Opinion / Guest Opinion


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  • Not ready to say goodbye to Wrangell

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Jul 17, 2024

    Changes are happening at the paper. As a result, I will no longer be working full-time at the Sentinel. It’s nobody’s fault; it’s the nature of this business. Since my arrival last October, people asked me now and then if I thought I might stick around, but I knew better than to commit to anything. Residents have seen a lot of reporters come and go through this newspaper, and my plan was to take this unique adventure one day at a time. Newfound friends expressed their sadness when I told them last month I would likely be leaving. And I was g...

  • Wrangell should move barge ramp to make room for tourism

    Frank H. Murkowski|Jun 12, 2024

    We have a great opportunity before us. Let’s change our visitors’ first impression of Wrangell. Currently, the view is of old containers piled high. Not only do they block the visitors’ view of the downtown area, but the vans are surrounded with muddy water, which is very unattractive. I don’t believe the current container location fits in with the welcome intended by the community, evident by the children selling garnets and other trinkets on the pier. The borough has been successful in acquiring the former 6-Mile mill site. This location has...

  • Caregivers deserve support and adequate pay

    Laurie Overbay-Barker|Apr 24, 2024

    On beautiful Wrangell Island, where my family has deep roots spanning generations, hard work is not just a way of life, it’s ingrained in our very existence. As a caregiver in this tight-knit community, I’ve always embraced the notion that our work is critical to the well-being of our elders and those in need of extra support. It’s a labor of love, despite its backbreaking nature, because it brings a profound sense of satisfaction to know that I’m making a difference in the lives of my neighbors, friends and family. But lately, the work of...

  • Alaskans deserve better of Canadian mine cleanup

    Mar 13, 2024

    By Frank Rue It’s hard to believe that the abandoned Tulsequah Chief mine, just across the Alaska border in Canada, has been discharging toxic, acidic and metals-laden waste water into the Taku River watershed for almost 70 years. A kaleidoscope of Canadian excuses, corporate bankruptcies, and hollow promises have meant no meaningful, on-the-ground effort has been made to clean up this mess in Southeast Alaska’s top salmon-producing river system. The mine site is about 40 air miles northeast of Juneau. Alaskans have been pressing to have the pr...

  • Mandatory community service could help the country

    Frank H. Murkowski|Jan 10, 2024

    I often wonder about the ever-moving changes that are taking place in our society. The increase in homelessness is evident on the sidewalks of our major regions as well as here in our own state. The extent to which cultural issues divide us. The dialogue coming from many of our leading universities that the constitutional right to freedom of speech justifies the growing attitude that anything goes. The reappearance of isolationism which negates America’s leadership role in projecting democracy and protecting peace. Our own border problem — on o...

  • Wrangell showed determination and resilience

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski|Jan 3, 2024

    As we wrapped up the Senate session in late December, I was anxious to leave Washington, D.C., to return home to Anchorage, with a stop in Wrangell, a place I still call home. I wanted to share my condolences, see for myself the damage from the Nov. 20 landslide, and determine what resources I could assist with. I also wanted to thank the community members and assure them that they are not forgotten once the destruction is cleaned up and the road repaired. Seeing the open scar on the mountain scraped raw by the slide, massive trees littered...

  • Goodbye and thank you to the community

    Caroleine James, Wrangell Sentinel|Dec 20, 2023

    By the time this paper hits the stores, I’ll be on a plane to my family home in Salt Lake City for the holidays. But unlike last year, I won’t be coming back to Wrangell in January. Instead, I’ll be making a leap from the oldest continuously published newspaper in Alaska to the oldest continuously published periodical in the United States — Harper’s Magazine, in New York City. According to Marilynne Robinson, one of my favorite authors, “a character or a place is inexhaustible and will always reward further attention.” For the past year and...

  • Wrangell shows its strength in time of adversity

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 29, 2023

    Growing up in central Virginia and later moving to the Washington, D.C., area, natural disasters took the form of thunderstorms, hurricanes, floods, snowfalls and ice storms. I even experienced an earthquake in Silver Spring, Maryland in the summer of 2011. But until last Monday, my only personal experience with the word “landslide” was when I first heard it on Nov. 7, 1973, when reporters and political pundits used that same word over and over to describe Republican Richard Nixon’s overwhelming victory in the presidential election again...

