(200) stories found containing 'public safety building'


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  • Manager tells assembly it's time to reduce spending

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 12, 2024

    Sales tax revenues came in under projections for the first three months of the year, an indication of a weakening economy and a worrisome sign for the community, Borough Manager Mason Villarma said last week. “We’re at that point we’re going to have to trim things down,” he told the assembly at a budget work session Wednesday, June 5. Mayor Patty Gilbert called the manager’s draft spending plan “the leanest budget” she has seen. In addition to proposing laying off two of the police department’s seven-member force of certified officers, Villa...

  • Public Safety Building could get new roof if federal money comes through

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    If Sen. Lisa Murkowski is successful in her request for a congressional appropriation for $2 million in federal grant money to help repair Wrangell’s Public Safety Building, the borough might be able to replace the roof and damaged siding next year. Though the rot-damaged building needs a lot more work than just the roof and siding, Borough Manager Mason Villarma said the new plan is to start with a scaled-down project and add more repairs, rebuilds and equipment replacements later. “We plan to trim down the scale of the project,” he said...

  • Murkowski includes Wrangell projects in 500-plus Alaska requests

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|May 22, 2024

    Funding to repair and rebuild Wrangell’s Public Safety Building is her top priority for federal aid for the community, said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. It’s among the more than 500 requests for federal money the state’s senior senator has submitted for inclusion in a dozen different appropriation bills that Congress will consider for the federal fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. The requests from across the state total about $2.5 billion, Murkowski said in an interview May 16. “Believe me, we won’t g...

  • Legislature approves budget with money for Wrangell projects

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|May 15, 2024

    Several of Wrangell’s requests are included in the state capital budget of public works projects that the Legislature approved last week, sending the spending plan to the governor for signature into law or veto. Unless the governor uses his veto powers to eliminate or reduce the appropriations, Wrangell would receive $5 million toward stabilization work at the earthen dams that hold back the community’s water reservoirs; $200,000 to start planning what’s being called an “escape route” for Zimovia Highway residents to drive across the island to...

  • U.S. increases focus on cases of missing or dead Native Americans

    Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press|May 8, 2024

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was a frigid winter morning when authorities found a Native American man dead on a remote gravel road in western New Mexico. He was lying on his side, with only one sock on, his clothes were gone and his shoes tossed in the snow. There were trails of blood on both sides of his body and it appeared he had been struck in the head. Investigators retraced the man’s steps, gathering security camera footage that showed him walking near a convenience store miles away in Gallup, an economic hub in an otherwise rural area bor...

  • Wrangell may receive state funds to start planning emergency route

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 17, 2024

    The state capital budget approved by the Alaska Senate last week includes $200,000 for the borough to start planning an emergency access route for when Zimovia Highway is blocked by landslides or other disasters. The route would connect the old logging road at Pats Creek on the west side of Wrangell Island to the Spur Road on the island’s east side. The borough estimates the total cost of design and construction at roughly $5 million, and requested $500,000 in state funding to start planning and design work. The Senate approved the capital proj...

  • Assembly hires Villarma, who talks of growth and prosperity for borough

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 27, 2024

    Mason Villarma, the interim borough manager since November, is no longer interim: The assembly has agreed to offer him the job. In an executive session March 19, the assembly interviewed three applicants - two from out of state - and ultimately decided to proceed with contract negotiations with Villarma. Mayor Patty Gilbert and Vice Mayor David Powell will negotiate a contract, which will likely come before the assembly for approval at the April 9 meeting. Villarma went to work as finance...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 6, 2024

    March 6, 1924 The leap year edition of the Stikine Messenger, published on the 29th of February by the girls of the high school, was a splendid six-page paper and reflected much credit on the girls and their adviser, Miss Alice Carlson, teacher of English and history, and could be shown with pride by any school. When it is considered that the total enrollment of the high school is only 25, the achievement of the girls is even more remarkable. The high school boys will issue the March edition of the Messenger and they make no secret of the fact...

