TRAIL TRIMMING – Dyana Mutchler-Walsh trims trees and shrubs along the Castle Hill ramp this morning. Mutchler-Walsh is one of a half-dozen students building trails and doing trail maintenance this summer through a Southeast Alaska Independent Living program. The program wraps up Friday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

DOT: 6 of 11 State Ferries To Be Pulled From Service

    JUNEAU (AP) — More than half of Alaska’s ferries will be out of service amid a lack of funds to repair the vessels, transportation officials said.
    The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced this week that the Aurora and the LeConte will be pulled from service after inspections revealed required steel replacement, the Juneau Empire reported Friday.
    About 24 employees of the Aurora were already notified they would be relieved of duties effective Jan. 14, officials said. The Aurora is set for long-term layup meaning there are no short-term plans of operation, officials said.
    Department officials opted to repair the LeConte because work on the Aurora would be more expensive and take longer and the department did not have enough money to repair both, officials said.
    “You can basically trace it back to budget,” department spokesperson Sam Dapcevich said. “We just have such a reduced budget.”
    The department is working with the budget approved by the Legislature and governor, he said.
    LeConte’s estimated $5.2 million repairs follow the ship’s annual overhaul in October leaving about $4 million for future maintenance, state department officials said. LeConte is expected to return to service May 15, officials said.
    As a result, six of the 11 ferries in the Alaska Marine Highway System will be in layup causing complications for transportation services in the southeast for residents going to medical appointments and companies transporting groceries, machinery and other goods, officials said.
    At least four other vessels are in layup including the Malaspina, Columbia, Fairweather and Chenega, officials said. The future of those vessels would be determined following completion and review of a restructuring plan, officials said.
    “At this time, the Matanuska, the Tazlina and the Lituya are operating in southeast,” Dapcevich said, adding that residents living in Pelican and Tenakee will likely be without ferry service during the rest of the winter schedule.
    Residents and travelers are encouraged to check the system service page online for information about adjustments to the ferry schedule, officials said.

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 8-6-20)

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 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

New cases as of Wednesday: 40

Total statewide – 3,484

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 19 (14 resident; 5 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

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. 




August 2000

The city’s solid waste incinerator closed Wednesday, two days after the contract with Sheldon Jackson College for its operation ended. ... The city will ship all municipal waste except biosolids off-island to a landfill in Washington. The biosolids will be buried in the Kimsham landfill, Public Works Director Hugh Bevan said.

August 1970

Ernest Robertson, a Sitka resident most of his life, has moved back here with his family after a five-year sojourn in Anchorage. “Anchorage was just too big,” Ernie said. “It wasn’t like Sitka, where every time you go out on the street you meet your friends.”