  • Walking is better for my health, as is the view

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 22, 2023

    In my 20s and 30s, in addition to relying on public transportation to get around, I did a lot of walking. I briefly owned a couple of cars at different times, but they were, for the most part, older and often in disrepair. Plus, I mostly worked in retail back then, so I was on my feet most of the day. Then in 2001, two events happened that changed my life: I moved from retail work to a desk job, and I got a reliable car that was only five years old. Thus began my shift to the sedentary lifestyle. While my ability to travel expanded and I could...

  • Public needs more information on Permanent Fund's Alaska investments

    Frank H. Murkowski|Nov 22, 2023

    The governor or Legislature, or both, need to conduct an audit available to the public or engage in serious oversight of the Permanent Fund’s recent erratic decisions. There is a growing threat to the Permanent Fund, and it is coming from the trustees themselves. Their plan included opening satellite offices to expand the fund’s national and international presence. The trustees moved ahead this summer with an Anchorage office, spending money the Legislature approved for other purposes, despite being unable to show any benefit to the fund from d...

  • Wrangell's a great place to read a book

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Nov 15, 2023

    Thanks to plenty of time spent in libraries and bookstores, both as a customer and staff member, along with my own collection of reading material, I’ve grown very comfortable in the world of books. In the fall of 1996, I had been working for a few years at Borders Books and Music in Kensington, Maryland, and that’s when I got the idea to start a mystery novel discussion group. It did very well, and while several members have since passed on, the group is still going strong, outlasting the bookstore franchise where it started by over a dec...

  • Moving barge ramp to 6-Mile would allow growth in tourism

    Frank H. Murkowski|Oct 25, 2023

    I want to share my thoughts about the development of Wrangell’s waterfront properties. My opinions are based on the unique experience our family has enjoyed from residing in many Southeast communities. Raised and schooled in Ketchikan, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in Sitka, banking and serving in my first elective office on the school board in Wrangell and living in Juneau as commissioner of the state Department of Economic Development and then later as governor have given us a terrific opportunity to see change throughout Southeast. F...

  • New Sentinel staffer looks forward to Alaska adventure

    Mark C. Robinson, Wrangell Sentinel|Oct 25, 2023

    "Why would you want to move to a small town in Alaska?" That was the question put to me by the Sentinel's publisher, Larry Persily, when I applied for the position of editor. My answer? I was looking for an adventure. Before coming here, I had never been near the state of Alaska. I did live in Fargo, North Dakota, from 2004 to 2006, which is a lot colder. But it's a dry cold; I heard that phrase a lot while I was there - that and "uff da". I was born in Richmond, Virginia, and spent my...

  • Ferry system needs to focus on restarting service to Prince Rupert

    Frank H. Murkowski|Sep 27, 2023

    We’re all happy to have the administration’s winter schedule for the Southeast ferry system. However, there are a few downsides. The first is the exception noted in the Columbia’s schedule, which leaves several communities without service in November and December. It’s clear that the Alaska Marine Highway System has had a difficult time weathering the storms of the pandemic which resulted in a substantial decline in revenue as well as adequate crew availability. It’s unfortunate that the ferry system does not have an operational vessel in...

  • I really have enjoyed my stay, but I must be moving on

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Aug 30, 2023

    When I arrived almost exactly two years ago, Jeff and Kay Jabusch told me people in Wrangell aren’t necessarily wary of newcomers. Rather, they pointed out, they’re hesitant to get attached since they never know who’s going to stay. I fully intended to stay. As you read this, I’m on the Columbia with my three cats, headed for Bellingham, Washington. From there, I’ll disembark and head for my new home in Idaho. A lot changed in two years. When I arrived here, I was married and had four cats and was quite healthy. The marriage ended after bei...

  • Federal government needs to push harder to protect transboundary rivers

    Aug 30, 2023

    By Brenda Schwartz-Yeager Two years ago this fall, I testified at a Wrangell borough assembly meeting in support of yet another resolution calling on the U.S. government to be firm with British Columbia and Canada in protecting the Stikine River, as well as the Taku and Unuk rivers. These transboundary rivers, the lifeblood of Southeast Alaska, are threatened by the more than 30 British Columbia gold mines in some phase of development. Over a dozen of them are located within the Stikine-Iskut watershed. As I looked around the assembly...

