Articles from the March 9, 2022 edition


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  • Lawmakers propose $1,300 'energy relief check' for Alaskans

    Iris Samuels and James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News|Mar 9, 2022

    State House lawmakers have proposed paying Alaskans almost $1,300 as an “energy relief check” on top of the annual Permanent Fund dividend. As presented by the House Finance Committee on Friday, the two payments would total about $2,500 this year for every eligible Alaskan. The energy relief payment would use some of the state’s unexpectedly high oil revenues to help residents hit by rising fuel prices, record inflation and ongoing financial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers in the House majority said in a written statement on Ma...

  • Borough, SEARHC negotiating voluntary tax payment agreement

    Sarah Aslam|Mar 9, 2022

    The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium and the borough are negotiating another year of voluntary payment in lieu of taxes on the nonprofit’s property in town. SEARHC paid property taxes when the clinic and hospital were under construction, Finance Director Mason Villarma said March 2, even though those tribal-owned parcels are exempt from property taxes. Construction on the $30 million hospital started in 2019; the facility opened in February 2021. SEARHC paid $331,000 for the 2021 tax year. Payments in lieu of taxes, or PILTs, “are re...

  • Forest Service increases Anan permits in overbook strategy to meet capacity

    Sarah Aslam|Mar 9, 2022

    The Forest Service is bulking up how many permits it issues to the Anan Wildlife Observatory in order to allow as many visitors to the site as people and bears can handle, while also protecting the habitat. And it has a mid-March start date for a contractor to tear down the existing observatory to put up a new one in time for the July 5 to Aug. 25 viewing season. The current limit is 60 permits a day during the season, District Recreation Staff Officer Tory Houser said Friday. That was implemented back in 2003. “So many people loved Anan and we...

  • Fifth grade fundraising focuses on furry friends

    Marc Lutz|Mar 9, 2022

    Students at Evergreen Elementary are looking to make a difference in the community by making a difference in the lives of pets needing forever homes. The fifth grade class leadership group learned that St. Frances Animal Shelter was itself in need of a forever home, so they decided to begin fundraising to help the nonprofit get closer to its goal of buying or building a new shelter. As part of the social-emotional learning program that started at the beginning of the school year, instructor Tawney Crowley said students would be taught...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong, Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 9, 2022

    March 9, 1922 The following excerpt from a letter of Acting Governor Thiele will interest residents of Wrangell who are being asked to join the Alaska Historical Association. “I heartily concur with you in securing an appropriation from the coming Legislature for the purpose of establishing a branch museum at Wrangell. I remember distinctly while in Wrangell visiting Chief Shakes House, and seeing a number of Tlingit curios there. Their association with the people of Wrangell should at all times remain there, and … I will cooperate with you...

  • Borough receives nearly $500,000 from state to help cover revenue losses

    Sarah Aslam|Mar 9, 2022

    The borough has received a nearly half-a-million-dollar state grant, intended to help Wrangell cover some of its revenue losses due to the pandemic’s hit to the economy. The grant is $469,785, which the borough assembly may put toward buying a new garbage truck and replacing the exterior siding of the pool building at the recreation center. The assembly was scheduled to consider the expenditures at its Tuesday meeting. The borough had requested $1.8 million when it applied for the grant from the Division of Community and Regional Affairs in D...

  • Ferry system still short of hiring target for summer schedule

    Larry Persily|Mar 9, 2022

    State ferry system and Transportation Department officials plan to gather this week in Ketchikan to consider options for fulfilling the advertised summer schedule amid a continuing shortage of onboard crew. The department failed to meet its self-imposed timeline of hiring enough workers by March 1 to ensure that the Columbia on May 1 would return to service for the first time since fall 2019. The Alaska Marine Highway System had said it needed to hire at least 166 new employees to staff up its fleet — a gap of about one-quarter of its total aut...

  • Forest Service considers building new cabin on road system

    Sarah Aslam|Mar 9, 2022

    The Forest Service is considering building a new cabin at Highbush Lake on the Wrangell road system. The project is listed on the Forest Service’s Schedule of Proposed Actions, or SOPA, which “contains a list of proposed actions that will soon begin or are currently undergoing environmental analysis and documentation.” The agency’s list invites the public to “indicate your interest in specific proposals,” according to (www.fs.fed.us/sopa) the Forest Service website. People can write in and provide input. The new cabin is a good candidate b...

