PASSING THROUGH – Orca whales swim near the Indian River estuary Thursday night. A pod of more than a half-dozen adult and juvenile orcas spent the late afternoon in Sitka Sound near shore as people along Sawmill Creek Road photographed and video recorded them. NOAA Fisheries recommends staying at least 100 yards away while viewing whales from boats. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Insurance, Loan Fund Items on City Agenda

By Sentinel Staff
    The City and Borough Assembly will face a busy agenda Tuesday following a one-hour work session on updated regulations of the National Floodplain Insurance Program.
    At the regular meeting, which will start at 6 p.m. at Centennial Hall, the Assembly will vote on final approval of Sitka’s participation in the nationwide program that enables property owners in flood plains to obtain federally subsidized flood insurance.
    In other business the Assembly will discuss and provide direction on the unanimous recommendation by the city’s investment committee to roll over the $2.25 million remaining in the Southeast Alaska Economic Development fund into the city’s Permanent Fund.
    While the economic development fund is available for grants, the city charter does not permit withdrawals from the principal of the permanent fund, whose earnings are dedicated to the city general fund.
    On July 16 the investment committee chairman Mike Reif wrote a memo advising the Assembly that after discussion with city chief finance and administrative officer Jay Sweeney he is recommending that the Assembly consider the May 23 committee recommendation “in the light of new developments.”
    He said those developments are the possible need of economic development fund grants for three critical projects: a marine haulout facility at Gary Paxton Industrial Park; repair of the seawall at the Marine Service Center in order to allow sale of the facility to the private sector; and to provide the several hundred thousand dollars that may be needed to match an FAA grant to relocate the city’s seaplane float to Japonski Island.
    Also Tuesday night the Assembly will consider resolutions supporting three applications to the state for Historic Preservation Grants. The projects, which were approved by the Sitka Historic Preservation Commission, are for a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Sitka Woman’s Club building at the corner of Harbor Drive and Maksoutoff Street; repairs to St. Peter’s See House on Lincoln Street; and for the next phase of renovation to the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society’s boathouse on Japonski Island.
    The Assembly also will consider the transfer of Lot 18 at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park into city ownership, to be used with the adjacent lot, already owned by the city, for the secondary water supply filtration plant.
    The GPIP board has already approved the transfer of the lot, without charge, for the planned multi-million dollar water treatment facility.
    A couple of marijuana license renewals are on the agenda, and approval of city grant applications for state grants of $1.5 million for the Eliason Harbor electrical replacement project, and $219,125 for the Thomsen Harbor corrosion protection project.
    The Tuesday work session and Assembly meeting will be held at Centennial Hall, and are open to the public.
    The Assembly will also review options for a contract to sell the Gary Paxton Industrial Park utility dock to Hanson Maritime.
    The proposals will protect the city from liability for the risks involved in repair of the dock.

    The front page story in Monday’s Sentinel on the agenda for Tuesday’s Assembly meeting incorrectly stated the purpose of the historic preservation grant application for St. Peter’s See House. The grant is to fund a historical property condition assessment. The Sentinel regrets the error.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-31-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:50 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 108

Total statewide – 2,990

Total (cumulative) deaths – 23

Active cases in Sitka – 15 (10 resident; 5 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 133.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

Login Form

Most recent Sentinels — PDF edition

July 27, 2020 

July 28, 2020

July 29, 2020

July 30, 2020

July 31 2020


July 2000

Clinton Buckmaster shot and wounded a large brown bear Tuesday night when it charged him near his Thimbleberry Bay home in the 2100 block of Sawmill Creek Road. As of press time, the bear was still at large.

July 1970

The city council agreed at a special meeting Thursday to consider the request of Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1 for redevelopment planning funds for the Indian Village. Cost has been estimated at $12,000.