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Birchwood Christian’s boys became the first in school history to earn a Class 2A state basketball tournament berth with a thrilling 57-56 win over Effie Kokrine in the Central Interior Conference championship Saturday at Anderson School.

The Warriors held a 57-55 lead but committed a shooting foul as time expired, giving Effie Kokrine a chance to force overtime, assistant coach Brad Rud said. Effie Kokrine made the first free throw but missed the second, Rud said, giving Birchwood the win and the only Central Interior state berth.

A candidate forum featuring mayoral candidates Paul Honeman and Mayor Dan Sullivan, along with candidates for the Anchorage School Board, will be held Friday, March 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Eagle River Lions Club. The club is located at Mile 1.5 Eagle River Road in Eagle River.

Municipal elections are scheduled for April 3.

This year’s forum is sponsored by the Sleeping Lady Lions and the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and will be moderated by KFQD radio personality Casey Reynolds.

A fire safe couldn’t save the most valuable thing Jayme Bates owned from a fire that destroyed her Chugiak home on Saturday, Feb. 25.

“I lost my most cherished possession, which was something my dad gave me when I was born. He died when I was 3 and now it’s gone,” Bates, 20, said near the smoldering remains of the house she rented from her mother on Klondike Street off South Birchwood Loop.

A couple dozen FOCUS Inc. employees and After School Program students circled Eagle River Town Square for a half hour the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 23 to advocate for fair treatment of Alaskans with developmental disabilities.

Similar rallies took place the same day all over the state as part of the Key Coalition — one of Alaska’s largest supporters of people with disabilities — annual event.

One intent of the rally was to show that people with special needs are just as much a part of Chugiak-Eagle River as anyone else, said FOCUS care coordinator Snejana Ivanoska.

Chugiak mushers Jim Lanier and Mike Suprenant will be among a field of 66 mushers who hit the trail this weekend for the 2012 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

This year’s ceremonial race start will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3 in Anchorage.

The official start of the race will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4 in Willow.

Lanier, 71, is a retired physician who first ran the Iditarod in 1979. He has never scratched and is a 14-time finisher whose best showing was 18th in 2004.

A decision whether or not to close the deteriorating Eklutna River Bridge will be made in the next month, Anchorage Municipal Manager George Vakalis said during a public meeting Feb. 23 at Mirror Lake Middle School.

Vakalis said a decision needs to come before the bridge sees increased traffic from summer tourists.

Not a lot of celebrities pass through Eagle River, so when Erik Estrada visited a couple local businesses recently, folks lined up to have their picture taken with the former star of the hit television show CHiPs.

“I grew up watching him,” said Eagle River’s Ken Dunlop, who had his picture taken with the TV icon during Estrada’s appearance at the Eagle River Elks Lodge on Feb. 24.

Investigators don't know the cause of a fire that desroyed a home on Klondike Street off of South Birchwood Loop in Chugiak on Saturday, Feb. 25.

According to the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department, the blaze was reported at approximately 9:40 a.m. When crews arrived four minutes later, they found the house completely engulfed in flames, according to CVFD assistant chief Virginia McMichael.

"On our arrival it was pretty much fully involved," she said.

Heading into Friday's 10-kilometer mass start classic race on Day 2 of the ASAA Alaska State Nordic Skiing Championships at Kincaid Park, Chugiak senior Isaac Lammers found himself trailing East's Thomas O'Harra by just over six seconds after Thursday's freestyle race. So when he crossed the finish line in first place in the classic race, Lammers knew he still had a few seconds to worry that O'Harra might come charging up behind him.

But when he looked back down the trail, there was nobody there.

"My coach said 'I've got the timer going,'" Lammers recalled.

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