Birchwood Residents Mobilize

The revelation of a settlement agreement between the Municipality of Anchorage and Eklutna, Inc.--signed by the parties back in January of this year—which requires the MOA to help promote Eklutna’s Powder Acres and Powder Hills developments, is now causing members of the Birchwood Community Council to seek a delay in action by the Anchorage Assembly so their concerns can be worked out. This will be the first item of business on the December 19 Assembly meeting agenda at 6 p.m., and they are asking all residents to show up to support their request.

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Christmas Past

Even though this writer recognizes that not everyone is a believer in the One whose birth we celebrate this month he will never apologize for saying, “Merry Christmas.” Even a non-believer can enjoy the colored lights that brighten the darkest month of the year. The decorations are pretty and people are smiling despite their frantic shopping forays. The practice of giving and sharing love for our neighbors can be enjoyed by all—and well should be. He and the girl who became his bride 65 years ago have for many seasons celebrated the holiday by driving around to look at the decorated homes. We have noted the continuous growth of subdivisions and appreciate those who go all out to make their homes and yards festive. It’s not easy to forget the early years when the population was much smaller compared to today’s numbers. Even though smaller, the holiday spirit was evident throughout.

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Nativity celebrated here over 117 years

While Chugiak-Eagle River’s population is far more diverse today than a century ago, in the beginning only the Russian Orthodox faith was represented. Priests at St. Nicholas Church served the Native village, teaching of the birth of Jesus Christ. While most of us observe December 25 as the birthday of Jesus, Christmas for the Orthodox is celebrated each year on January 7. When Chugiak was founded in 1947 by a group of homesteaders who proved up on small tracts as well as larger parcels, those settlers primarily were Christian Protestants. Three houses of worship existing in 1953 were Chugiak Chapel, Chugiak Methodist Church and Immanuel Gospel Church. They soon were followed by others affiliated with various denominations, most faiths currently represented.

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Birchwood Rural Expansion

Honorable Alaskans depend on the integrity of deals done on handshakes among ourselves, but when dealing with local government in Anchorage, homeowners of the Birchwood community have learned they cannot count on the integrity of any agreement--even if it is in the Comprehensive Plan.

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Forced Waterline and Property Assessments through Birchwood

The Birchwood community, just beyond Eagle River, is identified in the Chugiak/Eagle River Comprehensive Plan as being a low-density area where residents provide their own water and sewer on large lots. This is a standard many of us have fought hard to establish and maintain. Recently Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has directed the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU) to support development of Eklutna Inc. property at the assembly-approved Powder Reserve area being developed in South Birchwood. Eklutna Inc. has already developed the Powder Ridge subdivision, which was provided with a waterline from the North Eagle River Vault of the Eklutna Waterline to Anchorage. This was done with a single feed line to that development.

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Christmas day memories for post offices

When Delores (Dee) Steeby, former Birchwood resident and long-time Chugiak Postmaster, passed away earlier this year, a big part of our community’s history also was lost. She succeeded Paul Swanson, one of Chugiak’s pioneers. As did her mentor, she spent a great deal of time helping neighbors. What brings that to mind was the question of when we need to put our Christmas cards in the mail this year. In addition, we need to know how late we can send gifts to loved ones Outside and be sure they will arrive in time.

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Open Discussion Concerning Chugiak-Eagle River Growth

“Los Anchorage,” Alaska, has a problem. Like Los Angeles, California, Anchorage is located in a geological bowl surrounded by mountains and ocean. Los Angeles County is in a large bowl of sand with sandy hills--the largest flat basin opening onto the Pacific Ocean. Anchorage is in a smaller bowl of clay and silt, surrounded by rugged mountains. Land suitable for building homes in Anchorage is therefore limited.

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MEA Intelligently Invests in Smart Meters

If you live between the weigh station south of Eagle River and the Princess Lodge above Talkeetna, chances are a representative from Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) will be visiting soon.

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Cooperatives Bring First Chugiak Utilities

With one exception, for several years Chugiak remained in the dark and telephone, a fragile utility continued subject to the whims of wandering moose.

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