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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...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 3, 2022

Borough hopes to start clearing land at former Institute property next year

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is moving ahead with its review of the borough’s wetlands fill permit application to develop the former Wrangell Institute property for residential lots. The borough hopes to start ground-clearing work next year,...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    August 3, 2022

Borough will use surplus property website to try selling former hospital

The borough will list Wrangell’s former hospital building on a nationwide surplus public property website, hoping for better results than efforts the past two months which resulted in not a single bid. “We’ve got to get rid of this,” Mayor...

 

Political blame game doesn't do any good

As American households strain under the weight of high gasoline prices, as cities and school districts look for extra money in their budgets to cover the cost of heating fuel, and as everyone is paying more to get everything delivered by...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 27, 2022

Borough considers whether to borrow money for building repairs

The borough assembly is considering whether to seek voter approval to sell $10.5 million in bonds for the first phase of rehab work at the rot-damaged 35-year-old Public Safety Building, and $4.5 million in bonds to help pay for roof, siding and boil...

 

Checks get bigger with unlimited campaign donations

Inflation smacks drivers in the wallet when they fill up the tank, punches shoppers in the stomach when they load up a grocery cart, and brings travelers down to Earth when they want to buy an airline ticket. The public complains loudly about rising...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 27, 2022

No surprise, rain brings up water levels at reservoir

After mostly dry weather in June and early July, the more typical rain of late has helped refill the community’s water reservoirs. The lower reservoir was looking pretty low around the Fourth of July and the borough was looking to start siphoning w...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 27, 2022

COVID cases among non-residents aboard ships highest all summer

The COVID-19 case count in Wrangell dropped last week to less than half the number of the previous week, but the infection numbers for cruise ship travelers to Alaska was double the rate of the previous four weeks. A highly infectious variant of the...

 

Congress should extend health insurance subsidies

Some argue that the federal government paid out far too much money to too many people under the headline of “pandemic relief aid.” The list includes up to $3,200 per person in cash, expanded and extended unemployment and food stamp benefits, chil...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 20, 2022

Wrangell seeks 50% state funding for $2.3 million Meyers Chuck float replacement

The borough is applying for a $1.166 million state grant to go toward replacing the harbor float at Meyers Chuck. The 400-foot-long float is 57 years old, supported by steel pilings almost 40 years old, according to information presented at the July...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 20, 2022

Borough wants to undertake comprehensive review of property assessments

Looking to ensure that all property is taxed fairly and equitably, the borough is considering a reassessment of all residential and commercial properties for next year’s tax bills. The goal is for assessments to be consistent and “fair and...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 20, 2022

Wrangell businesses less optimistic about economy than Southeast neighbors

Nearly two-thirds of the 440 Southeast Alaska business leaders who responded to a spring survey said the region’s overall business climate is good, the highest positive rating since 2017. It’s a strong turnaround from last year’s survey when...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 13, 2022

Senior tax exemption covers 25% of Wrangell's residential property

As Wrangell’s population continues to age, an increasing number of homes in town qualify for the state-mandated exemption from property taxes. About 25% of the assessed value of residential property in Wrangell is senior-owned and exempt from taxes...

 

Bouncy year ahead for state revenues

“Bouncy” sounds less dramatic than “volatile,” and certainly less depressing than “money-losing.” And it’s not nearly as scary as “billion-dollar bust.” But bouncy is an appropriate word for forecasting state earnings this year....

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 13, 2022

Wrangell gets an extra-large, extra cruise ship visit in September

The 1,918-passenger Holland America Noordam has added Wrangell to its end-of-season itinerary, with a stop scheduled for Sept. 21. The 935-foot-long ship will be on its final Alaska summer-season voyage, a 14-day trip from Vancouver, British Columbia...

 

Riverboat tours are Wrangell's economic future

Riverboats have operated on the Stikine since the gold rush days of the 1860s and 1870s. The commerce was a big part of Wrangell’s economy in those days, with a long history of family-owned businesses moving people and freight up and down the...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 6, 2022

Borough reaches deal with state on any past contamination at mill site

The borough last week closed on its $2.5 million purchase of the former sawmill property at 6 Mile Zimovia Highway and separately signed an agreement with the state that would hold Wrangell harmless if any past contamination is discovered at the...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 6, 2022

Mount Dewey trail extension slips to next year

The million-dollar project to extend the Mount Dewey trail, add a parking lot off Bennett Street for the new portion of the trail and connect the Volunteer Park Trail to Ishiyama Drive has been pushed back to next year. In addition to resolving a...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    July 6, 2022

Bars reopen with limited hours on two state ferries

Beer and wine have been available at the bars on board the state ferries Matanuska and Kennicott since late May after the amenities were closed seven years ago, reportedly to save money. The ferry system “has collected feedback on the bar reopening...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    June 29, 2022

Loss of construction, Crossings and Trident jobs adds up for Wrangell

Two key economic indicators are falling in Wrangell—the unemployment rate, and the number of people in the labor force. Combined, the two datapoints help explain the ongoing worker shortage in the community, stressing out business owners who have...

 

Suspending gas tax doesn't deserve any mileage

Election-year politics have a way of bringing bad ideas to the top — when they belong at the bottom of the settling pond. Yes, fuel prices are high, painfully so in many communities and particularly so for people and businesses that have no choice...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    June 29, 2022

State ferry system still short of hiring enough crew

The Alaska Marine Highway System has enough crew to operate its summer schedule, though it still lacks a sufficient cushion to handle worker illnesses, injuries and personal leave without holding over staff for extra shifts. “We have been holding...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    June 22, 2022

Borough takes ownership of 6 Mile mill property

After finding a solution to a contractor lien against the property owner, the borough this week completed the purchase to take over ownership of the former sawmill property at 6 Mile. “The intent is not to hold on to the property,” Mayor Steve...

 

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