OPEN AIR CONCERT – From left, musicians Ross Venneberg, Brian Neal, Wade Demmert and Roger Schmidt perform an outdoor brass concert for residents of the Pioneers Home Monday. The professional musicians, who are hunkered down in Sitka, are regulars at the annual Holiday Brass Concert. The Pioneers Home has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Sitkans Step Forward To Help During Crisis

Sentinel Staff Writer
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, some Sitkans are volunteering to help those in need, and also seeking offers from others who want to provide assistance.
    The Sitka Conservation Society is coordinating the Facebook page “Sitka Mutual Aid – Covid19” for people needing financial or delivery help, and for others to volunteer. The effort started Tuesday.
    “Our vision is to connect Sitkans who need help with Sitkans who can help,” said Chandler O’Connell, the SCS staffer who is coordinating the Sitka Mutual Aid project.
    “We’re prioritizing no-con tact, doorstep delivery service for folks in isolation and quarantine,” she said. “We’re also able to provide some grocery relief to folks who have financial need due to COVID-19 impacts.”
    There are links on the Facebook page for Sitkans to sign up for help, in the categories of “supplies delivered,” “financial support,” “supplies delivered and financial support,” and “other.”
    Another link allows Sitkans to volunteer to donate time, transportation and/or money. Other questions give residents a chance to provide other services, including dog walking, household assistance and child care.
    “If you’re facing a challenge, there might be a neighbor out there who can help – that’s who we want to connect,” O’Connell said.
    SCS put in $1,000 and is accepting donations, but hopes to be operating mainly as a “matchmaker,” and not a social service organization.
    So far, there have been 25 requests for help, and 23 of them have been fulfilled. About 40 volunteers have signed up to help, and distributed more than $1,200 worth of groceries.
    Generally those needing help are self-isolating because they are in higher risk groups by age or medical condition. Others are in self-quarantine, as recommended by health authorities, because they recently traveled out of state.
    Volunteers pay for the groceries and are reimbursed through Paypal, either by the person making the request or by the Conservation Society.
    As with other organizations, staff members are working from home and following CDC and state mandates, O’Connell said. Volunteers who are making deliveries also are following guidelines.
    “SCS’s mission is to build sustainable communities, and community health is a big part of that,” she said. “We can’t provide health care, but we can help connect neighbors so that’s where we’re starting. As the community response to this crisis evolves we hope to contribute to more systematic long-term initiatives.”

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-7-20)

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 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Sunday: 19

Total statewide – 1,184

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (3 resident; 5 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 78.

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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