Week of July 17, 2024

  • Wrangell apartment rents among lowest in the state

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel

    Though it may be of little solace to people who struggle to find available housing, Wrangell continues to rank among the lowest-cost communities in the state for apartment rents. This month’s Alaska Economic Trends magazine, published by the Alaska Department of Labor, shows the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment — utilities included — at $1,081 in Wrangell and Petersburg, which are lumped together for the annual survey. That’s the lowest of the 11 areas covered in the report. The Kodiak Island Borough topped the survey...

  • Canoe journey to Celebration was about personal healing too

    Becca Clark and Colette Czarnecki, Wrangell Sentinel and KSTK

    When paddlers from around Southeast departed from Wrangell in canoes toward Juneau, they had not just a physical journey ahead of them, but a journey of personal healing too. They were heading to Juneau for Celebration, the biennial festival that honors Southeast Alaska Native culture and heritage. The week-long journey May 29 to June 4 was a time for many of the close to 70 people aboard six canoes to reflect on life and to heal from past traumas. "We're in this gorgeous bay, with the glacier...

  • Cruise cancellations cut into visitor count this summer

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel

    Due to cruise ship cancellations, summer tourism numbers could come in slightly below last year. Matt Henson, the borough’s marketing and community development coordinator, said that based on the number of cruise ships scheduled, he now expects 21,000 to 23,000 visitors. Last year’s count totaled 23,000. Before the season started, Wrangell expected close to 30,000 cruise visitors, if all the berths were filled. The canceled stops have cut into that number. Jeanie Arnold, Nolan Center director, said revenue is down from last year. “The...

  • Borough to consider options for former hospital property

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel

    After developer Wayne Johnson withdrew his offer last month to purchase the former hospital, the borough now is in the process of deciding how to move forward with the property. Mayor Patty Gilbert said in an interview July 10 that the assembly will discuss options at its next meeting, scheduled for July 23. The assembly will need to regroup and think about all the options, she said. Gilbert added that there are a few parties interested in the property, but said to her knowledge there have been no formal offers. The borough owns the 1.94-acre...

  • Municipal election candidacy filing opens in 2 weeks

    Sentinel staff

    The candidacy filing period opens Aug. 2 for this year’s municipal elections for mayor, borough assembly, school board and port commission. Candidates will have until Aug. 30 to complete the declaration form, which will be available starting July 31 at the borough clerk’s office in City Hall. Mayor Patty Gilbert’s two-year term expires this fall and will be on the Oct. 1 election ballot, along with the assembly seats currently held by Bob Dalrymple and Jim DeBord. The assembly seats are for three-year terms. Gilbert, who is finishing...

  • School registration opens online Aug. 7

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel

    Wrangell schools online student registration will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 7, for grades K-12 at wrg.powerschool.com/public/. For those who need assistance, in-person registration will be held Monday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the elementary school gym. The first day of school for students is Thursday, Aug. 22, with teachers starting earlier in the week. This year’s holiday break will start after classes end on Friday, Dec. 20, with school reopening on Monday, Jan. 6. Student fees remain unchanged from last year and are due at the...

  • Wells steps down as chamber of commerce director

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel

    Tommy Wells was taking down Fourth of July decorations downtown on July 11 as he talked of his decision to resign as chamber of commerce executive director, effective Aug. 1. He submitted his resignation late last month. His reason was very close to home. "My oldest son was in a car wreck about three years ago, left him paralyzed," he said, adding that, back in Texas, his son has been dealing with subsequent medical issues which have lately worsened and necessitated his being hospitalized for...

  • First Bank throws a party for its 100th anniversary

    Sentinel staff

    First Bank is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a special event for the community from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at the Nolan Center. The public is invited. The Southeast Alaska bank’s board of directors and staff will host the event, one of several planned for communities where the financial institution operates. First Bank is headquartered in Ketchikan and is the only commercial bank headquartered in Southeast Alaska. It opened its doors in 1924. The locally owned bank has branches in Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell and Craig....

