Articles from the May 29, 2024 edition


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  • School board postpones decision on contract for remote counselor

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    The school board has tabled until next month a proposal to contract for remote counseling services for Wrangell students next year, instead of hiring a full-time counselor to work in the schools. The board voted May 20 to table the motion after hearing concerns from faculty and a board member. Schools Superintendent Bill Burr said the decision to contract for a remote K-12 counselor wasn’t an intentional change of direction. “We posted the position and then we looked at the applicants,” he said. “The hiring committee looked at the best all aro...

  • Canoes start 150-mile journey to Native Celebration in Juneau

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    A canoe with 16 paddlers from Wrangell and at least four more canoes from other communities were scheduled to push off Wednesday morning toward Juneau, roughly a 150-mile journey to Celebration, the biennial Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultural festival. The paddlers are scheduled to arrive in downtown Juneau at 11:30 a.m. June 4. Celebration will run June 5-8. The Wrangell canoe planned to leave from the Reliance Float. The theme for this year's event is "Together We Live in Balance," and the...

  • Group continues fundraising to cover student travel costs to state competition

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    The Wrangell Athletic Club expects to have raised about $22,000 in donations by the end of June to reimburse the school district, which advanced about $34,000 this past school year to cover the cost of student travel to state competition. Volunteers created the nonprofit organization last year to raise money for state travel after the school board said it could not afford to cover the expenses. Club president Chris Johnson said they will send the district whatever funds it has raised by next month. In her latest financial report to the school...

  • Fourth royalty ticket sales start Friday, with two contestants

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    When Alisha Armstrong and Kayla Young heard there were no royalty candidates this year, they both decided they had to step up for the community. The chamber of commerce now has two candidates running for Fourth of July royalty this summer: Armstrong and Young. Armstrong graduated high school earlier this month, and Young will be a senior next year. Raffle ticket and food booth sales will kick off Friday, May 31, at 6 p.m. at the downtown pavilion. The duo volunteered after concerns over zero...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    May 29, 1924 For the first time in the history of the Wrangell schools, the entire high school graduating class was composed of all boys. Such an occurrence is thought to be without parallel. Six boys graduated from Wrangell High School Monday evening at the exercises held at Redmen’s Hall and received diplomas entitling them to enter the universities of the states. There were no girl members of the class. Neil Grant, as class salutatorian, cited incidents in the life of the class and told of some of the trials and pitfalls into which any h...

  • Community Calendar

    May 29, 2024

    SUMMER READING PROGRAM FOR KIDS at the Irene Ingle Public Library now open for registration. Open to children entering kindergarten through ninth grade in the fall. Register at the library. The reading program runs through Aug. 3. More than 100 prize drawings and a pool/pizza party for everyone who completes the program. Call 907-874-3535 for more information. ROLL ON THE ROCK roller skating 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays at the TouchPoint Ministries rink on Bennett Street. Children 9 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Skaters must complete...

  • Tortoise can munch a bunch for lunch while clearing weeds

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    Wrangell's tortoise and turtle lover is looking for a few good yards for grazing this summer. A few weeks ago, Charity Hommel posted on Facebook that she was looking for residents willing to open their yards to grazing for some of her tortoises, especially her Sulcata tortoise Atlas. Hommel's inquiries were born out of a need to provide more food for the 3-year-old tortoise, who she rescued here in town when Atlas was less than 4 months old. Atlas already weighs 12 pounds and is a little larger...

  • Federal review will determine if king salmon should be listed as endangered

    Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal|May 29, 2024

    The Biden administration says that listing numerous Alaska king salmon populations under the Endangered Species Act could be warranted, and it now plans to launch a broader scientific study to follow its preliminary review. Citing the species’ diminished size at adulthood and spawning numbers below sustainable targets set by state managers, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced its initial conclusion in a 14-page federal notice on May 23. It said a January 2024 listing request from a Washington state-based conservation group had m...

