Articles from the November 4, 2021 edition


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  • Vaccinations for children could be available next week

    Larry Persily|Nov 4, 2021

    With approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinations against COVID-19 for children ages 5 through 11 could be available in Wrangell next week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved the vaccine for children, and the CDC late Tuesday also approved the shots. The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, which was waiting on that decision, will soon start opening appointments to administer Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, Maegan Bosak, a senior SEARHC official in Sitka, s...

  • Interim borough manager started work Monday

    Sarah Aslam|Nov 4, 2021

    Jeffrey Good, who moved to Wrangell after retiring from the U.S. Coast Guard, started work Monday as interim borough manager, replacing Lisa Von Bargen until the assembly can make a permanent hire. The borough assembly last Thursday offered the position to Good, who was among five candidates for the job. Von Bargen's last day as manager was Friday. Good, the only local candidate, served as U.S. Coast Guard base director in Kodiak from 2017 to 2020, according to his résumé. He served as public w...

  • Animal shelter receives $10,000 donation with matching pledge

    Marc Lutz|Nov 4, 2021

    A private donation to St. Frances Animal Rescue has made it possible for the nonprofit shelter to keep operating after a difficult year. The shelter recently received a promise from a private donor to match every dollar donated from Nov. 1 of this year until Nov. 1, 2022, up to $10,000.Joan Sargent, the foster/adoption coordinator for St. Frances, is confident the shelter will be able to raise enough to reach its target of $35,000. That would allow the organization to keep moving toward its...

  • Alaska Airlines works toward full staffing, flight schedule by end of the year

    Larry Persily|Nov 4, 2021

    Alaska Airlines would like to be back to 2019 staffing levels and flight schedules by the end of the year. "That's our goal," Tim Thompson, company spokesman in Anchorage, said Monday. From the worst of the pandemic-induced collapse in air travel in the spring of 2020, when the airline carried 4,000 to 5,000 passengers a day across its entire route system, Alaska was back up to 108,000 revenue passengers a day for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, moving toward its pre-pandemic number of close to 140,000. Carrying all those passengers has meant...

  • The Way We Were

    Nov 4, 2021

    Nov. 3, 1921 Miss Liberty Worden gave a Halloween party Monday night in the school room of the post office building for her Saturday afternoon girls sewing club. The decorations and dainty refreshments and favors were all in keeping with the traditions of the day. A ghost and a witch who told thrilling fortunes enlivened the program and some jolly games were enjoyed. Miss Betty Matheson won the prize for adjusting the head of a make-believe black cat as near to its proper position on the body as was possible when blindfolded. Erma Grant was...

  • Library celebrates a century as a place to get lost in a book

    Sarah Aslam|Nov 4, 2021

    For lovers of the written word, one might argue that walking into a library is like a family reunion, of the senses at least. The smell of paper and ink pulls memories of curling up with a book, no phone to check or competition for attention. Last Thursday, it felt like a reunion of the senses and also a library family reunion. November marks 100 years since the library opened its doors on Oct. 31, 1921. And before the cake could be cut and whittled down, former library director Kay Jabusch...

  • New domestic violence shelter opens in former Ketchikan juvenile jail

    Danelle Kelly, Ketchikan Daily News|Nov 4, 2021

    Women In Safe Homes has transformed a former youth detention center in Ketchikan into a safe haven for domestic and sexual abuse survivors. The new shelter opened Oct. 23, and serves residents of southern Southeast, including Wrangell. “We have people here right now from Wrangell,” Agnes Moran, executive director of WISH, said last week. The nonprofit will pay travel costs for out-of-town residents who need to stay at the facility, she said. About a dozen people a year from Wrangell come to the shelter, Moran said. The organization houses alm...

  • CORRECTION

    Nov 4, 2021

    The Sentinel on Oct. 28 incorrectly reported on the dedication of a bench at the Wrangell Mariners’ Memorial to Ryan Miller, who died in a 2005 commercial fishing accident. The three memorial benches were a 2017 Wrangell High School senior project. The Ryan Miller bench was built by his son, Garrett Miller. The other two benches were built by Garrett’s cousin, Dawson Miller, and their friend, Sam Armstrong....

