COMFORT FOOD – From left, Xannie Borseth, Clara Gray and Mary Ferguson prepare herring eggs this morning in front of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska's Healing House. STA staff and volunteers spent the morning processing branches of herring roe and the afternoon delivering the branches to tribal elders and others. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson) 

Alaska Native Groups Seek Seat at Table for Ferry Talks

    JUNEAU (AP) — Native groups in Alaska want to participate in a group established to solve ongoing problems with the Alaska Marine Highway System, an official said.
    The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood have requested representation in the marine highway Reshaping Work Group announced in January, The Juneau Empire reported  Friday.
    The administrative order by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy that created the group called for representatives from the Marine Transportation Advisory Board, Aviation Advisory Board and Roads and Highways Advisory Board, two state legislators, a representative from one of three maritime unions, and three members of the public.
    The failure to include the Native groups was “not a snub to any group or any particular folks or location,” Dunleavy said.
    Increasing the group beyond its current nine members could impede effectiveness, the governor said.
    “We’re trying to get something that’s actually going to produce a product the state can get around and support going forward,” Dunleavy said.
    The marine highway system is the primary link to the outside world for many Native communities in Southeast Alaska, said Paulette Moreno, Alaska Native Sisterhood grand president.
    “I understand the numbers, and I know they’re working through the numbers,” Moreno said. “But there also is an effect on our cultural activities, on our spiritual strength, because of the decreases in ferry service.”
    The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood requested two work group seats in a Feb. 18 letter to the state Department of Transportation.
    The board appointments had already been made when the letter arrived, said John MacKinnon of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commission.
    “This group was put together weeks ago,” MacKinnon said on Feb. 19.
    Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner said any future involvement by the Native groups would be up to Vice Adm. Tom Barrett, the chair of the work group.
    Barrett could not immediately be reached for comment.   

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 4-5-20)

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 noon Sunday.

New cases as of yesterday: 6

Total cases: 191

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 23, and the cumulative number of deaths is six.

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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