  • More results come in from Fourth of July events

    Sentinel staff

    The following list of winners was submitted to the Sentinel by the chamber of commerce and event organizers. Volunteers tried their best to get everyone's name correct. These winners are in addition to the names published in the July 10 Sentinel. Boat races Unlimited (head-to-head, at up to 99 mph on the course) First: Randy Easterly Second: Curtis Kautz Third: Gary Allen Jr. Limited (circular course, at 115-hp and under) First: David Gillen Second: Brett Abrahamson Third: Curtis Kautz Greased...

  • King salmon derby prizes awarded

    Sentinel staff

    The chamber of commerce awarded prizes for last month’s king salmon derby at a ceremony July 11 at the Nolan Center. Charlie Webb, of Anchorage, won the $1,500 cash prize for the largest fish of the derby, at 43.5 pounds. Wrangell’s Diana Nore took second place, and $750, for her 38.1-pound catch. Mike Ramsey, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, won $500 for finishing third with his 37.3-pound salmon. The king derby — in its 69th year — ran June 15-30. Connor Blake won $100 for the largest salmon in the 12-and-younger age division with his...

  • Alaska federal judge resigns after lying about relationship

    Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Beacon

    Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred resigned after a federal judicial council determined he had “sexualized relationship” with a clerk, lied about it to a senior judge and investigators, and maintained a hostile workplace for law clerks. Kindred resigned effective July 8, after the judicial council for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals requested his resignation in a May 23 order. Kindred was nominated by President Donald Trump in November 2019 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2020. The order followed the work...

  • New federal grants will help market Alaska seafood

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon

    The federal government has awarded more than $5 million in grants to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to help the state agency find new ways and new places to sell fish. Of the federal money, over $4 million is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Agriculture Promotion Program, known as RAPP. That money will be used in specific areas of the state to help improve international markets, said Greg Smith, an ASMI spokesperson. “The timing of the RAPP funds is well-aligned with the Alaska seafood industry’s needs to...

  • Court sentences Ketchikan shop owners for selling counterfeit Native art

    Anna Laffrey, Ketchikan Daily News

    A federal judge on July 8 sentenced two members of a Washington state family for selling more than $1 million of Filipino-made products which were marketed as authentic “Alaska Native produced artwork.” The scheme involved two Ketchikan shops for about five years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska. The family members were ordered to pay restitution, complete home confinement and community service, and write apology letters for violating the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA). Glenda Tiglao...

  • Governor signs new law targeting opioid dealers

    Alaska Beacon

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy on July 11 signed into law a bill originally aimed at curbing the meteoric rise in opioid overdoses in the state, but which turned into comprehensive crime legislation that Alaska lawmakers approved in the final hours of the legislative session. Lawmakers built the wide-ranging law around Dunleavy’s proposal to increase penalties for fentanyl and methamphetamine dealers. The law also directs the state to look into why minority groups are overrepresented in the prison system, creates the crime of assault in front of a...

  • Commercial troll season for kings closed July 8

    Ketchikan Daily News

    Commercial trolling for king salmon closed July 8 in Southeast Alaska after an eight-day opening. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported July 8 that it expected trollers would reach their harvest target for the first chinook salmon retention period of the summer of 66,700 kings. The fishery opened July 1. The department manages the first summer chinook retention period to harvest 70% of trollers’ allocation of about 92,400 treaty salmon for the summer fishery. Trollers will be able to catch the remainder of their chinook allocation...

  • Precollege health career program restarts for Alaska Native rural students

    Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon

    Of all the courses offered by the Della Keats precollege program, the three high school students in the University of Alaska Anchorage lobby were most struck by the cadaver lab in their anatomy and physiology course. It’s not the kind of opportunity students from rural Alaska usually get, which is the point. Bristol Albrant, a 16-year-old from Ketchikan, said the experience was indescribable. “That’s definitely not normal,” she said. For Tanya Nelson from Napakiak, it was her first time seeing a cadaver. “Probably most of our first...

