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)

September 18, 2015 Community Happenings

Running of the Boots

It’s time to dig XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up – the 21st annual Running of the Boots begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at the big tent near St. Michael’s Cathedral.

This is third year of the event, featuring a new meeting point and course, allowing the race to be a bigger part of the Season’s End Celebration festivities, hosted downtown by Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce, Alaska Cruise Line Association and local seafood companies.

“I’m excited about the Running of the Boots joining the end-of-season folks under one big tent … literally,” race organizer Kerry MacLane said. “We’ll have music, hot chocolate, and folks can enjoy a complimentary lunch after oodles of prizes have been awarded.”

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s Running of the Bulls. Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs – Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a nonprofit organization that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners.

The short race is for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The course starts by St. Michael’s Cathedral, and heads down Lincoln Street toward City Hall, takes a left on Harbor Drive and loops up Maksoutof Street and back to the starting line.

The entry fee is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m., and runners hit the streets at 11 a.m. As usual, local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume contest. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. The booth takes debit cards, WIC vouchers and Alaska Quest electronic benefit cards.

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” MacLane said. “This is a must-see annual change-of-the season tradition in Sitka.”

To learn more race, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Historical information about the race, through 2005, can be found online at 


Walks, Talks Set

At National Park

Sitka National Historical Park offers daily guided programs teaching visitors about the park’s natural and cultural resources. Ranger-guided scheduled program include the following.

Sunday: 10 a.m. Battle Walk, 11:30 a.m. Salmon Talk, 2 p.m. Salmon Talk; Tuesday, noon Totem Walk and 2:30 p.m. Salmon Talk; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. Russian American Walking Tour and 1 p.m. Totem Walk; Thursday, 2:30 p.m. Salmon Talk; Sept. 26, 11 a.m. Totem Walk, 1:30 p.m. Salmon Talk and 3 p.m. National Public Lands Day Beach Cleanup.

The Russian-American History Walking Tour leaves from the Russian Bishop’s House. All other ranger-led tours meet at the visitor center. For more information call 747-0110.

Babies, Books

Story Time Set

The September Sitka Babies and Books program will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Kettleson Memorial Library.

“Celebrate Autumn” will be the theme of a story time program that includes readings, songs and an easy craft project for toddlers. Babies and preschoolers are also welcome and no registration is required. For more information call the library at 747-8708.


Story Time Set

“Who loves the Fall” by Bob Raczka will be one of the readings during preschool story time at Kettleson Memorial Library 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24.

Readings, rhymes, songs and a craft project are included. All are welcome. For more information call 747-8708.


New Exec Named for

Alaska Raptor Center

Peter Colson has been named executive director of the Alaska Raptor Center, a nonprofit raptor care and rehabilitation facility in Sitka.

Colson will fill the vacancy that will be created by Debbie Reeder’s departure in November after 13 years of service, eight as director.

The selection was made after a national search and selection process.

“We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” said Paula Scott, ARC board chair. “Peter will bring leadership and creativity to the center’s programs and a deep sense of commitment to our nonprofit mission. He has served a range of organizations at all programming, fundraising, and leadership levels and has a diversity of perspective and experience.”

Colson’s resume includes more than 25 years of programming, planning, administration and marketing experience in the nonprofit, education and local and state government sectors.

He attended South Dakota State University, University of Montana and the University of Alaska. He was the founding director of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. Prior to his ARC appointment, Colson was employed as the director of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department for the City of Brookings, S.D., developing and implementing citywide services and programs for the 22,000 city residents and the 13,000 students attending South Dakota State University. In that capacity, he also served on the executive board of the Brookings Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Colson worked in Sitka for 11 years between 1992 and 2004. During that time, he held several positions with the University of Alaska Southeast, including Title III grant coordinator, continuing education coordinator and Pacific High School lead teacher. Additionally, he participated on advisory boards for the Sitka alternative school, Sitka Community Schools and Sitka Alliance for Health.

“I look forward to partnering with the community of Sitka, the visitor industry and wildlife care entities in this new capacity,” Colson said. “It is a tremendous pleasure for me to return to Sitka and serve as the director of this renowned organization. I have had a lifelong interest in raptors so the opportunity to help lead the Alaska Raptor Center fulfills a strong personal passion, as well.”

The Alaska Raptor Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of wild birds of prey, education and research since 1980.


Elks Dinner to

Benefit Diaz,

Stortz Family

Emblem Club 142 and Sitka Elks Lodge 1662 will host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Diaz and Stortz families 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20.

Dinner will be served with a green salad and garlic bread, and followed by a dessert auction. Dinner cost is $15. For more information or dessert donations, call Glade Morales, 738-0630.

Proceeds will benefit the families and help build scholarships in honor of brothers Uli and Elmer Diaz and William Stortz.

Events held at the Elks Lodge are for members and invited guests.


Flea Market Set

By ANS Oct. 17

The Alaska Native Sisterhood will have a flea market 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at the ANB Founders Hall, open to the public.

Lunch will be available. Those interested in reserving a table can call Helen at 747-3410 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The cost is $20 a table.


All Invited to

Unitarian Meet

Sunday’s program at the Sitka Unitarian Fellowship will be an introduction to the principles and beliefs of Unitarian Universalists. Guests are invited to ask questions, and members will share with guests and each other what Unitarianism has meant to them.

Fellowship begins at 10:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 10:45 a.m. Soup and bread follows the program at noon. 

