PERFECT WEATHER – Surfers assess the waves at Sandy Beach this morning. Waves were between 14- and 20-feet today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Assembly to Hear from Dr. Zink Tonight

Sentinel Staff Writer

Tonight’s regular Assembly meeting will include a special report to Sitka local government by Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, who will appear by videoconference.

Mayor Gary Paxton said City Administrator John Leach reached out to Zink in order to get clarification on a number of items related to the community’s COVID-19 response and the state’s current policies regarding the pandemic.

“We’ve had a couple calls from people concerned about the last six or seven cases and wanted to be reassured we’re not on the precipice,” Paxton said. “We want to be reassured our testing, isolation procedures and contact tracing is sufficient to ensure we’re going to be OK.”

City staff added today that there is some interest in learning more about the process of contact tracing, and the amount of information released to the public about cases.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall, with participants having the option of attending in person or by teleconference. (Go to

At recent in-person Assembly meetings at Centennial Hall, some members have chosen to wear face coverings and some have not. Centennial Hall policy is that face coverings in the building are recommended, but not required.

On tonight’s agenda is a resolution setting the fiscal year 2021 property tax rate at 6 mills, unchanged from the rate in effect the past several years. It sets 2 mills for general purposes and 4 mills for schools. The total assessed value of taxable property is $1,178,699,390.

Also tonight, the Assembly will act on an appeal of the denial of a public records request, related to an active Sitka Police Department investigation. The Northern Justice Project has asked for public records related to the investigation of Ryan Silva, a former Sitka police detective who sued the city. The lawsuit was settled with a cash payment to Silva. His attorney is asking for records related to an active criminal investigation.

The meeting also includes a number of routine matters including:

– a liquor license renewal application and premises diagram application for Harbor Mountain Brewing Company at 1209A Sawmill Creek Road, the former location of Baranof Island Brewing Company. The new company purchased the BIBCO assets and plans to reopen the brewery sometime in July, the company said.

– renewal of a marijuana license for Weed Dudes at 1321 Sawmill Creek Road Suite J and K.

– appointment of Jeff Budd to the Sitka Library Commission.

– final reading of an ordinance to share the unexpected Secure Rural Schools revenues for FY20 with the Sitka School District. If approved, $229,035 will go to the city and the schools.

– first reading of a budget ordinance for increased grant funds from TSA for airport improvements.

– first reading of a budget ordinance to re-appropriate funds for COVID related expenses (personnel, supplies and contracted and purchased services), from FY20 to FY21.

– direction on whether and how to dispose of 41,000 square feet of city land near the corner of Cushing Street and Kramer Avenue in the benchlands subdivision. The agenda item was prompted by a request from a group of local investors doing business as Pioneer Land Development LLC, and the recommendation by the Sitka Planning Commission for the city to sell the land.

– guidance on past-due personal property tax balances, for those owing more than $1,000.

– a possible executive session involving financial matters and Alaska Pure Sea Salt.

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 11-24-20)

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 12:25 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 578

Total statewide – 27,669

Total (cumulative) deaths – 115

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 619

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 29

Hospitalizations in Sitka – 3

Cumulative Sitka cases – 176 (155 resident; 21 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 147 cumulative

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.




November 2000

Photo caption: A painting by the late Dr. Walt Massey hangs on the wall of the Pioneers Home dining room,. bringing smiles from home administrator Julie Smith and Massey’s son Brian and daughter-in-law Amy, the home’s dietary manager. The painting of early-day Sitka was done in 1971, the year Dr. Massey, an optometrist and artist, died. It originally hung in the Canoe Club and was given by the restaurant’s owner, Frank Richards, to local historian Joe Ashby, who gave it to the Pioneers Home.

November 1970

Photo  caption: Sitka High School band director James Hope receives a check for $2,000 from American Legion Post 13 Commander Carroll Kohler. The Legion had voted to contribute $1,000 for uniforms and the Auxiliary voted to match that amount. The check was presented at the Legion’s Veterans Day banquet.