APRIL SNOW SHOWERS – Pam Young shovels snow from in front of Harry Race Pharmacy this morning. The city measured 1.5 inches of snow this morning at 10 a.m. More snow and low overnight temperatures of 28 degrees are forecast for both tonight and Saturday night. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Gov Prods Legislators To Accept His Budget

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
    JUNEAU (AP) — Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday questioned the potential for any deal with lawmakers if they fail to act on his proposed constitutional amendments and crime bills.
    Dunleavy told reporters little will have been accomplished if the session ends with limited budget cuts. He wants lawmakers to pass crime legislation and send voters proposed constitutional changes he considers cornerstones of a fiscal plan.
    “If we end up with a budget in which the reductions are so minimal and we have no constitutional amendments and the crime package isn’t moving to help protect Alaskans, what kind of deal can we have, I guess is the question. I mean, this does not work,” he said.
    The state faces a projected $1.6 billion deficit that the Republican governor proposed filling through steep cuts to areas including education, the university system, health and social service programs and the ferry system, plus use of reserve accounts and tax collection shifts that would place a greater burden on some communities.
    The House on Tuesday began debating its rewrite of the state operating budget, which shunned the level of cuts Dunleavy proposed. The House is controlled by a bipartisan coalition composed largely of Democrats, though leaders of the Republican-led Senate also have pushed back against some of his proposals and indicated they want to take a more gradual approach than Dunleavy.
    He has proposed a full payout to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. The annual dividend check has been capped the last three years amid the ongoing budget debate and a smaller check is again being weighed by lawmakers.
    Dunleavy said the formula in state law for calculating the checks should be followed.
    His constitutional provisions are aimed at limiting spending and giving voters a say on changes approved by lawmakers to taxes and the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. The Legislature also would get a say on tax changes approved by voter initiative.
    Dunleavy expressed openness to a less-restrictive public advisory vote on the dividend but said he thinks it would show Alaskans don’t want the dividend changed without their vote.
    He needs two-thirds support in both the House and Senate to get a proposed amendment on the ballot but has faced some resistance.
    His office has taken to social media to urge the House to act on his constitutional and crime-related proposals while thanking the Senate for hearings it’s held. The House recently passed a bill dealing with protective orders sponsored by a House member.
    Lawmakers are not obligated to take up legislation just because a governor wants it: Dunleavy’s predecessor, Gov. Bill Walker, repeatedly tried to get the Legislature to act on new or higher taxes, putting that on special session agendas without success. Walker also used his veto power.
    Dunleavy indicated he’d be willing to flex his authorities, too.
    “We can veto line items, we can veto the budget, we can call special sessions,” he said of the potential that lawmakers support a smaller dividend. “We can use whatever tools we have.”
    He said he wants to see how the process plays out. The Senate has yet to write its version of the budget, and the House and Senate will have to reach a compromise before sending it to Dunleavy.
    Lawmakers have expressed interest in a spending limit though the Legislature’s top legal adviser, Megan Wallace, has said the scope of Dunleavy’s proposed constitutional amendment may be too substantial for an amendment and instead qualify as a revision that a constitutional convention would need to address.
    The attorney general’s office disagrees with that interpretation.
    The Senate Finance Committee plans Wednesday to begin reviewing ideas for changing the dividend formula and imposing a potential new spending limit. Critics consider existing spending limits in law and the constitution to be too lax. The Senate proposals deal with changes in law.
   

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.

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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.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 4-9-21)

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 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 241

Total statewide – 62,161

Total (cumulative) deaths – 309

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,388

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. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 8

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 348 (309 resident; 39 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 340

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

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

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Sitka Vax Stats 

The City of Sitka posted the following update on vaccinations in Sitka as of Friday.

Partially vaccinated – 4,564 (65.85%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,070 (58.72%)

Total population (16+) –6,931

Sitka has vaccinated 1,215 (89.5%) of its senior population (1,358 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data are for the City and Borough of Sitka. The data are updated weekly on Sitka’s COVID-19 Dashboard at: bit.ly/SitkaDashboard. 

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20 YEARS AGO
April 2001

Photo caption: Karl Johnson, Gege Dimond, Dolly Garza, Sheryl Parsons, Joy Light and Teri Rofkar cast off in a traditional Tlingit canoe at Sealing Cove Sunday. They were practicing paddling techniques for the traditional carved canoe race to be held this weekend as part of the communitywide celebration “One Nation Working Together.”

50 YEARS AGO
April 1971

Meeting notices: The Sitka Roadters car club will meet Sunday at Don’s Crescent Service. ... Southeast Alaska Trollers Assoc. will hold their monthly meeting Sunday  at Blatchley Junior High. ... The Sitka Historical Society will meet Sunday at the Centennial Building. After a short meeting further work will be done on the society’s museum that’s being installed in the west wing of the building.

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