Articles from the January 18, 2023 edition


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  • Matanuska out of service; Columbia coming back; no ferry until Feb. 17

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    The state ferry Matanuska will not return to service from its winter overhaul as scheduled next month and will require millions of dollars more of steel replacement work if it is ever to get back to work. In its place, the Alaska Marine Highway System plans to put the Columbia back to sea after almost 30 months in layup status to save money. The loss of the Matanuska will mean more than a month without ferry service for Wrangell. The ship had been scheduled to resume sailings the first week of February to replace the Kennicott, which was...

  • New borough community development staffer to bolster tourism sector

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    With its gorgeous landscapes and wide array of recreational opportunities, Wrangell offers a wealth of attractions to would-be tourists. However, due to the day-to-day demands of municipal government, borough officials have been unable to devote as much attention as they would like to marketing the community as a vacation destination — until now. The borough assembly unanimously approved adding a marketing and community development coordinator to the staff at its meeting Jan. 12. The coordinator will work under the economic development d...

  • Bird flu scrambles egg supplies

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    Check in on your omelet-loving friends and comfort your quiche-consuming relatives because the global egg shortage has reached Wrangell stores. An outbreak of avian flu has affected poultry around the world, causing many farmers to kill off, or "cull" their birds to prevent the disease from spreading. A similar outbreak occurred in 2014, but this one has already lasted longer and shows no sign of subsiding. As the nation's flocks dwindle, egg prices have risen nationwide. Wrangell IGA has been...

  • Stikine Stitchers quilt their way to a pattern of fun activities

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    In a room decorated with bright, quilted wall hangings and filled with stacks of quilting pattern books, the Stikine Stitchers discussed upcoming projects, swapped tricks of the trade and displayed recently completed work at their monthly meeting last Saturday. Lisa Torgramsen unfolded a few of her massive, colorful quilts, covered in twisting vines, bright flowers and complex geometric designs. Chris Ellis shared work that was smaller but just as intricate. Her hand-pieced cloth coasters...

  • Governor believes state can make millions storing global-warming carbon emissions

    Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal|Jan 18, 2023

    For decades, Alaska’s economy has depended on the harvest of natural resources — industries like pumping oil out of the ground and cutting timber. Now, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants the state to make money by leaving trees standing, and by pumping carbon emissions back into the ground. Investment is currently flooding into those kinds of projects, driven by the increasing urgency to slow global warming by cutting human-caused carbon emissions. Dunleavy has long rejected the scientific consensus that those emissions are causing cli...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    Jan. 18, 1923 A two-story building more than 100 feet in length is to be erected on Front Street this spring by Tom Fugita, owner of the Wrangell Restaurant and Wrangell Bakery properties. The new building will be located between the Starland Theatre and the property of Mrs. Hannah Ottesen. The new building will be built in two sections. The building in which the bakery is now located will not be disturbed at present. The first section of the new building will be about 70 feet in length and will be built at the rear of the building in which...

  • Wrangell can use the year to prepare

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    A pair of Holland America cruise ships — each with capacity for more than 2,700 passengers and crew — are scheduled to call on Wrangell in 2024. Each will make one visit. Each visit will more than double the community’s population for the day. And each visit will provide the town with a great opportunity to market itself — though also requiring a lot of work to get ready. It’s the first time the major cruise line has included Wrangell in its pre-season advertising. “We decided to add several ports that we have not typically visited to add vari...

  • Governor's plan to unlock wealth could be a mirage

    Larry Persily Publisher|Jan 18, 2023

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who has made a political career out of promising more than the state can afford while never supporting taxes to pay the bills, has a new, almost magical plan to help cover his budget deficits. It’s all about collecting so much money for essentially doing nothing that the state could continue avoiding taxes, continue paying the fattest Permanent Fund dividends in history, and continue avoiding an honest long-term fiscal plan to pay for public services. It sounds like a politically induced mirage. The plan? Promise never to l...

