HISTORIC MOVE – Harry Greene, maintenance and operations superintendent at the Sitka Public Works Department, uses a backhoe to lift the Baranof statue onto a wooden dolly with the help of co-worker Mike Callahan, this morning in front of Harrigan Centennial Hall. The bronze statue, estimated to weigh between 400 and 600 pounds, was relocated to inside the Sitka History Museum today. The city Assembly passed a resolution, on a 6-1 vote, in July to move the statue from its prominent  outdoor location to inside the museum.  At the July meeting several members of the public said the statue was a symbol of “historical trauma.”  The statue, created by artist Joan Bugbee Jackson, was given to the city in 1989 by Lloyd and Barbara Hames. Hames family members said earlier this year they supported moving the statue into the museum. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Florence Ruth Schutte

Services for Florence Ruth Schutte, a longtime Sitka resident, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Sitka Lutheran Church. Pastor Sandra Rudd will officiate.
A reception will follow at the Elks Lodge, hosted by Sitka Emblem Club.
Florence died Jan. 24 at the Sitka Pioneers Home. She was 86.
She was born March 27, 1926, to Edward and Florella (Curtis) Nelson in Monticello, Minn.  She was third of nine Nelson children.
Florence was raised during the Depression but that did not stop her family from being close and doing activities as a family.  Playing cards, board games, and visiting numerous aunts, uncles and cousins were highlights of a Depression-era country life.
    The family moved to Vancouver, Wash., in 1944 where she met a sailor, Wayne Phillips, a fisherman from Sitka.  They married and moved to Sitka in 1946, where Florence began her love affair with all things Sitka.  They fished on two boats, the Bonnie and the Florence. She loved commercial fishing and said, as hard as it was, it was easier than farming.
Florence missed her family and encouraged them to relocate to Sitka – and all but an older brother, Maurice, eventually did move here.
After her divorce from Wayne she met and married Marvin Schutte, who was doing construction at  the Alaska Pulp Mill.  Since his job in construction required a lot of moving, Florence had a “pre-nup” with Marvin promising her they would return to Sitka as soon as possible.  Marvin kept that promise and they did return in 1972.
Florence worked as a secretary at Alice Island Elementary School, where she was beloved by the teachers and pupils for her warmth and humor.
She retired in 1988, when Marvin became ill. He died in 1989.
Florence and widower Russell Betterton found each other and began a companionship that spanned more than 20 years, and they entered the Pioneers Home together in 2009.
Florence was active in many community groups: Pioneers of Alaska, Sons of Norway, Pioneers Home Auxiliary, a lifetime member of Emblem Club, Women of the Moose, Unitarian Fellowship and the Woman’s Club, to name a few.
She volunteered tirelessly over many years at the Senior Center and the Pioneers Home, where her caring and sense of fun were appreciated. She had some great stories told to her by the early pioneer residents.
She was the recipient of many awards for her volunteer work including Citizen of the Year from the Elks Lodge and the First Lady’s Volunteer Award for service to her community and Alaska from Susan Knowles, in 1997.
    Florence always carried a photo of Cross Mountain and she would corral tourists to tell them about Sitka and especially Cross Mountain.
    No story about Florence would be complete without mentioning her famous cinnamon rolls.  She would rise at 4 a.m. to start the rolls, and would share them everywhere.  Oh, how everyone loved those rolls!
Florence did pass on the recipe and the process to her niece Debby.  She watched Debby make them until satisfied that all was as it should be.
If you weren’t getting a cinnamon roll when you met Florence, chances are you would get a joke.  Florence loved humor and her repertoire of jokes was vast. Florence’s sense of humor got her, and many others, through some tough times.
Florence was preceded in death by her parents and six siblings:  Maurice, Agnes, Leonard, Louise Bagley, Allan, and Eleanor Bergwall.
Her brother Richard (Faye) Nelson of Sitka, sister Mary Allred of Vancouver, Wash., and loving companion and best friend Russell Betterton survive her.
Also mourning her loss are 20 nieces and nephews and their families.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Brave Heart Volunteers, PO Box 6336, Sitka.

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 9-29-20)

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 12:20 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 118

Total statewide – 7,721

Total (cumulative) deaths – 56

Active cases in Sitka – 19 (13 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 47 (37 resident; 10 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 288.

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. 




September 2000

Gilnettings, By Gil Truitt: The Sitka All-Star Team (Team II) of 1939-1956 is revealed here for the first time.  Fermin “Rocky” Gutierrez, Hugh Pace, “Red” Belinski, Harold “Pretty Boy” Morris, George Kucherak, Dorm McGraw Sr., Herb Didrickson Sr., Gorman Shutt, Vic Adamson, Bill Robinson  and Johnny Vander. ... Other gifted players include Tony Herman, Bunny Donnelly, Hal Taylor, Archie Nielsen, Cecil McClain and Richard (Dick) Eliason.

September 1970

The Alaska Judicial council has selected Sitka as the site of a new branch of the state superior court. The Legislature had created a position for a third Superior Court judge in Southeast, but the city was not specified in the legislation.