Week of July 10, 2024

  • Royalty duo sets a record with $145,082 for 4th of July

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel

    Alisha Armstrong won this year's Fourth of July royalty contest with a fundraising tally of $84,582, while Kayla Young raised $60,500 - setting a new record with their effort. The combined total of $145,082 more than doubled the numbers of the past couple of years - $53,704 in 2023 and $56,260 in 2022 - when only a single royalty candidate signed on for the annual fundraising effort to help pay for Wrangell's Fourth of July celebration. The totals were announced prior to the start of the talent...

  • Bearfest comes out of hibernation starting July 24

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel

    Bearfest is returning for its 15th year on July 24 – 28. The annual event is dedicated to bears and the surrounding environment, where attendees can enjoy symposiums, cultural and educational activities, art and photo workshops, fine dining, marathons, a bear safety session and more. In two of the workshops, kids and families are invited to create bear-themed ornaments to decorate the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and smaller companion trees that will represent Alaska in Washington, D.C., this holiday season. The trees are coming from the...

  • Mount Dewey trail extension nearly complete

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel

    The extension to the Mount Dewey trail is nearly complete and will connect the existing trail to a new trailhead on Bennett Street. Work began on the three-quarter-mile trail extension in December and is expected to be complete by the end of the month. It will provide a pathway from the backside of Mount Dewey, supplementing the longstanding route up the front from downtown. The borough worked with the Wrangell Cooperative Association to name the trail Sháchk Kináa Deiyí, which means “path over the muskeg.” The total project cost added...

  • Senate president criticizes governor's veto of seafood marketing funds

    Alaska Beacon

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed $10 million in funding for the state agency charged with marketing Alaska seafood, with the message that he would “re-evaluate future funding needs after development of a marketing plan.” That doesn’t make sense to the state Senate president. “Waiting doesn’t help at all,” said Sen. Gary Stevens, from the commercial fishing hub of Kodiak. “It’s a very shortsighted view of the industry. Now is the time to help it out, not to just delay things,” Stevens said last week. The governor vetoed the funding...

  • It's not crazy if it floats

  • Borough will build streets to open up eight industrial lots

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel

    The borough will construct Fifth and Sixth avenues in the Industrial Park Subdivision to provide access to eight platted lots to be made available for sale to the public. Borough Manager Mason Villarma said he is unsure of the timeline, but estimates the lots could be ready for sale by fall. The area is off St. Michael’s Street, about a block away from the Airport Loop Road and across from the turnoff to the Spur Road. The assembly approved the street construction contract to Ketchikan Ready-Mix and Quarry for $233,000 at its meeting July...

  • Cruise ship limits make it to Juneau ballot; denied in Sitka

    Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon

    Unless Juneau’s city assembly makes the change first, a proposal to forbid cruise ships on Saturdays will be on the municipal ballot in October, but a Sitka push to put cruise ship passenger limits on that town’s ballot has been denied. They are the latest steps in a broader reckoning in some Southeast communities about the effects of increased traffic from cruise ship tourism. Cruise ship passengers are a mainstay in the regional economy. But people like Karla Hart in Juneau say increased passenger numbers come at a cost to quality of...

  • New hobby shop to expand beyond its fantasy game origins

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel

    Laughing Star Hobbies, a new business on Front Street, opened July 2. Owner David Jellum eventually plans to expand the store beyond its fantasy game roots. As a longtime player of the tabletop combat game Warhammer and the role-playing game Magic: The Gathering, he has been planning this for a while. Inside the storefront that used to house the Wrangell Insurance Center, two long tables stand ready for adventures in role-play and combat. Glass countertops and display cases present figurines of...

  • Fourth of July produces long list of winners

    Sentinel staff

    Three lucky ticket holders came away as winners in the Fourth of July royalty fundraising raffle. Wrangell residents Shannon Smith won the $2,500 first place prize and Marilyn Mork won $1,500 for second place in the drawing. Third place of $1,000 went to former resident Mickel Haug, now living in Seattle. The Sentinel is compiling lists of the other winners of Fourth of July events, supplied by the competition organizers. This week's list includes the winners' names that were submitted to the...

  • Paddlers put to the water aboard anything and most everything

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel

    Eight-year-old Greyson Allen may have finished last in the second heat of the Crazy Craft races on July 3, but his determination won loud applause from the crowd at the City Dock. Though he paddled hard on his pool float "Sting Ray," he had trouble steering away from one side of the dock, taking a long time just to reach the halfway point, where police officer Garrett Gablehouse and state wildlife trooper Alisha Seward readily assisted Greyson from the water as spectators cheered his determined...

  • Juneau Icefield melting at a rapidly accelerating rate, researchers find

    Seth Borenstein, Associated Press

    The melting of Southeast Alaska’s Juneau Icefield, source of more than 1,000 glaciers, is accelerating, shrinking 4.6 times faster than it was in the 1980s, according to a new study. Researchers tracked snow levels in the nearly 1,500-square-mile expanse going back to 1948, with added data back to the 18th century. It slowly shriveled from its peak size at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850, but then that melt rate sped up about 10 years ago, according to a study in Nature Communications on July 2. “What’s happening is that as...

