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Every day, Anchorage Police officers play a real-life game of cat-and-mouse with some of the most dangerous drivers in Alaska. And the baddest cat around these days is patrol officer Thomas Gaulke.

Gaulke, a 16-year veteran of the department, was recently honored by his peers with an unofficial — yet highly sought-after — award for catching more extreme speeders than any other officer on the force.

“I guess I’m in the right place at the right time,” said Gaulke, who nabbed 46 drivers caught traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour in 2011.

Recent tweaks to the municipal law that allows fireworks on New Year’s Eve require that people light ‘em off at least 200 feet from buildings around them.

The good news for Chugiak and parts of Eagle River: larger lots are more plentiful here than in Anchorage proper, so the amended ordinance probably won’t affect local residents as much as people who live in town.

That’s also the bad news.

Hard work pays off.

Tha’s something Carrie Wehmeyer, Christian Alvarez and Gavin Willman can attest to.

Those three were the top team out of nearly 100 Gruening Middle School eighth-graders who competed in a submersible remote operated vehicle (ROV) challenge at Buckner Physical Fitness Center’s pool on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Friday, Dec. 9.

Thirty teams made up of three to four students navigated their ROVs — constructed out of PVC pipe — through an underwater course.

Too bad it’s not fishing season.

For the second week in a row, a huge Chinook arrived in the area, bringing high winds, heavy snow, power outages and icy roads to the area.

The storm’s full force hit on Sunday, Dec. 11, with temperatures soaring into the 40s as the wind began to pick up over the course of the afternoon. First rain, then wet, heavy snow blanketed Chugiak-Eagle River as winds began gusting to as much as 70 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

Eagle River could benefit from the more than $500,000 the Anchorage Assembly added to Mayor Dan Sullivan’s proposed 2012 budget.

The Assembly, which passed a $452.3 million budget Dec. 6, added about $79,500 for a records clerk for the Anchorage Police Department. Assembly chair Debbie Ossiander and budget/finance chair Bill Starr are hoping the money will be used to staff the Eagle River substation.

Municipal Manager George Vakalis wants public input before deciding whether or not to close the Eklutna River Bridge.

The Chugiak/Birchwood/Eagle River Rural Road Service Area Board already expressed its opinion a month ago, when it unanimously passed a motion to recommend closing the bridge permanently.

But, Vakalis said, he wants to hold a town meeting on the subject.

“I just need to know what the impacts would be if we closed it,” Vakalis said Friday, Dec. 9.

A few weeks ago, John Suter received a children’s book in the mail titled “Flying Poodles A Christmas Story.” Along with the book was a note from author Karen Morss explaining that the Chugiak musher was the inspiration behind the story.

Suter, who gained national attention for running the Iditarod with a team of standard poodles four times from 1988 to 1991, was stunned.

Suter said his first reaction was, “Oh wow.”

“It was quite a pleasant surprise. Shocking actually,” Suter said. “I had no knowledge it existed before then.”

You’ve got to be pretty interesting to keep a classroom full of middle schoolers quiet for 45 minutes. Willy Topkok leaves ‘em speechless.

Well, mostly.

“This guy’s cool!” whispered one of Lisa Andersen’s science students to a friend during a recent presentation by Topkok at Gruening Middle School.

A log cabin on Eagle River Road caught fire Tuesday afternoon, but two people inside at the time were able to escape without injury.

The blaze was confined to an upstairs area and a section of the roof, according to AFD Station 11 Chief Steve Kostlin.

Neighbors in a passing car spotted the fire and called the fire department, which arrived within five minutes. Witness Jake Heitstuman said he and his mother were driving by when they noticed flames coming from the roof of the cabin, located at 22833 Eagle River Road.

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