(251) stories found containing 'wrangell port commission'

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  • Municipal election candidacy filing opens in 2 weeks

    Sentinel staff|Jul 17, 2024

    The candidacy filing period opens Aug. 2 for this year’s municipal elections for mayor, borough assembly, school board and port commission. Candidates will have until Aug. 30 to complete the declaration form, which will be available starting July 31 at the borough clerk’s office in City Hall. Mayor Patty Gilbert’s two-year term expires this fall and will be on the Oct. 1 election ballot, along with the assembly seats currently held by Bob Dalrymple and Jim DeBord. The assembly seats are for three-year terms. Gilbert, who is finishing her first...

  • Never too young to run for local office

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 17, 2024

    The age of presidential candidates is all over the national news, where the focus is on how old is too old. With the opening of the filing period for Wrangell municipal offices just two weeks away, the community’s focus should be on the opposite end of the age spectrum. The minimum age to serve as mayor or on the borough assembly is 18, same as the school board. Port commissioners must be at least 21 years old. Nothing against all the people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who have volunteered for public office in Wrangell — they’ve done solid work,...

  • Borough drops marine insurance requirement after months of work

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 3, 2024

    After months of workshopping a proposal that boat owners carry marine insurance, the borough assembly decided June 25 to give up on the endeavor. The proposal would have required most boat owners in the harbor to carry a minimum of $100,000 coverage to indemnify other boat owners and the borough from fire damages or cleanup expenses. Boat owners could opt out of the insurance and pay a monthly surcharge per foot of their vessel. Borough Manager Mason Villarma recommended to assembly members June 25 that they postpone the ordinance...

  • Assembly moving toward vote on mandatory boat insurance

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 19, 2024

    The borough assembly has set a public hearing for June 25 on an ordinance that would require boat owners to show proof of marine insurance or pay a monthly surcharge on their moorage fees. If approved by the assembly, the insurance requirements likely would not be applied until next year, Borough Manager Mason Villarma said in an interview June 12. The port commission has recommended the assembly require marine insurance to protect the borough from damages caused by boat fires and to ensure payment of any cleanup or salvage expenses. The...

  • Assembly will take up mandatory boat insurance proposal

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    Assembly members have directed borough staff to come back with a revised ordinance setting requirements for boat owners to carry insurance on their vessels moored in Wrangell harbors. The assembly in March questioned several aspects of a proposed ordinance forwarded by the port commission which required coverage. The assembly wanted to see a minimum vessel size to require insurance, increased management rights to keep out unseaworthy boats and exemptions for transient vessels. The intent is to protect other boat owners and the borough from...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    May 29, 1924 For the first time in the history of the Wrangell schools, the entire high school graduating class was composed of all boys. Such an occurrence is thought to be without parallel. Six boys graduated from Wrangell High School Monday evening at the exercises held at Redmen’s Hall and received diplomas entitling them to enter the universities of the states. There were no girl members of the class. Neil Grant, as class salutatorian, cited incidents in the life of the class and told of some of the trials and pitfalls into which any h...

  • New harbor security cameras focus on fighting crime

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|May 15, 2024

    Wrangell now has a total of 56 security cameras up and running across all its harbors and the Marine Service Center. The cameras run 24 hours a day and pick up clear footage in all lighting situations, said Harbormaster Steve Miller, even capturing images well in complete darkness. The harbormaster and staff have access to the camera footage, which is stored for 30 days. Rather than monitoring the videos, harbor staff will go back to access the feeds if information is needed. But the cameras are equipped with motion sensors that highlight...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|May 1, 2024

    May 1, 1924 A number of citizens met at the Wrangell Hotel last night to discuss the matter of securing a saltwater pump for Wrangell. It is a well known fact that the only thing that saved Ketchikan during the recent fire in that city was the constant streams of saltwater that were kept going by the pumps on the vessels lying in port. O. D. Leet, manager of the Wrangell Ice and Storage Co., is willing to permit the use of one of his engines to run a pump at any time. With the hose now on hand it would be possible to reach a fire as far down...

