HISTORIC MOVE – Harry Greene, maintenance and operations superintendent at the Sitka Public Works Department, uses a backhoe to lift the Baranof statue onto a wooden dolly with the help of co-worker Mike Callahan, this morning in front of Harrigan Centennial Hall. The bronze statue, estimated to weigh between 400 and 600 pounds, was relocated to inside the Sitka History Museum today. The city Assembly passed a resolution, on a 6-1 vote, in July to move the statue from its prominent  outdoor location to inside the museum.  At the July meeting several members of the public said the statue was a symbol of “historical trauma.”  The statue, created by artist Joan Bugbee Jackson, was given to the city in 1989 by Lloyd and Barbara Hames. Hames family members said earlier this year they supported moving the statue into the museum. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

World War II Veteran Louis Soha Dies at 96

Louis Soha

Louis Soha, a retired Alaska Airlines pilot with ties to Sitka, died in Oakville, Washington, on March 6. He was 96.

He was born on March 5, 1924, to Michael and Sophie Soha in Crystal Falls, Michigan, the youngest of seven children. His father was killed in a mining accident several months after Lou was born and he was raised by his mother and older siblings. Possessed of innate intelligence and natural athletic ability, he was valedictorian of his graduating high school class, All Upper Peninsula in football, a Golden Gloves finalist and a semi-professional baseball player.

Together with four of his older brothers, and virtually every boy in his Crystal Falls High School class of 1942, he enlisted in the service immediately upon graduation. During the war, his mother Sophie had five sons serving in active combat theatres in Europe, North Africa, Burma and the South Pacific. He saw combat as a Marine Corps fighter pilot flying Corsairs in the South Pacific. Among other medals, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor in combat. Following his honorable discharge, he ventured to Alaska where he flew as a bush pilot out of Fairbanks and Fort Yukon until he joined Alaska Airlines in 1950, retiring from Alaska Airlines in 1984 after a career that included flying aircraft ranging from the piston driven Norseman, DC-3 and C-130 to modern Boeing jets. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s he flew the milk run in Southeast Alaska with Sitka being his favorite station.

Lou met the love of his life, Evelyn O’Hara, in Fairbanks. Married in 1950, they went on to raise 10 children, first in Fairbanks and Anchorage and then in Seattle, until finally settling in Oakville, Washington. Throughout their married life, Lou and Evelyn traveled extensively throughout the United States, Western and Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Alaska, however, remained their favorite destination and they spent many happy hours pulling their Airstream behind their trusty Ford F250, exploring the wilds of Alaska and Northern Canada and mining for gold out of Chicken, Alaska. In their retirement they often returned to Sitka to visit family, including their daughter, Barbara Morse, and her family.

Lou was a classic member of the Greatest Generation. He was forever proud of his Polish heritage and his Marine Corps service, although he rarely discussed the particulars of his wartime experiences and it was typical that his family became aware of his DFC only when one of his sons was doing random on-line family research. Above all, he was fiercely devoted to his loving wife and family and to his Catholic faith.

Lou was predeceased by Evelyn in 2006 and by a son, Paul Soha, in 2019. He will forever be held in loving memory by his nine surviving children, 33 grandchildren and more than 30 great-grandchildren. A graveside funeral service was held at St. Joseph’s Catholic cemetery in Elma, Washington, that included a Marine color guard and a Piper Cub “flyover.” “Semper fi” Louis Soha!

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 9-29-20)

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 12:20 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 118

Total statewide – 7,721

Total (cumulative) deaths – 56

Active cases in Sitka – 19 (13 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 47 (37 resident; 10 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 288.

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. 

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20 YEARS AGO
September 2000

Gilnettings, By Gil Truitt: The Sitka All-Star Team (Team II) of 1939-1956 is revealed here for the first time.  Fermin “Rocky” Gutierrez, Hugh Pace, “Red” Belinski, Harold “Pretty Boy” Morris, George Kucherak, Dorm McGraw Sr., Herb Didrickson Sr., Gorman Shutt, Vic Adamson, Bill Robinson  and Johnny Vander. ... Other gifted players include Tony Herman, Bunny Donnelly, Hal Taylor, Archie Nielsen, Cecil McClain and Richard (Dick) Eliason.

50 YEARS AGO
September 1970

The Alaska Judicial council has selected Sitka as the site of a new branch of the state superior court. The Legislature had created a position for a third Superior Court judge in Southeast, but the city was not specified in the legislation.

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