The role of pH in growing a healthy garden should not be overlooked.

In Alaska we generally have very acidic soils. The role pH plays in gardening is not talked about that much and is one of the most overlooked discussions in gardening. For the home gardener, pH is the key that can unlock the door to your garden success. This discussion will attempt to take a good look at why this is true.

Items in the Police Briefs are taken from the Anchorage Police Department’s online crime mapping system. Details about individual events are provided by the department’s public information office. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Chugiak completed a first-place run through the brief Cook Inlet Conference baseball season with a 9-6 win over Eagle River Thursday at Bartlett High.

Austin Bull went 2-for-2 with an RBI for Chugiak, which scored eight runs in the first two innings to pull away. Trystan Costanios and Christian Cambridge each drove in two runs for the Mustangs, who got four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings of relief from pitcher Justin Nevells.

Orazio Ramos and Chase McGraw each had two RBIs for the Wolves.

Graduation ceremonies were held for Eagle River and Chugiak High Schools on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Anchorage.

The back-to-back commencement ceremonies saw 185 graduates (and four exchange students) from Eagle River High School honored at Sullivan Arena Wednesday afternoon, followed by a class of 212 and five foreign exchange students recognized from Chugiak.

Eagle River High’s valedictorian was Collin Dyches and salutatorian was Ashton Love.

William “Billy” Smith was Chugiak’s valedictorian, with Miles Dennis named the school’s salutatorian.

Eagle River swept Chugiak on Senior Night Tuesday, getting a pair of valuable prep soccer wins in advance of crucial road trips to Fairbanks for both schools.

The Eagle River girl opened Tuesday’s doubleheader with a 2-0 shutout, and the boys followed with a 2-1 thriller in the nightcap to keep their hopes alive of playing at home in the upcoming state tournament.

News flash: Mustangs are fast.

Chugiak swept the Palmer Relays track and field meet Friday and Saturday, with the school’s loaded boys squad dominating the 20-team meet and the girls eking out a narrow victory over the meet hosts.

The Chugiak boys racked up 158 team points to double up second-place Colony (79). Anchorage Christian was third with 64 points and Eagle River finished eighth with 42.

In the girls competition, Chugiak scored 96 points to edge Palmer (90) and Eagle River (86).

Ken McCarty has high hopes for what are unquestionably some of the worst tennis courts in Alaska.

“Trees are growing in it, the whole bit,” McCarty said during a recent interview about the four-court enclosure at Eagle River Lions Park. “It’s pretty trashed.”

An avid tennis player, McCarty said that up until about a decade ago the courts were still widely used.

“It was an active place,” said McCarty, who took on the project on behalf of the local Lions Club, which owns the property.

Mirror Lake Middle School has been having a rough spring.

Police were called to the Chugiak school twice May 8 for reports of criminal incidents on school buses, including a female student who was allegedly caught with a marijuana vape pen and a male student who allegedly grabbed and kissed a girl.

Chugiak and Eagle River’s varsity baseball teams are on a collision course.

The first-place Mustangs and second-place Wolves will meet Thursday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Bartlett High in the final game of the seven-game regular season for both teams. Through Monday, May 12, Chugiak was 5-0 (11-1 overall) in the Cook Inlet Conference and Eagle River was 4-1 in the CIC and 9-5 overall.

The games are the last contests before the end-of-season CIC round-robin tournament begins Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium. For an updated schedule, visit

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

Chugiak stormed through the Blue and Gold Fastpitch Softball Tournament at the Albrecht Fields in Anchorage over the weekend, rallying from an opening-round loss with four straight wins to claim the tournament championship.

The Mustangs started with a 3-2 loss to South in Thursday’s tournament opener. On Friday, Chugiak bounced back with a 2-1 win over Homer, then posted a 12-0 victory over Wasilla in the opening round of bracket play Saturday.

Chugiak and Eagle River will square off in a crosstown soccer rivalry Tuesday at the Wolves’ Den on Yosemite Drive.

The girls will play at 5 p.m. with the boys game scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. Both games could have big implications for all four teams’ state playoff hopes. The top four teams in the Railbelt Conference qualify for state; as of Monday, the Chugiak boys (2-4-1) and Eagle River girls (1-5-1) held the Railbelt’s fourth playoff spot, with the Chugiak girls (0-5-2) in fifth and the Eagle River boys (0-6-1) in sixth.

Parts of the Eagle River Town Center Building have been “red-tagged” due to newly discovered earthquake damage that could be more serious than previously thought.

Both the north and south entrances to the building will be closed indefinitely, according to Municipality of Anchorage Acting Building Official Ross Noffsinger. The news means the Chugiak-Eagle River Library and the offices of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and several municipal departments will be closed until further notice.

Items in the Police Briefs are taken from the Anchorage Police Department’s online crime mapping system. Details about individual events are provided by the department’s public information office. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Police arrested a 34-year-old Eagle River man on May 4 on charges of assault, family violence and interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime after he allegedly threw a woman to the ground hard enough to knock her out.

So if you’re a gardener, spring this year has been a bit of a tease to know when to get out and start the process. Although not unusual, the game of garden roulette — sunny warm weather one day and freezing rain and snow the next — is nevertheless frustrating for the gung-ho gardener.

Eagle River High’s athletics program has risen to new levels in recent years, and several of the athletes responsible for the school’s rise will take their skills to the next level as well.

National Letter of Intent signing ceremonies for nine

ERHS athletes were held April

29-30 in the school’s library for two groups of student-athletes whose exploits rank among some of the best in the school’s 14-year history. The first athlete honored was Keegan Sharpe, a softball player who will play softball at Geneva College in Pennsylvania next year.

A movement by Chugiak-Eagle River residents hoping to detach their Assembly district from the Municipality of Anchorage and form their own government is gaining steam and support, including from a conservative nonprofit organization based in Texas.

More than 100 people turned out for an informational meeting Friday night at the Eagle River Lions Club by backers of “EaglExit,” a nascent effort to secede from the municipality. The turnout was so good, organizers immediately scheduled another meeting later this month.

For the third time since March, police have responded to a threat at Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak.

According to the Anchorage Police Department, a school resource officer assigned to the school was told by school staff on Tuesday afternoon there was a threat written on the wall in a boys’ bathroom.

Local soccer teams hosted Railbelt Conference rivals over the weekend with mixed results as the Eagle River girls and Chugiak boys each picked up wins and every local team came away with at least a point.

In boys games, Chugiak went 1-1-1 in three home games, tying Wasilla on April 30, losing to West Valley on May 3 and defeating Lathrop on May 4. Eagle River went 0-2-1, falling at home to West Valley, on the road at Colony and tying Lathrop at home.

Chugiak’s hot start to the high school baseball season continued with a 27-2 Cook Inlet Conference thrashing of Service on Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium.

Chugiak scored 13 runs in the first inning and nine in the third, piling up 19 hits and taking advantage of seven Service errors. Ian Frizelle went 6 for 6 with four RBIs for Chugiak, which got three hits each from Jacob Kosinski, Gus Lewis and Billy Smith. Frizelle also earned the win as a pitcher, giving up three hits and two earned runs in 4 ⅔ innings of the five-inning game.

Chugiak’s boys track and field team continued to show why they’re the team to beat this season with another impressive victory Saturday at the Anchorage Invitational meet at Dimond High.

The Mustangs racked up 129 points to outdistance second-place West Valley by 22.5 points.


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