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The hunt is on for Alaska’s delectable berries. Our choice of berries is varied and they are bountiful. It seems like everyone is out picking berries right now and putting them away for winter. We are so blessed to have such a variety and abundance right outside our doorsteps. This will not be an exhaustive berry discussion but I will talk about the most common edible berries you will find in Alaska to include the following:

UPDATE (2 p.m. Friday): Chugiak’s Friday football game against Bartlett has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.

Original story:

The Anchorage School District has canceled all outdoor after-school activities for Friday due to heavy smoke in the Anchorage area. Practices and games that can be moved indoors may still proceed, according to an ASD spokeswoman.

“It’s reading solidly ‘unhealthy’ in Anchorage,” ASD spokeswoman Morgan Duclos said of air quality readings in the area.

A local Head Start program will be getting a late start this fall — but that’s better than the alternative, according to the group’s executive director.

“I feel a lot better than I did two weeks ago, that’s for sure,” CCS Early Learning’s Mark Lackey said Monday.

Chugiak’s fire department is an all-volunteer operation, so it’s no surprise the group jumped at the chance to help out with wildfires burning in Southcentral Alaska.

Members of the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company have been providing support for the McKinley Fire burning in the Mat-Su, sending engines and firefighters to help protect homes and other structures from the wildfires that broke out earlier this month.

One group of Alaskans is having an exceptionally bad time during the Alaska State Fair: Impaired drivers.

An increased Anchorage Police Department presence on the Glenn Highway has resulted in a surge in drunk driving arrests, with more than a dozen people arrested between Eklutna and JBER since the fair opened Aug. 22. That compares to about two per week, according to the department’s online crime mapping system.

The uptick coincides with increased patrols by the department during the fair.

A 40-year-old man was arrested on child endangerment charges early Monday after he allegedly drove more than 100 MPH while drunk with a child in the passenger seat on the Glenn Highway.

Heavy smoke in the Anchorage area has local sports teams scrambling.

The smoke from the Swan Lake wildfire on the Kenai Peninsula forced the Anchorage School District to cancel all outdoorathletic practices and games Friday. Indoor events — including the Chugiak Invitational volleyball tournament — will go aheadas planned.

The Eagle River football game originally scheduled for 7 p.m. at Houston High has been rescheduled to 2 p.m. Saturday,smoke dependant. A final decision on the game will be made early Saturday morning, said Wolves coach Brad Myers.

This past week, I harvested my black and red currants and made them into juice and jelly and syrup to enjoy throughout the winter months. An excellent fruit to grow and relatively trouble free, the currant is a nutritional powerhouse. Currants have a wonderful tart flavor and according to the USDA have more vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium than any other fruit. These berries are only second to elderberries in iron and protein content and lower in fat than any other fruit except nectarines.

Eagle River’s Claire Schimmack, 18, was recently named a “youth hero” by the Alaska Communications Summer of Heroes program, which honors Alaskans for service in their communities.

Schimmack was one of six Alaskans awarded a $1,500 scholarship by ACS and the Boys & Girls Club Alaska, according to a press release about the honors.

It’s only the first day of school, but Alaska’s unpredictable weather has already caused its first cancellations of the year.

Due to heavy smoke from Southcentral wildfires, the Anchorage School District has cancelled all outdoor after-school activities for Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The cancellations impacted tennis matches that were scheduled to be held at West, South and Chugiak High as well as Begich Middle School. The district said activities could be moved indoors if possible and was leaving those decisions to individual schools and programs.