Matt Tunseth

A committee tasked with making recommendations to the Anchorage School Board endorsed a plan Friday to fix a pair of Eagle River schools damaged by the Nov. 30, 2018 earthquake.

The estimated cost of fixing Gruening Middle School and Eagle River Elementary is $36.3 million — about a third of what it would cost to demolish and replace the two facilities, according to estimates provided by the Anchorage School District based on preliminary engineering reports.

Anchorage schools will not be required to play the national anthem and the “Alaska State Flag Song” at the start of each school week after the Anchorage School Board decided it needs more time to study a board policy revision that board member Dave Donley believes will foster more patriotism in students.

“There’s so few things that hold us together as a nation,” Donley told the board before it voted 4-3 Monday evening to return his proposed policy revision to the board’s governance committee.

At a small office in an Eagle River church, nearly a dozen federal employees are working to both mitigate problems and manage expectations of those seeking help after the Nov. 30, 2018 earthquake.

They’re the government, and they’re here to help.

“We’re here as long as we’re needed,” said Jack Heesch, an external affairs officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

8:30 a.m. Saturday, Downtown Anchorage

Diesel is in the air at 4th Avenue and Cordova Street, where a front-end loader is dumps loads of snow in the middle of the normally busy intersection. The loader beeps as the driver uses the bucket to sculpt the snow into large steps.

In less than two hours, the sleepy intersection will be the center of the sled dog universe.

After 25 years of building an unrivaled musical tradition at Chugiak High, Ron Lange still has a couple notes up his sleeve.

“It is nice to go, ‘I’m not in that rut anymore,’” Lange said last week at Bartlett High during a break in rehearsals for “Fiddler on the Roof,” which will be his first — and last — production as both musical and overall director. “This is completely something else.”

University of Alaska Anchorage chancellor Cathy Sandeen may have been searching for friendly confines last week when she stopped by Eagle River, where her university’s struggling hockey team is uncharacteristically unbeaten this season.

The Alaska School Activities Association Appeals Board has denied the appeal of a former Chugiak High basketball coach suspended in December one year for a recruiting violation.

You could say the partnership between Brooke Hartman and Evon Zerbetz was a dream come true.

“I had a vision of how it could turn out and she blew my mind,” said Hartman, whose new children’s book, “Dream Flights on Arctic Nights,” will be released Feb. 26 by Alaska Northwest Books.

The task of untangling the complex web of choices, courses, controversies and complications concerning Chugiak-Eagle River schools began Tuesday night at Chugiak High, where about 200 people gathered for the first in a series of public meetings that will help determine the future of virtually every Anchorage School District student living north of Muldoon Road.

“We have a lot of work to do,” ASD superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop said that the outset of the meeting, which was attended by district officials and members of the Anchorage School Board.

Engineers had serious questions about whether Gruening Middle School could withstand a powerful earthquake from the time the school was built, according to a collection of news stories written about the school’s troubled construction in the early 1980s.

“A major earthquake would produce significant damage and a possible partial collapse,” at the school, California engineering firm Forell/Elsesser Engineers Inc. wrote in a 1983 report to the Anchorage School District.

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