  • Anchorage is a lousy role model

    Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 4, 2021

    As the state’s largest city, Anchorage should be a leader, a role model for the rest of Alaska. The city of almost 290,000 people, about 40% of the state’s population, should be a wise, steadying influence — much like a big brother or big sister. And yet, Anchorage is an unruly sibling of late, more prone to tantrums than solving problems. The political behavior is appalling. The bickering and nastiness are shameful. The intolerance promoted by some community leaders is a role model of the worst kind. Anchorage is divided between those who w...

  • Supply chain shortages make me nutty

    Larry Persily|Nov 4, 2021

    It’s OK with me if there are few cars to buy. My VW Beetle is more than 15 years old, but only has 72,000 miles on it, so I’m in no hurry. Besides, I like the stick shift and the CD player. And I am particularly fond of the “check engine” light that stays lit longer than the car radio holds a station. Pandemic-induced shortages of building materials, appliances and electronics are not my immediate concern. Sure, my refrigerator is louder than someone who sings opera in the shower, and my clothes dryer takes as much as an hour and a half to...

  • Be aware that the internet monetizes your opinions

    Nov 4, 2021

    The internet is first and foremost a business platform. Content (books, videos, articles) is now created only AFTER it can be verified that people are searching for it. “Monetization” drives a person or business to create content, making it available for free and receiving a payment for each view of an advertisement. The battle for clicks/views directly influences how content creators operate by analyzing search keywords and trends. This method is perfect for entertainment and technical information. A validation process is built in — the more...

  • Brock family thankful for community support

    Nov 4, 2021

    The family of Al and Lovey Brock would like to thank the community of Wrangell for all of the support we have received since Al has been sick. We were showered with many delicious meals, air mattresses, a vehicle to use, thoughts, prayers and love. A special thank you goes out to the incredible doctors, nurses and other staff at Wrangell Medical Center. This is what makes living and growing up in a small community special....

  • Mariners' Memorial deserves praise

    Nov 4, 2021

    Kudos to the Wrangell Mariners’ Memorial Committee. Your years of meetings, emails, fundraisers and hiring “smart hands” have resulted in a stunning project. I hope you realize the impact, and recognize that your time has been well-invested. The primo accessible location, panoramic view, architectural design, spacing of elements, silhouette, variety and quality of materials will elicit responses for decades. It’s always intriguing when hard, cold elements, like metal, cement and nightlights, can meld and touch soft souls. Well done. -- Cindy M...

  • Power plant generator needs $500,000 in repairs

    Sarah Aslam|Nov 4, 2021

    Rod Rhoades has a sick generator. It's down for the count after mechanical issues this summer, said the superintendent at Wrangell Municipal Light & Power. The generator is one of five that provide backup when Wrangell loses its feed from the Tyee Lake hydroelectric station. After Rhoades started in 2018, he brought a fifth generator online in 2020 to "give me some breathing room." Before that, there would be times when all four generators were running to meet power demand, he said, and for...

  • Southeast pink salmon harvest 6 times last year's catch

    Chris Basinger, Petersburg Pilot|Nov 4, 2021

    This year’s overall Southeast Alaska salmon harvest is headed toward 58 million fish, with pink salmon leading the tally at 48.2 million — more than 40% above the 10-year average for pinks. This summer’s pink catch was six times last year’s measly 8 million, and more than double the brood year of 2019. The numbers for fish tickets are still preliminary, said Troy Thynes, regional management coordinator for commercial fisheries with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Petersburg. “The main thing is the pink salmon run came in a lot stron...

  • Bob Russell takes helm as schools' tech director

    Marc Lutz|Nov 4, 2021

    Bob Russell recently returned to Alaska to continue his career pursuits in the technology arena. He started the next leg of his journey on July 2 as the school district's tech director, overseeing all computer equipment, internet connectivity, networking and learning devices. In short, if it's technology-related, Russell is in charge. Before coming to Wrangell, Russell and his wife, Kimberly, and Great Pyrenees dog, Yukon, lived in Tennessee. He had lived and worked in Fort Yukon some time...

  • State waiting for federal review of mortgage relief program

    Sentinel staff|Nov 4, 2021

    The state has submitted for review its plan to spend $50 million in federal funds to help homeowners financially strained during the pandemic by loss of income to pay their mortgages. The U.S. Treasury Department is reviewing Alaska’s plan, along with those from other states. “Our mortgage plan is with Treasury for review and approval,” Stacy Barnes, governmental affairs director at the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., said last week. The $50 million is Alaska’s allocation of the $9.96 billion Congress appropriated for mortgage relief in the Ame...

