STAYING CLOSE – Jeanette Warner, right, and her daughter Elizabeth visit with their good friend Eunavae Ballou Tuesday at the Pioneers Home. Staff members of the state-run assisted living facility have provided chairs outside for visitors to sit on while speaking over cell phones to residents inside the building in order to facilitate visits while lessening the possibility of spreading COVID-19, (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.

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 11-27-20)

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 12:15 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 724

Total statewide – 29,554

Total (cumulative) deaths – 118

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 678

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 39

Hospitalizations in Sitka – 3

Cumulative Sitka cases – 188 (167 resident; 21 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 149 cumulative

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.




November 2000

Photo caption: Robin Bergey and her baby, Kate, and Holly Samuelson join much of Sitka and the rest of America this morning in shopping for day-after-Thanksgiving Day sales. Holiday decorations are up around town, and shopping bargains are being offered.

November 1970

Telephone communications in Southeast Alaska were considerably advanced this month by the inauguration of a new microwave system between Juneau (Lena Point) and Sitka.Completed July 17, 1970, by RCA Alaska Communications, the system will become a major segment of the long lines of telecommunications operations in Alaska.