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For Mike Suprenant and Jim Lanier, the 2011 Iditarod was a race to forget.

Although the Chugiak residents hoped to run the race, both saw their plans derailed by medical issues as Lanier had his hip replaced and Suprenant injured himself in a four-wheeler accident.

On March 4, Suprenant and Lanier were among 66 mushers to hit the trail to Nome. And they couldn’t be happier — or healthier.

“I feel terrific,” Lanier, 71, said on Willow Lake shortly before pulling his snow hook as the second musher to leave the starting chute. “A new man.”

Although the Eagle River Lions are famous for their summertime fireworks show, the club played host to pyrotechnics of a political sort when candidates for the upcoming municipal election showed up on March 2.

A forum featuring five school board candidates and four mayoral candidates featured some lively debate among the political hopefuls who turned out to try to sway Chugiak-Eagle River voters in advance of the April 3 election.

Chugiak’s Rod Perry wrote the book on the history of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race.

Perry, who ran the original race in 1973, recently published his first-hand account of the trials and tribulations faced by the race’s early founders. Entitled “TrailBreakers Volume II: Pioneering Alaska’s Iditarod — The Most Daring Iditarod of All All Time Founding the Last Great Race,” Perry’s follow-up to his historical account of the original gold-rush Iditarod Trail is likely to raise a few eyebrows with its blow-by-blow history of a race most never expected to happen.


Birchwood Christian’s boys became the first in school history to earn a Class 2A state basketball tournament berth with a thrilling 57-56 win over Effie Kokrine in the Central Interior Conference championship Saturday at Anderson School.

The Warriors held a 57-55 lead but committed a shooting foul as time expired, giving Effie Kokrine a chance to force overtime, assistant coach Brad Rud said. Effie Kokrine made the first free throw but missed the second, Rud said, giving Birchwood the win and the only Central Interior state berth.

A candidate forum featuring mayoral candidates Paul Honeman and Mayor Dan Sullivan, along with candidates for the Anchorage School Board, will be held Friday, March 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Eagle River Lions Club. The club is located at Mile 1.5 Eagle River Road in Eagle River.

Municipal elections are scheduled for April 3.

This year’s forum is sponsored by the Sleeping Lady Lions and the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and will be moderated by KFQD radio personality Casey Reynolds.

A fire safe couldn’t save the most valuable thing Jayme Bates owned from a fire that destroyed her Chugiak home on Saturday, Feb. 25.

“I lost my most cherished possession, which was something my dad gave me when I was born. He died when I was 3 and now it’s gone,” Bates, 20, said near the smoldering remains of the house she rented from her mother on Klondike Street off South Birchwood Loop.

A couple dozen FOCUS Inc. employees and After School Program students circled Eagle River Town Square for a half hour the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 23 to advocate for fair treatment of Alaskans with developmental disabilities.

Similar rallies took place the same day all over the state as part of the Key Coalition — one of Alaska’s largest supporters of people with disabilities — annual event.

One intent of the rally was to show that people with special needs are just as much a part of Chugiak-Eagle River as anyone else, said FOCUS care coordinator Snejana Ivanoska.

Chugiak mushers Jim Lanier and Mike Suprenant will be among a field of 66 mushers who hit the trail this weekend for the 2012 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

This year’s ceremonial race start will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3 in Anchorage.

The official start of the race will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4 in Willow.

Lanier, 71, is a retired physician who first ran the Iditarod in 1979. He has never scratched and is a 14-time finisher whose best showing was 18th in 2004.

A decision whether or not to close the deteriorating Eklutna River Bridge will be made in the next month, Anchorage Municipal Manager George Vakalis said during a public meeting Feb. 23 at Mirror Lake Middle School.

Vakalis said a decision needs to come before the bridge sees increased traffic from summer tourists.