  • Borough readvertises manager job after first round comes up empty

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 31, 2024

    After coming up with no viable candidates in the first round of applications, the borough assembly has decided to readvertise to fill the manager job. The borough received seven applications after posting the job last fall, but the only applicant who was selected for an interview already had accepted another job before Wrangell called back, Mayor Patty Gilbert explained last week. Jeff Good resigned as borough manager last fall to take a civil engineering job with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs; he has three college degrees in...

  • Murkowski will push for federal aid to help with hillside monitoring

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 3, 2024

    Alaska's senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, told community leaders she will push for federal funding to bolster monitoring efforts of hillsides out the road. "What we need to have is greater monitoring and greater data that will help inform. That is something that I'm committed to working on," she said at a meeting with borough officials on Dec. 20 in Wrangell. "How do you give people that certainty that your home sitting on the beach where you thought you were always safe, and now you're looking...

  • Governor's budget includes $5 million for Wrangell dam repairs

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Dec 20, 2023

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed state budget for legislative consideration starting in January includes $5 million to strengthen the century-old earthen dams that contain Wrangell’s water reservoirs. The state grant would pay to “reinforce both these dams with buttresses,” likely concrete, Interim Borough Manager Mason Villarma said Dec. 15. The governor released his version of the budget on Dec. 14. Lawmakers will reconvene in Juneau on Jan. 16, with the state spending plan likely to dominate the 121-day session. Villarma and other borough...

  • Governor proposes drawing down state savings to pay larger PFD

    Yereth Rosen, Alaska Beacon|Dec 20, 2023

    With a deep reduction in oil revenues expected, Alaska is on track for an almost $1 billion budget hole in the coming year that will have to be filled with money from savings, according to a spending plan presented Dec. 14 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The governor described his budget for the year beginning next July 1 as “status quo” in most categories. “There’s no cuts in this budget,” he said during a news conference in Juneau. There are a few targeted areas with increases, however, including more staff to help process a backlog of food stamp ben...

  • Borough officials go to Washington to seek federal aid

    Lex Yelverton, KTUU TV, Anchorage|Dec 6, 2023

    Interim Borough Manager Mason Villarma and other local officials were in Washington, D.C., last week to ask for federal help for the community after its deadly landslide. “In terms of impact, the community is scared, I think, and rightfully so,” Villarma said in an interview with Anchorage TV station KTUU. “We’ve lost six of our community members of a town of 2,096. … That’s proportionate in Juneau of over 80 people. In Anchorage, that’s 800. ... It’s very personal.” The borough team met Nov. 28 with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who attended midd...

  • Borough selects middle school roof as top federal grant request

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 1, 2023

    After considering 11 projects submitted by community members and borough staff for Wrangell’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application, the assembly selected the Stikine Middle School roof replacement as its top priority at the Oct. 24 meeting. Most of the middle school roof hasn’t been replaced since 1995, and the roof’s substrate has begun to warp after 28 years of water absorption. The estimated cost is $1.475 million. The CDBG is a federal program that provides financial assistance for low- to moderate-income communities seeki...

  • Community excels at giving and sharing

    Wrangell Sentinel|Oct 25, 2023

    While it seems holiday advertising starts earlier and earlier (and earlier) every year — even further in advance than election campaign advertising, which is annoying enough — it’s not too early for the community to think about sharing this holiday season. Thanksgiving is just a month away; Christmas and New Year’s another month after that. Planning events, rounding up volunteers, collecting names and donations, buying food and gifts all takes time, as does checking the calendar twice to avoid scheduling conflicts. Wrangell has long excelled at...

  • Expensive, yes, but it's necessary

    Wrangell Sentinel|Oct 18, 2023

    It looks like it’s going to cost a little more than $23 million to improve and ensure Wrangell’s drinking water quality for years to come. The work will include construction of a new water treatment building, new filtration and disinfection systems, and expanded production capacity to meet future demand growth. The money will cover the construction contract awarded by the borough assembly on Oct. 10, plus design costs and also inspection fees to make sure the job is done right. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but it’s an absolutely necessary expense...

