Articles from the July 12, 2023 edition


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  • Ketchikan contractor to take on Alder Top site work this summer

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    After years of planning, the borough has awarded a contract for the initial phase of development at the Alder Top Village (Keishangita.’aan) residential subdivision at the former Wrangell Institute property. At its special meeting July 6, the borough assembly unanimously approved an almost $1 million contract with Ketchikan Ready-Mix & Quarry. The company will spend the summer clearing space for about 20 new lots at the site and performing preliminary road work. The contract’s completion date is Oct. 30. At Borough Manager Jeff Good’s recom...

  • Fourth of July celebration marked with plenty of fun, friendly competition

    Sentinel staff|Jul 12, 2023

    The Fourth of July celebration literally heated up over the four days of festivities as the Tongass Toughman Triathlon kicked things off with a cold, gray and rainy swim on July 1 and the street dance closed it out on July 4 when the temperature topped out at 72 degrees. From endurance contests and games of skill to a dog show and fireworks and everything in between, the various events packed the streets of downtown with locals, visiting family and friends and tourists. Despite concerns over...

  • Upward Bound trip gives freshman head start on high school career

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    It was a month of learning, exploring, brainstorming and playing in the wilds of Alaska that left one Wrangell youth with a lot to think about. Andrei Bardin-Siekawitch was the only teen from Southeast to join other students from across the state on the latest Upward Bound and Teaching Through Technology Alliance (T3) trip, giving him an opportunity to make new friends and start plotting a course for his future endeavors. From May 31 through June 30, Bardin-Siekawitch, 13, traveled to the...

  • Kodiak Island village tries social media to find families to keep school open

    Maham Javaid, Washington Post|Jul 12, 2023

    When the shrinking Alaska fishing village of Karluk made a plea on social media asking two families with three to four children each to move to the community to save their cherished school, they did not expect thousands of responses to pour in. “We have been bombarded with phone calls, and overwhelmed with emails,” Alicia Andrews, the president of Karluk Tribal Council, told The Washington Post. “For years, we have been trying to save our school and our community, and now it seems we have a solution.” The advertisement that quickly spread...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    July 12, 1923 The presidential party arrived in Wrangell early Monday morning on the transport Henderson, under a convoy of two torpedo boats. The moment the distinguished visitor stepped onto Grant’s float they were greeted by the reception committee headed by Acting Mayor George H. Barnes. Without any delay, the party marched to the courthouse, where, standing at the foot of the steps, President Warren G. Harding was officially welcomed by the Rev. Robert Joseph Diven. After expressing his pleasure at being in Alaska, and in Wrangell, the pre...

  • Taqueria food stand looks forward to its opening day

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    Healthy helpings of hot dogs, fry bread and burgers are quintessential parts of any Wrangell Fourth of July, but this year the community's palates were graced with a taste of something different -Mexican food. Estevan's Taqueria, a food stand operated by Mariana Sausedo and David McHolland, served up its first delicious meals on July 3 and 4. Once its state permits are approved - hopefully later this month - the stand will open in its permanent spot behind TK's Mini Mart. Sausedo created the...

  • BearFest comes roaring back to town starting July 26

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    From a “beary” pie contest to a cub-o-war, art workshops, live music and a usually sold-out dinner, BearFest is returning for its 14th year. The activities start July 26. The popular educational and cultural event celebrates bears and the surrounding environment. Along with the activities, educational opportunities and symposiums and a bear safety session are planned. One of the more popular features of BearFest is the dinner and fundraising auction held at the Stikine Inn and Restaurant, which will begin at 6 p.m. July 28. Tickets went on sal...

  • Borough is smart to think regionwide about trash

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    Out of sight, out of mind probably is how most people think about trash. That has pretty much worked for Wrangell since the municipality closed its landfill at the north end of the island more than a decade ago and started shipping its garbage to an environmentally approved commercial landfill out of state. The system generally has worked well, moving the problem off the island. Petersburg and Sitka do the same with their garbage. But, as often happens, the increasing cost could be an issue. Republic Services, which has been hauling and...

