EXPECT DELAYS – Lines of traffic move slowly down Sawmill Creek Road today as a repaving project progresses near the Indian River bridge. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

July 2, 2020, Community Happenings

Sitka Legacy Foundation


Grants $27,000 in Support

The Alaska Community Foundation and its local affiliate, Sitka Legacy Foundation, have awarded $27,000 in grants to support the local economy and community services during the pandemic.

Sitka Legacy Foundation awarded $15,000 in grants in June, including its first grant to benefit residents of Port Alexander. 

Its awards include:

–$6,000 to Sitka Conservation Society to support free meals for Sitka’s children in July and August.

–$4,000 to Youth Advocates of Sitka to support healthy summer activities for kids.

–$1,500 to Raven Radio Foundation for remote production equipment.

–$1,500 to Brave Heart Volunteers for technology to help clients communicate with their families while quarantining.

–$1,000 to the City of Port Alexander to assist residents with basic needs.

–$1,000 to Sitka Local Foods Network to subsidize fresh local produce for low-income households.

The grants were made possible by donors in Sitka, whose contributions leveraged $25,000 in matching funds from Rasmuson Foundation that are being used for local grantmaking this year.

The Alaska Community Foundation awarded $12,000 in grants to three organizations in Sitka in June from its AK Can Do COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, including:

–$5,000 to Outer Coast College to support its online Tlingit language course over the summer

–$4,000 to Youth Advocates of Sitka to support healthy outdoor activities for youths over the summer

–$3,000 to Sitka Local Foods Network to subsidize fresh local produce for low-income households

The grants were made possible by contributions to the statewide AK Can Do campaign.

Charlie Woodcock, executive director of Youth Advocates of Sitka, says that the grants from SLF and ACF will allow his organization to procure supplies, transportation, and meals for its outdoor recreation program for Sitka youths this summer.

“Many of the healthy activities and camps in Sitka will not be occurring this year,’’ Woodcock said. ‘‘This leaves the youths of Sitka, especially the most vulnerable, with limited safe summer activities, and those most in need of supportive peer and adult relationships with fewer opportunities to access them. The support from ACF and SLF will make a big difference in our ability to serve at-risk teens this summer.”

“We are so pleased to partner with our local Affiliates to support Alaskans during the pandemic,” said Nina Kemppel, president & CEO of the Alaska Community Foundation. “Sitka Legacy Foundation has been active and effective in promoting local philanthropy and focusing its grants to meet the community’s most urgent needs. We appreciate the generosity of Sitka’s residents and businesses that make these grants possible.”



Path to Prosperity Selects


12 Finalists in Competition

Twelve businesses – including three from Sitka – have advanced to the second round of the Path to Prosperity sustainable business competition. 

Selected as this year’s finalists are: Equinox, Cameo Padilla, Sitka; Sitka Flowers & The Chocolate Moose, Angela Ketah, Sitka; TIDES Education Associates, Nancy Douglas, Sitka; Alaska Today, Allen Bird, Ketchikan; Caffeinated Raven, Alison Bremner (Marks), Juneau; Coastal Heating and Repair, James Jensen, Yakutat; Gastineau Grains, Kate Higgins, Juneau; Integrative Mushroom Solutions, Uyanga “Angie” Mendbayar, Juneau; Jellyfish Donuts, Brianna Krantz, Ketchikan; Kaasei Training and Consulting, Naomi Michalsen, Ketchikan; Well-Being, Adrianna Oliva, Ketchikan; Xíinaansdla, Marita Tolson, Hydaburg.

Started by Sealaska and The Nature Conservancy in 2013 and run by Spruce Root, Path to Prosperity is an award-winning competition for small businesses and start-ups located in Southeast Alaska. 

In round two, finalists will participate in the program’s Business Boot Camp, where they will get access to resources, work with mentors, and receive one-on-one consulting to develop their business models and plans.

In February 2021, two finalists will be selected to win $25,000 each to grow their businesses.

