SUPPLY CHAIN WOES – James Pelletier, Yellow Jersey bicycle mechanic, is surrounded by cycles waiting to be repaired as he points to empty display racks at the Harbor Drive store. The main showroom rack, which can hold two dozen new bicycles, now holds only three bicycles (including an unclaimed special-order $5,000 electric mountain bike) for sale. A nationwide supply chain disruption of bicycles and parts is not expected to be alleviated any time soon. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Nancy Ricketts Tells of ‘Becoming Myself’

Sentinel Staff Writer

Nancy Ricketts has been writing for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve been writing about my life all my life,” Ricketts said in an interview. “I’ve been writing letters, I’ve been writing all sorts of writing because I love writing.”

Ricketts, now 95, is releasing a memoir, titled “Becoming Myself.”

It begins with Ricketts’ own prehistory – her father’s side came to the United States as Huguenots; her mother’s parents immigrated from Croatia – and ends in 1974, right before Ricketts returned to Sitka, a place where she had lived a short time as a girl.

A reception to celebrate the book’s publication will be held 1:30 p.m. Friday on the lawn of the Pioneer Home, near the main entrance.

Those who choose to attend are asked to wear a face mask and to observe social distancing protocols.

Signed copies of her memoir can be purchased at Old Harbor Books.

“This is a new experience for me,” Ricketts said of her book’s release. “Brand new. I have written before – a lot of historical stuff – but I have never written anything about myself.”

Nancy Ricketts (Sentinel File Photo by James Poulson) 

Speaking by phone from her comfortable room at the Pioneers Home, Ricketts said she’s not sure how the public will react to her new book, but she hopes people will ask her questions.

Her desire to receive questions goes back to her childhood practice of asking questions.

“I had difficulty becoming understood when I was a young child,” she said. “I was always wondering about things that people weren’t supposed to think about, like where did we come from, and where did this start, and difficult questions of different kinds. I couldn’t ask anybody about it so I just pondered about it.”

For a time, Ricketts would take these questions to her father, but that changed when her parents divorced in the 1930s. 

Her father was a pathfinding marine biologist and philosopher Ed Ricketts, who was immortalized by his friend John Steinbeck as Doc in his novel “Cannery Row.”

“I could have asked my dad but I didn’t see him very often,” she said. “I don’t know what he would have said but I know he would have had an answer.”

Ricketts said she would ask her father questions like, “Where does the light go when you turn off the switch?” Other people would ask him those sorts of questions, too.

“He answered (questions) for any kid – any person – that asked him,” she said. “He gave answers that he had available to him that I, at that time, didn’t have available to me.”

It was these questions that pushed Nancy to return to school in her 30s, all the while raising eight children: her second husband brought six into the family when they married.

Ricketts said her return to school provided her with an opportunity to keep writing – and to learn more about using language.

“I started in (a beginning English) class and my teachers told me that I should be in a way advanced class by this time,” she said. “But I stayed where I was because there were a lot of basic things that I just didn’t know, and I was happy to learn them.”

Ricketts said she started writing “great guns” after her college English courses.

“I’d always written letters –  especially to my family who I was separated from – but I hadn’t done any other writing, and I certainly never did any speaking – never any class oration or anything like that,” she said.

This letter-writing has come in handy while assembling her book – her writing process required reviewing a multitude of documents she had written in earlier years.

“I went through many writings and I recalled some things every once in a while -– a little bit here, there,” she said. “I make copies when I write letters to people. I make a copy of it and put it in my file so I can remember what I said and when I said it.”

The result is a 110-page volume that contains letters, stories, and a few photos of the many adventures that eventually brought her to Sitka, where she has remained these past 45 years.

But Ricketts leaves those 45 years – years spent as a librarian, historian, archivist and educator – to history. This is where an audience’s questions may begin.

“There are questions out there waiting for all of us and we will never run out of them,” Ricketts said. “It’s an exciting thought.”









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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 9-21-20)

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 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 46

Total statewide – 6,950

Total (cumulative) deaths – 45

Active cases in Sitka – 17 (7 resident; 10 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 41 (37 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 266.

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. 




September 2000

Enrollment is down by more than 100 students from last year, a decline four times greater than anticipated in the budget, Sitka School District Superintendent John Holst said today. The budget was based on an enrollment down by only 25 students.

September 1970

The borough assembly approved unanimously an ordinance authorizing expenditure of $12,000 for a redevelopment plan for the Sitka Indian Village. ... Judy Christianson, a member of the Sitka Community Action Group board of directors, has suggested that the planning be handled by a private social service organization called Habitats West.