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)

March 20, 2020, Letters to the Editor

COVID-19 Response

Dear Editor: As a longtime Sitka resident, I continue to be amazed by the resiliency and determination of our close-knit community.

The preparation that is happening in advance of COVID-19 in our communities is strong. SEARHC continues to enact a comprehensive response plan. As SEARHC Chief Medical Officer, I maintain daily communication with the Alaska Department of Health and other state authorities, including the governor’s office and the state emergency operations center. We have established a unified command structure, in conjunction with the City and Borough of Sitka and EMS. This group meets regularly and has developed detailed plans for ramping up our community response to this crisis as it unfolds.

We have implemented up-to-date screening protocols consistent with State and CDC guidance at all entrance points into our facilities. We have implemented off-site testing and screening sites for the safety of patients and staff. The criteria for laboratory testing include fever, cough, and possible exposure to the virus, although these criteria are being broadened in some details as the pandemic progresses. We have supplies to test available in all of our communities and will continue to test all patients who meet the criteria. If you have any concern about yourself and you are ill, please contact us through our screening hot line for Sitka (907-966-8799) and we will be glad to assist you.

Routine optometry, dental care, patient travel, and elective surgeries are all temporarily suspended. Currently, primary care services remain available. The goal of these suspensions is to reduce the social contact and possible community spread of COVID-19. Our hospital and emergency room staff are trained and ready to care for all urgent and emergent medical problems 24 hours a day. We have been ramping up our plans, processes, and staff to respond to any surge in sick patients. Our nurse line is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day (1-800-613-0560).

We strongly encourage all people over the age of 60, and especially those with chronic illness, to not come into the clinic, and instead contact us by phone and we will arrange to meet your needs while you remain at home. We are committed to the health of our elders, and we are expanding access to this group via phone visits, FaceTime, telehealth, and home visits. Our goal is to provide a deeper level of care for this high-risk group during the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping them out of clinics to avoid any possible exposure.

The most important part of our response to this crisis is you. This is not a time for panic. It is a time to listen to and comply with our requests for your safety and health, as we face a real challenge. There has not been an equivalent health crisis in our country in living memory. Alaska and Sitka have the unique opportunity to minimize our own epidemic by greatly limiting our physical contact with others to prevent the spread of this virus. If you have traveled outside the state in the last 14 days, please physically isolate yourself from others and remain in your home for 14 days. If you become ill, do not go to work. If you are ill, stay home and isolate yourself from others and call our hotline: they will screen you for testing on the phone.

The healthcare system and city, and other partners, are doing everything they can to prepare for this pandemic. You are the most important part of the response. By being responsible and adopting safe behaviors such as hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and, most importantly, maintaining social distance (over 6 feet), we can avert disaster. I implore each and every one of you to practice these essential prevention strategies every day.

More information on prevention and treatment of COVID-19 can be found at covid19.searhc.org. During regular business hours, questions can be answered at our COVID-19 “Hot Line” for SEARHC communities and patients: 907-988-8799.

Dr. Elliot Bruhl, M.D., Sitka

 

Hoops Tourney

Dear Editor: Last weekend, March 12-15, Baranof Ballers “Sitka Shooter” fifth- and sixth-grade boys basketball team traveled to compete in the 2020 March Mania Tournament in Wasilla and the TruGame Academy’s Spring Break Hoops Classic tournament in Anchorage. 

We’d like to thank everyone who helped make this great trip possible for us. A big thank you to Baranof Ballers and Carmill Goldsberry for entering the team in the tournaments and providing these opportunities for the kids. Thank you to Carmill and Karen Case for organizing the team and for scorekeeping and Kristen Case for live-streaming the games for friends and family at home. Thank you also to these three ladies for taking good care of the boys off the court.

Thank you to the parents for supporting this team, it was a great basketball trip and we all appreciate the opportunity very much. Thank you to the businesses, relatives and friends who sponsored us and made it possible for these boys to compete in a different place at another level of play. 

The boys played 12 games going 9-3. In the March Mania Tournament, the team took second place in their age division and in the Spring Break Hoops Classic Tourney they claimed the championship! I am so proud of each one of the players on this team; they played hard, learned a lot and had fun!

With thanks and appreciation,

Coach Rich McAlpin

Baranof Ballers

 

 

Coronavirus

Dear Editor: Some of you may have seen the ad my family worked on and ran in the paper last week. All the information is very relevant to our current situation. I urge you to please take those precautions serious. If not we will see exponential growth of this virus very soon in Sitka.

The risk you are putting yourself in of contracting the virus will not only impact you, but you can then in turn pass it on to more susceptible members of our community. Some prevention now and loss of some of our freedoms, that we hold so dear, is temporary but if you get a serious case or pass along the case to someone you know or love then you are putting your life and theirs in danger, and as I know all too well the loss of life is permanent.

True, not all will die from this virus, but others may develop lifelong complications that could significantly decrease their quality of life. I know it is spring break and kids are antsy, but is it worth someone’s life in this community to let your child play out with their friends? We have had to make the hard choice and told our kids they cannot play while all their peers are running around town. We have been home except for the grocery store and outside or car rides with the family and when out we are very cautious of our distance to others. No one in my household is experiencing any symptoms, but you don’t have to have symptoms to spread this virus.

An Italian mother has put out her warning’s online; DO keep your children at home, DON’T pay attention to what other parents are doing, DO let go of screen-time concerns, DO shop responsibly, DO make arrangements for your family (immediate that you live with) to be at home together, DON’T obsessively read COVID-19 updates.

Currently it feels like very few of us are taking this advice seriously, and a lot of other families are letting their children run free. If this behavior continues, we WILL be like Italy. Please take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your children. Your inaction is currently putting all our lives at risk. We all need to work together if we want to get through this with as little devastation as possible. Talk to any family or friends south and ask how life is? If we don’t do this now, that will be our life too.

Coral Crenna, Sitka

 

 

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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. 

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20 YEARS AGO
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.

50 YEARS AGO
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.

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