VIGIL – More than 300 people share seven minutes of silence on Totem Square during a vigil for George Floyd, who died last week while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The large turnout for event made it difficult for participants to maintain the six-foot social distance that organizers had hoped for. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

November 2, 2015 Letters to the Editor

Haunted Ship

Dear Editor: I loved the Coast Guard’s Halloween Haunted Ship! Thank you all so much for putting it on every year. It is such a great community event, and I had fun planning to go and getting the food for the food drive. 

A big part of the festiveness is waiting in line on the pier, because it provides this happy and excited atmosphere where folks of all ages gather together chatting and sharing goodies from the bake sale. And it was well worth the wait, because those who decorate the ship go all out and those who haunt it were just the right amount of scary! I was frightfully delighted as my friends in front of me and behind me disappeared from my view in the dark foggy mist as I bumped into suspended buoys and waited for something scary to jump out at me causing me to scream/giggle as only a well made, well put on, thrilling haunted ship can. Thank you!

Jessica Menary, Sitka


Property Taxes

Dear Editors: Before we plan to raise property taxes, we need to do two other things. First, we have to make sure we are not wasting any money or ignoring opportunities to collect money already collectable. This involves examining city practices, such as the use of consultants, the ways we issue contracts, the existence of too many tax exemptions, and the effectiveness or ineffectiveness and equity or inequity of tax collection efforts. Second, we need to ask what the role of wealth is in the community, and whether we want to strike out against one single class, against property owners.

As a mental experiment, I’m thinking of areas I have lived in, where poverty extended about two hundred blocks in every direction. Schools and culture, other than gang culture, had to be inserted by the government. There were no high quality schools, such as in the Sitka School District. There was nothing on the order of a Fine Arts Camp. Why were these absent? I’m not much of a fan of the trickle down economic theory. Lot’s of wealth in Sitka doesn’t trickle down. It goes to  Costa Rica or Thailand for the winter. We have amenities that poor communities do not have, because we have the values and the expectations supported by the wealthy. That is what trickles down.

Sales tax is condemned as regressive. Another way to look at this, is to realize that this is a democratic tax. It applies to everyone. It is a tax that does not attack any one economic class. Those who spend more, pay more. Wealth and property were accumulated through work and savings. Sales tax falls more heavily on the poor, but as long as wages and rents are fair, a big if, the net effect of sales tax is to encourage savings.

Raising property taxes should be on the list of actions under consideration. However, we have much house-keeping to do before we lash out with tax increases. Without fixing all the gaps in our governance practices, any new taxes we raise will just pour out the holes, following all of the money that already has spilled out.

Someone told me that you can’t stabilize the ground by packing sand down a rat hole. You have to get rid of the rat.


John Welsh, Sitka



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 6-2-20)

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 10:20 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 20

Total statewide – 487

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 47, and the cumulative number of deaths is 10.

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 sitkasentinel.com. 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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