PASSING THROUGH – Orca whales swim near the Indian River estuary Thursday night. A pod of more than a half-dozen adult and juvenile orcas spent the late afternoon in Sitka Sound near shore as people along Sawmill Creek Road photographed and video recorded them. NOAA Fisheries recommends staying at least 100 yards away while viewing whales from boats. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Mable Didrickson

Services are pending for longtime Sitka resident Mable Didrickson, who passed away peacefully on Jan. 3 in Anchorage at the age of 100.
Mable was born to Anne (Johnson) Jones and Phillip Jones May 27, 1911, in Sitka. She married John Didrickson and raised their six children here.  Mable’s Tlingit name was Heex’e and she was of the Deisheetaan clan.
Mable worked for many years at the Sitka Pioneers Home before retiring and spending more time with her grandchildren. She was a life member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, Camp 4 of Sitka.
Mable most enjoyed her time with her family. She also loved to gather, prepare and eat all the traditional Tlingit foods. One of her favorite pastimes was playing bingo, but many in the family felt it was more the chance to see her friends and visit. She moved to Anchorage in 1997.
Mable was proceeded in death by her husband John Didrickson, son John Didrickson Jr., daughter Janet (Robin) Staffenhagen, grandson Larry Mark Judy,  and grandson Skyler Eugene Staffenhagen.
She is survived by her daughters, Joni Lewis and her husband Fred of Anchorage, Chris Judy and her husband Larry of Big Lake, and Jewel Didrickson of Anchorage; and son Clyde Didrickson of Juneau.
She is also survived by grandchildren Larry Garrity of Washougal, Wash., Dawn Brady of Enumclaw, Wash., Heather Zaputil of Tacoma, Wash., Vince Judy of Sitka,  Jon Didrickson of Juneau, Charlie Ann Staffenhagen of Kathleen, Ga., Jana Zaputil of Puyallup, Wash., Roman Judy of Sitka, Chasady Didrickson of Sitka, and Dustin Zaputil of Enumclaw. She is also survived by many great-grandchildren.
Mable lived a long and incredible life filled with family and friends.  She was a very strong lady growing up at a time where there were no modern conveniences in a home of 13 brothers and sisters. Up until she moved into the elderly housing, she would cut her own firewood and pack oil up her steps to pour into a day tank to heat the house that she and her husband built for their family.  She refused to let anyone help her, because she said that is what keeps you young.
She enjoyed her walks, preferring to walk then to take a ride. She would walk regularly through Totem Park to visit her grandkids while enjoying the scenery.
“We were all blessed to have her in our life for so many years,” her family said.  “She was a beloved granddaughter, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Although she lived a long life, she will be remembered with love and fondness for her ready smile and wisdom and will be missed every day.”
The family expressed appreciation  to the staff of the Pioneers Homes of Sitka and Anchorage for their care of Mable during the latter part of her life.
“We thank you for making these final years as comfortable as possible while treating her with kindness and respect,” they said.
The family suggests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 4.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-31-20)

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 12:50 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 108

Total statewide – 2,990

Total (cumulative) deaths – 23

Active cases in Sitka – 15 (10 resident; 5 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 133.

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. 



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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July 2000

Clinton Buckmaster shot and wounded a large brown bear Tuesday night when it charged him near his Thimbleberry Bay home in the 2100 block of Sawmill Creek Road. As of press time, the bear was still at large.

July 1970

The city council agreed at a special meeting Thursday to consider the request of Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1 for redevelopment planning funds for the Indian Village. Cost has been estimated at $12,000.