Articles from the December 12, 2013 edition


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  • TBPA resolution unanimously approved

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    The council voted 5-0 to approve a resolution that would begin the process of moving the Thomas Bay Power Authority-run Tyee Lake facility over to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency. The resolution reflects a draft resolution approved at the Dec. 3 special assembly meeting, and keeps most of the terms of that resolution intact. TBPA employees would be “kept whole” in terms of wages, benefits, and positions during the conversion process. SEAPA would absorb the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) unfunded liability. Wrangell and Pet...

  • Local educator to retire after 24 years

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    When bachelor science teacher Monty Buness started working at Stikine Middle School in the fall of 1989, a British scientist had just invented the world wide web, but it wouldn't be widely available for four more years. When the former Alaska Principal of the Year – now happily married to former library aide Linda Buness – retires at the end of the 2013-14 school year, every student in the high school will have his or her own laptop computer, and likely own a cell phone or other mobile dev...

  • A man for this season

    Dec 12, 2013

    Santa takes a seat Monday during the public library's Pajama Story Time event....

  • The Way We Were

    Dec 12, 2013

    In the Sentinel 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago. December 18: 1913: Some people imagine there is nothing in the lumber industry in Alaska but they are badly mistaken, next to mining and fishing our timber is a matter of great importance. The Bertha brought a consignment of 180,000 feet of spruce lumber to Seattle from Hadley to be used in the construction of buildings for the Panama Pacific Exposition at San Francisco. The commercial possibilities of the Alaska spruce, since this lumber has proved the finest of northwest soft woods, have been...

  • State ruling to change medevac insurance plans

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    An Alaska Division of Insurance ruling will effectively cancel a widely used medical evacuation membership plan across Southeast. The ruling, issued in a letter of judgment Nov. 12, effectively invalidates the Airlift Northwest’s Alaska AirCare membership plan. Airlift Northwest is a subsidiary of the University of Washington, and until mid-November the Alaska AirCare membership plan was designed to eliminate co-payments for emergency medical costs in Southeast. Wrangell citizens typically use a combination of plans to cover the costs of m...

  • Marshall acquitted of murder solicitation

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    A Ketchikan jury took less than an hour to acquit Steve Marshall of a murder solicitation Thursday, officials and family members said. The trial – held before Superior Court Judge William Carey in the First Judicial District at Ketchikan – hinged on the credibility of witness Frank W. Mooney, according to family members and the Ketchikan Daily News. Mooney is a convicted sex offender. Carey sentenced Marshall to 10 unsuspended years on a first and third degree assault counts Aug. 20 after a Wrangell jury acquitted him of rape charges at the sam...

  • Police reports

    Dec 12, 2013

    Monday, December 2 Officer unlocked vehicle. Arrested Brandon E. Douglass, 30, on charges of Criminal Mischief. Tuesday, December 3 Received a couple calls concerning two puppies inside a vehicle with no windows. Person reported that a residence they are watching had a window broken out. Officer responded. Officer assisted person in PD parking lot that had run out of gas. Wednesday, December 4 Citizen Assist – courtesy transport. Report of Theft of Services. Agency Assist – FD notified for person needing assistance to hospital. Juvenile Ass...

  • Obituary: Fr. James R. Blaney, OMI, 76

    Dec 12, 2013

    Fr. James R. Blaney, OMI, 76, died on December 4, 2013 in Sitka, Alaska after a brief illness. At the time of his death he was serving as the pastor of St. Gregory Nazianzen Catholic Church in Sitka. Fr. Blaney, a member of the missionary religious order of priests, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was born on July 30, 1937 in South Boston, Mass. The son of John Blaney and Anna O'Sullivan Blaney, he grew up on the grounds of the maximum security state prison in Charlestown, Mass where his father...

  • Letters to the Editor

    Dec 12, 2013

    To the Editor: Concerning the Wrangell Mariners Memorial: In order to encourage more community involvement and add depth to Wrangell’s Mariners Memorial, I would like the community to consider adding a series of kiosks depicting the history of maritime culture associated with Wrangell. The addition of educational kiosks sponsored by specific organizations would help this project obtain additional grant funding. The Nolan Center has interpretative kiosks outside the building conveying site information. I would like the community to consider a s...

