Articles from the April 29, 2021 edition


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  • Governor, lawmakers agree to use federal aid to boost ferry system

    Sentinel staff|Apr 29, 2021

    Nearly $77 million in federal pandemic relief funds would be used to cover the state contribution to the Alaska Marine Highway System operating budget through Dec. 31, 2022, bringing more certainty to scheduling the vessels, under a deal worked out between the governor and legislators. The money would come from the transportation section of a $900 billion relief bill passed by Congress in December. The governor announced the funding plan while in Ketchikan last Thursday. The federal money, when...

  • Never miss a sunny day

    Apr 29, 2021

    Alyssa Coleman enjoys her Monday afternoon with a book outside City Hall. Wrangell reached a sunny 61 degrees on Monday, far from the record of 72 but still several degrees above average for the day. Sadly, the good weather did not last, with rain Tuesday and rain mostly forecast through Monday....

  • Trident will not reopen this summer, cites low chum numbers

    Caleb Vierkant|Apr 29, 2021

    Trident Seafoods has notified city officials the company will not reopen its Wrangell plant this summer. Plant manager Nick Ohmer called on Tuesday with the expected news, Borough Manager Lisa Von Bargen told the assembly at its evening meeting. "I had a conversation with him about what it would take to get the plant back open here in Wrangell," Von Bargen said. Ohmer responded that the seafood processor would need "to see somewhere between 40% and 50% more fish chums than were projected to retu...

  • Matanuska breakdown fourth since February

    Larry Persily|Apr 29, 2021

    The 58-year-old Matanuska has been at the dock in Ketchikan since Sunday morning, waiting for repairs, and is not expected to return to service until Saturday. It is the ship's fourth mechanical breakdown since February, stranding passengers and imposing costs and delays on travelers with few options. "The Matanuska is still in Ketchikan awaiting parts for repair of the starboard engine," the Alaska Marine Highway System reported in a website posting Tuesday afternoon. "It is anticipated the vessel will get underway northbound Saturday...

  • The Way We Were

    Apr 29, 2021

    April 28, 1921 Four mining load claims located on Zarembo Island, about 20 miles from Wrangell, were recorded at the courthouse this week. The claims are designated as Zarembo load claims Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and are located on the northeasterly corner of the island about one mile up the creek from the water. There is an excellent harbor less than two miles from where the claims are located, and the big steamers pass within sight of the property on their regular course. The locators are Messrs. Ed Cox, Tom W. Baker, E. Sholin and W.P. Shotridge....

  • Legislature, governor focus on spending federal pandemic aid

    The Associated Press and Sentinel staff|Apr 29, 2021

    Legislators will focus the next few weeks on how to spend $1.02 billion in federal pandemic relief destined for the state treasury, with last week's opening acts of the fiscal play showing somewhat different budgetary scripts from the House majority coalition and the governor. Both proposals would direct money to construction projects, the tourism industry and repairing Alaska's damaged economy, though at differing funding levels. The House plan also would direct funds to communities worst hit by the pandemic. And while House leadership has...

  • Cleanup volunteers fill 10 dumpsters

    Sentinel staff|Apr 29, 2021

    About 70 people came out for Saturday's Wrangell Community Cleanup, about 10 more than usual, said organizer Valerie Massie. There was no cleanup in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the annual event was brought back this spring, sending volunteers around the city to pick up trash. Massie said participants filled 146 bags with trash in a half-day of work, enough for 10 full dumpsters and four truckloads of large items like metal and mattresses. Organizer Kim Wickman said there was not one...

  • Correction

    Apr 29, 2021

    Due to an editor’s error, the Sentinel misspelled Issabella Crowley’s name in the credit line for the northern lights photo on Page 12 of the April 22 newspaper....

  • From the publisher: Lack of fiscal plan adds to Alaska's struggles

    Larry Persily Publisher|Apr 29, 2021

    "Confidence in an economy matters," Dan Robinson, research chief at the state Department of Labor, told the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month. "There is an economic cost of not solving these problems." He was talking with legislators about the state's job loss, population loss, economic loss and inability to agree on a fiscal plan to pay for public services long term. For most of the past 30 years, Alaska has taken from savings, prayed for high oil prices and rejoiced at any...

  • Editorial: Spend federal aid to do the most good

    The Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 29, 2021

    With more than $1 billion in federal pandemic aid heading to the state treasury, Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Alaska's 60 legislators are busy figuring out the best way to spend the money. Our elected leaders need to stick with spending decisions that will do the most long-term good for communities, resisting the temptation of politically popular cash payouts to individuals. It's disturbing to hear talk among some elected officials in the Capitol that the federal money could be used - in a roundabout...

  • Opinion: Southeast cities should band together to operate ferries

    Frank Murkowski|Apr 29, 2021

    I saw a falling star last night and it reminded me of our Alaska Marine Highway System. Both are in a free fall. We cannot do much about the star, but maybe we can rescue our ferry system. We cannot continue to serve coastal communities with an ever-increasing subsidy. Significant fare increases have caused a substantial decline in ridership, fewer sailings and fewer ships operating. More than half of the fleet is laid up. Rather than elaborate as to the failures of past and current...

