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Vandals and thieves have been using Eagle River’s parks as a criminal playground, racking up thousands of dollars in damages during a summer-long series of sometimes-brazen acts.

“So far it’s been well over $10,000 in damages,” Eagle River Parks and Recreation Manager Val Barkley said on Monday, Sept. 12.

The most recent incident occurred at Town Square Park, where thieves made off with seven brass animal figurines that were attached to fencing near the park’s flower beds.

Having to go dipnetting in a ponytail might have been the worst part of Scotty Sandback’s hair-raising adventure.

“I did not like that,” said Sandbeck, who said he normally wore his long, black hair parted to one side or — when it was windy — covered with a hat.

But during a dipnetting trip to the Kenai Peninsula, he had no choice but to pull the hair back in order to make sure it stayed out of his way as he scooped salmon.

Jim Reeves thinks he’s got the perfect name for the newest team in the Alaska Baseball League.

“How about the ‘WolfStangs?’” Reeves quipped last week, suggesting a combination of the area’s two high school mascots, the Wolves and Mustangs. “I think I’ll put that one in there.”

For the past 59 years, the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department has been serving the community. Today, the department has roughly 80 members — all state certified emergency medical technicians, paramedics and firefighters — and just two paid staff positions, according to spokesman Jeff Hartley, who’s been with CVFD since 1984.

Its fleet contains four tanker trucks, five pumpers, two heavy rescue trucks, three ambulances, four brush trucks and other miscellaneous vehicles such as snowmachines and command vehicles, Hartley said.

The U.S. Senate is asking the American people to remember the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks together as one nation.

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling for a Moment of Remembrance on Sunday — the 10th anniversary of the attacks — at 9 a.m. ADT.

According to figures available from the U.S. government, the nation’s bank accounts will run at a significant loss in 2011. How significant? $1,645,000,000,000.

With that much money, you could pave the Glenn Highway from Anchorage to Eagle River — both the inbound and outbound lanes — with $100 bills. And you could do it 320 times over.

Nine members of the area business community are seeking four open spots on the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Chamber special events director Merry Braham said two of the candidates are incumbents. Braham said votes will be accepted from chamber members in good standing through the Sept. 9 deadline.

“It has to be in our post office box or in our office by then,” Braham said.

Running for reelection to the board this year are Doug Boyer and Nancy Dahlstrom. Current members Steve Strom and Kaleb Baker are not seeking reelection.

Koreen Burrow doesn’t let having multiple sclerosis slow her down. In fact, the disease she’s dealt with for two decades has pushed her to do more in recent years.

Burrow and her husband, David Fox, are on a quest to ride in a Bike MS event in all 50 states. Bike MS rides raise money for the National MS Society.

With seven states already checked off — Alaska, Hawaii, California, Nevada, Virginia, Minnesota and Colorado — Burrow and Fox plan to add Michigan to the list later this month and Texas in October.

Everyone knows having good plan is essential to a successful visit to the Alaska State Fair.

“You should always eat your dessert first,” said Anchorage’s Karen Eckman, a Chugiak native who started last Sunday, Aug. 28, sharing a Denali Cream Puff with her husband, Eric, and their 18-month-old daughter, Amelia.

Kick-starting a day at the fair with one of the oversized cream-filled pastries seems to be a trend this season. Eagle River’s Ashley Bennett, who sold the Eckman’s their treat, said she also starts every morning she works the booth with a cream puff.

Outdoor painting requires a special set of tools. A portable easel is a must, as is a box for paint and brushes; many artists also use an umbrella, which keeps direct sunlight off their canvas as they work silently to capture the pastoral scenes around them.

It doesn’t hurt to pack some heat, either.

“I carry a big firearm and mace with me all the time,” said Chugiak’s Greg Bombeck, whose travels in search of the perfect landscape often take him into prime Chugach State Park bear country.

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