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)

Gov Proposes $1,600 More in Oil Fund Payout

The Associated Press
    JUNEAU (AP) — Alaska’s governor proposed Wednesday giving Alaskans an additional $1,304 from the state’s oil wealth fund on top of the roughly $1,600 they received last fall.
    The Legislature last year approved an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend that amounted to $1,606. It would have been $2,910 had a formula in state law been followed, the state Revenue Department has said. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal would make up the rest of the 2019 amount.
    Lawmakers have said paying a higher dividend as calculated under the existing formula is unsustainable.
    Dunleavy’s proposal would cost $815.9 million and be paid with permanent fund earnings, according to his budget office. He additionally has called for a dividend in line with the formula for 2020, which the Legislative Finance Division has said would equate to checks of about $3,100 a person.
    Traditionally, dividends have been paid using fund earnings, which lawmakers in 2018 also began using to help cover government costs amid a persistent budget deficit. The Legislature also passed a law seeking to limit withdrawals from earnings, heightening tension between how much should go to dividends and how much should go to government.
    Dunleavy campaigned on a so-called full dividend and has sought to give Alaskans a say on changes to the program. Last August, he said he anticipated a special session to address a supplemental dividend payout; that special session didn’t happen.
    More than 630,000 residents have received 2019 dividends.
    Responding to Dunleavy’s proposal, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said there wasn’t support for a larger dividend last year and he didn’t think there would be support this year.
    House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt said his Republican caucus hasn’t taken a position on an additional payout. “And I think right now it’s probably hard to take a position on that when we’re not even sure how this year’s going to come out, right?” he said.
    Pruitt said he believes there needs to be a dividend law that’s followed. The state needs a long-term fiscal policy, and the back and forth on the dividend isn’t helping with that, he said.
    Many lawmakers have expressed interest in changing the dividend formula to work within the confines of an earnings withdrawal limit.
    Senate President Cathy Giessel recently told reporters senators support the dividend program. But she said the state has a limited amount of money, critically needed services and services that are constitutionally mandated.
    “We will do what we can but we are not going to put this state into a precarious financial position,” she said.
    The Alaska Supreme Court, in upholding then-Gov. Bill Walker’s 2016 veto of a portion of the money set aside for dividends, found that absent a constitutional amendment, the dividend program must compete for annual funding like other state programs.



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.



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



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.                                                                          

Most recent Sentinels — PDF edition

March 23, 2020

March 24, 2020

March 25, 2020

March 26, 2020

March 27, 2020