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)

William ‘Shorty’ Larsen Celebration of Life Set

William ‘Shorty’ Larsen

William “Shorty” Larsen left us unexpectedly on February 17, 2019. He was 51 years old. He leaves behind a legacy of smiles, good humor, his love for family, and an amazing desire to help others.
   As the family thought about their son, brother, uncle and friend, they realized what a treasure Shorty was to so many beyond his family.
  His mom, Grace, recalls how much he enjoyed coming over and cooking for her and his sister Carlene on a regular basis. She and Carlene said that he was such a good cook they couldn’t lose weight until he went fishing for the summers with Tim Grussendorf.
He loved fishing and being on the waters around Sitka and Southeast Alaska. He fished with Tim for 19 years. One of his recent, and final, gifts for his mom was a wooden plaque, which is sitting on her shelf. The inscription reads, “Heaven is a little closer in a home by the water.”
  The family talked about how much Shorty loved to hike, play basketball, and “cruise” around Sitka, smiling in this town he grew up in, a friendly, waving soul.
The family recounts the many times they heard from others how he would pull over and help someone in need.  Many times that person didn’t even know who he was – he just helped, such was his desire to be who he learned to be growing up under his mom and dad. He even replaced an alternator for a woman who didn’t know who he was. She found out later and found the Larsen family to let them know what he did. That happened last week.
  The impression he made on the kids around him, when working at Blatchley Middle School and UAS, was obvious, a friend said. When middle school and Mt. Edgecumbe High School students saw Shorty, they would gravitate to the friendly, smiling, caring adult. The friend realized that Shorty became a father figure to so many kids because he was a good listener. The words “kind, gentle, good listener, caring” are often repeated when family and friends talk about Shorty.
  He even stood in for his brother for one Lamaze class – just one, after which he declared he wasn’t going to have kids.
His sense of humor was infectious and there were many examples of how he also used humor to show his family and friends he cared for them, such was his desire to let them know they were special to him.
  He received the nickname “Shorty” early in life. His mom said that when he was born, he was small and not easy to see wrapped in his baby blanket, so his siblings laughingly nicknamed him “Shorty” – and it stuck with him.
  It was evident he loved family. He always made sure Mom took her medicine. He cooked for her and Carlene and would serve his mom first. “He was always there for me,” his mom said.
   He never knew a stranger. He was always willing to help wherever help was needed, his family said. No one had a single bad thing to say about him.
  Shorty, the son of Grace Katasse Larsen and Carl A. Larsen Sr., grew up in Sitka, graduated from Sitka High School, and in 2005 attended Marine Mechanical Institute in Florida to become certified in marine engine repair work, something he loved doing and teaching to others. He loved his commercial fishing. He recently graced the hallways of SEARHC as an employee.
 A celebration of life will be held 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 – his birthday – at the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi.
“Please consider bringing a food dish to share and please bring some fun stories of our friend, uncle, brother, and son Shorty, to share with others,” family said.
On Wednesday, the family will have a private ceremony to spread Shorty’s ashes at his favorite fishing hole.
   Shorty lived life well and fully, complete with that ever-present smile and great attitude of love for family and friends and a life of helping others.
  He was preceded in death by his father, Carl A. Larsen Sr., and a sister, Carlene Rose Larsen.
   He is survived by his mother, Grace K. Larsen of Sitka; brothers Carl A. Larsen Jr. of Juneau, Henry Larsen (Lynn) of Sitka, Andy Larsen of Hoonah, and Clarence “Buzz” Dick of Juneau; and sisters Becky M. Larsen of Juneau, Carlene Mary Larsen of Sitka, Beth Didrickson (Donnie) of Elma, Washington, and Aneanette Larsen of Hoonah.
He also is survived by nephews Christopher Larsen, Kayne Larson, Olaf Larsen and Charlie Larsen all of Juneau, Eric Larsen of Hoonah, Jerrett Didrickson of Elma, Washington, and Adam Larsen (Leah) of Green Bay, Wisconsin; nieces Kylee Larsen (Chris), Elisa Larsen (Jackson) of Chicago, Illinois, and Annisha Strom of Fort Yukon; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
   Honorary pallbearers are Carl A. Larsen Jr., Christopher Larsen, Eric Larsen, Kylee Larsen, Kayne Larsen, Becky Larsen, Olaf Larsen, Charlie Larsen, Henry Larsen, Elisa Larsen, Adam Larsen, Carlene Larsen, Andy Larsen, Annisha Larsen, Beth Didrickson, Donnie Didrickson, Jerrett Didrickson, James Bennett, Sarah Carlson, Tim Grussendorf, James Mercer, Ed Mercer Jr., Terry Carlson, Clarence “Buzz” Dick, Tom Gamble, and Keith Perkins.



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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