  • Schools and students teaching and learning well

    Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 9, 2022

    The face mask debate is over for now — hopefully for good, if the community can stay healthy — and annual budget deliberations are starting over how much the borough will contribute to education and how the school district will spend its local, state and federal money. Which means it’s a good week to learn what students and staff are doing at Wrangell’s schools. There are a couple of examples this week that students are learning what’s important in life and how to manage and succeed after graduation. At Evergreen Elementary School, fifth gra...

  • Alaska cannot afford to sit out this war

    Larry Persily|Mar 9, 2022

    The state of Alaska, Congress and the president, individual companies and people do not all have the same capabilities and authority to show their disgust and dismay at Russia’s unprovoked, murderous attack on Ukraine, a sovereign nation at war with no one until Russian President Vladimir Putin decided he had to prove that he is the toughest, meanest kid on the planet. But everyone needs to do something. The world has suffered far too many deaths, ruined countries, poverty and famine due to wars over the centuries to sit by and watch more of t...

  • Ukrainians deserve to govern their own country

    Ola Richards|Mar 9, 2022

    My hometown in Poland, Chelm, is 20 miles away from the border with Ukraine. My mother called me Feb. 26 and told me refugees are coming to my hometown, mostly women with kids. It looks like most of them are just passing by to get far away from the war, but some are deciding to stay and wait for friends or family that are still held up in the Ukrainian traffic. So far, since the invasion began, Poland has taken in over 500,000 refugees from Ukraine. My hometown’s population is around 65,000, and we are not a tourist city. We don’t have a lot...

  • Alaska could contribute more to world's energy independence from Russia

    Frank Murkowski|Mar 9, 2022

    It is anguishing to reflect on the current news coverage of the Russian assault on Ukraine. Most Americans feel a sense of guilt because of the humanitarian Injustice being done, and we want to provide some meaningful and timely assistance. The contrast between the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky is a stark and living reminder of the chasms between totalitarianism and democracy. Putin is a rabid dictator; Zelensky is a freely elected leader who is rallying his country to arms. I believe it is time that...

  • Thank you for helping to protect our community during COVID

    Delton Claggett|Mar 9, 2022

    As COVID-19 numbers come back down and mitigation plans are slowly being lifted, I want to say thank you to all of those who helped get us this far. Thank you to everyone who wore their mask, got vaccinated and canceled social plans all on your own to protect those around you. In spite of foggy glasses and sore arms, you pressed on. Thank you to everyone who put forth the selfless effort to protect our community. You helped to save lives and kept loved ones in this world. Delton Claggett...

  • Social-emotional life skills fair to help kids with resources and opportunities

    Marc Lutz|Mar 9, 2022

    What’s being labeled as a social-emotional fair is aiming to give kids skills that will be useful to them in life after school. On April 5, Wrangell High School and Stikine Middle School will host an event that involves various organizations throughout the community to help students learn everything from stress-reduction skills to how to balance a checkbook. “We’ve been struggling ever since COVID, or even before that with the social-emotional situation with our kids,” said Bob Davis, the assistant principal of both schools. “Krissy Smith ove...

  • Owners uncertain about Stikine Inn expansion plans

    Sarah Aslam|Mar 9, 2022

    A planned expansion doubling the number of rooms at the Stikine Inn, Wrangell’s only operating hotel, has been delayed for at least a couple of years due to the current economic climate. The business owners had purchased property from the borough to expand with 30 additional rooms and tourism-related retail space, co-owner Will Goodale reported to the state in the Stikine’s liquor license renewal application this winter. The Stikine received a fill permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and had filled in an area for the hotel addition. The own...

  • Great-grandma steered her to a drive-through business

    Marc Lutz|Mar 9, 2022

    Sara Gadd brewed up a business plan in 2019 that would keep coffee and customers flowing. At nearly 2 years old, Drive-Thru Brew has served countless customers and helped Gadd realize a dream of owning her own business doing what she loves. Gadd, 32, was born and raised in Wrangell and grew up in a coffee-loving household. "My great-grandma's (nickname) was Coffee Gram. We come from a long line of coffee lovers. I've always drank coffee as long as I can remember." That love of coffee is what...

  • Police report

    Mar 9, 2022

    Monday, Feb. 28 Citizen assist. Agency assist: U.S. Forest Service. Tuesday, March 1 Vehicular assault. Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Wednesday, March 2 Parking complaint. Parking complaint. Welfare check. Agency assist: Ambulance. Thursday, March 3 Traffic stop: Verbal warning for faulty equipment and expired license tabs. Friday, March 4 Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Agency assist: U.S. Forest Service. Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Saturday, March 5 Agency assist:...

