PERFECT WEATHER – Surfers assess the waves at Sandy Beach this morning. Waves were between 14- and 20-feet today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Legislators Look At 2nd Special Session

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
    JUNEAU (AP) — Alaska lawmakers ended their special session today already anticipating another, leaving unsettled a state infrastructure budget and the size of dividend check to pay residents this year from Alaska’s oil-wealth fund.
    “We will be coming back this summer, and I wanted to assure the public that we are going to absolutely provide a dividend this year,” House Majority Leader Steve Thompson said in a floor speech.
    Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy called for the next special session to start July 8 in his hometown of Wasilla, listing the recommended venue of a middle school there.
    He said a change of venue was needed to “refocus the conversation.”
    Dunleavy’s proclamation deals with the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, or PFD. “Once the issue of the PFD is solved, these other budgetary issues will fall into place quickly,” he said in a statement.
    House Speaker Bryce Edgmon told reporters earlier in the day he didn’t see a special session taking place in Wasilla.
    “I think the more productive environment is here in Juneau,” the Dillingham independent said. The Legislative Affairs Agency previously raised concerns with the school site, but Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow said the facility is “more than adequate.”
    The governor can call lawmakers into special session or lawmakers can call themselves into one. Edgmon said lawmakers spoke with Dunleavy Wednesday and said they preferred a special session sometime in July over convening one immediately.
    On Thursday, with time running out in this special session, the Senate accepted the remnants of the capital budget the House passed Wednesday.
    The House failed to reach the three-quarter threshold required to fund major provisions, which Senate Finance Committee Co-chair Natasha von Imhof said left millions of dollars in projects unfunded and federal match money at risk. Still, there were parts of the budget that were funded, and the Senate opted to move forward with those while acknowledging the need to come to agreement on the remaining elements in the coming weeks.
    The time limit on this special session was set to expire Friday. Lawmakers have been meeting in regular or special sessions since mid-January.
    Dunleavy has insisted on a full dividend payout this year, equating to checks of roughly $3,000, after three years of reduced payments amid an ongoing budget deficit.
    Dividends traditionally have been paid using permanent fund earnings, which lawmakers last year also began using to help fund government, creating tension. The dividend and use of fund earnings is being discussed by a special working group created by the House and Senate to make recommendations in the hopes of breaking a logjam on that issue.
    The House, with a bipartisan majority coalition composed largely of Democrats, rejected a full payout Wednesday. The Republican-led Senate, more sharply divided on the issue, rejected a full payout after earlier including one in its version of the state operating budget. Senate President Cathy Giessel has said members of her majority expressed willingness to support a full dividend if the formula were changed going forward.
    During this special session, lawmakers did pass legislation aimed at addressing crime concerns.
   

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.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 11-24-20)

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 12:25 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 578

Total statewide – 27,669

Total (cumulative) deaths – 115

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 619

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 – 29

Hospitalizations in Sitka – 3

Cumulative Sitka cases – 176 (155 resident; 21 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 147 cumulative

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

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20 YEARS AGO
November 2000

Photo caption: A painting by the late Dr. Walt Massey hangs on the wall of the Pioneers Home dining room,. bringing smiles from home administrator Julie Smith and Massey’s son Brian and daughter-in-law Amy, the home’s dietary manager. The painting of early-day Sitka was done in 1971, the year Dr. Massey, an optometrist and artist, died. It originally hung in the Canoe Club and was given by the restaurant’s owner, Frank Richards, to local historian Joe Ashby, who gave it to the Pioneers Home.

50 YEARS AGO
November 1970

Photo  caption: Sitka High School band director James Hope receives a check for $2,000 from American Legion Post 13 Commander Carroll Kohler. The Legion had voted to contribute $1,000 for uniforms and the Auxiliary voted to match that amount. The check was presented at the Legion’s Veterans Day banquet.

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