HISTORIC MOVE – Harry Greene, maintenance and operations superintendent at the Sitka Public Works Department, uses a backhoe to lift the Baranof statue onto a wooden dolly with the help of co-worker Mike Callahan, this morning in front of Harrigan Centennial Hall. The bronze statue, estimated to weigh between 400 and 600 pounds, was relocated to inside the Sitka History Museum today. The city Assembly passed a resolution, on a 6-1 vote, in July to move the statue from its prominent  outdoor location to inside the museum.  At the July meeting several members of the public said the statue was a symbol of “historical trauma.”  The statue, created by artist Joan Bugbee Jackson, was given to the city in 1989 by Lloyd and Barbara Hames. Hames family members said earlier this year they supported moving the statue into the museum. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Alaska PFD Checks To Be Mailed in July

The Associated Press

JUNEAU (AP) — Checks from Alaska’s oil-wealth fund will begin going out to residents three months early, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said, citing economic hardships caused by the coronavirus.

He called these “extraordinary times.”

“We need to make sure that people of Alaska have cash in their hands to help with this economy,” Dunleavy, a Republican, said Wednesday evening.

This year’s check is expected to be about $1,000 and Dunleavy’s office said the Permanent Fund Dividend Division, which determines annual eligibility for the checks, has received more than 670,000 applications. 

The division estimates nearly 600,000 people will receive payment on July 1. Payments will be made later for others as their eligibility is confirmed.

Residents must meet residency requirements to qualify for the checks, which typically start going out in the fall. Traditionally, dividends have been paid with earnings from the oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. This year’s payout is being paid in part from a state savings account.

State Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, an Anchorage Democrat, urged Dunleavy to move up the payment distribution before the announcement was made and said the outcome left him “pleased, because I think it’s necessary.”

Dunleavy’s announcement came as the state prepares to further reopen parts of its economy that were shut down or restricted due to coronavirus concerns. In moving to allow businesses to open to full capacity starting Friday, Dunleavy cited low case numbers and said restrictions had bought time to build up the state’s health care capacity. 

The state is encouraging people to continue taking precautions, such as maintaining distance from each other, wearing face coverings in public areas where maintaining distance is difficult and frequently washing their hands. 

“We’re as prepared as we’re ever going to be,” Dunleavy said in an interview Thursday. He said he expects numbers will rise because there is no vaccine. He said the state will respond if there is a spike or cluster of cases.

Alaska has reported just over 400 cases, with 10 deaths. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.

Dunleavy said he is concerned “the economy with every day that goes by with less economic activity takes a hit that’s going to be difficult and take a long time to recover from.”

“We have to instill confidence in people that we can manage this thing and part of managing that is encouraging them to get back towards - towards - normal,” he added.

Begich has urged people to proceed cautiously as reopening continues. By July 1, “you can imagine that if indeed our health situation is better, there’d be an inclination for people to go and spend that money,” he said. 

Moratoria on evictions for nonpayment of rent, foreclosures or repossession of vehicles for people facing financial hardships related to the virus also are due to expire June 30.

The state’s initial unemployment claims were 7,741 for the most recent reporting week, according to the labor department. That compares to 819 for the same period in 2019. Initial claims reached a high of 14,590 earlier in the pandemic.

Federal figures are somewhat higher for the most recent week but previously have been revised to match the state’s numbers.

There were 50,049 continued unemployment claims, state labor department figures show. Lennon Weller, actuary for Alaska’s unemployment system, said that category generally reflects how many people were determined eligible and filing for benefits. It is 43,188 more than during the same period a year ago. 



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 9-29-20)

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 12:20 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 118

Total statewide – 7,721

Total (cumulative) deaths – 56

Active cases in Sitka – 19 (13 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 47 (37 resident; 10 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 288.

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

Gilnettings, By Gil Truitt: The Sitka All-Star Team (Team II) of 1939-1956 is revealed here for the first time.  Fermin “Rocky” Gutierrez, Hugh Pace, “Red” Belinski, Harold “Pretty Boy” Morris, George Kucherak, Dorm McGraw Sr., Herb Didrickson Sr., Gorman Shutt, Vic Adamson, Bill Robinson  and Johnny Vander. ... Other gifted players include Tony Herman, Bunny Donnelly, Hal Taylor, Archie Nielsen, Cecil McClain and Richard (Dick) Eliason.

September 1970

The Alaska Judicial council has selected Sitka as the site of a new branch of the state superior court. The Legislature had created a position for a third Superior Court judge in Southeast, but the city was not specified in the legislation.