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Chugiak High is kicking off the holiday season in classic style.

“A Christmas Carol” opens today (Thursday, Nov. 29) at the Steve Primis Auditorium at 7 p.m. The play runs through Saturday, Dec. 1. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for children.

Charles Dickens’ famous novella about crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge who’s visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future is a production director Chris Rees has wanted to put on for some time.

“It’s a play I’ve always wanted to direct,” he said.

Eagle River’s Daiquiri Wright, 10, still has extensive scars from a horrific 2007 house fire that claimed the lives of her brother and cousin. And she’s not afraid to show them.

Wright donned a short-sleeved t-shirt when she testified before the Anchorage Assembly on Oct. 30 during a hearing about the proposed 2013 Anchorage budget. At that time, the assembly was considering a proposal that would have cut the Eagle River Station 11 ladder truck and its crew from the budget. Daiquiri wasn’t about to let that happen without a fight, said her mom, Jasmine Dirkes.

Being a freshman isn’t always easy.

Simple things — finding your way around or learning basic etiquette — can be daunting. If you’re lucky, you’ll survive to become a sophomore full of worldly knowledge and the experience necessary to head into your second term with a song in your heart.

That’s how Republican legislator Rep. Dan Saddler, of Eagle River, plans to head into his second term as a member of the Alaska State House.

“You’re kinda starting to fit in and know things,” said Saddler, who will return to Juneau for his sophomore term in January.

Get hungry, folks.

The annual community Christmas buffet known as Merry Merchant Munch is set for this Friday and Saturday (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) in downtown Eagle River. According to Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce special events director Merry Braham, this year’s Munch features a record 55 participating businesses.

“That’s a lot of munching,” Braham said.

The easiest way to get involved in the fun, Braham said, is to pick up one of the chamber’s Merry Munch Guides, find the map (also available on this page), and get munching.

Nine house pets died when fire broke out at the Mariner Village condominium complex in Eagle River Sunday, Nov. 25.

According to the Anchorage Fire Department, the blaze occurred around 2 p.m. in a ground-floor condo. Station 11 Capt. Al Kara said approximately 18 firefighters responded to the fire. When crews arrived, they found thick black smoke and flames shooting from a window. Kara said the fire was under control within 10 minutes.

No one was injured, but Kara said firefighters found eight cats and a dog dead inside. One cat managed to escape, he said.

Nine house pets died when fire broke out at the Mariner Village condominium complex in Eagle River Sunday, Nov. 25.

According to the Anchorage Fire Department, the blaze occurred around 2 p.m. in a ground-floor condo. Station 11 Capt. Al Kara said approximately 18 firefighters responded to the fire. When crews arrived, they found thick black smoke and flames shooting from a window. Kara said the fire was under control within 10 minutes.

No one was injured, but Kara said firefighters found eight cats and a dog dead inside. One cat managed to escape, he said.

Nearly two decades ago, members of the Eagle River Lions noticed how quiet things were around town on Thanksgiving Day.

“Nothing was open for anyone that didn’t have anyone to share with,” recalled Lion Chuck DuCharme.

At that time, no restaurants stayed open on Thanksgiving. Further, there were no community dinners being offered by anyone, either.

Eagle River Lions president Finis Sheldon said he figured that needed to change.

“I said, ‘Gosh, why don’t we offer a dinner up here?’” Sheldon said.

Lillian Crayton, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Alaska Anchorage, was named the 2013 “Miss Chugiak-Eagle River” on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Mirror Lake Middle School auditorium. Crayton performed a piano solo of Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” for the talent portion of her performance.

She’s chosen “The Importance of Extracurricular Activities” as her Year of Service platform.

Carolyn Layne was named First Runner-up.

Jumping from the tail of an HC-130 into the dark frigid night, two elite pararescuemen of the Alaska Air National Guard felt their parachutes deploy, before descending safely to frozen ground 160-miles north of the Arctic Circle.

A few hours earlier, pararescuemen Air Force master sergeants Roger Sparks and Brandon Stuemke were spending time with their families on what seemed to be a typical October Sunday night, when the phone rang.

Described as a “soldier’s soldier” by a member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Private 1st Class Vincent Ellis was killed in action protecting his fellow “Spartans.”

While deployed in Afghanistan, Ellis suffered a knee injury and was reassigned to Forward Operating Base Salerno for rehabilitation. When the base was attacked June 1, Ellis — restricted to a brace and crutches — didn’t hesitate.

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