  • Hiding behind a church is no way to run a campaign

    Larry Persily Publisher|Jul 12, 2023

    Opponents of ranked-choice voting in Alaska want to put an initiative on the ballot so that voters can overturn the law in the 2024 election. To do that, they need to collect signatures from about 26,000 registered voters to win a spot on the statewide ballot. To do that, and then run a statewide campaign to convince a majority of voters to dump the new voting system, they will need money. Six-figure money. Which means fundraising. But the laws around soliciting and accepting campaign donations are a problem for people who want to remain...

  • Tlingit and Haida council would have preferred photo showing everyone gathered

    Jul 12, 2023

    We requested that the Sentinel publish a photo of the Wrangell Tlingit & Haida Community Council so that we could be transparent as leaders in the Native community. The reason I asked was because I recalled seeing a picture of the local tribal leaders in my youth and admiring them and thinking, “Maybe someday, I came accomplish the same status.” We were disappointed when we saw that only my picture along with Ed Rilatos was featured in a report in the June 14 Sentinel about totem pole work on Shakes Island. We work hard to accomplish pos...

  • Inflation rate in Alaska down to lowest since February 2021

    Mark Sabbatini, Juneau Empire|Jul 12, 2023

    Inflation in Alaska is dropping sharply this year after hitting a 41-year high in 2022, but it still remains unstable overall and uneven in some categories such as housing, according to a report published July 5 by the Alaska Department of Labor. The statewide inflation rate was 8.1% in 2022, but as of April this year was down to 3.1%, the lowest since February 2021, according to the current issue of Alaska Economic Trends, which is published by the department. “While it’s uncertain how long it will continue slowing, the rate in April approache...

  • Fourth of July photos

    Jul 12, 2023

    Contestants in KSTK's wiener toss might have wanted to use their hands to catch the flying hot dogs, but no hands allowed. It was an open-mouth contest. Spectators lined both sides of Lynch Street to witness the meat-flinging hilarity on July 3. Families gathered along the waterfront on Campbell Drive to ooh and aah over the explosion of fireworks above Zimovia Strait the night of July 4. Lee Wiederspohn kicks water at Kenneth Wilson during the log-rolling competition on July 3 at City Dock....

  • Waste disposal company raises rates on the borough

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    The borough’s contract with Republic Services — the company that manages the transportation and disposal of Wrangell’s trash —expires at the end of July. Despite a substantial increase in Republic’s pricing, the borough assembly voted to extend the company’s contract at its June 27 meeting due to a lack of cheaper alternatives. In 2018, Republic charged $121.03 per ton for disposal and hauling, according to a letter from the company’s area president Gregg Brummer. In the contract the assembly just approved, the disposal cost has increased mor...

  • Fire destroys most of Catholic church in Petersburg

    Chris Basinger, Petersburg Pilot|Jul 12, 2023

    A fire has left Petersburg's St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in ruins. No serious injuries were reported and the fire did not spread to any surrounding buildings, though smoke from the Thursday, July 6, blaze caused the Petersburg Medical Center and multiple businesses downtown to close. According to parish priest Father Jose Thomas, a few people were attending a prayer service in the chapel when they heard glass shattering and were alerted to smoke coming from the office. "We did not...

  • New Salvation Army officers look forward to small-town community

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 12, 2023

    After Rosie and Jon Tollerud of the Salvation Army left Wrangell for Fairbanks last month, two new officers moved to town to take their place. Lieutenants Belle and Chase Green and their two children, KellyGrace, 3, and Ollivander, 1, arrived in Wrangell on June 20 and have been settling into their new home for the past few weeks. The couple looks forward to getting to know the community and to serving in Alaska, where they were both raised. Moving to Wrangell was "like being back at home,"...

