The Way We Were

From the Sentinel 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago

Oct. 18, 1923

The PTA held a well attended meeting at the school house last Thursday evening. A geological cabinet has been purchased for the school by the PTA at the suggestion of the Rev. Corser, and a collection of specimens will be started at once. This collection will be of value to the school as well as of great interest to the boys, especially. The committee appointed at the September meeting to look up a cabinet reported that one could be secured and altered slightly for a small sum, and its purchase was authorized unanimously.

Oct. 15, 1948

Gov. Ernest Gruening issued the following exclusive statement to the Wrangell Sentinel after reading the election returns following Tuesday's election: “The territorial election is a clear mandate that the people want Alaska to move forward. It is not merely that the election was a Democratic sweep. While it is my belief that Democratic policies generally have more progressive policies and, therefore, beneficial for the territory as well as the nation, it has long since been clear that after an election and when the legislators get down to Juneau, the division never is, and never has been, along party lines.”

Oct. 12, 1973

Shrimp-picking is a thing of the past in Wrangell. The last shrimp were hand-picked at Reliance Shrimp Co. on Sept. 17. Owner Vern Anderson then shut down the operation to begin installation of a new shrimp-picking machine from Louisiana. It is the end of an era. Shrimp have largely been cleaned by hand in Wrangell as long as anyone can remember. Said Anderson, as he supervised set-up of the shrimp-picking equipment at the cannery on the city dock this week: “We’re sorry to have to end it, in a way, but we can’t get the pickers anymore. It probably has something to do with Wrangell becoming more prosperous. Not as many people want to come around and pick when we have them.” Shrimp-picking was as much a ritual and a social event as it was a job. The elderly would come to pick and gossip and earn a little grocery money. The school kids would do it for pocket change.

Oct. 15, 1998

The Wrangell School Board and city council seized the opportunity to discuss critical city issues with Gov. Tony Knowles during his campaign visit last Friday. “We’re going to need your help,” was Mayor Bill Privett’s appeal to the governor at the City Hall meeting. “We’re at the critical edge. … We can no longer pay $1.4 million as a local contribution to education. There was no explanation as to why Wrangell schools received a paltry increase (in state funding) of $28,000 instead of the $400,000 received by Cordova schools, and no assurance that future inequities would be corrected,” the mayor said. “It’s difficult to justify $28,000 from the state,” Knowles said. He acknowledged that legislation needed work since its formula had resulted in cost differentials with unintended consequences. “It’s a challenge, and we’ll go into it in good faith to see what we can do to address this situation,” he said.


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