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)

June 1, 2020, Community Happenings

Walk, Bike


Set June 9-12

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

Each day will open with a specialist discussing the science and evidence of that day’s theme, followed by another speaker who will feature an Alaska example. Attendees can ‘‘chat’’ and share information after each day’s events.

The themes and speakers for each day are: June 9 ‘‘Walking to Connect’’;  June 10 ‘‘Walking is Good Medicine’’;  June 11 ‘‘Parks and Health’’; and June 12 ‘‘Biking to Health.’’

Speakers include: Ana Lucaci and Nicole Huegenin of Denver-based Walk2Connect; Dr. Elliot Bruhl of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium; 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 and 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.

A tentative agenda has been posted. 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. .


Women Celebrated

In Virtual Event

A celebration of trailblazing women with a talk by author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Cozbi Cabrera about their book “Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks” is planned online through the Sitka Public Library’s Facebook page 10 a.m. Thursday, June 4.

The presentation, for ages 7 and older, is a partnership with PBS Books.

Participants will hear the read-aloud of the book, learn about the five-plus-year research process (primary source research), and have the opportunity to investigate the author/illustrator’s collaboration and inspiration in the children’s book about the iconic woman.

Trailblazing Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize, in 1950, for her poetry. From Chicago, Gwendolyn wrote about “real life” from a young age.

The conversation will be moderated by PBS Chicago’s Tim Russell, vice president of community engagement.

For information call the library at 747-4020 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


CLT to Meet

The Sitka Community Land Trust will meet 6-8 p.m. Monday, June 15,  on a Zoom call.

The public is being encouraged to attend. The SCLT is a non-profit organization that relies on community support and participation. For information about joining the virtual meeting, contact Mim McConnell at 738-2888.    


‘I Can’t Breathe’

Silent Vigil Set

A seven-minute silent vigil ‘‘I Can’t Breathe’’ will be held at Totem Square 7 p.m. tonight in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Attendees should take their own sign in a show of support, love and peace, organizers said.

To maintain community health and safety, participants should wear face masks and maintain six feet of social distance from those who are not a part of an immediate household, organizers said.


Forest Service 

To Use Gun Range

U.S. Forest Service personnel will use the Tony Hrebar gun range 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, for annual rifle training.

Forest Service field personnel are required to pass an annual rifle proficiency exercise, ensuring that personnel know how to handle rifles safely to protect themselves and others from aggressive brown bears.

For information, contact Joe Serio at the Sitka Ranger District, 2108 Halibut Point Road in Sitka, or 747-6671.


Brave Heart Bowls

Event Canceled;

Fundraiser Listed

Brave Heart Volunteers has canceled its annual event, Brave Heart Bowls.

‘‘We are sad to cancel this favorite community event, but we believe it is the best decision given the amount of uncertainty right now,’’ the organization said in a press release. 

Bowls is BHV’s largest fundraiser and raised more than $27,000 last year. Funds allow BHV to provide compassionate care, companionship, respite and education to those facing illness, isolation, end of life and grief. 


In lieu of Brave Heart Bowls, the group hopes to raise $35,000 in donations by Dec. 31 through its Fill the Heart campaign. To donate, go to

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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.



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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