Articles from the February 22, 2023 edition

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  • Assembly supports Alaska trollers in fight against lawsuit to stop chinook fishery

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    At its special meeting last Friday, the borough assembly unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Alaska Trollers Association in its fight against a lawsuit that could shut down the Southeast Alaska commercial troll fishery of chinook, or king salmon, this year. Though the association also requested a $7,500 donation to the fishery’s legal defense, the assembly did not approve funding for the cause. The Wild Fish Conservancy filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2020. The Washington-based nonprofit alleges t...

  • Self-employment report highlights Wrangell's do-it-yourself spirit

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    "Alaskans are such go-getters. If we don't have access to a service here, we either live without it, or make it happen," said Shawna Buness, co-owner of Sweet Tides Bakery. Buness and her partner Devyn Johnson are among the self-employed people who comprise about 9% of Alaska's workforce. The percentage is higher in Wrangell, where one in eight workers is his or her own boss, according to a report in Trends, a monthly magazine of the Alaska Department of Labor. Wrangell was in the top third of...

  • Art class keeps kids turning pages on creativity

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Bella Garcia-Rangel had a goal to teach kids everything they would need to know about making a book, and she went through the topic cover to cover. Last Saturday's class on creating a literary masterpiece - or at least its packaging - was part of a youth art series being taught once a month at The Salvation Army by Garcia-Rangel. The class went over the parts of a book, such as its pages, cover and spine, and the various ways a book can be bound by gluing or stitching and other methods. For Satu...

  • Robinson steps up to become new Parks and Recreation director

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    For Lucy Robinson, the Parks and Recreation Department provides residents with far more than workouts, programs and professional development opportunities - it is the "lifeblood of a healthy community," a space where Wrangellites of all ages and from all walks of life can come together to chat, sweat and enjoy their shared love for recreation. After attending open swim as a child, lifeguarding as a teen and working as recreation coordinator as an adult, Robinson is ready to take charge of the...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Feb. 22, 1923 The Wrangell High School basketball team, under the supervision of Superintendent W. L. Gross, will leave on the steamship Northwestern for a series of games in Puget Sound. The boys are very glad of course to have an opportunity to play teams in Seattle and other cities. However, basketball is not the sole object of the journey. It is to be an educational trip, and basketball will be the means by which the trip will be financed. Some of the educational phases of the trip will be a day in the courts and a day looking in on the...

  • Assembly will consider opposing listing Alexander Archipelago wolf as endangered

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Communities throughout Southeast have signed a petition to oppose listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf as an endangered species, due largely to the additional restrictions a listing could impose on wolf hunters and the potential risk to the deer population. Though members of the Wrangell borough assembly expressed widespread support for the petition, they took issue with details in its wording at the Feb. 14 assembly meeting and preferred to draft a statement of their own. The assembly instructed Borough Manager Jeff Good to prepare a resolut...

  • Governor wants to eliminate college degree requirement for many state jobs

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Feb 22, 2023

    Alaskans will no longer need college degrees for most state jobs, under an administrative order issued Feb. 14 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The action is needed because of the labor shortage that affects Alaska and the nation, Dunleavy said in a statement. “Today people can gain knowledge, skills and abilities through on-the-job experience. If we’re going to address our labor shortage, we have to recognize the value that apprenticeships, on-the-job training, military training, trade schools and other experience provides applicants. If a person can... Full story

  • Governor's wise move to help fill vacant state jobs

    Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy made a smart decision last week when he issued an administrative order directing state personnel officials to review and change job requirements where appropriate so that applicants could more easily substitute “practical experience” for a college degree. Almost one in six state government jobs were vacant in December, according to the governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The most empty desks were at one of the most important agencies: Almost one in four positions at the Department of Natural Resources were vacan...

  • There is nothing wrong with change

    Larry Persily Publisher|Feb 22, 2023

    The losers in last year’s elections in Alaska say change is bad. Of course they do. Political losers seldom blame themselves when voters fill in the oval next to someone else’s name. But whether last year’s change suits their own personal views and political agenda should not overrule Alaska’s switch to ranked-choice voting. The change worked, some moderate candidates won election last year, and the world did not end. In fact, the state probably is better for it. Moderation is good for a political world moving too far away from a product...

