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Articles written by Larry Persily

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 By Larry Persily    News    May 25, 2022 

Wrangell awaits governor's review of $4.1 million for water plant

High oil prices paid the way for legislators to spend more money on public services and construction, a little more on schools and a payout to Alaskans this fall almost triple the amount of last year’s dividend. Legislators and their constituents...

 

Were schools as important as the dividend

The Legislature adjourned on time last week, a nice change from past special sessions that got in the way of summer fishing, watching baseball, eating anything off the grill (except eggplant) and sitting outdoors in the sun doing nothing. Lawmakers...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 25, 2022 

Legislature passes tax on vape products; fails to pass motor fuel tax holiday

Lawmakers on the final day of the legislative session May 18 passed a bill to impose a tax on electronic smoking products, such as e-cigarettes, vaping sticks and refills. The tax, at 35% of the wholesale price, was in part a compromise between the...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 18, 2022

Legislature in final steps before adjournment

The borough and Wrangell schools could receive about $4.5 million in state funds, and individuals could receive a fall dividend at least more than double the amount of last year’s payment as the Legislature is in the final day of its regular...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 18, 2022

Motor fuel tax holiday bill could die in state Senate

It’s up to the Senate in the final days of the legislative session whether Alaskans will get a year of gasoline and diesel at the pump without the state tax of eight cents a gallon. The House by a 36-2 margin on May 4 passed the measure — which...

 

Candidates should talk about the real issues

The community’s future depends on adequate, affordable housing, and the same for child care services. Without both, Wrangell will find it difficult to keep the businesses, jobs, school enrollment and services it has, much less grow. You could say...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 18, 2022

Columbia's return nowhere on the horizon

The largest of the state ferries, the 499-passenger Columbia, was still listed as inactive on the Transportation Department website as of Monday, with no indication it will go back to work this summer as was planned nine months ago. Last August, the...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 11, 2022

Trident will keep Wrangell plant closed another year

Seattle-based Trident Seafoods will not open its Wrangell processing plant this summer, the third year in a row the operation has been closed. As in the past two years, the company cited weak chum salmon returns for its decision not to run the...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 11, 2022

Wrangell could receive $4 to $5 million state aid for water treatment plant

Wrangell is moving closer to receiving at least a $4.1 million state grant to add to $11 million in federal funds for construction of a new $15.4 million water treatment plant. The House Finance Committee version of the state capital spending bill...

 

State budget as much about saving as spending

The Legislature is working toward the largest capital budget in a long time. Municipalities are hearing “yes” instead of years of “no” to some of their public works funding requests. In addition, more state money is headed to schools. And Ala...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 11, 2022

Legislature moves closer to suspending motor fuel tax for 1 year

The state House has passed legislation that would suspend Alaska’s 8-cents-a-gallon motor fuel tax for a year to help consumers pinched by high prices at the pump. The bill was scheduled for its first committee hearing in the Senate this week as la...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 11, 2022

Legislation would allow online raffle sales to continue

Unless the Legislature acts, Alaska nonprofits will have to stop selling raffle tickets online June 30. The state has allowed online sales by registered nonprofits since early summer 2020, as the pandemic shut down or made difficult group events and...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 4, 2022

Worker shortage 'is real,' says state labor economist

Anyone who wants to get a pizza midweek at the Marine Bar or a steak or burger at the Elks Lodge knows that worker shortages have forced employers to reduce their days and cut back on offerings. “This worker shortage is real, and it’s not going...

 

It's hard to count to 11 in the Senate

The Permanent Fund dividend ranks among the most divisive issues in Alaska politics, along with such longstanding battles as oil taxes, salmon fisheries catch allocations and subsistence rights. Sadly, the dividend has grown in political importance...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 4, 2022

Senate committee questions definition of sportfishing guide

Legislation to restore and increase the state licensing fee on sportfishing guides and operators ran into problems in the Senate Finance Committee last week, as lawmakers questioned why out-of-state boat owners who bring up guests are not required...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    May 4, 2022

Senator wants Alaska to set up its own flood insurance program

Alaska property owners have paid more than four times as much in premiums than they received back in claims under the National Flood Insurance Program going back to 1980. “It’s kind of ugly,” Lori Wing-Heier, the state’s insurance division...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 27, 2022

Unfilled positions, lack of substitutes could push schools to distance learning

In a two-page letter to the community, Schools Superintendent Bill Burr on Friday cautioned that ongoing staffing shortages, particularly aides and substitute teachers, could push the schools into considering a move to distance learning in lieu of in...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 27, 2022

COVID cases on the rise; Alaska fourth-highest rate in nation

Just as other communities, Wrangell is enduring a springtime bloom of COVID-19 cases. As of April 20, the state health department reported 79 new cases in the community in the past 30 days. Most of those were reported to the state in late March and...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 27, 2022

Borough assembly starts review of next year's budget

The borough assembly has started work on its budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1 and will need to decide on a school district request for more funding in addition to paying higher fuel and property insurance costs and spending on...

 

The time-out is not up for bad behavior

This isn’t about a time-out for misbehaving children; it’s about adults who behave as children, or worse. The federal law requiring face masks on airplanes is no longer in effect. That means big changes for flyers. For travelers who had grown tir...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 27, 2022

Senate committee proposes restoring full school debt repayment

The borough could receive about $300,000 under a Senate Finance Committee plan to pay back municipalities across Alaska for years of short-funding of the state’s share of local school construction bond debt. The committee version of the state...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 27, 2022

Kennicott delayed out of shipyard; parts part of the problem

Global supply chain shortages and delays have extended past grocery stores, car dealers and electronics to the Alaska Marine Highway System. The state ferry Kennicott was delayed coming out of winter overhaul. Instead of returning to service last wee...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 27, 2022

Senate passes bill to tax e-cigarettes, vaping liquids

The Alaska Senate by a wide margin last week approved legislation to tax e-cigarette products just as the state taxes cigarettes and tobacco products. The legislation, which is scheduled for hearings this week in two House committees, also would...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 20, 2022

Extra ferry sailing will pick up waitlist travelers in Bellingham

With more than 260 would-be ferry passengers stuck on a waitlist for travel out of Bellingham, Washington, and sailings full until late July, the Alaska Marine Highway System has scheduled an extra...

 

Borough and tour operators get ready for visitor season

The community is short of public restrooms near the City Dock and could be short port security staff this summer if people don’t apply for the jobs soon. One is an immediate concern, while the restroom shortage requires a longer-term solution....

 

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