Articles from the December 23, 2021 edition


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  • Assembly approves money to drill into upper dam to figure out a fix

    Sarah Aslam|Dec 23, 2021

    Wrangell’s water reservoir dams need fixing, and the borough assembly last week approved spending $100,000 to help determine the best options. The state dam safety engineer at the Department of Natural Resources has identified Wrangell’s upper and lower dams as Class I (high) hazard potential with recognized deficiencies that require rehabilitation, said the borough’s Capital Facilities Director Amber Al-Haddad. A stability study performed for the U.S. Forest Service in 1993 and a 2006 seismic study for the borough both indicated that while...

  • Wrangell receives 200 at-home COVID test kits, with promise of more

    Marc Lutz|Dec 23, 2021

    Two hundred at-home COVID-19 test kits were delivered to Wrangell’s emergency operations center last Friday, and more will soon be on the way. Capt. Dorianne Sprehe, of the EOC, said the fire department received the kits via SEARHC, and is making them available free to anyone who requests them. “We’ve already handed out a couple over the weekend,” Sprehe said on Monday. The kits are available to pick up any time at the fire hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. People who plan on large gatherings, especially those with friends...

  • Community supports organizations helping others

    Marc Lutz|Dec 23, 2021

    Fundraising efforts are a year-round task for most organizations, but during the holidays those efforts are increased. People in Wrangell are willing to give their time, energy and money to support everything from the food pantry and pets to high school athletes. A pressing need "This community, hand over fist, is one of the most generous communities I've ever had the privilege to work in," said Lt. Jon Tollerud, of The Salvation Army. The Christian-based organization coordinates the community...

  • Health care providers prescribe recreation; SEARHC helps pay the bill

    Sarah Aslam|Dec 23, 2021

    Eat your fruits and veggies, move around plenty and drink lots of water – a combination of these recommendations have come from health care providers for generations. Doctors have always told patients exercise is important, said Dr. Victor Sanoe Harrison, lead hospitalist at Wrangell Medical Center under the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. What's new is that an entity like SEARHC is helping to pay the costs for exercise. "Exercise has been prescribed forever," Harrison said, "just f...

  • The Way We Were

    The Wrangell Sentinel|Dec 23, 2021

    Dec. 22, 1921 A live Chamber of Commerce for Wrangell promises to be a reality. Last week, half a dozen citizens who styled themselves organizers sent out invitations to the business and professional men of the town to attend a meeting in the Wrangell Hotel dining room. The meeting was called to order by Mayor Grant. Leo McCormack was elected temporary chairman. The chairman called for the reading of some correspondence which the organization committee had with the Juneau Commercial Club. The correspondence showed that the Juneau organization...

  • Governor's budget relies on high oil prices, federal aid

    The Wrangell Sentinel and The Associated Press|Dec 23, 2021

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy last week outlined what he called a responsible budget proposal that doesn’t dip into savings, bolsters law enforcement and calls for direct payments of about $3,700 to residents amid an unsettled dispute with lawmakers over the future of the state’s dividend program. But the budget relies on high oil prices to help pay the bills and is heavily dependent on one-time federal pandemic aid dollars to help cover the cost of public services usually paid out of state funds, such as the Alaska Marine Highway System. The budget pla...

  • SEARHC continues free COVID testing under state contract

    Larry Persily|Dec 23, 2021

    SEARHC soon will move into its second year of providing free COVID-19 testing for Wrangell residents and visitors to the community. The testing is covered under a state contract that had been scheduled to stop Dec. 31 but which has been extended to the end of the state budget year June 30, said Carly Allen, hospital administrator for the SEARHC-operated Wrangell Medical Center. The state-funded tests for travelers and community members who are not showing any symptoms of the virus are available from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday at...

  • Children show adults the holiday spirit

    Larry Persily Publisher|Dec 23, 2021

    Maybe we need to pay more attention to what kids are saying. Especially around the holidays, when adults can get wrapped up in ribbons and bows and sometimes forget it is the thought, not the gift that really matters. Youth and innocence make for honest, direct answers. Funny ones, too. No politically calculated holiday greetings from these children. Sure, they’re kids, so they want toys and games and anything electronic. But in their heartfelt letters to Santa, Wrangell elementary school students told us what’s important to them and what sho...

  • Give the holiday gift of a healthy life

    The Wrangell Sentinel|Dec 23, 2021

    If the almost 5.5 million deaths from COVID-19 worldwide seem remote and irrelevant in Wrangell; if you feel a safe distance from the 805,000 deaths across the United States; and if the 946 deaths reported in Alaska as of Monday don’t touch anyone in your life, then think about your closer neighbors. State records show COVID-19 as a cause of death for 14 people in Ketchikan, 15 in Juneau, six in Sitka, three in Petersburg, six in Prince of Wales Island communities and Hyder, three in Angoon, Hoonah and Yakutat, and one in Wrangell. That’s alm...

