OPEN AIR CONCERT – From left, musicians Ross Venneberg, Brian Neal, Wade Demmert and Roger Schmidt perform an outdoor brass concert for residents of the Pioneers Home Monday. The professional musicians, who are hunkered down in Sitka, are regulars at the annual Holiday Brass Concert. The Pioneers Home has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Victor Schmidt

   Graveside memorial ceremonies for Victor Arlow Schmidt will be held 2 p.m. .Friday, April 3, 2012, at Sitka National Cemetery.
   Mr. Schmidt died April 9 at SEARHC-Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital after struggling three decades with coronary artery disease. He was 77.
   Victor was born Jan. 29, 1935, in Sisseton, S.D., the son of Victor Benjamin and Agnes Eleanor (Iverson) Schmidt. He attended Sisseton High School and South Dakota State University (then, South Dakota State College) in Brookings. In 1956, during a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy, he married the love of his life, D. Faye Kampen of Watertown, S.D.
   In 1967, after three years teaching school in South Dakota, he, his wife and four young children, came to Sitka in a pickup camper hauling, besides travelers, a few pieces of furniture, appliances and other clothing and household goods, to take a job at the Alaska Pulp Co. mill, which was then less than 10 years old.
Following approximately 10 months at the mill’s powerhouse Victor applied for a vacancy in the biology and sciences department at Mt. Edgecumbe High School, where he worked until developing heart disease in 1982. His billet, which was by then the school’s administrative officer and budget director, was the last to close down, in 1984, after the Bureau of Indian Affairs terminated funding for the school in 1983.
   Victor was an accomplished writer with two volumes of published poetry along with a collection of unpublished work left in his files, including works of fiction. But his love was poetry, and he reveled in rhyme and the old poetic forms. He did not consider himself a trailblazer in the written word but saw the poetry in nature, human affairs and loves of living, as well as in his faith in the creator.
   He often read at public readings where he competed for place, and cocked his ear to the sounds which today might be called post-modern poetry in the fancy of the savant.
   Prior to his struggles with heart disease Mr. Schmidt was treasurer of the Sitka Lions Club and, briefly, the Sitka Community Hospital Auxiliary, and donated time at the Sheldon Jackson College Museum gift shop. He also hired on as teller at a local bank and credit union for a brief time before more surgery became necessary.
   He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Faye, at home; children Vicki Marrs of Juneau, Leslie and Robert Reno of Irvine, Calif., Damon of Woodland, Calif., and Daron of Sitka; one brother, Aubrey, of Tucson, Ariz., and two sisters, Teresa Brooks of Kent, Wash., and Tamra Long of Asheboro, N.C.
    Five grandchildren survive: grandson Jayson Marrs, and granddaughters, Jamie and Nathaniel Pettis, Amanda Hammack and Ashley and Renee Reno; and great-grandchildren: Oliver, Derek, Bentley and Delilah. Numerous cousins, nieces and nephews also survive.
    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Swan Lake Senior Center, Brave Heart Volunteers or the city’s Emergency Medical Team at the Sitka Fire Hall.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-7-20)

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 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Sunday: 19

Total statewide – 1,184

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (3 resident; 5 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 78.

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.                                                                          

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