  • Mitchell "Mickey" Julius Prescott, May 24, 1940 - September 28, 2023

    Oct 11, 2023

    Mickey Prescott has gone fishing. Mitchell "Mickey" Julius Prescott was born on May 24, 1940, and died in Wrangell at his fish camp, Mickey's Fish Camp, on Sept. 28, 2023. He was 83 years old. Mickey was born in Everett, Washington, to Wrangellites Ralph and Edith Prescott (Johnson). Mickey is survived by his favorite sister, Mercedes Angerman, and his seven adult children: Joy Prescott (Ed Bruns), Vivian Prescott (Howie Martindale), Tracey Martin Prescott (Dennis Martin), Vincent Prescott...

  • Absentee voting underway for Oct. 3 municipal election

    Sentinel staff|Sep 27, 2023

    Residents who will not be in town on election day Tuesday, Oct. 3, or simply would prefer to vote early can come to City Hall between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays through Monday, Oct. 2, to cast an absentee ballot. Election day voting will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Nolan Center. People who cannot vote absentee in person by Oct. 2 can contact the borough clerk’s office at 907-874-2381 to request a ballot by mail or fax. Registered voters will cast ballots for two seats on the borough assembly, one seat on the school board and one p...

  • Michael Ottesen and Anne Morrison run for assembly unopposed

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 20, 2023

    Two candidates will be running for two seats on the borough assembly in the municipal election Oct. 3 - Michael J. Ottesen and incumbent Anne Morrison. Barring a successful write-in campaign, both candidates will be elected for three-year terms. Ottesen, a captain and tour guide for Alaska Vistas, is running for public office for the first time to bolster youth engagement in municipal government and develop the town's economy. "I feel like we need a little bit more ... of the younger generation...

  • Federal program will help borough develop plan for mill property

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 13, 2023

    Wrangell is one of 64 communities nationwide selected for the first year of a new federal program called Thriving Communities, intended to help towns get a better shot at federal funds. In Wrangell’s case, the two-year effort will focus on developing a plan for the former 6-Mile mill property. The borough purchased the property last year for $2.5 million in hopes of enticing private investment and spurring economic development for the community. The federal program will not provide any cash to the borough but will pay the bills for a team of c...

  • Only one contested race on Oct. 3 municipal election ballot

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Sep 6, 2023

    Voters will choose two borough assembly members, a school board member and a port commissioner in the Oct. 3 municipal election — but only one of the four seats is contested. There are two candidates for the one school board seat on the ballot. John DeRuyter, a clinical psychologist, is running for a three-year term on the school board. Incumbent Esther Aaltséen Reese, tribal administrator for the Wrangell Cooperative Association, is seeking reelection to the board. She was elected to a one-year term last year. DeRuyter is a self-employed cl...

  • Governor vetoes bill intended to protect Alaskans from chemicals

    Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News|Sep 6, 2023

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy has vetoed a bill that aimed to minimize the use of harmful refrigerant chemicals that exacerbate climate change and also reduce the risk of spills of a different chemical that can pollute drinking water. The legislation would have banned most firefighting departments from using a type of firefighting foam that has contaminated drinking water in dozens of places across Alaska and many more in the Lower 48. The bill, originally introduced by Anchorage Rep. Stanley Wright would have allowed newly constructed buildings in...

  • First-time state report lists 24 missing Alaska Natives

    Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon|Aug 30, 2023

    According to a new state report, nearly 200 Alaska Native or American Indian people went missing between the beginning of April and the end of June in Alaska. Two dozen of them have not been found. Violence against American Indian and Alaska Native people far exceeds the national average and Alaska has one of the highest rates of missing and murdered Indigenous people in the United States. The problem especially affects women and girls. In Alaska, calls for justice preceded Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s formation of a Missing and Murdered Indigenous P...

  • Borough has $30 million list of capital projects for this year

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Aug 16, 2023

    The borough has nearly $30 million in capital projects in its budget for the current fiscal year that runs through next June 30. The majority of funding — 58% — comes from grants, with 23% from borough coffers and 19% from loans. The costliest upcoming projects by far are related to the borough’s water infrastructure, particularly the water treatment plant and reservoirs. Preparations are underway to upgrade the water treatment plant, allowing for more consistent water quality and more production. The project went out to bid in mid-July. The b...

  • 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...

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