  • Obamacare site improves but hurdles remain

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    While major improvements to the flagship website of healthcare reform have been made, parts of the reform law remain a work in progress, a representative of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium said. The troubled healthcare.gov website has started to show signs of improved functionality, said Monique Martin, the consortium’s representative. Martin visited Wrangell Tuesday to discuss problems and remaining issues with the site. She spent most of the day Tuesday consulting with local healthcare consumers worried about the laws effects, a...

  • Stikine king preseason forecast similar to recent years

    Dec 12, 2013

    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced a preseason run size for Stikine River king salmon at 26,000 fish. Because the size of the forecast is small there will be no directed fisheries in early May. Tom Kowalske, ADFG assistant area management biologist in Wrangell, said estimated run sizes have recently been reduced by nearly half. “For the past seven years the run size was overestimated by an average of 45 percent or so,” Kowalske said. The Stikine River king salmon forecast model initially produced an estimated run size of 37,...

  • Five wrestlers bound for state

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    Five Wolves qualified outright for state, and a sixth is an alternate after the Southeast Region V tournament last weekend. Freshman Sig Decker, sophomores Roger Miller and Chet Armstrong, junior Jeffrey Rooney, Jr., and senior Devon Miller each reached fourth or higher – the qualification minimum for state – and will wrestle in the State tournament. Senior Alex Cano reached fifth, and will stand in if one of the higher wrestlers in his weight bracket becomes incapacitated. "It was a great tou...

  • Volleyball team's season ends at Klawock

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    The Lady Wolves came within a game and five points of the State tournament last weekend. In the fourth game of the set against Klawock, the Wrangell High volleyball team was only five points down. Unable to make up the deficit, the team eventually finished third, behind Klawock and Craig, who will head to State this weekend. Klawock beat the Lady Wolves twice over the course of the tournament, once to send them into the consolation bracket and a second time to seal the Lady Chieftan's second...

  • Fish Factor

    Dec 12, 2013

    It comes as no surprise that the recommendations for next year’s halibut catches are down again for all regions except Southeast Alaska. Fishery scientists with the International Pacific Halibut Commission have recommended a 2014 coast wide commercial catch total of 24.45 million pounds, a 21% decrease from the 31 million pounds allowed for this year. That includes catches in Alaska, British Columbia and the Pacific Coast states. In a summation at a meeting in Seattle last week, the IPHC said: “The results of the 2013 stock assessment ind...

  • USFS urges public comment on cabins

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    A representative from the U.S. Forest Service urged members of the borough’s economic development committee to comment on the service’s environmental assessment. At the Dec. 5 meeting, Austin O’Brien told committee members the public comment period would allow local residents to defend cabins that may be on the chopping block. The Wrangell Ranger district is facing a 30 percent reduction in its recreation budget this year, meaning that without substantial changes to the way the district does business, cabins and other attractions – includi...

  • Bell ringers seek volunteers

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    The Salvation Army's annual bell-ringing campaign has begun, and organizers could use some folks willing to brave the cold. The perennial tinkle of the bell can be heard outside the City Market and Bobs' IGA grocery stores from about 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., though filling all of those hours has been difficult without a steady stream of volunteers. The annual campaign kicked off Dec. 1, and captains Ronnie and Debbie Davis say they could use volunteers to meet this year's collection goal of $2,500,...

  • Midnight Madness showcases community, consumerism

    Brian OConnor|Dec 12, 2013

    Christmas and commerce were on local minds Friday night. The Wrangell Chamber of Commerce's annual Midnight Madness, prominently features discount sales at larger stores along Front Street, as well as highlighting individual boutique and craft businesses. The event officially kicked off at 6 p.m. with the official lighting of the borough Christmas tree, which featured local high school students caroling in front of Ottesen's, a brief fireworks display, and roasted marshmallows. "Thank you to my...

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