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Five or six decades can disappear awful fast.

Just ask those in attendance at last week’s “Old Timers’ Dinner” held at the Eagle River Lions Club.

“Time flies,” said Tom Blavka, who first arrived in Chugiak more than 50 years ago.

Co-hosted by Rep. Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak/Mat-Su) and Rep. Anna Fairclough (R-Eagle River), the free dinner was a chance for many of the area’s long-term residents to get together for a once-a-year gab session.

You’ll never see a new student eating lunch alone at Eagle River High School.

When a transfer enters the halls of ERHS for the first time, a current student eats lunch with the new student and gives them a tour of the school, walking them through their schedule.

It’s all thanks to the school’s Adventure Program.

Funded by a United States Department of Defense grant, the pilot program’s focus is to ease the transition into the building for new students — many who come from a military background. The program also promotes academic success.

Just five games into the 2011-12 basketball season, Eagle River’s boys already have more victories than last year.

The Wolves, who managed just two wins in the 2010-11 campaign, improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Cook Inlet Conference with a convincing 72-53 victory over visiting South Anchorage on Jan. 6 and a thrilling win at East on Jan. 10.

The decisive win signaled more than Eagle River’s first conference victory of the season, junior Shaquan Rhoades said. It showed wins won’t come easily against the Wolves this year, he said.

A 20-point, fourth-quarter surge was enough for South Anchorage to prevent Eagle River’s girls from winning their first basketball game in more than two years.

The visiting Wolverines started the final quarter on a 14-0 run to defeat the Wolves 65-55 on Jan. 6. The loss dropped Eagle River to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

Eagle River — which led the entire second and third quarters — couldn’t recover after losing standout Dana Panfil in the first minute of the second half, head coach Terra Bingham said.

Nicole Mrugala started 2012 the way she ended 2011 — perfect.

The senior Chugiak-Eagle River netminder turned aside all 25 shots from Dimond-West to earn her second straight shutout in CER’s 2-0 win Jan. 4 at Ben Boeke Ice Arena. Mrugala recorded a 17-save shutout against Service-East on Dec. 16 in CER’s final game before the holiday break.

Dimond-West threw more shots on net through the first two periods than Service-East did all game — but that didn’t faze Mrugala.

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

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.

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.

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