  • Wrangell High School 1980 graduate named state elections director

    Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News|Feb 22, 2023

    Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom on Feb. 15 appointed a longtime state employee and Republican Party supporter to lead the Alaska Division of Elections. Carol Beecher, who led the state's child support enforcement division for the past nine years, will now administer Alaska's elections. Her first day was Feb. 15. Beecher grew up at a logging camp on Zarembo Island and graduated from Wrangell High School in 1980, according to the lieutenant governor's office. She succeeds Gail Fenumiai, the division's...

  • Borough's Christian honored as state Wastewater Operator of the Year

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    When longtime Public Works Department employee Brian Christian was asked to attend the Feb. 14 borough assembly meeting by his supervisor, Tom Wetor, he thought that he would be asked to share his expertise on a pump station collection process with the assembly. Instead, Wetor surprised him with an award for his 25 years of service, courtesy of the Alaska Rural Water Association. Wetor, the assembly and borough officials thanked Christian for his contributions to the borough and wished him well...

  • Budget deficit grows as governor proposes spending to fix problems

    Sean Maguire, Anchorage Daily News|Feb 22, 2023

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s amended budget unveiled Feb. 15 attempts to address crisis areas in state public services, with the additional spending driving the anticipated budget deficit past $400 million. The proposed budget for the next fiscal year is updated from his initial proposed budget announced in December. At that time, Dunleavy’s largely flat spending proposal for services had a $322 million deficit. The largest single expense in the governor’s proposed budget is $2.5 billion for a Permanent Fund dividend at roughly $3,900 per person this...

  • Legislators start reviewing governor's proposal to profit from storing carbon dioxide underground

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|Feb 22, 2023

    Alaska state lawmakers have begun examining a plan to set regulations and fees for companies that collect carbon dioxide and inject it deep underground. The governor has touted the potential for the state to make hundreds of millions of dollars over the years by leasing state lands to hold carbon deep underground and out of the atmosphere where it is blamed for worsening climate change. Members of the House Resources Committee held their first hearing on the proposal from Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Feb. 10. A leading member of the House’s m... Full story

  • Wrangell to host statewide recreation conference this fall

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Wrangell is home to a passionate community of outdoor leaders and Parks and Recreation professionals, who are committed to uniting the town by developing public programs and maintaining public spaces. This fall, the Parks and Recreation Department will pool its knowledge with other departments statewide to improve services across Alaska. In September, representatives from municipalities around the state will visit Wrangell for the annual Alaska Recreation and Park Association conference — an opportunity for the state’s recreation departments to...

  • Opponents of ranked-choice voting start gathering petition signatures

    Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News|Feb 22, 2023

    A group seeking to reverse Alaska’s 2020 election reform has begun gathering signatures to put the question before voters on the 2024 ballot. The ballot initiative is seeking to do away with open primaries and ranked-choice voting in general elections, returning to Alaska’s previous elections rules, which included closed partisan primaries and traditional pick-one general elections. Ranked-choice voting and open primaries were adopted in Alaska in 2020 through a ballot measure that passed narrowly, with just over 50% of voters in favor of the...

  • Love of reading punctuates high school senior project

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Kiara Harrison is closing the chapter on her high school life by promoting literacy in the community. For her senior project, Harrison helped organize and run the book fair at Evergreen Elementary School gym from Oct. 25 to 27, a natural fit for the student who began reading even before starting kindergarten. At the beginning of the school year when Harrison was immersed in volleyball practice and trying to figure out what her senior project was going to be, her mother, Kaelene Harrison, was...

  • Chiefs defend homecourt against visiting Wolves to win all four games

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Learning to adapt and improvise can be a key strategy in basketball, which is what Wrangell’s basketball teams had to do last weekend against Metlakatla. However, it was not enough. The Wrangell High School varsity boys and girls teams traveled to play against the Chiefs and Miss Chiefs on Friday and Saturday. But once the Metlakatla teams got a solid lead, they never let it go, winning all four games. Originally, the Wrangell players were scheduled to play at the Stikine Hardwood Classic in Petersburg, but those plans fell through and the t...

