Month: July 2012

Downtown sidewalk confusion will improve

Navigating downtown on foot is a bit confusing these days, but Department of Transportation project engineer Eric Voorhees, who is managing the Front Street renovation, said it should get better soon. The sidewalk from the Campbell Drive intersection near Diamond C all the way to Episcopal Street is complete, but the area between Ramey’s to the Bay Company is closed. Voorhees said it will open again once they finish the underground work, but pathways are constantly changing. “We’re trying to maintain access everywhere for both vehicles and pedestrians as good as we can, but it’s definitely tricky to try to get everything in and keep moving ahead. It’s a fine line for sure,” he explained. “But hopefully as we get closer to the end of the project we’ll get more finished and we won’t have as much opened up anymore. It should start to get better, but it’s definitely challenging and a bit confusing at times.” He said the workers are trying to mark the best walking routes with signs and fences, but he encourages people to ask the crews if they are confused. Additionally, the boat yard is no longer a good short cut. Construction on the boat haul out project abuts the road project, and you can’t get through to the other side. Voorhees said that despite the weather, they still plan to finish on September 21....

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Petersburg coastie wins BearFest marathon

Nineteen people participated in Sunday’s BearFest Marathon. For the men, Coast Guard member Terry German from Petersburg came in first with a time of 3:36:17. He was followed closely by Wrangellite Dale McMurren at his standard pace of 3:28:34. Kent Johnson and Matt Hilby were only minutes behind. The only woman to run the marathon solo was Cheri Pompeo, who finished with a time of 5:37:51. Two groups of four women ran it as a relay. Thirteen participants completed the half marathon. Gregg Walchli came in first after 1:31:01. He was followed exactly one minute later by Erik Wortman. In first for the women was Lucy Robinson at 1:45:33. Second place for the women was Angie Eldred at just under 1 hour and 58...

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Bears garden the forest, perpertuate salmon lifecycle

Thursday night’s BearFest scientific symposium focused partially on the important role bears play in the overall forest ecosystem. Researcher Barrie Gilbert explained that bears are like the gardeners of the forest. They don’t just eat the salmon; they transport the fish and the nutrients in their bodies far from the river. “Those nutrients, phosphorus and nitrogen particularly, are carried into the forest. The bears urinate and defecate in the forest. They die in the forest. But fish parts they don’t eat are also left in the forest. And as any gardener knows, if you can get a couple of...

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Community smokehouse opens this week

Wrangell’s first community smoke house will be set up today at the community garden site near City Park by the SEARHC traditional foods program, and the project will be dedicated on Friday. The seven-foot tall, four foot by four foot structure was built of Sitka spruce from the region and designed, crafted, and painted by local artisans. Project coordinator Ken Hoyt said the design reflects local culture. “It’s made of spruce and the walls are opaque and the front door has the traditional Tlingit form line design. We have the adzers from the Shakes renovation project painting fish on the doors.” The project fills a long-term community need, Hoyt said. “For years people have been saying we need a community smokehouse because not everybody has a smokehouse, not everybody has a yard. So it would be cool if they had a place to process their fish and with this, it will be open to the public.” The smokehouse is big enough to process about 25 fish at a time and will primarily be used for hot smokes. Community members will sign up in advance for time slots to use the facility. “We’re going to have people sign up in advance so that way we know is someone makes a big mess, we know who they were, or if someone is stealing fish we know who it was,” Hoyt explained....

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Assembly passes resolutions that support local fishing industry

The Wrangell Borough Assembly passed several motions at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening that aim to improve the lives and lots of local fishermen. The first resolution was written in conjunction with the City of Petersburg supporting the development of more local fish hatcheries. Assembly member Bill Privett spoke in favor of the motion but acknowledged that it’s a complex topic. “No matter what we do here tonight, the bottom line is there are going to be greater minds than ours and the biologists that are involved in this whole process who are going to make this all work if it all comes to fruition,” he said. “So this is just a great resolution and we should all support it.” To move forward with a new hatchery, Alaska Department of Fish & Game Private Non-Profit Hatchery Coordinator Sam Rabung said in an interview that a group would need to submit a pre-application. “What happens is an individual or an entity has a desire and an idea and they provide Fish and Game with what they are looking for in terms of species, number, and location. And what we’ll do is we’ll take a look at that, and we’ll analyze that and give our best estimate of what the effects of that production would be.” The resolution passed unanimously. The council also fully supported a motion to use Alaska...

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