Articles from the September 21, 2022 edition


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  • Borough works to reduce need for property taxes to repay bonds

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    Officials believe the borough can cover the entire annual debt payment on $3.5 million in school maintenance bonds by taking advantage of strong sales tax revenues and higher federal aid payments — without turning to property taxes. State lease payments for the community’s jail and investment earnings from Wrangell’s $10 million permanent fund savings account could help reduce the tax cost of the other bond issue on the Oct. 4 municipal election ballot — $8.5 million for rebuild and repair to the rot-damaged Public Safety Building — according...

  • Wrangell to go without ferry service 3 weeks in January

    Sentinel staff|Sep 21, 2022

    Wrangell will be without ferry service from Jan. 10 to Feb. 3 under the fall/winter schedule released by the Alaska Marine Highway System last week. The rest of the seven months covered by the schedule includes a weekly stop in each direction in Wrangell, with the bonus of a second northbound and southbound sailing one week a month when the ferry travels only as far south as Prince Rupert, British Columbia, instead of the longer round-trip voyage to Bellingham, Washington. The three-week break in service to Wrangell in January is scheduled as...

  • Retired teacher recalls a royal lunch with Queen Elizabeth II

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    A nine-course lunch in 1965 left an indelible mark on the memory of a young teacher from Denver. Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8 at the age of 96, but she left an historical legacy that included a meal with Jacquie Dozier. Though it was just an afternoon in the 70-year reign of Britain's monarch, it profoundly affected Dozier and created a memory to last her lifetime. Dozier, now retired and living in Wrangell, began her teaching career at the age of 19. She was born in Michigan, made her...

  • Court says Metlakatla tribe can fish outside reserve boundaries

    Eric Stone, KRBD radio, Ketchikan|Sep 21, 2022

    A federal appeals court has ruled that Metlakatla tribal members shouldn’t need state permits to fish in waters they’ve traditionally relied on — even outside their reservation’s boundaries. The decision is a major victory in the tribe’s decades-long fight for fishing rights. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ 28-page opinion on Sept. 8 is broad and unambiguous: The 1891 law that created Metlakatla’s reservation gives tribal members the right to fish in areas near Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island, outside the boundaries of the Annett...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry|Sep 21, 2022

    Sept. 21, 1922 The Wrangell Parent-Teacher Association held its first meeting for the school year last Thursday night. There was a good attendance. Several matters pertaining to the welfare of the school were discussed. Two musical numbers by an orchestra comprised wholly of members of the W.L. Gross family were greatly appreciated. Charles W. Hawkesworth, superintendent for the Bureau of Education for Southeast Alaska, was present, and upon invitation made a short talk which was full of...

  • 'Strengthen Your Spirit' program combines physical fitness and cultural values

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    Exuberant shouts resounded in the Evergreen Elementary gym last Thursday night as a group of nine young runners, between the third and fifth grades, bounded into the room for another session of I Toowú Klatseen, a running program for youth that combines athletic activity with Tlingit language learning and cultural education. The group settled into a circle to learn about the Tlingit subsistence lifestyle, healthy foods and the importance of having respect for the plants and animals we eat. Kim Wickman, a program volunteer, instructed the...

  • Tanner Thomassen bags first moose after trying 15 years

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    Last Thursday afternoon, Tanner Thomassen, 27, shot Wrangell's first moose of the season on Andrew Island in the Stikine River. The moose is also Thomassen's first - he has been trying to bag one since the fifth grade, and after 15 years of effort, he was finally in the right place at the right time. "I was in a tree and I saw a calf," he said. "I thought that was all there was, so we were ready to crawl down the tree and go down to another spot." Thankfully for Thomassen, he stayed put long eno...

  • Otter attacks Sitka swimmer, biting at his feet

    Garland Kennedy, Sitka Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    As he neared the end of an ocean swim just south of Sitka earlier this month, Dean Orbison felt a pain in his foot and thought he’d kicked a rock. But when the pain recurred, he stopped to look around and was startled by what he saw. A river otter was in hot pursuit and biting at his feet. “I was about 50 yards from the boat on my way back and I felt something bite at my foot and I turned around and thought, ‘That was weird.’ But I didn’t see anything. I thought I must have just kicked a rock, because I was in a really shallow rocky place. ...

