FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

June 2, 2015 Community Happenings

MEHS Grad Earns

$10,000 BP Award

Tamija Woods, 2015 Mt. Edgecumbe High School graduate, won a $10,000 BP scholarship to pursue a degree in process technology through the University of Alaska.

Four BP Process Technology scholarships were awarded statewide. The scholarship awards $2,500 per semester for the two-year process technology degree. The process technology program is designed to provide education and training that will enable individuals to obtain employment in the industries that use and control mechanical, physical, or chemical processes, such as oil and gas.




Free Cancer Test

SEARHC-Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital is offering free fecal immunochemical tests this month. The test detects hidden blood in the stool which can be a sign of precancerous polyps or colon cancer.

The FIT is done in the privacy of one’s home with a kit from a medical provider. Since vitamins and foods do not affect the FIT, there are no drug or dietary restrictions.

Even those with no family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors such as obesity, smoking, or poor diet can get colon cancer, the hospital said. Getting screened is critical to finding colon cancer early. Discovering and removing precancerous polyps can even prevent people from ever getting the disease.

“SEARHC is excited to promote this simple test as a way of bringing vital health screening to all Sitkans, whether they are patients at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital on a regular basis or not,” said Martha Pearson, director of health promotion for SEARHC.

Residents age 50 and older who meet certain, medical, criteria are eligible to receive the free test. The results will be shared with the individual and his or her primary care provider. For more information about getting tested, can call 966-8438.



Non-Profit Group

Gets New Leader

Erin Walker-Tolles has been named executive director of Catholic Community Service, its board of directors has announced.

A Juneau resident with extensive experience in social services, Walker-Tolles will lead the regional non-profit that includes Southeast Senior Services – which includes Sitka’s Swan Lake Senior Center – Child Care and Family Resources, and Hospice and Home Care of Juneau.

“Erin brings impressive leadership skills and experience to CCS. We believe she is well equipped to help our staff and volunteers fulfill their mission to serve individuals and families of Southeast Alaska with dignity, care and compassion,” said John Greely, board president.

Walker-Tolles has worked for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services since 2007, most recently as chief of Policy and Program Development at the Division of Public Assistance. 

Walker-Tolles succeeds interim executive director Larry Bussone. She began her duties on May 26.


Bach’s Lunch

Set for Thursday

The Sitka Summer Music Festival will present a free lunchtime concert 12:30 p.m. Thursday, June 4, in the Odess Theater of Allen Hall.

Oboist Thom Moore and sisters Madalyn and Cicely Parnas on violin and cello will perform. More information is at


First SSMF

Concert Friday

The Sitka Summer Music Festival will present oboist Thom Moore, pianist Navah Perlman, and duo parnas in concert 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 5, at  Centennial Hall.

The program includes masterworks for oboe with piano and strings, and a Mozart piano quartet. A pre-concert conversation will be at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are available at Old Harbor Books, online at, or at the door.


SSMF Evening

Concert Saturday

Violinist Madalyn Parnas, cellist Cicely Parnas, and pianist Navah Perlman will perform at the Sitka Summer Music Festival’s Saturday evening concert. 

Showcased pieces will be a Chopin ‘‘Barcarolle,’’ a Brahms Sonata for Cello and Piano, and Beethoven’s first piano trio. A pre-concert conversation will be at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are available at Old Harbor Books, online at, or at the door.


Family SSMF

Concert Sunday

A free afternoon of music and ice cream is being offered at the Sitka Summer Music Festival’s BP Family Concert 3 p.m. Sunday at the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi.

The concert is for all ages. Root-beer floats, provided by Sea Mart, will follow the concert.


Chamber to Meet

The Sitka Chamber of Commerce will hold its weekly luncheon noon Wednesday at the Westmark Sitka. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m.

The presenter will be Janet F. Kavinoky, executive director, transportation and infrastructure with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She will provide an update on federal transportation infrastructure funding and policy.


Library to Have

Catalog Changes

In a move that both cuts costs for Sitka and increases access to library resources for patrons, Kettleson Memorial Library will join a Joint Library Consortium of Alaskan libraries including Juneau Public Library, the Anchorage Public Library System, and the University of Alaska-Anchorage. 

Beginning June 3, the library said that changes to the its electronic catalog system will require some functions and services, such as inter-library loans, to either cease temporarily, or be delayed until the changeover is complete.

It may also require the library to close for a day or two later in the month. The closure will be announced as far in advance as possible.

‘‘We apologize for any inconvenience during this exciting time,’’ the library said.

For further information, contact Robb Farmer at 747-8708 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Story Lab Plans

June 6 Concert

The Sitka Story Lab’s Summer Session will host a final performance on Saturday, June 6 at 4:30 p.m. at the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. 

Sixteen students in grades 2-12 will perform stories they have written, and local musicians will accompany. Admission is $5, and tickets are on sale at Old Harbor Books and at the door.


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