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With summer upon us, hiking and camping opportunities abound in our vast back yard: Chugach State Park. With nearly one-half million acres, the park is one of Alaska’s premier recreation areas.

It is great to be back and writing again for the Star’s “In the Garden.” The column will continue to find answers to your questions about gardening and discuss topics that are of interest to our community. Current gardening events and opportunities will be listed for your information. I look forward to researching your questions and providing the latest practices that are available. Feel free to email me at [email protected] with your questions as well as gardening events that are happening around our community.

Like a rainbow arcing over Eagle River Road, students from Gruening Middle School brought a big splash of color to nearby Homestead Elementary last week.

On a sunny Wednesday morning, 19 members of Rachel Wall’s eighth-grade art class made the short walk between the schools to hand-deliver a batch of freshly painted chairs to Kim Madill’s kindergarten classroom. Sporting everything from abstract designs to colorful animals, the tiny chairs served as both the students’ final project and a way for the middle-schoolers to leave their mark.

The Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River was burglarized on May 5 for the second time this spring.

According to Anchorage Police, someone broke into the building by breaking the front window of the facility. Once inside, the miscreants broke a clock and poured juice from a fridge onto the floor.

Federal prosecutors have filed felony wire fraud charges against an Eagle River woman accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a local youth hockey association.

Jennifer Suchan, 33, was charged Monday with three counts of wire fraud for allegedly embezzling $157,079 from the Mustang Hockey Association while she served as volunteer treasurer from 2014-17.

On May 5 at around 11:30 p.m., Anchorage Police Department officers were called to Garcia’s Restaurant in Eagle River for a report of a disturbance involving a man threatening to shoot someone during the bar’s annual Cinco de Mayo party.

According to police, witnesses told them Landon C. Tims, 28, of Eagle River got into an argument with another restaurant patron. Police said the fight started to get physical, at which point Tims’ friends stepped in to pull him away. As he left the building, Tims reportedly threatened to shoot the person he’d been arguing with.

A partnership between one of Alaska’s most well-known cycling events and an Anchorage nonprofit is getting the conversation rolling about gynecologic cancers.

“We want to open conversations,” said Ali Tolman, program director for Let Every Woman Know Alaska.

Help wanted.

More than a year after an Anchorage Assembly memo called for broad changes at the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River, the center’s manager continues to issue optimistic financial reports. But one item still hasn’t been addressed: the two unfilled seats on the Fire Lake Arena Management Inc. (FLAMI) board of directors.

Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation board of directors member Brian Fay said that’s no fault of Mac Center manager Reid McDonald.

Hitchhiker busted for meth

On April 24 at around 10:52 p.m., police received a call reporting a hitchhiker on the Glenn Highway standing dangerously close to the roadway. One of the officers who responded to the scene recognized the hitchhiker as a man who he’d previously warned to stay off the highway.

Police said the man initially refused to identify himself, then gave a name and date of birth that was not his. During a pat-down search, officers said they found a baggie that tested positive for methamphetamine.

Sometimes when Michael Wright is practicing on the new organ at Eagle River Presbyterian Church, members of an Alcohol Anonymous group that shares the building will wander into the church to listen.

“It’s a really awesome experience,” Wright said during a recent interview at the downtown Eagle River church.

When Wright plays the new organ, the entire building resonates with heavenly chords that echo outside its walls into the streets beyond.

“You can hear it out in the parking lot,” said church administrative assistant Allison Denton.