‘‘Those who attend the UU services respect each other’s different beliefs and come together as one faith, without religious dogma,’’ the Unitarian Fellowship said. ‘‘They are a caring, liberal, open-minded community that encourages others to seek their own spiritual path wherever it leads.’’

All are welcome regardless of age, religious beliefs, ethnicity or sexual orientation, who they love, or which of life’s challenges they face.

The Fellowship Hall is located at 408 Marine Street, with parking behind off Spruce Street.


Alaska Russian Orthodox

Archivist to Talk at Park

Sitka National Historical Park will  host two evening lectures by Daria Safronova-Simeonoff, Archivist of St. Herman Seminary in Kodiak.

The first lecture 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, will discuss the hidden “Sitka Files” in the Alaskan Diocesan and the Orthodox Church in America.

The second lecture, “Kodiak Native Literacy,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, will discuss ‘‘Two Hundred Years of Native Literacy on Kodiak Island’’ and the ‘‘Legacy of Russian Orthodox Parochial Education (1882-present).’’

The majority of the Alaskan Russian Orthodox Church archives are currently located at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. However, a significant number of documents are preserved within the body of the Orthodox Church and now are found in two smaller archives: the Archive of the Diocese of Alaska located at St. Herman’s Seminary in Kodiak and the Archive of the Orthodox Church in America located in Syosset, N.Y. In her presentation Daria Safronova-Simeonoff, the Archivist of the Diocesan Archive, will present the gems of “The Sitka Files” from both of these archives. The history of Sitka Parish will unfold through the old records.

Currently there are Native people on Kodiak Island who can speak Russian, pray in Church Slavonic and Church Alutiiq, and even write their names in Cyrillic. Few realize that this phenomenon is due to the Orthodox Christian tradition of evangelization in native tongues, Safronova-Simeonoff said.

In her presentation “Kodiak Native Literacy,” Safronova-Simeonoff will trace the complex history of Kodiak Native literacy from its rise, bloom, ultimate decline and, finally, to its recent revival by St. Herman Orthodox Seminary.

For more information about the lectures at Sitka NHP, call the visitor center at 747-0110. 


Seafood Industry

Topic of Summit

Those wanting to learn more about developing the opportunities of the local and regional seafood industry are invited to attend the Sitka Seafood Innovation Summit 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at  the Sheet’ka Kwáan Naa Kahídi.

Presenters will provide examples of innovative products and processes now being developed and marketed. A topic will be how the Iceland Ocean Cluster model is working and how Iceland, despite a 60 percent reduction in its codfish harvest, has used innovation to increase the value of each pound of fish harvested by more than 400.

The free event is sponsored and hosted by the Sitka Economic Development Association. For more information contact Garry White, 747-2660.


18SAFV Community

Training Slated

SAFV’s free community training on all aspects of interpersonal violence continues 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 408 Marine Street.

A session on sexual assault victim advocacy, trauma-informed response, and legal aspects will be followed by a presentation on the role of law enforcement in situations of interpersonal violence. This includes a review of relevant Alaska statutes.

The community training will conclude 6-9 p.m. Sept. 21 with a session on the relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence, and an overview of violence prevention programs in Sitka.

All are welcome. For more information, call 747-3370.


Local Food Group Gets

United Way Impact Grant

The Sitka Local Foods Network has been awarded a Community Impact Grant from the United Way of Southeast Alaska for $1,765 to assist with the network’s garden education program.

Funds will be used to create a downtown teaching garden, which the group hopes to place at Baranof Elementary School, creating a centralized garden that can be used to teach a variety of garden education classes throughout the year.

The United Way of Southeast Alaska awarded Community Impact Grants to 11 Southeast nonprofit organizations in the areas of health, education, and income.

“The Sitka Local Foods Network appreciates the support of the United Way of Southeast Alaska,” said Michelle Putz, a Sitka Local Foods Network board member and member of the network’s education committee. “We look forward to developing a centrally located instructional food garden and a community education program that acts as a center of learning. This garden space will give us a new opportunity to teach local beginner gardeners of different ages how to produce their own food using the garden as an outdoor classroom. Next year we will be able to invite the community and gardeners of Sitka to an open, public location for bi-weekly classes for children and adults throughout the gardening year, focusing on different topics.”

“We always have more demand and requests for funding than we are able to give but in this competitive grant process the Sitka Local Foods Network ranked high in meeting targeted needs in the community,” said Rustan Burton, chair of United Way of Southeast Alaska. “We are happy to partner with the Sitka Local Foods Network to meet this/these community need(s).”

To learn more about the Sitka Local Foods Network, go to For more information about the United Way of southeast Alaska, go to



To kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month in October Sitka Community Hospital’s Radiology Department presented the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society with a donation of $2,500. The funds are raised each year during the month of October with the main event being the Hope Floats Cruise donated by Allen Marine. Please join us for this year’s 8th Annual HOPE FLOATS CRUISE on October 3rd. You can purchase your tickets at the Radiology Department. For more information call 747-1727.




North Pacific Hall

Tour Set Sept. 26

The public is invited to a reception and tour of the restoration work on Sheldon Jackson North Pacific Hall, 1-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, starting with coffee, cookies, historic drawings and photos in the Del Shirley Room, upstairs in Allen Hall on the SJ campus.

The front wall of the 104-year-old North Pacific Hall, part of the Sheldon Jackson School National Historic Landmark, was weather-proofed and restored for the next 100 years by 25 college students in the Fine Arts Camp’s Historic Restoration Team (a.k.a. Bulldogs on Baranof).

For more information, call Rebecca at 747-3448. Pictures are also on line at





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.



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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