  • Career talk leads to reflection on life in journalism

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    An old Staples printer paper box sat in front of me, spewing forth its contents. Instead of reams of 8.5-by-11 copy paper, old lifestyle sections, visitor guides, comics, real estate sections and business pages laid inside and scattered around the box. It was a small fraction of my work in journalism, dating back to the late 1990s, and showing the progression of my work. Hundreds of stories stared back at me, unrecognizable. Most of these I didn’t even remember writing. Others took me right back to the interviews. The ones I thought best illust...

  • Federal aid can help the ferries, if the state uses it wisely

    Frank H. Murkowski|Jan 18, 2023

    It’s past time for Southeast and coastal Alaska communities to be heard regarding the collapse of our ferry system. It’s time to more forcefully make our needs known by energizing the Southeast Conference, the Southeast Conference of Mayors and other organizations. Southeast and coastal Alaska are entitled to have a highway functioning just like our roaded neighbors to the north. The newly passed federal infrastructure bill provides the federal funding to make this happen, if we don’t let it slip away The Alaska Marine Highway System was create...

  • Alaska author Paul Greci shares his work with young readers

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    During his presentation to young readers at the Irene Ingle Public Library on Jan. 14, Alaska author Paul Greci shared the formula that helped him produce his first novel, "Surviving Bear Island" - experience plus imagination equals story. Inspired by his personal outdoor experiences, he imagined the gripping narrative of Tom Parker, who is stranded on a remote island after a sea kayaking accident separates him from his father. The middle-grade adventure story was chosen as the Alaska Center for...

  • Wolves lose one, win one against Glacier Bears on the road

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    From the start of the game, the Wrangell High School boys basketball team had their work cut out for them against Haines. The energy from both the Wolves and the Glacier Bears was evident from tipoff in Friday and Saturday games, leading to one loss and one win on Haines' home turf. Right off the bat in the first period of the first game, Haines took possession of the ball and sunk a 3-point shot. Ethan Blatchley answered with Wrangell's first 2-pointer just moments into play. He would add...

  • Lady Wolves lose two in a row to Haines in away games

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    Bad luck on Friday the 13th bled into Saturday the 14th for the Lady Wolves as they traveled to Haines to take on the Glacier Bears last weekend. In the first competition of the new year, the Wrangell High School girls basketball team played against Haines in two games last weekend. Haines proved to be a formidable opponent from the start of Friday night, taking an early lead and never letting go of it. The triple-threat of MacKenzy Dryden, Grace Long-Godinez and Ari'el Godinez-Long kept Haines...

  • Senior turns passion for game into project for school

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    Basketball and Jacen Hay go together like 3-point baskets and, well, Jacen Hay. It's no surprise then that the student-athlete chose to integrate basketball into his senior project, helping to coach the middle school basketball program. Hay has been playing the game since he was about 5 years old when he started in the peewee program. He and his core group of friends played together growing up, and he played on all the school teams and has made a name for himself on the Wrangell High School...

  • Christine Jenkins

    Jan 18, 2023

    Christine Jenkins passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on January 4, 2023, at the age of 94. She was a lifelong Wrangell resident and a much-loved and respected member of the Wrangell community. Cecelia Christine Feller was born October 12, 1928, in Wrangell to Otto and Susie (Cooday) Feller. She was the youngest of seven children. She was Tlingit Raven/Frog, Kiks.a'di of the Sun House in Wrangell and was a tribal citizen of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Christine...

  • Draft summer ferry schedule similar to past year for Wrangell

    Sentinel staff|Jan 18, 2023

    The Alaska Marine Highway System has released its draft summer schedule for coastal communities, proposing a similar level of service to Wrangell as last year. The largest vessel in the fleet, the Columbia, coming out of a three-year tie-up, is scheduled to make weekly voyages between Bellingham, Washington, and Southeast Alaska, stopping in Wrangell northbound on Sundays and southbound on Wednesdays. It is replacing the Matanuska, which is out of service indefinitely for extended repairs. Wrangell would see a second ferry the second week of ea...

