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)

Sitka to Hold Vigil Tonight

Sentinel Staff Writer

A seven-minute silent vigil will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in Totem Square for George Floyd, who died last week while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

One of the organizers, Margot O’Connell, said the purpose of the vigil is to “provide a space for people and to make a statement collectively, that we want justice for George Floyd, we want justice for victims of police brutality.”

    She said there will be a brief introduction to explain the purpose of the vigil, but there will not be any other speeches.

    “It’s a moment of grief, it’s a moment of mourning, but it’s also a moment to come together and to reflect on what we can do as individuals to create a systematic change in this country.”

A letter to the editor by the organizers appears on page 2 of today’s Sentinel. In it they suggested people “bring their own sign in a show of support, love and peace.” They also ask that participants wear face masks and maintain a six-foot social distance.

At mid-morning today the police department issued the following news release:

“SPD has been in contact with the vigil organizer and is confident that tonight’s vigil will be a peaceful and silent gathering. Anyone choosing to attend, please be respectful of others.”

Police Chief Robert Baty said he plans to attend the vigil “as a sign of respect for people’s civil rights.”

Speaking of the Minneapolis incident that ended with the death of George Floyd, Baty said:

“This is an unfortunate and tragic event. We’re lucky in Alaska, and in Sitka specifically, to have professional law enforcement, who are well trained. We respect the rights of people to express their concerns and gather. All we ask is that everyone is respectful of each other. Our goal (as a department) when we come into contact with people is that we treat people with respect.”


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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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