  • Russian catamaran crew plans return voyage from Sitka next year

    Garland Kennedy, Sitka Sentinel|Nov 4, 2021

    By Garland Kennedy Sitka Sentinel staff writer Two years ago, a Russian-flagged inflatable catamaran sailed into Sitka, concluding a multi-year voyage from central Russia, through the Siberian river network, across the Bering Sea and along the Alaska coast. The vessel's Siberia-based crew now plans to repeat the voyage in reverse next spring and summer. Owner and captain of the Iskatel, Anatoly Kazakevich, said he had planned to begin the return trip last summer, but the pandemic sank those...

  • Three swimmers advance to state tourney

    Marc Lutz|Nov 4, 2021

    Three swimmers on the high school team will travel to Anchorage this weekend for the state championship after placing first in their events at regionals last weekend in Ketchikan. Renée Roberts and Nikolai Siekawitch will compete in two events each, and Jack Roberts will compete in one event and be an alternate for another at the state competition Friday and Saturday. Renée Roberts will compete in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Siekawitch will compete in the 100-yard butterfly and...

  • Borough's new finance director clears up accounting

    Sarah Aslam|Nov 4, 2021

    The borough finance department has “found” $2 million to add to its ledger of cash, cash equivalents and long- and short-term investments, boosting the total to closer to $38 million. The money wasn’t lost as much as left off a ledger. Joyce Mason, the finance director in 2020, had transferred $2 million from a UBS operating investment account into a KeyBank account invested in the Alaska Municipal League Investment Pool, said Mason Villarma, finance director. “That $2 million has been sitting in that KeyBank account since May of 2020,...

  • Senior center seeks state grant for new bus

    Sarah Aslam|Nov 4, 2021

    The Wrangell Senior Center wants to buy another bus for moving people around town, adding a four-wheel-drive vehicle to its operation, but it could be 2024 before the bus gets to town. The senior center already operates two buses, one for people and one for deliveries, but neither is four-wheel-drive, said Solvay Gillen, site manager at the senior center. Buying a four-wheel-drive bus would be helpful in the winter, she said. “Some of those roads are difficult to access in the wintertime,” Gillen said. “It makes a huge difference.” The $135,00...

  • Assembly approves funds for water treatment upgrade

    Marc Lutz|Nov 4, 2021

    The borough assembly has approved $75,600 to begin upgrades to the community’s water treatment plant. Assembly members on Oct. 26 agreed with the administration’s recommendation to move forward with the first phase in a multi-part solution to the ailing water filtration and delivery system. The funds would be used to buy two closed-loop cooling systems valued at $37,800 each. Tom Wetor, director of public works, explained that treated plant water is used to cool components within the ozone generators, one of the steps in the filtration pro...

  • Lester Schultz celebration of life Nov. 14

    Nov 4, 2021

    Long-time Wrangell resident Lester Allan Schultz, 60, died Oct. 23 at the Wrangell Medical Center. A memorial service and celebration of life is planned for 1 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Elks. The event is a community potluck. His family will spread his ashes at the family cabin at Olive Cove. Schultz was born July 27, 1961, in Petersburg, but grew up and lived in Wrangell. "His whole life was here," daughter Shayna Schultz said. He fished commercially with friends in his 20s, and enjoyed hunting with...

  • Donors help Kenai library after city council asks to see list of book purchases

    The Associated Press|Nov 4, 2021

    KENAI (AP) — An impromptu fundraiser to allow a Kenai library to purchase books amid accusations of censorship has twice surpassed its goal. The fund was established after the Kenai City Council delayed accepting a federal grant until the library director provides a list of the books that would be purchased with the money. The council voted Oct. 20 to postpone action that would have accepted a grant to buy library materials related to health and wellness, including mental health, suicide prevention, self-care and reference books about Medicare...

  • Alaska, 17 other states file lawsuits to block vaccination mandate

    The Associated Press|Nov 4, 2021

    Alaska and 17 other states filed three separate lawsuits last Friday to block President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for federal contractors, arguing that the requirement violates federal law. Attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming signed on to one lawsuit, which was filed in a federal district court in Missouri. Another group of states including Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia filed a lawsuit in f...

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