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)

‘Buddy’ Howard Dies; Former Sitkan was 78

William Eli “Buddy” Howard

With his family at his side, William Eli “Buddy” Howard, journeyed to the other shore on June 4, 2020, in Anchorage. He was 78. He was comforted in life by his wife, Sandy Howard, and their children: Tommy Harrison, Lonnie Harrison, Danny Harrison, Julene Howard, John Howard, Nathan Howard, Gregory Wright, Keith Nelson, Jeffrey Devlin, Joshua Wright, and Patrick Howard. He was extremely committed to family being together.

Buddy was born March 10, 1942, and raised in Sitka; he was a Sitka High School alumnus. He served in the U.S. Army, returned to Southeast Alaska where he worked, raised his family, and honored his Tlingit culture.

His Tlingit name was Shaayi Éesh, of the L’uxnaxh.adi (Coho) clan from Kayaash Ka Hit. He is the child and grandchild of the Chookaneidi clan. He was a Hit S’aati (Clan House Caretaker) of the Mother Coho House in Sitka, and he provided clan leadership in Hoonah. He lived a subsistence lifestyle in Sitka and Hoonah.

Buddy’s jobs in Sitka included as a Teamster truck driver on the airport construction job; firefighter who battled the Sitka Cold Storage fire;  Anchor Taxi driver; and bartender at the American Legion, Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, and Ernie’s Old Time Saloon. 

He worked for the Alaska Marine Highway System and skippered the M/V Dolphin and the M/V Marmot,  buying fish for Wards Cove Packing Co. out of Excursion Inlet.

In Hoonah, where Buddy lived with his wife and family, he was an Icy Strait Point bus driver since Huna Totem Corporation’s tourist destination’s beginning days. He also delivered meals to elders and those in need for Catholic Community Services of Juneau.

While he was working a Sitka job, it was reported in the Nov. 27, 1961, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: “A young couple and their four-year-old son undoubtedly owe their lives to the quick action of Daniel Cole, construction and maintenance superintendent at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. At 4:25 p.m. yesterday Cole with a fellow island employee, Buddy Howard, was working on a barge about 100 yards from the shore at Mt. Edgecumbe. Howard noted a boat in distress off the corner of the old pier at the island. Cole jumped into a skiff and as he rowed to the spot noted a man bobbing up and down in the cold waters of the channel. When he reached the area, however, the man was two feet under water and he used a fish net to drag him into the skiff. Then Cole started ashore, but the rescued man revived and cried out his wife and son were trapped in the cabin of the overturned 16-foot boat… Rescued were Mr. and Mrs. Richard Gillian of Sitka and their son, James.”

In his hometown of Sitka, Buddy was a member of the American Legion, Elks Lodge, and Moose Lodge.  He was a beloved St. Michael’s Cathedral Russian Orthodox Church member and an alter boy together with his cousin/brother, Leo Houston, Jr.

He was a shareholder of Sealaska Corp., Huna Totem Corp., and Shee Atiká Inc., having worked—and played Santa Claus—for Shee Atiká. He was enrolled at the Central Council of Tlingit-Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

Buddy was preceded in death by his parents: Eli and Margaret Howard, and Ed and Sarah James; daughter Ann Marie Howard; brothers John Smith Jr. and Robert Smith; cousin/brother Leo Houston, Jr. (born June 4); and many extended family members.

With his wife and children, Buddy leaves siblings Jimmy Howard of Arizona; Ann (Don) Armstrong, Soldotna; Mary I. Miller of Sitka; Walter Smith, Juneau; Norman Smith, Hoonah; and Carolyn Wichman, Kenai.

He also leaves his uncle and clan leader Herman Davis Sr., numerous grandchildren and  great-grandchildren, a large extended and loving family, and many friends who will always remember his strength and conviction, kind and loving character, brilliant smile, and caring nature. 

His family plans to release details of cultural services, church services and other plans later.  The family appreciates all prayers, thoughts, and support. Gunalcheesh.



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.                                                                          

Login Form

Most recent Sentinels — PDF edition

June 26, 2020

June 29, 2020

June 30, 2020

July 1, 2020

July 2, 2020