Kirsten Swann

Shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday, a faded blue box truck rolled into the parking lot of the Eagle River Carrs, backing into a spot near the front.

The back doors opened. Within minutes, an assembly line of volunteers was filling the truck with donated food – pallets of strawberries, carts full of chicken and boxes of bread. Half an hour later, the group was driving up the Old Glenn Highway to repeat the process at the local Fred Meyer.

“It’s going to be loaded today,” said volunteer Rebecca Pifer, piling donated groceries into the truck behind the store.

Knock on wood: The Anchorage housing market continues to hold steady, even in the face of lurching job loss and economic pain, according to state economists.

Home prices have remained relatively stable, said Neal Fried, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Sales numbers have remained relatively stable, too, he said. The rental vacancy rate has climbed, according to housing experts, but the number of foreclosures continues to decrease. Overall, they said – so far, so good.

Nearly four years after a passerby found an abandoned infant in an Eagle River park, the little girl’s mother is scheduled to appear again in Anchorage district court.

This time, Ashley Ard is expected to change her plea, court records show. Originally charged with second-degree murder for her daughter’s death, Ard now plans to plead guilty to a modified charge of manslaughter, her attorney said.

Tentatively scheduled for July 31, the change of plea marks the beginning of the end of a case first filed in October 2013.

A month after earning her diploma, Eagle River High School graduate Elle Adkins packed her bags and headed south to represent her hometown on a national stage.

Kathy Murphy always had a soft spot for the big dogs, her friends said.

Over the years, the Chugiak attorney kept towering Irish wolfhounds and muscular Rhodesian ridgebacks, then finally a broad-chested lab mix called Rocky. Her dogs competed in shows, ran agility and participated in other activities. When Murphy introduced Rocky to flyball — a sport in which dogs race across hurdles to catch balls — he played it enthusiastically for nearly eight years, until his hips began to creak and he was forced to retire.

At 25, Akeem Anderson is ready to make it big.

His music videos rack up tens of thousands of views on Youtube. His songs are played across the country, he said. His music is featured by rap blogs around the Lower 48. That’s all part of his plan.

“I’m trying to be established in the music industry – majorly, independent-wise, big-wise – before I’m 30,” he said. “So I want every single song I make to be perfect.”

Municipal land managers are slamming the brakes on plans for a future high-density housing development in the heart of Eagle River.

The Carol Creek project, centered around a 92-acre parcel between Fred Meyer and the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center, would have opened the door to hundreds of new housing units. But Robin Ward, real estate director for the Municipality of Anchorage, said the plan recently hit a roadblock.

After calculating projected financial returns with a pro forma analysis, Ward said, Carol Creek development is off the table.

Earlier this summer, Anchorage Parks and Recreation director John Rodda received word of something unusual on a patch of Eagle River parkland: A makeshift campsite.

Throughout the Anchorage Bowl, he receives similar reports almost daily, he said; tents pop up in greenbelts and wooded areas from South Anchorage to Downtown. In Chugiak-Eagle River, though, it’s rare.

“Just the occasional phone call,” Rodda said. “We haven’t seen the quantity or the population, if you will.”

A standing-room-only crowd packed the Eagle River Nature Center June 4 for crash course in one of Southcentral Alaska’s most popular backcountry routes: The Crow Pass Trail.

From North Slope villages to cities in Southcentral Alaska, from Emmonak to Eagle River, communities across the state are bound together by a shared tragedy.

Alaska’s teen suicide rate spikes well above the national average, according to data from the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Social and Economic Research. Between 2007 and 2011, 42 Alaska teenagers took their own lives. Over the same time period, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Alaskan children ages 10-17.

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