  • School counselor needs to be in the building

    Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    It’s no surprise that the applicant pool was limited when the Wrangell School District advertised for a new counselor to serve elementary, middle and high school students. It’s a big job for one person to work with 260 students. That includes providing career guidance, making health and psychological referrals, helping to manage student testing and assessments, and building relationships with staff, parents and the community. That’s a lot to ask of one person, but that’s the reality of the district’s tight finances. A small pool of applicant...

  • Ironing out all the answers in life

    Larry Persily Publisher|May 29, 2024

    A longtime friend who is just a couple of years younger than me called recently to ask some advice. I’m always flattered when someone seeks my opinion. It makes me feel wise and useful, which is more uplifting than my usual specialties of old and opinionated. But rather than some in-depth inquiry into public policy, finances, taxes, politics or journalism, his question made me feel nostalgic, like remembering my younger life of scrubbing whitewall tires, the low-cost joy of replacing a simple key before expensive programmable fobs took over the...

  • Forest Service will raise Anan fees starting next year

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    The U.S. Forest Service is preparing for another busy season at Anan Wildlife Observatory, one of the biggest visitor attractions around, just 30 miles south of town. This summer, the daily fee to visit the bear observatory during the permit-only season of prime bear watching July 5 through Aug. 25 will remain at $10. Starting in 2025, however, the fee will increase $10 per year, raising next summer's fee to $20 per day. The fee will increase every year until it reaches $50 in 2028. The...

  • Elevated toxin levels found in shellfish at City Park and Shoemaker

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    Wrangell Cooperative Association’s most recent test for paralytic shellfish toxins in blue mussels at two sites in town showed unhealthy levels. “Paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) levels are above the FDA regulatory limit. … PSTs cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), and eating wild shellfish from these sites may increase the risk of PSP,” WCA published in a report May 17 after tests from shellfish at City Park and Shoemaker helipad came back with elevated levels of toxins. The toxins are caused by Alexandrium, a type of phytopl...

  • Southeast fisherman pleads guilty for ordering crew to shoot whale

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    A Southeast Alaska fisherman has agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor after admitting that he directed a crew member to shoot a sperm whale northwest of Sitka in March 2020. According to federal court filings, Dugan Daniels, 54, also tried to ram the whale with his fishing boat, the Pacific Bounty. The whale died, according to the court filing. In addition, Daniels agreed to plead guilty to a felony for lying about a sablefish catch in fall 2020, according to the text of the plea deal. The charges and the plea deal were filed by...

  • Honoring those who served

    May 29, 2024

  • Children's summer activities start up next week

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    The Nolan Center, Irene Ingle Public Library and Parks and Recreation have teamed up to keep kids entertained this summer. Starting June 3 and running through Aug. 16, there will be morning and afternoon activities Monday through Friday like open swim, open gym, art classes, movies, Forest Explorers and reading activities. Parks and Recreation will host open swim at the pool from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Open gym will be held at the community center Monday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Regular drop-in rates will...

  • Loan program could help residents who want to build on subdivision lots

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    It’ll be early fall before the borough offers for sale 20 lots at the new Alder Top Village (Keishangita.’aan) residential subdivision upland from Shoemaker Bay, but residents interested in buying and building a home on the property can start lining up financing. In addition to conventional lenders such as banks, credit unions and the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., Haa Yakaawu Financial Corp., which works with the Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority, offers a couple of different home loan programs, including one with below-market int...

  • Young Alaskans sue to block proposed natural gas pipeline project

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    A group of young Alaskans, backed by a nonprofit legal firm, is suing the state of Alaska and the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. in an attempt to block construction of the corporation’s long-planned but economically questionable North Slope natural gas pipeline. In a complaint filed May 22 in Anchorage Superior Court, the eight plaintiffs argue that the corporation’s founding laws are unconstitutional because the gas pipeline would result in so much climate-altering greenhouse gas that it would endanger their constitutionally guar...

