ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Pebble Mine Opponents Say Feds Favor Project

ANCHORAGE (AP) — A federal agency announced a preferred transportation route for precious metals leaving a proposed mine, angering opposition groups who say the decision represents a significant change that needs public review.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made a preliminary determination that a “northern route” is the practical and least environmentally damaging option for the Pebble Mine, The Anchorage Daily News reported  Saturday.

The open-pit mine would be about 200 miles (322 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, straddling salmon-producing headwaters of the Bristol Bay fishery.

A northern route carrying copper and gold concentrate would travel over land about 80 miles (129 kilometers) around the coast of Lake Iliamna.

The Corps is expected to release a final environmental review of the project, possibly next month, before determining whether it issues a permit, a permit with conditions or denies Pebble’s application, Corps spokesman John Budnik said.

The Corps’ preliminary preferred alternative is different from the original option submitted by project owner Pebble Limited Partnership. Pebble submitted plans in late 2017 calling for a southern route with an ice-breaking ferry across Lake Iliamna.

The northern route includes a pipeline for the metals and “dramatically reduces truck traffic,” Pebble spokesman Mike Heatwole said Friday.

“This is about Pebble pushing for a bigger mine under the guise of the smaller plan,” said Rachel James of conservation group SalmonState. “This is a con game, a giant bait and switch, and the Army Corps is in on the scam: analyze for one option and allow for another.”

The Bristol Bay Native Corp. said in a statement that the northern route could support a larger mine, which the organization views as an indication Pebble will seek extensions beyond the 20-year permit being pursued.

The regional Alaska Native corporation has said it will not make its lands available for the route.

“It is unacceptable for (Pebble) to make such a significant change in its plans after the completion of the preliminary final environmental impact statement,” said Dan Cheyette, the corporation’s vice president of lands.

“(The northern route) has not been vetted and scrutinized by both the public and cooperating agencies on the same level as other transportation routes,” he said in a statement.

Alannah Hurley of United Tribes of Bristol Bay said, “The decision is another attempt to streamline and do things behind closed doors, so the public can’t engage.”

 

 

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

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 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

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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