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 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 The federal law requiring face masks on airplanes is no longer in effect.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....

 

Palin does not belong in Congress

Just when we thought Alaska politics couldn’t get any sillier, we now have so many candidates running for Congress that debate organizers will need to borrow the microphones from all the karaoke bars in the state to accommodate everyone on the...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 20, 2022

Chamber honors educator, youth leader, citizen of the year

A full house at the Nolan Center listened as the chamber of commerce honored Mia Wiederspohn as Wrangell’s youth leader of the year, Barbara Neyman as educator of the year, and Sarah Merritt as citizen of the year. The chamber presentation...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 20, 2022

Alaska trims flights through June; no effect expected in state

Dealing with a shortage of pilots until more can be trained, Alaska Airlines has announced it will cut 2% of its roughly 1,200 daily flights through the end of June. “We don’t believe it will have an impact here in the state of Alaska,” Tim...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 20, 2022

Alaska Seaplanes will start Sitka-Wrangell service next month

Juneau-based Alaska Seaplanes will add Wrangell to its route map starting May 26. The company, which operates a fleet of 14 single-engine aircraft, mostly nine-passenger planes, will run a daily flight from Sitka to Petersburg to Wrangell and back...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 13, 2022

House budget would send extra $143,000 to Wrangell schools

The state budget plan adopted by the House last weekend includes an additional $143,000 in one-time funding for Wrangell schools, almost a 5% boost from a state aid formula that has not changed in five years. The district has been relying heavily on...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 13, 2022

WCA provides another round of federal pandemic relief aid

Tribal members can apply for a fourth distribution of federal pandemic relief funds administered by the Wrangell Cooperative Association. This round of financial aid is limited to $2,000 per household. The application period closes May 16. Tribal...

 

Sentinel succeeds as a newspaper, which is what matters

Awards are always appreciated, and thank you to the chamber members who honored the Sentinel as the business of the year, announced at the annual dinner last Saturday. I’d like to dream that the award means everyone agrees with every opinion I have...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 13, 2022

State ferry system silent on summer plans for Columbia

The Alaska Marine Highway System has been hoping since last August to bring back the Columbia to service this year after an almost three-year absence, but with the start of the summer schedule only weeks away the state has not announced a decision...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 6, 2022

State moves shrimp fishery to spring; no harvest this year

The state Board of Fisheries’ decision last month to move the Southeast commercial shrimp pot fishery from a fall start to spring means there will be no harvest this year. The Department of Fish and Game told the board that a spring harvest could h...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 6, 2022

COVID 'still here, still making people sick,' says state chief medical officer

It’s been more than two years since “coronavirus” became a household word, and though case numbers have subsided from last summer’s surge and record highs this past winter, the disease is still in town. Wrangell recorded about 10% of its...

 

The Sentinel is like Facebook, in print

I’m not anti-Facebook. Well, maybe a little, but more agnostic than antagonistic. I see its purpose and its benefits to connect people, providing something akin to a community bulletin board, a soapbox for ideas, a scrapbook for the town. Just beca...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    April 6, 2022

Legislators scale back governor's heavy reliance on federal money for ferries

The House Finance Committee has rejected the governor’s proposal to rely almost entirely on federal funds to operate the Alaska Marine Highway System next year, with the Senate Finance Committee moving in the same direction. The committees differ...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    March 30, 2022

Wrangell had best year ever in sales tax revenues

The borough set a record last year for sales tax collections, exceeding budget estimates for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021. And so far this year, sales tax receipts are continuing on another record pace. Multiple factors are leading to...

 

It's not that hard, just different

This year’s switch to ranked-choice voting in Alaska is something new, maybe even surprisingly new for those who missed or forgot about the 2020 statewide ballot initiative that put forth the change. But new, while exciting for some people, can be...

 

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