Articles from the September 16, 2021 edition


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  • School Board amends mask policy

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    The Petersburg School Board voted to amend COVID-19 regulations set by the district's Moderate Risk Plan during Tuesday's meeting. The amendment eased the school's masking policy and made changes to color designations, travel policy, and quarantine rules outlined in the plan. The amendment passed with a vote of 4-1 with Cheryl File opposed. Most of the changes were made to the yellow status of the Moderate Risk Plan. Indoor masking is required for all K-12 students regardless of vaccination...

  • Doctors warn Covid-19 continues to surge statewide

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    Medical professionals spoke at the Petersburg School Board meeting Tuesday night about the impact that COVID-19 is currently having on the state of Alaska. Dr. Jennifer Hyer with the Petersburg Medical Center provided a medical update to the board. She agreed with the board's number one stated goal of maintaining in person learning and said Petersburg is fortunate to have a low number of cases and proceeded to provide context for the rest of the state. "I wish I could deliver better news but...

  • Yesterday's News

    Sep 16, 2021

    September 16, 1921 What is pronounced as being the best Chautauqua company ever seen in Petersburg closed its engagement here on Thursday night after having given five very enjoyable and high class performances. The musical numbers were of the highest order, De Jen in his magic and illusionary tricks was especially entertaining and the lectures were of the highest order. Following the last performance a big dance was given in the S. Of N. Hall which was largely attended and which was greatly enjoyed. The Chautauqua performers sailed for Juneau...

  • Petersburg commemorates 20th anniversary of 9/11

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    First responders, veterans, and members of the community memorialized the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on Friday and Saturday. The events commemorated the 2,977 innocent lives that were lost on September 11, 2001 when planes hijacked by members of the terrorist group al-Qaeda crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A fire truck was parked outside the school with a flag of the United States draped across...

  • Guest Editorial

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel Publisher|Sep 16, 2021

    The anti-vaccination politics rolling across the country — much like a pandemic — have gotten so bad that the Alaska state Senate could not even manage to pass a bill last Friday allowing more telemedicine without lawmakers amending it into a debate over personal liberty. Much of the discussion had no connection whatsoever to patients and doctors working together online to diagnose and treat ailments often totally unrelated to COVID-19. The Senate amendments were targeted at blocking businesses, state agencies and local governments from req...

  • Editorial

    Ron Loesch, Publisher|Sep 16, 2021

    The school board did what was needed to assure the best chances of keeping the schools open this year. School board president Sarah Holmgrain succinctly stated online what needed to happen this year: “It’s mostly for me about keeping the school open, keeping quarantines down, keeping unvaccinated kids safe, and unvaccinated staff able to remain at school when they’ve been in close contact. “We simply do not have enough subs (substitute teachers) to cover if we have even a small outbreak at the school. That means parents are home, not at work...

  • To the Editor

    Sep 16, 2021

    Well finally hate mail....rather some opinionated opposite view. Mr. Mackay is this vaccine the second coming? Are vaccinated people safe now? Maybe, but really it's only been a few months, maybe, I hope it works. Rather than believing what the CDC, WHO or Dr. Fauci are telling us let's look at actual documented history. Israel was way ahead of the curve with 80% of the adults vaccinated. That country thought they had the virus beat in July. Through the rest of July and August to now things have turned around with record cases,hospitalizations...

  • Joe Bertagnoli retires after 30 years of service

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    Joe Bertagnoli celebrated his retirement at the end of August after 30 years of service with the borough, most recently as the building official and code enforcement officer. Bertagnoli has spent most of his life working in construction. He first came to Petersburg in 1979 for what was originally going to be a three month visit after he worked building houses in Michigan. "Going to be home by Christmas, didn't make it until the following Christmas, went back to visit my parents," Bertagnoli...

  • Police report

    Sep 16, 2021

    September 8 — A protective order was served at an undisclosed location. An officer responded to suspicious activity near Eagle’s Roost Park. September 9 — A protective order was served at an undisclosed location. A found bicycle was turned into the police department. A personal item was turned into the police department. A warning was issued for passing a school bus while red lights were flashing on Sandy Beach Rd. An officer responded to a building alarm at an undisclosed location. A protective order was served at an undisclosed locat...

  • PHS volleyball prepares for season

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    The Petersburg High School volleyball team has begun practicing for its upcoming season and the players are hungry after a year impacted by COVID-19. In a region known for its strength of volleyball teams, the PHS team is comprised of 32 students and eight seniors. They experienced some competition last year according to volleyball coach Jaime Cabral who said last season also left a bitter taste. Their finish as the second-best team in the region would have qualified them for state if it had...

  • PHS cross country travels to first meet

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    The Petersburg High School cross country team competed in its first meet of the season Saturday in Wrangell. The girls team finished second overall with a score of 73, only behind Ketchikan High School. Sophomore Kinley Lister finished third with a time of 22:06.71 and freshman Kate Thompson finished not far behind in seventh with a time of 22:59.15. The boys team finished fourth with a score of 85, with senior Michael Durkin placing third overall with a time of 18:05.92. Head Coach Tom...

  • Motor Pool Shop on track for November 30 completion

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    Construction is progressing on the new motor pool shop and is set to be completed by the November 30 deadline despite schedule delays according to Public Works Director Chris Cotta. The new building, which is replacing the facility that suffered a fire in August of 2019, has had its framing put up for rooms such as the crew quarters, and builders are now working on electrical and plumbing for the building. Cotta said the delays are because of issues contractors are having with supply of...

