NO MOORE CLINIC – Contractors from CBC Construction use an excavator to tear down the  Moore Clinic building this morning. The building, which was most recently owned by SEARHC, was built in the mid-1950s by Dr. Phil Moore. Moore was a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who came to Sitka after WWII to open a clinic to treat tuberculosis patients from around the state on Japonski Island using vacated Naval base buildings. He helped develop new treatments for TB which was devastating Native communities. That operation evolved into SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. Moore also helped establish Sitka Community Hospital in the 1950s. The cleared clinic lot will likely be used for building housing by SEARHC. ( Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Sitka’s Tropical Day: Friday’s 88° F Sets Record

Sentinel Staff Writer

With clear skies and lots of sunlight, Sitka came within one degree of setting a new all-time high heat record on Friday.

At 88 degrees Fahrenheit, Friday’s temperature tied with the previous record, which has stood for more than 40 years, according to the National Weather Service.

“We had high pressure and an offshore flow, basically dry Canadian air coming down and coming into the area,” NWS Observation Program Leader Kimberly Vaughan told the Sentinel today.

“The all-time record high for Sitka, that means the highest temp that has ever been recorded in Sitka, is 88 degrees. And the last time that happened was on July 30, 1976,” Vaughan said.

Official temperatures for Sitka are recorded at the FAA flight service station at the airport.

While Friday did not break the all-time record for Sitka, Vaughan noted that it did set one for July 31.

“For the day, it broke the record by 10 degrees, a record from 1971,” she said.

Friday’s heat also attracted the attention of local naturalist and longtime Sitkan Matt Goff, who runs a blog,

“What was notable to me, this summer people were joking about winter in June. It has been very cloudy, non-sunny, except for those two days in July (the 2nd and 31st) that broke 80,” Goff said.

He has run the blog since 2007, though he said his interest in natural history dates to the 1990s.

“I started taking pictures of the flowers in the late 90s and I decided I wanted to know what they were,” he said.

While Goff studied math and statistics in college, he described natural history as his “avocation.”

He added that extreme events attract a lot of interest.

“Extreme events are by their nature unusual. We had lightning the other day, that was fun too... Those unusual and extreme events are fun to pay attention to, so I enjoy doing that as part of a broader effort to understand the natural history of the area,” he said.

Friday was the second day in July to break the 80 degree threshold in Sitka this year. On July 2, two days before a cold and clammy Fourth of July, the local temperature was a scorching 83 degrees.

“On the second of the month, so early on, Sitka also broke a record temperature by 10 degrees,” Vaughan said. The old record for July 2 was 73 degrees, in 1979.

However, she noted that in spite of the two days in the 80s, Sitka’s overall average for July was 57.7 degrees, only 1.5 degrees warmer than average.

The National Weather Service calculates averages on a decade system, which Vaughan said ensures standardization. The current years used for American decade averages are 1981 through 2010.

“What we consider normal is a decade normal, which is 30 years of data. And that data now goes from 1981 to 2010, so they basically crunch those 30 years of data and come up with the average, which is considered normal for the station,” she said.

She added that a single hot day is not usually a cause for concern, as droughts can take months or even years to develop. After the heat wave of Friday, the weather cooled to a high of 65 degrees on Saturday, August 1. After the 83 degree high of July 2, the Fourth topped out at a cool 56 degrees.

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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 9-25-20)

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 1:10 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 127

Total statewide – 7,254

Total (cumulative) deaths – 51

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (8 resident; 12 non-resident) *

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

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 277.

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

School Superintendent John Holst, Police Chief Bill McLendon and Magistrate Bruce Horton are among panelist confirmed for a community forum on teen alcohol and drug use and the new random drug testing by police in the schools. Other panelists are to be Tribal Judge Ted Borbridge, Nancy Cavanaugh, R.N.,  Asst. District Atty. Kurt Twitty, Tami Young, Trevor Chapman and School Board member Carolyn Evans.

September 1970

Mark Spender, son of Dr. and Mrs. Ed Spencer, and David Bickar, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Bickar, are among 14,750 high school seniors honored today be being named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition.