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VIGIL – More than 300 people share seven minutes of silence on Totem Square during a vigil for George Floyd, who died last week while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The large turnout for event made it difficult for participants to maintain the six-foot social distance that organizers had hoped for. (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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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 6-2-20)

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 10:20 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 20

Total statewide – 487

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 47, and the cumulative number of deaths is 10.

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

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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

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

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 sitkasentinel.com. 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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