Kirsten Swann

When Patrick Johnson parks his seafood truck in Eagle River every few weeks, homemade yellow signs point the way.

“Kodiak Scallop Ahead,” the signs read. “Fresh Alaskan Shrimp.”

Spot and side stripe shrimp, scallops, red king crab, halibut, cod — all direct from the nets and pots of fisherman around Alaska – are delivered to Eagle River every few weeks in a refrigerator in the back of a road-worn Ford F350, business licenses and permits taped to a back window.

It’s the only mobile shrimp shop in town.

Days filled with blue skies and temperatures above 70 degrees pulled crowds of Chugiak-Eagle River beachgoers to Mirror Lake Park over the first few days in June.

Located adjacent to the busy Glenn Highway, the local lakefront is popular with boaters, floaters, swimmers and splashers. On June 2, young children played in the shallows while parents watched from the shore. Teenagers chased a volleyball nearby, and sunbathers lounged in the sand. The lake draws all kinds of Alaskans.

A Talkeetna nonprofit is warming up thanks to 15-year-old Eagle River Boy Scout Keith Sellers.

After hundreds of hours of fundraising and manual labor, Sellers recently put the finishing touches on a new shelter at the Sled Dog Sanctuary, which rescues former sled dogs and provides animal therapy to Alaskans with special needs. The shelter, handicap accessible and warmed with a wood stove, provides a cozy gathering space for sanctuary visitors.

At the Peters Creek Farmers Market, even the homemade salsa comes with a story.

On the summertime market’s June 1 opening day, Stephen Tracy sold his fruity variety studded with jalepenos. A few booths away, Tom Bergey sold Larry’s Salsa, a recipe developed more than 30 years ago by an old-timer out in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough — a recipe once available exclusively at a farmers market in Willow.

Former Chugiak resident Severin Wiggenhorn is moving up the ranks in Washington, D.C.

A staff member for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Wiggenhorn was recently promoted to senior counsel within the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where her work immerses her in some of the most pressing legal issues facing Alaska today.

“It’s really neat to get to see your home state in a different way,” Wiggenhorn said during a recent phone interview.

Hikers and campers weren’t the only visitors at the Eagle River Nature Center Sunday.

While parents and kids trekked up the hill from the overflow parking lot, a black bear ambled down the road just yards away, veering off to investigate some equipment outside a nearby trail maintenance shed. Passersby continued on their ways and the bear wandered off into the woods.

After the last students left their classrooms and the last teachers had cleared out their desks for the summer, the front office staff at Ravenwood Elementary School sat down to catch up on work.

“It’s quiet,” said Beth Kutyba, an administrator at the neighborhood elementary school. “The phone’s not ringing. The front door’s not buzzing.”

With the 2016-17 school year at an end, Eagle River High School can claim a notable distinction – a better attendance record than any other high school in the Anchorage School District.

For the month of April, the last month for which complete numbers are available, approximately 80 percent of ERHS students had a 90 percent attendance record or better, according to ASD data. Those numbers place ERHS well above all high schools, most middle schools and even a few elementary schools. Other Anchorage high schools, by comparison, hovered between 64-76 percent attendance in April.

On any given afternoon, the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center pulses with activity.

Inside the bright front lobby, people play card games, read, catch up with friends and family or exchange jokes with senior center staff. For 89-year-old Gloria Fierro and dozens of other Chugiak-Eagle River residents, the senior center is home.

Fierro moved in nearly a decade ago, transplanted to Chugiak from California.

“I went from the ridiculous to the sublime,” she said, laughing.

Before the speeches, the brass band and the rifle salute, Memorial Day at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery began with silence and the sound of flags flapping in the wind.

Families strolled between rows of graves, holding hands and bouquets of flowers. A man sat silently between marble headstones, head bowed. Further down the path, a woman searched for the place where her husband lay.

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