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)

City to Offer Help On Utility, Dock Fees?

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer

Tonight’s Assembly meeting will include comments from U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, during regular business.

Sullivan’s call-in is listed under Special Reports near the beginning of the meeting, just after reports (if any) from the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Assembly liaisons, the city administrator, city attorney, mayor and school district.

City Administrator John Leach said he expects the senator to have a tight time frame but there may be time for questions from Assembly members. The agenda does not include a specified topic.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. It’s carried live on the city’s YouTube channel, Facebook and through the cityofsitka.com website.

Also under Special Reports is a presentation from the Alaska Trollers Association on the Wild Fish Conservancy lawsuit.

The agenda features a number of items related to government financial relief for Sitkans to help cover lost income caused by the COVID-19 emergency.

Thor Christianson and Kevin Mosher have co-sponsored two ordinances up for first reading. One would offer help for utility payments; the other would offer a break on moorage payments.

Both ordinances include eligibility, application deadlines, and other requirements, and the intent is to use city CARES Act funds to cover the costs. 

Under the proposed utility subsidy ordinance (Ordinance 20-28), up to $1,000 in utility relief would be available per resident and up to $3,000 for businesses affected by the emergency.

The other proposed ordinance (Ordinance 20-29) would make funds available for relief for moorage payments. “The subsidy for each eligible applicant shall be the maximum of moorage costs billed for one quarter of the calendar year,” the ordinance says. 

“We wanted to try to get money to the people who are hurt,” Christianson said today. “The vast majority of the fleet has been hurt by this. There are also people who haven’t been working who have a slip can get a little relief. It’s a pretty straightforward way to get people some money.”

In a related item, an ordinance is proposed that would set aside $4.5 million in city CARES Act funds to cover the costs of the utility and moorage relief programs. The funds would come from the first of three rounds of funding from the CARES Act, in the proposed ordinance. The item is up for first reading at tonight’s meeting.

In other business, a resolution is on the table to accept $14 million from the state for “costs that are necessary expenditures incurred to the public health emergency with respect to the coronavirus disease 2019.” The proposed motion also would authorize the administrator to execute the finalized grant agreement. As a resolution, as opposed to an ordinance, only one vote is required for passage.

There is also an item on the agenda to change Assembly meeting procedure, moving “Reports” from the top to the bottom of the agenda.

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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.

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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

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

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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