Articles from the April 13, 2017 edition

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  • Von Bargen chosen as new borough manager, OKs sand for water filters

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    The Wrangell Borough Assembly chose its new city manager on Tuesday, bringing to an end a search to replace recently retired manager Jeff Jabusch. Lisa Von Bargen, currently the community and economic development director for Valdez, was chosen for the position after meeting with residents and city staff last week. She has served in that capacity since 2001, and before that had served five years with the Valdez Convention and Visitors Bureau as its director and tourism manager. Continuing its...

  • Wrangell swimmers end season with a splash

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    Wrangell's junior swimmers competed in their fourth competitive meet last week, traveling to Ketchikan for the annual Spring Splash. Still in its first year, the Swim Club sent 17 swimmers to the three-day event, which took place over the April 1 weekend. The USA Swimming-sanctioned meet featured teams from Juneau, Petersburg, Ketchikan, Sitka and Craig, with around 100 participants in all. Wrangell's group participated in 71 individual events, and coach Bruce McQueen reported every swimmer...

  • The Way We Were

    Apr 13, 2017

    April 19, 1917: Old Glory is now in evidence in Wrangell as never before. Almost every house has its flag. But there is one mammoth flag, which represents the town as a whole. It is 10x20 feet in size and was hoisted last Friday on Mount Dewey. A tall spruce tree was trimmed of its limbs, and Old Glory now waves proudly several hundred feet above the town, The flag was presented to the town by Blind Ton, an old Indian doctor, who, with his crippled wife, lives near the power plant. It was no small job to climb a large tree in the cold wind and...

  • Health Trust land swap explained in public meeting

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    Administrators for the Mental Health Trust Land Office last week finished off a series of meetings held to inform the public about an impending land exchange. More than a decade in the making, the exchange in question would be between AMHT and the United States Forest Service, involving nearly 39,000 acres of woodlands scattered across Southeast. The meetings coincide with bills submitted at the state and federal levels last month that would move the deal forward. Trust deputy director Wyn...

  • Police reports

    Apr 13, 2017

    Monday, April 3 Agency Assist: Notification from FD. Tuesday, April 4 Report of Theft. Found Property. DVO: Person came into the station and spoke with officer. Wednesday, April 5 Pager Service. Thursday, April 6 Subpoena Service. Traffic: Verbal warning for driving ATV on roadway. Friday, April 7 Traffic Stop: Verbal warning given for driving habits. Saturday, April 8 Disabled Vehicle: Caller reported their vehicle broke down. Agency Assist: AST. Report of lost wallet. Sunday, April 9 Report of illegal dumping: Unfounded. Officer responded....

  • Dan's Dispatch

    Apr 13, 2017

    As expected, it’s been a challenging legislative session, and from here on, the budget will be the forefront of every discussion. Both the House and the Senate are creating Alaska’s budget, but it’s clear that the bodies have differing approaches. Last week, I wrote a letter explaining the House approach to resolving Alaska’s fiscal crisis. To recap, the House proposed budget is $81.7 million in General Funds less than our current fiscal year. State agencies have been reduced by $62 million. Despite these cuts, the House Majority Coaliti...

  • Death Notice

    Apr 13, 2017

    Joyce Bryner passed away on April 1, 2017, in Morgan Town West, Virginia. Obituary and service time will follow at a later date....

  • The littlest library, give or take

    Apr 13, 2017

  • Questions fielded, tempers flare during constituency visit

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    PETERSBURG – Petersburg was paid a visit by longstanding United States Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) on Monday, part of a wider tour of Southeast that includes Ketchikan and Juneau. Extra chairs had to be brought into the Borough Assembly chambers to accommodate the audience, and people stood at the room's back and sides. Seated front and center, Young explained the session would be an informal way for people to give input and ask questions. "I'm here primarily to hear what's on your mind and w...

  • Parks survey to see what gets Wrangell out

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    A survey being put out by Wrangell’s Parks Department will be digging into the community’s recreational priorities in the coming years. “With the current climate of our state economy and the increasing demand for our current facilities, we need to prioritize our tasks and goals,” explained department director Kate Thomas. She said a system-wide needs assessment would help the department focus in on what residents like – what parks they frequent, which trails they climb, the amenities they would like to see – beyond the programs and more easily...

