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NEW AGAIN – Amy Rowe-Danielson arranges a display at the Sitka Sound Science Center's newly opened Mill Building on Lincoln Street this afternoon. The reconstructed 1940 building houses Ludvig's Chowder Cart, which opened today for the first time this season to a steady line of socially distancing customers. It also houses the center's gift shop which, like many businesses in town, offers online ordering and free local delivery. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

15 Towns Establish Group To Collect Online Sales Tax

    KETCHIKAN (AP) — A group of Alaska municipalities has formed a commission to collect sales taxes from online retailers, officials said.
    The Ketchikan Gateway Borough and 14 other communities signed an agreement to establish the Alaska Intergovernmental Remote Sellers Sales Tax Commission, The Ketchikan Daily News reported.
    The signing took place at the Alaska Municipal League’s annual conference in Anchorage Thursday, league Executive Director Nils Andreassen said.
    The City of Ketchikan still needs to sign the agreement to begin collecting online sales taxes, but city officials were waiting for the borough to “take the lead and bring them along,” Ketchikan borough Finance Director Cynna Gubatayao said.
    Ketchikan borough attorney Glenn Brown estimated the commission could collect between $400,000 and $1.2 million annually for the borough.
    The other municipalities and boroughs that have signed include Adak, Haines, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Kodiak, Palmer, Seldovia, Seward, Soldotna, Toksook Bay, Wasilla, and Wrangell.
    Anchorage and Fairbanks did not sign because they do not collect sales taxes, Gubatayao said.
    An Alaska Municipal League report from May 2018 recommended only enforcing tax collection for online businesses selling more than $100,000 of goods per year.
    The Alaska commission would be the sole body responsible for collecting municipal sales taxes from online retailers and would remain independent of the municipal league.
    Municipal members of the commission would need to ensure their definitions and codes adhere to a model code, but they would not be required to modify their tax rates, officials said.
    Other municipalities will still be able to join, but the commission is considering measures to make later signatories’ contributions equitable to those of the original 15 communities.

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 5-29-20)

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 10:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 5

Total statewide – 430

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 47, and the cumulative number of deaths is 10.

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

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Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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