Daric and Michael Harkless fell in love with Alaska at first sight.

“We love going to Mount Baldy, going up Flattop,” Daric Harkless said Tuesday from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where her husband is stationed in the Army.

Michael was stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in 2012, and in 2013, the couple bought a home in nearby Eagle River, where they planned to eventually settle permanently. The neighborhood they found off Eagle River Road was everything they could hope for.

The Anchorage Municipal Clerk is taking applications to fill the vacancy on the Anchorage Assembly created when Chugiak’s Amy Demboski resigned to become deputy chief of staff for Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Applications are available at the clerk’s office, on the assembly’s website at muni.org/assembly or at the municipality’s elections site at muni.org/elections.

A second Eagle River school has been closed for the rest of the school year due to damage from Friday’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

At a Wednesday press conference, Anchorage School District officials said Gruening Middle School is too damaged to reopen. On Tuesday, the district said Eagle River Elementary will be closed through the school year. Both schools suffered extensive damage in the earthquake.

Seamus and Charlie knew just what to do when the big quake hit.


When the shaking started in their Eagle River Valley neighborhood, the shaggy haired 12-year-old and his teenage buddy bolted in the direction of Walmart and didn’t look back. Things could have ended badly for the runaways that day if it weren’t for the actions of a sharp-eyed cop, a determined mom and a kindly neighbor with a Lion King sleeping bag.

A Chugiak man who in the past 18 months has been arrested for leading officers on a high-speed chase, hitting a man in the head with a baseball bat and assaulting a police officer — all in separate incidents — has been picked up once again, this time on vehicle theft charges after allegedly hitting a vehicle in Mountain View while driving a stolen truck.

Not everyone survived Friday morning’s quake unscathed. Calls for service were widespread in the immediate aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 shaker, with numerous calls reported for things like gas leaks and fire alarms.

The Chugiak-Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department responded to 28 calls in the 24 hours after the quake, including three structure fires, six medical calls, a pair of car crashes and 10 leak investigations. There was also a teacher who thought she was going into labor at Fire Lake Elementary, but the baby ended up deciding to wait until things calmed down outside.

Though Friday’s earthquake caused widespread damage in downtown Eagle River, one thing was abundantly clear.

Jitters isn’t going anywhere.

The popular downtown coffee shop that’s home to countless business meetings and bull sessions was hit hard by the quake, as were other tenants in the Eagle River Shopping Center. But on Sunday, a small team of employees, volunteers and friends showed up to help clean up the family owned institution.

Nobody got as lucky Friday as Logan Cushman.

The Eagle River man was in bed when shockwaves from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake ripped directly through the neighborhood, instantly turning the split-level home he shares with husband Rick Walburn into a ranch.

“The only way I can describe it is it felt like a plane was crashing into the house,” Cushman said Sunday as he and Walburn surveyed the collapsed home on Dome Circle.

Now that the dust is settling from Friday’s big shaker, the Anchorage fire chief wants people to check on their neighbors.

“I’m asking you guys to work through your community councils to do neighborhood welfare checks,” chief Jodie Hettrick asked Anchorage Assembly members during an emergency meeting of the assembly held Sunday at the Municipality of Anchorage’s emergency operations center in downtown Anchorage.

Chugiak’s Daniel Bausch knows how to bounce back.

The Chugiak High senior finished in eighth place at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championship West Regionals on Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.

The finish earned Bausch an invite to the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals next Saturday at Morley Field in San Diego.

The result was a redemption story of sorts for Bausch, who last month withdrew midway through the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Region race after running with the leaders in the early going.

Damage was widespread in Chugiak-Eagle River Saturday as residents worked to dig out from Friday’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

Water pipes burst, pictures and dishes fell off walls, windows blew out and several homes suffered structural damage that ranged from minor to major — including a home on Dome Circle that apparently suffered a collapsed garage and one on Ptarmigain Boulevard where an entire room on the side of a large two-story home completely broke away from the main structure.

Friday’s earthquake may have been a boon for the producers of an upcoming PBS documentary featuring survivors of the 1964 Good Friday quake.

“I did send them an email asking if they did that for PR,” joked Eagle River’s Dan Kendall, whose story is chronicled in Season 2 of “We’ll Meet Again,” a series executive produced and presented by Ann Curry.

The documentary brings people together who haven’t seen each other in many years. In Kendall’s case, he was reunited with former Little League teammate and neighbor Rudolph “Bucky” Svein, who now lives in Washington.

The lights came back up before the sun did Saturday in Chugiak-Eagle River, where at 4 a.m. Matanuska Electric Association announced power had been restored to all areas following an outage that began with a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that ripped directly through the cooperative’s power grid.

UPDATE: The Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center is open to anyone who needs a place to stay or is without power. According to a post on the center’s Facebook page, the Red Cross and Salvation Army are on site to provide food and temporary shelter to anyone in need.

“Please share with your neighbors: we have opened our doors for anyone who needs a warm place to stay,” reads the post. “If you still don’t have power and need a place to warm up, please come to the Senior center. We are working on getting soup warmed up. Stay safe everyone!”

Chugiak-Eagle River residents scrambled to clean up and assess the damage after a major earthquake struck the area Friday morning.

Damage was widespread across the area, with broken windows, broken pipes and major damage to the Glenn Highway between Eklutna and Mirror Lake.

The quake was reportedly a magnitude 7.0 and centered about 30 miles south of Palmer — directly across Knik Arm from Chugiak. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries, though reports were still coming in Friday.

UPDATE: The Merry Merchant Munch and Winter Wonderland have been cancelled due to Friday’s earthquake. Check here for more details.


It’s the most muncherful time of the year.

Chugiak got goals from four different players and 16 saves from Olin Kelliher to take a 4-2 nonconference high school hockey win over Colony Tuesday at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

Jarett Beckett had a goal and an assist for the Mustangs, who also got goals from Tyler Huffer, Cullen McCormick and Luke Momblow. Wyatt Young, Jacob Kosinski and Grant Epple had assists for Chugiak, which improved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 against nonconference opponents.

With its mix of urban living and rugged terrain, the Chugiak-Eagle River area is in many ways an ideal representation of issues facing neighboring Chugach State Park.

“This area is a great example of a Petri dish of some of the issues we have parkwide,” said Chugach superintendent Kurt Hensel during the Nov. 19 meeting of the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors.

Items in the Police Briefs are taken from the Anchorage Police Department’s online crime mapping system. Details about individual events are provided by the department’s public information office. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.


On Tuesday prosecutors said charges were dropped against the 44-year-old man arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at a women after determining there was insufficient evidence to prove the case.


A 39-year-old Anchorage man was arrested on Thanksgiving after he allegedly pulled a knife on an Eagle River convenience store clerk.

According to police, officers were called to the Tesoro on the Old Glenn Highway at around 10:25 p.m. on Nov. 22 for a report of a robbery. When they arrived, the clerk told officers he tried to confront Thomas R. Emblom for allegedly putting a candy bar in his pocket. Rather than removing the candy bar from his pocket, Emblom instead took out a knife, police said. The clerk backed away and Emblom left the store, kicking the door on the way out.


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