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State ferry system in 3rd year of crew shortages

Crew shortages continue to plague the Alaska Marine Highway, the ferry system’s director told a gathering of Southeast officials last week. “Our biggest shortage is in the engineering department,” where the 54 ship engineers on the payroll as of Ja...

 

State issues preliminary report on Nov. 20 landslides

State geologists were able to more accurately measure the movement and damage from massive landslides that poured across roads in the middle of the island in November because just a few months earlier the state and U.S. Forest Service had collected...

 

Home buying, building, owning information fair a week away

“At least once a week I get a call from someone who is interested” in the upcoming borough subdivision land sale of 20 lots, said Kate Thomas, Wrangell’s economic development director. To help those callers, and everyone else who might be interested...

 

Don't empty the pocket that feeds us

Think of the state’s Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund as the rich uncle or rich aunt you can go to when you’re short of cash to pay bills and need a loan. But even that wealthy relative has a bottom to their pocket. Take too much out and that poc...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    February 7, 2024

Proposed ordinances take aim at illegal dumping in harbor trash bins

The dumpsters at Wrangell’s public harbors are for boat owners only and for their household trash only — but that hasn’t stopped people from tossing in waste oil, fishing nets, appliances and even a Volkswagen Beetle cut into pieces. “It’s been bad f...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    February 7, 2024

Peratrovich Day event planned for Feb. 16 at Nolan Center

The Tlingit & Haida Community Council and Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp No. 1 are co-hosting an event to commemorate Elizabeth Peratrovich Day on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Nolan Center. It’s been several years since a communitywide event was held in Wr...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    February 7, 2024

Borough will proceed with $25 million grant application for harbors rebuild

Though the initial estimates have come in higher than the maximum grant amount, the borough will proceed with seeking $25 million in federal money to rebuild the Inner Harbor, Reliance and Standard Oil floats. The cost estimates for the entire...

 

Alaska's attorney general working for the wrong state

The U.S.-Mexico border is a humanitarian disaster, with U.S. Border Patrol agents taking custody of upwards of 200,000 people a month trying to cross a line in the sand, river, desert shrubs or razor wire in search of a better life. The numbers are...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 31, 2024

National Forest Foundation issues contract to rebuild Anan cabin

The National Forest Foundation, working with the U.S. Forest Service, has issued a contract to rebuild the popular Anan Bay cabin, which was taken out by a fallen tree in a February 2023 storm. “It is conceivable that we will have a cabin again t...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 31, 2024

Landslide families could receive state parcels under disaster program

The borough assembly has declared as “hazardous” and assigned a property value of zero to the two lots owned by victims of the deadly Nov. 20 landslide at 11-Mile Zimovia Highway, making the owners eligible to possibly receive state land as rep...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 31, 2024

Borough readvertises manager job after first round comes up empty

After coming up with no viable candidates in the first round of applications, the borough assembly has decided to readvertise to fill the manager job. The borough received seven applications after posting the job last fall, but the only applicant...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 31, 2024

Family learns homeowner's insurance does not cover landslides

John Florschutz was surprised to learn that his parents’ homeowner’s insurance policy did not cover the loss from the Nov. 20 landslide that destroyed their home and killed his father, Otto Florschutz. “I think it’s a shock to everyone I talk to...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 31, 2024

Annual Recycle Event this weekend features Petersburg donations

Some of the items donated this week at Petersburg’s seventh-annual Project Connect Resource Fair will make it to Wrangell for a community clothing and household goods distribution. “It’s nice to have a change of clothes from another town,” Joan Sa...

 

Story of Alaska's income tax like a soap opera

Just because few to none of Alaska’s elected officials are talking about bringing back the personal income tax is no reason to ignore its anniversary. OK, maybe it’s weird to celebrate your anniversary with an ex, but it’s different with the state in...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 24, 2024

Borough plans information fair for potential subdivision bidders

To ensure that potential buyers know as much as possible before putting in their bids for any of the 20 lots at the Alder Top Village (Keishangita.’aan) subdivision, the borough is putting together an information fair for people to talk with builders...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 24, 2024

State permit required this year for Petroglyph Beach tour operators

Commercial tour operators who take customers to the Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site this summer need to get a state permit and pay a fee. In addition to buying an annual permit in advance, commercial operators are required to pay the state $6...

 

It's smart to try on different work shoes

This column has little to do with actual footwear — dress shoes if you have an office job, work boots if you’re a contractor, comfortable shoes if you’re on your feet all day or rubber boots if you work on a fishing boat. It’s about walking in thei...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 24, 2024

Governor wants to take over appointment of entire ferry system advisory board

Unless the Legislature decides otherwise by mid-March, Gov. Mike Dunleavy will take over appointment of the entire nine-member Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board. State law reserves four of the seats for appointment by legislative leaders, but...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 24, 2024

Summer ferry schedule starts with no service first 2 weeks of May

The state ferry schedule is available for bookings for the summer season, May 1 through Sept. 30, though it opens with no stops in Wrangell until May 12 due to crew changeover between vessels. The overall schedule is the same as recent years: A...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 17, 2024

Dividend, school funding will again dominate legislative session

State lawmakers went back to work this week in Juneau, with two familiar topics likely to dominate the budget-writing work. “The real question is what are we going to do for the Permanent Fund dividend … and what are we going to do for edu...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 17, 2024

Wrangell goes after $25 million grant to rebuild harbor floats

The borough will spend about $80,000 for an engineering report, cost estimates and conceptual drawings in hopes of winning a $25 million federal grant to rebuild the Inner Harbor, Reliance and Standard Oil floats. The grant application is due by...

 

Trump excels at something - being mean

Children are taught not to make fun of others, tease them or be mean. Parents, teachers, counselors, church leaders and community mentors such as Girl Scout and Little League volunteers work hard to explain why it’s hurtful to make fun of someone who...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 17, 2024

New owner wants to expand Wrangell seafood sales

A Pacific Northwest seafood business owner, whose family has been active in commercial fishing in Alaska since 1981, plans to buy and expand the operations of Fathom Seafoods in Wrangell. Peninsula Seafoods has applied to the borough for transfer of...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 17, 2024

Assembly raises rates for lightering cruise passengers to shore

Cruise ship operators that lighter their passengers to shore will pay higher port fees starting this summer in Wrangell. The borough assembly unanimously approved the new rate structure Jan. 9, following a port commission recommendation. The rates...

 
 By Larry Persily    News    January 10, 2024

Application period open for 43rd year of Permanent Fund dividends

Almost 110,000 Alaskans applied for the fall 2024 Permanent Fund dividend in the first eight days after the application period opened on Jan. 1. Applications close in 11 weeks, on March 31. Last year’s dividend was $1,312. This year’s amount wil...

 

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