Path to Prosperity is a Spruce Root program. Spruce Root provides local entrepreneurs with access to business development and financial resources in the form of loan capital, business coaching, workshops, and competitions. Together, these programs support both new and existing businesses in Southeast Alaska and empower business owners through increased self-sufficiency.


To learn more about Path to Prosperity or Spruce Root’s other services, visit their website at www.spruceroot.org or email grow@spruceroot.org. 


Card of Thanks

The Miller and Johnson families would like to give a huge thank you to the following:

Sitka SAFV Shelter, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Sitka Moose Lodge, AC Lakeside, Sitka American Legion, and Ernie’s Old Time Saloon.  Also, a thank you to all of those who gave their love, words of encouragement, food, and money contributions. 

A Forty Day dinner will be announced at a later date.

Elmenda R. Johnson – “Manda,” Aunty Money, Natalie (Elmenda’s baptism name), Kaax Kwei – Memory Eternal and rest in peace.


The Miller and Johnson Families


SJ Museum

To Livestream

Talks, Classes

The Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum is planning to stream Alaska Native artist residency talks and some classes live on Zoom.

The group said if a Zoom virtual event has no size limit and is open to the public, the link will be posted on the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum website, Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum Facebook page, and in press releases available on the Alaska State Museum website and in the Sitka Sentinel newspaper.

They also will be sent to those on the public programs email list. If a virtual event has a limit, the Zoom link will be sent only to those who have registered. To register for classes call  747-8981 or email the museum curator at Jacqueline.Fernandez-Hamberg@alaska.gov.

The museum said any classes offered, whether they are open or capped, likely will have a materials list that students will need to prepare or purchase in advance.


Zoom virtual events will be recorded and will likely be posted on Friends of Sheldon Jackson social media pages at a later date, the museum said.

Firefighters Urge

Fireworks Caution

For July 4 Holiday

The International Association of Firefighters is urging individuals to leave fireworks to the professionals on the Fourth of July.

Fireworks, sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets can cause injuries and fires, ruining a holiday celebration, a press release from the organization said. 

‘‘Though legal in many states, consumer fireworks are extremely dangerous if not handled properly,’’ the group said. ‘‘It’s important to take extra precautions when near or handling fireworks. This includes sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets, which can cause injuries and fires, ruining holiday celebrations. Sparklers can burn at temperatures well over 1,000 degrees. In 2017, sparkler injuries sent nearly 1,200 children to the emergency room.’’

 More than 10,000 people are treated for fireworks-related injuries every year, with most of those injuries occurring around the Fourth of July holiday. More than one-third of those injuries involve children under 15 years of age, a press release said. 

‘‘Mishandled fireworks also cause fires, with July among the busiest days for professional firefighters. Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires last year, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires and 17,100 outside and other fires,’’ the firefighters said. ‘‘While do-it-yourself firework displays may seem like fun, fire fighters urge resisting the temptation and instead enjoying one of the many professional displays in the community.’’ 



Fish and Chips

Sale on July 4

Fish and chips will be for sale 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 4 at the Sitka Moose Lodge window on Lincoln Street.


Harbor Mountain

Hike on July 11

Sitka Trail Works will lead a hike along the Gavan Hill/Harbor Mountain Trail 9 a.m. Saturday, July 11. Hikers will meet by the Sitka High School Performing Arts Center entrance to Cross Trail.

A mandatory COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaire and a liability waiver must be completed prior to participation, STW said. Go to http://sitkatrailworks.org/weekend-hikes/ to fill out paperwork beforehand. Social distancing between different household groups and face coverings are encouraged, the organization said. 

The hike is a strenuous 6 miles and depending on the speed of participants may take about six hours, STW said. Expect extensive stairs, roots, rocks and log or rock steps, which can be slippery when wet. The group will hike up the Gavan side, then past the small shelter, and around to the Harbor Mountain parking area. 

Participants should take their own water, food, hiking poles and appropriate clothing for the weather. Hike leaders will carry VHF radios and a first aid kit. Anyone under age 18 attending must be accompanied by an adult and have a liability waiver signed by their legal guardian, the organizers said. 

