Articles from the July 26, 2023 edition


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  • Washington State Ferries system suffers same problems as Alaska

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    The Washington State Ferries system still has not returned to its full pre-pandemic schedule, coming up short due to fewer riders, an inability to recruit, hire and train onboard crew, high rates of retirements and resignations, and a “lack of vessels due to unanticipated breakdowns and an aging fleet.” Some sailings have been canceled for lack of crew, and a few routes are running at reduced service. It sounds a lot like the Alaska Marine Highway System. The Washington state system, which has been around since 1951, 12 years older than Alaska...

  • Budworm outbreak shows signs of ebbing throughout Tongass

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    Scientists and staff with the U.S. Forest Service are hopeful that the blackheaded budworm outbreak that began three years ago throughout the Tongass National Forest is beginning to decline. Data collected earlier this year revealed not only the extent of the damage done by the half-inch insect but evidence showed the worms are dying off. Elizabeth Graham, an entomologist with the Forest Service, said in a news conference on July 20 she has seen firsthand that there is lower activity of the bug...

  • The fun has BEARly begun - BearFest kicks off this week

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    From mouthwatering berry pies and plant-based ice creams to Appalachian bluegrass songs and visual arts workshops, Wrangell’s BearFest will be a feast for all the senses. This annual celebration of one of Alaska’s most beloved mammals will offer a multitude of opportunities for attendees to learn about the natural world, share their talents and celebrate the state’s unique wildlife and environment. Here are some highlights from the packed event schedule: Georgia-based guitarist Matt Eckstine will keep festival-goers in a celebratory mood start...

  • WCA Earth Branch seeks volunteers for first fix-it clinic

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    When a beloved pair of jeans rips or a wooden chair gets wobbly, it’s tempting to go shopping or log on to Amazon and order a replacement. However, mending and repairing old items is a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to buying them new. The Wrangell Cooperative Association’s upcoming “fix-it clinic” aims to create a space where community members can share their repair knowledge and where people can come to get well-loved items fixed. Volunteers with repair skills are needed, and the event is slated to take place in mid-August. More de...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    July 26, 1923 The water has been so low in the city reservoir the past week as to be a serious matter. On this account, the linotype machine and printing presses in the Sentinel office, which are run by water power, have been shut down the entire week. Naturally, we regret the shortage of reading matter in this issue, but we have no apologies to offer. We feel we have more than done our duty in attempting to get out any kind of a newspaper at all under such a tremendous handicap. July 23, 1948 A group of members from the Emblem Club and Elks...

  • Downtown beautification project seeks volunteers to adopt garden beds

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    Whether you have a green thumb or are all thumbs around greenery doesn't matter. If you want to help beautify downtown, the Parks and Recreation Department is looking for you. And your thumbs. Six garden beds throughout the downtown need to be adopted by volunteers who will weed, clean, water and maintain the spots. Another six have already been adopted. "The beautification of downtown Wrangell is everybody's responsibility in that your community is what you make of it," said Lucy Robinson,...

  • Women's 'fun and frolic' golf to raise money for Cancer Care

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    Want to golf for a good cause? The WMC Foundation and SEARHC are offering the women of the community an opportunity to do just that at the Rally for Cancer Care fundraiser at Muskeg Meadows on Aug. 5. The event will feature a luncheon, beverages, prizes, a silent auction and a “fun and frolic” golf tournament — a non-scored, no-skills-necessary take on the game. The tournament is ladies only, but organizer Patty Gilbert said she “wouldn’t mind men attending” the lunch, games and auction. The fundraiser will support the WMC Foundation,...

  • If it's broken, someone will know how to fix it

    Jul 26, 2023

    If there ever was a town well suited to a fix-it clinic, it’s Wrangell. The community’s residents pride themselves on adapting, making do with what is available, repairing and reusing and repurposing most anything and everything that can find a second or third life on the island. They’re not hand-me-downs. A better way to think of it is good as new, or close enough. Which is why the fix-it clinic tentatively set for mid-August is a perfect fit for Wrangell. It will be the first time for such an organized second-hand revival. The WCA Earth Branc...

