Kirsten Swann

While Southern states grapple from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and recent deadly floods, Alaskan emergency planners focus on a different set of catastrophes: In Chugiak-Eagle River, the most likely natural disasters are earthquakes, wildfires and extreme winter weather events, according to the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management.

Preparation is key, said Andy Preis, emergency programs manager for education and outreach.

“If someone’s prepared for a high magnitude earthquake, they’re also going to be prepared for a flooding situation,” Preis said.

In place of its usual monthly meeting, the Birchwood Community Council plans to convene Sept. 14 for a special town hall gathering with local utility representatives.

The meeting is part of an ongoing community discussion about a proposed water and sewer line extension – utility upgrades that could levy steep future assessments on area properties.

The Anchorage Police Department is asking for public help locating a man wanted in connection with a series of 2016 crimes in Anchorage and Eagle River.

Zarin Freeman, 31, faces five felony counts of kidnapping, first-degree robbery, second-degree theft and third-degree assault, according to court records. The charges date back to Nov. 1, 2016, when a 19-year-old male victim reported he had been kidnapped from the Delaney Park Strip at knifepoint, police said.

An early morning fire destroyed a Chugiak home and displaced a longtime local resident Tuesday, Sept. 5, according to neighbors and the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.

The call came in around 4:30 a.m., when some Tulwar Drive residents reported seeing flames climbing the walls of a two-story home in the woods.

“My wife hollered at me that there was a fire,” said Steve Sandberg, who lives across the street from the blaze.

In Chugiak, Labor Day weekend went to the dogs – glossy Rottweilers, fluffy Bernese mountain dogs, towering Great Danes and sleek Siberian huskies.

Featuring approximately 100 competitors from Fairbanks to Kenai, the Working Group Dog Club of Alaska’s annual summer show temporarily transformed the lawn of the Chugiak Benefit Association into a miniature Westminster. Kennels and RVs crowd the parking lot. Handlers in suit jackets and numbered arm bands roamed the grounds. Dog-lovers of all ages milled around, catching up with old friends from Alaska’s dog show circuit

Tucked toward the end of Birchwood Spur Road, surrounded by forest, the Birchwood Airport is the tiniest in the Municipality of Anchorage, far smaller and more secluded then Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Merrill Field or Lake Hood Seaplane Base.

But the Chugiak airfield has its own bragging rights: One of the busiest small airports in the state, the Birchwood Airport is also home to the largest aviation manufacturing company in Alaska.

Before thousands of Alaskans and visitors flooded Palmer for the opening day of the Alaska State Fair Thursday, Eagle River quilter Jo Ann Gruber spent two full days helping 27 volunteers hang 274 quilts from the rafters and walls of the Irwin exhibit hall.

“It couldn’t be done without the volunteers,” Gruber said. “I think it speaks well of our community.”

Even after more than 260 hours of volunteer work, 13-year-old Eagle River resident Avery White isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon.

“My favorite part is probably at the Boys and Girls Club, where you play around with the younger kids,” said White, who volunteers at the local youth center several times per week. “I like mentoring.”

On a recent August afternoon, while members of the Chugiak High School Swim and Dive Team ran through dryland training exercises on the pool deck, another section of deck remained cordoned off behind yellow caution tape, covered with a thick black mat and an orange safety cone. Under the mat, the deck bulged and split. Strips of duct tape secured separating tiles.

Despite two recent renovations totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, the CHS pool deck is broken again and headed for another closure and repair.

Swamped by wind and waves nearly a mile from shore, four kayakers spent more than 40 minutes in the glacier-fed waters of Eklutna Lake before rescuers pulled them to shore the evening of Aug. 26, according to witnesses and first responders.

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