Matt Tunseth

With the Alaska State Fair in full bloom, farmers from across the state are showing off their most audacious products — think 1,000-pound pumpkins and cabbages the size of small cars.

But Alaska Grown means a lot more than just giant gourds and rotund rutabagas. The program is intended to highlight and promote all Alaska agricultural products, according to Johanna Herron, market access and food safety manager for the Alaska Division of Agriculture.

Talk about your home court advantage.

Chugiak dominated its own volleyball tournament Friday and Saturday, going 9-0 in pool play at the Chugiak Invitational before beating Palmer and Bartlett in back-to-back matches to claim the Gold Bracket championship.

Claire Schimmack had 20 assists and two aces in the championship match win over Bartlett on Saturday, while Sophia Lestina had 10 kills and Malia Mortensen notched 12 digs. Schimmack was named tournament MVP for the Mustangs, who finished 11-0.

Eagle River’s girls cross country running team may have arrived under the radar Saturday, but there’s no way the Wolves got off the trails near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson without someone taking notice.

Led by a fifth-place finish by freshman Emily Walsh, the Wolves took third in the girls’ team standings behind a pair of powers in dominant West Valley and runner-up Kenai Central.

“They did great,” said Wolves head coach Jacob Bera. “Overall it was just an amazing team effort.”

Opportunistic and unrelenting, the Eagle River Wolves worked as a pack to grind out a 13-12 nonconference prep football win over Dimond Saturday at Eagle River High.

The Wolves forced five turnovers in the game, including an 18-yard Justice Townsend fumble return that proved to be the game winner and a late JT Adams interception that proved to be the game clincher.

“He overthrew it and I had to stick my hands out and it just fell into my lap,” Adams said.

Dimond’s intended receivers tried to strip the ball, but Adams went to the ground to seal the victory.

There was plenty of good, bad and ugly to go around Friday night at Chugiak High — just not necessarily in equal proportions.

The good news for the Mustangs was they escaped Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium with a 20-7 nonconfefence football win over South. The bad news was the team could never seem to get out of its own way, committing several costly turnovers and turning what should have been a walkaway win into a nerve-wracker.

ENSTAR Natural Gas has tapped into the Chugiak-Eagle River area to find its first home-grown president.

Eagle River’s John Sims has been named to head up the company, which delivers gas to more than 143,000 customers in the Cook Inlet area from Homer north to Big Lake, according to the company’s website.

At a meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Aug. 16, Sims (who is also the chamber president) said he’s the first “born-and-raised” Alaskan to be the company’s president.

“I’m very proud of that,” he said.

(Note: The following story contains graphic accounts of sexual assault that may be disturbing to readers.)

UPDATE (Aug. 17): Schneider was indicted on kidnapping charges Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. He was in custody and the $30,000 bail originally posted had been exonorated, meaning it had been returned to the person who posted it. As of Thursday afternoon, Schneider remained in custody at the Anchorage Jail.


A new beer-themed adult hockey league is the centerpiece of ongoing efforts to shore up finances at the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River.

Called the Eagle River Hockey League (or ERHL), the venture was started by McDonald Center manager Reid McDonald, who earlier this summer co-founded a nonprofit to run the league.

The Eagle River Wolves got a dominant performance on both sides of the ball in a 55-13 nonconference prep football win Saturday, Aug. 12 over Ketchikan at the Wolves’ Den.

“That’s a first step,” said Wolves coach Bob Adkins, who won in his debut game as the team’s head coach. “We’ve got a lot more to climb.”

Eagle River opened the high school cross country running season by introducing some of its new recruits Friday, getting wins from transfer student Jacob Bradley and freshman Emily Walsh in a season-opening “Battle of the Bridge” dual meet against Chugiak at the Beach Lake Trails.

The Wolves took the top eight spots in the boys race, while Walsh held off a trio of Mustangs and teammate Claire Nelson in the girls’ top five spots.