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)

Eagle Finds Freedom on Independence Day

By The Associated Press
and Sentinel Staff

A bird symbolizing America’s freedom had to be liberated on Independence Day after becoming stuck in a tree in Juneau.

A small, male bald eagle was hurt but alive Saturday after being untangled from a spruce tree in Juneau, Sitka Raptor Center Avian Director Jennifer Cedarleaf said in an interview today.

She noted that the bird required two stitches for a cut on his wing, but there were no broken bones.

“We gave him some pain meds and some antibiotics… He did take a short little flight, but I’m sure the wing is very sore,” she said.

While the bird seems set for recovery, Cedarleaf said, there’s a wrinkle.

The bird has a brood patch, a small bald spot on the stomach.

Freedom, an injured eagle, stretches its wings at the Alaska Raptor Center this morning. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)


“Because it’s nesting season, we check every eagle we get this time of year for a brood patch. It’s an area on their lower belly that they pluck the feathers from so their skin has direct contact with the eggs to keep them warm enough. It puts direct contact between the skin and the eggs and it keeps them warmer. It looks like he had a brood patch but it’s growing back in, so he probably has a nest with babies out there,” she said.

Cedarleaf said that baby eagles need feeding from both parents in order to survive, and their odds of fatherless survival are not high

“If he’s not back out there in three or four days, it’s probably not going to happen,” she said. Its recovery will likely take a month, she added.

The Juneau center received the report of the stranded eagle around 10 a.m. Saturday. The bird was stuck in the tree near the historic Ernest Gruening Cabin in Ernest Gruening State Historical Park, the manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, Kathy Benner,  said.

Steve Lewis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ascended the tree using climbing spikes on his shoes and carried the eagle down in a bag around 3 p.m.

Wildlife officials initially believed the eagle’s wing had become tethered to a tree branch by fishing line, but closer inspection revealed a cable or wire had restrained the bird, Cedarleaf and Brenner confirmed.

The eagle appeared to be alert and “feisty” before the flight to Sitka Saturday evening, Benner said.

While bald eagle rescues are not rare, Benner couldn’t recall a previous instance of the U.S. national bird requiring assistance on the Fourth of July.

“We feel pretty good about the rescue, especially on Independence Day,” Benner said.

Cedarleaf added that the eagle has since been given the name “Freedom.”

What struck Cedarleaf most was the particular beauty of this small eagle.

“We all did have a comment on it when we got it, that it’s a really beautiful eagle… this bird is just gorgeous. It has a pristine white head and white tail. It’s one of those eagles that really catches our eye,” Cedarleaf said.


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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.