CHECKING THE SLOPES – Ski companions Aaron Prussian, Emily Clark and Will Sirokman measure the snow depth and conditions on Mt. Verstovia Saturday. The friends have been tracking conditions this season, looking for weaknesses in the snowpack that could lead to avalanches. They saw signs of stable conditions, some hardpack and compacted layers, but no signs of weakness in that specific area. Dozens of skiers were on the mountain this weekend. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

‘Sonny’ Ulrich, 70, Dies; Was a Longtime Sitkan

Howard “Sonny” Gilbert Ulrich Jr.

Howard “Sonny” Gilbert Ulrich Jr. was born in Pelican, May 6, 1950.

From a young age he worked on the ocean with his father where he learned a love and respect for nature and the sea. On July 9, 1958, Sonny and his father survived the world’s tallest tsunami on record in Lituya Bay, Alaska. At the time of his death, he was the last survivor of the infamous event.

In 1967, the family moved from Pelican to Sitka to be near family and explore new opportunities. Sonny enlisted in the United States Navy in 1970, and served in the Vietnam War on the U.S.S. Saratoga. After his service, he returned to Sitka where he eventually started a family and made his home.  

Sonny was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed collecting rocks, reading, cooking, camping, whittling, and foraging. He honored his Tlingit heritage by hunting and harvesting traditional foods, knowledge that he passed on to his two daughters. The outdoor experiences he provided for his family have had a profound and lasting impact on his children – for which they are incredibly grateful for.

He was a kind, sweet and caring soul who had a talent for gift-giving and storytelling. On warm days he could be found on local beaches enjoying the sunset, music, and a fire. 

Sonny passed unexpectedly on January 4, 2021, at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage at the age of 70. He was a faithful friend with lifelong relationships, a helpful and loving sibling, and devoted son who assisted in caring for his elderly parents. He was a beloved father, who cherished his children. He will be sincerely missed, his family said. 

He is preceded in death by his two brothers, Robert Ulrich and Kurt Ulrich; his mother Agnes Ulrich; and father Howard Gilbert Ulrich Sr.

He is survived by his brother Bruce Ulrich, sister Edrie Ulrich, daughters Jennifer Ulrich and Rachel Ulrich, and many cousins. A celebration of his life will be held in Sitka at a later date, to be announced.

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 1-26-21)

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 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 86

Total statewide – 51,778

Total (cumulative) deaths – 258

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,170

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 1

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 309 (277 resident; 32 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 308

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.




January 2001

Rory Schneeberger of Sitka has been tapped to serve as state Rep. Peggy Wilson’s chief of staff, the District 2 representative announced today. Wilson, of Wrangell, was elected in November to represent Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan in the state House.

January 1971

Eleven Sheldon Jackson students will visit churches in the northern half of Southeast Alaska as part of a four-week interim study course called Contemporary Alaska Mission. Their instructor, Rev. William Zeiger, who is college chaplain, has arranged the course.