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An Alaska State House member with deep pockets and a union-aligned newcomer hoping to replace her are leading the local fundraising race as the primary election season enters the home stretch.

According to 30-day reports filed with the Alaska Political Offices Commission, Senate District G hopeful and current State House Rep. Lora Reinbold had raised $51,472 through the July 20 filing deadline — with more than $30,000 of that coming from Reinbold herself.

There’s no surer sign of fall than the annual closure of the Albert Loop Trail at the Eagle River Nature Center.

The popular trail was closed Thursday and will remain off-limits until freeze-up, according to an announcement sent out Thursday.

Since 1997, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources has closed the trail near the Eagle River in Chugach State Park due to the presence of spawning salmon. The salmon attract bears, who use the bridges and beaver dams near the trail to fish.

Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers stood in the rain at midfield on the team’s first day of football practice.

“Well, it’s not the first day …” Landers said.

He meant he’s been preparing for the 2018 season since getting the job this spring, but Landers could have been going much further back.

In fact, Landers’s first practice as a Mustang came nearly two decades ago when he strapped on the pads as a freshman in 1994.

“This is where I was born and raised, and I bleed black and blue,” he said.

What was once the scene of heartbreak is being transformed into a place for healing.

A new memorial bench is being built on the St. John Orthodox Cathedral property near South Birchwood Loop where the body of a 19-year-old overdose victim was dumped in 2017.

“I think it’s pretty cool a place that was once known as somewhere kids used to drive down and get high is now going to be a spot of reflection and hope,” said Alaina Thiessen, whose son, Zac Schneider, was found lying dead on the ground on May 16, 2017.

A Chugiak man has been charged with weapons misconduct after he allegedly shot a black bear while intoxicated.

According to Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad, police were called to Rusticate Drive at around 2 a.m. on Thursday. Oistad said officers determined Jacob L. T. Stephan, 33, shot and killed a black bear that was eating out of a dumpster, but that the shooting was illegal.

“The situation in which Stephan killed the bear did not constitute ‘defense of life and property,’” Oistad wrote in a Tuesday email.

Nearly every person running for local political office showed up for a candidates’ forum last week in Eagle River for a fast and furious introduction to the community.

“It’s going to be like a speed round,” promised chamber treasurer Julie Estey, who served as emcee of the chamber’s Aug. 1 lunch forum at the Eagle River Ale House.

A Utah hiker was rescued from the mud at the base of Thunderbird Falls on Friday.

According to the Alaska State Troopers, Owen Hagland, 25, reportedly fell while trying to climb the falls and got stuck in the mud. Troopers were notified at around 5:15 p.m., and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group was called to the scene. Rescuers were was able to get Hagland out of the mud, troopers said; he was reportedly cold but uninjured.

Vehicles stolen

On July 23 at around 3:33 a.m., police received a report that a motorcycle had been stolen from the bed of a pickup truck on Aurora Borealis Road. As of Monday, the bike had not been recovered.

This week’s Greater Eagle River Garden Club Garden of the Week is located at the home of Robert and Amnuay Wrentmore on 10931 Kaskanak Drive. The business Garden of the Week is the Eagle River Brown Jug. To submit a garden for consideration, email ch[email protected]

The key to a healthy garden is rich, fertile soil. Establishing a good source of compost and adding this to your garden nourishes both the garden plants and the creatures that live in healthy soil. Applying compost to your soil can help stabilize the pH at the level most plants prefer.

When you make your own compost, you are doing what nature is doing all the time naturally around us — only faster. The soil-dwelling microbes are doing the work of decomposing. This slow process by the microbes releases nutrients at a rate that plants can use them.

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