  • New seafood buyer with big plans starts small in Metlakatla

    Anna Laffrey, Ketchikan Daily News

    An emerging seafood company is preparing to purchase its first loads of pink and chum salmon from a handful of seine boats in Metlakatla this summer while also building a high-tech floating freezer barge at a Washington shipyard that the company plans to operate in Southeast Alaska next year. Circle Seafoods, which was founded by Pat Glaab, Charlie Campbell and Eren Shultz, is renting out a portion of the Metlakatla Indian Community’s Annette Island Packing Co. plant this year while starting up a statewide operation that’s geared at...

  • Ranked-choice voting could spread, but several states ban it

    Becky Bohrer and Rebecca Boone, Associated Press

    Alaska’s new election system — with open primaries and ranked voting — has been a model for those in other states who are frustrated by political polarization and a sense that voters lack real choice at the ballot box. Used for the first time in 2022, the changes helped propel the first Alaska Native to a seat in Congress. The voting system, however, could be short-lived. Opponents of ranked voting want to repeal it and are entangled in a legal fight over whether their initiative will be on Alaska’s November ballot. It’s just one...

  • Judge says Alaska tribes may put land into trust, a step toward 'Indian country'

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon

    A federal judge has ruled that the Department of the Interior may take land into trust on behalf of Alaska Native tribes, a decision that could allow tribes to create “Indian country,” which had been mostly eliminated here by the 53-year-old Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. In a 39-page summary judgment order on June 26, Anchorage Judge Sharon Gleason ruled mostly but not entirely against the state, which sued the Interior Department in 2023 to challenge an administrative decision that the department has the power to take land into...

  • Biden administration proposal would further limit old-growth logging

    Matthew Brown, Associated Press

    The Biden administration is advancing a plan to restrict logging within old-growth forests that are increasingly threatened by climate change, with exceptions that include cutting trees to make forests less susceptible to wildfires. The draft environmental impact statement, which was published June 21, rejects a blanket prohibition on old-growth logging that’s long been sought by some environmentalists. The official review concluded that such a sweeping ban would make it harder to thin forests to better protect communities against wildfires...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel

    July 10, 1924 Dr. Diven is leaving Friday on the Haleyon to establish the Christian Endeavor Society’s camp at Anan Creek. This is the girls camp and will be directed by Mrs. Tozier, Mrs. Patterson and Miss Swanson. Dr. Diven, assisted by Homer Worden and Sidney Tozier, will attend to all the heavier work around the camp except the eating, in that the dozen girls of the camp have cheerfully agreed to take a full share. Some of the girls who are planning on the camping trip are the Misses Dorothy and Marjorie Johnson, Irene and Virginia...

  • Community Calendar

    STATE PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE will be in Wrangell on Thursday, July 11. Immunizations, birth control and STD screening, well-child exams for kids up to age 6, TB screening and medication, Narcan kits and medication disposal bags will be offered. The Public Health Center is in the Kadin Building, 215 Front St. Call 907-723-4611 to make an appointment in advance so the nurse knows what immunizations to bring. MUSKEG MEADOWS City Market/Sentry Hardware Golf Tournament 9-hole best-ball, Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14. Tournament play starts at 10...

  • Police report

    Monday, July 1 Disturbance. Fire alarm. Civil matter. Theft. Fireworks complaint. Civil matter. Tuesday, July 2 Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Fireworks complaint. Agency assist: District Attorney’s Office. Traffic stop: Citation issued for driving without valid license. Ride-along. Wednesday, July 3 Found property. Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Phishing scam. Agency assist: Ambulance. Parking complaint. Thursday, July 4 Traffic stop: Verbal warning for unsecured license plate. Suicidal threats. Death notification....

  • Borough back to looking for offers on hospital property

    Wrangell Sentinel

    It really doesn’t matter why a Georgia-based real estate developer changed his mind about buying the former Wrangell hospital property and building high-end condos at the site. And it doesn’t much matter why he substantially amended his offer to the borough, months after starting negotiations, before later withdrawing the offer. Nor does it matter that he publicly blamed the Wrangell Sentinel for his decision to walk away from the development proposal, taking offense at what he perceived as criticism of his amended offer. All that really...

  • State's 'what if' lawsuit doesn't much add up

    Larry Persily Publisher

    The state of Alaska, with all the legal wisdom of a political agenda and the flowing words of a high-priced law firm, has filed a claim against the federal government. Nothing new about that — the state has filed and signed onto more lawsuits against the national government in recent years than President Joe Biden has forgotten dates or former President Donald Trump has told lies. Nothing to be proud of in any of that. The state’s latest legal endeavor came July 2 in a dubious lawsuit — with a few errors and omissions for poor measure...

  • Sentinel reporting unfair to developer who wanted to buy hospital property

    I am extremely unhappy about the misleading headline in the June 26 Sentinel. I was shocked when I first read it and said immediately that it was very poor reporting. I believe the Wrangell Sentinel owes Mr. Wayne Johnson, the city and the public a sincere apology. I am sympathetic to Mr. Johnson’s situation. Your reporting made it appear that he was taking advantage of Wrangellites. It was very unfair and detrimental to progress for Wrangell. I am also very sad for Wrangell. It was an exciting and hopeful opportunity to have a purchaser...

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