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)

City Begins Sign-Up for Utility, Moorage Help

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer

The city opened the application period Tuesday for Sitkans with financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for subsidies on their utility and moorage bills.

Applications will be accepted through 4 p.m. Friday, July 31.

City Controller Melissa Haley said applications have been coming in at a steady pace since Tuesday, although no count was available.

“We’re definitely getting quite a few applications in,” she said.

Haley said a few problems have been noticed, and issued a reminder that applicants need to “check all boxes to demonstrate eligibility.”

“We can’t give this money out to those who cannot certify they have faced and continue to face economic hardship due to COVID, per CARES Act guidelines,” she said.

Separate applications are needed for households and businesses, and the person certifying the application must be the person on the utility or moorage account, Haley said.

“People have been trying to apply for other people, and we’ve had some applications submitted without applicable boxes checked,” she said. Those applications have been rejected, and the applicants are being informed of the reasons and given a chance to make corrections. The Assembly has set aside $4.5 million from the city’s $14 million in federal CARES Act funds for the two financial assistance programs.

Ordinance co-sponsor Thor Christianson said today he was “thrilled” to see the application process has gone live.

“I really hope people take advantage of it,” he said. “The goal is to ease the burden right now, and it’s not very often we get to do something that affects everyone in town this way. ... Hopefully it will help.”

Applications for the Utility and Moorage Relief Programs are available online by going to www.cityofsitka.org and clicking a link at the top of the page.

Paper copies of the applications are available at City Hall, 100 Lincoln Street, or at the Harbor Office at Thomsen Harbor. Online applications are encouraged but they may also be submitted by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Up to $1,000 in utility credit is available for households, and up to $3,000 for businesses.

The program is available for residents who have been “here continuously since March 15.”  Businesses must already have a utilities account with the city, and have been in business here “continuously since at least March 15, 2020.”

The Moorage Relief program offers up to three months of moorage costs for qualifying boat owners who have had a “moorage agreement continuously since at least March 15, 2020.”

Both the utility and moorage subsidy applications consist of one page with a few simple questions. Questions about the utility program can be directed to the Accounting Clerk at 747-1859; and to the harbor office, 747-3439, for the moorage program.

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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. 

 

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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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