  • No need for Permanent Fund to set up Anchorage office

    Frank H. Murkowski|Aug 23, 2023

    The job of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. trustees is to focus on pursuing, maintaining and growing our fund. Instead, they are being sidetracked by their plan to open a satellite office in Anchorage by the end of the year. This is the first step in what will end up being a multi-year, disruptive, unnecessary and expensive move to Anchorage. The plan to set up an office in Anchorage is analyzed in a May 10 memo to Board Chair Ethan Schutt, from Mike Barnhill, the Permanent Fund’s chief operations officer. It lays out options and costs (...

  • Permanent Fund needs to share more investment details

    Frank H. Murkowski|Jun 21, 2023

    I congratulate the Permanent Fund trustees for adopting Resolution 23-01 at their April 12 meeting to limit additional investment in the in-state investment program in which Barings and McKinley Capital Management have each been given $100 million to place in Alaska investments. The decision appears to have been made in part because of the dismal rate of return received from the in-state investments by the two managers. The decision was also made to see whether the poor performance improves over time. I fully support the trustees’ decisions not...

  • Measure of a man is how he treats others

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Jun 7, 2023

    On a recent Sunday, as I was heading to the store, my phone rang. I don’t get many calls these days unless it’s somebody trying to sell me something. To my surprise, the caller ID showed the name of someone I hadn’t seen in years. Was it coincidence and this was just a spam call? I took a risk and answered, and I’m glad I did. “Hey, is this Marc? It’s Darryl.” At first, I was worried something happened to his older brother or younger sister, who I call my adopted older brother and younger sister. But, as it turns out, Darryl was calling to ca...

  • Permanent Fund not immune to inflation, investment losses

    Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Beacon|May 31, 2023

    For 41 years, Alaskans have benefitted from Permanent Fund dividends. More recently, the fund also has been the biggest source of money to pay for state public services. Permanent Fund managers have long known it could one day have less available to spend than is needed. They now say that day could be coming uncomfortably soon, in perhaps just three years. Since last July, it’s been a bad year for fund income as it’s defined by state law. And that’s raising the possibility that the amount the state can spend from the fund could hit zero witho... Full story

  • Life in the fishbowl can have conflicting outlooks

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|May 24, 2023

    There are large calendar pages tacked to a wall in the Sentinel office. May through September list the cruise ships scheduled to stop in Wrangell on specified days. We keep them there for easy reference. However, we don’t really need the pages to know when there’s a cruise ship in town. Remember that scene in Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” where the horrible little kid comes up to the fishbowl and starts tapping violently on the glass? Many businesses along Front Street may have had that same feeling when cruise ship passengers disembark and start fil...

  • Wrangell's self-reliance shines in graduating class

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 19, 2023

    Another school year is almost done and, once again, I’m truly impressed by the caliber of young people Wrangell produces. For the past two years, I’ve interviewed the students of the senior class for their graduation projects. Each story revealed unique characters who were all equally prepared to walk into adulthood, albeit by different paths. I have a list of five standard questions I ask in the senior project stories: What’s your name? What’s your project? What are your plans post-high school? What will you miss about high school? What wo...

  • No justice in White House decision to deny land trade

    Frank H. Murkowski|Apr 12, 2023

    The lack of respect and hypocrisy in the Biden administration’s application of its policy of environmental justice toward Alaska’s Natives was on full display when on March 14 Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland withdrew from the 2019 land exchange in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge that the department had agreed to with the King Cove Corp. and Agdaagux and Belkofski tribes. This land exchange was intended to provide the people of King Cove with the opportunity to seek permits to construct an 11-mile gravel road to medevac people fro...

  • Keeping daylight saving time would be cuckoo

    Marc Lutz, Wrangell Sentinel|Mar 15, 2023

    Twice a year I have a 50-50 chance of messing up the front page of the Sentinel. This year I did just that, and possibly aided people in being late to work on Monday. Daylight saving time, otherwise known as the Biannual Menace, makes it necessary to move our clocks ahead an hour or back an hour. Spring forward; fall back. Despite the ice and chilly temperatures, it’s nearing spring and clocks should have been set forward one hour on Sunday morning, not back an hour as the graphic on the front page of last week’s paper instructed. I build tho...

  • Murkowski reminds Alaskans of congressional wins

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski|Feb 1, 2023

    Earlier this month, the 117th Congress formally adjourned, marking the close of a remarkably productive legislative stretch for Alaska. The past Congress was one of the best for our state in recent memory, and the bipartisan bills we passed will produce lasting benefits for Wrangell and across Southeast. Most significant is the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which I played a lead role on. In just over a year, roughly $3 billion from it has been announced for Alaska. Those dollars are helping us build, expand and modernize everything...

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