Matt Tunseth

A pair of hometown racers ran to unexpected victories Saturday at the Bear Paw 5K race in Eagle River.

“I didn’t think I had a chance,” said Eagle River 16-year-old Michael Earnhart, who took the overall title in 16 minutes, 54 seconds.

At least Earnhart has been atop a podium before. Women’s race winner Hannah Booher, 21, said Saturday’s victory was a complete shocker.

“It’s the first time I’ve really won anything,” said Booher, a 2015 Chugiak High grad and former teammate of Earnhart’s on the local Alaska Nordic Racing team.

Some owners of a popular parcel of recreational land near Mt. Baldy have issued a letter rescinding recreational access, while others have listed their portion of the property for sale. The moves by Wallace Mountain Brothers and Stephanie LeProwse were expected after the owners of the land adjacent to Chugach State Park said last month they were planning to either sell or develop the land after failing to find a way to transfer it to the public.

All five members of the Chugiak-Eagle River legislative delegation have chosen to meet in Wasilla for a special session called by Gov. Mike Dunleavy rather than joining the majority of their colleagues in Juneau.

Senators Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) and Shelley Hughes (R-Mat-Su/Chugiak) are among four Republican senators meeting in Wasilla, while Reps. Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River), Sharon Jackson (R-Eagle River) and Cathy Tilton (R-Mat-Su/Chugiak) will be among 15 Republican State House members to meet in the Mat-Su.

An increasingly popular way to access the backside of Mount Baldy is now closed to the public.

Recreational access passes at the private Wallace Brothers Mountain Subdivision expired July 1, and no further passes will be issued, according to the property owners. The decision means the area to the north of the main Mt. Baldy parking area is now technically off-limits to hikers. The closure does not impact the main Mt. Baldy trail, but anyone hoping to use the gently sloping gravel access road just to hiker’s left of the main trail is out of luck.

It’s cool-off season at Mirror Lake in Chugiak, where hundreds of people have been flocking to beat the heat alongside the area’s top choice for summer run in the sun.

“During the summer we try to come out here once a week,” said Chugiak’s Sarah Hansen as she watched her son, Elias, kayak on the lake, which is located at 23051 Old Glenn Highway, just off the Mirror Lake exit.

Many coaches develop a strong parental bond with their athletes, and Melissa Hall is no different.

“These two are like kids to me,” the Chugiak High track and field coach said during a National Letter of Intent signing for two of her athletes in the CHS library last month.

The audience giggled. That’s because one of the runners sitting in front of Hall was her daughter, Chugiak sprinter Reilly Hall.

“They’re laughing because one of them literally is my kid,” Hall said. “We fight and we bicker but I love her to death.”

One of Alaska’s most vet-friendly towns now has a highly visible symbol of its support for the armed forces.

A joint effort of the local chamber of commerce, garden club and numerous service organizations raised more than $11,000 to bring a giant steel star and Blue Star Memorial sign to Chief Alex Park alongside the Old Glenn Highway. The 15-by-15-foot steel star was filled with red, white and blue flowers Tuesday.

Downtown Eagle River was the picture of patriotism Friday as local scouts helped members of Elks Lodge 2682 honor Flag Day with a colorful ceremony in observance of the national holiday.

“It’s about the flag, patriotism, what our lodge stands for — charity, justice, brotherly love,” said Elks Exalted Ruler Phil R. Petrie.

Since 1908, Flag Day celebrations have been mandatory for lodges within the fraternal organization, which has had a lodge in Eagle River since 1982. Petrie said the holiday is an ideal fit with the group’s mission.

Alaska State Troopers said they rescued a woman and her dog from the Crow Pass Trail via helicopter on Sunday, the second such rescue in the past two summers along the popular trail within Chugach State Park.

Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said the helicopter rescue took place Sunday afternoon.

“The limited info I have is that we got the report at about [4:34 p.m.] regarding a hiker that was about nine miles away from the nature center,” Peters wrote in a Monday email.

Groundwork is being laid for a new gym in Eagle River.

“Sometime around September we began talking with the Planet Fitness folks,” said Andre Spinelli, whose family’s company, Spinell Homes, owns the land at the corner of S. Juanita Loop and the Old Glenn Highway.

Last summer, Spinell received the permits needed to re-route a small creek that runs through the property. That move allowed him to build on the property, which led to a deal with the nationwide fitness chain.

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