Articles from the June 5, 2024 edition

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  • Developer plans for year-end construction start at former hospital property

    Becca Clark and Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    Wayne Johnson, a Georgia-based real estate developer, came to town to finalize his $516,000 purchase of the former hospital property and six adjacent borough-owned lots. Johnson said in an interview Sunday, June 2, that he still needed to work out some details on the purchase of the six lots but anticipated no problems and expected to sign the papers this week, before he needs to return to Georgia. He plans to start demolition in October, with site preparation and start of construction by year-end, he said. Johnson has changed his plans...

  • Assembly sets property tax rate at same as last year

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    As Wrangell’s population continues to age, the total value of senior citizen-owned homes exempt from property taxes continues to grow. About 27% of Wrangell’s population was 65 years or older last year (551 of 2,039 residents), according to Alaska Department of Labor statistics. That’s up from just under 23% in 2020 (482 of 2,127) and 19% in 2015 when the town’s population was much larger at 2,442. State law requires municipalities to exempt from property taxes the first $150,000 in assessed value on homes owned by senior citizens and disable...

  • Chamber moves salmon derby to June 15-30

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    The chamber of commerce has moved the dates for this month’s salmon derby to June 15-30 to allow anglers more time to try their luck after popular areas near Wrangell open to sportfishing on June 15. The chamber had initially scheduled the derby for two weekends — June 7-9 and June 14-16 — but decided at a May 28 derby committee meeting to move the days to later in the month. State Department of Fish and Game District 6, west of Etolin and Zarembo islands, and most of District 7, east and south of Wrangell, are closed to kings through June...

  • Borough holds open house Friday to meet police chief finalist

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    The borough has scheduled an open house for 5 p.m. Friday, June 7, at City Hall for the community to meet Gene Meek, finalist for the job of Wrangell police chief. Meek resigned as Soldotna police chief on May 17, effective immediately. He had been on the job since July 2022. “It was an amicable departure,” Soldotna City Manager Janette Bower told Kenai-Soldotna KSRM radio on May 20. “He’s a great person, and we wish him the best as he moves forward with wherever he may go.” She called the resignation a mutual agreement. Meek moved to the Ke...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    June 5, 1924 Miss Yeteve Taake, field representative for the Pacific Division of the American Red Cross, arrived in Wrangell last Friday for a week’s work with the local chapter of the Red Cross. Miss Taake is very pleased with the work of the Wrangell chapter. She has spent the week looking over various reports, visiting with the recipients of the nurse’s services, talking with board members and many others interested and reached by this splendid service. “Loan closets are much appreciated in the communities having Red Cross chapters, and W...

  • Community calendar

    Jun 5, 2024

    SUMMER READING PROGRAM FOR KIDS at the Irene Ingle Public Library open to children entering kindergarten through ninth grade in the fall. Register at the library by June 29. 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. Saturdays at the TouchPoint Ministries rink on Bennett Street. Children 9 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Skaters must complete a... Full story

  • Food and fun fundraising begins

    Jun 5, 2024

  • Borough pitches 6-Mile mill site to Huna Totem for cruise port

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    As part of the borough’s quest for a long-term, economic development opportunity at the 6-Mile mill property, officials met last month with officers of Huna Totem Corp., which operates a cruise port at Icy Strait Point near Hoonah and is developing three others around the state. Borough officials are also thinking that the waterfront property could be a good location for a timber value-added facility or maybe even a solar energy farm. “We are looking for solutions for the mill property,” Borough Manager Mason Villarma told the assembly May 2...

  • Assembly will take up mandatory boat insurance proposal

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    Assembly members have directed borough staff to come back with a revised ordinance setting requirements for boat owners to carry insurance on their vessels moored in Wrangell harbors. The assembly in March questioned several aspects of a proposed ordinance forwarded by the port commission which required coverage. The assembly wanted to see a minimum vessel size to require insurance, increased management rights to keep out unseaworthy boats and exemptions for transient vessels. The intent is to protect other boat owners and the borough from...

  • Community needs long-term plan for school funding

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    The assembly’s decision to take away any benefit to the school district of the Legislature’s one-year increase in state education funding for next year makes sense from the perspective of the borough’s own finances. However, there are more perspectives to consider. Long term, the community needs a plan to adequately fund its schools. The school board had asked the borough to contribute $1.75 million — the maximum amount allowed under state law — to the school district’s $6 million spending plan for the 2024-2025 school year. That would have...

  • Sentinel will be free online for a month

    Larry Persily Publisher|Jun 5, 2024

    The expression, the best things in life are free, applies to fresh air, the view out the window and a positive attitude. For the next five weeks, it will also apply to the Wrangell Sentinel. Starting this week, the Sentinel has turned off the paywall to its website. Anyone with a keyboard, a mouse, a smartphone, a swiping finger or a voice-activated personal assistant will be able to go to and read all the news they want. Normally, the online edition of the Sentinel is available only to people who buy a subscription. As old...

  • Bible Baptist Church pastor family grateful for time in Wrangell

    Jun 5, 2024

    More than 27 years ago, we arrived in Wrangell with our family as the new pastor at Bible Baptist Church and, soon thereafter, taking on the role as produce manager at City Market for the next 22 years of our time here. Thank you, Benn Curtis and Chet Powell for that opportunity. Wrangell welcomed our family with open arms, as did our new church family. Our children, Nathan, Westley and Mindy, experienced and enjoyed making a lifetime of memories living in such a different place than their familiar Midwest beginnings. Yes, the geographic...