  • Middle school wrestlers win top spots at Juneau regionals

    Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 22, 2023

    Stikine Middle School wrestlers traveled to Juneau last weekend for regionals, winning first- through eighth-place finishes. The girls squad showed up in force, taking first, second and third place in their weight classes. It was the first time a separate tournament was held for the girls division at regionals, said head coach Jack Carney. Overall, the girls had 14 wins and four losses, placing first overall as a team ahead of the Hydaburg Warriors, Mitkof Vikings, Metlakatla Braves and six other schools. The boys placed fifth overall in their...

  • Longtime resident Luella Rae Davidson dies at 85

    Feb 22, 2023

    Longtime resident Luella Rae Davidson, known as "Grandma Lou," passed away Jan. 31 in Wrangell. A celebration of life will be held at Harbor Light Church at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, with a small potluck reception to follow downstairs. "If you are able to bring a dish to share, please do," her family wrote. Luella was born Feb. 28, 1937, in California to Ralph and Dale Schrader. They moved to Oregon where she attended Roseburg High School where she met her future husband, Kenneth Davidson. They... Full story

  • Charmaine Honey Benston dies at 63 in Klawock

    Feb 22, 2023

    Charmaine Honey Benston, 63, passed away on Feb. 1 in Klawock. She was born on Dec. 20, 1959, in Wrangell to Gladys and Gilbert Gunderson. She was the youngest member of the family. As a child she resided in Wrangell, attending school and later getting her GED. She moved to Klawock on Prince of Wales Island, where she met her husband, Carl Benston, in 1997. They were married on July 2, 1999. "She loved Prince of Wales Island, especially as each season came and went and putting up traditional... Full story

  • Peltola promotes bipartisanship in address to Alaska Legislature

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|Feb 22, 2023

    For the first time in 31 years, Alaska’s sitting U.S. representative addressed a joint session of the Alaska Legislature. Speaking in the state Capitol last Friday, Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola praised the bipartisan coalitions that control the state House and Senate, saying she’s frequently asked about “the Alaska model” of bipartisanship. “It’s strange,” she said, “to hear something we take for granted here at home is so foreign in the rest of the country. But it’s also inspiring because it gives me faith that for all the challenges Alaska... Full story

  • Opposing sides continue debating proposed North Slope oil project

    Becky Bohrer, Associated Press|Feb 22, 2023

    Alaska’s U.S. senators and several Alaska Native leaders on Feb. 14 urged the federal government to approve a major oil project on the petroleum-rich North Slope, casting the project as economically critical for Indigenous communities in the region and important for the nation’s energy security. The Biden administration “damn well better not kill the project, period,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters on a video conference. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management earlier this month released an environmental review for ConocoPhillips Alaska...

  • Governor's promotes carbon-storage plan as big moneymaker

    Becky Bohrer, Associated Press|Feb 22, 2023

    Oil-dependent Alaska has long sought ways to fatten its coffers and move away from the fiscal whiplash of oil’s boom-and-bust cycles. The newest idea, promoted by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, would have the state capitalize on its oil and gas expertise to tap into a developing industry — carbon storage — as a way to generate new revenues without curtailing the industries that underpin Alaska’s economy. It’s also being pitched as a potential way for petroleum and mining companies to head off legal challenges over greenhouse gas impacts....

  • Alaska donates 90,000 pounds of canned pinks to Ukraine relief effort

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|Feb 22, 2023

    More than 90,000 pounds of canned Alaska pink salmon purchased and donated by the state of Alaska is being distributed as wartime relief in Ukraine. The cans were donated to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen and arrived in Ukraine this month after months of shipping and customs delays. The food is the state’s biggest contribution to Ukraine’s defense against a Russian invasion that started a year ago. Other than appropriating money last year to buy the canned salmon, the war has remained a back-burner issue in the state Capitol. No Ukr... Full story

  • Thank you

    Feb 22, 2023

    On behalf of myself and all the residents of Wrangell Senior Apartments, I want to thank Devyn Johnson and Shawna Buness for their generosity and thoughtful donations of pastries from Sweet Tides Bakery. You do an excellent job baking, and the pastries bring smiles to the people who really enjoy eating them. Also thanks to Ethel Dandoo for picking up the goodies and putting them out for people to enjoy. Thank you! – William “Bill” Donovan...

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