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

Dunleavy to Give Details Of Reopening Economy

The Associated Press

JUNEAU (AP) — Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Alaskans soon could be making appointments at barbershops and nail salons again, as the state looks to further reopen parts of the economy shut down or restricted over coronavirus concerns.

Dunleavy on Monday said details are expected this week. Other areas he said were being looked at include restaurants and retail shops, businesses he said employ many people and could put in place safety protocols while meeting demand for services. 

He said Alaskans will be asked to continue washing their hands, cleaning surfaces, maintaining social distance and wearing masks, particularly when shopping. 

The state feels pretty good about its numbers and its health care capacity, equipment and ability to track cases, he said. The state has reported at least 321 cases of COVID-19, with 161 of those cases recovered and nine deaths.

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

State officials previously announced they would begin lifting restrictions on certain health care activities. The first piece of that took effect Monday. Provisions related to elective surgeries take effect May 4.

Around the country, state and local leaders have faced calls to reopen the economy. A demonstration-by-vehicle is planned for Anchorage Wednesday to let Dunleavy, a Republican, and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, a Democrat, know “we are ready to open the economy,” according to a social media post for the event.

Berkowitz said people are free to speak their minds. But he said he sees a larger demonstration, of those hunkering down.

“I think that demonstration is vastly larger and represents a much more significant percentage of the public,” he said.

Berkowitz released a multi-phased approach for reopening Alaska’s largest city. It calls for criteria, such as widespread testing capacity and a downward trend in case counts for 14 days, to be met to move from the current, hunker-down phase. 

He said the plan wouldn’t be driven by hard dates but by data. 

He said the plan the state is working on is slightly different but that the principles are the same. Berkowitz said the city has been working in conjunction with the state. 

Dunleavy last week said he agreed to a large extent with those who felt the restrictions were infringing upon their personal freedoms. But he said the state acted to prevent the kinds of outbreaks seen in other places. 

Sealaska Sues Retailer Over ‘Ravenstail’ Coat

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE (AP) — An Alaska Native cultural organization is suing luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, saying the Dallas-based company violated copyright and American Indian arts protection laws in selling a knit coat with a geometric design borrowed from indigenous culture.

In the federal lawsuit filed Monday, Sealaska Heritage Institute maintains the retailer falsely affiliated the $2,555 “Ravenstail” coat with northwest coast native artists through the design and use of the term, Ravenstail. 

The plaintiffs say the Ravenstail term and style has been associated for hundreds of years with Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes. According to the lawsuit, the coat also mimics a Ravenstail coat created by a Tlingit weaver nearly a quarter century ago.

Sealaska attorney Jacob Adams said the case is part of a larger movement to recognize the rights of indigenous people to their cultural items.

“For a very long time, they’ve been seen as kind of resources that anyone can use,” Adams said. “And that goes beyond inspiration to outright violation.”

TOP: Ravenstail robe created in 1996 by the late master weaver Clarissa Rizal, who was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts, the country’s highest honor in traditional arts. BOTTOM: A Neiman Marcus coat which draws heavily on Rizal’s original Ravenstail design. (Photos courtesy of Sealaska)

Neiman Marcus representatives did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. It is unclear if the coat is still for sale. It did not appear in a search on the retailer’s website Monday.

Nieman Marcus has 43 stores throughout the U.S., none in Alaska. 

Sealaska says it discovered the retailer was selling the coat in 2019. Adams said the garment was still being sold last month.

According to the lawsuit, Neiman Marcus violated the Indian Arts and Crafts Act that requires that products marketed as “Indian” are actually made by indigenous people. The Juneau-based nonprofit works to preserve and enhance the culture of southeast Alaska’s Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes.

Sealaska also says the Neiman Marcus robe violates the copyright of Clarissa Rizal, a late master weaver who created the Ravenstail robe in 1996. When she died in 2016, her family obtained the rights to the robe, Adams said.

Last year, Rizal’s heirs registered the robe with the U.S. copyright office, the lawsuit says. The copyright was then exclusively licensed to Sealaska, the lawsuit says.

Plaintiffs seek an injunction prohibiting Neiman Marcus or parent companies from selling the coat, as well as unspecified compensatory, punitive and other damages.

Conoco to Cut $200M From Alaska Spending

ANCHORAGE (AP) — ConocoPhillips has announced another $200 million spending cut in Alaska following previous reductions a month earlier as oil prices decline amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ConocoPhillips made the initial cut in capital spending in mid-March, before announcing another $200 million cut earlier this week in response to large drops in the global oil market, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported.

“We expect prices over the next few months — they will be weak and they will be volatile,” CEO Ryan Lance said.

The price of Alaska North Slope Crude fell to $16.65 a barrel on Wednesday, the lowest price since January 2002, the state Department of Revenue said.

The announcement comes about a week after the Houston-based company told its North Slope drilling contractor Doyon Drilling to demobilize its drilling rigs and crews to minimize the risk of workers contracting COVID-19, meaning drill rigs will stop drilling and be placed in long-term storage.

Doyon Drilling is a subsidiary of the Interior Alaska Native regional corporation Doyon Ltd.

ConocoPhillips expects to see a production impact of about 2,000 barrels a day on the North Slope as a result of decreased development drilling for the remainder of the year.

About 130,000 barrels were produced per day from Kuparuk and 56,000 barrels per day from Alpine in February, department officials said.

The company previously had plans to drill seven exploration wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska this winter, company leaders said. It is unclear what will happen with ongoing near-term development projects such as Greater Mooses Tooth-2 and Nuna.

ConocoPhillips is one of the major oil companies operating in Alaska. It spent about $1.5 billion on capital projects in the state last year.

Across the company, ConocoPhillips has reduced spending by $5 billion from prior expectations since early March, and expects to curtail oil production by about 225,000 barrels each day in the Lower 48 and Canada.

“We continue to monitor the market situation. But at this time, based on our current outlook, we chose to maintain organization capacity so we can resume programs in the future,” spokesman John Roper said, confirming that no layoffs have been announced as a result of the cuts.

A Note to Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One 

August 5, 2020

    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.

    In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to receive their daily paper at designated drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers.

    As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions. The present method of having subscribers pick up their copy at designated sites will continue.

    The expiration date of all subscriptions is being extended, without charge, for an additional four months.

    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.

    To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. We will also be mailing out reminder cards.

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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. 




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.

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.