Kirsten Swann

Returning salmon and water to the Eklutna River will take more than simple addition, according to lawmakers and utility managers.

“We have what kind of boils down to a math problem: How much water do we need to accommodate as many groups as we can?” said East Anchorage assemblyman Forrest Dunbar. “We don’t have that information yet.”

When Anchorage School District students returned to class Monday morning, nearly 12 dozen of them tried something new: a hybrid college prep program known as the Alaska Middle College School.

“We’re proud that you took a chance on us,” said ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop, addressing an atrium full of teenagers at the University of Alaska’s Chugiak-Eagle River campus Aug. 21. “Thanks for filling out the application.”

The program is a fast track to college and an entirely new approach for the Anchorage School District, according to administrators.

The week before classes began, Birchwood ABC Elementary teacher Holly Boothe sorted through the piles of books spread across the desks in her room, preparing for her ninth year teaching in the school she once attended as a student.

“It’s the start of a new cycle, the start of a new time; it’s kind of refreshing and renewing,” Boothe said. “I always enjoy the beginning of the school year.”

This school year is special, according to Birchwood parents and teachers. This year marks Birchwood ABC’s 50th anniversary.

For thousands of Chugiak-Eagle River families, the last full week of August marks a shift to school schedules filled with classes, sports and social events.

Public school students in grades 1-12 began classes Aug. 21. Kindergarten students are set to return to their classrooms Aug. 28. Weekends are packed with games and meets, and school calendars brim with important dates and deadlines. Here are a few key facts, phone numbers and other information to help you navigate the back-to-school rush at Chugiak-Eagle River’s 12 public schools:

As David Thomas’s scheduled trial date creeps closer, the Eagle River man accused of fatally strangling his teenage girlfriend is asking the Alaska Court of Appeals to intervene.

An Aug. 22 hearing in Anchorage District Court was the latest in a series of court dates that have stretched on for nearly three years.

Preparing for a flood of future development, a local utility is laying the groundwork for new water and sewer lines in Birchwood.

The announcement triggered a wave of community concern at an Aug. 9 Birchwood Community Council meeting, where local homeowners talked about looming property assessments and population growth.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘if,’ I think it’s a matter of ‘when,’” said council president Kevin McNamara at the Wednesday evening meeting at the Beach Lake Chalet.

A driver was injured after a pickup truck left the roadway and smashed into the front of an Eagle River salon Wednesday morning.

According to Anchorage Fire Department assistant chief Eric Schuenemann, the male driver suffered non life-threatening injuries in the crash, the cause of which Schuenemann said was under investigation by police Wednesday.

A new beer-themed adult hockey league is the centerpiece of ongoing efforts to shore up finances at the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River.

Called the Eagle River Hockey League (or ERHL), the venture was started by McDonald Center manager Reid McDonald, who earlier this summer co-founded a nonprofit to run the league.

Add real estate to the shortlist of growing local industries: An established Interior company is expanding into Southcentral, setting up shop in downtown Eagle River.

“We had an opportunity to start an office and we decided to go for it,” said Angie Tallant, owner of Somers & Associates Realtors.

Summer is in full swing, and the usual seasonal traffic troubles continue to cause problems for drivers along the Glenn Highway.

The first few miles alone have seen an increase in crashes this summer, according to data from the Anchorage Fire Department. Between May and August, between Muldoon Road and the North Eagle River exit, AFD paramedics responded to six separate incidents, according to AFD district chief Erich Scheunemann. The number is three times as high as the number reported over the same period in both 2015 and 2016, the district chief said.