Army Pvt. Alexander M. Smith has graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla.

During the nine weeks of training, Smith studied the Army mission and received instruction and training exercises in drill and ceremonies, Army history, core values and traditions, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, rifle marksmanship, weapons use, map reading and land navigation, foot marches, armed and unarmed combat, and field maneuvers and tactics.

He is the son of Eric M. Smith of Richardson Drive, Fort Richardson.

Air Force Airman John L. Abbott graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Abbott completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

 Kayla Eden Gray was born Jan. 26, 2012 at Alaska Regional Hosptial in Anchorage. She weighed seven pounds, seven ounces and is the daughter of Kristina and Grant Gray of Eagle River.

The Alaska Center for the Blind is proud to announce a three-year grant to identify Mat-Su residents with uncorrectable vision loss and improve their overall health and well being through vision rehabilitation.

Older Alaskans are the fastest growing segment of our population and Mat-Su is the fastest growing area. Estimates are that 700 Mat-Su seniors will benefit from this project and 1,100 people ages 18 to 64.

Eagle River’s Michaela Marie Hall Richard died Feb. 9, 2012. She was 47.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Lion's Club in Eagle River at 2 p.m.

She was born in Alaska on Dec. 22, 1964 and graduated from Lebanon Union High School in Lebanon, Ore., in 1983. She returned to Alaska in the mid-1980s, where her daughters Jessica and Kaela were born.

“Michaela made many friends everywhere she went throughout her life, including her long career as a business development representative for a local title company,” her family said.

Moriah Martin is truly taekwondo elite.

Proving the name of her parents’ club — Taekwando Elite USA — the 15-year-old from Eagle River became the first female from Alaska to earn a spot on a national taekwondo team after qualifying for the Junior World Championships on Jan. 15, according to her coach Sherman Nelson Jr.

“There’s never been a girl from Alaska,” said Nelson, who’s been working with the national team for the past decade after retiring from competition in 2001.

Bird lovers wasted no time rescuing more than two dozen parakeets seized last month from an Eagle River home.

People adopted 27 birds on Feb. 12, the first day the Anchorage Animal Care and Control Center made them available, said center spokeswoman Brooke Taylor.

The birds are among more than 40 parakeets and 39 dogs — many of them small breeds — seized in mid-January after authorities discovered them living in filthy conditions in a rented house on Hanson Drive.

A group of three Alaskans and six Iowans have been working since Feb. 8 to bring more clean water to the remote village of Old Fangak, S. Sudan. The Alaskan Sudan Medical Project, a not-for profit organization based in Anchorage is coordinating the 10-day effort.

Team leader is Brett Burroughs of Anchorage, joined by Dr. Mike Remillard and son Daniel, of Eagle River.

Alaskans who are concerned at the recent pattern of news regarding the future size and structure of the military presence in our state should be reassured that their legislative leaders are working together to address it.

The news has been disturbing:

• The Pentagon has recently announced plans to slash $487 billion from budget over the next 10 years, leading to a drawdown of about 90,000 soldiers and Marines.

 Last Wednesday, as I was returning from Anchorage about 8:45 p.m., I ran into freezing rain at Hiland exit. Cautiously I continued only to find myself in the midst of a group of about 30 “ditch divers” and at least that many cars behind me. In total, I think we had about 80 cars trapped between the Hiland Exit and the ER Road.

Patiently, I pulled over and sat along with the other drivers believing that APD or DOT would respond in a reasonable time and we would be on our way.

 I would like to thank everyone who donated scarves, hats, gloves, mittens and winter socks to the Project Homeless Connect event at the Egan Center on January 25. Hiland Mountain Correctional Center donated over 900 scarves which made up over 75 percent of donated scarves. A special thanks to The Tangled Skein and Far North Yarn Company for allowing their places of business to be a drop-off point.

Anchorage Police Department calls for Monday, Feb. 6 through Monday, Feb. 13


Monday, Feb. 6

12:16 p.m. - Accident - Glenn Highway

8:48 p.m. - Accident - Glenn Highway


Tuesday, Feb. 7

5:09 a.m. - Accident - Eagle Glacier Loop

5:19 a.m. - Alarm - Old Glenn Highway

9:02 a.m. - Warrant arrest - Crested Butte Drive

9:17 a.m. - Stolen vehicle - Lake Street

Chugiak woman arrested for child abuse

Anchorage police said they arrested a Chugiak woman on charges of child abuse after she was involved in a physical altercation with two minors in her home.

The 38-year-old woman was arrested on Feb. 3 after police responded to a report from the minors at about 10:30 p.m., according to police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker. The children are related to the woman. Officers noted that she showed “signs of intoxication” upon their arrival, Parker said. The woman was lodged at Anchorage Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.


I used to think people postponed retirement and worked longer than they needed to because they wanted to make more money or they wanted to have something to do to feel useful.

After exploring the possibility of retirement, I came to an inescapable conclusion: people delay retirement for the same reason they procrastinate doing their taxes: it’s just too difficult, and painful.

Writer William Cowper wrote: “Absence of occupation is not rest, a mind quite vacant is a mind distressed.”

There are only approximately 400 Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists in the Air Force, and two of them reside at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Greg Avey and Tech. Sgt. Reid Beveridge are SERE specialists and belong to JBER’s 3rd Operations Support Squadron’s Weapons and Tactics Flight.

They are responsible for ensuring all pilots and aircrew receive their required training for combat survival, water survival, emergency parachuting and conduct after capture.

After a bit of fun, it’s time to get down to business.

Prep Nordic skiers ended their regular season with a bit of Valentine’s whimsy on Saturday, Feb. 10 with the Thunderbird Classic, a co-ed classic relay race in which skiers showed up dressed in get-ups ranging from cute to downright bizarre.

“The kids all had a lot of fun, there’s a lot of team spirit,” said Eagle River coach Liz Turner.

Among the flashiest skiwear on display were superhero capes, a human banana costume and plenty of hot pink tights, underwear and tu-tus.

Eagle River’s Brandon Parrish just scored five points in the Wolves’ 66-62 Cook Inlet Conference overtime win over East on Tuesday, Feb. 14, but he made them count.

Parrish, a junior guard, took a feed from Chris Parker and made a lay-up with 30 seconds left to give his team a 63-61 lead at Eagle River High. Parrish also made the game-tying free throw to make it 61-61.

Parker scored six of his game-high 26 points in overtime to lead the Wolves, who also got 11 from Kelechi Madubuko and 10 from freshman Chaz Jenkins off the bench.


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