  • Time to stop being afraid for no good reason

    Larry Persily Publisher|Jul 26, 2023

    Like many kids, I grew up afraid of lots of things. Maybe I had a longer list than many, but I’m sure they all made sense at the time: Dentists, needles, bees, snakes, putting my head underwater, roller coasters, heights, fastballs thrown anywhere near my head, pimentos stuffed in green olives. I suppose that last one was more a dislike than a fear, but you could always spot my plate at holiday dinners — it was the one with piled-up pimentos that I had carefully picked out of the olives. The dentist scared me so much I would often go wit...

  • Pizza run brings slice of reality to residents of Port Protection

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    When people choose to live in a remote area, they give up certain things like grocery stores, movie theaters and, probably most importantly, pizza deliveries. That's why residents of Port Protection were thrilled when Nic Martin and Brian Schwartz showed up on July 15 with 18 pizzas from Nic's Place pizzeria. Not only was it a chance to expand the reach of Nic's Place and bring some happiness to the community on the north end of Prince of Wales Island about 47 nautical miles west of Wrangell,...

  • Cross country team prepares to run down goals

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    This year’s Wrangell High School cross country team has some big running shoes to fill. Last year, the boys team placed first at regionals and first at state, which was a first-ever accomplishment for the team. Some of those runners are returning and head coach Mason Villarma has big hopes for the athletes. “I think the men will definitely look to repeat a state championship,” he said in an interview on Friday, July 21. “I think the women — Southeast looks really weak — so I think they can win a regional championship. Anything can happen at s...

  • Whale Pass 10-year-old wins medals at national taekwondo tournament

    Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News|Jul 26, 2023

    Whale Pass youngster Jesse Dempsey started practicing taekwondo as a kindergartner with a very simple goal: to help control his temper. In the past five years, Jesse has made strides toward that objective and progressed his skills to the point where he could compete at the international level. And recently the 10-year-old has found plenty of training partners in his small town on Prince of Wales Island. Despite a population that rarely crests above 100 even during the busy summer season, Jesse...

  • Helmet camera films Juneau man's drowning in Mendenhall Lake

    Becky Bohrer, Associated Press|Jul 26, 2023

    A Juneau man inadvertently filmed his own drowning on Mendenhall Lake with a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet, but authorities who recovered the camera have not yet found his body, officials said July 18. Alaska State Troopers said teams would continue to search the lake for the body of Paul Rodriguez Jr., 43. Troopers said a helmet with a camera attached to it that was confirmed to have belonged to Rodriguez was recording on July 11 when his kayak overturned and he went into the water. “The recording continued showing that the kayak o...

  • Assembly, school board, port commission candidacy filing to open

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    At the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 3, the community will head to the polls to share its vision for Wrangell’s future. But before that can happen, engaged community members need to declare their intention to run for elected office. Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 1, eligible candidates will be able to submit their candidacy for one of four available seats. Two three-year seats on the borough assembly will be on the ballot: Anne Morrison and Ryan Howe’s terms end this fall. These elected volunteer positions help guide the direction that the...

  • State loses lawsuit over contaminated lands given to Native corporations

    Alaska Beacon|Jul 26, 2023

    A federal judge on July 18 dismissed a year-old lawsuit by the state against the federal government over liability for contaminated land given to Alaska Native corporations under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. No Alaska Native corporations or Native groups joined the lawsuit, and in an order published July 18, Judge Hezekiah Russel Holland found multiple problems with the state’s arguments, ultimately ruling that they should be dismissed. The state had argued that three prior acts of Congress required the Department of the Int...

  • Canadian wildlife smoke makes brief appearance over Southeast

    Lex Treinen, Chilkat Valley News|Jul 26, 2023

    Canada`s worst-ever wildfire season has choked much of North America with dangerous smoke for months, coupling with deadly heat around the globe in a summer that`s focusing the world`s attention on the perils of climate change. By last week, some 42,000 square miles had burned in Canada — half again more than the entire Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. About 900 fires were actively burning, with only about one-fifth considered under control. “I watch this pretty much 24/7,” Mark Smith, the air quality meteorologist for the Alask...

