Matt Tunseth

A 20-year-old Eagle River man arrested one week ago for being a felon in possession of a handgun allegedly stole a pickup and struck the vehicle’s owner Saturday morning in Eagle River.

Brock Werder was arraigned in Anchorage on Saturday on charges of vehicle theft and violating conditions of release after police said he crashed a vehicle in an Eagle River neighborhood and fled police on foot.

Chugiak senior Emma Nelson broke the state record in the high jump by more than two inches Friday on the first day of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Track and Field Championships at Machetanz Field in Palmer.

Nelson cleared the bar at 5-feet, 9-inches on her second attempt to break the record of 5 feet, 6.5 inches set by Wasilla’s Ceil Dunleavy in 2016.

“I’m really excited,” the Oregon State-bound senior said after winning the event.

Eagle River advanced to the state high school softball tournament with a 2-1 win over defending state champion South on Thursday at the Cook Inlet Conference Softball Tournament at the Albrecht Fields in Anchorage.

Alina Cook pitched a complete game for the Wolves, who face East at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the tournament semifinals at Albrecht.

The win kept Eagle River undefeated in the tournament; the Wolves knocked off Chugiak 4-2 in Wednesday’s first-round match-up after the tournament start was delayed a day by rain.

A public meeting will be held Thursday, May 24, to discuss the possibility of bringing a dog park to the Chugiak-Eagle River area.

A family of six narrowly escaped a house fire with their lives Sunday evening, but things could have been a lot worse if Anchorage’s Daren Beals hadn’t decided to take the scenic route.

Beals, 50, was driving from Eagle River to Chugiak with his girlfriend Irene Bush, and two other family members when he decided — on a whim, he said Monday — to take the quieter Old Glenn instead of the quicker Glenn Highway.

Faith, family and some fast feet took center stage at the Birchwood Christian School high school graduation May 18 at theCrossing church in Chugiak.

The 6:30 p.m. ceremony was delayed by about 15 minutes as a couple hundred well-wishers waited for seniors Tanner Reich, Bjorn Peterson and Steven Sterling to arrive from the preliminary round of the Region II track and field meet in Talkeetna. Luckily, the boys are fast — the trio make up three-fourths of the 4X400 relay team — and managed to arrive just in time to complete a record graduating class of 16 members.

Graduation ceremonies are by definition a time for change, but Eagle River High’s was particularly so as the school’s principal said goodbye to the school where he’s spent the last 13 years of his career.

“I too am leaving behind what is familiar and comfortable and stepping into a challenging unknown,” said Marty Lang, who is leaving for a job in the district office after seven years as the ERHS principal.

Lang said the day was an emotional one for himself as well as the 213 ERHS and 57 Alaska Middle College seniors in attendance.

At King’s Way Ministry on Eagle River Loop Road, the smallest area graduation ceremony was held for a trio of teens thankful for the opportunity to receive a different educational experience than their peers.

“There are pros and cons, but I think we get the better education,” said co-valedictorian Jacob Jent.

Jent’s co-valedictorian Celeste Wheeler agreed.

“There’s more attention for us,” she said.

In addition to the small class sizes at Eagle River Christian School, Wheeler said she liked the school’s open focus on religion.

Two decades after walking across the stage as a Chugiak High graduate, Megan Hatswell thanked the 257 graduates of her alma mater for letting her return to the school as their principal.

“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your grand adventure,” the first-year principal said during the school’s commencement exercises May 15 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

Having been in their shoes before, Hatswell told the graduates to use the occasion for reflection.

In more than two decades running the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River, facility manager Reid McDonald has never had to deal with the kind of mischief he’s put up with this spring.

“In my 21 years there we’ve never really been hit by any type of vandalism,” McDonald said May 14 at the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors meeting.

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