PASSING THROUGH – Orca whales swim near the Indian River estuary Thursday night. A pod of more than a half-dozen adult and juvenile orcas spent the late afternoon in Sitka Sound near shore as people along Sawmill Creek Road photographed and video recorded them. NOAA Fisheries recommends staying at least 100 yards away while viewing whales from boats. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

March 27, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Wonderful Sitka

Dear Editor: How I love Sitka! Whatta town!! Today, 56 years after the Great Alaskan Earthquake of 1964, I just have to share my profound gratitude for the special qualities of this small coastal community in Southeast Alaska. In 1964 I was in Anchorage, living on Wintergreen Street in Airport Heights, pregnant with my first child. Memories.

March 24, 1989, the largest oil spill in North America, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and I was again engaged in disaster research. Memories.

And now, The Pandemic of 2020: A creeping, world-wide disaster of huge human ramifications. And I am a creature obsessed with what is called The Disaster Syndrome. The warnings, rumors, blaming, scapegoating, denial, communication problems, rallying of support, altruism, followed by anger as the long range ramifications register. The gross inequities that somehow are highlighted, painfully. The assumptions money will melt away the agony, that new laws and regulations will emerge, ultimately, belatedly. That our capacity to survive will be challenged, but win. Lessons learned.

Ahha! That is one key lesson I learned: resilience, creative energy released, focussed, and new leadership, ideas, music, poetry. What really matters, our shared values, will be sharpened and validated.

And we will chuckle at some of the funny things that happened. I’ve got some doozers from the past. More recently: after a nap yesterday, I looked and looked for my comfy, worn-out slippers. Not on the floor by the bed, not in the closet, not in the bathroom. Finally, a random glance down - and there they were: on my feet!! Keep track of the crazy things, share them, and laugh.

Today I am especially grateful to our local media. At this point of the disaster syndrome accurate information is, and will remain, critical to our shared recovery, and our community sharpened awareness of who and what we are. Time for a refreshing walk.

Thank you. Gunalcheesh. Salamat.


Nancy Yaw Davis, Sitka

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-31-20)

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 12:50 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 108

Total statewide – 2,990

Total (cumulative) deaths – 23

Active cases in Sitka – 15 (10 resident; 5 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 133.

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. 



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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July 2000

Clinton Buckmaster shot and wounded a large brown bear Tuesday night when it charged him near his Thimbleberry Bay home in the 2100 block of Sawmill Creek Road. As of press time, the bear was still at large.

July 1970

The city council agreed at a special meeting Thursday to consider the request of Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1 for redevelopment planning funds for the Indian Village. Cost has been estimated at $12,000.