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)

Sitka’s Fourth – With Precautions – a Success

Sentinel Staff Writer

Sitka’s Fourth of July celebration was without a lot of traditional events, but it did have contest winners.

The Chamber of Commerce announced several of them in the “Share Your Spark” Fourth of July decorating contest.

The Chamber’s executive director, Rachel Roy, said she was pleased to see the high participation levels in the contest. Many traditional Fourth of July events were canceled, changed or curtailed in line with COVID-19 concerns, but the Chamber devised or promoted a few events that could be done while observing precautions.

Besides the decorating contest, there was an Old Car Parade through town that residents could watch from home; ribbon cuttings to celebrate the opening of new businesses - The Raven’s Hook craft store and Sitka Bulk Goods – and the Rotary Club annual duck race. (Those winners are listed in a letter to the editor on Page 2.)

“We had lots of positive reports” on the “Share the Spark” event, Roy said. The event encouraged Sitkans to decorate storefronts and homes, clean up a stretch of road or beach, and participate in acts of volunteerism.

“This is something we can look at doing next year. It was a positive, feel-good event,” Roy said. “People stopped me on the street, ‘I’m really glad you did something for the Fourth.’”


Fireworks explode low over Sitka Channel Friday night as Sitkans watch from their boats and shore. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)


She added there is no shortage of ideas for expanding on the theme and categories for next year.

Silver Basin took the title in the Business category, with its red, white and blue fish window display. The store wins lunch for the staff at Subway.

Honorable Mention in the Business category went to Harry Race Pharmacy, for its “then and now” photo display.

The Alaska Raptor Center took top prize in the Best Nonprofit category for its display that included a live eagle. The organization also cleaned up the beach at Halibut Point Recreation Area. The center wins a lunch for the staff at Pizza Express.

Sitka Rotary Club sponsored the prizes for the businesses.

The prize for Best House went to Carrie Spackman, at 313 Eliason Loop. She won a $75 gift card to Sea Mart, sponsored by First National Bank Alaska.

Honorable mention in the category went to Mary Suminski at 120 Patterson Way.

Roy said Jessie Natkong won the top place in the apartment/duplex category for going “all out, over the top” at her apartment at 223-B Lance Drive.

Also in the apartment/duplex category Sara Peterson captured honorable mention with her decorating at 112 Herb Didrickson Street.

Some 19 old cars participated in the Old Car Parade that serpentined through a number of Sitka streets. The 90-minute event was organized by Jeff Budd.

“I was heartened by the people on the side of the road (watching the parade) and the number of cars, too,” Budd said.

He thanked Karen and Dan Jones for their work helping organize and recruit for the car parade. He added that he was pleased that people seemed to know what was going on, and stopped to let the parade through at the intersections where there were no traffic controls.

“I thought that was darned decent,” he said.

Another triumph? “No cars overheated.”

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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.