OPEN AIR CONCERT – From left, musicians Ross Venneberg, Brian Neal, Wade Demmert and Roger Schmidt perform an outdoor brass concert for residents of the Pioneers Home Monday. The professional musicians, who are hunkered down in Sitka, are regulars at the annual Holiday Brass Concert. The Pioneers Home has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

John Clay Phillips

John Clay Phillips, a fisherman of the sea, unexpectedly lost his life in Nushagak Bay on the morning of Wednesday, July 25, 2018. He was 59.

Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Grandpa, Uncle, Nephew, Cousin, Captain, Crew, Neighbor and Friend.

John was born August 28, 1958, in Sitka, the son of Nancy C. Phillips and Jack D. Phillips.

He was a long-time resident of Juneau, Petersburg and Pelican. He was widely known as a highliner fisherman of black cod and halibut, following in the footsteps of his parents.

John spent many years on the ocean on various fishing vessels: the F/V’s Aloha, Nancy K, Shamrock, Echo Belle, and Lone Fisherman. He sold the Lone Fisherman to his son, Jeb, who changed its name back to the Pacific Knight.

John worked with many deckhands, several of whom were with him through rough waters and calm seas; they realized a closeness in their hard work together. John’s wheelhouse motto was, “You’re only young once but if you do it right once is enough.”

Throughout the years, John loved to hunt, fish, go for skiff rides, read, watch movies and drive long road trips in his truck, often accompanied with his dog Roscoe. He was known by many to be kind, generous, and friendly to those around him.

John is survived by his wife Penney, of Juneau; parents Jake and Nancy Phillips, Sitka; sons Jeb (Angela) and Aaron, and their mother Maura, all of Petersburg; grandchildren Brayden, Blayre and Isla; brother James (Patricia) of Pelican; nephews James, Jordan and Frederick, all of Sitka, and Carl, Pelican; mother-in-law Janice of Twin Falls, Idaho; brother-in-law Rick (Mitzi) of Heyburn, Idaho, with six children and five grandchildren; and sister-in-law Lori of Jerome, Idaho,  with three children and eight grandchildren. 

The family would like to recognize Icicle Seafoods, and the crew of the F/V Amanda C.

“And thank you all for your phone calls, visits, food, cards, and your acts of kindness are dearly appreciated,” the family said.

A celebration of life will be held in Sitka at a date yet to be determined.






Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-7-20)

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 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Sunday: 19

Total statewide – 1,184

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (3 resident; 5 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 78.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.



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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