GRAB AND GO - Library patron Tina Johnson, left, and Joanna Perensovich, information services librarian, wear masks in the Sitka Library this afternoon. The library no longer has couches for patrons, but does have computer desks widely spaced apart for people to access for one-hour periods. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Tribes Seek Emergency Permits to Hunt for Food

JUNEAU (AP) — Alaska Native tribal governments and other communities have submitted emergency requests to hunt out of season as the coronavirus pandemic causes food supply concerns.

At least six small localities across the state have been waiting nearly two months for responses to their applications for special hunting permission, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported  Sunday.

The federal Office of Subsistence Management is fielding multiple requests and is expected to address the issue at an upcoming meeting this month.

The agency responds to emergency hunting actions on federal land, while Alaska has its own process to handle requests for actions on state land. 

U.S. Forest Service ranger districts have been delegated with authority to grant emergency hunting actions for rural subsistence residents, but a state entity must confirm the need.

Alaska’s Unified Command, a central hub for various state agencies to respond to emergency situations, has been tasked by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to make food need assessments in remote communities.

Joel Jackson, tribal president of the Organized Village of Kake, said he requested emergency action in April because grocery shelves were not fully stocked.

Jackson did not expect the process would take so long after he approached federal employees about opening the deer and moose season earlier than normal. The decision has been passed around to different levels of agencies, Jackson said.

Food scarcity is not the only concern fueling the hunting request, he said.

Shipments of food are arriving on a regular basis again, but the processed meat is slaughtered and packaged in the continental U.S. Jackson does not consider the food healthy for community elders with heightened vulnerability to COVID-19.

“If this virus ever makes it into our community, which I hope it never does, we need to have our people at the best health they can be by supplying them with the best food that we can give them,” Jackson said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.




Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-10-20)

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 Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 51

Total statewide – 1,323

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 5 (2 resident; 3 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 13 (11 resident; 2 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 80.

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. 




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 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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