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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 convicted.

Though the lights have dimmed at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy, the Eagle River arts organization isn’t closing the curtains entirely.

Call it an intermission.

“We’re kind of taking a sabbatical as an organization,” said Lailani Cook, who recently stepped down as the group’s executive director.

AFAA vacated its longtime downtown Eagle River home at the end of October, and since then the group has been winding down its ongoing arts classes — most of which end this month.

Debbie Rinckey has had one heck of a year.

On Monday, the longtime Eagle River resident was recently named the new executive director of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, capping a year that began with a springtime house fire and included a milestone birthday.

“It’s been overwhelming, but it’s all good,” said Rinckey — who also celebrated her 50th birthday this year.

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.

UPDATE (Tuesday, Dec. 5)

Police said a 28-year-old man was arrested after a drunken target practice session in Eagle River on Saturday, Dec. 2.

According to APD spokeswoman Renee Oistad, police were called to a location on Lazy Street at around 10:38 a.m. for a report of multiple shots being fired. When officers arrived, they found several neighbors standing outside, including one who said he may have heard a bullet go over his head. Police searched the area and located a man in the back of the home where the shots were coming from.

Anchorage police say two men tried to rob an Eagle River pizza restaurant at gunpoint Wednesday, Nov. 29.

According to a press release issued Thursday by the Anchorage Police department, witnesses described the robbers as a skinny black male between 5-feet-7 and 5-feet-9 inches tall and a skinny white male about 6 feet tall. Both men were said to be in their 20s and wearing dark clothing.

Witnesses told police the suspects entered the Great Alaska Pizza Company at around 8:30 p.m. and demanded money.

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.

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