Awareness is the best weapon to engage when thrust in to an active shooter scenario. It’s also a weapon available to anyone.

That is part of the message Ron Swartz, University of Alaska Anchorage emergency manager, brought to the Chugiak-Eagle River campus Feb. 12 as he addressed a classroom full of area business leaders, concerned citizens and educators all seeking professional advice on what to do should the unthinkable — an active shooter — show up at their business, a school or the workplace.

Tryouts for a new semi-professional football team named the Eagle River Broncos are scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 21 at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center in Eagle River.

“Folks should probably show up early for paperwork,” said head coach Kendall Beckwith.

Information such as health history and previous injuries is required.

The no-cost tryout is for the new team slated to play in the Alaska Football League against teams such as the Anchorage Cowboys, Arctic Seahawks, Frontier 49ers, Greatland Packers and Valley Steelers.

Friendship and fun were the jamming hits on last Friday’s play list at the Gruening Middle School Valentine’s Day dance.

Forget slow dancing songs or any of that other mushy stuff: awkward kissing, hand-holding or other “couple like” indicators.

The students at Friday’s after-school event seemed more interested in munching down on nachos and popcorn and slurping smoothies in the commons foyer before hitting the multi-purpose room’s dance floor.

Indeed, Bobby Jefts, GMS principal, said he notices the students spend more time chowing first.

Concerns previously raised by Chugiak-Eagle River residents regarding the how, where and what of marijuana grow and retail operations within the Municipality of Anchorage — specifically within the large industrial tracts surrounding the Birchwood Airport and the B-3 zoning of downtown Eagle River — were ultimately reflected in decisions made Tuesday night by the Anchorage Assembly.

Unhidden disapproval is the local reaction to the state’s plan to scuttle a new student proficiency testing method just before the second round of testing is set to be administered.

The disapproval doesn’t stem from an appreciation for the Alaska Measures of Progress, or AMP. Instead, it is a combination of criticism of what locals are calling “wasteful spending” by the state on the controversial student testing methodology and their concern regarding what will replace it.

Monday night’s Anchorage School Board meeting featured a lengthy discussion of whether $1 million ought to be moved from the general fund to the transportation fund as part of the district’s financial plan for the next school year.

Despite the fact that a major portion of Monday night’s public testimony at the Anchorage School Board urged board members to reconsider replacing the district’s current superintendent, board members unanimously voted to transfer $39,800 from the current general fund to pay for a contract with an Outside executive search firm.

The decision was part of the board’s consent agenda that was voted on and approved after members of the community commented during the portion of the board meeting reserved for public testimony.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz made good on his promise to meet with Chugiak-Eagle River locals on a regular basis last Thursday night holding the second round of open hours at the Chugiak-Eagle River library.

Despite less than favorable driving conditions and an icy parking lot in which Berkowitz himself slipped, several local residents turned out for the face-time opportunity with the municipality’s leader.

The dominant topic for discussion: the state’s pending fiscal crisis.

The Anchorage Assembly is set to discuss two proposed ordinances aimed at regulating different aspects of marijuana production and sale within the municipality at its meeting tonight.

The first ordinance addresses zoning issues — specifically what aspects of marijuana production from grow, process and test to sale — may occur on the same piece of property and in what zones. One ordinance requires marijuana grow operations to obtain a conditional land-use permit.

Fair warning: You might be hungry after reading this story.

The wild-caught Alaska sablefish marinated and seared, served over parsnip-potato puree, sautéed Brussels sprouts and julienne parsnips, glazed with orange juice and topped with grape tomato jam won the Chugiak High School ProStart yet another first place in state culinary and management competition.