  • Wolves bring home six regional wrestling titles

    Caleb Vierkant|Apr 29, 2021

    The Wrangell Wolves wrestling team continued its strong season last weekend with several wrestlers taking first place in Southeast regionals and then making a solid showing the next day at the Bill Weiss Tournament, also in Ketchikan. Several wrestlers also claimed high state rankings. "Really happy about the weekend, it was genuinely a good time," Assistant Coach Jack Carney said. Six Wrangell wrestlers took first place in their respective weight divisions: Liana Carney, Jamie Early, Mia...

  • Wrangell competes for mileage against Petersburg and Juneau

    Sentinel staff|Apr 29, 2021

    Wrangell, Petersburg and Juneau residents are competing to see who can walk, hike or run the farthest - without ever leaving town. "Bragging rights will go to the community that walks/hikes/runs the most miles (average miles per person)," the Wrangell Parks and Recreation website says. Juneau Parks and Recreation, which started Walk Southeast last year to keep people active during the pandemic, invited Wrangell and Petersburg to join up this year, giving the event a friendly competitive alure...

  • Police updating roadkill charity list

    Sentinel staff|Apr 29, 2021

    With warmer weather, the Wrangell Police Department is expecting roadkill to increase. With that, they are hoping to update their charity list for recovering and sharing the deer meat. Chief Tom Radke said the department's list currently has less than 10 names, and anybody interested in being added to the list just has to give them a call. When there is a report of roadkill with salvageable meat, he said the department will start calling names on the list to see if anybody wants it. The list helps keep the roads clean, while making sure good...

  • Tire compound in road runoff may endanger salmon

    Laine Welch|Apr 29, 2021

    Are toxins from road runoff a threat to salmon in Anchorage’s most popular fishing streams? A GoFundMe campaign has been launched so Alaskans can chip in to find out. The push stems from an organic compound in tires called quinone that was newly identified by researchers at the University of Washington, said Birgit Hagedorn, a geochemist and longtime board member of the Anchorage Waterways Council. “The little flakes that rub off of tires, especially larger truck tires, can be transported into the streams via stormwater. And they leach out the...

  • Police report

    Apr 29, 2021

    Monday, April 19 Traffic stop: Citation issued for failure to stop at stop sign. Tuesday, April 20 Dog complaint. Concerned citizen. Traffic stop. Wednesday, April 21 Agency assist: Fire department. Abandon vehicle. Inmate medical. Agency assist: Fire alarm. Thursday, April 22 Agency assist: Harbor department. Agency assist: Fire department. Welfare check: All was good. Agency assist: Court. Friday, April 23 Agency assist: Hoonah police. Found property. Dog at large. Dog at large. Inmate booking. Traffic stop: Citation issued for failure to...

  • House approves early school funding; Senate action uncertain

    The Associated Press and Sentinel staff|Apr 29, 2021

    The Alaska House of Representatives has passed a bill intended to prevent teacher layoffs the next two years with early appropriation of state funding to local school operating budgets. Though helpful in its intent to provide funding certainty to school districts, it does not solve the budget problems of districts, such as Wrangell, that have seen steep enrollment drops during the pandemic. State funding for local schools is based on their annual student count. In previous years, late budget action by the Legislature has forced some school...

  • Anti-mask state senator takes to the highway after airline ban

    The Associated Press and Sentinel staff|Apr 29, 2021

    Alaska Airlines has banned an anti-mask state senator for refusing to follow federal law and airline policy requiring face masks. "We have notified Senator Lora Reinbold that she is not permitted to fly with us for her continued refusal to comply with employee instruction regarding the current mask policy," spokesman Tim Thompson said in a prepared statement Saturday, adding that the suspension was effective immediately. Reinbold, an Eagle River Republican in her ninth year as a state...

  • Alaska Native Celebration plans return for next year

    Apr 29, 2021

    JUNEAU (AP) - Celebration, a four-day dance-and-cultural event billed as the largest gathering of Alaska Natives in Southeast Alaska, will return next year as an in-person event after widespread immunizations in the nation’s largest state, organizers said April 22. Sealaska Heritage Institute said the event celebrating Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures will be held in Juneau from June 8-11, 2022. The institute’s board of directors decided to return to an in-person event after the release of coronavirus vaccines, widespread imm...

  • Alaska shares vaccine doses with residents of Stewart, BC

    Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press|Apr 29, 2021

    HYDER - Gov. Mike Dunleavy has offered COVID-19 vaccines to residents of the small British Columbia town of Stewart, with hopes it could lead the Canadian government to ease border restrictions between Stewart and the tiny Alaska town of Hyder a couple miles away. "We couldn't ask for better neighbors than the Canadians. But ... their (virus) mitigating approaches have affected us greatly by slowing down traffic, limiting traffic," Dunleavy told The Associated Press as he ended a long day of...

  • Investigators determine pilots' vision obscured in 2019 midair collision

    Apr 29, 2021

    JUNEAU (AP) - Two planes collided while on sightseeing flights near Ketchikan in 2019 because the pilots’ views were obscured and aircraft-tracking systems failed to warn them about the other aircraft, federal investigators concluded April 20. Six people died and 10 people survived the May 13, 2019, midair collision. The National Transportation Safety Board in its probable-cause finding determined that the limitations of the “see and avoid” concept prevented the pilots from seeing each other before the collision. The board also cited a lack...

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