Opinion / Editorial


Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 140

  • Our old town needs new money

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 12, 2024

    Wrangell has a lot of positives. It’s a caring community that can pull together a potluck and fill the tables to overflow. Residents support each other in times of loss without needing to be asked. People truly believe in helping their neighbors, regardless of their neighbors’ politics. Fundraisers are a way of life in Wrangell — and a necessity. School sports teams, youth groups, student activities, nonprofit organizations and others are always in need of money, frequently asking businesses to donate goods, services or cash to worthy causes. A...

  • Community needs long-term plan for school funding

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 5, 2024

    The assembly’s decision to take away any benefit to the school district of the Legislature’s one-year increase in state education funding for next year makes sense from the perspective of the borough’s own finances. However, there are more perspectives to consider. Long term, the community needs a plan to adequately fund its schools. The school board had asked the borough to contribute $1.75 million — the maximum amount allowed under state law — to the school district’s $6 million spending plan for the 2024-2025 school year. That would have...

  • School counselor needs to be in the building

    Wrangell Sentinel|May 29, 2024

    It’s no surprise that the applicant pool was limited when the Wrangell School District advertised for a new counselor to serve elementary, middle and high school students. It’s a big job for one person to work with 260 students. That includes providing career guidance, making health and psychological referrals, helping to manage student testing and assessments, and building relationships with staff, parents and the community. That’s a lot to ask of one person, but that’s the reality of the district’s tight finances. A small pool of applicant...

  • The rest of the state needs to take an interest

    Wrangell Sentinel|May 22, 2024

    Legislators from the Railbelt, which covers the state’s population centers from the Kenai Peninsula to Fairbanks, expect Southeast lawmakers to understand, to care and to spend state dollars on their constituents’ energy needs. They want money to help rebuild electrical transmission lines to move more renewable power and help from the state treasury to promote more natural gas production out of Cook Inlet. The Railbelt wants help for its local needs. Same for rural legislators who seek attention and funding from the state for a long list of loc...

  • It's for our own good

    Wrangell Sentinel|May 15, 2024

    It may be hard for some to accept but, long term, it will be good for the community if commercial tour operators follow state law and register for the required permit to take people to the Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site. That includes collecting $6 per person from customers and sending the money to the state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. The fee was on the books long before the beach was designated a state historic site in 2000, bringing it under the permit requirements. It’s just that no one realized it— not the borough or...

  • Use your head and get a free bike helmet

    Wrangell Sentinel|May 8, 2024

    Wrangell kids will have a heads-up opportunity next month: Not only can they get free helmets to wear when riding bicycles and four-wheelers, but the offer also includes free paint, brushes and other supplies to decorate their new headgear. It’s a thoughtful giveaway to protect the center of kids’ thought process. Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), which provides help and support services for people with disabilities, particularly brain injuries, will provide the helmets. Wrangell’s Parks and Recreation Department will put on the e...

  • The truth hurts, but it's the right decision

    Wrangell Sentinel|May 1, 2024

    Alaska Marine Highway System management has decided to cut back on advertising that for years promoted the state ferries as a scenic, leisurely way for summer travelers to tour Southeast. Though painful to admit, it’s the right decision. Nothing upsets customers more than to bite on advertising, book a ticket, plan a trip and then find themselves at the dock all dressed up with no place to go. “Because of our reliability with the fleet, we have consciously pulled back our advertising in the Lower 48 because we just disappoint people right now...

  • High schoolers will tutor senior citizens

    Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 24, 2024

    Who needs artificial intelligence when you have high school students with real digital intelligence. In a generational reversal of older people tutoring younger people with their writing, math and other subjects in school, Wrangell High School Student Government volunteers will tutor the community’s senior citizens in the digital world — a world that did not exist when the senior citizens were in high school. The school volunteers will be at the Irene Ingle Public Library from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 4, providing free advice, ass...

