VIGIL – More than 300 people share seven minutes of silence on Totem Square during a vigil for George Floyd, who died last week while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The large turnout for event made it difficult for participants to maintain the six-foot social distance that organizers had hoped for. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Mardelle Westover

    Longime Sitkan Mardelle Westover passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, May 27, after a short but courageous battle with cancer and heart disease. She was 82 years old.
    Viola Mardelle O’Connor was born to Joseph and Viola O’Connor in Bellingham, Wash., on July 13, 1929. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was adopted by her new father, Harry Smith. The family, including younger brother Tommy, who died in 1976, lived in California and then moved to Alaska where they settle first in Ketchikan and then in Sitka in 1945.
    As a high school student in Sitka, Mardelle excelled in basketball and softball. She met Stanley Westover while there and they were married shortly after her graduation. In the next four years they became the proud parents of three children, Carolyn, Cheryl and Rick (who preceded her in death.)
    The family business, Lakeside Grocery, which had been started by Mardelle’s mother, Vi, and Bud Lovell, and originally called The Hut, was bought by Stanley Westover and moved to a location on the ground floor under the Masonic Lodge in 1959. After Stanley drowned in a hunting accident in 1961, friends and relatives rallied around Mardelle, her mom, and her children to work the business. Lakeside was eventually moved to its current location on Halibut Point Road.
    Mardelle’s family and friends have said that she always brought out the best in those close to her. She leaves a legacy of precious memories of touching others’ lives with kindness, warmth and generosity.
    Over the last four months, from the time she was first diagnosed, Mardelle was called and visited by numerous friends and well-wishers. The family thanks all those who took their time and energy to make her last days as happy as possible.
    Mardelle is survived by her daughters, Carolyn Hammack and husband Ray, Cheryl Westover and partner Mary Ann Jones, grandson Michael Coleman and wife Tessie, great-grandchildren Michaela, Malissa, Kaycie, Trevan and Chance; brother-in-law Wayne Westover; sister-in-law Marlene Westover; nieces Deborah Diebert, Diane Graveline, Gayel Cheing and Sandy West; goddaughter Tori Hay; and many best friends, including Pauline Fredrickson and Kate Sulser.
    A memorial service will be held 10 a.m. Friday, June 8, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
    Their mom also wanted a party for all those who would like to attend, so, on Saturday, June 16, there will be a celebration of life for her from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Elks Lodge,  her family said.
    The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Brave Heart Volunteers or another care-giving organization in Sitka.
“Had Mom had time to give her parting words, they would have been,  ‘Help others when and where you can. Be kind to all living creatures. Well, dear hearts, I gotta scoot.’”



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 6-2-20)

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 10:20 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 20

Total statewide – 487

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 47, and the cumulative number of deaths is 10.

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 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.                                                                          

Login Form

Most recent Sentinels — PDF edition

May 27, 2020

May 28, 2020

May 29, 2020

June 1, 2020

June 2, 2020