berths include two from the Northern Lights Conference and one from the Southeast and Mid Alaska conferences.

The final two spots will be determined by Winning Percentage Index standings. This is the first time WPI will be used to determine who goes to state.

Different year, same problem.

Eagle River High girls basketball again is suffering from low numbers. The 2011-12 team has just six full-time varsity players and two JV swingers.

It’s a problem that’s plagued the Wolves since senior captain Meaghan Byman started playing as a sophomore.

“The problem is we have a new team every year,” she said. “That’s a big key to our unsuccessfulness.”

KeyBank plans grand reopening

The Eagle River KeyBank branch will host a grand opening to celebrate completion of its remodeled Eagle River branch and its new Saturday operating hours on Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The branch, located at 10928 Eagle River Road, recently underwent a remodeling effort, and has also added Saturday hours from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., starting Jan. 21.

Anchorage Police have identified the driver in a New Year’s Day collision between a pickup truck and two pedestrians in downtown Anchorage as 21-year-old Tex Daniels II of Chugiak.

According to police, Ashley Marie Brotherton and Clayton Tyler Wilbanks, both 24, were walking northbound alongside I Street shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1 when they were struck from behind by a red 1994 Dodge Ram 1500. Both were taken to local hospitals. On Monday, Jan. 2, police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers said Wilbanks’ condition was fair.

Ever wondered who picks books for Anchorage Public Library? With more than a half million books on the APL shelves, keeping up with what’s there, what’s new, what should be added or discarded is a complicated process, to say the least!

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