  • Vote yes on mill property

    Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    Wrangell should vote yes on Oct. 4, giving the borough permission to sell or lease the former 6-Mile sawmill property — if a private developer steps forward. This isn’t a final vote on a development plan, and any sale or lease would require borough assembly approval, a public hearing and a lot of public information. This is a let’s-be-prepared vote to save time in case the borough receives an offer. It would allow borough officials to negotiate a sale or lease and present it to the assembly for a public hearing and consideration without havin...

  • Good move on ferry pricing

    Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    The Sentinel often criticizes state ferry system management for bad decisions. But now it’s time to praise them for a good decision. Dropping the “dynamic pricing” structure for ferry service this fall and winter, October through April, is the right thing to do. There was nothing dynamically well-liked about the 3-year-old pricing system that added a surcharge of 5% to 50% on passenger, vehicle and stateroom ticket prices on popular sailings. The state was trying to run the ferry system like an airline, charging more as the ships fill up. Unlik...

  • They love their phones far too much

    Larry Persily Publisher|Sep 21, 2022

    I promise, this will be the first and only column I write that makes fun of how people behave in Washington, D.C. Well, maybe I’ll write another one someday if I see something that is so silly it’s worth sharing with readers. OK, I guess then it’s pretty likely there will be another, but I absolutely, positively promise this will be the last one that laughs at people and their addiction to so-called smartphones. I don’t know why we call them smartphones when they make people act so dumb. I arrived in Washington, D.C., last week to start m...

  • Vote no on bond issues, use borough staff to start repair work

    Sep 21, 2022

    At the current time, I am opposed to the bond measures and associated tax increase that are on the municipal election ballot. We could and should spend at least a year applying our current workforce to doing maintenance and repair to see what we can accomplish out of pocket. There is a lot we can do to improve our infrastructure without great expense or obligation (bonds). We can look at bonding for additional work at a later date, while improving the quality of life for our community immediately. We need to ask: Do we really want to increase a...

  • Democrats ignore reality in their statements

    Sep 21, 2022

    In his letter to the editor of Sept. 14, John Morse alleges former President Donald Trump is a fascist dictator whose attempted “installation” by MAGA culprits fortunately failed Jan. 6, 2021. Morse also thinks MAGA does not make sense because “America is still great.” If that is the case, why have top Democrats starting with former President Barack Obama insisted that America must fundamentally change? Change to what? G. Orwell’s utopia “1984” where contradictory statements like “war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength” ar...

  • Sharing Our Knowledge conference was a success with community help

    Sep 21, 2022

    The members of the Sharing Our Knowledge organizing committee extend our gratitude to all those in Wrangell who helped us in the production of a conference that exceeded our fondest hopes. This was the 11th Sharing Our Knowledge conference since 1993, which we have endeavored since 2007 to hold every two years. In Wrangell, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 7, with the “Warming of the Hands” ceremony of welcome at Chief Shakes House and concluding on Sunday, Sept. 11, with a visit to Anan Creek, roughly 250 people participated as audience or pre...

  • Researchers find 11,000-year-old fish weir off Prince of Wales Island

    KINY radio Juneau|Sep 21, 2022

    A team of scientists exploring an underwater region of southern Southeast Alaska has discovered what might be the oldest stone fish weir ever found in the world. The existence of the fish trap, which is thought to date to at least 11,100 years ago, was confirmed earlier this year by a group of university academics and Sunfish Inc., a robotics company specializing in undersea exploration and inspection. The scientists, in partnership with Sealaska Heritage Institute, are using artificial intelligence to explore ancient, submerged caves in the...

  • Typhoon leaves behind extensive flooding in Western Alaska

    Anchorage Daily News|Sep 21, 2022

    The remnants of a massive Pacific typhoon that battered a thousand-mile stretch of Western Alaska dissipated Sunday morning, with floodwaters dropping and communities assessing damage from one of the worst storms on record. The storm left a trail of wreckage across coastal Alaska, with flooding, telecommunications outages and damage to buildings and infrastructure including roads, docks, seawalls and village runways. As of Monday morning, there were no reports of deaths, serious injuries or people missing, said National Weather Service...

