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)

May 1, 2020, Letters to the Editor

 Fishery Injunction

Dear Editor: SalmonState, Alaska Trollers Association and Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association are joined by sport and charter fishermen to condemn the Wild Fish Conservancy’s recent misguided decision to attack Alaskan fishing families, rather than the underlying cause of the Southern Resident orca population’s decline: the decades of destruction of the Pacific Northwest’s freshwater habitat vital to Chinook salmon, an important food source for Southern resident orcas.

On April 17, Washington-based Wild Fish Conservancy filed an injunction in federal court to prevent Chinook salmon trolling in Southeast Alaska effective July 1, 2020. The injunction comes just a month after the Wild Fish Conservancy’s lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for authorizing the Southeast Alaska Chinook troll fishery. In response, Alaska fishermen and conservationists spoke out in opposition to the Wild Fish Conservancy’s injunction, expressing their disappointment that the organization chose to divide stakeholders rather than bring them together.

“It is both disheartening and surprising that this Washington group has overlooked the dams, habitat degradation, and toxic pollution in their own backyard and instead has focused their attack on a sustainable hook and line salmon fishery over a thousand miles away,’’ said Thatcher Brouwer, Commercial fisherman and Alaska Trollers Association Board member. ‘‘This frivolous lawsuit not only endangers our region’s economy and small-boat fisheries, but also the future survival of Northwest Chinook and orca populations. As a commercial fisherman I have been proud to work with conservation groups in Alaska to protect salmon habitat. If fishermen are driven out of business, who will be left to effectively advocate for protection of wild salmon and the habitat they depend on? Now is a time when we should be coming together and combining efforts to tackle these complex issues while we still have a chance.”

“Alaska’s small scale fishermen are committed to sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems. Our members are fishing families who are passing along a tradition of stewardship to kids and grandkids. In fact, our organization has been honored for its conservation work both in Alaska and nationally by the Obama Administration. This lawsuit facilitates the demise of wild salmon and orcas by ignoring the devastating impacts of dams, pollution, and habitat loss. And the timing could not be worse; right now family fishermen are struggling to provide healthy seafood to a country confronted with a pandemic. This lawsuit is misguided at best,” said Linda Behnken, commercial fisherman and Executive Director of Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.

“Alaska is famous throughout the world for its successful, science-based fisheries management – that is why we have healthy fisheries. I currently hold the Resident Sportfishing seat on the Sitka Fish and Game Advisory Committee and have lived and fished in Sitka for 23 years. I can say with certainty that each member of our Advisory Committee, whether representing sport, commercial, subsistence or conservation interests always puts preservation of the resource first prior to engaging in any allocation battles. I feel this lawsuit is a misguided diversion from the real issues: pollution, dams, and habitat loss in Washington state,” said Steve Ramp, Sitka resident and sport fisherman.

“We see orcas regularly here in Southeast Alaska – our guests love spotting them, and I do too. We still have healthy whale populations in Alaska because we have healthy, intact salmon habitat from the headwaters out to the marine waters. That’s not the case in the Pacific Northwest where the freshwater environment has been largely spoiled by urban impacts and dams, which have limited access to historically productive salmon river systems. Over a million people visit Southeast Alaska every summer for a reason: they want to see and experience what an intact ecosystem looks like. Sadly, this is a rarity in the world today,” said Mike Reif, owner and operator of Sea Roamer Charters.

“I have been working on Alaska conservation issues for over 25 years and this lawsuit is possibly the most misguided effort I’ve seen in my career. This suit is a cynical attempt to target commercial and sport salmon fishermen in Southeast Alaska while ignoring the root cause behind the massive decline of salmon in the Pacific Northwest and the plight of Southern Resident orcas: catastrophic habitat destruction in Washington and Southern British Columbia. If we put every boat on the beach we would do little to help these incredible mammals. The answer to saving them lies a lot closer to Puget Sound than Southeast Alaska,” said Tim Bristol, executive director of SalmonState. 

Amy Daugherty, Executive Director,

Alaska Trollers Association;

Linda Behnken, Commercial fisherman, Executive Director of Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association;

Tim Bristol, Executive Director,

 

SalmonState

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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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