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 Group Zooms In On Picking City Seal Design

Sentinel Staff Writer

A small group of Sitkans gathered by Zoom teleconference Thursday evening to discuss prospective designs for a new city seal.

The summary of their comments will be presented to the Assembly, which is taking public comments in a variety of ways before deciding which design to choose.

The Zoom discussion was led by Doug Osborne and Planning Director Amy Ainslie. 

It was part of the seal redesign project headed by Assembly members Kevin Knox and Steven Eisenbeisz, who say the city should have a symbol that is more culturally appropriate and inclusive. The current design – taken from a 1971 commemorative coin – depicts a cannon atop Castle Hill. The cannon appears to be pointed toward a Tlingit fort, Knox has said.

The new design is to be chosen from seven qualifying ones submitted in a public contest that ended March 30.

The contest rules state that the city can make modifications to the design it chooses – including combining elements of other entries.

Thursday’s discussion was open to all, but only four Sitkans took part.

One of them was Leah Mason, a graphic designer. She said she was interested in a seal that is “timeless.”

“A lot that’s going on here is more appropriate for a logo,” she said in critique of the designs in general. “This isn’t something to bring tourists in.”

Mason favored the designs that layered imagery and pushed for a “more profound nod to Native presence.”

Entry 7 – a seal that depicts the O’Connell Bridge – drew praise from all who took part in the discussion for its inclusion of the words Sheet’ka Kwaan. 

Sheet’ka Kwaan is the Tlingit name for Sitka and the surrounding area.

 “People have been here a lot longer than (1971) and governing themselves and living in this place,” Mason said. “I think that it would be lovely to build on the local language by referencing the (Tlingit people).”

Mason also voiced concern over Entry 4, which depicts a Tlingit canoe directly in front of a commercial trolling vessel. 

“I’ve had a friend say she really didn’t like the relationship of the troller to the canoe,” she said. 

She said the relationship of the troller to the canoe could perpetuate the narrative of violence against Native peoples that the redesign is seeking to amend.

Rachel Roy, another member of the Zoom discussion, said she hopes to see Mt. Edgecumbe as a focal point and “Sitka” written in large type.

Roy said that she didn’t think any of the designs were ready for city use as they are.

“We need to be able to reproduce (the seal) in lots of different ways and I think it’s going to require a graphic designer to massage it,” Roy said.

The design will be used on everything from city vehicles to city letterheads, she noted.

Mason agreed that none of the potential seal designs would reproduce easily.

“They’re all really busy,” she said. “The contrast in most of them is not great.”

Another participant in the call – identified only by the name Steve – said he would like Assembly members to consider what the seal will represent.

“Does it represent Sitka today? Does it represent Sitka past? Does it represent Sitka future?” he asked.

Steve said he wants a simple seal.

“I really like the idea of simplicity on a seal or a logo that unfolds a story,” he said.

He liked the use of the O’Connell Bridge, and said the imagery of the bridge connects past to future.

“Maybe the abstract is a little more future oriented,” he 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.

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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.

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– 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.