  • Assembly approves longer-term lease at former mill site

    Becca Clark, Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 24, 2024

    The borough assembly has approved a longer-term lease with Channel Construction at the former 6-Mile mill site where the company plans to build two 3,200-square-foot shop buildings. Under terms of the agreement approved April 9, Channel would store equipment at the site. At its expense, the company will improve the access road off Zimovia Highway with crushed rock, improve the barge landing and expand the rock fill, and seek a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the fill. The construction and scrap metal recycling company will lease six acr...

  • The Way We Were

    Amber Armstrong-Hillberry, Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 20, 2024

    March 20, 1924 A floating city with myriads of twinkling of lights! That is what a fleet of halibut vessels appear to be on a dark night to an observer on the deck of a ship as it approaches the halibut banks anywhere in Alaska waters from Frederick Sound as far north as Kodiak, says the Ketchikan Examiner. The halibut fishermen work tirelessly all night long gathering in the silvery hordes. There is little sleep for them during the long voyages sometimes of many weeks duration, unless overtaken by stormy weather. But the halibut boats return...

  • Fines take effect for illegal harbor trash

    Sentinel staff|Mar 6, 2024

    As of last week, anyone caught throwing trash into a harbor dumpster, other than household garbage by a boat owner, could face a $150 fine. The borough assembly on Feb. 27 adopted two ordinances: One which specifies in municipal code that the port and harbor dumpsters are for use by vessel owners only, and a second ordinance that imposes the $150 fine. Assembly members voted unanimously to adopt the new rules. No one from the public testified on either ordinance. The port commission had recommended the new provisions in borough code in hopes...

  • Proposed fine for illegal use of harbor dumpsters set for public hearing

    Sentinel staff|Feb 21, 2024

    The public will have a chance to voice their opinions Feb. 27 on a pair of proposed municipal ordinances that would limit the use of harbor dumpsters to boat owners only and for their household trash only — with a $150 fine for violations. The public hearing will be part of the evening’s borough assembly meeting, which will start at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Assembly members voted Feb. 13 to advance the ordinances to the Feb. 27 hearing. The assembly could take action on the measures after the hearing — either approve, reject or amend. The first...

  • Proposed ordinances take aim at illegal dumping in harbor trash bins

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 7, 2024

    The dumpsters at Wrangell’s public harbors are for boat owners only and for their household trash only — but that hasn’t stopped people from tossing in waste oil, fishing nets, appliances and even a Volkswagen Beetle cut into pieces. “It’s been bad forever,” Harbormaster Steve Miller said last week. In an effort to stop or at least reduce the illegal dumping, the port commission on Thursday, Feb. 1, voted unanimously to recommend assembly approval of a new ordinance to explicitly prohibit throwing non-harbor and non-port related trash into the...

  • Borough will proceed with $25 million grant application for harbors rebuild

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 7, 2024

    Though the initial estimates have come in higher than the maximum grant amount, the borough will proceed with seeking $25 million in federal money to rebuild the Inner Harbor, Reliance and Standard Oil floats. The cost estimates for the entire project range from $26 million to almost $34 million, mostly depending on whether the work includes heavier-duty, custom-designed floats. The borough will seek the maximum $25 million available under the federal grant program — Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or R...

  • New owner wants to expand Wrangell seafood sales

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 17, 2024

    A Pacific Northwest seafood business owner, whose family has been active in commercial fishing in Alaska since 1981, plans to buy and expand the operations of Fathom Seafoods in Wrangell. Peninsula Seafoods has applied to the borough for transfer of the lease on a small dockside parcel at the Marine Service Center. The port commission has recommended approval of the transfer, sending the issue to the borough assembly. As soon as the assembly signs off on the transfer, which could come at its Jan. 23 meeting, Jeff Grannum, general manager of Pen...

  • Assembly raises rates for lightering cruise passengers to shore

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 17, 2024

    Cruise ship operators that lighter their passengers to shore will pay higher port fees starting this summer in Wrangell. The borough assembly unanimously approved the new rate structure Jan. 9, following a port commission recommendation. The rates had been set at 40% of the cost of tying up to the dock, with the new fee structure raising that to 60%. The increase in lightering fees is intended to encourage more ships to tie up at the dock rather than anchor offshore, Interim Borough Manager Mason Villarma told the assembly. Wrangell should be...

