FISH TO FLY – Charter clients claim their fish boxes at the Rocky Gutierrez Airport on Wednesday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson) 




Senate Leaders Criticize AG Over Local Hiring

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — Alaska’s attorney general violated the state constitution by not defending a law that encourages construction firms to use Alaska workers on state contracts, according to leaders of the state Senate majority and minority.
    Senate President Cathy Giessel, an Anchorage Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, an Anchorage Democrat, criticized Attorney General Kevin Clarkson in separate letters for his actions on a local hire challenge, the Anchorage Daily News reported .
    In response, Clarkson said he took an oath to defend the U.S. and Alaska constitutions. The law violates those constitutions, he said, and it makes sense to stop enforcing it.
    “I didn’t take an oath to promise to defend every law the Legislature passes no matter how unconstitutional it is,” he said.
    Hiring laws that give Alaskans a preference over workers who earn high wages and fly home to other states have been an issue for decades.
    Alaska’s local-hire law at the time of its passage was believed to be in accordance with the law and has remained in force for 30 years without challenge until this year. It has been backed by Republican and Democratic state administrations.
    In July, a southeast Alaska construction company, SECON, sued and said the law was unconstitutional. The company challenged fines the state had imposed.
    The Alaska Department of Law decided to settle. State attorneys canceled some of the fines and Clarkson agreed to write a legal opinion about the constitutionality of the law.
    The opinion said existing Alaska local-hire law is unconstitutional and should not be defended.
    Legislators objected and said Clarkson should defend state law until a judge renders a verdict.
    “Your ad hoc determination that the laws of our land, which remain untested in the courts, are unconstitutional is a diversion into the lawmaking field that is rightfully the purview of this branch of government,” Giessel wrote Oct. 22.
    A letter by Begich, and co-signed by Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski of Anchorage, said the attorney general’s failure to enforce Alaska hire appeared to violate his statutory duties.
    “You don’t get to be judge, jury and executioner,” Wielechowski said. “It’s your job to defend the laws of the state of Alaska.”
    In an attachment to the Wielechowski-Begich letter, legislative attorney Daniel Wayne said the local-hire law may be unconstitutional, but “because of the separation of powers doctrine, it is the province of the court, not the executive or legislative branch, to declare that a law is unconstitutional.”
    Clarkson said if legislators want to encourage local hire, they can offer job-training programs and financial incentives for companies who hire Alaskans.


August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30, 2020, 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.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 6-17-21)

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 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Tuesday: 26

Total statewide – 67,936

Total (cumulative) deaths – 366

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,595

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. Wednesday.

Active cases in Sitka – 2

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 6

Cumulative Sitka cases – 388 (339 resident; 49 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 386

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

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

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Tuesday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 5,318 (72%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,940 (66%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 77 percent of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at:





June 2001

When it comes to selling lots in the Gavan subdivision, the city has to look at the long-term picture, says City Planning Director Wells Williams. Since the 32 city-owned lots in the 69-lot subdivision went on sale in 1997; only 12 have sold. “We’d certainly like to sell a lot more,” Williams said.

June 1971

Myron J.  Oen, a Sitka High science teacher, has been accepted as a participant in the Academic Year Institute for Physics Teachers at Wisconsin State University.