STW will not provide transportation down from the Harbor Mountain trailhead this year due to social distancing requirements so participants must arrange to be picked up or stage a personal vehicle at the trailhead. 


For information call 747-7244, or visit www.sitkatrailworks.org 


Park to Open

Totem Hall

On 4th of July 

Sitka National Historical Park will open the Totem Hall portion of the visitor center noon-4 p.m. July 4 and 5.

Totem Hall will continue to be open noon-4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, beginning July 10. Outdoor, ranger-led programs will be offered at noon and 2:30 p.m. on the same days. Programs will last about 30 minutes.

Visitors are being asked to observe 6 feet of physical distancing from others when attending outdoor programs, and to wear a face covering or mask when entering Totem Hall, the park said.

The current status of other Sitka National Historical Park facilities are: 

–Park trails: open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

–Outside toilet between bridge and east parking lot starting July 4 will be open daily, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

–Visitor center restrooms, single occupancy only, starting July 4 will be open noon-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday

–Visitor center, exhibits, theater and Cultural Center are closed

–Russian Bishop’s House is closed

–Park film “Voices of Sitka” is not available on site, but is soon to be available on the website, www.nps.gov/sitk.


For additional information visit the park’s webpage or call the visitor center at 747-0132.


Older Car Parade

Slated for July 4

A group with older cars is planning a parade through various neighborhoods on July 4.

The parade of cars will meet at Whale Park at 1 p.m. and motor to Jeff Davis Street, take a right on Lincoln Street, a right on Lake Street to Peterson, then on to Edgecumbe Drive, down Charteris Street, a right on Halibut Point Road out to Starrigavan, and then back to town via HPR up to the Long-Term Care site at the old Sitka Community Hospital, and down Katlian Street to Lincoln Street where the vehicles will stop at Centennial Hall.

‘‘Our plan is to go through the neighborhoods to give Sitkans a chance to come out, show their spark, and enjoy a parade,’’ Jeff Budd, one of the organizers, said.


Those with questions may call Budd at 747-4821.


SJ Museum

Closed July 4

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will be closed on Saturday, July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday. 


Summer hours will resume on Wednesday, July 8, with a timed entry system and by reservation only as part of a COVID-19 mitigation plan. Summer hours are noon-4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Call 747-8981 or email robert.hoffmann@alaska.gov to schedule a visit.


Fish & Chips, Bake,

Garage Sale July 4

The American Legion Auxiliary will sponsor a sale on July 4 at the American Legion Hall.


Garage and bake sale items will be for sale at 9 a.m., followed by fish and chips at 11 a.m. for $15 an order. Call for delivery at 747-8629.


Fish and Chips

Sale on July 4


Fish and chips will be for sale 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 4 at the Sitka Moose Lodge window on Lincoln Street.


AC Lakeside BBQ

To Benefit Fortress


AC Lakeside Grocery will host a barbecue station noon July 4 in the parking lot to benefit the Fortress of the Bear. All proceeds will be given to the nonprofit organization.


ANB to Meet

At Founders Hall

Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 1 will meet 5 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the ANB Founders Hall.

‘‘The ANB has decided to close the hall to large public events, until at least September due to the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ ANB President Harriet Miyasato Beleal said. ‘‘We feel this is the safest choice for the community we serve and love.’’


Comments will be limited to three minutes and participants are encouraged to wear facemasks, sanitize their hands and sit six feet apart, Beleal said. For more information, call Beleal at (907) 744-6910.


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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 8-7-20)

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 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 53

Total statewide – 3,536

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (14 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

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. 




August 2000

High prices for chum salmon, low pink returns, and record numbers of fish in Deep Inlet have turned the Sitka fishing grounds into Route 66 this summer. “Overall it’s been a fantastic season so far,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, operations manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

August 1970

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will head a gathering of Orthodox prelates from North American and abroad in ceremonies canonizing the first American Orthodox saints, Father Herman of Alaska. A group of Sitkans will fly to Kodiak for the event.