  • Borough will need to replace barge ramp

    Sarah Aslam|Dec 23, 2021

    The out-of-commission barge ramp where Wrangell usually unloads its freight needs to be replaced. Until that happens, repairs will suffice. A 2011 condition assessment of the barge ramp estimated it had another 10 to 15 years of useful life remaining before reaching a point where it would have degraded enough that it may no longer be considered safe to use, Port Director Steve Miller wrote in his report to the port commission’s Dec. 16 meeting. Miller estimates replacing the ramp could cost $2 million. A timeline will be dependent on f...

  • Freight rate study shows 4.5% average annual cost increase

    Sarah Aslam|Dec 23, 2021

    The results of a $7,300 study the borough commissioned in October to take a closer look at the cost of shipping goods by barge to Wrangell shows the average annual increase in marine freight costs from Seattle to Southeast Alaska from 2006 to 2021 was 4.5%, based on published rate tariffs. The global cost of marine freight has increased at an average rate of 5.7% annually, excluding 2021, while the Consumer Price Index has increased at 2.3% annually. The 12 Wrangell businesses Rain Coast Data surveyed for the report, representing some of Wrange...

  • Borough settling scope of work for inspecting former Institute property

    Sarah Aslam|Dec 23, 2021

    The contractor hired by the borough for survey and design work of the former Institute property has signed up a subcontractor to advise on historical and archaeological ground searches, which are required before the borough can move ahead with permitting for residential development of the 134-acre site. Interim Borough Manager Jeff Good and Trevor Sande, principal at R&M Engineering, in Ketchikan, which is doing the survey work, have met with representatives of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to...

  • Giving it their best shots

    The Wrangell Sentinel|Dec 23, 2021

    The annual Elks Hoop Shoot was held last Saturday at the community gym. A total of 32 kids turned out to compete in the annual event, with burgers and awards at the Elks after the basketball shots. In the 8- to 9-year-old girls division, Charlie Nelson won first place with six out of 25 baskets. Second place was won by Ayla Harris with four baskets. Kaiya Brevick took third with three. In the 8- to 9-year-old boys division, Malachi Harrison won first with 13. Jude Johnson took second with 12....

  • Wrestlers return with two state champions

    Marc Lutz|Dec 23, 2021

    The Wolves returned to Wrangell a pack victorious. Two state champions added another title to their high school wrestling careers and others chalked up second- and third-place wins after last weekend's state championship tournament in Anchorage. Seniors Ryan Rooney and Liana Carney both bested their opponents to win in their weight classes. Rooney is a two-time state champion with a 21-0 record, and this is the third state title for Carney, who is 19-0. It was a close call for Rooney, though,...

  • Boys' basketball ready to take on competition

    Marc Lutz|Dec 23, 2021

    The squeak of shoes on hardwood. The familiar thump thump thump of a ball on the court. The swish of the net. All of it signals the return of boys' basketball season to Wrangell. And these guys are ready. "We demand a lot of our kids," said Cody Angerman, head coach. "We tell them it doesn't just happen during the season. Playing during the off-season is kind of what separates people, and a lot of these guys take that to heart." Like any other sport, he said, there are those who love it more...

  • Alaskan wins Miss America - first time ever

    The Associated Press|Dec 23, 2021

    UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Emma Broyles, of Anchorage, was crowned Miss America at an event Dec. 16, marking the competition’s 100th anniversary and the first time an Alaskan has won the award. Broyles, 20, won the centennial crown and a $100,000 college scholarship. She emerged as the winner out of 51 contestants representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia at the competition at a Connecticut casino. She is a junior honors student at Arizona State University, where she is majoring in biomedical sciences, according to a report in the...

  • Police report

    Dec 23, 2021

    Monday, Dec. 13 Citizen assist. Domestic violence order violation: Unfounded. Hit and run. Arrest for probation violation. Agency assist: Line crew. Tuesday, Dec. 14 Agency assist: Building maintenance. Agency assist: Elks. Agency assist: Nolan Center. Agency assist: Hoonah Police Department. Wednesday, Dec. 15 Agency assist: Elks alarm. Agency assist: Nolan Center. Civil issue. Thursday, Dec. 16 Traffic stop: Verbal warning given for canceled license. Welfare check. Agency assist: U.S. Forest Service. Parking complaint: Vehicles were moved....

