GREEN LIGHT – Karen Lucas works in her Katlian Street garden this afternoon. Warm sunny weather this spring has been a boon for local gardeners. The Farmers' Almanac is predicting this summer will be warmer than normal, with the hottest period in early July. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Carmen Benson

Former Sitka resident Carmen Maria Benson, 82, died of natural causes June 29. She was residing in an assisted living home in Tampa, Fla.
    Services were July 3 at MacDonald Funeral Home in Tampa, with interment following at Rest Haven Memorial Park.
    Carmen was born Dec. 6, 1930, in Cantaura, Venezuela.  She met and married Ralph Benson there while he was working in the oil fields. They moved to the U.S. in 1959 so their children could be raised “American.” They relocated to Sitka in 1970 when he  began working at Alaska Lumber & Pulp Co.
    In Sitka, Carmen was very active in her home church, Sitka Assembly of God, and served as a missionary at large to Venezuela. She, along with her many Christian brothers and sisters, actively raised support for Venezuelan ministries through rummage sales and other fundraisers.
    She traveled  back and forth to her home country, where she also worked in jail  ministry, and helped found a thriving church in a poverty-stricken area of her hometown, El Tigre.
    Carmen was a sociable and outgoing person, who was always ready to share her faith with anyone.
    Her husband and a son, Hector Benson, preceded her in death.
    She is survived by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They are Hector’s daughter Angela Benson Slaton and her husband Jason and their children Gabriel, Garrett and Gigi Slaton of Battle Ground, Wash.; daughter Vilma Perales and her husband Fredy Nunez and their daughter Carolina Rojas-Rizales and husband Moises of Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela; daughter Julie Hames and her husband Randal, their daughters Randi Hames, and Rosanne McGough, her husband Brad and sons Braydon and Briston of Anchorage and Palmer;  son Jose Benson, his wife Betzaida and their children Brent and Brenda Benson of Tampa, Fla.; son Ivan Benson and his wife Nilda and their daughter Ivana Benson of Valrico, Fla.; son Roy Benson of Bellingham, Wash.; and adopted daughter Iris Uchytil, her husband Rod, and their children, daughters Carine and Shandra and son Tony, of Houston Texas.
    Memorial gifts on behalf of Carmen can be made to the Sitka Assembly of God - Mission Fund, 214 Kimsham St., Sitka.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 5-28-20)

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 10:55 a.m. Thursday.

New cases as of Wednesday: 13

Total statewide – 425

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 46, 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.                                                                          

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