  • Port commission recommends mandatory insurance for boat owners

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 10, 2024

    The port commission has recommended to the borough assembly approval of an ordinance that would require owners who moor their vessels at a reserved spot in Wrangell harbors to either provide proof of marine insurance or pay a monthly surcharge on their moorage fee. Officials have been considering since 2022 adding the new requirement to municipal code to help shield the borough from the cost of raising and disposing of boats that sink in the harbors. “The cost of recovering sunken vessels has significantly increased, and the community can no l...

  • A new year's wish may come true

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 3, 2024

    Wrangell could get off to a good start for 2024 if one of the three interested parties makes a reasonable offer to buy the borough-owned former hospital building, which has sat vacant for almost three years. Most any offer would be reasonable, considering that keeping the building dry and insured is costing the borough tens of thousands of dollars a year. And any offer would be improvement over the no offers that have come in since SEARHC vacated the property for its new medical center in 2021. “The value is getting rid of the property,” Int...

  • Public memorial for Otto Florschutz at a future date

    Dec 13, 2023

    Otto Heinz Florschutz III, 65, a nearly 40-year resident of Wrangell, departed mortality on Nov. 20, 2023. A private service will be held for the family, with a public memorial to be announced at a later date. Otto was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 4, 1958. He graduated from Washington High School in North Carolina before attending Beaufort County Community College in North Carolina to become a machinist - work that he continued to enjoy throughout his life. Bitten by wanderlust, Otto... Full story

  • State releases names of landslide dead and missing

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 29, 2023

    State officials have released the names of the four people killed and two others still missing from the Nov. 20 landslide that hit just past 11-Mile Zimovia Highway. As of Monday, Nov. 27, searchers had found the bodies of Timothy Heller, 44, his wife, Beth Heller, 36, and their daughters, Mara, 16, and Kara, 11. Mara was a high school junior and Kara was in fifth grade. Searchers found Mara's body the night of the slide, during the initial search operations by first responders able to reach the...

  • State releases names of landslide dead and missing

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 22, 2023

    State officials today released the names of the three people killed and three others still missing from the Monday night landslide at 11-Mile Zimovia Highway. Searchers have found the bodies of Timothy Heller, 44, his wife, Beth Heller, 36, and their daughter, Mara, 16. Mara was a high school junior. Searchers found her body on Monday night. Crews found Timothy and Beth Heller on Tuesday. As of Friday morning, searchers had not found Derek Heller, 12, Kara Heller, 11, or Otto Florschutz, 65. Derek was in sixth grade; Kara in fifth grade.... Full story

  • Borough receives nearly half million dollars for mill site planning

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 8, 2023

    The borough was awarded a $421,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Friday, Nov. 3, which will go toward planning and engineering work for a deepwater port at the former sawmill site at 6-Mile. The grant covers an environmental risk assessment, permitting, assessment of the property’s bulkhead and utility extension requirements and a feasibility study update, according to an Oct. 31 press release from U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The money won’t go toward actually constructing anything at the site, Har...

  • Port Commission recommends 20% lightering rate increase

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 8, 2023

    The Port Commission recommended a substantial boost in the borough’s cruise ship lightering rates at its Nov 2 meeting and the assembly will likely consider the rate increase on Dec. 12. If approved, the change will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The recommendation is to raise the rate by half, charging lightering ships 60% of the fee for a dock tie-up instead of the current 40%. The community’s port rates are among the lowest in the region, which has helped attract businesses and stimulate economic growth, according to a report by Har...

  • Wrangell sets record for sales tax revenues

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 1, 2023

    The borough collected a record amount of sales tax revenues in the fiscal year that ended June 30, passing the $4 million mark. A growing share of the borough’s tax collections is coming from online sales, just over $401,000, according to Finance Director Mason Villarma. That 10% share of total sales tax receipts in the past fiscal year is substantially higher than the roughly 6% share two years ago. “It’s bittersweet,” Mayor Patty Gilbert said of the increase in online shopping. The increased tax revenue is not entirely the result of residen...

  • 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...

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