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)

CARES Fund Plan On Assembly Table


Sentinel Staff Writer

The Assembly at tonight’s special meeting will review the local budget for the CARES Act funds that will be distributed to Sitka businesses, nonprofits and other entities.

The city received some $14 million from the federal program to offset the economic effects of COVID-19 on the community.

So far, some $4.5 million has been allotted for utility and moorage assistance for residents and businesses, and the application period for both programs will be open through the end of this month.

At a June 18 special meeting, the Assembly received a city Working Group’s budget and distribution plan for the rest of the funds. The Assembly made a few changes and sent the document back to the Working Group for fine-tuning.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall, where face masks are recommended but not required. The meeting room is set up for social distancing, and remote access to the meeting will be available on YouTube and the city website.

City Administrator John Leach said he’s hoping to get final approval on the Working Group’s budget so it can come back in ordinance form for adoption at the July 14 and July 28 meetings.

The budget and distribution proposal for Sitka CARES funds:

Category 1: Utility/Moorage Assistance - $4.5M (program active)


Category 2: Business and Nonprofit Grants - $5M 

– $2,500 grant for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues under $100,000

– $5,000 for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues of over $100,000 but less than $250,000

– $7,500 for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues of over $250,000 but less than $500,000

– $10,000 for businesses/nonprofits with 2019 revenues of over $500,000

– Special option: “The gross revenue for my business or nonprofit does not appropriately capture the scope of the services my business or nonprofit provides to the community and I would like the Assembly to consider, in public session, awarding at a higher level.”


Category 3: New City Funded Programs - $2.5M

- Childcare $500,000 (possible per child subsidy, additional funding to increase capacity)

- Food security $200,000 (partnering with STA, SCS, USDA grants, ensuring local meal and pantry programs covered as well)

- Support for behavioral/mental health $300,000 (Possible organizational voucher/subsidy per uninsured client served)

- Housing support $750,000 (Crisis/emergency, Re-housing, transitional)

- Transitional Employment Program $750,000 (Unemployed/under-employed hired to work on projects in Sitka)


Category 4: City Impact/Mitigation Spending - $1M

- Mitigation/preparation

- IT

- Protection of employees and public

- Ensure continued services in event of shutdown

- CARES spending consultation

- Cover significant portion of cost of public safety


Category 5: Sitka School District Request - $430K (already awarded)

- Americorps volunteers and laptop purchases.

- SSD has requested that they return the Secure Rural Schools funding for fiscal year 2020 ($229K) to the CBS, and we increase their CARES request by an equivalent amount to $660K.


Category 6: Contingency - $627,653

- To be available if a known or unknown urgent COVID need arises. If not spent, could go either toward another round of utility subsidy or to the city’s public safety costs.





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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.