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Thursday, Oct. 3

Toddler time. 10:30 a.m., Chugiak-Eagle River Library (12001 Business Boulevard). Twenty minutes of short stories, songs and repetition to build early literacy skills for children 3 and under and their caregivers. Free program. For more information, visit

Autumn rushes past us like a breath of wind. As the sun reclines lower in the sky, the air chills, leaves change into yellows and deepening reds and new snow creeps slowly down the mountains, we pause and look across our changing landscape.

“So little time before winter is upon us,” we reflect. “Where did summer go?”

Coaches for Chugiak and Eagle River’s love their teams’ prospects at the upcoming Region IV Championships — but for very different reasons.

For Chugiak’s Paul McDonough, a senior-laden Mustangs squad featuring several of the region’s top players has the team galloping into the tournament.

“Nine of our 14 players are seniors,” said McDonough, whose team features an undefeated — and top-seeded — player in girls singles star Emilee Groth.

Army officials said Thursday that 23 paratroopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division were hospitalized after 87 soldiers landed in trees Wednesday night during a training jump at Fort Shelby, Mississippi.

Many of the paratroopers landed high in trees and needed several hours to be recovered. The Army said all will recover, with the most serious injury being a broken back. Most of the soldiers taken to the hospital had been released by Thursday afternoon.

The “Spartan” brigade is based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

A widely circulated photo of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy with his former and current chiefs of staff this summer was altered to remove evidence of the governor’s surgery the day before.

Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow confirmed last week that the photo of the governor, Tuckerman Babcock and Ben Stevens distributed by Dunleavy’s office on July 31 was digitally manipulated. Previously the governor had only acknowledged altering a photo of the governor with Sen. David Wilson.

Police have concluded an investigation into a boy who they said brought a backpack containing a loaded gun and a knife to Fire Lake Elementary. Anchorage Police Department spokesman MJ Thim said the case has been turned over to the municipal prosecutor’s office for review.

“They will determine if charges will be filed,” Thim wrote in a Wednesday email.

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.

On Sept. 23 at around noon police were called to Eagle River High School for a report of a student who allegedly had a vape pen containing THC oil. Police said charges were forwarded to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

A reliable source of water for hundreds of Chugiak-Eagle River residents may soon run dry, but city officials are committed to keeping the water flowing.

Soldotna ran wild against Eagle River on Saturday, racking up 10 first-half touchdowns en route to an 81-7 Northern Lights Conference win at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna.

The loss was the worst in Eagle River program history, eclipsing a 70-0 loss to South in 2006, the team’s first season of varsity play. However, the tough day came with a silver lining as the Wolves clinched a playoff berth with a Kodiak win over Kenai Central.

Eagle River’s Scott Minor was named Volunteer of the Year by Special Olympics Alaska during the group’s Breakfast With Champions event on Sept. 18 at the Jim Balamaci Training Center in Anchorage.

Minor and his wife, Alicia, own Fitzgerald Photography in Eagle River, and Minor frequently captures images for Special Olympics events. He first started working with the group in 2001 when the late Balamaci hired him to take photos during the Special Olympics World Games in Anchorage. In a speech shared by his wife on Facebook, Minor said he was humbled by the experience.

Emily Walsh is as consistent as they come.

The Eagle River junior claimed her third straight runner-up finish at the Region IV Cross Country meet Saturday, clocking a time of 18 minutes, 31 seconds — one second faster than she ran in last year’s race and one second slower than her personal best on the 5-kilometer course at Bartlett High.

“I’m very happy with it,” Walsh said after finishing 10 seconds behind South freshman Robyn Miller and 12 seconds ahead of Miller’s teammate, two-time defending Region IV champion Ava Earl.

Chugiak was galloping toward victory in the third quarter of Friday night’s nonconference football game against South before stumbling down a disastrous home stretch at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.

“We had that game won,” said Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers after watching his team surrender 27 points in the final 7:17 of a shocking 39-14 loss.

A student brought a backpack containing a loaded handgun and a knife to Fire Lake Elementary School in Eagle River on Thursday, according to the Anchorage School District. There were no injuries and the gun was not discharged, according to a statement emailed to media Thursday afternoon by ASD communications director Alan Brown.

Brown said the male student’s classmates told their teacher they saw the weapons while on the school bus.

“The student in question was separated from the backpack and escorted to the office,” Brown wrote.

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.

Editor’s note: The woman who was arrested in the following case called the Star on Sept. 26 to say the charges in the case were dropped. Her name has been removed from this report.

15 years ago this week in the Star…

Seven inches of snow fell on Chugiak-Eagle River Sept. 24-25, 2004, according to a front-page story on the Sept. 30 edition of the Alaska Star.

“Snow-laden branches knocked out Matanuska Electric Association power lines, creating several outages,” read the story.

Several small power outages were reported, as were numerous fender-benders, according to the story. Johnson’s Tire Service salesman Mike Johnson said the early snowfall created an instant boom.

Snow fell in the mountains around Eagle River last week, bringing termination dust to mountainsides above 3,000 feet in the Chugach.

That includes the mountains above Arctic Valley and the South Fork Eagle River Valley, where hikers on Sunday ventured onto the high alpine tundra for late-season berry-picking and fall hiking.

This year’s Beach Lake Cross-Country Running Jamboree will be held Sept. 26 starting at 5 p.m. at Chugiak High.

Each year hundreds of children hit the trails for the event, which features races for kids ranging from Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade. Distances will be 1/4 mile for preK, 3/4 mile for Kindergarten, 1 mile for 1st/2nd graders, 1 1/4 mile for 3rd/4th graders and 1 1/2 miles for 5th/6th graders.

Helping others can be pretty sweet.

For hours on end, Eagle River’s Alaina Vik, 13, has stood in grocery store entrances or parking lots and approached strangers asking if they’d like to buy Girl Scout cookies. Often with her mom and siblings along to help, Vik has been “everywhere” from Anchorage to the Mat-Su selling the distinctive boxes, and the effort has paid off — last year, she sold more than 5,000 boxes to become Alaska’s No. 1 seller.

“I went out every day and I just kept going and asking people if they wanted to buy cookies,” she said.

The Municipality of Anchorage’s weekly Bonny Sosa Tuesday Night Race Series will come to Chugiak Sept. 24 when the community cross country races are held on the trails at Beach Lake Park and Chugiak High.

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.


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