  • State champs cross country team gets ready for new season

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel

    The Wrangell Wolves cross country boys team outran strong competition last year to take home their second state championship title in a row, and head coach Mason Villarma has high hopes for the runners returning for a new season. “I’m hoping to keep the culture alive,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of excellence in the program right now, particularly on the boys’ side.” Villarma is still working on building the girls’ program, and he hopes that the addition of middle school teacher Laura Davies as the team’s new assistant coach...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel

    July 17, 1924 The Wrangell Home Bakery announces the installation of a new phone, No. 61, and that they will deliver all orders. They call attention to their sandwich bread, fresh buns and french bread which cannot be excelled; rich pound cakes that don’t dry out; Devil’s Food; white layer cake fit for a queen; honey cream cakes; cupcakes and cookies of every kind. July 15, 1949 The Stikine River closed to gillnetting at 6 a.m. today until 6 p.m. Aug. 1, following one of the poorest runs of red salmon yet recorded for the river. Up to the...

  • Community Calendar

    MUSKEG MEADOWS First Bank Golf Tournament 9-hole best-ball and special hole in one, Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21. Tournament play starts at 10 a.m., register by 9:30 a.m. DISNEY’S “BROTHER BEAR” movie, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 23. Free. The 2003 animated musical fantasy comedy movie is part of a free series of movies for children. COMMUNITY POTLUCK 6 p.m. Fridays through August at the sheltered site on Nemo Point Road. All are welcome. ROLL ON THE ROCK roller skating 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays at the TouchPoint Ministries rink...

  • The start of a new totem pole

  • Police report

    Monday, July 8 Agency assist: Ambulance. Fraud. Tuesday, July 9 Threats. Wednesday, July 10 Letter served for removing a person from a licensed establishment. Agency assist: Wrangell Fire Department. Thursday, July 11 Agency assist: Petersburg Police Department. Agency assist: Public Works Department. Citizen assist. Friday, July 12 Harassment. Hit and run, and driving under the influence: Arrested. Saturday, July 13 Found property. Welfare check. Fireworks complaint. Traffic stop: Verbal warning for no headlights. Fireworks complaint....

  • Never too young to run for local office

    Wrangell Sentinel

    The age of presidential candidates is all over the national news, where the focus is on how old is too old. With the opening of the filing period for Wrangell municipal offices just two weeks away, the community’s focus should be on the opposite end of the age spectrum. The minimum age to serve as mayor or on the borough assembly is 18, same as the school board. Port commissioners must be at least 21 years old. Nothing against all the people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who have volunteered for public office in Wrangell — they’ve done...

  • Summer cruise ship numbers are like porridge

    Larry Persily Publisher

    Wrangell is in a Goldilocks situation when it comes to tourists. Too many is no good. It would leave the town feeling stuffed. Too few is what we have, leaving the town hungry to fill its economic bowl. Just enough more visitors to warm up the economy would be the right amount. Too bad it’s not as easy a choice as Goldilocks picking which porridge to bear down on. Wrangell is not a tourism-dominated community like Skagway or Juneau. Nor does it want to be. But a little more sales tax revenue would be a good thing, particularly if those...

  • The world will be better if we love our neighbor

    Both good and evil are the forces that we deal with each and every day. We start our day and we make choices that affect us and the people around us. Even the things we handle each day can be used for good or evil. It is up to us to determine how we handle each situation that we face. Let’s start with money, known as the root of all evils. Is that correct? It is up to us to determine which it will be. You can take a portion of your money and buy a child an ice cream cone. As the child eats it, a smile appears on their face and they are...

  • Not ready to say goodbye to Wrangell

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel

    Changes are happening at the paper. As a result, I will no longer be working full-time at the Sentinel. It’s nobody’s fault; it’s the nature of this business. Since my arrival last October, people asked me now and then if I thought I might stick around, but I knew better than to commit to anything. Residents have seen a lot of reporters come and go through this newspaper, and my plan was to take this unique adventure one day at a time. Newfound friends expressed their sadness when I told them last month I would likely be leaving. And I...

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