  • Teacher works on side gig of restoring vintage furniture

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    With school out for the summer, special education teacher Mikki Angerman will now focus more on repairing and restoring vintage furniture for her growing side business on Case Avenue called Forget-Me-Not Furniture. "'Furniture flipping,' I guess you can call it," she said. She hopes her business will grow even more this summer, as residents continue to show interest. "It's nice to have that kind of support from the community." Angerman first started working on furniture out of boredom during...

  • New owner will allow salvage of usable items before hospital demolition

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    The borough plans to pull the standby electrical generator, fire extinguishers and other usable items from the former hospital building before the new owner of the property tears down the structure to make way for a residential development. Wayne Johnson, the Georgia-based real estate developer who planned to close on the purchase of the hospital property this week, is allowing the borough time to salvage what it wants from the building, Borough Manager Mason Villarma said May 29. “The borough can take whatever they want from there,” Joh...

  • The journey begins

    Jun 5, 2024

  • Canoes assemble in Wrangell

    Jun 5, 2024

  • Ortiz will not seek reelection; three candidates file for seat

    Ketchikan Daily News and Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    Rep. Dan Ortiz, the Ketchikan independent who has represented southern Southeast communities since January 2015, including Wrangell, has decided to withdraw as a candidate for reelection, citing health and family considerations. Ortiz had filed in July as a candidate for reelection to House District 1, representing Ketchikan, Saxman, Metlakatla, Wrangell, Hyder, Coffman Cove and Whale Pass. However, a “more definitive” health concern caused him to reconsider, he told the Ketchikan Daily News on May 28. “It’s been within the last week that I...

  • Annual week-long Camp Lorraine starts June 16

    George Kosinski, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    Children from across Alaska will make the roughly eight-mile boat trip June 16 from Wrangell to Vank Island, where they will spend the week at Camp Lorraine. Camp Lorraine is one of three residential summer camps operated every year by the Alaska Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as part of its Alaska Camps series. The church plans to host other week-long camps in Dillingham and Big Lake later this summer, along with several day camps in more remote Alaska communities. The week-long camp programs are open to kids ages 8 through 16 years...

  • Police report

    Jun 5, 2024

    Monday, May 27 Suspicious activity. Tuesday, May 28 Wells Fargo alarm. Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Traffic stop: Warning given for speed; citation issued for no proof of insurance. Parking complaint: Vehicle had not been moved. Wednesday, May 29 Traffic stop: Verbal warning for registration. Found property. Agency assist: Municipal line crew. Thursday, May 30 Traffic stop: Citation issued for speed. Agency assist: Pretrial. Traffic stop. Traffic stop: Citation issued for provisional license violation. Friday, May 31 Dog complaint....

  • Classified ads

    Jun 5, 2024

    FOR SALE 2008 Honda motorcycle XR65OL. Excellent condition. Dual sport. Very low mileage. Large custom fuel tank. Custom exhaust. $4,500. Call 907-874-3676. HELP WANTED Wrangell Cooperative Association Transportation (WCAT) is seeking two road/trail maintenance laborers. Complete job descriptions and applications are available outside the Wrangell Cooperative Association office at 1002 Zimovia Highway. Positions are open until filled. Contact Lizzy Romane at 907-874-3077 with any questions. HELP WANTED Johnson’s Building Supply is accepting a... Full story

  • Maintenance director plans summer projects for the schools

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    This summer, new schools maintenance director Kevin McCallister, with the help of assistant maintenance director Jason Beaty, is preparing to give the schools a major cleaning and make essential repairs that can’t be done when classes are in session. “Essentially, we’re just going to go through and deep clean everything, and then we’re going to get into some maintenance stuff,” McCallister said. “Being my first year here, I have a list of things to do.” The biggest project he’ll take on this summer will involve cleaning the floors and carpets i...

  • Public Safety Building could get new roof if federal money comes through

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    If Sen. Lisa Murkowski is successful in her request for a congressional appropriation for $2 million in federal grant money to help repair Wrangell’s Public Safety Building, the borough might be able to replace the roof and damaged siding next year. Though the rot-damaged building needs a lot more work than just the roof and siding, Borough Manager Mason Villarma said the new plan is to start with a scaled-down project and add more repairs, rebuilds and equipment replacements later. “We plan to trim down the scale of the project,” he said...

  • Marine Service Center faces usual pre-season bottleneck

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    The Marine Service Center is extremely busy right now, but Harbormaster Steve Miller said the amount of business is normal for this time of year. “The end of March through June is our busiest time of the year,” he said. Commercial and sport fishermen are getting ready for their active season, and the summer tour business is getting started. Most of the business comes from commercial vessels, but Miller added that sailboats and yachts come out of the water for work too. Most of the labor this time of year is “what we call a shave and hairc...

  • No softball for Lady Wolves this year

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    Varsity softball coach Marsha Ballou said the Wrangell Lady Wolves team was unable to compete in their scheduled games in Juneau this season “due to unforeseen circumstances” beyond their control. She did not elaborate on what forced the team to cancel its Juneau games. The squad’s only game this year was the informal alumni fundraiser April 27 at Volunteer Park. “We deeply regret any disappointment this may cause to our team, supporters and the community,” Ballou said in an email May 28. She said they are committed to overcoming the challenge...