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)

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!

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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.

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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

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

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 sitkasentinel.com. 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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