SPLASH – An SUV makes a tremendous splash as it drives through a puddle on Lake Street Sunday morning.  A storm front Sunday and Monday morning brought with it torrential rain, thunder,  lightning and a power outage, but no major damage. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Book Ban Vote Rocks Band

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Members of the Grammy-winning rock band Portugal. The Man are stepping into a banned book controversy in their Alaska home town. 

After the school board at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District in Palmer voted 5-2 last week to remove five classics used for high school English elective courses including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” “Joseph Heller’s Catch-22” and Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” the band announced it would buy the books for any student or parent who wanted them.

The other two books are “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison and “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.

The books are controversial because of sexual references and descriptions of rape and incest, “things that are pretty serious problems, especially in our teenage world,” said board member Jeff Taylor, a Wasilla business owner who voted in favor of the ban.

Zachary Scott Carothers performs with his rock band “Portugal. The Man” during a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders in Tacoma, Washington, in February.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Portugal. The Man guitarist Eric Howk was surprised to learn of the decision in the district north of Anchorage where the band members attended school, he KTVA-TV reported. 

“We were all students of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough school district and we have a lot of teachers there that we love,” Howk said.

“I think when it comes to stories and to books, we’re storytellers. You know, we’re songwriters and we’re storytellers and we take the situations and the experiences and the people that we meet and we kind of turn those into the stories that we carry on with us to the next place and to the next town. Storytelling is just kind of sacred to us and it just hits really close to home.”

District spokeswoman Jillian Morrissey declined to comment on the offer by Portugal. The Man. The books remain in district libraries, she told The Associated Press.

The National Coalition Against Censorship has asked the school board to reverse its decision.

In a letter to the board’s president, coalition officials said removing from the curriculum “every book that some member of the community might find controversial would leave education in shreds and students at a disadvantage.”

The Anchorage Daily News reported the agenda for the school board’s next meeting Wednesday includes a proposal to rescind the vote. 

Sarah Welton, one of two board members who voted no last week, told the newspaper she requested the motion to rescind and wanted to give members of the public an opportunity to comment.

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 9-28-20)

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 11:50 a.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 115

Total statewide – 7,597

Total (cumulative) deaths – 56

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (11 resident; 9 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 44 (37 resident; 7 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 286.

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. 




September 2000

Sitka Open Golf Tournament winners are: Men’s Division – Semisi Funaki, Tom Mattingly and Gregory Martin. Women’s Division – Janet Schwartz, Judy Sudnikovich and Liza Martin. Youth Division – Elaina Mattingly, Matthew Way and Sidney Wyman.

September 1970

Lions Catch a Bear at Kake. They were on Lions Club business, but Willie Dick and Bill Pasek, Sitka, brought back a bear from Kake. Pasek shot the 6-foot-tall black bear after Lions Club business was ended. He and Dick brought the bear back to Sitka where Larry Ross and Dick Wight helped prepare it for a taxidermist.