Matt Tunseth

One by one, nearly 20 people stepped to the microphone inside the Anchorage Assembly hall Monday night to sing different renditions of the same tune.

Their chorus didn’t fall on deaf ears.

“I’m just glad someone listened to what we’ve been saying,” said Sandy Quimby, who was all smiles after the Anchorage Planning and Zoning Commission voted to postpone action on a widely panned proposal to increase allowable density housing on a parcel of municipal land near the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

Josh Robles was going to have to wait another year for his shot at a conference championship. With less than a minute left in his finals match Saturday at the Cook Inlet Conference tournament, the Eagle River 113-pounder trailed East’s Octavius McCleskey by eight points and was running out of gas.

“I was tired, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do it,’” he said.

But Robles wasn’t about to quit, either, and when McCleskey made a small mistake, Robles pounced.

“I just saw an opportunity and I took it,” he said.

Land use and crime are the hottest topics facing Chugiak-Eagle River residents this month, with several key meetings and issues on the docket at a flurry of meetings scheduled between now and the year-end holidays. Among the biggest are ongoing conflicts between the municipal officials keen on more development in Chugiak-Eagle River and residents who’d prefer things stay much the same in the semi-rural neighborhoods north of Anchorage.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key issues facing local community councils and boards this month:

Though the lights have dimmed at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy, the Eagle River arts organization isn’t closing the curtains entirely.

Call it an intermission.

“We’re kind of taking a sabbatical as an organization,” said Lailani Cook, who recently stepped down as the group’s executive director.

AFAA vacated its longtime downtown Eagle River home at the end of October, and since then the group has been winding down its ongoing arts classes — most of which end this month.

Hundreds of holiday revelers packed Eagle River Friday and Saturday for the annual Christmastime kick-off known as the Merry Merchant Munch and Winter Wonderland celebration.

The event got underway Friday morning as a trickle of shoppers checked out businesses participating in the Munch, and annual shop-and-dine event in which local retailers hand out holiday treats and decorate for the season. By afternoon, those numbers had turned into a flood as families went from business to business sampling goodies and checking out the downtown business district.

By the start of the New Year, the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce is likely to be heading in a new direction.

Chamber president Colin Fay said Monday the local business organization is in the final stages of its search for an executive director to replace the outgoing Dana Thorp-Patterson.

“It’s going excellent,” Fay said. “We interviewed eight candidates over the long weekend, all of whom were highly qualified.”

A total of 18 local students were selected for the 2017 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska All-State Music Festival, with several earning special recognition at the Nov. 18 event at West High.

Earning coveted “First Chair” honors in the All-State orchestra were Chugiak freshman Charlie Latimer (violin I), junior Julia Koehler (violin II) and junior Claire Mahoney (viola); along with Eagle River senior Sean Harris (oboe). Chugiak junior Eric Rueb was named Second Chair on trombone.

Before her senior year of high school, Eagle River’s Anna Ripp didn’t pay much attention to what was happening in the world outside her hometown.

“I don’t think I was socially aware of the issues happening in the world,” Ripp said in a Monday, Nov. 27 interview.

That changed when Ripp and her classmates in Karen Acklin-Williams’s English class began their Social Justice unit, which includes readings from texts such as Richard Wright’s “Black Boy,” Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed” and Adam Shepard’s “Scratch Beginnings.”

A vehicle crash with entrapment forced a 90-minute closure of the northbound lanes of the Glenn Highway the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 28.

The Anchorage Police Department sent out a public Nixle alert about the closure near the Eklutna exit at 3:44 p.m. Tuesday. Spokeswoman Renee Oistad said at least one person was believed to be injured, but didn’t have further details. The highway was reopened around 5 p.m.

Winter officially begins Dec. 21, but anyone around these parts knows the season truly gets underway at Munch time.

This year, the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce’s 25th Annual Merry Merchant Munch and Winter Wonderland celebration will be held Dec. 1-2 in downtown Eagle River. With more than 50 merchants participating — plus the holiday tree-lighting and a visit from Santa Claus — the event promises to bring plenty of holiday cheer to chilly Chugiak-Eagle River.

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