  • Federal disaster aid documents translated into Native languages were gibberish

    Mark Thiessen, Associated Press|Jan 18, 2023

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — After tidal surges and high winds from the remnants of a rare typhoon caused extensive damage to homes along Alaska’s western coast in September, the federal government stepped in to help residents — largely Alaska Natives — repair property damage. Residents who opened Federal Emergency Management Agency paperwork expecting to find instructions on how to file for aid in Alaska Native languages like Yup’ik or Inupiaq instead were reading bizarre phrases. “Tomorrow he will go hunting very early, and will (bring) nothing,” r...

  • State clears up backlog of untested sexual assault exam kits

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|Jan 18, 2023

    Alaska’s backlog of untested sexual assault examination kits has all but disappeared after a five-year, multimillion-dollar effort, according to a report presented to the Alaska Legislature. The kits, also known as “rape kits,” are used to collect physical evidence after a sexual assault. Figures published by the Alaska Department of Public Safety and dated Nov. 1 show only 75 untested kits, all at the state crime lab. In 2017, a statewide survey found almost 3,500 untested kits across the state, many held by local police departments. That...

  • Assembly approves funding for trash station loading dock project

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 18, 2023

    Thanks in part to an influx of federal money, the borough’s sanitation department staff will soon be saved the treacherous task of hauling trash bales up and down a slippery, frozen ramp. The borough assembly accepted the terms of a $250,000 grant from the Denali Commission at its meeting Jan. 10, which will partially fund the borough’s solid waste transfer station loading dock project. This project aims to improve the safety and efficiency of the community’s trash disposal processes. Since installing solid waste baler equipment in Novem...

  • State director leaves job amid backlog of unanswered food stamp applications

    Mark Sabbatini, Juneau Empire|Jan 18, 2023

    A monthslong backlog in processing food stamps applications is now the responsibility of a new director. Shawnda O’Brien, who had served as director of Alaska’s Division of Public Assistance, departed with no explanation or indication of moving on to another position, according to an email sent Jan. 9 by Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg to department employees. Hedberg did not mention the food stamp problems that have received widespread media coverage in recent weeks and stated twice in her message that staff transitions within...

  • Kingdom Worship Conference coming to town next month

    Sentinel staff|Jan 18, 2023

    It took several years after Abigail Armstrong first had the idea, but a three-day conference to train musicians, artists and others in sharing and spreading a religious message is planned for Feb. 3-5 in Wrangell. “It’s a Southeast-wide conference,” she said. Actually, it reaches farther than that. About 10 Hawaiians are coming to town to help lead the sessions, Armstrong said last week. She met the Hawaiian teachers at a 2021 conference of the University of the Nations’ Youth with a Mission, which started Armstrong’s planning work to bring...

  • Police report

    Jan 18, 2023

    Monday, Jan. 9 Traffic stop: Expired tabs; person put on the correct ones while officer was there. Agency assist: Bank alarm. Agency assist: State Office of Children’s Services. Traffic stop: Verbal warning for driving without headlights on. Tuesday, Jan. 10 Abandoned vehicle. Motor vehicle accident. Theft. Agency assist: Ambulance. Suspicious circumstance. Wednesday, Jan. 11 Failure to stop for school bus. Agency assist: Ambulance. Thursday, Jan. 12 Welfare check. Traffic stop: Expired tabs. Traffic stop: Arrest for driving while license r...

  • Sentinel and visitor bureau join together on annual guide

    Sentinel staff|Jan 18, 2023

    The Sentinel and the Wrangell Convention and Visitor Bureau are joining together to put out a more comprehensive booklet to help draw visitors to town, guide them when they are here, and help promote the community’s businesses. The Sentinel has been publishing a free annual visitor guide for decades. The Convention and Visitor Bureau, which has published its own, smaller guide for years, is almost out of copies and needed to print a new version this year. Rather than continue with two separate publications, the borough’s advisory board dec...

  • Classified ads

    Jan 18, 2023

    HELP WANTED Wrangell Public Schools is accepting applications for the following position for the 2022-2023 school year: Paraprofessionals: These are part-time positions working with students in Grades Pre-K-12, 5.75 hours per day in the Special Education Program at Evergreen Elementary School. Salary placement is Column A-C on the Classified Salary Schedule. A high school diploma or equivalent is required. An associate degree, equivalent credits, or the ability to pass the para-pro assessment is also required. For more information and a...

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