CHECKING THE SLOPES – Ski companions Aaron Prussian, Emily Clark and Will Sirokman measure the snow depth and conditions on Mt. Verstovia Saturday. The friends have been tracking conditions this season, looking for weaknesses in the snowpack that could lead to avalanches. They saw signs of stable conditions, some hardpack and compacted layers, but no signs of weakness in that specific area. Dozens of skiers were on the mountain this weekend. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Alberta Hemnes, Longtime Resident, Dies at Age 84

Alberta Hemnes


Alberta Hemnes, a longtime Sitka resident, died March 17, 2020, at the Sitka SEARHC hospital. She was 84.

Alberta was born June 12, 1935, in Bissett, Manitoba, Canada, the oldest of five children of Jonas Anderson and Elsie Irene Walker. Her family moved to Calgary during World War II, and her father served in the Army for six years during the war. When she was 16  her mother passed away, leaving Alberta to help raise her siblings.

Alberta attended Langley Prairie High School in British Columbia, Canada, and Berean Bible College in Calgary for three years. Later, she took nursing aide training in Calgary and worked as an aide at a local hospital. 

Alberta began her missionary work  for Gospel Missionary Union in Kansas City, and was there for 10 years. In 1969, GMU sent her to Sitka to work with children in a Bible club program. She and her GMU partner, Elsie Williams, also opened the Bible Book Store, in downtown Sitka.

She met the love of her life, Jakob Hemnes, here, and they were married on August 22, 1975.

Alberta worked as an aide at Sitka Community Hospital and at the Bed and Bath shop for many years. She had artistic talents and loved to paint, and spent many happy hours painting for Becky Martin at Windsong Designs. Her miniature canvas paintings have been featured in the Pioneers Home Gift Shop the past few years. 

Alberta had a very strong Christian faith and will be missed by her church family at the Nazarene Church. Her home for the last two years has been at the Pioneer Home. Alberta was a joy to many and will be missed by them all.

She is survived by two stepchildren, Joyce Hemnes of Sitka and Kurt Hemnes and two step-granddaughters, of Norway.


A memorial service is planned for later in the summer.

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 1-26-21)

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 12:20 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 86

Total statewide – 51,778

Total (cumulative) deaths – 258

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,170

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 1

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 309 (277 resident; 32 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 308

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.




January 2001

Rory Schneeberger of Sitka has been tapped to serve as state Rep. Peggy Wilson’s chief of staff, the District 2 representative announced today. Wilson, of Wrangell, was elected in November to represent Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan in the state House.

January 1971

Eleven Sheldon Jackson students will visit churches in the northern half of Southeast Alaska as part of a four-week interim study course called Contemporary Alaska Mission. Their instructor, Rev. William Zeiger, who is college chaplain, has arranged the course.