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You can’t have a Bear Paw Festival without a theme, and this year’s is sure to bring out the inner cowboy and cowgirl in local fans of the annual community hoedown.

Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber special events coordinator Merry Braham said this year’s theme will be “Round Up at the Bear Paw Corral,” a choice she said hopes will “spur” some western-inspired floats in the popular midsummer parade.

“It’s really all about fun,” Braham said.

An influx of new retailers and a housing boom will be remaking the face of downtown Eagle River in 2013.

Most national chains venturing into Alaska open a store in Anchorage and then skip right over Eagle River en route to the Mat-Su. This year, Walgreens and AutoZone bucked that trend to open new locations on the Old Glenn Highway.

Editor’s note: The following is part one of a two-part series about the Old Wallace Homestead in Eagle River.


Chugiak ended a five-game winless streak against Eagle River with a 3-2 win Saturday, Jan. 26 in front of a raucous crowd at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

"That was freaking incredible," said Chugiak senior Nick Fussner.

Three local grapplers won Cook Inlet Conference titles Saturday, Jan. 26 at Chugiak High.

Eagle River’s Xavier Horton (152 pounds) and Chugiak’s Alex Medeiros (182) and Richard Burroughs (220) stood atop the podium following the two-day tournament.

This is Burroughs’ second straight conference title and second straight time he defeated Service’s Derek Zorea in the championship match.

Zorea had gotten the better of Burroughs the two times they met earlier this season. But Burroughs said he was determined to win Saturday.


A soldier from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has been charged with the Christmas death of Private 1st Class Grant Wise.

Specialist Marshall Drake, 23, was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and failure to obey general regulations, according to a statement released by JBER.

According to JBER, Drake allegedly killed Wise by shooting him with a firearm.

I am writing to make you aware of some things that are going on in the Eagle River area that you and your neighbors may know nothing about. Something that makes Eagle River a better place in which to live and raise a family. It is that Elks Lodge down the street that goes, for the most part, unnoticed.

The Eagle River Elks Lodge is one of approximately 2,000 across the United States and 17 in Alaska. They have 343 members whose goal is doing good deeds in the Eagle River/Chugiak community.

A man driving a pick-up truck entered Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jan. 19, led security officers on a 10-minute chase, then escaped by leaving base through the same gate he entered.

A Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson official said Monday that Anchorage Police arrested a “person of interest” in the incident at around 7:15 p.m. Saturday night in Eagle River on unrelated charges. The pick-up truck was located in Anchroage at around 11:50 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19.

Of all the reasons musicians play the Anchorage Folk Festival year after year, one tops the list — the other musicians.

“Once a year I get to see all my musical buddies,” said Eagle River’s Cheri Spink, who’s played at nearly all 24 festivals.

Chugiak’s Melissa Beck agreed.

“No. 1 is the people and the atmosphere,” she said. “We have as much fun backstage visiting with other musicians as we do on stage.”

The atmosphere Friday, Jan. 18 at UAA’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium couldn’t have been much better — or bigger.

During nearly a decade of service on the Anchorage Assembly, Chugiak’s Debbie Ossiander has always managed to find time for local community councils. On Jan. 17, the Chugiak Community Council found time for Debbie.

“Debbie’s always been there for us,” said council member Dave Baldwin, who joined council president Amy Demboski in presenting a special award to Ossiander for her nine years on the assembly.