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)

Gov Suspends Plan to Cut Aid for Disabled, Elderly

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — Alaska’s governor has ordered the suspension of parts of a plan to cut financial assistance for disabled and elderly Alaska residents, officials said.
    Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy halted the planned state cuts to more than 19,000 recipients next year, The Anchorage Daily News reported  Tuesday.
    Beneficiaries of the Adult Public Assistance Program supporting needy aged, blind, and disabled residents were scheduled to lose up to 10% of their cash benefits starting Jan. 1, officials said.
    The Department of Health and Social Services said in a written statement that the amount of the remaining cut will vary for each person.
    “Some program recipients could still see an overall monetary reduction in their benefits compared to the previous calendar year as the state uses the new methodology to become compliant with (Medicaid) regulations,” department Press Secretary Clinton Bennett wrote. “If there is a reduction in benefits, the exact amount is not known and will need to be recalculated on a case-by-case basis.”
    While some cuts were expected, the department said state budget cuts were compounded by a formula change ordered by federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials.
    “Governor Dunleavy agreed the newly calculated benefit level was unacceptable with both changes put in place,” the health and social services department said.
    The compounding effect happened after the state’s Division of Public Assistance began working on individual cases shortly before the changes were set to take place, the administration said.
    “Part of the problem is the formula that was put forward, and that is why it is so complex,” said Ben Stevens, Dunleavy’s chief of staff.
    Democratic state Rep. Ivy Spohnholz criticized Dunleavy for failing to address the issue earlier.
    “He either knew what he was doing and went ahead anyway, which was malicious,” she said. “Or he was incompetent, in which case he shouldn’t be in the job.”
    Spohnholz is a deputy treasurer of a campaign to recall Dunleavy from office.   

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.”