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It’s party time for one class of seventh-graders at Gruening Middle School.

Brad Kirr’s third-period class at the Eagle River middle school was the Mat-Su/Eagle River regional winner in Chugach Electric’s recent Power Pledge Challenge, an energy saving education program designed to educate kids about energy use. The class will receive a pizza party and a tour of the Matanuska Electric Eklutna Generation Station.

According to a Chugach press release, students completed an activity to learn how to calculate their own energy usage and learned ways to reduce usage.

Despite some late-season reports of activity — including a family of brown bears spotted getting into trash at Eagle River High earlier this week — bears in the Eagle River Valley have been deemed drowsy enough for the Albert Loop Trail to be reopened to hikers.

The trail’s annual fall closure ended Friday, Nov. 3 — though park rangers warned users should always remain alert in an area known for healthy populations of black and brown bears.

Subfreezing temperatures both day and night have caused local lakes to begin to ice up rapidly, but it’s still too soon to venture out onto frozen surfaces.

Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation parks superintendent Josh Durand said the department will begin to issue online ice thickness reports once several inches have formed.

“It first happens when we’re identifying the ice is safe for us to maintain,” Durand said on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Last year, that date was Nov. 29, while in 2015 it was Nov. 17.

15 years ago this week in the Star…

59-room motel on way

A local group led by John Emmi planned to break ground in the coming week on a new 59-room Microtel Inn and Suites, according to a front-page story in the Nov. 7, 2002 edition of the Alaska Star.

According to the story, the new motel would be four times the size of the town’s only other motel, the Eagle River Motel.

“We conducted feasibility studies and we see a need for another motel here,” Emmi told the paper.

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.

Theater seats at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy will get a new home while the Eagle River nonprofit looks for one of its own.

A wooded corner of the Municipality of Anchorage is growing a crop of the Anchorage School District’s top students.

Firefighters returned to the scene of an early-morning Oct. 31 house fire in the Eagle River Valley that sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries after flames reappeared from the structure.

According to Anchorage Fire Department chief Denis LeBlanc, crews were called back to a home located off Eagle River Road at around 9:18 a.m. Tuesday after the fire — which was declared out at around 7:30 a.m. — reappeared at the location.

A student at Alpenglow Elementary was charged with assault after allegedly brandishing a knife at another student while they were walking home from school.

On Oct. 18, Anchorage School District officials notified police that a student had pulled a knife on another student two days before while both were walking home from the school on Driftwood Bay Drive. Police arrived at the school and charged the boy with third-degree assault. He was released to his parents.

Plans to improve Eagle River’s most notorious intersection continue to creep forward, with project leaders holding their seventh public meeting on the Eagle River Traffic Mitigation project Monday, Oct. 30 in Eagle River.

“We’re here to tell you where we’re at,” said Aaron Christie, a project engineer with Dowl.

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