Top Stories

Winning $1,064,121.24 in Las Vegas was a dream come true for Linda Fleury — literally.

Prior to her trip, Fleury’s husband, Al, had a dream that she hit the jackpot of a progressive slot machine.

Fleury said she typically plays single slots with five-figure payouts because the odds are much better.

But, at her husband’s request, Fleury visited the linked slot machines at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino every other day.

“The only reason I played it was because my husband told me to,” she said. “If he didn’t tell me that, I wouldn’t play it.”

When John Hillyer first saw reports of the devastating 2011 Japan tsunami, the Eagle River jet pilot’s first reaction was to pack his bags and head home.

“As soon as this hit it was so hard to watch,” said Hillyer.

At the time, Hillyer — a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve who flies full time for FedEx — was commanding the reserve’s F-22 unit, a position that made it difficult for him to leave Alaska for an extended period of time.

“I was never called,” he said.

The five fun-filled days of the 2012 Bear Paw Festival continue today (Thursday, July 12) throughout Chugiak-Eagle River.

The event started with the presentation of the Bear Paw awards during the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at Bear Mountain Grill. Here’s a few of this year’s highlights:


Today’s events:

The Golden Wheel Amusements carnival opens this afternoon in the Eagle River Commons. The carnival offers everything from a Merry Go Round, to roller coasters, to a Ferris wheel and games.

Get ready for all the activities you can handle.

The 2012 Bear Paw Festival runs today (Thursday, July 12) through Sunday, July 15 in Chugiak-Eagle River.

“The focus of this is to have fun and focus on community,” said Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susie Gorski.

Gorski said this year’s theme “It’s a Jungle Out There” should make for plenty of humorous floats in the parade, which starts Saturday at 11 a.m.

“It’s kind of a play on words,” she said. “It’s a jungle out there in more ways than one.”

The wreckage of a military plane found this month on Colony Glacier is that of an Air Force plane that crashed in 1952, killing all 52 people aboard, military officials said Wednesday.

Army Capt. Jamie Dobson said evidence found at the crash site correlates with the missing C-124A Globemaster, but the military is not eliminating other possibilities because much investigation still needs to be done.

Processing DNA samples from relatives of those on board the plane could take up to six years, Dobson said.

After 16 months since being introduced, Anchorage Planning Department staff will finally share comments on a Chugiak-Eagle River-specific chapter to the municipal land use code rewrite.

Chapter 10, as well as final revisions to the rest of Title 21, will be discussed at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Monday, July 9 in the Assembly chambers at Loussac Library at 6:30 p.m.

It will serve as the second public hearing on Chapter 10. The first was held in Eagle River in late July 2011.

The 27th Alaska State Legislature honored Eklutna, Inc. for 40 years of service to the state, the community and its shareholders.

State Reps. Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak) and Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River) presented a citation to Eklutna’s board of directors at its meeting June 19.

The citation congratulated Eklutna, Inc. for “its commitment to improving the lives of shareholders by working to preserve their culture and history while providing economic opportunity and security for the future.”

It was a great honor, CEO Curtis McQueen said.

Eklutna, Inc. is hoping to move into its new headquarters in Eagle River in the next two years.

“We’re getting it prepped,” CEO Curtis McQueen said of the 10-acre parcel located across the Old Glenn Highway from Fred Meyer. “We’re excited.”

Currently, contractor Davis Constructors & Engineers, Inc. are clearing gravel at the “Eklutna Plaza” site. The project started June 1 and should be completed by mid-August, McQueen said.

The high-quality gravel being cleared will also be used for the building pad.

Sunny skies likely drew a record crowd to this year’s Alaska Scottish Highland Games.

“This is probably eight thousand people today,” said Games chair Chris Anderson on Saturday, June 30.

By 2 p.m. — fully eight hours before the final bagpipes sounded — Anderson said the 31st annual event had already run out of its allotment of 6,500 wrist bands.

“This is definitely one of the largest crowds that we have ever seen,” she said.


After seeing a five-run lead disappear in the top of the seventh, Eagle River remained composed and scored a run in the bottom of the inning to earn a 6-5 win over rival Chugiak Post 33 in a seven-inning American Legion game Monday, July 2 at Loretta French Park.

Greg Long smacked the game-winning hit over the Chugiak third baseman’s head to score Kyle Frost.

With the win, Eagle River improved to 7-9 overall while Chugiak fell to 7-8 overall.

After six scoreless innings, Chugiak rallied in the seventh.