SMOOTH SAILING – A troller cruises across Sitka Sound during a hazy sunset Friday evening. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Judge Halts Virus Funds For Alaska Native Corps.

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has put the brakes on federal coronavirus relief funding for Alaska Native corporations while tribal nations appeal a ruling that deemed the corporations eligible.

The decision Tuesday stems from lawsuits that several tribes filed against the Treasury Department seeking to keep the corporations from getting a share of $8 billion that was set aside for tribes in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., ruled against the tribes in late June, saying the corporations can be treated as tribal governments for limited purposes. But Mehta acknowledged he wrestled with the decision.

He granted a request from the tribal plaintiffs to halt funding to the corporations while his decision is appealed. If the tribes don’t challenge it by July 14 and seek a quick review from the appeals court, the stay will expire, he said. 

“Because the question of statutory interpretation presented in this case is as complicated as it is consequential, it deserves an audience before a higher court while maintaining the status quo,” he wrote.

The Treasury Department hasn’t said how much it withheld for Alaska Native corporations, but it’s more than $162 million, according to court documents.

The corporations are unique to Alaska and own most of the Native land in the state under a 1971 settlement known as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The corporations were not party to the lawsuits regarding the relief funding but have said they support Alaska Natives economically, socially and culturally.

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-4-20)

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 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 59

Total statewide – 3,394

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 17 (12 resident; 5 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 136.

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. 

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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. Route delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

    Four months later, the virus is still with us and these precautions remain in effect.

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    We do this to say thank you for our readers' support in these uncertain times. And special thanks to those readers who have insisted on paying for those four months.

    We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

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20 YEARS AGO
August 2000

The School Board Tuesday discussed district policy on head lice. At present, students found to have head lice are kept from school until all lice are removed. The revised policy allows students who have nits to remain in school, with information on treatment and a nit-removing comb to be sent home with them.

50 YEARS AGO
August 1970

Legal notice: Sealed bids will be received ... for furnishing and installation of siding on the City
Garage, located on Halibut Point Road. ... City of Sitka, Alaska Fermin Gutierrez, Director of Public Works. 

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