Kirsten Swann

As a young girl growing up in Oostzaan, Netherlands, Maria Talasz made art with wood, dreaming up designs to cut into decorative pins she then sold around her neighborhood.

Years later, as an artist living in Eagle River, she dreamed up a design for a different kind of pin – the 2018 Fur Rondy commemorative edition.

“I’ve been making art for a long time,” said Talasz, who now works out of a home studio in Eagle River. “I’ve never really wanted to stick with paper much.”

Her Fur Rondy pin design was unveiled during a special ceremony in downtown Anchorage Sept. 8.

UPDATE (Friday, Sept. 22): The woman arrested Thursday, Sept. 21 was identified Friday by Anchorage Police as 23-year-old Brandy L. Nolcini. Court records show Nolcini was released the same day she was arrested and is currently free on $3,000 cash/corporate bail. Records show that at the time of her arrest Thursday in Eagle River, Nolcini was out on $250 bail for a misdemeanor case filed Sept. 17. Charging documents were pending in both cases as of Friday, Sept. 22.

A year after a routine municipal audit revealed more than half a dozen administrative and accounting issues at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center, local park supervisors are still searching for answers to lingering financial questions at the popular Eagle River rec center.

When Mary Turner woke with a start early on the morning of Sept. 5, she thought the sound she heard came from an earthquake, she said.

Then she saw the flames outside her window. A window imploded. She knew she had to get out, she said.

A town hall meeting on proposed water and sewer improvements drew a standing-room-only crowd to the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center Sept. 14.

“I know this is a big topic for a lot of our community,” assemblywoman Amy Demboski said to the people gathered in the senior center dining room Thursday night. “This is effectively our way of engaging the community, just to start to explain the process, what people are talking about, what they’re thinking about.”

Early every weekday morning, long before the first school bells ring, a fleet of buses shifts into gear in a spacious parking lot high on a Chugiak hillside. From there, dozens of drivers head out onto the Old Glenn Highway, bound for bus stops throughout Chugiak-Eagle River. School can’t start without them.

Despite administrative adjustments, shifting schools and classroom changes, some things stay the same.

“We hit the road every day,” said Warren Ulrich, assistant general manager at Reliant Transportation, a transportation contractor for the Anchorage School District.

As new construction continues to spring up throughout the Eagle River Valley, a cluster of local residents are pushing back against a planned development off Hiland Road.

The proposed expansion within the Bernard Subdivision – a heavily wooded swath of land about a mile-and-a-half up the road – calls for several new homes and a cul-de-sac with sweeping valley views. But the new development would also cut off the public right-of-way along Bernard Drive. Neighbors are saying no.

A 63-year-old Chugiak resident died following a collision with a moose on the Glenn Highway Sept. 13, according to the Anchorage Police Department.

The crash, first reported at 1:18 a.m., occured when Michael Rock was driving north near milepost 19, police said. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered his green 1994 Lincoln sedan “heavily damaged” and covered with tufts of moose hair in a marsh at the bottom of an embankment, according to APD.

Piles of hunting waste abandoned in busy area parks are frustrating municipal crews and endangering park users and wildlife, according to Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation officials.

On Sept. 9, members of the Chugiak Dog Mushers Association discovered a pile of bloody animal bones while preparing for their first dryland event of the year at Beach Lake Park, said local parks manager Karen Richards. The next morning, park crews found more. Within three days, they’d removed six hunting waste dumpsites from around the popular Birchwood green space, Richards said.

When Dr. Kathy Burek first began working as a veterinary pathologist more than two decades ago, magazine reporters and reality TV weren’t part of the picture.

Fast forward to 2017. In January, Burek’s work was featured in a lengthy article in Outside magazine. A few months later, the story was reprinted in the Alaska Dispatch News. Then came the queries from reality television producers and Vice News.

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