  • Alaska House made the right decision

    Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 17, 2024

    The Permanent Fund dividend is important to a lot of Alaska households, but so is education, public safety, ports and harbors, roads and more. The state House did the right thing last week in rejecting a proposed constitutional amendment that would have elevated the PFD to a higher status than any other need in the state. Yes, Alaskans have to find a solution to the annual divisive, debilitating, political fight over the amount of the dividend. It has become worse than a distraction; it’s become an obstruction that prevents elected officials an...

  • Past mistakes teach us how to treat people better

    Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 10, 2024

    Society can learn from its mistakes. The more we know, the more likely we will get it right the next time. Learning about what society did wrong in the past is part of making for a better future. There are a couple such lessons in the Sentinel this month, one of which will be aired publicly in town next week. “Blue Ticket,” a video of a 2019 Juneau play, will show at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 15, at the Nolan Center. It tells the story of Juneau police secretly removing gay men from the community, kicking them out with a one-way ferry ticket. The...

  • Sen. Murkowski shows bravery with her honesty

    Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 3, 2024

    Few Republicans are willing to publicly stand in front of the Donald Trump bandwagon as it speeds along toward the party’s nomination for a third run at the presidency. Many are too afraid of angering his passionate supporters and losing their next election. They see opportunity in climbing aboard his wagon, even if they think the guy driving the horses through political badlands shoots first and never asks questions, or forgiveness. They stick with him, even if they think the wheels may fall off as he bounces through his self-made potholes. T...

  • It's time to wake up downtown garden beds

    Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 27, 2024

    Wrangell has a lot to offer people who live here and those who visit. Certainly the river, Native history and culture, Petroglyph Beach, the museum and fishing are on the list. So, too, is an attractive downtown. It’s spring, which means it’s time for volunteers to pitch in with a rake, a shovel, pruning shears or weeding gloves to keep downtown looking good through the summer months — when everything looks better and greener than the recently departed winter. The Parks and Recreation Department is running an adopt-a-garden program again this y...

  • And time to clean up after dogs

    Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 27, 2024

    Just as the snow and ice have melted away from the bushes and shrubs in downtown garden beds, so too have they disappeared from the parks, trails and ballfields in town — exposing the winter deposits left by dogs. Or, more accurately, left by dog owners who don’t think enough of the mess that their pets leave behind for others to step in. Devyn Johnson of Parks and Recreation describes it as “one of the more gross times of the year.” That pretty much sums up how everyone else sees it. Department staff try to dig in and keep the recreat...

  • Governor spaces out on state responsibility

    Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 20, 2024

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy sank to a new low last week when he vetoed a bipartisan, long-needed comprehensive education funding package that had passed the House and Senate by a combined 56-3 vote. Yet he reached for new heights in explaining his low decision to deny school districts their first meaningful increase in state funding since 2017. More specifically, he boarded the Starship Enterprise, which is as much a stage prop as are his reasons for vetoing the bill. At a March 15 press conference to explain his veto, Dunleavy called the state’s p...

  • Fishing communities need state to cast a line for answers

    Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 13, 2024

    No question last year was pretty miserable for Alaska’s commercial fishing industry — the people who catch and clean salmon; the processors that buy, prep and ship the fish; the communities that depend on the summer jobs and tax revenues. And no question that this year is looking about as dark, or darker. The head of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute recently described last year as “rock bottom” for prices paid to fishers and weak markets for processors, later amending that statement to say that this year is scrapping another layer deeper...

  • It's a good price for Wrangell's future

    Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 6, 2024

    Don’t think of it as selling the borough-owned former hospital building and it’s almost two acres of land for a steep discount to its appraised value. Think of it as potentially getting an immense amount of future value from an unused liability that is costing the borough about $100,000 a year to heat and insure. When you look at the math that way, a developer’s offer to pay the borough $200,000 for the hospital property looks pretty reasonable. Borough code allows the municipality to sell property at less than its appraised value if the sale w...

