NEW ROUND – Sitka Fire Chief Craig Warren chats with Patrick and Catharine Weaver this afternoon at the fire hall during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The Weavers were waiting fifteen minutes after receiving the Moderna version of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 100 Sitkans were scheduled to receive their first dose today. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for full efficacy. Sitkans can sign up to receive vaccinations at covid19.searhc.org. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

May 11, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Maintain Quarantine

Dear Editor: Sunday I sent this message to all City and Borough Assembly members. Please let your voices be heard.

Please, please maintain 14-day quarantine for all travelers arriving from out of state and any Alaskan cities with active community transmission. We’re not lucky to have avoided an outbreak in Sitka: we are benefiting from the actions you’ve taken. Don’t screw it up.

Pete Roddy, Sitka

 

Rate Hikes

Dear Editor: During emergencies, while preoccupied with survival, citizens still need to keep an eye on government. Are Sitkans aware, for instance, of the major rate increases recently approved? I don’t intend to disparage our Assembly, they’re doing the best they can in these difficult times, but the public has been absent at these virtual meetings. Without citizen involvement something can easily go wrong in our representative government.

At the last meeting the Assembly approved a 2% increase in electric rates, a 2% increase in water rates, a 2% increase in wastewater rates, and a 5.5% increase in solid waste rates. They also considered a 5.5% increase in moorage rates but held off final approval till Tuesday’s meeting. Although most Assembly members agreed that a 5% annual increase in moorage is unsustainable their stated intention was to approve it.  

The City of Sitka is currently engaged in the expensive and questionable replacement of Crescent Harbor. The moorage rate increases are intended to fund the also questionable Sitka Harbor Master Plan. The Master Plan is based on a 30-year replacement schedule of infrastructure. Thirty years isn’t the actual life span of a well-built harbor. It is the life span of a harbor’s amortization (write off) schedule, however.

In the case of Crescent Harbor much of the infrastructure being replaced isn’t even close to 30 years old. Quoting from a copy of the Sitka Harbor System Master Plan on Crescent Harbor; “A repair project occurred in 2002 which replaced approximately 50% of the finger floats in stalls on floats 1, 2, and 3. The electrical system was renovated in 2005.” Because of COVID 19 the library was closed and I wasn’t able to do more research on previous Crescent Harbor infrastructure replacement but many of the discarded pilings were also in excellent shape.

The City raised moorage rates at that time to pay for these renovations. Now we’ve ripped out those 17-year-old floats and the 14-year-old electric system and who knows how much other recently replaced infrastructure. With the fishing industry, one of Sitka’s economic pillars, already in a depression, the Sitka Harbor Master Plan and it’s perpetual annual moorage rate increases not only seems ill advised but economic suicide.

The Assembly is addressing moorage rate increases at Tuesday’s meeting. You can sign up to make a Public Comment during the Assembly meeting by calling 747-1826 before 4 p.m. Tuesday. Call in and participate in the Virtual Assembly Meeting. Talk about whether another “unsustainable” annual moorage rate increase is a good idea.

 

Matthew Donohoe, 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 1-15-21)

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 10:55 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 296

Total statewide – 49,835

Total (cumulative) deaths – 228

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,126

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 17

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 301 (274 resident; 27 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 281

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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20 YEARS AGO
January 2001

Photo caption: Sarah and Jeremy Pickard and Dr. James Brooks show off Lauren Marie Pickard, the first baby born in Sitka this year. She arrived at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital at 10:05 a.m., Jan. 4, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches. She’s the first child for the Pickards,who moved here in May with the U.S. Coast Guard.

50 YEARS AGO
January 1971

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Foster and daughter Marchele have ended a two-week vacation trip to Idaho. They bought a new Mustang in Seattle, drove it to Sandpoint, Idaho, to visit relatives and stopped in Everett, Wash., to visit Mrs. Foster’s cousin, whom she hadn’t seen in 13 years. Mrs. Foster and Marchele returned by plane and Foster is following with the car, on the ferry.

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