PHONING IT IN – Lisa Langenfeld, court reporter, is pictured alone inside the Sitka Courthouse Tuesday as judge lawyers and others speak remotely over the audio system. A sign posted on the door says,  "Effective Immediately TELEPHONIC PARTICIPATION ONLY FOR ALL HEARINGS. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Alaska Spring Sports Season Canceled

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    With schools around the state shuttered until at least May 1 in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Alaska School Activities Association called off the spring sports seasons on Monday.

Sitka Wolves' Chloe Morrison makes an out in a game against Thunder Mountain in 2019. This year's season has been canceled. (Sentinel Photo)


    On its website, ASAA announced the “cancellation of all 2020 spring events, championships, regular season contests and practices. This decision applies to the following: All-State Art, Esports (Spring Season), Solo & Ensemble, Track & Field, Soccer, Baseball and Softball.”
    The state championships for basketball and cheer were canceled last week.
    ASAA was not alone in making tough sports decisions on Monday. The International Olympic Commission simultaneously decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.
    Sitka High softball coach Jael McCarty told the Sentinel that “The girls are pretty heartbroken… (but) we want to do our part to keep the people in our community safe. It’s unfortunate for how it turns out for our girls, but I don’t fault anyone.”
    McCarty acknowledged that the situation is unusual.
    “These are strange times, and you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.”
    She encouraged her players to continue studying and keep up their grades despite school closures.
    “We’re just encouraging them to take care of what they need, to take care of regarding distance learning, and just taking care of one another,” McCarty said.
    Sitka Wolves track and field coach Jeremy Strong said he’s sorry  his seniors are losing their last chance to shatter records.
    “I feel pretty disappointed, this was a really strong year for the program. We’ve got a couple seniors going out who won’t get a chance to compete,” Strong said.
    Powerhouse athletes, including Max Johnson, Asa Demmert, and Dominic Baciocco, were set to constitute the backbone of a capable track team.
    “We’ll probably never get a group of runners together like this again,” Strong said. But he added that ASAA’s choice to shut down the season was reasonable.
    “It’s probably the right decision,” he said.
    Other coaches could not be reached for comment.
    In less than a month, Alaskan sports have gone from basketball season as usual to a total shutdown. The situation continues to develop.
    “Of course as coaches, I think we’re disappointed we don’t get to see the kids compete,” Strong concluded. “We hope that everybody is in good spirits and still finds ways to remain active to keep their spirits up. And we’ll get through it.”
    Until then, Strong looks forward to the next cross country season in August.


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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 4-1-20)


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 3 p.m. Wednesday. 

The list includes the total cases (and what portions are travel and non-travel-related or still being investigated):

 Total - 143 (40, 103)

 Anchorage area – 67 (24, 43)

 Homer – 2 (1, 1)

 Kenai – 1 (1, 0)

 Seward – 1 (1, 0)

 Soldotna – 2 (1, 1)

 Sterling – 2 (0, 2)

 Fairbanks area – 40 (7, 33)

 Mat-Su – 4 (2, 2)

 Juneau – 10 (1, 9)

 Ketchikan – 14 (2, 12)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is nine, and the cumulative number of deaths is three.

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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

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

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 sitkasentinel.com. 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.                                                                          

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