Wrangell Sentinel -


The Way We Were


In the Sentinel 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago.

May 1, 1913: The ultimate disposition of the deserted barracks at Sitka and the question of caring for the aged pioneers and prospectors was combined this past week by the consent of the Secretary of the Interior and Navy to the use of the barracks as a home for the aged. The Territorial Legislature immediately created a commission for the supervision of the home and the Governor was made head of the commission.

April 29, 1938: Frank S. Barnes, Wrangell Republican candidate for the legislature in the primary election Tuesday, is high man among the candidates on his ticket, according to word received early this afternoon by the Sentinel. His election is certain. F.G. Hanford, Democratic candidate, received the flattering vote of 102 in Wrangell precinct and 26 votes in Stikine. As the count stands now with 27 small precincts to hear from, he lacks 164 votes of winning a place on the ticket. Wrangell Tuesday cast a record primary vote with 317 ballots recorded in Wrangell precinct and 51 in Stikine precinct, a place for all citizens who live in the district outside of the incorporated limits of the town. In addition, twelve absentee ballots will be canvassed by the district court. This total of 380 ballots is a record high for Wrangell in primary elections.

April 26, 1963: “You can believe me, boy, that John Glenn is a cool customer.” These are the words of Leland La Ferriere, the first man to help Astronaut John Glenn from the space capsule after a three-orbit journey around the world. “I was a ship-fitter first class aboard the USS Noa. It was my job to stand by the davits specially rigged for this maneuver. There were two doctors below me standing by to release the escape hatch of the capsule when she came aboard. Our Captain was good- he approached the capsule from the down-wind side and let the wind push the space ship gently alongside. We hooked onto 'Glenn's Crook' and took the capsule aboard. This is when I got into the picture- the doctor standing on the starboard side lost his footing and started to go overboard. The Old Man hollered for me to take over the doctor's position, so I went into action. I opened the little door that housed the release cable handle for the escape hatch. “After the hatch was blown off Glenn started out the opening. I put my arm around him and helped him out. The orders were for no talking and that went for Glenn as well as the rest of us, so it was all done in silence but I saw this guy and outside of being a little red in the face he looked swell. A cool customer, that Glenn.” La Ferriere is the son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Lewis of Wrangell. His wife, Angeline, daughter of the Lewis', contributed to the interview by producing pictures and describing the emotions of the wives of the USS Noa's personnel when they announced that the destroyer was going to be the retriever ship. “We were watching on TV,” she said, “and some of us cried and some laughed when we heard the Noa was going to have the honor of retrieving.”

April 28, 1988: The staff of the Wrangell Sentinel chalked up 17 awards for work done in 1987 in contest results announced by the Alaska Press Women's organization. Jeff Brown, a student at Wrangell Junior-Senior High School, took first place in the student competition sponsored by the group for his sports reporting last year. Brown has worked for the Sentinel as a sports reporter for nearly four years. Ruslyn M. Case-Compton, feature writer for the Sentinel, took a first-place prize for special articles on the topic of food for a series of stories she did last spring on local gardeners Luke Riedemann, Carol Ross and Benny Lanting. Sentinel Co-Publisher Alvin Bunch won first place for design of the newspaper's front page. This award was based on judges' review of three copies of the newspaper's front page from 1987. Bunch also took a first place for headline writing for a headline that appeared on a story concerning the renaming of Pat Lake. The headline said: “What's the name of that lake with trout? There's no 'Pat' answer.” Sentinel Co-Publisher Ann Kirkwood won a first-place award for news reporting for an article on protests by the Republican minority in the 1987 Legislature over plans by the majority to spend reserve funds. Another first place went to Kirkwood for editorial writing on a column titled “Expensive lesson” discussing the need for local officials to follow the state's Open Meetings Act. She also won first prize in the personality profile category for a feature story on Wrangellite Nellie Wilcox. All first-place entries now are forwarded to the national level to compete with others in the National Federation of Press Women's contest. Second-place awards went to both Kirkwood and Bunch for an advertising campaign title “Power of the Press: It's your community newspaper, use it.” First place in this category went to the Senior Voice.


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