Eagle River council adds new members

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 14:55
  • Star photo by Matt Tunseth
  • Downtown Eagle River (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

There’s been a bit of a changing of the guard on the Eagle River Community Council, which has seen the departure of two long-time members in recent months and the election of a new president in January.

At its Jan. 10 meeting, the council held elections for one two expiring and one vacant seat on the seven-member board of directors. Michael Foster decided to run for re-election, but Michael Melielo decided he would step aside after two members of the audience expressed interest in running.

That left three people to fill three open seats — Foster, Cliff Cook and Jesse James. The trio were elected by unanimous consent.

Cook is a retired Air Force veteran who recently started the Eagle River Community Patrol. James recently moved to Eagle River from Anchorage and is the president of the Brandywine Homeowners Association.

Melielo’s departure is the second in as many months among the council’s trio of longtime members. Late last year, council president Brian Fay resigned — though he continues to attend meetings and was an active participant at Wednesday’s. Fay, Melielo and Michael Foster have served on the board for the better part of the last three decades, said Melielo, who joined the council in 1993.

He said he’s happy to step aside for new blood.

“It’s time to be in the audience,” he said.

James said he wanted to serve on the board because he thinks it’s important for people to engage their communities rather than simply sitting on the sidelines watching.

“I really just want to serve my community as opposed to being just another voice that’s not doing anything,” he said.

Foster said it was refreshing to see both Cook and James volunteer to serve on the board.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had so many hands go up,” he said.

Once the new members were elected, the board also held officer elections — which brought more change to the body.

Board member Tim Ebben volunteered to run against Foster for president, saying he wanted to give people a choice.

“I want to give options,” he said.

Ebben won the presidency, getting the support of his wife, Julie, along with Cook, James and Chuck Homan.

Homan volunteered to serve as secretary, an honor he won without opposition, and Julie Ebben said she’ll continue as treasurer. Sharon Gibbons volunteered to serve as vice president and was also elected without opposition.

The board elections took up the majority of the hourlong meeting, with few other issues of major importance discussed. The board discussed changes to its bylaws designed to mirror those of other councils and said it will vote on the new bylaws in February. The board also heard a presentation from Fay about a recent meeting of the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors at which a list of sites for a proposed dog park was reduced down to two options. He said consultants for the project are currently planning the public process and that proposals will go before the public in the near future.

Melielo also updated the council on the most recent road board meeting, at which he said the board decided to submit the same grant proposal list as the previous two years. He said the board doesn’t expect to get any money from the state in the upcoming state budget cycle. However, he said finances for the local road maintenance area are on budget.

“Everything’s actually going pretty good,” he said.

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