  • Full U.S. embargo on Russian seafood now in effect

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    A full-fledged embargo of Russia-sourced seafood took effect in the United States on May 22, with importers prohibited from buying Russian products, even if they were processed in another country. The next day, a delegation of Alaska businessmen and local government officials, all with ties to the fishing industry, met with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and other federal officials in an attempt to expand that boycott internationally. “Russia is the No. 1 problem when it comes to our fishing industry,” said Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, who...

  • Lawmakers leave fiscal plan, other issues for another year

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    Though legislators passed dozens of bills during the two-year legislative session that ended May 15, they left behind multiple big issues for future consideration. Lawmakers were not able to finalize any part of a plan intended to bring the state’s revenue in line with expenses over the long term. In 2022, a bicameral, bipartisan working group recommended changes to the Permanent Fund dividend formula, an effective state spending cap, new taxes and constitutional changes to guarantee the dividend and limit spending from the Permanent Fund. W...

  • Legislators approve phase-out of firefighting foams with 'forever chemicals'

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    For the second time in two years, the Alaska Legislature has passed a bill requiring a phase-out of firefighting foams with contaminants called “forever chemicals.” The chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are commonly known as PFAS, have become notorious for their persistence and widespread presence in the environment. Known for their resistance to flames and degradation, PFAS chemicals — which number in the thousands — have been used since the 1950s in a wide variety of products, from consumer goods like clothing and cookware t...

  • Alaska lawmakers support federal investigation into Native boarding schools

    Claire Stremple, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    Alaska lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted to support a federal proposal that would investigate and document the forced assimilation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian children in government-funded boarding schools. The legislative resolution acknowledges the trauma Indian boarding schools inflicted on Indigenous communities in Alaska and across the country, said the bill’s sponsor, Bethel Rep. CJ McCormick. There were more than 100 government-funded, church-run Alaska Native boarding schools in Alaska from the late 1800s t...

  • Cancer-prevention measures win legislative approval

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    Alaska bar patrons will see new signs warning about the link between alcohol and cancer, and women at elevated risk for breast cancer will no longer have to pay extra money for more detailed examinations that go beyond routine mammograms, if bills passed by the Legislature are signed by the governor. Both measures were proposed initially in stand-alone legislation but wound up combined with related bills that passed late in the session and now await the governor’s decision. The proposal for signs warning about the alcohol-cancer link was o...

  • Police report

    May 29, 2024

    Monday, May 20 Traffic stop: Citation issued for failure to stop at stop sign. Reckless driving. Agency assist: Harbor Department. Reckless driving. Civil paper service. Civil paper service. Traffic stop: Verbal warning for faulty equipment. Tuesday, May 21 Dog complaint. Dog complaint. Wednesday, May 22 Threats. Lost firearm. Traffic stop. Traffic stop: Citation issued for failure to provide proof of insurance. Thursday, May 23 Citizen assist: Vehicle unlock. Traffic stop. Domestic violence order service. Friday, May 24 Traffic stop: Verbal...

  • Alaska legislation would eliminate co-pay for birth control

    Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    Lawmakers have sent to the governor legislation that would increase insurance coverage for birth control. A large bipartisan majority of the Senate approved the measure on May 9. Alaskans may access up to 12 months of contraceptives at a time and without a co-pay from pharmacies in the state if Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs the bill into law. The House approved Senate amendments to the bill on May 10. House Bill 17 requires health insurance companies to cover contraceptives without a co-payment and to retroactively cover existing prescriptions when...

  • Legislature approves more support for missing and murdered Indigenous cases

    Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon|May 29, 2024

    State lawmakers have added protections to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people in Alaska, a move celebrated by activists who have devoted years to a campaign for equity. Senate Bill 151 passed with a combined 57-1 vote earlier this month. Under the new law, the state must employ two full-time, dedicated investigators to pursue cold cases and must include cultural training in police officer training. It also establishes a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Review Commission and requires that state public safety...

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