SMOOTH SAILING – A troller cruises across Sitka Sound during a hazy sunset Friday evening. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

July 8, 2020, Community Happenings

GoFundMe Set Up For

Maytorena Sisters

A GoFundMe account has been  set up for Karen and Michelle Maytorena, sisters who were badly injured watching the Sitka fireworks on July 3. As of this morning, $8,975 had been donated to the account.

Karen was medevacked to Seattle for medical treatment.

‘‘At this time, the full extent of the financial impacts of this accident is unknown, but we do know assistance will be needed,’’ organizers of the account said. ‘‘At this time, the best way to help is to donate miles towards their travel or any dollar amount you are able to contribute towards medical expenses.’’

To contribute to the account go to:

To donate Alaska Airlines miles go to: Donors will need to enter the following information: First Name: Michelle; Last Name: Maytorena; Mileage Plan Number: 145749030; Email: marvelous This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The family asks individuals not to email to this address for any other matter.




Local Author Explores New

Direction in Mystery Series

“What is Time to a Pig?” a Cold Storage Novel, by John Straley. (Soho Crime, 264 pages, hardcover.

If Sitka was a fictional town, it would need a town author, and that author would need to be John Straley. He is so local and taken for granted that he, and his main character Cecil Younger, are now part of the local ecosystem, mostly terrestrial, sometimes not. We’ve become accustomed to Cecil Younger novels in which thinly veiled locals stumble along Katlian Street after the bars close, all in the familiar November rain.

In 2008 with his masterful “The Big Both Ways,” John Straley took his writing in a whole new direction, through Depression-era history and to the fictional town of Cold Storage, a place loosely reminiscent of Pelican, Tenakee, and Hoonah. Cold Storage is where John Straley located his new novels, post Cecil Younger. “What is Time to a Pig?” is the third in this “Cold Storage” series, and it’s a big, bold, new departure. 

Here Straley writes a true mystery yarn but also explores the limits of the genre. He wanders into Michael Chabon territory with a bit of alt-historical chaos, takes a detour to the edge of dystopian sci-fi, and goes right back to a realism that is more real than the grittiest of noir writing. Now it’s not just the cliché dive bar but intimate vignettes that highlight the essential humanity of the characters.

We briefly contemplate the universe through the eyes of the gaunt elderly man who wets his diaper, and of the woman who cleans him up before her shift is over. We get a feel for the traumas of detention. We experience the strange way that evening hangs around through sunrise on a casino floor. Then Straley brings us back to the fantastical again, to a maximum-security prison on the edge of Southeast Alaska. A revival cult, a repressive government, and foreign agents all converge on Yacobi Island as they search for a lost thermonuclear weapon. The characters all think they are deadly serious, and they are deadly indeed, but their deadliness is that of a Marx Brothers syndicate intent on recreating a Quentin Tarantino movie in the fog. As in all Straley novels, a raven performs his antics just offstage – perhaps he is the only one who knows the answer to the title / joke / Zen riddle: “What is Time to a Pig?”

“What is Time to a Pig?” is a fitting book for these stranger-than-fiction times. Enjoy the poetry. Ride along with the plot. Laugh and cry. Turn the page. Do it again.


–Paul Norwood, Sitka


Climate Meeting

Set for July 11

Sitka Citizens Climate Lobby will meet virtually on Zoom 9 a.m. Saturday, July 11. 

The national meeting speaker is Dr. Renee Lertzman, an environmental psychologist who will talk about climate stress and creating a powerful approach to engagement and social change for climate solutions. 

The local Sitka meeting starts at 9:45 a.m. To get directions to both Zoom meetings, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday evening.

The agenda includes June lobbying experience, planning for leader endorsements of the Energy Innovation  and Carbon Dividend Act, other bipartisan climate legislation in both Senate and House, and racial injustice.

All can participate and find out what to do during social distancing about global warming. 


Emblem Club

Officers to Meet

Sitka Emblem Club 142 invites officers to meet 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, via Zoom.

Officers should check their email for the Zoom meeting link.

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-4-20)

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 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 59

Total statewide – 3,394

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 17 (12 resident; 5 non-resident) *

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

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 136.

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. 



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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August 2000

The School Board Tuesday discussed district policy on head lice. At present, students found to have head lice are kept from school until all lice are removed. The revised policy allows students who have nits to remain in school, with information on treatment and a nit-removing comb to be sent home with them.

August 1970

Legal notice: Sealed bids will be received ... for furnishing and installation of siding on the City
Garage, located on Halibut Point Road. ... City of Sitka, Alaska Fermin Gutierrez, Director of Public Works.