  • Parks and Recreation strengthens weight room options with new equipment

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    It's taken a few years of requests and planning, but the community center weight room finally has new equipment, freeing up valuable space and increasing safety. Two metal frames allow users to do pull-ups, triceps dips, landmines, seated rows and many other exercises, helping to create targeted workouts. A survey was conducted to identify the value of each piece of equipment in the weight room before the upgrade was made. Free weights were unanimously chosen as the most used items. However,...

  • Wrangell boys take second place at Ketchikan cross country meet

    Sentinel staff|Sep 21, 2022

    The Wrangell High School cross country boys team placed second at the Ketchikan Invitational at Ward Lake last Saturday. Sophomore Daniel Harrison once again led the Wolves, coming in fourth place overall with a time of 16:44.91. Harrison was outpaced by just over a second by Sitka's Trey Demmert, who placed third at 16:43.20. First and second place went to Sitka's Silas Demmert and Annan Weiland, respectively. Wrangell's Boomchain Loucks placed ninth at 17:40.25 out of 88 runners, followed by...

  • First-place finish and personal bests highlight Ketchikan swim meet

    Sentinel staff|Sep 21, 2022

    The Wrangell High School swim team competed in two meets at the Ketchikan Invitational competition last weekend, with junior Jack Roberts leading the team with a first-, second- and fifth-place finish. Competing against eight other high schools from throughout Southeast, Wrangell's swimmers had many personal bests and cut down their times significantly, coach Jamie Roberts said. "I'm proud of their performances," she said. "They posted some nice times for an early season meet. They are excited to see what they can do with nine more days of work...

  • Alex Angerman to push for day care, community outreach

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    Alex Angerman, CARES Act coordinator for the Wrangell Cooperative Association, is running for borough assembly to improve community outreach and foster youth engagement in municipal government. "The community oftentimes feels like they aren't heard," she said, and she hopes to use her assembly seat to provide a voice for the rising generation. She believes that the borough should increase its social media presence to better connect with the community, and has been actively fielding questions...

  • Robbins wants to encourage students and families to stay in Wrangell

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    Brittani Robbins is running for borough assembly to bolster Wrangell's economic development and stem the out-migration of families and youth from the island. Robbins, 37, is executive director of the chamber of commerce. She has one year of experience in public office as a member of the school board. She was elected to the board last October and intends to keep her seat if elected to the assembly. As a school board member, Robbins said she advocates for students and for non-certified staff,...

  • Powell wants more borough land in private ownership

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    After seven years on the borough assembly, Bay Co. manager David Powell is running for another three-year term. Powell's desire to get land out of the borough's hands was what first motivated him to pursue an assembly seat, and he is running again in hopes of seeing his goals completed. If elected, his primary focuses will be selling or leasing the 6-Mile mill property, which the borough purchased this summer, and the former Wrangell Institute property, which was the site of a federally...

  • Senior Center foundation in need of repair

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    One of the foundational wooden beams under the Senior Center is rotting and will have to be repaired, according to Borough Manager Jeff Good. “There is no immediate threat to life and safety,” Good explained, but he hopes to address the problem quickly. “The more you wait with rot, especially with wood, the worse it gets.” He plans to hire an engineer to assess the damage and design a solution, but he does not yet have details about how soon this assessment will take place. “We typically work with a couple of engineers,” said Good, but since n...

  • Lawyer provides direction on estate planning, protecting assets

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 21, 2022

    What to do with someone's property when they die can be a complicated task involving beneficiaries, a ton of paperwork and the court system. But it doesn't necessarily have to be. Liz Smith, a Juneau-based lawyer specializing in estate planning, gave a presentation last Wednesday to help clear up the often confusing world of wills, asset protection and long-term health care decisions Twelve people of various ages attended the presentation at Irene Ingle Public Library, listening as Smith gave a...

  • Police report

    Sep 21, 2022

    Monday, Sept. 12 Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Reckless driving. Agency assist: Petersburg Police Department. Disturbance. Motor vehicle accident. Agency assist: Petersburg Police Department. Traffic stop: Verbal warning for no tail lights. Motor vehicle accident. Tuesday, Sept. 13 Assault: Domestic violence. Agency assist: Ambulance. Wednesday, Sept. 14 Disturbance: Arrest for assault. Scam. Found property. Traffic stop. Thursday, Sept. 15 Agency assist: Ambulance. Agency assist: Harbor Department. Found property. Traffic stop....

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