UNLOADING – From left, Kent Barkhau, Linda Behnken and Terry Perensovich unload fish at the Seafood Producers Co-op dock from the F/V Woodstock recently. Behnken, executive director of Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association, talked to the Sentinel about an ALFA program to distribute 49,000 pounds of salmon to villages affected by poor subsistence fish returns. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

2020 Census to Set Off from Alaska Village

By MARK THIESSEN and
MIKE SCHNEIDER
Associated Press
    ANCHORAGE (AP) — The 2020 Census kicks off Tuesday in remote Alaska. U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham will be there to conduct the first count in the Bering Sea community of Toksook Bay. Dillingham planned to spend time today at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in Anchorage, giving students a lesson on statistics. Additional outreach is planned throughout the weekend.
WHY IS THE 2020 CENSUS STARTING IN ALASKA?
    With its sparse population and subzero temperature, rural Alaska can be hard to reach, and some of its villages are accessible only when the ground is frozen. So, the Census Bureau starts the head count in The Last Frontier state by going door-to-door in January — more than two months before the rest of the nation — so it can make sure it reaches villages before the spring thaw, when residents head out to fish and hunt. The state’s heritage is traditionally on display during these first counts. In 2000, then-U.S. Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt arrived for the first count in the village of Unalakleet as a passenger in a dog sled. This year, Alaska Native dancers from Toksook Bay will perform for Dillingham.
WHEN DOES IT START ELSEWHERE?
    Residents in the rest of the U.S., as well as the rest of Alaska, can start responding online and by telephone in mid-March. The Census Bureau plans to send out a first round of notices explaining how to participate during the second week of March. It will send up to four more rounds of mailings, including a paper questionnaire, in March and April to households that haven’t responded.
WILL SOMEONE BE KNOCKING AT MY DOOR?
    Only if you fail to reply online, by mail or by telephone. This is the first census in which the Census Bureau is encouraging most people to answer the questions via the internet. Around three-quarters of households will initially get invitations to respond to the questionnaire online. However, the Census Bureau realizes some communities don’t have easy access to the internet, and about a quarter of households will initially receive paper questionnaires that can be mailed back. By May, the Census Bureau will be sending out workers to knock on the doors of households it hasn’t heard back from.
WHAT ARE THE QUESTIONS?
    The form asks how many people live in the household as of April 1, whether the home is owned or rented, and the form-filler’s age, race and sex. It also asks if the form-filler is Latino, and if so, their country of origin. In the race question, the form-filler also can specify country of origin. All other residents in the household must answer, or have the first form-filler answer for them, the same questions on age, sex and race. They must specify their relationship to the form-filler and if they live elsewhere, like away at college. For the first time, same-sex couples will be able to identify as such, either as spouses or unmarried partners.
IS THERE A CITIZENSHIP QUESTION?
    No. The Trump administration tried to add the question, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it.
WHO GETS COUNTED?
    Everyone residing in the United States and the five U.S. territories, including non-citizens and immigrants living in the country illegally. Also included are military personnel temporarily deployed overseas, who are counted at their home addresses in the U.S.
WILL MY INFORMATION BE SHARED?
    No. Under federal law, all responses are kept completely confidential, and they can be used only to produce statistics.
WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THE CENSUS?
    Because it is used to determine who your representative in Congress is, where new businesses can build, how crowded your local schools will get over the next decade, and whether highways in your community get money for repairs. The results of the 2020 Census help determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending, as well as how many congressional seats each state gets.

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 9-18-20)

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 10:30 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 108

Total statewide – 6,658

Total (cumulative) deaths – 45

Active cases in Sitka – 30 (20 resident; 10 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 26 (22 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 257.

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. 

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20 YEARS AGO
September 2000

Photo caption: First-grader Megan Polasky happily holds a large turnip as she and other first-graders from Baranof Elementary School harvest some of the vegetables they planted last spring as kindergartners behind the Russian Bishop’s House. Park Service Ranger Harvey Brandt, center, watches over the gardening project.

50 YEARS AGO
September 1970

The Sentinel adds its congratulations to the following persons listed on the Woman’s Club community calender: Earl E. Smith, Wallis George, Frank Williams, Robert Blankenship, and Frank O. Williams Sr., whose birthdays are today, and Ed and Monte Littlefield, whose anniversary is today.

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