Month: July 2012

Seventeen candidates declare for WMC Board seats

Seventeen community members have submitted their names for the upcoming Special Election to fill the eight recalled hospital board seats. The candidates filed declarations of candidacy at City Hall along with petitions with signatures of at least 10 qualified voters. The declaration period ended Monday. The hospital board is not made up of specific seats. Instead, members each fulfill a term with different expiration dates. The current vacancies include terms that will expire this year, next year, in 2014, and in 2015. That means that instead of individuals choosing to run head-to-head, they run as a group for specific terms. Those that get the most votes will fill the slots. For example, five people are running to fill the three vacant seats that will expire this October. The three candidates with the top votes will fill the seats. Each candidate chose to run for a specific term-length. The candidates are as follows: For the three available seats that expire this October: Barbara Conine Judy Allen Robert Henry Betty Keegan Marlene Messmer For the two available seats that expire in October 2013: Michael Ashton Marlene Clark Michael J. Nicholls Billie Younce Terri Henson Bernie Massin For the two available seats that expire in October 2014: Brad Williams Rhonda Dawson Megan Clark Cori Robinson For the one available seat that expires in October 2015: Larry “Woody” Wilson Janell R....

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BearFest kicks off this week

Wrangell’s third annual BearFest kicks off Wednesday and runs until Sunday. The festival’s organizer, Sylvia Ettefagh, said that when planning this year’s festival, she and the committee tried to include things for everyone. “We’ve been on a good path of balancing out what workshops we have and balancing out that this is not something that’s simply about bear conservation, but it’s about bears, period,” she said. This year’s schedule includes events ranging from games for kids to gun safety classes to scientific symposiums. The symposiums were designed by well-known Yellowstone bear researcher Lance Craighead and focus on reducing bear-human conflicts and on bear evolution and biology. They’ll also offer very practical photography classes. “One of the photography workshops I’m really excited about is how to take photos with your iPhone because that’s becoming a big thing lately,” Ettefagh said. Other activities include concerts by jazz duo Tuck and Patti, a salmon bake and dancing with the Alaska Native Sisterhood, free movies, and a marathon. BearFest schedules are posted around town or you can find them on their...

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Downtown streets improvement project on schedule

The Wrangell downtown road and utility improvement project is on schedule for completion. During Thursday’s progress meeting Department of Transportation project engineer Eric Voorhees said that if the weather stays nice, they will finish on time. In the past month the project team has completed most of the underground utility installations up to Curly Ville, and the sub-excavation is complete beyond Episcopal Street. Concrete work has begun near City Market. Voorhees said the community should be aware of changes over the next few weeks. “I’d say over the next few weeks some of the main things to be looking...

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Community members petitioning to lower sales tax

A group of Wrangell residents is trying to lower the city’s sales tax from 7 percent down to 5.5 percent. Ernie Christian is the primary sponsor of the proposed ballot measure. He said lowering the sales tax would put more money into residents’ pockets that they could then spread out further in the community. “This would make us a lot more competitive. People could buy in town,” he said. “It would help the community of Wrangell better. It would lower the cost of goods and lower the cost of doing business in Wrangell.” Wrangell’s sales tax is currently one of the highest in the state. The proposed ballot measure also includes a long-term provision. “Another big part of the ordinance is that the only way the sales tax can be lowered or increased is just like our property tax, it would have to go in front of the voters. So if this does pass, the next time the city wants to increase sales tax or decrease sales tax, it has to go in front of the voters.” City Ordinance section 5-7 passed in 2003 already does this. It states that any new sales taxes or increases in sales tax rate passed by the council would not take effect until ratified by a majority of the voters during an election. Using the city’s current sales tax revenue projections, the proposed...

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