AMY ARMSTRONG

If more laps in the pool are on your New Year’s resolution list, you are in luck.

The Alaska Club in Eagle River opened its new pool and splash park facility during the holidays adding a welcome addition to indoor aquatic opportunities in the Chugiak-Eagle River area.

The pool is 25 yards in length with four lanes across. A saltwater filtration system is used for the pool. The water, however, is not saltwater thus there is not full buoyancy in the pool.

But there are plenty of hours in the day that the pool is open for use.

Word seems to be getting around the Anchorage School District that Eagle River High School has a rather proficient special education department.

The number of IEPs, or Individual Education Plans, in place at the school rose sharply this fall from an average of 85 in years past to 130 for the fall semester. That was nearly a 53 percent increase that represents 15 percent of the school’s total student population of nearly 900.

It was unusual.

As 2015 hits the history books, tradition dictates that the news media take a look back and provide its users – in our case, readers – with some perspective on what mattered most in the past 12 months.

No. 1 – Fiscal challenge:

Heading in to 2016, there is no doubt the story of 2015 with the weightiest carryover in to the New Year is the anticipated $3.5 billion state budget deficit. It easily bears the greatest impact on the Chugiak-Eagle River area and the state of Alaska as the almighty dollar and its painful lack in state coffers cannot be ignored.

2015 gave local sports fans quite a few thrills – especially for folks cheering for the Chugiak High School Mustangs with a few bright spots for fans of the Eagle River High School Wolves. Here are our top picks.

No. 1 – Dual baseball titles

Local folks from the Chugiak-Eagle River area were Freezin’ for a Reason as was the theme of this year’s Polar Plunge in to Anchorage’s Goose Lake as the annual fundraiser for Special Olympics Alaska.

In total, the event raised more than $310,000 for the organization that provides sporting opportunities for Alaskans with emotional, mental and physical disabilities.

If any one word serves a central theme for the various holiday celebrations – religious or secular – marking this time of year, it is the word, “light.”

A search committee tasked with selecting candidates to replace current Anchorage School District Superintendent Ed Graff has been formed.

Anchorage School District Board President Kameron Perez-Verdia made the announcement on Dec. 17.

The search committee is expected to contract with executive search firms within and Outside of Alaska. Perez-Verdia said the committee is also tasked with checking with the Alaska Association of School Boards (AASB) to verify that all eligible candidates in Alaska are considered.

Move over Clark Griswold.

Not only are Mike and Traci Glidden of Eagle River giving you a run for the money in the outdoor musically-timed light show category, the couple also pay a respectable homage to your exterior house decorating skills by including you on the soundtrack that accompanies the display on their home at 18206 Harbor Point Loop.

It’s an idea that has been bandied about before as the Anchorage School District deals with pending budget cuts: Close Gruening Middle School, move the middle school students to what is currently Eagle River High School, return the Fort Richardson high school population to Bartlett High School and the students living in Eagle River proper back to Chugiak High School.

CHS, according to district numbers, is only 56 percent full. In 2014, district numbers crunchers considered the idea, but no action was taken.

Local reaction to Alaska Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal to establish a state income tax and cap annual distributions from the Permanent Fund is a mixed bag.

On the nearly defiant side are the, “hell no, don’t you dare touch my PFD,” comments and at the other end of the spectrum of comments indicating a resignation to the economic realities sustained low oil prices bring.

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