If this has indeed been The Summer of the R-Rated Comedy, with each new movie striving to one-up its predecessors in getting down and dirty, then we’re going out with a whimper with “30 Minutes or Less.” And that’s ironic, given that the movie is all about something — or someone — going out with a bang.

Veggie lovers and meatheads can go to the same spot in downtown Eagle River to get their fix.

A couple Palmer farmers have been setting up a small market on the sidewalk in front of Mike’s Meats on Business Boulevard this summer, and there’s still a couple weeks left to take advantage of the Valley’s best produce.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” said Palmer farmhand Alex Foytik, 17. “This is coming close to the end (of the season), but they’re still coming in perfect.”

When Martin Atrops returned to his Brendlwood subdivision home from a four-day trip with his grandchildren to Denali National Park, he found his trees had been cut down.

Matanuska Electric Association cut down the two mature spruce trees July 28, two days after a utility employee told Atrops the cooperative planned to remove everything planted 10 feet from his transformer box to the street. The worker approached Atrops as he was loading his car minutes before leaving Eagle River for Denali.

Former Alaska Department of Labor commissioner Jim Robison, of Eagle River, died Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011 in Anchorage.

Robison also served as executive president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, was president of the Alaska State District Council of Laborers and vice president of the Tri Trades Public Service Council and Operating Engineers.

Born in Kansas, Mr. Robison came to Alaska in 1947.

He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Carolyn; along with children Randy, Rhonda, Dale, Duane and Devin Robison, Michelle Steinke and Phillip Summers.

It’s fair to say that one Alaska event stands alone as the biggest shindig of the summer.

Alaska State Fair general manager Ray Ritari stopped by the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce luncheon Aug. 3 to give folks a sneak preview of this year’s festivities, which run from Aug. 25 through Sept. 5 in Palmer.

“Three thousand Alaskan entertainers are going to be out on the fairgrounds during those 12 days,” Ritari told the chamber.

Silly humans. We’re so arrogant. We see a cute, cuddly baby chimp, assign all kinds of familiar characteristics to it and raise it with the loving playfulness we’d give our own children, only to find that the creature’s unpredictable and ferocious animal nature wins out in the end.

Those in favor of creating a separate chapter for Chugiak-Eagle River to Title 21, which regulates municipal land use, had reason to celebrate Monday night.

The Anchorage Planning and Zoning Commission passed a motion requiring Chapter 21.10 be on the same level of review as the provisionally adopted chapters of the Title 21 rewrite by its Oct. 3 meeting. A round of applause followed the unanimous decision by the nearly 30 in attendance at Gruening Middle School.

The days of smelling salts are long gone.

A new law on the handling of concussions means that any middle or high school athlete who sustains or is suspected of sustaining a head injury can’t return to the team until cleared by a qualified person trained to deal with concussions.

“With what’s at stake, I think it’s a pretty good policy,” said Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak/Mat-Su.

Both houses of the Alaska Legislature passed the bill unanimously in April. Sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Mike Doogan, the legislation was signed into law May 27 by Gov. Sean Parnell.

At its most recent board meeting in February, the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) by unanimous consent approved a proposal to move the state football playoffs from the dilapidated Anchorage Football Stadium to the newly-christened (and renovated) Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium at Chugiak High.

Alaska Department of Transportation project engineer Ted Meyer said on a rainy Monday, July 24 that contractor Granite Construction was putting the final touches on the bridge work, with paving and painting just waiting for dry weather.

"Looking at the forecast, it looks like Wednesday and Thursday (July 27 and 28) are going to be good," Meyer said.

If that's the case, Meyer said the bridge will be open today.

Damp weather had been the only thing holding up the project, which was scheduled to be completed on July 23.

Lauren Fritz's fifth-place finish in the July 4 Mount Marathon race in Seward was the best local finish in the 84th annual race, but it wasn't the fastest.

Editor's note: In this first of two parts, Frank E. Baker recalls the many dramatic changes he's witnessed in Alaska during his residency, which began in 1946.

Things are hopping at neighborhood libraries all across the city as the Summer Reading Celebration swings into its last month. As many of you know, for the second year in a row, the minutes you read and report to the library help raise money for our Readers to the Rescue project. If the people of Anchorage read 300,000 minutes by the end of July, Friends of the Library will donate $1,000 to Heifer International. Heifer, a 65-year-old organization, works to end hunger and poverty worldwide by giving families animals and training on how to care for them.

Theater fans who were too busy with Bear Paw last weekend still have time to catch "The Sleeping Beauty," a production of the Alaska Fine Arts Academy that's running this weekend (July 15-16) and next at the academy, which is located at 12340 Old Glenn Highway.

The play, which was written and directed by local director Joe King, is based on the classic story – with a few twists. It features actors who participated in the academy's month-long theater conservatory in June, along with several adult actors.

A memorial ceremony held June 22 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson honored four military policemen killed in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joshua David Powell of Quitman,Texas, 28; Sgt. Christopher Roger Bell of Goldman, Miss., 21; Sgt. Devin Arielle Snyder of Cohocton, N.Y., 20; and Spc. Robert Lee Voakes Jr. of L'anse, Mich., 21, were killed by an improvised explosive device, June 4, in Afghanistan's Laghman Province while on patrol.

"It's shocking how happy I am," said Jan Johnson, a manpower specialist for the 673d Air Base Wing on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. "I expected to be healthier, but I didn't expect how happy it has made me."

The secret to her happiness is simple, she said — she rides her bicycle to work. Every day, rain or shine. Even in the winter.

"The bike swap got me interested," she said. °©

Eagle River's Nordic ski trails are slowly getting a facelift thanks to the efforts of Boy Scouts like Eric Guinn, who recently completed his Eagle project – with a little help from his friends.

"This was two weeks of work, 306 man hours," said Guinn, 16, while surveying his handiwork.

During June, 19 volunteers at the Chugiak-Eagle River Neighborhood Library worked 234 hours. Fourteen of those volunteers are teens. And Youth Services Librarian Wendy Sparkman, who is in charge of the summer Volunteen program, just can't stop singing their praises.

"Particularly after the staff cuts over the last few years, we couldn't function without them," she said. "Especially with all the additional traffic that we have with school out and the Summer Reading program going on."

Joseph Kornegay, 71, of Houston died Monday, May 30 at his home with his family at his side.

Former Eagle River resident Loretta Brien Sommer, 70, surrounded by family and close friends, died on May 27 at her home in Sun City, Ariz., of cancer.


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