UNLOADING – From left, Kent Barkhau, Linda Behnken and Terry Perensovich unload fish at the Seafood Producers Co-op dock from the F/V Woodstock recently. Behnken, executive director of Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association, talked to the Sentinel about an ALFA program to distribute 49,000 pounds of salmon to villages affected by poor subsistence fish returns. (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 caresact@cityofsitka.org

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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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 9-18-20)

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 10:30 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 108

Total statewide – 6,658

Total (cumulative) deaths – 45

Active cases in Sitka – 30 (20 resident; 10 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 26 (22 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 257.

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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20 YEARS AGO
September 2000

Photo caption: First-grader Megan Polasky happily holds a large turnip as she and other first-graders from Baranof Elementary School harvest some of the vegetables they planted last spring as kindergartners behind the Russian Bishop’s House. Park Service Ranger Harvey Brandt, center, watches over the gardening project.

50 YEARS AGO
September 1970

The Sentinel adds its congratulations to the following persons listed on the Woman’s Club community calender: Earl E. Smith, Wallis George, Frank Williams, Robert Blankenship, and Frank O. Williams Sr., whose birthdays are today, and Ed and Monte Littlefield, whose anniversary is today.

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