HERRING WELCOME COMMITTEE – A trio of California sea lions lounge near Bieili Rocks Sunday. Sea lions and whales were feasting on herring in Sitka Sound. The first herring spawn of the season in Sitka Sound was spotted Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Foes of Gov Recall To Drop Court Fight

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
    JUNEAU (AP) — The group opposing an effort to recall Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Tuesday it plans to drop its court fight and instead gear up for a possible recall election.
    Stand Tall With Mike, in a statement, said it told its attorneys to withdraw its appeal before the Alaska Supreme Court, saying recent court actions indicate “further participation in the legal process would not be a productive use of its resources.”
    “Stand Tall with Mike will place its trust in the voters, not unelected judges, to protect the integrity of our elections, now and into the future,” the group said.
    The court last week allowed for pro-recall group Recall Dunleavy to begin a new signature-gathering phase while the case is on appeal. The state, on behalf of the Division of Elections, had joined with Stand Tall With Mike in appealing a lower court ruling that found the recall should be allowed to proceed.
    The state’s appeal will continue, Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills said by email. The state maintains an opinion by Attorney General Kevin Clarkson and a decision by the Division of Elections based on that analysis were correct and that the issues need to be addressed by the Alaska Supreme Court, Mills said.
    Anger over budget cuts Dunleavy proposed last year helped fuel the recall effort,which gathered more signatures than required as part of an application that was rejected by the division.
    Division director Gail Fenumiai has said her decision to deny the application was based on a legal review from Clarkson that concluded the stated grounds for recall were “factually and legally deficient.” Clarkson is a Dunleavy appointee who was confirmed by lawmakers.
    Dunleavy, a Republican who took office in late 2018, has called this a political recall. Hetold Alaska Public Media’s “Talk of Alaska” Tuesday that recall opponents hoped the court would look at whether various standards had been breached.
    “It doesn’t appear that that’s going to happen and so we have to gear up for a campaign so that the people of Alaska can weigh in and decide whether they believe ... this governor should stay in office,” he said.
    Grounds for recall in Alaska are lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties or corruption.
    Recall Dunleavy, among its claims, said the governor violated the law by not appointing a judge within a required time frame, misused state funds for partisan online ads and mailers, and improperly used his veto authority to “attack the judiciary.”
    The recall group must gather 71,252 signatures in seeking to force a recall election.
    Stand Tall With Mike called Chief Justice Joel Bolger a “material witness” in the case and raised concerns with him hearing the matter. Bolger met with Dunleavy last year after the governor refused to make a judicial appointment. Dunleavy has said the meeting provided “important clarification” on the nominations process that he was seeking when he delayed the appointment.
    Brewster Jamieson, an attorney for Stand Tall With Mike, in a statement said the group considers the recall “seriously flawed.”
    “If it is allowed to go forward, this means that Alaska has a purely political recall system, which is contrary to the Alaska constitution,” he said. “Those issues are still before the court, but in the meantime, with signature gathering underway, my client determined that it would no longer devote resources to legal proceedings.”
   

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 3-29-20)


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 3 p.m. Sunday. 

The list includes the total cases (and what portions are travel and non-travel-related or still being investigated):

 Total - 114 (38, 76)

 Anchorage area – 59 (24, 35)

 Homer – 2 (1, 1)

 Seward – 1 (1, 0)

 Soldotna – 2 (1, 1)

 Sterling – 2 (0, 2)

 Fairbanks area – 28 (6, 22)

 Palmer – 2 (2, 0)

 Juneau – 5 (1, 4)

 Ketchikan – 13 (2, 11)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is seven, and the cumulative number of deaths is three.

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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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