When choosing a shrub for your garden, never pick one unless you are absolutely sure that it is resistant to our winter cold and hardy for this area. We are in a zone 3 and many of the box stores do sell plants that are not hardy outside here in the winter and they will die. Save your money and get a shrub that will survive and thrive here. One such shrub is Syringa Vulgaris an heirloom variety of lilac. This variety can grow 20 feet high and can become large and provide multiple beautiful blooms for your enjoyment.

Two Eagle River men were arrested on gun charges after a May 18 shooting incident in Chugiak.

According to police, on May 18 at around 5:10 p.m., an APD officer was flagged down by someone who said several people were standing outside a parked Chevy Blazer near the intersection of Birchwood Spur and Stoltze Road, and that one of the people was shooting into the woods.

Police said when the officer arrived, the people had already gotten back into the Blazer. The officer then allegedly watched as one person threw a pistol out the window.

A family of six narrowly escaped a house fire with their lives Sunday evening, but things could have been a lot worse if Anchorage’s Daren Beals hadn’t decided to take the scenic route.

Beals, 50, was driving from Eagle River to Chugiak with his girlfriend Irene Bush, and two other family members when he decided — on a whim, he said Monday — to take the quieter Old Glenn instead of the quicker Glenn Highway.

The Alaska Middle College School in Eagle River held a graduation ceremony for 57 students May 18 at Bartlett High, although many of the school’s students elected to participate in graduation ceremonies alongside their peers at Chugiak and Eagle River High School.

[To see more photos from this year’s graduation ceremonies, visit the Star’s 2018 Graduation Photo Gallery]

Here are this year’s AKMS graduates:

Faith, family and some fast feet took center stage at the Birchwood Christian School high school graduation May 18 at theCrossing church in Chugiak.

The 6:30 p.m. ceremony was delayed by about 15 minutes as a couple hundred well-wishers waited for seniors Tanner Reich, Bjorn Peterson and Steven Sterling to arrive from the preliminary round of the Region II track and field meet in Talkeetna. Luckily, the boys are fast — the trio make up three-fourths of the 4X400 relay team — and managed to arrive just in time to complete a record graduating class of 16 members.

Graduation ceremonies are by definition a time for change, but Eagle River High’s was particularly so as the school’s principal said goodbye to the school where he’s spent the last 13 years of his career.

“I too am leaving behind what is familiar and comfortable and stepping into a challenging unknown,” said Marty Lang, who is leaving for a job in the district office after seven years as the ERHS principal.

Lang said the day was an emotional one for himself as well as the 213 ERHS and 57 Alaska Middle College seniors in attendance.

At King’s Way Ministry on Eagle River Loop Road, the smallest area graduation ceremony was held for a trio of teens thankful for the opportunity to receive a different educational experience than their peers.

“There are pros and cons, but I think we get the better education,” said co-valedictorian Jacob Jent.

Jent’s co-valedictorian Celeste Wheeler agreed.

“There’s more attention for us,” she said.

In addition to the small class sizes at Eagle River Christian School, Wheeler said she liked the school’s open focus on religion.

Two decades after walking across the stage as a Chugiak High graduate, Megan Hatswell thanked the 257 graduates of her alma mater for letting her return to the school as their principal.

“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your grand adventure,” the first-year principal said during the school’s commencement exercises May 15 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

Having been in their shoes before, Hatswell told the graduates to use the occasion for reflection.

In more than two decades running the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River, facility manager Reid McDonald has never had to deal with the kind of mischief he’s put up with this spring.

“In my 21 years there we’ve never really been hit by any type of vandalism,” McDonald said May 14 at the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors meeting.

Police were keeping close watch on a cow moose with two calves alongside the Glenn Highway Bike Path on Sunday, May 20, 2018. The mama moose bluff-charged officers several times as they tried to keep it separated from participants in the Gold Nugget Triathlon, which drew hundreds of cyclists to the area.

A fire left six people without a home Sunday evening in Chugiak.

According to Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department assistant chief Clifton Dalton, the fire was reported at 5:47 p.m. and firefighters arrived from the nearby CVFRD Station 35 on the Old Glenn Highway two minutes later. When crews arrived, Dalton said the home was about 50 percent engulfed in flames.

“It took us about 45 minutes to get it under control,” he said.

Chugiak galloped into the state baseball tournament in dramatic fashion Saturday.

The Mustangs scored four runs in the 11th inning to knock off top-seeded South and clinch the Cook Inlet Conference title at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Mustangs used two walks and singles from Ian Frizelle, DJ Davis, Braden Shackelford and Jacob Kosinski to break things open in the top of the final inning, and Justin Nevells pitched a scoreless bottom half to secure the win.

Led by a statement performance by one of the state’s best long distance runners, the Chugiak boys track and field team did something it hasn’t done in a long time.

The Mustangs won the Cook Inlet Conference boys team title for the first time 1996, outrunning defending champion Bartlett behind a triple win from junior Daniel Bausch.

It’s time to start thinking Bear Paw.

Entries are being taken for the festival’s 11th annual photo contest, which each year awards cash prizes for photo entries in a variety of categories and age groups.

This year’s categories include Eagle River, People, Scenic, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Cultural (reflects the many diverse ethnicities/cultures present in Alaska), Creative (modified or heavily processed images) and Open (for youth entries). There are three age groups, including Youth (12 and under), Teen (13-17) and adult (18+).

Cliff Cook’s one-man community watch program is no longer a solo effort.

In fact, the six-month-old Eagle River Community Patrol has already grown to a half-dozen members and has almost $1,000 in the bank.

“We are well on our way to becoming a nonprofit sooner than I thought,” Cook said during a meeting of the Eagle River Community Council on May 10 at the Eagle River Town Center building.

A long-dreamed-of plan to bring a veterans’ housing facility to the Chugiak-Eagle River area has received the endorsement of the Anchorage Assembly — with the caveat developers work in tandem with local residents.

Local girls hockey players have a team to call their own. Now all they need is a name.

The Mustang Hockey Association is re-branding its revived girls hockey program with something more in keeping with the times.

“We wanted these players to stand out and have a distinct logo,” said MHA girls hockey coordinator Angela Unruh.

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.

It’s graduation season for high school seniors at Eagle River Christian School, Birchwood Christian, Eagle River High School and Chugiak High School. ERCS held its graduation ceremony May 12, with Chugiak and Eagle River holding theirs May 15. The Birchwood Christian graduation is scheduled for May 18 at the school.

Digging in the dirt is usually a dog’s job, but on Saturday in Chugiak a handful of human volunteers took tools into their own paws to help out their canine friends.

“I like to get dirty,” volunteer Melissa Rigas said, a dirt-covered pickaxe resting at her side.

Rigas and a half-dozen others were drawn to the nonprofit’s 2.5-acre property off Birchwood Loop for a simple reason.

“It’s all for the dogs,” she said.

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