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Articles written by Larry Persily

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 By Larry Persily    News    September 28, 2022 

Borough can hold $291,000 unforeseen state payment as cushion for bond debt

Wrangell has received $291,566 that it was owed by the state but never expected to receive, and could hold it as a cushion to soften the debt payments on bonds to repair school buildings and the Public Safety Building. Borough Finance Director Mason...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    September 28, 2022 

Ballot includes bond issues, mill property, mayor and 7 other borough officials

It’s been 12 years since Wrangell voters were asked to approve the borough taking on debt, and next Tuesday’s municipal election ballot will include two such proposals to repair worn-down public buildings. The Oct. 4 ballot also will include the...

 

Reason for concern over state finances

Workers, families and retirees are not the only Alaskans squeezed by inflation, rising interest rates and tumbling investments. The state is in the same tight spot. And it could get worse. The price for Alaska North Slope crude oil was down to...

 

Borough works to reduce need for property taxes to repay bonds

Officials believe the borough can cover the entire annual debt payment on $3.5 million in school maintenance bonds by taking advantage of strong sales tax revenues and higher federal aid payments — without turning to property taxes. State lease...

 

They love their phones far too much

I promise, this will be the first and only column I write that makes fun of how people behave in Washington, D.C. Well, maybe I’ll write another one someday if I see something that is so silly it’s worth sharing with readers. OK, I guess then...

 

My job with the Sentinel will not change

Starting this week, I will be working as a policy adviser to Mary Peltola, Alaska’s newly elected congresswoman. I hadn’t planned on it, but she asked and I accepted. Fortunately, I saved my suits from when I worked in Washington, D.C., for the...

 

Community auditions next week for 'Sound of Music'

It’s been more than 60 years since “The Sound of Music” debuted on Broadway and more than 20 years since Wrangell staged a community play, and organizers hope that the years have not diminished the appeal of either. Auditions for a community...

 

Alaska mariculture effort wins $49 million federal grant

A statewide coalition of fisheries and economic development organizations, led by the Southeast Conference, has won a $49 million federal grant to help build up Alaska’s mariculture industry. “This is a moon shot,” Robert Venables, executive...

 

Steep drop in ferry travelers hurts Wrangell's tourism business

Less frequent service and the loss of about 6,000 ferry travelers a year over the past decade has cut deeply into Wrangell’s visitor industry. “People view Wrangell as hard to get to,” and the significant cuts to state ferry service perpetuate...

 

Mayor, 3-year assembly seats draw contested races

Two of the races on the Oct. 4 municipal election ballot are contested: There are two candidates for mayor and three candidates to fill two three-year terms on the borough assembly. The other three races on the ballot — for port commission, a...

 

Just this one time for anonymous questions

Normally, I do not respond to anonymous questions. Most all newspapers, the Sentinel included, will not print anonymous letters. To do otherwise would allow people to take free shots at anyone they want, hiding from view and protecting their own...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 31, 2022

Borough contracts for reassessment of all property in town

The borough followed through on discussions from earlier this summer and the assembly last week approved a contract for reassessment of the value of all commercial and residential properties in the community. The intent is not to raise revenue ...

 

Wrangell needs to think about its future

Given my aversion to long planning sessions, whiteboards with erasable markers and consensus building exercises, I can’t believe I am saying this: The town needs a plan for its economic future. A forum to start making that plan is a good...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 31, 2022

Huna Totem expands its cruise ship terminal business

After opening its successful Icy Strait Point development to cruise ships 18 years ago, the village corporation for Hoonah is expanding its interests in tourism, particularly new cruise ship terminals. Huna Totem Corp. last week said it will work to...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 24, 2022

Fall/winter ferry schedule shows one stop each direction per week

Wrangell would get pretty much the same service it has in recent years under the draft fall/winter state ferry schedule released last week — one stop in each direction per week, October through April. Fortunately, unlike the past two years, when...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 24, 2022

School district cuts spending to cope with reduced state funding

Faced with a $474,000 reduction in state funding from last year, the Wrangell School District found several ways to cut the budget for the 2022-2023 school year. State funding is based on enrollment, and Wrangell’s count is down about 50 students ...

 

Ferries should mean more to voters than PFD

People vote their pocketbook, or so the old adage says. And certainly more so in this year of high inflation, painful gas prices at the pump and fears of a global recession. It’s understandable that Wrangell voters will think about their household...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 17, 2022

Borough will seek voter approval for sale or lease of 6 Mile mill property

Hopeful that the borough will be able to strike a deal for private development of the former sawmill property at 6 Mile Zimovia Highway, the assembly will hold a public hearing Aug. 23 on an ordinance that would ask voter approval to sell or lease th...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 17, 2022

Borough scales back building repairs to reduce bond issue cost

The borough assembly has set a public hearing for its Aug. 23 meeting to consider two ordinances that would seek voter approval to borrow $3.5 million for repairs to school buildings and $8.5 million for rebuild and repairs to the Public Safety...

 

Wrong reasons to rewrite the constitution

Lust for a supersize Alaska Permanent Fund dividend and giving the government a larger role in dictating personal choices are about as miserable a pair of reasons for rewriting the state constitution as imaginable. Problem is, they are not imagined,...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 17, 2022

State will not receive as much federal money for ferry system as expected

The state will receive about $36 million less in federal funding than expected for this year’s Alaska Marine Highway System operating budget, requiring the use of state dollars to cover the gap. No reduction in service is expected because of the...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 10, 2022

State ferry traffic into Wrangell down 90% from a decade ago

More than 6,700 passengers a year boarded a state ferry in Wrangell 2010 through 2015, and more than 6,900 a year walked or drove off the ships during that six-year period. In calendar 2021, those numbers were down to 690 passengers boarding a ferry...

 

We're here to help tell everyone's stories

Of course the Sentinel wants to tell stories about what’s going on in town, what’s happened, what’s coming up, what government and businesses are doing that interests or may affect people. The staff depends on the community to share...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 10, 2022

Alaska voters will select new member of Congress next Tuesday

Alaska voters will go to the polls next Tuesday to mark their ballots in a couple of firsts: The first election under the state’s new ranked-choice voting system, and the election of Alaska’s first new member of the U.S. House in 49 years. The...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 3, 2022

Assembly moves toward putting building repairs bond issues on ballot

The borough assembly has taken the first step toward seeking voter approval for borrowing up to $15 million to pay for long-needed repairs at the Public Safety Building and school buildings. The assembly last week voted to hold a special meeting...

 

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