PASSING THROUGH – Orca whales swim near the Indian River estuary Thursday night. A pod of more than a half-dozen adult and juvenile orcas spent the late afternoon in Sitka Sound near shore as people along Sawmill Creek Road photographed and video recorded them. NOAA Fisheries recommends staying at least 100 yards away while viewing whales from boats. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Service Set Nov. 17 For Ethel L. Staton

Ethel Louise Staton

Episcopal services for Ethel Louise Staton will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, November 17,  2018, at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.  Reverend Julie Platson and Father David Elsensohn will officiate.
       The reception will be hosted by the Sitka Emblem Club after the service, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sitka Elks Lodge.
Ethel, 93, passed away quietly in her sleep, while visiting her son, Norm and family, in Juneau on November 7. Her ashes will be interred at St. Peter’s altar columbarium next to her husband, Norman Staton Sr.
 She was born on January 13, 1925, in Ketchikan, Alaska, to Robert and Mabel Milonich. Ethel is of Tsimshian Alaskan Native and Yugoslavian descent and was one of five sisters. Ethel grew up in Ketchikan, graduating as valedictorian of her senior class, and working in her father’s restaurants.
Her husband joined the U.S. Army and came to Alaska where he met Ethel, the love of his life.  They married in 1944 and began their love story for 51 years.
The family moved to Sitka in 1955 and purchased the Pioneer Grill on Katlian Street, and the Sitka Café on Lincoln Street. After selling those businesses they opened and operated Staton’s Steakhouse and Cocktail Lounge.
Norm and Ethel were a team. They tirelessly brought fine dining to Sitka and were known as premier restaurateurs in Southeast Alaska, catering to Sitkans,  Alaska Lumber and Pulp employees and dignitaries with banquets, parties, family dinners and many celebrations. Famous for Norm’s Fish and Chips, their full service, waterfront restaurant was the heart of many of the city’s social gatherings for 25 years on Harbor Drive.
 Norm and Ethel purchased Building 29 on Lincoln Street in 1985, one of the two oldest buildings on the west coast of the United States. After doing some remodeling and restoring, they opened The Log Cache Jewelry and Gift Store because they wanted to still be a part of Sitka’s history. 
Ethel’s passion was service as she leaves a legacy of Native leadership and community involvement. She served on the Shee Atiká Inc. Native Board for 36 years and was the founding member who wrote a personal check paying for the filing fee to incorporate on April 1, 1974. She served as board chairman from 1981 to 1984 and was granted the title of Chairman Emeritus and awarded the William Paul award upon her retirement in 2007.
As a tireless advocate for Shee Atiká through its most troubling times, a consistent voice of protecting the company’s assets, a firm supporter of extending scholarship benefits to present and future generations of shareholders, she personified the best of Shee Atika’s early leadership. She was proud of her grandson Heath, who is now serving on the Shee Atiká board.
Ethel also served on the Board of Governors for the Alaska Bar Association, the Alaska Commission of Judicial Conduct, and Sheldon Jackson College Board of Trustees, and was Past President of the VFW in Ketchikan, Past President of the Sitka Emblem Club 142, Past President of Beta Sigma Phi, XI Zeta Chapter, President of the Tsimshian Tribal Association of Sitka, the Board of Holland America and the Girl Scout Council.
In Ketchikan at St. Elizabeth’s and St. John’s Episcopal, in Sitka at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea churches, she served on the Altar Guild and Episcopal Church woman groups.
Ethel also received the title of Mrs. Sitka in 1968, showing her talents in sewing, flower arranging and copper tooling.
Her natural grace, elegance and impeccable appearance was what made her stand out, and she took each position giving 120 percent of her time and talents for the betterment of each organization she served.
Her mother and grandmother taught Ethel and her sisters, Pauline, Ena, Jackie and Shirley, to be Tsimshian ladies with class and dignity. A humorous fact her family reflects on: she owned multiple restaurants but couldn’t cook;  thank goodness Norm could.
Whether entertaining with friends at the restaurant  or family at home she knew how set the table, decorate and organize the festivity, hire the best people, do all the clean up, be the best hostess, all with a smile and at the same time looking like a million bucks.
Family will tell you it was a joy to come to Sitka to stay at their home and enjoy the love and laughter from morning to night. Grandchildren and great-grandchild stayed overnight, playing dress up, learning to play poker, singing, dancing, making popcorn, watching TV  cuddling on the couch or the big king size bed. Nieces and nephews came and stayed for months at a time, learning skills in the restaurant business. In Ethel and Norman’s home you were surrounded by love, respected for your ideas and given every opportunity to shine.
When her eyesight started to diminish from macular degeneration she had to give up all her service obligations and close the store. It was a difficult time for her.
Survivors include daughter Candi Barger of Sitka and son Norm Staton Jr., wife Donna of Juneau.
 Grandson Heath Barger, granddaughter Gerri Chambers, great-granddaughter Holly Chambers of Bellevue, Washington.
 Granddaughters Tess Staton (Kyle) of Juneau, Katie Staton-McCann (Justus) of Eugene, Oregon.
 Niece Michele Kohinka of Anchorage,
 Sister Shirley Robards and nephews Cliff (Tuffy) Robards, Robert Leighton (Terry, Caitlin, Garrett) of Sitka.
Nephews Ronnie Leighton, Ivan Leighton, Dominic Salvato; nieces Barbara Pierce, Sharon Thorne, Vida Conway and Donna Turner.
Caregivers Guadalupe Carlos, Janet Vidad and Caitlin Carlos.
Honorary pallbearers are Cliff (Tuffy) Robards, Michele Kohinka, Gerri Chambers, Heath Barger, Katie Staton McCann, Tess Staton, Holly Chambers and Ryan Staton (in memorium).
Correspondence can be sent to 228 Harbor Drive, Sitka, AK 99835.
Memorials may be made to St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church or a favorite charity.
“Our family would like to thank you all for your gestures of love, support, stories, kindness and prayers in memory of our mom, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and aunt,” her family wrote.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-31-20)

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 12:50 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 108

Total statewide – 2,990

Total (cumulative) deaths – 23

Active cases in Sitka – 15 (10 resident; 5 non-resident) *

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

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 133.

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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July 2000

Clinton Buckmaster shot and wounded a large brown bear Tuesday night when it charged him near his Thimbleberry Bay home in the 2100 block of Sawmill Creek Road. As of press time, the bear was still at large.

July 1970

The city council agreed at a special meeting Thursday to consider the request of Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1 for redevelopment planning funds for the Indian Village. Cost has been estimated at $12,000.