Bridges new and old, legislators coming and going and a major plane crash were among the headlines this year in Chugiak-Eagle River. In case you missed them, here’s a month-by-month account of the biggest stories to appear this year in the Star:
A new law allowing fireworks in the Municipality of Anchorage on New Years Eve led to dozens of complaints following a loud holiday celebration. The only major injury reported, however, was when an Eagle River airman lost his hand in a fireworks-related mishap.
The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce executive director had made sprucing up the old plywood “Welcome to Eagle River” sign an annual rite of spring.
“It was just tired,” Gorski said of the old sign.
Thanks to the work of several community members — and a $19,000 grant from British Petroleum — the iconic wooden sign in Chief Alex Park was recently replaced with a brand-spanking-new welcome sign that’s sure to become the area’s newest big attraction.
New Eagle River football field general Jason Brewer plans to bring a no-nonsense coaching style, enthusiasm and plenty of experience to the job when he takes over in the fall.
“The kids know me, the kids know what I’m about,” said Brewer, who previously served for two years as an assistant under Kenny Ray. “I’m about discipline and having fun.”
Brewer isn’t really a general, but he did recently wrap up his Army career as a 1st lieutenant who returned from a tour in Pakistan and Afghanistan last fall. He recently took a new job with the National Guard.
Major Matt Leveque, deputy director of the Alaska State Troopers, completed a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security on Dec. 16.
“Workers at the North Pole are working overtime shifts this week, the Star learned in an exclusive interview with Mrs. Santa Claus just before press time today,” read the opening sentence of a front-page story in the Dec. 23, 1971 Chugiak-Eagle River Star.
According to the story, Santa was in the final stages of preparing his annual Christmas delivery blitz, and Mrs. Claus wished to pass on a special message to local children.
At a local church, a Christmas tree sits bedecked, not with flashy ornaments, but with paper ornaments representing donations from the congregation for pregnant women and mothers in need.
At Christmas time, many congregations say they are taking time to reflect on the example of Christ in caring for the poor and vulnerable.
“Christ said, ‘What you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me,’” said Deb Marino, director of faith formation at St. Andrew Catholic Church, which hosts the giving tree for the local Crisis Pregnancy Center.
Chugiak senior Garrett Morrison continued his march toward state with a victory at the West Christmas Classic on Dec. 16-17. Morrison went undefeated at 182 pounds, winning the championship match with a second-period pin of Colony’s Scott Knighten.
Alaska Nordic Racing’s Sarissa Lammers, a sophomore at Chugiak High School, won the J2 girls 5-kilometer classic race during the Besh Cup No. 2 races on her home course at the Beach Lake trails on Sunday, Dec. 18.
Combined with a third place showing in the Besh Cup No. 1 freestyle sprints the previous day at Kincaid Park, Lammers currently sits in second place among J2 girls in the statewide race series, which is used to determine which skiers qualify for the Arctic Winter Games and Junior Olympics.