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Leader. Mentor. Hard worker. Supportive. A friend.

These were just a few of the words used to describe Jack Aiken at a celebration honoring his 25 years as senior pastor of King’s Way Ministry Center in Eagle River on Saturday, Sept. 15.

“He’s a man after God’s own heart,” said former church secretary Jeanne Leonard. “It really was an honor to work for him.”

The church also recognized Aiken’s wife, Ann, for her decades of service.

“They are such wonderful mentors and people of integrity,” said former church bookkeeper Carol Watkins.

I’ve been known to manipulate the annual calendar to create more summer and shorten winter. Here’s an idea to lengthen our autumn season, and while it might be stating the obvious to many folks, perhaps by knowing that someone else does this might encourage others to try it themselves.

Eagle River Elementary Optional Education students aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

The roughly 100 students in the program — along with parent volunteers — harvested peas, carrots, beats, cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts from one of four gardens Monday, Sept. 17 to use for a potluck dinner the following night.

The student-grown garden is a way to educate children about eating healthy and teach them how to grow their own food, said parent Felicia Hanna, who coordinated this year’s project with Nicole Mercer.

Due to lack of revenue, Valley River Cinemas has shut its doors.

“The theater was not making any money,” said John Schweiger, president and CEO of Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc., which leased the building on Business Boulevard in Eagle River from Hickel Investment Company. “It was strictly a business judgment.”

Eagle River’s theater couldn’t compete with Regal Cinema Tikahtnu Stadium in East Anchorage less than 11 miles away, Schweiger said.

“They’re gonna take the majority of your business,” he said.

The largest wind gust on a stormy Saturday, Sept. 15 didn’t come courtesy of Mother Nature, but from the hundreds of Chugiak football fans who breathed a simultaneous sigh of relief after their team held on for a heart-stopping 13-7 homecoming win over Eagle River at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.

Mustangs defensive end Matt Oldenkamp hauled down Wolves quarterback Alani Collins deep inside Chugiak territory as time expired to dash the hopes of an Eagle River team desperate to finish on the winning side of the scoreboard for the first time against their arch rivals.

So, like many folks this past Labor Day, I was getting tired of sitting around the house waiting for the weather to improve. Despite wind and rain, I decided to head out into South Fork Valley for a hike. Looking across Eagle River Valley, I could see that the mountains were obscured in clouds and that it was definitely raining.

Seeking knowledge about the Cold War?

Just look up.

Perched atop a 4,000-foot mountain in Arctic Valley sits Site Summit — a Nike Hercules missile site on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

One hundred lucky individuals were the first to take a public tour of the launch site on a sunny Saturday, Sept. 8.

Site Summit is the only one of 145 Nike Hercules sites to survive as a nearly complete site.

And Jim Renkert wants to keep it that way.

In his four decades living on South Birchwood Loop Road, Manuel Belmudes has never seen anything like the destruction caused by a windstorm that ripped through Southcentral Alaska on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Dozens of large, uprooted trees covered Belmudes’ property. Trees still rooted in the ground supported fallen ones. Debris engulfed a truck, making moving it impossible.

The roof of his greenhouse was torn off.

An Eagle River woman and her four children escaped injury after the family's two-story log home caught fire around Noon on Monday, Sept. 10 on Mile Hi Way.

Dana Ouellette said she thinks the fire started in a wood stove upstairs. Ouellette said she started a fire in the stove, then went downstairs. Later, she heard a crackling coming from the roof of the home. When she went upstairs to investigate, she saw smoke and flames coming from the roof and immediately gathered up her children — ages 10, 5, 3 and 1 — and left the house.

Duke University sophomore Kelly Cobb, a 2011 Chugiak High graduate, helped the United States to a 1-0 win over Germany in the finals of the FIFA Under-20 Women’s Soccer World Cup on Saturday, Sept. 8 in Tokyo.

Kealia Ohai scored in the 44th minute for the only goal of the championship match.

Cobb will now return to a Blue Devils team that was 5-1 through Sept. 9. Cobb led Duke in scoring as a freshman last season, helping the Blue Devils to a runner-up finish in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer national tournament.

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