Shady Grove Oliver, KSTK - Wrangell
Federal workers who have been furloughed will likely be paid retroactively once the shutdown is over. And government employees who are remaining on the job during the shutdown will be paid for their work eventually, but they don’t know when. For Alaska families living paycheck to paycheck, that’s a severe hardship.
Municipalities across the state held elections Tuesday. Homer’s ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags went into effect January 1st but nine months later, the ban appears to be history. Homer residents voted to repeal the ban in yesterday’s municipal election.
About 600 voters took to the polls in Tuesday’s elections. Incumbent mayor David Jack will keep his position for another year after receiving three-quarters of the vote.
As in many small towns in Alaska, there are no babies delivered in Wrangell’s hospital. Expectant mothers have to leave town to give birth. When they return, there aren’t many services to help them adjust to life with a new baby. Hannah’s Place is a non-profit that provides free courses for expecting couples and new parents. In exchange for taking these classes, parents have access to a “free” store that has nearly everything an infant needs.
A ballot initiative to lower Wrangell’s city sales tax by 1.5 percent is up for a vote of the public in the Oct. 1 general elections.
Wrangell Medical Center has faced a number of issues over the past few years. Finances, personnel turnover, and design changes stalled the plans for building a new hospital. But now, the plans are back on the table. And the hospital and its board of directors think the project is heading in the right direction.
The town of Wrangell, once called the “sleeping giant,” has seen an awakening of its native culture and history. It began with the Shakes tribal house rededication in May. Last month, it hosted both a national traditional foods conference and a Tlingit basketball camp for kids.
One of the last major sawmill operations in Wrangell has been destroyed by fire. Mike Allen Enterprizes burned to the ground in Tuesday’s mid-afternoon fire at 13 Mile Zimovia Highway.
Former Wrangell Medical Center CEO, Noel Selle-Rea, has been named the interim administrator for the Southeast Regional Health Consortium, or SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka.
The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Traditional Foods Program is hosting a gathering this week in Wrangell.
Wrangell’s Shakes Island Clan House was rededicated over the weekend. Hundreds of visitors from across Alaska, Canada, and the Lower 48 poured into the small island town to witness the historic event.
Muir is one of the most renowned naturalists of the last two centuries. President Theodore Roosevelt turned to Muir when planning America’s first National Parks. In the late 1800s, Muir decided to journey to the far north. And the first stop on his great Alaskan expedition was Wrangell Island in the Inside Passage. KSTK’s Shady Grove Oliver traces the history of Muir in Wrangell from his first steps on the island to his continued influence today.
A settlement has been reached in a Wrangell Borough lawsuit. The Borough of Wrangell will receive information and financial compensation. Noel Selle-Rea will keep his severance package from the Medical Center.
A Wrangell café is combating hunger. For about 13 weeks per year, it donates its Monday night profits to a charity that works to end child hunger in the United States. On those nights, it also gives patrons a good meal for whatever they are willing to pay.