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A couple dozen FOCUS Inc. employees and After School Program students circled Eagle River Town Square for a half hour the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 23 to advocate for fair treatment of Alaskans with developmental disabilities.

Similar rallies took place the same day all over the state as part of the Key Coalition — one of Alaska’s largest supporters of people with disabilities — annual event.

One intent of the rally was to show that people with special needs are just as much a part of Chugiak-Eagle River as anyone else, said FOCUS care coordinator Snejana Ivanoska.

Chugiak mushers Jim Lanier and Mike Suprenant will be among a field of 66 mushers who hit the trail this weekend for the 2012 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

This year’s ceremonial race start will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3 in Anchorage.

The official start of the race will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4 in Willow.

Lanier, 71, is a retired physician who first ran the Iditarod in 1979. He has never scratched and is a 14-time finisher whose best showing was 18th in 2004.

A decision whether or not to close the deteriorating Eklutna River Bridge will be made in the next month, Anchorage Municipal Manager George Vakalis said during a public meeting Feb. 23 at Mirror Lake Middle School.

Vakalis said a decision needs to come before the bridge sees increased traffic from summer tourists.

Not a lot of celebrities pass through Eagle River, so when Erik Estrada visited a couple local businesses recently, folks lined up to have their picture taken with the former star of the hit television show CHiPs.

“I grew up watching him,” said Eagle River’s Ken Dunlop, who had his picture taken with the TV icon during Estrada’s appearance at the Eagle River Elks Lodge on Feb. 24.

Investigators don't know the cause of a fire that desroyed a home on Klondike Street off of South Birchwood Loop in Chugiak on Saturday, Feb. 25.

According to the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department, the blaze was reported at approximately 9:40 a.m. When crews arrived four minutes later, they found the house completely engulfed in flames, according to CVFD assistant chief Virginia McMichael.

"On our arrival it was pretty much fully involved," she said.

Heading into Friday's 10-kilometer mass start classic race on Day 2 of the ASAA Alaska State Nordic Skiing Championships at Kincaid Park, Chugiak senior Isaac Lammers found himself trailing East's Thomas O'Harra by just over six seconds after Thursday's freestyle race. So when he crossed the finish line in first place in the classic race, Lammers knew he still had a few seconds to worry that O'Harra might come charging up behind him.

But when he looked back down the trail, there was nobody there.

"My coach said 'I've got the timer going,'" Lammers recalled.

 The driver of this pick-up truck had to be extricated from his vehicle after crashing in the center median of the Glenn Highway on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Anchorage Police said the 49-year-old driver was not seriously hurt in the accident, one of several dozen reported that day as light snowfall made roads treacherous across the Anchorage and Chugiak-Eagle River areas.

Getting up to catch a 7:30 a.m. bus on a Sunday morning might not seem like most kids’ idea of a good time. Unless it’s a snow day.

Nearly 90 students from Chugiak-Eagle River joined dozens of their peers from across Anchorage on Feb. 18 in a bus caravan south to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, where they converged for a program that for two decades has been introducing generations of skiers and boarders to the mountain.

“This is pretty sweet,” said Jake Rogers, a sixth grader at Mirror Lake Middle School while taking a lunch break in the day lodge.

Eagle River’s Chris Olds, the two-time defending Iron Dog champion, started his quest for a third straight title Sunday, Feb. 19 at Big Lake.

“The expectation and the goal is to definitely win this year,” Olds said.

After winning the past two years with Fairbanks’ Tyler Huntington, Olds is riding with new teammate Mike Morgan of Nome. Olds said the duo (Bib 10) has a legitimate chance to take first.

“I think we’ve got a good shot,” he said. “We’re comfortable and confident with our machine.”

The pair is riding a 600cc Polaris Pro R Switchback.

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