NEW ROUND – Sitka Fire Chief Craig Warren chats with Patrick and Catharine Weaver this afternoon at the fire hall during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The Weavers were waiting fifteen minutes after receiving the Moderna version of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 100 Sitkans were scheduled to receive their first dose today. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for full efficacy. Sitkans can sign up to receive vaccinations at covid19.searhc.org. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Sitka Land Trust Gets $234,000 Grant

By TOM HESSE

Sentinel Staff Writer

An affordable housing project at the Old City Shops land on Halibut Point Road is moving forward, thanks to a $234,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation.

The funds will help set the stage for the first phase of the project to build six houses on the vacant tract at 1306 Halibut Point Road, Community Land Trust President Randy Hughey said. 

“The money will be used to do what we call the dirt work, the installation of utilities, and we will deal with that sloped brushy bank by clearing that off and putting in some sort of a rock retaining wall to support that,” Hughey said. 

The nonprofit Community Land Trust group is looking to help Sitka’s affordable housing crunch by building a community of small homes at 1306 Halibut Point Road.

 A banner hangs on the former city shops property on Halibut Point Road where Sitka Community Land Trust plans to build a cottage development. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

 

“The neighborhood, this first parcel, will have six homes.  There will be one-, two- and three-bedroom homes and they will be affordable,” Hughey said. 

The city sold the land to the land trust for one dollar last November. The idea is to make “starter homes” affordable by removing the value of the land from the cost to the buyer.

The resident would own the house, but the land it sits on would be held in trust. When the owner eventually moves on and sells the house, there would be a cap on the sale price, allowing the seller to make a profit but keeping the cost low for the next owner. 

Hughey said this Rasmuson grant is the third in the history of the land trust. The first two, which were phase 1 grants capped at $25,000, helped with the development of the land trust and early designs of the neighborhood. 

Caitlin Woolsey and Matt Christner, both Sitka High graduates, did the design work and Hughey said Chris Balovich helped him map the utility and drainage plan for the parcel. 

“He is also former student of mine,” said Hughey, a retired shop teacher. He said the project continues to be able to use home-grown talent “because they’re that good.” 

The first phase is for only six units, leaving a large part of the tract undeveloped. But the agreement between the CLT and the city says further development will be approved once the land trust “proves up” on this first phase. 

Hughey said there’s support from Rasmuson for the future stages of the project, once they reach that point. 

“I believe that there exists in Rasmuson Foundation staff, at least with Chris Perez (senior program officer) that they’re expecting a second phase and supportive of that,” Hughey said. 

The grant money doesn’t come in until January 1, but the land trust is hoping to begin work this summer. 

“We don’t actually get the money until the first of January but we’re already looking at doing some financing to get that started this building season,”  Hughey said. 

 

The Rasmuson Foundation works with the Royal Community Assistance Corp. for low-interest community  financing, Hughey said, and that group may be able to not only help the land trust get started this year but also provide financing for the houses that will ultimately be built on the property. 

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

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

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

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

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

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. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 1-15-21)

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 10:55 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 296

Total statewide – 49,835

Total (cumulative) deaths – 228

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,126

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 17

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 301 (274 resident; 27 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 281

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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20 YEARS AGO
January 2001

Photo caption: Sarah and Jeremy Pickard and Dr. James Brooks show off Lauren Marie Pickard, the first baby born in Sitka this year. She arrived at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital at 10:05 a.m., Jan. 4, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches. She’s the first child for the Pickards,who moved here in May with the U.S. Coast Guard.

50 YEARS AGO
January 1971

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Foster and daughter Marchele have ended a two-week vacation trip to Idaho. They bought a new Mustang in Seattle, drove it to Sandpoint, Idaho, to visit relatives and stopped in Everett, Wash., to visit Mrs. Foster’s cousin, whom she hadn’t seen in 13 years. Mrs. Foster and Marchele returned by plane and Foster is following with the car, on the ferry.

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