SPLASH – An SUV makes a tremendous splash as it drives through a puddle on Lake Street Sunday morning.  A storm front Sunday and Monday morning brought with it torrential rain, thunder,  lightning and a power outage, but no major damage. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

UA Furlough Notices Sent After Gov Veto

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
    JUNEAU (AP) — Furlough notices were being sent today to about 2,500 University of Alaska staff, part of the fallout of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s veto of $130 million for the system.
    University system President Jim Johnsen last week said the cut, if it stands, would be devastating. The veto is on top of a $5 million reduction authorized by lawmakers, and Johnsen said it follows a series of cuts in recent years.
    The notices, warning of 10 furlough days, were being sent Monday, said Monique Musick, a spokeswoman for the university system. Johnsen also said the system is instituting hiring, travel and contract freezes.
    Johnsen, in a letter to the university community, said the cut was targeted at the campuses in Anchorage and Fairbanks and statewide administration.
    He has asked university supporters to contact lawmakers and urge them to override the veto, which would require 45 of the Legislature’s 60 members. Absent an override, Johnsen said he will prepare for consideration by the Board of Regents a declaration that would allow the university “to more rapidly discontinue programs and academic units, and to start the unprecedented process of removing tenured faculty.”
    The university was among the areas hit by vetoes. Other areas include health and social service, education and environmental programs and public broadcasting.
    Dunleavy vetoed funding for the Ocean Rangers program, created by an initiative in 2006 and calling for onboard observers on certain large cruise ships monitoring compliance with discharge requirements. The program is funded through fees.
    Joe Geldhof, an attorney involved in the 2006 initiative, said Dunleavy’s veto of Ocean Rangers money doesn’t wipe the law creating the program off the books. He called it a political mistake.
    “It’s not like we don’t need enforcement,” he said, adding later: “If he had problems with how the Ocean Ranger program was being administered, then make it more efficient. Don’t just veto the money from it.”
    House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt, an Anchorage Republican, in a statement Friday said if his 15-member caucus decides to revisit any of Dunleavy’s cuts, it wants to do so through a separate budget bill rather than an override.
    Democratic Rep. Adam Wool of Fairbanks said Monday he hopes common sense prevails and the university cut in particular is overridden.
    The overall cut to the university system this year, with the veto, would be in line with what Dunleavy proposed previously. Wool said he thought Dunleavy’s initial proposal was “crazy talk.”
    “We have to push back against this,” Wool said. “It’s his first year, and he’s trying to see what he can get away with and how hard he can push us, I guess.”
    Dunleavy took office in December. One of his major campaign proposals was a payout of a full dividend to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. A full payout would cost an estimated $1.9 billion and equate to checks of about $3,000 this year. Many legislators say that’s not sustainable, as the state has begun using fund earnings, long used to pay dividends, to also help cover government costs and with no serious consideration of new statewide taxes or changes to existing ones.
    The state has struggled for years with a deficit that’s persisted amid low to middling oil prices. The dividend is the focus of a special session scheduled to start next Monday.
    Dunleavy and legislative leaders have clashed over the location of the special session. The constitution states the Legislature has five days after convening a special session to take up any vetoes.
   

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 9-28-20)

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 11:50 a.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 115

Total statewide – 7,597

Total (cumulative) deaths – 56

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (11 resident; 9 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 44 (37 resident; 7 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 286.

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. 

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20 YEARS AGO
September 2000

Sitka Open Golf Tournament winners are: Men’s Division – Semisi Funaki, Tom Mattingly and Gregory Martin. Women’s Division – Janet Schwartz, Judy Sudnikovich and Liza Martin. Youth Division – Elaina Mattingly, Matthew Way and Sidney Wyman.

50 YEARS AGO
September 1970

Lions Catch a Bear at Kake. They were on Lions Club business, but Willie Dick and Bill Pasek, Sitka, brought back a bear from Kake. Pasek shot the 6-foot-tall black bear after Lions Club business was ended. He and Dick brought the bear back to Sitka where Larry Ross and Dick Wight helped prepare it for a taxidermist.

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