ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

‘Arnie’ Johnson Sr. Dies; Longtime Sitkan was 69

Arnold Walter Johnson Sr.

    Arnold Walter Johnson Sr., better known by family and friends as Arnie, passed away peacefully Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. He was 69.
    He was born March 7, 1949, to Mary B. John and George B. Johnson Sr. He spent  his childhood in Angoon, and graduated from high school in Chilocco, Oklahoma. During the summers before graduating he would fish on the Mary D. with Bobby Duncan.
    Although Arnie spent much of his younger years on the water, he never learned how to swim, but that didn’t keep him from doing what he loved – fishing. And the way he could bait his herring, it was like magic, family said.
    After graduating from high school, he spent some time in Juneau, and later made his way to Sitka, where he began working at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. There he met Elizabeth G. Gardner, and the two began their life together as husband and wife on Aug. 4, 1973, at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Sitka. Together they had five children, and raised them in Sitka.
    His family was very important to him, and he enjoyed taking them out fishing, to visit family in Angoon, and on walks through Totem Park.
    Among his other passions were basketball and pool. If you didn’t see him out on the court playing ball, you could  see him in the stands at MEHS supporting high school athletes, or in Juneau for Gold Medal. He loved the sport, and the importance of being a good teammate.
    Arnie also was well-known in the Greater Sitka Pool League. He played many years with the league, and formed many lifelong friendship doing so.
    As a father of five children, he took great pride in being able to hunt and gather the traditional Native foods for his family; and he was never opposed to sharing with friends.
    He also enjoyed fishing the Sitka Salmon Derby, and knew where and how to fish any spot around Sitka.
    Arnie is survived by his children, Arnold Johnson Jr. (Taija and Chelsea Johnson), Katherine Johnson (Shawn Beauchamp), Lydia Spethmann (David Bean and Dylan Spethmann, father Matt Spethmann), and Victoria Johnson; and grandchildren Hayley, Hadley and Cody Kane and Taylor Helgeson.
    He also is survived by his brothers, Leonard and Stanley Johnson; and sisters Grace Sharclane, Genevieve Willard, Lorena Macasiat, Annie Braley, Velma Paul and Georgia Johnson.
    He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth; his mother and father, Mary B. John and George B. Johnson Sr.; his daughter Dahlia “Dolly” Johnson; his brother George B. Johnson Jr.; and sister, Gloria Plumber.
    “Arnie always did what he could with what he had,” his family said. “And he always told his children, ‘Tell the ones you love that you love them, no matter what. Because tomorrow is promised to no one.’”
    A small memorial will be held at a later date.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

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 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

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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