  • It's a competitive business that Wrangell cannot afford to lose

    The Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 28, 2024

    It’s nothing personal, just business. But it still hurts. Wrangell has lost three cruise ship stops this summer to Klawock, where a partnership of Native corporations is developing a visitor destination complete with a deepwater dock, retail shops, shore excursions, walking trails and more. Two of the corporations, Huna Totem and Fairbanks-based Doyon, are already active in the tourism industry. The third, Klawock Heenya, wants to get into the business to provide jobs and income for its tribal shareholders in the Prince of Wales Island c...

  • It's a good idea and worth asking voters

    Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 21, 2024

    Assembly members, the mayor and borough staff are right: It’s time to pay elected officials a reasonable amount for all the hours they put into the job. Yes, it’s a public service, but it’s still a job. The assembly meetings, the homework, reading reports and financials and meeting with borough staff, state officials and the public — all of which are necessary for making well-informed decisions — take a lot of time. Public service is a good thing, but taking time off from work, paying for child care, missing out on time with family is a lot...

  • There is some good news amid all the bad news

    Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 14, 2024

    It’s a good time to take a break from distressing international conflicts and too many deaths, depressing national politics of too much dishonesty and too little compromise, and the difficult state politics of short-funded schools and public services. The bad news will still be there next week. Meanwhile, for Wrangell, there is some good news to acknowledge. The borough has organized a public information fair of lenders, financial advisers, builders, zoning and utility officials to help people who are interested in buying one of the 20 s...

  • National group works with Forest Service for new cabins

    Wrangell Sentinel|Feb 7, 2024

    Alaskans often like to complain — a lot, and loudly — about national groups sticking their noses and opinions into the workings of the 49th state. So, it’s only fair to extend a “thank you” when a national group puts up its money and time into doing something Alaskans like. The National Forest Foundation, chartered by Congress in 1992 as the official nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, is partnering with the federal agency to rebuild the popular public-use cabin at Anan Bay and, in an even bigger undertaking, building new cabins th...

  • Public deserves a more believable story

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 31, 2024

    It seems the governor’s office must like country music. Can’t argue with that choice. The lyrics speak of American dreams and heartbreaks. What makes the songs so popular is that they tell stories, believable or not, such as the famous line: “That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.” Sadly, that same line is essentially all the public is getting from the governor’s office to explain his decisions behind a dozen executive orders that will take effect unless rejected by the Legislature before mid-March. While some of the orders are not controver...

  • Entire community should pay attention to school budget

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 24, 2024

    Pick your cliché: Push comes to shove; between a rock and a hard place; money is tight; living within your means; don’t spend more than you can afford. Children need a quality education to succeed in life. Just because the cliches flow easily, don’t expect the answers to be as easy. The school district is in its last year of federal pandemic relief aid, which it has used to cover the salaries and benefits of Wrangell’s two school principals. That means district officials and the school board will have to absorb those expenses into an already ti...

  • Ranked-choice rankles the losers

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 17, 2024

    It’s becoming an increasingly common tactic for election losers to blame anyone but themselves. In Alaska, that means several of the recent losers and their supporters blame their defeat on ranked-choice voting, which took effect for the 2022 elections after the public voted in favor of the change in 2020. But rather than learn from their losses and put up candidates who appeal to a broader range of voters, which is the smart way to win elections, the losers want to deny all Alaskans the ability to select from the best of everyone on the b...

  • Alaska lacks workers to meet jobs forecast

    Wrangell Sentinel|Jan 10, 2024

    It’s certainly welcome news that analysts at the state Department of Labor forecast strong job growth in Alaska this year. They expect to see about 5,400 new jobs, a solid increase of almost 2% over last year. If the numbers come true, it would fully restore the state to its pre-pandemic employment numbers of 2019. Federally funded infrastructure projects, North Slope oil field development and construction will be the big drivers of job growth. But no one really knows where all those new workers will come from. Just like many other states, A...

  • 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...

Page Down

Rendered 06/16/2024 20:19