2013 started with a rumble as a magnitude 7.5 earthquake shook Southeast Alaska January 5th.
The quake damaged the fiber optic cables on the sea floor and disrupted internet, phone and television service to Wrangell. Alaska’s cable repair ship, the Wave Venture, spent a week off the coast making repairs.
In February, the City finalized the purchase of a new 300-ton marine hoist for the Marine Service Center, which was highlighted by Southeast Conference as an up-and-coming maritime facility.
Also, the City reached a settlement in the year-long Wrangell Medical Center debacle. Noel Selle-Rea, the former CEO of WMC, was required to turn over the laptop and iPad he allegedly took from WMC to a judge. Chubb, the hospital’s insurance firm, is paying the City $250,000.
Marla Sanger took over as interim CEO of the hospital this year, and says she is working toward a better future for WMC and the city.
May saw perhaps the most notable moment of the year–the Shakes Island tribal house rededication. Wrangell scrambled to accommodate the hundreds of visitors, dance, and canoe groups that came to participate in the historic event.
That spirit of cultural revitalization continued throughout the year. Wrangell hosted the CDC traditional foods summit in early summer and in August, Lingit was spoken in Old Town for the first time in 65 years during a language and culture camp.
However, summer brought sad news for the Wrangell’s timber industry and the Allen family. Mike Allen’s sawmill- the last of its size in this former timber town- was destroyed by a fire in late July.
2013 saw many changes in leadership. Rich Rhodes put in his letter of resignation as School Superintendent—effective at the end of this school year. David Jack became mayor following the resignation of Don McConachie. Daniel Blake and Vice Mayor Julie Decker also took a seat on the assembly. Jeff Jabusch took over for Tim Rooney as Borough Manager.
Finally, after a lot of discussion, the Assembly approved moving ahead with the transfer of the Tyee Hydroelectric Facility from the Thomas Bay Power Authority to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency.
Looking forward to a great 2014–
Happy New Year from KSTK!