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Every racer in the Iron Dog has a reason for wanting to make the 2,000-mile run across the frozen Alaska wilderness.

For Eagle River’s Vince Salzbrun, reaching the starting line on Big Lake Sunday, Feb. 17 was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

“It’s on my bucket list,” said Salzbrun, who grew up in Bethel and now lives in Eagle River.

The annual snowmachine race from Big Lake to Nome and then onto Fairbanks is called “The Toughest in the World,” and is wildly popular in the Bush.

Oil topped the list of issues when the five area legislators returned from Juneau to hold a town hall meeting at the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center on Saturday, Feb. 16.

“It’s the biggest, most important issue we face because oil pays the bills in Alaska,” said Rep. Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River.

Under the current production tax ACES (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share), the state isn’t as attractive to new investors as it should be, said Sen. Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River/East Anchorage.

Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, agreed.

What’s it take to be a military wife?

Just ask Meghan Wieten-Scott.

Military Spouse magazine recently named Wieten-Scott as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Military Spouse of the Year. She’s also in the running for the overall Army Spouse of the Year. That winner will be announced today (Thursday, Feb. 21).

Should Wieten-Scott win the Army branch award, she’d be up for the overall Military Spouse of the Year honor.

Unbeknownst to Wieten-Scott, her friend and fellow military wife, Jess Paden, nominated her for the award.

High-schoolers from Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley and Kenai Peninsula put their engineering skills to the test during a two-day robotics competition Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16 at Eagle River High.

The results couldn’t have been better for the hosts.

All 19 Eagle River students, broken into five teams, qualified for the state robotics tournament March 8-9 at UAA.

The Cyber Wolves, made up of Thor Austin, Erik Korzon and Nathaniel Lunod, set a new state record of 410 points in the qualifying round.

The high score surprised the team, Korzon said.

Get ready for an adventure under the sea.

Mirror Lake Middle School is presenting Disney’s “Little Mermaid Jr.” on Friday, Feb. 22.

The familiar plot of the production, which is a condensed version of the animated movie, appealed to director Margaret Barber.

“When I was in high school, it was popular,” she said. “Everyone used to sing it.”

With 46 cast members, Barber and her crew have been busy preparing for the play. Despite all the effort required, it’s worth it to see the excitement on the students’ faces, Barber said.

For the first time in more than six decades of service, the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department has a female chief.

Virginia McMichael was elected to that position at the department’s annual meeting Feb. 6. While she might be the department’s first woman boss, McMichael said she won’t have any trouble fitting into her new role.

“Most of the time I’m just one of the guys,” McMichael said Monday, Feb. 18.

McMichael has served on the all-volunteer department for 20 years, and previously served as Assistant Chief under Tom Reinbolt.

Eagle River High’s gym was transformed into a sea of colors and deafening noise during the Wild And Crazy Kid’s Olympics (WACKO) on Friday, Feb. 8.

The annual competition that pits each class and the faculty against one another is comprised of a variety of games — including an egg toss, Hula Hoop contest and tug-of-war — and some nontraditional contests, like slingshotting a rubber chicken the length of the gym to a teammate who tries to catch it in a giant bucket.

Anyone who pays for electricity in Alaska is in for a shock.

“Everybody’s bill is going up,” said Matanuska Electric Association general manager Joe Griffith at a meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Feb. 6 at the Eagle River Ale House.

Griffith said a looming natural gas shortfall facing the state almost certainly won’t be solved in time to prevent increases. He doesn’t know exactly how much people’s bills will go up — but it won’t be pretty.

“It’s going to be substantial,” he said.

Something didn’t sit right with Randy McCain following a meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors last month.

“I didn’t walk away feeling the interests of the community at large were represented,” McCain told the board at its Feb. 11 meeting.

At the January meeting, a single member of the public had signed up to speak to the board about a long-discussed skateboard park tentatively planned for a location near Fire House Lane. What happened next is what concerns McCain.

Three Chugiak-Eagle River residents have filed to fill the Anchorage Assembly seat being vacated by Debbie Ossiander this spring.

Throwing their hats into the ring by the Feb. 8 deadline were Amy Demboski, Bob Lupo and Pete Mulcahy.

The municipal election is scheduled for April 2.

Ossiander can’t run for reelection due to term limits.

 

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