  • Last jam session

    Apr 13, 2017

  • Pink numbers expected up in 2017 forecast

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its forecast for commercial salmon harvests this year, projecting a strong run of pinks for Southeast in 2017. If panning out as projected, the news should come as a relief to the region's fishermen after a disappointing 2016 harvest. The report details last year's commercial salmon season, which had come in about 30 percent lower than forecast. Alaska fishermen caught 112,500,000 salmon in 2016, of which 52.9 million had been sockeye and 39...

  • Collection drive focusing on e-waste this weekend

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    The environmental office of Wrangell Cooperative Association will be holding a collection drive for residents’ unwanted electronics this weekend. The drive involves the collection, transport and reclamation of an assortment of technological contraptions. It will be funded through an Indian Environmental General Assistance Program grant, a program run through the Environmental Protection Agency cooperatively with the Tribe. “We will be collecting anything with a cord or a brain,” explained Kim Wickman, Wrangell IGAP technician. “They can be fax...

  • Fish Factor

    Laine Welch|Apr 13, 2017

    Automation is coming to Alaska fishing boats in the form of cameras and sensors to track what’s coming and going over the rails. Starting next year, Electronic Monitoring systems (EM) can officially replace human observers as fishery data collectors on Alaska boats using longline and pot gear. Vessel operators who do not voluntarily switch to EMS remain subject to human observer coverage on randomly selected fishing trips. The onboard observer requirement originally included vessels 59 feet and larger, but was restructured in 2013 to include b...

  • Net pen grounded for repairs near Sandy Beach in Petersburg

    Ron Loesch Publisher|Apr 13, 2017

    PETERSBURG - Early Tuesday morning the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association's floating net pens were being moved into position near the mouth of City Creek, when a structural failure took place. Employees had to move the pen into shallow water along the Sandy Beach tide flats to make repairs. Crystal Lake Assistant Hatchery Manager Kevin Chase explained that a metal beam came loose and had to be reattached, forcing them to realign and re-bolt the listing structure before...

  • 2017 Southeast Alaska troll chinook salmon quota

    Apr 13, 2017

    SITKA - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced April 10 that under Chinook salmon management provisions of the Pacific Salmon Treaty the 2017 abundance index for Southeast Alaska has been calculated to be 1.27, which results in an all-gear harvest limit of 209,700 treaty Chinook (non-Alaska hatchery-produced Chinook). The preseason troll treaty harvest allocation for 2017 is 154,880 Chinook or 108,320 fish lower than the preseason limit available in 2016. While there is no ceiling on the number of Chinook salmon harvested in the...

  • Birding festival takes off at month's end

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    The schedule of events for the 20th annual Stikine River Birding Festival has been put out. Running from April 27 to 30 this year, the annual festival brings in ornithologists and bird fanciers from all over to appreciate the varied avian life living on and around the Stikine River. Kicking off Thursday, April 27, people can brush up on their observation skills in a Birding 101 crash course, held at the Nolan Center at 6 p.m. An hour afterward, some short films on transboundary water issues will be hosted by Southeast Alaska Conservation...

  • Juneau approves another $100,000 for cruise ship lawsuit

    Apr 13, 2017

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) –The city of Juneau has decided to put up another $100,000 to defend itself in a lawsuit brought by the cruise industry alleging it misused funds paid by cruise ship passengers. The $100,000 approved by the Juneau Assembly on Monday was drawn from the city’s sales tax fund levied on merchants within the city. It is in addition to more than $283,000 the city has already spent in legal fees in the case. Some of the funds have been covered by marine passenger fees. The lawsuit filed by Cruise Lines International Ass...

  • Seasonal bat survey being conducted in southeast Alaska

    Apr 13, 2017

    PETERSBURG, Alaska (AP) – A group of volunteers from five southeast Alaska communities is working to document bats as part of a program aimed at combating a deadly virus caused by the animals. Volunteers from Petersburg, Juneau, Haines, Sitka and Wrangell are participating in this year’s program, which is coordinated through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Over the last three years, the program has helped gather data to prevent White Noise Syndrome. The fungal disease has killed off more than 7 million bats in the Lower 48 since it was...

  • Assembly works to keep water flowing this summer

    Dan Rudy|Apr 13, 2017

    Ahead of the coming summer, the Borough Assembly held a special meeting on April 6 to get an update on the city's water situation. Last summer Wrangell entered a state of emergency for a month, after Public Works reported its reserves of treated water were threateningly low. Once water is treated and filtered at the municipal plant, it is stored in two 424,000-gallon tanks before distribution. Due to the position of each tank's outflow about 130,000 gallons are considered unusable, effectively...