NEW BREW – Zach Anderson stands at the bar of the recently opened Harbor Mountain Brewing Company Tuesday afternoon. The brew pub, on the site of the former Baranof Island Brewery, is open Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

May 27, 2020, Letters to the Editor

CARES Act Pack

Dear Editor: I urge the City of Sitka Assembly and Mayor Gary Paxton to consider the following CARES Act ‘‘fundamental four’’ areas when they receive the earmarked portion of funding for our Alaskan community…

The CARES Act Pack was set up with these four areas of focus which are:

Cash to families in need: This is done directly to local individuals and families for help with food, and fixed costs such as utilities, home heating fuel, moorage, and rent. 

The city can also help local social services by offering funding for programs which are already implemented which help several people: Food banks, senior and youth services, child care services, the homeless coalition, as well as a food subsistence network for ALL Sitka residents that can work on helping people who cannot get access to local fish can somehow get fish for free or at a reduced cost. Another example is helping the Sitka School District to fund more computers and internet service grants for students in their homes who may have to study from home this fall. Funds could also help several programs such as SAIL, Brave Heart Volunteers, and so many more point of care programs in the community which help local people who may be overburdened due to COVID-19.

2. Rapid Relief to Small Business: Based not only on need but amounts could also be based on year-round Sitka residency. This relief should be similar to but not double dip into the same federal programs in which the business may have already applied. For example the PPP only covers eight weeks of payroll. A said business should be allowed to apply for eight additional weeks, being able to help keep payroll going out. Money could also help maintain additional fixed costs such as utilities, moorage and rental fees. Subcontracted employees should not be added into this program. However subcontractors should be able to apply directly for funds on their own for local lost wages, just like the Paycheck Protection Program. 

3. Stabilizing Key Factors in our local economy: 

Note the keyword “stabilize.” This should be based on the greater good for ALL Sitka residents. I strongly feel that, in the long run, lowering costs of utilities not just for short-term, but being able to use said funding to come up with a long-term solution to our ever-increasing utility rates, should be a huge priority for the city. This can be done by obtaining new federal funding loans at lower rates or even perhaps forgiveness of some loans. This should give our city rate stabilization. The increasing costs of utilities are critical for many families here in Sitka. This can in fact make or break their decision to remain or end up having to move. 

Other Key Factors: Hiring an assistant fire chief, increasing the police force, hiring a special task force to work on the ever-growing drug problems that are infecting our town. Our first responders should be fully staffed during this time of crisis. Other options that would help with the greater good: decreasing moorage costs for local full-time residents, by refinancing said loans through lower federal loans. The Crescent Harbor project overage and the timing on this should also be taken into consideration. Increased moorage rates affect many people from all different sectors in our community. FOOD & SHELTER are key factors which a lot of Sitkans were struggling with even before COVID-19, and is magnified so much more now. Many Sitkans live on their boats, and use their boats to access not only their livelihood but their subsistance way of life in order to feed their families. Other areas to consider: airport infrastructure. 

4. Resources to Hospitals and States: This would incorporate what our state and city are in the process of receiving. However, an increasing need in Sitka would be to set up an easily accessible drug addiction treatment and recovery program for Sitka. This could be orchestrated with SEARHC and work in contingent with the City of Sitka. This should be easily accessible for potential clients and free. 

The goal of the federal funding should also be to have the potential to be forgiven and be moved into a grant. I urge you to pass along the forgiveness of the loan to the citizens of Sitka. 

Ann-Marie Parker

Sitka Resident since 1992

 

SHS Graduation

Dear Editor: Last week, the Sitka High School class of 2020 was able to step away from quarantine and COVID-19 in order to celebrate their graduation from high school and the beginning of their lives as young adults. This celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the support and guidance of a number of people.

We would like to thank city Administrator John Leach and Deputy Clerk Melissa Henshaw, as well as Police Chief Robert Baty and Fire Chief Dave Miller for offering feedback about the ceremony and helping to plan and execute the parade that followed. The Sitka School District maintenance and city public works departments worked to make sure our lot was clean, our grounds clipped and the exterior of our building was festive and decorated for the ceremony. Mr. Jack Davis lent us speakers and music so everyone along the parade route would know the graduates were on their way. 

The help offered by Katherine Rose of KCAW, pre-recording the speeches and procuring the air time, was invaluable, and insured that people all over the listening area could be part of the ceremony, even though actual attendance was limited to graduates and their immediate family members. The staff members at the Sitka Sentinel were incredibly kind and patient as we worked to “get the word out” about the ceremony and the graduates, even communicating with us over the weekend to make sure that student bios were correct and scholarship information was included. 

Finally, we would like to thank the faculty and staff of Sitka High School. There were teachers, support staff and friends beautifying the grounds, creating photo backdrops, directing traffic, distributing programs, flying drones, taking photographs and streaming the diploma distribution. Without their efforts, all the planning would have been for nothing. 

Thank you to everyone who helped make May 18, 2020, a night to remember. 

Laura Rogers, Principal,

Sondra Lundvick,

Assistant Principal.

 

Sitka High School

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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 8-5-20)

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 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Tuesday: 56

Total statewide – 3,449

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 19 (14 resident; 5 non-resident) *

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

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 137.

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
August 2000

Dan and Betty Keck were married 50 years ago and friends are invited to help celebrate. ... They were married at the Church of Christ in Pateros, Wash., and in 1960 loaded up their station wagon, drove to Seattle, flew to Annette Island and on to Sitka. ... They owned The Cellar from 1976 to 1995. Dan was on the Assembly and served as mayor. ...

50 YEARS AGO
August 1970

Sitka Purse Seiners Association has endorsed Larry Carr for governor, according to Al Perkins, chairman of the local organization. He said the organization of about 50 members backs Carr for his position on fishing.

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