  • Former resident Clint Miller was on 1952 state championship team

    Jul 26, 2023

    Former Wrangell resident Clint Owen Miller, 87, died April 27 in Sitka. He was born on Nov. 16, 1935, in Hutton Valley, Missouri, to Stanton Miller and Eva (Williams) Miller. His family lived in Missouri and moved to the shipyards near Portland during World War II, then to logging camps in Idaho after the war, finally settling in Wrangell. Clint grew up in Wrangell, attending school and graduating from high school. As a freshman, he played center for the team that beat West Anchorage for the...

  • Alaska leads nation in error rate for determining food stamp benefits

    Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News|Jul 26, 2023

    Recently published federal data shows that Alaska’s payment error rate for administering food stamp benefits was the highest of any state during the past fiscal year. Between October 2021 and September 2022, the Alaska Division of Public Assistance reported a payment error rate of nearly 57%, compared to a national average of 11.5%. Public assistance advocates say the error rate, which measures how accurately a state agency processes federal benefits, sheds light on continued problems at the Alaska Division of Public Assistance, which for n...

  • Pair of former Ketchikan legislators complete 925-mile row from Seattle

    Heidi Ekstrand, Ketchikan Daily News|Jul 26, 2023

    Working together in long, tandem strokes, Terry Gardiner and John Sund rowed beneath looming cruise ships along Ketchikan's waterfront on July 10, then turned into Bar Harbor to meet a couple dozen friends and family waiting for them on shore. It was the end of a 925-mile rowing trip from Seattle to Ketchikan for the two men, born and raised in Ketchikan, now in their 70s. The two have been partners in personal and professional escapades for years. Gardiner served in the Alaska House of...

  • Alaska signs Republican letter opposing federal rule to protect medical records

    James Brooks, Alaska Beacon|Jul 26, 2023

    Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor joined 18 other Republican attorneys general last month in a letter calling on the federal government to preserve state governments’ access to private medical records. That access could be used to restrict access to abortion and gender transition care. The attorneys general are opposing a proposed federal rule that would “prevent private medical records from being used against people for merely seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating lawful reproductive health care.” Idaho, which has criminalized abort...

  • Police report

    Jul 26, 2023

    Monday, July 17 Welfare check: Person was fine. Tuesday, July 18 Summons service. Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Agency assist: Warrant. Lost property. Wednesday, July 19 Theft. Agency assist: Department of Transportation. Agency assist: Ambulance. Agency assist: Wrangell Medical Center. Traffic hazard: Two juveniles on scooters in Shoemaker parking lot crossed in front of a vehicle and were almost hit. Dog complaint: Citation issued for objectionable animal. Thursday, July 20 Unsecured premises: Truck door left open. Agency assist:...

  • Medical student comes to town through rural health care program

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 26, 2023

    A medical student is visiting the Wrangell Medical Center for a month this summer to learn more about rural medicine and prepare herself for a future as a physician in Alaska. Christine Richter, who recently finished her first year at the University of Washington School of Medicine, arrived in town July 22 and will stay until Aug. 19. "I was so happy when I saw I got placed here (in Wrangell)," she said. Though she was born and raised in Anchorage, she hasn't had the opportunity to explore much...

  • Classified ads

    Jul 26, 2023

    LAND FOR SALE Two Stikine River properties on west side of Farm Island in King Slough: 200-foot frontage, 6-plus acres, $80,000; 8-acre backlot, lots of good access, $60,000. Can access the main river at any stage of tide. Willing to finance. Call 907-518-0101....

  • Harvesting beach plants can teach healthy lessons for life

    Vivian Faith Prescott|Jul 26, 2023

    We're harvesting goose tongue to dry for distribution to local elders. I'm also going to experiment with pickling it. Goose tongue is a beach plant called suktéitl' in the Lingít language, hlgit'ún t'áangal in Xaad Kíl, the Haida language, and its scientific name is Plantago maritima. It's known as sea-plantain and saltgrass. Goose tongue is found in Alaska, Arctic regions, Europe, Northwest Africa, parts of Asia and South America. There are four other subspecies of goose tongue found thro...

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