SUPPLY CHAIN WOES – James Pelletier, Yellow Jersey bicycle mechanic, is surrounded by cycles waiting to be repaired as he points to empty display racks at the Harbor Drive store. The main showroom rack, which can hold two dozen new bicycles, now holds only three bicycles (including an unclaimed special-order $5,000 electric mountain bike) for sale. A nationwide supply chain disruption of bicycles and parts is not expected to be alleviated any time soon. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

April 27, 2020, Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor: There is a city mandated 14-day quarantine in place that applies to all who come into our community from various parts of the country … and those who live here. What I am also very aware of is that enforcing this measure is and will be almost impossible based on our observations over the past few days, and the conflicting mandates from the governor’s office. Unfortunately in this issue, it is human nature, my freedoms, etc.

To date, we have seen new folks show up in the industrial park … in the SBS trailers. And what we observed appears NOT to be social distancing but social mingling. How is this going to be enforced going forward?

Also last week we observed approximately 15-20 or so children playing basketball at the Blatchley Middle School courts.

Friday we were at Sea Mart and two/thirds of the shoppers in the store did not wear any face coverage or masks.

Now that one COVID-19 case has been identified in Sitka, how do we attempt to prevent the further spread of this virus from taking hold and spreading throughout our community, and how can we impress upon folks that do not adhere to the basic agreed-upon protocols that adhering to these guide lines may very well prevent a more serious infectious spread of this virus????? At this point, further prevention is the key,  containment and mitigation after the fact.

If a serious viral outbreak does occur here and is not contained, who then becomes responsible for the medical and societal cost?

Knowingly introducing the possibility of the virus into our community from an outside source without adherence to our city mandates and to the not-yet-released governor’s mitigation plans for and from businesses, how does one even begin to think about community prevention? I believe this negligence in the first order. Who is held accountable, who pays the cost if the source pointed? At this moment in time there is one known case of the virus in Sitka; if there is a serious viral outbreak, after the fact, how did it get here, and where did the vectors come from?

It is my belief that a serious outbreak in Sitka, if one should occur, will be directly traceable to an influx of workers who have not adhered to the behavioral mandate to be enforced by there employers. And if that is the case, their employer and state government, in my estimation, should be held accountable for at least the burden of medical cost.

At present we have been fortunate … one positive case … isolated and traceable. However, it appears to me that there is a lackadaisical attitude here in Sitka concerning this virus. Maybe not so much now,  after the first positive case. With this infection it is the beginning of the fight, the early battles where the war is won, it is in the individual battles. The battle may be over, but the war goes on. It is my belief that if we are careful here in Sitka, adhere to basic social distancing principles and quarantine protocols, there is a chance we will not have to go to war.

Ritch Phillips, Sitka


John Snow

Dear Editor: In 1854 a cholera epidemic was raging through the SoHo district of London, the third such outbreak in 20 years. It killed 52,000 that year at a time when the population of London was just a bit over two million.

The germ theory of disease, promoted by Lister, Pasteur and Koch, had not yet been devised. At the time, cholera was thought to arise from a miasma, or “bad air,” putrid smells which were unfortunately all too common in London. Human waste piled up in courtyards and overflowed from basement cess pits into the streets and waterways.

The treatments for cholera at the time were equally as uninformed. As Norman Howard-Jones put it, the cures were “benevolent homicide.”

Emetics, purgatives and electric shocks were standard. If the patient survived these, boiling water blisters, attachment of leeches and tobacco smoke enemas were next on the agenda. Rubbing the entire body with a paste of mustard, oil of turpentine and cayenne pepper was also utilized.

John Snow was a local physician, now known as the father of epidemiology. He was suspicious that the cholera epidemic had a water-borne cause. He made a geographic grid, tracking the location of all the deaths in his neighborhood. His scientific approach revealed that the Broad Street pump, used locally to draw drinking water, was at the center of all the deaths. He persuaded the reluctant city fathers to remove the pump handle, thereby slowing the epidemic and sowing the seeds of the modern discipline of epidemiology.

Science triumphing over ignorance and ineptitude.

Tom Jacobsen, DDS


Crisis Line

Dear Editor: Sitkans Against Family Violence has established a dedicated and confidential crisis text line to offer support to those who might not be able to call on the phone. Advocates are available to respond to texts 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week at (907) 623-7820.

SAFV has also added a comprehensive COVID-19 resource page to their website at In addition to virus information and statistics, the page includes resources on impacts on violence and racism, mental health and self-care, parents and families, victims and survivors, and local resources. 

Anyone who wants to speak to an advocate is welcome to call 747-3370 anytime. You are not alone; we are in this together.

Natalie Wojcik,

Sitkans Against Family Violence



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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 9-21-20)

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 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 46

Total statewide – 6,950

Total (cumulative) deaths – 45

Active cases in Sitka – 17 (7 resident; 10 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 41 (37 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 266.

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. 




September 2000

Enrollment is down by more than 100 students from last year, a decline four times greater than anticipated in the budget, Sitka School District Superintendent John Holst said today. The budget was based on an enrollment down by only 25 students.

September 1970

The borough assembly approved unanimously an ordinance authorizing expenditure of $12,000 for a redevelopment plan for the Sitka Indian Village. ... Judy Christianson, a member of the Sitka Community Action Group board of directors, has suggested that the planning be handled by a private social service organization called Habitats West.