  • Report says rural districts need to pay more to hire and retain teachers

    Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon|Jul 12, 2023

    Alaska school districts that are remote and serve mainly students from low-income households need to pay substantially more than they currently do to attract and retain teachers, a study from University of Alaska researchers found. Matthew Berman, a University of Alaska Anchorage economics professor, said the study shows that compensation does matter when it comes to recruitment and retention — and that some districts can and do pay teachers more to offset other disadvantages like a remote location. “Relatively advantaged districts are abl... Full story

  • Police report

    Jul 12, 2023

    Monday, July 3 Parking complaint. Agency assist: Public Works. Agency assist: Harbor Department. Suspicious circumstance. Threats. Found property. Tuesday, July 4 Parking complaint. Found property: Returned to owner. Suspicious circumstance. Agency assist: Harbor Department. Reckless driving. Violation of condition of release. Hazardous play. Traffic stop: Citation issued for driving without a license. Wednesday, July 5 Noise complaint: Party. Agency assist: Fire Department. Noice complaint: Fireworks. Domesic dispute. Found property: Keys....

  • Roadside respite

    Jul 12, 2023

    Kaiya Roher, 12 (center), and Violet Allen, 10, serve lemonade to Cassandra Schilling and her daughter Melany Shilts at their stand on Case Avenue on Friday, July 7. Violet is raising money for travel to Massachusetts and other places to see family. Schilling said it was the perfect time to happen across the stand, as she and her daughter had walked to downtown from 3 Mile. The temperature last Friday reached 82 degrees....

  • Classified ads

    Jul 12, 2023

    HELP WANTED Johnson’s Building Supply is hiring for a yardman/customer service position. Responsibilities include retail sales, computer knowledge, receiving freight, stocking inventory, truck loading/unloading, deliveries and friendly customer service. Work schedule is Tuesday-Saturday. Must have a valid Alaska driver’s license, forklift experience is beneficial (will train), some heavy lifting, prior construction knowledge is favorable, pay DOE. Pick up an application at Johnson’s Building Supply. HELP WANTED Wrangell Senior Center, South... Full story

  • Thank yous

    Jul 12, 2023

    A huge round of applause and shout of thanks goes to all the dog owners and pups who participated in the third annual St. Frances Animal Rescue Dog Show. The volunteers of St. Frances also extend a special thanks to the show’s sponsor, Cooper’s Corner, owned by Kimberly Szczatko, and our judges, Mayor Patty Gilbert, KSTK reporter Sage Smiley and our visiting guest, Dr. Eric Sargent. Joan Sargent Dog show coordinator Thanks to all the amazing individuals and businesses that donated prizes for the Scrap Fish Derby! All prizes were purchased fro...

  • Ranked-choice voting opponents set up church to collect money

    Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News|Jul 12, 2023

    The group that championed Alaska’s ranked-choice voting reform filed a complaint on July 5 against several individuals and entities that are leading an effort to repeal the state’s new election laws, alleging that they violated multiple campaign finance rules and obscured the source of their funding. The complaint alleges that opponents of ranked-choice voting founded a church called the Ranked Choice Education Association that could allow donors to gain tax advantages for their contributions while skirting disclosure requirements. Those requir...

  • Haines appeals Census Bureau count of 20% drop in population

    Lex Treinen, Chilkat Valley News|Jul 12, 2023

    The Haines Borough is challenging the U.S. Census Bureau’s official count of its population, saying the agency undercounted the town’s residents by almost 20%. The lower population number threatens millions of dollars of federal funding over the next decade. The 2020 census reported Haines’ population at 2,080, down from 2,508 in the 2010 count. “If we had lost almost 500 people, you would feel it in our town,” said Borough Clerk Alekka Fullerton. “You would see it in empty houses, in schools and in voter rolls.” Census counts happen every...

  • State will start monitoring for invasive green crabs at Dutch Harbor

    Hope McKenney, Public radio KUCB Unalaska|Jul 12, 2023

    Unalaska is preparing to start monitoring for European green crabs. That’s after the invasive species was first found in waters around Metlakatla last July. The crabs could cause a big problem. They destroy habitat and outcompete native species. Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game say the monitoring program is crucial in the nation’s largest fishing port. They’re preparing to deploy traps later this summer. “We don’t have any reason to believe that European green crab are here or established in the region, but we’re als...

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