GRAB AND GO - Library patron Tina Johnson, left, and Joanna Perensovich, information services librarian, wear masks in the Sitka Library this afternoon. The library no longer has couches for patrons, but does have computer desks widely spaced apart for people to access for one-hour periods. (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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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-10-20)

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 noon Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 51

Total statewide – 1,323

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 5 (2 resident; 3 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 13 (11 resident; 2 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 80.

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.

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Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

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