Hollywood has commandeered Sweden’s big literary export, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” without compromising the story’s Scandinavian roots or its top-of-the-world, Seasonal Affective Disorder sense of barrenness, even hopelessness.

It could have been transplanted Stateside for American audiences, but thankfully, what happens in Sweden stays in Sweden in David Fincher’s stark but enthralling adaptation of the first novel in late author Stig Larsson’s trilogy.

If you’re like most of us, your probably haven’t — but you’ve likely already been thinking about getting online to get in line for your annual cut of the state’s massive oil wealth payout.

Getting signed up early is always a good idea. Although the deadline this year isn’t until March 31, it’s easy enough to forget. And with so much money on the line (the 2011 dividend was $1,174, paid out to all eligible men, women and children in the state), nobody wants to be left out in the cold.

Missing the state tournament last year has Chugiak High’s girls basketball team more motivated for this season. But it won’t be easy getting there this year.

Only the top two Cook Inlet Conference teams will earn automatic state berths. Other automatic Class 4A berths include two from the Northern Lights Conference and one from the Southeast and Mid Alaska conferences.

The final two spots will be determined by Winning Percentage Index standings. This is the first time WPI will be used to determine who goes to state.

Different year, same problem.

Eagle River High girls basketball again is suffering from low numbers. The 2011-12 team has just six full-time varsity players and two JV swingers.

It’s a problem that’s plagued the Wolves since senior captain Meaghan Byman started playing as a sophomore.

“The problem is we have a new team every year,” she said. “That’s a big key to our unsuccessfulness.”

KeyBank plans grand reopening

The Eagle River KeyBank branch will host a grand opening to celebrate completion of its remodeled Eagle River branch and its new Saturday operating hours on Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The branch, located at 10928 Eagle River Road, recently underwent a remodeling effort, and has also added Saturday hours from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., starting Jan. 21.

Anchorage Police have identified the driver in a New Year’s Day collision between a pickup truck and two pedestrians in downtown Anchorage as 21-year-old Tex Daniels II of Chugiak.

According to police, Ashley Marie Brotherton and Clayton Tyler Wilbanks, both 24, were walking northbound alongside I Street shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1 when they were struck from behind by a red 1994 Dodge Ram 1500. Both were taken to local hospitals. On Monday, Jan. 2, police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers said Wilbanks’ condition was fair.

Ever wondered who picks books for Anchorage Public Library? With more than a half million books on the APL shelves, keeping up with what’s there, what’s new, what should be added or discarded is a complicated process, to say the least!

Missing state last year coupled with the new rule that guarantees only two Cook Inlet Conference berths in the postseason this year, Chugiak’s girls didn’t need any extra motivation heading into their first CIC game Tuesday, Jan. 3. But they got it.

Coming into their matchup with West Anchorage, the Mustangs were dubbed “the mystery team.” That nickname only lasted eight minutes.

First-year head coach Fred Young doesn’t care that Eagle River High only won two games last year. He doesn’t care that 10 of his 12 players are new to the team.

His sights are set on making the state tournament and changing the attitude of the boys basketball team.

“We’re looking to change the culture,” Young said. “We want to make state and get what we can on the way there.”

The entire team feels the same way, Young said.

“Their work ethic is out the roof right now,” he said.

Even the start of a new sports season can’t erase the way Chugiak High’s 2011 football campaign ended.

Chugiak was forced to forfeit three of its wins due to use of an ineligible player and missed the playoffs. But some of those football players are hoping to use what happened this fall as fuel for the 2011-12 basketball season.

“It’s motivation for us football players to exceed in another sport,” senior Steven Puterbaugh said.

A select group of Reserve Airmen and Anchorage citizens were treated to an advanced screening of the new George Lucas film, Red Tails, about the famed Tuskegee Airmen at the Tikhatnu movie theater in Anchorage Dec. 15.

The screening was offered to members of the 477th Fighter group because its heritage traces back to these heroic aviation pioneers. The Group's 302nd Fighter Squadron historically was part of the 332nd Fighter Group, also known as “The Redtails” the famous all-black unit that fought both American prejudice and Nazi militarism.

Theft, apparent burglary target two Chugiak locations

An employee at the Birchwood Public Shooting Range reported an attempted burglary there the afternoon of Dec. 22, Anchorage police said. The range manager said the employee noticed damage to the door, but nothing missing inside, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said.

Anchorage Police Department calls for Monday, Dec. 26 through Monday, Jan. 2:

 

Monday, Dec. 26

10:36 a.m. - Alarm - Birchtree Street

12:27 p.m. - Alarm - Centerfield Drive

12:36 p.m. - Accident - Foothill Drive

1:42 p.m. - Traffic violation - Old Glenn Highway

1:45 p.m. - Traffic violation - Hiland Road

3:43 p.m. - DUI - Eagle River Road

4:05 p.m. - Theft - Barbara Street

10:43 p.m. - Assault - Baronoff Avenue

 

Over time we have a tendency to forget some of the great ideas put forth by our Alaska luminaries and others. Launching into a new year, perhaps it’s time to take a look backward. To the best of my recollection, here are some famous and infamous ideas advanced over the years, as well as a few priceless quotes.

Nychele Fischetti, of Eagle River, and Benjamin Hernandez, of Norwalk, Calif. were engaged on July 27, 2011.

The bride is the daughter of Michael and Susan Fischetti. She is a 2008 graduate of Anchorage Christian Schools. She is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in biology with a minor in Bible studies from Biola University in La Miranda, Calif., where she also runs cross country. She plans to become a Physician’s Assistant after graduation.

Former Peters Creek resident Brandon James Haynen, of Anchorage, died on Dec. 16, 2011 in Anchorage. He was 24.

Haynen was born on June 9, 1987 in Vancouver, Wash. to Paula Morris and William James Haynen. Shortly after, he moved to Peters Creek.

Brandon enjoyed reading, especially books by Stepen King, Dean Koontz and the “Harry Potter” series. He enjoyed working outdoors and working out. He joined the Army National Guard in 2005.

 Douglas E. Gibson, 70, of Eagle River, died unexpectedly on Dec. 24, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Isolde, of Eagle River; children, Christian and Erin; grandchildren, Kegan, Eryx, Taylor and Annika Gibson, all of Sahuarita, Ariz.; and all his friends.

“He is forever in our hearts,” his family said.

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