  • State medical officer says COVID 'not done with us'

    Shannon Haugland, Sitka Sentinel|Dec 23, 2021

    Greater access to COVID-19 home testing kits, changes to the state statistics dashboard, and the arrival of the Omicron variant in Alaska were among the topics covered by Dr. Anne Zink in a report to the Sitka Assembly on Dec. 14. “I know the last thing we want is COVID,” said Zink, the state’s chief medical officer. “Man, we are all done with it. Unfortunately, it’s just not done with us.” She said the state’s role is “to provide tools for Alaskans to keep themselves, their families and their communities healthy.” Zink attended the meet...

  • Chuck Helland leaves 38 years of Wrangell family and friends

    Dec 23, 2021

    Clarence "Chuck" E. Helland died Dec. 6 at Wrangell Medical Center. He was 82 years old. "Cancer came back and it took over quickly," the family wrote. He was born April 28, 1939, to Joseph and Leah Helland, in Roosevelt, Montana. Chuck Helland lived in Wrangell for 38 years. He worked as a chipper operator at the 6-Mile sawmill, then as a cannery worker and later served as a steward for the Alaska Marine Highway System. He retired from the state ferries, and with Julie Wigg, "the love of his...

  • Avid gardener Leona Davidson dies at 86

    Dec 23, 2021

    Leona Kohler Davidson, a 15-year resident of Wrangell, died Nov. 22, at age 86. She was born May 30, 1935, to Leo James Kohler and Delia Nikolai, in Talkeetna. Davidson moved to Wrangell in 2006 after retiring as a statistician for the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. She was an avid gardener all her life. "We did moose hunting trips and fishing trips, camping too," her family wrote. She believed in God and was a spiritual person, but was not affiliated with a church. Her husband,...

  • Rare sea eagle spotted a long way from home

    The Associated Press|Dec 23, 2021

    TAUNTON RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Far away from its home in Asia, a rare Steller’s sea eagle was spotted by 200 bird watchers around Taunton River, Massachusetts on Dec. 20. The eagle is reportedly the same one that went off course a year ago and has been spotted in Alaska and Canada. Flocks of bird watchers in the Northeast said they traveled hours to the river to catch a glimpse of the eagle in what they said was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Steller’s sea eagles, native to Russia, China, Korea and Japan, have wingspans of up to 8 feet and weigh...

  • Former resident Warren Powers dies at 85

    Dec 23, 2021

    Former Wrangell resident Warren Deville Powers Jr., 85, passed away Dec. 3 in Azle, Texas. Powers was born in Seattle on Dec. 4, 1935, to Warren D. and Isabelle Powers Sr. He grew up in Wrangell, commercial fishing with his dad and working in the logging industry. He later moved to Anchorage and then to Texas with his wife, Sylvia. He lived in Texas for 34 years and was a long-haul truck driver, mostly driving to the East Coast but also all 50 states and Canada. Powers was preceded in death by...

  • Processors boost prices paid for sockeye salmon

    Laine Welch|Dec 23, 2021

    Strong global and U.S. demand for sockeye salmon has 2021 pushed prices to near record highs and boosted fishermen’s paychecks. Both Silver Bay and Peter Pan Seafoods a few weeks ago increased their base prices to fishermen to $1.45 per pound, a 20-cent increase from the summer. Other Alaska companies are likely to follow suit. That compares to a final price in 2020 of just $1.06 “Obviously, the base price is announced earlier in the season. Now that we can see where sales are going and really have a confident look, we’re excited to celeb...

  • Fisheries Council votes to limit trawl fleet bycatch of halibut

    Garland Kennedy, Siutka Sentinel|Dec 23, 2021

    Halibut bycatch by the Bering Sea trawl fleet could be reduced by up to one-third following a vote by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. After days of deliberation and public testimony at the online council meeting, the members voted 8-3 on Monday to link the prohibited-species catch limit of Bering Sea halibut to the abundance of the fish, thereby lowering trawl fleet bycatch when there are fewer halibut. Fishermen and stakeholders from across coastal Alaska testified in support of a steep reduction in the allowed halibut...

  • Dear Santa letters from Wrangell children

    Dec 23, 2021

    Letters from Matt Nore’s kindergarten/first grade class Isaac wrote: “I would like the Avengers tool box, a remote control swim car for my brother, a new phone for my dad, and a makeup kit for my mom.” Rosslyn: “I would like an easel for painting, a new painting set, and a gnome for mom's garden. Kailani: “I would like a pink teddy bear.” Peyton: “I would like a headset for video games, and three plane tickets to New Jersey.” Emma: “I would like an Amico robot and for my whole family to be together for the holidays.” Chloe: “I would like a rea...

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