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On the day after Christmas, I opened an email from Lee Jordan.

“Merry Christmas, Matt,” he wrote. “Keep up the good work.”

Less than a week later, Lee died suddenly during a New Year’s Eve party, surrounded by his family and friends.

During my three separate tours at the Star since 2010, Lee’s enduring presence has been a reminder why we continue fighting each week to put out a community newspaper in keeping with his vision, so knowing he still took pride in the paper he called “his baby” is by far the most satisfying accomplishment of my career.

Eagle River nonprofit FOCUS Inc. has been awarded a one-time grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.

FOCUS was identified as in need of the grant after its downtown Eagle River headquarters was damaged in the Nov. 30 earthquake. The special needs assistance provider was one of five Alaska organizations to share $75,000 in one-time grants after the groups suffered damage in the Nov. 30 earthquake.

It was cold enough on Jan. 4 for our boots to make loud crunching sounds in the snow. But absent wind, it wasn’t so cold that we needed to cover our faces with balaclavas. Cresting over the ridge east of Mt. Baldy, we immediately felt warmth from the afternoon sun that hung lazily above the Chugach Mountains to the south.

Items in the Police Briefs are taken from the Anchorage Police Department’s online crime mapping system. Details about individual events are provided by the department’s public information office. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Fireworks will light up the midwinter sky on New Years Eve at Lions Park in Eagle River. ACF Church is sponsoring the fireworks show from 6 to 8 p.m. at the park, which is located at the intersection of Eagle River Road and Eagle River Loop Road.

There will also be music and food trucks set up at this free event, as well as plenty of warming fire pits. For more information, email [email protected] or call 694-7741.

Earlier this year, Tom Frazier got the call every parent of a service member dreads.

“It was a pretty intense few minutes,” he said.

On the other end of the line, a Marine had just told Frazier his son, Cpl. Tyler Frazier, had been wounded while fighting in Syria.

“It took everything I had not to break down just to hear what the guy was saying to me,” he said.

A longtime thorn in the side of Peters Creek residents was finally removed Thursday when municipal workers demolished a pair of buildings that have been the source of decades of problems in the neighborhood.

“It’s been a major source of irritation for years,” said Jack Frost, acting director of Development Services for the Municipality of Anchorage.

From used syringes and junked-out cars to reports of thefts and residents brandishing weapons, the property in an otherwise unassuming neighborhood near Mirror Lake Middle School has been a neighborhood nightmare.

A 26-year-old Eagle River man was killed in a Christmas Eve vehicle crash on the Parks Highway.

According to Alaska State Troopers, Joshua Cooper was driving a 2004 Chevrolet pickup that left the Parks Highway and struck the Trunk Road overpass at around noon on Monday. Troopers said Cooper and his infant child were taken to nearby Mat Su Regional Hospital, where Cooper died of his injuries.

The child suffered non life-threatening injuries, troopers said.

Waffling about what to eat? A new restaurant in Eagle River has you covered.

Waffles and Whatnot owner Derrick Green says customers who visit his new eatery are guaranteed to leave happy — even if they don’t know what they want to eat.

“When you offer the Chef’s Special it’s very simple: If you like it, you pay for it. If you don’t like it, all we ask is that you tell us what you didn’t like it so we can fix it for next time,” he said.

It’s a guarantee that usually pays off in satisfied customers.

A transmission line fault caused about 5,000 Matanuska Electric Association members to briefly lose power on Christmas Eve in Eagle River.

According to a post on the cooperative’s Facebook page, the outage impacted two substations in the area. An online outage map showed power out at 4,050 locations in Eagle River, nearly 800 in the Eagle River Valley and another 360 on Hiland Road.

“A crew is being called in,” MEA wrote in an update posted at around 10:40 a.m.