Matt Tunseth

The Army picked the right morning to hold a big event.

“What a beautiful day,” said Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, who was in town to preside over a change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK).

Taking the unit colors under a dazzling blue sky Wednesday was Maj. Gen. Mark O’Neil, who has served as Brown’s chief of staff since May of 2016. O’Neil takes over for Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, who is retiring from the Army after 34 years of service.

A Chugiak woman accused of stealing roughly $180,000 from a local youth hockey association plans to plead not guilty during a scheduled arraignment Friday, July 14 in Anchorage.

The attorney for Jennifer Suchan said Tuesday cases such as his client’s aren’t always what they first appear, and urged the public to hold off on judging Mrs. Suchan before she’s given due process.

Now in its 32nd year, Eagle River’s Bear Paw Festival has grown from a small community shin-dig to a major summertime event drawing thousands of visitors to downtown Eagle River each year.

If they haven’t started already, locals will soon be strapping long-handled nets to the top of pickup trucks and the backs of motorhomes and heading south en masse.

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery — by far the state’s largest and most popular — opens July 10, a date many Alaskans keep in their heads like Christmas.

Lyndon Thomas has always been a daredevil. As a teen, he said he once flew his hang glider from the Chugach Mountains to Chugiak High School.

“Everybody thought I was 007,” he said with a laugh.

That was back in the late 1970s, when Thomas and a few of his buddies were just getting into the new sport. Back then, they’d launch from a spot near the old Wallace Homestead overlooking Chugiak and Eagle River.

The Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department responded to a house that was smoking but not ablaze Thursday, June 29 on Oberg Road in Chugiak.

Department chief Virginia McMichael said firefighters were called out after someone turned the electricity back on at the home.

“They had recently turned the electricity on, it appears, and the house filled with smoke,” she said.

(Updated Thursday, June 29, 2017)

One of the last surviving Blockbuster Video locations has rented its last movie.

Workers on Wednesday, June 28 said the Eagle River location in the Carrs mall in downtown Eagle River is going out of business. Wednesday was the last day customers can rent movies. Starting at noon Thursday, everything in the store — from DVDs and Blu-Rays to posters, Pocky sticks and soda — went on sale.

“We’re selling everything,” said store manager Heather Glidden Wednesday.

Sen. Dan Sullivan took time June 19 to honor a giant of Chugiak-Eagle River with a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Sullivan recognized Lee Jordan as his “Alaskan of the Week,” singling out the local community leader for his work to support Alaska baseball through his commitment to the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks Alaska Baseball League team.

“He and former State Senator Bill Stoltze, a good friend of mine and another huge booster of baseball in Alaska, hatched a plan to get a team to their area as part of the Alaska Baseball League,” Sullivan said.

An Eagle River man’s quick thinking — and a can of bear spray — may have saved his friend’s life during a harrowing bear attack Saturday, June 24 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Cyclist Alex Ippoliti was riding with his friend, James Fredrick, on a road near Clunie Like on base Saturday morning when they heard some rustling in the bushes. Ippoliti said they slowed down, but weren’t overly concerned with the noises.

Three Chugiak mushers signed up for the 2018 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Saturday, June 24, the first day for entries into the annual race to Nome.

Among the 52 entrants who signed up on the first day to enter were veteran mushers Jim Lanier and Mike Suprenant, along with rookie Tom Schonberger.

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