  • Annabelle Baker Memorial Art Show

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    The Annabelle Baker Memorial Art Show was held at the Clausen Museum Friday as part of the Rainforest Festival. The event, honoring artist and former member of the Rainforest Festival Board Annabelle Baker who passed away in 2012, displayed artwork from local artists. "She and I used to hang this show together all the time and so when she passed we just kind of named it after her. She was a wonderful person," Pia Reilly said. The theme of this year's show was Nature and You, which is meant to...

  • Muskeg Maleriers celebrate National Rosemaling Day

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    The Muskeg Maleriers hosted a beginners rosemaling class at the Sons of Norway Hall on Saturday in celebration of National Rosemaling Day. About 40 people attended the free event where the club taught the Norwegian folk art of painting floral designs on furniture and objects called rosemaling. Some of the Muskeg Maleriers' work can be seen on storefronts around Petersburg including Lee's Clothing, Rexall Drug, and a 9-by-36 mural at Hammer & Wikan Grocery. "We decided that it would be fun to do...

  • Naomi Michalsen kicks off Rainforest Festival

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    Naomi Michalsen opened the Rainforest Festival Thursday night with a presentation on the power of indigenous plants and foods at the Wright Auditorium. Michalsen, who grew up in Petersburg but now lives in Ketchikan, runs Kaasei Training & Consulting which aims to educate people on Tlingit culture and practices associated with harvesting berries and other foods in Southeast Alaska. Michalsen opened by giving a land acknowledgement before speaking on her time growing up in Petersburg. “As a young girl I learned to love this place and I grew up a...

  • Rainforest Festival Artwork

    Sep 16, 2021

  • Rainforest Festival

    Sep 16, 2021

  • Bristol Bay red king crab fishery to be closed

    Laine Welch|Sep 16, 2021

    Alaska's Bering Sea crabbers are reeling from the devastating news that all major crab stocks are down substantially, based on summer survey results, and the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery will be closed for the first time in over 25 years. That stock has been on a steady decline for several years and the 2020 harvest dwindled to just 2.6 million pounds. Most shocking was the drastic turn-around for snow crab stocks, which in 2018 showed a 60% boost in market sized male crabs (the only ones...

  • Remains of the old cabin

    Sep 16, 2021

  • PMEA contract approved by Borough

    Chris Basinger|Sep 16, 2021

    The Borough Assembly approved a new collective bargaining agreement with Petersburg Municipal Employees Association during its meeting on September 7. The contract was approved by a 5-0 unanimous vote and will be in effect from January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023. Changes to the contract are mostly associated with wage increases and paid time off, and the cost of the three year contract will be $798,747. Effective July 1, 2020, a 2% increase will apply to Step C for all positions on the PMEA Wage Matrix. Employees reach Step C after one year of...

  • Wrangell schools keep face mask, distancing protocols in place

    Marc Lutz|Sep 16, 2021

    WRANGELL — Social distancing and masking requirements will continue to stay in place at Wrangell public schools. At the school board meeting on Monday night, Superintendent Bill Burr updated board members on a change in some language in the district’s COVID-19 mitigation plan, but students and staff will still be required to wear masks and stay apart. The board in August agreed to review the mitigation plan and masking requirement monthly. “There were a few additions we had to [the mitigation plan],” Burr said Monday, which will ease the tes...

  • Legislators pass $1,100 PFD; governor wants more

    Larry Persily, Wrangell Sentinel Publisher|Sep 16, 2021

    Not content with the $1,100 Permanent Fund dividend adopted on the final day of the special legislative session that ended Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy hours later called lawmakers back for a fourth special session starting Oct. 1 to “get the rest of this year’s PFD.” Dunleavy, who is running for reelection next year, has been promoting a dividend this year of more than double the $1,100 approved by legislators. Back in June, Dunleavy vetoed a legislatively approved dividend that he said was too small at about $525. This time, however, he said...

  • Obituary: Steve Toth, 55

    Sep 16, 2021

    Steve Toth, 55, passed away on July 26, 2021 surrounded by his wife and two children. He was born in Highland Park, Illinois on Aug. 1, 1965, to Istvan Toth Sr. and Mary Toth. After his birth, the family moved to Chicago, where he lived for the first part of his childhood. After graduating from Wilmot Junior High, he went overseas to Ireland and attended the Royal Caravan School for four years and graduated high school there. Afterward, he moved back to the states, and then on to Petersburg,... Full story

  • No new COVID-19 cases in past week

    Sep 16, 2021

    There are two active cases of COVID-19 in Petersburg as of Wednesday according to the Petersburg Medical Center’s COVID-19 Dashboard and no new positives in the past seven days. 691 new cases were reported in the state of Alaska on September 13 according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The statewide alert level remains high as 202 hospitalizations and seven deaths were also reported on that day. PMC continues to urge people not to travel if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Travelers are encouraged to get t...

  • Nine active COVID-19 cases, community spread likely

    Sep 16, 2021

    The Petersburg Medical Center reported eight new cases of COVID-19 Monday bringing the total number of active cases to nine along with several tests currently pending. Contract tracing has been initiated by Public Health and it is believed that community spread is most likely the avenue of transmission for some cases. The Petersburg School District also reported that several students have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and the district has entered red status. Universal masking was... Full story

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