Matt Tunseth

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.

Peters Creek was overflowing its banks Tuesday as ice jams caused running water to flow down Aurora Borealis Road.

A National Weather Service employee first reported the minor flooding Monday evening, and the service issued a brief statement warning people of the hazard.

“Minor flooding is occurring below (northwest of) the Starner Street bridge along Peters Creek,” read the statement. “The river is at or just over bankfull, and some water is over Aurora Borealis Road.”

A fresh shipment of holiday cheer is on its way to U.S. troops stationed overseas via the sentiments of Alaska’s schoolchildren and the work of some stateside supporters.

An all-volunteer effort organized by the Alaska Veterans Museum, this year’s project generated about 10,000 cards and letters from students at 34 schools in the Anchorage School District. The cards are written by kids just in advance of the holidays and distributed by the national Friends of Our Troops organization.

Winter is here.

Ice fishing huts and Nordic ski tracks have recently started to appear around Chugiak-Eagle River, heralding the onset of true winter.

Civilian crime fighting efforts continue to expand in Chugiak-Eagle River, where Anchorage Assembly member Amy Demboski is spearheading a new coordinated neighborhood watch program to supplement the work being done by the five-person Birchwood Community Patrol.

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