  • Text delivers good news for Wrangell business owner

    Sarah Aslam|Mar 9, 2022

    The owner of a Wrangell company that makes body care products learned by a text that she had won the grand prize at a state competition for commercial goods made or derived from Alaska seafood. She had just returned to town from a trade show in New York City. Waterbody, owned by Angie Flickinger, won the grand prize for its Deep Blue Sea Bath Soak at the 2021- 2022 Alaska Symphony of Seafood awards ceremony on Feb. 24 in Juneau. Flickinger's company is among the top 10 finalists given booth...

  • High school athletic director to resign at end of school year

    Marc Lutz|Mar 9, 2022

    After 12 years working in Wrangell's schools, Trisa Rooney has decided to move on. Rooney will resign from her position as activities director at the end of the school year, citing a need to take time for herself. "The last couple of years have definitely taken a toll," she said. "It's just been so much. I can't pinpoint just one thing, it's not totally the COVID. It's just a rough couple years." Rooney has been the activities director for about four years, she said, and has done something...

  • Governor joins legislators in call for state to divest from Russia

    Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press|Mar 9, 2022

    A growing number of state lawmakers are asking the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. to divest assets from any Russian government or state-owned institutions amid Russia’s war against Ukraine. Senate Democrats last week were the first to initiate the call. Then the governor joined in. And House Speaker Louise Stutes later said the House planned to introduce legislation to order the corporation to sell its Russian investments. As an interim step, 18 members of the state House signed a March 3 letter asking the corporation to do so voluntarily. “Russia...

  • Trade war, COVID and now Ukraine invasion eat into Alaska seafood sales

    Larry Persily|Mar 9, 2022

    First a trade war, then a battle against an infectious virus and now a real war are all affecting Alaska seafood exports. Shipments to China fell from as high as 30% of Alaska’s total seafood export value in the 2010s to 20% in 2020. “The U.S.-China trade war has displaced $500 million of Alaska seafood,” Jeremy Woodrow, executive director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, told legislators last week. And though people bought more seafood to prepare at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, sales to restaurants and food services fell by 70...

  • Senior's art project places emphasis on Tlingit culture

    Marc Lutz|Mar 9, 2022

    Sophia Hagelman discovered a love of art at 9 years old when she saw her mom's sketchbook. She took up the hobby herself and has used those skills to create her senior project. Last fall, Hagelman completed a painting for Evergreen Elementary of the school's mascot, an eagle. The painting was created with the Tlingit culture in mind and uses the indigenous style of art. "The elementary school didn't have very much cultural stuff, so they wanted something to put in there," the high school senior...

  • Man rescued from floating ice in Cook Inlet

    The Associated Press|Mar 9, 2022

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — An Alaska man walking on a shoreline wound up clinging to a chunk of ice for more than 30 minutes in frigid water when the shoreline ice broke loose and carried him out into Cook Inlet. Jamie Snedden, 45, of Homer, was rescued Feb. 26 near the community of Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia. He was expected to fully recover, state troopers said. Snedden “was reported to have been walking along the shoreline on the ice when it broke free and drifted into Coo...

  • Skagway dogs ride a bus to their daily walk

    Melinda Munson, Skagway News|Mar 9, 2022

    It's raining cold, large drops that pool on the treacherous ice in Skagway, making it the kind of day that discourages dog walking. Regardless, Mo Mountain Mutts pulls up to Seven Pastures in their shiny white minibus and nine dogs of varying sizes disembark. They shed their leashes and head to Skagway River under the direction of Mo and Lee Thompson, forging their own path through the foliage. Once the pets reach the sand, they sprint, sniff, wrestle and socialize. Mo Thompson offers advice...

  • No more limits on individual contributions to Alaska political campaigns

    The Associated Press|Mar 9, 2022

    JUNEAU (AP) — Individuals will be allowed to make unlimited contributions to candidates for governor and the Legislature this year under a decision by the state commission that oversees Alaska campaign finance rules. The Alaska Public Offices Commission on March 3, failed to support a staff proposal to set revised limits in place of tighter caps that were struck down by a federal appeals court panel last year. The court invalidated Alaska’s $500-a-year individual donation limit to candidates, saying it was too low. The court, however, did not...

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