PASSING THROUGH – Orca whales swim near the Indian River estuary Thursday night. A pod of more than a half-dozen adult and juvenile orcas spent the late afternoon in Sitka Sound near shore as people along Sawmill Creek Road photographed and video recorded them. NOAA Fisheries recommends staying at least 100 yards away while viewing whales from boats. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

May 21, 2020, Community Happenings

Walk, Bike

Conference Set

Using Zoom

The Alaska Walk and Bike Conference is going virtual. The free event will be 9:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, June 9-12.

The schedule is still in the works, but each day will open with a speaker discussing a national topic, followed by a speaker discussing an Alaska example. Optional chat rooms will be held after each day’s events.

The topics for each day are:

–Tuesday, June 9: ‘‘Walking to Connect’’;

–Wednesday, June 10: ‘‘Walking is Good Medicine’’;

–Thursday, June 11: ‘‘Parks and Health’’; and

–Friday, June 12: ‘‘Biking to Health.’’

Some of the speakers are: Ana Lucaci and Nicole Huegenin of Denver-based Walk2Connect; Dr. Elliot Bruhl SEARHC chief medical officer based in Sitka); Bonita Banks, BSN, RN, of South Peninsula Hospital in Homer; Alfgeir Kristjannson, Ph.D., from the University of West Virginia and Reykjavik University (Iceland); Maeve Nevins-Lavtar from the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Parks and Recreation; Dr. Frederick Foote, M.D.; Sarana Schell of AARP Alaska; Ken McLeod, J.D., policy director of the League of American Bicyclists; Lee Hart of the Alaska Outdoor Alliance; and Scott Menzies and Charlie Lowell of the Sustina Bicycle Institute.

To register for the free, virtual conference, go to For information, email Dawn Groth, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Quilters Meet

Virtually June 2

Ocean Wave Quilters meets 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, via Zoom. 

Meetings are open to all, members or not. Those wishing to pay the $25 dues receive the monthly newsletter, discounts on classes and other benefits.

For information call President Sarah Jordan at 738-7272.


Open Sewing

Is Canceled

The Ocean Wave Quilters-sponsored open sewing session for Saturday, June 6, is canceled.

For information call Audrey Curran at 623-0301 or Linda Swanson at 747-3471.


Sitka Cares

Offers Resources

Sitka Cares, a local organization comprised of helpers in the community, can help citizens who are feeling down, depressed or hopeless.

Local and national resources are available, including: Alaska Care line, 877-266-4357 (or text “4HELP” at 867863. Limited hours of availability); SEARHC helpline, 877-294-0074; Alaska Responders Relief, 844-985-8275; Veterans hotline, 800-273-8255, 741741 Text crisis line; and We Are Native 9779 (text only).

Individuals also can contact 911, Sitka Counseling at 747-3636, or SEARHC mainline at 966-2411.


Outer Coast

Seminar Online;

Deadline Extended

The Outer Coast’s summer seminar will not be held in-person in Sitka, the organization has announced.

‘‘This was a difficult decision to make, but protecting the health and safety of Outer Coast students, staff, faculty and the community of Sitka makes it the right one,’’ the group said in a press release. 

A virtual model of the summer seminar, created in cooperation with  alumni and staff and faculty, will be offered.

Student applications are being accepted through Sunday, May 31.

Guided by four Outer Coast faculty members and six summer seminar advisors, students will engage with academics, service and self-governance throughout the seminar.

Read more about the virtual program at

Those who have any questions about the application, the virtual program, or want to schedule a time to talk before applying, can contact Johnny at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Tap Class Set

For May 24

A tap class will be held 8 a.m. Sunday, May 24, at Ernie’s Old-Time Saloon. The renewal test will be given at 11 a.m. A tap card is required by state law for anyone who serves or sells alcohol. Anybody with questions can call 738-3463.

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-31-20)

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 12:50 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 108

Total statewide – 2,990

Total (cumulative) deaths – 23

Active cases in Sitka – 15 (10 resident; 5 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 133.

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

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 



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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July 2000

Clinton Buckmaster shot and wounded a large brown bear Tuesday night when it charged him near his Thimbleberry Bay home in the 2100 block of Sawmill Creek Road. As of press time, the bear was still at large.

July 1970

The city council agreed at a special meeting Thursday to consider the request of Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1 for redevelopment planning funds for the Indian Village. Cost has been estimated at $12,000.