OPEN AIR CONCERT – From left, musicians Ross Venneberg, Brian Neal, Wade Demmert and Roger Schmidt perform an outdoor brass concert for residents of the Pioneers Home Monday. The professional musicians, who are hunkered down in Sitka, are regulars at the annual Holiday Brass Concert. The Pioneers Home has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

March 23, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Thank You, Sitka

Dear Editor: These are indeed troubling and interesting times. There is much to be concerned about including flattening the curve. There is much to be thankful for as well. I am impressed with our Mayor and Assembly, Fire and Police departments, and city staff, KIFW and KCAW, and Dr. Bruhl at SEARHC keeping us apprised of the next steps. Thank you. Thank you, Sitka Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, for your work.

I am impressed with our local merchants – Sea Mart comes to mind for their generosity. Harry Race Pharmacy, Old Harbor Books, and all the shops making it possible for us to meet our needs. Thank you. I cannot think of a place I would want to be more self-isolated in than Sitka. Thank you to the neighbors who are practicing the safety measures needed. I hope that when this too shall pass, as a community, we can all give a big sigh of relief and get back to being with our families and friends, working our jobs, and being neighbors who can get closer than six feet. And, remember all those who made this time easier to bear, and give back to them.

Jeff Budd, Sitka


Gale Force

Dear Editor: A Beaufort Wind Scale #8 is known as Gale Force Winds. These winds range from 34 to 40 knots with breaking seas 18 to 25 feet high that generally “impede progress.” In nearly 30 years earning part of my living as a troller on the seas, myself and others found ourselves in these conditions. It is not fun; damage often occurs and one must man the helm at all times; adjusting speed and course constantly in order to avoid a potential life ending catastrophe. Rivalries, enemies, friends, all become unified to watch and help each other weather through it all. In time, the gale blows itself out, we assess our damage, lick our wounds, change into a fresh set of underwear and get back at it.

 Our community, state, country and world are presently experiencing a gale of epic proportions in the name of Covid-19 virus. Like the howling gale, it may calm down or get worse. Time and patience will tell. Much like the gale at sea, ignore it and it might do you in. To pay attention, be vigilant, watch out for yourself and others, historically charts out to be the best course of action with the most positive results. Yes, our progress is impeded. We have pulled in the gear and throttled back on our daily routines. Extra vigilance is needed as unlike the seas, we have no chart or map to follow or guide us as we feel our way forward. Like our maritime brethren during a gale; ditch the rivalries, help your friends and enemies. Cast overboard your bias of gender, race, religion, political and social affiliations for the good of us all. The present gale we are experiencing will pass in time. When that occurs, chances are we will look to each other and this world with a renewed sense of what it is like to help each other and to find solidarity in so many areas previously fraught with division. 


Eric Van Cise, Sitka

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-7-20)

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 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Sunday: 19

Total statewide – 1,184

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (3 resident; 5 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 78.

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 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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