OPEN AIR CONCERT – From left, musicians Ross Venneberg, Brian Neal, Wade Demmert and Roger Schmidt perform an outdoor brass concert for residents of the Pioneers Home Monday. The professional musicians, who are hunkered down in Sitka, are regulars at the annual Holiday Brass Concert. The Pioneers Home has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Group to Send Legislators Public Safety Options List

    JUNEAU (AP) — A working group in Alaska tasked with fixing a public safety program has completed a list of recommendations to send to state lawmakers after meeting an Anchorage this week.
    Lawmakers formed the working group last year to fix the Village Public Safety Officer program, which has dealt with budget cuts, high turnover and fluctuating job descriptions, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported  Friday.
    The working group has held eight meetings across the state to gather feedback before coming up with the recommendations, officials said.
    The biggest recommendation is to revise a state statute designating the programs’ responsibilities, said Republican Rep. Chuck Kopp, who co-chairs the working group.
    The program was initially designed to assist with wildlife management and search and rescue efforts before it evolved into more policing and public safety efforts, Kopp said.
    “It had much less emphasis on law enforcement, you know, keeping the law, apprehending violators and keeping people safe. But then the program kind of just dramatically evolved,” Kopp said.
    Other issues such as funding and high turnover would benefit from a revised statute, he said.
    The recommendations come after U.S. Attorney General William Barr declared a public law enforcement emergency in June and the U.S. Justice Department approved about $11 million in funding for federal law enforcement programs, officials said.
    The working group plans to finalize the recommendations by the end of the month, officials said.
    The group expects to focus on revising the statute during the 2020 Legislative session, which starts on Jan. 21 in Juneau, Kopp said.   

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-7-20)

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 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Sunday: 19

Total statewide – 1,184

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (3 resident; 5 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 78.

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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